November 13, 2006

More Evidence Bush HASN'T Changed His Mind About Iraq

Hatched by Dafydd

The elite media is starting to backstep from its initial preposterous claims that President Bush planned to order a quick withdrawal from Iraq, handing it over to Iran and its lapdog, Syria.

An AP story today confirms the president's stability on the Iraq war and his rejection of any timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops. It's now quite clear that the intention of both the U.S. and the U.K. is victory in Iraq -- not retreat and defeat:

President Bush traded ideas on Iraq with a bipartisan commission Monday and promised to work with the incoming Democratic majority toward "common objectives." At the same time, he renewed his opposition to any timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops....

Asked about proposals by [incoming Chairman of the Senate Armed Serviced Committee Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI, 100%)] and others for a phased troop reduction, Bush said, "I believe it is very important ... for people making suggestions to recognize that the best military options depend upon the conditions on the ground."

Even liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME, 32%) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC, 96%) rejected a timetable, along with moderate John Warner (R-VA, 88%), current Armed Services chairman; not a single Republican was quoted supporting even the Levin proposal (withdrawal over 4 to 6 months), let alone John Murtha's (D-PA, 75%) demand for "immediate withdrawal." So Bush and the Republicans in Congress are still completely in agreement on this point. (Point of order: while Graham has a higher partisanship rating than does Warner, that is from 2005; this year, Graham has taken a sharp turn to the left and is currently one of the more liberal senators in the Republican caucus.)

But what about the meme being spread by the media yesterday and earlier that President Bush was about to hand Iraq over to Iran and Syria to "stabilize," which many in-BEDDD bloggers on the right were panicking about? Yesterday, I responded to that meme with a certain amount of scorn; but I had only my own judgment about Bush's committment to rely upon.

Today, there is evidence that the focus on Iran and Syria remains a "get-tough" policy, not appeasement. With Britain's lame-duck Prime Minister Tony Blair's tough speech, in which he essentially made Iran and Syria "a message they cannot refuse," and with the parade of high-level American security officials to Iraq to bitch-slap Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki for not disbanding the Iranian-backed Shiite militias, it's clear the only message being sent to Iran and Syria is to back off from Iraq or face total isolation:

The reference to Iraq's neighbors [Iran and Syria] coincided with a call by British Prime Minister Tony Blair for Iran and Syria to help stem bloodshed in Iraq and to join efforts to stabilize the Middle East.

In a major foreign policy speech Monday night, Blair warned there would be no incentives or concessions for doing so and that any failure to assist would lead to international isolation for the two countries.

As the definition of appeasement requires specific "incentives or concessions" -- "if we let you have Czechoslovakia, will you please give us peace in our time?" -- this is very heartening news. I certainly don't know whether it will work; unless we show a lot more muscle on the border, I doubt it. But this is clearly a stick-speech, not a carrot-speech.

A piece in the (London/UK) Times about Blair's speech confirms both the PM's ultimatum to Iran and Syria and also President Bush's committment to a free Iraq -- and his lack of interest in pressuring Israel to give up more concessions for "the peace process" (a.k.a., the process in pieces):

Mr Blair said there could be a new “partnership” with Iran if it stopped supporting terrorism in Iraq and gave up its nuclear ambitions. Syria and Iran could choose partnership or isolation, he said....

Mr Blair said that the choice for Iran was clear. “They help the Middle East peace process, not hinder it; they stop supporting terrorism in Lebanon or Iraq and they abide by, not flout, their international obligations. In that case, a new partnership is possible. Or, alternatively, they face the consequence of not doing so: isolation.”

Here is the Times on Bush's response to Syria (which the paper had earlier erroneously identified as one of "two countries once dubbed by President Bush as part of the 'axis of evil'" (the axis of evil actually comprised Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, not Syria):

But Mr Bush also had harsh words for Syria, a country with which, unlike Iran, the US has diplomatic relations. The President said that Syria should stop interfering in Lebanon and “harbouring extremists” and must begin helping “this young democracy in Iraq succeed”.

Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the United States, said that his country was willing to engage with Britain and America.

