Showing posts from April, 2007

Rice: Bush Didnt Want War!

Someone forgot to brief Rice or else she is just an inveterate liar as are some other members of the Bush administration. This is from Juan Cole.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Rice: Bush didn't Want War

Condi Rice on Sunday denied allegations by former CIA director George Tenet that Bush came into office determined to have a war against Iraq. This is the interview by Wolf Blitzer of CNN:

QUESTION: Because you remember Paul O'Neill, the first Treasury Secretary, where he wrote in his first book, The Price of Loyalty with Ron Suskind, and what Ron Suskind later wrote in his own book, The One Percent Solution, that the Bush Administration came in with a mindset to deal with what they called unfinished business with Saddam Hussein.

SECRETARY RICE: That is simply not true. The President came in looking at a variety of threats. We then had the September 11th events. The September 11th events led to a kind of reassessment of what the threats were. But in the entire period after the President bec…

US troops raid Sadr Office

This is liable to cause trouble. It does not sound as if there were any provocation from Sadr's supporters inside. Note that the report mentions only US troops. This may have been done without any co-ordination or authorisation from the Iraqi govt. Not only is the US causing problems for Maliki it will cause difficulties for itself. Perhaps it want's a confrontation in Sadr City to show who is supposed to be boss but that could be a grave error. It would only show who was boss in the short term. This report is from a Kuwaiti news source.

US forces storms Sadr''s office, arrest those inside

Military and Secuity 4/29/2007 8:46:00 PM

BAGHDAD, April 29 (KUNA) -- Armed clashes broke out in Kadhmiya district in northern Baghdad Sunday after an American force stormed Shiitte cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr's office and arrested some of the people inside.
A source at the Iraqi police told KUNA US forces exchanged fire shots with the guards of Al-Sadr's office. He said the gua…

Iraqi government purges army and national police

The US doesn't mind purges. It is just that the wrong people are being purged! The US would like to have its own advisor in the purge deparment!

Maliki's Office Is Seen Behind Purge in Forces
Some Commanders Had Pursued Militias

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, April 30, 2007; A01

BAGHDAD, April 29 -- A department of the Iraqi prime minister's office is playing a leading role in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and national police officers, some of whom had apparently worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias, according to U.S. military officials in Baghdad.

Since March 1, at least 16 army and national police commanders have been fired, detained or pressured to resign; at least nine of them are Sunnis, according to U.S. military documents shown to The Washington Post.

Although some of the officers appear to have been fired for legitimate reasons, such as poor performance or corruption, several were considered to be among the bett…

Kurds will block Iraq oil law.

This article confirms what the Kurdish oil minister said in the earlier article I posted. It seems that there could be more wrangling and discord over the draft bill and it is unlikely to pass before the end of May.

Kurds to 'block' Iraq oil law

The battle is on for control of Kurdish oil [GALLO/GETTY]

Iraq's Kurdish region has said it will try to block a draft oil law in parliament, raising the stakes in a row with the central government.

The Kurdistan autonomous region backed the draft law in February but has disputed annexes to it that would give control of oilfields to a new state-run oil company.

Ashti Hawrami, minister of natural resources in Kurdistan, said: "These annexes are unconstitutional and will not be supported by the Kurdish regional government in the federal parliament."

The Kurdistan autonomous region could be on a collision course with Baghdad over the US-backed draft.

The threat to fight the bill in Iraq's national parliament comes just day…

Kurds object to oil law annexes

Quite a bit of detailed information here. The general press has almost nothing on the Dubai meetings. I can't imagine that the annexes make the law unfriendly to foreign investment since the revisions according to another article are supported by the US. Perhaps some parts are toned down to avoid rejection in the Iraqi legislature. The Kurds are most concerned that they should be able to write their own contracts--as they already have. They do not want the central govt. to have as much power as the law seems to give it.

Statement From Minister Of Natural Resources Kurdistan Regional Government - Iraq
Sunday, April 29, 2007
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Cleared Guantanamo Inmates with no place to go!

