Author Topic: Iraq Unravels  (Read 26799 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Iraq Unravels
« on: December 31, 2019, 13:54:48 »
The US weakness in the region is Iraq which Iran is now playing after Iranian proxies attacked the US embassy. Trump is sending 100 Marines to reinforce it. What we should do is to pull out of Iraq completely unless we are willing to fight Iran- which we aren't.

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2019, 14:08:33 »
It seems a bit early to say Iranian proxies.  Not saying you're wrong but I seem to recall all the trouble there started with bad intel (the WMD issue).  Time will tell, though I have no doubt we'll know exactly what happened in a tweet...  ::)

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2019, 14:18:04 »
It seems a bit early to say Iranian proxies.  Not saying you're wrong but I seem to recall all the trouble there started with bad intel (the WMD issue).  Time will tell, though I have no doubt we'll know exactly what happened in a tweet...  ::)

Not too early...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-backed-militia-supporters-converge-on-us-embassy-in-baghdad-shouting-death-to-america/2019/12/31/93f050b2-2bb1-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html

Quote
Militia supporters chanting ‘Death to America’ break into U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad
Militia supporters breach gates of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
Supporters of an Iranian-backed militia breached the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31, demanding U.S. troops and diplomats to leave the country. (Mustafa Salim/The Washington Post)
By Mustafa Salim and
Liz Sly
Dec. 31, 2019 at 1:01 p.m. EST
Supporters of an Iranian-backed militia besieged the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes, breaking through the first layer of security at the embassy compound and damaging a reception area before being expelled by Iraqi security forces. Here’s what we know:

●The U.S. Defense Department is sending two Apache helicopters and a “small contingent” of Marines to reinforce security at the embassy.

●President Trump accused Iran of “orchestrating an attack” on the embassy, where protesters ransacked a reception area and set fires.

●Iraqi security forces later intervened and set up a barricade, but protesters threw gasoline bombs into the compound.

The Kataib Hezbollah militia vowed to force the embassy to shut down, and protesters set up tents outside the gates as night fell.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2019, 14:40:34 »
Shades of 1979. I certainly hope there is not a repeat of the Tehran hostage taking that lasted 444 days.
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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2019, 15:03:52 »
It seems a bit early to say Iranian proxies.  Not saying you're wrong but I seem to recall all the trouble there started with bad intel (the WMD issue).  Time will tell, though I have no doubt we'll know exactly what happened in a tweet...  ::)
You haven't been following Iraq's geopolitical situation at all over the last 6 months, have you? The massive protests from citizens are against Iranian influence and corruption. President denied the nomination of a new Prime Minister because he was too pro-Iran. Half the militias in Iraq are armed, paid for and controlled by the IRGC. All of that is readily available open source intelligence...

Offline CloudCover

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2019, 15:10:28 »
 The guy in the White House needs a powerful distraction, and Iran stupidly just gave it to him.
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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2019, 15:30:04 »
Just make like the Cape Breton birth control method and "pull out".
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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2019, 15:38:05 »
Just make like the Cape Breton birth control method and "pull out".
Obama tried that. Didn't work and ended up with a kid no one wanted called ISIS.

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2019, 17:09:48 »
I think we can put the tinfoil hats away, this is getting as ridiculous as "Bush did 9/11" conspiracy theories.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2020, 13:16:31 »
The protestors pulled back when the Marines and Iraqi army arrived. 

https://www.foxnews.com/world/iraq-us-embassy-troops-protests-tear-gas

An airborne battalion is en route to Kuwait and a brigade of the 82d is now being prepared to deploy. Marines send a message as does sending paratroops.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 13:24:05 by tomahawk6 »

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2020, 17:17:12 »
The protestors pulled back when the Marines and Iraqi army arrived. 
https://www.foxnews.com/world/iraq-us-embassy-troops-protests-tear-gas
No.  If one actually reads the article, even Fox 'News' states they pulled out "in response to an appeal by the Iraqi government... by late afternoon the tents had been taken down and the protesters relocated to the opposite side of the Tigris River."

Quote
Marines send a message as does sending paratroops.
What message do you believe this sends?  Serious question  :pop:

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2020, 17:35:26 »
Moved all the impeachment stuff to where it belongs, in the Global Politics section under this thread: https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,129605.975.html.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2020, 19:33:04 »
No.  If one actually reads the article, even Fox 'News' states they pulled out "in response to an appeal by the Iraqi government... by late afternoon the tents had been taken down and the protesters relocated to the opposite side of the Tigris River."
What message do you believe this sends?
:crickets:  Well, you returned online, but chose not to respond.  Not unexpected.



