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Remember Iraq? A Link Dump

Within the last year, the media--and its customers--stopped caring about Iraq. As Violence increased in Central Asia and decreased in Iraq, our nation's focus returned to Afghanistan. Since it seems like an afterthought that US forces leave Iraq at the rate of a Brigade a month, I thought I would send out an update on the region, and fall just short of making a prediction on Iraq's future.

The most immediate news is that Iraq's government has delayed upcoming elections. Originally scheduled for January, they won't be held until March. Security is still the primary concern, but Iraqi military forces are making strides. A recent bomb plot locked down all of Baghdad and the result was quite a bit of gossip well described by the LA Times.

Thomas Ricks has an ongoing series on the "unraveling" in Iraq. His posts are informative, pointing attention back to the forgotten war. His pieces are more predictive than actual reporting, but I generally think that a Kurdistan state of some sort will emerge in the near future.

This is a sobering reminder that despite the progress, we have quite a way to go in Iraq. The situation could sour at any time. This NPR article describes the slow economic progress due to continuing corruption. At the same time, their oil production increases.

How could I not include a story on fashion in a link dump? Here NPR describes one of the odd ways Iraqis are expressing their growing freedoms compared to the post-invasion chaos.

It also seems like I can't do a link dump without mentioning Blackwater nee Xe (until they change their name again). In this case, Iraqis were forced to settle lawsuits company, and now want just compensation.

Whether or not Iraq unravels, the length of time between deaths for US Soldiers is increasing. (Remember, in 2003 and 2004 violence was very low as well.)

Finally, quite a bit has been made of the movie The Hurt Locker; look at the award it's won. I still haven't seen this--I blame living in Italy--but as soon as Eric C emails in a Netflix DVD, I'll have a chance to see it. Eric C predicts it will be nominated for Best Picture next month (and he isn't the only one).

(Side link: on TR's blog he describes the six things on General Casey's mind. General Casey didn't use an Army-Level AAR to develop them but it kind of relates to what we said.)

eight comments

I just wanted to emphasize that prior to the invasion, Iraq was a lot less secular. The burkhas and everything (stuff we associate with lack of freedom) came post invasion. Sad. Nice to see it returning, I hope it stays.


Re: Kurdistan. Ricks map makes no sense. It is completely different than his Intel-boy quote. It makes no sense in context of the region. It’s just using Middle East Mad Libs and trying to make something provocative out of it.

Syria’s going to take the least economically viable part of Iraq, Anbar? Why? And how are Israel and Lebanon “Home Problems”?

If Iran moves everywhere besides Northeast and Southeast, and Syria has the Southwest, then Iran just gets the Southwest? You mean, the heartland of Kurdistan? Or do they get Baghdad, too? The United States is going to give up Baghdad and Kirkuk to Iran – Iran must be an ally of the US by then due to regime change. Oh wait, you just said Iran will be fighting the US.

As for the Kurds, well, why is Hatay on your map, how many Kurds live there? And what about the huge numbers of Alevi Turks and Assyrians who live in Southeast Turkey?

I’m not going to deign to write on Ricks blog about this, because all he is doing is feeding political red meat to a problem. This makes no sense at all. Seriously, none. He may as well create a French-Canadian Quebecois state around Mosul while he’s at it. Either he’s being provocative or he and his Intel-buddy have genuinely no clue about any issue surrounding Iraq from anything but a US lens.

grumblegrumblegrumble. I’ll be blogging about this later.


oops: “…then Iran just gets the Southwest?” should read “…then Iran just gets the Northwest?”


Yeah, I agree with you AJK. That’s why predictions are so dumb. Remember when we invaded Iraq how many doomsday scenarios there were? About none of them came true.

That being said, I could see the Kurds pushing to create their own nation state. That seems like a different statement than Syria will invade IRaq, which I don’t see happening.


Yeah AJK my main point was to highlight his whole series, which I think many people are already trying to forget.

I also just see a Kurdistan in the future. With so many people tightly knit and storing weapons for years, I just see them waiting for the political opportunity to grab their own place. You are right though that predicting Iraq will disappear is a pretty big stretch.


@Eric, I found the NPR article funny because as you said above, the resurgence of tradition as far as women’s dress happened post invasion. It’s just an interesting counter shift.


Kind of sad too.


Funny to think that 18 months ago I was emailing you from Iraq, asking how that other war in the other country was going…