Recently in Iraq War: News & Analysis Category

Can Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Unite Iraq?

Can Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi unite Iraq? The New York Times attempts to answer the question in a July 4, 2016, post headlined ISIS Bombing in Baghdad Casts Doubt on Iraqi Leader’s Ability to Unite. Anyone who has followed the War in Iraq during the past thirteen years will likely conclude that the answer is no.

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The Guardian’s view on war in Iraq…

The Guardian of London told its readers in a July 4, 2016, editorial: “We remember the Battle of the Somme as a futile and bloody disaster: around 300,000 men were killed over a period of six months. Casualties were almost evenly divided: 165,000 Germans may have died, and 145,000 English and French troops; all to shift the frontline six miles across the mud. The news of the latest car bomb in Baghdad, where at least 150 people were killed as they filled the evening streets for an Iftar meal in the middle of Ramadan, is reminder that the 13 years’ war that followed our invasion there has killed as many people – most of them civilians – as died on the allied side at the Somme.” Read it here.

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Al Arabiya News: Iraq Asks U.N. For Urgent Help

Al Arabiya News reported in a dispatch dated June 27, 2014 that, “Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari (in photo below), in a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, appealed for urgent support and recognition of the growing threat of the insurgency in his country.” See Iraqi Foreign Minister2Exclusive: Iraq’s FM appeals to U.N. in letter.”

According to Al Arabiya News, “The four-page letter was obtained exclusively by Al Arabiya News Channel’s New York Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj and shows Baghdad’s increasing concerns about the insurgency.”

“In it, Zebari stressed that Iraq faces dangerous threats by several international terrorist organizations and hence is seeking the support of the international community and world powers.”

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U.S.’ Mid-East Allies Should Forge Own Destinies

Sarwar A. Kashmeri, an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Norwich University, and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Association, offers a logical suggestion for dealing with the military crisis in Iraq, which has brought Bush Administration neo-conservatives out of the woodwork to defend the mess they made with the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq in 2003. Former U.S. Vice-President Richard Cheney and other war advocates, who appear to be re-writing the history of their unjust war in Iraq, blame U.S. President Barack Obama for president_official_portrait_hiresthe rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They want him to send more than the 300 military advisors dispatched to Iraq to stiffen the spine of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s military. Numerous media reports say some of Iraq’s military units laid down their arms, doffed their uniforms and fled when confronted by ISIS forces.

Mr. Obama withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, and has vowed not to commit troops to the current sectarian conflict. Will he change his mind? It remains to be seen.

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, “suggests that most Americans back some of Mr. Obama’s approaches to the crisis in Iraq, including majority support for the possibility of drone strikes,” The Times reported on June 23, 2014. “But,” The Times noted, “the poll documents an increasing lack of faith in the president and his leadership, and shows deep concern that further intervention by the United States in Iraq could lead to another long and costly involvement there.”

Carrie Dann, a national political writer for NBCNews.com, reported June 24, 2014, that:

A divided nation finally agrees on something overwhelmingly: the war in Iraq was simply not worth fighting.

Seventy-one percent of Americans now say that the war in Iraq “wasn’t worth it,” a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll shows, with skepticism about the lengthy war effort up substantially even in the last 18 months.

Just 22 percent now believe the 2003 war effort was worthwhile. See “Not Worth It: Huge Majority Regret Iraq War, Exclusive Poll Shows.”

So, how can Mr. Obama achieved his objectives, which is to halt ISIS’ impressive advances in Iraq, shore up the Iraqi government and keep the country from fragmenting along sectarian lines?

Mr. Kashmeri's suggestion in an article in the June 24, 2014, edition of The Huffington Post headlined “Time for America's Middle East Allies to Forge Their Own Destinies” deserves consideration. He notes:

Baghdad is 900 miles from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 500 miles from Amman, Jordan; 300 miles from Kuwait, and 1000 miles from Ankara, Turkey, countries that are allies of the United States, and armed to the teeth with American weapons. With over 700,000 soldiers, 6000 tanks, 2000 warplanes, and some 5000 conventional and rocket launched artillery pieces between them they vastly outnumber and outgun the forces of the so-called Independent State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that is determined to set up a medieval brutal Caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.

If these heavily armed American allies that are minutes away from the killing fields of Iraq choose not to step in and rectify the rapidly unfolding chaos in their midst, why should the United States, some 7000 miles from Iraq spill its blood and treasure in another futile quest to remake the Middle East for them? A futile quest that has over the last decade chewed up the minds and bodies of 56,000 brave American soldiers, including some 4,700 killed.

Mr. Kashmeri said, “Over a trillion dollars have been spent over the last 12 years in the disastrous 2003 American invasion of Iraq and its attempt to remake the Middle East. Estimates are that a similar amount will be required over the next two decades to care for the American soldiers who have thankfully survived the war in Iraq and returned to their anguished families.”

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Obama’s Instincts About Syria and Iraq

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson asserts in a June 16, 2014, column that, U.S. “President (Barack) Obama’s instincts about Iraq and Syria have been sound from the beginning: Greater U.S. engagement probably cannot make things better but certainly can make them worse, both for the people of the region and for our national interests.”

According to Mr. Robinson,“What’s happening in the Middle East is the erasure of artificial borders drawn by French and British diplomats almost a century ago. Engagement seems to mean that today’s great powers, led by the United States, should enforce those old borders or impose new ones. Why should anyone think this is a recipe for stability?”

For more, please see “Obama got it right on Iraq.”

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Curbing Internet Access in Iraq Won’t Stop ISIS

“The Iraqi government moved Friday (June 13, 2014) to block access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in a bid to disrupt the social media tools deployed by insurgents (from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ) as they have swept through the country in a bold drive toward Baghdad,” according to Washington Post tech writer Craig Timberg. See “Iraq tries to censor social media to disrupt ISIS communication, but its success is limited.”

Mr. Timberg said “…the initiative ran into a hard reality of warfare in the 21st century:Losing physical ground means losing control of cyberspace as well.”

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