Baghdad embassy

Not So Great Expectations: Paying the Price of Hubris in Iraq, Afghanistan

Developments over the past few days on several different fronts are coming together in a way that outlines just how arrogantly the US conducted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the consequences of that hubris are now diminishing the previously dominant role for the US in the region going into the future. At the same time, these developments drive home the message of the terrible waste of lives and money the war efforts have been.

In today’s New York Times, we learn that the staff at the gargantuan US embassy in Baghdad is about to be cut in half. It appears that one of the driving forces behind these cuts is that the Iraqis are not making it easy for embassy personnel to move freely into and out of the country:

At every turn, the Americans say, the Iraqi government has interfered with the activities of the diplomatic mission, one they grant that the Iraqis never asked for or agreed upon. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s office — and sometimes even the prime minister himself — now must approve visas for all Americans, resulting in lengthy delays. American diplomats have had trouble setting up meetings with Iraqi officials.

Perhaps Mr. al-Maliki should study the activities of the US Customs Service if he really wants to learn how to make it even clearer to selected foreigners that he doesn’t want them in his country.

But al-Maliki is not the only elected Iraqi official who sees an opportunity to repay the US for the hubris it has shown the region, as the Times quoted Nahida al-Dayni, whom they described as “a lawmaker and member of Iraqiya, a largely Sunni bloc in Parliament” with regard to the embassy compound:

The U.S. had something on their mind when they made it so big. Perhaps they want to run the Middle East from Iraq, and their embassy will be a base for them here.

That US actions in the Middle East would have prompted such an attitude among local officials should have been foreseen, but the Times article informs us that the State Department seems to have been hit by a bit of shock and awe: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel TIL: 3 years after insisting if you don't call Benghazi terrorism instantaneously terrorists win it's okay not to call terrorism terrorism.
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball You may read, but you clearly have a comprehension problem. Now go away or I will block your ass.
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball Truly, go away with your repetitive false baloney. I am done with you.
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball Because Dan's point was that too much is being called terrorism and that it will hasten a police state w/less rights
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball Now begone, I am done with your nonsense
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball Neither you nor JuJu can tell the difference between definitional provisions and actual available charge provisions
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball But hey WTF, if you think you know more than the AG, preeminent experts and experienced criminal attys, stay deluded
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball You think maybe there is a reason the analogous case of Dylan Roof wasn't charged as "terrorism"? Of course there is
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball Here is piece by Head of Brennan Center Nat Sec Dept stating the same thing+explaining why
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball You're just dense aren't you? Here is article quoting AG Lynch that terrorism does not apply
bmaz @mattfwood @jujueyeball Right back at you
November 2015
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