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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #600 on: November 08, 2010, 10:43:01 AM »

At about 0800 today my partner and I came upon one of the "gauntlet" operations I have mentioned several times.  Basically the Iraqi Army will have about 30 soldiers split on both sides of the travel lane.  They stop cars in such a way that they can search about five of them at a time.
 
The search consists of them going through the entire vehicle.  Open trunks, hoods, glove boxes, bags, etc.  And not just open and look, but rummage around.  Get you out of the car.  Talk to you and ask questions.  Personally I think this works quite well for them.  By doing what they do they eliminate a vast amount of space within a vehicle as being able to carry an explosives payload.  So it's a practice I think has substantive value and certainly makes the adversary's job a lot more difficult.
 
The two soldiers that searched our particular vehicle were quite pleasant.  Mine, a young lad, asked me if I was American.  Then asked me (in very poor, one word "sentences") if I was from New York, which I was able to honestly answer yes.  He then asked me if I liked Iraq, to which I, of course, said yes.  Which made him smile.  I then said "America likes Iraq", which seemed to make him smile wider.
 
All in all a very pleasant transaction.  So far, knock on wood, I have found the Iraqi Army guys to be professional, respectful, considerate and pleasant.  I never quite got that level of positive note vibes from many of the Iraqi Police.  We don't have to interact with them a whole lot this time around.
 
Last week, I was going the other way past one of these gauntlet operations.  I suddenly observed one PSD vehicle pull out of the line and start to drive around the gauntlet.  An Iraqi soldier motioned for him to stop.  He didn't, and kept going.  The soldier had to step out into the middle of the road in front of the vehicle with clenched fist (the stop sign that you do not want to drive through no matter who is giving it to you).  I could see the PSD driver at that point very animatedly being all pissed off inside his vehicle.  I certainly could not help but think to myself that if he got himself dragged out of that car and whupped up on, he would have nobody to blame but himself.  Anybody who lives in the IZ for more than a week knows these gauntlet checkpoints are not uncommon, and you just better give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be.  The gauntlet checkpoints usually translate to activity at the Iraqi Parliament building, so the soldiers (and by the way they mostly seem pretty sharp and squared away at these gauntlets), are taking their business seriously.  I had interaction with one of their officers a few weeks back, and although he was pleasant and respectful, he clearly was very intense about his business of running that gauntlet.  The type of leadership that, in my humble opinion, the Iraqis desperately need more of.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #601 on: November 11, 2010, 05:29:27 PM »

Analyst Kamran Bokhari examines Iran’s influence over the Nov. 11 formation of the new Iraqi government.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

After eight months of excruciatingly complex and drawn out negotiations at both the intra and intercommunal level, the Iraqi factions have finally agreed upon some semblance of a preliminary government. The ongoing lengthy process underscores the extent of influence Iran enjoys in its western neighbor and the fact that this is not your normal jockeying for power that one sees in most countries after an election.

What we have here is a very preliminary form of government emerging as a result of negotiations between the various factions. Today’s session of parliament elected a speaker and his two deputies. The speaker is a Sunni which was the case in the outgoing parliament, and he has two deputies one each from amongst the Shia and Kurdish communities.

In addition to the election of the speaker and the two deputy speakers the house also reelected President Jalal Talabani for another term. What is interesting here is that Jalal Talabiani was elected in two phases of voting and the Sunnis largely walked out of the session when that was taking place. So we enter into a new controversy in which the Sunnis feel betrayed by the Shiites and Kurds.

One of the most interesting and important points in this eight month saga since the election is how Iran was able to essentially checkmate the United States in the sense that the Sunni backed al-Iraqiyah block bagged the most seats in the March 7 election. Yet Iran was able to pull together both the two Shia block that came in second and third place to form a super Shia bloc and thereby claiming the right to form a government in which we now see in process.

in most countries there are democratic elections and then there’s this normal - if there is a hung parliament - is normal jockeying for power between those that bagged the most seats to cobble together a new government. In Iraq it’s much more than just a normal negotiations because essentially Iraqi is a new state. Post-Ba’athist Iraq does not have a lengthy tradition of elections or governments being formed. This is the second government since the overthrow of Saddam.

What’s significant about this new power sharing arrangement is for in the first time the Sunnis en masse were able to participate in elections and therefore pose a challenge to the domination of the system enjoyed by the Shia and Kurds thus far. What this shows is that every time there’s going to be an election for the foreseeable future, we’re going to be going through this same motion again because there is no underlying if you will understanding or formal power-sharing mechanism. It has to be built from scratch based on the results of the elections.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #602 on: November 17, 2010, 11:08:45 AM »



Well we went to the airport today only be told we could not leave the country because we did not have an exit visa.  So I am stuck here for the immediate future.  But at least I am back in the IZ....
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #603 on: November 20, 2010, 03:36:30 PM »

OMII is back home in the USA.  Welcome home! cool
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #604 on: November 28, 2010, 11:00:10 AM »

Our man no longer in Iraq comments:
=============
Once one sees how wild many Iraqis drive, in situations where not driving wildly would be the self-survival oriented thing to do, this becomes no surprise:
 
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/11/28/iraq.violence/index.html?hpt=T2

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #605 on: December 08, 2010, 10:24:41 AM »



http://www.examiner.com/public-safety-in-national/wikileaks-wmd-program-existed-iraq-prior-to-us-invasion
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DougMacG
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« Reply #606 on: December 08, 2010, 12:05:12 PM »

"Wikileaks: There WERE WMD in Iraq"

It was always the case that the endless chorus singing "Bush Lied" was further from the truth than Bush.  That was a miserable period in American politics.  It launched the career of Obama the most credible and consisten of the anti-war candidates, now commander of 2 wars (while signing the extension of the Bush tax cuts).  I wonder how many fewer lives would have been lost if the enemy wasn't constantly told we were right on the verge of quitting - because of no WMD threat.
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ccp
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« Reply #607 on: December 08, 2010, 12:36:52 PM »

The WMD were there.  They were smuggled to Syria or elsewhere at some point.  Or hidden somewhere and not found.
Of course MSM will ignore this.  The opposite of endless coverage of the water boarding of three terrorists as though it was some sort of scandal.

The biggest tragedy of this leak is as pointed out on cable is is highlights just how weak our country is.

A single guy with some computer skills can do such damage and yet, there still has to be a public *debate* as to can we, should we, even do anything to stop him.

More evidence of our decline.  I agree with Doug - not inevitable but clearly the result of idiot policies.

This guy is an enemy of the US.  We should simply put a bullet in his brain to make an example.  And anyone who helps him.

The NYT is not off the hook either though the liberals will force our courts to give them immunity.



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G M
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« Reply #608 on: December 08, 2010, 12:49:54 PM »

Anyone doubt what Putin would do if Wikileaks were leaking Russian documents?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #609 on: December 08, 2010, 03:31:32 PM »

" I wonder how many fewer lives would have been lost if the enemy wasn't constantly told we were right on the verge of quitting - because of no WMD threat."

My wonderment goes deeper than that.   IMHO the liberal left/progressives/liberal fascists deserve considerable credit/blame for the current state in which we find ourselves in Iraq and vs. Iran due to their destructive temper tantrums and sometimes downright disloyal words and actions and for it not being what could have been achieved but for them. angry angry angry 
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G M
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« Reply #610 on: December 08, 2010, 03:39:30 PM »

Notice how the omnipresent stories on casualties in the MSM stopped after Jan 2009? I guess we didn't have any troops wounded or killed after that....   rolleyes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #611 on: December 12, 2010, 06:52:59 PM »

This source is unknown to me.  It was forwarded by a friend.

Dechristianizations

Breaking news quickly passes into "archive"; but days, weeks, and sometimes years may be required, to reconstruct what actually happened. Sometimes there are no survivors of a crime or catastrophe, and no testimony to work with, beyond what forensic specialists can provide. But humans are not that easy to kill, and there are usually a few accusers left about.

On Sunday, Oct. 31, during Mass, Islamist terrorists attacked the main Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad -- the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. While there have been persistent and increasing attacks on Christians, as well as on other religious minorities, all over the Muslim world, this one was especially notable, and deserved far more sustained press coverage. Many details are only now emerging, from the wounded who were flown out of Iraq to Rome, and other European cities, for medical treatment.

The attack was sustained over five hours. Iraqi military authorities had the church surrounded for most of this time; American-made helicopters buzzed overhead. But, rather than risk the lives of soldiers, the authorities were content to simply contain the massacre.

It had begun with a diversionary strike against the Baghdad stock exchange, across the street: two of its guards were killed. Those inside the church could hear the automatic rifle fire, which began towards the end of the homily. Congregants were at first relieved that the attack did not seem to be directed at the church. Its entrances were blocked, the main wooden door barricaded.

A jeep parked outside the church then exploded, and a brigade of jihadis, in Iraqi army uniforms, burst through the main entrance commando-style. First one priest -- a Father Wasim, among those trying to hold the door -- shouted, "Leave them alone, take me!" He was immediately shot. A Father Thair then shouted from the altar, likewise, "Leave them alone, take me!" and was likewise annihilated.

While this was happening, a Father Raphael succeeded in herding about 70 of the faithful into the sacristy, and blocking its door. In due course the jihadis found it had a small high window, and tossed grenades through that; others amused themselves by firing bullets through the door.

In the cathedral proper, the jihadis used the central crucifix for target practice, while shouting in mockery, "Come on, tell Him to save you!" At their leisure, they executed the men of the congregation, while terrorizing the women and children in various other ways. They shot the arms off a couple of girls who tried to use cellphones; they shot babies who were crying. And in classical Arabic, with Egyptian and Syrian accents, they declared: "We are going to heaven, and you are going to hell. Allah is great!"

At their leisure, for over the five hours they twice stopped for formal Islamic prayers. They were also able to place bombs around the cathedral, for the purpose of blowing it up at the end, but owing to faulty wiring these did not go off. Survivors, in the accounts I've seen in Italian media, say the jihadis eventually ran out of bullets, and then began calling for the bombs to be detonated. They had several colleagues stationed on the roof, orchestrating their affair; unmolested by the troops surrounding the church. Two of the jihadis with suicide belts managed to blow themselves up.

Finally, the Iraqi troops went into action. The dead were now counted; the wounded removed to area hospitals where friends and relatives were already making their hysterical inquiries. The church was now "secured," so that passersby could not get a view of the devastation inside it.

