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Auf Wiedersehen Iraq

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, May 16th, 2019 - 30 comments
Categories: Iran, iraq, labour, national, nz first, Ron Mark, us politics, war - Tags:

The Germans and the Dutch have suspended training Iraqi soldiers citing increased tensions in the area. What do they know that Ron Mark doesn’t? Cabinet is due to  make a decision shortly on our long-planned decision to withdraw, and Ron seems to want us to stay. Labour’s policy at the election was to withdraw, it should prevail.

Recent sabre-rattling by the US has undoubtedly made the region much more unstable. The US has also ordered all bar emergency staff to leave their embassy in Baghdad immediately.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has advocated war with Iran previously. Should he get his way now, the consequences for all of us would be catastrophic.

National’s Mark Mitchell is another one who want us to stay till the last remnants of ISIS have been defeated. The caliphate is no longer a reality, and the remnants of ISIS have retreated to the desert. Stamping them out completely could take decades, and is not a task for us.

Increasingly there are also signs that the Iraquis would prefer to co-operate with Iran.

Job done – its time for us to say goodbye.

30 comments on “Auf Wiedersehen Iraq ”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    I agree completely agree,pull them out.

    Mark Mitchell is of course talking nonsense, he never defines exactly what stamping ISIS out completely actually means, because he knows as well as the rest of us that idea is just a fantasy.

    • ianmac 1.1

      Mark Mitchell made millions from his Private Operation in Iraq. Wonder just what that entails. The Private operations carried out by some US teams were very unethical and murderous.

      Wonder just what did Mitchell do in Iraq?

      • Rob 1.1.1

        Well , at least he was actually in the place and on the ground, a lot more than most of the commentators on this site have done.

  2. Gosman 2

    I remember some people (maybe not here) arguing that the threat of ISIS attacking the trainers when they were first deployed should mean we don't send them. Now it is the fact that there is no threat of ISIS that means we should immediately remove them. How about we ask the Iraqis themselves if they want us to stay and then see what we can do?

    • Dennis Frank 2.1

      Sounds good in principle, but if it amounts in practice to asking a small bunch of exploiters currently exercising a semblance of control over a country in anarchy, why bother? On this point, I'm happy to defer to anyone who knows what is actually happening there!

    • Drowsy M. Kram 2.2

      If there's now no ISIS threat, why not bring them home (as planned) on 30 June 2019.

      "Up to 121 NZDF personnel are deployed to the Middle East in roles associated with the Defeat-ISIS Coalition in Iraq." http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/operations/iraq.htm

    • SpaceMonkey 2.3

      If there is no longer any threat from ISIS, it's job done. Time to bring them home.

    • Morrissey 2.4

      Will you be going, Gosman? With your gun?

      Thought not.

    • Muttonbird 2.5

      How about we ask the Iraqis themselves if they want us to stay and then see what we can do?

      Why would we do that? We didn't ask them if we could invade.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    I totally agree. The Bush-era democracy delusion fizzled as soon as Iraqis demonstrated that it was too foreign a notion to transplant there, the nation-building rationale has likewise proceeded so long without visible success that only true-believers still cling to it as if it were a religious icon.

    That leaves peacekeeping. Why would anyone do that in a country that assumes civil war is endemic, and a natural part of political culture? Likewise Afghanistan. Call time on covert US imperialism masked as a do-gooder thing, I reckon.

    If the United Nations were serious about nurse-maiding Iraq in the general direction of civilisation, I could support our troops being part of a credible result. Instead, all we ever seem to get is an ongoing sham.

    • Morrissey 3.1

      Interesting logic there, Dennis: illegally invade, bomb, terrorize and effectively destroy a nation, then vapour on about the way "they" don't take to democracy, assuming as "they" do—according to your no doubt profound research on the topic— that "civil war is endemic."

      The bit about "nurse-maiding Iraq in the general direction of civilisation" is beyond satire.

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.1

        We're talking about the land where the first civilisation in recorded history arose: Sumeria. Where the fertility of the delta was combined with irrigation systems using the Tigris & Euphrates as perpetual sources of water from the mountainous regions in the west. The climate change around six millennia back that made the Sahara arid seems to have had a flow-on effect in the middle east. As the bible says, Israel was a land of milk & honey, promised to the refugees from Egypt so long as they took it by killing all the indigenous occupants as per God's command.

        Cedars from Lebanon built Solomon's palace, although he may have used some of that massive stone block-work of Baalbek as well. But the Lebanese forests fell to make ships for Phoenician explorers. Similar forest destruction in Iraq would have produced erosion like it does here, clogging up water-ways. Such economic analysis can be used as a rationale for why the people in the region lost faith in civilisation.

        I'd rate mass psychology higher: us vs them. Tribal rivalry fosters a culture in which warfare is business as usual. Three millennia of that seems a sufficient antidote to the original civilisation. An ethos based on the commons, sharing, and peaceful coexistence can only take root where the people agree it's a better way of life, and band together in solidarity to make it happen.

        There's a paradox of course: violence has to be used as part of defending the culture from attackers. Recall the fate of the Morioris. The trick is use of strict control to limit it. It's how the British Empire became relatively peaceful within (using controlled violence on the periphery).

        So what's missing in Iraq is a belief amongst the people that a return to civilisation is better than anarchy, and a popular will to collaborate to make the transition that expresses itself through political organisation. They have a natural right to collective self-determination. The reasons they don't choose to use that right lie in mass psychology. You'll be dead keen to excuse them by reference to imperialism, eh? It's a factor, but no excuse. Gandhi proved that. If India can do it, so can Iraq.

        • solkta

          They have a natural right to collective self-determination.

