Friday, March 16, 2018

Security In Iraq, Mar 8-14, 2018

After witnessing a jump in security incidents at the start of March, things went back to the mean in the second week of the month in Iraq. Security incidents and casualties were both down, but the Islamic State still appeared to be rebuilding and getting bolder in its fifth month of transitioning to an insurgency.

This Day in Iraqi History - Mar 16

1917 UK War Cabinet created Mesopotamia administration committee to decide
            on form of govt in captured areas
1959 Gen Qasim signed economic agreement with Soviet Union to move away from
            England and west
1975 Iraqi forces launched new offensive against Kurds after Iran stopped supporting
            them as part of Algiers agreement
1982 Iraq’s Dep PM Yassin Ramadan said Iraq ready to withdraw from Iran and would
            accept ceasefire Iran-Iraq War
1984 Iran fought off Iraqi effort to free Majnoon Islands Iran-Iraq War
1988 Iraqi forces dropped mustard and nerve gas on Halabja killing 5,000 Kurds to
            recapture town from Peshmerga and Iranian Revolutionary Guard
(Musings On Iraq article on the attack upon Halabja)
1991 Saddam made 1st address since Gulf War Blamed southern uprising on Iran Said
            Kurds worked with foreigners and always defeated
1992 Saddam govt set off car bomb in Irbil after warning Kurds not to ally with
            foreign powers
2003 Azores summit with Bush Blair Portuguese Premier Barroso Bush said that Iraq
            war would start in days not weeks
2003 Blair got transcript of 60 Minutes interview with Pres Chirac who said he wanted
            30 more days for UN inspections
2003 Blair Bush Barroso agreed to give 2nd UN resolution 24 more hours and pull it if
            didn’t have enough votes
2003 Bush and Blair gave UN 24 hour ultimatum to enforce its own resolutions
            on Iraq disarming or they would invade
2003 Blair complained that US screwed up a 2nd UN resolution on Iraq
2003 VP Cheney told NBC that if world didn’t deal with Iraq it would go back to
            producing WMD
2003 VP Cheney refuted IAEA claim that Iraq had not reconstituted its nuclear weapons
2003 VP Cheney on NBC IAEA wrong about aluminum tubes Iraq tried to buy and
            were wrong on Iraq in general
(Musings On Iraq article on the aluminum tubes story)
2003 Cheney on NBC said that Iraq had long standing relationship with Al Qaeda
2003 Cheney said that Army Chief of Staff Gen Shinseki wrong that US would need
            more troops to occupy Iraq than invade
2003 VP Cheney told NBC that Americans would be greeted as liberators in Iraq
2004 UK Parliament report said British forces had bad intel on Iraq and govt limited them
            due to fears of anti-war sentiment
2004 DepDefSec Wolfowitz said Iraq invasion proved US view on Iraq’s links
            to terrorism
2006 New Iraqi parliament seated after Dec 05 elections
2007 ISI set off chlorine bomb in Anbar Killed 2 shiekhs in Fallujah and Ramadi that
            opposed ISI
2008 Maliki said he was going to take on security in Basra and that he was going to lead
            effort personally
2015 Abadi asked US for airstrikes to help Tikrit operation that was stalled

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hashd To Get Equal Pay-Benefits To Army As Further Integrated Into Iraqi State

At the start of March 2018 Prime Minister Haidar Abadi issued a decree giving the Hashd al-Shaabi the same pay and benefits as the Iraqi army. Previously, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki created the Commission for the Popular Mobilization Forces in June 2014 to give the Hashd formal backing. Then in February 2016, Abadi passed Executive Order 91 making them an independent group within the Iraqi Security Forces under the Commander In Chief. These were all meant to bring this paramilitary force into the Iraqi state.

