Iraq and the US Senate

38301 ""The government and its Premier [Nuri al-Maliki] reject this vote," said government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. "It is the Iraqis who decide these sorts of issues, no one else," Dabbagh said on state-run Al-Iraqiyya television. "The Iraqi Parliament too should express its total rejection of this plan." The plan, touted by backers as the sole hope of forging a federal state out of sectarian strife, was approved by the US Senate Wednesday in a 75-23 vote. The nonbinding resolution would provide for decentralizing Iraq in a federal system to stop the country from falling deeper into civil war. It proposes to separate Iraq into Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni entities, with a federal government in Baghdad in charge of border security and oil revenues. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Friday condemned the resolution, saying it would complicate matters further in the war-torn country. The Bosnia-style plan "would add new complications to the already difficult Iraqi situation," GCC chief Abdel-Rahman al-Attiyah said in a statement. "Instead of calling for division, the causes that led to the current situation should be addressed. These include the [US-led] occupation, the sectarian and ethnic quota system, absence of law and security and the paralysed administration.""  The Daily Star – Beirut



The US Senate has voted to "soft-partition" Iraq?  Well as a famous TV "talk man" said a few weeks ago – "Who runs that place, us or them?"  I guess we think that we do..

The Bush/Cheney Collective ("resistance is futile") is notably made up of ideologues who proclaim their devotion to revolutionary social change in the Islamic (and other) World(s).  Their adherents are various.  There are first and foremost their brethren and sisteren in the "crusade" for secular righteousness.  Then there are the Mayberry Machiavellians who were imported from Texas. Those have thinned out lately.  Then there are the simpletons who still can’t tell you what the difference is between a Sunni and a Shia and who don’t think it matters.  There are many, many of those and they are not reading this. There was a back-bencher congressman from the Southwest on TV this week who simply refused to accept the idea that the war in Iraq was about anything but a kind of Manichean division of humanity into the forces of good and the forces of evil, the children of light and the children of darkness.  He would not discuss the war situation in any other terms.  I suppose that he thinks that the Lord Jesus enters into it somewhere as well, and maybe the pope ,although I doubt if he thinks that Benedict plays on the "good guys’" team.

Now, I know how much a lot of you feel vindicated by Greenspan’s pronouncement on the causes of the present mess, but I have to tell you that he does not impress me as a savant on the subject of the peoples of the Middle East, or on the neocons either.  So far as I know they never thought well of his ideas about anything but interest rates and he was never one of their counselors.

Those Arabs (Sunni, Shia and Christian) are pesky people.  They have the "gall" to think for themselves.  The US Senate has now pronounced itself on the subject of how Iraq should be organized.  They don’t accept that?  Who the hell are they to resist when it is futile? The "greatest deliberative body in the world" has delivered itself of "the word."  What more is there to say?

Those pesky Arabs are also infested with "oldthink."  This is an expression from the early phases of the Cheney/Bush Collective’s revolution.   The poor fools (Arabs) don’t think that federalism is a good idea.  (They think they have tried it many times)  They like UNITY (tawhiid).  They think that diversity is weakness.  They think that federalism will inevitably lead either to a final complete dissolution of the state of Iraq or a weakened state so enfeebled as to be a shadow of its former self.  Those poor foolish Arabs are the product of a modern cultural and educational development which caused them to believe that a unified Iraq is good, but a federal Iraq is or will be a disaster.  They have always felt that way in the modern state of Iraq.

Now, the Kurds may secretly want something else but they will be very careful how they express that secret desire.

The Senate resolution on this matter?  It is DOA, and we lack the power to inflict anything like that on the Iraqis or anyone else in the Middle East.  Note the GCC reaction.

Down at the bottom of this article, some general or other opines (used to be a good Army word) that AQ may decide to cuts its losses in Iraq.  That might be true, but, contrary to the opinion of the congressman from the Southwest, it will not solve the situation that the Iraqis find themselves in.  A "post AQ intervention" Iraq will still be a "beached whale" beset with savage and unrelenting internal struggle and numerous wars over power and wealth in what was a moderately well integrated state before 2003. Unfortunately, our departure won’t fix that either.  pl

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17 Responses to Iraq and the US Senate

  1. zenpundit says:

    “Now, the Kurds may secretly want something else but they will be very careful how they express that secret desire.”
    It’s not really all that secret.

