Even if we succeed we may still lose. An autonomous Shiite-majority Iraq may, within a few years, ally itself with Iran (a Shiite-led fundamentalist Islamic state).
The military's morale seems pretty high. It's the newspapers who are so dead certain we're losing.
We will not lose becuase we have already won the WAR.
What is going on right now is NOT a war
+1 people forget that IF we wanted to we would OWN Iraq right now, but that isn't the American way.
We rolled into their captial city and installed a government of (sorta) our choosing. How have we not already won the war in Iraq?
Now the WOT, that's a differant matter. We have won the war in Iraq but we can still lose the war on islamo fascist terror if we don't have the guts to walk through their guts.
The war is won but I think we need another Grant or Sherman to finish up whats going on now.
I really hope so
I was thinking Custer.
This war is not about Iraq,
That's just the battlefield we chose. It's a war against criminal clerics spreading threats of
domination around the world. It will take a long time to defeat and marginalize them. Consider the threat of communism took decades, and Cuba and China hold on yet. No one in their right mind would leave these criminal clerics to run the world by whips and terror.
Democrats and liberal idealists continue to distance themselves from mainstream Americans by yelling to tuck tail and run. Of course we can win, and we must. The alternitive is too terrible to contemplate. Let the troops do their job. Let our leader from Texas lead.
Even if we "win" this war... it isn't us who really won.
The Iraq War is Over, and the Winner Is... Iran
By Juan Cole
Thursday 21 July 2005
Hamstrung by the Iraq debacle, all Bush can do is gnash his teeth as the hated mullahs in Iran cozy up to their co-religionists in Iraq.
Iraq's new government has been trumpeted by the Bush administration as a close friend and a model for democracy in the region. In contrast, Bush calls Iran part of an axis of evil and dismisses its elections and government as illegitimate. So the Bush administration cannot have been filled with joy when Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and eight high-powered cabinet ministers paid an extremely friendly visit to Tehran this week.
The two governments went into a tizzy of wheeling and dealing of a sort not seen since Texas oil millionaires found out about Saudi Arabia. Oil pipelines, port access, pilgrimage, trade, security, military assistance, were all on the table in Tehran. All the sorts of contracts and deals that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney had imagined for Halliburton, and that the Pentagon neoconservatives had hoped for Israel, were heading instead due east.
Jaafari's visit was a blow to the Bush administration's strategic vision, but a sweet triumph for political Shiism. In the dark days of 1982, Tehran was swarming with Iraqi Shiite expatriates who had been forced to flee Saddam Hussein's death decree against them. They had been forced abroad, to a country with which Iraq was then at war. Ayatollah Khomeini, the newly installed theocrat of Iran, pressured the expatriates to form an umbrella organization, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which he hoped would eventually take over Iraq. Among its members were Jaafari and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. On Jan. 30, 2005, Khomeini's dream finally came true, courtesy of the Bush administration, when the Supreme Council and the Dawa Party won the Iraqi elections.
Jaafari, a Dawa Party activist working for an Islamic republic, had been in exile in Tehran from 1980 to 1989. A physician trained at Mosul, the reserved and somewhat inarticulate Jaafari studied Shiite law and theology as an auditor at the seminaries of Qom. His party, Dawa, was briefly part of SCIRI but in 1984 split with it to maintain its autonomy.
Iraq has a Shiite Muslim majority of some 62 percent. Iran's Shiite majority is thought to be closer to 90 percent. The Shiites of the two countries have had a special relationship for over a millennium. Saddam had sealed the border for more than two decades, but throughout centuries, tens of thousands of Iranians have come on pilgrimage to the holy Shiite shrines of Najaf and Karbala every year. Iraqis likewise go to Iran for pilgrimage, study and trade. Although neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz maintained before the Iraq war that Iraqis are more secular and less interested in an Islamic state than Iranians, in fact the ideas of Khomeini had had a deep impact among Iraqi Shiites. When they could vote in January earlier this year, they put the Khomeini-influenced Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq in control of seven of the nine southern provinces, along with Baghdad itself.
