MEGATRENDS: Bush & al-Hakim    
 Bush & al-Hakim6 comments
Bush & al-Hakim, Odd Bedfellows

Sami Moubayed - President George W Bush's met with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the Iran-backed turbaned cleric who leads the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Bush must have been shocked.

Fifty-seven years ago, US president Harry Truman authorized the newly created Central Intelligence Agency to carry out its first overseas operation in Syria. As a result, the CIA engineered a coup in Damascus that brought an unstable yet highly ambitious officer, General Husni al-Za'im, to power in March 1949.

Shortly after bringing him to power, the US military attache in Syria advised Za'im to establish contact with Truman by sending him a signed photograph as a gesture of goodwill to the United States. Za'im complied, sending a huge portrait of himself, in full military uniform, with medals, monocle, white gloves and military cane in hand.

When Truman received the package he had no clue who Husni al-Za'im was or how the new Syrian leader looked. Reportedly, when seeing the picture he gasped, angrily telling his advisers that this man reminded him of Benito Mussolini, saying: "You have brought a Mussolini to Damascus!"

This story came to mind when reading about President George W Bush's meeting with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the Iran-backed turbaned cleric who leads the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

The two men met at the White House on Monday, but in Bush's own words they had met before during Hakim's earlier visit to Washington, DC. It's interesting to wonder what the president, who prior to the war, according to advisers, did not differentiate between Sunnis and Shi'ites, thought of Hakim at first glance.

He probably was shocked, like Truman before him, because Hakim did not look, sound or act like someone who could be an ally to the United States. It would not be surprising if the president said: "You have brought an ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Baghdad!" in reference to the leader of the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Instead, the US president described his Iraqi guest admiringly. saying, "This is a man whose family suffered unbelievable violence at the hands of the dictator Saddam Hussein. He lost nearly 60 family members, and yet rather than being bitter, he's involved with helping the new government succeed."

Bush might have been uninformed about Hakim's open call for the partitioning of Iraq and the creation of a Shi'ite south, because he added: "I assured him [Hakim] the United States supports his work and the work of the prime minister [Nuri al-Maliki] to unify the country."

What unification? It is Hakim, after all, who has broken the norms in Iraq and aggressively called for partition. Unity can only be achieved, Bush added, if the extremists are eliminated, because they "stop the advance of this young democracy".

Does the president know that this man's militia, the Badr Organization, is one of the strongest armed groups in Iraq, with an estimated 10,000 warriors, causing much of the inter-Iraqi fighting? After all, Michael Hayden, the director of the CIA, had only recently said that only 3.5% of the Iraqi insurgency was composed of Sunni members of al-Qaeda.

The Sunni tribesmen carrying arms, many of whom are former Ba'athists, are "in the low tens of thousands", Hayden said. This means the rest are Shi'ite. It means the rest are Badr, and the Mehdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr.

But of course Bush knows whom he is dealing with, making Hakim's second visit to Washington very important. The State Department, after all, had put forward a proposal earlier in the week calling on the White House to abandon reconciliation efforts with the Sunnis and instead give priority to the Shi'ites and Kurds. The proposal, part of a much-needed review of Iraq policy, argues that when the US troops came to Iraq they initially embraced and collaborated with the Shi'ites, and deliberately alienated the Sunnis.

Part of that was because the Sunnis could not be trusted, since they were overwhelmingly loyal to Saddam and feared Iranian meddling and Shi'ite influence in the post-Saddam order. The Sunnis knew that the Shi'ites were ambitious - and had been wronged for many years in Iraqi politics. They were now getting the upper hand in Iraqi politics. They were large in numbers. They had the backing of Iran - and a taste for vengeance.

The US-Shi'ite honeymoon in Iraq worked at first but created a snowballing Sunni insurgency that was supported by outside forces, and financed and trained either by former Ba'athists or members of al-Qaeda who infiltrated Iraq. It also led to a smaller Shi'ite insurgency, led by Muqtada. Pretty soon, the US realized that the Iraqi Shi'ites had feigned their love for the United States and, shortly after the Americans toppled and arrested Saddam, by December 2003, the Shi'ites began calling on the US to leave.

To contain the Sunni insurgency, the US tried to bring the Sunnis into power in December 2005-January 2006, to let them share responsibility for security - and be rewarded politically for it. This also did not work, and matters erupted once again when the holy Shi'ite shrine in Samarra was attacked in February. Since then a chaotic, unorganized, and highly sectarian madness has taken over Iraq, with Sunnis and Shi'ites fighting each other daily, leading to the death of more than 3,000 Iraqis per month.

