Monday, January 22, 2007

New Strategy

New strategy has been announced by President Bush. Mr. Bush said in his address to the nation:
"The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together, and that as we trained Iraqi security forces we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops."
It is not a felicitous opening since Mr. Bush referred to what really happened:
"But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq -- particularly in Baghdad -- overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made."
The above invokes a query whether the new strategy will succeed or not since:
"Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause, and they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis."
What makes the President sure that these adversaries won't go any further to harm more innocents using much filthy ways? They have no morality, so nothing would restrain their atrocities.

It seems that the US administration does not comprehend what it means to be a baathist or saddamist. The Baath party, especially the saddamist wing, represents the most suitable way for losers and criminals to seize power. And through more than four decades in power, a very sophisticated system of security and intelligence services was established. Many of theses services' personnel were trained in the former soviet bloc countries, Cuba, and many other eastern & western European countries.

These services, working underground and undercover, are exploiting Al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents to keep Iraq unstable. They are ready to make use of every opportunity to infiltrate their followers into the governmental institutions to undermine the whole political process. Take the national assembly as an example; it has been unable to hold an official session for the last two months since the majority of the representatives are outside Iraq. It is one way to cripple the political process. They are even thought to exploit Al Mahdee army of Muqtada. They are ready to go as far as cooperating with Iran and even the devil to achieve their goals.

President Bush said:
"The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me."
And for the vast majority of the Iraqi people. The Iraqis are the main victims of all what's going on in Iraq.

Asking Iraqis about their opinion about President Bush's new strategy, they shrug saying 'It won't differ from the previous ones', and we will listen to Mr. Bush again saying:
"Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."
"It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq."
The Iraqis are so fatigued of more than a quarter century of wars and unfulfilled promises. Quite majority of them consider the new strategy an additional promise which will be piled up with previous ones made by the Americans and Saddam before them. Even Mr. Bush himself is not sure of what he is doing:
"…we all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in Iraq."
President Bush discovers after about four years that:
"The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital."
President Bush has committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. These troops will have a well-defined mission:
"…to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs."
The latter sentence of the above is the most difficult matter since Iraqis, as individuals, need a very large amount of 'collective mentality rehabilitation'. They are easy to be seduced into schemes against their own interests and to be intimidated by criminals especially the baathists.

Good news for the saddamists is:
"America's commitment is not open-ended."
Another good one is that the US grip might wane by November. If this grip would become so firm in the coming days, then the saddamists will withdraw and wait till November.
"To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November."
Moreover, the Democrats' opposition sounds promising for the baathists; even if they don't manage to achieve something for the time being, they would wait for the Democrats to regain power two years ahead.

The main commodity for the baathists to market is bloodshed, and Mr. Bush defined it clearly:
"Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering."
Then what? It has been years (since 2003); all what we hear are promises. On ground the situation is deteriorating day after another. The baathists are taking over neighborhoods one by one. People are fed up and not showing much interest in who is ruling. The problem is the baathists, working undercover of Islamists, do hurt the citizens. In my neighborhood the schools have been closed, because of threats, as the recent deteriorating step. Add to it the whole collapse of services and the absence of any power of the Iraqi government. The government is not capable of protecting schools and their staffs. Still, Mr. President says:
"Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities."
Another point of view one could hear says that there is no use of the American project and the Iraqis have to line up with the extremist to start:
"…building a radical Islamic empire, and launching new attacks on the United States at home and abroad."
This point of view calls for new Islamic era which should reign over the world. It is an expected outcome because of frustration people feel here.

President Bush asks an excellent question:
"Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists, or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?"
Choosing freedom needs back up. The state of law must be enforced, but Mr. Bush introduces a discouraging description:
"The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue -- and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties. The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will."
But lots of people doubt it. The last words of President's address sounds like a hope more than a decisive decision to abolish terror in Iraq.
"We can, and we will, prevail."
Finally, President Bush said in his radio address on January 13:
"To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible"
It is applicable to this post. I have no idea how to get out of all this mess. And even if I have one, it won't be the ultimate one. The most pleasing thing is no one listens to my prattle.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Iraq Study Group (I)

The Iraq Study Group issued its report. In the opening section of the report titled 'Letter from the Co-Chairs' there is a good paragraph says:
"Because of the role and responsibility of the United States in Iraq, and the commitments our government has made, the United States has special obligations. Our country must address as best it can Iraq’s many problems. The United States has long-term relationships and interests at stake in the Middle East, and needs to stay engaged."
I agree with the above. It is not right to quit unfinished job in Iraq with catastrophic consequences.