          And that is what most of them are trying to do, it is just that they are using a different collective than that which is being forced on them by the West insisting that Iraq remain a country with borders created by Britain and France.

          • Dennis Frank

            Part of the solution is to grant the Kurds a homeland. They've had a defacto homeland for ages in the territories they have occupied, why not recognise that? I'd support any govt of Aotearoa doing so. It's an interesting situation where the tribe is spread across national boundaries. Brings the credibility of such artificial constructs into question (as you suggest).

    • KJT 3.2

      If the US were at all concerned about Iraq, they wouldn't have fucking invaded in the first place.

      And, who originally armed ISIS, the Taliban, Saudi Arabia and various other flavours of baby killers?

  4. Stuart Munro. 4

    We should never have been involved.

    I appreciate our armed forces want to work with and remain up to date with other contemporary forces – but as a country we should not do that at the cost of having to participate in morally repugnant occupations. The same problem applies in Afghanistan.

    There's plenty of disaster relief work for our forces in our own backyard, and likely to be more in the years to come. And it might be better to develop some doctrine independent of the major armament manufacturers, whose interests and presumptions are based on large US style forces.

  5. Exkiwiforces 5

    While I agree with your post Mike, but the problem we facing is that NZDF is embedded in with ADF. So if the GoD wants to pop smoke (withdraw) out of Iraq its going to leave the ADF training team in a spot of bother either way if NZDF has the lead on this ROTO or if the ADF has the lead.

    The best course of action is for the CoL would be to call it quits when the renewal for the current mission ends in 30 Jun as pointed out by Drowsy M. Kram. This means NZ can withdraw without losing face in the MEAO and upsetting the Australian Government at the same time.

    The other point I would like to make is that since 1991 and until now, the NZDF as result of cut backs in Defence in both equipment and manpower. The NZDF has struggle to maintain any independent operations because of these cuts. A good case study the NZDF deployment of the equipment and troops to Timor-Leste during INTERFET and the follow up UN Peacekeeping Mission there should’ve rang alarm bells on both sides of the at the state of the NZDF. But no it didn’t and as a result of this NZDF now has to work in a coalition/ embedded in with the likes of the ADF or likeminded countries, because of the self serving/ self licking ice creams called NZ Politicians have now got themselves into this mess because they and Joe public don’t want to properly fund the NZDF in order to mount a independent deployment of equipment and troops.

    There is UN Peacekeeping requirement (if anyone is bother to read the fine print for Nations donating/ supplying troops for Peacekeeping) that member states if deploying troops on a Peacekeeping operation must at minimum a self deployment of a battalion size group (800- 1500 this is not including additional Air or Naval assets, Army only) for the duration of the UN Peacekeeping Mission.

    The after action report and lessons learnt from the NZDF deployment from Timor-Leste were quietly kick into touch by Government and Treasury ever since. The only thing that has in acted from those two reports is the Southern Katipo Exercises which are held every 2nd in the South Islands West Coast/ Golden- Tasman Bay Regions due to its lack of key access points, population string out everywhere and changeable weather/ terrain conditions which is very similar to what you would find in the Pacific/ Southern Asia region ie West Papua, Timor-Leste, PNG and the Solly’s etc.

    • Macro 5.1

      Totally agree EKF

      Regrettably it is not looking good in the Gulf. If the US had any sense they would get their ships out of there in order to ease tensions, but I don't see that happening. Bolton/Pompeo are fixing for a fight. The US are very slow learners. It will not end well.


      As for the run down of NZ forces, this has almost always been the case, as far as I can remember and I joined in 1974. On the other hand I do not advocate the expenditure that Trump wants in his latest budget – 62 cents in every dollar on the military!

      • Exkiwiforces 5.1.1

        The Yanks have always wanted utu ever since 1979 with Iran over running of their embassy and the resulting shit fight of Op Eagle Claw. Yes its not going to end well for awful lot of people/ nations within the greater Middle East Region and it may even spill over to other regions such as Europe or the Asian region as China and Russia are very good mates with Iran.

        Trumps budget for the US military is quite eye watering, but from my obs and having work along side my USAF counterparts in ground defence of Airbases/ Forward Operating Bases etc and the USMC. I've seen an awful lot of waste from equipment, training, use of manpower including to even bring in food (including basic food stuffs) via Airlift into their main bases from the States and its case of having more money than they know what to with it. Its quite shocking to see it when you know whats happening with health care etc, back in the States.

  6. mosa 6

    What do they know that Ron Mark doesn’t?

    The U.S Iranian stand off.

  7. JohnSelway 7

    Never mind Iraq – on-wards to Iran!

  8. SPC 8

    We should leave in June, it is a mission already beyond due to end.

    One hopes the Iraqi government is wise enough to invite all western forces to leave and thus avoid being part of the US vs Iran conflict.

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    The New Zealand government should bring NZ troops home and fund the Kurd in Syria instead, since they are the ones who have actually been fighting ISIS

  10. vto 10

    The whole thing had nothing to do with us until John Key got us involved. Wonder if he sent Max ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  11. Can you tell Mark Mitchell et al that it's ok. Russia, Hezbollah, SAA, Iran and Iraq did most of the heavy lifting in getting rid of ISIS and other 'moderate' rebels such as Al Qaeda, in the area. I don't think New Zealand's contribution made much difference. The US of course, came later, bombing this area and that area, leaving total devastation with no offers of assistance afterwards. And after initially bombing important infrastructure items in Syria and supporting ISIS to steal and sell Syria's oil through Turkey. The US took the gold though, all on their own. The Iraqi parliament has just passed a resolution requesting that the US and its troops leave. That's means NZ as well. We ie the US and its allies bring nothing but instability to the region.

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