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Author Topic: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?  (Read 1173 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« on: January 05, 2014, 11:13:48 AM »
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gPAH1wG0U5oNjSTCFCXpNsykeeiA?docId=f845befa-6f02-434c-90d7-5e31931f42e6

I've been following this new take on Al Queda (sp?) in Iraq..the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and I find a few disturbing trends going on. The same tribesmen that ran them out of the region with the US forces back in the day are now allied with them. I admit that I haven't been following the region as closely as I did back in the day when I was in the Navy four years ago.

I expect this within the decade but I didn't expect the alliance between the ISIL and the local tribes. That tells me that the coalition government the US helped build in the region didn't last too long past our withdrawal from Iraq.
Back in 07 or 08, I think it was Time Magazine, that called this. An Iraqi Civil War. One that could cost upwards of six figures or more in civilian casualties.

A telling point, to me, is the composition of the forces involved. The ISIL is not heavily Iraqi. It's got all manners of other nationalities. Anyone care to bet how long the government can hold together in the north?

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2014, 01:16:45 PM »
Who knows?  That part of the world has always been at war with itself.  Getting involved there was an enormous blunder which we'll be paying for over the next two decades.  Since Iraq was itself a creation of colonialists, as soon as the colonial force (or a local equivalent thereof) is removed, the place will fall apart along ethnic/religious lines.  The fall of the U.S.-imposed Iraqi government was always a question of when, never whether.

Let them sort it out.  We have enough problems here.

Online Neysha

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2014, 02:45:14 PM »
They were allies before,  no reason not to be again since Maliki and his Shia backers refuse to reach conciliation with those Sunni tribes in Anbar.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2014, 02:58:54 PM »
Let them sort it out.  We have enough problems here.

US foreign policy over the past 30-40 years has played a heavy role in this.  Although in an ideal world, I might agree with you, completely ignoring these issues from a foreign policy standpoint will likely cause even more volatility in that region.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 03:01:43 PM »
They're probably not too fond of central state control from Baghdad either, no matter who'd exercise it.

There's going to be quite a bit of...anarchy, or local militia rule, in northern Iraq - and in Syria.  >:( Those states were effectively drawn up with a ruler on the table after WWI, they are low on inner national/political cohesion.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2014, 04:39:17 PM »
This has been building up since the U.S. arrived. Perhaps not this per se, but this is but a result of the invasion. It may not be guaranteed civil war, but this is but a result of what happened during the time we were there. I'll admit I did not like Saddam, but this is what comes of wars like of that nature. The region has been pretty volatile since ancient times. They are not necessarily doomed to violence either. However, this is something that had been building all throughout the time we were there.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 04:45:02 PM by Lux12 »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2014, 04:46:40 PM »
This isn't a civil war, this is going back to the original warring tribes that have made up and existed the entire time.  They pretend to be a country, but really, the entire middle east region is more a loose coalition of, as I said, tribes running around trying to conquer each other.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2014, 05:04:48 PM »
This isn't a civil war, this is going back to the original warring tribes that have made up and existed the entire time.  They pretend to be a country, but really, the entire middle east region is more a loose coalition of, as I said, tribes running around trying to conquer each other.

+1

It's a reversion to the historical mean, and we should not try and intervene.  I'm tired of the "Great White Father" in Washington, D.C. thinking it is his "manifest destiny" to "civilize" the world's "barbarians."  No one appointed America as world cop.  Yes, there are certain responsibilities that come with being a global leader, but telling others how they must live is not one of them.  The people of Iraq (and the Middle East) need to find their own way forward.  Our best option here is to lead by example, respecting human rights ourselves.  And I'd say we have a bit of a mess in our own backyard to clean up...

