Thursday, December 20, 2007

Could this be what Pat Lang is talking about ? cites "western diplomatic sources in Washington" who have seen reports on an American plan to recruit Shiite tribal leaders in the South and Center of Iraq to form an alliance with Washington to "guarantee the existence of a military force on the ground to face down Iranian influence in Iraq...and to confront the Shiite political parties currently participating in the government, which form bulwarks for this Iranian influence." The reports say the contacts with Shiite tribal leaders have been undertaken by US intelligence officers in Iraq, sometimes with the assistance of regional governments including those of the UAE, Saudi, and Jordan. This summary indicates there are currently around 30 Shiite "awakening councils", but so far their scope is limited, "because of lack of guarantees and fear [on the part of the Americans] of influence [over these groups] by Shiite religious and political leaders not favorable to the American military presence in Iraq". (This doesn't offer any hint how they plan to deal with that particular problem). Another reason the scope of this is limited so far, this says, is because "not a few [of the Shiite leaders approached] refused to respond to this proposal".

"In spite of these anxieties, American intelligence officers in Iraq are continuing their efforts to contact tribal and other local Shiite leaders to encourage them to form awakening councils in exchange for promises of support in the form of weapons and money and political protection from the current government for their activities". (The "political protection from the government" idea is left unelaborated here, but the Nahrainnet reporter returns to this issue at the end of the piece in the form of questions and a hypothesis).

The reports are said to include also a second theme, in addition to this point about creation of an armed force capable of confronting Iranian influence. The second point is that Washington is intent on igniting a Shiite-Shiite war at the earliest possible opportunity, and the Nahrainnet reporter puts it this way:
These sources say the Americans are trying very hard, and in a race against time, to ignite a Shiite-Shiite war in Iraq on the model of the war between the Sunni awakening councils and AlQaeda, utilizing the "awakening" phenomenon ...and the creation of armed groups to confront the Shiite political parties...
The reporter says the reports refer to one factor favorable to this plan, and that is the "growing irritation" among Shiites in the Center and South with the Shiite political parties that are participating in the government.

The reports say the US administration considers the year 2008 the time-limit the US administration has given its military and intelligence people for implementation of important parts of this plan, "while the American forces still hold the reins of the security file almost completely". The discussion shifts to the Sunni-awakening project, noting that there is a degree of "official cover" for this, in the form of government acquiescence and often government-funding of the monthly pay for members of these groups. The discussion gets a lttle confusing, but I think the point is that there is only a limited amount of time still available to take advantage of this kind of "covered" creation of America-friendly militias. In any event, the reporter concludes with questions:
The big question is: Why the official silence from the government on the implementation of this plan? Or is this silence the price the government is paying to Washington, in exchange for Washington continuing to support it?

Or is the government simply incapable of countering it? At the best, is the government perhaps unaware of the very serious security dimension of this scheme for expanding the "awakening" phenomenon into an actual army outside the control of the government? And yet the government officials and officers continue to try and assert that these groups are under the control and subservient to the orders of the state!

...The continuing statements by the government and its agencies are to the effect that the security file is under the complete control of the government! But reality refutes this, as does the behavior of the American military leadership, which openly exercises a secret command, considering themselves to be the only party entitled to make security decisions in Iraq. And that much is an established and observed fact among all of the senior officers in the army and the police.
Making allowance for the differences in language and outlook, this appears to be much the same strategy as that advocated by Pat Lang, who is said to have written the book on the awakening strategy. Lang writes, in relation to Iranian influence in Iraq:
Clearly, the US should look at the possibility of applying the "divide and rule" methods it has applied elsewhere in Iraq to this problem. There is no reason to treat the Shia population as a monolith. There are analogous fissure lines among the various Shia factions and between them and the Shia tribes. Is a diagram necessary?
And then he writes this too:
At present the US has accepted as temporary allies many of those who fought against us before the "Anbar Awakening." That is as it should be. We should continue that policy in other parts of the country.
Adding the usual and meaningless boilerplate about "no permanent occupation".

Probably the question in the minds of many is: If you are not aiming for a permanent occupation, what then would be the need for a non-government army of over 100,000 fighters supported and funded by the [non]-occupier?


Anonymous Shirin said...

Thank you, Badger.

And you know, this is not going to change no matter who gets elected in 2008. Hillary Clinton has, up until very recently, been an open and enthusiastic, if not passionate, supporter of the Iraq endeavor - in fact, she has never met a war she didn't love - and I believe she fully intends to continue to pursue Bush's imperial project. In fact, she has all but said as much. Obama's "opposition" has been inconsistent to say the least, and he, too, is more likely than not to continue on a similar path if only because he won't have the guts to take the "risk" of stopping. Edwards might be marginally better, but only marginally.

Richardson, Kucinich, and Ron Paul are the only ones who are willing to even talk about halting the project and leaving Iraq to its own people to sort out.

So, in the end it is going to be up to the Iraqi nationalists to resist the efforts to divide them and join together to oust the invaders.

4:28 PM  
Blogger badger said...

...oust the invaders, and also deal with the Contras, if either of these proxy-army schemes comes to pass....

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Shirin said...


8:16 PM  

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