You would think that the US would take responsibility for giving cleared inmates refugee status in the US. It is the least that the US could do after holding these people for years without charge. Part of the problem is that some captives such as the Uighurs are classifed as members of a terrorist group. If they are deported to China they may very well be tortured and jailed. However, if the US gives refuge to members of terrorist groups all hell would break loose among US commentators! Of course people who belong to anti-Cuban terrorist groups are a different story. They have never been classified as terrorists! The US just recently let out on bail a wanted terrorist who is accused of being involved in a plot that blew up a Cuban airliner.

82 Inmates Cleared but Still Held at Guantanamo
U.S. Cites Difficulty Deporting Detainees

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, April 29, 2007; A01

LONDON -- More than a fifth of the approximately 385 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, C…

Basra factions gear up for fight

Interesting that this article speaks of a coalition of 5 Islamist groups against the Fadhila faction and the reigning governor. Other articles speak of the battle as being with this faction and Al Sadr. If things really blow up in Basra this will be one more problem for the US and UK. In the north trouble is also brewing in Kirkuk.This is from this site.
Basra factions gear up for fight

By Marsi Abutaug

Azzaman, April 28, 2007

Rival factions in the southern city of Basra have mobilized their armed militias for what many residents expect to be a ferocious fight over control of the provincial council.

Residents are hoarding essentials with sporadic clashes between the factions intensifying in the past three days in which various weapons were used.

As armed groups fortify positions in major streets and amid heavily populated areas the occupying British troops charged with security have so far shown little concern.

The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has not move a finger to contain…

Dubai Summit: Iraq Oil Law

Fight rages over Iraq oil law

By Ben Lando Apr 28, 2007, 1:11 GMT

No one seems to remark on the irony that the Iraq oil law discussions seem to go one outside of Iraq. I suppose the big oil people are not too comfortable with the security situation in Iraq although they could always find a bunker in the Green Zone!
There is little coverage of the Dubai meetings in the mainstream press. Articles only appear in specialist journals that deal with oil matters. There is to be another big gathering the end of May. It seems as if the oil law will not make it through parliament in time for the meeting.

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Discussions turned contentious among the more than 60 Iraqi oil officials reviewing Iraq`s draft hydrocarbons bill last week in the United Arab Emirates.

But the dispute highlighted the need for further negotiations on the proposed law that was stalled in talks for nearly eight months, then pushed through Iraq`s Cabinet without most key provisions.


WSWS: Analysis of Democractic Candidates Debate

I have always been completely dumbfounded by the manner in which most Americans who have much interest in politics manage to drum up so much partisan support and interest in the two main parties. Mainstream US political discourse and media coverage is framed in terms of Democracts versus Republicans and liberals versus conservatives. The commentators on the scene, even the WSWS(World Socialist Web Site) as in this article, are driven by a virtual market mechanism: what has appeal on the political market is to be covered and yacked about endlessly whereas less popular parties and positions are marginal or fringe, out in left field or right field.
The article demonstrates how on some key issues the two main parties really differ little in their aims or even in their overall policy of intervention. Those in the Democratic Party who oppose militarist policy are marginalised and serve as a sort of escape valve that allows activists and further to the left to see working within the party …

Pulling the Trigger on Iran

No doubt many neo-cons would like a military confrontation with Iran but the idea that this would be a success for them is quite doubtful. Any attack on Iran would have repercussions in Iraq, especially in the Shia south and Iran may be able to do considerable damage before it is incapacitated. Restive Shias in moderate Arab countries might rise up and cause problems throughout the so-called moderate Arab states. Talk of an Iran attack seems to have cooled down a bit during the last few weeks.

Pulling the Trigger on Iran
Posted by Patrick Foy on April 26, 2007
The casus belli for “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, the invasion of Iraq, was a fraud. We know that now. Even though there was no threat whatever to the United States from Iraq, the decision was made by Richard Cheney in consultation with his junior associate, George W. Bush, to invade and occupy Iraq, a country which had been decimated by an economic embargo and whose army had been cut by two-thirds since 1991. Once the predatory decis…

Bush's Non-Argument

This is from the Tehran Times via way of the Washington Post. It is interesting that this should be reprinted in an Iranian paper. The criticism of Bush is timely and much of it is quite sharp. The analysis of an "artificial timetable" and the point that obviously Bush in effect tells generals how to do their job or at least what to do.

