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John Drake

Iraq

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I notice that the Isis leader is saying his forces will march on Karbala.

 

If so, that will be an incredible flashpoint, since that city is the third holiest city for the Shias, after Mecca and Medina.

 

It houses the shrine and grave of Hussein ibn Ali, one of the earliest Shia imams, who was martyred there in 680. Thousands of Shia make pilgrimages there every year to mark his martyrdom, and if Isis gets hold of the city it would almost certainly seek to destroy the shrine and the ancient mosque, which they hold in contempt.

 

If that looked likely to happen I couldn't see the Iranians keeping out of the conflict.

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All going well.

 

A country that had no Al-Qaeda is now being ripped apart by Al-Qaeda on steroids. 

 

Mission Accomplished.

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All going well.

 

A country that had no Al-Qaeda is now being ripped apart by Al-Qaeda on steroids. 

 

Mission Accomplished.

Also, a largely secular country with over 1.5m Christians and a Christian Vice President, albeit with a frothy-mouthed nutjob president.  Given the choice between Saddam Hussain's Iraq and a fundamentalist Islamic Iraq, I think I know which one I'd choose in a heartbeat.  The latter would be the tipping point for Syria's civil war, it would also put severe pressure on Iran's largely successful restrictions on outright nutjob mullahs.  Israel will be polishing off its nukes as we speak, just in case.

 

The thing is though that if we (by that I mean the US, UK and other allies) fail to rescue the Iraqi government then we're just as liable for it falling as the Islamic nutjobs.  We created the mess, it's our responsibility to fix it.

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The Kurds will push into the north to 'stabilise' those areas.  The shia's will fight for those areas they feel are worth fighting for. 

 

Messy.

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The thing is though that if we (by that I mean the US, UK and other allies) fail to rescue the Iraqi government then we're just as liable for it falling as the Islamic nutjobs.  We created the mess, it's our responsibility to fix it.

Yes and we (the UK) created the messin Palestine, then just walked away. It was a mistake to go in in the first place, so do we throw good money after bad (to coin a phrase).

One thing is for sure this is holy mess,

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Also, a largely secular country with over 1.5m Christians and a Christian Vice President, albeit with a frothy-mouthed nutjob president.  Given the choice between Saddam Hussain's Iraq and a fundamentalist Islamic Iraq, I think I know which one I'd choose in a heartbeat.  The latter would be the tipping point for Syria's civil war, it would also put severe pressure on Iran's largely successful restrictions on outright nutjob mullahs.  Israel will be polishing off its nukes as we speak, just in case.

 

The thing is though that if we (by that I mean the US, UK and other allies) fail to rescue the Iraqi government then we're just as liable for it falling as the Islamic nutjobs.  We created the mess, it's our responsibility to fix it.

 

Isn't the real lesson of the last war in Iraq that it is actually unfixable, at least in terms of imposing a Western style democracy in a nation riven with the kind of religious divisions that exist there?

 

We've barely left after 10 years involvement and already it is falling apart. The democratically elected Iraqi government wanted us out, yet it has now capitulated to another ragbag bunch of extremists in large areas of the country mostly without even putting up a fight, even though they had the capability to do so.

 

What are we supposed to do now? Go back for another 10 years to a country that doesn't want us there, facing an enemy that just grows stronger the more you attack it?

 

Not in my name. Not again.

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It's a proxy war between Iran and Saudi. 

 

Problem is, it does/will effect us. 

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Problem is, it does/will effect us. 

 

It doesn't follow that the default response ought to be a military one.

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It doesn't follow that the default response ought to be a military one.

Very true, but at the same time, turning away and ignoring it isn't going to work either.

 

It does highlight the confusion in the region.  We support the valiant plucky rebels in their fight against the evil Assad in Syria, We support the government in their fight over the evil bloodthirsty rampaging rebels in Iraq....

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Very true, but at the same time, turning away and ignoring it isn't going to work either.

 

Why?

 

What ought we to be doing if not nothing and if not wading in militarily?

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A lesson every well brought up child learns is that you take accountability and responsibility for your actions.  We caused the problem in the first place in Iraq, much like we helped train many of the nutjobs in Afghanistan who then trained the next generation to fight us.  But for our interference in Iraq, this wouldn't be an issue.

