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October 18, 2004

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i thought for sure i saw Allawi in Team America :)

i thought for sure i saw Allawi in Team America :)

LOL... that made my day.

There is no UN command or indeed even civilian structure in Iraq for these Muslim troops to be attached to. The UN withdrew from Iraq after the initial bombing.

Help was sought by Allawi, but not (by any evidence in the link) conditional that they be under UN command. Where it broke down (as evidenced by references further down in the link) is when the troops were being offered contingent on them not being under US command.

Which, if you think about it for more than a second or two, is an unworkable constraint.

"At one point, the Saudis proposed that Muslim forces be placed under the command of the Iraqi government. That idea won over Allawi, but not the United States. "The Americans wanted ultimate control, and that made it impossible to make this work," said the Iraqi official."


why unworkable? shouldn't a sovereign country be allowed to invite whoever it wants into its jurisdiction?

or were/are we afraid that foreign troops under the iraqi govt's command would form the nucleus of a military organization which would have the clout to back up a request from the new govt that the US get the hell out come January? or that Muslim countries would enjoy the clout that comes with deploying troops out of country.

geez, puppeteering is so much harder in the days of instantaneous global communication.

Francis

I suspect we fear that foreign troops under the government's command leads to Lebanon.

Slarti: Which, if you think about it for more than a second or two, is an unworkable constraint.

Seb: I suspect we fear that foreign troops under the government's command leads to Lebanon.

Both valid points, but also both beside the point. This article makes it sound as though the much-trumpeted-as-not-a-puppet leader of sovereign Iraq was overruled by the not-pulling-the-puppet-string US administration.

Or am I missing something here?

Who has military authority in Iraq? Us, or the Iraqi government?

Who has military authority in Iraq? Us, or the Iraqi government?

A sovereign Iraqi government would have military authority in Iraq.

A puppet government run by a puppet run by Bush & Co does not have military or other authority in Iraq.

I'm not asking who you think ought to have authority, Jesurgislac. This is a reality check.

Isn't this the reason India didn't contribute troops? and isn't redesigning the command structure basically the only thing Kerry will be able to do--besides renegotiating some of the reconstruction contracts--to bring more allies in? I can't believe that they still want ultimate responsibility for this mess.

I'm not asking who you think ought to have authority, Jesurgislac. This is a reality check.

Yes, and I was giving you one. Obviously, the puppet government of Iraq does not have military, or any other authority, in Iraq. It's not a sovereign government.

Filtering out the miscellaneous irrelevancies, I conclude that Jesurgislac agrees with me that the US does in fact have military authority in Iraq. That being the case, why on Earth would the UN be allowed a second, independent authority?

Slarti: I conclude that Jesurgislac agrees with me that the US does in fact have military authority in Iraq.

And I conclude that you've finally come round to the conclusion that everyone else was pointing out to you in the puppet thread, and agree that Allawi is just a puppet: he holds no sovereign authority in Iraq.

Now do you suppose you could persuade Sebastian?

I'm surprised at how difficult it is to find information on the terms of the sovereignty of the interm Iraq government.

According to the classical definition of sovereignty, then the Iraqi government should be able to overrule the US military in their country. I take it, however, that Slarti feels that there are limits on the sovereignty enjoyed by the current Iraqi government, specifically in the area of military authority.

However, if Canada had jurisdiction over American military matters, I'm sure that most people would have trouble saying that America was a sovereign nation.

I have to admit that, whatever the terms, I find it difficult to accept that a sovereign nation cannot make decisions about their own military security.

I dunno, Jesurgislac, do you think that the fact that the US runs matters military in Iraq is some sort of big secret? And if Allawi is a puppet, as you've said repeatedly, would Iraqi military authority be anything different from US military authority?

So, we have 1) a complete lack of subterfuge in the matter of who's got authority, and 2) not even a token effort to make it look as if the Iraqis were in charge (when it's really us pulling the strings, behind the scenes).

So, no.

Still looks awfully unpuppetlike to me. My apologies, though, that the VRWC was unable to accomplish everything all at once. Maybe next time.

Hmmm. I thought the big objection to Kerry's plan for Iraq was that there were simply no additional troops anywhere who could be brought in, no matter what arrangements could be made.

double-plus-ungood has a good point. what are the conditions of Iraq's sovereignty right now? a clarification would help subdue the puppet charges.

I mean, I presume Allawi is free to make decisions concerning everything except the military. Is that true? I presume the Iraqi military is totally under US control now as well. So when does Iraq get control over their own military? None of this is clear to me.

From a military point of view, it makes some sense not to have a separate army under UN control that probably would be less than cooperative with the US. And I can see why Alawi wants it -- he has no military power under his direction, and in the near future, all power will flow from each parties' militias (or their tribal influence over the alleged national army). He cannot direct the Iraqi forces without US approval (and yes, he is a puppet straining at his strings, but still a puppet).

