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Iraq and Syria

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, June 16th, 2014 - 77 comments
Categories: International, iraq, john key, national, Syria, war - Tags:

The Middle East has been in the news recently for all of the wrong reasons.

Syria has been disintegrating as the the effects of a brutal civil war become more pronounced. It started in March 2011 after protests against President Bashar al-Assad, inspired by uprisings in the wider Arab world, were met with extreme force. The cost, 160,000 deaths and over a million refugees in Lebanon is mind numbingly huge.  It is difficult to imagine how life can return to normal.  The country itself has divided into two areas, one controlled by the President’s forces and the rest controlled by a variety of warlords.  Starvation and Chemical Weapons are amongst the methods used to maintain control.  The flood of refugees has the potential of undermining the surrounding states.

Next door in Iraq things are potentially more dire.  The group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has overrun large parts of the country despite being poorly equipped.  The vacuum in power has raised hopes amongst the Kurds that the long desired state of Kurdistan may become a reality.  Already parts of Northern Syria are in Kurdish control.

Recent events made the administration of Nouri al-Maliki appear to be largely irrelevant.  The Iraqi Parliament recently failed to obtain a quorum to discuss the extreme threat that ISIS poses to the country.  Unbelievable.

Iraq has for many decades been a play thing for the Americans.  Saddam Hussein’s Baath party gained power with CIA assistance in the 1960s.  It then engaged in a reign of terror on its people and built a powerful grip on the country through the nationalisation of oil wells and banks.  Hussein’s behaviour became more extreme and brutal.  The Americans and English eventually invaded on the pretext that Iraq was holding weapons of mass destruction, which were never found.

If there is a general lesson here then it is that Military intervention into a country does not work.  If you want to effect change then diplomacy, aid, and the provision of education are much more likely to work than violence.

I was interested to see what John Key’s views to the military intervention in Iraq has been over the years.  And having had a look through I must say they leave something to be desired.

There is this Herald report summarising two earlier articles as follows:

The first story stated that Mr Key and Rodney MP Lockwood Smith could support a war against Iraq without United Nations’ support, and carried a paragraph indirectly quoting Mr Key as being “prepared to commit any support requested by the United States for a war against Iraq, including SAS and combat troops”.

In Parliament on September 10, 2003 Key said this about an international proposal to allow ships to be boarded and searched for weapons of mass destruction:

What sorts of countries are in that agreement? I look down the list and I see Australia; yes, the roos are there. So is Britain. So is the United States. Our traditional allies are in this agreement. Where is our name? Missing! It is “MIA” just like it was during the war in Iraq—missing.

This country will pay for that—members need not worry about that. There will be no US free-trade arrangement with New Zealand.

It appears that Key was in support of following the United States and the United Kingdom into a war that was frankly insane.  The search for weapons of mass destruction has still not turned up one weapon.

Rather awkwardly Key then said that the National Caucus did not support sending troops to Iraq.  Read the above and make your own mind up.  It was reinforced by Simon Power who on May 1, 2004 said “[w]ithout reservation we will support our close allies Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States when and wheresoever our commitment is called upon.”

TV3 coverage of the issue and Labour’s sustained attack on Key for his duplicity was fascinating.

And in Parliament Michael Cullen showed his biting wit after the onslaught on Key by asking “[i]s it fair to conclude that Mr Key has finally been the first person to find a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq, and it blew up in his face?”

Key’s position now is much more cautious.  He was interviewed this morning on Morning Report by Guyon Espiner who unfortunately did not ask him the hard questions.   But it is relevant for us to know when and why did he change his views on Iraq?

And for those interested Labour’s position is that a Cunliffe led Government would not contribute combat troops to Iraq under any foreseeable circumstances and that New Zealand would consider other ways to contribute to multilateral action only if there was an appropriate resolution by the United Nations Security Council.

77 comments on “Iraq and Syria”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    Can Cunliffe explain what a foreseeable circumstance is.

