Saturday, December 21, 2013

After Geneva, "The Islamic Bomb"

by Guy Millière

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came to Israel again on December 6, 2013, to reassert that Israel's security is at "the top of the American agenda." He stressed that "no agreement will be signed that does not improve Israel's security." Prime Minister Netanyahu had every reason to be skeptical. He reaffirmed Israel's position: a final agreement must "completely end Iran 's nuclear capability."
The Israeli government knows it cannot rely on anyone at the present time. It also knows that Israel is not the only country affected by the Geneva "interim agreement". The Saudis understand that their country is under increasing threat and that US-Saudi alliance is unraveling.

On the day when the "interim agreements" were ratified in Geneva, November 24 2013, the Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was photographed smiling. He had good reason to be pleased; not since the Munich Agreement in 1938 have Western leaders given so much for so little. As Bret Stephens wrote in the Wall Street Journal, Western leaders in Geneva behaved even more disgracefully than those who had come to Munich.

In Munich, only two Western politicians were present, Chamberlain and Daladier; the United States was not involved. In the photographs then, all the participants looked concerned.

After Munich, Winston Churchill delivered the famous phrase: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war". After Geneva, Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, was the only leader expressing disagreement. He spoke of a "historic mistake". Diplomatically, he could not speak of dishonor, although dishonor was plainly evident. And he could he could use the word "betrayal."

In Munich, the big, unspoken item in the room was the persecution of the Jews in Europe. Although Chamberlain and Daladier knew everything about the proliferation of anti-Semitic acts and decisions since Adolf Hitler came to power, they may have thought they were in a weak position, and did not really care about the Jews. They practiced willful blindness. Hitler noticed -- and Kristallnacht soon followed less than six weeks later in Germany: a night in which over 91 Jews were murdered and 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps, Jewish homes, businesses, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, and over 1,000 synagogues were burned.

In Geneva, the big, unspoken item in the room was Israel. Laurent Fabius , Guido Westerwelle, Catherine Ashton and John Kerry knew everything about the calls for destroying Israel uttered for decades ​​by Iranian leaders. They were in a position of strength, but evidently did not care about Israel. They practiced willful blindness. Mohammad Javad Zarif noticed. Ali Khamenei in Tehran also noticed. No Kristallnacht has been perpetrated against Israel -- yet.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (3rd from right), Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (4th from left), and other foreign ministers, listen as EU High Representative Catherine Ashton (3rd from left) speaks in Geneva following negotiations with Iran on Nov. 24, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

It is impossible to hide the evidence: Israel is alone, abandoned by a country supposedly its ally.

Sanctions against Iran have been partially lifted; they will never be restored. Billions of dollars will now flow into Iranian government coffers.

Iranian leaders can continue to enrich uranium; build a weapons-grade plutonium reactor; support massacres in Syria; finance terrorist organizations such as Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, and threaten Israel, a fellow member state of the United Nations -- an act that is illegal under the UN Charter -- with impunity. The international recognition the Iranian leaders now enjoy will legitimize all their activities that make a mockery of human rights.

Iranian leaders continue to deny their efforts to develop what the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called "the Islamic Bomb," but they develop it anyway. They also apparently know that Israel will not intervene militarily against them without a green light from the United States, and that the "agreement" in Geneva is a huge red light. They take the joint U.S.-Israel military exercise scheduled in May 2014 for what it is: a means to hold back the Israeli military for the next six months.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came to Israel again on December 6, 2013, to reassert that Israel's security is at "the top of the American agenda." He stressed that "no agreement will be signed that does not improve Israel's security." Prime Minister Netanyahu had every reason to be skeptical. He reaffirmed Israel's position: a final agreement must "completely end Iran 's nuclear capability."

The next day, at the Saban Forum in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama recognized the "right of Iran" to a "peaceful" nuclear program and "modest uranium enrichment", and, to make his position clear, he qualified Netanyahu's stand as "unrealistic."

Netanyahu repeated Israel's unequivocal position, and added, "The Iranian regime is dedicated to our annihilation."

A recent survey conducted for the Israel Democracy Institute shows the growing skepticism of the Israeli public : 49% of Israeli Jews believe Israel should seek new allies and no longer rely on the unwavering friendship of the United States -- a percentage that is unprecedented.

Only 18% of the respondents believe that the Geneva agreements will curb the military nuclear program of Iran; 77% think that the program will continue uninterrupted and will become an existential threat for their country.

In a November 25 Jerusalem Post column, Caroline Glick wrote that the purpose of these signed agreements was not to "prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power" but to "weaken the State of Israel."

A few days ago, Canadian writer David Solway was more straightforward: "The agreements threaten the very existence of Israel. [Obama and Kerry] would like to see Israel ... ushered out of the corridors of history."

When the "interim agreements" were signed, the American media reaction was mixed. Debates took place, and much harsh criticism and approbation was voiced.

In Europe, the media were unanimously favorable. Some were enthusiastic. Several commentators noted with evident pleasure that Israel was now "isolated" and in a "precarious situation."

In 1938, leading European newspapers were like leading European politicians: indifferent to the fate of the Jews. In 2013, leading European media outlets are like leading European politicians: indifferent to the fate of Israel.

Israel has not been so isolated for decades. Kerry, Obama, and the European leaders seem to be taking advantage of the situation to exert maximum pressure on Israel concerning the "Palestinian question" and the necessity to create a "viable Palestinian State" as soon as possible. The Palestinian leadership is more and more intransigent.

The Israeli government knows it cannot rely on anyone at the present time. It also knows that Israel is not the only country affected by the Geneva "interim agreement".

The Saudis understand that their country is under increasing threat and that US-Saudi alliance is unraveling. Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Ambassador to London, made unambiguous comments reflecting the Saudi leaders' position : "We are not going to sit idly by... and not think seriously how we can best defend our country and our area ." Gulf States might feel even more directly threatened.

In a note published Dec. 3 on his Facebook page , Mohammad Jarad Zarif expressed his willingness to "meet with Saudi officials for talks that will be of benefit to both countries, our region and the whole Muslim world." He visited the Gulf States to meet kings and ministers and spoke of the need for "warmer ties" between them and Iran.

A few days later, Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iran's Parliament and senior negotiator on Iran's nuclear program until 2007, showed that these "openings" toward Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States did not alter the regime's position and were essentially an attempt to isolate Israel even further. "The Zionist regime is the modern form of racist fascism," he said, and added that the Geneva agreement is a "great victory" for Iran and a "big step forward" for the regime.

Who could say otherwise?

