Contrary to what the media are telling you, Barack Obama is not in any real sense visiting Iraq. He is visiting a US base which, under the Status of Forces Agreement, is US territory under US legal jurisdiction. He is not visiting Iraq any more than a vist to Guananamo Bay (Good Lord! Is that still open? What happened?) would be a visit to Cuba.
Which is a point worth making as he delivers an almighty snub to the Iraqi President and Prime Minister. For a visiting Head of State to come officially to your country and not meet the host President or host Government is an almighty breach of protocol, a gesture of supreme contempt. We are told he is going to telephone them. Well that’s OK then.
We already knew they were pointless American puppets. Isn’t he supposed to be hiding that?
The visit has the look and feel of an exercise in Imperial hubris, an entirely militaristic display. The Iraqis lost hundreds of thousands killed and saw the deliberate destruction of their water, electricity, sewerage and other civilian infrastructure. They are being visited by a new leader of their occupiers who made a virtue of opposing their invasion and their suffering. They might have expected him to walk on foot and say sorry to the Iraqi people, not glory in the power of his military and hand out medals.
The US occupation is coming unstuck again, in a way that is a familiar pattern to all students of Imperialism. Militias of all stripes, and particularly the “Sons of Iraq”, were bought off by the payment of huge bribes, or what in the British Empire were termed “Subsidies”. There always comes a stage when these large payments are scaled back in the interests of financial prudence. Then the militia,now much richer and better equipped, kicks up trouble again. It was the immediate cause of the British disaster in Afghanistan in 1841.
The Americans just cut their payments to the Iraqi militias, and the result has been 250 civilian deaths in a fortnight.