Iraq: The big nationalist showdown about to start?

US casualties in Iraq in May declined to 19 fatalities, the lowest monthly level since the invasion was launched 63 months ago. However, the attention of most Iraqis has now shifted to the attempt the Bushists are now undertaking, to ram through speedy completion of a US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
The prospects of the Bushists getting what they want in this regard seem slim-to-zero.
The present UNSC “enabling resolution” for the US troop presence in Iraq runs only through the end of 2008, and the Bushists seem determined to get the SOFA signed and sealed before then. But the mere mention of any agreement that would allow the continuing presence of US troops in the country has aroused a very broad pushback, involving not only forces within the political opposition in Iraq but also significant forces inside the government coalition itself.
For further evidence on the breadth of the pushback, see e.g. here and here.
The present US Ambassador in Iraq, Ryan Crocker, has been described by many in the MSM as a smart guy who understands a lot about the Middle East… If so, then why on earth do the pols in Washington think they can get any Iraqi government to sign off on a deal that allows for a large continuing US troop presence, broad continuing US oversight of the Iraqi economy, immunity from Iraqi legal proceedings for non-Iraqis working for foreign contracting companies, etc.?
Maybe the pols haven’t been listening to Crocker? And if that’s the case, why does he stay in his job? Why doesn’t he do the honorable thing and resign?
At the end of the day, as Clausewitz pointed out, what is really important is what happens at the political level. Mere military-technical superiority is worth nothing if you can’t get the political outcome you want. (Israel in Lebanon 2006, anyone?) And I don’t see any way the US can get the kind of political outcome that the Bush administration is currently trying to win in Iraq. Not persuasion, not coercion, not even any tragic replays of the divide-and-rule policies they’ve been applying with a vengeance there since March 2003.
Oh my goodness, maybe sometime before the end of the year– or perhaps even fairly soon– the Bushists will conclude they can’t ram this thing through, and that they’ll have to go to the U.N. Secretary-General and beg him to convene a broad negotiation over the political future of Iraq?

7 thoughts on “Iraq: The big nationalist showdown about to start?”

  1. Iraq: The big nationalist showdown
    Although Helena look things from out side the box the head of big nationalist is need some thought before we run to believing.
    Yes the first thought it does bring its big nationalist? but looking down for more than five years and recent conflicts in Basra and Diwaniya, Karbla left no doubt that Da’awa Party (two factions) and Al-Hakim were working hard to hold the string of oil specially southern Iraq, and there is no doubt both are Persian proxy.
    There is very interesting article in CSM about Iraq which tell very prices analysis what happen in Iraq after five years now which is the reality that I keep believe and say:

    Sectarian conflict in Iraq was previously limited to fighting between Sunnis and Shiites. But today, the conflict has grown to include Shiites against fellow Shiites. Despite signs that security has improved, the religious civil wars in Iraq may have only just begun.

    In Iraq, a negotiated settlement is going to be very difficult for two reasons. First, the Shiites will want to remain in almost complete control due to two entirely legitimate concerns: (1) fears of Sunni repression as experienced in the past, and (2) a sense of majority-rule justice. Second, the Shiites themselves are divided on how Iraq should be ruled, so it’s difficult to know whom to bargain with on the Shiite side, and therefore who can credibly commit to abide by the terms of any settlement.

    The withdrawal of US forces would allow Iraq’s predominantly Arab Shiites and Sunnis to find common interest in opposing their two more classical historical adversaries: Kurds and Persians. The longer the US and Britain stay, the more they facilitate a shift away from the identity that long unified Iraq to the religious identity that is tearing it apart and facilitating its manipulation by Iran.

  2. Just last month Iraqi oil workers and engineers in Majnoon Super giant oil field was bushed by Iran’s force from their work and are not allowed entering the area.
    Iraqi government denied that action two days later oil ministry Hussein al-Shahristani the current Iraqi Minister of Oil claimed there are differences with Iran about borders oil filed!!?
    This bring why Iranians support Al-Hakim and his ilk’s and apposing any US dealing with Iraqi Oil matters
    If Al-Hakim against US long presence in Iraq what about Iran presence inside Iraq that prompted more Iraqi come forward and alarming the Iranian mangling inside Iraq and how the Iranians now moving to gain control of the life and power inside Iraq directly and indirectly like Al-Hakim a Al-Hakim Persian Proxy.
    If Al-Hakim really nationalist as Helena put it then why he stand with Iran against the wish of Iraqis and all their mangling inside Iraq, what his nationalist then Iran or Iraq?
    The other part is most the Mullah and Da’awa parties are close to new election most those Mullah include Al-Hakim and other trying to convinced the Iraqi to elected them when all the sing showing Iraqis now knew who to vote to (if every thinks controlled well without fraud there is doubt) so its an election matter now to show and practise fake “Nationalism” now using this matter
    If most of you thought and defend Iraqi governments who lead after CPA and some think they are legitimate elected (under chaos and fraud election) why not then this matter of US/Iraq treaty be put in public domain for voting when all the MSM telling there are progress in Iraq and theirs come down as pre five years ago.
    Is legitimate to be put to Iraq and hear their vice democratically as what they did their “elected” government?
    BTW, nothing till now was made public of the treaty categories and point no one know exactly what’s includes in details till now and I doubt those in Iraqi Parliament knew all the details either.
    Note: Majnoon Super giant oil filed Iraq was singed a deal with Japan to invest in it about 3Billion USD at that time mid 1990s.