Here's my take on 'messaging'  (yes, I know it's way too long for some).


First, you have to understand who the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are, since they appear to be the backbone of the “protesters.”  The PMF is an Iraqi, state-sponsored umbrella organization composed of several dozen militias; they are popular amongst Iraqis of various persuasions since: 
a) they consist of Shia, Sunni, Yazidi, and even Christian militias;
b) more importantly, they have fought in nearly every anti-ISIS battle and are generally considered [by Iraqis] to have contributed more than the US (and coalition although most Iraqis focus only on US) to curbing ISIS.

The US is claiming that PMF are subservient to Iran, and I’ve no doubt that some  factions are.  The Americans have periodically attacked their bases, occasionally with Israeli UAV support.  Naturally, this pisses off several groups, and anti-US protests have been on the rise.  On 23 Aug (following a strike against PMF logistics sites), a fatwa was issued against US troop presence, including demanding attacks against them.

Throughout Oct and into Nov, Iraqi government security killed several people in keeping protesters away from the Green Zone and the US Embassy. But the other day when the PML moved on the US Embassy, the police apparently turned a blind eye.  Why?

A 27 Dec a FML rocket attack against a US/Iraqi base in Kirkuk killed a US contractor and wounded 4 soldiers.  These attacks usually happen when US anti-Iran rhetoric (or tweets) ramp up;  they tend to be as ineffective as the Kandahar attacks that did little besides close Timmies for an hour or so.  However, the US responded with airstrikes against three targets in Iraq and two in Syria.


If I may quote an online commentator, who goes by the name “Lethality Jane”
Quote
The PMF "protesters" breached one gate and set a guard shack on fire, but didn't kill or seriously injure anyone. They withdrew en masse the next day.

This was a warning

The protesters came back again today, but not the ‘combat troops’ and more with the intent to let the media and world know that they’re still not happy with the US.  Again,  they withdrew on Iraqi orders, not because some additional US troops arrived/are enroute. 

THEREFORE:
I believe that “the message being sent” is that Iraq cooperated with the PMF because they’re ******* pissed that the US shifted the mission to a counter-Iran/PMF strike within Iraqi territory, without having cleared it with the Iraqis.
 
I have no doubt that the administration will miss the nuance of the message.

The message being ignored is that this was a US self-inflicted wound.  The President took a break from golfing just long enough to send troops and tweet self-congratulations on his tactical acumen, for dealing with a situation largely of the US’ own creation.

But what are the odds of some trigger-happy troop escalating the situation?  ROEs are inconsequential if the soldier expects a Presidential pardon.

 :2c:

[Slight edit for clarity]
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 08:42:30 by Journeyman »

Offline Retired AF Guy

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2020, 19:57:57 »
Interesting article from the Atlantic:

Quote
The Embassy Attack Revealed Trump’s Weakness

By abandoning diplomacy, the president risks war, humiliation, or both—and has put himself at Iran’s mercy. 10:15 AM ET [01 Jan 2020]
Peter Beinart

Over the past 18 months, Donald Trump has picked a fight with Iran that he won’t end and can’t win. That fight has had horrifying consequences for the Iranian people, led Tehran to restart its nuclear program, and now left parts of the American embassy compound in Baghdad in flames. In the days and weeks to come, Trump’s policy will likely lead either to war or to additional American humiliation, or both.

The fight began in May 2018, when the Trump administration left the Iran nuclear deal, and intensified last spring, when the United States designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization and moved to shut off Iran’s ability to export oil. Numerous observers warned that Iran would meet America’s escalation with escalation of its own. The Revolutionary Guard Corps designation, The New York Times reported last April, “was opposed by some top Trump administration national security officials who said it could incite retaliation by Tehran against American troops and intelligence officers.” The following month, the Times added that “in private meetings, military officials have warned the White House that its maximum-pressure campaign against Iran is motivating … threats to United States troops and American interests in the Middle East.” In The Atlantic that same month, Mike Giglio noted, “The militia groups that act as Iranian proxies in Iraq … would be an effective tool for further [Iranian] escalation” against the U.S.

These predictions have proved correct. In May, the United States accused Iran of attacking oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. Then, in June, Iran shot down an American drone.

