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 @bmaz Hundreds of those eggs could be hidden within the fur of a Samoyed.
bmaz @JimWhiteGNV Not far enough
emptywheel Rosemary Collyer’s Worst FISA Decision
emptywheel Fr yesterday, on newly released Yahoo docs The Shell Game Govt Played During Yahoo’s Protect America Act Challenge
bmaz @JimWhiteGNV Laid eggs undoubtedly.
emptywheel @pwnallthethings @Susan_Hennessey Similar ethical concerns for govt officials. For example, on claims of "going dark"!
emptywheel "He was clearly in advise and assist" and then the ums start.
emptywheel The price of DOD condolence: $3K wounded, $6K dead.
emptywheel There have been a lot of spectacular equipment failures of late.
emptywheel Shorter DOD: MSF was an incidental target, just like Americans' communications are incidentally collected.
April 2016
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