Media Silence over Civil War in Iraq

After the so-called 'surge' in 2007, violence in Iraq declined markedly for a while. As some observers commented, the idea that the 'surge' was actually responsible for the decline in violence may have been an example of a 'post hoc ergo propter hoc' fallacy, even though it must be admitted that the US military began to employ somewhat more creative methods to undermine the insurgents than previously (such as e.g. buying off their rural support).

The argument forwarded by critics was that by the time the surge began, the ethnic cleansing was actually largely over. The civil war in Iraq is mainly between different religious sects, and most Sunnis had either been driven out from Shi'ite areas or killed, and vice versa, by the time the 'surge' began. Thus a major driver of the civil war had greatly diminished in importance.

 

However, the political situation in Iraq remains extremely fractious. The Shi'ite majority continues to hold the reins of power, such as they are (in reality, the central government does not have full control over the country). Fundamentalist Sunnis meanwhile are definitely not happy with this arrangement. The para-military arm of the Sunni fundamentalists is 'Al Qaeda' – which is apparently not really an organization with a central command and easily identifiable hierarchical structures, but more of a loose association of many different terrorist splinter groups and cells that have adopted the name of the original outfit. The degree of organization and structure seems to be highly variable among them. Al Quaeda of course regards Shi'ites as apostates that must be rubbed out.

Terror attacks in the West (such as the Boston bombing) tend to produce overwhelming media coverage. This is of course not surprising, as such incidents are extremely rare in Western countries. The  9-11 attacks were truly exceptional in their scope; normally, terror attacks by Middle Eastern groups in the West (recall e.g. the PLO attacks in Western Europe in the 1970s) are far less spectacular. Here is something you probably haven't heard about unless you follow events in Iraq specifically. It is what has happened in Iraq over just the past six days:

 

11 Killed Across Iraq – August 9th, 2013

Iraq: 93 Killed, 377 Wounded in Saturday Savagery – August 10th, 2013

17 Killed in Fresh Iraq Attacks – August 11th, 2013

Northern and Eastern Iraq Attacks: 45 Dead, 127 Wounded – August 12th, 2013

Random Bombings, Gunfire Leave 34 Dead in Iraq – August 13th, 2013

Iraq: At least 35 people  killed and 35 more wounded –  August 14th, 2013

 

Altogether 235 people died in terror attacks in Iraq over just the past six days. This is the legacy of the invasion. The war to take out Saddam and his regime was in a way akin to squishing a spider by bulldozing the entire garage. What the war planners didn't consider (or perhaps they did consider it, but cynically decided that it was 'worth it' anyway) was that Saddam's regime, for all its faults, was a secular regime that managed to keep Iraq's religious and ethnic animosities in check. There was even a Christian in a prominent position in Saddam's cabinet (the foreign minister), something that would be unthinkable today.

As an aside, Saddam curiously allowed the entire country to bear arms, including machine guns. During parades in Baghdad, he was greeted by people firing salutes in the air with their AK 47s. This has always struck us as a  remarkable contradiction considering the way he was portrayed in the Western media, which routinely painted him as the second coming of Hitler. If he was really that bad, why was he not afraid that he might get shot by one of his well-armed fellow citizens? The man was certainly a dictator and not exactly a saintly ruler. His regime was no doubt brutal in its treatment of political opponents. We are not trying to make him into something he wasn't. It is a fact though that he didn't fear his own citizens.

Anyway, the Western media have been curiously silent about the resurgent violence in Iraq. Note here that the increasing violence is not a recent phenomenon. It has been going on for some time. In July alone, 1,057 people died across Iraq in what can only be termed an ongoing civil war.

 

Jail Breaks and Drone Wars

There have been a number of spectacular jail breaks across the Islamic world in recent weeks. First Taliban militants broke into a jail in Pakistan, successfully freeing their imprisoned comrades. This was followed by more successful jail breaks in Libya and Iraq. In Iraq there were two prison breaks, one in Taji near Baghdad and a very spectacular one in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, where Al Qaeda militants managed to break out 500 of their incarcerated fellows. These prison breaks are organized like military operations, often involving gun fights lasting for several hours. One common thread is that the militants appear to have excellent connections in the security services of the countries concerned, i.e., they have sympathizers and collaborators embedded in the State apparatus who provide them with intelligence and other support.

For a detailed account of how extremely well organized the Abu Ghraib prison break was, we want to point readers to this report in Foreign Affairs (note: it may require registration, but it is for free). The prison breaks have finally brought some media attention to Iraq, in the course of which it was noted en passant that violence in the country is rising at a worrisome pace. Given that so many fighters have now come to enjoy early release from prison, it is a good bet that the level of violence is going to increase further.

In the meantime, in Yemen and elsewhere, the drone war is laying the groundwork for major blowback. Although occasionally important leaders of local terrorist groups are indeed killed in these attacks, the attacks have still proved to be a huge gift to these groups as they serve as a major recruitment tool. According to Gregory Johnson of Princeton University, an expert on Yemen (portion of a transcript of an interview with Margaret Warner):

 

“MARGARET WARNER: And for more on the threat posed by Yemen and emanating from Yemen, we turn to Gregory Johnsen. He was a Fulbright scholar based in Yemen, now at Princeton University.

