Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Baghdad Begins Lifting Sanctions On Kurdistan

After the September 2017 independence referendum, Prime Minister Haidar Abadi imposed a series of sanctions upon the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Six months later, the two sides are beginning to reconcile. That led to the lifting of a flight ban into the two Kurdish international airports and the promise to pay all the region’s public employees.

This Day In Iraqi History – Mar 20

1933 Rashid al-Gaylani became premier of Iraq, would hold office 3 times
1971 Ex-Def Min and VP Tikrit assassinated in Kuwait by Bakr govt
1973 Kuwait sent troops to try to expel Iraq building base on its territory leading to
            gunfight 3 killed US thought part of Soviet plot in Persian Gulf
1981 Iraqi attack on Susangard failed after 1 day Turning point in war Iraq couldn't
            capture anymore Iranian land
1983 Saddam executed 6 members of the Hakim family including 3 brothers of
            Ayatollah Hakim
1985 Iraqi counter attack forced Iranians back into Maysan-Basra marshes 20,000
            Iranians 14,000 Iraqis killed
1986 US condemned Iraq at UN for violating international law by using chemical
weapons in Iran-Iraq War
1991 Kirkuk fell to Kurdish rebels
1991 Kurdish leaders said that all of Iraqi Kurdistan had been liberated from Iraqi
1991 Ayatollah Khoei made to appear with Saddam on TV to denounce Shiite uprising
            Ayatollah Khoei then placed under house arrest in Najaf
1995 Op Steel 35,000 Turkish troops invaded Kurdistan to attack PKK who withdrew
            forces from border before op
1996 UN and Iraq sign agreement to allow for Oil for Food program
2003 US Amb to UN Negroponte letter to Security Council said Iraq failed to comply
            with weapons inspectors since end of Gulf War justifying use of force
2003 State Dept legal adviser Taft said Iraq hadn’t complied with UN resolutions since
            1990s justifying use of force
2003 Gen Franks said Special Forces were in control of Anbar desert to prevent SCUD
2003 U.S. forces crossed into Iraq and attacked Um Qasr port in Basra
2003 British commandos attacked Fao Peninsula
2003 British received reports Iraqi forces disintegrating in south and might have to
            intervene in war earlier than planned
2003 Iraq fired several SCUD missiles at Kuwait One destroyed by Patriot Missile
2003 Saddam speech said war “shameful crime” Said US would give up out of fear
            of Iraqi soldiers
2003 Iraq halted oil flows due to start of war
2003 China France and Russia criticized the Iraq invasion
2003 Bush signed executive order freezing all Iraq funds in US Money would later
            be used to run and rebuild Iraq
2003 Blair thought Iraq wanted to draw Coalition into cities for street fighting and
            afraid of WMD attacks
2003 Bush and Blair discussed sudden collapse of Iraqi forces during start of
2003 ORHA staff went to CENTCOM in Qatar and found military had parallel
            post-war admin set up isolated from ORHA
2003 UN Sec Gen Annan called on Security Council to change Oil for Food program
            so he instead of Iraqi govt could run it
2003 Turkey asked for written guarantee from US it would allow Turkish troops into
            Iraq US said no
2004 Bombings against Shiite pilgrims in Karbala during Ashura left 165 dead more
            than 230 wounded
2004 Suicide bombers attacked Shiite pilgrims during Ashura at Khadmiya shrine
2004 Protest in Khadimiya Baghdad against attacks aimed at pilgrims in Baghdad and
2004 Ayatollah Sistani blamed US occupation for not securing borders for bombings
            of pilgrims in Baghdad and Karbala
2004 6 US soldiers charged with prisoner abuse for Abu Ghraib scandal
2005 Rumsfeld blamed Turkey for not letting 4th Inf Div to invade Iraq from north
            for violence in Iraq
2005 Rumsfeld claimed if Turkey let US forces in would have captured more Baathists
            and lessoned insurgency
2005 Rumsfeld said that CENTCOM Cmdr Gen Franks didn’t want more troops in Iraq
            after invasion
2006 Bush talked about successful counterinsurgency in Tal Afar by US Claimed
            showed US strategy working
2006 Tal Afar successful counterinsurgency by US unit stationed there and not part
            of larger US strategy in Iraq
2006 Report 2002 Iraq’s Foreign Min Sabri agreed to work with US Told US intel
            Iraq had no biological weapons Had cache of chemical weapons
2006 Report 2002 Iraq’s Foreign Min Sabri told US intel Saddam wanted a nuclear bomb
2007 Asaib Ahl Al-Haq’s leader Qais Khazali along with his brother Laith and
            Hezbollah commander Ali Musa Daqduq were captured by the British in Basra
2012 Pres Barzani gave speech attacking Maliki’s misrule
2013 Sadrists ended boycott of parliament over postponement of provincial voting in
Anbar and Ninewa
2014 IS held parade in Fallujah