Offline Lazaria

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2014, 05:55:30 PM »
+1

It's a reversion to the historical mean, and we should not try and intervene.  I'm tired of the "Great White Father" in Washington, D.C. thinking it is his "manifest destiny" to "civilize" the world's "barbarians."  No one appointed America as world cop.  Yes, there are certain responsibilities that come with being a global leader, but telling others how they must live is not one of them.  The people of Iraq (and the Middle East) need to find their own way forward.  Our best option here is to lead by example, respecting human rights ourselves.  And I'd say we have a bit of a mess in our own backyard to clean up...

... And one wonders how can someone uninvolve themselves, when they have already picked a side/intervened?

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2014, 06:05:03 PM »
... And one wonders how can someone uninvolve themselves, when they have already picked a side/intervened?

It's like, "how do you stop doing drugs after you've been doing them for years?"  Simple: you stop.  Yes, there will be withdrawal symptoms.  Yes, it will be painful.  And you can make the case for a tapering rather than going cold turkey.  But you stop.  You can't stop unless you stop.

Offline Lazaria

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2014, 06:12:06 PM »
It's like, "how do you stop doing drugs after you've been doing them for years?"  Simple: you stop.  Yes, there will be withdrawal symptoms.  Yes, it will be painful.  And you can make the case for a tapering rather than going cold turkey.  But you stop.  You can't stop unless you stop.

I thought about the 'whole weaning off slowly' bit and now I can't stop laughing. On a more serious side I also see where you're coming from. I wonder if there really is a 'what if' situation for the scenario you mentioned. 

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2014, 06:26:33 PM »
Okay.. the area was (relatively stable) before European imperialism came in and set up camp. It was stable when Saddam was around because he bluntly shot anyone he saw as a threat. During most of the last century we supported men like him because they were 'strong against the commies'. We destablized Iraq's neighbor because they nationalized the oil infrastructure from the Brits. We encouraged folks to stand up to him during the first gulf war. What happened to them. He shot them. We came in on the second gulf war and DESTROYED nearly all their infrastructure. Ruined their economy, took out infrastructure and only after partially rebuilding it after the fact. (much to the profit of a few companies).

Compare to the outcome of the Second World War. We DESTROYED a good portion of the European continent in all ways fiscal and industrial and no small part of the Japanese system. We engaged in reconstruction efforts like the Marshall Plan. Something like 12,731,000,000 dollars were spent  rebuilding industry, roads and infrastructure throughout Europe using the plan. Compare the portions of Europe that participated and those that 'stood' aside as declared by the Soviets. Most of Western Europe recovered quicker and more fully than their Eastern European peers and the Marshall plan was one of the first steps towards the creation of the EU. It took nearly two decades to finally finish what the plan put in motion.

Compared to what we did in Iraq it was the right method nation building. In Iraq, we spent military lives, did little beyond lining the pockets of some companies with construction work and mimimal efforts at nation building. Here is a secret.. it takes time, money and blood to build a nation. Anyone that thinks we could go in.. kick out Sadam, help the new government hang him, pat them on the back and run out in less than a decade and expect what we left in place to stand alone.. is mistaken.

Add in the fact that nearly NO effort was done to some level of interaction on a peaceful level between the various factions in the country whose only really true unifying point in the past was that Saddam was willing to shoot them all, and this is to be expect.

That doesn't include the destabilization efforts of countries like Syria and Iran next door would be willing to contribute to dissenters. Iran is more than happy to destablize the country and try to take a HUGE bite out of their neighbor as would Syria before their own internal issues took their attention.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 06:37:54 PM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2014, 07:32:57 PM »
Okay.. the area was (relatively stable) before European imperialism came in and set up camp.
That's technically incorrect, it seemed relatively stable because they were too busy killing each other and stealing each others wives, to actually care that there was a world outside of them.  Then Europe came along and threw that out of whack, and every invasion afterwards kept giving the locals bigger and better toys to kill everyone around them.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 08:47:26 PM »
That's technically incorrect, it seemed relatively stable because they were too busy killing each other and stealing each others wives, to actually care that there was a world outside of them.  Then Europe came along and threw that out of whack, and every invasion afterwards kept giving the locals bigger and better toys to kill everyone around them.

