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Iraq War

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First thing we do, let’s kill all mythographers (lawyerly or not): the rape of Iraq is the biggest, man-made humanitarian disaster of our times. It’s essential to keep in mind this was a direct consequence of Washington smashing international law to pieces; after Iraq, any freak anywhere can unleash preemptive war, and quote Bush/Cheney 2003... Read More
(This is the much-abridged version of a conference at the XII Seminar of Political Solidarity at the University of Zaragoza, Spain, March 27, 2012.) The early 21st century is addicted to war porn, a prime spectator sport consumed by global couch and digital potatoes. War porn took the limelight on the evening of September 11,... Read More
(Spoiler alert: this is the alternate remix of a New York Times original.) BAGHDAD - The Pentagon officially pronounced its US$3 trillion-and-counting, "war on terror"-related invasion, occupation and decimation of the Iraqi nation dead on Thursday even as the country prepared for a low-intensity Sunni-Shi'ite civil war and the Muslim world wondered whatever happened to... Read More
The neo-conservatives always contended that the United States invaded Iraq to bring “democracy” (from the barrel of a gun). Seems like if not democracy, at least the greatest hits of the US judicial system are indeed being implemented in (still occupied) Iraq; torture (as WikiLeaks has amply demonstrated) and the death penalty. Talk about liberation.... Read More
The United States lost the war in Vietnam - which, for the Vietnamese, is more appropriately known as the American War - on the ground. But Hollywood won the war on screen - displaying back-to-back masterpieces from Apocalypse Now to The Deer Hunter. Now history repeats itself as - what else - farce. The US... Read More
BEIJING – Former United States vice president Dick Cheney, ex-defense minister Donald Rumsfeld and assorted US neo-cons will have plenty of time to nurse their apoplexy. One of their key reasons to unleash the war on Iraq in 2003 was to seize control of its precious oilfields and thus shape a great deal of the... Read More
In the end, President George W Bush ended up finding his weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Munthather al-Zaidi, the 28-year-old Baghdad correspondent for the independent, anti-occupation, anti-sectarian, Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya satellite channel who sent Bush a "goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people" in the form of a flying pair of size 10s and instantly achieved... Read More
The big bang is not that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s majority Shi’ite/Kurdish 37-member cabinet in Baghdad has approved the draft of a security pact with the George W Bush (and Barack Obama) administrations allowing the US military to stay in Iraq for three more years; it’s that the 30-strong Sadrist bloc will move heaven and... Read More
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama is the man with the plan for Iraq and Afghanistan. Presidential in tone and delivery, quoting Harry S Truman and Dean Acheson, George Kennan and George Marshall - the greatest generation - Obama, in a major foreign policy speech in Washington on Tuesday, outlined what he calls... Read More
NEW YORK - It is not about the "war on terror". It is not about weapons of mass destruction. It is not about "freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people", or to the "Afghan people". It is not about "Islamofascism". It is not about a Pentagon-coined "arc of instability" from the Middle East to Central... Read More
"Operation Peace" in Sadr City in Baghdad is and will continue to be spun by the Nuri al-Maliki government - and by America corporate media - as a resounding "success" in controlling Iraqi militias, in this case the Mahdi Army of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Meanwhile, under the global radar, an invisible war in Mosul... Read More
They just can't keep from going at each other's throats. Just in time for President George W Bush's special guest appearance at the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel, his ultimate nemesis, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, unleashed another rhetorical shot across the bow as his own way of "celebrating" the anniversary. And once again... Read More
In a make-believe world where the green, green grass of the "surge" is alive with the sound of music, the George W Bush administration and US counterinsurgency ace General David Petraeus - not to mention presidential candidate Senator John McCain - keep assuring American public opinion the "surge" (now reconverted into a "pause") is working.... Read More
Future non-biased historians may well regard March 19, 2003, as a crucial mark in the annals of Western imperial arrogance. Five years later, the pre-emptive war celebratory fireworks have turned to dust. For months now Iraq has been an invisible American war. It's seldom on TV. It does not "sell". Thus, it does not exist.... Read More
The precedent of Kosovo is a terrible precedent, which will de facto blow apart the whole system of international relations, developed not over decades, but over centuries. [The Americans] have not thought through the results of what they are doing. At the end of the day it is a two-ended stick and the second end... Read More
I say this to the evil Bush - leave my country. We do not need you and your army of darkness. We don't need your planes and tanks. We don't need your policy and your interference. We don't want your democracy and fake freedom. Get out of our land. - Muqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi Shi'ite leader... Read More
