"Among those proscribed are top Sunni leaders, including the serving defense minister and the head of a major political bloc. If the bans stand, an election that looked as though it would be one of the most free in the history of the Arab world would be badly degraded. At worst, the sectarian warfare that nearly tore Iraq apart could reignite.
There's not much clarity about who is behind the nasty maneuver — but one protagonist appears to be Ahmad Chalabi, the notorious former exile leader and master of political manipulation. Now regarded as an Iranian agent by most U.S. officials, Mr. Chalabi, along with his associates, served Tehran's interests as well as his own by banning the Sunni leaders. Several of those blacklisted had recently joined cross-sectarian secular alliances that are challenging the Shiite coalition of which Mr. Chalabi is a part, as well as the list headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Over the weekend, Mr. Maliki appeared to endorse the disqualifications — a step that would nullify his previous support for progressive electoral reforms." Washpost
I said many years ago on "Nightline" that Chalabi was the "worst fraud ever perpetrated on the American people." "An Iranian agent…" No! Surely not that!
The Post, once again, does not have a clue. The United States did nothing in Iraq but wreck the country, pour a lot of money in to "re-build," (god knows where that went)and re-stack the ethno-religious political players so that the Shia set are on top. It should not be surprising that those Shia players intend to stay on top in the game and are willing to ignore Western notions of Democracy in order to do so. A similar outcome awaits in Afghanistan, Yemen or any other place in which we blunder about babbling about nation-states and democracy. Americans are clearly not "cynical" enough to deal with oriental politics.
In Iraq, the long game is approaching an end point sastisfactory to Iran and its various Shia associates.
The extent to which clever people like the AEIers were duped in all this would be amusing if it were not for… pl
The AEI’rs are Israel firsters who don’t give a care how many Americans die for Israel’s security/national wants/objectives. The AEI’rs crowds are nothing short of traitors to our U.S. as they have put a foreign state ahead of our U.S..
When the Iraq War began in ’03, I ate a couple of times in a Korean restaurant in DC that was frequented by members of Chalabi’s front organization, the Iraqi National Congress (recognizable as such by their lapel pins and speaking Arabic). Needless to say, they were exultant at that time and living it up. My point is, even though I didn’t understand a word they said, they struck me as being a bunch of crooks, people you shouldn’t trust any further than you could throw. If I could figure that out, why can’t supposedly brilliant people like Dick Cheney and Douglas Feith? The answer appears to be willful blindness because Chalabi told them what they wanted to hear.
PS: I read a biography of Chalabi recently. How could any USG personnel know about the man’s background (bank fraud, extensive Iranian contacts) and still trust him?
The worst part about Chalabi being the “worst fraud ever perpetrated on the American people”, we PAID him and his merry band of bamboozlers, the INC, to tell us lies. We could have saved alot of money and just shot ourselves in the head. It was that stupid.
My question about the AEI crowd is: do they believe in the tooth fairy and santa claus, too?
Must be something about D.C. that makes for this magical thinking.
the Col wrote: “The extent to which clever people like the AEIers were duped in all this would be amusing if it were not for…”
…if it were not for the fact that Rahm Emanuel is the most powerful man in our govt today.
“In Iraq, the long game is approaching an end point sastisfactory to Iran and its various Shia associates.
The extent to which clever people like the AEIers were duped in all this would be amusing if it were not for…”
Wasn’t that the idea at least for some neocon factions: tilt the balance of power in the Middle East in favor of the Shia and Iran?
The Persians are the Israeli’s natural and historical ally.
Were I not 100% sure that it was not the original intent, based on the current proceedings in Iraq and A’stan I would say the USA is playing on the same side as Iran.
Years ago I was involved in a series of CENTCOM sponsored study groups dealing with the Iraq problem. At the time CENTCOM’s guidance was best summararized by the phrase “anybody but Saddam.” I had an uneasy feeling that this was a poor premise to start from. After the Clinton administration authorized serious money to be spent towards realizing this goal, one analyst displayed his man-crush for Chalabi by repeatedly declaring that the money should all go to Chalabi so he could save Iraq and answer all our prayers. Not being an Iraq expert, my contributions were minimal at these meetings. However, based more on my knowledge of what a U.S. sponsored resistance movement requires than on my limited knowledge of Iraq, I thought the Chalabi option sounded like a bullshit idea. An SF Warrant Officer and several CIA analysts also thought so. Unfortunately, this Chalabi loving analyst had more influence in the Pentagon than his expertise warranted. I’m sure he wasn’t the critical voice in the Pentagon’s initial support for Chalabi, but he certainly didn’t help.
