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Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Can Obama wage war without consent of Congress?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 13, 2014

barack-obamaWASHINGTON (AP) — On the cusp of intensified airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama is using the legal grounding of the congressional authorizations President George W. Bush relied on more than a decade ago to go to war. But Obama has made no effort to ask Congress to explicitly authorize his own conflict.

The White House said again Friday that Bush-era congressional authorizations for the war on al-Qaida and the Iraq invasion give Obama authority to act without new approval by Congress under the 1973 War Powers Act. That law, passed during the Vietnam War, serves as a constitutional check on presidential power to declare war without congressional consent. It requires presidents to notify Congress within 48 hours of military action and limits the use of military forces to no more than 60 days unless Congress authorizes force or declares war. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iraq War Cost $800 Billion, And What Do We Have To Show For It?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 19, 2013

By Joshua Hers and Chris Spurlock

For the past few months, a strange thing has been happening in the central Iraq town of Fallujah. Thousands of citizens, virtually all of them Sunni Muslims, have been gathering in public squares to protest the oppressive Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Sleeping in tents and wielding Twitter feeds and YouTube accounts, the young Sunnis have attempted to take democracy, and a certain sectarian disaffection, into their own hands.

It’s not quite the Iraqi Arab Spring — although that’s what it’s been tentatively called by some — but it is a reminder of the stark failure of nearly a decade of American-led warfare in that country.

When President George W. Bush announced the invasion into Iraq in March 2003, the goal was to remove a dangerous dictator and his supposed stocks of weapons of mass destruction. It was also to create a functioning democracy and thereby inspirewhat Bush called a “global democracy revolution.”

The effort was supposed to be cheap — to require few troops and even less time. Instead, it cost the United States $800 billion at least, thousands of lives and nearly nine grueling years (see the graphic below for a further breakdown of various costs). Read the rest of this entry »

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U.S. official says government wasted $6-8 billion in Iraq reconstruction

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 18, 2012

By Zach Toombs and Aaron Mehta

iWatch News

The official in charge of monitoring America’s $51 billion effort to reconstruct Iraq has estimated that $6 billion to $8 billion of that amount was lost to waste, fraud and abuse.

Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) for the past eight years, gave that estimate in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity on Monday, shortly after releasing a new summary of his office’s many grim discoveries since it began work in in 2004.

In Friday’s report, Bowen said the exact funds lost to fraud and waste “can never be known,” largely because of poor record-keeping by the U.S. agencies involved in the effort. These include the Departments of State and Defense, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

According to the report, auditors repeatedly found that the State Department and Defense Department failed to properly review invoices from government contractors, often approving billions of dollars in services without checking if costs were accurate or efficient. “I think the consistent theme throughout our eight years of oversight work has been the inconsistent availability of records and information on contracts and costs,” said Bowen, a former Texas lawyer.

Bowen said his efforts were hampered from the outset by the ineffectiveness of a clearinghouse created in Iraq for government departments to submit reconstruction bills and contracts for review and oversight. Known as the Iraq Reconstruction Management System, the system was often ignored, with the result that nearly a third of all the contracts could not be monitored adequately.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Iraq-Iran Ties Grow Stronger As Iraq Rises From The Ashes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 15, 2012

  
Comment: Definitely politics always does not go in the direction as per driving force want:

 By Dan Froomkin
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Baghdad in 2008.

WASHINGTON — In the run-up to the war in Iraq, neoconservative hawks in and out of the Bush administration promised that the U.S. invasion would quickly transform that country into a strong ally, a model Arab democracy and a major oil producer that would lower world prices, even while paying for its own reconstruction.

“A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region,” President George W. Bush told a crowd at the American Enterprise Institute in 2003, a few weeks before he launched the attack.

Ten bloody and grueling years later, Iraq is finally emerging from its ruins and establishing itself as a geopolitical player in the Middle East — but not the way the neocons envisioned.

Though technically a democracy, Iraq’s floundering government has degenerated into a tottering quasi-dictatorship. The costs of the war (more than $800 billion) and reconstruction (more than $50 billion) have been staggeringly high. And while Iraq is finally producing oil at pre-war levels, it is trying its best to drive oil prices as high as possible.

Most disturbing to many American foreign policy experts, however, is Iraq’s extremely close relationship with Iran. Today, the country that was formerly Iran’s deadliest rival is its strongest ally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Court finds Bush and Blair guilty of war crimes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 2, 2012

George W. Bush (R) and Tony Blair (AFP Photo / Jim Watson)

George W. Bush (R) and Tony Blair (AFP Photo / Jim Watson)

Those who lobbied to have George W. Bush and Tony Blair tried for their role in the Iraq War have finally got their wish. Though the verdict of the court carries no legal weight, its supporters believe its symbolic value is beyond doubt.

