Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mr Ali Allawi on Iraq

Former defense and finance minister in Iraq, Mr Ali Allawi, gave a valuable account of the current political situation in Iraq on last night's Lateline.  According to Allawi the majority of parliamentarians - and probably most citizens*  - would quietly back Obama's policy to withdraw troops from Iraq in 18 months.  At the same time the government feels a debt of gratitude to George Bush - if only because many owe their positions to the US intervention. Of course Bush too has noew stated a commitment to withdraw although there is no specific timetable. The reasons for the improved security situation in Iraq - extra oil money driving a more prosperous economy, the decline in the Sunni Arab insurgency,  the defeat of  al-Qaeda and - paradoxically but unquestionably - the success of the recent surge.

Critics of the US effort in Iraq (including Obama's criticism of the ineffectuality of the 'surge') have been proven completely wrong. 

The transcript is short and very worth reading.

* Not the Kurds and some Sunni who, despite their public opposition, fear the consequences of a US withdrawal.


conrad said...

I guess we'll see the truth value of some of those statements when US forces finally leave. Given Al Quaeda appears essentially undefeatable unless you bomb Pakistan, it seems to me a misinterpretation of a lull in the style of war they fight.

derrida derider said...

Yes, I'm sure Mr Allawi is grateful for the US "intervention" (a wonderful euphemism for unprovoked aggression and brutal military occupation, BTW) that gave him his job. I dunno that the 3 million refugees, the 600k to a million dead, or any of their still-starving relatives are as grateful though.

Given the vast number of past "light at the end of the tunnel" claims, and the past form in lying of some prominent promulgators of such claims, you'll have to forgive us a little scepticism Harry.

Insofar as things are looking up, though, it's because of three things, not one of which is due to US military efforts:

(1) the completion of ethnic cleansing campaigns. Aint no more Sunnis left to kill in Sadr City, and Mosul is now Kurdish.

(2) the long-overdue co-opting of the Sunni tribes. This involved a big withdrawal from Anbar province - vindicating those of us who urged earlier withdrawal from Iraq on the grounds that it was the US presence causing the insurgency, not the other way around. Still, better late than never - it was a clear defeat for al Quaeda.

Note that if the Yanks create permanent bases (as Cheney is pushing for and as McCain says he wants) you can expect Anbar province to cease being pacified.

(3) most of all, quiet Iranian pressure for a peace settlement (don't forget most of the current Iraqi government lived in Iran during Saddam's time). This is again predicated on a tacit understanding (and - who knows - maybe a secret written agreement) of eventual full US withdrawal - ie no permanent US bases. Note this understanding wouldn't survive an attack on Iran.

rabee said...

It's al-Qaida or al-Qaeda or al-Qa`ida or even al-Qa3ida (adopting internet transliteration of the Semitic
letter eyin.

But never ever al-Quaeda. That means "The Grammar" in particular "The structure of the Arabic language".


Anonymous said...

Can you provide primary evidence of the million dead claim, derrida, or is it just one of those unsourced claims from the internet?

That silly website ticker that read 150,000 dead after 3 months into the invasion comes to mind as to how ridiculous the claim is.

hc said...

Thanks Rabee, changed.

conrad said...

"or is it just one of those unsourced claims from the internet?"

I can give you the numbers (refugees):


The deaths figures come from the Lancet:


Anonymous said...

Time to admit your huge misjudgment and monumental recalcitrance of last year. It turns out ASIO even thought the Howard government had no grounds for its stance on Haneef:

We never suspected Haneef: ASIO

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Yuko Narushima and Mark Metherell
July 30, 2008

THE Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has revealed it "consistently" advised the Howard government it had no evidence connecting Mohamed Haneef to a British terrorist plot, days before the government stripped the Indian doctor of his visa.

In a damning submission to the Clarke inquiry into the handling of the case, the head of the country's main intelligence agency said it told the government there were no grounds to believe Dr Haneef was linked to, or even knew about, the botched June car bombings. It raises questions about the actions of the then immigration minister, Kevin Andrews, who cancelled the doctor's visa, and of the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, who has declared there were grounds to treat Dr Haneef as a security risk. Asked whether the ASIO statement made Mr Keelty's stance untenable, an AFP spokeswoman told the Herald last night: "The AFP has always been aware of ASIO's position on this issue and the AFP will be providing its position on this to the Clarke inquiry and not via the media."