Long-term occupation of Iraq

Interesting story that’s not getting the coverage it should.

[quote=“CBC: MacDonald”]most Americans don’t understand what is going on right now, urgently and secretly, in Baghdad and Washington. Nor do they realize it may be part of a grand plan, hatched by the same conservative group that brought about the war on Iraq in the first place.

The story began to emerge in a report last week by Patrick Cockburn, the authoritative Middle East correspondent for the Independent.

The gist of it is this: As Bush’s term winds down, the administration is urgently pushing for a new “status of forces agreement” with the Iraqi government that would effectively set up an indefinite occupation of Iraq. American negotiators want the deal signed by the end of July. The Iraqis aren’t happy.

The United States is reported to be demanding the right to establish up to 58 military bases, jurisdiction over Iraqi airspace up to 30,000 feet, permanent immunity from prosecution for American troops and civilian contractors, and the continuing right to arrest and imprison Iraqis that the U.S. authorities deem a threat, even if the Iraqi government doesn’t.
[url=http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/story/40549.html]“We are being asked to sign for our own occupation,” Iraqi lawmaker Jalal al Din al Saghir told McClatchy Newspapers. “Is there sovereignty for Iraq — or isn’t there? If it is left to them, they would ask for immunity even for the American dogs.”

Neither the negotiations, nor their implications, have received much ink or attention here in the U.S. The Bush administration refuses to discuss the matter and is taking the view that Congress has no role.[/url][/quote]

None of our “The surge is working! We’re almost there!” friends want to talk about this one because they’re probably not quite sure how to fit it into their narrative:

[quote]Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Friday denounced demands made by the United States to extend the presence of American troops in Iraq, saying that the two sides are deadlocked and far from reaching an agreement.

“We found out that the demands of the American side are strongly violating the sovereignty of Iraq, something we could never accept,”
Maliki said. . . .

Although Iraqi politicians have becoming increasingly angered by U.S. demands during the talks, top American officials have insisted that an agreement could be reached by their established deadline at the end of July.

[b]Yet Maliki appeared to dismiss such talk as far too optimistic.

“I am astonished by those who are talking about how close the agreement is to be signed,” Maliki said.[/b] [/quote]

I’m not astonished. We’re used to that kind of pie-in-the-sky talk about Iraq here in the IP forum. This one could get ignominious fast. All that blood. All that treasure expended and we end up getting kicked out of Iraq in the end by our ungrateful beneficiaries with Iran waiting in the wings to fill the power vacuum. No permanent military bases. We may just have to pull rank on this one.

Can I stop holding my breath waiting for oil to drop to US$12 a barrel yet?

[quote]RAND Corp (January 2003):
If Iraq is defeated in a war with the United States and allied nations, Iraq will need funds to rebuild. Oil exports are the obvious answer. Within 5 to 10 years, a combination of high pay-off investment and sound management could enable Iraq’s oil fields to produce more than 10 million barrels of oil per day – more than four times the current level.

Pumping millions of additional barrels of oil into the world market everyday would cause world oil prices to plummet. It is very unlikely that key OPEC members would agree to cut their own oil income by accepting significant cuts in their production. OPEC could plunge into a death spiral.

Under a free market, oil prices would probably fall to between $8 and $12 per barrel over the next 10 years – down dramatically from today’s price of about $25 per barrel. .

Fortune (March 2003):
No one knows for sure which way things will go. But if you have to make a bet, the most likely scenario is that a year from now, with a new regime in Baghdad and long-dormant Iraqi wells finally pumping out crude, oil prices will be back in the mid-20s. “All expectations are that prices will come down,” says Kuwait Petroleum’s Sultan. “The only gray area is when.” Deutsche Bank analyst Adam Sieminski is bolder: If the war is short and Saddam doesn’t set fire to his fields, crude will hit $22 a barrel by this summer.

Heritage Foundation (March 2003):
An unencumbered flow of Iraqi oil would be likely to provide a more constant supply of oil to the global market, which would dampen price fluctuations, ensuring stable oil prices in the world market in a price range lower than the current $25 to $30 a barrel. Eventually, this will be a win–win game: Iraq will emerge with a more viable oil industry, while the world will benefit from a more stable and abundant oil supply.

National Review (March 2003):
"…markets clearly expect lower prices. On the eve of hostilities, oil was selling for about $37 per barrel. At this price, Americans would be paying $270 billion per year for oil. But once it became clear that Iraq’s liberation was at hand, the price quickly dropped to about $28 per barrel, cutting our annual oil bill by $70 billion. With full Iraqi production, the price might drop to $20 per barrel or less, giving us the equivalent of an annual tax cut of about $120 billion per year. And this is a tax cut the entire world benefits from."

