Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What Was Behind Iran’s Social Media Campaign Promoting Gen Suleimani In Iraq?

(Al Alam)
In September 2014, a social media campaign was launched featuring Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Qasim Suleimani. The conventional wisdom was that this was an attempt by Tehran to portray it as the major force leading the war against the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria. Dozens of pictures appeared on Facebook and Twitter and other outlets, and eventually found their way into the Iraqi and international media. Afshon Ostovar in Vanguard of the Imam, Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards argued there might have been another motivation.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 20

1980 Iraq held first parliamentary elections since end of monarchy in 1958 Baath
            won 187 seats Independents 63
1982 Ayatollah Khomeini said Iran-Iraq War would end when Saddam was out
1987 Peshmerga mounted offensive in Sulaymaniya supported by Iran
1987 Ali Hassan al-Majid issued order for random attacks on Kurdish areas to kill as
many people as possible Also said that any Kurd captured between 15-70 should be interrogated then executed
2004 Interim PM Allawi said special commando units would be created
2004 Head of 9/11 Commission said Al Qaeda was closer to Iran and Pakistan than
2004 9/11 Comm member said captured Iraqi docs showed 1 Fedayeen Saddam was an
Al Qaeda member Attacked press for claiming Comm report contradicted Bush admin claims on Iraq-Al Qaeda connections
2004 White House claimed 9/11 Comm proved its argument of Al Qaeda-Iraq
            ties when Commission said no cooperation
2005 UK UN diplomat Ross said he saw 4 ½ yrs of intel on Iraq WMD and it didn’t
            support Blair’s argument for war
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said Al
Qaeda’s Libi and INC reported Iraq providing training to Al Qaeda Feb 04 Libi recanted his story which was given under torture
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said back
in 1990 Ansar al-Islam was working on WMD in Kurdistan Ansar not created until 2002
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said Iraq
            supported Ansar al-Islam Was not true
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said Iraq
ran terrorist training camp in Salman Pak with a plane fuselage next to a WMD facility raising fears Iraq giving terrorists WMD
2006 Was no active WMD facility in Salman Pak and terrorist training camp was spread
            by INC before invasion
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said he
believed 9/11 hijacker Atta met with Iraqi intel in Prague in 2001 and never disproven
2006 2001 Czech intel said Atta-Iraq intel story untrue CIA FBI 9/11 Commission never
            found evidence of meeting
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group claimed
2002 NIE was attempt by CIA to win back debate on Iraq to WMD instead of terrorism
2006 Fmr head State Dept Intel Bureau Carl Ford said pre-Iraq war intel showed failure
            of tradecraft and analysis of US intel
2006 Car Ford said US got reports of things like Iraq-Niger uranium story and aluminum
            tubes and failed to analyze and question them thoroughly
(Musings On Iraq article on Iraq-Niger uranium story)
