al-Baghdadi administration unlikely to regain original spark

TAPN

“In the beginning we had hopes, not necessarily bright ones, but something, something could happen. We prayed for it,” sighs a Mosul grandmother who’s name she requested we not publish. “Now there is only the sins of the past, again, we have given up.” She gazes out at the mostly deserted streets from her dilapidated house. Her eyes vacant.

Over three years into his first term as the Prophet’s Successor, the administration of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi finds itself on the ropes. Besieged by internal strife and still embroiled in two wars, al-Baghdadi seems unable to cope with a endless litany of troubles. This last month poll numbers showed the Sultan’s ratings at near 30%, the worst for any first term Caliph since Mustafa III.

Even his closest supporters ponder if his Blessed Reign as Caliph has lost all momentum for good. “There’s a sense there’s a complete lack of direction. Nobody’s driving change anymore,” states an ISIS party insider.

Only this week the administration was rocked by yet another scandal, this time a sexual assault allegation against an ISIS party official at a conference in Ramadi. Councilor al-Rousani has vehemently denied the charges laid against him in Sharia Court on Tuesday. He has admitted to the illicit sexual contact but described it as “completely consensual”.   al-Rousani is married.

al-Baghdadi’s spokesmen have struggled to balance party factions, mainly the pro-rape and hardcore Sharia elements, who have lined up against one another. Said his chief mouthpiece, “The Caliph has requested that al-Rousani take a leave of absence. He asks for the Prophet’s Guidance upon the investigation and demands that all withhold judgment until the facts are known.”

1

“We want the old days back…”

The sense of aimlessness is clear on the Tikrit front. Bogged down in the third year of stalemate the Caliphate Regiments are becoming less enthusiastic in fighting a war they view as increasingly separated from the daily lives of their loved ones. Particularly given the incessant economic turmoil back home.

“Those dirty bastards in Mosul, they have no idea what this is like,” sneered one private, to the wide agreement of his colleagues. “Indeed, they’re just a bunch of bandits,” cried another.

The sense that even the Sultan’s closest military advisors are detached from the sufferings of the Ruled were apparent in Sharia Court this week as High Councilor Colonel bin-Fatad was formally charged with bribery in the now infamous Prophet’s Wind attack helicopter procurement fiasco.

bin-Fatad pleaded not guilty to the charges that he aggressively sought and received bribes from French defense contractor EADS. Although bin-Fatad strenuously denies the accusations, it is said various low ranking officers have cut deals with the Prophet’s Prosecutor and will testify against him.

And in France this week President Hollande is said to believe charges are required against EADS employees who, “clearly violated our laws that when we sell French kit to evil, that it should be above board at all times”. The Sultan is thought to have told his advisors that at the very least, bin-Fatad needed to “lose his cock”.

That millions may have found their way into pockets angers those at the front. “We’re fighting Iran every day and they just take all our cash before we see one dinar,” griped a grizzled first sergeant.

“In the old days we had victories, now we just have battles that never end. And how can we win with this, just look at this,” the first sergeant kicked a dusted, green Huawei radio, “this thing is so complicated and nonfunctional that I have to send two corporals to schools just to get this thing to turn on. But nobody has any school quotas, so the thing just sits here and doesn’t work. We generally use it to hold down the daily orders book from the wind.”

The sergeant shakes his head in confusion, “Once upon a time I had only my Land Rover, my Kalashnikov, and my faith. And we won victory after victory. We ran circles around the apostates. Now I can’t even lead a single patrol without writing three drafts of a seven paragraph order and run it up five officers to get to the Company Commander. It’s like writing how you know you’ll lose. We want the old days back.”

2

“Not the dictator we need…”

In Raqqah, near the ever-present western front, the dissatisfaction was widely described by local students at a “values talking shop”. Sipping tea at sunset they described a future they viewed as without hope, without job prospects, and while trapped in a country that did not honor their dreams.

“When the Caliph assumed power we thought things were different, that he’d bring about Paradise here on this life,” said one university senior majoring in philosophy. “But now all we see is the same games, the same corruption. We want change.”

And yet change has been consistently not forthcoming, both in the wars, and with the al-Baghdadi agenda. Still alongside dictators al-Assad and al-Maliki, supporters questioned whether the three were inherently tied to each other’s static fates.

Said the ISIS party insider, “al-Baghdadi doesn’t want to stay equal with the two of them, but he can’t escape their grasp. Yet since he’s the Caliph, people are always expecting him to deliver, to overcome the two of them. But al-Assad and al-Maliki have Iran and the Sultan only has the Will of the Prophet. What can you do?”

The students in Raqqah were harsher, “He’s not the dictator we need. If this Prophet’s Successor can’t fulfill our destiny then it’s time to find somebody who can.” Although the values group was unsure how they would conduct such a power transfer given the al-Baghdadi administration’s propensity to liquidate its most fervent enemies in a sea of brutality that makes Stalin’s ghost flinch.

