View Poll Results: A democratic Iraq means..........

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  • More people standing up against tyranny, like we're seeing in Iran

    8 33.33%
  • Democracy will not last, dictatorship will inevitably return

    9 37.50%
  • Democracy will take hold, but the results will not be favorable for the US

    3 12.50%
  • I'm a malodorous hippie who believes Dick Cheney and George Bush eat arab babies for fuel

    4 16.67%
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Thread: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Libs_Luv_Weakness View Post
    This is false. First off, how do you arrive at the conclusion that troops levels were "fine" in the first year?
    Low level of attacks.

    You say that the problem lied in our inability to protect the population, but these two variables are intertwined. We were under constant attack. The ability to defeat the opposing forces would inherently allow for the protection of the citizenry. We simply did not have the forces available to effectively quell violence and in turn secure the population.
    No, it was the wrong strategy. We had no presence among the population, therefore we had no intelligence regarding where the insurgents were. We were blind.

    The overwhelming majority of those in the Iraqi Army were more concerned with employment than the preservation of Sunni power. Large numbers of unemployed soldiers were thrown out into the population.
    The majority of whom were Sunni, including most positions of leadership. It was a Sunni institution.

    Sure, there would have been some in the ranks that could not be trusted, as there are now, but the cost/benefit ratio of allowing them to serve in the new Iraq from the outset would have been much more favorable to us, IMO. Who do you think comprises the Iraqi Army now? It's not only Shiites and Kurds.
    This would have been fine if our objective was to return a Sunni to power, a la Garner. This was not our objective. Our objective was a pluralistic Iraq. The Army had to go.

    Yes, what's your point?
    What I said: It doesn't matter that we were adjusting our tactics.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    I would suggest that we are still in the short-term vis-a-vis the stable oil prices I was discussing. We are now getting into territory where Iraq, as an OPEC founder, is expanding exports and may well be causing OPEC limits to be exceeded. There was even talk that Iraq would leave OPEC.

    Other than the one summer spike, oil prices have been stable.
    Looking back at the year-averages, this is true.

    There was a lot variance over a couple of years increasing the standard deviations over those years (which does imply instability, as well, to a degree) but aside from that single spike the averages have remained stable. So you are indeed correct when viewed form that perspective.



    A long-term goal of the US should be eliminating our dependence, I agree. CNG sounds promising. All electric transportation does not sound promising and shifts energy dependence to power plant production - i.e. nuclear.

    We agree on this


    Regionally, trend lines were going from autocracies to islamists, as a solution to the inequities of autocracy. Democratization provides an alternative. This is a regional argument.

    Iraq is trending toward secular nationalism.
    Isn't Iraq less secular than before?

    Also isn't there a strong Islamist showing in Iraq at the moment?

    The secularists may have gained recently, but when one looks at the current talks about a coalition between SOL and INA, the Islamist groups will have a large majority still.

    On top of that, haven't the Sadrists gained recently as well?

    Granted, this does add to the current strategic importance of Iraq. I'll explain more on my views about that later in this post.

    In order for democracy to work, minorities must get a voice and not be threatened by violence or oppression. Iraq is the perfect location to work that out.
    But what happens when the majority is Islamist?


    I am saying they had a high literacy rate before the invasion. Compare to Afghanistan.
    Gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.


    I disagree. A region can be strategically important and we could have no strategy for dealing with it. Or we could have a losing strategy, like the no-fly zones and sanctions prior to the OIF. The sanctions were slipping away.

    Or we could have a losing strategy, like Rumsfeld - advised as he was by military brass - to train security and turn over responsibility, all the while staying locked up on FOBs with no protection of the population offered. It took the switch to COIN (more important than the surge in numbers) to rectify this strategic blunder.
    See, I'm getting stuck on the difference between what I view as a vested interest and strategically important. I would say that we may have had a vested interest in the region, but without a clear strategy, we can't accurately say there was strategic importance.

    This could just be a tomato, to-mah-to thing.

    I agree overthrowing Israel, the other democracy, would not be wise. However, I view the ME like linked gyroscopes. You push in one direction and it goes spinning off at right angles. Any change in the stasis is good (within reason). Ok, maybe not. Just ignore my comment!
    OK.

