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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

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Condoleeza Rice’

The Sons of Iraq – a Step towards Stratified Democracy?

The level of violence in Iraq has decreased to the point where troop withdrawals by both the British and the Americans are once again being discussed seriously. Iraq and the United States have reportedly set a preliminary timetable to start withdrawing American forces from Iraqi cities from next June, according to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari last week after his meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The Zebari-Rice agreement would link troop reductions to the achievement of certain security milestones. But, given how cautious President George W Bush has been to committing to a timetable for American withdrawal, for his Secretary of State to agree to one at all is an indicator of how much better things have become. And, of course, a few weeks before, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a statement to Parliament announcing the intention to further reduce British troops in 2009. Who would have thought it a year ago? So, what’s changed the battleground so much in the past 14 months? Partly the much vaunted ‘surge’ of American troops in Baghdad, while merely displacing many insurgents to other parts of the country, did create short-term some of the essentials for peace at least in parts… Read More

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Tribal War in South Ossetia

As the Russian-Georgian conflict in South Ossetia inches towards a volatile, dangerous and perhaps quite short-lived peace, it is a good time for those who would intervene – ‘soft cops’ like France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and ‘hard cops’ such as American Vice President Dick Cheney – to study the nature of such conflicts, how they arise, how they can be managed, hopefully resolved and, better still, prevented. Better informed, their interventions may have a chance of working. With ethnic Russian breakaway forces in Abkhazia equally determined to resist Georgian attempts at reintegration and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pronouncing that Moscow cannot work with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, with both armies bloodied and ready to resume combat at the slightest provocation, with civilian dead estimated in the thousands and the two governments hurling accusations of ethnic cleansing and would-be genocide at each other, there is every potential for an awful lot more lives to be lost in the next few months. At root South Ossetia is a conflict of PURPLE tribalism. The PURPLE vMEME seeks security in belonging; in belonging to some, it demarks itself from others – all too easily leading to prejudice & discrimination against those who are “not… Read More

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Prisoner abuse and the mess in Iraq

So Donald Rumsfeld has not only admitted to Congress that, yes, American soldiers have been doing rather nasty and degrading things to Iraqi detainees but there is, in fact, far worse to come – including videos! (It’s already been confirmed that 2 Iraqis have died in US custody – one with ‘strangulation’ identified as the cause of death on his post-mortem report! – and there will almost certainly be more come to light if allegations of firing on unarmed prisoners from a prison watchtower are accurate.) However, the abuse, according to Rumsfeld, has not been ‘systematic’ but merely the actions of some ‘bad apples’. As his President, George W Bush, points out, there are some 200,000 American troops in Iraq and the vast majority are doing a demanding and highly-dangerous job with bravery and integrity. In the larger scheme of things, the average ‘GI Joe’ in Iraq is probably epitomising Bush’s case on a daily basis. Unfortunately for Bush and Rumsfeld, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have them squarely in their sights. According to the Red Cross, they recorded regular abuses at Baghdad’s Abu Grhaib jail between March and October 2003 – the worst being in the October – and presented the… Read More

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