Friday, January 13, 2006

The New Iraqi ARVN, I mean Army

Actually, that’s kind of an insult to the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam). Although ARVN units were unreliable in their day I don’t remember ever coming across of an account like this one from Juan Cole involving The New Iraqi Army™:

Despite the hopes being placed by Bush in the new Iraqi army, it is still not reliable. The Washington Post reports that when the US turned over to the Iraqi military a palace complex it had used as a base near Tikrit, the Iraqi soldiers promptly went into an orgy of looting. At the time, the turn-over was hailed as a sign of "progress," Ellen Knickmeyer notes. Actually, as I remember, the ceremony was interrupted by mortar fire that endangered the lives of some of the US brass and of ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.
The odd thing is we were told initially that Iraqis were very timid and compliant people due to years of being under Saddam’s brutal boot. They seem pretty daring and independent to me.

And speaking of independent, Kurdistan continues to inch closer to its independence from Iraq. Also from Juan Cole today:

…the already-existing Kurdistan confederacy, which is issuing visas and inviting foreign companies to engage in exploration for petroleum without informing the
central government in Baghdad, took another step toward autonomy on Wednesday. Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports [Ar.] that Kurdistan will establish a provincial ministry
of foreign affairs, which is being claimed as a "constitutional right." Usually in federal systems, the states or provinces cede the field of foreign affairs to the central government.
Stuff like this gets no coverage in the mainstream media in this country. Then when things blow up it’s a big surprise to everyone (here). Turkey, which has violently opposed an independent Kurdistan, has to be taking notes and making plans. But again there is no discussion of that in our media. The growing civil war in Iraq could easily go international in the region and all we hear about is how Samuel Alito’s wife got the vapors during her husband’s Senate confirmation hearing.

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