  3. ؤال مشروع ، يطرح نفسه : لماذا إعتمد بوش على عبد العزيز الحكيم ، واجتمع معه في البيت الأبيض .. ثم إجتمع معه عرّاب السياسة الأمريكية الصهيوني هنري كيسنجر ، وهو رسمياً لايشغل أي منصب حكومي في العراق ، فلا هو رئيس جمهورية ، ولا هو رئيس وزراء ..؟
    ولماذا ياترى إجتمعا معه .. وما هي الصفة التي يحملها لكي يجتمع مع رئيس الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وفي البيت الأبيض .. حتى من الناحية البروتوكولية والأعراق الدبلوماسية والتي يعرفها بوش جيداً ..؟ وماهو الواجب الي حُمّل به السيد لكي يلعب دوره الفاعل والمؤثر .. ونحن نعلم أن هناك قضيتان مهمتان على الأجندة الأمريكية آنذاك والآن وهما : قانون النفط والغاز الجديد .. والمعاهدة الأمريكية ـ العراقية .. وما بينهما من عمليات التصفية وكم أفواه المعارضين لهما ..!
    فهل يعقل عاقل بعد ذلك .. أن يقوم الحكيم بالوقوف ضد هذه المعاهدة ، والتي يؤيدها الإئتلاف الحاكم والذي هو أحد أقطابه ..؟
    السيستاني أعلن رفضه للمعاهدة ! وكذلك أعلنت إيران .. ! فماذا يمكن للحكيم أن يفعل والحالة هذه .. ؟
    تم ضرب الصدر وتحجيمه .. وهو الذي قد أبدى أيضاً إعتراضه على المعاهدة .. !
    والآن هل يعقل أن يتصرف الحكيم ظاهرياً ..على العكس من تصريحات إيران والسيستاني ..؟ الجواب طبعاً لا .. إذن ليس هناك من جواب على ذلك ومن سبيل ، إلا حل الإشكال شرعياً .. وأفضل الحلول ( التقية ) أجاركم الله ..!

  4. This article by Patrick Cockburn and published in The Independent is worth paying attention to:
    He suggests that the Iraqis gov’t will reluctantly capitulate to anything that Bush demands with regard to a long term security pact. Also, Sistani won’t present much resistance either because he’s afraid the Shia will lose power.
    If this is correct, then Moqtada’s stature is bound to rise as he will be the only important defender of Iraqi nationalism.

  5. Sistani won’t present much resistance either because he’s afraid the Shia will lose power……important defender of Iraqi nationalism.
    I don’t know how people keep brings and talking about Iraqi nationalism bringing this lunatic Sistani as major Iraqi nationalism symbol!
    He is neither Iraqi in any way nor is Iraqi citizen (although the Parisian Proxy offered him Iraq citizenship which he rejected) he is overstayed he is just a religious man followed by some I don’t go who is his followers.
    But let keep in mind Iraqis now knew and acknowledged that these guys “mullah” are not Iraqi nationalism any more their hearts and souls are in Qum and Teheran they came and used by US because they are good invader’s servant.
    This all the story if you talking about “Iraqi nationalism” Iraqis all colours and ethnics who are holding” Iraqi nationalism” not these servants for invader.

  6. Obama stands out– just a little bit– but perhaps not trivially.
    Helena how much you mean by “a little bit”?
    Time will tell what this “a little bit” means in US foreign policy in ME for the last 60 years that Obama he will change “a little bit” doubtable.

  7. Hi Salah,
    Actually, I agree with you. If I were an Iraqi nationalist, I would be very disappointed in Sistani. And the Iraqi gov’t too. I was just pointing out that support will flow to Moqtada.
    Bush is pushing very hard for a deal with his Iraqi client gov’t that would make a mockery of Iraq’s sovereignty. Unfortunately I think this has a chance of succeeding in the short term because the Maliki gov’t can see that an Obama victory in the US elections will likely jeopardize their position in Iraq. Both Maliki and Bush have a common interest in trying to lock in place the US occupation. Maliki is stuck though because the already-low legitimacy of his gov’t would drop to zero.

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