The Nether-World

June 3, 2007

Iraq Update

Filed under: Bush, Iraq, US Politics — netherworld @ 12:01 pm

It’s been a while since I posted anything on Iraq. There doesn’t seem much point in relaying the latest horrors here as they are always superceded by new ones, but it is worth looking at some of the broader developments. First off, General Sir Michael Rose has come out with what may be his strongest statement yet on the futility of a continued coalition presence in Iraq.

“There is no way we are going to win the war and (we should) withdraw and accept defeat because we are going to lose on a more important level if we don’t,” he said.

Well obviously many of us have been saying this for years, but will anyone listen to this senior military officer who has been saying things like this for a while now. There is going to be a reduction of British troops we are told, but Gordon Brown hasn’t specifically said anything about a full withdrawal yet. On the other side of the pond retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez has echoed General Sir Michael Rose by saying that the United States can forget about winning the war.

“I think if we do the right things politically and economically with the right Iraqi leadership we could still salvage at least a stalemate, if you will – not a stalemate but at least stave off defeat,” retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez said in an interview.

As for the Bush administration, well they are certainly not listening. America is digging in and plans to stay for at least 50 years it seems.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and a senior U.S. commander said yesterday that they favor a protracted U.S. troop presence in Iraq along the lines of the military stabilization force in South Korea.

Gates told reporters in Hawaii that he is thinking of “a mutual agreement” with Iraq in which “some force of Americans . . . is present for a protracted period of time, but in ways that are protective of the sovereignty of the host government.” Gates said such a long-term U.S. presence would assure allies in the Middle East that the United States will not withdraw from Iraq as it did from Vietnam, “lock, stock and barrel.”

Hmmm, does anyone remember what Donald Rumsfeld was saying at the start of all this?

“It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months,” he said, speaking at the American air base at Aviano, in northern Italy.

Of course Dubya keeps on insisting that US troops are occupying Iraq at the invitation of the ‘sovereign’ Iraqi government.

We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It’s their government’s choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.

The thing is the majority of members of the Iraqi parliament are saying “Leave”. Bush isn’t worried by such a trifling detail however and is pressing ahead with the long term occupation. After all, he still has an obedient Nouri al-Maliki to repeat the increasingly threadbare spin.

The U.S.-backed Shiite leader also dismissed concerns that U.S. forces would stay in Iraq for 50 years following a White House comparison to the U.S. presence in South Korea.

 

“This is baseless because this matter is up to the Iraqi people and the government, and the Iraqi people did not make a decision yet, and discussion on this matter did not take place,” al-Maliki said.

I wonder why that discussion hasn’t yet taken place. From the same source we learn that Turkey is massing its troops on its border with northern Iraq in preparation for a possible military incursion against Kurdish separatists. Somehow Mr al-Maliki’s warning to Turkey seems a little hollow.

“Secondly, the Iraqi territory should be respected, and we will not allow it to become a battleground,” he added. “As we don’t want to harm neighboring countries, so we don’t want the others to enter the Iraqi territory with a military incursion or fight of any kind.”

You what? It’s a bit late to start complaining now about foreign armies entering Iraq isn’t it? Just what the mighty Iraqi army would do in the event of a Turkish incursion is an interesting question. A more interesting question is what would the Americans do? Turkey and Iran are both concerned about Kurdish separatists but Turkey is allied with the USA whereas Iran is enemy number one. America wouldn’t want anything to interfere with the enormous fortress they are having constructed for them at such a cost in lives and money (about the only thing that is being built in Iraq). The plans for the new ’embassy’ were hurriedly removed from the architect’s website we are told because the State department does not want them to be in the public domain. Could these be the plans and drawings they are so worried about? It doesn’t look like a temporary installation does it?

Meanwhile the bombing of Iraqis by the USAF continues with very little reporting on it. May saw The US military’s highest casualty rate since November 2004.The ‘surge’  seems to be every bit the failure it was predicted it would be. Six out of ten Americans now believe the war was a mistake (you really have to wonder about the other four in ten). Perhaps it’s this siege mentality which is making the Democrats cave in to every demand made by the idiot in chief and making them look identical to their Republican ‘rivals’.

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April 29, 2007

Crocodile Tears From The First Lady

Filed under: Bush, Iraq — netherworld @ 12:46 pm

What an utterly stupid thing to say! The Raw Story (via Agitprop) has a report of an interview with Laura Bush conducted by NBC’s Ann Curry. The interview was about Malaria Awareness Day but Ann Curry asked about other things and that led to a question about Iraq:

MS. CURRY: I also asked Mrs. Bush about other challenges her husband is facing.

(To Mrs. Bush.) You know the American people are suffering watching —

MRS. BUSH: Oh, I know that very much. And believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this, and certainly the commander in chief, who has asked our military to go into harm’s way.

Yup, that’s right, the suffering of the Iraqis in their ruined country or of the families of dead and maimed coalition soldiers pales into insignificance when compared with the suffering of Dubya and his Stepford wife who agonize over every casualty. Can you picture them in the residential part of the White House or on their Crawford ranch in front of the TV sobbing at the news of death of yet another American soldier the way his parents would? No, somehow I can’t either.

