U.S. executing weak-hand troop reset in Iraq

Got an uncomfortable feeling about this.

At first glance, this might not sound to some observers like it’s that bad a move.  But it’s worrisome, and the reason is stated simply.  It leaves U.S. troops in Iraq, some still at the remote bases, but with less security than they had before the “drawdown.”

It’s also being done as the result of attacks on the U.S. and other Coalition troops at the Iraqi bases earlier in 2021.  Such a prelude inevitably creates a sense that the Iran-backed “militias” that launched the attacks have the U.S. on the run.  That’s not a useful basis for security expectations going forward.

It isn’t getting much media attention in the U.S., but an 18 December article indicates the Iraqi army has announced that “foreign combat troops” have left Al-Asad air base in Anbar Province, and that the base is now under the full control of the Iraqi army. Continue reading “U.S. executing weak-hand troop reset in Iraq”

Iran, U.S: Pre-talks posturing ropes in Israel, trash talk, Trump administration

Signals, intentional and not so.

Iran announced in early November that it would start talks on the Iranian nuclear program with the Biden administration and other world leaders this coming week in Vienna.

In preparation for the talks, Iran and the Biden administration have been sending smoke signals.

At a superficial level, the least ambiguous of these signals is probably one sent by Iran, in which the commander of the IRGC, Hossein Salami, stated that Iran “decides for USA and runs its policy”: Continue reading “Iran, U.S: Pre-talks posturing ropes in Israel, trash talk, Trump administration”

‘Boots on the ground’: Saigon on the Euphrates, on steroids

Vietnam was just a warm-up.

Brain trust. (Image: AP, Pablo Martinez Monsivais via nola.com)
Brain trust. (Image: AP, Pablo Martinez Monsivais via nola.com)

Regular correspondents of this space may have wondered why I haven’t been writing more recently about the events in Iraq and Syria.  (Or Afghanistan, for that matter.)

The short answer is: because it’s too depressing to watch the Obama administration repeating every mistake of Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam, but from a posture of greater weakness, greater foolishness, and – bonus! – apparent hatred for the United States.

Who wants to write about that?

We’ve reached the point at which there is nothing positive or hopeful to say.  I think most readers realize that, even if they can’t fully articulate what the problems seem to be.  Obama is quite literally doing nothing right, in his political-military approach to these hot spots of the Middle East.  There’s nothing in his policy to work with. Continue reading “‘Boots on the ground’: Saigon on the Euphrates, on steroids”