Guy Millière


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

UNRWA: 64 Years Later

by Jordan Schachtel

"A great evil has been loosed upon the world," said former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Patrick Moynihan, following a 1975 United Nations Resolution declaring Zionism as a "form of racism and racial discrimination."

The same United Nations (U.N.) that was once engaged in trying to find a peaceful accord between the Jews and Arabs of Israel has declared in clear-cut language and implicit actions its hostility to the ideal of a homeland for the Jewish people.

Following Israel's decisive victory in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Jewish population still living in Muslim countries was treated with contempt and turned out by the local Arab governments.  Hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to leave their home countries, in which they had been living for generations.  Their property was immediately confiscated, they were stripped of rights, and they were subject to brutal discrimination solely because of their religion.  These refugees, scattered throughout the Middle East, had no U.N. agency to turn to in times of great despair.  However, many of the displaced families found a home in Israel where they could finally live in peace.

The Jewish population forced out of Arab countries was nearly double that of the number of Arabs who left after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War of Independence.

Since World War II, over 50 million people worldwide have been displaced as a result of armed conflict, yet the only group of refugees anointed by the United Nations for specific attention is the one composed of Palestinians.  On their behalf, the U.N. created an exclusive agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

This week marks the 64th year since its creation.  On December 8, 1949, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 was approved, creating the UNRWA; its goals were to provide public relief and public works programs for displaced Arab refugees who were formerly inhabitants of the British territory of Palestine.

UNRWA is currently the largest agency-subdivision of the United Nations, employing a staff of 30,000, most of whom are Palestinians.  From its creation in 1949 to the present day, the number of refugees recognized by the UNRWA has grown from roughly 750,000 to 5,000,000.

The agency now considers "refugees" to include not only the first generation of Palestinians who were displaced in the 1948 Israeli-Arab War, but also their progeny, the children and grandchildren of the initially displaced population.  Given the U.N.'s liberality in designating refugees, it would not defy expectations if the next generation of Palestinians were similarly designated as such, or even if the policy continued in perpetuity.

Despite its purported mission, UNRWA has drawn attention for its ties to radical Islam, rather than its humanitarian relief efforts.  Credible information has surfaced linking UNRWA-funded sites to keeping suspected terrorists on payroll and unreported surrendering of ambulances and supplies to Hamas.

Videos such as Camp Jihad have exposed the true nature of UNRWA camps.  These preach jihadist ideology to an audience of uncritical grade school-aged children.  The UNRWA's dean of education was recently exposed as having an affinity for former Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, proudly quoting him on his Facebook page -- the quote accompanying a photo of Hitler engaging in his infamous Nazi salute.

The United States is the UNRWA's largest donor, having contributed 233 million dollars in 2012.  Many suggest that, by sponsoring this organization, the United States is unwittingly playing a role in perpetuating the Arab-Israeli conflict and stirring tensions in the Middle East.

The United Nations did not stop its partisan exercise with just the UNRWA.  It has created other exclusive platforms for the Palestinian people, including

1. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

2. The United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights

3. The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People

4. The United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine

5. The Palestinian International Day of Solidarity

Many argue that the United Nations' role as a "big tent" organization was established from the Liberal Internationalist ideal that a world without conflict was truly attainable.  Others argue that UNRWA is one of many examples that should more properly categorize the U.N. as a case study in failure.

Jordan Schachtel serves as a foreign policy analyst at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Left Against Zion

by Caroline Glick

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post
In the 1960s, the American Left embraced the anti-Vietnam War movement as its cri de coeur.

In the 1970s, the Left’s foreign policy focus shifted to calling for unilateral nuclear disarmament by the US and its Western allies.

In the 1980s, supporting the Sandinista Communists’ takeover of Nicaragua became the catechism of the Left.

In the 1990s, the war on global capitalism – that is, the anti-globalization movement – captivated the passions of US Leftists from coast to coast.

In the 2000s, it was again, the anti-war movement.

This time the Left rioted and demonstrated against the war in Iraq.

And in this decade, the main foreign policy issue that galvanizes the passions and energies of the committed American Left is the movement to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist.

This week has been a big one for the anti-Israel movement. In the space of a few days, two quasi academic organizations – the American Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association – have launched boycotts against Israeli universities. Their boycotts follow a similar one announced in April by the Asian Studies Association.

These groups’ actions have not taken place in isolation. They are of a piece with ever-escalating acts of anti-Israel agitation in college campuses throughout the United States.

Between the growth of Israel Apartheid Day (or Week, or Month) from a fringe exercise on isolated campuses to a staple of the academic calendar in universities throughout the US and Canada, and the rise of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to wage economic war against the Jewish state, anti-Israel activism has become the focal point of Leftist foreign policy activism in the US and throughout the Western world.

Every week brings a wealth of stories about new cases of aggressive anti-Israel activism. At the University of Michigan last week, thousands of students were sent fake eviction notices from the university’s housing office. A pro-Palestinian group distributed them in dorms across campus to disseminate the blood libel that Israel is carrying out mass expulsions of Palestinians.

At Swarthmore College, leftist anti-Israel Jewish students who control Hillel are insisting on using Hillel’s good offices to disseminate and legitimate anti-Israel slanders.

And the Left’s doctrinaire insistence that Israel is the root of all evil is not limited to campuses.

At New York’s 92nd Street Y, Commentary editor John Podhoretz was booed and hissed by the audience for trying to explain why the ASA’s just-announced boycott of Israel was an obscene act of bigotry.

Many commentators have rightly pointed out that the ASA and the NAISA are fringe groups.
They represent doctorate holders who chose to devote their careers to disciplines predicated not on scholarship, but on political activism cloaked in academic regalia whose goal is to discredit American power. The ASA has only 5,000 members, and only 1,200 of them voted on the Israel- boycott resolution. The NAISA has even fewer members.

It would be wrong, however, to use the paltry number of these fringe groups’ members as means to dismiss the phenomenon that they represent. They are very much in line with the general drift of the Left.

Rejecting Israel’s right to exist has become part of the Left’s dogma. It is a part of the catechism.

Holding a negative view of the Jewish state is a condition for membership in the ideological camp. It is an article of faith, not fact.

Consider the background of the president of the ASA. Curtis Marez is an associate professor in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, San Diego. His area of expertise is Chicano Film and Media Studies.

He doesn’t know anything about Israel. He just knows that he’s a Leftist. And today, Leftists demonize Israel. Their actions have nothing to do with anything Israel does or has ever done. They have nothing to do with human rights. Hating Israel, slandering Israel and supporting the destruction of Israel are just things that good Leftists do.

