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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Up from the memory hole: Obama's passport and trip to Pakistan on: April 22, 2017, 01:22:35 AM
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US, Russia, and Exxon: Waiver denied on: April 21, 2017, 08:43:07 PM
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rush on the underlying theme of the O'Reilly affair on: April 21, 2017, 08:31:34 PM
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Where oh where can the USS Vinson be? on: April 21, 2017, 08:28:04 PM
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Caroline Glick on Bret Stehphens on: April 21, 2017, 09:48:23 AM

CG comments on the article:

The JTA's profile of Bret Stephens posted below is a largely fair and accurate portrait of the extraordinary career of a fantastic writer.
But I have one problem with it. I have a problem with the article's strange, unfair and distorted portrayal of the Post's former publisher Tom Rose.
During his tenure as publisher of the Jerusalem Post, in 2002 Tom Rose hired Bret Stephens, then a young editorial writer at the Wall Street Journal in Europe, to serve as editor of the Jerusalem Post, a major newspaper with a global audience.
This would have been an enormous promotion for anyone. It was certainly a career maker for a 28 year old writer.
Bret Stephens in turn hired me to serve as a senior columnist and deputy managing editor of the paper. This too was a major development in my career. Until then, I had no significant exposure to the English language audience. I was then serving as a senior writer for Makor Rishon.
I was then, and remain still today, deeply appreciative to Bret for recruiting me to the paper.
There are many things that I appreciate about Bret, beyond the fact that he hired me. The role he played in getting Tom fired is not one of them.
This is very old news, and would not be worth recalling, except that strangely, for no apparent reason, the 13 year old episode was highlighted in the JTA profile of Bret, on the eve of his move from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times.
Over the years that passed since his departure from the paper, Tom and I struck up of friendship. We haven't spoken for several months, and it is important for me to note that at he did not, and never would, ask me to write about this. In fact, I imagine he wouldn't want me to say anything at all. But like I said, we haven't spoken for awhile so I am doing what I think is right, under these strange circumstances.
Tom was hired by Hollinger to serve as the Post's publisher with the specific duty to de-unionize the paper.
Not surprisingly, a lot of people hated him for it.
Bret's hire was also part of the transformation the Post underwent under Tom's leadership from a cumbersome, expensive, local Israeli paper, owned by the Histadrut labor union if I am not mistaken, into a lean, global publication, that ran on a streamlined budget.
If Tom hadn't been there, Bret would not have received the opportunity of his lifetime, (and he wouldn't have hired me, giving me an opportunity of my lifetime).
Tom, like Bret, (and like me), has his share of rough edges. He is however, a brilliant, exceedingly competent professional and a wonderful person. He doesn't deserve to be assaulted again, 13 years later in a weird attempt to provide a foil for Bret's many good qualities. It is unfair and it feels vindictive.
I have to say that I am mystified at the motive.
I wish Bret the best of luck at the New York Times. He is a gifted writer and he did me a great service 15 years ago when he asked me to join him at the Post.
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump, Abbas, and Palestinian attitudes polled on: April 21, 2017, 12:29:44 AM
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VP Pence in Indonesia on: April 21, 2017, 12:27:02 AM
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CATO: The Costs and Consequences of Gun Control on: April 21, 2017, 12:22:40 AM
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Left economics is no match for alt right resentment on: April 20, 2017, 11:37:28 PM
Plenty here I do not agree with, but some genuine insights as well:
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We are fuct on: April 20, 2017, 11:32:22 PM
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hermann Goering on: April 20, 2017, 11:30:51 PM

62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Breitbart: Young White America Dying of Despair on: April 20, 2017, 11:26:52 PM
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ten Reasons I am no longer a Leftist on: April 20, 2017, 11:08:53 PM
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Taibbi on "Shattered" on: April 20, 2017, 11:05:10 PM
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH goes after O'Reilly and FOX on: April 20, 2017, 11:02:11 PM
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: second us civil war on: April 20, 2017, 10:56:32 AM
It would appear that such may be the case all too soon:
67  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Antifa pulls ad for concealed knives on: April 20, 2017, 10:55:40 AM
second post
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Shot Heard 'round the World on: April 20, 2017, 08:26:08 AM

