Tag Archives: Iraq

War for Iraq: the Middle East as a Jealous Mistress……..

  


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter When it comes to American world attention the Middle East is a jealous wife. Or maybe just a high-maintenance mistress. Ukraine and Crimea barely had a few short weeks of attention before our region reasserted its place in the sun, in the limelight of misery and hatred and blood. Its supremacy as ‘the trouble spot’ of the world:

  • Pivot to Asia? Maybe so, but you would never know it from the headlines and media coverage. Hillary Clinton came close but fell way short of the Middle East in American media coverage this past week. But that was mainly because she has yet another book out explaining her positions over the past six years.
  • Benyamin Netanyahu? Who is he: we rarely saw his name this past week in U.S. media, and what little we saw was due to the disappearance of three young Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank (the shooting of several Palestinian Arabs got very little coverage: dead Arab youths are of no interest to the West).
  • Snowden and NSA and all that? No doubt the beat goes on on that one, but all is now kosher with Merkel and the Germans.
  • Obamacare, ACA, Benghazi, and Snowden? Maybe in 2016.
  • Pervasive Chinese cyber espionage? Don’t be so rude.

Iraq: the one country the American people, and many American pundits (but not the damaged war veterans), had thought they had left behind, has reared its head again. It was weird, like going back in history. Like going back to Vietnam after 1975. As if D-Day had left some loose ends that needed to be retied a couple of years later. Suddenly Iraq has become a major American concern again. 

Wahhabi Jihadists of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or Levant), a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL or WTF and allies had blitzkrieged the Sunni parts of western Iraq, beginning with Mosul and through to Tikrit. Apparently they did it in cahoots with remnant Baathists: to the barely-concealed cheers of the former victims of the Baathists on the Gulf. Blitzkrieg is supposed to be un-Islamic, a heathen style of war only reserved for non-Muslims. Only Germans and Israelis are supposed to wage such heathen war. But the Salafi terrorists, flush with money from the Persian Gulf princes and oligarchs and volunteers from Arab and Western countries, went on a rampage. They took several Sunni towns and performed the obligatory mass killings, lining up thousands of Shi’a (and likely some Sunni) soldiers and employees of the Iraqi state, having them dig up their own mass graves, and mowing them down with very un-Islamic machine guns. In the best tradition of the German Nazi SS and their auxiliaries of World War II. 
We don’t know anymore of what else is happening now in Mosul and other places where the terrorists have taken over. There has been direct media silence for a few days since the early Wahhabi surge (not a pun). There is no first-hand media presence. Which might mean the new ghazis, the conquerors are taking the next logical step: ‘cleaning house, ethnically or otherwise’.
Cheers
mhg

Iraq: Rumors of War and Politicking at a Convenient Time……

      


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CNBC reporter this morning in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan: the Obama administration is trying to pick an alternative to Al Maliki to be Iraq’s next prime minister.
It does seem suspicious all his recent flurry of military and terrorist and political moves, the timing of it all. That the terrorists of the ISIS and Baathist remnants in northern Iraq started their assault on Iraq just after the elections. Just as they were haggling to pick a new government. Was it time to affect the politics? Was it aimed to get rid of Al Maliki? Did they coordinate it with brotherly and sisterly (and maybe motherly) neighboring despotic Arab regimes who facilitate the financing and pull their strings? You betcha…………

Saudi-backed Iyad (or is it Ayad) Allawi, the perennial quasi-Baathist candidate is out in public again. He is publicly pissed at the Americans for not making him prime minister of Iraq in 2009-10 when he could not get enough parliamentary votes to form a quasi-Baathist government. That Saudi-Qatari-UAE attempt at a political coup in Baghdad failed, as I had fatwa-d that it would. Allawi is railing at foreign (meaning Iranian) influence in the Iraqi government, even as he has been trying to get foreign powers, the U.S. and Gulf princes, to get him the job of prime minister of Iraq. His chances of ever getting the job would almost certainly require another American invasion of Iraq: that is how he got appointed to the (unelected) job last time.

 

Cheers

mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Sectarian GCC, Delusional GCC: Third Battle of Qadisiyyah, Second Battle of Karbala…….

      


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In
the year of Our Lord 15 Hijri (about 636 AD), the Muslim Arab fighters won a big victory at the Battle of Qadisiyyah in what is today’s Iraq. That opened the door for the spread of Islam to Mesopotamia and Persia and beyond.



