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    01 January 2006

    A new year, same terror and why the US efforts in Iraq will fail in time

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    - Iraqi insurgents celebrated the new year in their own twisted way by blowing up something across Baghdad and beyond. The terrifying tactic injured many but no kills have been reported.

    - Col. Lang points out another idiotic decision by the powers that be in Iraq. Remember the devastating choice by Paul Bremer to turn away anyone thought to be in the Baath Party from the new Iraqi military; thus creating a large part of the insurgency. Now the elected government has come to the same fork in the road and chose more violence instead of democracy.
    An Iraqi court has ruled that some of the most prominent Sunni Muslims who were elected to parliament last week won't be allowed to serve because officials suspect that they were high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

    Knight Ridder has obtained a copy of the court ruling, which has yet to be circulated to the public.

    The ruling is likely to dampen Bush administration hopes that the election would bring more of the disaffected Sunni minority into Iraq's political process and undermine Sunni support for the insurgency. Instead, the decision is likely to stoke fears of widening sectarian divisions in a nation already in danger of descending into civil war.

    Adil al-Lami, the chief electoral official of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, told Knight Ridder that he would honor the court's decision and that none of the accused Sunnis would appear on the final list of parliament members.

    The choice is becoming clearer by the day to the Sunni population; choose the insurgents or a life of poverty and abuse.

    - Juan Cole gives us a list of 10 predictions for 2006, I'll point out a few that stem from the same thread; petro-dollars.
    ...
    2. Saudi Arabia will use the $160 billion windfall from high petroleum prices to strengthen its military and security forces, and to spread its rigid Wahhabi form of Islam.

    3. Iran's clerical elites will use the $36 billion windfall from high petroleum prices to strengthen their military and security forces, and to spread their radical Khomeinist form of Islam. The US, even if it takes some desperate step, will prove unable to shake the regime in 2006.

    4. The Iraqi government, on which the US is placing its bet, will limp along with less than $19 billion a year in petroleum income because of sabotage and guerrilla war, along with long-neglected fields and dilapidated plants and equipment. Most of that money will be absorbed by the need for internal security, reconstruction and paying off past reparations and debts, as well as by large-scale corruption and embezzlement (billions of dollars went missing during the government of Iyad Allawi in 2004).
    ...

    This last one is probably the nail in the coffin for the neocon dream in Iraq. Even if the US and the Iraqis are able to provide universal security to the population of Iraq, the infrastructure is still exposed. It (attacking the infrastructure) may not terrify the masses like a bomb in a market, but it will stifle the nation building process.

    But this isn't a second choice for the insurgents (it may be for the terrorists but they are hardly the biggest problem in Iraq), it is the plan. John Robb uses Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a template for how to rebuild a state. It starts with basics: survival, shelter, security. From the basics it works its way up to self-actualization. The smart Guerrilla, in this period, targets the infrastructure, projects crime via kidnapping, explosions, and hijacking, and attacks the government projecting instability. In theory, the Guerrillas could be successful without killing civilians, Iraqi and American soldiers; although they do get in the way. This process breeds alternative loyalties within separate communities as we see with the Kurd's, Shi’a's, and Sunni's. This is hardly a situation in which a democracy is going to bloom from.

    To make matters worse here is the template for nation building in neocon land
    Image hosted by Photobucket.com


    In a land dominated by oil and a war based on the protection of oil, this seems backward. With the dates of drawdown made pretty clear by Washington, look for less targeting of civilians and soldiers/police and for more disruptions of the most important resource to Iraq, Baghdad, and Washington: oil, energy, and other basic necessities of life in developing states. This is worldwide and not just limited to Iraq. Look at Nigeria, the ’stans’ in Central Asia, et cetera...

    Posted By Geoff

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