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Graceful US Exit & What Wl Happen To Iraq

Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:33 am

Preliminary note
Ranting has no object in this thread.
The aim is to share views on:
when will the US administration decide to instruct the pull back
what will happen to Iraq after that point
what will be the consequences in the region

As an introduction I submit part of a recent article by John Kiesling, until recently the political concellor at the US embassy in Greece.
(text in brackets are mine)

General Casey, the US CO in Iraq, will announce at an opportune moment before the November 2006 (senatorial) elections that Iraqization has reached a point where he can begin the troops withdrawals he previewed with Sec. Rumsfeld in Baghdad on July 27.
(note: the GOP neeeds "only" 5 more seats to gain filibuster majority)

The conservative media conglomerate on which ordinary Americans depend for news will judge Iraq's civil war no longer newsworthy, since US troops are officially not involved. When the carnage becomes too gruesome to ignore, the President will explain that it was the Iraqi politicians, not America's brave soldiers, who failed. The American people will believe, because Bush himself will believe.

This claim of Iraqi failure will not be implausible. The Iraqi politicians who took three months to form a government after the January elections are doing little better on writing a broadly acceptable draft constitution.
Beautiful, progressive Iraqi constitutions are a dime a dozen.
In its haste for war, however, the Bush administration forgot that post-war Iraqi politics would be as short-sighted and zero-sum as politics everywhere.

Unlike in Greece or in the US, Iraqi politicians have no nationalist card to play.
They cannot plausibly ask their citizens to put loyalty to a discredited Iraqi national ideology above loyalty to the family, clan, tribal and religious structures that now offer the most credible guarantees of life and livelihood.
Telling their heavily armed constituents to sacrifice precious new ethnic and religious freedoms to buy loyalty to an hypothetical Iraqi State from blood-drenched rivals would be a suicidal display of political courage.

Control of Kirkuk and a distinct Peshmerga army are minimum Kurdish demands for remaining in an Iraqi federal State.
A Sunni leader who accepts those demands will be rejected by his fellow tribesmen for betraying their interests.
The Shiite leader who compromises the Islamic purity of the Iraqi Republic will lose his followers to a rival militia.

With US pressure, the draft constitution may paper over these and other differences artfully enough to be ratifiable. It will not be enforceable.

What scenario from there on ?
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RE: Graceful US Exit & What Wl Happen To Iraq

Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:40 am

This thread will be interesting . . .

Quoting Iakobos (Thread starter):
when will the US administration decide to instruct the pull back

They'll make an announcement prior to serious campaigning for the '06 elections. What ever they say however will be  redflag  because you can't put a time line on it . . . with the situation continuing to develop as relates to the Constitution, the new Government that will come, etc, everything is too fluid to 'set a date'.

Quoting Iakobos (Thread starter):
what will happen to Iraq after that point

That remains the $6million question. It will depend on the resolve of the Iraqi people to adopt, and consequently follow, a constitution that works for the majority. It's a given it won't work for everyone. Furthermore, as long as their are foreign influences (including US and other coalition) in that country, I'm not sure Iraq will stabilize. Now, breaking that down.

As long as there is foreign influence in the form of Insurgent Fighters, smugglers, etc from other Arab nations (Syria, Iran, Jordan, etc) things will remain in turmoil. I think no matter what is written in the Iraqi constitution, the Iraqi people won't be allowed to live peacefully as long as these negative influences prevail.

As long as there is foreign influence in the form of US and Coalition forces on the ground (in substantial numbers) the Insurgent fighters won't leave.

Vicious circle.

Quoting Iakobos (Thread starter):
what will be the consequences in the region

Many, many possibilities. . .


Civil War



Way, way too early to tell or even predict I think.
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RE: Graceful US Exit & What Wl Happen To Iraq

Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:26 am

Thanks for the views ANC,

I agree that there are quite a few possible scenarii but I find it interesting precisely to discuss them at this stage, as opposed to the cockfights that invariably take place as events develop.

You listed peace, civil war, democracy, anarchy as possible outcomes.
I will be more selective.

Iraq as a single united nation has ceased to exist in 2003. For the outside world, and as long as occupation forces will hold the upper hand, Iraq is still what they see in a World Atlas.
Demonstration has been done again today that the three main components inhabiting the land cannot or even do not want to reach any kind of compromise, and the differences are not of a theatrical or technical nature but really essential.
It is "me and mine" against "you and yours", where any sense of Iraqi nationalism is totally absent and the national flag is cut to make handkerchiefs.
A peaceful conclusion IMO would not even make it as an attraction in Neverland.

Democracy in the sense that Iraq as a whole would embrace a democratic system is not even within reach of a good science-fiction novelist.
It has been (of course) used as a nice concept by the President and his associated brains, it always pleases the (genuinely goodwilling) public, but "bring them democracy in the bags of our boys" is something that may work in Hollywood, not in the Middle East. They do not want democracy !
Is it so difficult to understand ? for many obviously yes.

Anarchy is a no go. All three components have their leaders, militias and followers and with a few exceptions, their areas of dominance are well established.