"... the literature on counter-insurgency is so enormous that, had it been put aboard the Titanic, it would have sunk that ship without any help from the iceberg. However, the outstanding fact is that almost all of it has been written by the losers." - Martin van Creveld, in The Changing Face Of War, 2006... Read More
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a fine politician, knew even before he set foot in Washington on Monday that President George W Bush could not possibly have anything tangible to offer him on the explosive Turkey vs Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) dossier, apart from Pentagon aerial intelligence passed on to Turkish generals. Erdogan, although... Read More
The George W Bush administration would not flinch to betray its allies in Iraqi Kurdistan if that entailed a US "win" in the Iraq quagmire. And it would not flinch to leave its Turkish North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in the wilderness as well - if that entailed further destabilization of Iran. Way beyond the... Read More
"We have no friends other than the mountains." - Kurdish proverb With more than 100,000 troops and all those F-16s, tanks and helicopter gunships massed on the Turkish-Iraqi border, the new George W Bush greater Middle East war - that is, the Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan - is ready to roll. This "war on... Read More
The ultimate nightmare for White House/Pentagon designs on Middle East energy resources is not Iran after all: it's a unified Iraqi resistance, comprising not only Sunnis but also Shi'ites. "It's the resistance, stupid" - along with "it's the oil, stupid". The intimate connection means there's no way for Washington to control Iraq's oil without protecting... Read More
General David Petraeus, media-hungry US supreme commander in Iraq doubling as Pentagon counterinsurgency messiah, will continue to be the key pawn in the current, breathless demonization-of-Iran campaign, whose target is to manufacture consent for an American attack against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) inside Iran. Petraeus's latest is that Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan... Read More
The United States Senate in 2003 authorized President George W Bush to illegally invade and destroy Iraq. A horrendous quagmire and more than half a trillion dollars later, the Senate in 2007 wants - by 75 to 23 - to split Iraq into a (very) loose, three-region sectarian federation. And the senators - Democrats plus... Read More
Some may call it divine providence, some may call it Allah's bidding; in the end it was up to real Iraq to intervene and shatter the "surge is a success" story sold to US and world public opinion by President George W Bush and his top man in Iraq, General David Petraeus. Only hours before... Read More
After the elaborate theatrics just performed in the house of mirrors of Washington, US President George W Bush is now recommending to the nation what he told top Iraq commander General David Petraeus to recommend to him. Only those paying more attention to the botched comeback of the "fat" lip-synching Britney Spears will be fooled... Read More
In 2002, in the runup to the war against Iraq, the George W Bush administration changed the subject from its failure to destroy al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. In 2007, in the run-up to the coming war against Iran, the administration has changed the subject from its abject... Read More
PARIS - The war on Iraq has been officially erased ... in France. It has simply disappeared from the mainstream press and from the nightly news. The feat cannot be entirely attributed to the summer silly season - especially in a country where most people are entitled to at least 36 days of paid holidays... Read More
Tony Blair is no more. The now-former British prime minister, a neo-con soulmate, was destroyed by the war on Iraq. Before tendering his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II, maybe with echoes of Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger" ringing in is mind, Blair at least had the decency to apologize publicly for the times he... Read More
The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity. - W B Yeats, The Second Coming DAMASCUS - The discreet green-and-white tomb of the greatest warrior of Islam, Saladin - by the splendid Ummayad Mosque in the former seat of the caliphate - may be the ideal place to meditate on... Read More
BAGHDAD - There's a graffiti war going on in Baghdad. In Sunni neighborhoods the champions are "Saddam Hussein is a martyr" and "Muqtada [al-Sadr] is the leader of the thieves". In Shi'ite neighborhoods the favorite used to be "From Fallujah to Kufa Iraq won't be beaten down"; now "Fallujah" has been erased from the script.... Read More
BAGHDAD - From secular, well-educated Shi'ites to in-love-with-the-West Kurds, from Christians suffering ethnic cleansing to even some moderate Sunnis, Iraqis terrified by the current carnage are more and more inclined to turn to former premier Iyad Allawi as the only possible solution. "We need a strongman," said Hamoodi, a young Kurd from Sulaymaniah who got... Read More
BAGHDAD - He is a former Sunni Arab mujahid from Ramadi who until recently was fighting the US occupation. He has only a secondary education and is married with two wives. Now he is praised even by urban, secular, highly educated Shi'ites as a "conscious man", or "the kind of man we need now in... Read More
There must be some way to get out of here Said the joker to the thief There's too much confusion I can't get no relief - Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower BAGHDAD - It's noon on Sunday right in front of the Adhamiyah wall - the now infamous symbol of the Pentagon-devised Baghdad gulag.... Read More
