How Best Can the U.S. Support Democracy in Iraq During This Time of Transition?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 20, 2010
A Rainbow Over Baghdad

August 31 marks a critical milestone in Iraq, as the U.S. combat mission comes to an end. The end of combat operations in Iraq and the transition to civilian-led efforts fulfills President Obama's commitment to responsibly end the war.

Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill said, "I think the U.S. relationship with Iraq is in a position...to grow and to be self-sustaining and to be long-term."How best can the U.S. support democracy in Iraq during this time of transition?

Comments

Comments

David Y.
|
North Carolina, USA
August 20, 2010

David Y. in North Carolina writes:

By encouraging foreign investment by American companies (harder than it sounds.)

OysterCracker
|
United States
August 21, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

I agree. Flood the markets with American products. Build a Home Depot and encourage DIY projects. Wow them with a Whole Foods quality and style Middle East hummus bar. They can serve Jalapeno hummus, black bean hummus, etc. and a multitude of various examples of fresh Middle Eastern breads .......Yummy!
People love to eat. Food brings people together. A gigantic food convention.

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
August 21, 2010

Joseph A. M. in Oregon writes:

By accepting the fundamental principle, that Iraq is an "Islamic Nation State", a tribal society with over five-thousand years of culture, history and tribal laws, which impact the way that Iraqi society is governed. Allow the Iraqi Parliament to "reinstate the Iraqi Ba'ath Party" and allow the Iraqi Sunni, a greater presence within the Iraqi government and Parliament -- accelerate the tempo in having the Iraqi Parliament form a new government. Scale down the U.S. military presence to twenty-five thousand troops up until 2011. By changing the U.S. strategy and policy, from trying to "shape Iraq into a Western Style Democracy", to having the Iraqi Parliament and ruling class (by acknowledging a greater Sunni presence within the Iraqi Parliamentary representatives) formulate this Parliamentary process. Finally, by allowing the Iraqi's to decide for themselves how they would like to structure their own government and society. By acknowledging that their newly formed government, will adhere to Islamic jurisprudence, tribal laws and give the Iraqi Parliamentary representatives the flexibility in proceeding with moving forward and with organizing the "restructuring of Iraqi political leadership". With this type of well thought out, intellectual analysis, the U.S. Department of State may want to consider placing me on it's payroll?

palgye
|
South Korea
August 22, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

My thinking is absorb their`s fury and needing spewing out lava.

religion leader and soccer.

woman`s right is next. maybe, after economy situation is fixed. involving is can but, leading is so dangerous. I think certain groups are likely to be exploited.
-I think the economy is the base of democracy. Iraq is a good possibility, but the expected public opinion to becoming the most divisive thing to do first is the unification of public opinion here, while ensuring the participation of women in the media (via the Internet to communicate with the outside world) through the participation of the people think we should Must. Unified public opinion is the most important consideration.

Nostalgia for the dictator and the absence of security as an excuse, is expected to be a tug of war. Internal battle because the police or Blackwater organizations such as the need, religion and race, past and present, rich and poor, Muslims and the West would like to complicate eolhyeoseo - the most important oil and the Middle East peace on the Israeli perspective should be included To think a thing is inevitable .- considerable confusion, so that everyone knows, One way to resolve the religious leaders and people, providing hope and stability to provide a lot of giveaways and two national football game (basketball) to hold the interest of national terrorism, but there is not open to outside organizations I think we should lift from. In particular, the expansion of police corruption, does not think the issue is urgent. Many have relied on anti-humanity and traditional criminal suspect is likely to occur.
The possibility of a war that I think is almost unlikely. What is even talk of using nuclear weapons as a means to think. (This is absolutely necessary, but the involvement of Israel, nuclear deterrence and, if promised a stake in oil ..?) War economic recovery occurs, a scramble for the mineral resources addicts will be expected. Rather than guns and knives ......... it `s out of my topic. Iraqi political leaders and the spiritual interests of the people would be needed to destroy is a specific event. Especially, with the rich and poor is an event. (Because men have little economic interest of their place in the early to focus on the sport, soccer (basketball) is considered adequate.)

Compelled by force if a new idea or system, most of the people of Iraq, with many of their victims in the sense of a strong opposition is expected. Naturally through the media to accept the new system also believe the approach. You get the benefits of the system to include the development and the damage he caused a reaction very similar to the suspect is likely to be..

Thank You.

P.S Pass laws for becoming self-employed
Directly to the November election and would like you to exert a positive influence. My holiday is over as far as business owners want to hire back staff, felt a little uneasy to think. It is my prediction. Period of time and need help, I think.