My reader may get far more detail through patient Internet searching. The facts mentioned above seem incontestable. Unfortunately, most of the mainstream reporting came down to "58 killed and a larger number wounded." There were some insulting editorials, which generically condemned "religious intolerance," thus putting murderers and victims on the same level.

The exodus of Christians from Iraq is, by now, more or less common knowledge. Within Iraq itself, there is a movement from such cities as Baghdad and Mosul -- which once had large Christian populations -- to safer territory in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Throughout the Middle East, from countries that remained majority Christian long after the Islamic conquests of the seventh century, the exodus of the last Christians is proceeding. In Palestine, entirely Christian towns such as Bethlehem have been, quite recently, Islamicized. In Lebanon -- itself established as a Christian enclave -- Hezbollah has largely taken over. The Coptic Christians of Egypt, who still number in their millions, suffer frequent violent attacks. Et cetera.

There were once Jews all over the Middle East; now they are down to Israel only, whose very right to exist is challenged. Christians are now following the Jews into exile or extinction. But in the West, we just don't want to know.

David Warren
© Ottawa Citizen
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G M
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« Reply #612 on: December 12, 2010, 07:03:19 PM »

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/pogrom+Baghdad/3943188/story.html

A pogrom in Baghdad
 
 
By David Warren, Ottawa Citizen December 12, 2010

Breaking news quickly passes into "archive"; but days, weeks, and sometimes years may be required, to reconstruct what actually happened. Sometimes there are no survivors of a crime or catastrophe, and no testimony to work with, beyond what forensic specialists can provide. But humans are not that easy to kill, and there are usually a few accusers left about.

On Sunday, Oct. 31, during Mass, Islamist terrorists attacked the main Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad -- the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. While there have been persistent and increasing attacks on Christians, as well as on other religious minorities, all over the Muslim world, this one was especially notable, and deserved far more sustained press coverage. Many details are only now emerging, from the wounded who were flown out of Iraq to Rome, and other European cities, for medical treatment.


Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/pogrom+Baghdad/3943188/story.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #613 on: December 12, 2010, 07:05:22 PM »

Thank you for the citation GM.  Also, "Our man formerly in Iraq" confirms the story as well.
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G M
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« Reply #614 on: December 12, 2010, 07:13:10 PM »

Funny how the "vast majority of peaceful muslims" is never around when you need them.....
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G M
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« Reply #615 on: December 23, 2010, 02:14:43 PM »

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/wehner/384948

“A Rough Version of Mr. Bush’s Dream May Yet Come True”
Peter Wehner - 12.23.2010 - 8:56 AM

In its editorial today, “A Good Year in Iraq,” the Washington Post writes this:

    AT THE beginning of this year, Iraq’s fragile new political order faced a momentous challenge. The country needed to hold credible democratic elections at a time when its army was still battling al-Qaeda and other domestic insurgents. The winners had to form a government in spite of deep rifts among leaders and sects, who just three years ago were fighting a civil war. And all this had to happen even as the United States reduced its troops from 150,000 to 50,000 and ended combat operations for those who remained.

    The result was a long, painful, contentious, confusing and sometimes bloody year. But when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presented his new government to parliament on Tuesday, Iraq could fairly be said to have passed a major test. It is not yet the peaceful Arab democracy and force for good in the Middle East that President George W. Bush imagined when he decided on invasion eight years ago. But in the past 12 months it has taken some big steps in the right direction.

The editorial goes on to point out that (a) the election was judged free and fair, a very rare event in the Middle East; (b) measures to integrate former Sunni militiamen into the security forces or other government jobs have been implemented; (c) fears that Mr. Maliki would establish a dictatorship look to be exaggerated; (d) the economy is nearing a tipping point, with foreign oil companies refurbishing the fields of southern Iraq and the city of Basra, a militia-ruled jungle four years ago, beginning to boom; and (e) violence has dwindled to the lowest level Iraq probably has known in decades (in September 2006, there were more than 3,300 civilian deaths from violence; this month so far it has counted 62, making Iraq a country far safer than Mexico).

The Post editorial concludes this way:

    It’s still too early to draw conclusions about Iraq, though many opponents of the war did so long ago. Mr. Maliki’s government could easily go wrong; the coming year, which could end with the withdrawal of all remaining U.S. troops, will likely be just as challenging as this one. But the country’s political class has repeatedly chosen democracy over dictatorship and accommodation over violence. If that keeps up, a rough version of Mr. Bush’s dream may yet come true.

Four years ago this month may have been the low-water mark in Iraq, with the nation gripped by a low-grade but escalating civil war. The American public strongly opposed the war. Almost every Democratic lawmaker in Congress, with the honorable exception of Senator Joseph Lieberman, was in fierce opposition to both the war and what later became known as the “surge.” Republican lawmakers were losing their nerve as well. Three months earlier, in September 2006, Senator Mitch McConnell had asked for, and received, a private meeting with President Bush. Senator McConnell’s message was a simple one: the Iraq war’s unpopularity was going to cost the GOP control of Congress. “Mr. President,” McConnell said, “bring some troops home from Iraq.”

President Bush, to his everlasting credit, not only refused to bend; he increased the American commitment to Iraq and changed our counterinsurgency strategy. And while the situation in Iraq remains fragile and can be undone — and while problems still remain and need to be urgently addressed (including the terrible persecution of Christians occurring in Iraq right now) — this is a moment for our nation, and most especially our military, to take sober satisfaction in what has been achieved. It has not been an easy journey. But it has been a noble and estimable one.

There is no need here to rehearse the names of the few who did not buckle at the moment when the war seemed lost. They know who they are. In the words of Milton, they were “faithful found among the faithless.” Their faithfulness, and in many cases their courage, is being vindicated.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #616 on: December 28, 2010, 11:01:05 AM »

By SAM DAGHER
BAGHDAD—Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ruled out the presence of any U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of 2011, saying his new government and the country's security forces were capable of confronting any remaining threats to Iraq's security, sovereignty and unity.

Mr. Maliki spoke with The Wall Street Journal in a two-hour interview, his first since Iraq ended nine months of stalemate and seated a new government after an inconclusive election, allowing Mr. Maliki to begin a second term as premier.

In an interview, he said Iraq would assume responsibility for all its own security by the end of 2011, and would not fall into alignment with Iran.

A majority of Iraqis—and some Iraqi and U.S. officials—have assumed the U.S. troop presence would eventually be extended, especially after the long government limbo. But Mr. Maliki was eager to draw a line in his most definitive remarks on the subject. "The last American soldier will leave Iraq" as agreed, he said, speaking at his office in a leafy section of Baghdad's protected Green Zone. "This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration. It is sealed."

He also said that even as Iraq bids farewell to U.S. troops, he wouldn't allow his nation to be pulled into alignment with Iran, despite voices supporting such an alliance within his government.

Video Archives: On Iraq

Obama Addresses U.N. on Economy, Iraq, Talibann
Daniel Henninger: If Saddam Had Stayed
Obama Speech Marks New Focus in Iraq, at Home
."For Iraq to be dragged into an axis or an orbit, that's impossible, and we reject it whether this comes from Iran, Turkey or the Arabs," he said.

He added that a kind of "paranoia" about a Tehran-Baghdad alliance in the U.S. is matched by a fear in Iran about U.S. influence: "An Iranian official visited me in the past and told me, 'I thought the Americans were standing at the door of your office,' " he said.

In an interview in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden also said Iran had failed to buy influence during the election or to co-opt Mr. Maliki, who was among the members of the current Iraqi government who briefly took refuge in Iran during the reign of Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Maliki's new majority depends partly on followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. But Mr. Biden credited Mr. Maliki for denying Mr. Sadr's bloc any control of Iraqi security, while forming a government with full buy-in from Iraq's main factions of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

U.S. military commanders still accuse Iran of funding, training and providing sanctuary to Shiite militias, like Mr. Sadr's Promised Day Brigades, which they say are responsible for attacks against U.S. forces and gangster-style assassinations that continue to plague Baghdad and other areas.

More
Baghdad to Tackle Oil Issues, PM Vows
.Mr. Maliki suggested his government had co-opted militias like the one associated with Mr. Sadr. "The militias are now part of the government and have entered the political process," said Mr. Maliki. The Sadr contingent, he added, "is moving in a satisfactory direction of taking part in the government, renouncing violence and abandoning military activity, and that's why we welcome it."

Security is the new government's top priority, Mr. Maliki said, as in his previous term. Sectarian violence and suicide bombings continue to plague the country as the full withdrawal of U.S. soldiers nears. Almost a dozen people were killed in double suicide bombings on Monday outside provincial government offices in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, according to security officials.

A resumption of more extreme violence, of course, could alter the thinking in Baghdad and Washington about the U.S. timetable.

But Mr. Maliki said the only way for any of the remaining 50,000 or so American soldiers to stay beyond 2011 would be for the two nations to negotiate—with the approval of Iraq's Parliament—a new Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, similar to the one concluded in 2008.

That deal took a year of protracted negotiations in the face of vehement opposition from many among Mr. Maliki's own Shiite constituency, and no repeat is expected.

Mr. Maliki and U.S. officials have refrained for the most part from raising the issue publicly during the months of political wrangling in Baghdad, as Mr. Maliki negotiated with potential coalition partners, many of whom have adamantly opposed an extended U.S. stay.

A senior official in President Barack Obama's administration said Washington was "on track" to withdraw all its remaining soldiers in Iraq by the end of next year. That's the final milestone in the security agreement, following the reduction in American troop levels to below 50,000 in August and the pullout of U.S. soldiers from most Iraqi inner cities in June 2009. "The prime minister is exactly right," said the senior official.

During the interview, Mr. Maliki said he was heartened by America's "commitment" to honoring the agreements it reached with Iraq, and he laughed approvingly when told that U.S. Ambassador James F. Jeffrey keeps a frayed copy of the so-called Strategic Framework Agreement in his leather briefcase. That document calls, in broad terms, for long-term cooperation in security, defense, economy, energy and culture, among other areas.

In a briefing for Western reporters last week, Mr. Jeffrey said that despite the requirement to pull out all American troops at the end of 2011, the framework document and other agreements between Baghdad and Washington contain "a very robust security agenda."

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad will house a "significantly sized" office aimed at security cooperation, Mr. Jeffrey said, comprised of about 80 to 90 military personnel that would take over most of the current functions of the U.S. military in advising, assisting, training and equipping Iraqi forces. That's similar to arrangements with other countries in the region, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The embassy would also oversee a major Iraqi police-training program.