ATTANF, on the Syria-Iraq border - The road from Damascus to the border is pure Desolation Row. Scattered nomad shepherds search rare, precious grasslands for their flocks. An incoming rickety Nissan bus from Iraq passes by, loaded with goods but carrying only four people. A pair of rusty Soviet-era missiles are transported by a slow... Read More
It was four years ago today, Field Marshal von Rumsfeld got his guns to play. A fitting way to "celebrate" the bombastic opening of the most astonishing blunder in recent military/geopolitical history would be to read Andrew Cockburn's book. The late US president Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon, a ruthless judge of character himself, already in... Read More
The Bush administration has perfected the art of fall-guy selection. The more convoluted the plot, the more credible the fall guy must be. As Lewis "Scooter" Libby was the fall guy in Washington, Premier Nuri al-Maliki will be the fall guy in Baghdad. The Baghdad conference on Saturday was a derivative talk-fest setting up three... Read More
"By 2010 we will need [a further] 50 million barrels a day. The Middle East, with two-thirds of the oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize lies." - US Vice President Dick Cheney, then Halliburton chief executive officer, London, autumn 1999 US President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney might... Read More
The massacre that occurred in Najaf, Iraq, last Sunday by now has been wildly deconstructed over the Arab press. What emerges has virtually nothing to do with the official Baghdad and Washington spin of Iraqi troops killing 250-odd heavily armed apocalyptic cultists dubbed "Soldiers of Heaven". They were said to be about to attack not... Read More
"Security is a shared destiny. If we are secure, you might be secure, and if we are safe, you might be safe. And if we are struck and killed, you will definitely - with Allah's permission - be struck and killed." - Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the new al-Qaeda video The Correct Equation. US President George... Read More
"I see the imminent death of 20,000 men, That, for a fantasy and trick of fame, Go to their graves like beds ... O, from this time forth, My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth." Hamlet, Act IV; according to White House spin part of reading-adverse President George W Bush's book list during the... Read More
Washington at large and President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in particular may apply every contortionist trick in the geopolitical book to save their skins in Iraq - and the reasons are not entirely political. In addition to the recently released report by the Iraq Study Group, any other Washington establishment report... Read More
We are in dire need of Iran's help in establishing security and stability in Iraq. - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, November 27, in Tehran As dozens of people a day (sometimes a couple of hundred a day), every single day, Sunni and Shi'ite alike, continue to be beheaded, tortured, blown up, shot, kidnapped, struck by... Read More
"Stay the course also means don't leave before the job is done. And that's ... we're going to get the job done in Iraq. And it's important that we do get the job done in Iraq." - George W Bush, October 11 Iraq is not simply a US electoral issue. It's a human tragedy of... Read More
First, a quick look at the environment ahead of Thursday's elections in Iraq. Political assassinations, party headquarters burned, abductions (all largely unreported by Western corporate media). A former prime minister, Iyad Allawi - widely known in Baghdad as "Saddam without a moustache" - saying on the record that human rights in President George W Bush's... Read More
Occupied Iraq has virtually no security, electricity, water or jobs. Last Saturday, instead of basic necessities for a decent life, Iraqis had a referendum - already suspected of massive fraud - on a constitution few have even seen. Starting on Wednesday, Iraqis, and the rest of the world for that matter, get a running soap... Read More
Iraqis desperately need security, electricity, water, food rations, health care, education, jobs. Instead they get a referendum on a constitution few of Iraq's theoretical 15.7 million voters have debated and fewer still have even seen. Why? Because the occupying power said so. So forget about the real priorities needed to make life liveable. No constitution... Read More
The Arab League sent a 10-man delegation to Baghdad this past weekend to try to drum up support for a "national reconciliation" conference in Iraq - to be held after the referendum on the draft constitution Saturday. The welcoming committee included highway guerrillas armed to the teeth. Although no Arab League members were shot, two... Read More
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous ... And having said that, all options are on the table." - President George W Bush, Brussels, February 22 BEIRUT - Just one day after the London July bombings, one remarkably named Aseem Jihad, a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil... Read More
TEHRAN - Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are crucial protagonists in the specter of a Shi'ite crescent, according to the Saudi royal family, King Abdullah of Jordan and conservative American think tanks. Once again, the facts on the ground are much more complex than a simplistic formula. Syria, although 86% Muslim, is a multiethnic and multiconfessional... Read More
TEHRAN - A specter haunts the Middle East - at least in the minds of Sunni Arabs, especially Wahhabis, as well as a collection of conservative American think tanks: a Shi'ite crescent, spreading from Mount Lebanon to Khorasan, across Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf and the Iranian plateau. But facts on the ground are much more... Read More
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