In looking back, the US realizes that it has failed to appease both the Sunnis and the Shi'ites. It only has the Kurds, who are always a minority in Iraqi politics. To return to the relatively calm period of March-December 2003, when the Shi'ites were on America's side, the White House now has decided to change course and adopt what has been labeled the "80% solution", based on a recent State Department study by Philip D Zelikow, a man best known for being the executive director of the 9-11 Commission.

Since the Sunnis are no more than 20% of Iraq's population, and since the Sunni fighters of al-Qaeda are no more than 3.5% (1,400 men out of a total of 40,000 insurgents), the US had decided to concentrate on the remaining 80% of Iraqi society: the Shi'ites (and Kurds). This proposal challenges everything Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has been trying to do. Khalilzad, after all, was architect of a plan on appeasing the Iraqi Sunnis to pressure them into abandoning support for former Ba'athists and al-Qaeda.

If Zelikow's plan is approved - which seems likely with the welcoming of Hakim to the White House - it will reverse all of Khalilzad's diplomatic efforts with the Sunnis. Among other things he had called on Prime Minister Maliki to appoint a Sunni as minister of defense and replace the anti-Sunni former interior minister from SCIRI with Jawad al-Boulani, who is more acceptable to Sunni notables.

The US diplomat has also favored dialogue with insurgents, and pushed for an amnesty to set free Iraqi Sunnis who had carried arms against the Americans since 2003. Khalizad, and those who favor reconciliation with the Sunnis, argue that this would leave Sunni military power unchecked and cost the Americans more casualties in 2007. It would even lead to a new Sunni boycott of the Maliki cabinet, and get Sunni notables to call on their military groups to fight both the Americans and the Shi'ites, adding fuel to the already raging civil war.

It is also unwise in that it would give an impression that the US is taking sides in a purely domestic sectarian conflict. The decision to abandon the Sunnis would certainly be frowned on by America's allies in the Arab world, mainly Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Kuwait. Sensing the outcry caused by the "80% solution", State Department spokesman Tom Casey refused to comment on it.

Bush's national security adviser, Stephen J Hadley, told reporters on board Air Force One that there was no immediate U-turn in the US policy on Iraq, adding: "There is a real sense of urgency, but there is not a sense of panic." Then comes Abdul Aziz al-Hakim to Washington, making headlines by asking the US to extend its troops stay in Iraq.

Why the Iran-backed Hakim? One reason is that he is one of the strongest politicians in Iraq today, equaled only by Muqtada al-Sadr. His visit to Washington comes days after Muqtada distanced himself from Maliki because the Iraqi leader had met with Bush in Amman, Jordan. Muqtada, who commands a large group in Parliament as well, suspended his followers' membership in the Iraqi Parliament and the Maliki cabinet.

If this gap is not filled immediately, it could cause serious embarrassment to Nuri al-Maliki. Hakim hurried to fill it by praising and supporting the Maliki cabinet, after it had lost Muqtada's endorsement. Hakim, after all, is powerful and influential among the affluent in the Shi'ite community. Although Muqtada is king in the slums and among the poor, he has no connections to rich and powerful Shi'ites. Hakim does, through his family history and through the money of Iran.

True, Maliki might have lost the support of the poor with the walk-away of Muqtada, but he still commands support of the rich, thanks to Hakim. The latter's Iran-backed SCIRI holds the largest number of seats in the National Assembly. Hakim is the only leader who manages to keep a delicate balance between the Iranians and Americans, appearing to be an ally and friend of both. For long he and his party were based in Tehran, during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), for their opposition to the regime of Saddam Hussein.

At the time, Saddam's regime was backed by the United States because it was combating and weakening the Iranians. Not only were he and his men on the Iranian payroll, but Hakim made sure that thousands of well-trained Iraqis from SCIRI's Badr Brigade, which he commanded, joined the Iranian army in its war against Saddam. To send off young Iraqi men to fight other Iraqi men meant nothing to Hakim, since to him, Shi'ite loyalties to Iran were (and still are) stronger than patriotic affiliations to Baghdad.

He returned to Iraq after the downfall of Saddam's regime, having changed his rhetoric into becoming pro-American. Hakim became a member of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council and even served as its president until December 2003. He had become the commander of SCIRI after its original leader, his brother Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, was assassinated in Najaf in August 2003.