    My the increase in anti-Americanism (with the Shia - the Sunnis respect us and the Kurds love us) has not resulted in gains by Al Qaeda. In fact, the Sunnis hate Al Qaeda.
    True enough. Al Qaeda hasn't been gaining favor due to the anti-American sentiment. I apologize for that error.

    But I would say that Iran has been gaining due to it, to some degree.

    Granted, if that is correct, it would be something that raises the current strategic importance of Iraq. Which is different from the strategic importance prior to invasion. I'll explain more about that towards the end of this post.

    A lot depends on this election and the peaceful transfer of power.
    True. But the recent rumblings about a possible coalition between INA and SOL isn't looking like a good thing, IMO.


    All McCain said reflected Generals who said we needed more troops. That was not the problem. The problem was the strategy by these same generals, who were hands off the population and exit as fast as we could after handing over power. It wasn't happening, so the insurgency rose up. COIN said get with the population and it works.
    You are correct. I was giving far too much credit to McCain there.


    I hear you. I think we need to be very limited on interventions. I do feel Iraq was an important one, because of the impact it will have on the region (Syria, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, ...)
    And I'm of the mind that Iraq wasn't strategically important prior to invasion. It seems in general we agree on much though. Specifically the following:


    My hope as well, but as you point out it isn't over. Frustrating to see our combat troops leave so quickly from such a precarious situation.
    Here's where I'll finally explain more about current strategic importance versus prior strategic importance.

    In truth you might be surprised that I agree with you that seeing the combat troops leaving while the position is precarious is not something I wish to see, given my stances listed before in this thread.

    While I don't agree with the initial strategic importance of Iraq prior to the invasion, I must concede that it has become of vital strategic importance to the American people to try and make sure that the best opportunity for the envisioned goals prior to invasion comes to fruition.

    This is because I believe the alternative scenario is definitely going to be bad for the American People.

    I think the initial invasion left us with the options of "potential detriment to the American People" and "definite detriment to the American People"

    That's why I didn't support an all-out withdrawal from Iraq. I think once we went in, though, we became "pot committed". Too much is at stake to fold.

    In essence, I'm forced to compromise my misgivings with the initial invasion because I have even greater misgivings about ditching the effort entirely.

    Like I said, my hope is that I'm wrong regarding my misgivings about the initial invasion. The best chance for me to be wrong is if we make sure the job gets done as much as possible.

    I loosely said that and you can ignore it as such.


    Don't think I actually addressed this question. I think we see the plurality being exhibited in Iraq today. If it remains reasonably non-violent and one of the sects doesn't get screwed over, that is the correct environment. The benefit to the US will be an example of a functioning democracy in the ME that will influence other countries.

    Cheers!
    Cheers. Thanks for the responses. You've given me much to consider. I hope I've clarified my stances a bit as well.
    Tucker Case - Tard magnet.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Awesome exchange, Tucker. I do love this topic and have since the Iraq war started. I was kinda skeptical on the WMD thing as they had been under tight sanctions, but honestly I got caught up in the threat as well. But I have always thought my most important reason for going to war was the objective, which was establishing a democracy. I was in favor of going in the beginning, heartened by how fast the regime folded but worried about insurgency, sickened by the decay into civil war and glory, glory hallejulah when Petraeus, Odierno and Keane made their entrance.

    I moved some of your quotes to group them...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Isn't Iraq less secular than before?

    Also isn't there a strong Islamist showing in Iraq at the moment?

    The secularists may have gained recently, but when one looks at the current talks about a coalition between SOL and INA, the Islamist groups will have a large majority still.

    On top of that, haven't the Sadrists gained recently as well?

    Granted, this does add to the current strategic importance of Iraq. I'll explain more on my views about that later in this post.

    But what happens when the majority is Islamist?

    True. But the recent rumblings about a possible coalition between INA and SOL isn't looking like a good thing, IMO.
    Iraqi politics: Let us look at the results: http://www.understandingwar.org/file...ults_30MAR.pdf.

