What About Iraq Indeed

Recently I saw another reminder of an issue that I haven’t devoted a lot of time to in the past, but which deserves attention. Russia’s involvement in Iraqi Kurdistan (aka the Kurdish Regional Government) is a story often overshadowed by the campaign in Syria and the occupation of Ukraine, but it’s a good idea to keep it in mind.

What involvement are we talking about? As usual it’s a matter of oil and gas, Russia’s bread and butter. Russia has become one of the biggest investors in Iraqi Kurdistan’s energy industry, apparently. I knew that Gazprom was there several years ago, but apparently so is Rosneft. In fact, according to the article Russia is moving in to fill a gap that was left by the US as it got out of Iraq.

That is quite interesting because we all know that the Putinophile’s favorite answer to any criticism of Russia’s aggressive foreign policy is “WHAT ABOUT IRAQ?!” Realistically, they already pissed away their right to use that when they decided to invade and occupy another country under false pretexts, just as Bush had done in Iraq. But the story about Kurdistan is just a reminder that Putin’s criticism of US actions in Iraq were always bullshit. Putin’s economic boom in the 2000’s was largely due to high oil prices. Putin had a win-win situation; criticize the war for political capital, reap the benefits of the war. But even if you say Putin had no control over oil markets (fair enough), he has certainly benefited from the toppling of the Baathist regime, which opened Iraqi Kurdistan up for investment.

Of course this doesn’t make Russia share responsibility for what the US did in Iraq, but the truth is that Putin never really cared. In his eyes, the invasion must have confirmed what he already believed- that a rules-based world guided by concepts like human rights and democracy was nothing but a sham, a velvet glove over an iron fist. In Putin’s 19th century worldview, invading Iraq was just realpolitik. Thus he saw him self justified in invading and occupying Ukraine.

The lesson here is one I learned long ago, even before I was totally wise to the Kremlin’s propaganda tactics. I’d see RT hosting some guest who would talk about the evils of US foreign policy, but you’d never see any criticism of Russia’s own foreign adventures (though they were far more modest at the time). That felt disturbing, and made me shy away from voicing my own criticisms of the West when in the company of Russians, because I didn’t feel any reciprocity. As one friend described conversations with a Russian mutual acquaintance- “When I talk about all the problems in America, her eyes light up, but when it’s her turn, she doesn’t have much to say.”

It’s different in many other countries. In Ukraine, I hate my government, they hate their government, I hate their government too, and we both hate the Russian government as well. There’s a kind of solidarity there. With pro-Kremlin Russians though, you’re a hero when you’re condemning the aggression of the United States, but you’re a neocon Banderite Nazi the second you start applying the same logic and criticism to the Kremlin. Some folks like to bask in the attention they get from pro-Kremlin Russians for voicing the former criticism, but the fact is that those giving the attention see them as traitors, as defectives who for some reason don’t know they’re supposed to cheer for their team. There is zero respect for such people in Russia. In fact, even Russians who aren’t pro-regime tend to see such enthusiastic Putinophiles as somewhat insane.

So just keep all this in mind when they say play the “what about Iraq” card. We who have been consistent on this issue have the right to criticize the American and British governments for that aggression. Putin’s fanboys don’t. They’re defending his aggression in Ukraine, either explicitly or implicitly. The truth is that as one Twitter follower pointed out- Russia actually won the Iraq War. America did the fighting, and they reaped the benefits.

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3 thoughts on “What About Iraq Indeed

  1. lance

    I don’t think I’ve read a more clueless pile of rubbish in my life. Just an incoherant hate blog this is.

    “Putin’s economic boom in the 2000’s was largely due to high oil prices”…..
    Oil has not been even 1/3rd of Russia’s Gross Domestic Product during most of the Putin years. During which time, before 2014,Russia’s economy increased by more than 10 times.

    “What about Iraq”…..and Iran in the 1950’s,Nicaragua,Honduras,Cyprus,Orange and Rose “revolution”,umpteen countries in Africa,Vietnam,Afghanistan,Yugoslavia and too many others to mention. Comparing that-countries that the US have no cultural,historic or geographic connection to…….with inevitable problems in the post-soviet space…is not clever …to put it mildly.

    ” But even if you say Putin had no control over oil markets (fair enough), he has certainly benefited from the toppling of the Baathist regime, which opened Iraqi Kurdistan up for investment.Of course this is years after the Iraqi war”

    haheehee!! 16 years the war ,Russia makes ONE investment…..and they are “war profiteering”. No point dignifying that garbage with a response.What is an oil and gas company supposed to do? Is it just me or are there other non-US countries in the west that also are involved in the oil and gas business?

    “when they decided to invade and occupy another country under false pretexts”…..errrm No. Too easy to knockdown

    Russia could easily gain money from giving way to Turkey on issues with Syria and Armenia…..but doesn’t out of principle

    “Some folks like to bask in the attention they get from pro-Kremlin Russians for voicing the former criticism, but the fact is that those giving the attention see them as traitors, as defectives who for some reason don’t know they’re supposed to cheer for their team. There is zero respect for such people in Russia. In fact, even Russians who aren’t pro-regime tend to see such enthusiastic Putinophiles as somewhat insane.”…this part doesn’t make sense from a grammar or argument perspective.

    It seems to me that your time in Russia would have benifited from actual social interactions with Russians….not a closed circle of 5 liberasts and other clueless russophobic westeners. I see on one of your posts that even seeks to claim that the Crimean reunification was “not popular”…..hahahahahahaheeeheee!Too clueless to know about defections of some important military figures in the Ukrainian Navy and Army in Crimea.

    Put this post up and see if even ONE person defends your post

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      1. That high oil prices were a major part of the economic boom in the 2000’s is not in dispute. Of course the Kremlin had more sensible policies back then as well, like not invading its neighbors, encouraging foreign investment (though not doing enough to fight corruption that was often an impediment), and paying doubt debt.

      2. So for you it would be cool for the US to intervene in countries if there’s some kind of cultural-historical connection? I guess that leaves all of the Americas up for grabs. Chile in 1973? No problem! Venezuela? Fine! Cuba? No problem.

      Still whataboutism, still not an argument.

      3. I didn’t say Russia is “war profiteering,” but they aren’t acting on principle either. Your claim about Turkey is rather hilarious considering how much trade goes on between those countries, AND they are finding common ground with Turkey over Syria now. Hell, they kissed and made up after Turkey shot down a Russian jet and a Turkish fanatic shot their ambassador on TV. That man might have acted on his own, but it’s clear he’d been radicalized by the kind of propaganda the Turkish regime is known for.

      4. The argument makes perfect sense to people who aren’t morons with reading comprehension problems such as yourself.

      5. You don’t know who I spent my time with in Russia, ergo you decided to write some short fan-fiction about someone you don’t know in order to explain to yourself why I would contradict your bizarro-world fantasies about Russia. I don’t know if you’ve even set foot in Russia, but I can assure you I wasn’t hanging out with the Jean Jacques crowd or the Propaganda scene.

      6. Did you see the part above where I mention your reading comprehension problem? This thing about the Crimean Referendum is the payoff, because I’ve never written anything of that sort. In fact I have, like most analysts who know what they’re talking about, acknowledged that had there been a LEGAL referendum, the Russian side probably would have won. But the referendum was rushed, not legal, organized via military force, and contained no status quo option.

      So basically you just knocked down a strawman. Great job.

      The reason you’re flailing around impotently with these bizarre fantasies is because you’re basically a failure at life and you can’t even manage to read a blog without seriously fucking up the meaning of rather simple arguments.

      So yeah- I posted your screed just to make you a laughing stock.

      Reply

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