I really adore this truculent paragraph in the Times about Bush and Israel:

And, in words clearly directed at Mr Bush as he prepares for his final two years in power, Mr Blair called for the United States to lead a new drive towards peace in the Middle East, including peace in Palestine and the Lebanon, arguing that ultimately it was the only way to defeat al-Qaeda....

The Prime Minister still hopes to persuade the US to engage fully in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, but frustrated British diplomats in Washington say that the White House shows no real sign of being interested in the subject. Mr Bush yesterday said that he had discussed with Mr Olmert the two-state solution and the need for the Palestinian government to embrace the principles behind the road map for the Middle East peace process, but made it clear that their talks had focused on Iran and Iraq.


Back to the AP article about various American defense officials pressuring Maliki to disband the Shiite militias:

Abizaid was the third top U.S. official to visit Iraq since Oct. 30, and the meeting came a day after al-Maliki promised to shake up his government in a bid to end the sectarian slaughter.

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was first to visit, followed five days later by U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.

Before Abizaid pushed the same theme, Negroponte also demanded that al-Maliki disband militias by year's end - but was met with a flat rejection. Al-Maliki told Negroponte such a move would be political suicide. Al-Maliki, a Shiite, relies heavily on two major Shiite political groups which run the heavily armed militias.

In Monday's meeting, the government said, Abizaid "emphasized the multinational forces' commitment to training Iraqi security forces to handle security in all Iraqi provinces." [That is, the New Iraqi Army and the Iraqi National Police -- not private militias, especially not the Mahdi Militia, which is controlled by Iran through Muqtada Sadr, or the Badr Brigades, which are at the least heavily supported by Iran.]

Note that, while Hadley and Negroponte delivered this message before the election, Abizaid affirmed the same demand today, not only after the election but after speculation that Bush would pull out of Iraq and hand it over to Iran -- and Iran's Iraqi militias.

This back-and-forth highlights the central conundrum in Iraq: Muqtada Sadr, the most pro-Iran politician (and militia leader) in Iraq, was the kingmaker who put Maliki on the throne and who keeps him there. But the United States is getting angrier and angrier about Maliki's refusal (or inability) to rein in the Shiite militias... both Sadr's Mahdi Militia, which is overtly pro-Iranian, and also their bitter enemy, the Badr Brigades (controlled by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, SCIRI, the strongest political opponents of Nouri al-Maliki's Islamic Dawa Party).

At some point, loggerheads will come to a head, and Maliki will be forced either to fish or get off the pot: he will have to choose between Sadr and Bush, because he won't be able to have the support of both. His attempt to get permission from the ruling parties to "shake up" his cabinet might be his first steps towards freeing himself from Muqtada Sadr's control; if Maliki succeeds, he might be able to substitute some SCIRI support for Sadr, thus freezing Sadr out of the government.

But in any event, it does appear that President Bush hasn't changed; he doesn't support withdrawal of U.S. troops; he isn't going to hand Iraq over to Iran and Syria; and even Tony Blair offered an ultimatum, not appeasement, to those two troublemaking states.


Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 13, 2006, at the time of 7:57 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

More good news, I'm happy to hear it. Odd that we have to hear it from a leftist Brit, but I'm glad to hear it nonetheless! :)

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2006 8:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: nk

As much as I like, trust and respect President Bush, I think that Tony Blair is one step above him. Blair rescued the Labour Party from the Communists, made Saddam lickspittles like Galloway irrelevant, and he is as good a friend to America as Margaret Thatcher was. He is indistinguishable from her, as far as I can see, on defense of western civilization.

The above hissed in response by: nk [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2006 9:03 PM

The following hissed in response by: Patrick Chester

The elite media is starting to backstep from its initial preposterous claims that President Bush planned to order a quick withdrawal from Iraq, handing it over to Iran and its lapdog, Syria.

So... the media was lying about Bush? Shocking... if it didn't happen all the time.

The above hissed in response by: Patrick Chester [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2006 12:18 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I saw this on the fox news site yesterday. A commenter over at Roger L. Simon's blog said that Sadr might have a total of 50,000 men and many of them are in the Iraqi Army.

