Thursday, September 25, 2008

Iraq is different

The much-anticipated text is being criticized in the news this morning as "cryptic and elastic" and susceptible of many interpretations.

No, brothers and sisters, we are not talking about the $700 billion bailout package, which will call for purchase of some assets or other from unnamed financial institutions for either a high or a low price, depending on who you talk to. That package is about to be agreed upon, and probably before the Sept 30 half-year financial-reporting deadline, which is, like, next Tuesday.

What we are talking about the latest American text for a proposed long-term bilateral security agreement with Iraq. Satterfield from the State Dept and his sidekick from the NSA arrived back in Baghdad yesterday after extensive consultations in Washington. And here, according to a local Iraqi paper, is the gist of their latest proposed text on the important "immunity" question:
The United States will give complete consideration to any request from Iraq for jurisdiction over members of the American armed forces and civilian members respecting crimes that include voluntary acts and significant offenses, and that break Iraqi laws. Such requests for Iraqi legal jurisdiction will be referred for settlement by mutual agreement between the parties by a joint subcommittee.
AlHayat says Iraqi authorities wouldn't confirm or deny the authenticity of that, but they quote Ali al-Adeeb of Maliki's Dawa party as follows, (talking about the whole American text, not just the immunity section):
[He said the new American text includes material that is] "cryptic and elastic". And he told AlHayat: "Although the Americans made some concessions, they are not sufficient, and [the latest American text] includes expressions that are vague and elastic, and floating and conditional, and they bear many interpretations. He added: "Iraq accepts immunity for American soldiers when in their camps, and when on military missions agreed to by the Iraqi government, but if they commit any crimes outside of those missions they are subject to Iraqi law, and without the condition of American agreement."
Makes sense. They can confidently roll over Congress in the face of massive popular objections, because they know their animals, but Iraq is a little different. (An elegant expression, don't you think?)


With that, I am going to shut up and do other things for a while. "Restructuring" so to speak. Sayonara.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

With that, I am going to shut up and do other things for a while. "Restructuring" so to speak. Sayonara.

I'm sad, I enjoyed your valuable contributions to the debate about Iraq.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope you don't plan on staying away too long. this site is essential.


10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh noes!
Just after you went from hard slog to essential, you're leaving. Well I don't blame you. I couldn't have done the job you have. So rest, relax, I hope you come back. But if you don't, you will already have created a great space in thought for those of us who understand so little.

You made sense without over-reaching, and I appreciate that.


11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks you so much, badger-san, for your valuable comments, although I wish you come back soon. Your comments freed me from a kind of America syndrome, especially shown by US major media. And, I'm happy and sad and your last word, Sayonara. If you are interested, please visit here, a Japanese BBS about Iraq.

You will find masajuly2001, which is my handle name. I'm looking foward to seeing you soon.

3:18 AM  
Blogger Compulsive Reader said...


8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope your sabbatical is not so long, you've been essential in filling in the missing links - the usually ignored as irrelevant, Iraqi perspective - and sharing them with us. Thanks... and a timely return.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, when are you coming back?

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger, your analyses are sorely missed. Your efforts are much appreciated, come back soon if you can!

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have checked your blog everyday for the past year or so and have used it - and cited it - many many times. You will be missed - is there anyone else who can fill the gap? - hope you return to it again!

12:27 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Badger, I have a query for you, and specifically for you, because of your general knowledge of economic issues as well as the state of domestic Arab media.

There's a report in the Washington Post about how "Western Journalists in Iraq Stage Pullback of Their Own," describing how Western media outlets have been withdrawing staff from Iraq as a result of the economic pressure bearing down on them (also as a result of increased stability in Iraq).

What I'm wondering from you, Badger, is what this convergence of economic collapse and the (potential) upsurge of domestic Iraqi media could mean for the further consolidation of the Maliki government. Specifically, is it possible that the upsurge of Iraqi media and (more importantly) the utter inability of the U.S. to keep financing the war in Iraq, as we face up to trillions of dollars in debt, might result in the further (or complete) independence of the Shiite regime in Iraq from U.S. control, as they draw closer to Iran (as well perhaps as China and Russia, who are still economically resurgent, in contrast to the U.S.)?

I guess if you disregard all the above and just want to answer one question, it would be this: Is it possible that the economic problems we (specifically the U.S.) are facing might have any massive geopolitical consequences?

10:10 AM  
Blogger annie said...

mike, i guess our economic problems haven't prevented us from spending the 300 million for propaganda the WAPO has recently written about.

my guess is getting rid of the competition (reality journalism as opposed to make believe) would be the initial step to kicking off the new program.

restructuring ?

12:17 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Annie, perhaps it isn't so straightforward. Sure, the economic problems haven't stopped us from spending 300 million on propaganda. But at this very moment, things are changing radically, such that foreclosures are rapidly on the rise, job employment is relatively high, we're pumping huge amounts of cash apparently needed by the U.S. banking giants, and it is certainly possible that the dollar will go down even more in value.

The point being, this whole economic nexus is developing more and more right now, and it is certainly possible that all this could go some way in making it much harder to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan.

Also, I guess I see your point about "getting rid of the competition." But on the other hand, isn't it possible that the fact that major U.S. newspapers are having to reduce their Iraq bureau, is itself indicative of the fact that the country is facing some major economic troubles, and thus is potentially likely to find it harder to finance its wars?

Anyway, this question was originally for Badger, since he apparently has some kind of background in finance.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

^^ I meant to say "unemployment," not "job employment," sorry. Too bad I can't edit that.

4:15 PM  
Blogger annie said...

ok, i know you aren't asking me but i'm giving you my opinion on another of your comments since i'm here. i have no background in finance whatsoever.

isn't it possible that the fact that major U.S. newspapers are having to reduce their Iraq bureau, is itself indicative of the fact that the country is facing some major economic troubles

i seriously doubt it. the message from the ptb is that we are winning in iraq. since we're winning, there is no news, or no news is good news. this is election season. problems in iraq are not good for the gop. but propaganda is. it is unpatriotic to write news that conflicts w/the military version.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mike Nothing to See Here: US Journos Decamp, Iraqi Journos Not So Lucky

several more examples how 'the fact' the number of embedded journalists are shrinking in iraq is not related to 'the fact' we are immersed in major economic troubles.


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