Mr. Maliki played down Iraq's need for any major help from the U.S. military, even while acknowledging serious deficiencies in areas including control of airspace and borders. He said the days when ethnic or sectarian-based militias roamed the streets of Iraq and operated above the law were over.

"Not a single militia or gang can confront Iraqi forces and take over a street or a house," said Mr. Maliki. "This is finished; we are comfortable about that."

He said full withdrawal of U.S. troops also will remove a prime motivator of insurgents—both the Shiite fighters tied to militia groups and Iran, and Sunnis linked to Mr. Hussein's ousted Baath party.

Mr. Maliki defended his political horse trading with rival factions, many of which are seen as far apart on several substantial policy issues. He called the post-election process—in which he managed to prevail despite his own party bloc failing to gain the most votes—"very arduous."

He acknowledged that he expanded the number of cabinet seats just to placate the squabbling parties that he eventually cobbled together into his governing coalition, arguably the broadest since the fall of Mr. Hussein.

"I mean seven to eight ministries are, allow me to say, ministries for appeasement purposes," he said.

Mr. Maliki said he agreed to several Kurdish demands, including a referendum in contested northern regions, though he didn't think it was feasible without a constitutional amendment to accompany it.

Washington is so concerned about the standoff in the north—where Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and smaller ethnic groups have faced off—that a large contingent of U.S. soldiers continues to staff joint security checkpoints there, as diplomats work on political solutions.

The referendum was one of 19 demands made by Kurdish President Masoud Barzani in exchange for a power-sharing deal that ended the gridlock that followed the March elections. The resulting unity government headed by Mr. Maliki, a Shiite, includes Kurds and a Sunni-dominated bloc headed by the secular Shiite and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Mr. Allawi, whose bloc won the most seats in the election but couldn't form a majority, will chair a new National Council for Higher Policies, but won't be able to implement policies without broad government support.

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JDN
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« Reply #617 on: January 06, 2011, 09:24:17 AM »

I, and I think many Americans wonder why we have spent billions upon billions of dollars and lost lives for Iraq.  The same question is being asked of Afghanistan.

We "won" in Iraq.   huh

In the latest example of waning American influence in Iraq, anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr returned home from Iran, where he had gone in 2007 after his Shiite Muslim militia engaged in years of on-and-off battles with U.S. troops and was blamed for some of the country's worst sectarian violence.

For American officials, Sadr's sudden appearance in Najaf appeared to be nothing but bad news.

"I don't think the U.S. Embassy is at all happy about this," said Kenneth Katzman, an analyst on Iraq for the Congressional Research Service. "Sadr has made the calculation that U.S. influence is low enough that the U.S. is not going to pressure him, or chase him … or pressure Maliki to arrest him."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq-sadr-20110106,0,1577516.story
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G M
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« Reply #618 on: January 06, 2011, 10:27:03 AM »

JDN,

We took out Saddam and his sociopathic sons. We pressured the Saudis. We've given the Iraqis a chance at a better future. We got Libya to give up it's nuclear ambitions.

The complaint has always been that we support undemocratic dictators in the arab world. Well, we took one out and tried to rebuild an arab country into something decent. What's the better option?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #619 on: January 06, 2011, 11:21:13 AM »

Yes, and , , ,

IMHO most of our current situation there can be laid at the feet of Senator and presidential candidates Obama and Clinton, Senator and now VP Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Pelosi, Senator and former presidential candidate Kerry, former VP Al Gore and many, many other high ranking elected officials, speaking out destructively of our efforts there.  Opposing the war was a reasonable position, but most of the people I just mentioned went above and beyond and well into the realm of destructive, quite often for the perception of personal political gain.

How vile!

In this they were aided and abetted by Pravda on the Hudson (NYTimes), Pravda on the Beach (Left Angeles Times) Pravda on the Potomac (WaPo) and much of the MSM with dishonest, misleading and destructive reporting (e.g. reporting on our secret program tracing enemy money flows, our financial support of Iraqi reporters with the courage to write positive articles in Iraq, and much, much more).

If you are an Iraqi deciding which way the wind is going to blow, are you going to go with the country that appears likely to leave you in the lurch, or are you going to cut the best deal that you can?    When BO was running he said the surge would fail and that we should run away.  Are you going to bet your life on him?

Also, as GM points out, where would Iraq be today if we had not done as we did?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #620 on: January 06, 2011, 11:46:51 AM »

"where would Iraq be today if we had not done as we did"

Nuclear armed.

They were 5-7 years away in 2002, according to ISG, not an imminent threat.

Time flies.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #621 on: January 28, 2011, 07:56:42 AM »

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Record low water levels at Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam have ground turbines there to a halt, amplifying a power shortage that led to riots last summer, a top official said on Thursday.
 
Adel Mahdi, advisor to the electricity minister, said water levels at the Mosul dam on the Tigris River had fallen to 298 metres (977 feet) above sea level.
 
"It is the first time since 1984 when the dam was built that water levels have fallen this low," Mahdi told AFP.
 
"The installed power generation capacity of Mosul's hydroelectric plant is 1,175 megawatts, but the current production is zero, because the turbines need a minimum water level of 307 metres (1,007 feet) to operate," he added.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #622 on: February 13, 2011, 06:44:27 PM »

By Max Boot
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February 13, 2011

My kids — the oldest is 13 — seem to think that anything that happened in the pre-iPad era is ancient history and therefore of little relevance to them. The American public and politicos must tacitly agree. How else to explain the sudden disappearance of Iraq from our public discourse?

Remember Iraq? That country we invaded in 2003? The one where more than 4,400 American soldiers have lost their lives and more than 32,000 have been wounded? The one where we've spent nearly $800 billion?

As recently as 2008, Iraq dominated American politics. But now it's a nonstory. Other subjects have pushed it off the front page, from the economy and healthcare to Afghanistan, Tunisia and Egypt.  In a way, Iraq has been a victim of its own success. Because it seems to be doing relatively well, policymakers have shifted their attention to more urgent concerns. But there is a danger that our present inattention could undo the progress that so many have struggled so hard to attain.

Iraq has made impressive gains since 2006, when it was on the brink of all-out civil war. Violence is down more than 90% even as the number of U.S. troops has fallen to 50,000 from 170,000. The Iraqi political system continues to function with the recent inauguration of a new coalition government led by returning Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. And the economy is picking up steam, as contracts are signed with foreign companies that can tap the country's vast oil reserves.

But there remain disquieting reminders of darker days. More than 250 Iraqis died in terrorist attacks in January, up from 151 in December, with most of those attacks attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq, a group whose obituary has been written more than once. Roughly as many civilians died in Iraq last year as in Afghanistan — about 2,400. Remind me again which country is at peace?

The political situation remains as uncertain as the security situation; indeed, the two are closely connected. The formation of a new government occurred only after an agonizing nine-month deadlock in 2010. Iyad Allawi, who won the most votes, lost the prime minister's office and accepted as a consolation prize leadership of a new strategic policy council with undefined powers. His primarily Sunni Muslim backers remain convinced they will be frozen out of power by the Shiite prime minister. Maliki, in turn, is deeply suspicious of Sunni groups such as the Sons of Iraq, as well as of his Shiite rivals in cleric Muqtada Sadr's movement and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. Shiites and Sunnis are united chiefly by their desire to curb Kurdish autonomy, a prospect that fills the Kurds with understandable dread.

In short, Iraq remains a volcano. It has been capped for the moment but could erupt again. Especially because the most effective cap — a U.S. military presence — is due to be removed at the end of the year.

Prospects of a security accord that would keep American forces in Iraq past 2011 are rapidly dimming. Maliki, who spent long years of exile in Syria and Iran — no fans of the United States — has always been suspicious of America. He would certainly prefer not to have tens of thousands of U.S. troops under a four-star general looking over his shoulder. President Obama, for his part, came to office pledging to withdraw from Iraq and, judging by his State of the Union address, appears determined to do just that.

Unless both men change course and soon, the mission now performed by 50,000 U.S. troops will be left to about 1,000 diplomats and perhaps 100 soldiers in an Office of Security Cooperation, with thousands of mostly non-American contractors providing security and logistical support.

The State Department plans to set up a network of consulates, training centers and branch offices throughout Iraq, but a new report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee warns that it will be very difficult to maintain much of a presence outside Baghdad without the support currently of the U.S. military, which provides everything from helicopters to "quick reaction forces" in case of trouble.

Even if the embassy carries out the current plan perfectly, many of the important functions still performed by the American troops will fall into abeyance. For example, U.S. troops conduct joint patrols with Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga fighters along the ill-defined border with the Kurdish region to prevent an outbreak of fighting. That is not a role the State Department can or will perform.

All of this is worrisome because if there is any lesson in American military history, it is that the longer U.S. troops stay in a post-conflict area, the greater the odds of a successful transition to democracy. The iconic examples are Germany, Japan and South Korea. When U.S. forces leave prematurely, on the other hand, the odds of a bad outcome greatly increase, whether in the post-Civil War South, post-World War I Germany, Haiti in the 1930s and 1990s, or Somalia in the 1990s. Foreign peacekeepers are still in Bosnia and Kosovo long after the end of their conflicts. Does anyone think that Iraq is more stable than those postage-stamp-size countries on the periphery of Europe?

Iraq may very well muddle through no matter what. It has so far. But I would be a lot more confident about its future if we were making a bigger commitment. It would be a tragedy if, after years of struggle and sacrifice, we were to lose Iraq now — when we are so close to a successful outcome — because of our own attention deficit disorder.

Max Boot is a contributing editor to Opinion and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is writing a history of guerrilla warfare and terrorism.
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« Reply #623 on: April 10, 2011, 08:40:24 AM »



Iraq: Al-Sadr Warns U.S. Troops To Leave
April 9, 2011 1334 GMT
 
Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr will "escalate military resistance" and set off his Mehdi Army if U.S. forces do not leave Iraq, a spokesman for al-Sadr said April 9 in a speech written by al-Sadr to tens of thousands of followers, Reuters reported. A senior aide to the leader said al-Sadr's followers were "all time bombs and detonators" at the hands of al-Sadr. The speech said an extension of the U.S. "occupation" would lead to military resistance and the withdrawal of the freeze on the Mehdi Army as well as an increase of peaceful and public resistance via sit-ins and protests.
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« Reply #624 on: April 10, 2011, 10:30:26 AM »

We should be sure to whack Mookie on our way out.
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« Reply #625 on: April 14, 2011, 11:23:57 AM »



BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraqi leaders should not expect US forces to return to help in a crisis once they leave at the end of the year, a senior American military official said on Wednesday.
 