I make an annual donation to this group.
69  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Count Dante: Mastermind or Mad Man? on: April 20, 2017, 08:20:42 AM
Count Dante, Mastermind or Mad Man?
by: Tracy Warrener
    The Martial Arts have always been a platform which attracts so many different personalities.  Some regular, everyday people and then there are others who stand out from the masses and are quite different…  Count Dante from Chicago was one such person.

     He was born John Keehan and was raised in a well off family from Chicago. During his high school years, John studied boxing and then later joined the Marines and Army where he learned martial arts.  After studying with various instructors, he earned his black belt and went on to teach others.  Keehan


really didn’t like the formal, traditional side of the martial arts and felt that it wasn’t realistic in a street self defence situation. So he created his own style of martial art and called it the Dan-te System. He was known to be a very colorful and an eccentric person and one who liked to brag and talk about his past fighting conquests. One such story he spoke of involved him allegedly participating in death matches in Thailand and China. In 1967, he

legally changed his name to Count Dante.

     Count Dante was key in implementing Full Contact Tournaments in the United States. He was the director of United States Karate Association as well as in 1964 the founder of World Karate Federation. He became well known for taking out ads at the back of Comic books advertising himself as the Deadliest Man Alive and promoted his  instructional book ‘Dance of Death’ and also promoting himself as an expert instructor of the famous ‘Dimak technique’. Aside from his world of martial arts, Dante was a hairdresser, and was known also for his criminal activity and affiliations.


      Controversy and his eccentric nature was something that he became famous for.  He was arrested and charged with attempted arson of a rival dojo, his ‘Black Dragon Fighting Society’ made headlines when he and some of his students went to another rival dojo and attacked the students which ended in the death of his friend.

There have been other crimes linked to him as well as his association with known criminals.

     Count Dante was definitely one of the more evocative characters of the Martial Arts world during the 60’s and early ’70’s.  It was almost as Hollywood itself wrote his fascinating story and he was the character developed for a cheesy kung fu movie. He was known as a skilled fighter and a good teacher in what he believed in.  Dante died in 1975 at the age of 36yrs old from a a bleeding ulcer. For someone to be such a major influence on modern martial arts culture, develop a large following of students, and to be a fundamental role in the organizing of such full contact tournaments  it takes someone who is both intelligent and charismatic.  When you couple that with some of his more darker characteristics and affiliations, one may come to the conclusion that he was both a mastermind and a mad man. How ever you choose to view him, one thing is for sure he was truly a very unique individual.

70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Real Cause of Addiction on: April 20, 2017, 12:40:45 AM
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Street Fights are a bad sign on: April 20, 2017, 12:38:58 AM
72  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Political Street Fights are a bad sign on: April 20, 2017, 12:32:00 AM
73  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: April 19, 2017, 10:34:40 PM
 shocked shocked shocked
74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Carter Page on: April 19, 2017, 10:16:46 PM
75  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Milo: Antifa unmasked on: April 19, 2017, 04:26:56 PM
76  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Circling the drain of social disorder on: April 19, 2017, 01:58:55 AM
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Heather McDonald shut down on: April 19, 2017, 12:43:22 AM
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FOX planning to sever O'Reilly on: April 19, 2017, 12:40:00 AM
79  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 2017 US Tribal Gathering of the Pack May 20-21 on: April 18, 2017, 03:37:50 PM
Some background info about the documentary that is being shot of this May's Tribal Gathering:


"We are an Oscar nominated production company who make sports documentaries amongst other films. We produced the film "Muse" about Kobe Bryant for Showtime ( and most recently the series called "Religion of Sports" for Direct TV, ( By way of introduction to myself, here's the link to the Cat Zingano/MMA episode in full which I produced and co-wrote.

