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Monday, March 31, 2003
Golf course and barbecue military strategy. Egyptian weekly
Al-Ahram has this to say about the quality of the advice the White House has been using to guide its military strategy:
As the military operation enters its second week and as the Iraqi resistance continues, a question has arisen in regards to whether some sections of the Iraqi opposition in exile have painted an unrealistic picture of Iraq for their US patrons. Prior to the launch of the military strikes, it was repeatedly suggested in some western media outlets that the Iraqi Shi'ite population in the south and the Kurdish groups in northern Iraq could be helpful to US efforts to topple the Iraqi regime. But one week later, the south did not rise against Saddam, the population remains defiant and the regime is still standing its ground.

Kubba laid the brunt of the blame for these assumptions on some sections of the Iraqi opposition, particularly those associated with the Iraq National Congress (INC) which, he says, have "misled their US contacts". His views were shared by Kamil Al-Mahdi, a professor of Middle East Economics at Exeter University and a member of the liberal Iraqi opposition in exile. Al-Mahdi believes that the resistance to the Iraqis inside the country will embarrass those groups of the opposition who allied themselves with the Bush administration. These groups, says Al-Mahdi, created assumptions about a regime on the verge of imploding once the US forces enter Iraq. "There were those within the ranks of the Iraqi opposition who portrayed this war to be a walk in the park for the allied troops. Hence, Americans were led to believe that the Republican Guard units would soon switch sides and this would be coupled with a Shi'ite uprising in the south against Saddam. But to their surprise, this did not materialise, at least until now."

Al-Mahdi said that the fact that the opposition in exile miscalculated the strength of the Iraqi resistance is strong proof of how they have lost touch with reality in Iraq. "They can no longer claim to say they represent either the interests or the will of the Iraqi people. It will be very difficult to impose them as the new rulers of Iraq after Saddam is gone," Al-Mahdi said. There were no comments made by any of the main Iraqi opposition factions in exile about the duration of the battle. But on wednesday the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported that representatives of various factions of the Iraqi opposition held secret rounds of talks to discuss the role of the Iraqi opposition in the aftermath of the war and the US exclusion of the Iraqi opposition from any talks on the post-war order. The meetings were attended by representatives from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Unionist party (PUK), the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress (INC).
We previously noted Chalabi in this 3/17/03 article from the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.d):
But with little public notice, [after September 11] Mr. Cheney began working on the Iraq issue with a new dedication. He quietly sought out experts on the politics and culture of the country. He reached out to Iraqi exiles such as Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi exile whose family led the country decades ago and who seeks to lead a post-Hussein Iraq. And he began hosting a series of small dinner parties -- some at his elegant official residence in Washington and others at the "undisclosed locations" where he'd been secluded for security reasons -- to share ideas with anti-Hussein intellectuals such as Princeton University scholar Bernard Lewis, Johns Hopkins University professor Fouad Ajami and conservative author Victor David Hanson.

State Department and CIA officials mistrust the wealthy, American-educated Mr. Chalabi, who was convicted in a Jordanian banking scandal more than a decade ago. But Mr. Cheney and his senior staff have remained stubborn advocates of Mr. Chalabi, a man they first got to know in the mid-1990s at the barbecues and golf games held at private seminars hosted by groups such as the Aspen Institute. [Emphasis added.]
The strategic advice that guided American military planning came not from the CIA or the State Department, but from "barbecues... golf games... a series of small dinner parties." Nobody at any of these events can "claim to say they represent either the interests or the will" of citizens anywhere — particularly in Iraq or in the USA. Representative democracy now exists in America only for the plump asses that fill the chairs of corporate boardrooms.

It's a country club war, directed from the fairway by the unencumbered upper class, paid for with taxes on the wages of the middle class, and paid for in blood by the lower class.

Al-Ahram link via Counterspin.

A related post is here.

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