Enduring bases, and Iraq after troop withdrawals

May 31st, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

I can’t follow the mass of speculation on the timetable for leaving Iraq, and I don’t think anybody else can either. On the one hand we see continuing large-scale coalition involvement, such as the [largest air assault since 2003](http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1733050,00.html) and [the move of 3500 US troops back into Iraq](http://www.fox6.com/news/national/story.aspx?content_id=6936F2D2-A0A0-456A-8AF4-E4A89C1B9C39&rss=national). On the other hand, Nuri al-Maliki is [talking](http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1781019,00.html) about getting troops out of Iraq by the end of this year.
But that doesn’t matter so much. The real question is what ‘withdrawal’ means. It doesn’t mean abandoning political control of Iraq – that’s something I’ll write about more in a couple of days. But even militarily, it’s unlikely that all foreign troops will leave the country. More likely, the Americans will retreat further into a few small strongholds, retain bases to enhance their regional power. They will keep some control over the Iraqi military with ‘trainers’ and ‘advisers’, and by ensuring that air power and other heavy equipment is kept for the Americans only.
People have been writing about this for some time now. The Iraq Analysis Group has [collected](http://www.iraqanalysis.org/info/364) some of the more prominent, and [Sarah Meyer](http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=MEY20060411&articleId=2257) of GlobalResearch has collated many relevant news reports.
Below the cut, I delve into the ‘enduring bases’ theory, and swerve dangerously close to conspiracy theories. Please, please take this as me collecting my thoughts, and not as a prediction of what will happen….

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Iraq/Afghanistan roundup

May 31st, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Catching up with what the media is saying about Iraq and Afghanistan – yet again, I’m hiding it under a cut.

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May 30th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Another brain-dump that’s mainly for my own benefit. So once again it’s going behind a cut.

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French speakers needed

May 29th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Is there anybody here who speaks good French, and has some time tonight?

I’m helping my sister write an application for a French university, and we’re in dire need of a good french-speaker to give us a hand proofreading etc.

You’ll win eternal gratitude and many, many drinks.


heading home

May 29th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

With a bit of luck, I should be able to take a day off work on either Friday or Saturday night, letting me go to Strawberry Fair without falling asleep on the grass. Which should I choose?

[Friday means gothsoc and being awake for strawberry fair. Saturday allows me to drink at/after the fair, and messes up my sleep less]

In the meantime, I’m heading off to Oakham for a couple of days, so you won’t be seeing me until the other end of the week. Enjoy the exams 😛

Also: apologies for my last post; I really didn’t intend it as an attack on anybody, more a general curiosity about why conversations turn that way. Sorry if I offended people!

Now, back to work in an office that is mostly empty, but not quite empty enough for naked dancing 🙁

Police in Iraq

May 28th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Below the cut is a braindump on what’s going on with police forces in Iraq at the moment, and in particular why they are getting such heavy media coverage right now. I’ve not quite got my head around it, so it’s a splurge more than anything coherent.
[not cross-posted to [IAG](http://www.iraqanalysis.org) until I can make more sense of it all]

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May 27th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink


[More than 70 people have been arrested in Moscow after activists tried to hold the city’s first gay rights rally, despite a ban on the event]

Protected: but I don’t want to be a voyeur

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Life beyond the Kambar

May 24th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

There is no Calling in a fortnight’s time. What shall we do instead?

Suggestions so far are:

  1. The boring: find a pub, same as usual
  2. The exciting: gather on castle hill, dance and frolic in the open air
  3. The marginally less boring: congeal in somebody’s room (assuming we can find a willing room-donor living near the town centre)

May 23rd, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Today, blow by blow. Recommended for stalkers only

May 23rd, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

The Washington Post tries to be snarky about Bush’s language:

Bush has declared turning points and milestones in the war before. He called it “an important milestone” when a temporary governing council was formed in July 2003 and “a turning point” when sovereignty was turned over to the interim government in June 2004. Elections in January 2005, he said, were both “a turning point in the history of Iraq” and “a milestone in the advance of freedom.”
He called it a “milestone” in October when Iraqi voters approved a constitution and “a major milestone” two months later when they elected a parliament — a moment he also termed “a turning point in the history of Iraq, the history of the Middle East and the history of freedom.” The selection of a prime minister last month was “an important milestone toward our victory in Iraq” and, a week later, “a turning point for the Iraqi citizens.”

