Mosul is falling to Iraqi insurgents

I am not trying to defend the war. I’m saying that splintering/partition is the best thing that could happen to Iraq.

The best thing for whom, exactly?

Meanwhile, 500K refugees flee Mosul. This is on top of another 500K who fled from previous fighting there and elsewhere. The scale of this crisis is enormous.

Well yes, given this is really an offshoot of the Syrian civil war. We didn’t intervene…here’s one result.

Malathor - I agree, at this stage it’d be best. But there’s an immense amount of paranoia in Turkey for instance - they DON’T want to see a formally independent Kurdistan. (Even though in the longer term I feel it’d be best for all involved if there was. And it’s on the cards…there’s a oil export pipeline now from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey, and - ironically - there are pretty close ties to Israel there)

Aaand if anyone’s going to push back in Mosul, it’s going to be the Peshmerga. (There’s a substantial Kurdish population…)

in 2002, the UN issued a condemnation of Iraq for the “systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law” against Iraqis.

It demanded that Iraq put an end to “summary and arbitrary executions… the use of rape as a political tool and all enforced and involuntary disappearances”.

So yeah, it was absolutely terrible for Iraqis after the first gulf war. You are incorrect if you believe otherwise.

We pulled Saddam’s fangs in GW I and the Iraqi people were better off after it than they were before or since. GW II sent those improvements right down the toilet.

Except for the people who Hussein killed using chemical weapons… Or the people that he sent to the Gulag. Or the people who he actually had raped as a tool of fear and oppression.

Things sucked pretty bad for THOSE people.

You are making a very common mistake of people who think that Iraq was all rainbows and puppy dogs after the first Gulf War, in that you are focusing all of your attention on Baathist sunnis who generally controlled things. For THEM things were fine, because the government wasn’t actively engaged in a perpetual campaign of murder and terror against them.

But there were millions of Iraqis who didn’t fall into that category, who were being oppressed in the most brutal and horrific manner possible.

Seriously, consider the stuff we’re talking about here… Imagine living in a country where your government itself actually drags your wife and daughters out of your home and rapes them in order to punish you.

This is not something which can be considered even remotely excusable or acceptable by civilized people.

The only real, truly unquestionably positive outcome in Iraq today vs Iraq under Saddam is the situation of the Kurds. The Kurds went from being the targets of de facto genocide under Saddam to creating a relatively modern and generally safe “nation” in Kurdistan.

Due to relative peace in the region it has a more developed economy in comparison to other parts of Iraq.

Prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein, the Kurdistan Regional Government received approximately 13% of the revenues from Iraq’s Oil-for-Food Programme. By the time of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the program had disbursed $8.35 billion to the KRG. Iraqi Kurdistan’s food security allowed for substantially more of the funds to be spent on development projects than in the rest of Iraq. By the program’s end in 2003 $4 billion of the KRG’s oil-for-food funds remained unspent.

Following the removal of Saddam Hussein’s administration and the subsequent violence, the three provinces fully under the Kurdistan Regional Government’s control were the only three in Iraq to be ranked “secure” by the US military. The relative security and stability of the region has allowed the KRG to sign a number of investment contracts with foreign companies. In 2006, the first new oil well since the invasion of Iraq was drilled in the Kurdistan region by the Norwegian energy company DNO. Initial indications are that the oil field contains at least 100 million barrels (16,000,000 m3) of oil and will be pumping 5,000 bbl/d (790 m3/d) by early 2007.

The stability of the Kurdistan region has allowed it to achieve a higher level of development than other regions in Iraq. In 2004, the per capita income was 25% higher than in the rest of Iraq. The government continues to receive a portion of the revenue from Iraq’s oil exports, and the government will soon implement a unified foreign investment law. The KRG also has plans to build a media city in Arbil and free trade zones near the borders of Turkey and Iran.

Since 2003, the stronger economy of Iraqi Kurdistan has attracted around 20,000 workers from other parts of Iraq.[69] According to Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, since 2003 the number of millionaires in the Kurdish city of Silêmani has increased from 12 to 2000, reflecting the financial and economic growth of the region.[70]

Iraqi Kurdistan currently has the lowest poverty rates in Iraq.[71] According to the KRG website, no coalition soldier has died nor any foreigner been kidnapped since the 2003 invasion of Iraq in areas administered by the KRG.[72]

The south though is a different story and it’s hard to see how what has happened there and what is happening there now is really any better than what Saddam was doing. The only real difference is that rather than the violence being directed from Baathists on to everyone else…it’s really a low level civil war with everyone just trying to kill each other and doing Saddam like things to whatever opposite group they get their hands on.

This week General Abdelamir al-Zeidi, commander of military operations in Diyala province and the city of Kirkuk, posted a photo of a “terrorist” on his official Facebook page and invited readers to vote:

  1. Are you in favor of investigating him and letting the judicial system oversee the process going forward or
  1. Should we immediately execute this criminal, who was caught red-handed?

Iraqis were much better off after GW I than before it. No fly zones, the crippling of Saddam’s army, and the end of his WMD capabilities made a huge difference. You are incorrect if you believe otherwise.

