2011年12月31日土曜日

米軍NATO軍 イラク撤退完了

米国NATO軍のイラク撤退を完了した。
 イラクの首都バグダッドで発生し60人以上が死亡した同時テロについて、
国際テロ組織アル・カーイダなどの連合体「イラク・イスラム国」は、
犯行を認める声明をウェブサイト上に出した。
米軍が撤収したばかりのイラクでは、シーア派主導政権を率いるマリキ
首相とスンニ派勢力との対立が激化している。

イラクは、国際連合軍が撤退してから、宗教と人種の派閥が対立。
イランがテロリストを支援との説もある。
米政府は、経済復興や治安維持のために、装備品を提供し、民間警備員
5000人が常駐する予定。
一部の腐った海兵隊員や陸軍兵は去ったが、好き勝手をしていたXe(旧
Blackwater)や派遣先戦地のハリバートン等を代表とする民間警備員が
さらに増員され常駐することになる。
米国の軍による占領を武器供給と軍事訓練も含めて民兵に委託、
イ・イ戦争から何も変わっていない。

テロ特措法・イラク特措法の殉職者数発表
オバマの逆襲 米海兵隊の異常さ
国際貢献と言うイラク侵攻
空自イラク活動は違憲
米軍 外人部隊2万人
自衛隊 イラク完全撤退か
陸自サマワ 着弾による死亡数名か
民間軍事会社 行動規制
イラク撤収 帰国開始
靴投げ記者許し請う
公的殺人集団 イラク内限定で契約失効
米政府 イラク放棄か
イラク駐留軍は北派兵予備か
靴投げ記者 靴を投げられる
米政府 Blackwater契約継続
アフガニスタン 埋蔵鉱脈92兆円
Xe 罰金支払いで合意
米陸軍 戦利品は頭蓋骨
WikiLeaks 新文書公開
ウィキリークス 米外交文書公開
BP ハリバートン提訴
Obama Bin Ladin Dead
米メディア 報道の倫理
米空軍 遺体をゴミ扱い


OBAMA Declares The End of Iraq War FULL UNCUT SPEECH 12/14/2011 (HD)


U.S. troops enter Kuwait after leaving Iraq Dec 18 11.


Iraq Miscalculation: America's greatest mistake?


---イラク同時テロ、アル・カーイダ系が犯行声明---
2011年12月27日19時49分 読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20111227-OYT1T01063.htm

 【カイロ=長谷川由紀】イラクの首都バグダッドで22日に発生し60人以上が死亡した同時テロについて、国際テロ組織アル・カーイダなどの連合体「イラク・イスラム国」は26日、犯行を認める声明をウェブサイト上に出した。AFP通信などが伝えた。
 声明は、イスラム教シーア派大国イランの脅威からイラクのスンニ派を守るためと犯行の狙いを説明した。米軍が撤収したばかりのイラクでは、シーア派主導政権を率いるマリキ首相とスンニ派勢力との対立が激化している。


---Iraqi arms deal stokes fears of civil war
Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt
December 30, 2011
http://www.smh.com.au/world/iraqi-arms-deal-stokes-fears-of-civil-war-20111229-1pe9a.html

THE OBAMA administration is moving ahead with the sale of nearly $US11 billion worth of arms and training for the Iraqi military, despite concerns Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is consolidating his authority in a one-party Shiite-dominated state and abandoning the US-backed power-sharing government.

The military aid, including advanced fighter jets and battle tanks, is meant to help the Iraqi government protect its borders and rebuild a military that before the 1991 Persian Gulf war was one of the largest in the world.

But the sales of the weapons - some of which have already been delivered - are moving ahead even though Mr Maliki has failed to carry out an agreement that would have limited his ability to marginalise the Sunnis and turn the military into a sectarian force.

While the US is eager to beef up Iraq's military, at least in part as a hedge against Iranian influence, there are also fears that the move could backfire if the Baghdad government ultimately aligns more closely with the Shiite theocracy in Tehran than with Washington.

US diplomats, including ambassador James Jeffrey, have privately expressed concern about the military relationship with Iraq, saying that it could have political ramifications for the Obama administration. There is growing concern that Mr Maliki's apparent efforts to marginalise the country's Sunni minority could set off a civil war.

