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Thread: POST Pull-out Iraq

  1. #1

    POST Pull-out Iraq

    Seeing as nearly everyone has gone, only a few NATO trainers left until the end of the year,I thought a new thread applicable more heavily leaning towards the Political arena...........

    Iraq's Sunni leader goes on run to evade arrest

    Government issues arrest warrant for vice-president, accusing him of having conspired to assassinate government officials


    Associated Press

    The Guardian, Tuesday 20 December 2011


    Iraq’s Sunni leader, Tariq al-Hashemi, is reported to be on the run to avoid arrest. Photograph: Karim Kadim/AP

    Iraq's Shia-led government has issued an arrest warrant for its Sunni vice-president, accusing him of having conspired to assassinate government officials – making what is an extraordinary charge, only one day after the last US troops had left.

    The vice-president, Tariq al-Hashemi, had left Baghdad on Sunday for the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, presumably hoping the authorities there will not turn him in; earlier in the day, investigative judges in the capital had banned him from travelling abroad.

    The move against Iraq's highest-ranking Sunni elected leader marked a sharp escalation in sectarian tension, raising fear of a resurgence of mass bloodshed. Although many Iraqis had welcomed the American withdrawal, there was also considerable fear violence would worsen afterward. "Iraq is slipping into its worst nightmares now, and Iraqi people will pay a high price because of the struggle among political blocs," predicted one Shia analyst, Kadhum al-Muqdadi, in Baghdad.

    In Washington, the White House said the Obama administration had told all the parties involved of its concern at the issuing of the warrant, urging a resolution "through dialogue consistent with rule of law and democratic political process".

    Hashemi is a longstanding rival to prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the arrest order came two days after the main Sunni political bloc, Iraqiya, suspended its participation in parliament because al-Maliki refused to give up control over key posts. Al-Maliki, a Shia, has made moves in recent months to consolidate his power. Hundreds of former members of the Ba'ath party of Saddam Hussein have been rounded up as security threats, although no proof has been given.

    State-run TV ran what it said were confessions by men said to be bodyguards for al-Hashemi. The men said they had killed officials in the health and foreign ministries as well as police officers. "An arrest warrant has been issued against al-Hashemi under the terrorism law, and five judges have signed it," said the interior ministry.

    Al-Hashemi, one of two vice-presidents, could not be reached for comment.

    After 2003, the Sunni minority first waged an insurgency against the Americans, then became US allies against al-Qaida, but now Sunni relations with the Shia-led national government are fraught. Everyday relations between Sunni and Shia are much better than in the insurgency, when neighbours turned on neighbours and whole sections of Baghdad were expunged of one Muslim sect or the other.

    However, this forced segregation, fuelled by extremists, has fundamentally changed Iraq's character. The parliament boycott by Iraqiya, was in response to the government's failure to share more powers, particularly control of security forces, said a Sunni MP. Hamid al-Mutlaq, a member of the bloc.

    Iraqiya narrowly won the most seats in last year's election, but its leader Ayad Allawi was outmanoeuvred by al-Maliki, who kept the premier's post after cobbling together support from other Shia parties. The Sunnis feel they are being penalised simply for being Sunnis, while at the other extreme, al-Maliki, for example, spent 24 years in exile and was sentenced to death by Saddam.
    Last edited by buglerbilly; 20-12-11 at 02:38 PM.

  2. #2

    US concern as Iraqi PM moves on opponents

    Jack Healy

    December 21, 2011


    Tariq al-Hashimi … accused. Photo: Reuters

    BAGHDAD: A day after the United States withdrew its last combat troops, Iraq faced a dangerous political crisis as the Shiite-dominated government ordered the arrest of the Sunni vice president, accusing him of running a death squad that assassinated police officers and government officials.

    The sensational charges drew a worried response from Washington and brought Iraq's tenuous partnership government to the edge of collapse on Monday. A Sunni-backed political coalition said its ministers would walk off their jobs, leaving adrift agencies that handle Iraq's finances, schools and agriculture.