And Marez was not out of step with his fellow Leftists who rule the roost at UCSD. This past March the student council passed a resolution calling for the university to divest from companies that do business with Israel.

Why? Because hating Israel is what Leftists do.

The Left’s crusade against the Jewish state began in earnest in late 2000. The Palestinians’ decision to reject statehood and renew their terror war against Israel ushered in the move by anti-Israel forces on the Left to take over the movement. And as they have risen, they have managed to silence and discredit previously fully accredited members of the ideological Left for the heresy of supporting Israel.

This week, Harvard Law Prof. Alan Dershowitz retired after 50 years on the law faculty. His exit, the same week as the ASA and the NAISA announced their boycotts of Israeli universities, symbolized the marginalization of the pro-Israel Left that Dershowitz represented.

For years, Dershowitz has been a non-entity in leftist circles. His place at the table was usurped by anti-Israel Jews like Peter Beinart. And now Beinart is finding himself increasingly challenged by anti-Semitic Jews like Max Blumenthal.

The progression is unmistakable.

The question is, is it irreversible? Must supporters of Israel choose between their support for Israel and their affinity for the Left? Certainly it is true that the more the issue of support for Israel splits along ideological and partisan lines, the more reasonable it is for supporters of Israel to move to the ideological camp and the party that supports Israel, and away from the ones that do not support Israel.

The average voter is not in a position to change the positions of his party or the dogma of his ideological camp. He can take it or leave it. With rejection of Israel now firmly entrenched in the Left’s dogma, and with the Left firmly in control of the Democratic Party under President Barack Obama’s leadership, for those who care about Israel, the Republican Party is a more natural fit.

So, too, the ideological Right is far more congenial to the Jewish state than the Left.

While the most sensible place for supporters of Israel to be today is on the political Right, it is also true that it is neither smart nor responsible to abandon the Left completely. Jews should be able to feel comfortable as Jews, and as supporters of Israel everywhere. Ideological camps that castigate Jews for their pride in the accomplishments of the Jewish state, and for their support and concern for its survival and prosperity, are camps in desperate need of fixing.

But we should not fool ourselves. Challenging the likes of Marez, or the Swarthmore students, or Max Blumenthal or Peter Beinart to a reasoned debate is an exercise in futility. They do not care about human rights. They do not care that Israel is the only human rights-respecting democracy in the Middle East. They do not care about the pathological nature of Palestinian society. They do not care about the Jewish people’s indigenous rights and international legal rights to sovereignty not only over Tel Aviv and Haifa, but over Hebron and Ramallah.

Being hypocrites doesn’t bother them either.

You can talk until you’re blue in the face about the civilian victims of the Syrian civil war, or the gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia and the absence of religious freedom throughout the Muslim world. But they don’t care. They aren’t trying to make the world a better place.

Facts cannot compete with their faith. Reason has no place in their closed intellectual universe.

To accept reason and facts would be an act of heresy.

Marez may be a hypocrite, and even a servant of evil. But he is no heretic.

The only real way to mitigate the hard Left’s devotion to Israel’s destruction is by changing the power balance on the Left. For the past decade, donors like George Soros have been open in their commitment to elect Democrats who oppose the US’s alliance with Israel. A decade ago, Soros and fellow Jewish American billionaire Peter Lewis funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into became a clearinghouse for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish messages that became the stock in trade of the ideological Left, and of Democratic candidates in need of campaign funding.

It was due to then-Democratic senator Joe Lieberman’s refusal to get on the Soros- and Lewis-funded anti-Israel bandwagon in the 2004 elections, that they turned against Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary for his seat in the Senate. His Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont, who won the primary, ran a campaign laced with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda.

There are Democratic funders, like Penny Pritzker, Lester Crown and Haim Saban, who support Israel. If they were so inclined, they could use their considerable funds to change the power equation in the Democratic Party. They could cultivate and support pro-Israel Democratic candidates. They could take the Democratic Party back.

This week ended with Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer finally breaking his silence on Obama’s Iran deal and joining forces with his fellow Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk to defy Obama on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Given Obama’s floundering popularity, it is possible that Schumer’s move will open the door for a change in the Democratic Party.

In truth, there is no reason for the Democratic Party to remain in place. It isn’t ordained that the Democrats must cleave to the hard Left.

The rejection of Israel is not a natural component of leftist dogma. It’s just that for the past decade, the smart money and the rising power on the Left has been with those who oppose Israel’s existence as a strong, independent Jewish state.

While the ASA and its comrades are on the fringes of academia, they are not fringe voices on the Left. The Left has embraced the cause of Israel’s destruction. And its financial power has made it difficult for pro-Israel Democrats to act on their convictions, and those of their voters.

The combination of an exodus of supporters of Israel – Jews and non-Jews alike – from the Left and from the Democratic Party on the one hand, and generous funding for pro-Israel Democratic candidates on the other, can change the equation.

America lost the Vietnam War. The Sandinistas are back in change in Nicaragua. But if people are willing to stand up now and be counted, America need not harm Israel.

Caroline Glick


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Wrong Christmas Message

by Ruthie Blum

Shame on the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, for taking the occasion of his annual "Christmas message" to blame Israel for the plight of Christians in the Middle East. It is precisely at this juncture -- when the persecution of Christians in the Muslim-Arab world is not merely increasing at a frightening rate, but is becoming more blatant and bloodier -- that the chief Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land should be warning against the religious war being waged against his brethren.

After all, churches in every Islam-dominated country are being destroyed; Christian women (including nuns) are being raped, men (including priests) are being beheaded; and the property of those who would escape this fate is being confiscated. 

Meanwhile, liberal Christians in the West have been looking the other way. Fearing accusations of Islamophobia, they prefer promoting "interfaith dialogue" to protesting the abominations being perpetrated against their own. There is also an element of "out of sight, out of mind" at work. Those "other" Christians live in faraway lands and speak foreign languages. This makes it easier to forget about them and go about the business of decorating trees, shopping for gifts, stuffing stockings and singing carols.

But there is no excuse for "His Beatitude" Archbishop Twal -- a Jordanian-born Palestinian responsible for the tens of thousands of Catholics living in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Gaza, Jordan and Cyprus -- to view the victimization of his fellow Christians as anything other than a concerted effort on the part of radical Muslims to subjugate, convert, banish or wipe out his co-religionists. 

