Don’t Expect Iraq to End Like Sudan

The American media continues to tout the reduced violence in Iraq without foreseeing the long-term potential for a resumption of severe ethno-sectarian violence and the absence of mechanisms – à la Sudan – to defuse it. The lull in Iraqi mayhem was mainly achieved by the U.S. bribery of Iraqi Sunni tribes (the “Awakening”) to … Continue reading “Don’t Expect Iraq to End Like Sudan”

Wednesday: 6 Iraqis Wounded

Because of Ashuraa observances, reports of violence have been scant the last few days except for significant attacks. Only six casualties were reported today and all of them survived. However, there were a number of important news stories in the headlines today.

Taking Down America

Trying to play down the significance of an ongoing WikiLeaks dump of more than 250,000 State Department documents, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently offered the following bit of Washington wisdom: “The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, … Continue reading “Taking Down America”

Pipelineistan’s New Silk Road

  Back before e-mail, a world traveler who wanted to keep in touch and couldn’t just pop into the nearest Internet café might drop you a series of postcards from one exotic locale after another. Pepe Escobar, that edgy, peripatetic globe-trotting reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, has been doing just … Continue reading “Pipelineistan’s New Silk Road”

Tuesday: 11 Iraqis Killed, 25 Wounded

At least 11 Iraqis were killed and 25 more were wounded as coverage of attacks resumed in the media. The parliamentary stalemate dominated the headlines, along with oil and Kurdish concerns, but the most significant story of the day came from the United Kingdom where an inquiry into the causes of the Iraq War continues to embarrass the war hawks.

Iraq: Controlled Devolution or Uncontrolled Disintegration

Recently, Massoud Barzani, president of the northern Kurdish region in Iraq, bluntly declared that the American visions of a strongly unified Iraq were “bird dreams and wishes.” Barzani then proceeded to heighten pressure for greater decentralization of the country and expanded Kurdish control over oil. At the same time, Arab Sunnis, previously more inclined to … Continue reading “Iraq: Controlled Devolution or Uncontrolled Disintegration”

Yet Another Energy and National Security Myth (a project of recently launched a $2 million television campaign supporting the Clean Energy and American Power Act. In all, there are eight television ads that essentially claim that oil money finances terrorism and that we need to wean ourselves off of foreign oil to be more safe and secure. (The red herring … Continue reading “Yet Another Energy and National Security Myth”

The Middle East No Longer Matters

As the Obama administration gears up for additional commitments to Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East, it is good to remind ourselves that in spite of the overheated rhetoric of the past few years, the region is of very little, if any, strategic value to the United States. Although we have sacrificed our national … Continue reading “The Middle East No Longer Matters”

Will Iraq’s Oil Ever Flow?

Americans have largely stopped thinking about Iraq, even though we still have approximately 110,000 troops there, as well as the largest "embassy" on the planet (and still growing). We’ve generally chalked up our war in Iraq to the failed past, and some Americans, after the surge of 2007, even think of it as, if not … Continue reading “Will Iraq’s Oil Ever Flow?”