Monday, August 11, 2014

The new Iraq War, continuing decades of ill-considered involvement

Steven Simon in Iraq: Another 30 Years? MSNBC 08/11/2014 writes: "Whether and how the Iraqi state evolves during this crisis might well determine whether the U.S. is looking at yet another 30 years."

John McCain's ill-considered crack in the 2008 campaign that we might be in Iraq for another 100 years is starting to look more realistic.

That also means possibly decades more of hearing our leaders talk like this: McCain 100 Years in Iraq 1/3/2008. The 100-year part starts about 4:15.

I like Simon's concise summary of US-Iraq relations in recent decades:

From 1984 to 1990, the two were allies of convenience against the revolutionary Shi'ism of Khomeini’s Iran; between 1990 and 2000 they were foes struggling over the regional order; during the early years of the new millennium, 2001-2003, the U.S. targeted Iraq as the enemy in a dramatic U.S. counter-terrorism campaign provoked by 9/11; since then, the US and Iraq have resumed their awkward alliance against Islamic extremism - but primarily Sunni this time rather than Shi'a. It has been quite a ride.
Reidar Visser also looks back on actual historical experience in Obama's Fools Errand: Why the Bombing Campaign Won't Fix Iraq Foreign Affairs 08/11/2014:

Obama declares that he does not want to be dragged into another Iraq war. But it is not like this war came from nowhere. It is, in fact, the same one that he tried to finish in 2010–11 by papering over glaring holes in the Iraqi government and then abruptly leaving. Iraq wasn't fixed then, and probably won't be until the United States fundamentally rethinks its policies, particularly how to balance perceived sectarian interests with broader national agendas in Iraq.
President Obama made another statement on his Iraq War today, Statement by the President on Iraq 08/11/2014. It mainly seems to have been for the purpose to demonstratively taking sides with Haider al-Abadi, the Administration's preferred selection as Prime Minister. If al-Abadi manages to take his office as Prime Minister, I wonder how many years it will take him to knife the US in the back. (Months? Weeks?) Any Prime Minister is likely to have big differences with the US over our obviously disproportionate support for the separatist minded Kurdish forces.

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