Sadr owes his popularity to AlQaida. Sistani was telling the Shia to turn the other sheek and Sard was telling them to kill the bastaards as Shia mosques and markets were being blown up all over Baghdad. People got pissed and Sadr looked like the guy with the guns.

At the end of our civil war the number one fear of Washington was that the rebs would take to the hills and attack blue coats and civilians who dealt with them. Some already had, this is where we get the term "bushwacker". But Robert E. Lee, the great traitor did in the end do his country a service when he ask the men of the Confederacy to lay down their arms and go home..If they had attempted to fight a war of attrition the South might never have recovered from that war.

Now in Iraq the trick will be to lure enough power away from Sadr that the Iraqis do not see him as a force to be reckoned with. If that happens, he will go the way of the James Gang and all the other outlaws of the 70's who decided that stealing and killing beat the hell out of farming.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2006 3:11 AM

The following hissed in response by: dasbow

So... Can we finally kill Mookie? Nothing's going to get done until his ugly head is on a pike. Should have been done a long time ago. Oh, well. Better late than never.

The above hissed in response by: dasbow [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2006 7:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: dicentra

We on the Right have been impatient and contemptuous with the Left's trotting out of Vietnam again, because frankly it's tiresome: after all those movies and TV shows that beat the Futility Of War drum so incessantly, we can safely say that we get it--War Is Hell. As in, duh. Like we need 13 years of Hawkeye Pierce's pacificst tantrums to figure that out.

But now that the Democrats have taken Congress, the Left's use of the Vietnam paradigm threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Read the rest...

The above hissed in response by: dicentra [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2006 11:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh




The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2006 2:21 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist




He probably meant Muqtada al-Sadr...i have heard it that way before. ;)

Not taking out Muqtada al-Sadr (early on) was W's second mistake, after not razing Fallujah.

Enter Iran, and even more confusion:

Iran's Good-Faith Kidnapping

STRATFOR continues...on 11/15/2006:

SNIP..."It appears as though this well-orchestrated kidnapping was a show of good faith by Iran to give a sample of what can happen if the United States plays nice with Iran over the Iraq negotiations."

SNIP..."With Iran aggressively pushing forward its nuclear program -- announcing Tuesday it has nearly completed the nuclear fuel cycle -- the Iranians are carefully setting the stage for the United States to come to the negotiating table on their terms."

Jump 07/12/2006:

Israel, Lebanon: Crisis Time

SNIP..."The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers July 11 following violent clashes in the disputed Shebaa Farms area along Israel's northern border with Lebanon. The effects of this latest provocation against Israel will extend well beyond Israel's volatile borderlands."

Now, jump back even 01/19/2005:

Hezbollah: Iran's Ace in the Hole

SNIP..."The United States and Iran have exchanged a great deal of heated rhetoric in recent days over the Iranian nuclear program and Iran's efforts to influence events in Iraq."

SNIP..."Should the Iranians decide to play the terrorism card, Stratfor believes they would call upon their perennial ace in the hole, Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, which has a long and close relationship with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS)."

Basically, this ain't about whether-or-not W "Changed His Mind About Iraq", or about how the "elite media" is so-called 'rEpOrTiNg' recent news, it's about America getting its Buttocks *KICKED* by Iran, and far too many Americans willing to have it done to America, in my humble to speak.

W has "committment", sure; however, far too many other Americans don't, and W is now a "Lame Duck", with a Democrat Party controlled Congress in control, and W with like two years left in Office, if my math is to speak.

11/16/2006...this just in from STRATFOR:

The New, Old Face of Asia

SNIP..."Bush will arrive in an Asia where North Korea has (somewhat) successfully tested a nuclear device, where Japan is openly discussing the merits of discussing the merits of a nuclear weapons program, South Korea seems to be coming into closer alignment with North Korea than with the United States, and China reportedly is shadowing U.S. carrier battle groups and planning to buy advanced carrier-based aircraft from Russia."

Will W have the gonads to do what it takes this late in 'Da 'Game', when he didn't have 'em under a Republican Party controlled Congress in control?!?

Humble Low and Ignorant Insane swamp hermit me seriously doubts it...enough said.


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 16, 2006 5:43 PM

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