  2. Mad Dogs says:

    Dude! You’re firing on all cylinders with this post!
    Seriously Pat, if there are any remaining Arab folks who still had a wee bit of respect for the US (for the serious and thoughtful US Arabists, not the clueless in power now), they’ve got to be shaking their heads with permanent resignation: “The US Senate is composed entirely of escapees from a mental institution.”
    As for the stunned folks “living” in what used to be called Iraq, they’ve got to be wondering just what deity they’ve offended so frightfully to be the recipients first of the curse of Saddam’s rule, and now the curse of no Saddam’s rule.
    A mentally deranged hegemonic Superpower is running amok in the world.
    Out of control, and apparently both blind and deaf, for no one else’s pleas can ever be heard, the giant persists in stumbling hither and yon with no particular place to go.
    The view out every American’s front window, circa September 2007.

  3. Montag says:

    Reminds me of the Roman Emperor who named his chickens after political enemies. He would periodically behead the namesake of one nemesis or the other out of pique. Which didn’t harm the man who’d offended him one whit. Still, it made the Emperor feel better, didn’t it?

  4. PR says:

    “Resistance is futile”. Good one Colonel.

  5. Edward Merkle says:

    The “Mayberry Machiavellians”, great stuff Pat.
    Those Arabs are a pesky crowd. A reason to study different cultures might be to predict their reactions to certain “stimuli.” If you’re ignorant of a culture and need to make decisions, like the decider, then it may be a good idea to consult with people who know the culture and of course people that don’t have a vested interest in the decision.
    But Christ, stop me from blabbering, I’m talking about our leader who has a direct line to you Lord and knows evil when he sees it.
    God save the decider.

  6. PeterE says:

    I think elite opinion in the U.S. assumes that the U.S. is a colonial power in the Middle East. Therefore, if the U.S. Senate wants partition, elite opinion thinks that Iraq should agree.
    If only the U.S. had a Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek in Iraq– we’d have a noisy Iraq Lobby defending the dear General, demonizing anyone who talked about the corruption and incompetence of the Iraqi Kuomintang, standng tall against anyone who could actually minimize (or avert?) the impending disaster.

  7. Winston_Smith says:

    I guess they (the indigenous people) will have to let themselves be assimilated. How dare they not! with all the futility going around. 🙂

  8. China Hand says:

    I remember back in late 2003 — just before Negroponte’s appointment to Iraq — there was talk about putting into effect the “Salvador Solution”. Soon, Negroponte was appointed and then shortly thereafter moved to his current position as DNI.
    All this is covered in Wikipedia, along with a brief summary of his service in Honduras:
    The events in Iraq since 2004 are consistent with the enactment of such a policy, and bolstered by reports of Blackwater mercenaries who are engaged in weapons trafficking clearly outside the boundaries of US Military chain of command.
    Does the Colonel — or anyone else here — have any insight into the processes at work beneath the public awareness? My own opinion of John Negroponte is that he is merely one more Iran-Contra criminal who got off too lightly, and entirely capable of putting such policies into effect. Perhaps I am wrong in this estimation, but it is a considered and studied opinion.
    I would suspect that each time Nuri al Maliki voices such contrarian political opposition in such strident terms that he moves one large step closer towards assassination. Should that happen, I doubt seriously that anyone will ever know for sure exactly whom to hold responsible.
    The Diem assassination was a catastrophe for the United States. It seems that the Iraqi government — really just a nascent poltical forum of local Iraqi leaders — would be affected by the loss of its ostensible leader much less, but perhaps there are others out there how have greater insight than I do.

  9. Cloned Poster says:

    DOA you say, BID is what we use in A&E here, brought in dead.
    I am sure you have read the tin foil stuff re israel/syria and missing cruise missiles, do you think the military and Gates have succeeded in foiling an attack on Iran?

  10. Rob says:

    I guess the phrase, winning hearts and minds” is lost in the US Senate.
    It does not matter what plan anyone wants. Until the Iraq Government can actually start working somewhat like a government its all a waste of time and this is just political showmanship.
    We have made so many mistakes and continue to make large mistakes that getting a working government in Iraq to do anything would take an act of God….
    Over 3000 of our soldiers have died, over 30,000 wounded and lets not mention some 500,000 civies to have lost their lives or have been wounded.
    Its sad though, we broke this Country and we actually owe the Iraqi people a working government and at this point it looks like we will not be able to deliver on that promise, no matter who has died and for what purpose….