It was not only history that brought Jaafari to the foothills of the Alborz mountains. The Iraqi prime minister was attempting to break out of the box into which his government has been stuffed by the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement. Jaafari's government does not control the center-north or west of the country and cannot pump much petroleum from Kirkuk because of oil sabotage. Trucking to Jordan is often difficult. The Jaafari government depends heavily on the Rumaila oil field in the south, but lacks refining capability. Iraq lacks a deep water port on the Gulf and needs to replace inland "ports" like Amman because of poor security. An initiative toward the east could resolve many of these problems, strengthening the Shiites against the Sunni guerrillas economically and militarily and so saving the new government.
The last time Iran and Iraq had really warm relations was the mid-1950s. Iraq then had a British-installed constitutional monarchy, and Prime Minister Nuri as-Said was fanatically pro-Western. The CIA had put Mohammad Reza Shah back on the throne in 1953, deposing the democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh (who had angered the United States when he nationalized the Iranian oil industry). In 1955 Said and the shah both signed on to the Baghdad Pact, a U.S.-sponsored security agreement against the Soviet Union and Arab nationalist Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. The pact proved ill-fated, however. A popular revolution overthrew the Iraqi monarchy in 1958, and Nuri's corpse was dragged in the street. Another popular revolution overthrew the shah in 1979. In 1980-1988, Iran-Iraq relations reached their nadir, as Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and Khomeini's Revolutionary Guards slugged it out on battlefields of a dreary horror not seen since World War I. Jaafari's visit was designed to erase the bitter legacies of that war.
Iraq's Eastern Policy does not come without at least symbolic costs. On Saturday, Jaafari made a ceremonial visit to the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, on which he laid a wreath. In a meeting with Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei on Monday, according to the Tehran Times, Jaafari "called the late Imam Khomeini the key to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, adding, 'We hope to eliminate the dark pages Saddam caused in Iran-Iraq ties and open a new chapter in brotherly ties between the two nations.'" The American right just about had a heart attack at the possibility (later shown false) that newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been among the militants who took U.S. diplomats hostage in 1979. But the hostage takers had been blessed by Khomeini himself, to whom Jaafari was paying compliments.
When Jaafari met the head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, on Tuesday, the two discussed expanding judicial cooperation between the two countries. Shahrudi said that cooperation with Iran's Draconian "justice system" has had a positive impact on other Muslim countries. He called for Iraq to coordinate with something called the "Islamic Human Rights Organization" -- an Orwellian phrase in dictatorial Iran, a state that tortures political prisoners and engages in other acts of brutality. And he urged the Iraqi government to put greater reliance on "popular forces" (local and national Shiite militias) in establishing security.
Jaafari was probably only indulging his clerical host, but his Dawa Party certainly does hope to have Islamic law play a greater role in Iraqi society. The New York Times revealed on Wednesday that the new draft of the Iraqi constitution will put personal status matters, many of them affecting women, under religious courts.
For his polite forbearance as his Iranian hosts boasted of the superiority of their Islamic government and grumbled about all those trouble-making American troops in the Iraqi countryside, Jaafari was richly rewarded. Iran offered to pay for three pipelines that would stretch across the southern border of the two countries. Iraq will ship 150,000 barrels a day of light crude to Iran to be refined, and Iran will ship back processed petroleum, kerosene and gasoline. The plan could be operational within a year, according to Petroleum Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, whose father is a prominent Shiite cleric.
In addition, Iran will supply electricity. Iran will sell Iraq 200,000 tons of wheat. Iran is offering Iraq use of its ports to transship goods to Iraq. Iran is offering a billion dollars in foreign aid. Iran will step up cooperation in policing the borders of the two countries. Supreme Jurisprudent Khamenei has called for the preservation of the territorial integrity of Iraq. In fact, Iran is offering so much for so little that it looks an awful lot like influence peddling.
The previous week, Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi had made a preparatory trip to Tehran, exploring the possibility of military cooperation between the two countries. At one point it even seemed that the two had reached an agreement that Iran would help train Iraqi troops. One can only imagine that Washington went ballistic and applied enormous pressure on Jaafari to back off this plan. The Iraqi government abandoned it, on the grounds that an international agreement had already specified that out-of-country training of Iraqi troops in the region should be done in Jordan. But the Iraqi government did give Tehran assurances that they would not allow Iraqi territory to be used in any attack on Iran -- presumably a reference to the United States.