The Wall Street Journal (April 2004):
Of course, the largest benefit–a more stable Mideast–is huge but unquantifiable. A second plus, lower oil prices, is somewhat more measurable. The premium on 11.5 million barrels imported every day by the U.S. is a transfer from us to producing countries. Postwar, with Iraqi production back in the pipeline and calmer markets, oil prices will fall even further. If they drop to an average in the low $20s, the U.S. economy will get a boost of $55 billion to $60 billion a year.

Even better, they argued that the cost of containing Saddam would dwarf the cost of ousting him:

But none of this answers the real question: Is the cost reasonable given the goal? To answer that you also have to consider the cost of the main alternative to war–continuing containment of Saddam. Such an examination was done recently by economists at the University of Chicago’s business school. Steven Davis, Kevin Murphy and Robert Topel added up the military expense of containment. The direct costs of troops and equipment come to about $13 billion a year, but they haven’t got Saddam to bend to U.N. mandates. The authors assume, therefore, that efforts to contain Saddam might have to be increased by 50%, raising the cost closer to $19 billion a year.

The economists estimate that containment would have to be in place for 33 years–the period that a Saddam-like regime could endure (optimistic considering the lifetimes of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, North Korea and Cuba). In sum, when the expected value of containment is discounted to the present, the cost estimate comes to $380 billion. And don’t forget more for homeland security, bringing the total cost to $630 billion. Simply put, containment costs a lot more than war–even if one doubles Mr. Bush’s estimate to $120 billion.[/quote]

Are we nearly there yet?


Oil prices will probably drop again some time in the future, but hey? now the enviros who were so shrill about CO2 can pat themselves on the back. What a way to reduce energy consumption. I guess some people are just never happy, eh?

Yes, but will the price of oil drop to pre-Bush era levels of around $25 a barrel any time soon? I’ll go out on a limb here myself and say ‘yes’ and ‘no’. ‘Yes’ the price of oil will drop eventually but ‘no’, not before Hell freezes over.

I say ‘no’ because George Bush has put fiscal and foreign policy blunders into play which have a direct, negative effect on the price of oil and which will take decades to recover from, if at all, given that the U.S. is entering an era of exploding entitlements and eroding economic fundamentals.

Bush is responsible for exploding entitlements? How d’ya figure? I naturally opposed his pharaceutical drug coverage BUT this was a Democrat initiative that would probably have survived a veto. Medicare? Medicaid? welfare? food stamps? Who is looking at reform? Who is looking at increased taxes and funding? Remember Bush’s effort to reform Social Security? partial privatization? Didn’t get very far… Why not?

Also, oil prices are rising not because of Bush or his policies but because of heightened demand in China and India. Or are you reading different economic reports than I?

What about the bum rush on meat consumption? This does not bode well for rice, which will trickle down to all grain & produce sooner, as well as later.
Add those carrier costs, and it’s one soggy biscuit.
I’m gonna have to go back to hunting possum…

[quote=“fred smith”]Bush is responsible for exploding entitlements? How d’ya figure?[/quote]Capiche?

What I don’t undestand is how anyone who is reading anything other than comic books and simplistic propaganda would deny that George Bush’s weak dollar fiscal policies at home and war and sanctions policies in the Middle East against the numbers three (Iran) and four (Iraq) producers of petroleum in the world has anything to do with the record run up in oil prices during his presidency.

Certainly increasing demand from India and China is a major component in the increase from $25 a barrel to $135 but even that would have been ameliorated under normal economic conditions by improvements in Iran’s oil infrastructure in the absence of major sanctions and by stable production and secure infrastructure in Iraq.

With Bush by his side at 10 Downing Street, Brown said Britain and the other members of the European Union had agreed to freeze the assets of Bank Melli, Iran’s largest bank, and would consider separate sanctions targeting Iran’s oil and natural gas industry. [/quote]
Washington Post

I totally miss your point. Take that lithium like a good boy Spook and re-respond.

As I have always said, so cut the shrill shocked squeaks, we going to be stayin in Iraq a real long time. The leaders of Iraq know it and want it and so do we. Sorry but there you have it.

As to Iran… I think that the mullahs moved most of their money to Asian banks but… let’s keep the screws on… A bit here, a bit there… Would have loved to have kicked Syria off back in 2003 but alas we did not but a nice regime change there would leave Iran pretty much alone… let’s keep bleeding it…

[quote=“fred smith”]I totally miss your point. Take that lithium like a good boy Spook and re-respond.

