Iraq, Libya, Afghan etc

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by jcarver007, Apr 19, 2012.

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  1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of these countries have faired a lot better with a dictator in charge. Ok it goes against human rights etc but perhaps the only way to keep these fractioning tribes together is with brute strength, torture etc. I'll draw the line with regards to the gassing of the Kurds though.It is extreme but in certain countries the way of life is extreme and far detached from our own.

    A lot of these dictators liked the trappings of the west, plus the weapons and the "security". What we got was no al qaeda in those countries plus an increased sphere of influence. Qaddafi in Libya was brutal but at same time clamped down on any al qaeda type of insurrection. The same with Saddam. Now we have them fighting for a hold in Libya, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.

    Worry is its right on our doorstep on the Med...tourism, shipping etc at risk. Be interesting to see ifwhat the Arab Spring paves the way for....
  2. Well, there was (and is) Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and a lot of other countries. I also dare say that Afghanistan is better off now that we are hanging out there, but that will change shortly after we all pull out.

    In Iraq, not having been there prior to the invasion and occupation, I can't really say if it was better off or not. However, I have done a fair bit of research and indeed it does seem to have been a better place prior to the invasion etc.

    As for the other places, well, all that they have done is assist the spread of hard line islamic groups.

    However, at the end of the day, the politicians were never worried about whether its better for the people of those places, it was about installing a puppet government (bringing so called democracy to the place) so that the placed government would do as they were told. Little did the politicians know (and it shows how unbelievably naive they were/are) that it would bite them in the ass and not go the way they envisaged.
  3. That's what AQ says is the agenda of the West, supporting authoritarian regimes which repress their populations. (I admit AQ hasn't got much of a solution, aside from turning the clock back).

    It was surely this "keep the lid on" policy which caused the pot to boil over?

    Now that the Arab peoples in various countries have asserted their rights to self-determination, surely we have to respect that. Islamism is a very broad spectrum, from swivle eyed loons who still believe the world is flat (on Saudi "scholar" only changed his mind when a Prince who had been on a US Space Shuttle assured him he had seen the world from space) to milder versions. Obviously, squeaky doors get the most oil; so it's the loons who get the most coverage. I don't see a young population suddenly deciding they fancy the Iranian model (certainly not in say Egypt, Syria, Lebanon). Yemen may yet fall apart, but that is a terribly poor country. Saudi. Ah, Saudi. Best not really. Corrupt as hell, but our "friend" apparently (I'm sure Frank Gardner's got a view on that though!)

    I just wonder whether if say, for the national good to get through the current credit crunch and doubtless future energy crisis, we suddenly had an ineffectual authoritarian government in this country we'd all just go "ho, hum-it's what we need".

    I mean, is Arab life that cheap?

    And in case you hadn't noticed there's shedloads of AQ and hard-line Islamists here in the UK (not just that twat Qatada). We've done nothing about them, and allowed them to stir up trouble abroad.

    For example, Fatawas issued from the UK were central to causing the astonishing blood-bath in Algeria. What's the hope of the Algerian people getting an apology?

    Maybe in about 300 years (like the slave trade or potato famine) when it is virtually worthless, I suppose.
  4. My bold. In Egypt, TV and radio stations that played popular music prior to their "Arab Spring" thing, now broadcast Islamic teachings, prayers etc. So I wouldn't be to certain that a young population would quickly poo poo hard line Islamic ways. One has to remember that their revolution did not solve all their fact all it did was remove one problem. There is still heavy unemployment and poverty....which breeds minds that are easily manipulated.
  5. I think you have not been paying attention.

    The KRG is run by an authoritarian regime dominated by two squabbling clans that tolerates no opposition but it is doing rather nicely, its main worry is the Arab regimes about it.

    Part of the failure in Iraq was the lack of a suitable General for us to anoint to replace Saddam, this might well have been a better model for transition than installing democracy while neglecting the day by day security of the population. However in Baghdad al-Maliki at this point very much resembles a typical ME strongman having consolidated most power about himself, he allows the elected thieves about him to wet their beaks more liberally than Saddam did his cronies. Iraq is appallingly corrupt, poorly governed and at a local level is under martial rule but unlikely to invade its neighbors and very much at peace with its old enemy Iran, mostly negative for us but actually for Iraqis this is a situation not without promise.

    In Kabul Karzai would be a dictator if he could but despite probably being the most popular elected politician in the country (not saying much) his power base is simply too narrow and Afghanistan has a tradition of local ethnic strongmen not the central government we like the Soviets have tried to impose. It's unlikely a dictator could control it, Mullah Omar's regime of disabled Muhj veterans and backwoods theocrats never managed it and faced opposition even amongst his own ungovernable Pashtuns.