His arrival in Washington has overlapping and sometimes conflicting layers to it, all of which are linked directly to Iran.

First, this is a final coordinated effort to destroy - or at least curb - the rising power of Muqtada al-Sadr. Many doubted that Maliki would actually dare to meet with Bush, and face the wrath of Muqtada, who threatened to walk away from the Maliki regime if the premier met the US president in Jordan. By going ahead with the meeting anyway, Maliki was clearly feeling strong enough to take such a bold action, and alienate his loudest supporters in the Shi'ite community.

It was almost as if Maliki wanted Muqtada to walk away. Muqtada, who helped bring Maliki to power this year, has become an embarrassment to the Baghdad government. Though powerful, he remains a political amateur, however, and does not know how to pull the right strings in conduct with the Americans or different factions of Iraqi politics. He is at odds with the Sunnis, the Kurds, the Americans, the Iranians and, more recently, large segments of Iraqi Shi'ites, mainly SCIRI and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, whose family competes with that of Muqtada for leadership in Shi'ite Iraq.

Muqtada's Mehdi Army has threatened his opponents once too often and many would like to see it eliminated. Hakim's Badr Corps can do the job, if given cover by the US and Maliki. Rather than have two powerful Shi'ite militias, one would be enough, and this one would be friendly toward the United States. Muqtada's men have been accused recently of storming the Sunni-led Ministry of Higher Education and kidnapping civilians.

Most of the sectarian violence recently has been blamed on the young Shi'ite leader. The campaign against him started last month, when multiple bombs went off in Sadr City, killing more than 200 of his followers. Muqtada, appalled by the powerful attack, spoke to followers and rather than seek revenge, he called on them to unite and avoid provocation.

Second, Hakim in Washington means Iran in Washington. The Americans are now facing the serious reality that they only have two solutions to the violence in Iraq. Either they re-engage with Syria and continue to alienate Iran, or they re-engage Iran and continue to alienate Syria. Becoming friends with both is impossible - for the Americans - and yet remaining at odds with both is also impossible. Certainly the Americans would prefer talking to Damascus. The price for re-engaging Iran in Iraq would be too high for the Americans to pay, given the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of Tehran.

They would rather talk to the Syrians over the Golan Heights or Lebanon than give such concessions to the Iranians. The Syrians, however, can only control the Sunni street of Iraq (and even then it has to be done with the help of Saudi Arabia). For now this task seems too difficult, especially if the Americans pursue the 80% solution, angering Riyadh and alienating the Iraqi Sunnis.

This is what prompted Nawaf Obeid, a security analyst and adviser to the Saudi government, to write recently in the Washington Post that if the US left Iraq, "one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis". Obeid added, "The Saudi leadership is preparing to substantially revise its Iraqi policy. Options now include providing Sunni military leaders (primarily ex-Ba'athist members of the former Iraqi officer corps) with the same type of assistance - funding, arms, logistical support - that Iran has been giving to Shi'ite armed groups for years."

This shows that the Sunni street will not be pacified simply by the engagement of Syria in Iraqi affairs. The Americans must find a solution to Iran to make the efforts of the Syrians work, and pacify the anger of the Saudis. Rather than ask the Syrians to talk to the Iranians on their behalf, the Americans are doing it through Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.

Whether he looks, acts or thinks like Khomeini, therefore, is of little interest to President Bush so long as he can deliver in Iraq. The US is desperate for assistance in Baghdad. If Khomeini were alive and could help the Americans minimize their losses, then he too probably would be welcome in Washington, DC.

[link]

By Sami Moubayed | December 7, 2006; 10:07 AM ET
Previous: How Israel Lost to the Iranians [link] |

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Coat of Arms
3 Silver Foxes
On a field of Argent

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RA

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Of note: the founder of Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte, is the brother of John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence [link] , who oversees all US intelligence agencies including the CIA, FBI, NSA, NGA, NRO, and others interested in either reading or altering your mind.

Nicholas' current project with Media Labs is a universal mind-control delivery platform [link] targeted at the Third World. I am working on getting one of these devices from undercover paranoid agents to see if MindGuard can be made to run on it. Hopefully the underprivileged children of the world won't have to fall victim to the nefarious schemes of the Negroponte brothers.