Monday, March 19, 2018

How U.S. Intelligence Created An Iraqi Nuclear Threat In 2002

In 2002, the Central Intelligence Agency said that Iraq had restarted its nuclear weapons program. This was a change from its previous opinion that Baghdad had retained elements of its program, but it had not been reactivated. The Agency suffered from poor analysis and exaggeration to make its argument, and in retrospect should have never made those claims.

This Day In Iraqi History - Mar 19

1917 British forces captured Fallujah from Ottomans
1917 Gen Maude sent message to Iraqis saying British had not come as conquerors
            but liberators
1917 Maude said British would not impose their institutions and called on Arabs to
            help rule
1921 UK Cairo Conference decided that independent Mesopotamia govt would pay
            part of British expenses especially for troops
1921 UK Cairo Conference decided Sir Cox would offer amnesty for those involved in
            1920 Revolt Feisal would offer his services in Mesopotamia as a way into power
1921 UK Cair Conference decided an Anglo-Mesopotamia treaty would be necessary
            to ensure relations between two countries
(Musings On Iraq article on the Cairo conference and the selection of Feisal to be first king of Iraq)
1951 Grenade hit US information office in Baghdad
1963 Iraq sent delegation to Syria to talk about uniting two countries
1981 Iraq attacked Susangard, Iran after ceasefire offer rejected by Khomeini
1982 Iran broke Dezful siege Iraqis lost 10000 dead 15000 wounded 15450 captured
            Iran lost 4000 dead 8000 wounded 6000 captured
1982 Iranian offensive around Dezful recaptured 940 sq mi of Iranian territory from
1982 Saddam sent envoy to Islamic mediation mission with cease-fire proposal and
            offer to withdraw from Iranian territory
1988 End of 1st Anfal campaign that destroyed PUK’s bases in Sergalou and Bergalou,
(Musings On Iraq article on Anfal campaign)
1991 Saddam’s troops recaptured Karbala from Shiite rebels Went district to district
            taking young men and executing them
1991 Govt forces arrested Ayatollah Khoei following Shiite uprising 105 relatives staff
            students and clerics arrested in Najaf by govt forces
1991 Bush admin officials accused Iran of trying to overthrow Saddam and place
            friendly Shiites in power in Baghdad
1998 Chalabi and King Hussein sent letter to Clinton saying Saddam should be
2002 CIA Dir Tenet told Senate no Iraq Al Qaeda connection but Iraq couldn’t be
            ruled out from involvement in 9/11
2002 CIA Dir Tenet said no doubt Iraq-Al Qaeda links and Iraq developing nuclear
2002 DIA Dir Adm Wilson briefed Senate Armed Services Comm on threats to US
            Didn’t include Iraq Said Iraq contained only residual WMD programs
2003 German French and Russian Foreign Ministries condemn impending Iraq invasion
            saying it had no UN approval
2003 Bush ordered start of war US Polish Australian Special Forces entered southern
            Iraq seizing oil and port infrastructure
2003 Bush called Coalition members to tell them war starting
2003 CIA told Pentagon Saddam Uday Qusay might be at Dora farms in south Baghdad
            Rumsfeld brought intel to White House
2003 Powell Rumsfeld Cheney Rice Hadley all advocated hitting Dora farm to try to take
            out Saddam Uday and Qusay
2003 White House spokesman Fleischer told press disarmament of Iraq had begun
2003 US Stealth bombers hit Dora farm hoping to kill Saddam and family
2003 Bush went on TV to announce war
2003 Army Chief Gen Shinseki told Congress he couldn’t say how much rebuilding
            Iraq would cost
2003 UN inspector said WMD decontamination trucks US pointed out were water or
            fire trucks
2003 Turkish parliament approved US overflights for invasion
2004 Justice Dept drafted opinion that Iraqis and foreigners in Iraq could be taken out
            of the country by CIA Legal experts said violated Geneva Conventions
2004 UN responded to reports that UN officials involved in fraud with Oil for Food
2004 Team arrived in Baghdad to try to come up with interagency plan for rebuilding
            Iraq 1st time happened since invasion
2004 BBC poll of Iraqis 56% said better than year ago 23% About the same 18% worse
            48% right for U.S. to invade Iraq 39% wrong
2006 Iyad Allawi said Iraq was in civil war no matter what others said
2006 Gen Easton who commanded US training effort for Iraqi forces until 2004 said
            Rumsfeld failed to build Coalition in Iraq and ignored advice of military
2011 Maliki said no secret prisons in Iraq after Camp Honor secret prison found
            in Baghdad
2012 Sadrists held Day of the Oppressed protests in Basra for better services
2013 Cabinet announced postponing provincial elections in Anbar and Ninewa for 6
            months because of security
2013 After criticizing Maliki Sadr withdrew his ministers from cabinet
2016 Ruling parties said they would not support Abadi’s new cabinet unless quotas
2016 PM Abadi Pres Masum Speaker Jabouri and political leaders agreed to form 3
            committees to deal with reforms and new cabinet