    It sounds like fence sitting to me

    • Populuxe1 1.1

      Of course it is. If the UN mandated peacekeeping intervention he’d be in like flynn

      • Matthew Hooton 1.1.1

        If we are on the Security Council, Prime Minister Cunliffe would have to decide which way to vote on intervention, not just say “we’ll do what the Security Council says”.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1

          In which case he will be guided (at least in part) by the outcome of a democratic process (party policy). Tell me Matthew, how does policy get made in the National Party?

          • Matthew Hooton 1.1.1.1.1

            Decisions on using the military in dangerous situations are made by the cabinet, which is responsible to parliament, which is responsible to the voters. Parliament usually debates the matter and could of course vote no confidence in the government if it disagreed with the cabinet’s decision, causing new elections (or at least a new government being formed). I don’t think so-called “democratic processes” within particular political parties should be used to make decisions like this. The act of joining a party and giving a donation in time and money should not give anyone a special say about sending the military overseas.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Much better to join a cabinet club instead.

            • Tom Gould 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Indeed, Matthew, you neatly outline the difference between government and opposition consultation and decision making on such matters. But what’s your point?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1.3

              You’d rather foreign policy be made by lobbyists and Warner Brothers.

    • tas 1.2

      Good. I’d like to believe that if the Iraq situation degenerated to, say, a genocide, then NZ would be willing to send peacekeepers.

  2. Colonial Viper 3

    Iraq? Why are we talking about Saddam Hussein’s country like it still exists as a country? The corrupt, divisive Maliki government favoured by the US ruled on a sectarian basis. Favouring the majority Shia in the south, and humiliating the Sunnis who had previously backed Saddam.

    Now, the ISIS/ISIL Sunni militants are said to have no more than 7000 or 8000 men at arms. How on earth did they manage to rout tens of thousands of Iraqi military out of Mosul, Tikrit, etc?

    Simple – the Sunni locals were so pissed off with the Baghdad pro-Shia government, they supported these ISIS/ISIL extremists – who are all foreigners – in a local revolt against Baghdad led forces.

    As for the US and their allies Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc who have been fuelling the civil war in Syria with the provision of arms etc to groups like ISIS/ISIL. Those same monies and arms are now being turned against the US supported gov in Baghdad,

    And the US looks like it will have to fight along side Iran, in order to salvage this unmitigated foreign policy disaster.

    US Embassy in Baghdad Green Zone partially evacuated as a precaution

    http://www.news.com.au/world/the-us-embassy-is-preparing-to-evacuate-baghdad-as-tal-afar-falls-and-iraq-masses-forces-at-samarrah/story-fndir2ev-1226955492200

    Well that’s a vote of confidence in the Maliki govt right?

  3. Colonial Viper 4

    ISIS/ISIL gains $400M in cash and gold from looted Mosul Central Bank

    Well, they just became the wealthiest terrorist grouping in the world.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-11/al-qaeda-jihadis-loot-over-400-million-mosul-central-bank-seize-saddams-hometown

    • Populuxe1 4.1

      I think that would still be Wahabi Islam

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        well if you count the monies of the various parts of the Saudi Royal Family who support Wahabism yeah maybe you are right.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2

      If they own the bank they just print the money anyway, remember?

  4. Ad 5

    I do not believe a successful UN-led military intervention into Iraq or Syria is even able to be imagined, let alone successful.

    Schadenfreude about US involvement in Iraq isn’t really helpful. I cannot see the US and Iran cooperating militarily, ever. The trust is lower than Roosevelt with Stalin.

    Nor would Saudi Arabia and Iraq ever be able to co-operate militarily with Iran – they are competing Islamic forms.

    I do see it likely that Iran will act protect the interests of its version of Islam, once they are threatened. That does mean escalation across the Iraqi border.

    The military and political silence from Saudi Arabia and Jordan so far is interesting. Since this is clearly destined to play out for a couple of years more, which extreme form of Islam will win out in the region?

    And what will the borders of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan look like in five years time? My bet is the ISIS aims will be achieved and there will be an amalgamated state – at humanitarian cost not yet seen since the Pakistan-India partition.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Nor would Saudi Arabia and Iraq ever be able to co-operate militarily with Iran – they are competing Islamic forms.

      Slight error there – the Baghdad govt is pro-Shia and Iran is a Shia theocracy. They got on together just fine. The last thing Iran wants to see are Sunni militants taking out the friendly Shia govt in Baghdad.

