Interview with R. Visser at 8th anniversary of invasion of Iraq

    (I first became acquainted with (and came to admire) Reidar Visser’s work when he started posting comments here on JWN during and after Iraq’s December 2005 election… Last fall, he was one of the four authors in Just World Books’s inaugural list. So now, as the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq approaches, I’m cross-posting here the piece about about the interview I conducted with him on Saturday, for the JWB podcast series. ~HC.)

As the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq approaches, Just World Books author Reidar Visser has recorded a new podcast for our series. In it, he updates his assessment of Washington’s post-invasion democratization project in Iraq, coming once again– as he did in his book A Responsible End? The United States and the Iraqi Transition, 2005-2010— to the somber conclusion that the project has been a failure. Visser also roundly refutes the claim made by some Americans that the U.S. democratization project in Iraq was somehow an “inspiration” for the many activists behind the current wave of pro-democracy movements in the Arab world.

This latest podcast was recorded by Just World Books owner Helena Cobban from a phone interview she conducted with him on March 12. It is an informative complement to this other short podcast we have of Visser, which was recorded at his book launch in Washington DC back in December.

Check out our growing library of author podcasts here!

3 thoughts on “Interview with R. Visser at 8th anniversary of invasion of Iraq

  1. JohnH

    After Reidar Visser’s experience with the international community’s liberation of Iraq, does he think that the their pending liberation of Libya will make Libyans better off or worse off?

  2. Don Bacon

    The “sectarian violence engulfed Baghdad and many other key areas of the country in 2006-2007” was done with the compliance of the US in order to maintain instability in Iraq with the accompanying need to maintain the US military occupation.
    The US has consistently used divide-and-conquer to advance its imperialistic foreign policy. The invasion of Iraq led to the Sunnis and Shia turning against each other in direct conflict. The Samarra mosque bombing occurred five years ago when it looked like the US could withdraw. The charges were set in concrete pillars by uniformed people, an all-night task accomplished in a city under full US military curfew. The destruction of the Askariya Mosque, a symbol of Shia-Sunni brotherhood. sparked a civil religious war which has kept US troops in Iraq.
    SEC. GATES: “Well, what I’m saying to you is, though, you had one strategy under way until attack on the Samarra mosque. After that and the development of the sectarian violence that was being stoked by extremists — this wasn’t spontaneous — there was a shift in strategy, and instead of sending troops home, the troops that were supposed to be sent home were kept — or the troop level was kept.”
    It can be argued that just as the United States won the Cold War by exploiting the Sino-Soviet split and allying with Mao Zedong, so too the path to defeating the jihadists is not a main attack, but a spoiling attack that turns Sunnis and Shia against each other.
    We see the same thing in the Middle East, the US maintaining the instability of Israel/Palestine, and also making Iran a demon so that billions of dollars of weapons can be sold to the Arab fiefdoms, principally Saudi Arabia.
    In South Asia the US is stoking the Pakistan – India enmity, and there will be hell to pay for it.

  3. Don Bacon

    The current instability in Iraq works in the US favor to extend the US military occupation. Last November SecDef Gates said: “In terms of a future strategic relationship beyond 2011, I would say that initiative clearly needs to come from the Iraqis. We are open to discussing it.” He then added, “We will stand by and be ready to have that discussion if and when they want to raise it with us.”
    In recent testimony on Capitol Hill SecDef Gates said that the United States has an interest in keeping troops in Iraq beyond 2011, citing the security problems that the Iraqi government would face in the event of a complete U.S. withdrawal.
    The US has two agreements with Iraq which were purposely not treated as a treaty. In the US they were treated as an executive agreement — SOFA was a convenient term — so as to avoid senate advice and consent in accordance with the US Constitution. The Repubs and the Dems were complicit in this subterfuge in the fall of 2008, Obama and Biden being the lead Dems at this time. (The process on the Iraq side was more open.)
    There aren’t even any US documents. What we have are translations of Iraqi documents.
    On November 26, 2007, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki co-signed the Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America.
    There are two agreements:
    * a withdrawal of forces agreement: “All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.
    * a Strategic Framework Agreement: “the Parties shall continue to foster close cooperation concerning defense and security arrangements without prejudice to Iraqi sovereignty over its land, sea, and air territory.”
    The U.S. wants to alter the withdrawal agreement.

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