Wow.  Difficult to know where to start with that.  Your submission is that Mesopotamia has always been a wild and lawless place?

Online Neysha

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 08:54:54 PM »
Europe only came because the Ottoman Empire chose the wrong side of the conflict and at the invitation of the Hashemites and other Arab tribal power brokers.

And what exactly is the definition of 'stability' under Saddam Hussein. His rule, if anything was pockmarked by instability as soon as he truly took over in the late seventies. The Second Kurdish-Iraq War which resulted a half million refugees, tens of thousands of dead. The July 1979 Purge of the Baath Party. The Al-Anfal Campaign which killed two hundred thousand civilians. His pursuit of nuclear weapons and use of chemical agents. The decade long Iran-Iraq War. His support of foreign terrorism in Turkey, Israel, Iran and other neighbors and providing refuge for them. The Invasion of Kuwait leading into the Persian Gulf War. The Desolation of the homeland of the Marsh Arabs. The 1991 Uprisings. His needless delay in accepting the UN Oil for Food program.

Contemporary North Korea since 1979 was more stable then Saddam's Iraq ever was.

That's technically incorrect, it seemed relatively stable because they were too busy killing each other and stealing each others wives, to actually care that there was a world outside of them.  Then Europe came along and threw that out of whack, and every invasion afterwards kept giving the locals bigger and better toys to kill everyone around them.

Yes, the Middle East wasn't some paragon of stability that the sinister Europeans suddenly decided to ruin. The Ottomans poorly chose sides in World War One and failed to protect their Empire, much like the Mamelukes, Fatimids and every other dynasty and caliphate that overran the region.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 08:58:56 PM by Neysha »

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2014, 08:58:06 PM »
Compared to what we did in Iraq it was the right method nation building. In Iraq, we spent military lives, did little beyond lining the pockets of some companies with construction work and mimimal efforts at nation building. Here is a secret.. it takes time, money and blood to build a nation. Anyone that thinks we could go in.. kick out Sadam, help the new government hang him, pat them on the back and run out in less than a decade and expect what we left in place to stand alone.. is mistaken.

One of the reasons Iraq's infrastructure has remained in shambles is fanatics kept blowing it up in their unceasing jihad against everyone and everything as fast as we could build it.

There's nothing more we can do there.  We have $15T and counting of debt all on our own.  I'll freely stipulate the whole Iraq invasion was epic dumbassery, but it is what it is.  And it's also worth noting that Japan was atom-bombed in World War II.  Yet Japan rose from that to become a top-tier nation, an industrial superpower.  Then again, the Japanese didn't believe in a medieval god that required ongoing carnage within their own borders.  (Of course, the Japanese carried out plenty of carnage elsewhere in the name of state Shintoism, but that's beside the point here).

Some countries have ideologies that lead to success, and others have ideologies that lead to failure.  No amount of money in the world will change that.  What has to happen is that people get tired of failure and decide they want to change.  Sooner or later, Iraqis will have to ask themselves if a medieval war-god is worth living in squalor and carnage for.  That's not a choice we can make for them.  (Lest anyone accuse me of ethnic or racial chauvinism, I'll point out Europe had to make that same choice in its own history.  It entered the Middle Ages a patchwork of fiefdoms ruled by warlords whose writ extended but a day's ride in any direction, and ended with nation-states.  Europe had to go through two world wars and an eight-digit body count before it learned from experience that war sucks and institutions ought to be created to prevent it.).