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April 13, 2007

Bush Tells It Like It Is

Filed under: Bush, Iraq — netherworld @ 1:18 am

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There isn’t a lot you can say about the recent bombing of the Iraqi Parliament that hasn’t been said before. Despite more troops in Baghdad with the so-called surge, things just keep getting worse, as indeed, those against this tactic warned. Now even the most secure parts of the city can be attacked. It must be having the same affect on American morale as the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam war, especially when coupled with the complete destruction of a well guarded bridge on the same day.

The thing that struck me about this bombing (apart from the sheer audacity of it) was Bush’s inane ramblings about it. If Bush was left speechless about the attack, he really shouldn’t have tried speaking. It wasn’t just the Iraqi MP’s who were out to lunch.

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February 25, 2007

The February Stop The War Protest In London

Filed under: Bliar, Bush, Democracy, Iran, Iraq, Protest — netherworld @ 3:40 am

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All in all, the Stop The War protest was a fun day out as well as a serious exercise in democracy and (it seems) the only way to get heard these days. I emerged from Hyde Park Corner tube station into pouring rain thinking that it would be as miserable an experience as the tube journey (no Northern or Victoria lines so the Piccadilly line was very overcrowded). Anyway the weather cleared up shortly after I met up with Rachel and the rest of the day was very pleasant.

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It was obvious from the beginning that this was going to be a very large demonstration, there were hoards of people at Speakers Corner and the march didn’t get started until about 1:30 PM and people were still arriving. We positioned ourselves close to some excellent drummers to keep our energy up and we were entertained by some performers dressed in funky day-glow skeleton costumes, a bit like a 21st Century Danse Macabre I thought, only funnier.

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The route the march took was down Park Lane then down Piccadilly into Haymarket and finally into Trafalgar Square for the rally. That short distance took over two hours which should help give an idea of how many people there were. Sky News was apparently reporting ‘several hundred people’, I heard that the police said there were 10,000 protesters while the organisers claimed 60,000 (George Galloway said it was 100,000). From the ground it was impossible to tell but based on previous demonstrations I guessed (and this is just a guess) between 40,000 and 50,000 people turned up. Both Rachel and I had the foresight to take our hip flasks with us. Mine had Cognac and Rachel’s had whiskey and when you’re shuffling along a few swigs definitely helps. We also had whistles so we could contribute to the drumming and chanting.

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Meanwhile, back at Blairwatch H.Q., Tom had the good idea of live blogging the event, the plan being that I’d send pictures from my camera phone and he’d put them on-line. So I put away my digital camera and tried taking pictures on the mobile. I then spent what seemed like the best part of an hour fiddling with the settings in previously unseen menus because although my phone has a nice 1.3 mega pixel camera, you can’t send any picture via MMS which is more than 100 kb in size. Luckily Rachel came to the rescue and sent a steady stream of photos to Blairwatch with her phone until I sorted mine out.

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Trafalgar Square was totally packed when we arrived and it was very difficult to move about. However, we did eventually manage to find a way to the top of some steps where we watched some of the speeches. The best speech by far was that of Mark Thomas.

 

George Galloway too made a rousing speech. The organisers had erected a large video screen so even at the distance we were at, we could see whoever was speaking. The sound was very clear too, so well done to the organisers for that.

 

When Yvonne Riddley started speaking we took that as our hint to call it a day and locate a nice cosy pub for some refreshment (after a bit of a search we settled on Le Garrick and very nice it was too). After that it was time to brave the tube again and it was even more crowded than before.

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I didn’t watch any news reports on television about the event but you can see the BBC report on-line here. You can also see more photos on my Flickr site. Hopefully the demonstration succeeded in showing the Government just how much opposition there is to the Iraq war and to the renewal of Trident. I hope it also sent a warning to Blair about involving himself in the coming war in Iran. The people are no longer buying the bullshit he’s been peddling and they are sick of the continuous wars that will be his legacy.

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Anyway it was a fun way to make the point, all the more so by having such good company.

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More Bloggage and some nice pictures over at Lenin’s Tomb. There are also good reports from The Disillusioned Kid, The Heathlander and Devises Melting Pot. If I find any more reports I’ll post the links. Feel free to let me know in the comments of any more reports.

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January 25, 2007

Bush: Give War A Chance – Fisking The State of The Union Speech

Filed under: Bush, Iran, Iraq, US Politics — netherworld @ 6:50 am

George Bush’s State of The Union speech smacked of desperation. He had to plead with congress to support his plans to escalate the war in Iraq. Right from the start of his speech there were references to Iraq and Iran. I’m not going to fisk the whole speech, that would take too long (easy though it is). No, I’m just going to fisk the part that deals with the escalation of his war, and that happens to be most of his speech. The much-heralded change of direction on the environment and global warming was about three short paragraphs inserted to throw a bone to the new Democrat congress. From environmental issues Bush went on to “stable supply of energy” which inevitably led him into his favourite subject, war.

Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America’s economy running and America’s environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists — who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, and raise the price of oil, and do great harm to our economy.

He might just as well have said “And this dependence leaves foreign regimes more vulnerable to the hostile USA“. In the end his new energy policy was nothing of the sort, just some non-specific statements of his plans to cut the use of petroleum by 20 percent in ten years, encourage more use of ethanol and bio diesels and rely on technology to get him out of the mess he’s in. It also probably means redoubled efforts to destroy the pristine environment in Alaska.

Once again Bush invoked the memory of 9/11 before launching into the main thrust of his speech. In fact he referred to September 11 no less than six times.

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled: that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)

I don’t recall that issue being settled Mr Bush. Taking the fight to the enemy, as you put it, has devastated a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and filled it with terrorists when previously there were none.

From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense. The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 has never been the same.

Life has never been the same for most of the people Iraq since its destruction. As for protecting your people, well the families of over 3,000 soldiers might not agree.

Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen [like victory]. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented, but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them. (Applause.)

Those successes of course cannot be attributed to the war in Iraq. In fact they can’t all even be properly verified. To mention the alleged plot to blow up planes with baby milk, shampoo and hair gel is ridiculous. That so-called plot is looking like a bit of a damp squib and shameless fear-mongering.

Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that’s the case, America is still a nation at war.

This might be a good time to remind ourselves that 15 of the 19 hijackers of the 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia and the plot was launched from Afghanistan which was ignored by you after its invasion so you could focus on Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11. I can’t help noticing that you haven’t caught Bin Laden yet.

In the mind of the terrorist, this war began well before September the 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past five years have given us a much clearer view of the nature of this enemy. Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists, possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology. Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats, instruct with bullets and bombs, and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.

“In the mind of the terrorist”? Which terrorist? Are you suggesting that disparate factions in Iraq think that the war began before September 11? Okay another reality check. Al Qaeda is about three percent of the insurgency in Iraq. Perhaps it might be an idea to focus a bit more on the other 97 percent of your enemy.

Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology. Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: “We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse.” Osama bin Laden declared: “Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us.”

Some, of course, just want you and your forces out of their country. Overthrowing moderate governments is something the USA has been doing for decades; Chile and Iran (with Britain) spring instantly to mind. Saddam’s regime can hardly be described a moderate but Iraq was in much better shape before it was visited by “the cause of liberty”. Zarqawi’s notoriety was, as we know, a product of the invasion. Before that he was just a common al Qaeda thug.

These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah — a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

So was Iran this powerful before the destruction of Iraq, or is this phenomenon too a result of your invasion? As for Hezbollah, well its not universally recognised as a terrorist group. It holds seats in the Lebanese Parliament

The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. Whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.

What Shia and Sunni resistance groups share is a desire to get Americans and their allies out of their country where they have no right to be. Whether or not they want democracy or dictatorship is no business of America and the sectarian violence between these factions is again the result of the invasion. And a real democracy cannot flourish under occupation anyway. If you hadn’t invaded innocents wouldn’t be slaughtered on this scale. Before going on about weapons yet again wouldn’t it be better to get at least some credible evidence. This situation in Iraq is much more complicated than a simple Sunni Shia divide.

In the sixth year since our nation was attacked, I wish I could report to you that the dangers had ended. They have not. And so it remains the policy of this government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people. (Applause.)

And every unlawful and improper tool as well. This strategy will only create more extremists. It’s a vicious circle that is being exacerbated.

This war is more than a clash of arms — it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come and kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom.

If you really wanted to “remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred”, you’d get out of the region or at least be a balanced broker in the Israel/Palestine conflict.

— societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience, and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies — and most will choose a better way when they’re given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates and reformers and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security, we must. (Applause.)

This seems like a false argument to me. In fact the same statement could be used to argue the case for America’s withdrawal. Newsflash – America is not helping, its making matters far worse for the inhabitants of the region and for American security. When you say “Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies“, how do you explain the neo con ideology which is steeped in blood?

In the last two years, we’ve seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East — and we have been sobered by the enemy’s fierce reaction. In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution, they drove out the Syrian occupiers and chose new leaders in free elections. In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections, choosing a transitional government, adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world, and then electing a government under that constitution. Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity that we should never forget. (Applause.)

As soon as the Syrians left Lebanon, the Israelis moved in… funny that. Now Lebanon is on the brink of civil war as well, largely thanks to your refusal to swiftly end last Summer’s war. The elections in Iraq were fought on sectarian lines resulting in the current increase in violence. We’ve recently seen the new democratic Iraq lynching, torturing and murdering in the same way Saddam did. Women are more oppressed than ever. Way to go Bush. Remind me again why we invaded.

A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon’s legitimately elected government. In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam — the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia — and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.

