The Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Fallout of The War

The Trial of Saddam Hussein


The fallout in the Middle East from the regime change in Iraq

Thursday, December 15, 2011

US Troops Leave Iraq

Yesterday President Barack Obama spoke at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and paid tribute to the US troops who had served in the Iraq war.

He sated that Iraq is now sovereign, stable and self-reliant; and noted that the future of Iraq is now in the hands of the Iraqi people.

Today the US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, said that "the dream of an independent and sovereign Iraq is now a reality".

What is the legacy of the war?

- Corruption
- Instability
- Crippled armed forces (eg the airforce will not be capable of defending the borders until 2015)
- Meddling by the Iranians

Mission accomplished!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

War Over

President Barack Obama has announced that the 9 year war in Iraq is finally over. All American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of December this year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Lost War

Stephen M. Walt sums up the Iraq debacle succinctly:

"The United States and its allies lost the war in Iraq and are going to lose the war in Afghanistan...

By 'lose,' I mean we will eventually withdraw our military forces without having achieved our core political objectives, and with our overall strategic position weakened

The wasted lives, the devastation, the financial cost all were for nothing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How To Lose $6.6BN

When the US belatedly realised that it would have to rebuild Iraq, after the 2003 invasion, it came up with a plan to transport billions of Dollars in cash via Hercules cargo planes (each plane could carry around $2.4BN).

Many years, audits and investigations later the US Defence Department cannot account for what happened to around $6.6BN of that cash.

This remarkable admission of fiscal incompetence comes at a time when the US (primarily thanks to the wars in the Middle East) is broke.

The Los Angeles Times reports that for the first time federal auditors are suggesting that some/all of the cash may have been stolen. Given that cash (as opposed to credit or capital equipment) was used in such huge quantities, it is hardly surprising that it was stolen.

Quite why the US thought that cash (as opposed to credit or capital equipment) was the best way to rebuild a war torn country in the Middle East beggars belief.

Iraq is none to happy with the situation and Iraqi officials are threatening to go to court to reclaim the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the UN's oil-for-food program.

Given that the US is now broke, and in danger of defaulting on its debt, it will be interesting to see if that claim succeeds.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Gordon Brown Accused in WikiLeaks Cables

Cables obtained by WikiLeaks and published by Scotland on Sunday accuse the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown of pulling British troops out of Iraq to improve his chances of winning a general election, despite warnings from the UK's allies that withdrawal would represent a victory for terrorists.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Libya Is Not Iraq

Reuters reports that the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has stated that the involvement in Libya will not turn into Iraq style conflict.

This despite the fact that Richard Dannatt, former head of the British army, has noted parallels with the campaign in Iraq.

Hague is quoted:

"It's very different from Iraq because of course in the case of Iraq there were very large numbers of ground forces deployed from Western nations.

That's clearly not the case and it's not going to be the case in Libya. It's right to point to the need for a political process when Gaddafi goes, and that of course is something we discuss with the National Transitional Council in Libya.

They have put forward their plans for that, for an interim government including figures from the regime, for the holding of elections and those are the right plans to put forward

That's all very well, maybe. However, it may well take a lot more resources/military commitment to remove Gaddafi than are already in "play" there.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Final Pullout

The last contingent of British troops finally left Iraq this weekend, more than eight years after the invasion.

Was this all worth it?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Campbell's Claims Contradicted

The Independent reports that in written evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Maj-Gen Laurie (a former intelligence official) rejected Alastair Campbell's claim that the dossier was not intended to make the case for war:

"This was exactly its purpose and these very words were used."

Where to now for the Chilcot inquiry, given that "star" witnesses (eg Blair and Campbell) have given evidence that contradicts Maj-Gen Laurie?

Will they be recalled?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Age of Deception

The former chief UN nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei has published a memoir ("The Age of Deception") in which he suggests that Bush administration officials should face international criminal investigation for the "shame of a needless war" in Iraq.

ElBaradei accuses US leaders of "grotesque distortion" in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion.


"..deliberate deception was not limited to small countries ruled by ruthless dictators.."

"The Age of Deception," is published today by Henry Holt and Company.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Arming The Libyan Rebels

Arming the Libyan "rebels" may be all very well (in theory) whilst Gaddafi is there to unite them against him. However, if he is removed, they will simply fracture along tribal and religious lines and use the weapons against each other and any Western troops placed on the ground as peacekeepers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Coalition of The Unwilling

It would appear that we are now up to our eyes in yet another war in the Middle East, being waged by a coalition of the unwilling, which has no strategic goal nor by defintion means of detrmining when it is over.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Libya - Iraq II?

The enthusiasm for regime change in Libya displayed by the USA, UK and UN may well sound very "noble" when esposed by skilled political oratators.

However, if the UN succeeds in throwing Gaddafi out, who exactly is lined up to replace him and how long will troops be expected to be stationed there whilst "democracy" and a political infrastruture is installed?

Have we learned nothing from Iraq and Afghanistan?

Friday, March 04, 2011

A Dictatorship Reborn

Despite deposing and executing Saddam Hussein, on the pretext of "democratising" Iraq, it seems that the US mission to bring "freedom" to the people of Iraq has failed.