(Musings On Iraq article on the aluminum tubes story)
2006 Fmr Dep Dir CIA McLaughlin said that Feith’s Counter Terror Group found lots of
            articles of Al Qaeda-Iraq meetings but no control or operational connections
2006 Fmr Dep Dir CIA McLaughlin thought Feith’s Pentagon group was put together to
            counter CIA’s intel on Iraq-Al Qaeda
2006 Fmr CIA bin Laden desk chief Scheuer said Iraq war devastated CIA’s
            counterterrorism office by draining resources
2006 CIA’s Scheuer said it didn’t see any threat from Iraq compare to Al Qaeda Said
Dep Sec Def Feith’s office was set up to counter the CIA’s reporting no ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda
2006 Scheuer headed CIA’s report on Iraq-Al Qaeda ties and found no relationship
2006 Gen DeLong Gen Frank’s deputy commader at CENTCOM said he believed Iraq
            working with Ansar al-Islam and Al Qaeda in Kurdistan pre-invasion
2008 Report several insurgent groups reaching out to parties to try to get involved in
2008 ISF arrested Sadrist deputy governor and 2 councilmen in Maysan during security
            op there vs Sadrists
(Musings On Iraq article on Op Promise of Peace)
2008 20 police accused of kidnapping and running death squads arrested Were
            members of Mahdi Army
2008 Report 4 political parties formed from 2 Anbar Awakening groups and 2 from
            insurgent Islamic Army
2009 Head of Kurdish list in Ninewa told Bashiqa teachers they should stop teaching
            in Arabic and switch to Kurdish Dispute with Hadbaa
2009 ISI bombed Shiite mosque killing 73 in Taza Kirkuk
2010 2 car bombs in front of Trade Bank of Iraq in Baghdad 27 killed 55 wounded
2010 Funeral for protester killed in Basra led to march calling for Maliki to step
2010 Ayatollah Najafi issued statement condemning electricity shortages and supported
            right of people to protest problem
2011 Sadr statement called for arrest and punishment of ex-Mahdi Army Abu Dura
            and his followers Known as Shiite Zarqawi
2011 Maliki and other political leaders met at Pres Talabani’s house in Baghdad to
            discuss power sharing
2012 Sadr MP said 3rd term for Maliki would lead to dictatorship
2012 Sadrist protest in Baghdad claimed govt cracking down on independent
2013 Chevron signed new exploration deal with KRG for work in Irbil
2013 Gazprom met with Pres Barzani to discuss oil deals in KRG
2013 Shahristani claimed Iraq’s electricity problems would be solved by end of year
2013 Election Comm said voter turnout only 35% in Ninewa and 37% in Anbar in
            delayed provincial elections
2014 Tanker sold Kurdish oil to Israel exported through KRG’s independent pipeline to
2014 Fighting between Naqshibandi and ISIS in Hawija killed 17 as IS tried to assert
            control over area
2014 45 bodies found executed by insurgents in Tigris River in Salahaddin
2014 Turkman leaders in Tuz Kharmato said happy Peshmerga moved into city but
            wanted power sharing
2014 Sistani spokesman called for new govt that “avoids past mistakes” Most took
            that as criticism of Maliki
2015 Hashd killed a Kurdish civilian in a car leading to gunfight between Hashd
            and Peshmerga in Tuz Kharmato
2015 Civil group claimed Peshmerga killing civilians and displacing people in
            Diyala’s Khanaqin Dist