  11. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    To focus the analysis:
    1.Press reports indicate Les Gelb drafted the plan and gave it to Senator Biden who then worked up the legislation.
    Here is Les Gelb’s Bio:
    He is “President Emeritus” of the Council on Foreign Relations, the top foreign policy establishment org.
    Three quarters of the US Senate then takes the cue in part owing to the prestigious CFR impramatur.
    2. Hydrocarbon issue:
    a) Kathy and and Bill argue thusly in current Counterpunch:
    “The Teflon Alliance with Israel
    Two recent offhand comments, both widely publicized, have seriously undermined whatever progress might have been made in exposing the fact that the Iraq war was initiated at least in large part to guarantee Israel’s safety and regional dominance in the Middle East.”
    b) Then consider:
    “Assuring Israel of an adequate oil supply has long been a goal not just of Israel itself, but also of pro-Israel factions in the United States. Thus emerged a controversial plan that is still kicking around even though its chief booster, Ahmad Chalabi, could soon be behind bars.
    Once the Pentagon’s choice to lead the “new” Iraq, Chalabi promised to reopen an old British-built pipeline from Kirkuk in northern Iraq to the Israeli port of Haifa. The plan impressed Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and other conservatives influencing Bush administration policy toward Iraq in the lead-up to last year’s war.
    The idea also drew enthusiastic response from Israel.
    “The pipeline would be a dream,” Yosef Paritzky, Israel’s minister of infrastructures, said as reported by “We’d have an additional source of supply, and could even export some of the crude through Haifa. But we’d need a treaty with Iraq . . . to build the pipeline.”
    Presumably the Israeli Minister of Infrastructure would reflect at least some opinion in Israel.
    c) Then review the British Cabinet papers of the WWI and 1920s to understand WHY Mosul vilayet was added to the Baghdad and Basra vilayets to create Iraq. A careful review will demonstrate the oil factor with respect to pipeline projects out of the Mosul vilayet, refinery at Haifa, Brit naval considerations.

  12. Mark Gaughan says:

    50 States = 1 USA
    3 States = 1 Iraq
    Isn’t that what the US Senate is saying? I didn’t see them set it in stone. They think it’s the best idea. Obviously it’s not, because the Iraqis don’t want that.
    What next?

  13. ked says:

    Since no one has come up with anything much better (or likely – is the Grand ME Conf in the offing, or is that a Russia / US stand-off?), is it any surprise that the Senate has come up with something arguably no worse? In fact, if it is a bad enough alternative, might it drive wise behavior out of the WH & Al-Maliki (I realize I’m reaching here)? ANY path out of Iraq is looking good to me – so low have my standards fallen.

  14. Jose says:

    I hate to be the minority in this forum of wiser men than myself but, the realities on the ground have already partitioned Iraq into three separate states.
    Under U.S. occupation ethnic cleansing by mayhem, intimidation and murder has happened throughout Iraq.
    Over two million people have been forced to flee to Jordan, Syria and elsewhere.
    In the absence on any political reconciliation or political will to act in any way, there can be little hope of solving this mess.
    The Iraq Study Group might have worked, Colonel Lang’s concert might have brought harmony but instead we have the capriciousness of the Decider.
    Since you quoted Star Trek, let me quote Star Wars and please take with great irony
    “Enter the bureaucrats, the true rulers of the Republic, and on the payroll of the Trade Federation I might add.”

  15. Matthew says:

    The Neo-Cons believe that American Power and the American ideal of “freedom,” i.e., our belief that free peoples will opt for American dominance , has some sort of inevitability. Actually, this idea has no historical or psychologial basis. Free people resist domination. Why would anyone believe that as Arabic peoples cast off their authoritarian governments they would welcome the American military and American corporations? It is the Sunni kings, not the Muslim people, who need the USA.
    IMHO, the seige of Palestine for bad voting will be the larger and most long lasting metaphor of Bush and his “freedom agenda.”

  16. rjj says:

    “Mayberry Machiavellians … have thinned out lately.”
    much as roaches “thin out” during the day.

  17. cletracsteve says:

    If I were a parent or teacher here, I would say this resolution has worked wonders. Reading Juan Cole’s posting of the weekly surmons translated in the USG Open Source Center, the reaction by the Iraqis shows hope: let’s show the U.S wrong by reuniting across ethnic divisions. Reverse psychology at its best!

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