As I have always said, so cut the shrill shocked squeaks, we going to be stayin in Iraq a real long time. The leaders of Iraq know it and want it and so do we. Sorry but there you have it.

As to Iran… I think that the mullahs moved most of their money to Asian banks but… let’s keep the screws on… A bit here, a bit there… Would have loved to have kicked Syria off back in 2003 but alas we did not but a nice regime change there would leave Iran pretty much alone… let’s keep bleeding it…[/quote]

Going to Hell and back obviously hasn’t been good for your neural functioning. I suppose that’s a consequence of being gang-raped continuously by a bunch of horny debils while lying face down in a pool of burning oil. How did you escape anyway? I’ve alway heard that the only way to escape Hell and come back to Earth is to go into collusion with Beelzebub.

Anyway, here’s the comic book version of why oil prices are currently so high from the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term:

Why the Oil Price Is High

[quote]How to explain the oil price? Why is it so high? Are we running out? Are supplies disrupted, or is the high price a reflection of oil company greed or OPEC greed? Are Hugo Chavez and the Saudis conspiring against us?

In my opinion, the two biggest factors in oil’s high price are the weakness in the U.S. dollar’s exchange value and the liquidity that the Federal Reserve is pumping out.

The dollar is weak because of large trade and budget deficits, the closing of which is beyond American political will. As abuse wears out the U.S. dollar’s reserve currency role, sellers demand more dollars as a hedge against its declining exchange value and ultimate loss of reserve currency status.

In an effort to forestall a serious recession and further crises in derivative instruments, the Federal Reserve is pouring out liquidity that is financing speculation in oil futures contracts. Hedge funds and investment banks are restoring their impaired capital structures with profits made by speculating in highly leveraged oil future contracts, just as real estate speculators flipping contracts pushed up home prices. The oil futures bubble, too, will pop, hopefully before new derivatives are created on the basis of high oil prices.

There are other factors affecting the price of oil. The prospect of an Israeli-U.S. attack on Iran has increased current demand in order to build stocks against disruption. No one knows the consequence of such an ill-conceived act of aggression, and the uncertainty pushes up the price of oil, as the entire Middle East could be engulfed in conflagration. However, storage facilities are limited, and the impact on price of larger inventories has a limit.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi recently stated, “There is no justification for the current rise in prices.” What the minister means is that there are no shortages or supply disruptions. He means no real reasons, as distinct from speculative or psychological reasons. [/quote]

Of course you could deny that large trade and budget deficits and weakness in the U.S. economy have anything to do with George Bush so fire away. I know what to expect by now.

I don’t necessarily disagree with the findings. My confusion is to what you want to talk about. First, it is how we intend to “occupy” Iraq but when challenged you go onto discuss Bush and entitlements which I have never supported but then when challenged about whether Bush is to blame you move to the weak dollar and how this is causing the oil prices to rise. Why don’t you decide on a topic or even two first rather than engaging in scorched dirt conversations?

:laughing: and why would he do that Fred, he is taking your style at obfuscation, thread jacking etc and merely giving you a test of your own medicine :laughing:

Obfuscation and feigned ignorance are just forms of denial so we’ll just leave it at the fact that you deny that a $110 increase in the price of oil during George Bush’s presidency has anything at all to do with his domestic or foreign policies, thereby keeping his record of near perfection intact.

[quote]Its people are still suffering monstrously, but Iraq is doing far better than it was only a few months ago. AFTER all the blood and blunders, people are right to be sceptical when good news is announced from Iraq. Yet it is now plain that over the past several months, while Americans have been distracted by their presidential primaries, many things in Iraq have at long last started to go right.

This improvement goes beyond the fall in killing that followed General David Petraeus’s “surge”. Iraq’s government has gained in stature and confidence. Thanks to soaring oil prices it is flush with money. It is standing up to Iraq’s assorted militias and asserting its independence from both America and Iran. The overlapping wars—Sunni against American, Sunni against Shia and Shia against Shia—that harrowed Iraq after the invasion of 2003 have abated. The country no longer looks in imminent danger of flying apart or falling into everlasting anarchy. In September 2007 this newspaper supported the surge not because we had faith in Iraq but only in the desperate hope that the surge might stop what was already a bloodbath from becoming even worse (see article). The situation now is different: Iraq is still a mess, but something approaching a normal future for its people is beginning to look achievable.

The guns begin to fall silent
As General Petraeus himself admits, and our briefing this week argues, the change is fragile, and reversible (see article). But it is real. Only a few months ago, Iraq was in the grip not only of a fierce anti-American insurgency but also of a dense tangle of sectarian wars, which America seemed powerless to stop. Those who thought it was just making matters worse by staying on could point to the bloody facts on the ground as evidence. But now it is time to look again. Each of those overlapping conflicts has lately begun to peter out.

