Anthony H. Cordesman (CSIS) has argued:
Is that really the answer or is just a way to prolong the war and occupation even more? In his report (PDF format, here), he argues "success will require years of patient effort."
15 years isn't enough?
Apparently for the War Hawks, the Iraq War must last 100 years -- the way John McCain was saying when he was running for president in 2008.
Now in 2008, McCain was ridiculed and called out for that statement.
Today, do most Americans even pay attention?
May 12th, Iraq is set to hold parliamentary elections and no one's been bothered by the fact that Ramadan takes place from May 15th to June 14th. Past elections in Iraq have resulted in many delays -- in the case of the 2010 parliamentary elections, many months -- to settle. If the post-election process goes even 1/4 as poorly as it did in 2010, Ramadan will only compound that. Holding the election three days before Ramadan was very poor planning.
Hayder al-Abadi staked his future on the premature claim that he vanquished ISIS in Iraq. That, of course, hasn't proven to be the case. Amnesty International's Donatella Rovera notes:
150-200 security forces members killed in attacks across #Iraq in recent months. The #ISIS monster is rearing its ugly head again, as elections approach and security cooperation between Iraq and #KRG is affected by tensions since #Kurdistan referendum https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/islamic-state-haunts-northern-iraq-months-after-its-defeat/2018/03/28/50f6874a-3252-11e8-b6bd-0084a1666987_story.html?utm_term=.f11deb7f9736 …
And she's not the only one noting reality.
ISIS was supposed to be Hayder's big claim to fame.
Nouri al-Maliki was ousted by Barack Obama in 2014 because ISIS had seized Mosul and other spots. Otherwise, the US would have kept installing Nouri every four years as Bully Boy Bush and Barack had already done. It's that 'stability' that Cordesman is arguing for. Forget that Nouri was running secret prisons and torture sites, forget that this had been exposed in the press, forget that he was disappearing people, forget that he was having the military use tanks to circle the homes of members of Parliament that he didn't like, none of that mattered. Nor did his attacks on journalism and journalists. His forces kidnapped reporters who covered the protests. Even after both NPR and THE WASHINGTON POST reported that, Nouri was still given a pass by Barack.
The passes would have continued were it not for the rise of ISIS.
Hayder was installed by Barack to to get rid of ISIS.
Christopher Reuter (DER SPIEGEL) reports:
The days are clear and bright. As long as you have a wide-open view, it's safe, they insist. As long as you can see the contours of the rows of trees at the edge of the village, the bushes between the last fields and the edge of the desert.
But in wintertime, the days are short. As soon as darkness falls following a brief dusk and all outlines, colors and movements are swallowed up by the uniform blackness -- that is when the fear begins. That's what the residents of Gharib say, and urgently request that you start your journey in time, that you leave their village, that you leave the region.
Because at night, the horror returns.
Sometimes, the villagers say, the dogs sound the alarm. On occasion, tracks can be seen the next morning. And frequently, it is possible to hear the voices of the men who return at night to taunt, to threaten and to kill those who have officially been freed of the yoke of Islamic State (IS).
In early October, the Iraqi army rolled through the terrorist group's last significant stronghold in the country, the Hawija district, located southwest of Kirkuk. After just a couple of days and a few brief skirmishes, the government declared that IS had been defeated, driven away. Destroyed.
But that wasn't true then and it still isn't true today. At least not for the more than 100 villages in the fertile region, crisscrossed with rivers and irrigation canals. Even though the Hawija battle was supposed to be a fight that IS stood no chance of winning. Mosul had been retaken by the Iraqi army in the summer after months of bitter fighting, as was the city of Tal Afar. Aside from a couple of desert areas, Hawija was all that IS had left -- the same region where the series of IS triumphs, which began quietly at first, got its start back in 2013.
In addition, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Susannah George (AP) report:
Nope, ISIS isn't gone.
Hayder hasn't been very effective eliminating corruption either. MEM reported last week, "Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi yesterday ordered an immediate investigation into allegations that fake jobs in the public sector were being offered to citizens by political parties in order to win votes in the country’s upcoming general elections."
