Iraq’s ‘Bloody Monday’

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The real disease that afflicts the Iraqi government is indecision. With 40 ministers in the cabinet, a fractious parliament, and beset on all sides by extremists, the Maliki government gets very little done. For example, the speaker of the Iraq parliament — a Sunni — is not following the government line on the crackdown in Syria, issuing a statement saying, “For the sake of the Syrian people we demand the government, out of its responsibility to safeguard the lives of its people and their property, take the bold and courageous steps to stop the bleeding.” Indeed, as Hiltermann points out, the Syrian crackdown is serving as a wedge issue, with Shias supporting Assad, and Sunnis sympathizing with the protestors. Maliki is caught in the middle, making feeble attempts at reform, but as the bombings today show, he has very little room to maneuver. People are angry and are laying the blame at his doorstep.

There is also the depressing reality that questions the loyalty of the Iraqi army to the state, and the machinations of the Interior Ministry that has always been a hot bed of Iranian influence in the government. A professor of political science at Baghdad University, Hamid Fhadil, points out that the security forces are often more loyal to al-Qaeda or the Shia militias. “It’s hard to talk about the existence of an Iraqi Army and a Ministry of Interior without them being loyal to Iraq,” he observed.

Monday’s attacks highlight the dilemma for both the prime minister and the US government. President Obama wants out of Iraq. He has always wanted out of Iraq, only staying on when it became clear that a precipitous withdrawal would have meant that the nation would have almost certainly sunk into chaos, with Iran standing by vulture-like to move in and feast on the pieces. This would have exposed the president to critics who sensibly argued that telling the enemy when we’re leaving would be tantamount to an open invitation to ratchet up the violence as the deadline approaches — as they are doing.

But Obama is also sensitive to the strategic threat posed by even a weak Iraq joining the Iranian-Syrian-Turkish axis, so it is probable that if Maliki asks some troops to stay on, he will reluctantly agree to such a proposal.

Thus, the Maliki government is in the process of negotiating. And despite fierce resistance from the radical Shia faction headed up by the Iranian-backed cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who promises to hold mass demonstrations and attack American troops after the deadline, Maliki appears to be out of options. There has been tremendous progress in the last five years in training and equipping the army and police, but fighting an urban insurgency while seeking out and destroying al-Qaeda fighters demands more than the security forces appear able to accomplish at this point.

Other factions would also be unhappy if more than a token number of American troops would be allowed to stay. Such a decision would put a tremendous strain on Maliki’s coalition of Iranian-backed Shia parties that want the Americans out. Radical cleric Sayyid Al-Sadr especially can cause the prime minster a lot of trouble. He only controls 40 seats in the 325-member parliament, but his following is much larger. And while poorly armed, his Mehdi Militia is composed of fanatics willing to die at his command. Al-Sadr is so unpredictable that he is just as likely to turn his fighters loose on the government as he is on the Americans.

The government is so fragile and riven with divisions that the negotiations will probably be excruciatingly slow, extending beyond January 1, 2012. This would hugely complicate matters for the American military, which needs advanced preparation in order to bring home the troops that will be leaving and make accommodations for any that will be staying. While it seems likely that the Obama administration will agree to a small number of trainers remaining in Iraq (away from population centers and maintaining a very low profile), issues such as the actual number of troops, what their role will be, and whether or not they will be immune from Iraqi justice, clouds the future of any talks.

“Bloody Monday” in Iraq will long be remembered by the families of the victims. But given all the complicating factors, it is a day that the Iraqi prime minister would almost certainly like to forget.

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  • Chezwick_mac

    It's not hard to envision a scenario where Iran not only supplants America as Iraq's patron, but actually introduces forces on the ground to shore up a teetering Shia-dominated regime. Doing so would of course shatter the fragile consensus between Arab and Kurd in Iraq…and one could anticipate a future alliance of convenience between Arab, Persian and Turk, joining hands in common cause to crush the nascent Iraqi Kurdish polity.

    Unlike the International Left's love affair with the Palestinians, no one will shed any tears for the Kurds. They'll just disappear from our collective consciousness.

    Sadly, the death of Iraqi Kurdistan will have tragic consequences far beyond the fate of the Kurds themselves. It is one of the most progressive regions of the Middle East, where Christian refugees fleeing persecution from Al Qaeda in Iraq have been welcomed, where alcohol is sold openly, and where women are empowered, serving in many important positions including the police and militia.

    A strong, viable, autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan would be a friend and ally of the West. But America under Obama is in pronounced decline…and the Iraqi Kurds most know they're on their own. They'll do their best to make a deal with the devil (the mullahs in Tehran who will soon be calling the shots in Baghdad). Failing that, given their historical disposition, they'll no doubt go down swinging.

    • SAM000

      Iran started bombing the towns of Kurdistan from one month ago, The Mullahs TV says that the Kurdish cities bombing is with the agreement of AL-MALIKI's government.

      The Kurdish Autonomous government protests and requests USA to intervene, but Obama rejected the Kurdish appeal.

      In Kurdistan there are the daily demonstrations against Iran, the Baghdad government of Al-Maliki stays silent on all these territorial violations.

      The only solution is the REGIME CHANGE IN IRAN, but USA of Obama is against the regime change.

      • Jim_C

        Hey dingdong…"USA of Obama" is also for regime change in Iran–we're just not going to go send our sons to do what your weak *ss should be doing yourself.

        • sam000

          We don't need neither your boys nor your money, your good faith is the best.
          We are able to remove this shame of Islamism from our country, if USA stops to BACK the Mullahs politically, financially and Militarily.

          Your Obama's support of the Mullahs is our major obstacle.

          • Jim_C

            Listen carefully: We do not back the mullahs, politically or financially, a&&hole.

  • crackerjack

    This stupid, contraproductive war started with lies and ends with lies. Iran picks up the spoil and the USA is defeated and bankrupt. Whatever became of our great "visionaries" Rumsfeld, Cheeny, Wolfowitz, Pipes, Bolton ?

    • truthteller

      Shrubya shoulda thoughta the consequences before he manufactured a war, fo' sho'!!

      • crackerjack

        Every nation recieves the leaders it deserves.

    • Jim_C

      History will judge them and I'm pretty sure the judgement won't be too favorable.

  • Amused

    Hey Moran , Iraq doesn't need to drift into Irans orbit , to engage in what Iraq does best ….it's citizens love to kill each other . They just did it orderly under Saddam . WHO IN THE HELL CARES ???? Shia have been killing Sunni and vice-versa since Mohamed croaked . Neither the US or anyone else is going to stop this . Leave'em alone and let them have at it ….it's a good thing ……oh and BTW , LET'S GET THE HELL OUT OF THAT SHEETHOLE ASAP >AFGHANISTAN TOO !

    • sam000

      70 years ago the NAZIS were saying the same arguments (your arguments) about the JEWS.

      I was seeing a German propaganda film of 1940's.
      I don't know who has copied who? you? or hitler's propaganda machine.

      • Amused

        Go Stuff it samoo , apparently you cant read and are utterly hopeless in spewing absurd analogies . Try thinking abit before you commit your absurdities to print.

        • SAM000

          Look at the documents of the WWII, and reread your own arguments.

          The Jews of 1940's and the poor Iraqis who are murdered everyday generated the same arguments for their executioners (I found an argument to whitewash your kind).

          • Amused

            B.S . chump , try your revisionism on a comic book website ….oh wait you're already on one . At any rate , if give any credence to your own warped uninformed and ludicrous analogy , best go out and buy a new brain , the one you got is broken beyond repair . Good Luck CHUMP .

          • sam000

            When you see all these blood, the blood of the most vulnerable and the most innocent people, the first thing that comes to your brain is their skin color, their religion, their nationality, even for the babies bodies, you become so excited if they are Irakian, Afghan, or,,, Jews.

            That is your kind of monsters who transform the peace to hell, Just the power of pushing the switch of the bomb on, it is so exciting for you if the victims are from a devastated country!

  • Wesley69

    Obama is getting what he wants, the total destruction of whatever Bush attempted to accomplish in Iraq. We DO NOT need to introduce US, but need to withdraw them since Obama has concluded 21/2 years ago on this strategy. If US soldiers stay, they will be killed. However, it is Obama, not Bush, that failed to stop the fall of Iraq, just as he allowed Egypt to fall to the Muslim Brotherhood, just like he is abandoning Israel to destruction.

  • Amused

    Oh what a croc . Iraqis were doing this , sincew the British . Neither Bush NOR Obama will stop it . Papa Bush allowed Saddam and his Republican Guard to bsurvive in the First Gulf War ….Why ? Fear of Iran moving in , Baby Bush toppled Sadam opening the door for more chaos . The Best and ONLY thing for any American President to do , is GET THE HELL OUT . WESLEY69 , you're too blinded by your Obama Hate Syndrome , to see anything clearly / People like you are drowning in your own pool of B.S.

  • BS77

    Iraq, Iran, SOmalia, Sudan, Afhganistan…..barbaric hell holes…..

    • SAM000

      USA did a surgery in the M.E. by removing Saddam without seeing that Mullahs of Iran were dreaming desperately Saddam's removal of Iraq.
      USA did a surgery in the M.E. by removing Saddam without calculating what will happen after Saddam.

      You have extracted one of your members with pain and blood, Now you have the gangrene.

      If USA do not support the Dictators first, he will not be obliged to remove them after.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    The 9/11 jihadist attacks weren’t America’s chickens coming home to roost as all the self-hating leftwing loons and the blame America first anarcho-Paul-kooks all insist. On the other hand, what is happening today in Iraq is America’s inevitable chickens coming home to roost thanks to the unhinged leftwing political correct loons that have hijacked and co-opted our federal government.

    What is going on inside Iraq today is exactly what happens when we fail to know our enemy as well as we know ourselves and what happens when we abuse our military by deploying it in extremely counterproductive fantasy based nation-building missions premised off of political correct myths and stupid idiotic assumptions. The sad part is those same unhinged loons will all deny reality and continue to move from one strategic blunder to the next, just like this incompetent writer of this garbage hasn’t leaned a damn thing since 9/11.

    The attacks also raise concerns about the US withdrawal deadline of January 1, 2012 being met, as insurgents rev up the frequency and severity of their strikes in advance of that date. As America makes plans to leave, Iraq drifts evermore into Iran’s orbit and the Shia-dominated government does little to stem the attacks on Christian churches, while Sunni on Shia violence threatens to break out once again.

    The USA needs to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq ASAP. In fact, if the delusional and political correct leftwing loons that hijacked and co-opted our federal government actually knew and understood our eternal enemy, instead of pursuing silly counterproductive fantasy based nation-building missions trying to lift up Muslims like unhinged morons, while at the same time also opening up the floodgates for mass Muslim immigration and infiltration into our country like suicidal maniacs, they would be looking instead for cracks and fissures within the Islamic world to exploit and to foment more Muslim on Muslim violence because Muslim on Muslim violence is good for the Dar al Harb (the realm of unbelief) and bad for the Dar al Islam (the realm of belief), as ALL MUSLIMS, not just some, but ALL MUSLIMS are the eternal enemies of unbelievers.

    Indeed, if the same unhinged loons that have hijacked and co-opted our federal government today had hijacked our federal government immediately following WWII, I have no doubt they would have also tried to convince the American people that Communism is a totalitarian ideology of peace being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, and then they would no doubt have also opened up the floodgates for mass Communists immigration and infiltration into our country. Then they would have probably deployed American troops to do senseless counterproductive fantasy based nation-building missions helping the Soviets to subjugate even more people into Communist totalitarianism.

    Islam is no different from Communism as the ultimate outcome of both toxic ideologies is totalitarianism and lots and lots of misery.

    The violence is constant and has called attention to the government’s inability to secure the country from the attacks of extremists.

    I hate to rain on the writer’s moronic parade again, but jihadists aren’t extremists in the same sense that terrorists are all extremists. Instead, jihadists are only MAINSTREAM ORTHODOX MUSLIMS, as all MUSLIMS are obligated to fight jihad in the cause of Allah. It’s past time to stop conflating what is jihad with terrorism, as the two things are entirely mutually exclusive since they are two entirely different things altogether. Indeed, it is time for you loons to start learning and understanding Islam and what it is all about, instead of reporting the same political correct garbage year after year.

    Christians go to heaven by living pious lives according to the 10 Commandments and by maintaining faith and faithfulness in God and Jesus Christ. Muslims, on the other hand, go to heaven by fighting jihad against unbelievers in the cause of Allah until Islam is made supreme.

    Christians in Iraq say that the government doesn’t even attempt to protect them from radical Islamists — both Sunni and Shia — who have attacked several churches recently, killing worshipers and destroying centuries-old structures

    Open your eyes, remove your blinders, and connect the dots! Christians and all other non-Muslims unbelievers, not just the ones living in Iraq, but also in every Muslim majority country in the world as well, are violently oppressed and systematically persecuted when not outright slaughtered altogether.


  • ObamaYoMoma

    The growing extremism is a consequence of Iraq’s drift into the orbit of Iran.

    It’s not the growth of extremism you moonbat. It’s the growth of Islam! Only someone unhinged enough to believe that Islam is a so-called Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists could be dumb and mentally incompetent enough to believe it is the growth of extremism. It’s not the growth of extremism and if you had the first clue, you’d also understand it is inevitable.

    and beset on all sides by extremists, the Maliki government gets very little done.

    Indeed, if you aren’t intelligent enough to understand all the dynamics, then it must be all extremism! What an incompetent writer!

    Stop labeling MAINSTREAM ORTHODOX MUSLIMS as being extremists, as jihad and terrorism are two mutually exclusive things altogether. No wonder so many Americans are so damn clueless with respect to Islam, almost 10 years later after 9/11 even writers supposedly on the right side of the political spectrum are still as blinded by political correctness about Islam as they were before 9/11. It’s pathetic!

    I bet that even the inevitable outcomes of Iraq and Afghanistan won’t be enough to shock these unhinged morons into learning from their mistakes. Political correctness once it takes hold is almost impossible to cure!

    He has always wanted out of Iraq, only staying on when it became clear that a precipitous withdrawal would have meant that the nation would have almost certainly sunk into chaos, with Iran standing by vulture-like to move in and feast on the pieces.

    That was always the inevitable outcome no matter who was President since before we occupied Afghanistan and Iraq to pursue silly fantasy based nation-building missions to win the hearts and minds of Muslims no less based on political correct fantasies and stupid idiotic myths. One would think that some of these unhinged writers reporting on this monstrosity by now would be questioning some of these political correct fantasies and myths, but apparently that is beyond their capabilities. So everything is still blamed on extremism instead of what it really is.

    There has been tremendous progress in the last five years in training and equipping the army and police

    I hate to keep raining on this writer’s dumb ass parade, but training troops and police in Islamic countries is counterproductive exactly because they will inevitably be used to fight jihad against unbelievers. The writer obviously assumes that Islam is just another innocuous and non-intrusive religion sort of like Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. In other words, almost 10 years after 9/11, the writer of this garbage still doesn’t have the first clue.

    Indeed, we need to get out of Iraq ASAP and let the inevitable jihad between the Shi'as and the Sunnis take place, as that is a good thing for us unbelievers and a bad thing for the unbelievers. We also need to get the hell out of Afghanistan ASAP and let the jihad between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban resume, because again that is also a good thing for the unbelievers and a bad thing for the believers.

    Moreover, without the presence of millions of Muslim stealth jihadists already living in the USA with their thousands of mosques and madrassas as a fifth column, the 9/11 terrorist attacks would have been entirely impossible. Hence, the solution post 9/11 wasn’t to double the size, scope, and power of the federal government and to also pursue endless fantasy based nation-building missions, the solution instead was to ban and reverse Muslim immigration and seal off the borders. Indeed, it is still the solution today!

  • BS77

    You belong on some social networking website……