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Review Earle, Robert, Nights in the Pink Motel, An American Strategist’s Pursuit of Peace in Iraq

Earle, Robert, Nights in the Pink Motel, An American Strategist’s Pursuit of Peace in Iraq, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2008

Robert Earle was a veteran State Department official who was in retirement writing books when he was called back into service by John Negroponte who was just appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq in the summer of 2004. Negroponte wanted Earle to be his “thinker.” His book Nights in the Pink Motel is divided into four sections. Three of those focus upon Earle writing strategy papers for Negroponte and U.S. commander in Iraq General George Casey. The middle section is when Earle got a blood clot in Baghdad, which forced him leave Iraq, and head to Germany for medical treatment. Earle writes in an easy and informal style, and reads like a journal rather than a formal account of events. The main take away from The Pink Motel was that the U.S. dug itself into a hole the first year in Iraq, and even when it tried to come up with a strategy to pull itself out, it fell short.

This Day In Iraqi History - Mar 18

1933 British official warned King Faisal was attempting to make himself dictator
            of Iraq
1948 Railway strike against Anglo-Iraq Treaty
1981 US senator told press Iraq was trying to build a nuclear bomb
1985 Iraq bombed Tehran in retaliation for Iran bombing Baghdad War of Cities
1985 Iran claimed it controlled all the marshes south of Amarah Maysan Iraq
            launched counterattack
1991 Sec of State Baker after tour of Middle East and Soviet Union said most
            leaders thought Saddam would be gone by end of year
1991 Kurdish leader Rahman called for international help with food and medicine
            during uprising None came
2002 UK Amb Meyer met with Dep Sec of Def Wolfowitz who said he was against
            going to UN against Iraq
2003 UN weapons inspectors ended work in Iraq Did 731 inspections at 411 sites and
            found no WMD or nuclear programs
2003 UN suspended Oil for Food program for Iraq due to impending war
2003 US military official told CNN Iraqi troops had VX and mustard gas munitions
2003 UK military given official order to prepare for Iraq invasion
2003 Joint Chief of Staff met to discuss withdrawal plans for post-invasion Iraq
2003 UK Gen Cross warned Blair that there wasn’t enough post-war planning for Iraq
2003 2 British ministers and legal adv to Foreign Office resigned in protest against the
2003 British parliament voted 412 to 149 to endorse Iraq invasion
2003 US named 30 countries willing to join Iraq war Became known as Coalition of
            the Willing
2003 CIA source claimed he saw Saddam and his family at Dora farm south of Baghdad
            CIA Dir Tenet told Bush
2003 Khalizad went to Turkey offering to allow Turkish troops to enter Kurdistan buffer
            zone disarming Peshmerga ops vs PKK if US could use Turkey for invasion 
2004 Fmr OHRA head Garner said he was replaced in Iraq because wanted early
            elections to return power to Iraqis
2006 NSC report Iraqi army largely rebuilt but attacks not decreasing War stalemated
            PM Jaafari incompetent
2009 Sadr issued statement calling on his followers to give up on violence
2011 KRG said that it would form committee to deal with protests in Sulaymaniya
2013 Kurdish MPs meet with Pres Barzani and agreed on boycotting Iraqi parliament
            over disputes with Maliki
2016 Sadr started protests in Baghdad demanding cabinet reforms