However, the same situation (UN troops from other countries not under US control) has existed in Afghanistan without too much difficulty.

It would seem that the political benefits of a Muslim army would far outweigh the difficulties. I would like to have heard the administrations's rationale for rejecting this plan.

check that -- its NATO troops in Afghanistan not under US control.

I would like to have heard the administrations's rationale for rejecting this plan.

Ecco!

I would like to have heard the administrations's rationale for rejecting this plan.

Not me. Why bother? It'll be something along the lines of protecting Iraqi sovereignty and electoral integrity by not letting potential aggressors and interested parties bring troops in country.

And, like Slart's apparently sincere suggestion that the IGC can't be a puppet government because no effort is being made to pretend that it's sovereign, whatever it is will just make my head hurt. In fact I think I'll go down a couple more tylenols right now as a prophylactic measure...

And, like Slart's apparently sincere suggestion that the IGC can't be a puppet government because no effort is being made to pretend that it's sovereign, whatever it is will just make my head hurt.

I sympathise. I'm about to take two aspirin and lie down. I don't think I can deal with the results of making silly puns in Arabic and Slarti saying that Allawi can't be a puppet because the US is making no secret about who's pulling the strings.

And, like Slart's apparently sincere suggestion that the IGC can't be a puppet government because no effort is being made to pretend that it's sovereign, whatever it is will just make my head hurt.

Mine too. I started a couple of comments to get clarification on what he was saying, but I started getting blindspots in my vision when I even attempted to figure out what I was asking.

Masterful. Wish I could do that.

Clearly unable to be strong-willed enough to avoid being pulled in without simply Manfully Not Looking At ObWings Again For Now, I'll go on record that I'm also utterly baffled by Slarti's position.

The topmost comment on my blog for the moment is on this story, although I didn't link here because I saw it elsewhere first; as I said there, I wasn't going to comment on the story until I got to the key paragraph about the Saudi's offering to put the force under the Iraqi government's direct command, rather than that of the UN. It seems to me that that removed all possible reasonable objection from the U.S. government if there's was the slightest pretense that Allawi's government was sovereign, and not our puppet.

I also don't understand what reasonable rationale there is for objection to Allawi having more military power under his direct command. The only rationale I see is "gee, that would make him and the Iraqi government actually potentionally somewhat, you know, actually independent."

I don't understand how anyone can reconcile both that reasoning, and the idealistic idea that we went and are in Iraq for the liberation of the Iraqi people to democracy.

Can you explain this, Slart, or anyone? Sebastian? Anyone?

I suspect the fact that the largest contingent was to come from Pakistan--which is to say potentially riddled with Al Qaeda spies, might have something to do with it.

Hi, Sebastian! So are you over in the "Yes, Allawi's a puppet" camp now?

Sebastian: I suspect the fact that the largest contingent was to come from Pakistan--which is to say potentially riddled with Al Qaeda spies, might have something to do with it.

Aren't thay a nuclear-armed ally that the US administration just gave a bunch of new weaponry to as a "most-favored nation"?

And you say that they can't be trusted to have armed forces in Iraq? Even if Allawi vouches for them? Then why are they being given all these new shiny weapons?

"I suspect the fact that the largest contingent was to come from Pakistan--which is to say potentially riddled with Al Qaeda spies, might have something to do with it."

That's a reasonable-sounding point, but why, Sebastian, do you think Allawi wouldn't have objected if he thought that were an insurmountable problem? Is he stupid?

Also, the idea that there apt to be more suspect, unreliable, individuals in the Pakistani forces -- and that's certainly a valid fear -- than those volunteering for Iraqi forces would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

Iraq has enough domestic, ah, dissent, that worries about it being among imported foreign forces is the least of their problems.

I suspect the fact that the largest contingent was to come from Pakistan--which is to say potentially riddled with Al Qaeda spies, might have something to do with it.

Told ya. And it's a legitimate concern, too. So there.

While I like the idea of getting as big a coalition as possible in Iraq, I can see why the Powers that Be might not like the idea of Saudi troops in Iraq. They are likely to be seen less as peacekeepers than as Wahabi missionaries/holy warriors. The Wahabi version of Islam is basically "We're right and you're wrong. Do it our way or we'll kill you." Bin Laden and the Taliban are Wahabi. Other Muslims tend to be scared shitless of them.

Lightning,

Allawi, a Shiite, welcomed the Saudis.

The only rationale I see is "gee, that would make him and the Iraqi government actually potentionally somewhat, you know, actually independent."