The court in Malaysia where the trial took place may not have the power to convict, but the verdict against the former British and American leaders was unanimous.

“War criminals have to be dealt with – convict Bush and Blair as charged. A guilty verdict will serve as a notice to the world that war criminals may run but can never ultimately hide from truth and justice,” 
the statement from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation read.

The foundation was set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who was always a staunch opponent of the war against the regime of Saddam Hussain in 2003. He previously branded Blair and Bush “child-killers”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Global ‘water war’ threat by 2030 – US intelligence

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 23, 2012

The Mekong river. One of the predicted sources of international conflict and site for controversial dam. (Reuters / Samrang Pring)

The Mekong river. One of the predicted sources of international conflict and site for controversial dam. (Reuters / Samrang Pring)

Nations will cut off rivers to prevent their enemies having access to water downstream, terrorists will blow up dams, and states that cannot provide water for their citizens will collapse. This is the future – as painted by a top US security report.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the organization that oversees US intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, was commissioned by President Barack Obama to examine the impact of water scarcity worldwide on US security.

And while the prospect of “water wars” has been touted for decades, it may start to become reality within a decade. The ODNI predicts that by 2040 water demand will outstrip current supply by 40 per cent. Read the rest of this entry »

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Must-Reads from Around the World: March 20, 2012

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 20, 2012

Syrian President Bashar Assad speaking during a Ramadan Iftar banquet in honor of Muslim clergymen, in Damascus, Syria, 24 August 2011. (Photo: SANA / EPA)

SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR ASSAD SPEAKING DURING A RAMADAN IFTAR BANQUET IN HONOR OF MUSLIM CLERGYMEN, IN DAMASCUS, SYRIA, 24 AUGUST 2011. (PHOTO: SANA / EPA)

More Syria Leaks – Al Jazeera reveals details from confidential Syrian intelligence and security documents handed over by one of the government’s most trusted officials who recently fled to Turkey. The trove shows President Bashar Assad’s strategy to suppress anti-government protests, including orders to stop protesters from getting into Damascus and detailed security plans for crushing protests in the cities of Aleppo and Idlib, as well as warnings about countries trying to influence Syrian diplomats to defect and indications the government spied on last year’s Arab League monitoring mission in Syria. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran Nuclear Threat Brings No U.S. Enthusiasm For A Military Strike

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 16, 2012

WASHINGTON — The threat of punishing U.S. military strikes underlies Washington’s campaign to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But there is no enthusiasm evident within the U.S. military for a war many believe would be messy, bloody, unpredictable and ultimately inconclusive.

Seeking to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama has focused on coordinating international economic pressure against Iran and moved to strengthen economic sanctions just last week. But he warned in the Jan. 24 State of the Union address, “Let there be no doubt: American is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.”

It’s a truism of diplomacy to never to make a threat that you’re not prepared to carry out. There is no doubt that if ordered, the U.S. military would launch devastating attacks against Iran. Whether such strikes would come along with or instead of Israeli attacks, tactical planning is already under way, as is done routinely for a variety of potential military operations the Pentagon might be ordered to carry out, senior officers said. Read the rest of this entry »

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O. I. L.: The Case for a War Against Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 25, 2012

By Sadia Ahsanuddin

Iran is figuring prominently in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election. In December 2011, Jon Huntsman declared that, if elected president, he would send in ground troops to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Rick Santorum recently charged on CNN that bombing Iran would be preventing a true war from starting. Mitt Romney, Wall Street’s favorite for the Republican candidacy,announced that, “If we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon… If you elect me as president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.”

Despite the contention of international intelligence agencies that Iran shows no evidence of developing nuclear weapons, proponents of an attack on Iran continue to argue that Iran is pursuing nuclear proliferation and that this act does indeed establish a pretext for war. The rhetoric is strikingly similar to arguments preceding the invasion of Iraq.

A retired CIA officer and daily briefer to President George H. W. Bush, Ray McGovern, has been protesting the misrepresentation and misapplication of intelligence information since the 2003 War on Iraq. During Tucker Carlson’s MSNBC show on May 4, 2006, McGovern articulated the basic rationale behind American foreign policy using a simple three letter word: O, for oil; I, for Israel; and L, for logistics. In the aftermath of the campaign in Iraq, it was apparent that these three considerations did indeed establish a false pretext for the invasion of Iraq. And now, when the U.S. is involved in a “debate” over Iran and the most effective ways to halt its “ambitions,” McGovern’s warnings regarding the tripartite interests of elite policymakers, at the expense of this nation and its people, ring true — yet again. It would be judicious of the American public to consider the facts and determine whether a war against Iran, allegedly in our names, is justified. Read the rest of this entry »

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Explosive Words: US media first to bomb Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 17, 2012

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Iraq Bomb Kills At Least 53 Shiite Pilgrims In South

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 15, 2012

ZUBAIR, Iraq — A bomb tore through a procession of Shiite pilgrims heading toward a largely Sunni town in southern Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 53 people in the latest sign of a power struggle between rival Muslim sects that has escalated since the American military withdrawal.

