Friday, August 05, 2005

Iran, Iraq and the Kurds

Its prediction time again and what with the recent sending of Iranian troops to put down popular Kurdish demonstrations on the Iraqi border, patterns become apparent. Firstly the cosy relationship between the new shiite leaders of iraq and the Government of Iran. Fact is bush and co shot themselves in the foot by allowing to be elected a shiite govt that would obvioulsy end up being pro Iranian. What is likely to happen is as the Sunni shia civil war escalates Iran will either be dragged in or drag itself in on the side of the Shia south. Whether america will simply cut its losses and bugger off, reach an agreement with iran or try to soldier on as it has already is open to question, though either way there is little they can actually do about it. The most likely thing is that unfortunately and against the wishes of most Iraqis Iraq will be split into the three main ethnic states, with the northern Kurdish part and te southern shia part being the most important. Obviously this only heightens the potential to conflict as there are many border areas, such as Kirkuk which is disputed largely because of its oil fields.
This weeks events though mark a trend that is increasingly disturbing, that is the spectre of agression against the kurds. Despite their staues as downtrodden minorities in the states of iran and turkey the Kurds in iraq are very powerful, they practically run their own state their, they have the ear of the Americans, and also their military training and most importantly trust. They have been involved with the Israelis and not seeing themselves as arabs means they do not have that great an attachment to the concerns of the other middle eartern states, which is understandable considering a hitsory of oppression by them. as the Iraqi kurds get more powerful and more vocal it may get to the point where the states of Iran Turkey and whatever is left of Iraq decide to do what they have always done to the Kurds and invade. This could easily happen alongside and iraqi civil war as instability breeds instability.
The fact that america in order to try and preserve short term goals will stoke these fires, by sabre rattling against Iran and by using Kurdish Militias against the insurgency and by execerbating the Sunni Shia split will only make things worse.

Interesting case too of the Baghdad sniper, who has been claiming US soldiers for months, some extracts from a guardian article-
"Juba is the nickname given by American forces to an insurgent sniper operating in southern Baghdad. They do not know his appearance, nationality or real name, but they know and fear his skill.
There is never a follow-up shot, never a chance for US forces to identify the origin, to make the hunter the hunted. He fires once and vanishes.
Some worry that Juba is on his way to becoming a resistance hero, acclaimed by those Iraqis who distinguish between "good" insurgents, who target only Americans, and "bad" insurgents who harm civilians.
I heard about this before, and generally think, are you sure its just one guy?
But it is interesting that Iraqi get at least one good hero, in that he kills cleanly and boosts Iraqi national p[ride. There is a lot of psychology in this, the US has always relied on technological superiority and supposedly better training. With this sniper they are being outskilled, he is simply better than them and they have had drilled into them since birth that the US military is the best in the world, that alone is enough to make them sloppy. They do not realise that technology and big muscles are not always going to make tem better than everyone else.
I also like this quote-
"We are professionals. There is a line between a maniac with a gun and a sniper," said Mike, 31, a corporal with a reconnaissance sniper platoon who did not want to his surname to be used.
He spoke during a 24-hour mission on a roof during which his team ate junk food and urinated into a bottle. During daylight they lay on the ground, immobile, to avoid being seen. "It's not a glamorous life,"
he said.
Interesting because A. I don’t see a difference and those who get shot probably don’t really either and B. the fact soldiers eat junk food. Shouldn’t they be all ultra health conscious, especially as a high sugar diet, especially combined with heat, is going to really fuck with their much vaunted skills? Also, just one bottle to piss into?

I also read that most US soldiers in Iraq spend their days in Saddam’s old gyms working out. Bearing in mind putting US soldiers in Saddam’s old palaces was a stupid idea anyway because it leads Iraqis to certain conclusions. They also spend most of their time there injecting steroids, which feeds into that Army belief that in order to be a good soldier you have to look a bit like the Governor of California. Because as we know big muscles not only stop bullets but make you quicker too. Of course steroids are banned but US soldiers get cheap mail deliveries that are obviously not properly checked. Interesting to know what other banned things they get up to, such as drinking and drug taking, shooting random things and people and getting with prostitutes.


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