Indian Point Nuclear Will Be Trouble At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)


Recent series of Indian Point shutdowns worst in years

Ernie Garcia,

BUCHANAN — Four unplanned reactor shutdowns over a two-month period at Indian Point are the most setbacks the nuclear power plant has experienced in years.

A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.

So many mishaps at the Entergy-owned plant haven’t occurred since 2009, when one of two units at the Buchanan site experienced a similar series, said plant spokesman Jerry Nappi.

Besides a May 9 transformer failure that spilled some 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River, this year’s shutdowns were prompted by a May 7 steam leak, a July 8 pump motor failure and a June 15 switch yard breaker failure offsite in a Consolidated Edison substation.

If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.

So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.

“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”

One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.

The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.

Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.

The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.
“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”

Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.

“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.

The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.

Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.

Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.

There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.
Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

The Scarlet Woman Will Be A Hawk (Rev 17)

Hillary Clinton’s Support for the Iraq War Was No Fluke 
Hillary Clinton has run to the right of the Obama administration on every major foreign policy issue — and she’s left a trail of devastation in her wake.
By Medea Benjamin, March 9, 2016. Share
In March 2003, just before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, about 100 CODEPINK women dressed in pink slips weaved in and out of congressional offices demanding to meet with representatives. Those representatives who pledged to oppose going to war with Iraq were given hugs and pink badges of courage; those hell-bent on taking the United States to war were given pink slips emblazoned with the words “YOU’RE FIRED.”
When we got to Hillary Clinton’s office, we sat down and refused to leave until we got a meeting with the New York senator. Within an hour, Clinton appeared. “I like pink tulips around this time of the year; they kind of remind ya that there may be a spring,” she began, looking out at the rows of women in pink. “Well, you guys look like a big bunch of big tulips!”
It got even more awkward after that.
Defending the Iraq War
Having just returned from Iraq, I relayed that the weapons inspectors in Baghdad told us there was no danger of weapons of mass destruction and that the Iraqi women we met were terrified about the pending war and desperate to stop it. “I admire your willingness to speak out on behalf of the women and children of Iraq,” Clinton replied, “but there is a very easy way to prevent anyone from being put into harm’s way and that is for Saddam Hussein to disarm and I have absolutely no belief that he will.”
We thought the easiest way to prevent harming women, children and other living things in Iraq was to stop a war of aggression, a war over weapons of mass destruction that UN inspectors on the ground couldn’t find — which were, in fact, never found, because they didn’t exist. Clinton, however, was steadfast in her commitment to war: She said it was our responsibility to disarm Saddam Hussein, and even defended George W. Bush’s unilateralism, citing her husband’s go-it-alone intervention in Kosovo.
Disgusted, CODEPINK cofounder Jodie Evans tore off her pink slip and handed it to Clinton, saying that her support for Bush’s invasion would lead to the death of many innocent people. Making the bogus connection between the September 11, 2001, attacks and Saddam Hussein, Clinton stormed out, saying, “I am the senator from New York. I will never put my people’s security at risk.”
But that’s just what she did, by supporting the Iraq war and draining our nation of over a trillion dollars. That money could have been used for supporting women and children here at home. It could have been rerouted to the social programs that have been systematically defunded over the last few decades of Clinton’s own political career. Not to mention the war ultimately snuffed out the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers — for absolutely no just cause.
Intervening in Libya, Surging in Afghanistan
If Clinton supported the Iraq war because she thought it politically expedient, she came to regret her stance when the war turned sour and Senator Barack Obama surged forward as the candidate opposed to that war during the presidential race in 2008.
But Clinton didn’t learn the main lesson from Iraq — to seek non- violent ways to solve conflicts. Indeed, when the Arab Spring came to Libya in 2010, Clinton was the Obama administration’s most forceful advocate for toppling Muammar Gaddafi. She even out-hawked Robert Gates, the defense secretary first appointed by George W. Bush, who was less than enthusiastic about going to war. Gates was reluctant to get bogged down in another Arab country, insisting that vital U.S. interests were not at stake But Clinton nevertheless favored intervention.
When Libyan rebels carried out an extrajudicial execution of their country’s former dictator, Clinton’s response was sociopathic: “We came, we saw, he died,” she laughed. That sent a message that the United States would look the other way at crimes committed by allies against its official enemies.
In a weird bit of rough justice, the political grief Clinton has suffered over the September 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that killed four Americans might never have occurred had Clinton not supported the U.S. intervention in Libya’s civil war. While Republicans have focused relentlessly on the terrible deaths of the U.S. diplomats, the larger disaster is the ensuing chaos that left Libya without a functioning government, overrun by feuding warlords and extremist militants. In 2015, the suffering of desperate refugees who flee civil unrest — many of whom drown in the Mediterranean Sea — is a direct consequence of that disastrous operation.
Libya was part of a pattern for Clinton.
On Afghanistan, she advocated a repeat of the surge in Iraq. When the top U.S. commander in Kabul, General Stanley McChrystal, asked Obama for 40,000 more troops to fight the Taliban in mid-2009, several top officials — including Vice President Joe Biden — objected, insisting that the public had lost patience with a conflict that had already dragged on too long. But Clinton backed McChrystal and wound up favoring even more surge troops than Defense Secretary Gates did. Obama ultimately sent another 30,000 American soldiers to Afghanistan.
Clinton’s State Department also provided cover for the expansion of the not-so-covert drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen. Clinton’s top legal adviser, Harold Koh, exploited his pre-government reputation as an advocate for human rights to declare in a 2010 speech that the government had the right not only to detain people without any charges at Guantanamo Bay, but also to kill them with unmanned aerial vehicles anywhere in the world.
Escalation in Syria
When it came to Syria, Obama’s top diplomat was a forceful advocate for military intervention in that nation’s civil war.
When Obama threatened air strikes in 2013 to punish the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, for example, Clinton publicly supported him, ignoring polls showing that more than 70 percent of Americans opposed military action. She described the planned U.S. attack on Syria as a “limited strike to uphold a crucial global norm,” although one of the clearest global norms under the UN Charter is that a country should not attack another country except in self-defense.
Clinton advocated arming Syrian rebels long before the Obama administration agreed to do so. In 2012, she allied with CIA Director David Petraeus to promote a U.S.-supplied-and-trained proxy army in Syria. As a U.S. Army general, Petraeus spent enormous amounts of money training Iraqi and Afghan soldiers with little success, but that did not deter him and Clinton from seeking a similar project in Syria. Together, they campaigned for more direct and aggressive U.S. support for the rebels, a plan supported by leading Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. But few in the White House agreed, arguing that it would be difficult to appropriately vet fighters and ensure that weapons didn’t fall into the hands of extremists.