Civil war ? in the context of a single nation (before 2003) it could be qualified as such.
In the context of a land partitioned in three areas of influence we will assist to the Balkanisation (parcelling out) of what was once Iraq.
How will this happen is open for grabs, but in all likelihood it will be at the expense of a lot of lives, that is until at least two of the three leaders have achieved their targets or cannot reasonably gain anything anymore.

Under the auspices of the UN, the parties will agree to disagree on everything they always were in disagreement anyway, everyone will choose its system, anthem, flag, and Iraq will be a thing of the past.
The Kurdistan, with some pressure and help from the US, will perhaps become a nicer neighbour to Turkey.
The Islamic Republic of Southern Iraq will copy Tehran.
The Central Iraqi Republic will be either infeodated to its stronger southern neighbour or simply be crushed.

If this was the hidden aim of Bush and co. (starting the Balkanisation of the Middle East), I would say hats off gentlemen, here are people who had a long term strategic view on for the region, they knew they had many a terrible obstacle to pass, including fighting half their public opinion, still they undertook the arduous enterprise.

If it was not, Mr Bush will go down in history as a moralist faced with an insoluble moral dilemna and he will take refuge in fantasy.
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RE: Graceful US Exit & What Wl Happen To Iraq

Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:40 am

I suppose I could have been more verbose in my initial reply - but then where would we go in the conversation.

By Peace - I mean exactly that. The Iraqi Constitution is agreed upon by all factions in the country and they begin to truly self-govern. Miracles do happen you know.

Civil War. Accepting your explanation. What I'm saying is that the various factions, the Kurds, the Shiia, all of the various religious factions war against one another. Ultimately, your example above would likely come to pass, three separate "Iraqi" states. But not without more killing and waste. Long term, most negative consequence, Iraq becomes like Afghanistan was under to Taliban with an excessively repressive rule.

Democracy - See Peace.

Anarchy - See Civil War.
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RE: Graceful US Exit & What Wl Happen To Iraq

Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:52 am

I think we spend the next six months redoubling our effort to improve the security situation through our current “Iraqification” scheme and encourage or coerce political compromise and consolidation, pretty much the status quo. Maybe it will work.

Doing anything very different is going to require a change in senior leadership in my view. That means Rumsfeld and his immediate civilian subordinates as well as some of the top military brass need to go. These guys have proven that they are inflexible and have been unable or unwilling to adapt. To change our strategy in a meaningful way requires new ideas and new initiative, and that means new bodies running the show. Unfortunately I don’t think Bush will make that happen, so we’re basically stuck with “stay the course” Rumsfeld.

As we are dutifully staying the course, I would suggest that we concurrently prepare contingency plans in detail for a “Three Country Solution”, so that if our occupation becomes politically untenable, we can implement that plan to at least control the level of resulting chaos to some extent. We may be able to avoid a full blown civil war by doing that.

I think the worst case scenario is that the Bush Administration just lets this fester, as is, until it becomes a terminal political liability. I know there are a number of you who don’t think that’s possible, but if you believe the Republicans in Congress will sacrifice themselves for Bush, I think you’re sadly mistaken. They are rigging the life boats as we speak. Another 5 points drop in Bush’s approval ratting and they will be outta here.
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RE: Graceful US Exit & What Wl Happen To Iraq

Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:56 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 1):
It will depend on the resolve of the Iraqi people to adopt, and consequently follow, a constitution that works for the majority.

The vast majority in Iraq are only Iraqi by administrative registration.
They are Shiites, Sunni, Kurds, or Turkmen, of the tribe A, B or C, of the clan X, Y or Z.
A Shiia has about as much in common with a Kurd as a Nepalese sherpa has with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Who was insane enough to imagine that a Constitution could unite these people, or could be drafted at all ?

IMO nobody, except the American public, who was artfully made to believe in the oh so great ideals: democracy, free and fair elections, a constitution, and hup they go.

Peace is the ultimate target for all of them (like everywhere in the world), but not any peace at any conditions.
It is like 3 or 4 in a bed fighting for a cover which is too small for all.

The Shiites will be happy when the constitution will reflect Islamic law for a very substantial part. They have nothing against women as long as they remain on the lower echelon of the human scale, and cover themselves against the effect of those deadly sunrays.
The Sunnis will be happy when they will have some serious guarantees of survival and benefit from the resouces of their neighbours.
The Kurds will be glad when they will be guaranteed full autonomy, in their region, with its resources, and their own army.
The Turkmen will be squeezed somewhere.

There are many ways to make a soup, but mixing fish, red meat and poultry is never going to sell.

Washington certainly will do its best to deliver ample supply of painkillers and banknotes and get everyone around the table to be satisfied for exactly as long as it will take the troops to pack and fly back home.
After 3 long years of (mostly bitter) Iraqi headlines, the US media are desperately in need of rest, quietness and a fresh business plan, we will be fed the live and death of the rainbow turtle of the Galapagos or the intricacies of nose piercing in Papua-New Guinea, the US public will forget quickly and will rejoice at the venue of new elections.

Good morning Iraq !

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