PDA

View Full Version : British Think Tank: Iraq is on the verge of collapse


Taco John
05-17-2007, 02:19 PM
This does not sound good...

Iraq is on the verge of collapse: report By Ibon Villelabeitia
Thu May 17, 9:15 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's government has lost control of vast areas to powerful local factions and the country is on the verge of collapse and fragmentation, a leading British think-tank said on Thursday.

Chatham House also said there was not one civil war in Iraq, but "several civil wars" between rival communities, and accused Iraq's main neighbors -- Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- of having reasons "for seeing the instability there continue."

"It can be argued that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation," it said in a report.

"The Iraqi government is not able to exert authority evenly or effectively over the country. Across huge swathes of territory, it is largely irrelevant in terms of ordering social, economic and political life."

The report also said that a U.S.-backed security crackdown in Baghdad launched in February has failed to reduce overall violence across the country, as insurgent groups have just shifted their activities outside the capital.

While cautioning that Iraq might not ultimately exist as a united entity, the 12-page report said a draft law to distribute Iraq's oil wealth equitably among Sunni Arabs, Shi'ites and ethnic Kurds was "the key to ensuring Iraq's survival."

"It will be oil revenue that keeps the state together rather than any attempt to build a coherent national project in the short term," the influential think-tank said.

The oil law, among benchmarks Washington has set Baghdad as critical steps to end sectarian violence, has yet to be approved by parliament. Ethnic Kurds, whose autonomous Kurdistan region holds large unproven reserves, oppose the draft's wording.

Rather that one civil war pitting majority Shi'ites against Sunnis nationwide, the paper said Iraq's "cross-cutting conflicts" were driven by power struggles between sectarian, ethnic and tribal groups with differing regional, political and ideological goals as they compete for the country's resources.

The author of the report, Middle East expert Gareth Stansfield, said instability in Iraq was "not necessarily contrary to the interests" of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

"(Iraq) is now a theatre in which Iran can 'fight' the U.S. without doing so openly," Stansfield said, adding that Iran was the "most capable foreign power" in Iraq in terms of influencing future events, more so than the United States.

The rise to power of Iraq's long-oppressed Shi'ite majority has caused concern in Sunni Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, which deeply distrusts non-Arab, Shi'ite Iran's influence in Iraq, Stansfield wrote.

Should a U.S. withdrawal herald the beginning of a full-scale Sunni-Shi'ite civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia "might not stand by," the paper said, "with the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia fighting each other through proxies in Iraq."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070517/wl_nm/iraq_report_dc

Taco John
05-17-2007, 02:25 PM
Here's a link to their official report (http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/pdf/research/mep/BPIraq0507.pdf)

Taco John
05-17-2007, 02:27 PM
This is the finding that bothers me the most:

"Each of Iraq’s three major neighbouring states, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, has different reasons for seeing the instability there continue, and each uses different methods to influence developments."

Logical
05-17-2007, 02:33 PM
Should a U.S. withdrawal herald the beginning of a full-scale Sunni-Shi'ite civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia "might not stand by," the paper said, "with the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia fighting each other through proxies in Iraq."


I am not even sure I think this is a bad thing.

Taco John
05-17-2007, 02:44 PM
If I'm reading the report right, the Chatham House is advancing the notion that Iraq is on the verge of turning into a psuedo-playing field, where all the different nations in the Middle East can fight eachother through surrogate groups without having to spill a drop of blood in their own home lands.

Logical
05-17-2007, 02:57 PM
If I'm reading the report right, the Chatham House is advancing the notion that Iraq is on the verge of turning into a psuedo-playing field, where all the different nations in the Middle East can fight eachother through surrogate groups without having to spill a drop of blood in their own home lands.

That is the way I am reading it as well.

Taco John
05-17-2007, 04:05 PM
This is what bothers me about the Pro-Iraq war crowd, and why I have a hard time respecting their stance.

From the start, we had General Shinseki basically dead on in his stance that we'd never be able to control the region if we didn't go in with at least 300,000 troops (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,925140,00.html). On top of General Shinseki's objections, we've got the views of General Colin Powell, whose doctrine on the use of force (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powell_Doctrine) was a proven success the first time around. Instead, Bush goes with Rumsfeld's failed doctrine, and things spiral out of control. Pro-Iraq war honks defended Rumfeld around every circle around the drain, and even after he left would still not admit that they were wrong to defend him.