 

If the nutjobs take over Iraq then that puts distinct pressure on all neighbouring nations.  It's quite a pivotal country really if you look at all the ones around it.  Iran is mellowing out, taking its time but getting there and is probably less of a threat to Israel and other nations than any time since the Shah was deposed.  Syria is a basket case that really could be doing without another front in the civil war.  Turkey is our friendly buffer zone between Europe and the nutjobs, they're already firefighting the nutjob uprisings on a daily basis.  Jordan is the friendliest of the nations to the West and is thoroughly resented for it by the nutjob fraternity.  Kuwait and Saudi Arabia may not be the model countries with seriously repressive regimes but they are very pro-western because they know that that's where the bulk of their income comes from.  Then there's the single jump through to Israel who may be small but have nuclear powered talons and I think they're not going to be that shy about using them if threatened the wrong way.

 

I was vehemently opposed to the Iraq war in 2003, I returned my Labour membership card and abandoned them for a decade because of it.  Our democratically elected Parliament chose to go in anyway therefore we need to get back in there and help them regardless of the cost or consequences.

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It is not a choice of act or do not act, there list is three:

- Make it better (1% chance)

- Do nothing

- Make is worse (99% chance)

 

There is no greater waste of time than doing the wrong thing efficiently.

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 Jordan is the friendliest of the nations to the West and is thoroughly resented for it by the nutjob fraternity.

Correction: The King of Jordan is a known Anglophile but public opinion in Jordan is as "nutjob" as anywhere else in the Middle East, half the population are of Palestinian origin for starters. The King might like to be pro-Western and make peace with Israel but public opinion in Jordan does not allow him to do so.

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It is not a choice of act or do not act, there list is three:

- Make it better (1% chance)

- Do nothing

- Make is worse (99% chance)

 

There is no greater waste of time than doing the wrong thing efficiently.

Although I agree with you there, we really do have to do something.  In my opinion, the best thing we can do in the short term is provide air assistance, standing back and hitting the nutjobs with as much firepower as we can provide. 

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The thing is though that if we (by that I mean the US, UK and other allies) fail to rescue the Iraqi government then we're just as liable for it falling as the Islamic nutjobs.  We created the mess, it's our responsibility to fix it.

The Iraqi government went out of its way to alienate the Sunni minority. The US made a huge effort to get the then PM to stand down in favour of Maliki who was thought to be moderate. He proved to be even worse.

 

Remember how Al Qaeda controlled the area before and then we had the awakening movement whereby local Sunni militias were created to stand up to Al Qaeda? Well that was the moment for reconciliation. Instead Maliki said "Thanks for dealing with Al Qaeda, now hand over your arms and no you can't be incorporated into the Iraqi army". This was followed by arrests, murders etc by the police / army of pretty much random Sunni men who may or may not have been terrorists. Few Shi'ia ever got this treatment.

 

That's not our fault.

 

The fact is that the population of the Sunni triangle considers the Al Qaeda offshoot to be preferable to the Iraqi government speaks volumes.

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If the nutjobs take over Iran then that puts distinct pressure on all neighbouring nations.  It's quite a pivotal country really if you look at all the ones around it.  

I presume you mean "Iraq".

 

There is no chance of the Iraqi government falling. There were less than 1,000 militia involved in taking over Mosul. ISIS have a total strength of about 6,000.

 

The Iraqi army is a pitiful shambles and the Mosul debacle might be the worst performance in war ever. They outnumbered the enemy 40:1 and had tanks and heavy weapons on their side. They fled rather than fight. The vast majority of them are Shi'ite Arabs or Kurds and thus were not defending their homes.

 

However Baghdad is full of Shi'ite militias who would put up very strong opposition.

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I presume you mean "Iraq".

 

Yes.  Fixed.

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The Iraqi government went out of its way to alienate the Sunni minority. The US made a huge effort to get the then PM to stand down in favour of Maliki who was thought to be moderate. He proved to be even worse.

 

Remember how Al Qaeda controlled the area before and then we had the awakening movement whereby local Sunni militias were created to stand up to Al Qaeda? Well that was the moment for reconciliation. Instead Maliki said "Thanks for dealing with Al Qaeda, now hand over your arms and no you can't be incorporated into the Iraqi army". This was followed by arrests, murders etc by the police / army of pretty much random Sunni men who may or may not have been terrorists. Few Shi'ia ever got this treatment.

 

That's not our fault.