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“You can’t hide behind a title…”

This next week promises two greater challenges that might perhaps truly test what remains of al-Baghdadi’s authority. On Wednesday, the Prophet’s Court provides its final ruling on the much touted water usage rights on the Tigris. On Friday, the High Council reaches its deadline to pass the next fiscal year’s expenditures. Either event might prove fatal to the administration’s future.

“For three years the Caliph has promised economic prosperity and now he’s hiding behind the courts,” shouted al-Qaeda opposition party official al-Nir. “If the Sultan won’t stand up even to ensure all our people have clean drinking water then what’s the Caliphate for except to keep the rich, rich?”

Caliphate watchers were nearly unanimous in their belief that the High Council would not pass its budget on time due to the overwhelming disagreement over line-item additions inputted by Fallujah representatives in back room dealing last week. International financial institutions warned that yet more financial hurdles would only weaken the Caliphate’s already damaged credit rating.

“Increasingly the markets are concerned that the Sultanate can’t even pay its bills, let alone grow the economy consistently,” commented one BNP Paribas manager, “I think what we’ll ultimately see is the financial community lose faith and perhaps a downgrade of the bond rating to near junk”.

“You can’t hide behind a title,” emphasized al-Nir, “if the Sultan can’t deliver on his promises maybe it’s time to go.” And go he might. In private al-Baghdadi is said to frequently express exasperation with the challenges of office and frustration at the inability of most of his subordinates to produce results. He is said to frequently seek “detachment” in the peace of the desert where he states his intention is to “go fuck off”.

He is said to actively consider retirement from time-to-time but worries of the consequences. “He thinks if a new Caliph appears that he’ll get beheaded along with his whole family,” stated the ISIS party insider, “in reality he’s probably right. But that leaves the rest of us to endure his malaise.”

Back in Mosul the concept of a brutal bloodthirsty purge of leadership has no appeal for the grandmother. “I just want there to be peace, and maybe a little money to go around. But I don’t see it, not from al-Baghdadi or the opposition. We’ve lost faith in them all.”

4

Failure due to lack of vision is not solved by panicked action

In Revenge of the Jedi, as the Emperor is instructing Luke in the arts of religious politics, he informs Luke that he’ll, “pay the price for your lack of vision”. And then proceeds to shock his body with computer generated electricity. Of course at that point, the Emperor had about three minutes to live. So it would appear he was the guy without vision. And just as the arrogant Emperor believed he owned everything, but actually had no vision, so it goes for the current and previous emperors of America.

Since 2003 every single American leader in major power has had a substantial lack of foresight. Please note the equal application of failure from Bush, Obama, and all their underlings. As we’ve discussed, each side is attempting to now blame the other in order to sharpen their political swords. What does this matter to the rest of the world? If America has failed, then America has failed. A refugee in Mosul does not care about the midterm elections.

Both presidents botched this war. Place blame however you want. It’s irrelevant right now. It’s just noise for the media. But what I find amusing is the various actions proposed to solve the problem at hand. The two sides that bungled their actions and created this mess are now racing toward the funeral with their various solutions. Hey assholes, you all screwed this up in the first place. Why should anybody listen to your arrogant wisdom on how you’ll sweep up your own mess?

Here is what each side would say if they were honest with themselves, the people, the planet, and reality:

– Bush, Supporters, Etc

“We’re sorry. We tried to fight war on the cheap and fast. We had no concept of history, time, and reality. Once we discovered how large the task was, we lied to the world about our power, capability, and will. Instead of mobilizing the entire might of America to save Iraq after we broke it, we asked our citizens to go shopping while 0.6% of the population carried the burden of war for over a decade. We treated them like heroes even though we were asking them to fight the war alone because we were too cowardly to tell the rest of the country what it would take to win. We failed to explain to our nation that in order to succeed, we’d have to remain in Iraq for fifty years and spend trillions. We demanded the other side continue our war even as we still were intellectually dishonest with America about just what it would entail to win said war. When the other side actually ended the war, we rightly predicted disaster, but generally kept our mouths shut because we didn’t want to alienate an electorate that fully supported an end to American participation. Now that Iraq as collapsed, for political purposes we’re going to spin it as a disaster the other side created even though no American actually cares or wants anything to do with Iraq anymore.”

– Obama, Supporters, Etc

“We’re sorry. Most of us, except for our current leader, supported this war from the start because we knew we’d win. And America loves winners. So we wanted to be winners too. But then we realized we were losing. And we discovered, like our counterparts, just how hard this was going to be. So in a wind of cynicism and hypocrisy we changed our minds and began to lie and obfuscate how much we were in favor of this fight at the beginning. When we got power, we had no choice but to end the war because we’d won power opposing its continuance and because our people asked for it. We knew we’d take the risk of breaking Iraq by leaving, but we didn’t care. We just needed to end the war. And we tried to spin it as a victory for our own political advantage even though any rational person would know it wasn’t actual victory. We gave America what it wanted, and now America is shouting at us because we lost Iraq. Well, what did you expect? We knew what we were doing when we ended it. This is what happens. Go back to shopping and shut your mouths while we attempt to blame the folks who started this war to cover ourselves. Even though we know we ended it wrong, we don’t care. And you know what, in their hearts, neither does any American.”