So you are implying that the Taliban, Syrians, Iranians, al Qaeda, Hezbollah and other assorted Shia and Sunni groups in Iraq are in fact all the same enemy with the same objectives and motivations. It stretches credibility somewhat. Another newsflash; the new democratic Iraqi government that you installed also has death squads. You seem to be blaming the region-wide chaos on everyone but yourself. Of course the killers bear much of the responsibility but don’t you think it’s a bit of a coincidence that when America interferes with a state chaos invariably ensues?

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we’re in. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. (Applause.) Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory. (Applause.)

The fight you’re in is the one everyone with any sense predicted you’d be in. I’m afraid it would be like you to leave your promises unkept and your friends abandoned. That’s what happens when you lose wars… remember Vietnam? Oh yes, you avoided that conflict. And don’t kid yourself, you lost this war a long time ago. The sooner you recognise that the more lives will be saved.

We’re carrying out a new strategy in Iraq — a plan that demands more from Iraq’s elected government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.

No you’re, not your carrying on with the same failed strategy of before and making impossible demands on a weak puppet government to disguise your own ineptitude. Your stated goal is absolutely unrealistic and unobtainable. The best you could manage at this stage is an exit with a modicum of dignity. Iraq is wrecked and I doubt it can be fixed with any strategy let alone one that’s already proved to be a failure.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we’re deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads. And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we’re sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. (Applause.) We didn’t drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.

20’000 new troops will make little or no difference. This terrorist hunt is a fools errand, you may get one or two but they will be replaced and the rest will melt away only to reappear again later. That’s the problem with this kind of asymmetrical war, you can’t win it in the conventional way. All you’re going to achieve is more resentment and more violence.

The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now it’s time for their government to act. Iraq’s leaders know that our commitment is not open-ended. They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad — and they must do so. They pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party — and they need to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and coalition forces, so these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad. Iraq’s leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks — to achieve reconciliation, to share oil revenues among all of Iraq’s citizens, to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq, to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s civic life, to hold local elections, and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. But for all of this to happen, Baghdad must be secure. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.

Yes, the people of Iraq do want to live in peace so why not let them. Their weak puppet government will collapse. You might delay the collapse but you can’t prevent it. The pledges this government has given you are pledges they have given before and failed to deliver on. It is incapable of performing in the way you want it to. A sectarian government will behave in a sectarian way. And as for oil revenues, well, we know where they’re going don’t we?

My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance for success. Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq, because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far-reaching.

No George, you replaced the military commanders who (like most people it seems) disagreed with your plan. You chose this course of action because you want to retain control of Iraq and either you are so deluded that you have convinced yourself that you know better than the experts or you are so arrogant that you cannot admit that you are utterly wrong (it’s probably both). America has already failed in Iraq, the country is utterly wrecked and likely to fragment along ethnic, tribal and religious lines. If you haven’t already, you will soon be seeing the “grievous and far-reaching consequences” of your failure.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country — and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.

This is what is happening now. Many people predicted this would happen but they were sidelined just as the people warning you about the current escalation have been sidelined. The presence of American troops in Iraq is only making matters worse. It can’t be fixed, that’s the tragedy and that’s why you shouldn’t have invaded.

For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is the greatest ally — their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and invite tragedy. Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East, to succeed in Iraq and to spare the American people from this danger. (Applause.)

And who caused this chaos? If chaos is the greatest ally of your enemies, why create it? What evidence do you have to support your assertion that Iraq had any intention or capability of harming America before the invasion? If one of the lessons of September 11 was not to allow failed states to emerge, you have shown how much you have learned from 9/11 by turning Iraq into a failed state when before it was merely another brutal dictatorship supported by America.

This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spoken with many of you in person. I respect you and the arguments you’ve made. We went into this largely united, in our assumptions and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their way. (Applause.)

You are not pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, you are pursuing the same failed strategy as before and ignoring the findings of the Baker Hamilton report which at least offered a more sensible alternative. You ask to be given a chance for your plan to work… you’ve had four years to make it work and the situation in Iraq gets worse every day. The best way to support your troops is to bring them home rather than sending in any more.

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. And that’s why it’s important to work together so our nation can see this great effort through. Both parties and both branches should work in close consultation. It’s why I propose to establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share ideas for how to position America to meet every challenge that confronts us. We’ll show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory.

Hang on a minute, at the beginning of your speech you said: “…To extend this nation’s prosperity; to spend the people’s money wisely; to solve problems, not leave them to future generations“. Now you’re saying that future generations will have to clear up the mess you’ve made. It doesn’t matter what new advisory councils you create, we’ve already seen that you ignore advice that doesn’t fit in with your world view. If one thing out of all this should be clear to you it is that America is deeply divided and if it does come together it will unite against you and your agenda if it hasn’t already.

And one of the first steps we can take together is to add to the ranks of our military so that the American Armed Forces are ready for all the challenges ahead. (Applause.) Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next five years. (Applause.) A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. It would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time.

How long before you are forced to re-introduce the Draft? People aren’t exactly falling over themselves to join the military these days are they? Your plans to hire non-military citizens to join in your “crusade” seems pretty close to a draft of sorts, or if not a draft then a mercenary army. What if they decline your generous offer to “serve in the defining struggle of our time“?