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Displacement Situation in Sinjar And What It Means For Rest Of Iraq

As of the end of May 2018 over 3.8 million Iraqis had returned home, while another 2 million remained displaced. Around 90% of those still without their homes said they want to go back. There are a number of issues that are making that difficult. The Sinjar district in western Ninewa is a perfect example. Many Yazidis have returned, but the southern half of the district still has unexploded ordinance, there are no jobs, and the majority of Arabs are afraid to go back.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 19

1914 Germany and Britain asked Ottomans for oil concessions in Mosul and
            Baghdad provinces
1937 Pan-Arab military officers withdrew their support for head of army Gen Bakr Sidqi
1981 UN Resolution 487 condemned Israel’s destruction of Iraq’s Osirak
            nuclear reactor
1988 Iraq captured Mehran Iran then handed it over to Mujahedeen e-Khalq’s National
            Liberation Army
1996 UN and Iraq began talks on allowing UN inspectors access to sensitive sites
1996 Dep PM Aziz told UN inspectors they got most of their intel from US and UK
            that were trying to remove Saddam
1996 Dep PM Aziz told UN inspectors they made sensitive visits to provoke a crisis
            at behest of US and UK
(Musings On Iraq article on UN weapons inspections)
1998 UN Res 1175 increased Iraq’s oil export quota to $5.3 bil under Oil For Food
            program Allowed importation of equipment to maintain oil industry
2002 US told UK that it was ready for its input on military planning against Iraq
2002 Gen Franks briefed Bush on war plans
2003 Rumsfeld said that US only fighting small groups of dead enders in Iraq Tried to
compare insurgency in Baghdad to murder rate in Wash DC to say it wasn’t bad
2003 Wolfowitz told Congress insurgents were “last remains of a dying cause”
2003 US forces found an old buried centrifuge Claimed proof that Iraq had a nuclear
            weapons program
2003 US denied that captured Iraqi trailers were anything but mobile weapons labs
            Inspections showed they werent
2003 White House acknowledged that State Dep intel questioned whether captured
            trailers were WMD labs
(Musings On Iraq article on mobile labs story)
2003 New Republic on Iraq-Niger uranium deal Said Cheney got docs on deal from
            UK Asked for more info leading to trip to Niger Docs did not come from British
2003 New Republic article used Fmr Amb Wilson as unnamed source who said White
            House knew Niger story was a lie
(Musings On Iraq article on Iraq-Niger uranium story)
2006 Bodies of 2 US soldiers kidnapped by Mujahedeen Shura Council in Baghdad
2008 ISF launched Op Promise of Peace against Sadrists in Maysan
(Musings On Iraq article on Op Promise of Peace)
(Musings On Iraq article on Sadr’s strategy)
2009 speaker of KRG parliament said KDP and PUK taking $30 mil of KRG budget
            for themselves
2009 2 British guards kidnapped and killed by Asaib Ahl Al-Haq returned to British
            embassy In return AAH members released from prison
2010 Protest in Basra over power shortages 1 demonstrator killed by police
2010 Sahwa leader in Diyala warned that ISI using carrot and stick against sahwa
            members in attempted comeback in province
2011 Def Sec Gates blamed Iran for giving weapons to Special Groups who were
            attacking US forces before withdrawal
2011 1st Iraqi army unit received artillery from US
2011 Maliki govt accused Communist party and civil groups for protests in Baghdad
2011 2 killed in electricity protests in Basra
2012 Report Iran trying to stop no confidence vote against Maliki
2012 Maliki said Exxon deal with KRG could lead to break up of Iraq Baghdad asked
            US for help to stop deal
2012 Maliki’s media adv said Baghdad would stop any KRG-Exxon oil deal that
involved disputed areas
2013 Pres Barzani sent draft constitution back to KRG parliament for discussion
            and passage
2013 Iraqi army claimed it was responsible for split between ISIS and Al Nusra in
            Syria because it controlled Iraq-Syria border
2013 Iraqiya Diyala-Sadr list formed new govt in Diyala shutting out State of Law
2013 State of Law held protests against new govt in Diyala Militias blocked roads
            around Baquba
2013 State of Law and local lists alliance formed new govt in Karbala Sadrists and
            SIIC shut out
2013 State of Law won head of council in Karbala Sadrists boycotted session
2013 All 12 provinces that had elections formed new govts
2014 Maliki ordered govt to pay salaries and benefits to Hashd
2014 State Dept’s McGurk denied US was pushing for removal of Maliki
2014 ISIS set up 8 courts in Mosul to run city Was pushing out other insurgent
            groups that helped take city
2014 Sadr offices announced taking volunteers for new Peace Brigades to
            fight insurgency

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Review Vanguard of the Imam, Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

Review Ostovar, Afshon, Vanguard of the Imam, Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, New York: Oxford University Press, 2016

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is one of the bulwarks of the Iranian government. It was created during the 1979 Iranian Revolution out of a series of different militias to protect the new regime and its ideals. When the Iran-Iraq War started the next year the IRGC became an integral part of the fighting force. Its role quickly expanded in the following years, destroying factions within the government Ayatollah Khomeini disapproved of, gaining an economic empire rebuilding the country after the war, and putting down the protests following the 2009 election. Internationally it helped create Hezbollah in Lebanon, supported Hamas in Palestine and backed and created Iraqi opposition parties, and became major supporters of Syria and Iraq. Vanguard of the Imam, Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards by Afhson Ostovar attempts to explain this history using Shiite religion, Iranian politics, and the conflicts that country has faced since the 1970s.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 18

