The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to Washington meant a great deal to US President Barack Obama. It could help ward off criticism by the neocons and the Republican right that Obama didn’t do enough to extract a long-term US military presence in Iraq. (The plain truth is he did all he could....)
At one place, he gets so overcharged with emotion that he says: “In the coming years, it’s estimated that Iraq’s economy will grow faster than China’s or India’s. With oil production rising, Iraq is on track to once again be one of the region’s leading oil producers.” He refused to take note at his joint press conference that Maliki politely but firmly disapproved of the US’s interventionist policy toward Syria. The transcript is here.
Now, there are major shortcomings in the revolution and vengeance approach that are projected...., as well as a number of other phenomena..., and feel the need to warn against any such illusory views. I'll try to add some insight that could hopefully bring everybody involved (that is, all Earthlings) closer to reaching some practical solution...
The way things have been functioning so far in the capitalistic countries such as the ones that we are talking about, there is an underlying, more or less unified, core backbone - a multi-layered pyramid of power from top to bottom, operating through a number of visible and invisible connections, of which the visible parts only present a truncated and in fact quite deceptive picture to the unsuspecting eye....
As we could see most clearly recently, the present moment is one where this system has been challenged deeply enough for anyone to question both its own survival and the very future of the people it was allegedly meant to supervise. Therefore, it's a moment where actual change is much more possible than it has ever been since centuries....
A major preliminary task that already met quite a few successes has consisted in exposing bare some of the previously hidden mechanisms through which this pyramid is operating - at least to the eyes of the most awake and independent-minded people. This, in turn, considerably decreased its efficiency, especially in terms of its proverbial ability to rule through secrecy and unaccounted deception....
Now, recorded history is full of episodes where some attempt to change the ruling system was only focusing on a part of it, at most, the sum of its visible parts, and any earnest observer should recognize that none of those attempts eventually brought much change at all, beyond triggering the usual rivers of blood and forcing the pyramid to make some adjustments in order for it to restore or enhance its features, including in terms of its ability to hide and to survive....
On the contrary, it eventually appeared to the careful observer that such blood-shedding changes had been all too often diverted, accompanied or even crafted by those very ruthless rulers that the process was aiming at getting rid of, in the first place....
I believe that this type of mistake should not be repeated - that one should avoid entering into anything that would trigger even more bad karma (cycle of unwanted actions/reactions). Enough is enough....with the most infamous White House Murder INC,....
What is needed here is the practical means to prevent those people from following their usual course of action. What is equally as important is to avoid one of those huge pendulum shifts that, by being actually prone to triggering the same degree of violences and excesses, show that they are none better than what they aim at replacing....
This planet needs a process that is as smooth and as safe as possible, and will obviously require a new global, legal framework and executive setup....
Incidentally, I learned the bulk of what is said here by seeing many mentors in life at work over the years.... I had felt the need to figure out clearly some of the core principles that they followed in order to reach some of their major achievements so far, one example being how to best drive for good a country out of the hands of all those criminal rulers installed by the same pyramid over Russia - be it the communists or the oligarchs for over a Century....
In a nutshell, I strongly wish to see the same, proven methods successfully applied to a bigger scale, where it's most needed....
By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK - As the United States withdraws the last of its 50,000 troops after a nearly nine-year military occupation of Iraq, visiting Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki had one final request: billions of dollars worth of US weapons for his rag-tag armed forces.
A longstanding Soviet and later Russian ally, Iraq under former president Saddam Hussein never had an ongoing military relationship with the United States.
Now, Iraq is gradually abandoning its huge arsenal of primarily Russian and French equipment in favor of US arms.
At a White House meeting on Monday, Maliki was assured a second batch of 18 sophisticated F-16 fighter planes to help rebuild the country's dilapidated air force, whose helicopters and missiles the US destroyed during its long-drawn-out war beginning March 2003.
The Iraqis have already indicated that their military needs will include a total of 96 F-16 fighter jets in four separate orders.
The Iraqi president told the administration of US President Barack Obama that his country would depend on the US not only for new weapons systems but also for training under the US International Military Education and Training (IMET) Program.
Multiple and varied motives
Dan Darling, Middle East defense analyst at the Connecticut-based Forecast International, an aerospace and defense market research company, told Inter Press Service (IPS) the Iraqi military is heavily vested in US equipment.
Early during the rebuilding stage of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), he said, the US outfitted Iraqi troops with second-hand small arms and donated equipment from former Warsaw Pact nations, as the average Iraqi soldier in Hussein's military was familiar with these arms.
But from 2005 onwards, he pointed out, the goal became equipping the Iraqi military with more and more US armaments via the Pentagon's government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) channel.
A proposed $10.9 billion arms package finalized in August 2008 included six C-130J Hercules transport aircraft, 24 Bell helicopters armed with Hellfire missiles and launchers, 140 Abrams battle tanks, 160 Guardian M1117 armored security vehicles, 392 light armored vehicles and 26 M72 light anti-tank weapons.
In October 2010, the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced a second military package valued at $4.2 billion, which included 18 F-16 fighter planes and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, along with laser-guided bombs and reconnaissance equipment.
The DoD said the arms package would make Iraq "a more valuable partner in an important area of the world, as well as supporting Iraq's legitimate needs".
The United States also has a hidden agenda in beefing up the Iraqi armed forces against neighboring Iran, which already has strong political influence on al-Maliki's government.
Revamping Iraq's military
Under Saddam, the air force, the army and the navy were equipped primarily with Russian and French weapons systems, including Aerospatiale and Mi-17 helicopters, and T-55 and T-72 battle tanks.
The total strength of the ISF has declined from about 900,000 troops under the Saddam Hussein regime to the current 250,000. Armed with rising oil revenues, the Iraqi government is now in the process of rebuilding all three services: the army, the air force and the navy.
According to the latest figures from the Congressional Research Service, Iraq's total arms purchases from 2002 to 2005 amounted to about $8.1 billion.
The United States was the primary supplier accounting for about $5.2 billion in arms.
Darling told IPS that much of these sales early on came from US foreign military financing (FMF) credits, largely through the Pentagon's Iraqi Security Forces Fund (ISFF).
These funds were used to purchase equipment, build infrastructure, conduct training and sustain the ISF, the Iraqi border guards, police forces and the intelligence services.
Between 2005 and 2011, the Pentagon allocated around $20.6 billion towards the ISFF, he said.
As the Iraqi state institutions began to take form and the central government under Maliki grew in confidence (and state coffers began receiving healthy intakes of energy revenues) more and more Iraqi orders were placed via FMS, with some $16 billion worth of requests for various equipment, facilities construction and services placed in 2008 alone.
Darling said reports in the Iraqi media have stated that further such orders from the US could reach up to $26 billion, with $13 billion in FMS requests projected by 2013.
He said it is important to remember that the ISF has planned its rebuilding in three phases: 2006-2010, 2011-2015, and 2016-2020.
The first such stage was meant for filling out the ranks with manpower, the second for ordering equipment and the third for absorbing the equipment and discerning where any capabilities gaps remain.
"Going forward, we project Iraq to be one of the largest military markets in the Middle East, behind Saudi Arabia and alongside Israel, Iran and the UAE [United Arab Emirates]," Darling predicted.
Iraqi defense ambitions remain broad and while much of the navy reconstruction is nearing completion, much work remains to be done in the Iraqi Air Force and land forces, he added.....
Good equipment, lousy and criminal Leadership in DC....