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Entries in Saddam Hussein (8)


Iraq Opinion: Three Thoughts on the War --- Lies, Disaster, and the Unexpected Outcome

A reflection 10 years to the day that US warplanes launched the first phase of the war on Iraq: this was a conflict deliberately designed on deceptions and whose consequences are still proving disastrous - most of all for the Iraqi people.

Far from producing the anticipated result, at least for the Bush Administration, the invasion of Iraq led to the opposite; rather than demonstrating the "unipolar" nature of American power, Iraq has become an ongoing illustration of the limits of that power.

Today, as Iraq tries to recover from the past decade, events extending beyond its borders to the wider Middle East highlight the twist in the tale --- that the US, good or bad, is rarely centre stage. Quite often, it is waiting in the wings.

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Iran Snap Analysis: Walking Back from War?

A Bush-Era Cartoon on Drumbeats of WarA week ago, the media was dominated by the prospect of an Israeli strike and Tehran's reaction. But then President Obama, publicly and privately, let visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu know of Washington's line against this. The Supreme Leader, within his rhetoric of defiance, welcomed Obama's position with Israel, and the European Union accepted Tehran's offer for a resumption of talks about the Iranian nuclear programme.

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Iraq Flashback: Bush and Blair's Agreement to By-Pass the UN for War

Tony Blair and George W Bush, April 2002Britain and the US were planning to take action against Saddam Hussein without a second UN resolution five months before the invasion of Iraq, a newly released letter from Tony Blair's office shows.

A letter from Blair's private secretary reveals that "we and the US would take action" without a new resolution by the UN security council if UN weapons inspectors showed Saddam had clearly breached an earlier resolution. In that case, he "would not have a second chance".

That was the only way Britain could persuade the Bush administration to agree to a role for the UN and continuing work by UN weapons inspectors, the letter says.

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Libya Music Video Tribute: Qaddafi Has a Crush on Condi Rice (and So Do We)

There comes a "tipping point" in any removal of an International Dictator when coverage of the conflict turns to the shocking decadence of the ousted bad man. 

In Panama in 1989, toppled strongman Manuel Noriega had -- shock --- drugs and pornography in his desk. In Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein's transgression, shown by photos of US troops in his places, was gold-plated bath ornaments and really bad taste in art. In Pakistan in 2011, Osama bin Laden was outed for his stash of naughty magazines.

So it is an unexpected good news story to find that Muammar Qaddafi's sin is a massive "I Heart Condoleezza Rice". Insurgents who overran his Bab al-Aziziya compound this year found a photo album devoted to the former US Secretary of State (photo: Sergey Ponomarev of AP). 

And why not? Condi may have broken countries and broken hearts during her eight years in the George W. Bush Administration, but she knew the secret of "Treat 'Em Mean and Keep 'Em Keen". As Muammar said with love in his eyes in 2007 about "my darling black African woman": "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders."

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Iraq Flashback: Britain's Plans to Overthrow Saddam...for "New Security to Oil Supplies" (Wright)

Among the revelations are the following:

* Oil was a key motivating factor behind the efforts to remove Saddam. "The removal of Saddam remains a prize because it could give new security to oil supplies," the officer writes.

* MI6 did not believe that Saddam or Iraq were supporting al-Qa'ida. "There is no convincing intelligence (or common-sense) case that Iraq supports Sunni extremism," it says. But in January 2004, Prime Minister Tony Blair told the Commons: "We do know of links between al-Qa'ida and Iraq. We cannot be sure of the exact extent of those links."

* Britain believed America was planning military action to remove Saddam long before it was officially acknowledged.

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Iraq LiveBlog: Thousands Protest Against Al-Maliki's Government

1405 GMT: Raed Jarrar, an analyst based in Washington, is reporting that "Iraqi authorities shut down universities in Erbil, Basrah and other Iraqi cities as of today in anticipation to nation-wide protests."

1105 GMT: Sammy Ketz summarised the protests so far in Iraq for AFP:


Protesters in the capital [Baghdad] were forced to walk to the rally site as security forces imposed a vehicle ban, a day after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki claimed the demonstrations were being organised by Al-Qaeda insurgents and loyalists of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.


Though most of the protests were largely peaceful, clashes between security forces and demonstrators at rallies in the northern city of Mosul and the town of Hawija left seven dead and dozens wounded, while separate rallies in north and west Iraq left a total of eight others injured.

In the capital, troops and police were deployed in force at Tahrir Square, where around 5,000 demonstrators had gathered, and security forces erected concrete blast walls to block entrance to Jumhuriyah bridge, which connects the demonstration site to Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone.

Protesters nevertheless managed to overturn two of the walls, with some of them attempting to cross the bridge. Several lines of anti-riot police quickly blocked it off, however.

An Iraqi MP Sabah al-Saadi attempted to meet with a group of the demonstrators but was met with shouts and jeers upon his arrival, with one protesters asking, "Why are MPs taking millions of dinars (thousands of dollars) in salary?"

"You have to cut your salary -- we have nothing! Why are you taking so much money when we have no money?"

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WikiLeaks Iraq Special: Did US Ambassador "Green Light" Saddam's Invasion of Kuwait in 1990?

For more than 20 years, one of the controversies over the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent US-led war against Baghdad is whether the US Ambassador in Iraq --- deliberately or inadvertently --- gave a "green light" to Saddam Hussein to attack the Kuwaitis.

Now WikiLeaks makes an important intervention in the story, releasing the cable with Glaspie's lengthy account of her meeting.

So, taking a fresh look, did April Glaspie give "tacit approval" or at least refrain from objecting to an Iraqi invasion?

The general verdict: Not Guilty.

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Iraq Snapshot: The Normal of Gridlock and Death (Shadid)

Ten people died at Aroba Square, near a gold-domed shrine in the capital, where a bomber strolled a little after sunset before he blew himself up.

The day after, no one would know that. Electrical wires dangled, billboards were torn, lights were shattered and windows were broken. But that describes anywhere in Baghdad, a city more neglected than destroyed, living on bitter nostalgia.

The scene was ordinary. And that angered Hassan al-Bahadli on Wednesday.

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