The program to arm the military is being led by the US Embassy in Baghdad , which, through its Office of Security Cooperation, serves as a broker between the Iraqi government and defence contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Among the big-ticket items being sold to Iraq are F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, cannons and armoured personnel carriers. The Iraqis have also body armour, helmets, ammunition trailers and sport utility vehicles, which critics say can be used by domestic security services to help Mr Maliki consolidate power.

''The purpose of these arrangements is to assist the Iraqis' ability to defend their sovereignty against foreign security threats,'' said Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington.

But some Iraqi politicians and analysts, while acknowledging US military withdrawal had left Iraq's borders and airspace vulnerable, cited many reasons for concern.

Despite pronouncements from US and Iraqi officials that the Iraqi military is a non-sectarian force, they said, it had evolved into a hodgepodge of Shiite militias more interested in marginalising the Sunnis than protecting the country's sovereignty. Across the country, they said, Shiite flags - not Iraq's national flag - fluttered from tanks and military vehicles, evidence of the troops' sectarian allegiances.

''It is very risky to arm a sectarian army,'' said Rafie al-Essawi, the country's finance minister and a leading Sunni politician. ''It is very risky with all the sacrifices we've made, with all the budget to be spent, with all the support of America - at the end of the day, the result will be a formal militia army.''

Mr Essawi said he was concerned about how the weapons would be used if political tension led to renewed sectarian violence. Some Iraqis and analysts said the weapons could give Mr Maliki an advantage in preventing Sunni provinces from declaring autonomy from the central government.

''Washington took the decision to build up Iraq as a counterweight to Iran through close military co-operation and the sale of major weapon systems,'' said Joost Hiltermann, the International Crisis Group's deputy program director for the Middle East.

''Maliki has shown a troubling inclination toward enhancing his control over the country's institutions without accepting any significant checks and balances.''

Uncertainty over Mr Maliki's intentions, and with that the wisdom of the weapons sale, began to emerge even before the last US combat forces withdrew 12 days ago. Mr Maliki moved against Sunni rivals, arresting hundreds of former Baath Party members on charges they were involved in a coup plot.

Then security forces under Mr Maliki's control issued an arrest warrant for the country's Sunni vice-president, who fled to the semiautonomous Kurdish north.

The Americans warned Iraqi officials that if they wanted to continue receiving military aid, Mr Maliki had to fulfil a 2010 agreement that required the Sunni bloc in parliament to have a say in who ran defence and interior ministries.

But despite a pledge to do so, the ministries remain under Mr Maliki's control, angering many Sunnis.


---Weapons Sales to Iraq Move Ahead Despite U.S. Worries
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and ERIC SCHMITT
Published: December 28, 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/world/middleeast/us-military-sales-to-iraq-raise-concerns.html

BAGHDAD - The Obama administration is moving ahead with the sale of nearly $11 billion worth of arms and training for the Iraqi military despite concerns that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is seeking to consolidate authority, create a one-party Shiite-dominated state and abandon the American-backed power-sharing government.

The military aid, including advanced fighter jets and battle tanks, is meant to help the Iraqi government protect its borders and rebuild a military that before the 1991 Persian Gulf war was one of the largest in the world; it was disbanded in 2003 after the United States invasion.

But the sales of the weapons - some of which have already been delivered - are moving ahead even though Mr. Maliki has failed to carry out an agreement that would have limited his ability to marginalize the Sunnis and turn the military into a sectarian force. While the United States is eager to beef up Iraq’s military, at least in part as a hedge against Iranian influence, there are also fears that the move could backfire if the Baghdad government ultimately aligns more closely with the Shiite theocracy in Tehran than with Washington.

United States diplomats, including Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, have expressed concern about the military relationship with Iraq. Some have even said it could have political ramifications for the Obama administration if not properly managed. There is also growing concern that Mr. Maliki’s apparent efforts to marginalize the country’s Sunni minority could set off a civil war.

“The optics of this are terrible,” said Kenneth M. Pollack, an expert on national security issues at the Brookings Institution in Washington and a critic of the administration’s Iraq policy.

The program to arm the military is being led by the United States Embassy here, which through its Office of Security Cooperation serves as a broker between the Iraqi government and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Among the big-ticket items being sold to Iraq are F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, cannons and armored personnel carriers. The Iraqis have also received body armor, helmets, ammunition trailers and sport utility vehicles, which critics say can be used by domestic security services to help Mr. Maliki consolidate power.

“The purpose of these arrangements is to assist the Iraqis’ ability to defend their sovereignty against foreign security threats,” said Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington.

