Occasional News and comments on the situation in Post-Saddam Iraq by an Iraqi-American living in Texas
She's wrong, you know. All of the good people have not left Iraq. She and her family are still there.But it is a sad statement that they feel that way.
Lynnette In Minnesota ate my hamster!
There's really no excuse for the botched job we made of the occupation. One thing's sure, none of the still oppressed Arabs in the region are particularly eager for us to come ‘liberate’ them.
Here's another perspective review of Iraq, ten years after. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯And, as a side note on American politics:It seems the House Republicans are rethinking things. They let Obama maneuver the ‘debt-ceiling’ vote out behind the expected confrontations on the sequester (which we did not manage to avoid) and also out behind the ‘continuing resolution’ which they're working on right now. (Which ‘continuing resolution’ will authorize government spending at levels which exceed incoming tax revenues; i.e. they're working on running up more new debt obligations.) And now they're seriously considering following that whole thing up with another manufactured fiscal crisis. I kid you people not.They're seriously trying to figure out a way to threaten another financial crisis over the ‘debt-ceiling’ vote. It won't be easy for them to pull of another fiscal crisis without wholly owning it themselves, but they're gonna try real hard to get there again.This is a level of fiscal and political irresponsibility that simply staggers my mind. After Obama had managed to maneuver them off of that sort of brinkmanship, they're trying to figure out a way to get back to crisis government all over again.(You asked once, Marcus, if those clowns could really be serious ‘bout that. Here's your answer; hell yes they're serious.)
Thanks for the review of Iraq, Lee. I've printed it out and will read it later.Regarding American politics, I see Michelle Bachmann has turned up again. She made CNN last night. *sigh* Listening to her circle around and avoid the questions she was being asked reminded me of an old time snake oil salesman. Very oily.
The video in this post is sad, very sad.Lee, thanks for the FT-link. That was a long and interesting read.One thing I noticed though was this:"[the first days since the fall off the Baath] These were the days when, for the first time, the Shia marched freely on the main roads leading to their holy sites in Karbala, a human tidal wave determined to experience a ritual that had been denied to them in the past.]I have a few questions, mainly for Zeyad [if he's here]:1. Did Saddam actually prevent the Shia population from marching on Karbala before the war in 2003? That was never my impression. I know he was suspicious of any shia-led revolt against him but I thought he still had an understanding with the main shia clergy that so long as they stuck to religion only they could celebrate as they saw fit, but that if they tried at national politics he'd crush them. Or am I wrong?2. Baghdad has surely changed from the "worst days" in 2006-2007 and some of the walls have come down. But what about neighborhoods such as Adhamiya? I recall it was once a prosperous and fairly Sunni part of town that for some time was completely sealed off and where the insurgency was strong. Is that neighborhood now open? Is it "safe" there?3. Now we, in the western press, hear only of the big bombings, and only if they are really big. Those are almost always attrbuted to AQI. But what about all the other militias? Are there "sunni" (or possibly Baath) militias still active who are not with AQI? Annd AQI, are they ramping up or shrinking? What of the "awakening" forces? Are the shia militias still active? What of the shims between the Badr Brigades and JAM? What's Moktada's standing?I know it's a lot to ask but if you could find the time to update on these matters I'd find it most interesting. There's nearly nothing in the western press now but tidbits about "x number of bombs killed y number of people". Or perhaps being in the US you are also in the dark about these matters? That'd be interesting too.The last question would be about you personally since you shared some a while back but we haven't heard much since. Reconciled with the family? Job situation? Etc? Share only if you feel like it.
Lee: "You asked once, Marcus, if those clowns could really be serious ‘bout that. Here's your answer; hell yes they're serious."I can only hope they fail then.It's a strange thing here in Sweden to say wether you're "right" or "left" when it comes to foreign, especially US politics. Here I'd be right, but there I'd be left, and in neither place it'd be a matter of complete agreement with the side I chose.
"I see Michelle Bachmann has turned up again."She's a blight on the political landscape if ever there was one. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ "I can only hope they fail then."I will predict their probable failure here. It's enough of a danger that I thought it worth mentioning they're gonna try hard to go for it again, but only just barely enough of a danger. That's gonna be a long, hard row for them to hoe. I don' see ‘em getting to the end of it. "…and in neither place it'd be a matter of complete agreement with the side I chose."Notwithstanding that Petes called me a ‘shill’ for Obama (Petes @ 7:44 PM), I have some disagreements with some of his policies. Some of those disagreements are quite substantial. However, those subjects hardly ever come up here. Economic policies are of overriding interest to me these days, and on the subject of economics, the Republicans are actually believing their own faerie tales these days. My disagreements with Obama's economic policies pale by comparison.
