Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The continued Iraq War

Al Mada reports that before US Vice President Joe Biden visits Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will be visiting DC. Both visits will focus on the issue of US 'trainers' as negotiations continue. The paper notes that the Kurdish Alliance is expressing concern over the issue of neighboring countries (Turkey and to a less extent Iran) attacking Iraq. A non-Kurdish government source notes that there is only a short amount of time between now and the end of the year but that he believes they can work out an understanding with the US that will provide a mechanism to ensure the safety of Iraq. Rumors swirling in the Iraqi government include that the US, in this round of negotiations, is pressing for 1500 US troops based out of the Baghdad embassy. Dar Addustour notes both visits as well as Ayad Allawi's trip to London (he's on it now) where he's meeting with David Cameron (British Prime Minister) and others. As Trina pointed out last night, Patrick Martin (WSWS) is also noting Nouri's trip to DC: "Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki is to visit Washington in December for further talks, and Obama held out the possibility of a future agreement to station US troops in Iraq in the guise of training Iraqi soldiers in the use of weapons systems the Iraqi government is buying from American military contractors."

The Pakistan Observer notes Moqtada al-Sadr's comments that the US "is seekign to maintain its occupation of Iraq through keeping trainers and private contractors" in Iraq. The CIA isn't leaving Iraq either. Eli Lake (The Daily Beast) reports:

The programs involve everything from the deployment of remote sensors that scan the wireless spectrum of terrorist safe havens to stealth U.S.-Iraqi counterterrorism commando teams, and their status is uncertain as a U.S. diplomatic team negotiates with Iraqi leaders, according to officials, who made clear the CIA intends to keep a footprint inside the country even as troops leave by Dec. 31.

“There are of course parts of the counterterrorism mission that the intelligence community, including CIA, will be able to take on from other organizations—and there are parts of that mission that it won’t,” said one U.S. counterterrorism official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of secret negotiations with the Iraqis.

Also addressing realities is Chris Floyd (Empire Burlesque via World Can't Wait):

So we have a baseline of 5,000 militarized forces remaining indefinitely in Iraq, with no immediate limit on an expansion in their numbers. And of course, all the stories make it abundantly clear that the Americans will quickly negotiate a new "security agreement" with Iraq, which will include -- or even be in addition to -- thousands of military "advisers" to help "train" the Iraqi forces, especially with the multitude of new weapons that Washington's war profiteers are lining up to sell to the "sovereign" government in Baghdad. How many troops will be involved in these "agreements"? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Again, we don't know.
And as Glenn Greenwald and others have pointed out, none of these numbers include the "Special Forces" and CIA paramilitaries that will inevitably be ranging across Iraq, no doubt in large numbers. Iraq is hardly going to receive less attention from the American black ops and death squads than Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and the dozens of other countries where Washington is waging secret war.
Thus it is almost a certainty that by the end of 2012, there will be, at the barest minimum, at least 8,000 to 10,000 heavily armed personnel under the direct control of the United States government stationed at strategic points throughout Iraq; the actual figure will doubtless be higher, perhaps much higher. But this is a bare minimum -- numbers which tally almost exactly with the final goals of the American war machine in the "failed" negotiations on extending the present form of the occupation.

Quickly, there's an article that notes many of the things above. We're not noting it. I have not spent the last years calling for an end to the Iraq War to note all the above and then say "Praise be Barack." If someone else wants to delude themselves, that's their business. But, reality, sometimes we do everything we can and we have no immediate or larger effect. Our desire for an impact should never allow us to distort reality. I do not see how you can note the above and then conclude you had an impact on Barack. I think you're kidding yourself. We'll note other things you've written but you were closer to the truth when you confessed your embarrassment over supporting Barack in 2008. And I won't allow a lie to knowingly go up here unless it's to challenge it. Sorry.

We'll close with this from Chris Hedges' "Occupiers Must Convince the other 99%" (ICH):

The occupation movement’s greatest challenge will be overcoming the deep distrust of white liberals by the poor and the working class, especially people of color. Marginalized people of color have been organizing, protesting and suffering for years with little help or even acknowledgment from the white liberal class. With some justification, those who live in these marginalized communities often view this movement as one dominated by white sons and daughters of the middle class who began to decry police abuse and the lack of economic opportunities only after they and their families were affected. This distrust is not the fault of the movement, which has instituted measures within its decision-making process to make sure marginalized voices are heard before white males. It is the fault of a bankrupt liberal class that for decades has abandoned the core issue of economic justice for the poor and the working class and busied itself with the vain and self-referential pursuits of multiculturalism and identity politics.

The civil rights movement, after all, achieved a legal victory, not an economic one. And for the bottom two-thirds of African-Americans, life is worse today than it was when Martin Luther King marched in Selma in 1965. King, like Malcolm X, understood that racial equality was impossible without economic justice. The steady impoverishment of those in these marginal communities, part of the Faustian deal worked out between the Democratic Party and its corporate sponsors, has been accompanied by draconian forms of police control, from stop-and-frisk to militarized police raids to the establishment of our vast complex of prison gulags. More African-American men, as Michelle Alexander has pointed out, are in prison or jail or on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began. The corporate state keeps some two-thirds of poor people of color in the United States trapped in internal colonies—either in the impoverished inner city or behind bars. And the abject failure on the part of the white liberal establishment to stand up for the rights of the poor, as well as its decision to throw its support behind Democratic politicians such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who abet this institutionalized and economic racism, has left many in these marginal communities disdainful of protesters from the newly dispossessed white middle class.

“The black community and the community of color have been dealing with these issues for decades,” the Rev. Raymond Blanchette, an African-American preacher from Queens, said in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan one day last week as we closed our jackets against a chilly wind whipping down the canyons of the financial district. “Now the white community around the country is beginning to see it and experience it firsthand. It’s pretty shocking to them. The African-American community and other communities of color are saying, ‘Welcome to the world I live in.’ That’s why you don’t see that many of those [nonwhite] faces here. It’s like, OK, now you decided you are going to speak up because now you’re the one that’s affected by it. One of the reasons I’m here is because I see the viability of this movement. I want to bring those communities together.”

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