Iraq (and much of the Islamic world) are going to have to learn that same lesson.  It's the Prime Directive for our time: we can't interfere in the natural course of these peoples' development.  Or at least we really shouldn't, any more than we already have.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2014, 09:02:09 PM »
Quote from: Callie Del Noire
Compare to the outcome of the Second World War. We DESTROYED a good portion of the European continent in all ways fiscal and industrial and no small part of the Japanese system. We engaged in reconstruction efforts like the Marshall Plan. Something like 12,731,000,000 dollars were spent  rebuilding industry, roads and infrastructure throughout Europe using the plan. Compare the portions of Europe that participated and those that 'stood' aside as declared by the Soviets. Most of Western Europe recovered quicker and more fully than their Eastern European peers and the Marshall plan was one of the first steps towards the creation of the EU. It took nearly two decades to finally finish what the plan put in motion.

Compared to what we did in Iraq it was the right method nation building. In Iraq, we spent military lives, did little beyond lining the pockets of some companies with construction work and mimimal efforts at nation building. Here is a secret.. it takes time, money and blood to build a nation. Anyone that thinks we could go in.. kick out Sadam, help the new government hang him, pat them on the back and run out in less than a decade and expect what we left in place to stand alone.. is mistaken.

But then after WW2 there was a massive amount of sympathy in Europe, and readiness to cooperate, trade and do business with the U.S. Okay, tens of thousands of factories, cities, railways, airfields and fields of farmland had been bombed or broken down in fighting, and a fair bit of the bombing had been American - but it didn't make people here in Europe want to be left in the cold bog rather than accept help. Pretty much everybody loved the GIs, the USAF and the USA at that time, even most Germans - very few people felt they had been seriously wronged by the Americans, that the yanks were there to cheat them or kill them, or to grab their belongings. The Marshall plan was magnificent (and yes, a great way to increase U.S. influence and U.S. goodwill) but it wasn't as if many millions of people were going to feel grudge against the U.S. presence.

(Not even mentioning, the triumphant heroes/liberators and the shocked, freezing, gallant, wounded or fleeing Europeans were of the same realm culturally, and felt involved with the other side long before the war. A shared background, while to many of us the first images that come to mind with Iraq, or Afghanistan, are terrorism, chaotic fighting, executions and dictatorship. And oh yes, drugs...)

In Iraq on the other hand - yes, Saddam was removed by U.S. troops, but that's not quite the same thing as Hitler and Mussolini getting ousted in Europe. Yeah, I know some people would contest it and say it was the same thing, but there wasn't the same feeling that "you're fighting our war with us". And there wasn't much thinking about what to do once the hot phase of the war was over. Plus I'm not sure but I think bombing in Europe in 1943-45 was often less pervasive per square mile than in Iraq during the two U.S.-led wars. Explosives were certainly heavier in 1991 and 2003 than in the forties.

But on the other hand I don't see the US going cold turkey on military involvement in the wider world, any more than the Roman empire could have functioned without a solid army presence and the occasional war against Germanic tribes or Parthians.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 09:11:33 PM by gaggedLouise »

Online Neysha

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2014, 09:11:55 PM »
Yes this withdrawal of the American "Empire" as it's being called does seem rather short sighted. The US military and its presence in world affairs, militarily and politically, tends to actually be a stabilizing influence and has been since 1945. The world would be a drastically different place indeed if the US decided to withdraw itself even just militarily from the world stage.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2014, 09:52:17 PM »
Yes this withdrawal of the American "Empire" as it's being called does seem rather short sighted. The US military and its presence in world affairs, militarily and politically, tends to actually be a stabilizing influence and has been since 1945. The world would be a drastically different place indeed if the US decided to withdraw itself even just militarily from the world stage.

Stabilizing...and also expensive.  Very expensive.