Bah! Missed the last TWO posts by Zeyad completely :-((Btw, that Freddie Starr has been a fake and an impostor for many months now. If it had been me I'd have posted serious hamster news and not that trivia.)
Lee: "Notwithstanding that Petes called me a ‘shill’ for Obama (Petes @ 7:44 PM), I have some disagreements with some of his policies. Some of those disagreements are quite substantial."I'm always suspicious of people who buy into any political party completely, unless they are in fact in leading positions of that party and are the ones making the policy. Regular folks who defend their chosen political party no matter what are IMO often guided by ideology, or a need to portray themselves as belonging to one certain ideology, and not by reality. If the ideology change their opinions change by default it often seems. They seem like sheep who are herded in a certain direction without really thinking for themselves.
Congress has passed a new ‘continuing resolution’ that'll keep the government funded at post-sequester rates (or, close to it; they tinkered with the accounting a little bit and found a little money to spend, but not much). This will carry us through September, and then we're back to the customary fiscal year from October to September, like in the old days. Most of the tinkering had to do with extending the sequestration cuts out over a whole year, which means they'll only have seven months actually subject to the sequestration before it's time to do a new budget for the next fiscal year.I wonder though, the Republicans were denied a grand, white-knuckles game of chicken over even more spending cuts. I wonder if that'll make them even more determined to cook up another fiscal crisis when the ‘debt-ceiling’ deadline comes around in May.
[Marcus]: "I'm always suspicious of people who buy into any political party completely"Allow me to unsurprise you.http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/04/a-democratic-age/309258/"Voting for a party is a habit, they say, and the habit tends to stick. The Americans who came of age under FDR leaned more Democratic than the electorate as a whole for the rest of their voting lives. Many of today’s oldest voters—who broke for Mitt Romney by a wider margin than any other age group—cast their first, formative ballots in the Eisenhower years. ...Americans who entered the electorate during the Reagan era have remained disproportionately loyal to the GOP compared with voters overall.In their 2002 book, Partisan Hearts and Minds, the political scientists Donald Green, Bradley Palmquist, and Eric Schickler argue that party loyalty is a tribe-like social identification. Despite parties’ shifting stances on issues, and despite changes in personal beliefs over time, voters tend to continue to affiliate with the same political party. (Think of the “yellow-dog Democrats” of the South, segregationist conservatives who, it was said, would vote for a yellow dog before they’d cast a ballot for a Republican. After national Democrats switched to championing civil rights in the 1960s, these voters did eventually begin to vote with the GOP—but it took decades for them to relabel themselves as Republicans.).....There’s even intriguing new evidence that the act of voting can itself strengthen party loyalty."
OK, Pete. I can see that it would be like that especially in a 2 party state. But in Sweden we've 8 political parties in parliament so there should be more room to manuevre from one to the other. Still here too we have folks who say stuff like "I've been a Social Democrat all my life and will be to the day I die", no matter how policies change. I can't take them seriously, that was my point.
Whilst Petes recalls the old ‘yellow dog’ Democrats of yesteryear, their antithesis, the ‘blue dogs, are certainly more numerous and better organized.
Tight oil could be in decline in four years.
Y'all should read this:http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/08/death-and-dollars-in-the-new-iraq/Very interesting about the state of Iraq today.
Gone for 3 days and so much to catch up on! First...Lee,The article you left was very good. The weird thing is, is that while so many people interviewed in it were pessimistic(except perhaps Shahrestani), it is not a bad thing at all to look at the problems. Identifying the problem is the first step to solving it. The next would be to find people who are willing to work together to find solutions. Not just general ideas but concrete specific things that would help. And it doesn't have to be huge, but something that could be built upon. Perhaps the worst thing I noticed in that article was the lack of hope. I remember one of our people when he first arrived in Baghdad saying that that was what the Iraqis lacked...hope. It's kind of a pity that Zeyad hasn't taken his blog into more discussions on specific Iraqi problems and possible solutions to them. Kind of like our discussions on our problems. It is after all called "Healing Iraq". That would seem to be a perfect path for the blog to take.
"I see Michelle Bachmann has turned up again."She's a blight on the political landscape if ever there was one.*shakes head sadly*I know, I know. I feel I must apologize for my state. We don't all believe her to be the best represantative of our thoughts. Nor that she is working for the betterment of our country. She is working for herself and some very passionate right-wing supporters.