Bush's Non-Argument

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney cannot make the case that their Iraq policies have succeeded, so they are doing one thing they do very well: taking a serious argument over the future of American foreign policy and turning it into a petty partisan squabble.

This is not really an argument over the "surge" of troops into Iraq. It is a fight over whether we want to make an open-ended commitment to keeping combat forces in Iraq for many years or whether we anticipate pulling most of them out within a year or two.

Even if the surge succeeds in a narrow sense -- by reducing the number of Ir…

US Urges Iraq "Reforms"

THe problem is that major groups such as the Shias and Kurds will not consider reversing the de-Baathification process as a reform, and the same is true of giving the Sunnis more clout. Also, many groups are against the new oil law. Interesting that this is called a reform when what it does is allows exploitation of Iraq oil by foreign interests in ways that no other Middle East country could stand for!
At least if the "reforms" do not go through the US has an excuse for leaving but it is doubful that it will.

U.S. urges Iraq reforms at critical time

Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, April 27, 2007. The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate adopted House-passed legislation calling for U.S. troops to begin leaving Iraq by Oct. 1. U.S. President George W. Bush pledged to veto the measure, and neither body passed the measure with enough votes to override a veto. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
BAGHDAD -- With Congress demanding the troops come home, press…

UK think tank blasts Ethiopia, US, over Somalia

Reports today indicate that the provisional govt. is proclaiming victory in Mogadishu and urges people to return. We will see. This may be a lull before another storm. I wonder how many African peacekeepers can be recruited to serve in Somalia! Ethiopia seems to be carrying the fight against the insurgents. This will hardly sit well with Somalis.

British think-tank blasts Ethiopia, US over Somalia Wed Apr 25, 3:10 PM ET

LONDON (AFP) - US and Ethiopian military intervention in Somalia has hampered international efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country, an independent British report said Wednesday.

"Genuine multilateral concern to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Somalia has been hijacked by unilateral actions of other international actors -- especially Ethiopia and the United States -- following their own foreign policy agendas," the report from the Chatham House foreign affairs think-tank said.

The installation of a new Somali government in early 2007 wi…

Putin Freezes Defence Pact.

This is not surprising. If everyone knows that the defence system is not a threat to Russia why is Russia reacting so strongly. I think that the opposite is closer to the truth that everyone knows that the system is directed against Russia and not Iran. It seems that the US and NATO are bound to restart the Cold War and there will be a renewed arms race as well. This will do nothing for European security.

'Grave concern' as Putin freezes defence pact


A DISPUTE over US plans to station anti-missile bases in eastern Europe escalated dramatically today following Russia's call for a freeze of a key European defence treaty.

In heated NATO talks in Oslo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Russia was to halt its application of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty and could even pull out if the allies did not endorse it.

"It means that we will halt the compliance of our obligations under the treaty," he told reporters, after launching what w…

US and the Iraq oil law

Even in the funding Bill the Iraqi Oil Law appears. As the article notes US media absolutely ignores this. Never mention oil and Iraq except to say that the war is not about oil. But then why have the oil law as a benchmark?

From Kathy Gill,
Your Guide to U.S. Politics: Current Events.
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Congress Ties Iraq Deadline To Funding; Bill Endorses US-Drafted Iraqi Oil Legislation
On Wednesday, Congress set the stage for an explosive confrontation with the White House by passing an appropriations bill that also sets a deadline of 1 October for the President to begin pulling troops from Iraq.
The House passed (218-208) the HR1591 conference report on a partisan vote, with 13 Democrats voting "no" and 2 Republicans voting "yes." It now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass on Thursday.

The President has promised a veto; the Senate does not have the votes to override. But everyone can use their vote as a chit come November 2008.

It seems iro…