In 2003 I remember seeing the news footage of Chalabi in BDUs leading his INC “army of liberation” towards Baghdad (well to the rear of our forces, obviously). I wondered if that analyst was involved in staging that pitiful and amateurish show.
Thanks Colonel. After 5 years of reading SST, this is no longer surprising.
Is there no hope for our policy in Afghanistan? The short time given by Obama just doesn’t sound like he’s serious about nation building. I know you’ve predicted he’ll be talked into a longer stay, but, what if he’s trying to stabalize Af. so we can leave without immediate collapse or loss of intel. Would that be possible and worthwhile, or just pointless?
So, am I to gather from the comments that all this talk about taking out Iran’s nuclear sites is just a bunch of BS?
Seems like this would make a good case study of strategic counterintelligence (or failure of it on our part to realize it until it bites us). I’m just sayin…
No. This is a matter of high politics and treason (serving the interests of a foreign country in war time) This is way above mere counterintelligence. pl
No. The failure of our neocon inspired political policy in Iraq has nothing to do with the very real enmity of the present government of Iran. pl
Yes, and they failed miserably. pl
Didn’t David Wurmser, in his book on the U.S. failure to remove Saddam – outline a strategy to politically destabilize Iran by installing a Shiite government in Iraq? The thinking was I believe, that a Shiite Iraq would fall under the guise of the “quietest” Sistani type clerical influence. This would be in opposition to the “activist” Iranian model and return ultimate clerical power to Najaf (& away from Qom). Supposedly, this would all undermine the Iranian regime and send it’s citizens flocking to the newly minted liberal Iraq.
While this approach was probably mostly pipe dream, many of the policy decisions by the Cheney/W administration do not contradict it, even though it was never explicitly stated as policy.
One might even go as far as to say that the recent events in Iran could also be configured into this general framework – were it not for the fact that after having secured just such a Sistani “inspired”, U.S. backed, Sadr exiled, Shiite government in Iraq, there has been exactly zero criticism of the clerical activism in Iran. In fact, it seems just the opposite has happened with Iraq imitating the political repression of Iran, rather than the other way around.
Heck of a job.
The picture of the coffins in the airplane says it all. The reckless waste of American lives, treasure and power in this tragic farce is sickening to contemplate. Bush, Cheney and their minions should rot in hell for this.
I think the only objective of the Obama Administration in Iraq is to paper over this strategic, self-inflicted wound with an “honorable departure.”
Bin Laden’s long game might very well work.
It’s not his game. It’s Iran’s game and well played. pl
What the US and others interested in future of Arabia now know for sure is that the Islamic world is deeply fractured over its various sects, with SHIA and SUNNI just being the most obvious. This dynamic will be interesting to watch as US departs Iraq. Perhaps as Pat Lang would have US pick tribes in Afghanistan the picking of tribes in the area known to Churchill as “Tribes using the flags of countries” will provide some future favorable outcomes to US foreign policy and relations in the Islamic World.
What I would have the US do is accept that transformation of these societies is beyond our strength at any price we could or would pay. pl
Never think that members of the Neocon/AEI crowd are fools who were had by Chalabi. Anyone could quickly see exactly what kind of character he is simply by observing him on newsreels for 30 seconds. They and Chalabi found some commonality of interests. Both parties may have gotten a little more or less than they bargained for (we know the Neocons are not too sharp at holding down the unintended consequences) but you can bet that they each knew who they who they were dealing with going in. The overlap of interests in the Venn diagram is the interesting part when thinking about Chalabi and the Neocons.
I agree with your sentiment about it being beyond our strength, etc. So how long do you think it will be before the leadership in this country figures it out? I don’t think the leadership has figured it out at this point.
The neocons are trash “intellectuals” blinded by zionism. The Iranians are world class players. pl
It’s Iran’s game and well played.. . .world class players.
They sure have been the prime beneficiaries, whatever the Israeli’s imagine.
Whose play is it in Yemen?
In my soon to be published, if only on my desktop, memoir of the Apocalypse, BOHICA, the introduction of a single Special Forces team into Yemen to spike the terrorists’ kat with crystal meth eventually leads to total ground war in Saudi Arabia ending with the oil infrastructure wrecked by regime-planted doomsday charges, Mecca tactically nuked, the Al Saud and Mubarak regimes overthrown, the Nato retreat through Dahran beamed out live until they trash the last camera, startling President Palin who accidentally drops the nuclear football into a turkey decapitator, nuking all of China, Israel, Iran Venezuela and France before the football, built New Ford Tough, jams, but just after the SIOP: Outback Edition 6.6.6 script misloads and misfires, mistaking Pine Gap for Jakarta, vaporizing the southern hemisphere downlink of Space Command right when orbiting Chinese FOBS start blasting away at Okinawa, Guam, Diego Garcia, and Delhi. . .