Volunteers were requested to the G20 Summit. Want to get the opportunity to meet us, but,,,,

Korea is known to people in any reasonable settlement for local politicians to move with the moderation which, as opposed nodongjajiphoena liberals go to the meeting, becoming fully considered them, as you can not do anything, think the situation is. Still, ignoring the area of political action that is thought to be impossible. I still feel twinges of conscience, but in my mind, this is not easy .....-I want to go there(US), at least in economic activity, it is difficult to prevent. Motbonaeran die many times I've tried many times a song is I believe (I think is a coincidence). Rather, the Outcast think it's more quickly.

from

OysterCracker
|
United States
August 22, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Palgye,
Amazing how you express yourself on Dipnote. You're almost an American speaker.
You are so right. The economy is the basis of democracy. America needs to get busy producing otherwise we can't influence others. So well expressed.

T.J
|
United Kingdom
August 22, 2010

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

@-Joseph A. M. in Oregon, who writes: reinstate the Iraqi Ba'ath Party" and allow the Iraqi Sunni, a greater presence within the Iraqi government and Parliament.

The Ba'ath Party which carried out genocide against the Kurds and Shiites?

Saber
|
Sudan
August 22, 2010

Saber in Sudan writes:

Now is the time for Iraqs to work hard toward building Iraq, and I am sure that the commitment of the USG to is standing by Iraq buidling the civil relation, traning police and the Militray forces. That the USG and Iraq will move to a deomcaract state because no one would be able to bear the old regime experience. The USG is supporting many nations widely. It is time to move for the better for Iraq people.

Debra
|
United States
August 24, 2010

Debra in the U.S.A. writes:

It is recognizable their are innocent children and families, as there are here. Do you gentleman that offer support of affirmative action during supporting the war just service above the lack of personal efforts to resolve issue's and just applaud another ruined statement of History.

Our families offer back a hundred percent commitment to help their issue's, but that is not why America's responded... we just don't trust your under the wire behaviors in the corruption that governs a lot of our lives.

Peace to the children and their families of Iraq, and good people do exist.

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
August 24, 2010

Joseph A.M. in Oregon writes:

I agree with a "self sustaining Iraq", but, self sustaining within the framework of a "Islamic Nation State", not trying to structure or attempt to construct a Western "style" Democracy modeled by a free-market enterprise or a consumerist economic approach. Besides, the Iraqi Parliament should collectively decide on the political dynamics leading to their future and formulate a new type of government which will inevitably lead and hold the future for all Iraqis, obviously having several parties and political ideals to choose from would be the more likely approach.

@ T.J. in the U.K.; You've missed my point, Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party were our allies during the 1980's and "during" the twelve-plus year war with Iran. Reinstating the Ba'ath Party, by the Iraqis, does not necessarily mean that a authoritarian, dictatorship will emerge, they have a right to have several political parties within Parliament to choose and vote for, this is not uncommon for the Middle-Eastern Nation States, including Europe to have many parties, the majority normally gets the lead role in forming a government.

Besides, in reference to the mass killings of the Kurds and Shiites which occurred under the Saddam regime, the proper course of action would be for the U.N. and the international community to bring the evidence forth to the I.C.C. in the Hague, Netherlands for indictments and judicial prosecution, similar to the process taken on Sudan's Bashir, for the genocide occurring in Darfur. Not a military intervention, leading to hundreds of thousands of more deaths, in an effort to "restructure a Nation State", I respectfully disagree with this concept. Moreover, the USG and other development programs for woman, the poor and underprivileged should continue. It would be interesting in knowing, if the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad, is reading this Dip.Note blog entry, I think I have raised some well thought out ideas and concepts, worth passing along within the diplomatic community.

Patrick W.
|
Maryland, USA
August 24, 2010

Patrick W. in Maryland writes:

Just checking-in too, see what's Up at the Department Of States.

The Best way to support Iraq During this Transition?

First: We need more people to people civil meets,between the poor an uneducated citizens.
Some Citizens there have no idea what's going on with their government. And need some kind of government programs that will help them intergrate with their new society.

Two: have large events so that people can educate themselves on subjects, like program's that will help their communitys.
This could happen at a festivity or sports event that would take place afterwards.

Three: Broadcast over the Radio or Tv about coming events that the government is holding, and where they are being held.
Also set up transportation to the events for the citizens that can't get there by themselves. Maybe large buses or car pooling. LOL :)

Four: These are the voyages of the Star Ship States Department.To search out new and exciting ideas .To Go, where no States Department has gone before. HEHE :)

Anyways,just a few thoughts on this Subject.