1972 Iraq allowed French to keep their share of Iraq Petroleum Company in
            return for technical aid to run industry
1988 Iraq Op Fury Stars working with Mujahadeen e-Khalq started attacking Iranian
            forces using nerve gas to capture Mehran
1988 Iraq Op Fury Stars killed nearly 3500 Iranians and destroyed a Iranian
            Revolutionary Guard Division Hit 10 oil fields
1990 Intl Islamic Popular Conf backed Iraq against Zionist aggression and
            conspiracy led by US and England
1998 Inspectors report to UN Said Iraq not come clean on VX program 1st denied it
            worked with it Then said produced experimental amount that was destroyed
1998 UN inspector report said Iraq later admitted it produced 1.7 tons of VX but
            didn’t weaponize it
(Musings On Iraq article on UN weapons inspections)
2002 CIA Dir Tenet told Congress couldn’t find evidence for story 9/11 hijacker
            Atta met with Iraqi intel officer in Prague in 01
2003 Gen Odierno 4th Inf Div commander said US wasn’t facing an insurgency
in Iraq because wasn’t organized opposition Said there were attacks on US troops but were insignificant overall
2003 DepSecDef Wolfowitz told Congress US facing an insurgency in Iraq but U.S.
            could beat it
2003 Bremer talked with Bush about troop levels in Iraq Bremer didn’t object to
            drawdown plan but said they shouldn’t go too low
2003 Bush said plan was to rotate troops into and out of Iraq not to withdraw Said
            troops levels had to be maintained
2003 2,000 fired Iraqi soldiers protested outside of Green Zone demanding pensions
1 speaker said they would attack US forces for humiliating them Threw rocks US soldiers shot and killed 2
2003 Ex-ORHA head Garner met Rumsfeld in Washington complained about CPA
policies Garner told Rumsfeld deBaathifiaction disbanding military and Iraq leadership group all wrong but could be fixed
2003 Rumsfeld told ex-ORHA head Garner couldn't fix mistakes made by CPA could
            only move forward in Iraq
2003 Rumsfeld held press conference for ex-ORHA head Garner who said everything
            going well in Iraq Bremer doing good job
2003 Ex-ORHA head Garner met with Bush said that Iraq going well and Bremer doing
            good job
2003 David Kay new head of Iraq Survey Group looking for Iraq WMD left for Qatar
            to run search
2003 Kay switched Iraq Survey Group from search teams going to suspected WMD
            sites to intel op going through Iraqi docs
2003 CIA informed House and Senate Intel committees that it no longer believed Iraq-
            Niger uranium story
(Musings On Iraq article on Iraq-Niger uranium story)
2004 Al Qaeda in Iraq suicide car bombing Army recruitment center Baghdad killed 35
            wounded 145
2004 9/11 Commission spokesman said it found no evidence of cooperation between
            Iraq and Al Qaeda
2008 Los Angeles Times interview with CURVEBALL Iraqi defector in Germany who
claimed Iraq had mobile WMD labs Claimed everything he said was true and he should be treated like a king for helping overthrow Saddam
(Musings On Iraq article on CURVEBALL)
(Musings On Iraq article on mobile labs story)
2011 Shooting between Sadrists and Asaib Ahl Al-Haq in Sadr City
2012 Report Gov Nujafi and Hadbaa made deals with Kurds in Ninewa after two
            opposed each other
2012 2 suicide bombers hit Shiite funeral in Baquba killing 22
2014 Tal Afar, Ninewa declared cleared but wasn’t
2014 Maliki said he would not step down in return for U.S. military aid
2014 Joint Chiefs head Gen Dempsey and Sec of Def Hagel told congress Iraqi govt had
            to reach out to Sunnis to end insurgency
2014 Insurgents kidnapped 17 Shiites from Tuz Kharmato and executed them
2014 Insurgents began attack upon Baiji refinery
2014 New security operation in Jurf al-Sakhr, Babil began

View Iraq History Timelines 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

10 Year Anniversary Of Musings On Iraq

On September 11, 2001, I watched former CIA Director James Woolsey on CBS News say that the United States needed to attack Iraq even if it had nothing to do with the terrorist attack. This struck me as odd as everyone was already saying it was an Al Qaeda operation. By 2002 the White House began its public relations campaign to convince the American public of the necessity to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Those two events inspired me to look into why the U.S. was going to war with Iraq. In 2008, I started Musings On Iraq to publish my research. It’s not always been easy keeping up with all the reading and writing while working as a public high school teacher and having a family, but I’ve tried my best to explain current events in Iraq and increasingly its history as well. I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me out along the way, all the those that I’ve interviewed, and especially the readers who come to the blog.