Speaking about Iraq's neighbors, it says:
"Yet Iraq’s neighbors are not doing enough to help Iraq achieve stability."
The report refers to Syria & Iran by:
"Given the ability of Iran and Syria to influence events within Iraq and their interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq, the United States should try to engage them constructively."
And suggests a way to influence the behavior of both countries by using disincentives and incentives the United States has. It is obvious that using disincentives with both countries means confrontation with the US. Needless to say, Iraq will be the suitable field for such conflict.

It is much better for the US to make Iraq as a political buffer between Iran & Syria at one side and the US at the other. There are important issues in the Middle East represent vital interests for the US. Some of them, especially concerning Iran, could be tackled through the Iraqi ally. It could be a kind of continuous check of the Iraqi government loyalty. Moreover, it would help Iraq in regaining its regional political position.
"The Iraqi government needs to show its own citizens—and the citizens of the United States and other countries—that it deserves continued support."
The report says:
"By the end of 2006, the Multi-National Security Transition Command–Iraq under American leadership is expected to have trained and equipped a target number of approximately 326,000 Iraqi security services."
Still, there is lot of danger that might emerge from the Iraqi security units. The main threat is a military coup. A matter which is most of Iraqis, and Arabs, are obsessed by. Another issue is that they might make use of skill they gain through training to fight the Americans. It is important to emphasize that improving Iraqi collective mentality should be given much attention, so that training and equipments are used in the right way.

The report recounts several challenges confronted by the Iraqi army; units' lack of leadership; lack of equipment; lack of personnel; lack of logistics & support.
A good pool of Iraqi security personnel is available now (326,000), and choosing those who meet certain criteria is possible. So, constructing elite units is preferable.

Speaking about the Iraqi police, the report says:
"It has neither the training nor legal authority to conduct criminal investigations, nor the firepower to take on organized crime, insurgents, or militias."
Such deficiency makes the Iraqis do not resort to the police since there is no use of it. Collecting bodies from the streets is the only thing the policemen are good in. Moreover, Police personnel are:
"…participating in training in order to obtain a weapon, uniform, and ammunition for use in sectarian violence."
There is another force which guards the institutions of different ministries. The Facilities Protection Service (FPS) represents 145,000 uniformed armed Iraqis. The report describes them:
"These units have questionable loyalties and capabilities. In the ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Transportation controlled by Moqtada al-Sadr the Facilities Protection Service is a source of funding and jobs for the Mahdi Army."
The security situation in Baghdad is described:
"Perpetrators of violence leave neighborhoods in advance of security sweeps, only to filter back later."
"U.S. forces can “clear” any neighborhood, but there are neither enough U.S. troops present nor enough support from Iraqi security forces to “hold” neighborhoods so cleared."
A review of "politics" introduced in the report, under the section "Assessment of the Current Situation in Iraq", one can read:
"Yet many of Iraq’s most powerful and well-positioned leaders are not working toward a united Iraq."
That is because:
"Though Prime Minister Maliki has said he will address the problem of militias, he has taken little meaningful action to curb their influence. He owes his office in large part to Sadr and has shown little willingness to take on him or his Mahdi Army."
"Sunni Arabs have not made the strategic decision to abandon violent insurgency in favor of the political process. Sunni politicians within the government have a limited level of support and influence among their own population, and questionable influence over the insurgency."
The following is not fair:
"The government sometimes provides services on a sectarian basis. For example, in one Sunni neighborhood of Shia-governed Baghdad, there is less than two hours of electricity each day and trash piles are waist-high."
Servicemen do not guarantee their safety in many neighborhoods. As an example, garbage men have been brutally shot dead in one neighborhood, though the very same individuals had been serving the neighborhood for more than fifteen years. On the same rhythm, propane gas cylinder and kerosene distributors, postmen, official employees who deliver electricity and water consumption receipts, all of them are targeted by anonymous killers. As a result, no one is ready to collect garbage from such neighborhoods. The report introduces a justification for the lack of electricity in the very following paragraph:
For instance, electricity transmission towers are downed by explosives, and then sniper attacks prevent repairs from being made."

I'll try to continue…