Saturday, January 20, 2018

How US Intelligence Failed, The Iraq-Niger Uranium Story

Within the U.S. intelligence community that story that Iraq tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger was never very important. It was a considered a secondary claim to other reports that Iraq had restarted its nuclear program. It would later become a huge controversy when it was included in the president’s 2003 State of the Union address, and then Vice President Dick Cheney tried to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson who disputed the story. That embarrassing episode was only the public face of a larger example of the intelligence failure America suffered from in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

This Day In Iraqi History – Jan 20


1948 March by railway workers and students against Anglo-Iraq treaty fired
            upon by police killing some
1970 failed military coup against Pres Bakr led by ex-Gen Rawi and Col Samarraie
            backed by Iran
1970 Iran expelled Iraq’s ambassador military attache and four embassy staff over
            failed coup
1970 Shah of Iran opposed to Baathism’s Pan-Arabism and socialism Moved troops
            to border after coup leading to war scare
2003 Military Industrialization Commission ordered its director generals to come
            forward with any info on WMD
2003 White House gave report to Congress on Iraq’s noncompliance with UN inspectors
            included Iraq not mentioning trying to buy uranium
2003 National Sec Presidential Dir 24 gave Pentagon control of postwar Iraq
2003 Pentagon would dismiss previous NSC planning for postwar Iraq and kick out
            State Dept officials
2003 Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) created to
            run post-war Iraq 2 months before invasion
2003 UK announced it deployed ground forces for Iraq War
2003 France’s For Min deVillepin said there was no justification for war against Iraq
2003 Powell furious at French statement because took threat of war off table at UN
            and strengthened Saddam
2004 Bush’s State of the Union said US was committed to spreading democracy to
            Iraq
2004 Bush’s State of the Union said Iraq Survey Group found Iraq’s WMD programs and
            if US hadn’t invaded Iraq would still have them
2006 Dec 05 election results announced United Iraqi Alliance 128 seats Kurds 53
            Accordance Front 44 Iraqiya 25 National Dialogue Front 11
2006 Al Qaeda in Iraq said Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi had become emir of new
            Mujahedeen Shura Council
2006 Amb Khalizad met with Iyad Allawi and Fadhila head Jabiri Jabiri promised PM
            spot if he broke with United Iraqi Alliance and backed Allawi Sunnis and Kurds
2006 Iyad Allawi told his followers he would get Fadhila head Jabiri to back him as PM
            after he broke with United Iraqi Alliance
2007 Asaib Ahl Al-Haq in an Iranian Revolutionary Guard planned op attacked
            Karbala Center and kidnap and kill 5 US soldiers

Friday, January 19, 2018

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 19


1948 Kurds from Iraq and Iran met in Baku, Soviet Union Mustafa Barzani
            led plans for Kurdish movement
1987 Iranian attack on Basra city caused population to start fleeing
1991 Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim said that Supreme Council was against U.S.
            aggression vs Iraq over its Kuwait invasion
1991 US 5th Special Forces Group entered Iraq to carry out covert ops behind Iraqi
            lines during Gulf War
1991 Iraqi terrorist tried to bomb US Information Service HQ in Philippines in retaliation for Gulf 
            War
1992 Report Saudis pushed US to help foment military coup in Iraq to topple
            Saddam
2003 US offered Saddam immunity if he departed Iraq to avert war
2003 Pentagon officials leaked info on US invasion plans of Iraq to Time to push back
            against Rumsfeld’s small invasion force
2003 Fmr UN inspector David Kay OpEd in Wash Post said UN weapons inspectors would never 
            find any hard evidence against Iraq
2004 Iraqi Governing Council went to UN to ask it for help with transition to
            sovereignty against wishes of CPA
2004 100,000 marched in Baghdad calling for early elections
2004 US Cmdr in Iraq Gen Sanchez ordered secret investigation into Abu Ghraib
            prison abuse
2007 US arrested Abdul al-Daraji and Ali Smaisin for running death squads for
Sadr
2014 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told his fighters to march towards Baghdad

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Churchill In His Own Words On Mesopotamia/Iraq


A recent article outlined how England’s War and later Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill’s main focus after World War I was to save money. England had expended a huge amount to fight the war, and then faced continued obligations and conflicts in Ireland, Palestine, Russia, Turkey, and Mesopotamia/Iraq. In the latter, the British had seized the Ottoman provinces of Basra and Baghdad as part of a strategy to attack the Turks from the east. After the war, it took Mosul as well. The question was then what to do with them.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 18