Now we have a general in, whose field manual says that we need 120,000 troops alone just to secure Baghdad, and he doesn't currently have even 85,000 of the necessary troops that he needs (and under current projections, that looks like the most he's going to get). Now we've got reports that indicate that other countries are now fighting surrogate battes, taking advantage of the chaos, and putting our troops at further odds for success.

So here is what bothers me: Ask every last Republican, and they'll tell you that the Democrats should grow a pair and either fund the war, or vote to cut funding. But you don't see them, in the face of all of the evidence, calling for, nay, demanding a troop increase so that we can go in and actually control the ground and secure the peace. Then they have the audacity to say that the Democrats are surrenderists! Well, if that's true than these Bush Bots are loserists, as they seem to be happy to keep on a losing course.

The fact is, we're not going to "win this war" unless we commit every last national resource in a WWII-like American effort. Anything short of that is negligence.

So while I'm seeing these redassed Republicans challenge the Democrats to vote up or down on funding, I'm not seeing a *single* Republican or Republican supporter so much as raising the idea that we need an ACTUAL WAR DECLARATION that mobilizes America into a war machine hell bent on WINNING A WAR.

If you really want to win the war- if your ethics are really that solid- then why are you pussyfooting around what it's going to take to secure the region? Why are you allowing the folks you put in office to flounder around and fumble at every turn, without EVER turning up the heat on them? How long are you going to be willing to keep our troops caught in a spiraling, losing strategy before you start taking a strong position about achieving your idea of victory in Iraq?

If you are truly in favor of victory why would you continue to shun a time tested and proven doctrine laid out by respected Generals, and stick with a Rumsfeldian "light force" policy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumsfeld_Doctrine) that has already failed us, and continues to do so? And why are there no calls for mobilizing the American economy towards your vision of victory by making an actual Congressional Declaration of War? Do you believe we can achieve your vision of victory without mobilizing the nation for war?

BucEyedPea
05-17-2007, 04:12 PM
I don't watch a lot of Greta on Fox but I caught broadcast a few nights ago, when she had this Brit on about Harry going to Iraq and even she said it's collapsing. Unbelievable." Last throes???" As Justin Raimondo says, the NC's running this country are "delusional." Yep! Gotta agree.

Ugly Duck
05-17-2007, 06:35 PM
Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Should a U.S. withdrawal herald the beginning of a full-scale Sunni-Shi'ite civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia "might not stand by," the paper said, "with the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia fighting each other through proxies in Iraq."

I am not even sure I think this is a bad thing.

Here's an interesting twist... if SA & Iran duke out a proxy battle in Iraq, we'll end up siding with SA cuz we don't want the Iranian Islamic Revolution getting hold of the oil reserves. The whole of the ME (sans Syria) doesn't want Iran-style Shiites breathing down the world's oil supply. We'd end up supporting SA's proxies (Iraq's Sunnis) against Iran's proxies (Iraq's Shiites & the Iraqi government). We'd be dropping bombs on the very people we just finished arming.

Logical
05-17-2007, 06:50 PM
Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Should a U.S. withdrawal herald the beginning of a full-scale Sunni-Shi'ite civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia "might not stand by," the paper said, "with the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia fighting each other through proxies in Iraq."



Here's an interesting twist... if SA & Iran duke out a proxy battle in Iraq, we'll end up siding with SA cuz we don't want the Iranian Islamic Revolution getting hold of the oil reserves. The whole of the ME (sans Syria) doesn't want Iran-style Shiites breathing down the world's oil supply. We'd end up supporting SA's proxies (Iraq's Sunnis) against Iran's proxies (Iraq's Shiites & the Iraqi government). We'd be dropping bombs on the very people we just finished arming.

Ouch the irony is not lost on me.

BucEyedPea
05-17-2007, 08:13 PM
Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Should a U.S. withdrawal herald the beginning of a full-scale Sunni-Shi'ite civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia "might not stand by," the paper said, "with the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia fighting each other through proxies in Iraq."



Here's an interesting twist... if SA & Iran duke out a proxy battle in Iraq, we'll end up siding with SA cuz we don't want the Iranian Islamic Revolution getting hold of the oil reserves. The whole of the ME (sans Syria) doesn't want Iran-style Shiites breathing down the world's oil supply. We'd end up supporting SA's proxies (Iraq's Sunnis) against Iran's proxies (Iraq's Shiites & the Iraqi government). We'd be dropping bombs on the very people we just finished arming.
I would not be surprised. Taking down Saddam removed the buffer state between the Sunni Shi'a divide...and boy do they hate each other.