    The accusations against Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi also underlined fears that Iraq's leaders may now be using the institutions America has spent millions trying to strengthen - the police, the courts, the media - as a cudgel to batter their political enemies and consolidate power.

    On Monday night, Mr Hashimi was in the northern semiautonomous region of Kurdistan, beyond the reach of security forces controlled by Baghdad. It was unclear when, or if, he would return to Baghdad.

    In Washington, where officials have been quietly celebrating the end of the war, Obama administration officials sounded alarmed about the arrest order for Mr Hashimi.

    ''We are talking to all of the parties and expressed our concern regarding these developments,'' the National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said.

    The breakdown in relations between the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and Mr Hashimi and his Iraqiya Party came at an inopportune moment for the administration. The US has spent years trying to urge Iraq's Shiite-dominated government to work with the Sunni minority, and is wary of having things fall immediately they leave.

    The government made its case against Mr Hashimi in a television broadcast that was as aggressively promoted as a prime-time special. In grainy video confessions, three men said they had committed murders on Mr Hashimi's behalf and had blown up cars, attacked convoys and were rewarded with envelopes containing $US3000 in dollar bills.

    Government critics saw the charges as part of Mr Maliki's wide-reaching consolidation of power. Amid anxiety following the US departure and unrest in neighbouring Syria, Mr Maliki, a Shiite, has tightened his grip on the still violent and divided nation by marginalising, intimidating or arresting his political rivals, many of whom are from the Sunni minority.

    Hundreds of people have been arrested in the last two months in a sweep involving former members of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath Party. In recent weeks, security forces also arrested about 30 people connected to a former prime minister, Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite and caustic critic of Mr Maliki, Mr Allawi's office said. On Sunday, Mr Maliki also asked Parliament to issue a vote of no confidence in his deputy, Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni who had compared Mr Maliki to a dictator in an interview.

    ''Any leading Sunni politician seems to be a target of this campaign by Maliki,'' Reidar Visser, an expert on Iraqi politics, said. ''Every Sunni Muslim or secularist is in danger of being labelled either a Baathist or a terrorist.''

    Mr Hashimi has not often been described as either. Sometimes abrasive and always self-interested, he was one of the first Sunni leaders to embrace the political process after the US invasion, and lost three siblings to terrorist attacks during the height of the sectarian war.

    The New York Times

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/us-conce...#ixzz1h5Nlb0fL

  3. #3

    Sunni leaders warn of sectarian chaos in Iraq

    Duleimi sheikhs claim marginalised Sunnis now have little input into affairs of state in post-US Iraq


    Martin Chulov in Ramadi and Reuters

    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 20 December 2011 19.39 GMT


    Sheikh Ali Hatem Sleiman al-Duleimi. Photograph: Martin Chulov

    Two leading members of Iraq's largest and most powerful Sunni tribe have warned of imminent sectarian chaos in the wake of the US withdrawal, claiming that the government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is promoting an anti-Sunni agenda.

    The sheikhs, leaders of the highly influential Duleimi tribe, both insist that Sunnis have been increasingly marginalised over the past year to the point where they now have little input into affairs of state in post-US Iraq.

    Their warnings come as Iraq's vice-president, Tariq al-Hashimi, defended himself over claims in an arrest warrant issued for him that he had used his guards to act as hit squads to target political rivals and had ordered a recent car bombing near the Iraqi parliament.

    The dramatic allegations against one of the highest ranking Sunni figures in government have sharply raised the stakes in Iraq. The crisis risks unravelling a fragile power-sharing deal among Shia, Sunni and Kurdish blocs that have struggled to overcome tensions since sectarian slaughter drove Iraq to the edge of civil war in the years after Saddam Hussein fell in 2003.