But Iraqi politicians and analysts, while acknowledging that the American military withdrawal had left Iraq’s borders, and airspace, vulnerable, said there were many reasons for concern.

Despite pronouncements from American and Iraqi officials that the Iraqi military is a nonsectarian force, they said, it had evolved into a hodgepodge of Shiite militias more interested in marginalizing the Sunnis than in protecting the country’s sovereignty. Across the country, they said, Shiite flags - not Iraq’s national flag - fluttered from tanks and military vehicles, evidence, many said, of the troops’ sectarian allegiances.

“It is very risky to arm a sectarian army,” said Rafe al-Essawi, the country’s finance minister and a leading Sunni politician. “It is very risky with all the sacrifices we’ve made, with all the budget to be spent, with all the support of America - at the end of the day, the result will be a formal militia army.”

Mr. Essawi said that he was concerned about how the weapons would be used if political tension led to a renewed tide of sectarian violence. Some Iraqis and analysts said they believed that the weapons could give Mr. Maliki a significant advantage in preventing several Sunni provinces from declaring autonomy from the central government.

“Washington took the decision to build up Iraq as a counterweight to Iran through close military cooperation and the sale of major weapon systems,” said Joost Hiltermann, the International Crisis Group’s deputy program director for the Middle East. “Maliki has shown a troubling inclination toward enhancing his control over the country’s institutions without accepting any significant checks and balances.”

Uncertainty over Mr. Maliki’s intentions, and with that the wisdom of the weapons sale, began to emerge even before the last American combat forces withdrew 11 days ago. Mr. Maliki moved against his Sunni rivals, arresting hundreds of former Baath Party members on charges that they were involved in a coup plot. Then security forces under Mr. Maliki’s control sought to arrest the country’s Sunni vice president, who fled to the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north. In addition, Mr. Maliki threatened to release damning information on other politicians.

With these actions plunging the country into a political crisis, a few days later, Mr. Maliki said the country would be turned into “rivers of blood” if the predominantly Sunni provinces sought more autonomy.

This was not a completely unforeseen turn of events. Over the summer, the Americans told high-ranking Iraqi officials that the United States did not want an ongoing military relationship with a country that marginalized its minorities and ruled by force.

The Americans warned Iraqi officials that if they wanted to continue receiving military aid, Mr. Maliki had to fulfill an agreement from 2010 that required the Sunni bloc in Parliament to have a say in who ran the Defense and Interior Ministries. But despite a pledge to do so, the ministries remain under Mr. Maliki’s control, angering many Sunnis.

Corruption, too, continues to pervade the security forces. American military advisers have said that many low- and midlevel command positions in the armed forces and the police are sold, despite American efforts to emphasize training and merit, said Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Security and International Studies in Washington.

Pentagon and State Department officials say that weapons sales agreements have conditions built in to allow American inspectors to monitor how the arms are used, to ensure that the sales terms are not violated.

“Washington still has considerable leverage in Iraq by freezing or withdrawing its security assistance packages, issuing travel advisories in more stark terms that will have a direct impact on direct foreign investment, and reassessing diplomatic relations and trade agreements,” said Matthew Sherman, a former State Department official who spent more than three years in Iraq. “Now is the time to exercise some of that leverage by publicly putting Maliki on notice.”

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the head of the American Embassy office that is selling the weapons, said he was optimistic that Mr. Maliki and the other Iraqi politicians would work together and that the United States would not end up selling weapons to an authoritarian government.

“If it was a doomsday scenario, at some point I’m sure there will be plenty of guidance coming my way,” he said in a recent interview.

A spokesman for the United States Embassy declined to comment, as did the National Security Council in Washington.

As the American economy continues to sputter, some analysts believe that Mr. Maliki and the Iraqis may hold the ultimate leverage over the Americans.

“I think he would like to get the weapons from the U.S.,” Mr. Pollack said. “But he believes that an economically challenged American administration cannot afford to jeopardize $10 billion worth of jobs.”

If the United States stops the sales, Mr. Pollack said, Mr. Maliki “would simply get his weapons elsewhere.”