"Alpha + Omega
pw: D1rtyR0bber!

"We're currently working on a new series entitled "Why We Fight" (…) which investigates different combat sports and martial arts around the word, with a particular focus on the characters who fight, and their motivations for doing so. This show is for Verizon's go90 network and will available to stream on computers phones tables and connected TV's from the fall."

They approached me through Pappy Dog. I have spoken with them and given the green light.
80  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA in Mexico on: April 18, 2017, 02:56:15 PM
Hard to have an official "DB Gathering" without a goodly number of full Dog Brothers-- but "fight days" would be something to consider.
81  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / PG Crafty: Opportunity Recognition on: April 18, 2017, 02:52:44 PM
82  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife Law Texas on: April 18, 2017, 02:44:54 PM
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gay Porn Star supports Trump and then some on: April 17, 2017, 09:54:36 PM
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism, crony capitalism, Alt Right on: April 17, 2017, 02:51:20 PM

Please post on the Education thread and delete here.
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I-Phone School on: April 17, 2017, 02:46:59 PM[tn]=kC&ft[qid]=6410059100599741796&ft[mf_story_key]=6741903420176296475&ft[ei]=AI%4006715aab020ff0af32bfa58b134f5b61&ft[top_level_post_id]=1252387514796858&ft[fbfeed_location]=1&ft[insertion_position]=1&__md__=1
86  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Riots and Resistance on: April 17, 2017, 07:28:28 AM
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Erdogan: one vote one last time? on: April 17, 2017, 07:23:54 AM

In an apparent cliffhanger victory, with challenges from the opposition still outstanding, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President (and now party leader) Recep Tayyip Erdogan are claiming a hairline victory in a decisive referendum that will greatly empower the presidency. Some 48 million of 55 million eligible voters cast ballots on a raft of 18 constitutional amendments that will fundamentally alter the Turkish government, taking effect in the next scheduled election in 2019. With nearly all votes counted, the "Yes" vote garnered 51.34 percent of the vote with the "No" vote coming in close behind with 48.66 percent of the vote, according to state-run Anadolu Agency. Though the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is not conceding the vote and is contesting at least 37 percent of the votes counted, the AKP is claiming victory. Still, the poll has shown just how deeply polarized the Turkish electorate has become: Erdogan has eked out a victory despite losing the three largest cities in the vote — Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. The AKP's razor-thin lead is a big reason why Erdogan feels compelled to resort to extraordinary measures to consolidate power.

Constitutional referendums are common in recent Turkish history, with six notable polls having taken place since 1961. The tug of war between granting powers to the parliament, the judiciary, the executive and the military is a decadeslong struggle in Turkey. But the April 16 referendum enables the most sweeping changes yet to the division of power between the executive and legislative branches, heaping additional powers on the president in an unprecedented way in Turkey. The vote is a culmination of a yearslong effort by Erdogan to formalize some of the powers he had already encroached upon as president. He will absorb the powers of the now-eliminated prime minister — historically the more powerful of the two positions — and will be able eschew nonpartisan rules and lead his own political party, dismiss parliament, choose judges that were once selected by their peers, announce a state of emergency, and enact some laws by decree. Overall, the legislative and judicial branches of the Turkish government will have diminished oversight on the presidency. The changes also allow Erdogan to run for two more terms, setting him up for possible rule until 2029.