      Which is why they have sent their elite Quds forces into Iraq to help Baghdad out. Apparently Iranian forces were instrumental in pushing ISIS back out of Tikrit in the last 48 hrs.

      • Ad 5.1.1

        Happy to be corrected – imagine if Iran finally becaome the good guys – what will FoxNews make of that?

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          I think they’ll cope with the cognitive dissonance – the Right did fine with the transition of Saddam/Iraq from being the good guys we help in the war against Iran, to them being ME aggressors and WMD bad guys no.1.

          US oil majors would love a piece of the business out of Iran’s massive but under utilised oil fields. That alone could influence the US to eventually be more open minded about Iran.

          • DS 5.1.1.1.1

            Except that you’re talking cogitive dissonance on a far greater scale. 1979-80 still casts a massive shadow over the way the US views the Middle-East, especially the US Right.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.2

            We have always been at peace with Iran.

  5. Colonial Viper 6

    Maps of the conflict.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-13/lines-sand-5-key-maps-middle-east-crisis

    To be clear, ISIS/ISIL have a goal of setting up a fundamentalist Sharia Law state extending across the northern part of both Syria and Iraq, breaking apart the current borders of those two countries.

    The secular Ba’ath state of Saddam Hussein kept a lid on this kind of sectarian violence, but George Bush and Tony Blair though they knew better ~12 years ago when they marched in there with guns blazing.

  6. Wayne 7

    I think the most significant part of the current schnozzle is Iran and its relationship with the US (and on this CV is right).

    In my view for the past year Iran looks like it wants to strike a grand bargain with the US, not as it was when the Shah was in power. But a sufficiently comprehensive relationship so that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States could no longer take the US for granted, and therefore be able to support all sorts of things without too many consequences.

    For Iran, it would mean being able to be a “normal “state again, free from sanctions, and able to have comprehensive international relationships. For the US, ending a “cold war” that has lasted 35 years, diversification of its oil supplies, and having access to a market of 100 million people.

    Arguably ISIS has hastened this process. But it won’t be good news for ISIS.

    I would be surprised if Iraq is the main topic of conversation for the PM and President Obama. Both of them know how to compartmentalize discussions, and Iraq is just not that important to NZ/US relations. I am sure Asia Pacific matters will dominate, including TPP.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Arguably ISIS has hastened this process. But it won’t be good news for ISIS.

      And its worthwhile here to understand who has been funding the extremist Sunni fundamentalists of ISIS/ISIL (who are so extreme that even Al Qaeda in Syria booted them out and now treat them as enemies):

      SAUDI ARABIA (using US oil money, ironically).

      The Sauds appear to want to solidify their dominance in the region by destabilising Syria, getting rid of the Iraqi Shia govt, and isolating Iran even further.

      Problem is that this may be backfiring on them big time…

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Imagine the borders of Saudi Arabia extending from the Mediterranean, to Turkey, absorbing Jordan and Syria. Lawrence! Lawrence!

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          I do believe that the going terminology is a “Caliphate.”

          • Ad 7.1.1.1.1

            Yes – Siege of Vienna redux is next.
            And Books 5 and 6 of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, where it really goes to shit.

            Where is Charlemagne when you need him?

            • Bastables 7.1.1.1.1.1

              You are conflating the Ottoman Empire with the early Caliphate under Abu Bakar, Umar or Uthman and the Umayyad Caliphate all in two sentences. . .

              A magnificent butchering of history, well done. You have just as much grasp of the complexities of the region and it’s peoples as Bush II and his gang of imbeciles.

              • Ad

                If you can’t see each reference as relevant stepping off points, you’re not in the right shop.

                You want to propose your own historiography of conflict, write your own post. Or argue against the relevance of historical context here – do it.

                But don’t be crass. It’s unworthy.

                • mickysavage

                  Agreed. My post was a real once over lightly report on a couple of matters and ignore thousands of years of historical detail. If you want that check out Robert Fisk’s and Gwynne Dyer’s writing on the subject. There is a huge amount of historical context. There are also two countries that are failing and the evidence is clear to see.

