October 30, 2006

Reasons for Failure in Iraq

If we fail in Iraq, the question asked in many capitols around the world, not least London and Washington will be why? Many answers will be given- but one that opponents and supporters of the war are already sketching out is inadequate execution- if so then this report from the New York Review of Books deserves a wider circulation. It is mainly about George Bush's religion- but its last couple of paragraphs relate to appointment procedures in Iraq- to summarise it quotes conclusions from a recent study in Iraq which finds that there were hundreds of Browns (reference to Michael Brown the incompetent head of reconstruction after the Katrina storm) in Iraq and particularly zones in on one appointment- the replacement of an internationally respected conflict management expert and medical proffessor by an evangelical anti-abortion activist as head of the Iraqi medical services. If this is true- and I don't know and would be willing to listen to evidence- then it is further evidence that this invasion right or wrong was handled with the minimum of competence.

Most of the comments below relate to Iran though there is a first link to things about Iraq.


Anonymous said...

I think this is one of the many contributing factors we have failed in Iraq:


Anonymous said...

I think this is one of the many contributing factors that has led to our failure in Iraq:


Anonymous said...

Sorry, about the double post.

Gracchi said...

Not a problem about the double post but the link you have posted doesn't work I just tried it- I think probably looking at it somethings missed off the end- I'm interested so if you come back could you repost it but put some spaces in so it doesn't go over the line- sorry I've had this problem before I think its a blogger thing so its nobody's fault but I'd love to see the link :)

Anonymous said...

Try this truncated version:


Gracchi said...

Thanks interesting. Yes I agree one of the main reasons has to be attitude of Iraq's neighbours particularly Iran and actually Syria as well. The Iranian angle is fascinating there is a really good article by Fred Halliday in I think the title is Nation and Religion in the Middle East where he talks about the prewar divide between Iraq and Iran. I wouldn't mind thinking there is also a defensive thought about the Kurds in there as well. I don't think it neccessarily undermines the idea that the US didn't appoint the right people thus making it harder for themselves- but the Iranian issue does complicate things considerably especially given the closeness between some of the Shia rebels in Iraq and the Iranian regime.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it neccessarily undermines the idea that the US didn't appoint the right people thus making it harder for themselves-

The next question to ponder is Why, how, and by whom they were convinced that they were appointing the right people provided that they knew the risk of forming a shi'ite alliance? Did they know the extent of that risk?

Anonymous said...

U.S. Policy toward Iran [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service]
Speaker: R. Nicholas Burns, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Presider: Louis Perlmutter, Senior Adviser, Corporate Partners

October 11, 2006
Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY


Henry said...

Nice link. One thing I think I'd add is that the speaker keeps on saying that the Iranians want instability in Iraq- I'd agree that is in their interests as it ties down American troops and makes further interventions less likely. But the Iranians are walking a tightrope here as I would have thought that they would fear civil war for the chaos it could unleash especially in terms of the Kurds inside Iran.

Ok to the earlier point- yes I do think you have to wonder that- the NYB seems to imply that this administration values ideological correctness over practical experience. I wouldn't want to comment but that is their line.

Gracchi said...

I'd agree I think there are real difficulties in ascertaining exactly what the Iranians are up to- was very interested in the discussion of Iran as far from a monolithic political organisation but being factional.

Anonymous said...

March 29, 2006

"The Power Structure of the Islamic Republic of Iran: transition from populism to clientelism, and militarization of the government" published in Third World Quarterly

Hidden Iran:

I also have a question for you. What do you think the hardliners [Ahmadinejad's faction with his military Junta (IRGC)] state as their number one reason not to negotiate with the Americans?

Anonymous said...

My last post. I promise.



Gracchi said...

No I hope it isn't your last post- I find them interesting. As to your question as to the hardliners I think there is a mix of motives depending on who you talk to. Partly I suspect there is an element of suspision- the West in their eyes is untrustworthy. Secondly I think there is the argument that the West in Iraq is perpetuating the jahiliyaa- thirdly there are considerations of real politik.