---バグダッドで連続爆弾テロ、65人死亡 政権崩壊の懸念も---
2011.12.23 Fri posted at: 10:17 JST
http://www.cnn.co.jp/world/30005027.html

 バグダッド(CNN) 駐留米軍が撤収を完了したばかりのイラクの首都バグダッドで22日、20件の爆発が相次ぎ、少なくとも65人が死亡、196人が負傷した。同国では宗派間の対立による政治的混乱が深まり、政権崩壊の懸念も強まっている。
 警察によると、同日朝のラッシュアワーの2時間の間に、市内の住宅街やビジネス街、官庁街で自動車を使った爆弾テロが9件、路上爆弾の爆発6件、砲撃1件が相次いで起きた。いずれも市場や学校、喫茶店が標的とされ、市民や通学途中の生徒などが犠牲になった。住宅地ではイスラム教のスンニ派とシーア派の両方の居住地域で爆発が起きた。
 中でも腐敗防止機関の庁舎前で起きた自動車による自爆テロでは少なくとも23人が死亡、43人が負傷し、建物の一部も損壊した。
 市内の病院には爆発物の破片を浴びたとみられる患者が運び込まれ、現地のテレビ局は犠牲者の姿や破壊された店舗、住宅などの様子を映している。
 現時点で一連の犯行を認める声明は出ていないが、過去に起きたスンニ派とシーア派の対立によるテロや、国際テロ組織アルカイダによるテロと同様の手口が使われている。
 イラクではハシミ副大統領がテロに関与した疑いで指名手配されたことをめぐり、シーア派とスンニ派、クルド系議員らの間で政治的対立が深まっていた。
 イサウィ財務相はCNNの取材に対し、今回のテロとこうした対立との直接的な関係はないとしながらも、「テロリストがこうした状況の悪化に付け入る環境は十分にある」との見方を示した。
 同財務相は、事態悪化の恐れがあることは米軍の撤収を前にイラク当局から伝えていたと述べ、「米国に対し、(イラクの)政治状況と治安状況は極めてぜい弱だと何度も伝えたが、残念なことに誰も聞く耳を持たなかった」と話している。
 政治的混乱による宗派対立の激化と政治プロセスの崩壊を懸念する声も出る中で、マリキ首相は「犯罪集団やそれを背後で操る者が、事態の進展や政治プロセスを変えることはできない」と強調した。
 在バクダッド米国大使館もイラクの政治指導部に対し、憲法と法に従い、対話を通じた平和的な問題の解決を呼びかける声明を発表した。


---米軍のイラク駐留終わる…最後の部隊が出国---
2011年12月18日19時03分 読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20111218-OYT1T00530.htm

 【バグダッド=田尾茂樹】イラクに駐留していた最後の米軍部隊が18日、イラクを出国した。
 これで、オバマ米政権が期限と定めていた12月31日を前に、すべての部隊撤収が完了した。
 米CNNテレビなどによると、この日撤収したのは、米陸軍第1歩兵師団傘下の装甲車約110台に乗車した約500人。米大使館警護などのために残る約150人を除き、陸路で隣国クウェートに入ったという。
 オバマ米大統領は14日にイラク戦争の終結を宣言、駐留米軍も15日に首都バグダッドで解散式を行い、任務を終えた。
 フセイン政権崩壊後のイラクでは、宗派間抗争などから一時、内戦状態に陥った。このため米軍は07年に17万人まで部隊を増員するなどして、治安の改善に当たった。10年8月末には戦闘部隊が撤収、残った数万人がイラク治安部隊の訓練や対テロ支援任務を続けてきた。


---軍撤収後、職員1700人派遣へ…米がイラクへ---
2011年12月15日19時46分 読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20111215-OYT1T00920.htm

 【ワシントン=山口香子】米政府はイラク駐留米軍の全面撤収後、外交官らを大量に送り込み、経済復興や治安維持に向けた幅広い支援に乗り出す。
 イラクとの包括的パートナーシップ構築の成否は、マリキ政権が治安悪化を回避し、安定した体制を築けるかにかかっている。
 オバマ大統領は、12日にワシントンで行ったマリキ首相との共同記者会見で「米国はイラクに膨大な生命と財力を投じてきた。米軍が撤退しても、イラクの成功が米国にとって重要なことに変わりはない」と強調。F16戦闘機の供与をはじめとする軍事面から経済面まで幅広い支援の継続を約束した。
 米国務省は米軍撤退を機に在バグダッド大使館など関連11施設に職員1700人を配置し、復興支援にあたらせる。武装勢力の攻撃対象となりかねないことから、民間軍事会社の警備要員5000人も常駐させる。


