Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
War watch January 28 , 2014 - Afghanistan Officials accuses US of being behind some insurgent style attacks blamed on the Taliban , combined with another insider attack / prisoner release over US objections and Afghan government civilian death toll report - we are seeing a shift by the government toward the Taliban ...... Syria Talks End Early Over Regime Change ‘Impasse’ as the Syrian Government predictably spurns US demands to drop Assad , additional items of note on Syria peace talk developments and Syria War itself ..... Amidst the daily death dealing in Iraq , a news item of not involves news that the Iraq Opposition Leader Hires Lobbyist to Oppose US Arms Push
The Karzai government has repeatedly taken the US military to task for killing large numbers of civilians in the occupation, but they may just be the tip of the iceberg, as Afghan officials say a case is being made suggesting the US has also engaged in “insurgent-style” attacks which were blamed on the Taliban.
The officials didn’t discuss the evidence in much detail, but the belief is that many of the attacks were timed to undermine the Karzai government, or in some cases to immediately follow up civilian deaths with a story to distract attention.
There is a fairly substantial list of “suspected” incidents, and incredibly enough it even includes the recent attack on a Kabul restaurant in the diplomatic district, though officials conceded there was no concrete evidence of that one yet, and its inclusion is based on timing.
US officials reacted to the report with anger, saying it “flies in the face of logic and morality,” though they have often reacted similarly to reports of civilian deaths in air strikes and night raids that are eventually proven.
The Syrian government and the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) continue talks in Montreaux, but the question of regime change, which was pushed heavily by the SNC, seems to have stalled what little momentum the process had.
The Syrian government, by contrast, is saying that they believe the talks should begin without preconditions, and that international demands should not be driving the process.
Today’s talks ended early at the insistence of UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who said the tone was getting too confrontational for his taste. At the same time, UN officials say there is considerable interest in continuing the talks, though no obvious path of progress seems to exist on the matter.
Amid intense lobbying from President Obama as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has removed its objection to selling 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, nominally to fight al-Qaeda.
There’s still objection though, and it comes from Iraq’s political opposition. Iraqiya’s top Sunni politician, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, has hired a DC lobbyist to specific fight against selling arms to his government.
It’s an odd turn of events, but in keeping with the political realities on the ground in Iraq. Mutlaq is technically the second-highest ranked Sunni in the government, but Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is living in exile because Maliki accused him of terrorism. Maliki has likewise leveled such allegations against Mutlaq himself, and there were major efforts to keep him from running at all in the last election.
The Senate objections to selling the helicopters centered around concerns that Maliki is persecuting the nation’s Sunni minority, and would be using the weapons he buys against them.
Though the objections have officially been removed, that concern remains very real, and the Maliki government is in the process of shelling the major Sunni city of Fallujah even as the deals are getting reached.
For the Obama Administration, selling arms has always been an end unto itself, but with Maliki showing hostile military intentions against the Sunnis and the Kurds, the sales are setting up Iraq’s next civil wars.