Americans can have confidence in the outcome of this struggle because we’re not in this struggle alone. We have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the fight against extremism. In Iraq, multinational forces are operating under a mandate from the United Nations. We’re working with Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Egypt and the Gulf States to increase support for Iraq’s government.

America is increasingly isolated and everyone knows that. Even the British are trying to extricate themselves from this quagmire. Your “coalition of the willing” is dwindling to the point where it will consist of just the USA. The United Nations, which you ignored in order to launch this illegal war, does give a limited mandate for occupation thanks to the bullying of member states and a desire to try and sort out the appalling mess. Soon it too will come to the conclusion that America is part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are all worried about sectarian violence spilling over into their territories and the marginalisation of Sunnis. Their support is qualified to say the least.

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. (Applause.) With the other members of the Quartet — the U.N., the European Union, and Russia — we’re pursuing diplomacy to help bring peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security. (Applause.) In Afghanistan, NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive — the first time the Alliance has deployed forces outside the North Atlantic area. Together with our partners in China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, we’re pursuing intensive diplomacy to achieve a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

The CIA has found no evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Are you going to launch another war on faulty intelligence and lies? It certainly looks that way at the moment. You have done nothing so far to help the creation of a Palestinian state. What you have done is allow Israel to continue to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land. You have also starved the Palestinian people, a collective punishment on them for democratically electing a government that you (and Israel) don’t like. Until that is put right there is no chance of security for Palestinians and Israelis. In Afghanistan the Taliban is resurging and looking impossible to completely defeat. By attacking Iraq you took your eyes off the ball. And as for your efforts to achieve a “Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons“, well, I seem to remember North Korea testing a nuclear bomb not too long ago… yet another miserable failure Mr Bush.

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January 21, 2007

Spot The Obstacle to Peace

Filed under: Bush, Iran, Iraq, israel, Syria, US Politics — netherworld @ 9:54 am

Amidst all the turmoil in the Middle East, there are some attempts being made in certain diplomatic circles to try and stabilise the region. One country however seems to be doing its level best to scupper these small efforts. No prizes for guessing who it is.

DUBAI (AFP) – Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is urging the United States to talk with Syria, claiming in an interview that Damascus “supports” Iraq in fighting the insurgency.
Source

DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Syria on Saturday condemned insurgent attacks on the U.S.-backed Iraqi army and security forces, describing them as “terrorism”, in another shift in the Damascus government’s position toward its neighbour.
Source

BERLIN (AFP) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has reiterated Washington’s opposition to talking to Syria or Iran to get their help in easing unrest in Iraq.
Source

Here’s some other examples that I referred to obliquely in a previous post.

Israeli officials have confirmed that the Foreign Ministry knew about a series of peace talks that have taken place in Europe between Syrians and an Israeli team headed by a former senior diplomat. The teams discussed Israel handing back the Golan Heights, which it has occupied since the Six Day War in 1967, to Syria under a formula providing for President Bashar Assad to stop giving support to Hamas and Hizbollah and to distance his regime from Iran.
Source

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House denied media reports that Israelis and Syrians reached understandings for a peace treaty in secret unofficial talks over the past two years.
Source

Oh, and there’s this.

Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003, but it was rejected, a senior former US official has told the BBC’s Newsnight programme.

Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion.
Source

And these are just examples of what has been happening on various diplomatic fronts. Only a lunatic would want the various wars in the Middle East to continue, only a lunatic could think that a disastrous policy can be put right by repeating it, and only a lunatic would want to start yet another war in the region. Unfortunately, a lunatic is running the United States of America.

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January 20, 2007

Did Israel Try To Carry Out Its Plan To Nuke Iran?

Filed under: Bush, Iran, israel, Syria, US Politics — netherworld @ 8:40 am

I posed the title of this post as a question because I have no idea if this is true or not and I don’t know how to verify it. It seems so outrageous that I can hardly believe it but with everything else going on around Iran at the moment and the recently revealed Israeli plans for a nuclear attack on Iran (since denied), maybe there is some truth in this.

Israeli Nuclear Strike On Iran Turned Back

A recent strike by nuclear-armed Israeli Air Force fighter-bombers bound for targets in Iran was turned back after being intercepted by U.S. fighters over Iraq, this reporter has learned.

Two sources have independently confirmed the encounter, which took place on January 7, 2007. Though the first informant offered few details beyond an initial tip, a second source long-known by this reporter to have well-placed U.S. and “non-U.S.” military and government contacts provided specific information regarding the raid, which was aimed at the radical religious ayatollahs holding ultimate power in Iran.

Israeli nuclear strikes are not unprecedented. Soon after Desert Storm, U.S. Navy pilots told this reporter in Kuwait how in late 1990 Israel made good on its pledge to respond in kind to WMD attacks by launching nuclear-armed aircraft against Baghdad following a lethal assault on Tel Aviv by Scud missiles tipped with chemical warheads. That air strike was called off when the Americans refused to provide the vital IFF codes needed to fly through U.S.-controlled airspace.
Read on

As I said, I can’t verify the source and I don’t know much about American and Israeli military protocols, but it’s certainly a scary article. There are however plenty of other reports about Iran which suggest that war could break out very soon indeed.