The remarks came just days after US Defence Secretary Robert Gates ended a visit to Iraq during which he urged the country's leaders to assess if they wanted any US troops to remain beyond 2011.
 
All American forces must leave Iraq by the end of the year under a bilateral security pact.
 
"If we left -- and this is the health warning we would give to anybody -- be careful about assuming that we will come running back to put out the fire if we don't have an agreement," the official said on condition of anonymity.
 
"It's hard to do that," he told reporters at Al-Faw Palace in the US military's Camp Victory base on Baghdad's outskirts.
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« Reply #626 on: April 15, 2011, 07:38:14 AM »

U.S.-Iranian Struggle and Arab Unrest

Iraq may find it difficult for the United States to assist militarily in a future crisis if all American uniformed forces do in fact leave the country by year’s end as stipulated by the current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Baghdad and Washington. “If we left — and this is the health warning we would give to anybody — be careful about assuming that we will come running back to put out the fire if we don’t have an agreement … It’s hard to do that,” an unnamed, senior American military official said on Wednesday at the Al-Faw Palace on the grounds of Camp Victory on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital.

In other words, it simultaneously would be:

more difficult in terms of both the tactical and logistical issues of reinserting forces as well as myriad political hesitancies to reinsert itself once extracted, and
less likely due to the same political difficulties as well as a decreased U.S. interest in its alliance with Iraq if Baghdad forces its hand.
That is the likely scenario of the United States coming to Iraq’s aid if Baghdad insists on the SOFA-mandated full military withdrawal by the end of the year.

“As Iran has reminded every U.S. ally in the region amid the recent unrest, from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia and from Yemen to Israel, Tehran is the rising power and the one filling the vacuum as the Americans leave.”
?In a clear warning to Baghdad that it should reconsider the deadline, the official also attempted to emphasize Iraq’s vulnerabilities. That was a point emphasized by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday — Iraq will face challenges in defending its own airspace to logistics, maintenance and intelligence if it insists on sticking to the current timeline. Other U.S. officials have pointed out that planning for the withdrawal is already well advanced and the actual drawdown would accelerate in late summer or early fall, so the time for a decision by Baghdad is fast approaching. Gates emphasized that there is an American interest in some residual presence beyond 2011 (perhaps as high as 20,000 troops) and that “the ball is in their court.” This all comes on the heels of Gates’ surprise visit to Baghdad where some extension of the American military presence in the country was the key discussion. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has already rejected the extension proposal.

With less than eight months to go before the deadline for a complete withdrawal of the some 47,000 U.S. troops that remain in Iraq — nominally in an “advisory and assistance” role — and much less than that before provisions for their permanent withdrawal begin in earnest, the fundamental problem that Washington faces in removing military force from Iraq is increasingly front and center. The problem is that American military forces in Iraq and military-to-military relationships in the country are Washington’s single biggest lever in Baghdad and the single most important remaining hedge against domination of Mesopotamia by Iraq’s eastern neighbor, Iran. Persian power in Baghdad is already strong and consolidating that strength has been the single most important foreign policy objective of Tehran since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

So the problem of the withdrawal of American military forces is that it removes the tool with which the United States has counterbalanced a resurgent Iran in the region for the better part of a decade — and it is being done at a time when the United States has not yet found a solution to the Iranian problem. Until 2003, Iran was balanced by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. As the United States became bogged down in Iraq after removing Saddam, Iran aggressively pushed its advantage across the region.

?As Iran has reminded every U.S. ally in the region amid the recent unrest, from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia and from Yemen to Israel, Tehran is the rising power and the one filling the vacuum as the Americans leave. It is Tehran that has a strong, established network of proxies and covert operatives already in place in key positions across the region. It can foment unrest in Gaza or Lebanon that spills over into Israel; and it can at the very least exacerbate riots in Bahrain, the home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and which is on the doorstep to Saudi Arabia’s own Shiite population in the oil-rich east. Iran has done all of this while U.S. troops have remained in Iraq, and what it has achieved so far is only a foreshadowing (and intentionally so) of what might be possible if Persia dominated Mesopotamia, the natural stepping stone to every other corner of the region.

While it is difficult to fully or accurately assess the extent and limitations of Iran’s overt and covert capabilities, particularly within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries along the western Persian Gulf, geopolitics suggests that Iran, in deliberately sending a signal to the region, has not yet activated all of its tools nor exerted maximum effort. Indeed, this is the heart of the Iranian threat: that there is more to come.?? Moreover, traditional American allies have either fallen (Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, though the military-dominated, American-friendly regime remains in place for now), are in crisis (Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh), or are looking askance at the way Washington has dealt with Egypt and Libya (Saudi Arabia’s House of Saud).

Due to the unrest of 2011, the American position in the Persian Gulf is worse than Washington might have imagined even at the end of 2010. Washington is left with the same unresolved question: what to do about Iran and Iranian power in the Middle East. For this, it has not found a solution. The possible maintenance of a division of U.S. troops in Iraq would simply be a stopgap, not a solution. But even that looks increasingly inadequate as 2011 progresses, especially as American regional allies’ confidence in Washington has wavered. Iraq and Iran have not dominated the headlines in 2011 so far, but the ongoing U.S.-Iranian dynamic has continued to define the shape of the region beneath the surface. As the American withdrawal nears, it will not remain beneath the surface much longer.
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AndrewBole
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« Reply #627 on: April 16, 2011, 07:53:06 PM »

Im really keen on hearing you guys' the story on what SHOULD have been done in Iraq ?
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G M
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« Reply #628 on: April 16, 2011, 09:33:25 PM »

Well, if the left were not intent on sabotaging the effort from the start, the situation might have shown much more progress. If Turkey had not denied us permission to send in troops from that border, we'd have many more troops in the early days of the invasion, thus potentially preventing the genesis of the insurgency, at least not having the percieved power vacuum in that time period.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #629 on: April 16, 2011, 09:50:06 PM »

Speaking of the legal issues of war - in Iraq, I was wondering if anyone is able to obtain a copy or link to the Saddam surrender agreement of 1991: 3 March 1991—Iraq accepted the conditions of the UN resolutions in exchange for a cease fire.  Assuming he did not live up to his agreement, what were supposed to be the consequences in 'international law'?  Resume firing?
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« Reply #630 on: April 16, 2011, 10:14:43 PM »

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
S/RES/687 (1991)

8 April 1991


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RESOLUTION 687 (1991)
Adopted by the Security Council at its 2981st meeting,
on 3 April 1991

The Security Council,

Recalling its resolutions 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990, 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 662 (1990) of 9 August 1990, 664 (1990) of 18 August 1990, 665 (1990) of 25 August 1990, 666 (1990) of 13 September 1990, 667 (1990) of 16 September 1990, 669 (1990) of 24 September 1990, 670 (1990) of 25 September 1990, 674 (1990) of 29 October 1990, 677 (1990) of 28 November 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990 and 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991,

Welcoming the restoration to Kuwait of its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and the return of its legitimate Government,

Affirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Kuwait and Iraq, and noting the intention expressed by the Member States cooperating with Kuwait under paragraph 2 of resolution 678 (1990) to bring their military presence in Iraq to an end as soon as possible consistent with paragraph 8 of resolution 686 (1991),

Reaffirming the need to be assured of Iraq's peaceful intentions in the light of its unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait,

Taking note of the letter sent by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq on 27 February 1991 and those sent pursuant to resolution 686 (1991),

Noting that Iraq and Kuwait, as independent sovereign States, signed at Baghdad on 4 October 1963 "Agreed Minutes Between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq Regarding the Restoration of Friendly Relations, Recognition and Related Matters", thereby recognizing formally the boundary between Iraq and Kuwait and the allocation of islands, which were registered with the United Nations in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations and in which Iraq recognized the independence and complete sovereignty of the State of Kuwait within its borders as specified and accepted in the letter of the Prime Minister of Iraq dated 21 July 1932, and as accepted by the Ruler of Kuwait in his letter dated 10 August 1932,

Conscious of the need for demarcation of the said boundary,

Conscious also of the statements by Iraq threatening to use weapons in violation of its obligations under the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925, and of its prior use of chemical weapons and affirming that grave consequences would follow any further use by Iraq of such weapons,

Recalling that Iraq has subscribed to the Declaration adopted by all States participating in the Conference of States Parties to the 1925 Geneva Protocol and Other Interested States, held in Paris from 7 to 11 January 1989, establishing the objective of universal elimination of chemical and biological weapons,

Recalling also that Iraq has signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, of 10 April 1972,

Noting the importance of Iraq ratifying this Convention,

Noting moreover the importance of all States adhering to this Convention and encouraging its forthcoming Review Conference to reinforce the authority, efficiency and universal scope of the convention,

Stressing the importance of an early conclusion by the Conference on Disarmament of its work on a Convention on the Universal Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and of universal adherence thereto,

Aware of the use by Iraq of ballistic missiles in unprovoked attacks and therefore of the need to take specific measures in regard to such missiles located in Iraq,

Concerned by the reports in the hands of Member States that Iraq has attempted to acquire materials for a nuclear-weapons programme contrary to its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1 July 1968,

Recalling the objective of the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region of the Middle East,

Conscious of the threat that all weapons of mass destruction pose to peace and security in the area and of the need to work towards the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of such weapons,

Conscious also of the objective of achieving balanced and comprehensive control of armaments in the region,

Conscious further of the importance of achieving the objectives noted above using all available means, including a dialogue among the States of the region,

Noting that resolution 686 (1991) marked the lifting of the measures imposed by resolution 661 (1990) in so far as they applied to Kuwait,

Noting that despite the progress being made in fulfilling the obligations of resolution 686 (1991), many Kuwaiti and third country nationals are still not accounted for and property remains unreturned,

Recalling the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, opened for signature at New York on 18 December 1979, which categorizes all acts of taking hostages as manifestations of international terrorism,

Deploring threats made by Iraq during the recent conflict to make use of terrorism against targets outside Iraq and the taking of hostages by Iraq,

Taking note with grave concern of the reports of the Secretary-General of 20 March 1991 and 28 March 1991, and conscious of the necessity to meet urgently the humanitarian needs in Kuwait and Iraq,

Bearing in mind its objective of restoring international peace and security in the area as set out in recent resolutions of the Security Council,

