24.10.11

Iraqi civil war and lessening American involvement.

http://news.yahoo.com/conflicted-iraqis-face-future-without-us-troops-175816880.html

American troops will be homeward bound from Iraq soon enough.
Across the country there was a strong sense of disbelief. The Americans, having spent hundreds of billions of dollars, lost nearly 4,500 troops' lives and built up sprawling bases as big as many Iraqi cities, would never really leave, many Iraqis thought. Some celebrated the exit of foreign occupiers and the emergence of real sovereignty. But there was also an apprehension, almost a sense of resignation, that things will get worse.
Though greatly reduced from the depths of near civil war from 2006 to 2008, shooting and bombings rattle Iraqis daily. Significantly all the elements from those darkest days remain: al-Qaida militants, Shiite militias, Sunni insurgents. Resentment still simmers among the Sunni Muslim minority over domination by the Shiite majority, Kurds in the north still hold aspirations of breaking away. Despite years of promises of better government services, most of the country gets by on a few hours of electricity a day.
...The impression of the U.S. as all-powerful has always permeated Iraqi society, leaving many Iraqis assuming that the decision was purely an American one instead of an Iraqi choice.
"The withdrawal announcement is a message to the Iranians to come and take over Iraq. The Iraqis are the real losers here because they have replaced the U.S. occupation with Iranian occupation," said Adel al-Dulaimi, a Sunni from northern Baghdad. 
 The elected leadership of Iraq (or lack thereof, ho-hum) has decided to support President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria in his violent and brutal crackdown on the Syrian version of the Arab Spring of 2011. The elected leadership of Iraq has time and again frustrated American efforts at stopping the baleful influence of sectarian thugs, Iranian-tied groups and various religionist paramilitaries. What more evidence do you really need that the Iraqis need to finally stand up and hold themselves and their leaders to account? What more do you really need before you start blaming the situation in Iraq less on the current American President - who inherited the mess from his gung-ho, neo-conservative and not so smart predecessor?

Who's to blame here? Who are the real victims? Who benefited from an ill-advised invasion of Iraq to get one guy?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_playing
"Victim playing (also known as playing the victim or self-victimization) is the fabrication of victim-hood for a variety of reasons such as to justify abuse of others, to manipulate others, a coping strategy or attention seeking."
 No one wants to be responsible. Everyone wants sympathy. "We're good people doing our best. It's really beyond our control, and if it wasn't for <insert scapegoat> doing <this or that> then everything would be much better."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cui_bono
Cui bono ("To whose benefit?", literally "as a benefit to whom?", a double dative construction), also rendered as Cui prodest, is a Latin adagethat is used either to suggest a hidden motive or to indicate that the party responsible for something may not be who it appears at first to be.
Commonly the phrase is used to suggest that the person or people guilty of committing a crime may be found among those who have something to gain, chiefly with an eye toward financial gain. The party that benefits may not always be obvious or may have successfully diverted attention to a scapegoat, for example.
Asking solely "who benefits" is a fool's errand in international politics. People make mistakes, or go to war on bad information, or due to internal domestic processes. Arguably the greatest beneficiaries of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Al-Qaeda. So therefore Iran is behind 9/11? No, sorry. Things don't work that way.

People talk. If there's a big operation then there'll be a lot of people involved. People leave traces. People talk. Word gets out. Unless you're talking very small organizations in environments where there are no electronic footprints or paper trails, like 1950's CIA, maybe. If the US can't even stop one single person from leaking 250,000 diplomatic cables, do you really thing we have what it takes to keep a massive self-inflicted 9/11 operation under wraps?

Point is this: Iran is not behind everything that happens in Iraq. Neither is anyone else. It's a huge murky political and military situation with porous borders to the East, West, South and North. You have massive fault-lines in the Sunni-Shia schism. You have racism and ancient hatred. Kurds in the North being invaded by Turkey. Problems in the West and smuggling in the East, along with various pro- or anti-Iranian establishment groups. Lack of education. 50% of the population (women) being kept out of power and more or less dis-enfranchised. Religious fanatics. Political gridlock. A system that for millennia has revolved around family, tribe and patronage.

Good luck changing that in a decade. Won't happen. You're better off expecting a huge mess getting slowly better as Facebook and Google and Twitter gradually saturate society until people start figuring out that killing each other over silly stuff is, ...well, silly.

In the meantime, how much do you want to blame the Americans? And who among the Americans? How about Codename: CURVEBALL. How about Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld and W.? None of these people are in power anymore. The UN pulled out. The Europeans are too busy cheering on Wikileaks and criticizing to put in any real re-construction work. The Chinese are just waiting for an opportune moment to make a lot of money. Al Qaeda know they have a huge propaganda victory coming, but then they'll gradually lose support as people discover different ways of thinking via open newspapers and the internet.

And how much do you want to blame the Iraqis? "It's not my fault!" is not an uncommon refrain here. People feel powerless and want to be seen as innocent, good-hearted victims. Yet after a few elections, is it really still the Americans' fault? After episodes like Iraqi police leadership buying "magic wands" for $20 million that supposedly detect explosives and contraband by "electric fields."

More see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADE_651

At some point you have to start looking at cultural and educational and religious motivating factors for why Iraq is such a messed-up place right now, just like you can't forever go on to blame the foreign colonial powers for the Pakistan-India conflict or the situation in Africa. Sooner or later you have to accept that the indigenous culture and the choices of the people living there, does have an effect on their situation.

It's the age-old dilemma of the conservative saying life is fundamentally fair - that you are a reflection of how much work you put in, and the bleeding-heart liberal saying things are unfair and we must think of the little people - they were disadvantaged from birth and are a product of their society, they're not really at fault with the deck stacked against them.

Where's the truth? Probably somewhere in between. But the further you get away from the real serious mistakes of CURVEBALL (a shame 90% of the five people reading this won't know what that codename refers to - see Wikipedia) of W. and the WMDs and the cherry-picked intelligence reports and the neo-con old grudge-match from the previous Iraq War - the further you get from that, the closer to a "personal responsibility" model of Iraq you get. Eventually Iraq will be a reflection of the Iraqis. You make your own destiny.

Has a bunch of knob-headed Americans screwed things up for you? Sure. But don't forget to say thanks to CURVEBALL and your old man Saddam. Hey, get organized and fix your ****. We have enough of our own problems. As far as your leaders - well, you elected them. Not terribly perfect elections, but that political landscape is more fair by the year.

It's about time the Iraqis took some responsibility for the situation in their own country. Lord knows America has enough of its domestic problems, with guns and drugs rampant.

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