                • Bastables

                  The Ottomans had the first Kingdom of saud (Salafist or whahabi) destroyed with the execution of Abdullah bin Saud after his capture by Egyptian (only nominally under control by the pasha in Istanbul) forces in 1818.
                  Your points are not relevant stepping off points as they make it appear as if Islam single mindedly focused on attacking “europe” and paint islam as a monolithic entity.

                  The selective references point more to arguments raised by Islamophobes, which are the same simplifications that have led to the horrific mishandling in “Iraq” resulting in the current insanity.

                  I see exactly where your stepping off points are leading to and spring from.

                  • Gosman

                    The whole point about Islam is it us meant to be a monolithic political entity. That was how it was set up and us what the vast majority of Muslims agree with. It is just the form of that entity that is in dispute.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sounds like sophistry to me Gos.

                      You may as well say that Protestants and Catholics are one nation.

                    • Gosman

                      Not really. Until the Romans co-opted it for their own political ends Christianity was more a matter of individual choice and lifestyle. The same could never be stated about Islam. It was from the outset a political movement as much as a religious one. Muhammed held power in a secular manner. Indeed Islam itself means to surrender oneself to the laws and way of God. This is done via submission to a rigid set of rules or laws which form the basis of any Islamic society. This is why it is more likely for Muslims to argue people should live like they did 1400 years ago than it is for say Christian’s to do so.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      No, Gosman, if some foreign enemy (Iceland for example) were giving the Exclusive Brethren tactical support and funding they’d be just as big a problem for us as ISIS are for the Shia.

                      Religious fundamentalism is not the exclusive preserve of Islam.

                    • Gosman

                      The Exclusive Brethren don’t have a policy to take political control and impose their fundamentalist brand of Christianity on people who disagree with them as far as I am aware.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Do you think that millions of dollars spent over decades by those Icelanders desperate to control the active volcano and rich mythology tourist market, and the consequent installation of a brutal dictatorship might help focus their attention?

                    • Bastables

                      No that’s a projection GOS, Islam is not a monolithic entity anymore than Christianity, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism (any religion is) ect ect is. Like Christianity and Buddhism any single interpretation basis of belief does not long survive the death of the “Prophet”.

                      Treating it as a monolithic entity certainly helps in demonising it and othering a large swath of human beings and was/is especially useful in the colonial process.

                      Alain Quellien French colonial diplomat “For some, the Muslim is the natural and irreconcilable enemy of the Christian and the European; Islam is the negation of civilization, and barbarism, bad faith and cruelty are the best one can expect from the Mohammedans.”

                      All this eurocentric filth ignores that there is a current struggle between competing forms that but their very existence and actions continue to highlight Islam has never been monolithic.

                      Kurds Sunni
                      Kurdish Shia
                      Turkoman Sunni
                      Turkoman Shia
                      various Arab Sunni (african, leventine, gulf . . . )
                      Arab Shia, 12’r shia, 7’r shia . . . .
                      Various form of Sufism
                      Alawites Shia
                      Persian Shia
                      Salifism
                      Khajirite
                      and on and on and on as religion and ethnicity provide boundary markers and community identification.

                      A narrow and pointless Eurocentric view point of course misreads the issue, the people and the religion. This same mental fuckery that led to the misguided invasion of arab socialist baathist Iraq to punish Al Quadia (hostile to Baathists).

                      Because really aren’t all towel heads the same thinking is why now a much more virulent strain of Salifisms is executing unarmed pw and “non compliant civilians”. Non compliance also including adding Ali’s name to ones prayers to the same God of “adam and eve”.

                      But chicken hawks and misreading/butchering of history are always correlated it seems.

                    • Gosman

                      I didn’t state all Muslims are bad. I stated that for the vast majority of Muslims Islam is a monolithic political movement. This is against where Christianity is now for example. Sure there may be a few Muslims not supportive of this interpretation but they are marginalized at best. If Muslims want better relations with the rest of us then it would be beholden on them to drop the more unpleasant views of their faith. No different to White South Africans under Apartheid.

                    • Bastables

                      Your bigotry is as horrific as your Misogyny and pathetic as your chicken hawk tendencies.