Iran’s escalation left the Trump administration in a quandary. The president likes grand diplomatic gestures. But his administration’s withdrawal from the Iran deal—combined with its absurdly maximalist demand that, as a condition for any future nuclear agreement, Iran entirely capitulate to Saudi Arabia in the two countries’ contest for regional influence—has made a diplomatic solution to the crisis virtually impossible. In June, Trump’s then–national security adviser, John Bolton, argued for meeting Iran’s provocations with force. But Trump, convinced that his supporters want no more Middle Eastern wars, called off an attack aimed at punishing Iran for the drone strike. The attack on the drone didn’t kill any Americans, Trump explained. If it had, that would have made “a big, big difference.”

In backing down, he thus established a red line. And last week, Iran’s proxies crossed it. An Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, Kataib Hezbollah, fired on an Iraqi military base, wounding four American servicemen and killing an American contractor. This time, the Trump administration did respond with force: On Sunday, it launched air strikes against the militia’s forces in Iraq and Syria, killing 24 people and wounding 50.

But if Trump’s nonresponse made America look weak in June, his military response on Sunday set off a chain of events that has made America look even weaker. On Tuesday, following funeral services for the dead militiamen, thousands of supporters of Kataib Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian militias stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, shouting “Death to America.” Outraged by the U.S. attacks, many of Iraq’s top clerics and politicians are now demanding the withdrawal of all American troops. On Tuesday, Abbas Kadhim, the director of the Iraq initiative at the Atlantic Council, tweeted, “I expect the days of the large American diplomatic & business presence in Iraq to be numbered.” Liz Sly, The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Beirut, predicted an end game reminiscent of Saigon in 1975. “After today,” she tweeted, “how do the Americans trapped inside the embassy leave except by helicopter?”

Trump, as is his wont, has responded with bluster: “Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.” The Pentagon announced plans to send in reinforcements. But with each escalation, Trump’s predicament worsens. His confidantes insist that he can’t afford a war—which would likely boost oil prices and damage the economy—especially in an election year. Yet he also can’t pursue real diplomacy, at least not without provoking a confrontation with the GOP’s hawkish foreign-policy elite. He’s caught between his desire to avoid being like George W. Bush and his desire to avoid being like Barack Obama.

So, absent a revolution that replaces the Islamic Republic with a more pliant regime, he’s at Iran’s mercy. Given the crushing sanctions America continues to impose, Iran has every incentive to make America bleed. Its proxy armies offer it numerous opportunities to do so. And every time it does, it offers Trump the unenviable choice of launching a potentially catastrophic third Middle Eastern war or being exposed as a paper tiger.

When it comes to Iran, Trump has shifted Republican foreign policy away from war without shifting it toward diplomacy—the only stable alternative to war. So he’s caught in a kind of purgatory. The American embassy compound in Baghdad, now covered in pro-Iranian graffiti and strewn with broken glass, is the latest symbol of that purgatory. It probably won’t be the last.

Peter Beinart is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York.

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Offline CBH99

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2020, 20:01:44 »
Fantastic post Journeyman, thank you.

As someone who tends to miss the details when it comes to Middle Eastern politics, and undoubtedly ignorantly casts it all into the "same old nonsense" bin -- your post really helped fill in some very important history and details on this matter.  Interesting read indeed.


I have no idea how to give milpoints, or if I even can.  But great post!
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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2020, 20:36:56 »
:crickets:  Well, you returned online, but chose not to respond.  Not unexpected.



Here's my take on 'messaging'  (yes, I know it's way too long for some).


First, you have to understand who the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are, since they appear to be the backbone of the “protesters.”  The PMF is an Iraqi, state-sponsored umbrella organization composed of several dozen militias; they are popular amongst Iraqis of various persuasions since: 
a) they consist of Shia, Sunni, Yazidi, and even Christian militias;
b) more importantly, they have fought in nearly every anti-ISIS battle and are generally considered to have contributed more than the US (and coalition although most Iraqis focus only on US) to curbing ISIS.

The US is claiming that PMF are subservient to Iran, and I’ve no doubt that some  factions are.  The Americans have periodically attacked their bases, occasionally with Israeli UAV support.  Naturally, this pisses off several groups, and anti-US protests have been on the rise.  On 23 Aug (following a strike against PMF logistics sites), a fatwa was issued against US troop presence, including demanding attacks against them.