And, Gregory Johnsen, welcome.

The U.S. has been pounding away at AQAP, certainly intensively ever since the Christmas Day bomb attempt of late 2009. Is al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula stronger or weaker than it was then?

GREGORY JOHNSEN, Princeton University: Right.

I think this is one of the really frustrating things for the United States. It's because, as you point out, they have been carrying out several air and drone strikes. They have killed people like Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric there in Yemen. They killed AQAP's number two. And yet what we have seen over the past three-and-a-half years is that AQAP has gone from a group of about 200 to 300 people on Christmas Day 2009 to, according to the U.S. State Department, more than a few thousand fighters today.

MARGARET WARNER: And what explains that?

GREGORY JOHNSEN: Well, I think one of the things that explains it is that the U.S. — not all of these strikes that the U.S. carries out are successful. So there are some mistaken strikes. There are strikes that kill civilians. There are strikes that kill women and children.

And when you kill people in Yemen, these are people who have families. They have clans. And they have tribes. And what we're seeing is that the United States might target a particular individual because they see him as a member of al-Qaida. But what's happening on the ground is that he's being defended as a tribesman.

So you have people flowing into al-Qaida, not necessarily because they share the same ideology of al-Qaida, but just so that they can get revenge for their tribesman who has been killed in a drone or airstrike.”

 

(emphasis added)

This is the problem with killing people from afar: the strikes are not as 'surgical' as advertised. Presumably not too many people would care if merely a leader or other members of a terrorist group were occasionally killed. That is however not what is happening – instead, there is always 'collateral damage' and obviously, the damaged are not particularly happy over it. In this way hatred of the US and the West continues to be fueled. Next time a bunch of militants immolate themselves in a major strike on Western soil, we will be again regaled with the comfortable myth that they 'hate us for our freedom' (or whatever), but it is a good bet that the hate has in many cases far more tangible roots. If one keeps poking a stick into a hornets nest, one cannot feign surprise when the hornets come swarming out and are in a bad mood.

As Ron Paul recently pointed out, there have been eight drone strikes in Yemen in just two weeks. He rightly asks: why are we even there? 

 

“The US government is clearly at war in Yemen. It is claimed they are fighting al-Qaeda, but the drone strikes are creating as many or more al-Qaeda members as they are eliminating. Resentment over civilian casualties is building up the danger of blowback, which is a legitimate threat to us that is unfortunately largely ignored. Also, the US is sending mixed signals by attacking al-Qaeda in Yemen while supporting al-Qaeda linked rebels fighting in Syria.

This cycle of intervention producing problems that require more intervention to “solve” impoverishes us and makes us more, not less, vulnerable. Can anyone claim this old approach is successful? Has it produced one bit of stability in the region? Does it have one success story? There is an alternative. It is called non-interventionism. We should try it. First step would be pulling out of Yemen.”

 

(emphasis added)

If we judge these interventions by the 'successes' they produce, they are clearly extremely counterproductive. In fact, over the past several years an arc of major instability has been created in the region. It may not have occurred to Ron Paul, but it is definitely possible that this is done on purpose. After all, the military-industrial complex is always in need of enemies in order to keep the war racket going. Given that Donald Rumsfeld admitted in 2001 already that $2.3 trillion of tax payer funds had simply 'disappeared' in the Pentagon (i.e., could not be accounted for) over the preceding decade, there are clearly a great many profiteers skimming off truly staggering amounts of money. To keep the tax cows providing more, good enemies are a sine qua non. If there is a temporary paucity of enemies, one can always produce more of them. In that sense, the interventions are indeed very successful.

 


 

yemeni-tribesmen-meet-to-resolve-their-local-feuds--sanaa_1272433Yemeni tribesmen at a pow-wow.

(Photo source: Sniperphoto Agency)

 


 

 
 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

3 Responses to “Iraq and Other Interventionist ‘Success Stories’”

  • No6:

    Iraq, more than any other single event, has shown the world what exactly ‘America’ has become. In Iraq the veil of a Holy America was lifted for all the world to see. This was possibly the only positive that came from the criminal intervention.

    • jimmyjames:

      Altogether 235 people died in terror attacks in Iraq over just the past six days. This is the legacy of the invasion. The war to take out Saddam and his regime was in a way akin to squishing a spider by bulldozing the entire garage. What the war planners didn’t consider (or perhaps they did consider it, but cynically decided that it was ‘worth it’ anyway) was that Saddam’s regime, for all its faults, was a secular regime that managed to keep Iraq’s religious and ethnic animosities in check. There was even a Christian in a prominent position in Saddam’s cabinet (the foreign minister), something that would be unthinkable today.

      *************

  • Excellent, if sobering, analysis.

