During the New Hampshire primary, Senator John McCain said American forces might be neceesary in Iraq for about 100 years which upset many Iraqi leaders. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari made clear that on crucial issues such as the duration of American involvement, “Who is in charge, we or you?” He is much more confident that al-Qaeda forces are crushed and is more concerned about the status of the Sunni led Sunni Awakening Movement which has about 70,000 soldiers. The foreign minister’s optimism is undoubtedly important, but yesterday, the chief of police of Mosul was killed in a bomb explosion.
Iraqi leaders are anxious to conclude a bilateral treaty with the United States which makes clear who is in charge and who commands its armed forces. He agrees the presence of American troops is the main reason his government even exists, but there is need to clarify who is responsible for the security and under whose authority do military actions occur. Mr. Zebari has worked hard to cultivate good relations with Iran but is aware Iranian agents have helped train the Shiite Mehdi Army which currently is quiet. Mr. Zebari and Shiites are still not completely happy with the emergence of the Awakening Movement since it is a Sunni military force and there is always the possibility of tension and fighting between Shiites and Sunni.
Despite the optimism of Mr. Zebari and American military leaders, it is much too early to determine if the 100 year timeline of John McCain is an over-estimation or under-estimation.
Posted in George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Peace, Politics, Republicans, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Awakening Movement, Iraq, Mehdi Army, Shiite, Sunni
Two Alevi Turks have brought a case before the European Court against compulsory religion lessons in Turkish schools. They claim the religion courses they must take have a distinctive Sunni Muslim perspective and this violates articles of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing liberty of faith in education. They also seek removal of all compulsory religious classes since they violate the rights of non-Sunni Muslims. The Turkish government argues the classes are no about religion, per se, but simply provide information about culture and morals. It is expected the court’s decision will have an impact throughout the European Union.
Hopefully, the court will strike a blow for the right of atheists and those who are not of a dominant religious group. The case also highlights how within the Muslim religion there are many groups and sects.
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told Der Spiegel that President Bush’s famous surge
is nothing more than a disguise to engage in an ethnic cleansing operation. “We have Balkanized Iraq” by building walls to separate Sunni from Shiite and Kurds from both of them. Hersh argues America under Bush deals with enemies by “Hitlerizing” them so Saddam Hussein who headed a nondescript army or Ahmadinejad who has scant control over Iranian armed forces are portrayed as capable of engaging in military operations akin to that of Adolf Hitler. The Nazi dictator controlled the most powerful army in the world which possessed the best tanks and a strong airforce. Two inept leaders whose armed forces could barely defeat a minor nation are being depicted by Bush as capable of damaging the interests of America.
Hersh casts blame on the American media for allowing Bush to sell them his pipe dreams and fail to do serious investigative studies of such things as the WMD. In particular, he things the New York Times failed to do their job. “They missed the biggest story of the time and they are going to have to live with it.” Hersh is doubtful if America has learned anything from the Iraq fiasco. “I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.”
Posted in Democrats, Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, US Foreign Policy, War
Tagged Bush, ethnic cleansing, Hersh, Hitlerizing, Iraq, Kurds, Shiite, Sunni