....I hope Everyone at DipNote & Hillary is having a good week so far.

_____C_ya__Guys..)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 24, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@Joseph AM,

Iraq has moved beyond the politics of the past, yet you seem to long for a return.

De Bathification as a process of ridding the systemn of a political mindset was as nessesary to Iraq as it was in post-Nazi Germany , as was the reintegration back into society of those who by the nature of the system were "Bathist" simply to not be hassled by the state or had to become a part of that party just to have a job.

But to suggest Iraq go back to "the good 'ol days" is about as stupid as leaving Saddam in power after the 91 gulf war was, being we had to go back a decadse later and get that job done right.

TJ didn't miss your point, you've stated petty clearly you would prefer we hadn't removed him and that you'd like to see that Bathist government return to power.

P.S. Saddam was never considered an "Allied" goverenment w/ the USA, by anyone in this government and took a nuetral stance in the Iran/Iraq war and sought to end it working with the UN, and we acted as we had to do to protect the vital interests of America and the rest of the region and the world to prevent interruption of shipping and eventually we did help put an end to their war.

You ought to do some reading into the diplomatic history of the era, so you have a better grasp of who we are and what we do as a nation, instead of engaging in revisionist history.

Today, the Iraq people have the chance to prove to themselves why they live in the "cradle of civilization".

They have a certain tradition to uphold as far as this goes, and when they finally get themselves sorted out, they may end up doing democracy better than we do.

Some have said Arab nations are not capable of standing up a democracy, and that America tries to force it down the vanquished's throats.

Well, as the eldest , my two younger, much more successful brothers became such because I made every possible mistake there was growing up and they learned from my mistakes.

If America is "big Brother" , then it's on that kind of level, not a hegemonic one on an ideological level.

Democracy is a choice a people make for lack of better alternative.

And you would have Iraqi's go back to what doesn't work?

I think you missed the point of this question of the week, as to "how we support democracy in Iraq."

It's not clear to TJ or myself whether you do, and that's the point in having this conversation with you.

In one sense tyrany and democracy have a symbiotic relationship, in the sense that there is cause and effect, one begets the other... the solution to tyrany is democracy, and the end result of a poorly managed democracy is a dictatorship.

So, the institution must be capable of maintaing a "separation of powers" and a government that is responsive to the will of its people.

Iraqi's are not going back to "Bathist" Joeseph, so forgettaboutit, it's a "non starter", "non issue", and has no basis in reality or as a topic of further discussion on this thread.

palgye
|
South Korea
August 25, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

so dangerous,
wanna Exile

Michael K.
|
New York, USA
August 25, 2010

Michael K. in New York writes:

Even this respondent’s modest involvement in post-conflict international reviving activities allows a sharp conclusion: "democracy" to remain an abstract definition for locals living continuingly worse after regime change.

Not academic “economics” but daily earning through job might sustain a grassroots support and peace in Iraq in this case while securing the eventually created works is still a big problem both for a national government and appropriately deployed foreign forces, in military khakis or in whatsoever.

T.J
|
United Kingdom
August 25, 2010

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

Joseph A.M. in Oregon writes;-

@ T.J. in the U.K.; You've missed my point, Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party were our allies during the 1980's and "during" the twelve-plus year war with Iran.

" OUR ALLIES " ? I am sorry for saying it so bluntly. You are totally wrong. US has never declared War on Iran. The Iraq - Iran War lasted 8 years and Iraq started the War.
Saddam's regime was secular and was being threatened by the Islamists in Iran.
The evidence that, you are on about HAS been submitted and the culprits hanged. You should watch MORE TV.
The Ba'ath party's track record reminds a lot of good people of the legacy of Hitler. I am personally not against forgiving, but then again I am not an Arab from Iraq.

From where I see the situation in Iraq, I see it this way; The Mullahs regime is petrified of having a Democracy on its door step.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 25, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

TJ, it occurs to me that the region has another little Hitler to contend with who's now got his own version of a V1 "buzz bomb".

The Russians are rewarding bad behavior, and Iran can hold the region hostage by threatening to let the nuclear plant go critical at a time of their choosing.

Someone didn't properly assess the potential for Iranian sponsored terrorism apparently.

Well, it seems folks are willing to take a calculated risk with 300 million lives in the region by starting the plant up, and introducing yet another element of instability and potential disaster for the region.

If we get lucky, mother nature might just let the earth slip and the expected "big one" will hit before its fully online, and folks will finaly understand why I say it's insane to put a nuclear reactor on a platectonic fault line.

Built for a 7 when the area can produce a 9.0 quake at any time.

Do nations actually have the soverign right to be so stupid?