Clinton was disappointed when Obama rejected the proposal, but a similar plan for the U.S. to “vet and train moderate rebels” at a starting cost of $500 million was later approved. Some of the trained rebels were quickly routed and captured; others, more concerned with toppling Assad than fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) defected to the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front. In September 2015, the head of U.S. Central Command, General Lloyd Austin, told an incredulous Senate Armed Services Committee that the $500 million effort to train Syrian forces had resulted in a mere four or five fighters actively battling ISIS. Undeterred, Clinton said that as commander-in-chief, she would dramatically escalate the program.
In October 2015, Clinton broke with the Obama White House on Syria by calling for the creation of a no-fly zone “to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air, to try to provide some way to take stock of what’s happening, to try to stem the flow of refugees,” she said in a TV interview on the campaign trail.
While the Obama White House has approved air strikes against ISIS, it has resisted creating a no-fly zone on the grounds that the effective enforcement to prevent Assad’s planes from flying would require large amounts of U.S. resources and could pull the military further into an unpredictable conflict.
Clinton’s position is at odds not only with President Obama, but also with the position of Bernie Sanders, her main rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders has warned that a unilateral U.S. no-fly zone in Syria could “get us more deeply involved in that horrible civil war and lead to a never-ending U.S. entanglement in that region,” potentially making a complex and dangerous situation in Syria even worse.
Antagonizing Iran
Clinton did come out in support of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, but even that position comes with a heavy load of bellicose baggage.
Back in April 2008, Clinton warned that the U.S. could “totally obliterate” Iran in retaliation for a nuclear attack on Israel — prompting Obama to warn against “language that’s reflective of George Bush.” In 2009, as secretary of state, she was adamant that the U.S. keep open the option of attacking Iran over never-proven allegations it was seeking the nuclear weapons that Israel already has. She opposed talk of a “containment” policy that would be an alternative to military action should negotiations with Tehran fail.
Even after the agreement was sealed, she struck a bullying tone: “I don’t believe Iran is our partner in this agreement,” Clinton insisted. “Iran is the subject of the agreement,” adding that she would not hesitate to take military action if Iran attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon. “We should expect that Iran will want to test the next president. They will want to see how far they can bend the rules,” she said in a September 2015 speech at the Brookings Institution. “That won’t work if I’m in the White House.”
To bolster her tough stance, Clinton suggested deploying additional U.S. forces to the Persian Gulf region and recommended that Congress close any gaps in the existing sanctions to punish Iran for any current or future instances of human rights abuses and support for terror.
It’s true that the Iran nuclear agreement allowed for additional possible sanctions unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program, but it also required parties to avoid action “inconsistent with the letter, spirit and intent” of the deal. Clinton’s call for new sanctions violates the deal’s intent.
Enabling Netanyahu
Meanwhile, Clinton has positioned herself as more “pro-Israel” than President Obama.
She vows to bring the two nations closer together, promising to invite the right-wing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the White House within her first month in office. She has distanced herself from Obama’s feud with Netanyahu over the prime minister’s efforts to derail the Iran nuclear deal and his comments opposing the creation of a Palestinian state. Referring to Obama’s policy toward Netanyahu, Clinton said that such “tough love” is counterproductive because it invites other countries to delegitimize Israel. Clinton promised the people of Israel that if she were president, “you’ll never have to question whether we’re with you. The United States will always be with you.
Clinton has also voiced her opposition to the Palestinian-led nonviolent campaign against the Israeli government called BDS — standing for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. In a letter to her hardline pro-Israel mega donor Haim Saban, she said BDS seeks to punish Israel and asked Saban’s advice on “how leaders and communities across America can work together to counter BDS.”
Missed Opportunities
As secretary of state, Clinton missed opportunity after opportunity to shine as the nation’s top diplomat.
In July 2010, she visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone with Defense Secretary Robert Gates to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Standing at the site of the most militarized border in the world at a time of great tension between North and South Korea, she could have publicly recognized that the 1953 armistice that ended the fighting on the Korean peninsula was supposed to be followed up a few months later by a real peace treaty but never was. Clinton could have used this occasion to call for a peace treaty and a process of reconciliation between the two Koreas. Instead she characterized the decades-long U.S. military presence in Korea as a great success — a statement hard to reconcile with 60 years of continuous hostilities.
Clinton also failed miserably in her attempt to “reset” the U.S. relationship with Russia. Since leaving office, she has criticized the Obama administration for not doing more to contain Russia’s presence in Ukraine since the 2014 annexation of Crimea. She put herself “in the category of people who wanted to do more in reaction to the annexation of Crimea,” insisting that the Russian government’s objective is “to stymie, to confront, to undermine American power whenever and wherever they can.”
It was only after Clinton resigned as secretary of state and was replaced by John Kerry that the State Department moved away from being merely an appendage of the Pentagon to one that truly sought creative, diplomatic solutions to seemingly intractable conflicts. President Obama’s two signature foreign policy achievements — the Iran deal and the groundbreaking opening with Cuba — came after Clinton left. These historic wins serve to highlight Clinton’s miserable track record in the position.
When Clinton announced her second campaign for the presidency, she declared she was entering the race to be the champion for “everyday Americans.”
As a lawmaker and diplomat, however, Clinton has long championed military campaigns that have killed scores of “everyday” people abroad. As commander-in-chief, there’s no reason to believe she’d be any less a war hawk than she was as the senator who backed George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, or the secretary of state who encouraged Barack Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan.
Clinton may well have been the administration’s most vociferous advocate for military action. On at least three crucial issues — Afghanistan, Libya, and the bin Laden raid — she took a more aggressive line than Defense Secretary Gates, a Bush-appointed Republican.
Little wonder that Clinton has won the support of many pundits who continually agitate for war. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, told the New York Times. “If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue,” he said, “it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.”
Let’s call it what it is: more of the interventionist policies that destroyed Iraq, destabilized Libya, showered Yemen with cluster bombs and drones, and legitimized repressive regimes from Israel to Honduras.
A Hillary Clinton presidency would symbolically break the glass ceiling for women in the United States, but it would be unlikely to break through the military-industrial complex that has been keeping our nation in a perpetual state of war — killing people around the world, plenty of them women and children.