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Review Hiro, Dilip, Iraq, In the Eye of the Storm

Review Hiro, Dilip, Iraq, In the Eye of the Storm, New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002

This is the second book by Dilip Hiro that I’ve read on Iraq and I enjoyed both. Iraq In The Eye of the Storm covers Iraq from the Gulf War right up to before the 2003 invasion. Each chapter has a theme such as life for ordinary Iraqis under sanctions, the Iraqi opposition, the Kurds, the impact of 9/11, etc. The three most interesting parts were on the mid-1990s plots against Saddam, the coup proofing of the regime by Saddam, and the U.N. weapons inspections.

This Day In Iraqi History - Mar 17

1917 British forces captured Baquba from Ottomans
1935 PM Midfai forced to resign due to tribal revolt Yasin al-Hashemi became PM of
            Iraq 2nd time with National Brotherhood Party in cabinet
1941 After consulting with UK For Min Suwaidi convinced PM Hashemi and Regent to
            move against Golden Square officers
1941 Golden Square officers called on army to overthrow Hashemi
1975 Iraq and Iran Foreign Ministers signed agreement to create three committees to
            resolve outstanding issues
1975 US Sec State Kissinger responded to Barzani saying that US understood struggle
            Kurds were facing
1984 Belgian labs confirmed mustard gas used by Iraq from samples taken from two
            wounded Iranians
1985 Iran captured section of Basra-Baghdad highway for first time
1991 Iraqi army began assault to retake Karbala from Shiite rebels
1991 Refugee claimed govt killed 250-300 people of Najaf after Shiite uprising
1991 Kurds began fleeing Tuz Kharmato in face of govt offensive to retake it
1991 Baghdad held 1st tribal loyalty ceremony to shore up support during uprising
1991 Saddam said he would introduce democracy and create a new constitution
1992 Report in 91 Bush admin tried to block release of information about White House
            support for Iraq before Kuwait invasion
1994 English scientists est 57% of southern marshes had been drained by Saddam to
            drive out displaced and rebels
1996 UN inspectors said work was moving forward and Iraq was not hiding WMD
            as some suggested
1999 uprising in Basra after Saddam killed Ayatollah Sadiq al-Sadr
2002 Dep Sec Def Wolfowitz and Blair’s adv Manning talked about building intl
support for military action vs Iraq
2002 UK Amb to US Meyer told Dep Sec Def Wolowitz that if US wanted military
            action against Iraq it needed to go through UN
2002 Dep Sec of Def Wolfowitz told UK Amb to US Meyer that Iraq was linked
            with terrorism and harboring member of 1993 World Trade Center bombing
2002 Times of London article quoted Iraqi defector provided by INC that Iraq
            had WMD programs
2002 Bahrain Foreign Minister Salamn ibn Hamda al-Khalifa told press Arab world did
            not see Iraq as the threat but Israel for its actions against Palestinians
2003 UN Draft resolution saying Iraq in non compliance and open to military action
            withdrawn by US because couldn’t be passed
2003 Bush met with Congressional leaders telling them UN route with Iraq was dead
            Blamed France Sen Byrd only one who said he opposed war
2003 Bush in TV speech said Iraq had WMD and was hiding them Gave Saddam
            and sons 48 hours to leave office or face invasion
2003 Blair gave Saddam ultimatum to comply with UN resolutions
2003 UN Sec Gen Annan announced he would order withdrawal of weapons
            inspectors due to impending war
2003 UK Attny Gen Lord Goldsmith gave legal advice that war with Iraq was legal
2003 ORHA staff that was to run postwar Iraq began leaving US for Kuwait
2003 ORHA head Garner met with his oil team Said concerned Rumsfeld picked ex-
            Shell CEO Carroll to join group
2003 ORHA oil team told Garner if Iraq oil sector destroyed by war would need
            someone with standing of Carroll to deal with situation
2004 Bombing of Mount Lebanon hotel in Baghdad killed 27 wounded 40 
2004 Iraqi Governing Council asked UN to return to Baghdad and advise the creation
            of interim govt
2012 Baghdad claimed KRG-Exxon oil deal was frozen but wasn’t

