Trying to imagine an end of the Iraqi tragedy
November 21st, 2005
This short exercise analyzes the present complex situation in Iraq, and
the various ongoing conflicts in the region, identifies and confirms the
need for a rapid withdrawal of the US Army, and suggests possible means
to set out the conditions for such deployment. Against the current established
opinion that the deployment of the US Army can take place only after a
reliable Iraqi Army has been organised and is operational, my assumption
is that the pre-condition for the withdrawal is political and not military.
The reason for the current multifaceted civil, religious and tribal wars
raging in the region is the control of the Kirkuk oilfields: until that
time-bomb has been defused with complex political negotiations there will
be no peace in Iraq.
The present situation
The invasion of Iraq and subsequent military occupation of the country
by the US Army evolved into a confused tragedy from which it is possible
to discern a number of conflicts:
A. Sunni terror/resistance against Americans and Shiites;
B. The military and political action of the Kurds to secure regional autonomy
from Sunnis, Pashto, Turks, Shiites and Afghans;
C. Shiite resistance against Americans and Sunnis;
D. A civil/terror war of the residual Baath Party for its political
E. A civil war of the Provisional Iraqi Government against the residual
F. Military and political infiltration of Iranian Shia to impose
a theocratic regime in Iraq;
G. Coordinated actions of various Islamic terror groups in order to gain
political visibility and space in the future asset of Iraq against everybody
(Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Americans and Iraqi civilian population)
Torture, political assassination and kidnapping are common practice by
various gangs, factions or parties, departments, or whatever. By the Iraqi
police, by the provisional Government, by the CIA embedded
in the US Army.
In the general chaos, billions of dollars are spent for the reconstruction
of Iraq through the hands of Corporations, friendly and close to
the US Administration. Huge sums of this money are gobbled up by widespread
corruption and some of the money may even end up financing the so-called
insurgency and terrorist groups (through blackmail, protection, kidnappings,
To complicate the above even further the various actors can associate
in many ways:
Shiites and Sunnis may gang up against Kurds and Americans. Shiites and
Iranians may operate together against Baathists, Sunnis and Kurds.
The US Corporations may seek protection through alliance with any of the
factions. Their projects are usually blocked by boycotts or terrorism
against their Iraqi collaborators. They pay huge sums for protection,
to support security companies and private paramilitary groups (mercenaries)
to protect their personnel and staff. Each project is usually sabotaged
when finished so that they never reach the operational stage or go beyond
The American occupation Army is under siege in fortified barracks outside
Baghdad. Whenever they go out on patrol they confine themselves in their
armoured vehicles and drive at reckless speed to limit the danger of Improvised
Explosive Devices (IED).
Fear and stress induced by continuous terror attacks, IEDs and suicide
bombers have driven the military to unbearable levels of nervous tension
and they often snap and shoot, unprovoked, on unarmed civilians. The suicide
percentage is high (13.5 per 100 thousand which is 30% above the general
US Army average) or 7% of the MIAs, 20% of military personnel suffer from
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when dismissed.
Iraq is now the point of entry for thousands of Islamic terrorists from
the Middle East plus criminals and mercenaries from all over the World.
Warlords are organizing their gangs and armed corps to control sections
of the city under the cover of some Islam trade name. Clerics
of various Islamic denominations lend their authority, hoping to gain
political power and leverage as a result.
The defeated US Army on the territory does not interfere with the activities
of the various militias/gangs and in fact is the cover or
justification for their criminal activities usually labelled as resistance
None of the entities on the ground is at present in the position to organize
a credible profile of territorial management or political control. Let
The military defeat of the US Army is now a matter of fact, with no hope
of changing the chaotic trend, no control on the ground and passive acceptance
of the various forms of resistance/insurgency, terrorism.
The Iraqi political challenge is beyond the cultural understanding of
the occupying forces. The Iraqi people have been forced into
hostility by the behavioural pattern to which the US Army personnel has
been drawn by relentless terrorist pressure. The road ahead leads straight
into a general rout.
Last December, the top general in the Army Reserve warned that his organization
was "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force" because of
the Pentagon's "dysfunctional" policies and demands placed on
the Reserve by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. (New York Times, Nov. 10th,
An Army ready to snap by Bob Herbert).
The Army's commitments have dangerously and rapidly expanded, while recruitment
During the last few weeks, signs of change have started seeping out of
the American Press. The question of intelligence fabrication by the Administration
to force their war on the American People is now openly asked
and it is an embarrassing one. Bush and Cheney are keen to avoid it and
usually react by accusing those who ask that question of lack of patriotism
and of being disloyal to the men out there fighting for their country.
The documents are unequivocal and very damning.
One question of particular concern: is if the WMDs and the mushroom
dangers were a fabrication, what truth did they cover? What reasons were
there for the unilateral invasion, that had to be concealed?
The dreadful suspicion is that behind the lies there was just the irresponsible
vacuity of the war president and his megalomaniac neo-cons
In other words: if it was not a desperate last-ditch war for the survival
of Western Civilization, it was the unbelievable folly of an arrogant
The dead GIs and Marines (2100 and counting) deserve an answer and the
dead Iraqis (100 thousand and possible many more) deserve an answer too.