This Day In Iraqi History – Mar 15

1935 National Brotherhood Party started revolt in Daghahara Led King Faisal to
            create new cabinet with Brotherhood Party
1981 Saddam said unless Iran agreed to ceasefire he would aid Iranian opposition
1985 Iraq carried out air raid on Tehran Iran fired SCUDs at Baghdad in War of Cities
1988 First detention center for Kurds displaced during Anfal campaign set up
(Musings On Iraq article on Anfal campaign)
1990 Iraq executed UK Observer journalist Batoft for reporting on missile program
            Condemned in West
1991 Rebels in Diwanaiya attempted and failed to take Hillah
1991 Saddam declared southern revolt over
1991 Iraqi govt forces began operation to retake Tuz Kharmato from Peshmerga
1991 U.S. shot down Iraqi fighter after warned it no flights allowed during uprisings
2003 Special Republican Guard withdrew $1 bil from Central Bank of Iraq under
            Uday Hussein to pay off sheikhs to put down expected rebellions
2003 Iraqi security forces tried to stamp out signs of Kurdish opposition in Kirkuk City
2003 ORHA head Garner told Sec Def Rumsfeld plan was only to dismiss top two
officials from each Iraqi ministry and not carry out any deBaathification policy
2003 Rumsfeld okayed Garner’s plan to not have deBaathification policy
2003 Rumsfeld complained Garner picked non-Pentagon people to run some Iraqi
            ministries Wanted them all from Defense
2003 CIA gave explosive to Kurdish team which blew up Mosul-Baghdad railway starting
            covert action campaign before invasion
2004 Bush told Blair Chalabi up to no good using deBaathification committee for
            his own ends
2005 Mahdi Army attacked college engineering students in Basra for having mixed male-
            female party in park Led to protests vs Sadrists
2005 Report leaked that Halliburton overcharged US for fuel imports to Iraq by more
            than $108 mil
2005 Italy announced it would withdraw its approximate 3,000 troops from Iraq
2005 Ukraine withdrew 130 of its soldiers from Iraq
2006 Iraq Study Group began creating alternative Iraq strategy for Bush admin
2012 One of Hashemi’s guards who had accused him of terrorism died in custody
            Authorities claimed kidney failure but pictures showed torture

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

IMF, World Bank and Pres Masum Object To Iraq’s 2018 Budget

On March 3 Iraq’s parliament passed the 2018 budget, which was immediately criticized by the Kurds and pro-Iran Hashd groups. The Kurds had their traditional 17% allocation eliminated, while the Hashd did not get the same pay and pensions as the Iraqi forces as promised for the last two years. Now those dissenting voices have been joined by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and Iraq’s President Fuad Masum.

This Day In Iraqi History – Mar 14

1925 Iraq deal gave Turkish Petroleum Company right to explore for oil in
            entire country
1951 Grenade hit American Cultural Center in Baghdad wounding some Jewish visitors 5th
            of 8 such attacks on Jews 1950-51
1981 Cuba’s foreign minister arrived in Lebanon as head of Non-Aligned Movement
            attempt to negotiate ceasefire in Iran-Iraq War
1983 Sec of State Shultz ordered US diplomat in Baghdad to discuss US financing
            trade deals with Iraq
1985 Iran fired SCUD missiles at Kirkuk War of Cities
1986 UN mission found that Iraq had used chemical weapons several times in Iran-Iraq
1988 Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Peshmerga launched Wa al-Fajr 10 capturing
            Halabja district
1991 Pres Bush warned Iran not to take advantage of Iraq uprisings to try to annex
            any territory
2002 Blair Adv Manning said Natl Sec Adv Rice committed to regime change in Iraq
2002 Blair Adv Manning said US working on strategic decisions on how to remove
2003 Rumsfeld told ORHA head Garner he was going to pick all the advisers
            that were going to run Iraqi ministries
2003 Iran’s national security adviser said US would not have a happy ending in Iraq
2003 French Pres Chirac told Blair he would not accept a UN resolution that set
            an ultimatum for Iraq disarmament
2003 NSC decided on language for ultimatum to Saddam Included 48 hour deadline to
            leave power pushed by Rumsfeld
2005 Netherlands withdrew its 160 troops from Iraq
2006 Iraqi police found 87 bodies dumped in Baghdad
2006 Report May-Jun 03 British worried of strategic failure in Iraq due to US mistakes
2011 Justice Min said it would close Camp Honor secret prison in Baghdad run
            by Maliki that used torture on prisoners Was not closed
2012 Ninewa council voted to freeze Article 140 that was to determine future
            of disputed areas
2012 Baghdad police held Russia Today reporters for 3 hrs because were doing story
            on emo killings in capital
2013 5 suicide bombers attacked Justice and Foreign Ministries, Communications
            Institute in central Baghdad
2015 operation to free Tikrit stalled due to high Hashd casualties
2016 State of Law MPs probably pro-Maliki said Sadr’s protests in Baghdad could
            be infiltrated by terrorists

