Thursday, April 17, 2008

My militia is more untouchable than yours

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

".....Washington keeps spinning the success of a "war on terror" narrative in northern Iraq against "al-Qaeda". This is false. The US is basically fighting indigenous Sunni Arab guerrilla groups - some with Islamic overtones, some neo-Ba'athists. These are no terrorists. Their agenda is unmistakable: occupation out.....

More complex are the recent bombings in 80% Sunni Arab Mosul, where slow-motion ethnic cleansing of Sunni Arabs is being conducted by Kurdish police and Peshmerga forces helped by the US. After four car bombings that killed five civilians and wounded 37, another car bomb killed 12 Peshmergas in the explosive province of Ninevah, near the border town of Rabia, in west Mosul. Rabia is highly strategic: a key link between majority Sunni Arab villages and Kurdistan, as well as a gateway to Syria. This could be retaliation by Sunni Arab guerrillas against the Kurdish and US offensive.

Which brings one to the key point: none of this has absolutely anything to do with Iran.

Crackdown, sort of

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been very vocal on an ongoing government crackdown on "militias". But some militias are more untouchable than others. Maliki and Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have agreed this past weekend to keep intact the "semi-autonomous" status of the Kurdish Peshmerga. Why? Because they are "organized forces", according to Maliki, part of two Iraqi army divisions with 25,000 to 30,000 troops.

There's ample controversy on whether other Peshmerga operating outside of Kurdistan's three provinces will be disbanded. They certainly won't; they will morph into "Iraqi" police and "Iraqi" army - under the benign eyes of US commanders.......

Once again, this has nothing to do with Iran. Or does it? The battle of Sadr City is useful for the Bush administration spin machine to keep imprinting on the American public the narrative that Iran gives weapons to terrorists to kill American soldiers in Iraq (even though these weapons are sold by Gulf smugglers unconnected with Tehran). According to the narrative, if Iran is the new al-Qaeda, the Sadrists are their surrogates in Iraq.

Oil-drenched Peshmergas

It's not only the Peshmerga that remain free to roam. According to the Az-Zaman newspaper, Maliki's government, in a hush-hush manner, has also agreed to accept all of the KRG's 20-plus dodgy oil deals and their decentralized version of the new, proposed Iraqi oil law. Most members of parliament in Baghdad - aware of the explosive social backlash - are essentially against foreign Big Oil sinking their teeth into Iraq's nationalized oil industry. ....."

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