Israeli Airforce Corridor and the US Occupation of Iraq

If the American administration truly planned to quell the violence in Iraq they would openly and publicly declare opposition to the recent Israeli request for a “corridor” through US-occupied Iraqi airspace in case of a decision to bomb Tehran.

The February 25 telegraph.co.uk article by Con Coughlin anonymously sites a “Senior Israeli defence official” who commented that negotiations had begun to prevent the possibility of “American and Israeli war planes [start] shooting at each other”, should the Israeli Defence Force decide to bomb Iran.

This proposition puts the US mission in Iraq entirely at risk; sending such significant signals to Iran could heat things up in Iraq. There is great potential for the Badr Forces, the armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq- to take offence to the US colluding with Israel in the bombing of Iran. Such an event could cause a catastrophic strain on the already tense relations between the Iraqi populace and the US presence there.

With the new US-Iraqi security plan coming into effect now is the wrong time to send mixed signals to the Iraqi populace. The combined Coalition forces need to take strong leadership roles and set the record straight as to their intentions regarding Iraq and it’s neighbours.

Are they going to allow Iran to be bombed and deal with the repercussions in Iraq? Or will they going cut and run? Could they even stabilize the country if Iran was bombed, if they are struggling to do so now?

These are questions which need to be cleared up before they actualise themselves.

Religious extremism on the rise in post-Saddam Iraq

The rise of religious extremism in Iraq is a result of the US-lead invasion in 2003. In dire times it is not uncommon for people to turn to religion and extremist groups who knew this used Anti-US sentiments to gain support in Iraq after Saddam’s fall.

Extremists groups crossed the border from Iran (the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq // “Badr Corps”), Saudi Arabia and Jordan (“Al-Qaeda in Iraq”). Prominent religious leaders, whose strong stance against the presence of Coalition forces in Iraq had won over many Iraqi’s, began to envision an Islamic theocracy in Iraq. Damage caused to important religious sites also inflamed caused people to rally behind their religious leaders, who have become more extreme as the occupation continues. As a result of the invasion and the cunning of extremist leaders, religious extremism has thrived in Iraq since 2003.

Through out history it is noted that people tend to turn to religion in times of crisis and war as faith allows us to remain optimistic. This means the already deep roots of religion in Iraq became suddenly much more important during and after the 2003 invasion, providing religious figures with the confidence to speak their minds and promote their own motives. Irani religious leaders including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani provided imported Shiite leaders with credibility and support by endorsing the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite Bloc) in Iraq’s first round of elections. Continue reading Religious extremism on the rise in post-Saddam Iraq

The Olivebranch Network’s New Contributors

Cross posted from the Olivebranch Network

Though some members of the network have yet to post it’s time to pay thanks and say a little tribute to the wonderful Olivebranch Network contributors.

Though not yet two months old the network now includes prominent Iraqi bloggers (Baghdad Treasure24 Steps to LibertyMajed Jarrar and Hassan (from Average Iraqi).

Other excellent if not so prominent bloggers have also joined the team including, John Hennington (US soldier//blogger returned from Iraq), Salam Adil from Asterism (Iraqi in UK), Meso Rock (Teenage Iraqi Girl in Saudi Arabia), Z from No Pain No Gain, Shahram Kohldi from SCAN-IRANIC and Farid Pouya from WebGardian (Irani blog about Irani Blogs).

I would also like to save a special mention for Baghdad Doctor for his most wonderful contributions, particularly the post “Unforgettable Day“- watch for more from him soon.

Two other people need mention (other than myself):

Attawie our excellent female Iraqi writer//poet now living in the United Arab Emirates, *yet to post*- and last but not least Antony Loewenstein, whose generosity and kind heartedness is the reason this network came to be.

We look forward to including more contributors and covering more areas of discussion- but for now stay regularly tuned as these contributors become actively involved in educating you about Iraqi and Middle Eastern culture.

A big thanks must also go to those who offered support and encouragement, there are too many to mention individually.