    Which parties are Islamist?
    • Not Iraqiyyah, 91 seats.
    • Not State of Law, 89 seats.
    • Iraqi National Alliance is, especially Sadr, but it is of the Shiite variety, 70 seats.
    • Not the Kurdistan Alliance, 43 seats.
    • Not Gorran, 8 seats.
    • Tawafuq is, Sunni variety, 6 seats.
    • Unity of Iraq, unknown, 3 seats
    • KIU is, 4 seats
    • KIG is, 3 seats
    • Two Rivers List, unknown, 1 seat.


    Total Islamist (including unknowns for the hell of it): 87 seats
    Total Secular: 231

    The battle is between Iraqiyyah and SOL.

    Seeing people identify with their religions in the wake of all of these changes is not surprising. Seeing them swing back to secular political parties is a big surprise.

    Re: INA and SOL...I will be very surprised if they can form a coalition considering the majority seat holders in INA is Sadr and Sadr and SOL get along like oil and water. Whatever is expedient I suppose.


    But I would say that Iran has been gaining due to it, to some degree.

    Granted, if that is correct, it would be something that raises the current strategic importance of Iraq. Which is different from the strategic importance prior to invasion. I'll explain more about that towards the end of this post.
    Not a big surprise since 1) Iraq was the primary opponent of Iran and 2) the Shiites in Iraq became empowered.

    I tend to watch for changes in Iran as a result of Iraq, Iraq's elections, Iraq's democracy and Al'SIstani's Quietist Movement effects in Qom. It is interesting that the Green Revolution masked a struggle among the clerics for power, between Rafsanjani and Ayatollah Khamenie.


    See, I'm getting stuck on the difference between what I view as a vested interest and strategically important. I would say that we may have had a vested interest in the region, but without a clear strategy, we can't accurately say there was strategic importance.

    Here's where I'll finally explain more about current strategic importance versus prior strategic importance.

    In truth you might be surprised that I agree with you that seeing the combat troops leaving while the position is precarious is not something I wish to see, given my stances listed before in this thread.

    While I don't agree with the initial strategic importance of Iraq prior to the invasion, I must concede that it has become of vital strategic importance to the American people to try and make sure that the best opportunity for the envisioned goals prior to invasion comes to fruition.

    This is because I believe the alternative scenario is definitely going to be bad for the American People.

    I think the initial invasion left us with the options of "potential detriment to the American People" and "definite detriment to the American People"

    That's why I didn't support an all-out withdrawal from Iraq. I think once we went in, though, we became "pot committed". Too much is at stake to fold.

    In essence, I'm forced to compromise my misgivings with the initial invasion because I have even greater misgivings about ditching the effort entirely.

    Like I said, my hope is that I'm wrong regarding my misgivings about the initial invasion. The best chance for me to be wrong is if we make sure the job gets done as much as possible.
    Does this
    vital strategic importance to the American people to try and make sure that the best opportunity for the envisioned goals prior to invasion comes to fruition.
    Have anything to do with our strategy?

    To me something has strategic importance. Period. We separately have a strategy for dealing with it.

    I do agree that the strategic importance of Iraq has changed from before the invasion to after. We have escalated a problem in the heart of the ME and completely changed the policies of the countries surrounding it. For instance, Saudi Arabia started cracking down HARD on their Islamists.

    Cheers. Thanks for the responses. You've given me much to consider. I hope I've clarified my stances a bit as well.
    You too! A pleasure!

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Libs_Luv_Weakness View Post
    Those weapons were given for the purpose of use against Iran.
    What part of internationally banned weapons did we not understand?
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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post

    It is in the Iraqis hands.
    And our overwhelming force with 98,000 troops that still remain in Iraq to prop up the new regime and new oil law we crafted.
    Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children. ~ Ancient American Indian Proverb

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    What part of internationally banned weapons did we not understand?
    And what part of mistakes in past decision making did you not understand? How long are you going to dwell on this irrelevant point?

