Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Thoughts, More Than Actions, Shaped the Iraq War Legacy

Posted by Reidar Visser on Friday, 16 December 2011 18:38

When the last remaining American forces withdraw from Iraq at the end of this month, they will be leaving behind a country that is politically unstable, increasingly volatile, and at risk of descending into the sort of sectarian fighting that killed thousands in 2006 and 2007… Full story here (New York Times op-ed on the formal end of the Iraq War).

Comments section open as usual below.

14 Responses to “Thoughts, More Than Actions, Shaped the Iraq War Legacy”

  1. True, and very well-said as usual. Based on the chaos that’s going on in Baghdad right now, it seems like Iraqi postwar stability will be short-lived if not completely stillborn. What’s your sense of the past 24 hours–is Maliki systematically cracking down on his opposition, is someone actually attempting to remove him, or is there some other, more nuanced narrative at play here?

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Nick, thanks, the problem with developments over the past 24 hours is that there is a media blackout and apparently the victims (Iraqiyya) have elected to hold their horses for now. What I can say – and what is being openly reported – is that developments in Diyala, which appear to be at the heart of the whole conflict, are depressing indeed. Shiite counter-demonstrations to the federalism bid were reportedly armed and used green and black sectarian banners. There are reports of people being arrested merely for supporting the federalism project.

    If I were to offer one piece of advice to the supporters of a federal region in Diyala, it would be to remove focus from the silly (and illegal) “declaration” of the federal region and instead focus all their energies – and, if need be, whatever such energies may remain in the international community – on Maliki’s legal obligation to give them their referendum and let the people have their say in the matter.

  3. Salah said

    We as Iraq we don’t know all, how you all looks to Iraq why dragged down to this misery?
    Are these guys who came, protected by American were really the candidates that put thinking good things will come from them?

    Did anyone give any thoughts what history “real history” these guys had?

    I asked any one of you, in your own country if a company ECO have no merits with history of blood hands, liar’s thieves, were promoted to top job what that company will be after not 8 years after one year?

    All of you give us answer, if that action in your own country will succeeded on small example or project like any company there, please let hear your thoughts publically and right here.

    You asking to much from guys have nothing to give and 8 years past have approve that these bunch of gangsters are bloody idiots serving American dream in ME.

    وبند التوازن الوطني الذي تم اقراره في اتفاقية اربيل يعني احداث تغييرات جوهرية في سلم الملاكات والدرجات الوظيفية في جميع الدوائر الحكومية والوزارات بعد ان ملأها المالكي وقبله ابراهيم الجعفري بالاميين والمتخلفين والمعتوهين واقصى منها الاكفاء والمبدعين بحيث بات البائع المتجول في ارصفة حي السيدة زينب والجزار (القصاب) السابق في الكويت كاطع الركابي مديرا عاما للمراسم والتشريفات في ديوان مجلس الوزراء، واصبح الملازم الاول أشرف زاجي الذي خان وطنه وهرب الى ايران عام 1982 فريقا أول ويشغل منصب المفتش العام لوزارة الدفاع، وصارعدنان الاسدي وهو في الاصل مضمد صحي وكيلا أقدم لوزارة الداخلية، وتحول ملا خرف يتعاطى الشعوذة اسمه حسين الشامي وتارة الموسوي الى رئيس جامعة، والنماذج من هذا النوع لا تعد ولا تحصى وتحتاج الى مجلد ضخم بالاسماء والوقائع يعمل على اعداده الان عدد من الخيرين ليكون كتابا أسود يفضح الفاسدين والمزورين واللصوص الذين جاء بهم الاحتلال الامريكي ونوري المالكي ومكنهّم من احتلال مناصب وشغل مواقع وتحصيل امتيازات ومنافع لم يكونوا يحلمون بها، بينما تم استبعاد الاف العلماء والاكاديميين والاطباء والضباط والخبراء بالاجتثاث والملاحقات والتنكيل والتقتيل.

  4. Reidar Visser said

    On that issue I actually agree with Maliki that “tawazun” – code for muhasasa or ethno-sectarian quotas – is not a good solution. It was the mistake of Iraqiyya to adopt a Kurdish discourse on this issue at Arbil instead of trying to win Shiite allies that could help reinvigorate Iraqi nationalism.

  5. Salah said

    There is no doubt ” muhasasa or ethno-sectarian quotas” bad and it’s not right and ugly way that went through, from start should politic never been dragged to this pathway.
    But let be clear here US represented by Sharif Paul “Jeremy” Bremer II, he is the man created this sense and divisive politic in Iraq after 2003, accordingly he made his CPA, from there the direction lost as who come to run the politics in Iraq were severely manipulated and brainwashed on ethno-sectarian thoughts.

  6. amagi said

    Please provide updates on the Diyala situation as they come available. Those of us who do not read Arabic (or perhaps I just speak for myself) rely on this blog as one of a dwindling number of sites where one can get reliable Iraqi news. Thank you as always, Reidar.

  7. bb said

    Your last para (2) – well, exactly. If they truly want a referendum then they should be undergoing the process of gathering the 10% signatures for petition. Until then, prime minister maliki is entitled to resist these excitable, opportunistic “declarations” from local politicians. In fact he would be incompetent, stupid and basically unfit to be a pm of a banana republic if he did not.