Unfortunately the link you've posted is to a file that's been taken down. I've always been intrigued by the Iraqi Syrian axis though- there is plenty of evidence that one of the reasons that the Sunni muslims fail to look to Iran is the link with Allawite Syria.

As for the postings don't apologise keep them coming- as I said I'm interested and I think other readers of this blog probably are.

Anonymous said...

The real reason being stated for not talking to the US, although not publicaly and among each other is the fact that US's friend, the late Shah, was betrayed by the Americans. "The Ayatollahs don't play as "friends" to the US because they learned from what happened to the late Shah that only friends can be betrayed not enemies. This was the best way I could translate the sentiment.

Iran Playing a Clever Game



WASHINGTON [MENL] -- Iran was said to have significantly expanded its influence in Syria and encouraging Alawis and Sunnis to convert to Shi'ite Islam.

Syrian opposition sources said the regime of President Bashar Assad has given Iran "carte blanche" in Syria. The sources said that unlike his late father, Bashar has allowed Iranian clerics to spread the Shi'ite religion in Syria.

"Syrians have been observing over the last year a dangerous phenomena mostly witnessed by an alarming number of non-Shia turning to Khomeini-style Shia in return for financial rewards," the opposition Reform Party of Syria said. "Whole villages and urban areas are adopting the Hizbullah model whereby clinics, schools, and social services are provided by Iran in return for Syrians to convert to Shi'ism."

In August 2006, RPS said, Iran opened two centers in the Syrian port of Latakiya. The organization said the centers, designed to teach Farsi, have been converting Sunni Muslims.


NOTE: The above is not the full item.

This service contains only a small portion of the information produced daily by Middle East Newsline. For a subscription to the full service, please contact Middle East Newsline at:
editor@menewsline.com for further details.

Ahmadinejad's Divine Inspiration:

I would like your feedback on the power structure of Iran vis a vis Clientalism.

Gracchi said...

I would assume that clientalism in the countryside is alive and well in Iran but am as usual willing to be corrected. Somewhere like Tehran though I would have thought that the structures of clientalism are still present but are not as effective as they might be.

I'll move on to the American segment later when I've collected the data.

Gracchi said...

Actually can I also take this opportunity to ask you a question- why is Bashar Assad allowing the Iranians to proselitise inside Syria?

edmund said...

a) There was a purge of al the senior people in the authri and htier replacments with Dod appointees it seems-whatever one thinks of that (it sounds iffy to me but the DOd side hasn't really been reported) it's got v little to do with the Relgious right

b) Compared to lots of people in such authoriyt running an adoption agency and then a health service are actualy quite a nice skills fit-for example most US ambassodrs are campaign donors or activists . This is a gneral problem about the extent of political patraongage in key US positons(and may well hinder the operatons of the US in events like Iraq) -but it is not one that is somehow created by the relgi0us right or evne the current admistration-it's a deeper problem . in a democrat admisti athe appointe might have ran a chain of aborion clincis-but the same probelm would have existed ie poltical appointment

Anonymous said...

Gracchi: Sorry, I haven't been able to blog much lately. To answer your question regarding Syria, I found this:


Hope the link works.

Gracchi said...

Yet again anonymous I am in debt to you that is a really great interesting citation about Assad's links to Iran. The increasing dependance given isolation is interesting as is the opposition to Sunni fundamentalists.

Gracchi said...

Anonymous can I thank you even more I've used the information you provided in that article and the information you provided above in another article to write an article about the Iranian Syrian alliance for bits of news. I was wondering if you'd like me to acknowledge your help- I'm quite happy to do so- if you want acknowledgement either comment here or send me an email. I can write an acknowledgement of anonymous help if you like but I'd like to just say thank you for helping me and hope this is a testament to how much I value your contribution on the blog.

Gracchi said...

Sorry should just note the url of that article for you its http://www.bitsofnews.com/content/view/4305/43/