Well, there's only one solution to stupid sponsors of terrorism, and that's regime replacement therapy.

If we had history to do over, would we have gone to war with Hitler when he was arming himself to the teeth in order to prevent a world war?

It seems as if we haven't leaned these lessons from history properly to stop this present day car bomb in time.

And Iraq? Their long-term stability (and Afghanistan's) won't be secured until the Iranian people have a government they can be proud of, that isn't threatening its neighbors and doing everything it can to try and start a war with the USA, Israel, and the UK.

Unveiling their "ambassador of death" amid chants of "death to..." these nations, including my own are actionable as an incitement to violence.

The Iranian regime seems hell bent on destabilizing this entire region, and folks just don't seem to know how, or lack the common sense to deal with it properly before it gets totally out of hand and their is no other choice left but to deal with a problemn that has grown exponentially more problematic as years have gone by, till folks have no good option left.

If we are committed to a stable democratic Iraq and Afghanistan, folks sure seem to have failed to see the forest for all the trees blocking their vision.

Gotta love the new UK PM, new guy on the international scene, he can tell it like it is, and then say he "mispoke" on Iran having a nuclear weapon when folks get all wiggy about him telling the truth.

I've watched this guy in the House of Commons debate Blair, and his sucessor for years during "PM's question time, and Cameron has never "mispoke", and is always very concious of the words he strings together...he knew what he was saying to the Turkish reporter, of that I have no doubt.

But I don't think governments are yet willing to tell their people they failed to prevent this from happening.

Basicly because I don't think anyone has a clue how to contain a nuclear armed Iran.

And because such a revelation would most likely push nations to the brink of war and over it.

I could be wrong, and I hope I am...but since folks are simply guessing at this point as to when they are expected to produce weapons, might as well be safe about it and asume that they do right now.

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
August 25, 2010

Joseph A.M. in Oregon writes:

@U.S. Department of State; Eric in New Mexico and TJ in the U.K.

I know what the Dip.Note Blog question of the week is, seeking ideas on promoting and bringing Democracy to Iraq; that is why I addressed the question, directly in my first blog posting, here it is again:

By accepting the fundamental principle, that Iraq is an "Islamic Nation State", a tribal society with over five-thousand years of culture, history and tribal laws, which impact the way that Iraqi society is governed. Allow the Iraqi Parliament to "reinstate the Iraqi Ba'ath Party" and allow the Iraqi Sunni, a greater presence within the Iraqi government and Parliament -- accelerate the tempo in having the Iraqi Parliament form a new government. Scale down the U.S. military presence to twenty-five thousand troops up until 2011. By changing the U.S. strategy and policy, from trying to "shape Iraq into a Western Style Democracy", to having the Iraqi Parliament and ruling class (by acknowledging a greater Sunni presence within the Iraqi Parliamentary representatives) formulate this Parliamentary process. Finally, by allowing the Iraqi's to decide for themselves how they would like to structure their own government and society. By acknowledging that their newly formed government, will adhere to Islamic jurisprudence, tribal laws and give the Iraqi Parliamentary representatives the flexibility in proceeding with moving forward and with organizing the "restructuring of Iraqi political leadership". With this type of well thought out, intellectual analysis, the U.S. Department of State may want to consider placing me on it's payroll?

Historically, the Ba'ath Party in Iraq has represented the Iraqi "ruling class, the intellectuals and the educated class within Iraqi society", moreover, during modern times and since Post World War II, Iraqi "Sunnah" Muslims, have traditionally been the "elite class of Iraqi society". Since the U.S. military intervention, the U.S. administration has sought to "restructure and reverse" this dynamic within the Iraqi political framework.

Every time, I mention a well thought out analysis, on the internal dynamics of how the Iraqi government is fundamentally structured, and bring forth possible ways with improving "stability in Iraq" -- "I receive feedback and comments, attempting in drawing a parallel with "Post U.S. intervention Iraq, to the former NAZI Party in Germany during the 1930's?" This is a bias point of view, that misrepresents, what the ideological components of the "Ba'ath Party" are, as a Political entity in several Middle-Eastern countries. Militarily, the U.S. did support the Iraqi government, during it's eight year war with Iran -- O.k., I stand corrected, the war lasted approximately eight years.

I'm an academic, finishing my Master's in Conflict Resolution and I specialize in; analyzing culure and International Conflict --I know what has worked, and what has been a "colossal failure" with regards to "re-structuring Iraq", the fundamental principle that the U.S. Department of State should be mindful of, while pursuing ways with supporting "Democracy" during this period of transition, is to acknowledge and be "mindful of" that Iraq, is a "Islamic Nation State".