1981 Saddam accused Iran of getting US spare parts despite US embargo
1981 UN Envoy Palme warned that superpowers may get involved in Iran-Iraq War
1987 Iran ended Op Karbla 6 seized western bank of Shatt al-Arab Iran-Iraq War
1991 Iraq launched missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia at start of Gulf War
1991 Iraqi terrorist tried to blow up US ambassador’s house in Indonesia in retaliation for Gulf War
1993 US UK and France carried out air and missile strikes on Iraq for not cooperating
            with UN inspectors
1996 Iraq agreed to talk about UN Resolution 986 that would create Oil For Food
            program
2003 UN inspectors said sites named by US as WMD facilities had been looked at
            and nothing found
2003 Report Saudis attempted to get Saddam to go into exile to avert war
2004 Truck bomb hit US headquarters at Republican Palace Baghdad Killed 20
            wounded more than 100
2008 Fighting broke out between Soldiers of Heaven and Iraqi forces in Nasiriya and Basra  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Security In Iraq, Jan 8-14, 2018


The number of security incidents remained low for the second week of January 2018. There were very few attacks and casualties. The week did see the return of mass casualty bombings by the Islamic State.

This Day In Iraqi History – Jan 17


1974 Bakr govt held talks with Mustafa Barzani and KDP
1987 Iraq conducted missile and air strikes on Tehran and other major cities 3rd War of
the Cities Iran-Iraq War
1988 Mahdi Hakim killed in Sudan by Iraqi intelligence
1989 US report said Iraq was working on typhoid cholera anthrax for its chemical
            weapons program
1990 Iraq ended foreign travel ban for citizens
1990 Bush admin signed directive for normalized relations with Iraq
1991 Operation Desert Storm-Gulf War started to expel Iraq from Kuwait Coalition
            began air campaign against Iraq
1993 US UK and France carried out air and missile strikes on Iraq for not cooperating
            with UN inspectors
2002 Gen Franks briefed his commanders at CENTCOM on initial Iraq war plans for 1st
            time
2003 CIA report said Iraq had rebuilt its nuclear program Said were reports Iraq tried to
            buy uranium from Africa
2003 CIA told Joint Chiefs of Staff that it had some reports that Iraq tried to buy
            uranium from Africa
2003 Blair agreed to 1 UK division and 3 combat brigades for Iraq War to be deployed
            in south
2003 UN inspectors after 4 inspections said Fallujah II chlorine plant inoperative US
            claimed it was producing WMD
2008 Hawija Dist Head said Sahwa would be formed there Didn’t need Peshmerga
2010 Chemical Ali sentenced to death for Halabja attack
2011 Parliament passed VP law taking away their power

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 16


1948 Communists led protests against new Anglo-Iraq Treaty Fired upon by police
            4 killed Led to large sectors of country to turn against treaty
1981 UN Envoy Palme visited Iran and Iraq to try to negotiate ceasefire in war
1995 UN asked Iran to relocate 4,000 Shiite refugees away from border which Iraq
            had claimed was being used for base for attacks
2003 UN inspectors found 12 missile warheads that could carry WMD not included
            in Iraq’s 2002 weapons declaration
2003 Blair told cabinet 2nd UN resolution was not necessary for military action against Iraq even 
            though he was told it was
2003 Future ORHA head Garner met with Rumsfeld and UnderSecDef Feith Rumsfeld
            said no coordination of postwar planning
2003 Rumsfeld told future ORHA head Garner he needed to consult with different US
            agencies coordinate postwar plans
2003 Garner said in WWII US spent years planning for postwar and he was only given
            a few weeks for Iraq
2003 CIA received docs claiming Iraq-Niger uranium deal Sent to State Dept to be
            translated Turned out to be fakes
2003 UnderSecDef Feith memo to Rumsfeld said Iraq-Syria pipeline should be kept
            open after invasion to see whether Syria would cooperate with US
2004 US military spokesman Gen Kimmit talked about allegations and investigations
            into Abu Ghraib prison abuse
2004 30,000 Protested in Basra against U.S. installing an unelected provincial govt
2012 Baghdad complained to Turkey’s ambassador about Ankara accusing Maliki of
            spreading sectarianism Turkey did same to Iraq’s ambassador to Ankara 