In
September of 1980, while Iran was in revolutionary turmoil, Saddam Hussein’s army invaded the Iranian province of Khuzistan (a.k.a Arabistan). Saddam made several demands and goals for his invasion, none of which were met at the end of the war. Seeing the dire situation inside Iran, he had expected a quick victory, as did most Arabs and many in the West (even the once-venerable The Economist wrote stupidly in 1980 that Iran might become an Iraqi satrapy). Saddam got the support of all the GCC states of the Persian Gulf, moral support, propaganda support, money support, and weapons. He also got the support of all the Western powers: weapons, intelligence, even some limited military action. As well as supplies of chemical weapons and overlooking his use of WMD against Iraqi Kurds and Iranian soldiers. 
Not all Arabs sided with him: Syria, Libya, and Algeria among the Arab states, and a faction of the PLO, did not side with Saddam. The late King Hussein of Jordan, the man who lost Jerusalem and the whole West Bank to the Israeli IDF in one single day, even went to the front and fired some symbolic shots at the Iranians. Iraqi propaganda and Persian Gulf supporters called the war Qadisiyyah of Saddam. In the end Iraq came out of this war a financially broken country. That was when he turned his guns against the Gulf people who had stood by his side. He invaded Kuwait in August 2, 1990 and the rest is history.


Now
we have the Wahhabi terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL) sweeping across northern Iraq. The same great Gulf GCC
tribal sectarian minds that cheered Saddam before 1990 are now cheering ISIS. Many of them are claiming that ISIS is really a nationalist rebirth of the Baath Party, apparently a softer Iraqi Baath Party that can now get along with the absolute tribal rulers of the Gulf. Maybe it is not the same Baath Party that invaded Kuwait and threatened the terrified Saudi princes until the Americans showed up and chased them out. Now they claim they are cheering for the disenfranchised Sunnis of Iraq, the 20% who have not reconciled to losing power. 
Diehard
sectarians in the Persian Gulf region are coming out of the closet, out in the open; not that they were ever well hidden. From tribal academics to media stars to liberal-Wahhabi-men-and-women-about-town to the clownish chief of the Dubai Police Dhahi Khalfan, they are all in justification mode, using crass sectarian terms. The same crass sectarian terms they used in the 1980s until Saddam’s tanks moved toward the south in 1990.
Now they see this new turmoil in Iraq as a third Battle of Qadisiyyah, or maybe as a second Battle of Karbala, as the Wahhabi invaders in Iraq are hinting at.
 

It
is as if on my Gulf they have not learned any lesson from the past few decades. It is as if delusion is like an heirloom handed down from foolish fathers to foolish sons and daughters in the GCC countries of the Gulf.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Economics of Terrorism in Iraq and Syria: Follow the Money if You Can………

      


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“The extremist group that is threatening the existence of the Iraqi state was built and grown for years with the help of elite donors from American supposed allies in the Persian Gulf region……….. But in the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime. “Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.”…………..”


The money
, it all comes down to the money. Any army or militia needs a source of money: zealotry alone is useless. God will surely not help an army or militia that is flat broke. Thousands of Wahhabi terrorists in Iraq and Syria would not function long without money, a lot of money. It is not money from captured oil fields in Iraq and Syria. It is not from taxes in impoverished western Iraqi regions. It is not locally printed money. It is not from ransoms paid for hostages: most of the hostages are poor pilgrims or soldiers who can’t afford a ransom. It is hard currency, mainly U.S. dollars. I have posted on this in the past, more than once. Yet nobody seems able to discover the exact source and route of the money. Correction: we can guess the sources of the money, but nobody wants to come out and say it publicly and do something effective about it. And who has that kind of money, to spend many millions without having to get anyone’s approval?