Conscious of the need to take the following measures acting under Chapter VII of the Charter,

1. Affirms all thirteen resolutions noted above, except as expressly changed below to achieve the goals of this resolution, including a formal cease-fire;

A

2. Demands that Iraq and Kuwait respect the inviolability of the international boundary and the allocation of islands set out in the "Agreed Minutes Between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq Regarding the Restoration of Friendly Relations, Recognition and Related Matters", signed by them in the exercise of their sovereignty at Baghdad on 4 October 1963 and registered with the United Nations and published by the United Nations in document 7063, United Nations, Treaty Series, 1964;

3. Calls upon the Secretary-General to lend his assistance to make arrangements with Iraq and Kuwait to demarcate the boundary between Iraq and Kuwait, drawing on appropriate material, including the map transmitted by Security Council document S/22412 and to report back to the Security Council within one month;

4. Decides to guarantee the inviolability of the above-mentioned international boundary and to take as appropriate all necessary measures to that end in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

B

5. Requests the Secretary-General, after consulting with Iraq and Kuwait, to submit within three days to the Security Council for its approval a plan for the immediate deployment of a United Nations observer unit to monitor the Khor Abdullah and a demilitarized zone, which is hereby established, extending ten kilometres into Iraq and five kilometres into Kuwait from the boundary referred to in the "Agreed Minutes Between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq Regarding the Restoration of Friendly Relations, Recognition and Related Matters" of 4 October 1963; to deter violations of the boundary through its presence in and surveillance of the demilitarized zone; to observe any hostile or potentially hostile action mounted from the territory of one State to the other; and for the Secretary-General to report regularly to the Security Council on the operations of the unit, and immediately if there are serious violations of the zone or potential threats to peace;

6. Notes that as soon as the Secretary-General notifies the Security Council of the completion of the deployment of the United Nations observer unit, the conditions will be established for the Member States cooperating with Kuwait in accordance with resolution 678 (1990) to bring their military presence in Iraq to an end consistent with resolution 686 (1991);

C

7. Invites Iraq to reaffirm unconditionally its obligations under the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925, and to ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, of 10 April 1972;

8. Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:

(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;

(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts, and repair and production facilities;

9. Decides, for the implementation of paragraph 8 above, the following:

(a) Iraq shall submit to the Secretary-General, within fifteen days of the adoption of the present resolution, a declaration of the locations, amounts and types of all items specified in paragraph 8 and agree to urgent, on-site inspection as specified below;

(b) The Secretary-General, in consultation with the appropriate Governments and, where appropriate, with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, within forty-five days of the passage of the present resolution, shall develop, and submit to the Council for approval, a plan calling for the completion of the following acts within forty-five days of such approval:

(i) The forming of a Special Commission, which shall carry out immediate on-site inspection of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities, based on Iraq's declarations and the designation of any additional locations by the Special Commission itself;

(ii) The yielding by Iraq of possession to the Special Commission for destruction, removal or rendering harmless, taking into account the requirements of public safety, of all items specified under paragraph 8 (a) above, including items at the additional locations designated by the Special Commission under paragraph 9 (b) (i) above and the destruction by Iraq, under the supervision of the Special Commission, of all its missile capabilities, including launchers, as specified under paragraph 8 (b) above;

(iii) The provision by the Special Commission of the assistance and cooperation to the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency required in paragraphs 12 and 13 below;

10. Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally undertake not to use, develop, construct or acquire any of the items specified in paragraphs 8 and 9 above and requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Special Commission, to develop a plan for the future ongoing monitoring and verification of Iraq's compliance with this paragraph, to be submitted to the Security Council for approval within one hundred and twenty days of the passage of this resolution;

11. Invites Iraq to reaffirm unconditionally its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1 July 1968;

12. Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally agree not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons-usable material or any subsystems or components or any research, development, support or manufacturing facilities related to the above; to submit to the Secretary-General and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency within fifteen days of the adoption of the present resolution a declaration of the locations, amounts, and types of all items specified above; to place all of its nuclear-weapons-usable materials under the exclusive control, for custody and removal, of the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the assistance and cooperation of the Special Commission as provided for in the plan of the Secretary-General discussed in paragraph 9 (b) above; to accept, in accordance with the arrangements provided for in paragraph 13 below, urgent on-site inspection and the destruction, removal or rendering harmless as appropriate of all items specified above; and to accept the plan discussed in paragraph 13 below for the future ongoing monitoring and verification of its compliance with these undertakings;

13. Requests the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, through the Secretary-General, with the assistance and cooperation of the Special Commission as provided for in the plan of the Secretary-General in paragraph 9 (b) above, to carry out immediate on-site inspection of Iraq's nuclear capabilities based on Iraq's declarations and the designation of any additional locations by the Special Commission; to develop a plan for submission to the Security Council within forty-five days calling for the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless as appropriate of all items listed in paragraph 12 above; to carry out the plan within forty-five days following approval by the Security Council; and to develop a plan, taking into account the rights and obligations of Iraq under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1 July 1968, for the future ongoing monitoring and verification of Iraq's compliance with paragraph 12 above, including an inventory of all nuclear material in Iraq subject to the Agency's verification and inspections to confirm that Agency safeguards cover all relevant nuclear activities in Iraq, to be submitted to the Security Council for approval within one hundred and twenty days of the passage of the present resolution;

14. Takes note that the actions to be taken by Iraq in paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of the present resolution represent steps towards the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons;

D

15. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the steps taken to facilitate the return of all Kuwaiti property seized by Iraq, including a list of any property that Kuwait claims has not been returned or which has not been returned intact;

E

16. Reaffirms that Iraq, without prejudice to the debts and obligations of Iraq arising prior to 2 August 1990, which will be addressed through the normal mechanisms, is liable under international law for any direct loss, damage, including environmental damage and the depletion of natural resources, or injury to foreign Governments, nationals and corporations, as a result of Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait;

17. Decides that all Iraqi statements made since 2 August 1990 repudiating its foreign debt are null and void, and demands that Iraq adhere scrupulously to all of its obligations concerning servicing and repayment of its foreign debt;

18. Decides also to create a fund to pay compensation for claims that fall within paragraph 16 above and to establish a Commission that will administer the fund;

19. Directs the Secretary-General to develop and present to the Security Council for decision, no later than thirty days following the adoption of the present resolution, recommendations for the fund to meet the requirement for the payment of claims established in accordance with paragraph 18 above and for a programme to implement the decisions in paragraphs 16, 17 and 18 above, including: administration of the fund; mechanisms for determining the appropriate level of Iraq's contribution to the fund based on a percentage of the value of the exports of petroleum and petroleum products from Iraq not to exceed a figure to be suggested to the Council by the Secretary-General, taking into account the requirements of the people of Iraq, Iraq's payment capacity as assessed in conjunction with the international financial institutions taking into consideration external debt service, and the needs of the Iraqi economy; arrangements for ensuring that payments are made to the fund; the process by which funds will be allocated and claims paid; appropriate procedures for evaluating losses, listing claims and verifying their validity and resolving disputed claims in respect of Iraq's liability as specified in paragraph 16 above; and the composition of the Commission designated above;

F

20. Decides, effective immediately, that the prohibitions against the sale or supply to Iraq of commodities or products, other than medicine and health supplies, and prohibitions against financial transactions related thereto contained in resolution 661 (1990) shall not apply to foodstuffs notified to the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait or, with the approval of that Committee, under the simplified and accelerated "no-objection" procedure, to materials and supplies for essential civilian needs as identified in the report of the Secretary-General dated 20 March 1991, and in any further findings of humanitarian need by the Committee;

21. Decides that the Security Council shall review the provisions of paragraph 20 above every sixty days in the light of the policies and practices of the Government of Iraq, including the implementation of all relevant resolutions of the Security Council, for the purpose of determining whether to reduce or lift the prohibitions referred to therein;

22. Decides that upon the approval by the Security Council of the programme called for in paragraph 19 above and upon Council agreement that Iraq has completed all actions contemplated in paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 above, the prohibitions against the import of commodities and products originating in Iraq and the prohibitions against financial transactions related thereto contained in resolution 661 (1990) shall have no further force or effect;

23. Decides that, pending action by the Security Council under paragraph 22 above, the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) shall be empowered to approve, when required to assure adequate financial resources on the part of Iraq to carry out the activities under paragraph 20 above, exceptions to the prohibition against the import of commodities and products originating in Iraq;

24. Decides that, in accordance with resolution 661 (1990) and subsequent related resolutions and until a further decision is taken by the Security Council, all States shall continue to prevent the sale or supply, or the promotion or facilitation of such sale or supply, to Iraq by their nationals, or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of:

(a) Arms and related materiel of all types, specifically including the sale or transfer through other means of all forms of conventional military equipment, including for paramilitary forces, and spare parts and components and their means of production, for such equipment;

(b) Items specified and defined in paragraphs 8 and 12 above not otherwise covered above;

(c) Technology under licensing or other transfer arrangements used in the production, utilization or stockpiling of items specified in subparagraphs (a) and (b) above;

(d) Personnel or materials for training or technical support services relating to the design, development, manufacture, use, maintenance or support of items specified in subparagraphs (a) and (b) above;

25. Calls upon all States and international organizations to act strictly in accordance with paragraph 24 above, notwithstanding the existence of any contracts, agreements, licences or any other arrangements;

26. Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with appropriate Governments, to develop within sixty days, for the approval of the Security Council, guidelines to facilitate full international implementation of paragraphs 24 and 25 above and paragraph 27 below, and to make them available to all States and to establish a procedure for updating these guidelines periodically;

27. Calls upon all States to maintain such national controls and procedures and to take such other actions consistent with the guidelines to be established by the Security Council under paragraph 26 above as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the terms of paragraph 24 above, and calls upon international organizations to take all appropriate steps to assist in ensuring such full compliance;

28. Agrees to review its decisions in paragraphs 22, 23, 24 and 25 above, except for the items specified and defined in paragraphs 8 and 12 above, on a regular basis and in any case one hundred and twenty days following passage of the present resolution, taking into account Iraq's compliance with the resolution and general progress towards the control of armaments in the region;

29. Decides that all States, including Iraq, shall take the necessary measures to ensure that no claim shall lie at the instance of the Government of Iraq, or of any person or body in Iraq, or of any person claiming through or for the benefit of any such person or body, in connection with any contract or other transaction where its performance was affected by reason of the measures taken by the Security Council in resolution 661 (1990) and related resolutions;

G

30. Decides that, in furtherance of its commitment to facilitate the repatriation of all Kuwaiti and third country nationals, Iraq shall extend all necessary cooperation to the International Committee of the Red Cross, providing lists of such persons, facilitating the access of the International Committee of the Red Cross to all such persons wherever located or detained and facilitating the search by the International Committee of the Red Cross for those Kuwaiti and third country nationals still unaccounted for;

31. Invites the International Committee of the Red Cross to keep the Secretary-General apprised as appropriate of all activities undertaken in connection with facilitating the repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third country nationals or their remains present in Iraq on or after 2 August 1990;

H

32. Requires Iraq to inform the Security Council that it will not commit or support any act of international terrorism or allow any organization directed towards commission of such acts to operate within its territory and to condemn unequivocally and renounce all acts, methods and practices of terrorism;

I

33. Declares that, upon official notification by Iraq to the Secretary-General and to the Security Council of its acceptance of the provisions above, a formal cease-fire is effective between Iraq and Kuwait and the Member States cooperating with Kuwait in accordance with resolution 678 (1990);

34. Decides to remain seized of the matter and to take such further steps as may be required for the implementation of the present resolution and to secure peace and security in the area.