    Senior Iraqi politicians have been holding talks with Maliki and other leaders to contain the dispute.

    On Monday the president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan regional government, called for dialogue among the different parties.

    "We call for a national political conference urgently to prevent the political process from collapsing and exposing the country to uncalled consequences," Barzani said in a statement.

    The unravelling domestic scene is in stark contrast to the portrait painted by US commanders of a representative government that has found its feet after almost nine years of war.

    The claims about Hashimi, made on state television, which aired the alleged confessions of three of his guards, have inflamed already high tensions between Sunni politicians and the Shia-led government of Maliki, which last week ordered a second prominent Sunni figure, deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, to stay away from parliament.

    The Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc, which has 91 seats in the 325-seat parliament, has flagged a boycott from the legislature by many of its members. Three Sunni provinces have made unilateral declarations of autonomy.

    Sheikh Ali Hatem Sleiman al-Duleimi, whose Baghdad compound was recently confiscated after he publicly insulted Iran's most senior cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused Maliki of moving swiftly to consolidate sectarian rule in a vacuum left by the US military, which left Iraq last Thursday. "There is no democracy here," he said in Ramadi. "There is chaos. Parties rule by sect. Corruption is rampant and so is sectarianism. But more dangerous than anything else is that Maliki is trying to establish a new autocracy."

    Anbar, a western Iraqi province bordering eastern Syria, is one of the most strategic locations in the region. Almost exclusively Sunni, it has been at odds with Baghdad ever since the ousting of Hussein.

    Anbar's power base was rooted in Saddam's regime and the loss of such access to power was a key driver of a potent al-Qa'ida-led insurgency that bogged down the US military and accounted for around one third of its casualties.

    Now the province seems to again be on a war footing, with jihad websites making a call to arms in recent weeks, which has alarmed Baghdad – and neighbouring Damascus, where a Sunni-led insurgency against the Allawite regime of the Assad family is taking shape.

    A second sheikh, the elder and leader of the Duleimi tribe, Sheikh Majid Sleiman, said the deteriorating situation in Syria and the increasingly sect-based feuds in Iraq were combining to imperil the region.

    "But if our brothers [in Syria] seek our help we cannot abandon them. The people here are energised to go there to help. If the people want to seek shelter here we will not be late in helping them."

  4. #4

    Baghdad explosions kill at least 63 in first major violence since U.S. departure

    By Dan Morse and Aziz Alwan, Updated: Thursday, December 22, 7:19 PM

    Maliki is going to bury Iraq in an out-and-out Civil War at this rate......................

    BAGHDAD — More than a dozen explosions in Baghdad over a two-hour period Thursday morning killed at least 63 people--the first major violence in Iraq since the U.S. completed its troop pullout last week and a political crisis broke out.

    At least 185 people were reported injured in the bombings, said officials at the Ministry of Interior, who were speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

    The coordinated wave of attacks began around 6:30 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. Wednesday in Washington). Witnesses said that all main roads and many government offices in the Iraqi capital remained closed for hours after.

    Babil province, about 80 miles south of the capital, imposed a curfew after receiving intelligence information that explosive-laden cars had entered the area, according to a report on government-run Iraqia TV.

    But by 2 p.m., traffic was clogging main roads in central Baghdad, and life returned at least partially to normal. Street vendors sold food. Women boarded buses. Pedestrians, including men in suits and carrying briefcases, walked down sidewalks.

    The Baghdad blasts included at least five booby-trapped cars, two operated by suicide drivers. Police were able to diffuse or safely detonate an additional three booby-trapped cars, officials said. Additionally, a Katyusha rocket was fired into a western Baghdad neighborhood, killing one person and injuring another.

    Qassim Atta, a spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command, told the Iraqia station that the explosions targeted civilians randomly, and not specific establishments.

    In response to the attacks, speaker of parliament Ussama Alnujafi called on leaders of the government’s political blocs to gather Friday to discuss security concerns, said Tami Ahmed Ma’aruf, a spokesman for the speaker.