OysterCracker
|
United States
August 26, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Diplomacy the OysterCracker way. Food, Humor and Fun!

T.J
|
United Kingdom
August 26, 2010

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

@Joseph,

I am not against your input by any means. One major factor that, you have totaly left out is the fact that, most people in the M.E, Geneticaly and Culturaly are emotional types. To these types 2+2= 5 most of the times.
Now add to this an evil force which for it's own survival stops at nothing.
You need a Chrytal Ball my friend to see into the future. But right this moment , the Iraqis need a strong leader who has no ties to Iran or Syria or any one else. They need a period of soft dictatorship to get into shape. If this does not happen soon, I am afraid the vacuum will be filled by the evil forces very quickly. US will have to go back and sort things out.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 26, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Joeseph A M

Geeze, now I understand how Robert Gibbs felt taking on "the professional left".

Now if someone would only patent some eyedrops that would cure political myopia.

What is it about the notion that the good 'ol USA can't do a bloody thing right, therefore anything we do must be "a collosal failure" without fail?

Or that somehow Iraqis arn't smart enough to figure out how democracy works therefore the good ol USA has to tell them how to "restructure" themselves to be like us?..yeah that's only a belief held in the minds of those who think everyone else should think like them, eh Joeseph?

Get a grip pal, it's real easy to do...just don't believe everything you think.

I mean , if that's the way we are, why would the Iraqi government thank us, let alone get into long term security arrangements with us as a soverign nation, which I don't suppose you bothered to think maybe flies in the face of your political angst.

Whatever floats your boat dude...it makes no nevermind...I'm sure Iraqis don't consider themselves to be building a "collosal failure" for themselves despite your insistance to the contrary.

Iran on the other hand actively wants Iraq to fail, and malign influences of destabilization and their support for al-quaida's terrorism in Iraq is the one thing that cannot be allowed to take place, now, or in the future.

OysterCracker
|
United States
August 26, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

T.J. is probably right. You need a strong leader in Afghanistan now. Also work projects.

All men must be doing something like shifting rock piles if that's all there is to do. Confiscate the drug money and start huge building projects that require back breaking work. After two years, or when the country is well stabilized, after building schools, playgrounds, give the laborers free education to study whatever they want. That's the carrot. Iraqi's need to get busier but also happier. They need some beauty to lift them out of their negative, unhappy state. They need to dream about a great future.

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
August 26, 2010

Joseph A.M. in Oregon writes:

@T.J. in the U.K.

Iraq and Iraqi's will always have ties with Syria and Iran, due to the nature of cultural and religious dynamics, they share commonalities that should not be ignored by the U.S. Administration. Syria and Iran are both regional players who will always have, even if indirectly a political and strategic influence on Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament and transformational government should get their act together and form a stable, influential government that would genuinely seek the interests of the Iraqi people, this process will take time. Again, acknowledging that Iraqi society, is a tribal society and a Islamic Nation State -- not a Western European Post-World War II democracy (Da). The frame of reference for Iraqi society is within the context of Islam. Due to the nature of Iraqi society and it's history, the new government which has yet to be construed, needs to have a greater "representation of the Sunnah Muslim political representatives", this is what the Iraqi people are accustomed too and would prove to enhance the stability and security process. It's a political matter and really when it's all said and done, the Iraqi government and Parliament should play a more active role with engaging with ordinary Iraqi citizens and by adequately representing the interests of the people, once this occurs, Iraqi citizens will start to feel more comfortable with their government and this will lead to a relationship of trust and long term stability.

I agree a soft dictator until things get reasonably better. How would you gauge this process? Well, a good outcome for the near future would be, a clear shift and dramatic decrease in the violence and bombings which have been occurring regularly. The new Iraqi government, should engage with their neighbors and have an active diplomatic and economic relationship with both Iran and Syria, not isolate those countries. General Odierno, the outgoing commander knows what is needed to improve the situation in Iraq, it is all about a "political solution", but I would add, greater "representation of the Sunnah parliamentary officials" to this equation.

In conclusion, T.J., why not take a bold move and run by my blog posting to the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad and General Odierno (who is due to leave within 2 weeks)? I think that they would agree with my analysis and suggestions.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

(from the DoS briefing of 8/26/10 Re: "transition in Iraq")

QUESTION: As that takes place, how – can you comment on how America’s relationship will be changing with Iraq? And specifically, do you feel you may be losing some political leverage as less U.S. forces are on the ground so will American influence to perhaps get together with different Iraqi religious groups or political groups?