Nevertheless, he cloaked his holiday message in diplo-speak, based on false premises.
"The situation in the Middle East is becoming more complex and dramatic," he told reporters. "The scenarios in Syria and Iraq can be repeated elsewhere, as seen in Egypt and Libya. The instability affects everyone, but especially our faithful who are tempted to emigrate. In Gaza our people are suffering from the effects of the embargo imposed by Israel and even Egypt. To prevent the conflict from spreading in the whole region, a 'sustainable' cease-fire in Syria should be immediately established and prevent any entry of outside weapons. As the Syrian problem cannot be resolved by the force of arms, we call on all political leaders to assume the responsibility for finding a mutually acceptable political solution that will end the senseless violence, and uphold respect for the dignity of people. … The Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed in late July, after three years of interruption. But the efforts are hampered by the continuous building of Israeli settlements. As long as this problem is not resolved, the people of our region will suffer."

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing whatsoever to do with the assault on Christians in the Middle East. And the mere mention of Israeli settlements in this context takes the art of lying to a whole new level. 

Even Britain's Prince Charles -- who has spent the last two decades trying "to build bridges between Islam and Christianity to dispel ignorance and misunderstanding" -- has come to grasp this. On Tuesday, at a reception for Middle East Christians at his official Clarence House residence, he said, "It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants."

Israel doesn't come into it at all, other than being an ally under similar attack for its biblical values.

Twal knows this all too well. He is also aware that Israel is the only country in the Middle East whose Christian population is growing. His behavior is the kind of collusion with the enemy that should not be tolerated. 

"Turning the other cheek" may be a Christian tenet. But offering an aggressor someone else's cheek as a method of self-protection is sinful.

Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring'".


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

MPAC Peddles Debunked Gaza Dam Story

by IPT News

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is promoting a story accusing Israel of opening a dam during a freak winter storm, causing massive flooding in the Gaza Strip.

"On Monday, Israel opened the Wadi Sofa dam in the south Gaza Strip that flooded Gazan towns and displaced approximately 10,000 Gazans from their homes leading the United Nations to label it a "disaster area," the article says.

MPAC posted the article Friday and also sent it on the group's email list.

The problem is that the dam doesn't seem to exist, and the story, originally pushed by Hamas, was debunked days ago by the Times of Israel.

A spokesman for Israel's Water Authority told the newspaper that the story is "baseless and false" and that Israel has no dams in that area. The flooding is real, but caused by overflowing reservoirs after 10 inches of rain fell in a three-day period. That's 60 percent of the normal annual rainfall in the area.

While the dam story first came from Hamas's Disaster Response Committee chairman, the Times' story quotes Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook acknowledging Israel tried to help in the storm's wake.

"The Zionists, of course, have taken advantage of the situation, sending some pumps and supplies which they had deprived the besieged Gaza Strip of," Marzook wrote on his Facebook page Sunday.

This isn't the first time MPAC burned itself by promoting questionable material. Last year, it linked to an article defending convicted terrorist Tarek Mehanna, arguing he was a victim of "a hysterical witch-hunt for 'radical' Muslims." Mehanna's conviction for providing support to al-Qaida and conspiring to commit murder abroad was upheld last month by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Massachusetts.

He traveled to Yemen in hopes of receiving jihad training. When that didn't work, he returned to Massachusetts and posted translations of material supporting al-Qaida and "Salafi-Jihadi perspectives."

Evidence showed Mehanna's work was "in response to Al-Qa'ida's call," prosecutors wrote, "and that he was pleased to be associated with Al-Qa'ida through his work."

Past MPAC position papers criticized American terrorist designations for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and called the 1983 Hizballah bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon during a peacekeeping operation, "exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies."

MPAC enjoys good relations with the White House and other politicians and is considered influential on policy. It's a wonder, given the organization's reckless tendency to embrace terror suspects and promote baseless allegations.

IPT News


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Why the U.S. Failed in Iraq - Baghdad at the Crossroads

by Steve Dobransky

In a quiet and sparsely attended ceremony, the U.S. flag was lowered at Baghdad International Airport on December 15, 2011, marking the official end to the troubled U.S. mission on Iraqi soil. What had begun as an undertaking to remove Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) turned into an 8-year mission that was far more costly than most could have imagined. Looking back, few would likely say that the United States should undertake such an enterprise again if given a chance.

There is a serious need to examine the essential strategic components of Washington's initial war planning, as well as the subsequent occupation and surge, in order to shed light on the final outcome and current situation in Iraq and to plan for the future. Regardless of the messaging, the overall operation—and in particular, the surge—was a major failure in significantly altering the Iraqi equation for the better, and it laid the foundations for much worse things to come.

What began as a U.S.-led mission to end the perceived danger of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction ended quietly on December 15, 2011, at Baghdad International Airport, with the lowering of the American flag. A decade-long debate about the purpose and utility of the mission has still not concluded.

Policy Debates on Iraq

Although the Iraq war began on March 19, 2003, the debate over its advisability and rationale started well before that date. Supporters of the war were led by President George W. Bush and others within his administration who argued that in light of the terror attacks on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001, Saddam's presumed possession of weapons of mass destruction and perceived connections to al-Qaeda were too great a danger to the homeland to be ignored. As the United Nations' sanctions regime was seen to be flimsy, if not crumbling, the fear that Baghdad would ally itself with terrorists took on increasing urgency. Congressional leaders, whether convinced of the need for war or merely remembering the political repercussions of having opposed the 1991 Kuwait war, came out relatively strongly in authorizing an October 2002 war resolution.

The war's opponents ranged from leftist peace activists to those who doubted its necessity and the claims that Saddam was a grave threat. Critics pointed out that Iraq had been substantially weakened by the previous war and the destruction of thousands of proscribed weapons and questioned the existence of WMD. Many disputed Saddam's connection with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, pointing to deep ideological differences between the two leaders. Others argued that containment and deterrence were better means of dealing with Iraq.[1]

Although no caches of WMD were found, and Saddam proved much weaker than war supporters had claimed, there were, at least during the initial period, reasonable concerns about these issues. But whether a long-term occupation was necessary after Saddam's removal and capture is an entirely different argument, which merits serious discussion.

On May 1, 2003, President Bush made a highly publicized (and subsequently criticized) speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, stating that while major combat operations were over, the "mission continues ... We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide." A new and vigorous debate followed, centering on the occupation and governance of Iraq. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), led by L. Paul Bremer, III, issued orders that led to the firing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and security personnel although many of them had been promised safety and the chance to keep their jobs if they did not resist U.S. forces.[2] While some of Saddam's loyalists and others would certainly have continued fighting, most government personnel appeared completely willing to work with the occupying forces and participate in a post-Saddam regime since most Iraqis detested the dictator.[3] This disappointment, if not a broken promise, should be seen as a major cause of the subsequent massive insurgency against coalition forces as the former ruling Sunni minority sought to safeguard its fledgling position vis-à-vis the traditionally downtrodden Shiite majority.