 

The fact is that the population of the Sunni triangle considers the Al Qaeda offshoot to be preferable to the Iraqi government speaks volumes.

But we were the primary cause of the change in 2003.  We put in place an electoral system of majority rule which essentially alienated every Christian and led to a mass exodus and persistent persecution of a group that had been largely left alone by Saddam.  We put in place a system that easily allows discrimination of every minority, regardless of how large, by the majority.

 

The argument about stuff that happened since our actions in the immediate years after 2003 being "not our fault" is weasel words.  It'd be like the current UK government bringing in a law that says they refuse to pay out compensation for negligent acts of the last government, "why should we pay for things done by Labour?"  The UK, as part of the alliance, deposed Saddam, put in place a system that's seriously flawed then left them to it.

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But we were the primary cause of the change in 2003.  We put in place an electoral system of majority rule which essentially alienated every Christian and led to a mass exodus and persistent persecution of a group that had been largely left alone by Saddam.  We put in place a system that easily allows discrimination of every minority, regardless of how large, by the majority.

 

The argument about stuff that happened since our actions in the immediate years after 2003 being "not our fault" is weasel words.  It'd be like the current UK government bringing in a law that says they refuse to pay out compensation for negligent acts of the last government, "why should we pay for things done by Labour?"  The UK, as part of the alliance, deposed Saddam, put in place a system that's seriously flawed then left them to it.

We put a system of democracy in place. This is the same system that many other countries use successfully. In fact I'm not sure which non-democratic countries could be called "successes". The Arab intellectuals were full of the "We don't agree with the invasion but it's racism / Islamophobia to say that we're not ready for democracy. We want the same system that you have".

 

I did not agree with the 2003 invasion but I'm struggling to understand how replacing a dictator with a democratic system inevitably leads to civil war and genocide. It did so because the Shi'ia, from their own free will, chose and choose to vote for sectarian butchers and the Sunni refused to vote at all.

 

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. If Maliki wants to keep excluding the Sunni then let him deal with the consequences, if we or the Iranians bale him out then he is being given carte blanche to keep acting as the PM of a Shi'ite state for Shi'ite people.

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All going well.

 

A country that had no Al-Qaeda is now being ripped apart by Al-Qaeda on steroids. 

 

Mission Accomplished.

If this wasn't so tragic and serious it would be hilarious. prior to the 2003 bush/Blair invasion there was no al Qaeda in Iraq and Iraq was no threat to the west, fast forward 10+ years post saddam and al Qaeda and other inspired Islamic fundamentalist groups are gaining huge amount of territory in both Iraq and Syria and the US and UK squandered over $1 trillion and suffered tens of thousands of casualties in the process. What a F-ing cockup, bush and Blair should be on trial in the Hague facing war crimes charges.

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We put a system of democracy in place. This is the same system that many other countries use successfully. In fact I'm not sure which non-democratic countries could be called "successes". The Arab intellectuals were full of the "We don't agree with the invasion but it's racism / Islamophobia to say that we're not ready for democracy. We want the same system that you have".

 

I did not agree with the 2003 invasion but I'm struggling to understand how replacing a dictator with a democratic system inevitably leads to civil war and genocide. It did so because the Shi'ia, from their own free will, chose and choose to vote for sectarian butchers and the Sunni refused to vote at all.

 

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. If Maliki wants to keep excluding the Sunni then let him deal with the consequences, if we or the Iranians bale him out then he is being given carte blanche to keep acting as the PM of a Shi'ite state for Shi'ite people.

OK, let's reduce it to its simplest component, the "but for" test that's typically used in negligence law cases.  BUT FOR our removal of Saddam Hussain, we'd probably still have a very useful mainly secular nation acting as a buffer between many different competing forces, true Saddam would still be in power and alive but he learned his lesson in 1991 and really wasn't that threatening to his own people or anyone else.

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If this wasn't so tragic and serious it would be hilarious. prior to the 2003 bush/Blair invasion there was no al Qaeda in Iraq and Iraq was no threat to the west, fast forward 10+ years post saddam and al Qaeda and other inspired Islamic fundamentalist groups are gaining huge amount of territory in both Iraq and Syria and the US and UK squandered over $1 trillion and suffered tens of thousands of casualties in the process. What a F-ing cockup, bush and Blair should be on trial in the Hague facing war crimes charges.

We've disagreed on many threads on the Middle East but I find it very hard to find anything wrong with that.

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