                      Not all Muslims are bad just most of them according to the misrepresentation of them with in Gosmans odious little mind.

                      wiki surface primer on how divergent and rich the competing interpretations of a religion are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_philosophy.

                      Reza Aslan’s book “No God But God” is a accessible survey of the evolution of Islam and has a comprehensive .

                      Some of the material it covers includes material of Middle eastern thinkers under colonialism: “We Egyptians believed once in English Liberalism and English sympathy; but we believe no longer, for facts are stronger than words. Your liberalness we see plainly is only for yourselves, and your sympathy with us is that of the wolf for the lamb which he designs to eat.” Muhammad Abdu (1845-1950).

                      Western neo-liberal fuckery tracks pretty similar to colonial fuckery, with the same well spring of hate rage and blood it engenders. Selective reading of history in order to “other” fellow human beings, the thinking process of a Chicken Hawk, misogynist, and a bigot.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    It’s all very well bringing Iran in from the cold. What will Israel make of this?

                    • Gosman

                      You assume that Iran will get concessions to help out. Iran is just as afraid of the situation in Iraq spinning out of control as the US is.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      That isn’t how it works Gosman. Small nations owe service, large nations, protection (Lao Tzu). The US will be helping Iran as much as the other way around, and whether or not this results in a public softening of relations, those relations will nonetheless be strengthened by the experience.

                    • mike

                      See here.The project for the new middle east map.
                      Map at bottom of page.

                      http://www.globalresearch.ca/iran-and-america-joins-hands-in-waging-the-global-war-on-terrorism/5387998

                      America’s desperation to contain China on the great Eurasian continent,China wanting to build railway lines to Europe and Russia. Dairy produce from France, Europe, etc, etc. The petrodollar exposed and devalued, America Banjaxed.

                      All here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/ the best most informative Geopolitical website on the internet.

      • Gosman 7.1.2

        Qatar is more influencing matters than Saudi.

  7. Anne 8

    I am sure Asia Pacific matters will dominate, including TPP.

    Of course they will. NZ is an important strategic cog in the South Pacific – especially now with China’s rise to super-power status. That is why John Key is getting all this attention from Barack Obama – not because he’s regarded as an important (and enlightened 😯 ) personage in his own right. It is no coincidence that Tony (dumb,dumb) Abbott has just been to the White House for a chin wag with the President.

    Love to be a fly on the Oval Office wall.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      and the Situation Room

    • AmaKiwi 8.2

      “NZ is an important strategic cog in the South Pacific”

      because of our massive high tech industrial output, our enormous military might, and our strategic location: a dagger aimed at the heart of Antarctica.

      If a reasonable size power invaded NZ at first light, we would surrender before morning tea.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        Antarctica will have the last unclaimed oil and gas reserves in the world and the major powers will want it in 30-40 years when large parts of the ice are gone.

        The US base in Christchurch give them a head start that China and Russia will not be able to match.

        • AmaKiwi 8.2.1.1

          CV, you’re always the optimist. I think if there are any humans around in 30-40 years they’ll be clubbing rats for dinner and frying cockroaches over a wood fire.

          By most forecasts Dunedin will be one of the few habitable places on the planet by then and I can’t picture them hauling an oil rig with a waka.

  8. well said Mr Savage…

  9. Weepu's beard 10

    Please take that photo off the front page. There’s no need for it.

    [lprent Authors choice. ]

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Why do you think that WP? The whole situation is appalling and I thought there should be a photo to match.

      • Weepu's beard 10.1.1

        It’s no match, it’s too graphic. Is the child dead? Is she alive? Photos convey horror more than words.

        I think there are other images just as powerful but not as blunt. You wouldn’t put that in the paper or on TV. Public forums are the same now.

        • mickysavage 10.1.1.1

          I have changed the image WB. Children are featured but no violence.

          • Weepu's beard 10.1.1.1.1

            Appreciated. I fully understand your point. We don’t grasp acute terror unless we are made to look at it.

        • Psycho Milt 10.1.1.2

          You wouldn’t put that in the paper or on TV.

