Strategy Page on bombings and loyalty in Iraq. Strategy Page provides an unsentimental look at contemporary Iraq:
Iraq has a loyalty problem. Too many Iraqis are only willing to give absolute (no bribes will work) loyalty to family or tribe. Thus at the national level, too many Iraqis can be bought, and you can never be sure who you can trust. Saddam dealt with this problem by trusting no one, except family and tribe. Even then, he constantly moved people around, and had to kill a few of his closest associates, to inspire more loyalty from the others. In a democracy, you replace the bullets with cash. The Iraqi government is so corrupt because many politicians see it as a matter of life or death to shower close associates with stolen money, to insure their loyalty. The one exception to this is the Kurds, who fear the Arab majority so much, that they have become, by local standards, incorruptible in security matters. The Kurds are still divided by families and clans, and still willing to be bought, but not when it comes to security. Many Kurds make a good living down south, as security contractors. This is actually a tradition that goes back centuries. You want a reliable bodyguard, go hire a Kurd.
Read the full article at the link.
Debka: Obama wants more time for Iran parley. Debka:
President Barack Obama and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu talked for more than an hour and a half in the White House Tuesday, Nov. 9, all but fifteen minutes without advisers. There were no cameras and the usual post-meeting press briefings, joint communiques and interviews were cancelled. A curt White House statement said: "The president reaffirmed our strong commitment to Israel's security, and discussed security cooperation on a range of issues. The president and prime minister also discussed Iran and how to move forward on Middle East peace."
Netanyahu then headed out to Paris to see President Nicolas Sarkozy later Tuesday.
DEBKAfile reported Monday: US official sources admitted Monday, Nov. 9, that Tehran had finally blocked every compromise offered by the Obama administration through backdoor channels. This and the US president Barack Obama's Middle East peace initiative have both run into the sand. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Middle East envoy George Mitchell informed him last week after their failed bid to persuade the Palestinians to sit down and talk peace with Israel.
Clinton found Mahmoud Abbas in Abu Dhabi with one foot out of the Palestinian Authority leadership and exploiting Obama's misplaced reliance on a total Israeli settlement construction freeze on the West Bank and in Jerusalem to strike a rejectionist position for the sake of restoring his tattered credibility on the Palestinian street. On that score, there is nothing much for Obama to discuss with visiting Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday, Nov. 10, although both found themselves under pressure to meet during Netanyahu's brief visit to Washington to address the General Assembly of the North American Jewish Federations. ....