.
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« Reply #631 on: April 17, 2011, 12:36:59 AM »

Would someone care to summarize that?
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« Reply #632 on: April 18, 2011, 10:14:33 AM »

reports that his interpreter has been badly wounded in a blast but is expected to live.  Prayers for his speedy recovery.

Update: "Laith is out of surgery.  He has a pierced abdomen (two holes) lots of blood loss, lost most of his teeth, is very bruised and battered.  They say that he is going to be fine though.  More as I learn it."
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 11:22:08 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #633 on: April 18, 2011, 05:06:03 PM »

Analyst Nathan Hughes examines the possibility of the United States delaying its withdrawal from Iraq and what that will mean for Iran and the region.


Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Two suicide car bombs were detonated outside the perimeter of the former Green Zone in Baghdad on Monday, killing five and wounding as many as three times that. Recent militant activity in the country has been on the upswing but one of the most important dynamics is the looming withdrawal of the remaining American military forces by the end of the year.

The current Status of Forces Agreement between Washington and Baghdad stipulates the remaining nearly 50,000American troops still in country must be withdrawn by the end of the year. The United States has expressed some interest in extending this deadline, including during the visit sending U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to Baghdad earlier this month. However, all such overtures thus far have been rejected by the Iraqi government. The numbers being discussed go as high as 20,000 American troops, and Washington has attempted to emphasize the capabilities the United States provides Iraq that the Iraqi military is not yet capable of providing for itself — everything from the defense of Iraqi airspace, to more sophisticated capabilities in planning, logistics, maintenance and intelligence. U.S. officials have also reportedly emphasized to Baghdad that once the withdrawal of American combat forces is complete, that it will be much more difficult for the United States to come to Iraq’s aid militarily in the future.

At the heart of this discussion is the fundamental importance of the U.S. military in counterbalancing Iranian power in Iraq and in the wider region. The large American military presence in Iraq has been the single most important element of American power in Iraq and in the region since the U.S. invasion in 2003. But it is far from clear how Washington is going to balance resurgent Iranian power in Iraq and in the wider region once those forces withdraw. It is not clear whether a new agreement or an extension can be negotiated between Washington and Baghdad — the U.S. has signaled the ball is in Iraq’s court. But an increasingly rapid withdrawal will have to begin no later than late summer or early fall, this quarter and the next are of pivotal importance not only for the United States and Iraq, but for Iranian power and the wider region.

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« Reply #634 on: April 18, 2011, 05:42:44 PM »

.....If I voted for McCain, we'd be in Iraq forever. They were right!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/opinion/14obama.html

My Plan for Iraq

By BARACK OBAMA
 
Published: July 14, 2008
 

CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.
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« Reply #635 on: April 21, 2011, 11:07:01 AM »

reports that his interpreter has been badly wounded in a blast but is expected to live.  Prayers for his speedy recovery.

Update: "Laith is out of surgery.  He has a pierced abdomen (two holes) lots of blood loss, lost most of his teeth, is very bruised and battered.  They say that he is going to be fine though.  More as I learn it."


Thanks for posting this.

Laith is more American than many Americans.  He loves George Bush.  I spent one night with him in Basra where he made a powerful argument that if democracy stuck in Iraq it would change the course of history.  He loves American movies...most especially Training Day.  After watching it in Basra the three of us howled like a wolf like fools.

He's still in the hospital.  He's alive but very badly bruised and battered.
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« Reply #636 on: April 21, 2011, 11:12:35 AM »

reports that his interpreter has been badly wounded in a blast but is expected to live.  Prayers for his speedy recovery.

Update: "Laith is out of surgery.  He has a pierced abdomen (two holes) lots of blood loss, lost most of his teeth, is very bruised and battered.  They say that he is going to be fine though.  More as I learn it."


Thanks for posting this.

Laith is more American than many Americans.  He loves George Bush.  I spent one night with him in Basra where he made a powerful argument that if democracy stuck in Iraq it would change the course of history.  He loves American movies...most especially Training Day.  After watching it in Basra the three of us howled like a wolf like fools.

He's still in the hospital.  He's alive but very badly bruised and battered.

Best wishes for a full recovery. Much respect for guys like him.
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« Reply #637 on: April 21, 2011, 12:56:07 PM »

And for his friend and mine, Bandolero.

If you think it suitable Bandolero, please let him know that we know of him and that he has our prayers.
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« Reply #638 on: April 22, 2011, 07:29:52 AM »

By ADAM ENTOUS And JULIAN E. BARNES
WASHINGTON—Senior U.S. and Iraqi military officials have been in negotiations about keeping some 10,000 American troops in Iraq beyond the scheduled withdrawal of all U.S. forces at year's end, according to officials familiar with the talks.

But the discussions face political obstacles in both countries, and have faltered in recent weeks because of Iraqi worries that a continued U.S. military presence could fuel sectarian tension and lead to protests similar to those sweeping other Arab countries, U.S. officials say.

A separate drawdown deadline is looming in Afghanistan, where President Barack Obama wants to see a substantial U.S. troop reduction starting in July. Some U.S. commanders have cautioned against making reductions too quickly.

Underlining Obama administration concerns that U.S. forces have been stretched too thin, the White House has put strict constraints on American military involvement in Libya. On Thursday, the U.S. said it was sending armed drones to support operations in Libya, but the administration has stood firm against sending any ground troops.

In Iraq, top U.S. military officials believe that leaving a sizeable force beyond this year could bolster Iraqi stability and serve as a check on Iran, the major American nemesis in the region, officials said. U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Israel have echoed the concern that if the U.S. pulls out completely, Iran could extend its influence.

 Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Baghdad Thursday, urging Iraqi leaders to step up discussions soon if they want U.S. forces to stay beyond the end of 2011.

The timing is critical because the U.S. is scheduled to start drawing down remaining forces in late summer or early fall, and the military would have to assign new units months in advance to take their place.

While American defense officials have made clear they want to leave troops in Iraq, such a decision would require presidential approval. President Obama has yet to indicate publicly whether he would sign off on such a deal.

Mr. Obama could face a political backlash at home if he doesn't meet his campaign pledge to bring troops home from Iraq. If the U.S. pulls out of Iraq and violence there surges, the president could face tough questions, particularly from Republicans in Congress, about whether the U.S. misjudged Iraq's capabilities.

Administration officials say Iraqi security forces have been able to tamp down violence during previous troop reductions and express confidence they would be able to do so again.

Officials said final determinations have yet to be made about how large a U.S. military contingent could remain.

"We have conversations with the Iraqis constantly about security issues," an Obama administration official said. But the official added: "The Iraqis haven't made a request for us to keep troops, and we haven't offered."

Likewise, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other top Iraqi civilian officials have sent mixed messages about the future American military role in the country, U.S. officials say, a reflection of Iraq's delicate political dynamic after years of sectarian warfare.

Anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has threatened to unleash his militia and step up "resistance" if U.S. troops fail to leave as scheduled this year, his aides say.

Mr. Maliki's hold on power depends on the support from parliamentarians loyal to Mr. Sadr. Iraqi officials are also worried any plan to keep a sizeable number of U.S. troops could touch off protests that could bring down the government. Iraqi Embassy officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets in recent months, demanding better basic services and an end to government corruption. Baghdad responded last week by imposing a ban on protests on the streets of the capital.

U.S. military officials are particularly concerned that Iraqis will stage massive protests in support of fellow Shiites in Bahrain. Bahrain's U.S.-backed ruling al-Khalifa family has cracked down on Shiite-dominated demonstrations there.

Advocates of keeping some U.S. troops in Iraq see the forces as a safety net to ensure Iraq doesn't slide back into sectarian warfare. The U.S. is particularly concerned about the volatile north, where Arab-Kurdish tensions remain high.

There are 47,000 U.S. troops in Iraq; they are assigned to training roles, not combat. At the height of the Iraq surge in October 2007 there were about 170,000 U.S. troops in Iraq

If an agreement to keep 10,000 troops is reached, they would be tasked with helping Iraq maintain air sovereignty, providing medical evacuation assistance and training, and gathering intelligence on insurgents and Iranian agents. The extension could also let the U.S. keep advisers with Iraqi brigades.

At the end of the Bush Administration, U.S. and Iraqi negotiators reached a deal to gradually reduce the number of American troops in Iraq and withdraw them completely by the end of 2011. At the time, U.S. military officials said they assumed a new agreement would be reached that would allow some U.S. troops to remain.

The 10,000-troop deal under discussion represents a significant cut from an initial request made by the top commander in Iraq, Gen. Lloyd Austin. Gen. Austin had talked privately of wanting to keep at least 16,000 troops in Iraq, according to U.S. officials. But other military officials believed that figure would be too large for Baghdad to accept, and unpalatable to Mr. Obama, the officials said.

In a roundtable with reporters this month, Gen. Austin said he hadn't made a formal recommendation on how many troops should remain.

The Pentagon believes that, after years of training by the U.S. Army and Marines, Iraqis have a "solid grasp" on internal security, a U.S. official said.

U.S. intelligence agencies say al Qaeda in Iraq's capabilities have been diminished despite occasional high-profile attacks, security continues to improve, and sectarian tensions, for now, remain subdued.