---NATOもイラク撤収、年内に治安要員育成終了---
2011年12月13日10時25分 読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20111213-OYT1T00303.htm

 【ブリュッセル=工藤武人】北大西洋条約機構(NATO)28か国は12日、イラクで2004年から実施している国軍・治安部隊の訓練支援を年末で完了し、撤収することを決めた。
 ラスムセンNATO事務総長が発表した。イラク駐留米軍は年内の全面撤収が決まっており、NATOも歩調を合わせる形だ。
 NATOは04年に当時のイラク暫定政府の要請で訓練将校を派遣し、国軍兵士と警察官計1万5000人超を育成してきた。10月現在、NATO加盟12か国にウクライナを加えた計13か国が要員170人を派遣している。
 イラク政府はNATOに対し、13年末までの任務延長を求めていた。だが、NATO要員が犯罪に関与した場合の訴追免除が認められないことがネックとなり、撤収に踏み切ったとみられる。


---Iraq: A war of muddled goals, painful sacrifice---
By REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press - Dec 10, 2011
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ifqaEfs4WdPGkr_igJWAhouHED4w?docId=d3bc12ceb5944ea498e2f4a9c1041801

BAGHDAD (AP) - In the beginning, it all looked simple: topple Saddam Hussein, destroy his purported weapons of mass destruction and lay the foundation for a pro-Western government in the heart of the Arab world.

Nearly 4,500 American and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives later, the objective now is simply to get out - and leave behind a country where democracy has at least a chance, where Iran does not dominate and where conditions may not be good but "good enough."

Even those modest goals may prove too ambitious after American forces leave and Iraq begins to chart its own course. How the Iraqis fare in the coming years will determine how history judges a war which became among the most politically contentious in American history.

Toppling Saddam was the easy part. Television images from the days following the March 20, 2003, start of the war made the conflict look relatively painless, like a certain type of Hollywood movie: American tanks speeding across the bleak and featureless Iraqi plains, huge blasts rattling Baghdad in the "shock and awe" bombing and the statue of the dictator tumbling down from his pedestal.

But Americans soon collided with the complex realities of an alien society few of them knew or understood. Who were the real power brokers? This ayatollah or that Sunni chief? What were the right buttons to push? America had its own ideas of the new Iraq. Did most Iraqis share them?

Places most Americans had never heard of in 2002, like Fallujah and Abu Ghraib, became household words. Saddam was captured nine months after the invasion. The war dragged on for eight more years. No WMD were ever found. And Iraq drained billions from America's treasury and diverted resources from Afghanistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaida rebounded after their defeat in the 2001 invasion.

In the early months, America's enemy was mostly Sunnis angry over the loss of power and prestige when their patron Saddam fell. In September 2007, the bloodiest year for U.S. troops, Shiite militias - part of a community that suffered terribly under Saddam - were responsible for three-quarters of the attacks in the Baghdad area that killed or wounded Americans, according to the then-No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno.

Saddam had not tolerated al-Qaida. With Saddam gone and the country in chaos, al-Qaida in Iraq became the terror movement's largest and most dangerous franchise, drawing in fighters from North Africa to Asia for a war that lingers on through suicide bombings and assassinations, albeit at a lower intensity.

As American troops prepare to go home by Dec. 31, they leave behind a country still facing violence, with closer ties to the U.S. than Saddam had but still short of what Washington once envisioned. Iranian influence is on the rise. One of the few positive developments from the American viewpoint - a democratic toehold - is far from secure.

___

In 20-20 hindsight, the U.S. probably should have seen it coming. By 2003, communal rivalries and hatreds, fueled by years of Saddam's suppression of Kurds and Shiites, were brewing beneath the lid of a closed society cobbled together from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Saddam's rule of terror kept all these passions in the pot. Lift the lid and the pot boils over. Remove Saddam and a new fight flares for the power that the ousted ruler and his Baath Party had monopolized for decades.

A day after Saddam's statue was hauled down in Baghdad, the U.S. arranged what was supposed to be a reconciliation meeting in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, bringing together prominent clerics from the majority Shiite sect eager for a dominant role in Iraq after the collapse of Saddam's Sunni-dominated rule.

One of them was Abdul-Majid al-Khoie, son of a revered ayatollah. Al-Khoie had fled to Britain during Saddam's crackdown against Shiites after the 1991 Gulf War. Now he and the other clerics were back in Iraq, freed from Saddam's yoke.

