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Iraq, Ukraine - Oh, What A Tangled Mess We Weave

Politics / US Politics Aug 19, 2014 - 10:31 AM GMT

By: Raul_I_Meijer

Politics

When first we practise to deceive!

The upper echelons in and behind various governments have had on their radar far longer than the media that serve them, and I also realize that Washington wants a leading role in that battle, but even then I still don’t really get what is going on these days.

I think perhaps that’s because I tend to give the American political machine too much credit when it comes to intelligence and insight and other qualities its managerial staff doesn’t exactly seem to be drowning in. But still. I get the idea that most of what Washington does is based on what someone I read today calls ‘solution selling’, and what I know as ‘the completion backward principle’.


Both marketing terms mean you create a problem – a.k.a. a market – first, and then sell your products into the hole you just created. Perhaps that comes closest to what I see America doing these days, and if I’m right in that assessment, I can guarantee massive failure. Or maybe I should say massive warfare, which for me would be a failure, but not necessarily for the Pennsylvania Avenue apparatchiks.

The result is that stock markets keep rising, and oil prices keep falling, while the US actively involves itself in various hornets nests directly linked to various energy resources, involvements it doesn’t exactly have a stellar record in over the past 25 years- if not much longer -. Stocks are up only on central bank largesse, and oil is down only because people have faith in US military might. The latter is a big mistake all by itself, but both are for sure hugely risky notions, which tells me when a blow comes many investors will be taken off guard.

But let’s some other people talk. First, Ron Paul, that very rare sound voice:

What Have We Accomplished in Iraq?

We have been at war with Iraq for 24 years. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year, the propaganda machine began agitating for a US attack on Iraq. We all remember the appearance before Congress of a young Kuwaiti woman claiming that the Iraqis were ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators. The woman turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and the story was false [..]

The second Iraq war in 2003 cost the US some $2 trillion. According to estimates, more than one million deaths have occurred as a result of that war. What have we accomplished? Where are we now, 24 years later? We are back where we started, at war in Iraq!

The US overthrew Saddam Hussein in the second Iraq war and put into place a puppet, Nouri al-Maliki. But after eight years, last week the US engineered a coup against Maliki to put in place yet another puppet. [..] … what really irritated the US government was his 2011 refusal to grant immunity to thousands of US troops …

Hm. Perhaps what really really irritated the US government was that al-Maliki demanded better deals for Iraq in negotiations with western oil companies operating in the country.

Early this year, a radical Islamist group, ISIS, began taking over territory in Iraq. The organization had been operating in Syria, strengthened by US support for the overthrow of the Syrian government. ISIS obtained a broad array of sophisticated US weapons in Syria, very often capturing them from other US-approved opposition groups. Some claim that lax screening criteria allowed some ISIS fighters to even participate in secret CIA training camps in Jordan and Turkey.

This month, ISIS became the target of a new US bombing campaign in Iraq. The pretext for the latest US attack was the plight of a religious minority in the Kurdish region currently under ISIS attack. The US government and media warned that up to 100,000 from this group, including some 40,000 stranded on a mountain, could be slaughtered if the US did not intervene at once.

US bombs began to fall. Last week, however, it was determined that only about 2,000 were on the mountain and many of them had been living there for years! They didn’t want to be rescued!

The humanitarian situation was cynically manipulated by the Obama administration – and echoed by the US media – to provide a reason for the president to attack Iraq again. This time it was about yet another regime change, breaking Kurdistan away from Iraq and protection of the rich oil reserves there, and acceptance of a new US military presence on the ground in the country.

President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress is completely silent. No declaration, no authorization, not even a debate. After 24 years we are back where we started.

Then, Eric Draitser:

‘Islamist State A Pretext For US-Sponsored Regime Change In Iraq’

The ousting of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is part of a broader US plan for Iraq and the Middle East as a whole. Against the backdrop of the war against the Islamic State, Washington has managed to kill two birds with one stone. Not only has the US removed a political leader who had proven to be problematic due to his opposition to US military presence in Iraq, as well as his staunch support for Syria and President Assad, they have also created the conditions for the dismemberment of the Iraqi state.

The US and its allies are supporting de facto ‘independence’ for the Kurdish region in the north of the country, using the IS as a convenient pretext for openly arming and supporting Kurdish forces. Naturally, one should not look for altruism in Washington’s motives. Rather, this strategy is to benefit western oil companies with dollar signs in their eyes, licking their lips in anticipation of being able to deal directly with Kurdish President Barzani. Additionally, Maliki’s ouster deprives Syrian President Assad of a key ally, thereby emboldening the IS and the other militants waging war against Syria. It provides further evidence, as if more were needed, that the political future is bleak for any Iraqi leader who dares to break from the script written for him by Washington.

Perhaps most importantly, it allows the US and its allies to be the leading force politically in the war against the IS, an organization created by US policy and covert operations in the region. In the sales and marketing industry, there is a term known as ‘solution selling’ whereby the salesperson either creates or exaggerates a problem, then presents his or her product as the invaluable solution.