The concern, the U.S. official said, is that the Iraqis have "very little ability to defend their borders." The U.S. believes Iraq will need help to stanch the flow of weapons and militants across the border with Iran, the official said.

Saudi Arabia has privately cautioned the Americans against a rapid withdrawal because of fears the country may not be able to maintain stability on its own, and because of concerns the departure will embolden Iran. Israel has also voiced concerns about possible instability.

"Any change on the eastern front could have implications for Israel's security," an Israeli official said, referring to Israel's border with Jordan, which neighbors Iraq.

The Iraqi military has little heavy weaponry and almost no combat air power. The U.S. is looking to sell Baghdad advanced radar systems that would allow Iraqis to better pinpoint incoming mortar, rocket and artillery fire, in addition to a proposed sale of F-16s, which would allow Iraq to patrol its skies.

Without additional American training, the Iraqis may not be able to maintain or effectively use the equipment they want to acquire after the U.S. troops are due to depart, U.S. officials say.

U.S. military officials hope continued assistance would be a powerful counterbalance to Tehran's attempts to draw Iraq into its sphere. Administration officials have said Iran continues to supply arms to its militia allies in Iraq. Iran denies this.

Some members of Congress have voiced concerns about the sale of sophisticated weaponry to the Iraqi military, on the grounds Baghdad may be aligning itself more closely to Iran.

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« Reply #639 on: April 22, 2011, 01:53:48 PM »

 
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110422/ts_nm/us_usa_iraq_blackwater
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« Reply #640 on: April 25, 2011, 10:15:09 AM »

Ali Wazzan has once again given me an excellent summary of Laith’s current condition and treatments.   

Ali also told me that there seems to be a chance that Laith will leave the hospital in the next day or two.  If so, he will remain under a doctor’s care at home.  He still needs attention for his diabetes and for several pieces of shrapnel remaining in his face and chest.  Contrary to what I reported earlier, the removal of shrapnel yesterday required quite a bit of exploratory cutting and probing.  As a consequence Laith now has numerous small incisions closed with stiches.  Also, I was wrong in reporting that his jaw was broken.  It seems that there is only a minor fracture of his jaw.  Most of the force was absorbed by his teeth, which is why he lost them. 

Every day provides new encouragement.

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« Reply #641 on: April 26, 2011, 07:28:48 AM »

Americans fight, liberate, and die.  Chinese kick back and collect all the bennies:


Iraq: Power Plant Expansion With Chinese Company Signed
April 25, 2011 2030 GMT
The Iraqi Electricity Ministry signed a $1 billion deal with China's Shanghai Electric on April 25 to double the size of the power plant located in Zubaidiya, south of Baghdad, Reuters reported. The plant was originally slated to have four 330 megawatt generators for a 1,320 megawatt capacity, but the new deal will add two more 610 megawatt units for a total capacity of 2,540 megawatts.
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« Reply #642 on: May 25, 2011, 08:52:04 AM »

By JULIAN E. BARNES And BEN LANDO
Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged Iraq to host U.S. troops beyond the end of the year to maintain stability and keep Iran at bay, echoing the growing concerns of U.S. military officials that the government in Baghdad isn't moving fast enough to request an extension of the U.S. troop presence.

Mr. Gates predicted the U.S. would accede to such a request to send a message to American allies and Iran that the U.S. isn't withdrawing from the region, he said in remarks to a think tank in Washington on Tuesday.

"It would be reassuring to the Gulf States. It would not be reassuring to Iran, and that is a good thing," Mr. Gates said.

Some military officials say that without a continued U.S. presence, Iraq is likely to fall into the orbit of Iran. In a paper released Tuesday, Frederick Kagan, an influential defense analyst, argued that without a continued U.S. presence, Iraq would also be vulnerable to continued insurgent-style attacks from Iran-backed proxies or even a full-scale invasion by Iran.

U.S. military bases and personnel in Iraq have come under increasing attacks from mortar fire and bombings, in what the military says is an effort to drive the Americans from the country. Two U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.

Mr. Gates said a continued American presence in Iraq would help sustain the "investment in treasure and lives" the U.S. has made in Iraq and help show other countries in the Middle East that a "multisectarian, multi-ethnic" democracy in the Arab world will work.

Under the current agreement between Baghdad and Washington, the U.S. must withdraw nearly all of its troops by the end of this year. The U.S. military would like to keep about 10,000 troops in Iraq, a number the Obama administration is likely to approve, U.S. officials have said.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that it would rotate two brigades and a division headquarters into Iraq this summer, a move that would position the U.S. to maintain a substantial force in the country should Baghdad request an extension.

Mr. Kagan, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who regularly advises military commanders, argued in his paper, which was released Tuesday, that Iraq won't be able to defend itself against Iran and its agents without a U.S. troop presence.

"The Iraqi Security Forces will not be able to defend Iraq's sovereignty, independence from Iran, and internal stability without American assistance, including some ground forces, for a number of years," Mr. Kagan wrote.

Many Iraqi lawmakers say they believe there is a parliamentary majority in Iraq supporting a continued U.S. troop presence. But the influential pro-Iranian cleric, Moqtada al Sadr, is pushing lawmakers to block a request.

Some Iraqi officials have said privately that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports keeping U.S. troops, but he won his current term with the backing of Mr. Sadr's supporters.

A Sadr bloc spokesman said the group continues to view the American presence as an occupation and would hold a peaceful protest on Thursday.

Iraq has a long history of brinksmanship in its dealings with the U.S., but with the Americans due to begin shuttering bases, a last-minute deal could come too late for the Pentagon.

"Time is your enemy," said a senior military official.

Officials have said the U.S. military is four months away from a logistical point-of-no-return, when it would need to begin the final dismantling of remaining military installations and sending equipment out of the country to withdraw on time.

There were at least 162 attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq last month, up from 128 in March and 93 in February, according to a foreign security company in Iraq that tracks the data. The surge in attacks last month coincided with a rash of American military, political and diplomatic visits to the country.

"Various extremist groups and illegal militias have said they will increase attacks against U.S. forces and they are trying to do that to claim credit for driving out our forces," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, a spokesman for the U.S. forces in Iraq.

—Munaf Ammar contributed to this article.
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« Reply #643 on: May 25, 2011, 01:37:35 PM »

Second post of the day:

'Something we could not have predicted five months ago is that Iraq would emerge as the most advanced Arab democracy in the entire region. As messy as it is, when you think back to the months and months that it took to form a government, and the fact that the conflict was political, they weren't in the streets shooting each other. The government wasn't in the streets shooting its people."

Those musings about the Arab Spring don't come from John McCain or Joe Lieberman. That was Bob Gates, speaking yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute, where he delivered one of his last major speeches as a member of the Obama Administration. The soon-to-depart Defense Secretary was responding to a question about the U.S. interest in Iraq, which Mr. Gates said is to sustain "a model for a multisectarian, multi-ethnic society in the Arab world that shows that democracy can work."

Well, well. Mr. Gates's comments are especially remarkable because he was a member of President George W. Bush's 2006 Iraq Study Group, which recommended what amounted to a staged retreat instead of the troop surge that Mr. Bush eventually endorsed and that defeated the insurgency.

Mr. Gates also expanded yesterday on the strategic opportunities that Iraq has opened in the autocratic Middle East, especially as an ally against Iranian ambitions. He sees "a mutual interest both in Iraq and in the United States in sustaining this relationship" after the scheduled pullout of about 50,000 troops at the end of the year, with the U.S. military supporting logistics, intelligence and airspace defense.

Mr. Gates said it would send "a powerful signal to the region that we're not leaving, that we will continue to play a part. I think it would be reassuring to the Gulf states. I think it would not be reassuring to Iran, and that's a good thing."

The Pentagon chief cautioned that the choice is Iraq's, but "I think as is often the case in Iraq, it will take some time for the political leaders to figure out a way to move forward on this, and all I can say is that from the standpoint of Iraq's future but also our role in the region, I hope they figure out a way to ask. And I think that the United States will be willing to say yes when that time comes."

The main case for toppling Saddam Hussein was to protect America from what everyone thought were his weapons of mass destruction, but a secondary argument was to give Iraqis a chance to govern themselves in a way that would become a model for the region and, perhaps, a U.S. ally.

Lo and behold, Mr. Gates is saying that Iraq is that model, and that even the Obama Administration now sees a democratic Iraq as a potential bulwark for American interests in the Gulf. The rest of the press corps won't acknowledge it, but Mr. Gates is more or less saying: mission accomplished.

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« Reply #644 on: June 19, 2011, 10:15:56 PM »

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Shiite extremists, not al-Qaida terrorists, are to blame for most of the recent U.S. military deaths in Iraq, and they're "clearly getting some fairly sophisticated and powerful weapons" from Iran.

Gates tells CNN's "State of the Union" that he's worried about the Iranian influence in Iraq and he thinks Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is beginning to take these Shiite groups seriously.

Gates says that the U.S. and Iraq are taking steps to try to limit the threat.

A Shiite militia group has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed five American troops on June 6. It was the single largest loss of life for American troops in two years.
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« Reply #645 on: June 27, 2011, 11:28:05 AM »


http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/in-iraq-sunni-deaths-stir-sectarian-fears/2011/06/24/AGSJrTmH_story.html
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« Reply #646 on: July 03, 2011, 09:18:44 AM »

BAGHDAD — In darkness and dressed in black, the American and Iraqi Special Operations commandos navigated the dense urban neighborhood here in the capital and approached a house they believed to be a hide-out for two brothers suspected of carrying out assassinations and car-bomb attacks. As the Iraqis bashed in the door, the sound of glass shattering and screams pierced the nighttime stillness.

The Americans, having spent years taking the lead on such missions, waited outside until the house was secure.
The important thing, an American sergeant said after the raid was completed, is that the Iraqis took the lead on this mission. He spoke on the condition that he be identified only by rank to comply with the ground rules allowing a reporter access to an Army Special Forces unit. “They are the ones doing the dirty work,” he said.

But Iraqi and American commanders worry that this crucial military legacy of the war may be at risk now that American forces are withdrawing this year under an agreement between the countries. Americans say the Iraqi special operations force, which was deliberately balanced with the country’s main sects and ethnicities, is more capable than the Iraqi Army and may be critical in preventing a resilient insurgency from exploding into a sectarian civil war. Even as few Iraqi politicians are willing to admit publicly that they need American help, Iraqi soldiers say that American troops must stay longer to continue training and advising.