As al-Khoie approached a mosque, a crowd swarmed around him. He was hacked to death in an attack widely blamed on Muqtada al-Sadr, a fellow Shiite cleric.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, mobs looted and burned much of the city as bewildered U.S. soldiers stood by.

"Stuff happens," then-U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld famously said at the time. "And it's untidy, and freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes, and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here."

Within months, angry Sunnis had taken up arms to resist what they saw as a Shiite takeover on the coattails of the Americans. Their ranks were bolstered by former soldiers whose livelihood was taken away when the Americans, in a bid to appease Shiite and Kurdish leaders, abolished Saddam's military.

In August 2003, a massive truck bomb devastated the U.N. headquarters, killing the chief of mission, his deputy and 20 other people. Two months later, rockets slammed into the U.S.-occupied Rasheed Hotel in the Green Zone, killing an American lieutenant colonel and wounding 17 people. One of the architects of the war, visiting Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, barely escaped injury.

By then it was clear: America was in for a long and brutal fight. The triumphant scene of Saddam's statue falling would be replaced by new iconic images: the bodies of butchered Americans hanging from a bridge in Fallujah, military vehicles engulfed in flames, terrified hostages staring into a video camera moments before decapitation, and flag-draped caskets resting at open graves as aging parents and young widows wept for their loved ones.

___

The Americans arrived with their own agenda for the new Iraq. That didn't always mesh with what the Iraqis had in mind.

Phillip J. Dermer, a now-retired U.S. colonel who has returned to Iraq as a businessman, spent the summer of 2003 helping set up a city council in Baghdad.

The idea was to give Iraqis a quick taste of democracy while issues like a constitution and national elections were being worked out.

After months of preparation, the council was elected and got down to its first order of business: To the Americans' surprise, an al-Sadr representative came forward to change the name of the Shiite slum in eastern Baghdad from Saddam City to Sadr City in honor of the cleric's father, who was assassinated by the deposed regime. The measure passed unanimously.

Dermer and his colleagues had been expecting a vote for something like a new budget for water. For Dermer it was a signal. The Iraqis had their own priorities.

"We were so focused on getting this council together and hold their hands up to vote when the whole time something else was happening. We weren't aware of it, and we didn't catch it," he said.

The Americans would soon learn the Iraqis were primarily interested in promoting their own religious or ethnic group at the expense of others.

___

Increasingly, Sunni militants were targeting not just U.S. troops but Iraqi Shiites.

Shiites initially held their fire and did not retaliate. Their highest-ranking cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, wanted Shiites to keep focused on the main prize: majority control of the government.

All that changed with the bombing of a major Shiite shrine in Samarra in February 2006.

Newly formed Shiite militias struck back against random Sunnis, often dragging them away in the dead of night. It was now Shiites against Sunnis, neighbor against neighbor.

America was now in the middle of a civil war, partly of its own making, despite intense efforts by the Bush administration to resist that view.

The U.S. seemed overwhelmed. Just keeping count of the death tolls was a challenge, leading to a bizarre U.S. military formula where a body found on the streets was listed as a "sectarian" victim if the fatal wound was in the head. If the wound were in the torso, it was counted as random violence.

___

For Americans back home, Iraq was not a war with morale-boosting milestones that could point to progress. No Pacific islands secured, no heroic storming of the beaches at Normandy. No newsreel scenes of grateful civilians welcoming liberators with flowers.

Instead, the war became a mind-numbing litany of suicide bombings and ambushes. "Progress" was defined by grim statistics such as fewer civilians found butchered today than yesterday. Soon it all began to sound the same, a bloody, soul-killing "Ground Hog Day" of brutality after brutality seemingly without purpose. Pacify one village, move on to another, only to have violence flare again in the first place.

Sen. John McCain summed it up at a congressional hearing three years into the war: "What I worry about is we're playing a game of whack-a-mole here."

A 24-year-old platoon leader in Ramadi expressed the same sentiment in a different way. "Every time we go out, we run," he told an Associated Press reporter in 2006. "If you stand still, you WILL get shot at."

___

It was even worse for the Iraqis. Everyone was a potential target for death. Sunni militants, especially in al-Qaida, considered Shiites as much of an enemy as American soldiers. Shiite militias viewed all Sunnis as Saddam loyalists ready to bring back the old regime.