    May I issue a mild protest against your use of the emotive term “victims” in relation to Iraqiyya? The only pictures I can find of the incidents is of the Iraqi police battling to protect the local council from a couple of thousand of shiite protestors. Reports say they used water cannon and batons to disperse them. None of this is worthy of mention, apparently?

  8. Reidar Visser said

    Amagi and Bb, the situation in Diyala seems to be unfolding. A complicating factor in reporting it is a sea of rumours that have not made it to the newswires and are difficult to evaluate for that reason.

    Anyway, today the governor of Diyala publicly asked Maliki to ensure that the security forces remained neutral and specifically warned against arbitrary arrest orders as a way of intimidating supporters of the federalism bid. So he is indicating that the “resistance” that the security forces put up against the demonstrators may have been tongue in cheek.

    Bb, the two main routes to a federalism referendum in the law on forming regions have exact equal legal status however much you may think one of them is morally superior to the other. I totally agree it is a bad law that enables a lot of opportunism at the governorate level, but if you disagree with a bad law you need to work democratically to change it instead of making up a new one on your own.

  9. Santana said

    Jaish Al-Mahdi, Badr and other terrorist Militia’s have taken over Diyala now !!!….the Iraqi Army is providing them with cover,handing out food and equipment (bulldozers to dig up posts and barriers) to them….the green (shiite)flags are all over and the Quds force is directing it all !!!….this is the new Iraq post-withdrawl and under Maliki’s dictatorship. The U.S can see all this by satellites and doesn’t wanna say anything because it will shock the U.S public since Obama stood on TV next to Maliki just a few days ago and considers him the hero of democracy and God’s gift to Iraq !!…..when will the U.S admin EVER learn ?????

  10. bb said

    According to Reuters, this is a picture of the demo.

    Doesn’t look so tongue in cheek on the face of it, so why suggest that unless there is evidence?

    Moral superiority has nothing to do with it. I understand that the constitution allows a % of a 30 person provincial council to request/demand a referendum. But it does not allow them to declare themselves a region, as your goodself has so often pointed out. Maliki, as prime minister, would be wise to regard these declarations as inflammatory, provocative and specious.

    Going the 10% signatures route is not morally superior at all! It is the POLITICALLY superior option, which these local politicians would be taking if this were a serious and considered proposal. As it was in Basra back in 2009, which eventually failed because the organisers (I think governor of Bsra was behind that one too?) couldn’t get the 10% support required from the voters.

    it was the governor, there too?) couldn’t get the 10% support required.

  11. Salah said

    “Have taken over Diyala now !!!…”

    Looks they will also get this terrorist backing them in Diyala

    Question: why US did move this Al-Qaida “Hezbollah” terrorist to Guantanamo Bay detention camp as they done it with many Iraqis?
    “We’ve asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond,” Obama said at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.……, US handed back Ali Musa Daqduq…yap… Deal done by Maliki.

    أميركا تسلم حكومة المالكي الدقدوق آخر المعتقلين لديها التابع لحزب الله
    متهم بقتل 5 أميركيين ويعتبر أحد ضباط فيلق القدس.. وواشنطن : تلقينا ضمانات بمحاكمته
    لندن: «الشرق الأوسط»
    سلمت السلطات الأميركية أمس للعراق علي موسى الدقدوق الذي اعتقل في البصرة جنوب العراق في يوليو (تموز) 2007 بتهمة خطف وقتل 5 جنود أميركيين. وهو آخر معتقل لدى القوات الأميركية في العراق.

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  12. Thaqalain said

    Green, Black flags are hung due to Moharram month, don’t associate it with politics. People love it , its all over Muslim world, not peculiar to just Diayala, blag flags can be found even on Kurdistan Rigs.

  13. Ali M said

    REIDAR, you must think that the sunni and shia labels meant absolutely nothing before the US came and imposed all these sectarian quotas. As much as I would love to believe it was like that it really wasn’t. There is a reason why most Sunnis hated the idea of having a Shia prime ministers and “iranian fire-worshippers” anywhere near the power they felt they were entitled to themselves, and of course the Shia hated being excluded from power for all these years and the strong patronage the Sunnis of Iraq in tikrit and anbar and baghdad received during Saddam’s time including even better electricity.

    So to come into Iraq after 40 years of one-sided rule and completely ignore all this background would’ve been naive. The US didnt invent these labels they just responded to what was already there. True, there’s nothing worse than being identified as a “shia mp” or a “sunni minister” by the western media, but in all honesty that’s how they saw themselves and that’s how many of their constituents saw them too.

    im sure in the near future ppl wont care or think about what religion, race or sect you’re from when it comes to political office in iraq or any other arab country for that matter. but to blame quotas for sunni disenfranchisement in that period is to absolve them of any blame. they are the ones who chose to harbour cold-blooded terrorists who on a daily basis killed innocent people and destroyed infrastructure and are the ones who chose to boycott the democratic process and complained when they saw the results, and they are the ones who chose to enter a long war with america even though five years later they would be begging at their feet for them to stay.

  14. Jason said

    I’m sure that Ali M. is correct. Trying to blame U.S. efforts to make certain everyone was on board the new Iraq for causing the sectarianism is wishful thinking in an effort to deny the unpleasant reality of native sectarianism. Iraqis own this mess. Deal with it.

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