“The Americans need to stay because we don’t have control over our borders,” said Maj. Gen. Fadhel al-Barwari, commander of the Iraq Special Operations Force.

The commandos make up a tightknit community where relationships between Iraqis and Americans are especially strong, having been nurtured over multiple deployments. In some cases the Americans here are on their eighth or ninth rotation. “Would we hope after spending eight years in this country, sharing blood, sweat and tears, dying side by side, working with each other, that we would maintain a relationship?” Col. Scott E. Brower, commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula, said in an interview at a base north of Baghdad. “Of course we would.”

The senior Iraqi military leaders have advised Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that some troops should stay. American officials have said they would agree to a such a request.

Even though combat has officially been declared over, Iraq still looks like a war to the Special Operations units scattered around the country.

“Yeah, anytime a guy’s got a loaded gun and he’s going out at midnight in a helicopter, you’ve got to treat it that way,” said an American Special Forces major. Even so, he said, the risks of such work have diminished greatly. “It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten in a good firefight,” he said.

As the major spoke at a picnic table in Victory Base Complex, the vast American complex near the Baghdad airport, several American helicopters took off nearby, ferrying a team of Iraqi and American Special Forces troops on their way to capture a Shiite militiaman suspected of firing rockets at an American base.

On the recent nighttime raid organized to seize the two brothers, the commandos did not get their men, but they said that a vast majority of their raids ended with the capture of suspects. Shots are rarely fired.

There were about six Iraqis on the mission for each American, who were dressed in the same black fatigues the Iraqis wore. After the house was secured, several team members went to the roof, where an Iraqi commando rooted through a storage bin looking for explosives, repeatedly kicking a plastic cassette player that turned out not to be an improvised explosive device. Others monitored rooftops next door for threats.

Eleven family members were in the house, but not the suspects. As the relatives were questioned, several versions of the brothers’ whereabouts emerged. According to one version, they had left that afternoon. In another, they had not been in the home for a year and a half.

“No bad guys tonight,” said one American soldier, a chief warrant officer.

=========================

Page 2 of 2)



No weapons caches or explosives were found either. “Usually they don’t keep the materials in the house,” said the American chief warrant officer, who explained that they were often stored with a neighbor. “With the laws, we can’t search the neighbor’s house,” he said.

American Special Operations units have been training and equipping an Iraqi counterterrorism force almost from the beginning of the war in 2003. General Barwari was made to do push-ups eight years ago by some of the Americans who still advise his unit. Today he lives in a palace once owned by Saddam Hussein, where he shares living space with peacocks, ostriches, pigeons, an alligator and two monkeys. From the palace, he directs near-nightly raids with the help of the Americans.
General Barwari, whose relationship with the American military began in 1991 in northern Iraq, benefited greatly from America’s war here, and in its closing days he frets about what will become of his country without the American troops.

If Americans stay, he said, “He won’t be fighting beside me, but he will give us air support.”

“There are many things we don’t have knowledge about,” he added.

Some of the Iraqi units remain outside the regular military chain of command, and report directly to Mr. Maliki. This has proved to be fodder for the prime minister’s critics who believe he has amassed too much power, and removing the units from his direct control was part of an American-backed power-sharing agreement last year that ended months of political stalemate after parliamentary elections. But that agreement has never been completed and is now threatening to come apart amid political discord. Mr. Maliki has yet to name ministers of defense and the interior, and the counterterrorist units remain under his control.

The American Special Operations advisers worry about what will happen to their Iraqi counterparts without their American relationships — and largess, evident in the Special Operations headquarters on Victory Base. The complex, paid for with $32 million of American money, includes $2 million for an indoor training ground the commandos refer to as the “shoot house.” They note that many of the nighttime missions are carried out with American helicopters.

The American government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars training and arming these forces, yet the exact amount is unknown because the military has not fully accounted for it, according to a report late last year by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which reported that only $237 million had been directly attributed to support for the Iraqi special forces.

The future of the American military here is a political decision in the hands of the government of Iraq, which must formally ask to modify the security agreement to allow some troops to stay.

The American “S.F. guys always believe we’ll be back,” said the American major.


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« Reply #647 on: July 03, 2011, 10:04:22 AM »



I highlighted a section below, which I found to be the biggest problem there as regards training and standing up Iraqi security forces.  Long term mentoring.  Or the lack thereof.  This is not a couple of years project.  Change is slow, but of the places I went to the ones that had come the longest way were those where the day in/day out, leadership by example mentoring process was of a longer duration.  Too often we trained them and then expected they would like suddenly change their thousands of years culture to suddenly be like us.  Because some fat, cigar in the mouth gringo trainer yelling at them told them this was the way they should be.
 

> But Iraqi and American commanders worry that this crucial military legacy of
> the war may be at risk now that American forces are withdrawing this year
> under an agreement between the countries.
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« Reply #648 on: July 13, 2011, 06:01:36 AM »

New Pentagon chief Leon Panetta's maiden journey to America's conflict zones this week garnered attention for his alleged misstatements about the pace of the Afghan troop drawdown and the rationale for the Iraq war. We came away more concerned by his incomplete answers to Iran's designs on Iraq and America's future role there.

Five months before a planned final withdrawal, Iran's proxies in Iraq are putting the squeeze on the U.S. and its allies. Three senior U.S. officials, including Mr. Panetta, say "forensic proof" shows that Iran is funding, arming and training Shiite militias, among them remnants of pro-Iranian cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army. These groups are behind the recent escalation in violence. Fifteen GIs were killed in June, the highest monthly toll in three years, including nine in rocket attacks that carry a Tehran return address.

A public diagnosis of Iran's role is clarifying, but the next step has to be a coherent response to this provocation. The U.S. needs to protect its troops as well as the nearly decade-long investment in a secure and democratic Iraq. The gains made since the success of the 2007 surge aren't in immediate danger, yet they're reversible.

We doubt many of the troops in his audience in Iraq found reassuring Mr. Panetta's promise to "push the Iraqis to take on the responsibility" and lead a crackdown on the Shiite militias. The U.S. has chosen not to go after the militias directly to shield the government of Nouri al-Maliki from the domestic political fallout of unilateral American military action. Such considerations are cold comfort to soldiers under attack. The U.S. has a legal and moral responsibility to respond. We ought to go after the militias in Iraq as well as their backers in Iran who've decided to make Iraq a proxy war.

Iraqi domestic politics complicate American options. Mr. Maliki proved a brave and able leader during the hardest days of the 2007 surge, and he helped turn Iraq around. But his nationalist politics have boxed him in. Last year Mr. Maliki made political peace with the Sadr party, bringing them into his unwieldy coalition government. He won't fight Shiite militias with the same resolve he showed against Sunni extremists.

More recently Mr. Maliki has banked his political future on a U.S. withdrawal, proclaiming last year that "the last American soldier will leave" in December and that the decision "is sealed." Now Iraqi leaders quietly say they want some U.S. troops to stay beyond December, perhaps 10,000 or more, but they're too paralyzed by internal squabbling to put in the request. One can appreciate Mr. Panetta's frustration in saying, "Dammit, make a decision."

America's continued troop presence can fill in security gaps and provide a stabilizing influence in Iraq and the region. The U.S. has kept troops in South Korea and Japan for six decades after the end of the wars there, and a similar presence in Iraq might be as salutary. But it should only do so as long as the troops can protect themselves and have a good partner in Baghdad. They can't be sitting ducks.

As much as al Qaeda, Iran wants to rekindle sectarian tensions and undermine democratic politics in Iraq. Their model is Lebanon. The U.S. can help the Iraqis push back. The proposed multibillion dollar sale of up to two F-16 squadrons, which the Journal reported yesterday was back on track, is one step forward. A long-term security relationship with Iraq can best ensure that the sacrifices made in the last decade aren't squandered.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #649 on: July 19, 2011, 11:53:00 PM »

Also see the analysis just posted in the Mid-east SNAFU, TARFU, FUBAR thread:


An Iranian offensive in Kurdish-concentrated northern Iraq entered its fourth day July 19. As early as July 13, Iranian media reported that 5,000 Iranian troops had massed along Iran’s northwestern border with Iraq in preparation for an offensive. By the morning hours of July 16, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces crossed 1 to 2 kilometers (0.6 to 1.2 miles) into Iraqi territory in the border region of Dolie Koke/Zalle and clashed with members of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), Iran’s main Kurdish militant group. According to STRATFOR sources in the area, the Iranian army has continued artillery bombardments in the areas of Sune, Ali Rese, Dolie Koke, Sehit Ahyan, Sehit Harun and Zalle. On the Iranian side of the border, IRGC reinforcements continue to build up in the Valley of Wesne.

The mountainous terrain favors PJAK, operating as a guerrilla group, over Iranian ground forces with more conventional capabilities such as armored vehicles that could be difficult to use effectively. It is unclear how heavily Iran is relying on artillery in the offensive, rather than patrols and raids, which are more vulnerable to ambush. PJAK claims around 10 of its members and 180 IRGC troops have been killed in the clashes, though these figures could not be verified.

The Iranian offensive is unlikely to build into a regional crisis. Skirmishes between Iranian forces and PJAK militants are typical for this time of year — though the scale of the deployment and the geopolitical climate surrounding the Iranian offensive are noteworthy. Local and regional media reporting on the issue have painted it as largely routine, and the governments of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States have so far remained quiet on the issue.



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The incursion may be an attempt to intimidate Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which has thus far been the Iraqi faction most opposed to the upcoming U.S. withdrawal from the country. As Washington struggles to negotiate an extension of the current Status of Forces Agreement to allow U.S. forces to remain in Iraq and reposition into a blocking force against Iran, the KRG, wary of the threat of being marginalized by its Arab rivals in Iraq, has been attempting, thus far unsuccessfully, to negotiate for the establishment of permanent U.S. bases in northern Iraq. Thus, this offensive may be a message to the KRG to respect Tehran’s demands as well as a demonstration to Washington of Tehran’s military capability in extending its writ in the Iran-Iraq borderlands.

If this is the case, Iran does not want to go so far in this action that it would allow Washington to justify a military extension for its troops, regardless of whether the extension is sanctioned by Baghdad. Currently, the limited nature of Iran’s military activity in northern Iraq does not rise to the level of crisis that would allow the United States and certain Iraqi factions to claim that Iraq is too vulnerable for the United States to leave by the end of the year, but how far Iran’s military action will go in this offensive is yet to be seen.



Read more: Iran's Limited Incursion into Northern Iraq | STRATFOR
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