Archive for July 25th, 2007

h1

No Permanent Bases In Iraq – Perception Dictates Reality

July 25, 2007

The House passed a bill (H.R. 2929) today that seeks to ban permanent bases in Iraq:

The Iraq Study Group recommended that the United States clearly state that it does not seek permanent bases or to control Iraq’s oil.  In its final report, in December 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommended that the United States clearly state that our nation does not seek permanent bases in Iraq or to control Iraq’s oil.  It did so to help shape “a positive climate for… diplomatic efforts,” which are essential to ending the U.S. presence in Iraq and bringing greater stability to the Middle East.

A clear statement that the U.S. will not have permanent bases sends a strong signal of support for full Iraqi national sovereignty – and weakens the appeal of extremists.  The perception that the United States intends to permanently occupy Iraq and is planning to control Iraq’s oil aids insurgent groups in recruiting supporters and fuels violent activity.  A clear statement that the United States will not have a permanent presence in Iraq or control of Iraq’s oil would send a strong signal to the people of Iraq and the international community that the U.S. fully supports Iraqi efforts to exercise full national sovereignty, including taking responsibility for their own security.

Even with this bill, convincing the Iraqis is going to be an uphill battle.  According to a 2006 poll:

iraq_jan06_grph1.gifAsked whether “the US government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq or to remove all its military forces once Iraq is stabilized,” 80% overall assume that the US plans to remain permanently, including 79% of Shia, 92% of Sunnis and 67% of Kurds. Only small minorities believe that the US plans “to remove all its military forces once Iraq is stabilized” (overall 18%, Shia 21%, Sunni 7%, Kurds 28%).

It would be interesting to know how so many of them got the idea that we were there as part of some greater geopolitical strategy.  Any ideas?  Could it be because the very people who were most vocal about invading Iraq in the first place had stated a desire for “retaining forward-based forces in the region“?  Would that mean that it isn’t the Democrat’s rhetoric that’s to blame for the fierce resistance that our forces face in Iraq (as just about every righty pundit in the country wants you to believe), but rather the past rhetoric of the neocons? Or, are poll results like this just a reflection of how deep the distrust for the U.S. runs in the country? 

Update:  DownWithTyranny! has the list of Reps that voted against the bill. 

Update:  Video

h1

Iraq Plays Saudi Arabia For Asia Cup Final

July 25, 2007

After Iraq beat Vietnam, a few people were killed by gunfire during the celebration.  Today, the Iraqi team beat South Korea, and the jubilant soccer fans in Baghdad were treated to car bombs

On Sunday, the Iraqis will play neighboring Saudi Arabia for the championship in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Brace yourselves.

h1

Iraqi Insurgent Convention Postponed

July 25, 2007

There are probably hundreds of ways to spin this article, so I’ll just give it my own:  Time – Iraqi Insurgents, Together at Poolside

The convention of Iraqi insurgents was scheduled to take place Monday at the resort-like Sahara Hotel outside Damascus but, within hours of the plenary session actually starting, the Syrian government suddenly canceled the summit. However, high-level representatives of much of the Iraqi nationalist insurgency, remained at the venue informally negotiating and laying out a framework for what a post-U.S. Iraq would look like.

Late Monday evening, dozens of conference attendees — a group drawn primarily from the ranks of former military officers, Ba’athist officials, and the Sunni insurgency — gathered for a catered dinner beside the hotel’s outdoor pool. Several, including a high-ranking former military officer now overseeing Ba’athist resistance activities in his region, talked openly, if carefully, about strategy, although some asked that their names be withheld….

What types of discussions were on the agenda?

Once the majority of American troops have left, the alliance plans to throw out the constitution, dissolve the parliament, cancel all resolutions issued from the Bremer era on, and disband the existing security forces and U.S.-trained Iraqi army divisions. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad, they said, would have to close — “as in Saigon. With helicopters on the roof” said Samarai — until Washington recognized a new, resistance-led Iraqi governing council, and offered compensation to all individuals and organizations affected by the war. Under the new leadership, all Iraqi citizens who worked for or cooperated with the current, coalition-backed government would be arrested.

Of course, if you’ve been listening to Bush lately, you’d think that the blame for all our problems in Iraq can be directed toward al Qaeda.   Hey, what about al Qaeda, anyway?

Indeed, thorny organizational issues were evident. Despite the conference’s claims of national unity, attendees were overwhelmingly Sunni and mostly secular. A few smaller groups like Al Qaeda in Iraq — representing, said several delegates, a hated “foreign presence” — were not included.

In other words, this was a scheduled pow wow between Iraqis.  These aren’t people who want to attack the US, are they?  In short, they just want to run their own country their way, without American influence.  If these groups want to drive the U.S. troops out of the country and dissolve the government, certainly said government would want us to stick around and protect them, right? No? That’s weird.   All this kind of confirms what most observers already knew; the situation in Iraq is a heck of a lot more complicated than Bush would have us believe.  In fact, in reality,  it’s pretty FUBAR, and screaming “Victory!” at the top of one’s lungs isn’t going to un-FUBAR it. 

BTW- I thought I’d include another blogger’s take on the matter, since this can be so confusing:

There’s not a whole lot of common ground between “join the political process” and “dissolve the constitution”; as such, all of these guys are going to have to be killed at some point. The only question is whether the U.S. military, the IA, or the JAM will do most of the killing.

Problem solved!