The Americans are not the Iraqi masters. As such, they would be in no position to lean on the Iraqi leadership, however, the Iranians might be. Even if the Americans did lean on the Iraqi leadership, the Iraqi leadership would be running to the media to complain that the Americans are leaning on them. If the Iraqi government has a master other than themselves it would likely be the Iranians.
Given that Iraqi elections are coming suoon this is What I think most likely happened. Maliki gave an interview to der spiegel and trying to protect his so called "right flank" from Al Sadr supporters he supported the outline of a general time line. In doing this, he probably succeeded in that respect but he completely misread the American political situation. Perhaps he did not read it all. Later either someone in his own office or someone within the Pentagon informed him that based on his interview the Americans would use his interview as an excuse to declare victory and withdraw even though Maliki probably does not want that.
Maliki knowing that if the Americans and coalition forces withdraw prematurely he would have to kow tow to Iran had one of his advisors make a hasty correction. As such, the correction is likely the position of the Iraqi government. In any event, it does not really matter. The American will withdraw regardless. I pray that the Iranians do not decide to use Iraq as a base to attack American interests. If they do, this will likely lead to the third Iraq war.
"Because what? The Iranian hordes will invade Kansas?" Perhaps they will. There are probably Revolutionary guard units operating in the United States. These along with other terrorist entities could do severe damage to the United States. In fact, I think an Iranian attack on the US probably involving the use of "dirty bombs" is far more likely than an American attack on Iran. Stopping the Iranian invasion of the US should be our top priority. I actually think the main targets for Iran would be the major cities and probably not Kansas.
"What terrorist attacks has Iran carried out against the US recently?" Iran constantly thwarts US interests and they have resisted diplomatic efforts. These are simply used by the Iranians to get what they want and they are still unsatisfied. There favorite chant is "death to America." They are fully capable of carrying this out. As such, the US should use whatever measures are necessary to stop Iran.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 23.07.2008 @ 09:32
Many on the "left" and many on the "right" have supported withdrawl of American forces from Iraq for quite some time for different reasons. Thanks in large part to Iraq's PM we will all be getting our wish very soon. Now hopefully the Iraqi government does not decide to work in tandem with the Iranian government in supporting Islamic terrorists. If so, this will likely lead to a third Iraq war.
We get an added benefit, if Mr. Obama becomes president. This will likely help to improve America's image around the world. This should make it easier to get otherst work with us. Improving America's world wide image should be our top priority right now.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 22.07.2008 @ 15:30
Thanks for the reply to my post. I doubt the US government or Centcom had any thing to with the sudden change the Iraqi government made. They don't have the clout within the Iraqi government. In any event, the source for this was not Centcom but for all I know they could have gotten it from Centcom. Given the media's distrust of Centcom, they would want to verify it from another source. Even if the media outlet that ran the quote that the Iraqi PM was "misquoted and misunderstood" was respectful of Centcom they know that other media outlets dispise Centcom. Bottom line, if the main source was Centcom, the quote never would have made the news or they would have used it as an opportunity to attack Centcom. If al-Dabbagh was seen working with Centcom in this manner, he would lose his job. There is likely some political benefit in supporting Obama's position in pushing for a withdrawl timeline so had the gentlemen had said they did not want a time line and then come back later and said they did this would make sense. But since there is no benefit in opposing a timeline it seems likely to me that the PM made a mistake in what he said the first time around since he needed for his office to issue a correction. It happens all the time. Public speakers make mistakes.
If the US govenrment tried to pressure someone to say something, it would likely be people in the state department or Congress pressuring the PM to agree to a timeline for troop withdrawl and not trying to get the PM to change his statement to support a longer presence of US and Coaliton troops. If the US government attemptted the pressure you are suggesting, the media would be all over and names of CENTCOM officals and other Administration officials would be named and the Iraqi officials would get to thump their chests on how they stood up to the Americans.
In short, I find no incentive for the Iraqis to say that they support a 16 month time for withdrawl and to say they are misunderstood very soon after. If it happened in reverse, it might make sense. Therefore, I conclude the Iraqi PM likely mis-spoke but I hope he did not.
Frankly I think the US should not have gone to the trouble to put together this Iraqi government. It is to pro-Iranian for my comfort level. Iran is currently an implacable enemy of the US. This is a potentially dangerous situation for the US. I don't think the US and its Coalition allies should have invaded Iraq in the first place.
Perhaps the terms order the US to do something was the wrong terms to use. The truth is the EU with its massive economy that is larger than the US and its de facto control over institutions like the WTO and NATO wields very significant influence over the US. Saudi Arabia uses its oil weapon to heavily shape US policy to its liking.
I agree the goal should not be dominace and instability. To this end, some way should be found to get Russia to withdraw support for Iran and Syria. Wtihout Russian support these terrorist supporting states would be much easier to defeat or to at least contain. This would greatly help stability in the region. You seem to suggest that the main goal should be stability. I disagree here. The main goal should be for Iraq to be an ally in the war against Islamic terrorists. If it should work in tandem with Iran in supporting Islamic terrorism against the United States or its interests, I do not want it to be stable. I want its government destroyed and replaced by one that will at least be respectful toward the US and its interests.
Another possibilty is the Iraqi PM was angling for the votes of Al Sadr supporters when he made his statements to der spiegel. In doing so, he may have completely goofed. That is, if he does not want to be a tool of Iran. At least I don't think he wants to be a tool of Iran. He apparently does not realize how desparately the American people want a withdrawl from Iraq. Since the people elect their officals, this means the officals will reflect the wishes of the people, in the long run. Even if George W. Bush wanted to stay forever he can't. He is little more than a figure head at this juncture.