[..] [Al-Maliki] also challenged Western oil companies looking to make massive profits off of Iraq’s vast energy deposits. Perhaps the best-known instance occurred in 2012 when ExxonMobil signed an oil exploration deal with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq. Maliki rejected the validity of the deal, noting that any oil contracts must be negotiated with the central government in Baghdad, rather than Barzani’s US-aligned government in Arbil. Maliki’s spokesman noted at the time that:

“Maliki views these deals as representing a very dangerous initiative that may lead to the outbreak of wars… [and] breaking up the unity of Iraq…Maliki is prepared to go to the highest levels for the sake of preserving the national wealth and the necessary transparency in investing the wealth of the Iraqis, especially oil… [He] sent a message to American President Barak [sic] Obama last week urging him to intervene to prevent ExxonMobil from going in this direction.”

It is no secret that Maliki’s strong-willed resistance to this deal, in addition to his refusal to pay ExxonMobil upwards of $50 million to improve production at one major southern oilfield led directly to the oil company pulling out of the lucrative West Qurna-1 project. Essentially then, Maliki took on the very powerful oil corporations (BP is no friend of Maliki either), seeking to get a better deal for Iraq.

The US should, and could, have taken care of business in Iraq at any point since 1990. It didn’t. And it’s hard for me to accept that it never wanted to. It’s much more likely that hubris got in the way, that there was the idea all along that it never had to know all the ins and outs of the territory to be invaded. That having the biggest guns is always enough in the end. And now it’s clear that that didn’t work the last few times around, and what do you think the ‘new approach’ is? Right, more of the same.

There are scores of groups and militias and private armies and factions and fractions the US supported with billions in cash and training and guns and talks in Iraq alone, and it looks like more often than not it ends up fighting its own arms. The Kurds are the latest fad, but don’t underestimate their hatred of Turkey, which also happens to be a US ally. Who to choose when they restart their feud?

A very similar story, just on a smaller scale, is playing out with regards to American meddling in Ukraine. Really, what are they thinking? And what is Europe thinking? This could throw it back 50 years in time, before you know it someone start building a wall. RT:

Far-Right Right Sector Threatens Armed March On Kiev

The far-right Ukrainian group Right Sector has threatened its armed forces will raid Kiev unless authorities release all its members and end all criminal investigations against them. They accused the police of being “anti-Ukrainian.” Right Sector also accused the Interior Ministry of “unlawful detentions, arrests, beatings, confiscation of arms taken in battle” in moves targeting dozens of fighters of Right Sector’s volunteer battalion, which was formed with the stated goal of fighting armed militias in the east of the country.

The far-right group called on President Petro Poroshenko to fire Yevdokimov and his men from the service and investigate them for “their criminal activities.” As for detained members of Right Sector, all of them should be released and criminal cases launched against them must be closed, Yarosh demanded. “Unless our demands are met within 48 hours, we will be forced to call off all our units on the front line, start a general mobilization of reserve battalions and launch a march on Kiev to enact a ‘swift reform’ of the Interior Ministry. The columns of the Right Sector will march in full gear.”

A handful of billionaires with private armies who pay all sorts of people on the side who happen to want what they want, and wave swastika banners. That’s the western side of this conflict. That’s us.

‘West Has More Influence Than Kiev On Private Armies In Ukraine’

Moscow believes the West has more influence on various paramilitary forces in Ukraine – sponsored by local oligarchs – than Kiev does, the Russian FM said citing the latest bickering between Right Sector and the Interior Ministry. “The authorities in Kiev are not in control of the numerous paramilitary forces, including Right Sector, which, we estimate, comprises a large portion of the National Guard.

The march of Right Sector towards the Ukrainian Interior Minister speaks for itself,” Sergey Lavrov said, adding that the existence of armed groups sponsored by Ukrainian oligarchs, such as the Azov and Dnepr battalions, poses a great security threat. “We work with our Western partners in Europe and the United States who can really influence those paramilitary units that don’t answer to the central government in Kiev. We know the West has such influence,” he added.

Lavrov was referring to the weekend ultimatum of the far-right group, which threatened to pull out its troops from eastern Ukraine and march on Kiev unless President Petro Poroshenko fires several police officials, including a deputy interior minister. The group later reduced its demands, saying that the release of its activists previously arrested by the police was sufficient. [..]

Lavrov cited the latest claim by Kiev on Friday, when the Ukrainian military said it had destroyed a column of Russian armor after an incursion into Ukraine.“What really happened was a Ukrainian column moved in the Lugansk Region, obviously to intercept the rout of a potential humanitarian aid delivery. That column was destroyed by the militia,”he said. “If such episodes are presented as glorious successes of the Ukrainian army, then please don’t accuse us of anything.”

And then, what is the US doing at home? According to multiple media reports, there were all of 200 protesters on the streets of Ferguson last night. Police were firing teargas and rubber bullets into that ‘crowd’ even before the curfew. And it looked like the army had invaded. Armored personnel carriers and all.

And even that was not enough against 200 people who were simply pissed off because a cop emptied his gun, 6 bullets were found in the body alone, into an unarmed kid. 200 people, most of whom only wanted to protest. That there are a few dozen among them who are armed and/or looking for trouble is to be expected. So you pick them out of the crowd and cool things down. Right?

Does nobody in the States know anything about crowd control anymore? Or is this an attempt to make a small incident grow into something much bigger, so Americans get used to seeing the National Guard in their streets? I don’t know, but I look at all these things, and I wonder what’s going on.

As I said yesterday, you could be forgiven for thinking that America went looking for trouble.

By Raul Ilargi Meijer
Website: http://theautomaticearth.com (provides unique analysis of economics, finance, politics and social dynamics in the context of Complexity Theory)

© 2014 Copyright Raul I Meijer - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.
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