MR. CROWLEY: We are in the midst of a transition in our relationship with Iraq. Over the past seven years, our relationship has been dominated by our significant military presence in the country. We now have reduced that presence below 50,000 military forces who will be there for another 16 months helping to train Iraqi security forces and to back up Iraqi security forces as they continue to deal with the security challenge across Iraq. In the meantime, we are stepping up activity on the civilian side. We’re going to be constructing a relationship that more closely resembles our relationship with many other countries in the region.

There’s still a lot of work to do with Iraq: helping Iraq build its economy, helping Iraq build its institutions of government, extending civil society and the rule of law. And we’ll be continuing to encourage Iraq to form a new government and maintain or sustain an inclusive political process. I think our relationship is broadening and deepening with this transition. I don’t – but the key to – we will continue to work with Iraq as a partner. It’s not about leverage, but it’s about helping Iraq make – chart its own future and that’s something that we’re committed to help Iraq do.

QUESTION: You previously expressed your concern about Iran meddling with Iraq’s sovereignty. Is there a potential for Iran to gain greater influence in – with let’s say Iraqi politicians or politics as combat troops have withdrawn?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are worried about the influence of other countries inside Iraq. That said, Iraq is going to chart its own future. I think people that worry about the influence of Iran in Iraq, I think miscalculate it in terms of the determination of Iraq, its leaders, and its people to chart its own course. We’re there, committed to help Iraq, but we also want to have Iraq build constructive relations with its neighbors and play a more constructive role in the region than it has in the past.

QUESTION: How alarmed are you that the recent spike in violence could derail the U.S. mission as stated? Because I know you --

MR. CROWLEY: I think what’s important is that the current spike of violence is not directed at the United States. It’s directed at the Iraqi Government. It’s – yesterday’s brutal attacks were directed at the very institutions of government that are there to help secure the Iraqi people. We are concerned about the spike in violence. It’s something that we actually anticipated, that these extremist elements would, as we removed forces, try to step up their activity. They’re doing that.

By the same token, we have confidence that Iraqi security forces are up to the task. They’ve been in the lead now for more than a year. We’re going to – there are going to be good days and bad days in Iraq for the foreseeable future. Yesterday was a bad day. But we have complete confidence in Iraq’s ability to ultimately defeat these extremist elements."

---

@ PJ Crowley,

I have good reason to be comcerned about Iranian involvement in Iraq PJ, but I'm one of those who think Iraqis are up to the task and while rooted in tribal society have an equally strong national identity as Iraqis to limit outside malign interference in their nation's development. And that we have their back on security issues for some time to come.

Good relations with their Iranian neighbors don't involve Quods force "special groups" killing Iraqi citizens and supporting al quaida.

For Iran's government, the Iran/Iraq war never truly ended apparently(logical deduction based on their activities over time).

I'm curios PJ, do you think we could have done what we've done so far in Iraq and Afghanistan if we didn't have the Marshall Plan to draw example from, that it could be done in the first place?

I think folks in the world sometimes tend to ignore or forget American long-standing tradition when it comes to nation building.

P.S. I think it's cool Nasa is helping the Chilean miners, and if I might add a suggestion...their Health dept might want to talk to a few Rinsai Buddhist monks to deal with long-term headspace issues as the basic practice of meditation will greatly assist them in their communal dicipline in such a cramped space.

Best regards, Go Red Sox!

EJ

Srinivasanrajanarayan
|
Tennessee, USA
August 27, 2010

Srinivasanrajanarayan in Tennessee writes:

Let Iraqu people decide who they actually need. As a last step, a fresh clean elecion with 100% securitymay ensure that.

U.S.Gov. watch, and guide them onlyif they need. However, to ensure that U.S. goals and ambitions for peaceaful Iraqu is in line

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
August 27, 2010

Joseph A.M. in Oregon writes:

@ T.J. in the U.K.

Thank-you for clarifying that you are not against my input....I'll take that as a compliment. I tend to overlook and not mention the personality types associated with Middle-Eastern cultures, due to the fact that religion plays such a dominant role in Islamic societies -- I would rather address the cultural sensitivities associated with the Muslim world. Hoping that this would bring greater awareness to the problems they face with restructuring their countries, while charting a stable future for either the Iraqi or Afghan people.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@Joeseph AM,

Why would anyone be against "your imput"? You are as free to blog here as the rest of us, that doesn't mean folks agree with you or that it's a compliment to say folks arn't against your posting your thoughts here.

I whole heartedly disagree with the comclusions you've drawn on this thread and addressed them as I found them , and you have a briefing transcript that gives you a clue that it will be awile before you and the Dept of State are on the same page, and only then when you discover an essential truth.