A few Sunnis, motivated by Islam or simple resentment of foreign military occupation, continue to attack American forces. But many Sunni tribes, repelled by the atrocities committed by their former and often foreign allies in al-Qaeda, have joined the so-called Sunni awakening, the Sahwa, and crossed over to America’s side. At the same time, Sunnis and Shias have stopped killing each other in the vast numbers that followed the blowing up of a Shia shrine in early 2006. General Petraeus’s surge is only one reason for this. Another reason, less flattering to the Americans, is that after last year’s frenzied ethnic cleansing fewer neighbourhoods are still mixed. But it is also the case that a lot of Iraqis, having waded briefly into the horror of indiscriminate sectarian slaughter, have for the present made a conscious decision to step back.

The conflict between Shias and Shias has died down too. In the past few weeks Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has belied a reputation for weakness by sending the army to take control of the port city of Basra and the Baghdad slum known as Sadr City, both strongholds until then of the powerful militia run by Muqtada al-Sadr, a vehemently anti-American Shia cleric. The fact that Mr Sadr considered it wise not to resist suggests not only that the army is now strong enough to out-face private militias but also that the state has acquired far greater political legitimacy, in Shia minds at least.

Needless to say, these conflicts could resume. The Sunnis fighting on America’s side today could direct their fire back towards the Americans and Shias tomorrow if not enough room is made for them in the new, Shia-dominated order. On the Shia side, it is not clear whether Mr Sadr has given up violence for good. And his is not the only political movement to have a private army. Sunnis, Shias and Kurds alike still see their respective militias as a hedge against an uncertain future.

To that extent, Iraq is still far from normality. But if the calm survives, politics will at least have a chance. Mr Maliki’s next job is therefore to go ahead with the provincial elections due before the end of the year. A good showing by the Sunnis, too few of whom voted in 2005, could bring them back into the political mainstream, enabling them to wield serious power in their own provinces at least. The elections can also provide a useful alternative path to power for the Sadrists, if they really have given up violence and decide to take part.

George Bush meanwhile has a further part to play, which consists mainly of not doing things that might tempt him. He should not, for example, attack Iran. One of the impressive things about Iraq’s present government is its refusal to take sides between America and its next-door neighbour. It needs good relations with both if it is to prosper. Mr Bush has also to find a way to leave to his successor the business of negotiating a new agreement on the status of American forces in Iraq. This may become a toxic issue in Iraq’s elections as the existing UN mandate expires. Mr Maliki is said to want a guarantee that America will defend its borders. His opponents accuse America of seeking permanent bases in Iraq, turning it into a vassal. It would be wrong for a lame duck in Washington to tie the hands of the next administration on such matters.

It’s really not about that any more
In highlighting the improved conditions in Iraq we do not mean to justify The Economist’s support of the invasion of 2003 (see article). Too many lives have been shattered for that. History will still record that the invasion and occupation have been a debacle. Iraqis even now live under daily threat of violent death: hundreds are killed each month. They remain woefully short of the necessities of life, such as jobs, clean water and electricity. Iraq’s government is gaining confidence faster than competence. It is still fractious, and in many places corrupt.

Nor does it follow that a turn for the better necessarily validates John McCain’s insistence on America staying indefinitely. A safer Iraq might make Barack Obama’s plan to pull out most American troops within 16 months more feasible, though at the moment a precipitate withdrawal looks foolish. But to guard the fragile improvements, the key for America must be flexibility. Both candidates have to keep their options open. If America’s next president gets Iraq wrong because he has boxed himself in during the campaign, all the recent gains may be squandered and Iraq will slide swiftly back into misery and despair. That would be to fail twice over. [/quote]

I think that we will be guranteeing Iraq’s borders and to do so, we will be staying just as I said all along. I predict that when all of this is finally settled in say three to five more years that we will end up with 35k to 50k troops staying for quite some time. The Kurds will want them there and deep down so will the Sunnis and with enough Shias supporting the effort, it will move ahead. Granted the effort should have come down to 35K to 50K within two years of the invasion (2005) and we are clearly five years behind that schedule but… that does not make the effort pointless, it merely means the goals took longer to achieve.

I would also take exception with the Economist view that the effort was not worth the effort because of the bloodloss in Iraq. It was far worse under Saddam. Iraq will be better off because of this in the long run. Insurgencies generally last 9 years on average. That is why I have suggested this may need another three years to finally resolve.