The thing is, these really are milestones; they’re some of the biggest dots you’d put on a timeline of Iraq. So

Bush 1 — 0 WaPo

In more important news, I’ve just discovered Spurl, and started using it to keep track of articles on Iraq. I’m feeling pretty upbeat about my chances of using it to make a lot more sense out of what’s going on in the country these days. But, as always, time will tell…

Panic is contagious

May 23rd, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Cambridge exam-terror has somehow escaped the university, and it’s prowling around the town.

I’ve been having panicky dreams about exams I haven’t prepared for. Sillier still, some have been half-awake dreams, so I spend time worrying over whether I’ll have to not go to the Calling tonight, so I have time to cram the essentials for tomorrow’s exam.

Protected: Happy again

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Pontificating on the Russian Soul (almost)

May 18th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

This post almost nails something about Russia:
> “The fetishization of actual freedom [pop culture]…has allowed for the restriction of formal [political] freedom”
Almost, but not quite. There has never been either actual/economic/pop-culture freedom or political freedom in Russia, during or after the USSR. The difference is what gets fetishized or dreamt about most.
In the Bad Old Days ™ there was relative prosperity (everything is relative), no political freedom, but an idolization political freedom. Now there is relative political freedom, economic collapse, and dreams of consumer culture.
[all this brought to you by the talking-out-of-my-ass department: obviously I don’t have any real knowledge here]

May 17th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Just back from London, dripping wet (Cambridge station is very, very in the wrong place!) but happy. Will probably write about it in dribs and drabs [1], but for now I’m going to have a binge of friending people who I befriended at the_alchemist and verlaine‘s housewarming.

And while my head’s in Saturday, I might as well say it was fantastic, in a way that events usually are when they’re full of fascinating people I don’t know. Since the thing was organised on lj, I’d spotted a couple of people I’d been aware of for some time without ever talking to: smhwpf, libellum, and verlaine himself. So, of course, they were the people I didn’t talk to at all, and instead chatted excitedly to squirmelia, pseudomonas, publicansdecoy, angelofthenorth, and robert-jones. Also a couple of others who will now be written out of history because they don’t use livejournal, or because they use it but have non-memorable names [2]. So it goes.

I’m now 5 days behind on lj, and won’t be doing more than skimming back through it. If there’s anything you’d particularly like me to see, point!

[1] Yes, I can use silly phrases if I want to

[2] I know, I know, oedipamaas49 is about as bad as it gets on those criteria. I’ve been regretting it for 18 months now, and I’ll be changing it just as soon as I can come up with something better. Suggestions welcome 🙂

May 12th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Loud road-digging outside the window when I’m trying to sleep does not a happy Dan make. Expect extreme grogginess this evening and most likely me collapsing in a heap on the_alchemist‘s floor tomorrow.

Ironically, what they’re doing is adding traffic-calming bumps to the road, partly to reduce noise 😉

Edit: It took me a while to notice that this is yet another post about my sleeping patterns. Must stop doing that!

Creative Hive: so senseless things happen

May 12th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Hungering for a picnic_meme outside Cambridge, or a mass pillow fight outside San Francisco? Trying to recreate a zombie flash mob, but can’t find enough fellow undead? Or do you plan to take zombies global?

Inspired by a 40-foot puppet elephant walking through London? Wanting to walk the length of the London Underground? Accompany adventurous plastic ducks?

Didn’t hear about some of those? Heard about the rest too late, and wished you could have joined in?

Maybe you should join creativehive, a community to bring together people who wish interesting things would happen in the hope this this will cause interesting things to happen.

verlaine, who created it, explains why here. And the name? Because, as onyxblue1 points out, using a hive-mind to break out into individual creativity is a fairly odd concept in itself. Please propagate, and then come do silly things with me! The first suggestion is a game of hide-and-seek across London.

Holidays and retirement (because now I can do polls)

May 11th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

One week of holiday each year of a working life is equal to about a year’s work in total. So in a sensible world you’d be able to take an extra week of every year, and retire a bit later to make up for it. Or if you wanted to retire early, you could take less time off.

Which would you choose, and why?

poll-biasing below the cut

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