Throughout Oct and into Nov, Iraqi government security killed several people in keeping protesters away from the Green Zone and the US Embassy. But the other day when the PML moved on the US Embassy, the police apparently turned a blind eye.  Why?

A 27 Dec a FML rocket attack against a US/Iraqi base in Kirkuk killed a US contractor and wounded 4 soldiers.  These attacks usually happen when US anti-Iran rhetoric (or tweets) ramp up;  they tend to be as ineffective as the Kandahar attacks that did little besides close Timmies for an hour or so.  However, the US responded with airstrikes against three targets in Iraq and two in Syria.


If I may quote an online commentator, who goes by the name “Lethality Jane”
The protesters came back again today, but not the ‘combat troops’ and more with the intent to let the media and world know that they’re still not happy with the US.  Again,  they withdrew on Iraqi orders, not because some additional US troops arrived/are enroute. 

THEREFORE:
I believe that “the message being sent” is that Iraq cooperated with the PMF because they’re ******* pissed that the US shifted the mission to a counter-Iran/PMF strike within Iraqi territory, without having cleared it with the Iraqis.
 
I have no doubt that the administration will miss the nuance of the message.

The message being ignored is that this was a US self-inflicted wound.  The President took a break from golfing just long enough to send troops and tweet self-congratulations on his tactical acumen, for dealing with a situation largely of the US’ own creation.

But what are the odds of some trigger-happy troop escalating the situation?  ROEs are inconsequential if the soldier expects a Presidential pardon.

 :2c:

A slight nuance if I may.

The PMF are indeed (now) a formed part of the Iraqi military, and the Hasd Shaaabi make a credible claim to have staved of ISIS at the gates of Baghdad.  Amongst the PMF are Shia Militia Groups, or SMG.  All SMGs are PMF - not all PMF are SMGs.

There is a hard core element of the SMGs that are Iranian backed and directed.  See Badr, Hadi Al-Amri etc.  They are the ones that cause the most concern - and some operate from the same MOD bases that also house Coalition troops. AAH and KTH are particularly nasty.

It is a rather complicated and complex landscape....
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2020, 20:47:05 »
All I said is that the protesters had pulled back and both the Marines and Iraqi security forces arrived ti releave the embassy. This has been a delicate balance between the Sunni's and the Shia minority which is supported by Iran. Iran would love to takeover Iraq but it would spark a civil war. Iran is suffering under the sanctions and want them to be lifted so attacking the embassy is a new response rather than attacking tankers.

Iran doesn't want to see US troops in Iraq so the President is bringing in troops to both provide troops should they be required to evacuate the embassy staff and to provide a limited response if necessary. Sending in a brigade of the 82d also lets Iraq know that we will stand with them.

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2020, 20:54:53 »
Good posts Journeyman and Retired AF Guy.

The problem for Trump is that he's really just playing to his base with the Iran boogeyman, the "no Benghazi on my watch" and his herky-jerky Middle East policy (or lack thereof)

There's no doubt that Iran is a threat to the stability of the region but just about everything Trump has done is to increase the instability, push away from allies, and threaten with bluster but no real follow-up. Quite frankly, there is not much follow-up available to him short of dropping a nuke on Tehran. The US is pretty much at the extent of sanctions and Iran has some colleagues (if not allies) in Russia, Turkey and China so isn't about to wither away.

Militarily Iran holds a trump (no pun intended) card with it's dominance over Gulf shipping, large land mass and a military which, while not peer level, is big enough and tough enough to require an effort on a par with that of the US's previous wars with Iraq. I doubt that the US (or it's allies) are up to another of those seeing as how the last two efforts turned out in the long run.

Since May of 2019, the US has committed some additional 14,000 military pers (army, navy and air force) to the region. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/thousands-us-troops-headed-middle-east/story?id=67504430 (That's before the recent airborne brigade). Every time we see some low cost, low risk efforts by Iran it ends up with a jingoistic knee-jerk reaction from the Trump administration or some inconsequential troop reshuffle which, naturally, has little effect on Iran but assuredly makes it look to the American Trump base, that the US is being tough.

The problem is that none of this either solves the problem nor furthers Trump's stated aim of withdrawing US troops from the region (if that actually should be the aim because it is clear that every time that the US steps back, Russia steps in to quietly fill the void.)