Make no mistake. I said it in October 2002 and I say it now. So has McCain. We are not leaving. Not now. Not in 60 years. It will not be an occupation but an effort akin to that in Japan, Korea, Germany and other allied nations. Everyone should encourage the same.

Okay so you want to talk about the weak dollar. I agree with the Wall Street Journal that Bush should not drive down the value of the dollar and that this is responsible for the large increase in commodities prices including oil BUT these prices were going up BEFORE the housing crisis which precipitated the loose monetary policies that later drove down the dollar. What then accounted for the rise in prices BEFORE Bush and his team started to react to the meltdown in the financial markets? Look at commodity prices from steel to food to oil over the past 8 years. Steel prices have soared as demand in the Persian Gulf, China and other emerging markets have tripled. Likewise, heightened demand for oil in emerging nations like China and India along with limited refinery capacity in developed countries pushes gas prices to peak levels during the summers. I would agree that $140 oil is the result of weak dollar policies but I would suggest that we would be at $80 to $100 anyway.

So… we have a president who is villified for not taxing oil so as to reduce energy consumption and limit greenhouse gases. Now, this is happening naturally because of market responses. Shouldn’t we all thus be glad that it is? In fact, I would agree with Charles Krauthammer (bit of a departure for me in this area) and say: Now that gas prices are at $4 a gallon, we should raise the tax every time this drops below this level to make alternative energy practicable. Now, that we have reached these price levels, might as well keep them there to ensure that drops in oil prices do not once again make investment in renewables or heightened fuel efficiency standards unaffordable or unprofitable. How’s that? I am shifting my position on taxes on gas and oil though not entirely as I was always open to raising them. Jack Burton can back me up on this or you can do a search of the global warming threads.

Clever boy. Your sudden fit of lucidity resulting in the abandonment of your ridiculous position that Bush’s policies had nothing to do with the rise in the price of oil is overdue but welcome. Still though I’d have to characterize your position as a nuanced denial – ‘President Bush’s policies may have had something to do with the rise of the price of oil but he’s not really responsible. His hand was forced by others and he’s really just the innocent victim of circumstances others more crafty and influential than he created.’

Still, I’d have to credit you with an evolution of sorts.

What did you think of Obama’s speech at the convention? Did it convince you that he’s going to ‘stay the course’ after he gets elected?

I find it interesting that the Bush administration is currently holding hostage $50 billion dollars of Iraq’s money to force them to accept US military bases, un-restricted military access to Iraqi airspace, immunity to prosecution for US military AND contractors (the last of which is particularly touchy, since our contractors have committed no small number of murders and massacres of late).

Iraq Correspondent Patrick Cockburn on the US-Iraqi Clash Over the Status of US Troops

Apparently even Bush’s manequin (sp) Maliki is having trouble stomaching the blatant disregard for Iraqi sovereignty:

[quote]Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has warned Iraq may not sign a status of forces agreement with the United States and will possibly ask US troops to leave when their UN mandate expires at the end of the year. The Bush administration is seeking to keep permanently more than fifty military bases in Iraq. It’s also insisting on continuing military campaigns without consultation with the Iraqi government and immunity for American soldiers and contractors. During a visit to Jordan, Maliki said the Bush administration is asking Iraq to give up too much sovereignty.

Nouri al-Maliki: “When we started the talks on August 26, we wanted an agreement between two completely sovereign countries, and when we went to the pact, we found that the US demands hugely infringe on the sovereignty of Iraq, and this we can never accept. We can’t extend the US forces permission to arrest Iraqis or to undertake the responsibility of fighting terrorism in an independent way or to keep Iraqi skies and waters open for themselves whenever they want.”[/quote]

problem fixed.
Signatures should not be a matter of downpressing.
Carry on.

Just to point out, I wasn’t trying to “downpress” anyone. Simply pointing out some negative things said about McCain by prominent citizens of the Forumosa community. The fact that two of them were said by a current McCain supporter - while ironic - is not necessarily negative. Fred’s never declared himself in favor of McCain, as far as I can tell - I just used the quote because it’s nice to have someone on the forum as reputable as him confirming that McCain is in fact essentially the same as Bush.

I won’t even refer to the despicable practice of going back into the past to dig out who said what about whom. Such bad form.
Attack the message, not who might have said what eons ago.

i should note here how, in various threads, how several posters are villified by the most underhanded methods. Just because they stand for what they believe in. And, it must be said, while delivering coherant & logical backup for their arguments. At least they do their homework, which does not mean relying exclusively upon hearsay, conjecture, and outright fabrication.

If you want to beat the powers that be, and that’s where my sympathies lie, one has to toughen up the wrist.
Secure the damn perimeter, before launching a foray.
Otherwise, you will be outflanked!