Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hagel's critique?

XINHUA reports that the Speaker of Iraq's Parlaiment, Salim al-Jabbouri, has been quoted by the press declaring that "total eradication of the Islamic State (IS) group in his country is imminent."

Of course, if he really believed that, he'd be in Iraq pushing legislation because when the day comes that the Islamic State is no longer a threat to Iraq, people will return to noting the hideous government that manages to accomplish nothing, year in and year out.

Former US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is none too pleased with the do-nothing Iraqi government.  Aaron Mehta (DEFENSE NEWS) reports Hagel called out the wasted time in the five year period of 2008 through 2013 by the Iraqi government and argued it squandered real opportunities:

“The breakdown in the Sunni-Shia relationship, the breakdown of the Shia-Kurd relationship, [the] prime minister [Nouri al-Maliki] did not fulfill any of the constitutional requirements and the promises he had made to bring Iraq together,” Hagel continued. “I don’t blame all that on him – there were forces that were probably bigger than he was able to deal with – but in my opinion, that’s what happened in Iraq. The five years were squandered, were wasted, and that’s what’s led to so much of the turmoil, the trouble, the chaos, the slaughter and the killing in Iraq today.”

Kristina Wong (THE HILL) largely avoids Iraq (and then gets it wrong) in her report.

But if Hagel believes Nouri al-Maliki's second term sewed the current problems (an opinion most analysts share), he is speaking out against the administration.

Nouri did not win a second term as prime minister in the 2010 elections.

He lost to Ayad Allawi.

Barack had US officials in Iraq broker an agreement (The Erbil Agreement) which gave Nouri a second term after the voters said "no."

In his remarks on Monday, Hagel also declared the most important thing a president could do was "listen" to military leadership.

Who didn't get listened to on Nouri?

The then-top US commander in Iraq: Gen Ray Odierno.

Ahead of the 2010 elections, Odierno saw a scenario where Nouri could lose the popular vote but refuse to step down.  He argued that the White House needed to be prepared for that possibility.

He was iced out of the process by US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill (the great failure Hill).

And when it came to pass, when Odierno's nightmare scenario came to pass?

It took the intervention of then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Barack to listen to Odierno.

If you actually connect Hagel's remarks with reality from that time period, he offered a blistering critique of the administration.

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