Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Straight Talk from the French on Iraq



In opposition to Bush's press conference of today, French expert Pierre-Jean Luizard answers unscripted questions.

If you have site membership at Le Monde, you can find the transcript of yesterday's chat under perpectives in the top menu bar.

By the way, if you speak French I recommend that you buy Luizard's book (show at left) at Amazon France.

With the announced troop reductions, what is the scorecard for the US-British intervention in Iraq?

The third anniversary of the invasion is particularly significant because it coincides with the placement of the last brick in the country’s institutional edifice in the context of the US-sponsored process to reconstruct the Iraqi state. It is the hour of truth because from now on, there are no deadlines for elections or referendums on the horizon. We will find out very soon if the system fostered by the US since July 2003 is viable or not.

In my opinion, this system has already demonstrated that it constitutes an impasse obstructing all actors in Iraq today, whether American or Iraqi. The principal gain of the US intervention in Iraq, namely the fall of Saddam Hussein, has not yielded the benefits expected by Washington: officially, the democratization of the Middle East with Iraq as the model.

Three years after the war, it seems obvious that the occupation condemns all Iraqi actors, whether they are politicians or clerics, to act in the name of strictly sectarian interests instead of promoting a path towards a new contract of coexistence among Iraqis within the framework of a patriotic project meant to override sectarian differences. The sectarian spiral of violence for which there is no end in sight is probably directly linked to Iraq’s status as an occupied nation and not to deliberate US policies.

What do you think of calls to withdraw US troops in Iraq?

Would a pullout lead to civil war or to cooling off tensions? If you believe that the presence of foreign occupation troops is the fuel driving sectarian violence in Iraq, then you could say that the quickest possible pullout of US troops would be the least damaging solution for both the Iraqis and the Americans.

But you have to recognize that the damage has already been done because henceforward, the escalation in sectarian violence concerns Iraqi society itself. Today, the Iraqis fear one another and the blood spilt, particularly by the unleashing of anti-Shi’ite hatred, makes it more difficult with each passing day to return to a situation of coexistence among Iraq's communities.

Nevertheless, it seems likely that the new Iraqi Parliament will include among its first resolutions achieving two-thirds majority a demand for a calendar for the withdrawal of foreign troops. Political forces in favor of such a schedule represent a large majority within the Assembly. If the Americans were well-advised, which is far from certain, they would snatch the ball on the rebound and take advantage of the chance to pull out of the Iraqi quagmire as quickly as possible, while there is still time.

How much longer will the occupation last?

The trap into which the Americans and those Iraqis who took part in the political process have fallen prevents the establishment of a sufficiently stable government with recognized legitimacy enabling the coalition to hand over the keys to sovereignty and to militarily disengage from the country.

The Americans appear to be condemned to remain in a country where their presence divides Iraqi society ever more deeply with each passing day. It is a kind of vicious cycle: the Americans can neither leave nor, in the short or medium-term, find the requisite conditions for a pullout. With each day they remain as occupiers, Iraqi society is further propelled towards divisions that cannot be easily mended.

Does the Coalition remain solid or are the USA and Britain in it alone?

It cannot be dissimulated that the Coalition is strictly American; that is, the Americans never really relied militarily on other powers. The British are there for political support –and possibly for logistical backup. Most of the occupation has been conducted by US troops. And for quite some time now there has been defection from within the ranks of the Coalition by powers that were originally allied with the cause.

One could say that the number of countries participating today in the Coalition has diminished significantly, to the extent that the Americans are increasingly relying on private contractors to meet security needs. Today in Baghdad there are more mercenaries working for private security firms than there are troops from official Coalition members.

We hear a lot about Sunni-Shi’ite opposition. Haven’t we forgotten about the significant number of Kurds, who have a desire to take part in the future of Iraq?

Iraqi society structurally comprises three big communities. The Shi’a, who are mostly Arab, represent between 52 and 55% of the population. Sunni Arabs and Kurds, who are also Sunni, account for approximately 20% of the population, respectively. These communities cannot be considered minorities because each abuts, on the other side of Iraq's border, regions where they are in the majority. All of them have a political agenda for Iraq. This is not the case for the country’s minorities –Turkmen, Christians, Sabeans and others.

Within Iraq, Kurdistan is the only region whose Iraqi identity poses a problem. It should not be forgotten that the Kurds were forcibly joined to the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq in 1925 by the League of Nations. Since then, every Iraqi government has gone to war against them. However, because of regional considerations, the Kurds have no choice but to remain in Iraq. Kurdish leaders recognize that the independence of the autonomous region of Kurdistan is impossible. But despite this, they are engaged in a policy of lone crusader and fait accompli which makes the return of Kurdistan to the Iraqi heartland very problematic.

If you visit Iraqi Kurdistan, you will realize the extent to which young Kurds are ignorant of Iraq. They seldom speak Arabic and it is difficult to imagine an Iraqi future for a region already enjoying quasi-independence.