In the case of Kuwait the writer exaggerates: it has been the pro-Wahhabi elements of the private sector that aid and abet the Jihadis, rather than the government. In the case of Qatar and Saudi Arabia (and possibly the UAE) the situation is different: the princes and potentates started throwing money and weapons at the Jihadis in Syria early on. Some of the same princes and potentates are still at it, financing the terrorists even as official policy seems to be against it. Instability in Iraq has always been part of the strategy of the princes and oil potentates.………… 

Here
is what I posted one year ago about The Economics of Jihad in Syria
:
“Local Kuwait media report that the tribal Islamist opposition has called for a mobilization for war in Syria (they called it for Jihad in Syria). A bunch of former opposition tribal Islamist MP’s held a sort of tribal charity ball but stag, a large gathering of men to start a campaign to raise money to equip and arm 12 thousand ghazis (ghazi is Arabic for invader, raider, meaning here Jihadi) for Syria. They have called for every family (that listens to them) to equip and arm one Mujahid to go to Syria to fight. One of them suggested that 700 Dinars (about US $2400) would prepare and send a Jihadis to battle in Syria. (No idea if this amount covers one or multiple multiple wives). That of course does not cover the current cost of operations: food, bullets, shelter, bribes, booze, weed, women, etc. All that minus current revenues: whatever can be looted as war booty or obtained as ransom for hostages the FSA and Jihadist militias like to take (they are avid hostage-takers and are still holding two Christian bishops and two other priests hostage, in addition to many Alawis and Shi’as). Some of the well-heeled tribal Islamists at the gathering contributed new non-Islamist cars. One gave a new heathen-made Chevrolet Suburban, another donated a new infidel-made Mercedes-Benz. One former member of parliament got a family to pay for the arming and equipping 28 ghazis (raiders or Jihadis) for Syria. Another former member deposited funds to cover three Jihadis………………”

If $2,400 will send one terrorist fighter to Syria or Iraq. One thousand jihadis would cost $ 2.4 million (as a starting fixed cost, not counting current expenses). Add all other expenses over time, and you do the rest of the math. Take into consideration that the $2,400 might just be a ‘teaser’, a hook, to get things started.

Cheers

mhgm.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

 

ISIS, ISIL, WTF: Mystery of the New Black Map of the Wahhabi Caliphate………

      


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One
overlooked detail of the recent noise about ISIS (or is it ISIL) and its threat to all of Iraq has been overlooked. The new black map of their proposed Wahhabi Caliphate ominously includes Kuwait. Kuwait, as everyone knows (well as many know) was occupied by the Baathist Iraqi regime in 1990-991, and declared the 19th province. Until American forces and some other Western allies liberated it during what is officially called the Persian Gulf War.

There
have been hints, repeated in Arab media, that the ISIS (or ISIL) now may include former Baathist generals from the old Iraqi Army, the one that refused to defend Baghdad in 2003.

Cheers

mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Myth of the Iraqi Baathist Army Endures……

      


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Whenever
things heat up in Iraq, as they are these days, most Western and Arab media types and ‘analysts’ fall back on an old and mistaken argument. That argument is: that disbanding the old Baathist army was a big mistake by the Bush administration. Oh, yes, if only the old Baathist army ‘was not disbanded’. Yet it is arguable how and when the old army was ‘disbanded’ and by whom.

During
the start of the last Iraq war in 2003, the Iraqi army vanished. Its men just shed their military uniforms and melted away. They deserted rather than defend Iraq’s borders. They did not even defend their capital Baghdad, which lay open for the coalition invaders (or liberators, if you will). The army that tormented its own native people could not face foreign forces, sadly a typically common Arab phenomenon.

The
old Iraqi army vanished, deserted at the start of the war, long before Paul Bremer arrived in Baghdad. The myth that Bremer made a mistake by “disbanding” it continues. The myth is dusted up periodically by media and analysts and pundits and many Arab apologists, then shelved until the next Iraq crisis. 

Yet, with or without Bremer, would the Shi’as and Kurds of a new Iraq have accepted continued domination by Saddam Hussein’s Baathist army? The same army that was so good at gassing and repressing them?
In fact Bremer just formalized a fact that existed: the old Iraqi army had deserted, refused to fight, and effectively disbanded itself.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Jihadist Blitzkrieg in Iraq: Unsustainable Un-Islamic Warfare……

      


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“Militants stormed the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Wednesday and kidnapped 48 people including the head of the diplomatic mission, a Turkish government official said. “48 Turks including the consul, staff members, guards and three children were abducted,” the official told Agence France Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity. “All are doing well,” the official said. The kidnappings came a day after the Mosul consulate said fighters from the powerful jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized 28 Turkish truck drivers. In a spectacular blow to the Shiite-led government in Iraq, jihadists spearheaded by ISIL on Tuesday seized Mosul, its surrounding region of Nineveh and areas of Kirkuk and Salaheddin province…………Militants also took control of the Iraqi city of Tikrit and freed hundreds of prisoners, police said, the second provincial capital to fall in two days………”



The
Jihadists have got some more oil fields under their control now. Let’s us see if the Turks will buy their oil. They have also apparently taken Tikrit, hometown and graveyard of the late non-lamented president Saddam Hussein. He has been freed, for the time being. Now if Iraqis settle back on reelecting the incompetent Al Maliki again as prime minister, they are in for a miserable year or two, and they would probably mostly deserve it. 