By such twisted logic, mothers shopping for food in a market were just as legitimate a target as armed, uniformed soldiers. Car bombs and suicide attacks killed thousands. Sons, fathers and brothers disappeared - often without a trace - abducted by death squads and presumably buried in unmarked desert graves. Nearly everyone had a relative or a close friend who died or disappeared - more than 3,700 were slaughtered in the month of October 2006 alone, according to the United Nations.

By the end of 2006, the U.N. estimated that 100,000 Iraqis were fleeing every month for sanctuary in Jordan and Syria.

Death could come at any moment: from a bomb on a bus filled with people heading for work or from an errant shell on a home as a family enjoyed an evening meal. Or from foreigners. In September 2007, Blackwater contractors guarding a U.S. State Department convoy in Baghdad opened fire on civilian vehicles, mistakenly thinking they were under attack. Seventeen Iraqis died. A U.S. federal judge dismissed the charges two years later because the case was built on testimony in exchange for immunity.

A review by the AP in April 2009 showed that more than 110,600 Iraqis had died in violence since the U.S.-led invasion. The actual number was likely higher because many of those listed as missing were doubtless buried in the chaos of war without official records.

"They wanted Iraq to be a model for democracy to be followed by other countries in the region," a Shiite preacher, Sheik Muhannad al-Bahadli, said of the Americans in March 2007. "Look what happened in Iraq after four years of occupation: booby-trapped cars and bombs blowing up and killing Iraqis."

___

In 2007, the tide began to turn, though historians will debate the reason for years. The change was probably a result of a confluence of events. Many Sunni militants concluded that they needed the Americans for leverage against the "real enemy" - the Shiites. Many Sunni insurgents resented al-Qaida's power grab and did not share its vision of a global jihad. Many Shiites recoiled against the brutality and gangsterism of some of their own Shiite militias. And finally the American military surge.

In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced he was sending 30,000 more troops to secure Baghdad and the provinces around it. Talk of a troop withdrawal in 2007, which had been widely expected, disappeared. With the Americans promising and paying for support, more and more Sunni insurgents switched sides and turned against al-Qaida. Eight months into the surge, Shiite militia leader al-Sadr declared a cease-fire and violence began dropping in the capital.

Fighting continued. But the commanding general, David Petraeus, was able to tell Congress by the end of the year that the "military objectives" of the surge were being met. Skeptics, including then-Sen. Barack Obama, acknowledged the trend while noting that the second goal of the surge - to allow the Iraqis to establish a stable, effective government - remained unfulfilled.

"The surge succeeded in those aspects where the Americans had full control, the military aspects," said Marina Ottoway, director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "There was no willingness to compromise. There still is no willingness to compromise."

___

By New Year's Day 2012, America's role in the Iraq war will be over. For Iraqis, however, the war and the struggle to build a functioning democratic state continue. Bombs still explode, gunmen attack police checkpoints. Iraq's government, though far more representative than Saddam's regime, still falls short of an ideal.

Tensions between Sunnis and Shiites, Arabs and Kurds remain unresolved. It's an open question who will ultimately govern in Iraq and whether Iran will in time come to dominate its weakened neighbor.

America will not be abandoning Iraq. The U.S. will leave behind thousands of diplomats and security contractors, whose presence will influence the direction of the country for years to come. Still, the disappearance of uniformed troops will have a profound effect on Iraqis in ways that will take years to define.

For the first time in nearly nine years, Iraq's future will be entirely in the hands of Iraqis.

Less clear is whether America's mission was truly accomplished. Saad Eskander, who heads Iraq's National Library and Archives, said the Americans created as many enemies as they have allies, and are leaving with only part of the job done.

"What the Americans have accomplished in Iraq is a 50/50 project. It's not completed. The other 50 is up to us," he said. "Either we are people who deserve this country or we don't deserve it."

And what of the American legacy?

"They did get rid of the Baathist Iraq state and Saddam Hussein from power. They did succeed in bringing a proto-democracy," said Theodore Karasik, an analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf. But the war also "permitted the rise of people who may not share America's point of view."

History will be the judge, but for now many observers believe the costs in dollars and blood dwarf the war's achievements.

"The U.S. and Iraqi forces scored impressive tactical victories against the insurgents in Iraq during 2005-2009, but the U.S. invasion now seems to be a de facto grand strategic failure," wrote Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"Its tactical victories - if they last - did little more than put an end to a conflict it helped create."

0 コメント: