Friday, April 29, 2011

Iraqi Army not ready until 2020 says Iraqi commander

Rudaw interviews Babaker Zebari who is the Chief of Staff of Iraqi Joint Forces. Excerpt:

Rudaw: What does the US say about its army presence in Iraq?

Zebari: If we ask them to keep their army in Iraq, I think they will respond positively because they have fears about the region.

Rudaw: How about yourself?

Zebari: Yes, I am personally worried, too.

Rudaw: This means the US army must stay then?

Zebari: We are soldiers and this is a political decision that must be made by the politicians. We can only give our impression to the politicians and they will decide.

Rudaw: What is your impression?

Zebari: We have conveyed our impression to the politicians which is that the Iraqi army will not be ready to control Iraq until 2020.

These remarks are consistent with remarks Zebari has made since 2007. Last August, BCC News reported, "Gen Zebari told a defence conference in Baghdad that the Iraqi army would not be able to ensure the country's security until 2020 and that the US should keep its troops in Iraq until then." In related news, Alsumaria TV reports, "The Sadr Front affirmed on Thursday that in case the Mehdi Army has to resume armed opposition, it will include in addition to its Iraqi members other sects and components and non Iraqis as well to fight against the US military if US forces stay in Iraq beyond their scheduled departure late this year." And yesterday, Alsumaria TV reported on US Maj Gen Bernard Champoux "blamed Mahdi Army for some of the latest assassinations in Baghdad. Iraq should establish good relations with the neighbouring countries that are uninvolved in providing armed groups with weapons and missiles, the US Commander stressed."

Assassinations and other violence continues, Reuters reports a Buhriz home invasion (by assailants wearing Iraqi military garb) in which 3 brothers were killed and a fourth was injured and 1 of the assailants was shot dead, 1 Iraqi military officer was shot dead in Baghad and, dropping back to Thursday for both, a Mosul roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 1 Iraqi soldier and 1 Iraqi military doctor (and left two more Iraqi soldiers injured) and a Baquba home invasion in which an Iman, his wife and their daughter were killed. AFP identifies the Iman as Basheer Mutlak. Aswat al-Iraq adds that the daughter was 9-years-old and adds, "A police officer was killed late Thursday by gunmen in al-Shurqat district, a police source said on Friday."

Al Mada reports Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (Shi'ite political body), is calling out the continued inability of the government to function and stating it's harmful to Iraq. Iraq lacks a Minster of the Interior, Defense and one for National Security. Not really sure that bickering is the country's biggest problem.

Protests are going on in Iraq. There's some concern that banners will cause people to get arrested. I'm not finding anything on the protests in Arab or English media and I'm basing that on an e-mail and a text. We'll close with this from Philip J. Crowley's "Obama's Inconsistency Doctrine on the Arab Spring" (Daily Beast via ICH):

When President Obama authorized an intervention in Libya in March, pundits rushed to declare an Obama Doctrine.

But one decision does not a doctrine make, despite the popular idea that every modern president must have one. Although Obama seemed to embrace the concept of “responsibility to protect” in intervening in Libya and calling for Muammar Gaddafi to step down from power, he has not done the same in Syria. If Gaddafi must go because he is unwilling to reform and has employed extreme state-controlled violence against a population that no longer fears him, so should President Bashar al-Assad.

The responsibility to protect, or the notion that the international community has an obligation to intervene when governments threaten their people with mass atrocities, leaves undefined a specific trigger for intervention. Obama, supported by a U.N. Security Council resolution and a clear call for action by the Arab League, pointed to Gaddafi’s threat to attack Benghazi, the center of the rebellion against the Libyan dictator. So far, so good.

But the president went beyond simply justifying military action. Because of Gaddafi’s explicit threat, Obama said, the Libyan “lost legitimacy with his people” and “needs to step down from power.” While for Egypt the president publicly encouraged only a transition, Obama called for regime change in Libya. Transformation became personal.

The White House was quick to downplay the idea of a precedent. “We don’t make decisions about questions like intervention based on consistency or precedent,” said Denis McDonough, the deputy national-security adviser.

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