What Went Wrong in Iraq: The Khedery Version

Also, regarding the continuing debate over how the US ended up with Maliki as PM in the first place (i.e. in 2006), there is some new information that appears to differ slightly from what was revealed by Dexter Filkins in another recent review of US policy in Iraq: According to Filkins, it was an unnamed, Arabic-speaking CIA official who promoted Maliki’s candidature.

According to Khedery it was himself and Jeffrey Beals, also both Arabic-speaking but in most sources referred to as political officers at the State Department rather than CIA. Unless one of them was indeed CIA there is some discordance between the two narratives.

However, other parts of the piece by Khedery are clearly misleading even when it comes to events that are well documented in open sources. This contributes to a sense of distrust regarding the overall reliability of the piece, and certainly raises questions about whether we can rely on Khedery as a key informant for events where the available source base may be limited.

Most of the more problematic comments by Khedery seem guided by a master narrative of Maliki, bad; Ayad Allawi (of the secular Iraqiyya) and Adel Abd al-Mahdi (of the Shiite Islamist ISCI), good. For example, regarding the extensive use of de-Baathification for political purposes prior to the March 2010 general election, Khedery writes: “He [Maliki] coerced Iraq’s chief justice to bar some of his rivals from participating in the elections”.

This description of what happened comes across as disingenuous. For starters, the resuscitation of the de-Baathification issue in early 2010 was clearly driven by Maliki’s Shiite enemies who, with considerable Iranian assistance, had tried in vain to enlist him for their sectarian alliance during the previous summer.

Among the newspapers that jumped on the de-Baathification propaganda bandwagon was the very Al-Adala, personally owned by Khedary’s progressive darling, Adel abd al-Mahdi. On the other hand, for his part, Maliki fought hard battles to retain his own candidates on the electoral ballots following attempts by de-Baathification hardliners to exclude them as late as days ahead of the March 2010 election.

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3 Responses to What Went Wrong in Iraq: The Khedery Version

  1. Whistle blower 7th July 2014 at 15:16 #

    Why not publishing the Khedery article from New York Times instead of commenting the article? Once the article from the New York Times is published then everybody can comment on what he is saying.

    Otherwise, the risk for media manipulation is too obvious

  2. Editor 7th July 2014 at 15:35 #

    @Whistle blower: a link to the article refered to in the Washington Post (not NY Times) has been added.

    We have not have rights to re-publish it.

    – Editor.

  3. Kamil Mahdi 11th July 2014 at 15:43 #

    I sent this letter to the Washington Post but it was not published:

    Dear Letters’ Editor,

    Ali Khedery, “Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq”, July 3rd, does not as he claims inform us why the US stuck with Maliki, only who said what. He presents a picture only of conjecture and short-term political considerations. If this were the case, there would not have been an invasion in the first place.

    The writer had served the US occupation project for ten years and admits to having brokered the Exxon-KRG oil deal which undermines the integrity of Iraq. Yet, what he finds wrong with US policy was its support for Maliki in 2010, not the occupation. There is no mention of any of the major US decisions undermining the state and paralysing it, and none of Negroponte and the Salvador Option, of the training of torture and murder teams, of the brute force of the US military and mercenaries, and no mention of a flawed constitution and policies driving a wedge between Iraqis.

    It is a picture of US innocence, and of Iraqi violence, mistrust and proclivity to dictatorship, symbolised by Maliki; a picture that satisfies an innate imperial urge to blame the native. Khedery even says Maliki destroyed the Iraqi state, implying that the US had built and sustained it. We are invited to believe that Bush invaded Iraq for freedom and democracy, and that the Biden plan was a mere passing thought, not a reality unfolding before us on a sea of blood with oil interests well protected.

    Iraqis now find their country a playground for external powers, and themselves sandwiched between a corrupt, sectarian and repressive government, and an opposition that is in collusion with a barbarian gang. But Iraqis are also aware that their current suffering is a legacy of the US invasion and occupation, and US intervention is no more welcome now than it was before.

    Dr Kamil Mahdi