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    Default Iraqi Perceptions of the War

    CSIS, 2 May 07: Iraqi Perceptions of the War: Public Opinion by City and Region
    The patterns of conflict in Iraq have grown steadily more complex with time, adding sectarian and ethnic conflicts to what began as a largely Ba’athist dominated resistance in mid-2003. There are now five major patterns of violence:

    Sunni Islamist extremist insurgents, where Al Qa’ida plays a major role along with at least two other movements. These are the primary source of suicide attacks, car bombings, and attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces.

    Iraqi Arab Sunni versus Arab Shi’ite conflicts, where Shi’ite militias and death squads play a major role, and where sectarian violence, threats, and pressures are forcing the segregation of many areas, leading to displacements, and creating ethnic “cleansing.”

    Iraqi Arab versus Iraqi Kurdish ethnic conflicts center around the “ethnic fault” line, where control of Kirkuk and the oil fields around it have become a major source of tension and potential conflict that extends to the West to the area around Mosul. The future of the Turcomans and other minorities is directly affected by the outcome, as is national unity. This ethnic struggle also interacts with similar Kurdish ethnic tensions and struggles affecting Turkey, Iran, and Syria.

    Arab Shi’ite on Arab Shi’ite struggles for political control and power, particularly in Southeastern Iraq. Each of the three major Shi’ite parties is a rival for power along with smaller parties that play a major role in key cities like Basra. Clashes between Shi’ite factions and militias have so far been limited, but the struggle for control of the Shi’ite shrine cites and the oil-rich provinces in the Southeast may have only begun.

    Arab Sunni on Arab Sunni violence now concentrated largely in Al Anbar but spreading eastwards into Diyala. This is partly a struggle for tribal control of given areas, but also a struggle between Sunni Islamist extremist elements like Al Qa’ida in Iraq. These struggles ease the pressure on the ISF and Coalition to some degree, but the enemy of an enemy is not necessarily a lasting “friend.”

    These divisions, however, tell only part of the story. Many Iraqis have divided or multiple loyalties, and the patterns of violence in one area may well differ from another. This becomes far clearer from the detailed results of a recent public opinion poll by ABC News, USA Today, the BBC, and ARD. This poll provided important insights into the overall trends in Iraqi “hearts and minds,” but it also provided an important window into just how much Iraqis differ by major city and province. It also shows that any successful effort at counterinsurgency and conciliation must carefully consider all of the patterns in Iraqi perceptions and civil conflict.

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    Default The rumor mill in action vs political analysis...

    From the 12 Jan '10 LA Times IRAQ: Coup rumors paralyze Baghdad

    When Baghdadis awoke this morning to find their streets sealed off and the city under virtual lockdown, the rumors began to fly.

    Army officers had staged a coup in the Green Zone, one version said. No, it was Baathists loyal to the former regime who had taken over, according to another.

    Mostly, the rumors concerned the Sunni lawmaker Saleh Mutlak, who has been recommended for disbarment from the upcoming March elections by the former De-Baathification Committee, now known as the Accountability and Justice Committee.
    Iraqi political analysis at Iraq and Gulf Analysis by Reidar Visser
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    Right. That was an echo back to Phebe Marr's explanation of Coup vs. Coup in the 50s.

    I scratch my head sometimes about this rumour vs opinion stuff.

    I guess I am just being ideosyncratic but my first reaction to the recent survey on Afghanistan (they love us, and expect a wonderful future) was: either the poll was done before recent events, or they have a very overly optimistic view of the President's message and intent.

    Something doesn't sound quite as sustainable as it should unless big things change quickly.

    My guess is that Springtime will be no picnic in Kabul.