Ugly Duck
05-17-2007, 08:48 PM
I would not be surprised. Taking down Saddam removed the buffer state between the Sunni Shi'a divide...and boy do they hate each other.

Yeah... Reagan supported Sodom bigtime when he was fighting against the Iranian hordes. Then the neocons go in and hand Iraq over to Iran on a silver platter. Duh!

BucEyedPea
05-17-2007, 10:07 PM
Yeah... Reagan supported Sodom bigtime when he was fighting against the Iranian hordes. Then the neocons go in and hand Iraq over to Iran on a silver platter. Duh!
I read that when Saddam was in jail and our soldiers were guarding him that he just loved Ronald Reagan. Went on and on about him. But he despised the Bush'es. Not surprising. But we really were better off keeping him as an ally...and we could have prevented PGWI and his problem with Kuwait. This has all led to where we are today.

Wanna hear something else I heard on a radio show...a biographer of the Bush'es said that the Bush family believes in starting wars and that was advice given to Jr....because if he could start a war and win it...he could pass most of what he wanted otherwise. Pretty sick! God we have such bad leadership with them. I'll never vote for another Bush again. I'm sure they're grooming Jeb.

Logical
05-17-2007, 10:23 PM
I read that when Saddam was in jail and our soldiers were guarding him that he just loved Ronald Reagan. Went on and on about him. But he despised the Bush'es. Not surprising. But we really were better off keeping him as an ally...and we could have prevented PGWI and his problem with Kuwait. This has all led to where we are today.

Wanna hear something else I heard on a radio show...a biographer of the Bush'es said that the Bush family believes in starting wars and that was advice given to Jr....because if he could start a war and win it...he could pass most of what he wanted otherwise. Pretty sick! God we have such bad leadership with them. I'll never vote for another Bush again. I'm sure they're grooming Jeb.

Unfortunately you are probably right about Jeb.

'Hamas' Jenkins
05-18-2007, 08:28 AM
Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Should a U.S. withdrawal herald the beginning of a full-scale Sunni-Shi'ite civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia "might not stand by," the paper said, "with the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia fighting each other through proxies in Iraq."



Here's an interesting twist... if SA & Iran duke out a proxy battle in Iraq, we'll end up siding with SA cuz we don't want the Iranian Islamic Revolution getting hold of the oil reserves. The whole of the ME (sans Syria) doesn't want Iran-style Shiites breathing down the world's oil supply. We'd end up supporting SA's proxies (Iraq's Sunnis) against Iran's proxies (Iraq's Shiites & the Iraqi government). We'd be dropping bombs on the very people we just finished arming.

And this is different from from standard US Cold War foreign policy...how???

:)

And for what it's worth, I'll never understood why we forsook the Powell Doctrine, which was one of the greatest uses of military force in modern times.

patteeu
05-21-2007, 12:14 PM
This is what bothers me about the Pro-Iraq war crowd, and why I have a hard time respecting their stance.

From the start, we had General Shinseki basically dead on in his stance that we'd never be able to control the region if we didn't go in with at least 300,000 troops (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,925140,00.html). On top of General Shinseki's objections, we've got the views of General Colin Powell, whose doctrine on the use of force (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powell_Doctrine) was a proven success the first time around. Instead, Bush goes with Rumsfeld's failed doctrine, and things spiral out of control. Pro-Iraq war honks defended Rumfeld around every circle around the drain, and even after he left would still not admit that they were wrong to defend him.

Now we have a general in, whose field manual says that we need 120,000 troops alone just to secure Baghdad, and he doesn't currently have even 85,000 of the necessary troops that he needs (and under current projections, that looks like the most he's going to get). Now we've got reports that indicate that other countries are now fighting surrogate battes, taking advantage of the chaos, and putting our troops at further odds for success.

So here is what bothers me: Ask every last Republican, and they'll tell you that the Democrats should grow a pair and either fund the war, or vote to cut funding. But you don't see them, in the face of all of the evidence, calling for, nay, demanding a troop increase so that we can go in and actually control the ground and secure the peace. Then they have the audacity to say that the Democrats are surrenderists! Well, if that's true than these Bush Bots are loserists, as they seem to be happy to keep on a losing course.