Iranian leaders pressed Jaafari on the continued presence in Iraq of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian terrorist organization with ties to the Pentagon, elements in the Israeli lobby, and members of the U.S. Congress and Senate. Saddam had used the MEK to foment trouble for Iran. Jaafari promised that they had been disarmed and would not be allowed to conduct terrorist raids from Iraqi soil.
Not surprisingly, the warming relations between Tehran and Baghdad have greatly alarmed Iraq's Sunni Muslims. They know that Iranian offers of help in training Iraqi security officers, and Iranian professions of support for a united, peaceful Iraq are code for the suppression by Shiite troops and militias of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement. Many Iraqi Sunnis believe that the Sunni Arabs are the true majority, but that millions of illegal Iranian emigrants masquerading as Iraqi Shiites have flooded into the country, skewing vote totals in the recent elections. This belief, for all its irrationality, makes them especially suspicious of Shiite politicians cozying up to the ayatollahs in Tehran. A recent BBC documentary reported that the Sunnis of Fallujah despise Iraqi Shiites even more than they do the Americans, in part because they code them as Persians (in fact they are Arabs).
Although officials in Washington felt constrained to issue polite assurances that they want good relations between Iraq and Iran, the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and hawks in the Bush administration all have a grudge against Iran, and would as soon overthrow the mullahs as spit at them. But thanks to the Iraq debacle, that is no longer a viable option. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack revealed the true amount of influence Washington has in Baghdad when he admitted that the Bush administration has not "had a chance" to discuss Jaafari's trip to Iran with the prime minister.
The Iranians hold a powerful hand in the Iraqi poker game. They have geopolitical advantages, are flush with petroleum profits because of the high price of oil, and have much to offer their new Shiite Iraqi partners. Their long alliance with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani gives them Kurdish support as well. Bush's invasion removed the most powerful and dangerous regional enemy of Iran, Saddam Hussein, from power. In its aftermath, the religious Shiites came to power at the ballot box in Iraq, bestowing on Tehran firm allies in Baghdad for the first time since the 1950s. And in a historic irony, Iran's most dangerous enemy of all, the United States, invaded Iran's neighbor with an eye to eventually toppling the Tehran regime -- but succeeded only in defeating itself.
The ongoing chaos in Iraq has made it impossible for Bush administration hawks to carry out their long-held dream of overthrowing the Iranian regime, or even of forcing it to end its nuclear ambitions. (The Iranian nuclear research program will almost certainly continue, since the Iranians are bright enough to see what happened to the one member of the "axis of evil" that did not have an active nuclear weapons program.) The United States lacks the troops, but perhaps even more critically, it is now dependent on Iran to help it deal with a vicious guerrilla war that it cannot win. In the Middle East, the twists and turns of history tend to make strange bedfellows -- something the neocons, whose breathtaking ignorance of the region helped bring us to this place, are now learning to their dismay.
More than two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, it is difficult to see what real benefits have accrued to the United States from the Iraq war, though a handful of corporations have benefited marginally. In contrast, Iran is the big winner. The Shiites of Iraq increasingly realize they need Iranian backing to defeat the Sunni guerrillas and put the Iraqi economy right, a task the Americans have proved unable to accomplish. And Iran will still be Iraq's neighbor long after the fickle American political class has switched its focus to some other global hot spot.
Juan Cole is a professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan and the author of Sacred Space and Holy War (IB Tauris, 2002).
Sep 16, 2005
Welcome to civil war
By Pepe Escobar
Undeclared civil war in Iraq has been raging for months. Now it's "official": using the customary audio clip on a website, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - who may or may not be a cipher, but is certainly the leader of Monotheism and Holy War, or al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers - has declared "all-out war" on Iraqi Shi'ites.
To prove it, he unleashed Black Wednesday - including a horrendous attack in the Kadhimiyah neighborhood in Baghdad, with at least 112 dead and more than 200 wounded, all of them poor, helpless Shi'ite construction workers, many of them enticed toward the killer with promises of jobs before he detonated his lethal load. Baghdad was paralyzed on Wednesday, trying to cope with more than 150 dead and more than 500 wounded in a string of coordinated attacks marking the bloodiest day in the country since the end of major combat two years ago.