    Steve

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    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 01-15-2010 at 05:46 PM.
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    Iraqi Politics and Zombies Posted By Marc Lynch at FP, Friday, January 15, 2010 - 7:07 AM

    The story, of course, is the Committee's surprising decision to disqualify some 500 politicians, including the Sunni leader Saleh al-Mutlak and the current Minister of Defense Abdul-Qadir Jassem al-Obeidi, from contesting the upcoming Parliamentary elections on the grounds of alleged Baathist ties. The Higher Election Commission disappointed many observers by accepting the recommendation; the issue now goes to appeal. Mutlak's list -- which includes such figures as former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and current Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- is talking about boycotting the election, which many fear could have a major negative impact on the elections and on longer-term prospects for Iraqi political accommodation. Not bad work for a zombie!
    Musings On Iraq a blog by Joel Wing

    Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network website

    Niqash a blog concerned with briefings from inside and across Iraq

    Mosaic: World News from the Middle East, Link TV
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 01-15-2010 at 09:30 PM.
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    At FP The Iraqi DeBaath Fiasco Continues, Posted By Marc Lynch Monday, January 18, 2010 - 9:12 AM

    As the disqualification of some 500 leading Iraqi politicians on the grounds of alleged ties to the Baath Party is continuing to roil Iraqi politics, Arab papers today report that both U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill and Vice President Joseph Biden have been intervening with Iraqi officials in an attempt to find a way to walk back the disastrous decision -- perhaps by postponing the implementation of the committee's decisions until after the election. The commission in turn is complaining about foreign interference, while Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki broke his silence by calling to "not politicize" the process (a bit late for that, no?) and some Iraqi outlets are screaming about alleged American threats. There is still a chance that the appeals process could provide an exit strategy, but this doesn't seem hugely likely at this point; the final list of those disqualified is set to be released tomorrow.

    Iraqi politicians, especially those associated with Mutlak's bloc such as Ayad Allawi and Tareq al-Hashemi, have been loudly complaining about alleged conflict of interest and abuse of power behind the moves. The indefatigable Norwegian researcher Reider Visser deserves credit for unearthing that Ali Faysal al-Lami, who spent about a year in a U.S.-run prison on charges of complicity with attacks by Shia militias and runs the Parliamentary committee responsible for the disqualifications, is actually standing for election on Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress list. Visser, like a number of Iraqi analysts, argue that they are using their official positions to stack the deck in their own favor: "It is they who effectively control the vetting process for the entire elections process. They enjoy full support in this from Iran; meanwhile their leaders are being feted in Washington, where Adil Abd al-Mahdi has just been visiting." The committee's defenders claim that it is simply enforcing the law. Finally, the editor of the Saudi al-Sharq al-Awsat complains that Iran's allies in Iraq are using their control of the mechanisms of Iraqi democracy to seize power for themselves on behalf of Iran -- and the similarity between the DeBaath "vetting" of candidates and Iran's Guardians Council's vettting of candidates has been noted.
    NYT link (U.S. Will Release More Members of an Iraqi Militia By Rod Nordland and Sam Dagher
    Published: August 17, 2009 ) mentioning Ali Faysal al-Lami. I would add that Iraqi politics have many layers and, for me at least, it's difficult to gain a balanced understanding...things may or may not be what they appear to be.

    Reidar Visser's January 17 2010 post The Bloc That Has No De-Baathification Worries at the blog Iraq and Gulf Analysis

    How can the Watani list be so confident and go ahead with the publication of its candidate lists even before the IHEC has formally approved them? The explanation is very simple, and is contained in the Watani lists themselves: Its candidate number twenty-four in Baghdad is named Ali Faysal al-Lami and belongs to the Iraqi National Congress headed by Ahmed Chalabi. Sounds familiar? Yes, that’s right, Lami is the director of the accountability and justice board that recently moved to bar several hundred candidates from taking part in the elections. No resistance was offered, and today no one in Iraq seems to be making a big point of the fact that he himself is a candidate in the elections! Little wonder, then, that the Watani leaders seem confident about proceeding with the release of their list: It is they who effectively control the vetting process for the entire elections process. They enjoy full support in this from Iran; meanwhile their leaders are being feted in Washington, where Adil Abd al-Mahdi has just been visiting.
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 01-19-2010 at 08:32 AM.
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