          You would in the Middle East – there’s no pixellating out the consequences of violence in their media. But yeah, God forbid anyone should actually get an idea of what’s going on over there by seeing photos of it.

    • Anne 10.2

      @ Weepu’s beard.

      Yes, its very upsetting, but it is in keeping with the post. Its a terrible situation and there’s nothing like a real image to remind us just how terrible it is.

      We must be constantly reminded.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        Interesting how the western power elite say its all for the greater good that they intervened in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan etc…I wonder if this is what they meant…a body count in the hundreds of thousands in Syria, and over a million in Iraq.

        • AmaKiwi 10.2.1.1

          It’ a matter of perspective. The American Negro slaves had a song based on the Exodus story: “Let my people go” (from slavery).

          It happened! God freed them! But where was He (or She) for the 256 years from the arrival of the first African slaves in Virginia in 1607 to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863?

          Maybe in 256 years the people of those countries will rationalize how all this Western inflicted misery turned out to be a good thing. But for the moment I haven’t noticed any mass migration of Americans and Europeans to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, or Libya.

          Maybe they are waiting for 20,000 years until the radioactive dust from the US and UK “spent Uranium” artillery shells has gone through enough decay half-lives.

          • Gosman 10.2.1.1.1

            This is hardly Western imposed misery. Both the Iraq and Syria conflict have at their heart fundamental fissures in middle eastern society. These were not created by Western powers. Admittedly they have probably helped inflame them but that is like stating US unofficial support for the IRA helped inflame the conflict in Northern Ireland.

          • dave brown 10.2.1.1.2

            Well surely the point is that capitalism has no morality but profits.
            People are expendable when they get in the road of profits.
            We won’t have to wait long before this destruction is complete unless we get in first and destroy the collapsing system.
            Fortunately workers around the world are beginning to rise up even if in some places they are led by religious zealots.
            The question is: is fundamentalist morality worse in the historic scheme of things than the amorality of capitalism.
            Hardly, since its survival is the product of capitalism and will be abolished with capitalism.

            • Gosman 10.2.1.1.2.1

              I always wondered why members of the left made common cause with Islamist s. I now know one of the reasons us because some believe it is the vanguard of some glorious proletarian revolution.

  10. Morrissey 11

    Mr Key said “blood is thicker than water and we should stick with the family which has supported us in the past”, in reference to traditional allies the United States, Britain and Australia.

    When New Zealand suffered its only terrorist attack, on the night of July 10, 1985, not of those “traditional allies” came to our aid. They hardly even found it in themselves to speak a word of sympathy for us. Instead, they lined up behind the terrorist state that had sent in the bombers on their botched mission.

    That Key could speak such words is yet another illustration of his lack of knowledge, his lack of compassion and his fundamental lack of seriousness.

  11. joe90 12

    Ya gotta love Boris.

    I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad. He wrote an essay on his website on Sunday (reproduced in the Telegraph) that struck me as unhinged in its refusal to face facts. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help.

    He said that the allied invasion of 2003 was in no way responsible for the present nightmare – in which al-Qaeda has taken control of a huge chunk of the country and is beheading and torturing Shias, women, Christians and anyone else who falls foul of its ghastly medieval agenda. Tony Blair now believes that all this was “always, repeat always” going to happen.

    He tells us that Saddam was inevitably going to be toppled in a revolution, to be followed by a protracted and vicious religious civil war, and that therefore we (and more especially he) do not need to blame ourselves for our role in the catastrophe. As an attempt to rewrite history, this is frankly emetic.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10901651/Blairs-Iraq-invasion-was-a-tragic-error-and-hes-mad-to-deny-it.html

    • AmaKiwi 12.1

      Prior to the US-led destruction of Iraq, it had a nasty dictator BUT it was one of the most modern and non-sectarian countries in the Middle East. It had a modern infra-structure, a good education system, free quality health care, and a whole lot more.

      It is classic case of the invader spends all his (her) mental energy figuring out how to win the war and giving no thought to how to re-build afterwards.

      The powers who destroyed those countries are responsible for re-building. Instead they turn a blind eye and blame the locals.

      Blair: blinded by his enormous ego.

      • joe90 12.1.1

        Charlie Pierce on the fools involved.

