June 26, 2014

Interesting Quotes About The Iraq Crisis From Two Former CIA Officials, A UK Ambassador To Iraq, And Two Iraqi Authors

"Haditha, about 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, is home to approximately 75,000 Iraqis, a vital hydro-electric power plant, and 28 schools. The Euphrates and Tigris Rivers which originate in Turkey provide the majority of the country's water resources. Two very large reservoirs, the Haditha Dam on the Euphrates and Mosul Dam on the Tigris supply the majority of M&I and irrigation water through an extensive system of dams, regulation and pumping stations, and irrigation and drainage canals." (Source: GlobalSecurity.org). Check out, "Water War? Turkey Cuts Water Supply to Syria. Euphrates Shut Down" (Global Research, June 7, 2014).

Excerpts from, "Iraq’s Sunnis Will Kick Out ISIS After Dumping Maliki: Ex-CIA Official" by Jeff Stein, Newsweek, June 25, 2014:
Don’t panic, Iraq’s most powerful Sunnis are telling some old American friends. We’ll take care of these upstart ISIS nuts—as soon as they oust Nouri al-Maliki from Baghdad.

That’s the message Sheikh Ali Hatem al-Suleiman, leader of Iraq’s biggest Sunni tribe, gave John R. Maguire, a retired former CIA deputy station chief in Baghdad, when he visited Iraq three weeks ago to talk about future oil deals in the region. 
The major roads leading north and west out of Baghdad are under ISIS control, and the south may be closed off soon, too, Maguire says. “There is an increasing risk in the next day or two that ISIS will open the Haditha Dam,” a five-mile-wide structure on the Euphrates northwest of Baghdad. “If they open the dam, they can flood the area south of Baghdad as far as Karbala,” Shiite Islam’s the third holiest city.

“Remember, Ramadan starts on Saturday,” says Maguire. “Picture thousands of Shia pilgrims washing down the canals from the flood. If the Haditha Dam is opened, the roads to flee Baghdad from the south will be impassable, leaving the only way out to the east, to Iran.” 

Maliki’s praetorian guard is starting to buckle, Maguire says. The prime minister senses it, and he "issued an order that no VIP travel is authorized, so he's strapped all the inner-circle Iraqis to the deck of his ship. I've been contacted by people in his inner circle asking for my help with getting money out of Baghdad,” Maguire adds. “His money guys are looking to get out. They're scared. They don't think this is going to hold, and they don't want to be the last guys in Baghdad with no money on the outside and no way out."
Malcolm Nance, a former Navy and CIA counterterrorism operative, says Iraq’s Sunnis “have just committed suicide.” He tells Newsweek he had been planning to write a piece called “The Sunni Tribes Drink Antifreeze.”

“The Awakening could never happen again the way it did in 2007–2009,” says Nance, referring to the wartime U.S. operation that turned Sunnis insurgents away from fighting the Americans and onto attacking Al-Qaeda in Iraq. “At that time, the Sunnis were the heart of the insurgency. They had 25,000 active combatants and as many as 88,000 part-time and support insurgents. When they came over to the Awakening councils, they brought with them a lot of manpower and weapons and could push Al-Qaeda in Iraq out. Now that [Al-Qaeda] has [evolved into] the more combat-experienced ISIS and has many more foreign jihadis than it did in its peak of 2006, it is the insurgency. Everyone else is just a witness. 

“ISIS...” adds Nance, “will…exact a painful level of control over the Sunni population that will make them regret the very moment they fooled themselves into believing Maliki was worse than Saddam. I was there last year for a month and all I kept hearing was that Maliki was a tyrant. They overestimate every political difficulty, but this time the Sunnis have signed their own death warrants.” 
Excerpts from, "America’s Covert War on Iraq: Who Are the Key Players" by Brendan Cole, Global Research, June 25, 2014:
"Sir William Patey, former UK Ambassador to Iraq: We’ve seen a failure of leadership on the Iraqi military front – a function of Maliki dismantling the command structure that was left and that was built up… There’s been a lot of talk about the billions spent on the Iraqi army, and yet it failed.”

“Maliki took control. He was the Minister of Defence, he was the Minister of Interior… The command structure was destroyed. Military commanders were receiving direct orders from the Commander in Chief. I think Maliki has to take quite a lot of responsibility for the current debacle and the absence of leadership in the Iraqi army.”

WP: “I was in Iraq at the time when Maliki was chosen. I was actually at the meeting with Khalilzad, with Maliki, in which Khalilzad drew American objections to Maliki. Felicity’s quite right – the Americans felt that Maliki was the least pro-Iranian. In fact, he spent most of his exile in Syria and Iran… But you’ve got the Americans, who backed Maliki because they felt he was the least pro-Iranian. Whoever had been prime Minister in Iraq in that period would have come under tremendous Iranian influence. Iran has invested hugely in getting influence in Iraq.”

"Zaid al-Ali, author: “Maliki’s problem has been the incredible amount of corruption that he’s tolerated within his government, and the incredible amount of incompetence – the failure of the Iraqi army to hold territory from Mosul all the way down to Tikrit, and the failure of the Iraqi army to react fast enough in order to defend Tikrit after Mosul had fallen. Tikrit was only taken 24 hours after Mosul fell and the Iraqi military had a significant amount of time to react, but did not do so. Those failures are really down to Maliki and his incredibly ineffective control over the security forces…”

“…At this stage it’s much more important to find someone who will have a much more coherent strategy for controlling incompetence and corruption in the armed forces and many other state institutions.”

 ZA: “There are plenty of people in Iraq, who are very capable of performing and delivering equity and security and good services to people. The difficulty that we have now is that our political class in Iraq is very corrupt and incompetent – very self-serving. They insist in controlling all the areas of government in a very corrupt way. Our difficulty today isn’t that there aren’t capable people. Our difficulty is trying to break the monopoly of the very corrupt political parties who have a strangle-hold over our state. Some people have questioned – well if our political parties are so corrupt, if they’re so incompetent, why do Iraqis vote for them? The answer to that is very simple – the political parties control the electoral system. They’ve rigged the rules in their favour. They’ve made it so that today, for example, there is no political party law in Iraq – we don’t have a law to regulate the activity of political parties. I think we’re amongst the only countries in the world that don’t have political party law, and that isn’t a mistake. That’s deliberate…”

"Hussein al-Alak, journalist and chairman of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign:  “The de-Baathification policy was the greatest disaster! This comes back to the reason why ISIS has been able to take the borders with Syria… A report was commissioned in 2004 which stated that when the US-UK went into Iraq, one of the first things they didn’t do was secure the borders. And for over a decade foreign fighters have been able to cross into Iraq almost unnoticed.”