Even if, as I know, this Jihadist blitzkrieg and its gains are not sustainable. Eventually they will be rolled back, but eventually also sounds ominous. 
Come to think of it, Blitzkrieg is supposed to be un-Islamic, a heathen style of war only reserved for non-Muslims. Only Germans and Israelis are supposed to wage such heathen war: they have proven that they know how to use the panzers and tanks, we only know how to use microphones and television studios (and Twitter). Blitzkrieg is supposed to be kosher for them but definitely not halal for us. After all it sounds both German and Yiddish, hence it is haram

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Tale of Three Spring Elections: Al Assad, Al Sisi, Al Maliki, and (Al) Rouhani……..


      


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“Tens of thousands of Assad supporters flocked to the hilltop embassy in a town south-east of the Lebanese capital to cast ballots, snarling traffic outside, keeping schoolchildren trapped in buses for hours and forcing some schools to cancel scheduled exams. Lebanon has more than a million Syrian refugees. “With our souls, with our blood, we will sacrifice for you, Bashar” and “long live Syria!” were some of the chants heard from many in the crowd. Despite the carnage in Syria, the country’s president has retained significant support among large sections of the population, particularly among Christians, Alawites and other religious minorities……………”


Comparing
Middle East elections and regional and international reactions to them can be enlightening and educational:

  • Remember when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election as president of Iran in 2009? He won with only about 57% of the vote, allegedly with some “irregularities”. There was a huge media and political circus from Riyadh through London and Paris all the way to Washington and New York. Even absolute tribal ruling families from Riyadh through Doha to Manama and Abu Dhabi lamented the sorry state of democracy in Iran. It was about several weeks of “tsk tsk”. Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opined publicly that Iran was now a “military dictatorship” (she was talking about Iran and not about Egypt or China). When Rouhani won his election in 2013 it was a different story. 
  • Back to Egypt and her perpetually funny non-elections under both Mubarak and Sisi (not under Morsi: he won a close election and fairly, maybe because the Mubarak bureaucracy was still running Egypt and tried to lose him the election). Now Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi apparently unofficially has his 98% victory (Al Ahram early estimates), in true Arab style (not as perfect as North Korean style, but close).
  • On to Syria. The cheeky Bashar Al Assad is also running in his own election in Syria, but he has more opponents on the ballot than Al Sisi. The shocking thing may be that percentage voter turnout among Syrians is probably much higher than in Egypt: that is what it looks like now. Even Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, most of them Sunnis, are voting heavily, no doubt most of them for Al Assad whose days are supposedly numbered. The media pictures from refugee camps and from Beirut and Amman and other places show long lines of Syrian exiles voting for the man whose actions supposedly made them refugees. Which is puzzling, given that they are allegedly supposed to be eager for the Al Saud and Al Thani and Al Hollande and Al McCain and a bunch of Al Others to liberate their country for democracy. 
  • Meanwhile Al Sisi, the newest dictator on the bloc and his henchmen have tried to extend voting time and threaten people to vote in order to avoid embarrassing low turnout.
    When it is all over we will have the expected predictable results, with Al Sisi matching or perhaps outdoing Mubarak in his “victory” margin in the upper nineties. Early results claim he won by nearly 98% but still less than Kim Jon Un’s victory margin and less than the Saudi King’s margin.
  • The Western powers and others will sigh of relief and welcome the new “democratic” order in Egypt, except that it is an old order, actually older than the old order in Syria. And it is also no more democratic than the one in Syria. 
  • Then there is divided Iraq, which is beset with Wahhabi terrorist bombings almost every day, yet it manages to complete its elections. They are imperfect and tinged with both sectarian and tribal prejudices, but they don’t seem to need to coerce and threaten people to vote.


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com