Saddam killed off all the "Nelson Mandellas" in Iraq over 30 years, and a "soft dictator" will not be substitute for the enduring institutions of Democracy that must weather the storms of the birth of a nation and endure to preserve it.

Well a lot of Iraqis are having doubts whether they are ready to do this on their own, and I think that's as natural as a bird learning to fly from its nest with a cat in the yard waiting.

Our own birth as a nation wasn't a whole lot different in this respect, nor was Germany's future when the Marshall plan was done, divided and subject to Soviet influence and pressure, and while circumstance were different in each, the thought "can we make this work for ourselves?"
is only human to wonder during transition from dictatorship to democracy.

While some look to define the differences, I see the comonality in the human condition.

It isn't called "the great experiment" without reason.

Don't take things so personal Joeseph, TJ and I agree on many things and have for many years, but we don't always see things the same way either and have remained friends.

He knows something about dictators...though if he could cite example in history of a "soft dictator" that would be a good thing because if there ever was such an odd creature walking this Earth, it's apparently extinct today. Maybe he has someone in mind?

(chuckle)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I wander off on a brouse of the news after posting my last post to Joeseph and what do I find without looking for it?

Nothing less than "parallel thinking in reference" with specificity added in the details:

"We Americans, in particular, might moderate our criticism of the lengthy efforts to establish representative government. Remember: it took us seven years to win our independence, 12 years to write our constitution and 20 years before we even had political parties."
....

"Of course, the constitution is only a document and must be respected in practice. Still, the bottom line: today for the first time in the country's history, Iraqis are citizens, not subjects, of their government."
....

"With a population of only 30 million, Iraq will never be able to generate conventional forces alone able to balance Iran with twice the population base. And a nuclear-armed Iran, which the American government rightly declares "unacceptable", would threaten Iraq, the entire region and broader American interests.

So America has ongoing interests in Iraq's success and stability.

Our security agreement calls for the withdrawal of all American forces by the end of next year. But that agreement also provides that the two countries can undertake "strategic deliberations" about defending Iraq against internal and external threats."
....
- Paul Bremer (excerpts from his essay in the BBC today)

Source:
bbc.co.uk/news/education-11102558

T.J
|
United Kingdom
August 29, 2010

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

@Joseph;-

greater "representation of the Sunnah Muslim political representatives", this is what the Iraqi people are accustomed too and would prove to enhance the stability and security process.

I am sorry to express myself so bluntly. You are totally wrong. Your ideas if ever implemented, would be disaterous for Iraq. Iraq will break into 3 parts. Kurdish in the North, Sunni in the Middle and Shiite in the South. This will also entail civil war, and who knows, maybe due to vast oil reserves, the old colonials may take sides in this too.
The Non Kurdish Sunnis are a minority group. Yes they should be - and ARE - represented in the government of Iraq but the Ba'ath party is a BIG no no unless you are an ex Bathi who has fallen from throne after the fall of Saddam. Many Iraqi people have bitter memories of the Saddam 30 year era in Iraq. You can not employ people with bloody hands.

Do you remember the guy who threw his shoe at GWB? Well, had I been the Iraqi PM or somebody, I would have ordered his execution. GWB was a guest in the Arab house. He got a few months jail instead and after release, some Iraqi media made a hero of him!! Maybe this was due to the US pressure. I can not say. But this is a lesson for all iraqis to uphold human rights and forget their " Stone Age" culture.

With regards to your post that, you kindly invited me to comment on; I am sorry I am not interested. You have no grasp of the real mentality of Arab people. Remember, if an Arab feeds you, then you must BURP to express the fact that it was delicious. It is very bad manners in my country - Iran. Yet, we have Arab loving rulers in Iran who order hangings of minors, stoning to death, gauging eyes, dismembering limbs and so on most of the time following fabricating evidence against their political opponents.

Please, PLEASE! Before wraping up a prescription for the patient, find out EXACTLY what his ailment is. Jimmy Carter had bad advisors too. They created most of the problems of the M.E. And it is not sorted out yet. In my opinion he was a good farmer and a bad President.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 29, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well TJ, I guess we are known as a compassionate nation for a reason, and maybe things would have been differentr had the shoe actually struck the intended target, but he ducked it and no harm done, and enough people have lost their lives for being too stupid to live it correctly as it is, so I think Mr. Bush probably suggested the Iraqi government cut the fellow some slack, and didn't press the issue or take great offense being that it is pretty normal when one brings profound change to a people, they are going to make a few people angry, despite one's best efforts otherwise.

