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Iraq elections

Ex-president George Bush’s Iraq surge seems to have been a success.  Free elections in Iraq where Sunni arabs participated in force and where there was widespread participation – was one of the positive outcomes that can be attributed to the surge.  Contrary to popular opinion Iran is weakened by a strengthened Iraq and the rational basis for […]

Mr Ali Allawi on Iraq

Former defense and finance minister in Iraq, Mr Ali Allawi, gave a valuable account of the current political situation in Iraq on last night’s Lateline.  According to Allawi the majority of parliamentarians – and probably most citizens*  – would quietly back Obama’s policy to withdraw troops from Iraq in 18 months.  At the same time the government feels […]

The turnaround in Iraq

A favourable outcome seems likely if the US commits to a continued presence in Iraq after the next US presidential elections according to the WSJ.

The Iraqi army have routed insurgents in 3 of their most important urban strongholds. This follows the success of the surge in crushing al Qaeda in the Sunni triangle. Basra […]

The Iraq war caused the global credit crisis?

This article on claims by Joseph Stiglitz regarding the economic implications of the Iraq war is worth reading. It repeats Stiglitz’s claims that the war will cost the US $3 trillion and that it has raised oil prices by at least $5-$10 (but more plausibly by $35) per barrel.

It also claims that to fund […]

Iraq: No time to cut & run

The allies are beginning to turn the tide in Iraq – Al Qaeda is being defeated – and the time to accelerate the withdrawal of allied troops has not come. Writing of the US commitment The Wall Street Journal notes:

The Army and Marines in Iraq have adapted from their earlier troubles to a counterinsurgency […]

Saddam’s WMD

I tire of hearing that the allies ‘lied’ about Saddam Hussein’s WMD. Everyone believed he had them – including the UN. At the time of the US invasion I talked to ex-Foreign Affairs officials in Australia who were certain he had them.

We now know that Saddam lied about having weapons to keep Iran […]

War deaths in Iraq

The Lancet study asserting 650,000 war-caused deaths in Iraq from the US invasion to mid-2006 is now strongly suspected to be fiction – the correct figure is closer to 151,000 according to a study that relies on more than 1,000 clusters rather than 47 as in the Lancet study. It is also interesting to note […]

Motives fallacy #3097: US intervention in Iraq was all about oil

I discussed earlier this year the notion of a motives fallacy – namely the idea that exposing the motives behind an opinion shows that the opinion is false. Allen Greenspan has claimed in a new book that the ‘prime motive for the war’ in Iraq was oil.

So what? I guess as economic history this […]

The road home

This is the NY Times editorial urging US forces to withdraw from Iraq. There are some bold claims from a newspaper that initially supported the rationale for the war and which has to this time rejected calls for a pre-announced withdrawal. It is an honest statement that spells out the costs of the proposal and […]

Dirty & unpopular views on Iraq

John Quiggin argues that with respect to the war in Iraq ‘Only after the governments of the Coalition countries admit that military power has failed, and that nothing good will be achieved by persevering can we make a serious assessment of what can be salvaged from this disaster.’ He buttresses his view by saying that […]

Americans win mid-east popularity contest

The leaders of Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and even Iran, Syria and the terrorist group Al Qaida all want the US to remain engaged in Iraq according to this Guardian report. The reasons for wanting the Americans to stay however often have little, or nothing, to do with US objectives in […]

Maliki better than Saddam

It isn’t surprising that Iraqis prefer their present government of Iraq to that of Saddam.

‘Despite sectarian slaughter, ethnic cleansing and suicide bombs, an opinion poll conducted on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq has found striking resilience and optimism among the inhabitants.

The poll, the biggest since […]

US to talk to Iran on Iraq

The US has done an about face and endorsed a key suggestion of the Baker-Hamilton report that it talk to Iran regarding the instabilities in Iraq. According to The Economist the US will join in regional talks (Iran and Syria included) in Bhagdad on the security situation in Iraq. The US has abandoned its insistence […]

The US engagement in Iraq as a behavioural quirk

I have no dispute with the idea that agents have optimism biases and an aversion to cutting one’s losses and that these insights may have application to military conflicts and the proclivity to be a hawk as Daniel Kahneman and Daniel Renshon have recently argued.

Optimism biases make sense in optimistic positive-thinking societies where […]

Iraq war escalation

I thought George Bush made a good speech on the Iraq situation. He admitted strategic mistakes and addressed the problems caused by support for terrorist factions in Iraq by Syria and Iran – the Arab press see these comments as an indication that war against Iran is imminent and they might be right. The Iranians […]

Saddam hanged

Saddam Hussein was hanged last night. Why am I not cheering? A thuggish strongman who caused so much misery but who could have done so much good. I wonder if his killing will improve things in Iraq. Somehow I doubt that the justice of the victors will prove much – I hope it does.

Update: […]

Withdrawing from Iraq

The Democrats are pushing for a definite withdrawal from Iraq within 4-6 months. Rabee argues, in a carefully written piece, that this is fine and will not leave the situation any worse than it was before the war. In particular he argues the Iraqis will not permit al-Qa’ida to operate once the US leaves.The ‘neocons’ […]