On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush made a highly publicized (and subsequently criticized) landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln, declaring the end to major combat operations in Iraq. The "turning of the tide" he hailed lasted another eight years, accompanied by more than 4,000 American deaths, a much-debated troop surge, and an Iraq that today seems more firmly in the orbit of Washington's Iranian nemesis.
Most Americans recognized that their government was now responsible for stabilizing Iraq and ensuring a peaceful transition to a new, democratically elected Iraqi government and free society. How it was to achieve these goals and when it should withdraw became the next highly contentious issue.

Many proponents of a continued U.S. presence expanded on the noble ends of establishing freedom and democracy in Iraq with an inclusive government representing all the key ethnic, religious, and tribal groups. They believed that a democracy firmly planted in the heart of the Arab world would become an ally of the West in the perceived fight against Islamist extremism, whether emanating from Iran or non-state actors such as al-Qaeda. They advocated patience during the transition and acknowledged that the new Iraq was an imperfect political system and that its leaders were bound to make mistakes. Many downplayed the serious and longstanding sectarian divisions that bedeviled Iraq and argued that a Shiite-dominated government would be acceptable and would not align itself with Iran.[4]

Opponents of the occupation focused on the ensuing casualties among both Americans and Iraqis and contended that a continued international presence greatly exacerbated the situation. They pointed out that the occupation had too few troops to stabilize the country and root out the growing number of insurgents, especially after the CPA order that disbanded Saddam's military, security, and intelligence infrastructure. Opponents further declared that Washington should have been prepared to do a lot more in the beginning of the operation, which would have allowed a quicker exit, especially after the 2005 Iraqi elections. Policy actions could have included deploying hundreds of thousands of additional troops to maintain stability and secure the borders; making greater efforts to prevent sectarian reprisals and looting; having and implementing a much more efficient transition plan that would have handed over political power sooner; providing the Iraqi security forces with more heavy armor, equipment, and combat aircraft; and making a comprehensive and substantial effort to help Iraq recover from more than a decade of sanctions, especially in terms of getting its oil and utilities industries back on their feet as quickly as possible to pre-sanctions levels. These criticisms became even more pronounced after 2006 with the rapid deterioration of the Iraqi security situation.[5]

Initial Errors

Despite dramatic videos of missiles blasting windows and powerful stories from embedded reporters, one key question about the fighting was rarely raised: How effective was the U.S. military strategy in destroying the bulk of enemy forces? If Washington's military strategy was to achieve a quick and easy victory, then it achieved that goal. But from the outset, the campaign failed to destroy the bulk of the enemy's fighting forces. Relying on the maximum number of estimated enemy kills and captures from a number of military and other sources (in particular those of Gen. Tommy Franks who led the 2003 invasion), U.S. and coalition forces eliminated no more than 30,000 enemy personnel of the one to one and a half million armed Iraqis comprising the regular army, Republican Guards, and other forces. If these figures are accurate, the coalition troops removed no more than 3 percent of enemy forces.[6]

Moreover, U.S. enemies the world over learned two key lessons from the 1991 Kuwait war: 1) Do not mass forces out in the open against technologically superior air and missile forces, and 2) do not remain in any known government or military facilities when the bombs and missiles start coming down. But the 2003 U.S. military strategists ignored these lessons that others had learned well. U.S. ground forces should have been prepared to deal with an enemy that would not endanger the bulk of its forces, intending to survive the initial onslaught in order to fight again another day and in an unconventional manner. Although aware of this, Washington planners used a line of attack and, later, occupation policy that incorporated high-tech, long-distance strikes along with avoidance and low-risk actions on the ground in order to ensure minimal U.S. casualties and the resulting domestic political opposition. Despite the rapid overthrow of the Baathist regime, difficulties soon multiplied.
It appears that Washington's policy was more of a political-geographical strategy than a truly military one. That strategy primarily was to go from point A (Kuwait) to point B (Baghdad) and destroy any enemy forces along the two generally straight lines that coalition forces took. (Some smaller forces came from different directions as well.) The only problem with this approach was that the vast majority of enemy units were either not positioned along these two straight lines or had the opportunity to move out of the way before most of the coalition forces arrived. There does not seem to have been any inclination to pursue and destroy the bulk of enemy forces beyond the designated path or once U.S. forces reached the Iraqi capital. In all, it was politically convenient to declare victory after the capture of Baghdad rather than recognize that most of the enemy was still on the loose and, possibly, could reorganize in the future to fight an unconventional war of attrition. Many U.S. and coalition forces remained outside Iraq waiting to be ordered in but were told to stand down.[7]

Understanding the original 2003 Iraq war strategy is critical to comprehending the occupation, surge, and final results. Political leaders were far more concerned about low casualty counts than achieving a decisive military victory. From a public relations perspective, the war was a success: Saddam was gone; U.S. troops were in Baghdad, and Iraqis praised Allah and Bush. However, the fundamental, underlying problem then—as it remains now—was that U.S. leaders substituted short-term political goals for military success and were able to persuade the general public into accepting this as victory.[8] Today's very precarious and unstable situation is largely a corollary of this failed initial strategy.

Failure of the Counterinsurgency Policy

A further great debate on Washington's role in Iraq centered on the troop surge of 2007. President Bush and the surge's architect, Gen. David Petraeus, declared the surge's strategy and tactics to be sound and the eventual results a great success.[9] Even former war critics kept silent or welcomed a policy intended to end the occupation once and for all, emphasizing its lower-risk approach of winning hearts and minds with a much larger military force to back it up. Ultimately, however, the surge offered nothing dramatic in terms of resolving deep domestic Iraqi differences or eliminating most, if not all, of the insurgents. It essentially continued the policy adopted in 2003 of avoidance and scare tactics intended to suppress enemy forces but not to pursue most of them directly for fear of high casualties and a resulting domestic backlash. Nor did it persuade most insurgents that their lives and goals were in danger if they did not negotiate with Washington. While the surge did succeed in persuading many fighters to go underground, and even some to work with U.S. representatives on some issues, it never dealt with the fundamental issues of political divisions and grievances and, thus, never resolved some of the most pressing issues.[10] Though many of the co-opted fighters were Sunnis, who were showered with praise and material rewards for switching sides or laying down their weapons, the Shiite government never trusted them completely, and their primary demands were never met.[11]

By 2006, the situation in Iraq had deteriorated to such a point that 30,000 more U.S. soldiers were deployed to prevent further collapse. A total of approximately 160,000 troops were to be sent to Iraq as part of a declared "New Way Forward." Originally announced to last twelve months, the surge was similar to the prewar strategy in that it was not based on traditional warfare goals geared to the destruction of the enemy.[12]

Though January 10, 2007—the date President Bush announced his plan to send in an additional 20,000-plus troops—is generally considered the onset of the surge strategy, the policy actually began unofficially in December 2006 when the army's new counterinsurgency manual was released, in which Petraeus and others laid out the details for the upcoming surge.[13] Underlying the new approach was the idea that throwing large numbers of troops into an area would somehow produce victory. Perhaps this can work in a conventional war (albeit in a messy and costly fashion) but not in an unconventional war like the Iraqi one.

Good counterinsurgency strategy requires flexibility and movement, intelligence, and aggressiveness. The plan adopted in 2007 never included any of these elements in a comprehensive and regular manner. It also appears to have operated on the assumption that the enemy was so dim-witted and collectively suicidal that it would not make any adjustments to its own strategy once forewarned of U.S. specifics. As such, the surge strategy was a military failure even before it began, its only success being in the U.S. domestic and media spheres. Petraeus's strategy basically took the extra 30,000 troops, broke them up into small units, and deployed them into fixed positions throughout a few select areas of Iraq, primarily in and around Baghdad. By spreading out and diffusing its military superiority with a constantly moving enemy that mixed in with the local population, failure was guaranteed in the long term. Although the surge enabled U.S. troops to get out to more locations and interact with the Iraqi people, the temporary lull in fighting in those locations did not mean victory. Instead, the enemy merely had enough sense to go underground and relocate to new areas.

The vast majority of insurgents never surrendered or left Iraq and definitely were not removed. Some were killed or captured; others agreed to surrender under promises of a peaceful resolution to their grievances. A number of fighters, such as the Awakening councils and Sons of Iraq from Anbar province, were even paid and armed to stop attacking U.S. forces and to carry out basic, local security duties. These groups took the money and the jobs, but many were not completely reliable and, in the end, were fired by the Shiite-led central government or forced to join with the regular armed forces under Shiite command.[14]

Having produced very little success in Baghdad in terms of the number of insurgents eliminated, the public relations focus shifted elsewhere: to Anbar province. Massive internecine strife continued in Baghdad, and thousands of terrorists remained safe and untouched in Sadr City and adjacent neighborhoods—notably the Duri and Shammar tribal areas north of the capital.[15] But Anbar was out in the middle of nowhere, had a relatively small population (about one quarter of Baghdad's), and was mainly an entry and transit point to other more important areas.[16] It is not surprising then that Anbar and the surge's "success" became intertwined. However, on a national level and over the long term, success there meant relatively little. U.S. policymakers encouraged local tribes and other groups to secure their areas and fight al-Qaeda and any other enemy. These forces did have some success, but since Anbar was far from the primary centers of political power, the impact was relatively small.[17]

The surge strategy produced, beyond a doubt, a reduction in U.S. casualties and enemy attacks. It came, however, at the expense of allowing the enemy to remain relatively safe and grow stronger by the day. Based upon a number of reports, despite the surge, there were an estimated 100,000-plus Sunni insurgents (many of them former Iraqi security personnel that had been disbanded), some 60,000-plus Shiite members in Muqtada al-Sadr's Shiite Mahdi Army, another 60,000-plus members in the Iranian-supported Badr organization, approximately 10,000-20,000 total hardcore terrorists within the organizations listed above laying the bombs and committing suicide attacks, and some 1,000-5,000 al-Qaeda members.[18] Most combat organizations have on average a ratio of two-to-one combat to support personnel. In the case of the insurgency, this would embrace people who provide weapons, safe houses, money, transportation, reconnaissance, etc. Consequently, many more people could be added to the list of supporters and sympathizers.[19] The group most focused on in Iraq for years was al-Qaeda, which appears to have made up no more than 1 percent of this insurgency total.[20] From a public relations perspective, targeting those who perpetrated 9/11 might have made some sense, but when 99 percent of the insurgents appeared to be anything but al-Qaeda, the approach must be seen as ineffective from a military standpoint.

Notwithstanding the vast U.S. superiority over the enemy and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent, most of the estimated terrorists were not killed or captured, let alone tried and convicted during the surge period. Based upon the reported number of enemy killed by the U.S. government through daily media sources such as The New York Times, there were no more than 500 terrorists reported killed in the first year and a half of the surge. When one considers that government and military sources claimed that an average of 50 to 100 foreign insurgents were entering Iraq per month at the same time (supposedly a 50 percent reduction from previous periods, though such estimates usually only counted foreign entry from Syria), the surge's enemy kills did nothing to reduce total numbers.[21]

In the meantime, tens of thousands of suspected terrorists were put in Iraqi jails. However, very few were ever tried and convicted, and most of them were released after six to twelve months. One U.S. Department of Defense report, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," acknowledged that very few detainees actually turned out to be terrorists and that in the 18,000-plus cases reviewed between February 2007 and January 2008, more than 13,000 detainees were released without trial, 2,000 were found not guilty in court, and more than 3,000 were waiting to have their cases heard. In other words, no convictions could be declared for an entire year of the surge.[22] In an apparent gesture of cooperation, U.S. officials referred approximately 3,000 of their own detainee cases to Iraqi courts, but every detainee was found innocent. These results are consistent with a number of reports over the years that stated that no more than 2 percent of Iraqi detainees were ever tried and convicted.[23] Washington continues to refuse to disclose the exact number of terrorist convictions, but inferring from the above data, it is likely that the conviction rate is in the single digits and is, most likely, no more than 1-2 percent. When the Iraqi government started applying its own February 2008 amnesty law, more than 100,000 detainees were ordered released by courts by July 2008.[24]

All in all, the surge strategy can lay claim to a grand total of approximately 1,000 actual terrorists killed or captured in the first year and a half of its operation, or approximately 56 terrorists per month. Compared to the simultaneous estimated 50 to 100 foreign terrorists entering Iraq each month, the surge's failure becomes apparent. This assessment does not even include domestic recruitment or the number of Iraqis enraged by the arrests of their family members without substantial evidence.[25] Instead the surge was an unexpected opportunity for insurgents to reorganize, rest, and prepare for the endgame for control of Iraq, making them its most likely beneficiaries.

An Ignominious End?

