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Feb 23, 2006

Zal Watch: All Hail Breaking Loose


Well, there's one thing the Sunnis and Shiites agreed on today. 

Both Abdul-Salam al-Kubaisi, a spokesman for the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars, and Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim said U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad bore some responsibility for the mosque bombing in Samarra on Wednesday. 

When you look at factors that elevated the tension this week, you can start with Don Zal's Monday press conference.  Khalilizad issued a warning to the Iraqis that the U.S. would not continue to support institutions run by groups with sectarian aims.  I believe he was primarily referring to groups with connections to armed militias.  Still, the distinction seems to have been lost.  On Tuesday, the Prime Minister blasted back.  According to the NYT:

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the prime minister and a conservative Shiite, scoffed at Mr. Khalilzad's remarks. "When we are asked, 'Do you want the government to be sectarian?' our answer is 'no,' " Mr. Jaafari said. "Not because the U.S. ambassador says this and warns us, but because this is our policy."  He added, "We think that sovereignty means no one interferes in our affairs."

I've been holding onto this image ever since it appeared two weeks ago.  The thought that keeps going through my mind is: how odd that Iraqi soldiers would be saluting the American ambassador.

(image: Wathiq Khuzaie/Reuters. February 2, 2006.  Baghdad.  Via YahooNews.)


The salutes were the first thing I noticed, too. And looking at Khalilzad's hands, it could be that he's just bringing his hand down from saluting them. Why does he get saluted?

Is it just the way the picture's taken, or is he really tall?

And who's his smiling, identically-dressed sidekick?

The sidekick? Yogi Berra, is my guess.

How strange that Iraqi soldiers salute the U.S. Ambassador?!
The name US Ambassador is a misnomer. He is in charge of Iraq. He dictates the expectations of the occupation power to the Iraqi leaders.
Khalilzad's qualifications:
1. Consultant to Unocal, at a time when Unocal was negotiating with the Taliban government for rights to conduct a pipeline across Afghanistan.
2. National Security Council member involved in planning the occupation and reshaping of Iraq well before the war.
3. Emissary to the Iraqi exiles that the US hoped would eventually rule in Iraq.
4. Ambassador to Afghanistan, where he led US efforts to solidify control over the country.
Those who salute him. These soldiers have been trained by the US army. They have been indoctrinated for obedience, recogiton of the authority and they know how to follow orders. They are where they are thanks to US authority. At this point of time, they are more secure than Iraqi population at large.


"Vinni, don't worry, this will all blow over. Tell the families that everything is under control. Capish!"

Why do I think he's looking forward to getting it on with a couple hot chicks whom he's about to greet, just off to our right?

And the little guy behind him expects to share in the good times?

Maybe it's not really chicks right over there, maybe it's men with moneybags who know some friendly ladies for later...

And does he really dare turn his back on that guy behind him in the black-collared jacket? Who does that guy hate most - photographers, Americans, suits, potbellied soldiers, or the whole damn charade that he should be running?

I also keep seeing here the old TV show, Love Boat.

Gotta love all those red colours, red berets usually signify elite troops eg airborne these soldiers are not paratroopers but well vetted and jump when the resident Don is about. The drab colored non uniformed person is a personal bullet catcher/enforcer covering Khalilzad's backside. If we could see behind the photographer more enforcers would be evident, watching for snipers, IUD's and monitoring even these soldiers as "evil doers" have infiltrated the army at all levels. Afghanistan War Lords exert real power and control thanks to the brokering services of Khalilzad, this is the mission he is tasked to duplicate in Iraq thus presenting another mirage or illusion of order.

JONST /UMMADDULLA, I suspect our Yogi Berra is a prominent local Iraqi and the Dons personal envoy/ fixer/roadrunner, covertly dealing with Al Alawi and other U.S opportunistic or subservient groups such as death squads, select militias among others in coordination with Rumsfeld’s Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG). I was never much of a Mafia buff but the operational comparisons are striking.

soldiers in the 3rd world salute anyone, or anything of authority. they hope it'll lead to a little "dash", sum'ing fer they pockets, you get.
It's a form of flattery towards the authority figure, but don't be taken in. they'll just as soon shoot Khalilzad in the head if it was in their interest.
The history of the 3rd world is littered with coups initiated from within the presidential guard, etc, by the kind of saluting soldiers pictured.
I'm surprised he even has Iraqi soldiers so close, but are they even armed?

So its the first world. Like terrorims, the Middle East didn't invent it, its merely invoque there.

Honestly I don't know who this guy is. I need to read up on the various positions and ambassadors to the new government. So, I'm just telling you what I see in the photo.

I see a big tall guy in stylish red tie. A man with power and refined tastes. His faint smug smile indicates a luxurious life but the dark rings around his eyes say he's experiencing new stress. His fingers are tense. Is there something awkward here. Behind him a round-faced yes-man beams.

The spooky looking dude with the goatee and the jacket gives the group an illegitimate mob feel. Who IS that guy?

The solider in the foreground is a paradigm if military excellence: sincere and devoted. The solider in the background to the left looks like he's waiting for this group to pass so he can stop saluting.

"Hey, working for the family (Bush family that is) is not easy! You got negotiate, maybe whack a guy or two here or there. Just as long as the guys back West get their tankers full of oil, everything will be alright!"

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