[link] group develops mind-reading device/2100-1008_3-6057638.html

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[link]



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6 comments

8 Dec 2006 @ 21:54 by vaxen : Not interesting enough...
Got fried rice? You'll be the fried Rice soon enough. What me worry? ;)

The Roman Empire is falling - so it turns to Iran and Syria

By Robert Fisk

The Roman Empire is falling. That, in a phrase, is what the Baker report says. The legions cannot impose their rule on Mesopotamia.
http://tinyurl.com/ua394

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Catastrophe Still Awaits

By Paul Craig Roberts

What will be the U.S. government's response to the lost war and the terrible calamity that Bush has created in Iraq?
http://tinyurl.com/yynwm9

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Hey, We Got Beat Fair and Square

By Mike Whitney

There’s plenty of gloom and doom in the report, but its all window-dressing. We’re not pulling-out. Heck no! Baker just wants to reduce troop levels to patch up the army and bolster public support for the next big bloodbath.
http://tinyurl.com/y4r3ot

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ANd you'd do well to pay heed to this:

http://www.stopspp.com/

Yeah, sure you will. They say that it, what ever it connotates, isn't over till the fat lady sings? What about 'Fat Boy?'

Going to Teheran?  



9 Dec 2006 @ 16:04 by vaxen : Ran-Tings
"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience…therefore [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring." : Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950

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"Some explanations of a crime are not explanations: they’re part of the crime.": Olavo de Cavarlho  



10 Dec 2006 @ 07:39 by vaxen : I guess...
all the pretty people can't eat meat, yet, and must drink milk till their stomaches arrive. Their loss, not mine...

Intellectual snobbery will get them everywhere except alive...
Well, Zombies were once people too.

Don't be blue, Babe...
Paul Bunyon ate an onion,
And is still alive, alive-o.

Over and out.
Don't ever think that Nots Cannot Numerate is ''The Network, though, for that could be a fatal mis-take. Remember the *NIX kill command?

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date... so I'll see ya on Sunna Daegr running ridges called mass.

AUM Nama Shivaya Gurave Namah...

C:\netstat -A  



10 Dec 2006 @ 10:49 by jazzolog : The Halls Of Fantasy
at NCN are empty now. Only ghosts of hopes and dreams of the departed membership remain---and of course those who said "Who cares!" when people left.  


10 Dec 2006 @ 15:51 by vaxen : I care...
and so do you. Can't lie to me about how deeply you feel my friend. The greek word ''Pathos'' has a lot of obliques hanging onto it thanks to so called Psy0CHia-Try, which isn't, but it means ''feeling.'' Deep, unadorned, freeing.

One of the pirposes for the instantiation of a ''Reverse Organization Board'' is to ''de-humanize'' then inject into the shell that is left the alters that target project XYZ requires. It's a particularly insidious form of ''crowd control'' behavior modification. Never forget that ''the enemy (satan means 'enemy')'' knows how to appear as a ''messenger (Angel but really from the Hebrew 'MaLaCh') of light"

Hmmm, maybe I should annotate those nested serpents? Any help incorrecting the way I use the tongue is always most graciously, and humbly, accepted (mostly ;) )

The abreaction of our present society has its' roots in long ago... caring is the only way that we will ever win, win, win... but, then, you come so highly recommended by mutual alters that, quite franly, I sometimes just stand aghast!

"Every body was King Fu fighting..."

LYMTYLM

So, let freedom ring and let your heart soar. You deserve so much more. Patience old friend...

"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience…therefore [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring." : Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950

Revenimus!  



14 Dec 2006 @ 03:31 by vaxen : IT has begun...
SO/GO: All Loyal Officers

The commanding officer prior assessment should get you up to levels. Shortly we will begin the tutorial on how you can survive World War III and prepare for "Boots in the Sky. All those whose LOs who are still on lines will need the materials that are yet to come. So get those ruds and TRs in then we'll begin.

Galac_Patra has been compromised so let the S/Ws do their thing.

They're good at that and FYEO materials will be encoded neat. Prep Packs will be distributed to all crews. Magellans clouds are pink and blue.

All E/Os take shore leave and all Techies and Policy editors hit the books. Cram...

See ya at Mintaka base.

Good luck

Revenimus!

I will not always be here on guard. The stars twinkle in the Milky Way, and the wind sighs for songs across the empty fields of a planet a Galaxy away. You won’t always be here. But before you go, whisper this to your sons and their sons: "THE WORK WAS FREE. KEEP IT SO." L. RON HUBBARD --- ORV

PS: If the Stealth Fighters in RU go down we've a back up plan. Keep in touch with your COs and don't let your crews go up pole, just yet.

NAVREX-AE24

AEGIS PRIME  



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