        All that actually happened, of course. And what happened to The Future Of Iraq Project which, whatever you might think of its ambition and the assumptions on which it was built, one of which is the now self-evident proposition that we pretty much suck at nation-building, at least was an attempt to construct a future beyond candy-and-flowers, and which at least had as its fundamental principle that, having wrecked Iraq, we had something of an obligation to fix it for the Iraqis? Donald Rumsfeld happened to it. Dick Cheney happened to it. The utter incompetence of the administration of C-Plus Augustus happened to it.

        http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_National_Forgetting

  12. Chooky 13

    Helen Clark is to be congratulated yet again for NOT taking New Zealand into that immoral tragic man made war!….She stood up against the Americans and the British and the Australians….She had real guts…way more courage than John Key who would have followed his friends and taken us into it …..We need far more women politicians like Helen Clark running the world.

    In fact we need an International Feminist Party…the boys have had their day and they have made a f…ing mess of it!

    Tony Blair and George Bush should be hauled before a World Court for crimes against humanity

  13. Philj 14

    xox
    Thanks for the brief history lesson. Our MSM, TVNZ etc. have a role to play in informing the public with intelligent analysis. Unfortunately, TVNZ has largely become irrelevant and a sad joke as a quality Public Broadcaster.

  14. Delia 15

    It is moments like this we Helen.

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    A cry for help from New Zealand’s longest-running crisis line highlights chronic underfunding of the sector by the Government, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Lifeline is THE go-to helpline for people in crisis, taking up to 180,000 calls each ...
    1 day ago
  • Five months too long for homeless to wait
    New figures revealing homeless people registered with Work and Income are waiting an average of 155 days to be housed shows the Government is totally overwhelmed by the housing crisis, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “What’s worse is ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister in cloud cuckoo land
    Hekia Parata needs a very big reality check if she truly believes every parent has the choice of sending their child to a private school, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Questioned in the House today about plans to pump ...
    2 days ago
  • Convention centre failure means years of uncertainty for CBD
    The failure of Gerry Brownlee’s planned convention centre deal leaves Christchurch facing uncertainty about when activity will be restored to the CBD, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “As one of the CBD’s major anchor projects, the convention centre complex ...
    2 days ago
  • PCE proves water quality still deteriorating
    The PCE State of the Environment Report shows that river water quality is continuing to get worse across large parts of New Zealand, says Labour’s Environment and Water spokesperson David Parker. “Water quality has deteriorated in Canterbury, Central Otago, Auckland, ...
    2 days ago
  • Families with new babies victims of today’s veto
    Families with new babies are the victims of an historical “first” for the New Zealand Parliament today. “For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because ...
    2 days ago
  • Crime on the rise…again!
    The Police Minister’s contention that Police have enough resources to meet the expectations of New Zealand communities is not reflected in the Police’s own statistics, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Yet again, reported burglaries have increased in every region ...
    2 days ago
  • Private schools beneficiaries of extra cash
    Plans to give more taxpayer money to private schools at a time when state schools are struggling to make ends meet says everything about the National Government’s twisted priorities, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Not only did this year’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Inequality getting worse under National
    Inequality is getting worse under National with almost 60 per cent of the wealth in this country concentrated in the hands of the top 10 per cent according to Statistics NZ figures released today, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    3 days ago
  • Government freezes elderly out of insulation subsidy
    Government cuts to the Warm Up New Zealand insulation subsidy means it will now only be available for rental properties and could leave many elderly homeowners cold this winter, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In this year’s Budget the Government ...
    4 days ago
  • Shewan report delivers rebuke to National
    John Shewan’s report into foreign trusts is a rebuke to John Key and the National Party who have protected an industry that has damaged New Zealand’s reputation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Three years ago the Inland Revenue Department ...
    4 days ago
  • Auckland Airport rail analysis must be made public
    The Government should publicly release its detailed analysis of rail to Auckland Airport before it closes off options, so the public can have an informed debate, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Transport Agency today said it is ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    5 days ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    7 days ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    1 week ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    1 week ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    1 week ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    1 week ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    1 week ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    1 week ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    1 week ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    1 week ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    2 weeks ago

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