The fact is, we're not going to "win this war" unless we commit every last national resource in a WWII-like American effort. Anything short of that is negligence.

So while I'm seeing these redassed Republicans challenge the Democrats to vote up or down on funding, I'm not seeing a *single* Republican or Republican supporter so much as raising the idea that we need an ACTUAL WAR DECLARATION that mobilizes America into a war machine hell bent on WINNING A WAR.

If you really want to win the war- if your ethics are really that solid- then why are you pussyfooting around what it's going to take to secure the region? Why are you allowing the folks you put in office to flounder around and fumble at every turn, without EVER turning up the heat on them? How long are you going to be willing to keep our troops caught in a spiraling, losing strategy before you start taking a strong position about achieving your idea of victory in Iraq?

If you are truly in favor of victory why would you continue to shun a time tested and proven doctrine laid out by respected Generals, and stick with a Rumsfeldian "light force" policy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumsfeld_Doctrine) that has already failed us, and continues to do so? And why are there no calls for mobilizing the American economy towards your vision of victory by making an actual Congressional Declaration of War? Do you believe we can achieve your vision of victory without mobilizing the nation for war?

Shinseki was one of many generals. He wasn't THE general who you either listened to or ignored at your own peril. Maybe he was right and maybe he wasn't. It's impossible to know. There is no guarantee that Shinseki's recommended troop level would have been a panacea.

What "proven success" did Powell's doctrine have? We drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait but left Saddam in power and had to return just 12 years later. You may call that success, but I'd call it kicking the can down the road. If Bush had decided to pull up short and withdraw our troops after knocking Saddam out of power, would Rumsfeld's approach be a "proven success" too?

I'm open to an increase in troop levels if that's what our best military minds say we need, but unlike you, I'm not the arrogant armchair general who thinks he has the art of war all figured out as if it's as straightforward as a game of Risk. This is why I'm not demanding a dramatic troop increase, although I have been clear that to the extent that the overall size of our military puts constraints on our options in this regard, we should be moving to expand our capacity ASAP. OTOH, I absolutely think we should be devoting whatever it takes to win this war up to and beyond, if necessary, a WW-II-like American effort. And while you may have missed it, I'm confident I've said all this in the past.

And finally, I've said before that I think there should have been a declaration of war here, but not because I share your psychobabble-ish belief that it would make a difference in our ability to win the war. I favor it because I think that's how our constitutional government is supposed to work. If it had an additional benefit of rallying the population to support the war, that would be gravy from my pov, but I don't think it's a given that it would have any such impact.

But the most interesting thing about your post is how it reflects on you. You apparently think there is a winning strategy available to us in Iraq (that just hasn't been embraced by the administration), but yet you favor insisting on a path toward failure instead of demanding the things you think could lead to victory. Why is that?

patteeu
05-21-2007, 12:17 PM
Yeah... Reagan supported Sodom bigtime when he was fighting against the Iranian hordes. Then the neocons go in and hand Iraq over to Iran on a silver platter. Duh!

:rolleyes: Yeah, "bigtime" if by "bigtime" you mean in a way that would allow Saddam to barely hold out for a stalemate rather than actually make any progress against the Iranians.

patteeu
05-21-2007, 12:24 PM
I read that when Saddam was in jail and our soldiers were guarding him that he just loved Ronald Reagan. Went on and on about him. But he despised the Bush'es. Not surprising. But we really were better off keeping him as an ally...and we could have prevented PGWI and his problem with Kuwait. This has all led to where we are today.

Wanna hear something else I heard on a radio show...a biographer of the Bush'es said that the Bush family believes in starting wars and that was advice given to Jr....because if he could start a war and win it...he could pass most of what he wanted otherwise. Pretty sick! God we have such bad leadership with them. I'll never vote for another Bush again. I'm sure they're grooming Jeb.

1) Saddam wasn't much of an ally of ours, so "keeping him as an ally" was never an option. Unless by "keeping him as an ally" you mean letting him have Kuwait, and in that case, I don't know whether it would have been better for us or not, but I suspect the latter. Even while we were helping Saddam survive his poor decision to attack Iran, Saddam was more closely allied to the Soviets than the US.

2) It seems strange that you buy into the idea that the Bushes believe that starting a successful war would allow them to pass legislation since GHWBush "won" a war but didn't do jack squat at home after the fact. In fact, it didn't even help him win re-election.