Christopher M. Blanchard (CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE) notes:
Prime Minister Abadi has announced his plan to lead a coalition of mostly Shia parties and independent Sunni figures under the framework of his Victory (Nasr) Alliance. In launching his own coalition, Abadi is competing with Vice President and former prime minister Nouri al Maliki, who, like Abadi, is a leading member of the Dawa Party. Maliki’s State of Law alliance has been critical of Abadi’s leadership, and some State of Law members are vocal opponents of Iraq’s security partnership with the United States. Several former leaders of the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) militias organized to help fight the Islamic State are participating in the elections as candidates under the rubric of the Fatah Alliance (see textbox below).
Other prominent Iraqi figures have organized coalitions and lists to contest the election, including a largely Sunni list led by Vice President Osama al Nujayfi and the National Alliance jointly led by Vice President Iyad Allawi, COR Speaker Salim al Juburi, and former deputy Prime Minister Salih al Mutlaq. Among Shia leaders, Ammar al Hakim’s Wisdom (Hikma) movement has formally withdrawn from the Prime Minister’s coalition, but Hakim reportedly intends to coordinate with Abadi during government formation negotiations after the election. Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr is directing his followers to support the multiparty, anti-corruption oriented Sa’irun coalition. Sadr has criticized the participation of PMF leaders in the election and is campaigning on a populist reform and anti-corruption platform.
Barack Obama ousted Nouri al-Maliki in the fall of 2014 to make Hayder prime minister. Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri wants to be prime minister again despite his flunkies repeatedly insisting that is not the case. ALSUMARIA reported last week that Nouri has insisted Iraq is passing through a serious, make-it-or-break-it period. Naturally, Nouri believes he's the one who can save the country -- despite nearly destroying it in 2014.. Last week, ALSUMARIA noted that he's saying Iraq needs someone who can lead the country in construction and progress. Others who would like to become prime minister include Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr who has teamed up with five other groups -- including the Iraqi Communist Party -- for this election cycle. Two others who'd like to become prime minister, Ammar al-Hakim and Ayad Allawi, have done joint photo-ops. Ayad Allawi should have been prime minister per the 2010 elections. But Nouri refused to step down for eight months and brought the country to a stalemate. Barack Obama, then president, refused to back the winner of the election and instead brokered The Erbil Agreement which, in November of 2010, gave Nouri a second term as prime minister -- in effect, nullifying the election results and overturning the will of the Iraqi people.
March 7, 2010, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August 2010, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality."
November 10, 2010, The Erbil Agreement is signed. November 11, 2010, the Iraqi Parliament has their first real session in over eight months and finally declares a president, a Speaker of Parliament and Nouri as prime minister-designate -- all the things that were supposed to happen in April of 2010 but didn't. Again, it wasn't smart to schedule elections right before Ramadan.
Fears that Turkey could still strike Sinjar despite PKK claims that they have withdrawn from the Yezidi Iraqi town. Would be a major violation of Iraqi sovereignty that Iraq PM Abadi can't afford so close to elections
Meanwhile, Martin C. Evans (NEWSDAY) reports:
A somber string of wakes and funerals will begin Wednesday to mark the passing of the four area National Guard troops who perished March 15 in a helicopter crash in Iraq.
The men — members of the 106th Rescue Wing based at Westhampton Beach — had been among a contingent of 106th airmen who deployed to Iraq in January. The 106th’s combat specialty is rescuing downed pilots and other troops from behind enemy lines.
The four — Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, Technical Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, Capt. Andreas B. O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, and Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, Queens — were among seven American military personnel who perished when the Pave Hawk rescue helicopter they were flying in went down near Iraq’s border with Syria.
The gatherings will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, with a wake for Briggs at the Westhampton Beach Fire Department. Briggs was posthumously promoted from his previous rank of staff sergeant.
How many more will have to die for Cordesman's "years of patient effort"?
Hassan Hassan (THE NATIONAL) observes:
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