It is highly unusual for an electoral victory in Turkey to be claimed without winning the largest metropolises. Istanbul and Ankara have been reliably in the AKP camp for years and Izmir, once an opposition CHP stronghold, has been trending toward the AKP in recent elections. According to results from state-run Anadolu Agency, in Istanbul, the "No" vote led with 51.34 percent against 48.66 percent "Yes;" in Ankara, 51.14 percent "No" to 48.86 percent "Yes;" and in Izmir, 68.78 percent "No" to 31.22 percent "Yes." The "No" vote was unsurprisingly ahead in predominantly Kurdish districts in Turkey's southeast, but the margin was smaller than expected. In the Mediterranean city of Antalya the results were: 59.06 percent "No" to 40.94 percent "Yes" and in Mersin, 64.01 percent "No" to 35.99 percent "Yes." Meanwhile, in overseas voting, 59.06 percent voted "Yes" while 40.94 percent voted "No," according to Anadolu Agency.

While "No" campaigners are casting suspicion on Turkish Electoral Board's decision to count unsealed ballots, this has been a common occurrence in recent Turkish polls. Opposition parties supporting the "No" vote, CHP chief among them, publicly doubt the legitimacy of the polls. Considering the state of emergency in place since last July's coup attempt in Turkey, there was concern among "No" voters that the government would use its institutional influence to secure victory in the April 16 poll. Should the ruling party feel the need to take a stronger hand in quelling opposition to the results, it could also leverage the ongoing state of emergency. Turkey's National Security Council is expected to decide on whether to extend or end the state of emergency shortly after the poll. It has been renewed in three-month increments since last July.

Turkey's shift toward a more authoritarian system under Erdogan will no doubt elicit further condemnation from the European Union, but European powers also understand that they still need Turkey's cooperation in containing migrant traffic and in keeping a check on Russia. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said last week that the government will revisit the stalled issue of EU visa liberalization for Turks and further threatened that Turkey's government could reassess the migrant deal with the bloc after the referendum. A more emboldened AKP following the vote will mean more friction in Turkey's already fragile negotiation with the European Union. As weather conditions improve and migrant traffic picks up, this will be a pressing concern for the European Union to manage with Turkey.

While the vote points to dramatic change for Turkey domestically in the long term, Turkey's foreign policy will remain largely unchanged. Regardless of a victory or defeat in the referendum, Turkey will still deepen its focus and presence in northern Iraq and Syria in an effort to contain Kurdish expansionism and face off with Iran in a broader proxy battle.
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Relax, I've got this: Trump realigning alliances on: April 17, 2017, 07:16:57 AM
89  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 2017 US Tribal Gathering of the Pack May 20-21 on: April 17, 2017, 07:13:18 AM

A Howl to the Tribe:

The documentary seems to be really moving along. Those attending this particular Tribal will always have this to show their children and grandchildren Cool


Registered fighter list and related thread on Tribal Forum


PS: Please forward this to the various DB/DBMA pages
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Health Care or Tax Code first? on: April 17, 2017, 06:44:39 AM
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Peggy Noonan on Steve Bannon on: April 17, 2017, 06:21:10 AM
 By Peggy Noonan
April 13, 2017 7:36 p.m. ET

My late friend Bill Safire, the tough and joyous New York Times columnist, once gave me good advice. I was not then a newspaper columnist, but he’d apparently decided I would be. This is what he said: Never join a pile-on, always hit ’em when they’re up. Don’t criticize the person who’s already being attacked. What’s the fun in that, where’s the valor? Hit them when they’re flying high and it takes some guts.

So, in the matter of Steve Bannon :

I think we can agree he brings a certain amount of disorder. They say he’s rough and tough, and there’s no reason to doubt it. They say he leaks like a sieve and disparages his rivals, and this can be assumed to be correct: They all do that in this White House. He is accused of saying incendiary things and that is true. A week into the administration he told Michael Grynbaum of the Times the media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” “I love a gunfight,” he reportedly said in the middle of his latest difficulties. When he tried to muscle members of the Freedom Caucus to vote for the ObamaCare replacement bill, a congressman blandly replied, “You know, the last time someone ordered me to do something I was 18 years old, and it was my daddy, and I didn’t listen to him, either.” When I said a while back that some of the president’s aides are outlandish, and confuse strength with aggression, he was in mind.
Opinion Journal: "The White House is a pressure cooker."
Former White House Speechwriter Bill McGurn on his experience of White House political battles. Photo: Associated Press

But there’s something low, unseemly and ugly in the efforts to take him out so publicly and humiliatingly, to turn him into a human oil spot on the tarmac—this not only from his putative colleagues but now even the president. “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” Mr. Trump purred to the New York Post’s Michael Goodwin.

    Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected

    Peggy Noonan writes about Donald Trump and the rise of the protected, made up of figures in government, politics and media who are struggling to make sense of the world they created.

    Click to Read Story

    Trump Was a Spark, Not the Fire

    Peggy Noonan: The establishments, both media and conservative, failed to anticipate how they’d be consumed.

    Click to Read Story

    The Republican Party Is Shattering

    Peggy Noonan: The Republican party is shattering and whether Republicans stop Donald Trump or unite behind him, nothing will ever be the same.

    Click to Read Story


    A Wounded Boy’s Silence, and the Candidates’

    Peggy Noonan: “I hate war,” FDR declared 80 years ago. Why can’t today’s politicians say so?

    Click to Read Story

    Shining a Light on ‘Back Row’ America

    Peggy Noonan writes about Chris Arnade, a photographer whose travels and pictures reveal an America that is battered but standing, a society that is atomized but holding on.

    Click to Read Story

    No More Business as Usual, Mr. Trump

    Peggy Noonan writes Donald Trump has to abandon his company in order to deal on the country’s behalf.

    Click to Read Story


    Imagine a Sane Donald Trump

    You know he’s a nut. What if he weren’t?

    Click to Read Story

    The Year of the Reticent Voter

    Peggy Noonan: People seem to feel that if they express a preference, they’re inviting others to inspect their souls.

    Click to Read Story

    Remembering a Hero, 15 Years After 9/11

    Peggy Noonan: “With this bandanna,” Welles Crowther said, “I’m gonna change the world.” And he did.

    Click to Read Story


    That Moment When 2016 Hits You

    Peggy Noonan: ‘I felt a wave of sadness,’ said one friend. This year’s politics have that effect on a lot of Americans.

    Click to Read Story

Peggy Noonan: Pulitzer Prize Winner for Commentary 2017

So let’s take a look at something impressive Mr. Bannon has done. I’ve been meaning to write of it for a while. In 2014 he did a live Skype interview for a conference on poverty at the Vatican. BuzzFeed ran it during the campaign under the headline “This Is How Steve Bannon Sees the Entire World.”

It shows an interesting mind at work.

The West is currently facing a “crisis of capitalism,” he said. The world was able to recover after the world wars in part thanks to “an enlightened form of capitalism” that generated “tremendous wealth” broadly distributed among all classes. This capitalism was shaped by “the underlying spiritual and moral foundations . . . of Judeo-Christian belief.” Successful capitalists were often either “active participants in the Jewish faith” or “active participants in the Christian faith.” They operated on a kind of moral patrimony, part tradition, part religious teaching. But now the West has become more secular. Capitalism as a result has grown “unmoored” and is going “partly off track.”

He speaks of two “disturbing” strands. “One is state-sponsored capitalism,” as in China and Russia. We also, to a degree, see it in America. This is “a brutal form of capitalism” in which wealth and value are distributed to “a very small subset of people.” It is connected to crony capitalism. He criticizes the Republican Party as “really a collection of crony capitalists that feel they have a different set of rules of how they’re going to comport themselves.”

The other disturbing strand is “libertarian capitalism,” which “really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost.” He saw this strand up close when he was on Wall Street, at Goldman Sachs . There he saw “the securitization of everything” and an attitude in which “people are looked at as commodities.”
Opinion: The FBI, Billy Bush and the Upset of 2016
Peggy Noonan breaks down the components that ultimately undid Hillary Clinton.