So now these gangs of idiots are going to solve this somehow. With what? Airstrikes, Maliki’s removal, support from Iran, space-based-death-rays? Whatever. Any solution that either side has offered this last week will fail. Because they all contain a lack of vision. You cannot fix Iraq with panicked short term actions. That kind of next sound bite leadership is what created this disaster in the first place.

Both sides are led by losers who gooned this up. The American citizen does not actually care about Iraq because they were never asked to invest anything in its future. Does that mean the best answer is to do nothing? Well, no. Very little bad can come from American jets sending the incinerated remains of ISIS members into the stratosphere. And talking to Iran, who’s the real power in Iraq right now, is probably not the worst of ideas since they’re the only country in it to win it. 

But I guess my point here is don’t expect results. The guys who created this mess aren’t going to fix it with short term choices. Iraq was a basketcase before 2003, it still is now, and it’ll be so ten years from now. Accept it, calm down, and make the best of this awful situation. But don’t demand real answers. Not from these leaders. Not from either side.

In the end this is all a growing trend for the world to observe. America, under the leadership of either half of the political spectrum, with this current citizenry, is no longer a reliable power. Military and economic might is nothing if it’s not backed by a cohesive strategy, principled leadership, a distinct vision, and a population with the will to take long term action. Lots of people on the planet will favor this new world order and be glad that America’s out of effective play. But I suspect if you live in Donetsk, Tbilisi, Riga, Manila, Osaka, Tunis, or Mosul, that you don’t. Whether you admit it or not.

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Two leaders unfit for war

This is what it looks like when history overcomes the actions of man

Sometimes what you do just doesn’t matter. Sometimes what whole countries do, or even the entire planet does, just doesn’t matter. Folks occasionally refer to this as the ‘great wheel’. History takes over or chaos reigns.

Because when people aren’t serious, lunacy gets to run wild. By any definition, Maliki, America, the UN, your next door neighbor, you, me, were not serious about Iraq. And so history got to work its magic. Enjoy it, we all own it.

At first I considered the possibility that Maliki was allowing ISIS to seize significant portions of Iraq so he could effectively divest himself of the majority Sunni lands. Then he could keep Baghdad, the majority Shiite lands, and build his own Shiite super state. What does he need the northwest for anyways? There’s hardly any oil, a bunch of Sunnis who he hates live there, and so on.

Yet today I’m confronted with the reality that Maliki isn’t playing a game. He’s actually completely powerless. The withdrawal or desertion of Iraqi forces is not part of a broader devious plan. They’re actually losing. Maliki does not have a functioning army under his command. How do I know this? Because the Kurds took Kirkuk today and didn’t fire a shot.

If you know anything about Iraq the last few years, it’s that if Iraq was going to descend into civil war, it was to be over Kirkuk. There’s oil there. And the autonomous Kurds and Baghdad were literally ready to trade tank rounds over it. One of the top three reasons everybody thought the Americans needed to stay was to ensure the Kurds and Shiites didn’t kill each other over Kirkuk. The Americans were the neutral party.

So if Maliki isn’t able to hold Kirkuk, he’s truly in trouble. Thus, observe one of history’s great lessons, once again on display. When you turn a reasonable standing army into a tribal militia where merit and training are replaced by religion and politics? Don’t be surprised when a battalion runs away from sixteen guys in four pickup trucks.

So what’s going to happen? ISIS isn’t going to seriously tangle with the Kurds because their forces are fairly good. Maliki is likely to hold Baghdad because ISIS just doesn’t have the firepower or manpower to overcome even the seriously degraded Iraqi Army. But the Shiites aren’t going to be able to retake the northwest, even if they wanted to.

So the Kurds will get their fully autonomous state in the north, with Kirkuk. Maliki will get his Shiite state in the southeast with Baghdad. And the Sunnis will get the northwest and be left to rot, under ISIS lunatics or anybody else who has enough guns to hold it.

So finally, after all these years, after all the war and death, after all the back room diplomacy, Iraq is finally divided into three parts.

In other words, every single action post 2003 is now a failure.

Who’s to blame? Well, I’ll probably write about that later. But don’t listen to idiots who are already telling you they had it figured out back in 2003 or 2005 or 2009 or 2011. It did not have to end this way even after it started or was changed. Folks who have an axe to grind are going to use this to push their politics, one side or the other. But in general, the answer for who’s to blame is:

Everybody

Everybody had a hand in this. So for right now, who cares? The question currently on offer is what’s to be done about this? I could answer that, but for right now, who cares? Why? Because the real answer is that the world’s going to do nothing. Nothing. Everybody’s going to watch Iraq burn. So since we’re going to do nothing, why even talk options. Let’s just sit back and observe the great wheel doing its thing. Enjoy it, the whole world owns it.

iraq

This man’s face and this scene have occurred in Iraq seventeen times since the dawn of man