According to the Zarqawi audio, "The al-Qaeda Organization in the
Land of Two Rivers [Iraq] is declaring all-out war on the Rafidha, wherever they are in Iraq". Rafidha is the pejorative Arabic term referring to Shi'ites as apostates. "As for the government, servants of the crusaders headed by [Prime Minister] Ibrahim al-Jaafari, they have declared a war on Sunnis in Tal Afar." So, following Zarqawi's logic, the civil war against Shi'ites is a response to what happened in Tal Afar.
Tal Afar is a poor northern town in the middle of the desert whose majority population of roughly 200,000 is 70% Sunni Turkmen and 30% Shi'ite Turkmen. Just as former prime minister Iyad Allawi was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Fallujah, current prime minister Jaafari ordered what amounts to ethnic cleansing in Tal Afar.
Tal Afar revisited
Yet one more heavily hyped Pentagon/Baghdad production yielded no box office results - for obvious reasons. The Salafi jihadis, reportedly a couple of hundred, who were holed up in Tal Afar easily melted away, like the fish in Mao Zedong's pool of resistance. And the "pool" itself - most of the civilian population - turned into a stream of refugees. The operation was doomed to failure from the beginning because the Iraqi "army" involved consisted basically of Kurdish Peshmerga militias supported by local Shi'ite Turkmen informers. They may be Turkmen, but they are allied with Sunni Arabs.
Once again, the Sunni Arab Salafi jihadis got away by using classic guerrilla tactics: while the Pentagon/Jaafari armory was chasing shadows in empty Tal Afar, they mounted spectacular, deadly, highly visible attacks against Shi'ites in Baghdad, the heart of power.
So the pattern is always the same. The Baghdad/Pentagon axis unleashes massive, highly publicized repression - in Fallujah, in Tal Afar (many times over), in Qaim near the Syrian border, soon in Ramadi (it has been already announced); the Salafi jihadis melt away and later regroup.
The palpable effect is always the same, as University of Michigan professor Juan Cole suggests: de-urbanization of the Sunni Arab heartland. In other words, ethnic cleansing. Yet it's folly to believe that the Pentagon/Jaafari axis will be able to depopulate or destroy every major Sunni city opposed to the new, emerging Shi'ite-Kurd majority in power. Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers has fully capitalized on the matter. The voice on the Zarqawi tape warns Sunni Arabs to "wake up from your slumber ... the war to exterminate Sunnis will never end".
Who profits from all this? Certainly al-Qaeda in Iraq, with its agenda of keeping permanent chaos and anarchy. But also the Pentagon - as undeclared (and now declared) civil war is the perfect excuse for an indefinite American military occupation. In the long run, this ghastly state of affairs will profit "the crusaders" - in Zarqawi lingo - those hawks in the Bush administration who dream of the breakup of once-unified Iraq into a Kurdish north, a southern "Shi'iteistan" (both swimming in oil and allied with the US) and an enfeebled, dried out Sunni center.
What does al-Qaeda want?
"Zarqawi" - cipher or not cipher, performing or not performing miracles with just one leg and a US$25 million bounty on his head - has caused tremendous havoc since pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda in October 2004 , when his network adopted its current denomination, al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers (Tanzim al-Qaeda fi Bilad al-Rafidayn) and Osama bin Laden recognized him as the jihadi-in-chief in Iraq in a December 2004 audiotape.
The long-term strategy of al-Qaeda in Iraq is not Jordanian, like Zarqawi himself: it is dictated by the Saudi branch of al-Qaeda. The strategy has been spelled out in a series of documents supervised by Sheikh Yussef al-Ayeeri. The most strategic of these documents is called Iraq al-jihad, awal wa akhtar (The jihad in Iraq, hopes and dangers).
It's all there: centralized resistance in Sunni Arab cities and villages; close collaboration with Saddam's former Mukhabarat intelligence officers; attacks against other members of the coalition to isolate the Americans and the new Iraqi defense forces; keeping an atmosphere of chaos at all costs; and crucially disrupting by all means the flow of oil. Another point of the document is now becoming clear: the setting up of jihadi networks in the Shi'ite south capable of protecting Sunni minorities in case of civil war - a de facto situation with the escalation of sectarian killings.
Last month in Amman, Jordan, Asia Times Online came across a book by Fouad Hussein, an Amman-based journalist who has shared jail time with Zarqawi. The Arabic-language book, "Al-Zarqawi - al-Qaeda's Second Generation", aims to detail nothing less than al-Qaeda's strategy toward establishing an Islamic caliphate before 2020. The key source that lends credence to the book is Saif al-Adl.