    Iraq’s political leadership has been in turmoil since Monday, when officials from the Shiite-backed central government announced an arrest warrant had been issued for vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, a leading Sunni politician. The warrant alleged that Hashimi he enlisted personal body guards to run a hit squad.

    Hashimi has fled to Iraq’s semiautonomous region of Kurdistan. The country’s top government official, Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, is demanding that Kurdish officials return him to Baghdad to face the charges.

    In a news conference on Wednesday, Maliki also said that he would release what he described as incriminating information about government officials unless they work to stop killings and to rebuild the country. Iraq’s constitution, he said, gives him broad authority and latitude to run the country as he sees fit.

  5. #5

    Maliki demands return of Iraqi VP Hashimi, threatens to replace opponents


    Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images - Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi speaks during a press conference in the Kurdish regional capital Irbil on Dec. 20, where he denied terror charges against him and vowed to defend himself as rival leaders called for urgent talks to resolve a worsening crisis.

    By Dan Morse and Karen DeYoung, Published: December 21

    BAGHDAD — A political crisis unfolding in Iraq intensified Wednesday when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki demanded that Kurdish officials hand over the country’s Sunni vice president to face criminal charges and threatened to purge the fragile coalition government of lawmakers who refuse to work with him.

    Maliki, a Shiite, also said that he would release what he described as incriminating information about government officials unless they work to stop killings and to rebuild the country, adding that the constitution gives him broad authority and latitude to run Iraq as he sees fit.

    Speaking at a news conference broadcast on national television, Maliki said that if leaders in the semiautonomous Kurdistan region do not hand over Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi — who is accused of enlisting personal bodyguards to run a hit squad — “it will stir up problems.”

    In a sign of hardening differences, Maliki struck a defiant tone against political opponents who have boycotted parliament and are accusing him of rushing to consolidate power in the wake of the U.S. troop departure last weekend.

    Maliki said he does not want to be weighed down by the opinions of various political factions and insisted that the government has the right to replace ministers who boycott their jobs because of differences with him.

    At the same time, Maliki said he would like to make power-sharing work and would seek replacement appointees from rival parties, so long as they share his commitment to rebuild the country.

    It is not suitable, Maliki said, to keep talking about “your share and my share” and “my harmonization here and your harmonization there.”

    The Obama administration, though concerned about the turn of events in Baghdad just days after the U.S. withdrawal, focused Wednesday on what it saw as the positive elements of Maliki’s statements, describing the upheaval as part of the usual rough and tumble of Iraqi politics.

    “This kind of political turmoil has been occurring in Iraq periodically, as they have taken steps forward and, occasionally, steps backwards,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

    Maliki “actually said many of the right things in terms of respect for the constitution, a desire for an inclusive political process, a desire to move past sectarian and ethnic issues,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the fluid situation candidly.

    But the official acknowledged that “anytime you have something that spirals up politically, there is always a danger that it spirals beyond the control of the political actors, and people throw up their hands and walk away.”

    In calls Tuesday evening to Maliki and Osama al-Nujaifi, the parliament speaker from the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc, Vice President Biden told them that “whatever the facts actually were, the Iraqis were creating a perception problem that would not advance their interests,” said Antony J. Blinken, Biden’s chief foreign policy adviser. Biden, Blinken said, warned that it was important to show “that they were working through their differences in the political process together, not just throwing accusations at each other.”

    Asked about the responses to Biden, the official said Maliki and Nujaifi “were certainly responsive in the moment. The issue is really what actions follow from that.”

    Maliki also threatened Wednesday to release files containing allegedly damning evidence about other government officials. “The others, they should at least stop their destruction and killing,” he said. “Otherwise, all the files will go out and be put before the judiciary.”

    With regard to the vice president, Maliki insisted that the charges against him were legitimate and that his government “will provide a fair trial.”

