“The actual end of the Iraq Project”

"Sir, This is, I think, the actual end of the Iraq Project. My team mates and I tracked a very limited type of this behavior prior to the provincial elections, but it never took off. Instead the Shi'a majority parties manipulated IHEC and the actual election process by using an open list/proportional representation system. It didn't give them everything they wanted, but it was much more subtle than just rolling people up or banning them from participating – both of which garnered a lot of negative publicity, no one understood it (I had to repeatedly explain why it was a bad system to the "election" specialist that the Department of State sent to assist our brigade's ePRT), and as a result no one put a stop to it. At this stage there are four dynamics going on: 1) Maliki is trying to consolidate as much power as possible and coup proof himself from every one, including his Shi'a coalition partners of ISCI/Badr, 2) The Iraqi Shi'a leaders (other than those in the Awakenings), as well as their Iranian benefactors, no longer perceive the US or the US led coalition as being unable to do anything about this, therefore they can start the endgame and try to run the rest of the table even before we're out, 3) the Sunnis, as well as the Awakenings oriented Shi'a and everyone else in Iraq that wasn't thrilled with the Government of Iraq has just had the impression that we are feckless allies, which began with the manner of the transition of the SOI to Iraqi government control, confirmed. Yes Iraq is a sovereign state and we're there as advisors only at this stage, but these electoral/political purges demonstrate that the free, open, and fair elections that we have been touting for years are all just words, and 4) this loss of face and public shaming for the US and its efforts, the roots of which were laid several years ago, we'll be viewed throughout the region. It'll have implications in Afghanistan and in Israel. About a month ago I did a guest piece for Professor Cole's Informed Comment blog on the elections, based on a comparative analysis from what I'd learned from observing the politicking and politics around the provincial elections. I reckoned on the parties in power going the subtle route again by manipulating the electoral process; by being so brazen it shows just how toothless they think we actually are at this stage and our likely inability to do anything about this is going to prove them right. "  Adam Silverman

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7 Responses to “The actual end of the Iraq Project”

  1. JohnH says:

    I would be interested to know why Silverman thinks that the US is not totally in synch with Maliki’s rolling up as much power as possible. This would put Maliki in the same position as most of the tyrants in the region, who are extremely cozy with the United States.
    Also, why does Silverman think that American advisers are merely advising? If the past is any indication of American involvement, I’d bet that American “advisers” exercise considerable authority including veto power. I’d also bet that American “advisers” are pervasive, positioned at every level of government and at all key ministries.

  2. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t know if Dr. Silverman will answer you.
    What could he possible say that could overcome the obstacle of your animosity? pl

  3. Patrick Lang says:

    Jhofer writes
    Animosity? Asking about a possible alternative explanations for undemocratic tendencies in Iraq is animosity? Actually I would be delighted if the US presence in Iraq were conducive to democracy. But as we all know, freedom, democracy, and human rights were merely convenient, noble concepts, talking points used to promote and rationalize the Occupation. As soon as the reality of the situation on the ground proved their mendacity, they were quietly replaced with other pretexts for what the US is doing.

  4. curious says:

    There isn’t much external power can do to change Iraq current political direction except maybe creating genocide/civil war condition.
    Iraq just come out of pretty ugly inter ethnic clash (with concrete barrier and all). No big player trust anybody in there. Of course maliki first instinct is to consolidate power unless he wants his behind blown sky high.
    Blood letting that big can only subside after two or three leadership cycles. Only then people will start dealing with each other in earnest politically.
    Iraq natural ally is Syria. And Iran to the eastern shia. It’ll be pretty delusional to wish Iraq to align with US geopolitically after what happens in the past 20 years. Not a chance. The minute US left. It’s all Russian and chinese. Then the Iraqis are going to start exact revange against who they consider traitors. (kurd, kuwaitis, Saudi) Syria and Iran would be right on their side.
    And that’s the good scenario, where Iraq as a nation hold up instead of blowing up inside out.
    If Maliki doesn’t hold up, then it’s factional civil war (everybody has guns and has reason to shoot the other guys) And with al qaeda active in Iraq (last series of bombing designed to create inter factional anger and to show government impotency) Iraq imploding in civil war is a possibility.
    whatever it is. I for one would want Iraq to stabilize in whatever form. Even if Maliki turn into Saddam lite.
    Observe Riot in Nigeria, Kenya and recent flooding in Egypt. Even the church bombing in Malaysia. Large Islamic countries will soon start turning unstable one after another. Combination of economic malaise, weak government, unresolved tension, and al qaeda preachers + terrorism.
    Iraq is a major arab country with big population. It needs a functioning government pronto before nationalism fades. (at least they got oil and can ask somebody to supply weapons and international support)
    Long term policy outlook? prevent Iraq becoming failed state. It better have a functioning government soon. Because Egypt, saudi, Nigeria, Kenya (somalia,Yemen) are all now either unstable or going to be unstable soon.
    Iraq is not afghanistan. The power that be better not try being clever and run bunch of social experiment, trial & error policy or hackeries.
    If the next double dip recession if followed with spike on price (commodity/food stuff)… Egypt, nigeria, Yemen, Kenya,…are going to blow one after another within 5 years.

  5. ked says:

    “Be nice to America or we’ll bring you democracy.”
    About time it’s over. Now, they can move on to the civil war we promised them when we took out Saddam.

  6. somebody says:

    1st I do not think the lines of interest are where they are published – read up on the history of cooperation between Iran and the US
    2nd from reading the press – which is not a good way to judge things – agreed – i get the impression that it is the US that is getting torn apart internally by people whose life style does not mix – and whose alliances are in doubt – but maybe that is what politics fundamentally is about –
    3rd – I once had an evening with a specialist who knows how to read Sumerian script – Europeans are ridiculous to look down on US-Americans because of something like 1000 years which is nothing and European experience was fully integrated anyways – and the British are just as stupidly colonialist, so Europe and the US are basically the same – do you really think there is something new to tell about human beings after 4000 years, and the world starts with you?

  7. J says:

    The very sick/twisted head of the CFR the neocon/Israel firster Richard Haas is pounding his tin pans calling for Iran ‘regime change.
    Haas would change his neocon tune if his backside was strapped to a boomlet headed for Tehran, then Mr. Haas would do a quick about face on his neocon Iran war stuff.
    It’s individuals like Haas that make me want to thrown their arses out the back end of a 130 low level as it enters Iranian airspace. Then watch their neocon roach arses scramble.
    Haas is just like the rest of the neocon/Israel firsters who promoted the Iraq war, they don’t care how many American boys/girls die for Israel’s fascist state. Haas is one more neocon who has never worn a uniform or has seen war first hand. Haas makes me sick, too bad he can’t be tried at a Nuremburg II and stuck in a jail cell for his unnecessary Iran war promotions propaganda on behalf of a foreign postage stamp called Israel.

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