Friday, 13 June 2014

Good to know it was all worth it

From the AP

Even after the United States spent billions of dollars training the armed forces during its 2003-2011 military presence in Iraq, the 1 million-member army and police remain riven by sectarian discontents, corruption and a lack of professionalism.

Many Sunnis in the armed forces are unprepared to die fighting on behalf of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-led government, which many in their minority community accuse of sharp bias against them. The Islamic State has exploited this by touting itself as the Sunnis' champion against Shiites.

Seriously, read the whole thing. Any neocons out there who thought that the Blair/Bush "nation building" doctrine was ever going to work clearly ignored the fact that the Sunnis were a minority and that many countries don't view minorities as having equal rights, and the only reason that Iraq held together was because Saddam Hussein ruled the place with an iron fist.

We've now got a situation where some guys who make Al-Qaeda look like Bilko are running over bits of Iraq, probably trying to create a greater Islamic caliphate instead of just some gangster with really bad taste. Well done, idiots.


ageing man said...

at least with Bilko you can justifiable laugh.... but what is about to be unleashed in the middle east is only the start..... If I were an Israeli [which i am not]I would be shitting myself. One thing for sure, if I was Israeli I would stop all weapons exports and munitions and start stock piling em.

Blair is always on my radar, so I am working up to emptying my brain of the shite I think about blair and the latest fiasco in Iraq. Just trying to work out what my song of the day will be though. If ISIS and Boko Haram got together it could sound like some hip hop cum badly named tribute band.... thinking about it, whatever happened to procol harum ? you rarely hear their music played these days.

But for now, ISIS are doing a very good impression of the Basterd Squad, but the leader is no where near as good looking as Brad Hague....

Anonymous said...

When I first heard about boko haram I wondered why an African bad ass terror group would want to base themselves on a very western 1960's rock band.

Regards your comment about Israel. Frankly I don't think Israel has ever been more secure. they have developed missile defence shields which they can still improve upon. They have benefited economically from the security issue that have preoccupied much of the western world since 9-11. They are a high tech economic powerhouse. The only state they 'may' need to worry about is Iran, for obvious reasons. The others[Syria-Iraq] are headed to the stone age so will provide few sleepless nights at present. The Syrian border is small and well monitored. Egypt's border less so, hence the Israelis in that case can be quite pleased with the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood. Iran is the only thorn for without Iran, there is no state that can hurt Israel, Lebanon and the Hizbollah would recede as a danger and Syria would be even more isolated and greatly weakened.
Israel's 'Arab' enemies to the north and east are slowly being dismembered without Israel doing a thing, overtly. Israel will continue to play one off against the other and so long as Jordan is not infected with the virus they will be comfortable with current developments.

ageing man said...

Paul, I take your point entirely, historically I had always believed that Israel was locked in such a protected position that it would never be allowed to 'fail'.

But that does not seem to say it won't come under attack, from the Basterd Squad. A few Palestinians lobbing the odd house brick or two was/is easy to piss on, but this latest uprising seems to have come from nowhere, so far as mass media is concerned that is, but the under belly has been there for far too long.

The day of retribution for some seems to be drawing but for now, everyone is seeing this along what is a local tribal dispute.... but somehow, I see it escalating very quickly. What makes it worse, all those hummers and munitions that were provided for the Iraq security, what a wonderful cache for ISIS. I remember the yanks doing that for Osama Bin Laden in Russian controlled Afghanistan.

So I wonder if Blair has final got what he wished for ?

So I agree with you, Israel will not be a push over, but it won't be rocks heading their way, and the brutality that some metered out in carving out the modern state of Israel, may well be dealt out again some 70 years later. What is it they say about dogs and lamp posts ? And if Israel falls, then the shit really will start flying.

Syria, may be seen as weak, but it will only take a concerted effort of the dis-enfranchised to swell the ranks of ISIS, and once they've tasted the blood they will want it more.

All we can hope for at present is Ricky Lambert to get a hat trick tomorrow....come on my son hit the back of the nett !

Bayard said...

Why is anyone surprised? Isn't this generally what happens to colonies once the imperial power withdraws its troops?

Tim Almond said...


Well, it should have been the case that having spent billions training the Iraqi army that they actually could defend a goddamn city.

I'm confused about what's happening there, but it sounds like it's being really badly run. Probably something to do with the dumb decision of firing the original Iraqi army and then trying to rebuild it from scratch.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I think the whole thing is hilariously funny. Even the Iranians are getting a bit nervous.

@ B, no that is not what generally happens. It didn't happen in Canada or Australia post-Empire, it didn't happen in the Baltic states in the 1990s, it didn't happen in Hong Kong or Singapore after the Brits left or in the Phillipines after the Yanks left. I think you mean "Islamic countries".

Anonymous said...

Islam was not the causal factor here in my opinion, although it appears to be so today. You could argue that it [conflict] did happen in the oil rich[Islamic]states and Mid East generally because during and since the Empire those states were either denied modernising secular leadership{Iraq,Iran etc], constructed purely to serve foreign interests [Lebanon, Jordan] or denied the opportunity of industrial modernisation when it was proposed by the native leaders [Egypt 19thC]. The whole region was deliberately divided up or governed in such a way as to enhance European[French and British] security needs whilst maximising ethnic tensions into the bargain. Divide and rule writ large.

Hong Kong and Singapore had long been treated as trading posts for China so investment was encouraged both from the UK, locally and from China. Hence the seamless transition. The Baltics benefited from their location and hence their usefulness as a source of cheap educated labour vis a vis the European project. Australia had a tiny indigenous population in relation to its size and most of them had been 'neutralised' by the time of independence by the largely homogeneous newcomers hence nothing to fight over or about. Ditto Canada. Natives were in the hundreds of thousands and most of them died not long after the Brits and French colonised.
When they left there was a fertile but largely uninhabited land which meant Canada was little more than an extension of Europe overseas.

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC, yes it is about Islamism, yes it so much is, I don't know how you can argue otherwise. Much the same applies to former African colonies, but the violence is far worse in Islamic or part-Islamic countries.

And Iran did have a relatively secular leadership, imposed by the Allies in WW2, fat lot of good it did them and they soon reverted to type (although they are far from the worst).

I take your point about Canada/Australia.

Anonymous said...

@MW. I don't defend Islamic medievalists regards their prominence and actions today but when you refer to Iran, Mossadegh was as close as you could realistically get to a social democrat, deposed in 'operation Ajax' with the Shah left as absolute ruler. He was secular, but venal, incompetent and a vicious despot. The mosques were the only place that the Shah left alone. His subsequent repression of all political opposition 'with foreign support' meant that only the Islamists 'could' successfully oppose him. Everyone else was either dead,exiled or imprisoned. If you exclude every possibility of constructive modernisation then the only alternative was an Islamic led revolution. I see no way that was inevitable or even likely in 1953, or even earlier.

Worth remembering that in 1905 Persia had the first democratic revolution in Asia. Scuppered in short order with the help of the British and Russians. Eventually the Islamists were going to prosper since everyone else had been eliminated.

Bayard said...

"I think you mean "Islamic countries"

No, I was really thinking of much longer ago, like what happened to Britain after the Romans left, but you reminded me of an interesting article I read years ago about the 19th century imperial powers which divided them into two types, the settlers and the looters. The settlers, mostly protestant countries, did a lot of nation building and so when they left, there was generally a peaceful transition. The looters, mostly Catholic countries, did very little nation building and regarded the natives as peons, didn't educate them or allow them to join the middle class. When they left, they tended to take everything with them and left the country in chaos.