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review Eveland, Wilbur Crane, Ropes Of Sand, America’s Failure in the Middle East

Review Eveland, Wilbur Crane, Ropes Of Sand, America’s Failure in the Middle East, London New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1980
Wilbur Crane Eveland originally joined U.S. army intelligence after World War II. He then got recruited into the CIA. He started off being stationed to Baghdad in 1949 during the monarchy period as the military attaché at the embassy. During that time, the U.S.’s main role was supporting the British in Iraq. The Iraqis had their own plans and went to the U.S. asking for military equipment to break the hold England had over Iraq. The Americans said no not wanting to offend their ally. When Eveland first arrived the U.S. Ambassador was an Anglophile and all too happy to follow this policy. The second one however warned that the British could not hold their position in Iraq, and all their projects were for London’s benefit. His advice was ignored.

This Day In Iraqi History - Mar 13

1917 British started Samarra offensive against Ottomans after taking Baghdad
1975 KDP announced ceasefire with govt after Iran said it would stop giving it aid
            following Algiers Agreement ended border dispute with Iraq
1984 UN team arrived in Iraq to investigate use of chemical weapons while Iran
            made new claims its forces hit with mustard gas in Manjoon Islands
1988 Iraq launched Op Zafar 7 in Khurmal and Bait al-Moqaddas 3 in Sulaymaniya
            both in Kurdistan Captured 7 Kurdish villages
1991 Pres Bush said Iraqi helicopters should not be used to put down Shiite and
            Kurdish uprisings
1991 Kurdish uprising spread to Zakho
1991 Kurdistan Front announced council to run Kurdish areas during uprising
1991 13 325 Iraqi opposition leaders from 23 factions met in Beirut to discuss uprising
            in Iraq Led to Free Iraqi Council led by Saad Salih Jabr
 (Musings On Iraq article on 1991 Beirut meeting)
1991 Was anti-govt protest in Baghdad
2002 Blair For Pol Adv Manning met with National Sec Adv Rice’s staff Manning said
            US not considered problems with going to war with Iraq
2003 UK Foreign Office legal adv Brummell wrote Attny Gen Lord Goldsmith saying
            didn’t need 2nd UN resolution to go to war with Iraq
2003 Lord Goldsmith changed his opinion saying 2nd UN resolution not needed for action
            against Iraq
2003 Blair told Bush not to give ultimatum to Saddam until he had dealt with parliament
            Bush said OK
2003 Blair told still hope that 2nd resolution authorizing force against Iraq could be
            passed in UN
2003 USAID official told aid groups Iraq war would be quick Needs would be met
            Iraqis would regain control US would be out in a year
2005 Dep Industry Min said there was systematic looting of factories and weapons sites
            after 03 invasion
2006 Bush said Iraqi forces would take over most security jobs by end of 2006 and that
            way forward would continue to be difficult
2007 ISI leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi released tape refuting criticism of his group
2008 Gen Petraeus complained that Iraqi leaders were not taking advantage of
            improved security in Iraq to move forward on reconciliation
2008 US military said that ISI could be reduced but would not go away because it
            was so adaptable
2009 SIIC’s Hakim said he wanted reforms within National Alliance due to disputes
            with Maliki
2012 Oil Ministry said KRG not meeting its export quota

View the Iraq History Timelines

Musings On Iraq In The News

I was quoted by Paul Iddon in "Why post-referendum Iraqi Kurdistan is seeking better relations with Iran" for the New Arab and in "Coordinated Iraq-Turkish action against PKK unlikely" for Rudaw. Also cited in  Turkey as an Energy Hub? Contributions on Turkey's role in EU Energy Supply by Marc Oliver Bettzuge Ed, Mirja Schroder Ed, Wolfgang Wessels Ed. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: Brigham, Robert, Ed., The United States And Iraq Since 1990: A Brief History with Documents

Review: Brigham, Robert, Ed., The United States And Iraq Since 1990: A Brief History with Documents, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014