Thursday, July 25, 2019

Defend the Win Or We Get Iraq War 3.0

For many Iraqis, the corruption of the new rulers is indistinguishable from the corruption and sectarian oppression that reserves state resources for the Sunni Arab minority. A hot summer is upon us.

This is not good:

Over the past few summers, as scorching heat meets a growing dissatisfaction with their government’s inability to provide basic services and employment, Iraqis have taken to the streets to protest. These demonstrations have occurred primarily in southern Iraq and in Baghdad, where violence has been relatively contained for several years now. To many Iraqis, protest is the only voice they have left. They view the formal political and electoral process as just reinforcing the same elites who have repeatedly failed them since the U.S. invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

But after last year when violence was used to disperse protesters, the right to peacefully march may be rules out from fear as a means of registering disapproval.

If the people without services feel that the elections don't redress their concerns and that even protests aren't safe or tolerated, bad things can happen.

The battle against the ISIL caliphate suppressed a lot of the discontent out of the broad desire to defeat ISIL. But that took place at the end of 2017 when Mosul was finally liberated (and destroyed). It has been a year and a half and the people don't see their situation improving.

America pulled its troops out of Iraq at the end of 2011. It took just two full years for Iraqi government failure to undermine the state's ability to govern and protect itself, as ISIL began its conquests in Iraq at the beginning of January 2014 until the June 2014 Iraqi collapse across the north.

American and coalition forces are still in Iraq to get advanced warning of new rot. But Iran has added ability to create rot with their post-June 2014 Shia militias that often take orders from Tehran rather than Baghdad. So the problem is still acute despite changed circumstances.

I'm not sure of a lot of Cordesman's arguments, but he is absolutely right that while Iran is the threat,  Iraq is the prize. And we should be fighting to win the post-war against Iraq. I'm all for that.

As I've been arguing for a long time, we should have a surge of FBI and judicial advisors to help Iraq with rule of law.