Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Iraq Thing vs The Ukraine Thing vs All The Other Things

There are stories going around that "Iraq is falling apart..." No doubt. It was never all that cohesive to begin with, and the severity of the British and then the Ba'athists to make it cohere was clearly the work of the demented. The American invasion and destruction of what had been cobbled together was insane. Even more so was the occupation of the ruins.

To see some uprisings taking place against the puppet regime in Baghdad is no surprise. To see them somewhat successful is even less of a surprise. The Maliki puppet regime has never been much more than a Baghdad figment in any case, hiding behind blast walls and pretending to rule a fractious and proud people who pay them no respect and and in many areas, little mind. Like so many other installed regimes, the Baghdad goon-show is a kleptocracy which is unable -- and obviously unwilling -- to provide basic public services, something that even at their lowest ebb, the Ba'athist/Saddamists were able to.

No, Iraq isn't falling apart, it was torn apart and left in tatters by an Anglo-American invasion and occupation and forced "restructuring" that destroyed an entire functioning civil society and prevented its replacement with anything Iraqis would recognize. So, there was nothing in place of the Ba'athists, just murder, warlordism and a vile non-functioning and misrepresented "democracy" that no one on earth can understand or operate according to its alleged rules.

Some of the people have decided to take their country back, and in the process they are reverting to an earlier form of Iraq, before there was an Iraq, when there were only provinces within the Ottoman Empire, the three that would come to constitute Iraq being headed in Mosul, Baghdad and Basra.

Apparently, the Kurds have taken Kirkuk (a subdivision of the Mosul province), the rebel Arabs (variously called ISIS and ISIL) have taken Mosul itself and all of the territory west into Syria, there is allegedly a march on Baghdad by said rebels, a march being repelled by Valiant Iraqi  Forces (or someone) while the vast American Embassy -- so they say -- is being evacuated toute suite.

Death squads are rumored to be re-deployed to the region with calls for more, more, more from congressional delegates like Graham and McCain, while airstrikes from US forces are being prepared.

Destroy Iraq all over again. Sounds like a plan. Except for the doubts...

Doubts that what is said to be happening is actually happening at all, and doubts that the intentions of those involved are anything like the news reports would have it. It has been suggested that the House of Saud is manipulating events behind the scenes with the intent to diminish the power of the Iraqi Shi'a and enhance the power of the region's Sunnis (Kurds are Sunnis, too, they tell me) so as to recreate Iraq -- and Syria -- as a bulwark against the Persian Hordes who have been in control in Baghdad since the first re-establishment of civil governance there after the American invasion.

In other words, what's going on in Iraq -- whatever is actually going on -- is all part of the Great Game being played by Israel, the US/EU/NATO aka or the Anglo-American Neo-Imperial Project, and the House of Saud, against... who, exactly? The Persian Hordes are -- or were, prior to the Ukraine Thing -- claimed to be the Greatest (Hitler) Threat in All of Human History. Did you see The 300? Well Did You???!!!! Now that Putin-Hitler-Stalin has emerged as an even greater threat thanks to his invasion and take over of Ukraine and his March on Paris or Brussels or Berlin, or whatever the propaganda mills are churning out now, the Persian Hordes are less of an Existential Threat than they once were. The moves now are intended to contain the Russian Hordes and move the boundaries of the West eastwards over the steppe.

It's summertime too, time for stories of sharks and missing white women, or great gobs of NSA exposure by missing white boys, the sharks in the water in that case being the inescapable panopticon, the Apparat That's Watching You!!!!™

As I try to make sense of all of this, my focus is somewhat closer to home. The issue of police abuse in Albuquerque has come to a head, and more and more signs point to a resolution of some sort, but just what form it will take remains to be seen.

There are all these stakeholders, after all, and many signs point to the fact that the APD as it is cannot be reformed. The only way to make the necessary changes are to abolish it and start over from scratch. That's what the signs say, and they say so because the system is too corrupt and corrupting, and any reform would be immediately co-opted or defied. The game being played is one of protecting the force -- and the system -- as is and convincing a skeptical public it's a good thing.

The activists in Albuquerque seem to me to be a very capable group intent on focusing public attention and forcing change in what many of them see as a fragile and nearly collapsed system of policing. Some are intent on systemic change, essentially overturning the whole apparatus and beginning anew, but the system itself is fighting back, and there is little overall support for such a move, even if it is necessary.

How to accomplish the kind of change that's necessary? It means having a vision of the future as it ought to be, and I'm not sure that vision has quite jelled among the activists and the general public.

More that I thought want the kind of justice that is founded in revenge rather than restoration or repair, and I'm not convinced that approach will lead to anything better than what's in place now. Lord knows, I understand the impulse for revenge, but given the overall situation, "closure" can't come that way.

There is apparently evidence, though I haven't seen it, that APD's problem of violence is tied directly to deep-seated, pervasive corruption that runs throughout the department and courses like a river through civic politics and administration. If this is true -- and for now I can't say -- it means that any reform effort that doesn't include criminal prosecutions on a major scale will be little more than cosmetic.

From appearances at any rate, the DoJ and the city administration are seeking means to protect the status quo. The activists are pushing for real change and fundamental reform.

While this is a localized movement, it has ramifications for reform efforts throughout the country, and it is -- it seems to me -- related to the upheavals elsewhere in the world and movements of radical, fundamental changes in the way governments operate.


  1. I keep meaning to leave a comment to thank you for your reporting on the APD situation, Che — so I'm finally doing so.

    I also appreciate your perspective on the current geopolitical flash points (even when I lean toward disagreement), as well as the quality of your writing. Sadly, in recent months I'm less informed and engaged with affairs outside my own little existence.

    (How strange is this 'Intercept' that the whole Greenwald / UT phenomenon evolved into? I read the Pando reporting that you previously linked here. Omidyar..... rabbit-holes within rabbit-holes.....)

    1. Disagreement is fine and often useful to better understand what is going on.

      On the other hand, I'm glad you're gaining something from reading here. Please feel free to comment whenever and however you like.

      As for the "Intercept" -- isn't it interesting that they're now suggesting those who are disenchanted "check back in a year"? Well. Alrighty then!