I think Iran wants more than a close relationship with Iraq. After all I don't think you have militias carry out attacks on the civilian population if you merely want a close relationship. The Iranian leader said a few months ago that it was time for Islam to rule the world. By that I think he means his Shia version.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 22.07.2008 @ 15:16
To the best of my knowledge it was an Iraqi government spoksman named Ali al-Dabbagh who said that the Iraqi PM's statements were "misunderstood and mistranslated." The bottom line is there is no political benefit for anyone within the Iraqi government to come out later and make these statements. Furthermore, the Bush administration does not have the leverage within the US government or with the Iraqi government to get them to make a retraction or clarification such as this.
From a political point of view, it would have made the most sense to stick with the original statement or say something to the effect that they support Obama's position on withdrawl but that this does not mean they support the candidate as a whole just that they agree with him on this specific position. The position on withdrawl is actually the position supported by most Americans. Most Americans grasp the fact that tighter border security, drilling for more oil and gas, and building more refineries will have greater marginal utility for national security than keeping military forces in Iraq ever would.
I hope the translator did not make a mistake. It seems more likely to me that the translator either made a mistake or the editors at der spiegel made a mistake. Perhaps they inserted what they wanted into the article. In any event to assume that the original translation is what Maliki meant to infer is likely wishful thinking. Again I actually hope it was properly translated. If so, it seems he's given the US a face saving way to withdraw. If so, this all Bush and the Administration need. If so, we could look for all American and Coaltion forces to be out of the country very soon.
In the final analysis, I'm not sure if the Iraqi government and Maliki want the country to be a de facto colony of Iran or if they want the country to be a fully soverign and independent nation. I think they will work Iran and have worked with Iran when it suits their interests, but they want to be a fully soverign and independent nation. If this is so, it would make the most sense to them to ally with the Americans and to seek a long range American military presence. If they wish to ally with Iran, the Iraqi government should be destroyed but the Americans will not be the ones to do it unless ordered to by the Saudis or the EU.
While Iraq likely seeks to be an independent country, they have to be concerned about the fact that the Americans are itching to withdraw even before the 16 month time frame. This means they have to proceed very carefully. It would likely be unwise for them to overtly offend the Iranians in any way, as they probablly realize that the Americans are very likely to just decalre victory and leave them hanging.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 22.07.2008 @ 12:38
It was always going to be Maliki's decision on troop numbers. Iraq is a soverign country and has been for quite a while now. In any event, Maliki's office said he was misquoted and misunderstood, however, it was Maliki's person who handled the translation. It would cost Maliki nothing to say he is supporting Obama and that he wants a firm time table for the withdrawl of American troops. There would seem to be no reason for his office to come out later and say he was misunderstood. The translator must have made a mistake. In any event, I hope he is actually serious about wanting a timeline for withdrawl but I don't think he is. Hope I'm wrong of course.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 22.07.2008 @ 10:12
He will ultimately take the deal. Even if he does not, the Iraqis will decide for him. Iraq is a soverign country now. When the Iraqis want the Americans out, they will set the date and American and other coaliton forces will withdraw. There will be no negotiations.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 9.07.2008 @ 09:25
The policies you speak of environmentalism at all costs may have made sense prior to 911, however, post 911 they no longer make any sense. After 911, we should have begin drilling for more of our own oil and we should have immediately began building more refineries. Had we have done so we would be much closer to energy independence than we are now and we would have more leverage in dealing with Venezeula and other OPEC nations.
Btw, we can go drilling every where there is a drop to be found and we should do so without delay. It will have to be done cleanly and American oil companies are among the best in the world at this.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 14.06.2008 @ 13:38
I think alot of this comes down to is does America want to be a major power. If the answer is no, then it should be okay to cut military spending on the level that Barack Obama suggests. If America does want to be a major power, then such cuts would be unwise.
Also, should America cease to be a major power, who will step up to fill the role that the US has. Someone will. I suspect it would be Russia and China with Russia leading the way. Without America as a major power how will this affect the world? Will it be more free or less free? Will it be richer or poorer? I suspect the world would be worse off without the US as a major power, however, the answer to that is really not known for certain at this time.
I would say that we are a major power whether we want to be or not. Our huge, dominating economy makes that a given. And our nukes. And our cultural domination.
Hard to see that we could just "choose" not to be what we are.
ed.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 21.05.2008 @ 07:53
It is a bit presumptious at this point in the campaign for tetvet68 to declare Mr. Obama the victor in the Presidential election. Currently the polls seem to indicate a close race. While I would agree it probably more likely than not that Mr. Obama will win the election and it may well be a blow out win, it is to early to pick a winner at this point.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 20.05.2008 @ 00:00
I think you are spot on about Bush deseving much criticism. In fact, I have said many times before and still think the man should be impeached, however, the over the top hatred thrown his way by many in the media and the Democratic party is unwarranted and serves primarily to embolden our enemies.
As for who Bush's speech was directed at, there are plenty of people who hold the views that Obama holds. Some of them are likely in the Israeli Knesset. I think it surprised President Bush to learn that this was directed at Obama. Frankly, I don't see many Americans wanting to confront our enemies. think it is highly likely that they will vote for the candidate who tells them they don't have to.
This was a brilliant political move by Obama. He took a speech that was not even directed at him and makes it seem as though he is being attacked by an unpopular, lame duck, figure head preisdent. This is bound to help him in the polls.
Finally, Bush seems to be quite the hypocrite. He gives a speech warning against appeasement yet he seems to be the appeaser in chief. This man gives a speech before the Israeli Knesset while expecting Israel to cede land that the country desparately needs for its national defense to create another terrorist supporting state of "Palestine." To this end tremendous pressure has been brought to bear agains Israel. At best, these actions are inconsistent with the speech that was recently given. At worst, President Bush is a hypocrite.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 17.05.2008 @ 12:32