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    And our overwhelming force with 98,000 troops that still remain in Iraq to prop up the new regime and new oil law we crafted.
    LOL........Please, fill me in on who crafted the new oil law. I can't wait to hear this.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Libs_Luv_Weakness View Post
    And what part of mistakes in past decision making did you not understand? How long are you going to dwell on this irrelevant point?
    As long as some try to claim we had any altruistic reasons for our wars and ten years of sanctions against the Iraqis while we are still militarily occupying their country.
    Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children. ~ Ancient American Indian Proverb

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Libs_Luv_Weakness View Post
    LOL........Please, fill me in on who crafted the new oil law. I can't wait to hear this.
    "As the Iraqi parliament begins to discuss the new oil law proposed by Washington, major U.S. and U.K. oil companies are busy lining up contracts."
    Oil Giants Move to Cash-In on New Iraq Oil Law | Polaris Institute

    "Since April, 2002, the State Department took the initiative to prepare postwar plans for Iraq's future by forming several groups, and the most important one was the "Oil & Energy" group, which included Iraqi expatriate experts as well as foreign ones, chosen by the state department. This group, after several meetings between December, 2002 and April, 2004, gave their advice which was that Iraq should be open to oil companies quickly, and should create the proper atmosphere to attract foreign investment to work in accordance to Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), and in flexible ways."
    An Opinion Opposing Existing Draft Iraqi Oil & Gas Law | Seachange Bulletin

    "Among the key "benchmarks" for progress in Iraq set by President George W. Bush in January of 2007 was the passage of a new Iraqi oil law. But almost three years on, the controversial legislation setting terms for foreign investment in the country's oil sector, and for distributing its revenues, remains stalled in the legislature. And Iraqi politicians admit it's unlikely to pass before the current parliament is replaced following Iraq's general elections next January."

    Why Iraq's Oil Law Remains Deadlocked Three Years On - TIME


    "BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Cabinet signed off Monday draft legislation to manage Iraq's vast oil industry and share its wealth among the Iraqi people, a key U.S. benchmark for progress in this country. The legislation now goes to parliament for approval."
    Iraqi Cabinet Approves Draft Oil Law - AP Online | Encyclopedia.com

    "As outlined in a series of strategic doctrines drafted by various task forces under the direction of Dick Cheney, from 1991 to 2002, the neocons asserted the right of the United States, as the (in their eyes) sole remaining superpower after the collapse of communism, to intervene with preemptive wars, including with nuclear weapons, against any nation or group of nations which the U.S. perceived to constitute a potential threat against its hegemony. Iraq did not and does not represent such a threat, but Russia, China, and India, especially if allied, do.

    From this explicitly articulated strategic outlook, the war against Iraq has been essentially a stepping-stone on the way to th e bigger targets. In fact, among the plethora of strategic doctrine papers churned out by Cheney's task forces, the 1996 "Clean Break" concentrated on the plans for regime change in the Middle East, through wars or political destabilizations."
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7008

    "In November 2003, McKee quietly ordered up a new plan for Iraq's oil. For months, the State Department officially denied the existence of this 323-page plan, but when I threatened legal action, I was able to obtain the multi-volume document describing seven possible models of oil production for Iraq, each one merely a different flavor of a single option: a state-owned oil company under which the state maintains official title to the reserves but operation and control are given to foreign oil companies.

    According to Ed Morse, another Hess Oil advisor, the switch to an OPEC-friendly policy for Iraq was driven by Dick Cheney. "The VP's office [has] not pursued a policy in Iraq that would lead to a rapid opening of the Iraqi energy sector… that would put us on a track to say, "We're going to put a squeeze on OPEC."
    IRAQ WAR CAUSED BY OIL--proof, Palast

    "The government regards it as "a major national project". The key point of the law is that Iraq's immense oil wealth (115 billion barrels of proven reserves, third in the world after Saudi Arabia and Iran) will be under the iron rule of a fuzzy "Federal Oil and Gas Council" boasting "a panel of oil experts from inside and outside Iraq". That is, nothing less than predominantly US Big Oil executives."
    Asia Times Online :: Middle East News - US's Iraq oil grab is a done deal
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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Cool story bro.

    So who is the approving authority on the legislation to share oil revenue again?

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