The Middle East is an area that cries out for subtle diplomacy which this administration is entirely incapable of giving. (In fairness, the last administration wasn't the best either but they were certainly better than what is going on now.) My guess is that there won't be any major effort by the US of any real consequence regardless of what Iran does next. An airborne brigade in this region has zero impact beyond a very small local defence capability but will certainly irritate and annoy the Iraqi's rather than give them a feeling of comfort. Iran shows contempt for the US and quite rightfully so. Trump will continue to bluster and claim victory regardless of what is actually happening while the US's real influence in the area slowly bleeds away by a thousand little cuts.

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2020, 21:00:30 »
It seems that the decision had already been made to reduce the US presence at the BEC:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/17/state-department-dramatic-scale-down-presence-iraq-trump-middle-east-pompeo-diplomacy-iran/

Quote
EXCLUSIVE
State Department Outlines Dramatic Scale-Down of U.S. Presence in Iraq
Critics say the move will open the door to increased Iranian influence and worsen Iraq’s slide into chaos.
BY ROBBIE GRAMER | DECEMBER 17, 2019, 4:22 PM

The U.S. State Department sent Congress this month detailed plans to dramatically and permanently reduce the number of U.S. diplomats in Iraq, a measure that critics say runs directly against the Trump administration’s stated goals of countering Iranian influence in the country and undercuts Washington’s efforts to stabilize the Iraqi government.

Documents sent from the State Department to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and obtained by Foreign Policy shed new light on the department’s decision earlier this year to draw down the number of diplomats and other U.S. personnel in Iraq.

The U.S. Mission in Iraq will reduce the number of staff at its embassy, diplomatic support center, and consulate in Erbil in Northern Iraq from 486 to 349, a 28 percent decrease, by the end of May 2020. The majority of the staff leave will come from the State Department, but other government agencies, including the Defense Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will also cut the size of their staff at the embassy, as the document shows.

The Trump administration is slashing the size of the U.S. Embassy at a time of political upheaval in Iraq amid anti-government protests and as it works to fend off Iranian influence in the country. After over 15 years of military involvement in the country, the United States still has about 6,000 troops in Iraq following the military campaign against the Islamic State terrorist group, and it poured about $1.5 billion of aid into the country in 2018.

The State Department, in the documents it sent to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch, an Idaho Republican, insists the new cut staffing levels “will allow Mission Iraq to still achieve its core objectives, and conduct adequate monitoring and oversight of programs.”

But critics have derided the move. “The administration apparently thinks that we can manage the volatile situation in Iraq with a skeleton crew of diplomats,” Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the top Democrat on the subcommittee overseeing Middle East issues, told Foreign Policy. “It may not be a coincidence that Iraq has unraveled since we started to draw down our presence at the embassy, and we need to find a way to reverse course—fast. If we don’t, I fear Iraq will continue to slide into crisis without a political solution and we will be in a worse-off position to defend our national security interests,” he said.

Read the full document, sent to Risch from Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Mary Elizabeth Taylor, here:


“Ensuring the safety of U.S. government personnel and U.S. citizens abroad is our highest priority,” a State Department spokesman told Foreign Policy in response. “Our Embassy in Baghdad and our Consulate in Erbil are open for business, and Ambassador [Matthew] Tueller and his team are on the ground engaging daily,” the spokesman said.

“Iraq is one of our most important strategic partners in the region, and we are committed to fully engaging with our Iraqi partners and the Iraqi people to support a united, democratic, federal, and prosperous Iraq,” the spokesman added.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boards a plane before departing from Baghdad during a brief visit to Iraq on May 7.
Pompeo Seeks to Make Baghdad Embassy Pullout Permanent, Officials Say
The abrupt evacuation in May left hundreds of diplomats in limbo and too few in Iraq to handle Iran’s influence and other pressing issues, according to State Department sources.

Risch declined to comment through a spokesperson.

Since the costly U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has expanded into a massive and sprawling complex with thousands of logisticians, contractors, and security personnel. Despite the size of the embassy and personnel, only a small proportion come from the State Department; an even smaller number still work on core diplomatic functions, including political and economic officers.

Those small numbers will be reduced further from levels before the departures ordered by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as the documents show. The number of political officers in the embassy will go down by 30 percent, from 10 to 7 officers; the number of consular officers will go down 58 percent, from 12 to five, and officers focused on political and military affairs will go down 33 percent, from six to four. The Pentagon will also reduce its personnel posted at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad from 111 to 63, and USAID would cut 11 of its 19 positions.