Musings On Iraq In The News

My interview with Benedict Robin on the Sadr-Communist Party alliance was reprinted by the Iraqi Translation Project. I was mentioned by Paul iddon in "Turkey may finally act on threats against Pkk in Qandil" for Ahval. I was also cited by Benjamin Isakhan and Shamiran Mako in State and Society in Iraq: Citizenship under Occupation, Dictatorship and Democratsation and by Samuel Helfont in Compulsion in Religion: Saddam Hussein, Islam, and the Roots of Insurgencies in Iraq.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 17

1927 Lord Cecil said British public opinion was overwhelmingly against staying in
1954 PM Umari resigned so he could go on annual vacation to Turkey to escape summer
            heat in Iraq
1981 Col Qaddafi announced he would go to Tehran and Baghdad to try to negotiate
            ceasefire in Iran-Iraq War Libya supported Iran  
1996 UN said Iraq smuggling oil through Iranian waters breaking sanctions
2003 CIA report to Dir Tenet said that Niger-Iraq uranium story was dropped because
            based upon fake docs
(Musings On Iraq article on Iraq-Niger uranium story)
2003 CIA report that it found docs at Iraqi scientist’s home that proved Saddam
            had nuke program Proved false
2004 PM Allawi promised reprisals against insurgents after suicide bombing of Iraqi
            army base
2004 Bush refuted 9/11 Comm saying Iraq-Al Qaeda had connections and that was why
            Iraq was a threat
2004 Cheney said 9/11 Comm didn’t look at the overwhelming evidence of Iraq-
Al Qaeda connections Claimed he had intel on Iraq-Al Qaeda ties that 9/11 Comm didn’t That intel later proved false
2008 Truck bomb by Mahdi Army or Special Group in Baghdad killed 63 wounded 70
US forces claimed bombing meant to stop return of displaced Sunnis and provoke sectarian fighting
(Musings On Iraq article on Hurriya bombing)
2009 US held talks with Syria to try to stop foreign fighters travelling through country
            to Iraq
2011 ISI took responsibility for killing deputy head of deBaathification Comm
2011 Anbar councilman said Syria still supporting insurgency
2011 Maliki organized second march for his government in Baghdad and Karbala
2011 Protests held in Baghdad and Dhi Qar against corruption Baghdad protesters
            attacked by Maliki supporters 2nd time
2012 Sadr said he would not accept a 3rd term for Maliki
2012 MP Othman said that KDP wanted Maliki out while PUK didn’t
2013 Kataib Hezbollah attacked Mujahedeen e-Khalq camp with rockets
2013 Badr said one of its men died fighting in Syria before its presence officially
2013 Exxon signed 3rd contract with KRG to explore for oil in Sulaymaniya
2013 Sadrists maintained control of Maysan governorship in new govt
2013 State of Law-SIIC-Sadr alliance formed new govt in Qadisiyah SIIC got
2014 Security operation to clear Qaim, Anbar began
2014 Tuz Kharmato declared freed
2014 Rawa Ana Saqlawiya Amiriya Fallujah Ramadi Khalidiya in Anbar all
            decalred freed half of them weren’t
2014 Insurgents attacked 3 neighborhoods in Baquba, Diyala along with Hit
            and Garma in Anbar
2014 Prisoner that was wounded when Hashd executed 43 prisoners in Baquba
            was taken from hospital by police and killed
2014 Maliki dismissed Gen Gharawi head of Ninewa Ops Command for fall of
2014 Hezbollah’s Nasrallah said that Shiite shrines in Iraq needed to be
            protected from insurgents Said that Hezbollah would send men to fight in Iraq
2015 Sadr blamed Maliki’s authoritarianism for return of insurgency
2016 PM Abadi prematurely announced liberation of Fallujah

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Security In Iraq, Jun 8-14, 2018

The second week of June 2018 saw a jump in incidents and casualties in Iraq due to a large spike in violence in Kirkuk and continued clashes between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Turkey in northern Kurdistan.