Thursday, December 30, 2004


BushCo Playing the Race Card in Iraq

So is Karl Rove advising the PNAC Platoon on Iraq strategy? Sure sounds like it. From

"We are starting to play the ethnic card in Iraq, just as the Soviets played it in Afghanistan," said former CIA chief of Afghanistan operation Milt Bearden. "You only play it when you're losing and by playing it, you simply speed up the process of losing," he said. Phoebe Marr, an analyst who closely follows events in Iraq, told United Press International that "having the U.S. military unleash different historical enemies on each other has become an unspoken U.S. policy." Bearden, Marr and others also referred to the Pentagon's tactic of pitting one group of enemies against another in Iraq as being fraught with danger. For example, during the assault on Fallujah, wary of the reliability of Iraqi forces, the Marines used 2,000 Kurdish Peshmerga militia troops against the Arab Sunnis. The two groups share a long history of mistrust and animosity, according to Marr. Both ethnic groups are Sunni, but Kurds speak a different language, have distinct customs, and are not Arabs. "I think the U.S. military is trying to get ethnic groups to take on the insurgents, and I don't think it will work," Marr said. According to a former senior CIA official, the agency is dealing with reports of ethnic cleansing being undertaken by the Kurds in areas near Kirkuk. "It's all taking place off everyone's radar, and it's very quiet, but it's happening," this source said.
Oh, lovely. These particular reports, the story goes on to note, haven't been confirmed. And one of them -- the alleged forced relocation by Kurds of 150,000 Sunnis -- has been debunked. Let's hope that none of this is really happening. The confirmed bad news is bad enough:
Former Defense Intelligence Agency chief of Middle East operations, Pat Lang, said the key blunder was the disbanding of Iraq's 400,000-man army. "At a stroke, we went from a liberator to an occupier." .... [...] The Sunni Arabs, once the leading political group under Saddam Hussein, feel threatened and made politically impotent by the Shiite majority, according to U.S. officials. This partly explains their leadership of a broad, deeply entrenched insurgency designed to humiliate American military power, keep the bulk of the Sunni population on the fence, and rally anti-U.S. forces in the region, U.S. officials said. [...] Another problem is the Iraqi middleclass, many of them Sunni, and almost all of them anti-American, according to Marr. "They disliked us in the past because the U.N. sanctions made them suffer. When the war came, they had expectations that were much too high. Then they became passive and they won't work with us, and yet this is the only chance they're going to get." "The Sunnis and Shiites don't like the occupation and want us out as soon as possible," she added. "Their idea is that if a security force is needed, they want to do it themselves." [...] The war has made all three groups, Kurds, Shiites and Sunni, "crawl into themselves," she said. And the future? "All sorts of ugly things could happen -- the Kurds could declare independence or the split between the Shiite and Sunni could deepen. The new Iraqi state could fail," an administration official said. For Marr the outlook was also grim: "The whole Bush administration policy has been outrageously careless" and because of this, she said, the tenuous unity of Iraq "could break down."
And here's the kicker:
Said former senior CIA Iraqi analyst Judith Yaphe: "Elections will not solve anything -- we are grasping for events that will enable us to get out of Iraq, but there are no such thing. Democracy is not an event but a process."
That's why Bush is insisting on January elections -- because even he has realized that he has to scale back the US troop commitment in order to persuade the Asian financial markets to keep propping him up. Note that I said "scale back", not "leave". We'll never really leave Iraq -- Bush has installed too many US military bases to allow that to happen, and and as noted in the story, he's hoping for the chaos and disunity so as to ensure that the US, even with a reduced force, is more powerful than any single Iraqi armed group. Sounds like something Karl Rove would dream up, doesn't it? So we'll guard our own bases, and the oil wells, and leave the rest of Iraq to rot and fester amid the "Shock and Awe" rubble our planes and tanks created. And just as the Republicans have used the racist divide-and-conquer "Southern Strategy" to keep poor and middle-class Southerners voting against their own interests, they'll try to use the same tactics to keep the Iraqis from uniting to fight us. Or so they hope.
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