Others say diplomats already have difficulty carrying out their jobs given the tight security restrictions dictating when they can leave the embassy to engage with Iraqi officials. Reducing the number of officers working on core diplomatic functions, including political and economic officers, will make that job more difficult, said Barbara Leaf, a former ambassador and senior career diplomat who worked in Iraq.

“It’s a twofold problem. They’re further reducing an already tiny staff, and then keeping them locked up in this security arrangement that makes it virtually impossible for anyone to feel our diplomatic influence,” Leaf said.

In May, Pompeo ordered all nonemergency personnel from the U.S. diplomatic mission in Iraq to withdraw from the country based on unspecified threats from Iran, the United States’ arch-rival in the region. In July, Foreign Policy reported that the department would make the emergency drawdown permanent. This document, not previously released, outlines where the department will make permanent cuts.

Some inside the U.S. government have already sounded the alarm bells on the adverse impact reducing the number of nonmilitary U.S. officials in the country will have. A government watchdog report issued last month determined that the ordered departure for USAID personnel “had significant adverse effects on program planning, management, and oversight activities in Iraq,” where USAID manages over $1 billion in humanitarian assistance programs, as ProPublica reported.

Last year, the Trump administration closed the U.S. consulate in Basra, a southern Iraqi city in the country’s Shiite heartland. A top U.S. diplomat at the consulate, Timmy Davis, opposed the decision to close the consulate through formal dissent channels in the State Department before ultimately carrying out the order.

It seems that message has also been heard by Iraq, Iraqis, Iran, SMGs etc.....
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 21:03:02 by PPCLI Guy »
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2020, 23:31:21 »
The breakdown in the staff reduction isnt discussed.They could be a reduction of Iraqi's working there or other departments .

Offline Colin P

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2020, 00:39:14 »
Iraq was always doomed to another war, either external or civil. It was being held together by brute force and terror. Once Saddam dies, it is very likely it would start to unravel, most likely into a civil war. Looking at the history of regime change in Iraq, looting is a feature not a bug. Had the US not invaded, then the US would have eventually withdrawn most of it's military from the region, at which point Saddam would boot the UN inspectors out. France, Russia and China were all vying for access to Iraq's oil fields, all of whom were owed billions for war material, so expect a surge in revenue going into his coffers. Saddam would need to rearm quickly, the fastest way would have been chemical weapons, followed by a restart of his nuclear program, likley enlisting help from Pakistan's Khan and North Korea. The Revolutionary Guard would rearm first, followed by security services and finally the army. By now assuming he is still alive, he would be announcing some form of nuclear capability or intent to do so. It's also likley he would be seeking assistance from Russia for AD systems, etc. Saddam would be quite busy with Obama and Putin, throwing his support to Putin, at the same time Iran would be building it's forces along the western border and interfering in the US Afghanistan efforts even more than it has. Iraq would then point out to KSA and the US intelligence services that he can be a useful counterweight to Iran, who would reluctantly either support or at least not hinder him. It's very possible that Saddam surviving might actually spur a nuclear arms race in the region. Iraq could not afford to face a nuclear armed Iran (or vis versa), without some similar ability to respond and Iraq could not count on any support from his neighbours thanks to his repeated attacks and invasions.
Would someone like Obama have maintained a no fly zone for the Shia's, particularly with Iran becoming more aggressive in Afghanistan? Saddam would also be likely to want to break Shia's leadership, so expect a upswing of oppression there. Saddam would be quite old with his family manoeuvring to take over, while other factions within the Baathist do the same, all-while attempting to survive purges from an increasingly paranoid Saddam.           

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2020, 00:46:09 »
Civil war may be the only way to root out the pro-Iranian militias.We fought them during OIF. Its something the US would not want to repeat.

Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2020, 07:27:48 »
The breakdown in the staff reduction isnt discussed.They could be a reduction of Iraqi's working there or other departments .

In the article....

"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2020, 08:31:29 »
A slight nuance if I may.
Obviously,  I follow your posts as the wise but curmudgeonly Jedi that you are.  :bowdown:

Equally obviously, the points I mentioned already exceeded my bandwidth quota (for any discussion in which "Trump" is mentioned), without getting deeper into the weeds.   ;D

...so thank you for the addendum.

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Re: Iraq Unravels
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2020, 08:38:34 »
Trump will continue to bluster and claim victory regardless of what is actually happening while the US's real influence in the area slowly bleeds away by a thousand little cuts Tweets.
Fixed that typo for you.   ;)


OK, now  I'll once again back away from Politics 'discussions' for a while.