One of the major (and unintended) consequences of the surge was driving powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr ever closer to Tehran. Rather than the Shiites turning on each as they did in the 1920s, conflicts with Sadr's Mahdi Army and Sadr's subsequent flight to Iran[26] ended up aligning him with Tehran and, in effect, his main Shiite rival, the Iraqi Badr organization. As such, the surge united many of the Iraqi Shiites under the banner of Sadr and, to a lesser extent, Iran, in what may turn out to be one of the most decisive factors in the future of Iraq and the ultimate failure of U.S. policy.

Thus, by the time the surge started to wind down in 2008, the pro-Iranian Shiites were being armed and trained on a large scale by Tehran. This arming had been going on to a lesser extent since 2003, but the Shiites' experience, confidence, and capabilities increased greatly during the surge, especially when the administration declared that it would withdraw most if not all combat forces from Iraq in the near future. This lack of commitment encouraged both Shiite and Sunni forces to substantially increase their weapons' acquisitions, recruitment, and training in preparation for the forthcoming power vacuum.

Obama's promise to leave Iraq by 2011 helped strengthen Sadr and his pro-Iranian forces while Sunni groups' fears became more pronounced. It should be pointed out that the Shiites were never completely united, and there certainly was fighting between Maliki government forces and Sadr's and other Shiite militias. But this was more like a family squabble and never led to any large numbers of deaths or long-term imprisonments. In 2008 in Basra, for example, the Iraqi government sent 30,000 troops to suppress Sadr's group, but Tehran then stepped in and resolved the issue before any substantial losses were incurred.[27]

In any event, in the 2010 elections, a number of U.S. officials including James Clapper, director of national intelligence, and Gen. John Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, strongly supported the election of Ayad Allawi—Maliki's chief Sunni rival and a former CIA confederate. These officials argued that many regional Arab allies opposed Maliki and thought he was too pro-Iranian. Other officials, including Vice-president Joe Biden, sided energetically with Maliki while President Obama played both sides of the fence and kept his options open.[28] It is not surprising that when all the votes were counted, Maliki may have believed that some U.S. officials had betrayed him and tried to subvert the process in Allawi's favor.

Fiery Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, seen here in a poster with one of his Mahdi army militiamen, has become a kingmaker in Baghdad thanks in part to the inept U.S. role in Iraq's most recent elections. Sadr was once declared an outlaw by U.S. occupation administrator Paul Bremer but has managed to outlast and outflank most of his opponents.
Allawi's Iraqi National Movement had received the largest number of votes with 91 parliamentary seats while Maliki's State of Law Coalition was slightly behind with 89; with 163 seats necessary to form a majority coalition, neither had won decisively. This left Sadr's National Iraqi Alliance to play kingmaker with 70 seats. Despite some initial efforts by Washington to align Allawi with Maliki, the political outcome was likely sealed before the elections. Maliki probably saw his fellow Shiite Sadr in more favorable terms and, ultimately, decided to co-opt his support. With four votes short of a majority coalition, Maliki and Sadr negotiated with the Kurds and achieved a clear majority.[29]

Thus, a governing coalition was formed that was more unfriendly to Washington's interests and had within its key leadership a former U.S. foe in Sadr. Maliki soon shifted after the new government was created to a more pro-Iranian and staunch Shiite position, alienating Washington even further. This helps explain why Baghdad was unwilling to accept Washington's status-of-forces conditions for maintaining a military presence after 2011 as well as its permission for Tehran to use Iraqi airspace in support of the embattled Syrian government.[30]

In December 2011, the Maliki government targeted its Sunni vice president Tariq Hashemi, charging him with planning terrorist attacks against Shiites. Convicted and sentenced to death in absentia, Hashemi fled to Iraqi Kurdistan and then to Turkey. Many Iraqi Sunnis perceived the charges as trumped up by hostile Shiites and an attempt to weaken and humiliate rival Sunni politicians.[31] The heightened tensions between the two Muslim communities further underscore the failure of the U.S. mission in Iraq.


Could the Iraq equation have been changed to produce a more favorable outcome for Washington, and was it worth all the effort?

The current situation in the country bodes poorly for the United States. A more hostile and skeptical Iraqi government is in place, which presumably will not strongly support U.S. interests in the region. Baghdad is unlikely to allow U.S. military forces to return if needed for a possible attack against Iran and is now more supportive of Tehran and Iranian interests in the region. Moreover, the Iraqi government has been trying to compel American oil companies to give up their operations in Iraqi Kurdistan and appears to be looking for replacements in China and elsewhere for the American companies.[32]

This state of affairs is the culmination of nearly a decade of Washington's failures and lost opportunities. Though the claimed objectives and results were commendable, the actual conduct of the war and its consequences were sub-par. These mistakes began before the outbreak of hostilities with a minimalist military strategy, followed by the self-restrained operations during the occupation and surge phases, and finally by the embarrassingly inept political behavior before and after the 2010 Iraqi elections. These missteps were all indicative of a major disconnect between U.S. leaders' once very powerful and aggressive military doctrine and a new breed of timid and inexperienced leaders forwarding incoherent policies.

