Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Self-fulfilling prophecy: ‘Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq inspiring Taliban attacks in Afghanistan’

August 23, 2008

[Wreckage from the July car bombing at the Indian Embassy in Kabul ]

Comment: Fruits of of the Iraq war — hint: it’s not the export of freedom, democracy or stability across the region. If there’s any connection between Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s this:

(Daily Times) — “The emergence of more dramatic attacks, reaping larger casualties, reflects experience gained from insurgent battlefields such as Iraq, said Afghan analyst and writer Waheed Mujda.

“There are lots of people coming from Iraq to share their experiences with Taliban. It’s Al Qaeda which designs the attack and the locals who implement it,” he told AFP. Taliban commanders had warned at the beginning of the year they would intensify attacks, Mujda said. “They were saying that they would carry out more suicide attacks and expand their activities to new areas to areas near Kabul. Now we see that they did what they had said,” he said…” Click for full article

(Robert Fisk also argues this point in his sobering article on the rise of suicide bombers)


John Mccain’s track record on Iraq

June 12, 2008

[A casual stroll to the market, mingling with the locals]

Comment: Who but politically naive Americans (with apparently short memories) take John Mccain for an Iraq expert? Not to be critical or anything, but will somebody please tell me how a man with this track record on Iraq sells himself successfully to almost half of the country as the only candidate with enough foreign policy experience to get us out of the mess he helped create, in addition to being wrong on nearly every one of his predictions? The section below is taken from Mission Accomplished!, by the founders of the Institute of Expertology, a group which surveys expert opinion. They did an in depth study on the Iraq “experts,” and here is what they found from, among others, John Mccain, the “foreign policy expert” of the U.S. Senate… Click here for their full article in The Nation

How would American troops be greeted? “I believe…that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” (March 20, 2003)

Did Saddam Hussein have a nuclear program that posed an imminent threat to the United States? “Saddam Hussein is on a crash course to construct a nuclear weapon.” ( October 10, 2002)

Will a war with Iraq be long or short? “This conflict is… going to be relatively short.” (March 23, 2003)

How is the war going? “I would argue that the next three to six months will be critical.” (September 10, 2003)

How is it going (almost two months later, from the war’s “greatest critic”)? “I think the initial phases of [the war] were so spectacularly successful that it took us all by surprise.” (October 31, 2003)

Is this war really necessary? “Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war.” (August 30, 2004)

How is it going? (Recurring question for the war’s “greatest critic”) “We will probably see significant progress in the next six months to a year.” (December 4, 2005)

Will the President’s “surge” of troops into Baghdad and surrounding areas that the senator had been calling for finally make the difference? “We can know fairly well [whether the surge is working] in a few months.” (February 4, 2007)

‘McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq’

March 15, 2008

(Mccain on the march to victory. Whatever that means)

At first I thought Mccain was running on the status quo of current U.S. foreign policy. I was wrong, he’s worse.

(Bloomberg) — John McCain is at least as determined as George W. Bush to stay the course in Iraq and more confrontational than the president on foreign policy issues ranging from Russia and China to North Korea. “This is a man who hasn’t seen a country he doesn’t want to bomb or invade,” said Ivo Daalder, a former National Security Council aide in the Clinton administration who has advised Democrat Barack Obama in his run for the White House. By emphasizing his more moderate approach on detainee policy and climate change, the former naval aviator has been able to cloak his more hawkish position on non-proliferation, China and Russia,” said Daalder...” Click for full article

‘Chuck Norris the only WMD in Iraq, say U.S. troops’

March 11, 2008

(Chuck Norris touring Iraq)

(Reuters) — Hollywood action star Chuck Norris, known for his martial arts prowess and tough-guy image, has become a cult figure among the U.S. military in Iraq and an unlikely hero for some in Iraq’s security forces. A small cardboard shrine is dedicated to Norris at a U.S. military helicopter hub in Baghdad, and comments lauding the manliness and virility of the actor have been left on toilet walls across Iraq and even in neighboring Kuwait, soldiers say. The fastest way to a man’s heart is with Chuck Norris‘s fist,” reads one message at the shrine, which consists of a signed photo of the actor surrounded by similar statements. “Chuck Norris puts the laughter in manslaughter,” reads one and “Chuck Norris divides by zero,” reads another… Click for full article

Syria to Close Iraq Border, Send Back Refugees

October 21, 2007


(Bassem Tellawi/Associated Press)

Friends of mine who were in Syria over the summer tell me that the flow of Iraqi refugees has caused significant strain on the country. For example, by raising demand, the cost of goods has gone up in general, and the country’s electrical system has struggled to cope with power demand. Thus it’s not uncommon for multiple power black outs to occur over the course of an average day, effecting businesses of every sort and disrupting daily life. Levels of crime and prostitution, borne of desperation, have also risen significantly. That said, Iraqi refugees have now become a favorite scapegoat and receive blame for all of Syria’s problems to an absurd degree, as though many of these problems didn’t exist before the refugees arrived. If the new rules ordering Iraqi refugees out of the country are strictly enforced, Syria may have to return to blaming Israel for its problems, tried and true.

(New York Times) — Long the only welcoming country in the region for Iraqi refugees, Syria has closed its borders to all but a small group of Iraqis and imposed new visa rules that will legally require the 1.5 million Iraqis cuqrrently in Syria to return to Iraq.The change quietly went into effect on Oct. 1. Syrian officials have often threatened to stem the flow of refugees over the past eight months, but until now have backed down after pleas from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

For more than a year, 2,000 to 4,000 Iraqis have fled into Syria every day, according to United Nations officials. On the last four days that the border remained open, the officials said, 25,000 Iraqis crossed into Syria.

“The door is now closed to Iraqis in every direction,” said Sybella Wilkes, a spokeswoman here for the United Nations refugee agency.

It is unclear whether Syria will enforce the rules for the Iraqis already in the country. United Nations officials believe Syria is likely to continue its practice of not deporting citizens of other Arab countries whose immigration status is illegal…