Are political parties uniting Kurds, Sunnis and Shi’ites in an overall agenda for Iraq possible in the short or long term?

Historically, the leadership of Iraqi patriotic movements has been assumed by the marja’iyya, that is, the Shi’ite clerical leadership. It was such leadership which, during the jihad of 1914-1916 and the revolution of 1920, led the movement against British occupation. At the time, Shi’ite clerics addressed themselves to both Muslim and non-Muslim communities in the name of a plan for the independence of an Islamic Iraqi state where all communities would be recognized.

In the history of modern Iraq, there have been two parties which were able to rally the different communities to their political agenda: the Communist Party and the Ba’ath Party. The Communist Party has practically disappeared from the political scene, giving way to a religious movement which has returned from a half-century in the desert. As to the Ba’ath Party, it was hijacked by the Tikriti clan, which then created an exclusively Sunni party. The occupation of Iraq has driven all Iraqi actors towards sectarian positions and today there is no political force which encompasses all communities.

What do you think of the frequent accusations by the United States of Iranian involvement Iraq?

The Americans are in trouble in Iraq and in accusing Iran they are trying to divert attention from the failure which every Iraqi as well as their neighbors can gauge. Saddam Hussein was an indispensable partner for the United States, for without Iranian benediction, the Americans could have never put together their unspoken alliance with the Shi’ites of Iraq.

The Americans could have never relied solely on the Kurds like they did on the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. It is thanks to Iranian policies on Iraq that the Americans, despite the current impasse, were able to end their third year of occupation without being challenged by a generalized insurrection among the Arab portion of the country.

US accusations of Iranian involvement Iraq may be viewed in the context of power struggle between Washington and Tehran concerning the nuclear issue. But there is visibly an attempt on the part of the US to blame Iran for the failure of a process which, on the contrary, Tehran has done everything to support until now.

What exactly is the role of Syria in the chaos reigning in Iraq?

The chaos that reigns today in Iraq is due to internal factors and is directly linked to the occupation of the county. To look elsewhere for the causes of the US failure in Iraq is obviously a recurring ploy on the part of Washington. But if the accusations against Iran seem unfounded –although the Iranians could exploit US difficulties in Iraq to divert pressure from their regime–, those against Syria are even more groundless because Damascus possesses very few vectors of influence in Iraq.

Today, the Syrian regime is under siege and will do nothing to lend credit to US accusations against it. If you visit Syria’s border with Iraq, you will witness the veritable paranoia that has seized the Syrian regime due to fears of some proof of Syrian implication in the troubles currently afflicting Iraq which Washington would like to wave in evidence. The border areas are under total lockdown by the army and police. Any stranger, especially if he is Arab, is arrested on the spot.

Have the Americans taken over the oilfields and been granted contracts giving them the right to develop the wells?

Contrary to what has often been said, oil was not the cause of the 2003 invasion. With Saddam Hussein defeated and placed under embargo, the Americans benefited in the 1990s from an ideal situation from an oil standpoint: without being on the front lines and spared from having to bear the political and military burdens of occupation, they were able to indirectly control the second largest oil reserves in the world by exploiting UN resolutions and its Oil for Food Program.

The situation since the fall of Saddam has not permitted the Iraqi oil industry to recover. Reigning insecurity makes the cost of oil production prohibitive and US oil companies for the most part are not interested in the Iraqi minefield, where the safety of workers cannot be guaranteed.

At the same time, oil is exacerbating inter-community divisions. In the context of escalating sectarianism, the Shi’ites and the Kurds are insisting that profits from the development of any new oilfields be reserved for their use, as is their right under the new Iraqi Constitution. Furthermore, oil deposits in the North are spread over regions of mixed ethnicities –Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Sunnis and Shi’ites– which makes the drawing of an ethnic border between Arab Iraq and autonomous Kurdistan impossible.

The obsessional preoccuptation over the oil city of Kirkuk, simultaneously contested by the Kurds, the Shi’ites, Sunni Arabs and Turkmen, symbolizes the impasse which a plan for the partition of Iraq along community, ethnic and confessional lines would create.

Can you explain why the Americans have not captured Zarqawi?

Today, the Americans do not control the terrain in Iraq. This has been a reality for the past two years. We’ve witnessed progressive usurpation of local power by militias linked to political parties or to the anti-American insurgency.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Sunni area of Iraq has been a sanctuary for foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda, even if dissention and division have recently arisen over the scorched-earth strategy apparently pursued by al-Zarqawi.

It should be recalled that 650 suicide bombers have died in Iraq, most of them in attacks on the Shi’ites. The vast majority of these individuals were Iraqis. Zarqawi disposes of a base inside Iraq and this will remain the case as long as the occupation lasts.

4 Comments:

Blogger Postman said...

"Today in Baghdad there are more mercenaries working for private security firms than there are troops from official Coalition members."

@ $1,000 a day. Month on month off.

They cannot capture Zarqawi - does he exist ? Do we know how many legs he has ?

