World Awareness Grows of Massive American War Crime Formerly Known As “Iraq”

[When will American leaders admit the absolute truth about Iraq?

The United States HAD NO REASON TO INVADE IRAQ,

neither did it offer a valid excuse which wasn't entirely fabricated on premeditated lies.  The war against Saddam Hussein had NOTHING to do with the "war on terror," yet Republican Neocons convinced the rest of us to allow them the pleasure of this little side war, even squeezing it until it (somehow) fit within the parameters of the original 911 AUMF war resolution.   The invasion and occupation of Iraq was 100% REVENGE for Saddam Hussein's arrogant refusal to lie-down and die, but mostly, for threatening to kill Bush's father.  All the rest is 100% BULLSHIT, invented either by the Republicans to justify the criminal war of aggression, or by the Democrats, to justify continuing the war.

Until American leaders take the simple first-step of admitting that Iraq was a crime, we can expect all of our wars to continue to fall apart, as more and more people awaken to the Nazi nature of the American regime and join resistance forces which offer some kind of fight against US global tyranny.

The criminal policies of Bush and Cheney and the Republicans have been compounded by the criminal neglect of Obama and Biden and the Democrats.  May the war crimes of America's criminal two-headed war party continue to follow this Nation until the end of our days, or until we confess about our evil war crimes against all of humanity and beg our fellow man for forgiveness for the monstrous divisions that we have unleashed upon the Earth.]

In Syria’s shadow, Iraq violence presents new test for U.S. 

Reuters

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) hold a joint news conference in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington, December 12, 2011. REUTERS Jonathan Ernst

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) hold a joint news conference in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington, December 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters Jonathan Ernst

By Warren Strobel

WASHINGTON

(Reuters) – Saddled with Middle East problems ranging from Iran to Syria and beyond, President Barack Obama now faces one that is both old and new: Iraq.

Unresolved sectarian tensions, inflamed by the raging civil war in neighboring Syria, have combined to send violence in Iraq to its highest level since Obama withdrew the last U.S. troops in December 2011, U.S. officials and Middle East analysts say.

A Sunni Muslim insurgency against the Shi’ite-led Baghdad government has also been reawakened. The insurgents’ defeat had been a major outcome of then-President George W. Bush’s troop “surge” in 2007.

The deteriorating situation – largely overshadowed by a Syrian civil war that has killed 80,000 people – has prompted what U.S. officials describe as an intense, mostly behind-the-scenes effort to curb the violence and get Iraqis back to political negotiations.

The United States spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost nearly 4,500 soldiers during an eight-year war to try to bring a semblance of democracy to strategically placed, energy-rich Iraq.

But Iraqis have failed to agree on a permanent power-sharing agreement, threatening the country’s long-term stability.

Vice President Joe Biden, who has been Obama’s point man on Iraq, called Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and Osama Nujayfi, the head of Iraq’s parliament, in a round of calls on Thursday and Friday, the White House said.

To Maliki, the vice president “expressed concern about the security situation” and “spoke about the importance of outreach to leaders across the political spectrum,” Biden’s office said in a statement on Friday.

U.S. diplomacy is aimed in part at persuading Maliki, a Shi’ite, and his security forces not to overreact to provocations. Maliki’s opponents accuse him of advancing a sectarian agenda aimed at marginalizing Iraq’s minorities and cementing Shi’ite rule.

The latest uptick in violence began in late April at a Sunni protest camp in Hawija, near the disputed city of Kirkuk, where a clash between gunmen and Iraqi security forces killed more than 40 people.

A U.S. official said the Obama administration was “very actively engaged” after the Hawija clash in preventing a further escalation, when Iraqi forces surrounded insurgents who had seized control of a nearby town. Washington urged the Iraqi forces not to go in with massive firepower, and the stand-off was settled through a deal with local tribal leaders.

“I don’t want to exaggerate our influence, but this is the kind of stuff we do behind the scenes,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “When there is a real crisis, they all run to us. … We’re a neutral party.”

Others say Washington’s influence in Iraq, which began waning even when U.S. troops were still there, has plummeted.

“What is lacking is the lack of confidence of trust among the politicians,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told CNN on Tuesday. “And we have lost the service of an honest broker. Before, it used to be the United States.”

‘ZOMBIE INSURGENCY’

Most worrying to U.S. officials and analysts who follow Iraq closely is the rebirth of the Sunni insurgency and of groups such as al Qaeda in Iraq, thought to be behind lethal suicide bombings aimed at reigniting civil conflict.

“What you’re really looking at here is a kind of zombie insurgency – it’s been brought back to life,” said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who has studied Iraq for years and travels there frequently.

By his count, violent incidents have escalated to about 1,100 a month from 300 monthly at the end of 2010.

After the Hawija clashes, the U.S. official said, “For the first time really in a few years, we saw people with their faces covered and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) and heavy weapons, coming into the streets in a very visible way.”

The official called the increase in suicide bombings by al Qaeda in Iraq “very concerning,” adding that such sophisticated insurgent groups could “wreak havoc” on political efforts to solve the conflict.

“I wouldn’t call it a strategically significant increase, yet,” the official said of the violence. “We’re in this post-civil war, pre-reconciliation interregnum, gap, period, in which Iraq can tilt either way.”

The setbacks in Iraq have revived criticism from those who opposed Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country, rather than leave behind a residual force. The White House has said it could not secure political agreement from Iraq’s Sunni, Shia and Kurds for a law allowing a continued troop presence.

At a Senate hearing last month, Senator John McCain, who opposed the troop withdrawal, asked Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet how things turned out in Iraq. McCain, an Arizona Republican, cited Obama’s dictum that “the tide of war is receding.”

“I think Iraq is more stable today than many thought several years ago,” Chollet replied.

“Really? You really think that?” McCain pressed. When Chollet said he did, the senator shot back, “Then you’re uninformed.”

The violence, which includes confrontations stemming from the Sunni protest movement, near-daily car bombings and attacks on mosques, is nowhere near the level of Iraq’s 2006-2008 civil war.

Still, Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA and White House official now at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy said: “I think we’re going to see great sectarian violence. The question is, how bad does it get?”

SYRIA IS ‘AN ACCELERANT’

Syria’s increasingly sectarian civil war, pitting mostly Sunni rebels against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, is not the prime cause of Iraq’s troubles, officials and analysts said.

Iraq’s failure to find a stable power-sharing deal among the country’s ethnic and sectarian groups is to blame, they said. Iraq’s Sunnis, ascendant during dictator Saddam Hussein’s rule, feel excluded and threatened, and started staging protests in December.

But Syria’s war “is an accelerant” in Iraq, Pollack said.

“We’re seeing both Shia and Sunnis going over to fight” in Syria, the U.S. official said. “It’s kind of encouraging this sectarian polarization in a way.”

Iraqis often experience the Syrian conflict via YouTube video clips, he said.

Sunnis see the violence perpetrated by Assad’s government, dominated by members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam, he said. Iraq’s Shia see often gruesome excesses perpetrated by the rebels.

“They’re seeing two entirely different parallel universes,” the official said.

(Additional reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

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