Endgame in Iraq: The Inside Story

Want to know what's really going on behind the scenes as the American war on Iraq spirals to its fiery conclusion? Ask someone who knows, who moves among the top players, who has been there, on the bloodstained ground, in the gold-plated palaces: Paul William Roberts. The intrepid Senior Writer for our sister site, Atlantic Free Press, is back with his latest report on the American debacle and Iraq's agony. His piece, Decline and Fall: America in Retreat, is packed with the insider dope and savage wit that characterizes all his work. Get over to Atlantic Free Press now and read the whole thing, after a taste of these excerpts:

According to the Iraqi newspaper Al- Quds al-Arabi, James Baker, the Bush family’s Mr. Fixit, recently met with one of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers in Amman, Jordan, and told him that the former deputy prime minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz, would be released from detention by December in order to negotiate with the US on behalf of factions of the Iraqi resistance movement still controlled by old Ba’ath Party leaders. Sources in Jordan tell me that the first stage of such negotiations has indeed already taken place. Two weeks ago, Aziz was whisked from his jail cell and, along with other representatives of Iraq’s Sunni Resistance, taken for three days’ of secret discussions in Amman with senior US officials. It is heartening to note that this course of action was advised by the Atlantic Free Press three weeks ago. Aziz and his colleagues are currently discussing America’s proposals with the divisional resistance leadership, whose response and counter-offers they will present to Washington early next month.

Jordan’s Crown Prince Hassan tells me, furthermore, that Condoleeza Rice made a personal appeal to the Gulf Cooperation Council last month to act as intermediaries between the US and the armed Sunni resistance, not including Iraqi al-Qaeda leaders. Rice evidently joked during the closed-door meeting that “if Donald Rumsfeld could hear me now he would wage war against me fiercer and hotter than he waged in Iraq...”

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki was evidently unable to accept these proposals, or so I am told, because his office ties him institutionally to the Shia parties, which view any concessions to the Sunni as a religious betrayal. Iraqi Shia Muslims believe their moment in history has arrived and they have finally thrown off a millennium of Sunni domination. Most chickens still remain in their eggs, however, so counting them may be misleading. The view in Washington is that Al-Maliki’s usefulness has ended, and a political coup is now underway to oust him and reorganize his regime along lines more amenable to a revival of America’s old bias toward Sunni Arabs. In the Situation Room, the situation always has room for change, and two opinions are better than one even when they’re mutually contradictory.

Along with burying Al-Maliki in Quisling’s Graveyard, some of the Pentagon’s less repentant serial killers feel that cranking up the battle of Baghdad a notch would make an even better prelude to withdrawal, since it might help prevent US troops being picked off like lame antelope by a triumphant resistance....

In this, as in all Middle Eastern political poker these days, Teheran holds better cards than Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, or Baghdad. While state media ply us with tales of Iran’s profligacy as chief arms merchant to violent dissent, the real story is that of Iran’s restraint. There were larger shoulder-launched missiles to supply Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon – ones capable of reaching every city in Israel – yet Teheran chose not to make them available. There is an awful lot more that the Iranian military could provide to Iraqi resistance groups, too, yet to date it is the Russians, via Syria, who have provided most of the weaponry....

The real power in Teheran is an oligarchy linked to oil and interwoven with senior clerics yet essentially secular in its goals. Your media don’t bother you with this reality, however, for reasons best known to themselves. To retain the status quo, however, the oligarchs must placate the impoverished masses with a myth of spiritual warfare in which Iran fights for God against Satan....At least no one in Teheran’s corridors of power actually believes this yarn, though, while Washington is infested with religious psychopaths who seriously (or rather comically) think they’re up against a guy with horns who has set himself up as the Competition.

There is much more of this rich feast at Atlantic Free Press -- no leftover turkey at our table, just piping hot truth. Check it out.