As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, a former State Department contracted Cultural Advisor of the last class of Iraqi YES Program students, and having spent roughly 2.5 years in the Baghdad Regional Security Office, I thought it would be important to share with my fellow Americans, 30 snippets from Iraqis who appreciate our sacrifices.
These snippets are comments on the US Embassy Baghdad Facebook post. When you think Iraq is a place we need to remove ourselves from, may I remind you that there are Iraqis who need and cherish our support and continued presence. As a reminder, the militia protestors at the embassy are the not same protesters who have been protesting in Baghdad for the last 3 months while getting gunned down by Iranian-backed security forces.
In a previous writing I annotated how Somali Piracy saved Somalia in part due to its demand for global Actors to come together and work the way they should have in the first place, twenty-plus years ago. I argue the same is true for ISIS in Iraq. Arguably the primary issue with stabilizing Iraq from 2003 to 2011 was the lack of regional affiliates working together, instead they worked against each other. Saudi support for Sunni factions battled Shiite factions supported by Iran. This proxy warfare left the Coalition Forces and the Iraqi people stuck in the middle while paying the price dearly. Stabilizing Iraq without two regional power players fighting it out in the streets of Iraq would have shown to be far easier. Read More
As the SOTU played out Iran was detaining 10 US Navy Sailors as a near PR stunt. And as such they were released soon after: Iran releases 10 US Navy sailors after boat drifted in Persian Gulf. If half of your Facebook friends are like mine there much anger and social media promises to seek revenge against Iran once social media comment at a time.
Time Magazine just published an article on US Foreign aid. It includes top foreign aid recipients by region and country. I get why Afghanistan is the highest recipient of aid here, however there are a few disturbing issues with some of the other countries on here being so high while more strategic countries are not even in the top ten. To begin with, why is Israel higher than Iraq? Israel is a key strategic ally but for gods sake we poured for more of an investment into Iraq and it should be out-ranking Israel by at least a couple billion. If I had the ability to reorganize this list it would look something like this:
This is great news. Foreign investment projects are up about a third from last year, breaking into the 200 millions. If yemen continues on its trajectory of reconciliation, infrastructure, development & security; this investment line will continue increasing. An interesting item to note is that two projects are invested from Iraq.
As the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq – approaches, the global news outlets have been ramping up their pushing of editorials, fact-filled articles and general commentary that seemingly all sell one point: How we lost the war in Iraq.
Today I was quoted by Tess VandenDolder in her article here. Discussing lessons learned 10 years after the invasion into Iraq. This reference is part of a larger piece I am working on regarding how we won the war in Iraq. I believe we often have convinced ourselves that we lost the war in Iraq – though this misunderstanding comes from our focus on the related issues; for example the disdain for Abu Ghraib; intelligence blunders; civilian casualties; fraud, waste and abuse; etc. All of these things take away from the fact that our objective was regime change – which we accomplished very rapidly and very efficiently.