Tensions between the USA and Iran have been mounting alarmingly since the recent kidnapping of Iranian diplomats and consular workers and the raid on a consular office in northern Iraq. Some of this has been widely reported, the sending of another American aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley refusing rule out the possibility of US forces striking across the border or the Russian delivery of state-of-the-art anti-aircraft missiles to Iran for example. Other news items are appearing on less well known news sources. For example, in recent days, there have been reports that Iran shot down an American pilotless spy drone. America has also denied that there was an Iranian missile strike on a US warship in the Gulf.

Whether these stories are true or not, one thing seems certain and that is that the crisis is escalating to a point where any small incident could kick off a huge conflict. In other words a war could soon be unstoppable even if America and Iran did try to row back, something neither party is showing any signs of doing. There have been several reports saying that America will have all its pieces in place some time in February and that there is a plan to attack Iran from the sea as early as April this year.

KUWAIT CITY: Washington will launch a military strike on Iran before April 2007, say sources. The attack will be launched from the sea and Patriot missiles will guard all oil-producing countries in the region, they add. Recent statements emanating from the United States indicate the Bush administration’s new strategy for Iraq doesn’t’t include any proposal to make a compromise or negotiate with Syria or Iran. A reliable source said President Bush recently held a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice and other assistants in the White House where they discussed the plan to attack Iran in minute detail.

When you couple news like this with news of America’s rejection of Iranian concessions as far back as 2003, and ofAmerica’s dismissal of the widespread reports of possible peace talks between Israel and Syria which would do much to ease the tensions in the region, you have to wonder what bush is planning. It looks like the planned attacks are not going to be “surgical strikes” as was previously suggested, but a whole scale war which would devastate the region.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. contingency planning for military action against
Iran’s nuclear program goes beyond limited strikes and would effectively unleash a war against the country, a former U.S. intelligence analyst said on Friday.

“I’ve seen some of the planning … You’re not talking about a surgical strike,” said Wayne White, who was a top Middle East analyst for the State Department’s bureau of intelligence and research until March 2005.

“You’re talking about a war against Iran” that likely would destabilize the Middle East for years, White told the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington think tank.

When you put all these different reports together, a very frightening picture emerges. What we are hearing far less of are diplomatic moves in the UN or effective restraining of Bush and his insane neo con agenda from the Democrat dominated Congress. The US Congress seems like the only force able to prevent the coming devastation, but have the saner voices in both parties got the strength, courage and will to do what is necessary?

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January 15, 2007

Another Roundup of Middle East Turmoil

Filed under: Bush, Iran, Iraq, israel, Palestine, Syria, US Politics — netherworld @ 8:24 am

Condoleezza Rice’s latest trip to the Middle East cannot be described a peace-making mission. The motives for her trip appear to be to drum up support for the destabilisation force Bush is sending to Iraq, and to poison the minds of Arab leaders even more against Iran in preparation for what is looking ever more likely to be another Middle East war. However, some Arab leaders have had the temerity to impose conditions on the USA in exchange for their support. The price is US engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And so once again Condoleezza has to pretend that she wants to see a Palestinian state and is able to win meaningful concessions from the Israelis.

“I have heard loud and clear the call for deeper American engagement,” she said after talks in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

So far she has met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah of Jordan. Today she will meet Ehud Olmert and then go on to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to promote war. It won’t escape the attention of these Arab leaders that she has absolutely nothing new to offer. What she will try to gain is unconditional support for more chaos in Iraq and new Chaos in Iran and beyond by telling them that all this is in their interest.

In advance of her visit, the secretary of state said she was not bringing new proposals but would be listening, talking and looking for creative solutions.

At a press conference she had to deny that USA was too distracted by concerns about Iraq and Iran to have effect on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The Palestinian people have waited a long time for their own state… and if there is anything that I can do and that the president can do to finally realise that day, why wouldn’t we want to do that?”

The answer to that of course is that the Bush administration is so pro-Israel and controlled by Zionist lobby groups like AIPAC that it cannot possibly be considered as a fair arbiter in any negotiations and is responsible along with Israel for the appalling conditions in which the Palestinians are forced to live. America has had plenty of opportunities to restrain the worst excesses of Israel and has failed to do so every time.

Still, Condi should be able to drum up enough support for Bush’s nefarious plans in the region. Iran is disliked and feared by many Arab countries, and by spreading the fear of Iranian influence over Iraq (even though it was America’s invasion that created this problem) as well as pretending that sending another 20,000 troops into the quagmire will somehow make the situation more secure for the region she’ll probably get enough support to give a veneer of legitimacy to her plans. Bush needs this support because it certainly doesn’t exist back home where even the Republicans are in open revolt over the “surge” plans.

Bush has finally been forced to acknowledge that the invasion has made Iraq more unstable, but he still maintains that despite some mistakes he did the right thing.