Then Beyonce rides naked up Pennsylvania Ave on a white horse only one shade paler than her Chiclets smile and tells the cheering, frothing neocons and the staid, abstemious puritans “America, your horse has come in!” twenty minutes after the last barrel’s been pumped from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Whoever could arrange that’d be a mighty clever player.
Then the caravan of World Bank oil experts goes in, unemployed Israeli nuclear techs strapped to the hoods of their SUV’s, to tot up the erstwhile Saudi reserves, and find out even Matt Simmons was being optimistic, more WMD in Iraq than crude in the Saudi sand.
Like the title implies, deja vu all over again.
Seriously though, Nato at war in Pashtunistan, the heroin trade revived from near suppression of opium production under the Taliban, Al Qaeda in Yemen inviting the standard treatment from the usual suspects, one state over from Mecca, this has been proclaimed and reported on as AQ strategy. Asia Times has had a lot of good coverage on this.
Is Iran behind/beside AQYemen, the enemy of their enemies, America and the Saudis? Meddling with/ supporting Houthi co-religionists to make trouble? It seems to be escalating, the Saudi’s bombed the Houthi “rebels” after they attacked a Saudi border post – to what end? – and last weekend claims of a Saudi helicopter being shot down. . . .
“Houthi fighters ‘down Saudi helicopter’”
“the staid, abstemious puritans”
I guess the word “puritan” is hard to get past.
You Canadians are “staid” compared to the genral run of Americans.
“Puritanism” as a moral backdrop inherited from 17th Century Britain is still a dominant set of values in the United States. That is true whether or not the people affected by this set of values are at all religious. This set of values is the scale against which the actions of individuals,corporations or government is judged. This not to say that this “code” is not widely violated. “Sinners” are everywhere in revolt against inherited values but that does not mean that the values do not form a backdrop against which options are judged.
This puritanism is easily seen in the United states in our obsession with judging private sexual behavior. The fascination displayed in the last days with the behavior of the cad former senator, John Edwards is a good example. American business laws which insist that foreign business environments in which American companies must operate must conform to a standard of “purity” with regard to bribery unnatural to those environments are another example. pl
I see that the VP is being sent to “sort out” the Maliki crowd on the elections issue. This will be interesting. pl
I’m trying to understand, from a harm-reduction perspective, standards of purity that permit, indeed, insist on legislating and exporting such misery, given the acknowledgment, the expectation of sin, backstopped by Redemption, of less than perfect execution of the external moral code.
It seems a tad arbitrary and selective given the array of more, based on the resultant pathology, perniciously consequential social evils to which morality could be applied, from alcohol, to hydrogenated vegetable oil, to the income gap and rampant consumerism.
Its the selectivity with which the sins are prosecuted that has me not so much flummoxed, but as one person noted, frustrated, by the inconsistencies in the application of the Rule.
And I can see other examples, e.g,the insistence on abstinence-only foreign aid, which present to me as similarly destructively vindictive rather than merely proscriptive.
Rules of universal applicability are sometimes the only armament against arbitrary persecution of the ruled by the rulers, so inconsistency is a default point of dispute/attack for me, and always will be.
There seems to b a problem inserting my cites in <>.
Here’s the “Houthi fighters ‘down Saudi helicopter’” cite.
“backstopped by Redemption.”
No. We are talking about a Calvinist understanding of human nature. pl
Well then I find “a Calvinist understanding of human” nature to be a contradiction in terms to me, so intolerant, ignorant and repellant as to actually require opposition to it lest it spread to the legitimate holders of the democratic monopoly on violence against the citizenry. Which to me it has, with monstrous effect.
I still don’t get the part where drugs are bad, worthy of war AND damnation then, but sexuality or alcohol or Las Vegas tolerated.
But really, I can’t trust myself to discuss much about organized religion and theology.
I’m just about to start reading Jeff Sharlett’s “The Family” so I’ll churn all this over in my mind, recalling Clifford Kirokofe’s book Dark Crusade which reviews the etiology of Christian Zionism in Britain and then the US.
Cliff, where are you?