Capitalists, he said, now must ask: “What is the purpose of whatever I’m doing with this wealth? What is the purpose of what I’m doing with the ability that God has given us . . . to actually be a creator of jobs and a creator of wealth?”

With both these strands, he says, the middle class loses ground. This has contributed to the “global revolt” of populism and nationalism. That revolt was fueled, too, by the financial crisis of 2008. None of those responsible on Wall Street were called to account: “No bonuses and none of their equity was taken.” The taxes of the middle class were used to bail them out.

There’s more in the conversation, which lasted 50 minutes and included the problem of racist and anti-Semitic overtones in populist movements. But it’s a thoughtful, serious talk, and its themes would reverberate in the 2016 election.

You can see Mr. Bannon’s basic or developing political and economic philosophy as half-baked, fully baked, or likely to explode in the oven. And it is fair to note his views haven’t seemed to gel or produce very much in the first dozen weeks of the Trump era.

But what Mr. Bannon offered in the interview was a point of view that was publicly declared and could be debated.

What will take its place if he leaves the White House or recedes as a figure? What worldview will prevail, to the extent Mr. Trump does worldviews? Policy changes accompanying Mr. Bannon’s diminishment this week included the president’s speaking approvingly of the Export-Import Bank and NATO, declaring that China isn’t a currency manipulator after all, suggesting the dollar may be too strong, and hitting Syria and Afghanistan.

None of that sounds like Candidate Trump.

It is possible what we are seeing is simply the rise of a more moderate or conciliatory or establishment Trump White House. But it also looks like the rise of the Wall Street Mr. Bannon painted as tending to see people as commodities. Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, is said to be Mr. Bannon’s most effective internal foe. He is the new rising figure. There are many Wall Street folk—some from Messrs. Bannon and Cohn’s old stomping ground, Goldman Sachs—in influential administration posts. They don’t come across as the kind of people who exhaust themselves pondering the meaning of the historical moment or tracing societal stresses and potential responses.

Will all these changes, in policy and perhaps personnel, hurt Mr. Trump? Probably a little. But nothing dramatic right now, because his supporters knew they were making an unusual choice in making him president, and they will give him time.

But if the Trump White House is itself changing dramatically, we’ll look back on this week as the moment the change became apparent.

I end with Safire, who’s been gone eight years. I still miss him, and I thought of him this week when I received good news. He’d received the same news 39 years before. I think he’d be happy, clap me on the back, call me kid. And I’m telling you the first chance he got to take a deserved shot, he’d take it. And if instead I’d endured some personal or professional loss, he’d be first one on the phone.

He had style. Style is good.

Beautiful Easter and Passover to my readers, who wrote in this week and reminded me how beautiful they are. I know that’s corny, but sometimes life is corny.
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / James Jeffrey: The Case for Staying in Iraq after ISIS' fall on: April 17, 2017, 06:16:34 AM
After ISIS, the U.S. Military Could Help Keep Iraq Stable
A limited troop presence would support a strategy aimed at containing Iranian aggression.
By James Jeffrey
April 16, 2017 2:09 p.m. ET

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on the U.S. to deepen cooperation with Baghdad under the 2008 U.S.-Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement. That makes sense. America has expended incalculable resources in Iraq, intervening militarily four times since 1990. Iraq is worth the effort—the center of the Middle East, with almost two-thirds of the oil and gas reserves of Saudi Arabia, abundant water, an educated population and a functioning democracy. But if the U.S. doesn’t want to intervene again, assistance must be linked to maintaining a small military contingent there.

An American-Iraqi decision on keeping U.S. troops in the country must be taken soon, as the rationale for their current presence—to defeat Islamic State—will fade as it is destroyed. The justification for a longer-term presence would be to train and equip Iraqi forces and assist against ISIS remnants. Strategically, it could also help keep Iraq independent of Iran.