    Libya is the exception, installing another strongman might well have be preferable. Under the very eccentric Qaddafi was never a model of stability, like Saddam he was clever enough to weaken the main threat to his rule, his military and play off the countries factions against each other. Qaddafi threw in the towel after 9-11 and we rushed to exploit commercial opportunities under his rule, but he did tax us heavily for the privilege and remained an obnoxious irritation, the urge to treacherously shiv him in a moment of Arab Spring weakness was too hard for us to resist. It was at least relatively cheap and he did deserve it. There is no elected or even legitimate replacement power in Libya, the NTC we cobbled together is impotent pack of rogues. Power lies with the various militias that put an end to the old regime which are mostly localized. In short Libya is now closer to warlord ridden Afghanistan than a democracy and starting to fray at the edges.
  6. I poo-poo nothing! Regiments get disbanded based on poo-poo!

    I just don't subscribe to the apparently out of control fears being whipped up in some media that the entire MENA is about to turn into an Islamist adventure playground. I mean essentially, is there an "Islamism" or are there "Islamisms"? I genuinely don't know. Regional, national, and ethnic-tribal factors need to be taken into account I would have thought.

    I mean, I would suggest the Egyptian experience of Islamism would differ from the Sudanese. I think in Egypt the revolution removed Mubarak; and the Army appears to have survived and carried on quite well. I am not on the ground, and would welcome being corrected if I am wrong.

    I think it is a fascinating question, I would reckon that there is some people getting quite fraught trying to write papers and predict outcomes in MoD/FCO.

    But, as ever, I stand to be corrected!
  7. My initial thoughts too Boumer - the thought of a domino affect across North Africa from Iran and Sudan, must get some bods frantically working on scenarios.

    Perhaps it's an exaggeration but if most of North Africa went the way of militant Islam it would be a serious headache. If the populations of those countries legitimately vote in some loony groups there isn't much we could do about it is there?

    Sudan and Iran have close ties at present and the former has publicly backed Iran's nuclear programme. In return Khomeini has spoken of his willingness to share such knowledge with it's allies. Perhaps this is the reason for new exfiltration data virus attacks on both countries recently.
  8. You are quite right to assume Islamism covers a very broad Mosque. It''s even more diverse than socialism was in the 20th century and in reality is highly specific to nation states as are the folk traditions that persist beneath a thin skin of Islam.

    The AKP in Turkey is a former Islamist party and is doing a much better job of running the place than the deeply corrupt Generals, it shows signs of developing their authoritarian tendencies but so probably would any form of government in Turkey. In Tunisia Islamists are in power but seem moderate and tolerant. In Egypt where the MB got stated, very reactionary Salafists have made considerable gains as the Islamist vote splits across class lines and it's not clear the military will ever let the beards hold real power and if they do it's likely to be far less of a problem than Nasser was. The opposition in Syria has a few liberals and broad spectrum of Islamist groups, too many of them are violently sectarian to the point of being capable of the sort of genocidal civil war they supported in Iraq. In Pakistan Islamists have never gained much traction, most never wanted an Islamic nation state, they range from earnest egalitarian groups with some popularity with the middle classes to knuckle dragging Deobandi taliban types, but the former runs into innate Tory like conservatism and the latter to the Sufi like Pirs worship of the population that clashes with their austere Saudi style of Islam.

    It's been clear for a long time from polling data that the idea that Islam offers the basis of a political solution is an appealing one for many of these populations. They also are fairly hostile to what they see with some justification as a persistently Imperialist West fond of weasel words about freedom but not the reality of population expressing their interests.

    If representative government arrives and its a pretty popular idea with these populations and is even accepted as a political reality by doctrinaire Muslims who reject voting theologically. Any idea that they would form some sort of Caliphate like ideological power block is as ridiculous as squabbling Christendom getting its act together. We should anticipate these states being more hostile to us than the dictatorships have been. However you can also expect them to be poor and to be even more desperate to do business with us on the usual poor terms for them.
  9. Well for a start the US was dropping Tomahawk missiles on Sudan not too long ago, which they probably still remember (I think the Sudanese still remember the battle of Omdurman in 1898-was just reading the excellent Michael Asher book "Khartoum", well worth a read). So I hardly imagine they would look for assistance from the West.

    I genuinely think the MENA is too fractured to go "islamist", certainly in the way AQ want. The universal Khalifate is pretty much a khat-dream. Competing regional shades of Islamism, yes. Possible? However, I think they might have more things on their mind than going out looking for trouble. Certainly for us, what it means for the Isrealis would be interesting.

    But why is that a problem? What of our vital national interests are at stake. Plenty of people who hate us, trade with us.

    Or do we have a "Clash of Civlisations" or the "Jihad versus McWorld", like the theories of international relations that were being put out in the 1990s suggest.