What is dawning in the United States is a traumatic awakening to reality
of a society doped into indifference by manipulating media: the American
People have to shift from denial to a reality check.
There is not much time available. There is no political leadership capable
of taking them through the process. There is no cultural structure capable
of setting out and sustaining the transition.
Except for a few marginal instances but worse: there is no information
to make them aware of what is really happening and help them to understand.
Bush is intellectually incapable of tackling the problem and perseveres
in his confused arrogance with no connection to the real world, sinking
deeper and deeper into the psychotic mud of his deception.
The clan of amateurish strategists who designed the scenario of Americas
World Dominance (Rumsfeld, Wolfovitz, Perle Cheney, Rice), those who forecast
and proclaimed a glorious welcome for the US Army in Iraq are now entrenched
in denial. Cold fear is evident through their false assertiveness, aware
as they are of the sheer vastness of the tragedy into which they led their
Country and the World.
Sadly in these tragic circumstances there is not yet a competent figure
capable of leading America.A drastic defeat of the Republican Party is
almost certain in the coming Senate elections and the possibility of somebody
starting an impeachment trial to oust the deluded rout president
cannot be easily dismissed.
Another possibility is that the Financial Institutions and Corporations
that control the US Economy, aware of the impending catastrophe and political
bankruptcy of the Administration, assume the proper initiatives to protect
their interests and survival, which would seal Bushs experience
and destiny once and for all.
The debate on Bushs lies about WMDs and the nuclear threat is now
totally useless. It is now much more important to face the problem of
how to get out of this horrible mess. A compelling article on this matter
is Nir Rosens in The Atlantic Monthly, December 2005 issue, (If
America left Iraq) where the absurd logic behind the idea of staying
the course is thoroughly and convincingly taken apart.
All the supporting points for that idea are proved baseless. To stay in
Iraq would only mean the death of many more young American men and Iraqi
civilians not to mention the expenditure of extra few billion dollars.
Another dramatic picture of the Iraqi situation is given by James Fallows
article in the same issue of A.M. (Why Iraq has no Army). For an orderly
withdrawal from Iraq to be successful it is essential to have a well organized
and reliable Iraqi Army ready. Which, at present, is a far-fetched assumption,
and in my opinion a wrong one.
From the military point of view there is no hope of shifting the present
disastrous trend of guerrilla, resistance, insurgency warfare based on
suicidal bombers and on more and more sophisticated IEDs.
Technically the US Army will not be able to stay in Iraq for more than
eighteen months, after which they will be in total disarray with disastrous
consequences and huge casualties.
To form a reliable Iraqi Army in such a short time is impossible: thus
the pre-condition for withdrawal cannot be a military one.
Against the currently established assumption that a reliable Iraqi Army
must be organised and operational before the start of the withdrawal,
I think it is much more important that a reliable political condition
be set out.
Two events recently marked what will probably be recalled as the tipping
point of the question:
- the call of Congressman John Murtha (Pennsylvania) for a swift withdrawal
of the troops from Iraq (Nov. 18th, 2005)
- the unanimous vote of the Iraqi leaders meeting in Cairo for a withdrawal
schedule (Nov. 20th, 2005)
Congressman John Murthas call caused a passionate debate, but the
outcome was quenched by a political maneuver of the Republicans. The White
House immediately heavily attacked the Congressman, to change the attitude
after a few hours
on second thoughts.
These two events could open the debate for a political platform on which
to work a possible exit solution.
The conditions for structured communications between the warring factions
must be organised so that a set of solutions may come from within the
The enormous power and wealth that will come from the control of the Kirkuk
oilfields is a time-bomb that must be dealt with and properly defused.
Without a manageable agreement on this problem there will be no peace
for this region in the future.
This agenda and course of action requires a cultural vision and political
authority that is not currently available.
This, clearly, could be the scope for an International Institution like
the UN or a UN Agency, strongly supported and assisted by the World Community.
We will see, in the coming days/weeks, if the Cairo resolution of the
Iraqi leaders has any serious meaning and potential of implementation
or if it is just the usual exercise in empty words.
One consequence is already evident: the talk of pulling out from Iraq
which was foolishly dismissed as the talk of cowards and traitors, until
just a few days ago, is now currently accepted as elementary commonsense
and the military are now dealing with the logistics.
In the meanwhile
Bush and his gang of delusional, arrogant advisers will persevere in their
denial of the most apparent evidence, defending the desperate idea of
a catastrophic stay-the-course-finish-the-job policy. The only reason
being that they think to save face. Patriotism and loyalty have nothing
to do with that.
It will take some time for the American People to dismiss the patriotic
syndrome and the stay-the-course-finish-the-job rhetoric hammered into
their heads by an irresponsible leadership, numbed and traumatized by
the enormity of the mistakes made and of their horrific outcome.
But, if the real reason to invade Iraq was oil, as I have
always thought and denounced, there will be some new twists in the strategy
of the Washington gnomes.
To accelerate the process we must work on information at all levels and
at every available opportunity.
November 21st, 2005.