Marcus,There's nearly nothing in the western press now but tidbits about "x number of bombs killed y number of people". Or perhaps being in the US you are also in the dark about these matters? That'd be interesting too.Zeyad has been in the US since about 2006. Everything he has posted will have been second hand news. That's probably why he has found it so difficult to write. And he has not chosen to post too much about his life here, except when he talked a little about his family situation. I think his writing was affected while he was in Iraq/the Middle East by pressure from various places. I don't know if that is still the case. You spoke of Adhamiya. After reading of the experiences of our soldiers who were stationed and fought there, it would be no surprise that Zeyad may still not be comfortable discussing some things. A book I read a while back, "They Fought for Each Other" is an account from our soldiers perspective. It gives a very good idea of how difficult it was for Iraqis living there. The last question would be about you personally since you shared some a while back but we haven't heard much since. Reconciled with the family? Job situation? Etc? Share only if you feel like it.For what it's worth I asked quite some time ago, via email, if he was doing okay, but he never responded.
PeteS,Bah! Missed the last TWO posts by Zeyad completely :-(lol! I was wondering why you weren't commenting. The Freddie Starr thing fooled me. I see you left some interesting looking Russian/Cyprus links down below. I'll have to check them out.
Those Cyprus links will be out of date already, Lynnette. Things are moving prety fast down there. First they were going to burn depositors in the banks, then they weren't, now they are again. Doesn't matter what happens now, Cyprus is crocked for the foreseeable future, and the eurozone seriously compromised and shambolic yet again.
[Marcus]: "Very interesting about the state of Iraq today."Great article. Hadn't read anything by Patrick Cockburn in a long while. So now we know what Muqtada's been getting up to. Strange to hear of him being a conciliatory voice (although I'm sure it's all relative). I had read recently of the Kurdish "economic miracle" in Erbil. Also, even since that article was written there has been the PKK truce in Turkey, which may warm relations even further with the Iraqi Kurds.
Paul Krugman blames the Masters of the Universe for failing to master their own impulses. "It’s hard to imagine now, but for more than three decades after World War II financial crises of the kind we’ve lately become so familiar with hardly ever happened. Since 1980, however, the roster has been impressive: Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile in 1982. Sweden and Finland in 1991. Mexico again in 1995. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Korea in 1998. Argentina again in 2002. And, of course, the more recent run of disasters: Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus. "What’s the common theme in these episodes? Conventional wisdom blames fiscal profligacy — but in this whole list, that story fits only one country, Greece. Runaway bankers are a better story; they played a role in a number of these crises, from Chile to Sweden to Cyprus. But the best predictor of crisis is large inflows of foreign money: in all but a couple of the cases I just mentioned, the foundation for crisis was laid by a rush of foreign investors into a country, followed by a sudden rush out."
Marcus, 1- He banned them from marching on the streets walking to Karbala on religious festivals. They were only allowed to commute by car, train or bus. Public flagellation and blood fests were also banned, but they were practiced in private. 2- Adhamiya is still sealed and surrounded by army checkpoints, and house raids and searches are almost done every month. Barriers and checkpoints and blocked streets are still all over Baghdad. 30- Militias are still there but they are either dormant or have turned to criminal activities. There are also new militias such as the Iraqi Hizbullah linked Mukhtar Army which is accused of carrying out sectarian threats and killings in some parts of Baghdad. The awakenings are still there and they are always targeted by al-Qaeda, which seems to be returning to its former strongholds in Sunni areasI hope this answers your questions
PeteS,FYI, Zeyad put up another post.Hmmm...
No, no, not here. I meant on the blog. We seem to have cross posted.
1- He banned them from marching on the streets walking to Karbala on religious festivals. They were only allowed to commute by car, train or bus. Public flagellation and blood fests were also banned, but they were practiced in private.Probably a little uncomfortable with masses of Shia tramping all over the place. And in all honesty public flagellation and blood fests wouldn't really appeal to me either.But be that as it may, peaceful marches shouldn't have been banned. That just breeds resentment.
Thanks for the answers Zeyad.
CIA training Syrian "moderates" in Jordan
Hmmm...it seems to me you skipped over a few other people involved, Anonymous. I know, I know, the CIA has negative conotations, but that doesn't mean they are entirely responsible for the actions being taken here. Yes, I understand the concern that the people being trained may not be fighting for freedom as we know it, but then I sometimes wonder that about others as well.
Iraqis speaking freely about how terrible it is that they're restricted to open communication with the outside world on wireless internet.Hilarious.
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