But pressed on the issue, and told by a Fox News interviewer that Iraq was “much more unstable now, Mr President,”, Mr Bush replied: “Well, no question, decisions have made things unstable.”

He added: “I think history is going to look back and see a lot of ways we could have done things better. No question about it.” But toppling Saddam was not a mistake. “We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude and I believe most Iraqis express that.”

Yes, that’s right, he actually thinks Iraqis should be grateful for the murder and mayhem that that has engulfed their country because of the invasion. I don’t know which Iraqis he’s been talking to but 90 percent of them seem to think they were better off under Saddam Hussein.

Not content with wrecking one country, the Bush administration is now working flat out to try and wreck another. The recent incidents in Northern Iraq (authorised by Bush) where Iranian diplomats have been arrested and a consular office raided have increased tensions between the US and Iran. These diplomatic incidents look like being the first moves in an attempt to provoke a conflict. America is now threatening to “deal with” Iran and Syria over their alleged support of insurgents while Iran is demanding the release of its kidnapped diplomats. The White House is emphatically refusing to rule out an attack on Iran.

The attack could take the form of air strikes or cross-border raids, most likely it will be both. The legality of such action hasn’t been discussed; the last time the UN was mentioned vis-à-vis Iran was last month when limited sanctions were imposed. Whether or not the US Congress can prevent its commander in chief make another even more catastrophic foreign policy blunder is unknown, but we have already seen how much respect Bush has for legal processes.

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January 12, 2007

The Madness of King George

Filed under: Bliar, Bush, Iran, Iraq, UK Politics, US Politics — netherworld @ 6:20 am

I’ve been trying to think of something to say about President Bush’s decision to send 22,000 new troops to Iraq. It’s turning out to be harder than I expected, partly because it has already been covered very well by others, partly because there were no surprises in Bush’s address to the nation – we all knew what was going to be announced, but mainly because the plan is so spectacularly stupid that I can’t really avoid stating the obvious. For once I find myself agreeing with the majority of US military officers and politicians of both parties who oppose this plan. Still, something as important as this does need to be commented on.

First, let’s get these really obvious points out of the way. It won’t work. It hasn’t worked so far and more of the same is just as likely to fail. It also failed in Vietnam. Most intelligent humans when realising that their actions are not achieving the desired results, and are in fact counterproductive either try something else or give up, especially when they have been warned by so many others beforehand. Not Dubya. It’s like watching a demented retard slam his head into a wall, shout out “Ouch, that hurt!” and then slam his head into the wall again in the hope of getting a different result. The world is now waiting for the next inevitable “Ouch, that hurt!”.

Telling the American people and the wider world that this troop reinforcement is coming at the request of the Iraqi government won’t wash either. The Bush administration had to convince al Maliki’s government of the need for more troops and agreement was reached by focussing on the Sunni extremists and al Qaeda (al Qaeda is about two or three percent of the insurgency). In other words this plan will add to the sectarian divisions. And let’s not forget that to 90 percent of Iraqis the Americans are personae non gratae. Having the largely Shi’ite army and police force (already infiltrated by extremist elements) smash their way into peoples’ houses with the Americans is only going to make matters far worse. And there is no way that 20,000 troops are anywhere near enough to hold the areas they clear so it will be exactly as before once they inevitably leave.

It’s easy to pass this folly off as mere hubris from a president trying to salvage something from the disaster he’s created and to a large extent it is, but there’s more to it than that. Bush’s reputation cannot be salvaged and there were more hints of a wider war in Bush’s speech.

We’re also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence-sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.

Yes, Iran again. While Bush is outwardly supporting the Shi’ite Iraqi government which is on friendly terms with Iran, he is doing his utmost to provoke the Iranian regime to respond. Arresting Iranian officials invited by al Maliki’s administration, and now storming an Iranian consulate and arresting employees. When these diplomatic incidents are coupled with the sabre rattling coming from Bush, Blair and of course Israel, and with the naval build up in the Persian Gulf, a frightening and familiar pattern emerges.

The British government is still hinting at troop withdrawals from the region this Summer but hasn’t explicitly stated that it will withdraw troops. Basra may be less violent than Baghdad, but the coming “surge” in troops and the expected crack-down on extremists will also affect the Shia who could decide to retaliate in the south of the country. The British held zone is strategically important to the American occupation; it’s a supply line and an entry and exit point. It’s also on the Iranian border. The coy game that Blair seems to be playing is rather typical of him. Remember him saying that no decision had been made to invade Iraq right up until the moment troops went in? I wonder if he isn’t doing the same thing again. If a wider war explodes, or if the Basra area is targeted by insurgents then the plans to withdraw British troops will either have to be accelerated or dropped completely. There is little doubt that Blair would like to be involved in another adventure with his buddy but he knows there isn’t the stomach for it in the UK even with Tory support. It would take a serious and ‘unexpected’ crisis to turn public opinion in his favour and it’s not just American warships that are in the Persian Gulf.