Online Neysha

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2014, 10:09:39 PM »
The GDP of South Korea is almost two trillion. I'm sure they're happy that until the eighties, there was a significant US military presence and diplomatic agreements protecting them. I'm sure it's the same for Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, and even Japan. Most specifically in East Asia, I think the US military has been a stabilizing presence even regardless of actual military conflicts there. Why haven't the Spratley Islands, or Taiwan Straights, or Korean DMZ, or Senkaku Islands turned hot yet? What is making China's expansionist policies less militaristic if not less aggressive? The significant deployment of the US military to Western Europe prevented war in Europe, it didn't foment conflict there. The Marshall Plan and simply depending on nuclear weapons like we did immediately after WW2 alone couldn't secure ans safeguard Western Europe from the Soviet threat. US troops and their allies had to be stationed there or have the capability of being deployed there. The US military is an important factor in stability, in keeping air and sea lanes open for trade and commerce, for the US yes, but incidentally benefiting many other nations as well. You should see the very beginning of your graph and ask yourself an open question, which is why does the graph start off so high and what is preventing it from remaining that high throughout the entire graph. The United States tried to pursue an isolationist path twice already in practically a hundred years and both times the United States was drawn into the conflict regardless, but of course, only after millions were killed. The US military responds to humanitarian disasters as well and has been instrumental in saving thousands of lives regardless if its an earthquake in Haiti, a typhoon in the Philippines or a tsunami in Indonesia.

And it's not like the 500 billion is somehow being burned up. While there is inefficiency and waste obviously, and being a public government bureaucracy the problem is exacerbated, it's not as if the money isn't being spend on the wages and benefits and support of military personnel and civilian contractors, and supporting industries (not just strictly defense industries either) and advancing technological innovation and research.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 10:14:35 PM by Neysha »

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2014, 10:28:29 PM »
Exactly. Neysha has a point. This wasn't 'dump money in a hole' expenditures. Used to be a base meant every dollar paid on base would roll through the local economy between six to ten times before it left an area. That was a LOT of business and capital made off those billions.

How much of the stuff that we take for granted on this board come out of direct research or applications developed in military work? The internet? Intergrated circuitry? All manners of electronics.

It's not a dead space. The US grew on the military budget for a long long time. Would still be doing it if the folks on Capital Hill had kept up their end and reformed contract planning rather than letting it get bloated.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2014, 04:57:13 PM »
Wow.  Difficult to know where to start with that.  Your submission is that Mesopotamia has always been a wild and lawless place?
Wild and lawless?  No.  Violent?  Yes.  Always?  No.  Human history tends to rise and fall Mesopotamia was one of the high points.

Tribal society is not lawless, every tribe generates a series of rules and regulations.  Do, will they clash with other tribes?  Well, yes.  But most of the middle east are tribal groups, at the moment.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2014, 05:07:38 PM »
Wild and lawless?  No.  Violent?  Yes.  Always?  No.  Human history tends to rise and fall Mesopotamia was one of the high points.

Tribal society is not lawless, every tribe generates a series of rules and regulations.  Do, will they clash with other tribes?  Well, yes.  But most of the middle east are tribal groups, at the moment.

I'm sorry, I have no idea what you mean by this.  Could you expand a little please. 

You said that Mesopotamia, today's Iraq, had been inward looking until European colonisation, focused on "stealing wives".  Others have mentioned the Ottomon Empire which was obviously a significant world power and it was hardly the first major world player to include that area.  So lets dispense with the "not noticing the rest of the world" bit.  To be clear, I'm mainly confused what you mean by "most of the middle east are tribal groups."  I suspect we are using at least one of "most", "middle east" or "tribal groups" differently.

Online Neysha

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2014, 05:19:59 PM »
I think it's important to note, at this juncture, that not all of the Anbar tribes are actually supporting the ISIS. Abu Risha, one of the Sheikhs who helped institute the Awakenings in the Anbar Province back in 2008, and other tribes are actively fighting the ISIS/Al Qaeda flavored militants as well.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Beginning of the Iraqi Civil War?
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2014, 05:24:37 PM »
Yeah there was a segment on NPR today.. it's getting hard to plot out who is where in the structure of things.

It's going to be truly epically nasty for a while. The State department announced there would be an expedited shipping of arms/drones to the Iraqi government