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • 21st Century Shoe-Shine Boys
      Anecdotal Flags are Waved   "If a shoeshine boy can predict where this market is going to go, then it's no place for a man with a lot of money to lose." - Joseph Kennedy   It is actually a true story as far as we know – Joseph Kennedy, by all accounts an extremely shrewd businessman and investor (despite the fact that he had graduated in economics*), really did get his shoes shined on Wall Street one fine morning, and the shoe-shine boy, one Pat Bologna, asked him if...
  • Christopher Columbus and the Falsification of History
      Crazed Decision The Los Angeles City Council’s recent, crazed decision* to replace Christopher Columbus Day with one celebrating “indigenous peoples” can be traced to the falsification of history and denigration of European man which began in earnest in the 1960s throughout the educational establishment (from grade school through the universities), book publishing, and the print and electronic media.   Christopher Columbus at the Court of the Catholic Monarchs (a...
  • India: The Genie of Lawlessness is out of the Bottle
      Recapitulation (Part XVI, the Last) Since the announcement of demonetization of Indian currency on 8th November 2016, I have written a large number of articles. The issue is not so much that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is a tyrant and extremely simplistic in his thinking (which he is), or that demonetization and the new sales tax system were horribly ill-conceived (which they were). Time erases all tyrants from the map, and eventually from people’s...
  • The Forking Paradise - Precious Metals Supply and Demand Report
      Forking Incentives A month ago, we wrote about the bitcoin fork. We described the fork:   Picture a bank, the old-fashioned kind. Call it Acme (sorry, we watched too much Coyote and Road Runner growing up). A group of disgruntled employees leave. They take a copy of the book of accounts. They set up a new bank across the street, Wile E Bank. To win customers, they say if you had an account at Acme Bank, you now have an account at Wile, with the same balance!   BCH, son...
  • The Government Debt Paradox: Pick Your Poison
      Lasting Debt “Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” said President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November of 2008.  “They are opportunities to do big things.”   Rahm Emanuel looks happy. He should be – he is the mayor of Chicago, which is best described as crisis incarnate. Or maybe the proper term is perma-crisis? Anyway, it undoubtedly looks like a giant opportunity from his perspective, a gift that keeps on giving, so to speak. [PT] Photo...
  • The United States of Hubris
      Improving the World, One Death at a Time If anyone should have any questions about whether the United States of America is not the most aggressive, warlike, and terrorist nation on the face of the earth, its latest proposed action against the supposed rogue state of North Korea should allay any such doubts.   Throughout history, the problem with empires has always been the same: no matter how stable and invincible they appeared, eventually they ran into “imperial...
  • Long Term Statistics on AAPL
      Introductory Remarks by PT Below we present a recent article by the Mole discussing a number of technical statistics on the behavior of AAPL over time. Since the company has the largest market cap in the US stock market (~ USD 850 billion – a valuation that exceeds that of entire industries), it is the biggest component of capitalization-weighted big cap indexes and the ETFs based on them. It is also a component of the price-weighted DJIA. It is fair to say that the performance of...
  • Tragedy of the Speculations
      The Instability Problem Bitcoin is often promoted as the antidote to the madness of fiat irredeemable currencies. It is also promoted as their replacement. Bitcoin is promoted not only as money, but the future money, and our monetary future. In fact, it is not.   A tragedy... get the hankies out! :) [PT]   Why not? To answer, let us start with a look at the incentives offered by bitcoin. We saw a comment this week, which is apropos:   "Crypto is so...
  • Despite 24/7 Trading: Bitcoin Investors are Taking off for the Weekend on Friday Already
      Crypto-Statistics In the last issue of Seasonal Insights I have discussed how the S&P 500 Index performs on individual days of the week. In this issue I will show an analysis of the average cumulative annual returns of bitcoin on individual days of the week.   Bitcoin, daily. While this is beside the point, we note the crypto-currency (and other “alt coins” as well) has minor performance issues lately. The white line indicates important lateral support, but this looks to...
  • To Hell In A Bucket
      No-one Cares... “No one really cares about the U.S. federal debt,” remarked a colleague and Economic Prism reader earlier in the week.  “You keep writing about it as if anyone gives a lick.” We could tell he was just warming up.  So, we settled back into our chair and made ourselves comfortable.   The federal debtberg, which no-one cares about (yet). We have added the most recent bar manually, as the charts published by the Fed will only be updated at the end of the...
  • Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Fundamental Developments There were big moves in the metals markets this week. The price of gold was up an additional $21 and that of silver $0.30. Will the dollar fall further?As always, we are interested in the fundamentals of supply and demand as measured by the basis. But first, here are the charts of the prices of gold and silver, and the gold-silver ratio.   Gold and silver prices in USD terms (as of last week Friday) - click to enlarge.   Next, this is a...
  • Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Back to the Happy Place Amid a Falling Dollar The prices of the metals dropped this week, $24 and $0.38. This could be because the asset markets have returned to their happy, happy place where every day the stock market ticks up relentlessly.   Sometimes, happiness is fleeting... - click to enlarge.   The major currencies have been rising all year—we insist that this is a rise in these dollar derivatives, not a fall in the dollar—and this is a risk-on pattern....

Support Acting Man

j9TJzzN

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com