Friday, August 31, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Surge is Working but Iraqi Politics Remain Mired

The NIE Report is Out.
By Bashman

August 23, 2007

The Director of National Intelligence has released the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq, entitled “Prospect’s For Iraq’s Stability: Some Security Progress but Political Reconciliation Elusive.” The last NIE on Iraq was released in January of this year.

After a first read through, the gist I'm getting is that the Surge is working but the political landscape is a disaster with no viable positive outlook in the foreseeable future. Nothing new there.

Mookie's Shia guys are being backed by Quds/IRGC and so therefore, ultimately, the Iranian Theocracy.

The individual Sunni groups get their support from various warlords, sheiks, and tribal leaders in Suadi Arabia.

The Badr Organization has been away for 25 years and have much bad blood with their countrymen, especially Sunni, they returned to due to the Iran/Iraq war, plus they're nutty as fruitcakes like the rest of them.

The Kurd thing with Turkey and Iran and their fellow Shia and Sunni Iraqis is like is a powder keg, that's been a powder keg since any of us can remember.

Doesn't seem like the individual political interests in Iraq, which cannot be separated from their religious-sectarian interests are unwilling to compromise on anything major, prohibiting any kind of reconciliation.

And the leaders in the actual Iraqi National Government itself are like Freshman high school football players trying to coach the Super Bowl.

If all of these players, Mookie's Shia, the Badr Shia, the dozens of Sunni tribes, the Kurds, AQI, and a few other unmentionables were pit bulls and Iraq was an arena...Michael Vick's mouth would be watering.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Mysteries of Iran and David Lynch

By Bashman

Here we go again with all the Iranian half-speak and veiled threats. Does anyone else get the feeling that we’re watching a David Lynch flick? I mean, as in a Lynch film, some of the vainglorious hoity-toity that spews forth from Tehran sounds almost like normal words, spoken by relatively quirky characters. But when put in the context of their setting, these words leave one scratching one’s head and thinking “What the hell are they really saying here?”

It's no secret that the United States is planning to list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group. The only question has been whether or not to list just the subset elite Quds Force, or the whole damned lot of them. They’ve been around a while. Born during the Islamic revolution in Tehran in 1979, the IRGC is a 200,000-strong elite force separate from Iran's regular military, with its own ground, naval, air, and intelligence units.

It’s about time. These are, for lack of a better term, sneaky pukes.

The Ayatollah Khomeini loved them.

That ought to be a red flag, right there.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose through its ranks.

Strike two.

And now…

Under executive order 13224, which was established shortly after the September 11th attacks, the United States will probably list the IRGC as a terrorist group in order to disrupt their international business and financial dealings. It is believed that a lot of the illegal smuggling of arms and technologies into Iran, especially those aiding Iran in developing their nuclear weapons program are done by many of the “front” businesses run by the IRGC.

It is also believed, and evidence is not in short supply to corroborate the fact that, the IRGC, and more specifically its smaller internal division known as the Quds Force, is responsible for smuggling arms and personnel into Iraq for the sole purpose of killing American Military personnel. Not only that, but they regularly cross the border into Iraq to train Shia extremists.

Strike three, pal.

In a defiant response, the banty rooster of the IRGC, General Yahya Rahim Safavi was quoted as saying in the conservative daily Kayhan last week "America will receive a heavier punch from the guards in the future. We will never remain silent in the face of U.S. pressure and we will use our leverage against them."

Hmmm… “punch”?...“leverage”?

What exactly does he mean when he uses these words?

He did not elaborate. That would be too clear. What the world needs today is not clarity, but more Lynchian mystery.

So in keeping with the Lynch mob, let’s let the fog swirl up around our feet and wait for the little guy to come dancing into the Red Room we now find ourselves in, speaking in backwards riddles and distracting us with his left hand while his right fumbles around in the shadows, grasping at something we cannot see, but are, for some unknown reason, filled with dread about.

The little guy snaps his fingers and we find ourselves sitting amongst thousands of people who are listening to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmahdinejad speak. The smell of body odor and stale coffee breath invade our nostrils. The gag reflex rears its foul facade. The Banner behind Ahmahdinejad says “World Without Zionism Conference”…it is October 2005.

Ahmahdinejad speaks and quotes his beloved Ayatollah from years gone by and says that he wants to see Israel wiped off the map.

The fog swirls and now we are back in the Red Room. The little guy twitches and shakes, “No, no, no, no, that is not what he said. He has been mistranslated.”

“What did he say then?” we ask.

“He said he wanted to see the Israeli Regime ‘wiped from the pages of history’.” They little man dances a jig, and smiles up at a corner in the ceiling.

“Oh,” we exclaim, “He wants to see the Israeli Regime wiped from the pages of history?”

Pondering the Iranian Theocracy's methods over the previous quarter century, questions arise. Questions like: “How will that transpire?” and “How do they plan to see this desire become reality?”

But the little guy just lays his finger aside of his nose and disappears.

Now a scraggly man in a tattered denim jacket glares at us from the corner and says “Read what the leader of the Lovers of Martyrdom Brigades has said.”

And the mist swirls again, and just like that, we’re back home.

The Lovers of Martyrdom Brigades. That sounds so familiar…

Just when memory begins to dodge, a strange, gypsy-like woman knocks on the door, and before we can invite her in, she belts out “The Lovers of Martyrdom! A militia! Suicide bombers recruited by…the Iranian Theocracy!”

In the blink of an eye she produces a worn and stained business card, hands it to me, and is gone into the night. The card appears to be a picture and a quote. A quote from a strange bespectacled man named Sardar Mohammad-Reza Jaafari. I remember that this Jafaari guy was a senior leader in the IRGC, now put in charge of this Lovers of Martyrdom Brigades, which, incidentally, recruits in the local Iranian newspaper and on the Internet.


Jafaari’s quote reads: “The Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] said years ago that Israel must be wiped from the pages of history, but so far practical steps have not been taken to achieve this. Our garrison must find, recruit, organize and train martyrdom-seeking individuals to materialize this objective.”

Ah yes! Khomeini. The Ayatollah Khomeini. Such a nice, peaceful fellow.

Materialize this objective?

More half-speak from Iran?

Well, lets see, when the commander of the “Lovers of Martyrdom Brigade” a man in charge of over 50,000 Iranians on stand-by to load up their vests and detonate themselves wherever and whenever the Iranian Theocracy deems necessary, says practical steps need to be taken to wipe the Israeli regime from the pages of history, do we really think he means peaceful protests in the streets of Tehran?

Iranian half-speak? Riddles? Half-truths? Bad coffee?

When the IRGC says they have “leverage” what do they mean?

When the IRGC says America will receive a greater “punch” what do they mean?

What are they really saying?

And what kind of trees are those, Harry?

Being a seasoned David Lynch fanatic, I can tell you that the best way to figure this whole mystery out, is very simple…

If you speak all of the quotes I have written in this blog backwards…you’ll get the answer.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007