Iraq

War is still not the answer: Antiwar sentiment may mostly have evaporated, but war is as horrible as ever

The unelected Saudi monarchy began the year by executing 47 people. It continues to bomb hospitals, homes, and civilians in Yemen as it has done for nearly a year. In October of last year, a few weeks before the election, the Turkish state almost certainly arranged bombings in Ankara that killed more than one hundred people at a peace demonstration. The ruling party won the election, have now accelerated their own war on the Kurdish population of their country, and are targeting anti-war academics. Egypt's current dictatorship came to power in a coup and cemented its power with a major massacre in August of 2013. Israel has spent the months since October extrajudicially executing Palestinians. When the Swedish Foreign Minister mentioned the possibility of investigating these executions, a former educational secretary in Israel suggested that the Swedish Foreign Minister should be assassinated.

All of this is to say, a quick regional roundup of very recent atrocities suggests that there are few governments in the region that have not lost the moral authority to govern. If Syria's dictator, Assad, must go, perhaps these other governments must, as well.

But how? What if, in a moment of republicanism, the US decided on regime change in the Saudi Kingdom? What if in a fit of sympathy for the Kurds, Washington were to draw up a plan to bomb Turkey from the air until it withdrew from the Kurdish areas? Or to bomb Cairo, until Sisi resigned and elections were held? Or to bomb Israel until it ended the occupation of Palestinian lands?

The Uses of the Islamic State Group

Who is really fighting ISIS? In Iraq and Syria, ISIS faces Kurdish forces, the Iraqi Army and the Western air forces supporting it, and the Syrian Army and its allies from Hizbollah, Iran, and Russia. The Kurds of Rojava have been fighting for survival, and while outgunned, they have both political and military preparation, and something to fight for. They have been successful in their battles with ISIS, even though they have suffered immensely in the process.

The Iraqi Army? ISIS's spectacular rise coincided with the Iraqi Army's collapse. To understand this, as with so much about ISIS, it is necessary to look back at the early days of the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, when the decision was taken to disband the Iraqi Army that had existed under Saddam Hussein and create a new one. The old army had training, organization, most of their weapons, and had just reached the point of having nothing to lose. Many of them joined the insurgency against the US. Among those who did, many were killed, many were tortured and killed, and many survived. Some of those survivors, now battle-hardened veterans, are now part of ISIS. One of those who made his way through the US prison system in Iraq is ISIS's leader. These veterans, joined by al-Qaeda fighters, with Saudi and Qatari funding, and Turkish help getting across the border, have become ISIS, the force that controls a big part of Iraq and dominates and absorbs all other opposition forces in Syria.

The Haditha Massacre in the Iraq War Diary

I did a query of the Iraq War Diary for all entries on November 19, 2005 (there were 179). Among them was this entry on the Haditha massacre. It has been seriously redacted, possibly more than other entries, as it appears quite incomplete, with no explanation of how the casualties came about:

Report Key: 0A491DB1-A4BB-4983-BE25-6140DB64BF38
Date: 2005-11-19 07:30:00

Tags

Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine

Despite not being a dispassionate reviewer, I wrote this review of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. In case you didn't know, I'm not entirely without positive bias. And even with high expectations, the book really impressed. It seems to be doing quite well without my recommendation, but I would like to add my recommendation to the many that are out there. Hope you like the review.

Cindy Sheehan

Since I haven't really followed her work over the past few years, I was a bit annoyed when I heard she had "quit". Who is she to "quit", and to do so so publicly, I wondered? War, empire, are filthy, despicable, genocidal affairs. Opposing them is not like a job that one can "quit", is it? Opposing them, in my view, doesn't even mean one is deserving of special praise. But then I read her exit note, and found it some of the best and most refreshing reading I have seen in some time.

The Genocide Option in Iraq

An important commentary by Ed Herman on ZNet, where he makes the comparison to Vietnam that actually matters: that the US pursued genocidal policies in Vietnam and is moving towards the same in Iraq. I've written before that I dislike talk of how the US was "defeated" in Vietnam and I dislike any talk of "quagmire" for imperialists - the US walked away from Vietnam after having killed several million people and no one in the US answered for it. As for "quagmire", it is an inversion of reality, implying that the US "can't" leave for some reason, when in fact it can leave whenever it decides to, and isn't leaving because it doesn't want to. There is nothing to celebrate in these "defeats". Iraq is deliberately created chaos, in which hundreds of people are being murdered every day. The planned US operations for the next few months are going to make things worse. Mass murder is occurring while we watch. It seems that our desensitization is proceeding on schedule.

Tags

Christian Peacemaker Team abductions in Iraq

I have traveled to quite a few places where I've encountered volunteers with Christian Peacemaker Teams. I've never been to Iraq, so that's not one of the places. But I can say this, which is what others have been saying since some of the CPTers (as they are known to anglophones) were abducted in Iraq last week. The CPTers might have the word 'Christian' in their name, but they are no missionaries. They might have 'peacemaker' in their name, but that isn't a euphemism for imperialism the way 'peacekeeping' or 'peacebuilding' can be. They are people of conscience who are very much anti-imperialist in the most important way - in their actions.

They should be released unharmed. Sign a petition here.

Tags

Calamities

How not to cheapen the impact of the calamities by adding words? A horrible day in which a mortar attack on a religious procession led to hundreds of deaths, days in which hurricanes and floods led to hundreds of deaths.

Tags