Monday July 24, 2017
A Shia-dominated government is in Baghdad, beholden to Tehran for its security post-ISIS. Shia thug militias, an anti-Sunni and Kurd force in waiting, are fully integrated into the otherwise-failed national Iraqi military. There are robust and growing economic ties between the two nations. An Iraqi security structure will never threaten Iran again. A corridor between Iran and Syria will allow arms and fighters to flow westward in support of greater Iranian geopolitical aims in the Middle East. And after one trillion in US taxpayer dollars spent, and 4,500 Americans killed in hopes of making Iraq the cornerstone of a Western-facing Middle East, American influence in Iraq is limited.
It seems the Times is surprised by the conclusion; it’s “news” for some apparently. The newspaper ran the story on its hometown edition front page.
But sorry, it wasn’t news to me. I tried writing basically the same story in 2010 as a formal reporting cable for the State Department. Nobody wanted to hear it.
At the time I was assigned to Iraq as an American diplomat, with some 20 years of field experience, embedded at a rural forward operating base. All the things that took until 2017 to become obvious to the New York Times were available to anyone on the ground back then with the eyes to see.
If (Pompeo’s) statements mean that we interfered in the elections in 2008 and 2012 that means that President Obama owes us his victories. I’ll refrain from comment. In my opinion, this crosses the lines of what is reasonable.Pompeo’s assertion came after a tirade in which he said that Russia’s current Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov helped develop a ‘propaganda’ strategy which underlies RT and Sputnik’s alleged purpose. Pompeo further asserted that Gerasimov did this in the early 1970s. According to Pompeo:
His (Gerasimov’s) idea was that you can win wars without firing a single shot, with firing a very few shots in ways that are decidedly not militaristic. And that’s what happenedThe ludicrousness of this claim can be easily debunked when one learns that General Gerasimov was born in 1955. If one can conservatively say that 1973 was the ‘early 1970s’, this means that Gerasimov developed a communications strategy that relied on the internet being up to 2017 standards when he was 18 years of age. There is simply no logic in Pompeo’s assertions.
What changes is the cost to effectuate change through cyber and through RT and Sputnik, the news outlets and through other soft means has just really been lowered. It used to be expensive to run an ad on a television station. Now you simply go online and propagate your message, so they have found an effective tool, an easy way to go reach into our systems and into our culture to achieve the outcome they are looking for.
Even those who were skeptical about the program’s long-term value, viewed it as a key bargaining chip that could be used to wring concessions from Moscow in negotiations over Syria’s future.The Syrian people are mere “bargaining chips” as far as the movers and shakers of the American empire are concerned: they have no reality outside the cold calculations of power politics, the maneuvers of our know-it-all political class, who think they are qualified to run the world.
’People began thinking about ending the program, but it was not something you’d do for free,’ said a former White House official. ‘To give [the program] away without getting anything in return would be foolish.’