Keep up the good work.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

- Nur mia,

As usual, you’re speaking words of wisdom: I've also read Luizard's book in French and agree it's a superb piece of research.

Igniting forever the eternal fires of sectarian violence throughout the Middle-East was exactly what the pyromaniac Neocon Neros of Washington had in mind when they launched their attack on Iraq, deliberately targeting the only secular republican regime of the Arab world.

French researcher Thierry Meyssan proved that the whole 9-11 circus was engineered by rogue rightwing operatives within the Pentagon and the office of the Vice-President- see link below:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thierry_Meyssan

Washington’s response was ruthless: Professor Meyssan was banned from entering the US territory for fear of him telling the truth about the Rumsfeldcheneysharon conspiracy… so much for “freedom of speech”!

Ironically, the storyline of September 11, 2001 echoes in many ways the plot of “The Long Kiss Goodnight” a 1996 action movie with Geena Davis and Samuel Jackson.
In the movie, Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) discovers that her former boss at the Pentagon has allied with some US-trained terrorists in a plot to detonate a chemical bomb in New York, frame a moustached Arab for the crime and thus secure more funding for the Pentagon...

Sounds familiar?

3:27 PM  
Blogger markfromireland said...

Nur speaking of good work remember "nowthatsfuckedup?" Here's an extended whinge from the delightful shagger who encouraged US soldiers and mercenaries oooooops sorry "contractors" to post pictures of dead Iraqis in return fro free access to pornography of the sexual as opposed to necrophile type.

Post subject: It seems all good things must end Reply with quote Report
Quote:

It is with some sadness, but much relief, that I can finally announce a resolution of the criminal charges arising out of the NTFU website. The serious felony charge has been dropped, and all but 5 of the misdemeanor charges were dismissed. I've entered a no-contest plea to these remaining misdemeanor charges, and agreed to pay certain costs and accept a term of probation in connection with the settlement. One of those terms will require me to close down this site after about 3 months, once existing subscriptions expire. Until then, we will continue to offer the best in amateur erotic content and uncensored news. I will then be moving on to other things in life, after the close out period.

I cannot begin to thank my supporters enough. They have helped me get through a difficult time, and put up an aggressive defense against this prosecution. As a result, we were able to reach a favorable resolution of this matter, which avoids any jail time or any felony conviction. It is often said that a sign of a good settlement is where neither party is particularly happy with the result. That is a good description of what happened with my case. While I'm not exactly 'happy' about all the elements of the settlement, I am extremely relieved that the case is over.Thanks again for your help and support during the prosecution, and enjoy the next 3 months.



This obscenity case was a fight I was willing to fight till the end. I believe I have done nothing wrong what-so-ever and sat in jail on two different occasions not knowing when I would be released, to accent that fact. There was so much more involved in this then a plain obscenity case. You have to understand the extreme hatred this sheriff and prosecute have for me and this line of work. The decision to take this deal was NOT an easy one even though it boiled down to basically a slap on the wrist it was still VERY hard decision to make. You have to know that thinking about the impact a negative outcome could have caused theentire adult industry also played a VERY big role in my decision as well.

The state was also about to file two separate RICO charges against me. So I would be fighting in civil court as well as felony criminal court on both of those and still fighting 1 count in felony criminal court for obscenity and 300 counts relating to the various misdemeanors also. This would have easily tied up the next 5+ years of my life with the end result possibly being prison for a very long time.

To leave this site is very hard. The people here are great. That's something that the goverment will never understand. They think we are are all sick fucks for looking at porn. They have no fucking clue. NTFU will cease to exist after 90 days but that does not mean there won't be a replacement forum. It will not have any sex or nudity on it so you will have to go somewhere else for that, but I do attend to put up a forum where those who still want to as well as myself can still meet and chit chat. The web address will be posted shortly as well as what kind of forum it will be. It will be better in some ways but the fact there will be no porn will suck for sure. We have been delt a a blow by the goverment but I will still push foward staying within the terms of my probation. Which just states no nudity and sex.

As for me I have been through two Pentagon investigations, kicked out of my townhouse, sat in jail twice, my house raided, my business gone through with a fine tooth comb, several death threats, my personal and business computers shipped to the Pentagon to be forensically searched through, stalked by the media and the Conservative Christian weirdos all because I TRULY believe in this site and industry and I truly believe I have done nothing wrong. I chose to fight instead of roll-over no matter what some of people claim.

Larry Walters and gang from http://www.firstamendment.com/ is truly one of the BEST allies you can have. I owe my freedom to these guys. They are truly amazing. Larry, Derk, and Marc believe so much in this industry and take attacks against it so personally that they come out fighting like pit bulls. They are in my opinion THE BEST in the industry.

If you have any questions please post them here and I will try and answer

------------------------------------
Well Boo hoo.

I check daily I'll let you know when it's taken down. At which point I plan on do a posting.

Give yourself a big pat on the back.

7:00 AM  
Blogger chicago dyke said...

i do love your work, nur. this got put up at corrente, sorry it took me so long.

7:40 AM  

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