Blair’s government seems happy to go along with any idea that is suggested in America. When the Iraq Study Group (ISG) reported its findings, Margaret Beckett said “We get the impression that their thinking was broadly in line with our own”. And yet the same government supports the ‘surge’ (the complete opposite to the recommendations of the ISG) despite the announcement of the intention to withdraw British troops from Iraq. If the troop withdrawal is a genuine intention of the Government, then this could be seen as a sign of a split between London and Washington but great care will be taken to smooth over any cracks in the alliance. Of course we don’t know (nor are we likely to know) if the Bush administration asked Britain to supply more troops or maintain the current numbers for longer.

Peace and stability in the region seem further away than ever.

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January 7, 2007

Israeli Plans To Nuke Iran

Filed under: Bliar, Bush, Iran, israel, US Politics — netherworld @ 6:29 am

It’s no great secret that Israel wants Iran to be be attacked – ideally (from Israel’s point of view) by or with the Americans. The pretense for this attack is the fear of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program for which the CIA can find no evidence. There has also been plenty of fear mongering in Israel, America and Britain concerning the mistranslation of some bellicose rhetoric from President Ahmadinejad where he is alleged to have stated that “Israel must be wiped off the map”. The Middle East expert Juan Cole and The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) provide us with more accurate translations:

Juan Cole, a University of Michigan Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, translates the Persian phrase as:

The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).

According to Cole, “Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian” and “He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translates the phrase similarly:

[T]his regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.

Unsurprisingly, no effort whatsoever has been made to correct this inaccurate translation in the West and the Media still spreads the lie that Ahmadinejad stated that he wanted Israel wiped off the map. As a piece of propaganda this has been extraordinarily effective as it is widely believed and frequently used by politicians in Britain, America and Israel to justify diplomatic and military pressure on Iran. The prevalence of this deliberate misinterpretation can be compared with the scant reporting of this piece of rhetoric from Ehud Olmert a few months ago:

Olmert compares Iran with Nazi Germany

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Friday compared Iran’s nuclear ambitions and threats against Israel with the policies of Nazi Germany and criticized world leaders who maintain relations with Iran’s president.

I have reported many times recently of my fears of an immanent attack on Iran by either the USA, Israel or, more likely, both countries in concert. Now comes news that Israel is planning a preemptive attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities using tactical nuclear weapons.

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

Needless to say this would be an absolute disaster for the entire region and beyond. Iran would have to respond and America would then come to the aid of Israel using the hardware that it has already put in place in preparation for a war with Iran. Despite the USA being stuck in the Iraq quagmire, it is making no attempt to extricate itself, indeed it is digging itself ever deeper into the hole it has dug. America has rejected the findings of the Iraq Study Group report which advised a phased withdrawal from Iraq and consultations with Iran and Syria. What Bush seems likely to do instead is the complete opposite by pouring more troops into Iraq. Bush has replaced his top commanders in the region who expressed doubts about sending in more troops with people who support his plan.

By replacing General John Abizaid as head of Central Command for the Middle East region with a naval officer, Admiral William Fallon, Bush might be planning for the use of the naval assets he has in place in the Persian Gulf. These warships are likely to be more useful for an attack on Iran than putting down an insurgency in Iraq. It would seem then that the preparations have been made. All that is left is the coming battle in Congress. The Democrats have already said they don’t want more troops sent to Iraq and they have the power now to block further funding for Bush’s war. However, they are unlikely to make such a bold move, and when it comes to Iran, the Democrats seem just as belligerent as the Republicans. By expanding the war in this way, Bush may get the support he wants.

The stage seems to be set now for a wider Middle East conflict that will make the Iraq war look like a school playground squabble. The Sunni/Shia sectarian violence which is tearing Iraq to pieces could easily spread to encompass the surrounding states. Israel has already assumed that the war it lost to Hezbollah in Lebanon last summer will resume and will involve Syria too this time. If that war did resume, then what happens to the UNIFIL peacekeepers currently keeping the two sides apart?
It is looking like 2007 could be a very dangerous year indeed.

What will Britain’s role in all this be? Blair has been ratcheting up the hate on Iran for a while now. But would he really be so stupid as to participate in a nuclear strike on Iran? His actions up to now suggest that he might. It could well be the perfect excuse for him to try and remain in office for longer and continue his failed policies at home and abroad. So much for his “alliance of moderation“.

Of course the main reasons for conflict in Iraq and Iran remain the same. Israel will largely be used to provoke the conflict, something it seems eager to do for reasons of its own (war with Iran will give it the cover it needs to resume its invasion of Lebanon and further incursions into Palestinian territory, as well as a show of strength and a boost to Olmert’s standing). But with a state this dangerous and unprincipled (hello GIYUS), one has to wonder about Israel’s plans to join the EU and NATO. Maybe by engaging in a murderous campaign with the USA, Israel might be thinking that membership to those institutions will be easier. I sincerely hope any overtures to those institutions will be flatly rejected because of its behaviour, but if Israel can fool the world yet again into believing that it is a victim rather than the antagonist it undoubtedly is, the international community (bullied by America) might favour such a move. Either way things are looking worse than ever in the Middle East

Happy new year everyone.

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