Iraq's future trajectory seems to be toward a rising Iran that may one day fully incorporate Baghdad into its orbit. Washington has had more than enough chances to stem this current and future course, but the general passivity and eventual desperation of U.S. leaders turned the Iraqi mission into a tragedy that has yet to end conclusively and comprehensively.
Steve Dobransky is an adjunct professor at Cleveland State University and Lakeland College. Contact:
[1] Peter W. Galbraith, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War without End (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006), pp. 76-84. [2] James Dobbins, Seth G. Jones, Benjamin Runkle, and Siddharth Mohandas, Occupying Iraq: A History of the Coalition Provisional Authority (Santa Monica: RAND Corp., 2009), pp. 52-61; Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (New York: Penguin Press, 2006), pp. 159-67; George Tenet with Bill Harlow, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), p. 429; The New York Times, Mar. 20, 2003. [3] Ali A. Allawi, The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 149-59; Tenet with Harlow, At the Center of the Storm, pp. 426-30; Ricks, Fiasco, pp. 159-67. [4] George W. Bush, Decision Points (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2010), pp. 257-61; L. Paul Bremer, III, with Malcolm McConnell, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006), pp. 39-45; Douglas J. Feith, War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism (New York: HarperCollins, 2008), pp. 422-3; Dobbins, Jones, Runkle, and Mohandas, Occupying Iraq, pp. xv-xxxix; Douglas J. Feith, "Feith: Iraq Attack Was Preemptive," 60 Minutes, CBS, Apr. 6, 2008. [5] Charles Ferguson, No End in Sight: Iraq's Descent into Chaos, pp. 146-219; James P. Pfiffner, "U.S. Blunders in Iraq: De-Baathification and Disbanding the Army," Intelligence and National Security, Spring 2010, pp. 1-14; Ricks, Fiasco, p. 168; David L. Phillips, Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco (New York: Basic Books, 2006), pp. 143-5; Richard Clarke, Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters (New York: HarperCollins, 2008), pp. 46-73; Naomi Klein, "Baghdad Year Zero: Pillaging Iraq in Pursuit of a Neocon Utopia," Harper's, Sept. 2004. [6] Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), p. 407. [7] Michael R. Gordon and Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, COBRA II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (New York: Pantheon Books, 2006), pp. 182-5; Tommy Franks, American Soldier (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), pp. 464-77; Ricks, Fiasco, pp. 161-7. [8] Woodward, Plan of Attack, 326-8. [9] Bush, Decision Points, pp. 388-94; Michael R. Gordon and Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, The Endgame (New York: Vintage Books, 2013), pp. 19-39; Paula Broadwell and Vernon Loeb, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (New York: Penguin Press, 2012), pp. 236-42. [10] Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, pp. 330-50; Clarke, Your Government Failed You, pp. 62-72; Bush, Decision Points, pp. 372-94; Broadwell and Loeb, All In, pp. 239-42; Anthony Cordesman and Arleigh A. Burke, "Success or Failure? Iraq's Insurgency and Civil Violence and U.S. Strategy: Developments through June 2007," Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., July 9, 2007. [11] Kenneth Katzman, "Iraq: Reconciliation and Benchmarks," U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., June 5, 2008, p. 6. [12] Bush, Decision Points, pp. 377-8; Clarke, Your Government Failed You, pp. 63-5; Broadwell and Loeb, All In, pp. 239-42. [13] The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manuel: U.S. Army Field Manual, No. 3-24/Marine Corps War Fighting Publication, No. 3-33.5, United States Department of Army, Washington, D.C. [14] Katzman, "Iraq: Reconciliation and Benchmarks," pp. 5-6; "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, Mar. 2008," U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., pp. 17-28; Bush, Decision Points, pp. 376-88. [15] Reuters, Sept. 19, 2008. [16] Katzman, "Iraq: Reconciliation and Benchmarks," pp. 5-6; Bush, Decision Points, pp. 383-5; Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, pp. 240-63. [17] "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, Mar. 2008," pp. 17-28; "Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq," GAO-08-837, U.S. General Accountability Office, Washington, D.C., June 2008, pp. 20-32; Bush, Decision Points, pp. 383-9; Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, pp. 333-50. [18] "Iraqi Insurgency Groups,", 2008, accessed Sept. 16, 2013; "Iraq Index: Tracking Variables of Reconstruction and Security in Post-Saddam Iraq," Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2008, pp. 24-5; Cordesman and Burke, "Iraq's Insurgency and Civil Violence"; The New York Times, Nov. 22, 2007; U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 6, 2008. xx [19] John J. McGrath, Boots on the Ground: Troop Density in Contingency Operations (Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute Press, 2006), pp. 1-212. [20] "Iraqi Insurgency Groups,"; "Iraq Index," Dec. 18, 2008, pp. 24-5; Cordesman and Burke, "Iraq's Insurgency and Civil Violence"; Karen DeYoung, "Iraq's War Statistics Prove Fleeting," The Washington Post, Mar. 19, 2007; The New York Times, Nov. 22, 2007; U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 6, 2008; Anthony H. Cordesman, "Iraq and Foreign Volunteers," Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., Nov. 18, 2005. [21] "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, June 2008," U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., pp. 20-32; U.S. Central Command, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request on Enemy/Insurgent Kills and Captures, Case# 08-0169 (MacDill AFB: USCENTCOM, 2009); The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Nov. 22, 2007. [22] "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, Mar. 2008," p. 5; "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, June 2008," p. 3; "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, June 2010," U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., pp. 28-37. [23] Kurt Nimmo, "More than 13,000 Being Held by Coalition in Iraqi Prisons; Less than 2% Have Been Convicted," Nov. 15, 2005, [24] Aswat al-Iraq News Agency (Baghdad), Apr. 23, 2008 Apr. 23, 2008; The Times (London), May 20, 2008; McClatchy News Agency, Apr. 9, 2008; Ciara Gilmartin, "The 'Surge' of Iraqi Prisoners," Global Policy Forum, New York, May 7, 2008; "War and Occupation in Iraq," Chapter 4: Unlawful Detention," Global Policy Forum, June 2007; Associated Press, May 17, 2008; Morning Edition, National Public Radio, June 15, 2006; text of Iraq's amnesty law, Little Green Footballs, Apr. 23, 2008. [25] The New York Times, Nov. 22, 2007; U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 6, 2008; Aswat al-Iraq News Agency (Baghdad), Apr. 23, 2008; "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, June 2010," pp. 28-37; The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Nov. 22, 2007; Ciara Gilmartin, "The 'Surge' of Iraqi Prisoners," Global Policy Forum, New York, May 7, 2008; Associated Press, May 17, 2008; "Iraqi Court Rulings Stop at US Detention Sites," Global Policy Forum, May 17, 2008; "Open Letter to Members of the Security Council Concerning Detentions in Iraq," FIDH and International Federation for Human Rights Global Policy Forum, Apr. 22, 2008. [26] Knight Ridder Newspapers, Jan. 31, 2004; Michael Knights, "Iran in Iraq: The Role of Muqtada al-Sadr," Policy Watch 1755, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Washington, D.C., Feb. 8, 2011. [27] Lebanon Wire (Beirut), June 25, 2012; "Iraq Benchmark Report Card: One Year after the Surge," Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C., Jan. 24, 2008; Katzman, "Iraq: Reconciliation and Benchmarks," pp. 4-6; Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, pp. 312-28. [28] Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, pp. 638-50. [29] The New York Times, Mar. 26, Dec. 21, 2010. [30] "Iraq: Al-Sadr's Long-Term Plans,", June 25, 2012; "Iran's Interests in Rising Iraqi Oil Production," idem, May 28, 2012; The New York Times, Sept. 4, 2012. [31] Associated Press, Oct. 15, 2011, Aug. 31, 2012. [32] Gordon and Trainor, The Endgame, pp. 679-81; The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dec. 16, 18, 2011.

Steve Dobransky is an adjunct professor at Cleveland State University and Lakeland College. Contact:


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