Fears of more bloodshed have risen in recent weeks, with the U.S. no longer enjoying the leverage it once had to encourage the two sides to work together to rein in extremists. Most of the latest attacks appear to be aimed at Iraq’s majority Shiites, suggesting Sunni insurgents seeking to undermine the Shiite-dominated government are to blame.

Saturday’s blast happened on the last of the 40 days of Arbaeen, when hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims travel to the Iraqi city of Karbala and other holy sites. The end of Arbaeen is one of the most sacred times for Shiites, and public processions to commemorate it were banned under Saddam Hussein.

The blast occurred near the town of Zubair as pilgrims marched from the nearby port city of Basra toward the Imam Ali shrine on the outskirts of the town, said Ayad al-Emarah, a spokesman for the governor of Basra province.

The shrine is an enclave within an enclave – a Shiite site on the edge of a predominantly Sunni town in an otherwise mostly Shiite province. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iraq: Explosions Rock Baghdad, Killing At Least 60 And Injuring Dozens

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 22, 2011

BAGHDAD — A wave of at least 14 bombings ripped across Baghdad Thursday morning, killing at least 60 people in the worst violence in Iraq for months. The apparently coordinated attacks struck days after the last American forces left the country and in the midst of a major government crisis between Shiite and Sunni politicians that has sent sectarian tensions soaring.

The bombings may be linked more to the U.S. withdrawal than the political crisis, but all together, the developments heighten fears of a new round of Shiite-Sunni sectarian bloodshed like the one a few years back that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the bombings bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaida’s Sunni insurgents. Most appeared to hit Shiite neighborhoods, although some Sunni areas were also targeted. In all, 11 neighborhoods were hit by either car bombs, roadside blasts or sticky bombs attached to cars. There was at least one suicide bombing and the blasts went off over several hours.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Ten Grim Lessons Learned From the Iraq War

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 17, 2011

Despite the upbeat talk of the Obama Administration, the eight-year war that ended this week has done plenty of long-term damage to both Iraq and the United States. And it has bequeathed lessons worth considering ahead of future conflicts

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Iraq: Jews In Baghdad Live In Fear After WikiLeaks Disclosure

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 28, 2011

The few remaining Jews living in Baghdad are living in fear after their names were published on the WikiLeaks website, a vicar has said.

The whistle-blowing website, which was due to reopen its submission system for government secrets on Monday, published the names of the seven remaining Jews in the city in October.

Many left, but the ones who remain now live under constant threat of attack.

Despite once being part of a thriving community, post-war Baghdad has seen the increasing persecution of Iraqi Jews, so much so that the ones who remain were only protected by their anonymity.

“We are trying to support them but the WikiLeaks publication is very, very dangerous,” Canon Andrew White, an American vicar in the Iraqi capital, was quoted as saying by The Times.

The dwindling community recently asked Jewish diplomats from the American embassy to attend a religious ceremony. The names were included in diplomatic cables to Washington, which were subsequently published on the whistle-blowing website.

On Saturday, WikiLeaks posted a message on Twitter postponing its re-launch due to “the deteriorating state of Internet security “.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Court finds Bush and Blair guilty of war crimes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 26, 2011

George W. Bush (R) and Tony Blair (AFP Photo / Jim Watson)

Those who lobbied to have George W. Bush and Tony Blair tried for their role in the Iraq War have finally got their wish. Though the verdict of the court carries no legal weight, its supporters believe its symbolic value is beyond doubt.

The court in Malaysia where the trial took place may not have the power to convict, but the verdict against the former British and American leaders was unanimous.

“War criminals have to be dealt with – convict Bush and Blair as charged. A guilty verdict will serve as a notice to the world that war criminals may run but can never ultimately hide from truth and justice,” 
the statement from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation read.

The foundation was set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who was always a staunch opponent of the war against the regime of Saddam Hussain in 2003. He previously branded Blair and Bush “child-killers”.

The tribunal, which consisted of a former federal judge and several academics, paid particular attention to the failure of the Western military to find a single weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. WMDs were cited by the Western coalition as a major reason for their military intervention. It also declared the war to be in contravention of the will of the United Nations. Read the rest of this entry »

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