Friday, March 23, 2007

A sign of just how unpopular the US is in Iraq

The Iraqi economy is in turmoil. The unemployment rate is estimated to be between 25 and 40 percent. However, economic stability is needed to help tamp down the insurgency and to restore civil order. So, the United States offers economic assistance to Iraqi businessmen to help move the economy along.

The problem with the unpopularity of the US presence -and its a big problem - is any covert offers of US-based assistance may result in harassment or even death to the businessman and his/her family members. The US has devised a plan to help the Iraqi businessmen, and to keep them from running afoul of myriad insurgents, jihaddis and assorted mini-Saddams. From the Wall Street Journal:

"The only way things will work is if the U.S. contribution is totally invisible," says Maj. Christina Nagy, a civil-affairs officer from the 82nd Airborne Division. "I have people with higher ranks than me always wanting to have a ribbon cutting. I just listen and think, 'Sure, if you want the companies to get immediately shot or blown up.' "

So how can the US possibly stay invisible in a country where we have over 140,000 armed and very visible troops spread through large swaths of the country? The answer is you stage fake raids against the Iraqi businessmen the US is helping. It is described as hiding in plain sight. A side benefit is US troops can determine if the businessmen are spending the money properly during the raids.

While this move may be born of necessity, and helps minimize mayhem and destruction, it is also telling about just how unpopular this war is to many Iraqis. Are there any other examples where the US military must operate in such a furtive manner in order to accomplish the most basic of objectives? Surely the insurgents are going to catch on this little sleight of hand.

Iraq is truly a FUBAR wrapped in an enigma.


trendanalysis said...


What a GREAT Blog, I love all the information and it is very well organized.

I have a feeling that you and I are going to get in some heated debates and as always I love the challenge. You are very informed and I know I will have my work cut out for me.

Keep up the great work and I will talk to you soon.


Avel Zeak said...

Contrary to your post and referring to a recent poll undertaken by thousands of Iraqi citizens (Although I cannot remember the exact numbers) it was around 2/3's of Iraqi's prefer the current administration as compared to Saddam's and while they want a reduction of US troops they also believe that a complete withdrawal would result in a civil war (Which they don't believe they are currently in)

While I think this is a fantastic move by the American Military I dislike the fact that the vast majority of Iraqi's are portrayed as disliking the Americans to such a vicious degree. In comparison to the population, the small number of extremists should not be a representation of an entire country.

Elroy said...

Right back at ya, Ron!

Thanks for the encouragement!

Did you see the Seymour Hersh peice 'The Redirection' where he shows that the US is bank rolling Sunni fundamentalists to keep the Iraqi Shiites at bay? Just when you think that it couldn't get any nuttier!

However, I conest your assertion that Iraq is FUBAR – FUBAR doesn't quite encompass the fragiltiy of the situation. How about CUFUBAR? Completely and Utterly Fucked Up Beyond All Redemption?



Elroy said...

PS Bavel zeak,

Although Saddam was not nice there were plenty of other options available to get rid of him, so the fact that the US took the worst of all possible points to the idea that maybe 'regime change' was not really much of a priority. Sorry, but if it walks like waterfowl...

For an enlightning overview of the future of Iraq, I suggest you read 'Beyond Quagmire' by Tom Dickinson.
They might say they're happier under the US occupation, but 4milkion refugees can't wrong.



Elroy said...

And please, Ron Revolt' Today, Trend 'Matt' Analysis and Bavel 'Zeak' b, don't forget to pop on over to for further argumenting fun and games.