Or, perhaps: gee, we're sure not going to give complete military authority to a less-than-fully-elected interim Iraqi government. Or maybe: gee, we're sure not going to give full military control of our troops (who, like it or not, still play a key role in keeping the peace (yes, I know: such as it is) over there) to people who just don't yet have the ability (or credibility) to wield such control. Or perhaps a number of other things that a man of your imagination could come up with, if a little effort were applied.

Or, you could all go on pretending that matters military are the only concerns at all that are relevant to discussions of Allawi and Iraq, and pretend that we're not within a few months of democratic elections, and pretend that this isn't overtly an interim government, and...like that.

Lightning,

Allawi, a Shiite, welcomed the Saudis.

Edward, that's completely false. (Unless you simply mean he welcomed the Saudi offer, which would be non-responsive to Lightning's "point.")

Lightning, that's completely irrelevant, since the offer wasn't for Saudi troops, and specifically excluded troops from any country bordering Iraq, as required by Allawi and the Iraqi government.

I suggest you both try rereading the story.

Iraqi officials said they did not want countries that border Iraq to contribute to a security force, ruling out Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Iran and Turkey. The Saudis agreed with that condition and promised to provide financial support to the peacekeeping force and possibly to some of the nations that agreed to contribute troops.

"Or maybe: gee, we're sure not going to give full military control of our troops (who, like it or not, still play a key role in keeping the peace (yes, I know: such as it is) over there) to people who just don't yet have the ability (or credibility) to wield such control."

Slart, could you provide a cite for where this entered the conversation? So far as my limited knowledge goes, you're introducing the idea freshly; perhaps I missed something. To be sure, last I looked, U.S. troops were supposed to, according to U.S. policy, not be taking military initiatives without first consulting with the Iraqi government and obtaining permission (note: this does not apply to defending and responding to a direct attack, of course; it applies to initiating action. But I don't see how that previously, or now, entered into this comment thread.

"Or, perhaps: gee, we're sure not going to give complete military authority to a less-than-fully-elected interim Iraqi government..."

That would be a perfectly good point if it weren't for the fact that President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, Advisor Rice, and so on, have all announced many times that the the Iraqi government was sovereign as of the turnover to them on the day the CPA went out of business. I take it you agree that that is not a true description? Or what?

Slart, could you provide a cite for where this entered the conversation?

Sure. It was right there, when you yourself brought up speculation as to rationale.

To be sure, last I looked, U.S. troops were supposed to, according to U.S. policy, not be taking military initiatives without first consulting with the Iraqi government and obtaining permission (note: this does not apply to defending and responding to a direct attack, of course; it applies to initiating action

I have to confess ignorance of this, and request a cite. For the record, WaPo disagrees with you:

More than 130,000 U.S. troops will remain in the country with wide latitude to mount operations to combat an increasingly violent insurgency.

But if you've got documents, by all means link to them.

I take it you agree that that is not a true description?

Not strictly true. But anyone reading past the word "sovereign" to the actual conditions of handover (as I'm confident you have done) could see this for themselves. Why ask me?

Lightning,
Allawi, a Shiite, welcomed the Saudis.

Edward, that's completely false. (Unless you simply mean he welcomed the Saudi offer, which would be non-responsive to Lightning's "point.")

Why do you think this is false, Slarti? Allawi was actually in Saudi Arabia a couple of months ago trying to get the Saudis to put together this plan. From all reports I've seen, Allawi enjoys cordial relations with the Saudi royals, and a much happier relationship with the Saudi security apparatus than I'm comfortable with.

Scroll up, reread, and then ask the question of the guy who wrote it.

Slarti...you're incognito...

;p

Hey, I thought I'd screwed up in this way so many times that I was perfectly...cognito.

Hey, I thought I'd screwed up in this way so many times that I was perfectly...cognito

Maybe, but you'll always be "Slarti" to me...that other nom de plume is so, so, so "French" in its way.

Crap, sorry Slarti. Where's my coffee?

I guess that one should be asked of Gary.

Why ask me?

Because you have persistently claimed that Allawi is not a puppet. Ergo, you presumably believed that Allawi's government is sovereign.

Whether or not you believe that now, I can't tell: you seem to be arguing that Allawi can't be a puppet if we can see the strings.

Not strictly true. But anyone reading past the word "sovereign" to the actual conditions of handover (as I'm confident you have done) could see this for themselves. Why ask me?

So you're saying that the word "sovereign" there was a misnomer?

The answer to your question, double-plus, is in my post of 10:28 PM.

So you're saying that the word "sovereign" there was a misnomer?

I'd call it a stretch. It's less of a mouthful than "a major step to full sovereignty", and hence inaccurate. If the idea is that it was intentionally misleading, the accompaniment of the claim of a sovereign Iraq with information that no, they're not fully sovereign was a major blunder.

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