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
JimWhiteGNV RT @AlsBoy: This woman took her cats to a department store to visit Santa and as you can see it went quite well http://t.co/fOH32OHZvo
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bmaz @CosFot No, but, jee bus, I can imagine. Bleech!!
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JimWhiteGNV It was very nice of Cuba to take this step. Not many countries will take chance of normalizing relations with a regime notorious for torture
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bmaz Cuba Libre! A Momentous Shift in Relations https://t.co/kdMQlWuD4t A look at a new day in the Caribbean.
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emptywheel @bungdan Menendez?
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emptywheel @The_Old_Hack That's part of the problem. If rules abt Good and Evil aren't pre-ordained they might have to look in the mirror @WarOnWarOff
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emptywheel First Obama told Republicans they couldn't torture anymore then he took away their certainty abt who the Evil Empire is. #KenyanKonspiracy
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emptywheel @carolrosenberg They're going to rearrange that whole island before they let you off that beat.
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emptywheel These people bitching about doing business with a dictator ... they're driving on Saudi oil, no? (Yes, I know fungible...)
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emptywheel @csoghoian Didn't Schmidt say that right before you asked him an uncomfortable question?
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emptywheel It's so nice that every single Cuba dead-ender has just taken their Iran dead-ender TPs and search and replaced Cuba for Iran. #FourLetters
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emptywheel @matthewstoller Good question. Already seeing Cubans worried about us overrunning their beach but we'd be better to use Cuba for good care.
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