The Washington Post reports that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is using special forces to deal with demonstrations in Iraq:

"Witnesses in Baghdad and as far north as Kirkuk described watching last week as security forces in black uniforms, tracksuits and T-shirts roared up in trucks and Humvees, attacked protesters, rounded up others from cafes and homes and hauled them off, blindfolded, to army detention centres."

Out of the ashes of one dictatorship it seems that a new one is emerging.

As I have noted several times before, you cannot impose democracy on a society or country using the barrel of a gun.

The Parade of Horribles

In October 2002, five months before the invasion of Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld emailed President Bush a memo that listed 29 reasons why a military confrontation with Saddam Hussein could go wrong.

Item 17 is Banquo's ghost:

"The US could fail to manage post-Saddam Hussein Iraq successfully, with the result that it could fracture into two or three pieces, to the detriment of the Middle East and the benefit of Iran."

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Unrest Continues

Despite being "democratised", Iraq has not escaped the wave of unrest that is sweeping across the Middle East.

Rallies across Iraq, calling for more accountability from elected leaders and better services, have intensified. As such, Baghdad's mayor (Saber al-Issawi) has become the third official to resign this month.

Democracy, when imposed on a country, is not a short term immediate fix for a country's and society's ills. It will take many years to "bed down", and until then the country will be vulnerable to destabilisation by fanatics, bullies and idiots.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Democracy Is Not a Quick Fix Panacea

The people of Iraq are learning that democracy is, in itself, not a quick fix panacea for a nation's ills (especially if there is a culture of corruption and nepotism firmly embedded in that society).

The head of Iraq's parliament has called for new provincial elections within three months, in the wake of anti-government protests across the country. The protests are in response to endemic corruption, a lack of basic services and the unapproachability of the Iraqi government based inside the fortified Green Zone where the US embassy is also based.

Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, undoubtedly fearing that he and his associates might be next in the "Jasmine Revolution" has given his cabinet a period of 100 days to shape up or ship out.

As to whether this is merely window dressing, for the benefit of a media headline, only time will tell.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Criminal Behaviour and Blatant Corruption

The Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report to Congress has found that corruption and waste has cost the US taxpayer an estimated $12BN wrt reconstruction monies "invested" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The report found that "criminal behaviour and blatant corruption" were responsible for much of the waste related to the nearly $200BN spent since 2002 on US reconstruction and other projects in the two countries.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


In a rather late attempt to shut the stable door, former American secretary of state Colin Powell has called on the CIA and Pentagon to explain how he was given unreliable information which proved key to the US case for invading Iraq.

Source The Telegraph.

Friday, February 04, 2011


Donald Rumsfeld in his memoir "Known and Unknown", excerpts of which have been leaked, expresses a regret that he he did not leave office at the time of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. However, he also spends much time blaming all and sundry for the Iraq debacle.

One of targets of his ire, John McCain, retorted:

"Thank God he was relieved of his duties and we put the surge in. Otherwise, we would have had a disastrous defeat in Iraq."

Ironically, Rumsfeld is due to receive the "Defender of The Constitution" Award from the right of centre Political Action Conference.

That doubtless will "amuse" those who have been on the receiving end of his authorisation to use torture.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Round Two - Blair Testifies

Tony Blair is testifying to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, his second appearance before Chilcot.

He has stated again that the 9/11 attacks were the root cause of the war.

The British decision to back the invasion of Iraq was based on Blair's belief that Britain had to back whatever the States wanted to do, in order to maintain the so called and over hyped "special relationship".

This if course is a lousy premise for any policy, handing over responsibility for foreign policy to another country is destined to end in disaster.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blair's Secret Letters

Sir John Chilcot, the restrained and reserved chairman of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, almost revealed a hint of anger the other day when he expressed "disappointment" over the fact that he has been forbidden to declassify letters between Blair and Bush written in the period up to the Iraq war.

Seemingly the official excuse, used by the state, for not allowing these documents to be published is that they are deemed to be "private correspondence". Indeed, so private that references to these letters were removed from official records.

Ironically Blair, as part of his attempt to make money from publishing, happily refers to the letters in his book "A Journey".

The Inquiry has quite clearly been "nobbled" from the outset, any conclusion it finally reaches must be regarded with great suspicion.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Goldsmith Disputes Blair

Lord Goldsmith, Tony Blair's former attorney general, has given a written response to a written question posed by the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war.

On 15 January 2003 Blair told MPs that while a second UN resolution was "preferable", there were circumstances in which it was "not necessary".

The inquiry panel asked Lord Goldsmith if he felt those words were "compatible with the advice you had given him".

Lord Goldsmith replied "no".

Thhe BBC quotes him also saying:

"I was uncomfortable about them and I believe that I discussed my concerns with [then foreign secretary] Jack Straw and my own staff."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blair To Appear At Chilcot Inquiry

Tony Blair will reappear before the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war 21 January.

As to whether this actually achieves anything tangible, apart from providing an opportunity for demonstrators to shout at Blair, remains to be seen.