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Security In Iraq, Mar 8-14, 2018

After witnessing a jump in security incidents at the start of March, things went back to the mean in the second week of the month in Iraq. Security incidents and casualties were both down, but the Islamic State still appeared to be rebuilding and getting bolder in its fifth month of transitioning to an insurgency.

This Day in Iraqi History - Mar 16

1917 UK War Cabinet created Mesopotamia administration committee to decide
            on form of govt in captured areas
1959 Gen Qasim signed economic agreement with Soviet Union to move away from
            England and west
1975 Iraqi forces launched new offensive against Kurds after Iran stopped supporting
            them as part of Algiers agreement
1982 Iraq’s Dep PM Yassin Ramadan said Iraq ready to withdraw from Iran and would
            accept ceasefire Iran-Iraq War
1984 Iran fought off Iraqi effort to free Majnoon Islands Iran-Iraq War
1988 Iraqi forces dropped mustard and nerve gas on Halabja killing 5,000 Kurds to
            recapture town from Peshmerga and Iranian Revolutionary Guard
(Musings On Iraq article on the attack upon Halabja)
1991 Saddam made 1st address since Gulf War Blamed southern uprising on Iran Said
            Kurds worked with foreigners and always defeated
1992 Saddam govt set off car bomb in Irbil after warning Kurds not to ally with
            foreign powers
2003 Azores summit with Bush Blair Portuguese Premier Barroso Bush said that Iraq
            war would start in days not weeks
2003 Blair got transcript of 60 Minutes interview with Pres Chirac who said he wanted
            30 more days for UN inspections
2003 Blair Bush Barroso agreed to give 2nd UN resolution 24 more hours and pull it if
            didn’t have enough votes
2003 Bush and Blair gave UN 24 hour ultimatum to enforce its own resolutions
            on Iraq disarming or they would invade
2003 Blair complained that US screwed up a 2nd UN resolution on Iraq
2003 VP Cheney told NBC that if world didn’t deal with Iraq it would go back to
            producing WMD
2003 VP Cheney refuted IAEA claim that Iraq had not reconstituted its nuclear weapons
2003 VP Cheney on NBC IAEA wrong about aluminum tubes Iraq tried to buy and
            were wrong on Iraq in general
(Musings On Iraq article on the aluminum tubes story)
2003 Cheney on NBC said that Iraq had long standing relationship with Al Qaeda
2003 Cheney said that Army Chief of Staff Gen Shinseki wrong that US would need
            more troops to occupy Iraq than invade
2003 VP Cheney told NBC that Americans would be greeted as liberators in Iraq
2004 UK Parliament report said British forces had bad intel on Iraq and govt limited them
            due to fears of anti-war sentiment
2004 DepDefSec Wolfowitz said Iraq invasion proved US view on Iraq’s links
            to terrorism
2006 New Iraqi parliament seated after Dec 05 elections
2007 ISI set off chlorine bomb in Anbar Killed 2 shiekhs in Fallujah and Ramadi that
            opposed ISI
2008 Maliki said he was going to take on security in Basra and that he was going to lead
            effort personally
2015 Abadi asked US for airstrikes to help Tikrit operation that was stalled

View the Iraq History Timelines