Mohammad Ibrahim al-Mekkawi, aka Saif al-Adl, a colonel in the Egyptian armed forces, was the former number two of the Egyptian al-Jihad and an instructor in al-Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan. He became al-Qaeda's military chief after Palestinian Abu Zubayda al-Filastini was arrested. In late 2001, he managed to flee from Afghanistan and found refuge in Iran. The US offers $5 million for his head. Iranian diplomats refuse to admit on the record that al-Adl is in the country, although they admit they hold a number of al-Qaeda operatives.
In his book, Hussein uses his personal knowledge of Zarqawi as well as privileged information passed to him by al-Adl, including heated debate between bin Laden and Zarqawi, to uncover what would be the master plan of global jihad. The book has received extensive coverage in the Persian-language Iranian media and has been analyzed very seriously in Tehran.
Hussein lists seven crucial stages. The first, dubbed "the awakening" (of the Muslim world), has already happened: from September 11 to the fall of Baghdad in April 2003. The second stage is dubbed "opening eyes": it involves al-Qaeda blossoming into a movement (it is already an idea), with Iraq as its headquarters; it should last until 2006. The third stage, dubbed "Arising and Standing up", should last until 2010, with a focus on jihad inside Syria, and increased attacks on Turkey, Jordan and Israel. All these stages make sense when confronted with the progression of facts on the ground.
Then it gets fuzzy. The fourth stage lasts until 2013 and it involves the total defeat by al-Qaeda of all Western-supported Arab governments, as well as a series of attacks against the global flow of oil and sophisticated cyber-terrorism designed to debilitate the American economy. The fifth stage is the proclamation of an Islamic caliphate between 2013 and 2016 - as Western interference in the Arab world should be by this time reduced to a minimum. The sixth stage, starting in 2016, will be "total confrontation", with an "Islamic army" fighting infidels all over the world. And the seventh stage, to be completed by 2020, should be nothing less than the triumph of the caliphate.
The year 2020, by the way, is the date former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad set for Malaysia - a moderate Muslim nation - to become a fully developed, globally integrated country, ie the total antithesis of the al-Qaeda utopia. It is also the date many economists believe will mark the point when China's economy will become the world's number one - and would have taken decisive steps to free itself from dependence of Arab oil, striking major supply deals with Iran and Kazakhstan.
Hussein in his book lists these seven stages as the field manual for global jihadis. He interprets - correctly - the attacks on Manhattan, Madrid and London as just a means to an end: provoking a paranoia about security in major Western capitals as one of the privileged tools in building up the Islamic caliphate. The problem is Hussein regards "al-Qaeda" as a centralized brain delivering instructions: that's not the case since Tora Bora in late 2001, with "al-Qaeda" becoming a nebula, a virus constantly mutating with lethal speed.
The idea of al-Qaeda reenacting a caliphate in the whole Islamic world, Shi'ite Iran included, may be seen by Westerners, Asians and moderate Muslims alike as an absolute lunacy. But Franco-Lebanese historian Ghassan Tueni considers "bin Laden's utopia, as monstrous as its form reveals", as steeped in history, "a morbid rejection of one century of defeat and impasse, with plenty of frustration and humiliation".
Utopias can become deadly. Up to now, the Bush administration's "war on terror" has done nothing to puncture the myth. Four years after September 11, bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri - both apparently alive and well - continue to inspire Salafi jihadis with their iconic status, while "Zarqawi" causes increasing havoc in Iraq.
(Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us for information on sales, syndication and republishing .)
Convert Iraq to a functional democracy based on freedom and individual liberty? No way. It will never happen.
Convert Iraq to a psudeo democracy that will allow the withfdrawal of all US troops and remain democratic? Nope, not going to happen.
Convert Iraq to a psuedo democracy that requires the US military to remain there for the next 60-100 years. Yes, we can do that.
Ummmmm, Custer got scalped, Little Big Horn was a bad day to be a US Soldier.
Ultimately, no, I think we will withdraw and the country will sink to the level of a Somlia with all the in-fighting of that "country". We will have expended all the lives and equipment for nothing.