Culinary customs are a funny thing, in my x's family (from the Phillipines) if you get up from the table before you've had at least three servings and offered a contented belch before arising, one is most definately being rude to the cook.

If you don't burp after three huge helpings, there's probably something wrong with the person anyway...(chuckle)...chef's "logic" I suppose).

Not being from either Arab or Persian cultural background, I have a hard time identifying with a rivalry that has existed for thousands of years, though I understand when there is no separation between mosque and state why some Iranians consider themselves to be "occupied" by an "Arab mindset" that rules by the gun.

In my observations of the system of government in Iran, as opposed to a democratic form, what I see is something completely unnatural to any one tradition or indigious cultural heritage, religious or otherwise.

And here's why...maybe you'll agree with the following, maybe not...my analysis is still evolving as circumstance does.

What you have today in Iran is a systenm of repressive government that has combined all the techniques used by every genocidal dictator in modern history, from Hitler to Stalin, and you have an economy largly run by the state as poorly as the Soviets did, an ethnic cleaning mindset on the lines of Hitler, and to top this off, it's dicator considers his "WORD" to be on par with Mohammed's in athority.

Now while I believe it is mostly up to Muslims to take his ego down a few notches, it is mostly up to the international community to prevent a meglomaniacal genocidal whackjob like the Grand Poobah (ayatollah) of Iran, from creating hell on Earth, just so he can further the coming of the 12th Iman, or some such phrophesy.

They have in the process , refined repression of their own people down to an art, using ever method ever invented to do so, and then some.

The consider blowing one's self up in a "martyrdom opperation" to be the highest attainable "art form" a human can aspire to.

On the record, publicly.

Why the nations of the world don't remove that government from power upon realizing there isn't possibility of "behavior change" is something that continues to puzzle me, as if folks are going to wait to get nuked before taking action or something...?

You are completely right on this;

"Before wraping up a prescription for the patient, find out EXACTLY what his ailment is."

In Iraq, they have the cure,...thing is, the patient's recovery is fully dependant on his attitude.

As my x put it to me, (an ICU nurse), the patients that "made it" out of the unit had a strong will to live, or they didn't.

In Iran's case, it's going to require nothing short of regime replacement therapy and folks better get a grip on that now.

Folks should stop thinking about bombing nuclear sites because they arn't the problem, the regime in power is.

I worry a great deal that US policy isn't ready to make a fundemental realization and address this situation with some logic, because reaching out a hand at this point (after having tried a few times) will just get it cut off and handed back to the fellow that does, so to speak of Presidential diplomatic initiatives in negotiation with reasonable intent.

He's already proved he was willing to try, and "once bitten, twice shy".

I suppose folks will do "the pressure track" for another year perhaps until they flat run out the clock and don't have another option left but the one I can see coming like the sun rising tommorow for certain, but folks gots to see these things for themselves to make those decisions.

It one thing to be reasonable, it's another to get the problem solved, and it's often hard to be one and do the other.

T.J
|
United Kingdom
August 30, 2010

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

@Eric,

Yes I totally agree with you. Iran is a major player in the ME. However, it's role under the Shah - a soft Dictator compared to the Mullah - was a positive one and not only because it was a " Western friendly and secular regime ".
I think during the Jimmy Carter era many mistakes were made with regards to the US Foreign Policy. Yes, the Russian had their own mini Vietnam in Afghanistan as a consequence, but the Pandora's Box was opened at the same time. The one sad result of this was the sad event of 9/11 plus many more.
The World has to wake up fast. The removal of Mullahs regime will become compulsary at some point. At the moment, the Western Allies are accepting the casualties of this non-declared War. The later the remedy comes, the higher the number of body bags.
There will be NO progress in Iraq untill the Mullah regime remains in power in Iran. I believe the price paid so far is $ one Trillion, 4500 Allied Forces and maybe 500,000 Iraqis.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 30, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Yeah TJ, you know the current regime in Iran is losing credibility with its own base when they draw comparison with the Shah's "repression" and comparisons with Basiji and SAVIK.

That's regime members saying this...now nostalgia for "the good old days" crops up in some odd places I think, but it only illustrates the nature of the regime.

Comparitively, I would agree that the Shah was a little "softer" on dissent in general.

I thought maybe you were refering to Cyrus the Great.

As far as removing dictators is concerned, we haven't done all that badly...remember it cost us over 6000 lives in one day liberating France and that war cost us half a million casualties KIA total.

Yeah, it would be a good thing to nip these little Hitlers in the bud before they make a bigger mess of things in the world.

As messy a job as that will be to get done, someone has got to do it.

Iraq will be at risk until then.

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