Monday, January 15, 2018

PM Abadi’s Alliance With Hashd’s Fatah List Comes And Goes


A day after Prime Minister Haidar Abadi announced that he had made a deal with the Hashd’s Fatah list it was cancelled. January 11 was the Election Commission’s deadline to sign up coalitions for the upcoming vote. Instead of ending talks between parties, it seemed to only accelerate them even though they could no longer run together. At that time, Prime Minister Haidar Abadi was in discussions with the Fatah group made up of 20 pro-Iran Hashd factions. The two disagreed over where Abadi and Fatah leader Hadi Amiri of Badr would be on the ballot, each wanted to be listed first, with talk that the latter also wanted to replace Abadi as prime minister. Those differences were overcome, and the two signed an agreement on January 14. That just meant the two would cooperate as they could not be an official alliance. Abadi had two inspirations for this move. First, was to isolate Vice President Nouri al-Maliki who was hoping to depose Abadi. The VP aligned with the pro-Iran Hashd during the war against the Islamic State hoping to achieve that, but in recent months they have moved away from each other. Second, Abadi wanted to hold onto the premiership, so even though he and Fatah have diametrically opposed views on Iraq he was willing to come to an agreement with them for short term gain. Within a day however, the two moved apart.

This Day In Iraqi History – Jan 15


1923 UK Treasury wrote Iraq commission that Iraq too costly to administer
1929 Sir Henry Dobbs said King Faisal was like a chameleon and drove those
            around him mad
1935 Persia presented border dispute to League of Nations Challenged Iraq’s
            control of Shatt al-Arab
1948 New Anglo-Iraqi Treaty signed British troops withdrew but Iraq tied to
            UK until 1973
1948 Anglo-Iraq Treaty originally included Iraq supplying weapons to Palestinians and
            Iraqi forces taking over Palestine to prevent Jewish state
1983 Saddam went to Riyadh and got approval for oil pipeline through Saudi Arabia
1991 UN deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait ended
1991 Saddam added Allah Akbar to Iraqi flag
2003 CIA told White House that paper on Iraq should say Iraq tried to buy uranium
            from Africa
2003 Blair said 2nd UN resolution not necessary for use of force against Iraq
2003 Report Rumsfeld okayed more aggressive patrols over Iraq no fly zones and
            attacks on Iraq air defense in prep for invasion
2003 Bush received 1st brief on postwar Iraq plans from NSC’s Abrams Went over
            humanitarian aid Emphasized feeding public
2003 Abrams said money had to secretly be sent to aid groups that would work in Iraq
            because they didn’t want to be seen supporting war
2003 Abrams said Oil for Food program would be maintained after invasion to feed
            public
2003 Abrams said that 2 mil Iraqis might be displaced during invasion
2003 NSC officials had gone to military to make sure things like health centers weren’t
            bombed during invasion
2003 Bush thought humanitarian aid after war very important Thought could change
            image of US in Middle East
2003 Aid groups that met with USAID about postwar Iraq plans asked to meet with
            Pentagon leadership Nothing happened
2004 Shiites demonstrated calling for direction elections for new Iraqi govt
2006 Al Qaeda in Iraq created Mujahedeen Shura Council to try to cooperate with
            other insurgent groups
2006 Shura Council was in part created due to Al Qaeda’s suggestion Zarqawi include
            more Iraqis in his jihad
2006 Army of the Victorious joined Mujahadeen Shura Council
2006 US announced more than 2000 military police would work with Iraqi police in the
            field as advisers during Year of the Police
2006 Report $18.6 bil US approved for reconstruction in 2003 would be spent by end
            of 2006 Foreign govts provided only fraction of what they promised
2006 Report Japan pledged $5 bil in reconstruction funds in 2003 Delivered less than
            50% of that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait pledged $1 bil and gave less than 10%
2006 Report Spain England S Korea UAE Italy Canada owed more than $100 mil
            each for their 2003 promises for reconstruction funds
2008 SecState Rice told Talabani Barzani Hashemi Mahdi that Maliki not problem
            they were because they controlled more votes  
2014 Bodies of 14 Sunni men found in Tarmiya day after they were kidnapped by
            men in ISF uniforms and vehicles