    “It is a criminal case,” he said. “It is a matter of blood and souls. I will not allow — the families of the martyrs will not allow — compromise on this case.”

    Hashimi has called the charges against him baseless, saying they were trumped up by Maliki. He fled to Kurdistan several days ago and has said that he is willing to stand trial there, but not in Shiite-majority Baghdad.

    “The judiciary today in Baghdad is not fair,” he said in an interview Wednesday on al-Hurra TV. “It is politicized. There is no transparency. It has been put in the pocket of the government.”

    Hashimi told the network that the prime minister has become impossible for other politicians to work with.

    “Al-Maliki pushed things in the direction of no return,” he said. “I don’t think, today, there is enough space for a dialogue.”

    Hashimi said he is seeking to have a lawsuit filed against Maliki over the files that the prime minister has said he may turn over to investigators.

    “He’s waiting for the right moment to blackmail the politicians,” Hashimi said. “Why is he covering up those crimes? Why does he not present them? Why do these cases remain up to his personal choice?”

    Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which is controlled by Maliki, announced the arrest warrant for Hashimi on Monday, the day after the last U.S. troops left Iraq. Maliki said at the news conference that Hashimi was operating outside the law and appeared to think that his position allowed him to do so.

    “There is a mechanism all over the world for people who are wanted by the judiciary,” Maliki said. “That’s why we are demanding the brothers in the regional government of Kurdistan bear their responsibility.”

    DeYoung reported from Washington. Special correspondent Asaad Majeed contributed to this report.

  6. #6

    DECEMBER 22, 2011.

    Iraq Leader Warns of Coalition's End

    SAM DAGHER and MUNAF AMMAR

    BAGHDAD—Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned that a challenge to his government by Sunni politicians could destroy the ethnic and sectarian power-sharing system that underpins Iraq's democracy—and take more power into the hands of the Shiite majority.

    The threat signals the most dire political crisis Iraq has faced since an agreement on a governing coalition one year ago smoothed over a long-running conflict that has re-emerged with the official pullout this month of U.S. forces from Iraq.


    Associated Press
    Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaking to reporters in Baghdad early this month.


    The latest faceoff was triggered when a judicial panel issued a warrant for the arrest of Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on Monday, as the Ministry of Interior aired televised confessions by members of his security detail allegedly implicating him in ordering and funding attacks against Shiites.

    Iraq's security forces, both the army and police, report directly to Mr. Maliki in his capacity as commander-in-chief. In a sign the political crisis could affect the security situation, there was a visibly stepped-up presence of police and army patrols on the streets of Baghdad Wednesday night.

    Mr. Hashemi, hiding out from arrest in the semiautonomous Kurdistan region, accused Mr. Maliki of fabricating the charges against him and launching a sectarian political vendetta.

    Mr. Hashemi's political bloc, Iraqiya, though facing its own internal divisions, has suspended its participation in Mr. Maliki's government and in Parliament. On Wednesday, some members of Iraqiya said they would pursue a no-confidence motion in Parliament to oust Mr. Maliki. It was unclear if all members of the bloc were in agreement. Parliament is in recess until Jan. 3.

    A spokesman for Iraqiya said Mr. Maliki's "divisive actions were threatening security and civil peace."

    Mr. Maliki invited all political factions for an urgent meeting to salvage the political process. He said a collapse of the government would lead to a "political majority" government of Shiite Arabs—the community that constitutes the largest share of Iraq's estimated population of 30 million—with the participation of Sunnis, Kurds and others.

    "Today we say it, either we resort to the constitution as referee [to resolve our differences] or we go to a government of political majority so that we can launch ourselves, build and construct; we are tired of being patient," he said in a Baghdad news conference.

    "There is a desire to rid ourselves of this gridlock because the state's hands are tied behind its back with this partnership, this understanding and these intentionally disruptive practices," Mr. Maliki said.

    Mr. Maliki also asked Kurdistan to hand over Mr. Hashemi, upping the ante with his hesitant Kurdish partners in his coalition government. "Not handing him over and facilitating his escape could cause problems," Mr. Maliki warned Kurdish leaders.

    There was no reaction from the Kurds, but a spokesman for the regional government's president told a local TV station that Mr. Hashemi was "a dear guest" under their protection.

    Mr. Maliki would need Kurdish support to form a government without Sunni participation. Yet in a direct swipe at the Kurds, Mr. Maliki said on Wednesday that he met with top executives of oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. during his visit to Washington last week, and warned them that their contract with the Kurdistan region for six exploration blocks in the north could cause war.

    "Contracts in disputed areas is a difficult thing; this is a problem that leads to war," said Mr. Maliki.

    Exxon, which has a major contract in the south of the country, has declined to say anything publicly about its deal with Kurdistan, which it signed in October.

    The current government, which emerged in December 2010 after over eight months of acrimonious negotiations, was an unwieldy coalition of feuding political factions.

    For many, the collapse of this government is now inevitable. "American withdrawal in this manner, given that Iraq is unstable, opens Pandora's box," said Ghassan al-Atiyyah, a London-based Iraqi analyst.

    In another development that could fan Sunni-Shiite tensions, Mr. Maliki said he had assembled a file three years ago that covers more alleged violations by Mr. Hashemi during the height of the sectarian warfare between 2005 and 2007 that he has held off on revealing it "for the sake of the political process."

    He told political rivals engaged in "sabotage and killing" to stop doing so or "all files will be exposed and put in front of the judiciary."

    Write to Sam Dagher at sam.dagher@wsj.com

  7. #7

    Baghdad car bomb attack rips through Iraq's already failing hopes

    Soon after the pullout of US troops, an atrocity that has killed scores of people leaves an unravelling nation in deeper despair


    Martin Chulov

    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 December 2011 22.50 GMT


    Smoke rises from the site of a car bomb attack in central Baghdad, the worst violence seen in Iraq in months. Photograph: Mohammed Ameen/REUTERS

    In the wake of the pullout of American troops, Iraq had been braced for a new atrocity. It arrived on Thursday with devastating familiarity.

    Just before 9am, a first bomb thundered across Baghdad. Less than 30 minutes later, 16 explosions had ravaged the city, toppling buildings, slaughtering civilians and leaving a toll of dead and wounded by shattering a calm that had lasted a mere week since the US army left.

    By the end of the day, at least 72 people had been killed and at least 217 had been injured. It was the second worst daily toll of the year, which once again underscored the capacity of militants to co-ordinate extravagant attacks at will.

    Perhaps worse than the death count was the effect that the attacks may have on a country that many, both inside and outside of Iraq, believe is fast unravelling.

    The blasts took place against the backdrop of a political crisis that led to the Shia-dominated government of the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, this week accusing the country's Sunni vice-president, Tariq al-Hashimi, of terrorism.

    Sunni ministers have pledged to boycott cabinet meetings in retaliation and several Sunni provinces have made a claim for autonomy in an attempt to claw back lost political power.

    Al-Qaida-inspired insurgent groups were quickly blamed for the blasts, which struck mainly in Shia and mixed areas.

    Dr Lubna Naji was preparing to leave for work from her home in the east of the city when the first explosion crackled nearby. A bomb-laden car had been driven to the front of the public integrity commission building, killing 23 people.

    She rushed to the Baghdad trauma centre, where dead and wounded were arriving. "By then there were multiple noises all across the city," she said. "There were amputated limbs, shocked patients, severe internal injuries and general chaos. Everybody tried to help out."

    Plumes of filthy brown smoke were soon dotting the skyline. Car bombs accounted for at least seven of the blasts. Apart from the commission, no key government facilities were targeted. Unlike recent strikes against Shia pilgrims, security force members and construction workers paid the heaviest price.

    The bombers were able to reach all corners of the city, bypassing a network of concrete checkpoints manned by war-weary police holding bomb detectors that were once again found wanting. "It's become a distinguishing feature of Baghdad," said Naji. "In Paris they have the Eiffel tower, in London they have Big Ben. And all that we have in Baghdad are our car bombs.

    "We have never been in a situation when we are going in the right direction."

    The British-made bomb detectors used by Iraq's security forces were the constant subject of ridicule from the US military, which insisted they were based on junk science that could not detect explosives. Yet they continue to be deployed in a fight Iraq shows little sign of winning.

    "I can't even look at them when I drive past a checkpoint," said Ahmed Majid of the small devices that look like a water diviner. "It makes me so angry to see them and what they are doing to this country."

    Maliki said the attacks aimed to send a political message. "The timing of these crimes and their locations confirm once again to any doubters the political nature of the goals that those criminals want to achieve," he said.

    "The criminals and those who stand behind them will not succeed in changing events or the political process, or in escaping punishment."

    Maliki on Thursday met the US army chief of staff, General Ray Odierno, having previously talked to the CIA chief, David Petraeus, both of whom had travelled to Iraq as the political standoff with the country's Sunni power base escalated.

    Both were former commanding generals in Iraq and had claimed that al-Qaida had been strategically defeated during their tenures. While Sunni insurgents can no longer control towns and cities in Iraq, they can still mount regular high-profile attacks, a reality that is shaping Maliki's hardening sectarian position.

    "He will use this to say 'look, you can't trust the Sunnis'," said Munther al-Samarrie, from west Baghdad. "It plays directly into his hands."

    By nightfall, Baghdad's trauma centre was still overrun with patients and Naji was returning for a second shift. "I still feel numb and empty," she said. "Such attacks used to make me feel so angry and frustrated, but now I just feel empty.

    "Everyone is to blame when it comes to Iraq. Everyone has harmed this country really bad. The occupation made a mess, and as for our politicians, we know how they are, they just don't stop getting it wrong. And don't forget the Iraqi people themselves. They ate the bait, they fell into the trap.

    "I just want a normal life, with safety, security, dignity and honour. I just want to survive."

  8. #8

    Must be extremely depressing for all the Vets and people that lost love ones there to see Iraq slip so quickly in anarchy. What a clusterfuck of a place -have to wonder if it really deserved the effort put into it.

    JKM

  9. #9

    Well, there is a lot of shit and animosity internally still in Iraq. The only reason it was quiet pre-invasion was due to Saddam's violent suppression of any opposition. The Sunni's were also arrogantly and violently dominant for most of his reign and they massacred heaps of Shiite people in the South especially, after the first Iraq War in 1991, at least partly cos they rose in insurgency against Saddam's henchmen. Some say they were promised US and Allied backing at that time which, of course, never materialised. Now whether all of this is true or not, only time and the release of secret docs will tell (No, Manning never got within pissing distance of this data with his Wikileaks efforts).

    What the Shiite belief in this story has done is ensure they allied themselves with Iran and became violently anti-Western Forces. Could be they had some reason to be so but whatever, Iran manipulated the whole situation to their own meglomaniac and paranoid desires.

    Maliki is a tool and a biased one at that. He seems to be intent on manipulating the whole scenario to suit his desires to achieve Shiite dominancy, ignoring the fact the fact that neither the Sunni's nor the Kurds are likely to roll over and accept whatever they dish out.

    Expect more shit thru 2012..................eventually it'll harmonise BUT, throwing a Wild Card idea out there, it wouldn't surprise me to see a secular Military putsch grab power, even if its only Interim power, to allow some sorting out of the bampots currently in the Parliament.

  10. #10

    Basically agree -the military is probably the only 'group' with enough clout for even a minimum of sanity in the place.

    Cheers
    JKM

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