American and Western discussions of what to do about Iran almost completely ignore Iraq. But no economic sanctions can effectively be placed on Iran without Iraqi support. A gasoline embargo would fail completely if Iraqis smuggled gasoline to Iran (which they certainly would, both for economic and religious reasons). Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq, said Saturday that new sanctions on Iran “would not work” and that Iraq would never allow its airspace to be used for an aggressive attack on Iran “by any country” (he’s looking at you, Israel and US).
Somehow I don’t think this is what Bush was going for when he invaded Iraq.
The US military once held 26,000 Iraqi prisoners, most picked up at the site of bombings and other guerrilla attacks. It has released all but 8,000, but the US officers are worried that those released often go back to guerrilla activity– some of them for the salary. The Status of Forces Agreement requires the US to turn over to the Iraqi government all prisoners for whom specific and detailed criminal cases cannot be built.
Aljazeera English discusses the United Nations Human Development Report on Iraq. Iraq has dropped off the American radar, but the country faces enormous challenges, from ongoing violence to lack of basic human services.
Tomdispatch.com argues that the military-industrial Establishment is miring President Obama in Middle Eastern wars.
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