You are making a very common mistake of people who think that Iraq was all rainbows and puppy dogs after the first Gulf War…

Nice strawman. That’s the mistake you want me to be making, but I’m not. There are 3 conditions to examine, Iraq before GW1, Iraq after GW1 but before GW2, and Iraq after GW2. In order of awfulness, pre GW1 > post GW2 >>> post GW1. The best of the bunch was easily the period between the Gulf Wars, and we took the real gains made then and literally blew them up with the second invasion. Stop trying to justify a war that made everything worse for all parties involved. GW2 was launched on the basis of lies by the Bush administration and wrecked the region for what will probably be decades. The post GW2 period may well surpass the pre GW1 period if things continue to deteriorate.

Except for you know…

The toll of war and years of sanctions on the health of Iraq’s children has been revealed by new research…
In the parts of the country most affected by both, infant mortality has more than doubled, rising well beyond 100 per 1,000 live births.

This puts Iraq, once a highly prosperous country with and advanced health system, on a par with some of the poorest developing countries when it comes to infant mortality.

Shortly before the start of UN sanctions, the healthcare system reached approximately 97% of the urban and 79% of the rural population.

Infant mortality - children born alive, but dying before their first birthday - had fallen to 47 per 1,000 live births between 1984 and 1989.

Data from two parallel household surveys conducted in Iraq by UNICEF in 1999 show
that under-five mortality declined steadily from 1974 to 1990, reaching about 63 per
thousand live births in the period 1986-90. It then rose dramatically to 118 per thousand
in 1991, the year of the Gulf War. The number of ‘excess’ under-five deaths (ie the
number in excess of the number predicted from past trends)) in Iraq between 1991 and
1998 was calculated assuming that, instead of the rates measured by the 1999 survey for
this period, either (a) average mortality rates for the period 1986-90 had been
maintained, or (b) mortality had continued to decline at the rate observed between 1974
and 1990. According to these calculations, the estimated number of excess deaths
resulting from the Gulf War and its aftermath up to 1998 was between 400,000
(assumption a) and 500,000 (assumption b).

Garfield, an expert on the public-health impact of sanctions, conducted a comparative analysis of the more than two dozen major studies that have analyzed malnutrition and mortality figures in Iraq during the past decade. He estimated the most likely number of excess deaths among children under five years of age from 1990 through March 1998 to be 227,000. Garfield’s analysis showed child mortality rates double those of the previous decade.

Edit: The point is that the issue is far too complex to make the blanket statement that X period of time was “best” in Iraq. Certainly it’s never been better to be a Kurd in Iraq than right now. At the same time the best time to be Sunni certainly was many years ago in the years prior to the first gulf war. The Shia in the south were absolutely devastated by the sanctions in the 90s.

How can 6000 soldiers take such a big city, it’s barely a small army unit…

Not so hard when the city is on the side of the invaders. Sunni majority in Mosul.

I’m quite willing to admit that Iraq prior to GW1 was better in some ways than after it. However, when you compare the number of lives lost from sanctions and poor health care to those taken by Saddam’s genocide and offensive wars, the number killed by Saddam is still much larger. The period with the lowest overall mortality was the interwar period. We should have built on that by fine-tuning the sanctions, a process that had already begun before Bush took over. Instead, we invaded for a second time, leading to another 500K+ killed and a future that is looking bleaker by the minute.

Oh, is this fixed now? Post-invasion is rape no longer used as a political tool? Is the life of Iraqi women better now than then? Or, did we show up, kill a few score thousand people and leave the country in worse shape?

Your attempt to justify the horrific results of our intervention with the fact that the previous regime was criminal is a poor attempt at justification.

“life sucked, so we made it much worse, enjoy!”

I’m not trying to justify our intervention. I argue that the second invasion was a horrible act that made things worse for Iraq, not better. Perhaps your post wasn’t addressed to me?

You ignored all the stuff about how the UN condemned Iraq in 2002, prior to the second Gulf War, for constantly committing horrific atrocities against its people. About how Hussein was murdering, torturing, and raping his own population. Not even figuratively, but LITERALLY raping his own people.

Oh, is this fixed now? Post-invasion is rape no longer used as a political tool? Is the life of Iraqi women better now than then?

No, in post invasion Iraq, the government is not using rape as a political tool.

Amazing, isn’t it, how you had so many valid reasons to invade Iraq, but decided you had to invent one to persuade people to go to war, i.e. “he’s got weapons of mass destruction”. (Reminds me of a Canadian humorist who said at the time: “It took you two years before you decided to pitch in against Hitler, but that was different: everybody knew he had weapons.”)

Nope, didn’t ignore it. Once again, I’m capable of holding three conditions in my head at once and can compare and contrast them. Saddam pre GW1 was worse than Saddam post GW1, but Iraq post GW2 was worse than Saddam post GW1. More importantly, Saddam’s regime in the interwar period isn’t some wild outlier. If we use the crimes he committed during that timeframe as the “invade, now!” yardstick, we’ll be fighting endless wars around the world. You may love that idea, but I don’t.

Check back with me next week on this topic once we see what the new Iraqi government looks like. The current one isn’t looking too sturdy.

…Plenty of Sunnis are running from the bugnuts attackers. It can’t be emphasised how nuts they are. The problem is the police legged it.

This just seems ridiculous to me.
If you weren’t a baathist sunni, then it’s not worse.

No reason to wait, look at the human rights watch link I posted earlier. The Sunni-Shia violence is starting to reach Saddam like levels of awfulness.