Kevin Rudd’s Iraq Policy ‘at risk’

The news today presents an article entitled “Labor Iraq Policy at risk as US considers downsizing Jordan base”. The meat of the article is says US training bases in Jordan could be downsized or closed, endangering the Labor party’s plan to pull Australian forced out of Iraq and send them to training Iraqi security forces in Jordan instead.

Unfortunately there are many complications in this policy anyway. Travelling to Jordan from Iraq is not as easy as it sounds with new Visa restrictions – even if it is to train to become a security guard  More importantly there are already several hundred thousands Iraqi’s displaced in Jordan; many of whom are there under expired visas.

I have a suggestion for Mr Rudd and I say this not as an opponent to his policy but merely as someone who truly wishes for a successful policy for easing the strain on the already stressed Middle East. Especially the Iraqis.

I believe some Australian forces should pull out in exchange for a humanitarian mission like those we have sent to our own neighbours, like Indonesia after the Tsunami for instance. But even these shouldn’t go to to Iraq. They should go to Jordan to process and transfer displaced Iraqi’s into secure living circumstances, where THEY can plan how to bring some political solutions to Iraq’s problems.

This would also bring some relief to Jordan’s over-worked immigration and policing ministries and to the dedicated UNHCR staff there. The mission could quite easily obtain UN approval and as such possibly get emergency workers for UNHCR brought to Jordan.

On the other hand the Australian troops could be placed along the Jordanian border, where they could build high-quality temporary accommodation to host those refugee’s who are refused entry, or deported from Jordan (they could possibly set a few of these up at other borders too?)

There are many low-risk jobs that need to be done. What we need is for the international community to step up and start taking responsibility for not preventing the US invasion in the first place, and the only way to do that is to become part of the solution to this huge problem.

Troop Deployment Protest Debate

This is my reply to an email inviting me to “protest” here in Perth, Western Australia against the 20,000 additional troops to be deployed to Baghdad by the US military. Of course I am an anti-occupation activist and was most definitely a member of Perth’s anti-war activist community opposing this war – but protesting this deployment is not something I can see any purpose in. Here is my reply to the email:

I would like to start a constructive conversation with the members of Just Peace as to the reasons they are opposing this troop increase (in reality its not much of an increase- it’s merely taking troop levels back to what they were this time last year). Yes I am against the occupation and yes I am against anything which will worsen the situation in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq.

However over the last two years I have become deeply involved in many Iraqi communities both within and outside of Iraq- most importantly of all in the Iraqi blogosphere. This has given me the privilege of an insiders view of everything from Iraqi culture & language- through to an anti-occupation US soldiers perspective (who was and is no longer posted in Baghdad; he has since left the army).

In all honesty this is NOT the time to protest. This is the time to join the discussion and use words and wisdom to determine where to go next with Iraq once this operation is over (either it fails or succeeds- either which way this is the very last move the US government can make as an occupier of Iraq. All future increase in deployment will be blocked by congress (this one can’t since the money is left-overs from 2006 budgeting).

More over any future increase will be blocked by the Iraqi Government itself and the Iraqi militias and resistance if the US were to fail in this operation aimed at targeting these two opposing sectarian forces. The Shiite militia’s and the Sunni extremist’s being targeted by these operations are the ones which have caused most of the violence in Iraqi’s main cities since the Iraqi government was established.

There is a very interesting debate about this troop deployment occurring across the Iraqi blogosphere- and though many Iraqi’s were at first pessimistic about it’s chances of success in confronting the militia’s- and some still are; others believe this is the only chance left to prevent an Islamofascist government coming to power against the will of the majority of Iraqis.

I will not be attending this protest as I believe as good as its intentions may be it’s stance is ignorant. “TROOPS OUT NOW” was a great slogan before the fall of Saddam Hussein and even after, while the sectarian warfare was NOT killing hundreds per day and when the Iraqi civilian death toll had NOT been estimated at over 650,000- the vast majority of which are victims of the very same armed sectarian groups which are to be targeted by this final US action in Iraq.

If one can look past all prior judgements on what the USA was planning for Iraq and see the real situation they are in; where their prestige has been entirely lost, their power in the middle-east has fallen and their chances of “success” in Iraq entirely lost—— then we can easily see that this must be their final action. The Democrats WILL be voted in next election; they already control congress so there would be no point in another Republican attempt at defrauding the voting system.

The will of the American people has been totally realised- the timetable for Iraq has already been set. The democrats will not allow this occupation to continue unabated like the Republicans so wished- they want out as soon as possible- but their leaders definitely realise the necessity of leaving Iraq in a semi-stable condition with a government that can actually exist without the support of deadly Shia militia’s such as the Mehdi Army.

What needs to be done now is to wait it out and see wether this is PLAN (some would argue that this is their first actual PLAN for Baghdad since the “Shock and Awe” campaign) is successfull, and in the mean time find our own ways to actually HELP the people of Baghdad. If there is anyone truely interested in this I can bring many suggestions- I am the founder // editor in chief of “The Olivebranch Network”- the biggest active group-blog in the Iraqi Blogosphere with over 30 Iraqi contributors and two Iraqi sub-editors, as a result of the efforts put in to develop this network I have made some very good friends who are actively finding ways to help better the lives of their fellow Iraqi’s.

The Olivebranch Network can be found at http://olivebranchoptimism.net but unfortunately has been having hosting problems for the last two days as the server is upgrading its software and in the process has damaged one of the database files required for the Olivebranch Network’s comments section to function correctly.

I will be posting this email on my blog and anyone who wishes to debate or discuss anything mentioned in this email is welcome to leave me a comment there- I will be checking for replies frequently over the next few weeks.

Lebanon – why don’t people care?

So Lebanon is being invaded by Israel, or should I say bombed? Or should I say “turned backward by 20 years”? Yet who really seems to give a rats ass? Who here in Perth, Western Australia even gives 1/10th of a shit? Other than our large Lebanese population, or someone whose’ relatives are stuck there on a holiday- it seems like no one.

The news here concentrates on the evacuation of Australian citizens who are terrified by bombs falling all around them. Oh poor them. They are in a protected international zone where Israel would never dare drop a bomb, and Hezbollah are not that stupid; while they have some international attention and even limited support they will make the most of it. They will try their best to impress.

They will turn people against Israel by both inflicting damage on the Israeli Defence Force, and by showing the world the damage Israel is inflicting upon the Lebanese civilian populations and infrastructure. Continue reading Lebanon – why don’t people care?

Zarqawi dead but Iraq still a mess

A long time since I published anything of my own analysis, so the time has come.

Iraq is now 3 years down the track of an u unsuccessful occupation and the questions still remain:

Who is in control of this country?

When will the reconstruction begin?

When will electricity and clean water be available for everyone?

Exactly what is in the “Green Zone” and when can Iraqi’s begin to use it?

Who really was al-Zarqawi, where are his “deputies” and how will you stop them?

Who am I asking these questions to?

When will Iraqi’s be safe to walk their children to school?

When will Iraqi children go back to regular school?

Who exactly are the tens of thousands of Iraqi’s and foreigners still locked up behind bars in make-shift Coalition prisons or interior ministry “detnetion centres”?

When the hell will things get better? Continue reading Zarqawi dead but Iraq still a mess