The impending destruction of ISIS as a “caliphate” will rank with the 2003 Iraq war, the Arab Spring, the Iran nuclear agreement and Russian intervention in Syria as a regional game-changer. The first four advanced the Iranian and Russian quest to upset the U.S.-led regional security order. But the defeat of ISIS could help the U.S. reverse this trend.

To do so Washington must view the region differently. Since the Cold War the U.S. has treated Middle East challenges—Iran, Saddam Hussein, Syria, Yemen, terrorism, and more—as discrete problems, not part of a larger endeavor. The U.S. assumed that the region’s core, an American-led regional order, would endure.

Threats to that order from Iran, Russia and Sunni Islamists challenge this assumption. In this environment, Cold War principles—alliance solidarity and U.S. credibility—must be reinvigorated. Anything the U.S. does must support the strategy to contain Iran and combat Sunni extremists. The two are linked: Under Iranian influence, Damascus and Baghdad so oppressed their Sunni Arab populations that they turned to ISIS.

Keeping a troop contingent in Iraq would support such a strategy. The Trump administration appears interested, but success is uncertain given that Iraq did not allow the U.S. to extend forces in Iraq in 2011. Prime Minister Abadi appears supportive, but other political leaders, the public and Iran are more or less opposed. To keep a troop presence, the U.S. will have to proceed on three avenues: “sell” the presence, link it to other assistance, and keep it noncontroversial.

Iraqis must be convinced that an American presence would support the fight against terrorism and ensure the Iraqi army does not implode as it did in Mosul in 2014. They must also be convinced that it would support Iraqi unity, by signaling to skeptical Sunni Arab and Kurdish minorities that the largely Shiite Baghdad government seeks ties to the West. Also important is the perception that the U.S. supports Iraqi sovereignty, by signaling to Iran that Iraq will not become anyone’s vassal state.

The U.S. will have to link economic assistance and diplomatic cooperation—in short, “tough love”—to clarify that in exchange for such help, Iraqi politicians have to be flexible on troops. U.S. support for Iraq beyond security has been remarkable: an IMF-led $15 billion loan, mediation of disputes between Baghdad and Kurdistan, and the facilitation of oil production. The U.S. has a vital interest in preventing Iraq from descending into violence, enabling Iranian regional aggression, or spawning another terrorist movement, and that requires not just political and economic support but continued military ties.

But Iraq must also be reassured that a U.S military presence would be acceptable to Iraqis. Based on the troop-extension talks with Iraq in 2011, the following would be politically acceptable.

First, the troop contingent should be limited and not permanent. The 5,000 troops contemplated in 2011 are likely the maximum politically sustainable. U.S. troops should also be part of an international contingent and stationed on Iraqi bases. The U.S. should not again ask for Parliament-approved legal immunities for U.S. personnel, but rather extend the administrative status under which they now operate.

Second, the formal troop mission should focus on training and equipping Iraqi forces, and specific intelligence, counterterrorism and perhaps air-support functions. Everyone in the region would understand that such a presence would also help contain Iran and promote stability, but diplomacy requires that this not be explicit.

Third, the U.S. should be careful not to suggest that troops in Iraq are a combat force to project power into Syria or Iran against Baghdad’s interests.

None of this guarantees that Iraq will allow such a military presence but it will make the choice easier. Stability in the entire region hangs on Iraq making the right one.

Mr. Jeffrey served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey (2008-10) and Iraq (2010-12).
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: April 17, 2017, 06:11:05 AM
Isn't that the one Christie put in jail?
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump-- Does he or doesn't he? on: April 17, 2017, 06:09:00 AM
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96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wellesley vs. Free Speech on: April 17, 2017, 05:49:12 AM
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Evangelical Environmentalists on: April 17, 2017, 05:27:04 AM
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99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: April 17, 2017, 04:51:29 AM
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Esquire on the clashes in Berkeley on: April 17, 2017, 04:49:40 AM
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