Antichrist Warns Babylon The Great (Revelation 13:11)

Al-Sadr Warns U.S., UK Embassies Not to Meddle in Iraqi Affairs

BAGHDAD – The influential Iraqi Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, said on Tuesday that his followers will not attack the embassies located in the Green Zone in Baghdad, but warned the U.S. and UK embassies not to meddle in the internal affairs of Iraq.
Al-Sadr said in a statement released in Baghdad that he has heard about the fears of the diplomatic missions in that area of a popular assault on the Green Zone, and he thought it necessary to send them a message of tranquility and peace.However, the cleric issued a warning to the embassies not to intervene in the internal affairs of Iraq. In that area, which is located in the center of Baghdad, there are the headquarters of the Iraqi government, parliament and foreign embassies and entry is only allowed to Iraqis who work there.
On Feb. 26, Al-Sadr threatened, during a mass protest in Baghdad, to withdraw support from the government of Haider al-Abadi if he does not implement the reforms requested by the cleric in 45 days.

First A Hydrogen Bomb, Now A Miniaturized Nuke

North Korea’s Kim says country has miniaturized nuclear warhead

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 JACK KIM FOR REUTERS
By Jack Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the country has miniaturized nuclear warheads to be mounted on ballistic missiles and ordered improvements in the power and precision of its arsenal, its state media reported on Wednesday.

Kim has called for his military to be prepared to mount pre-emptive attacks against the United States and South Korea and stand ready to use nuclear weapons, stepping up belligerent rhetoric after coming under new U.N. and bilateral sanctions.

U.S. and South Korean troops began large-scale military drills this week, which the North calls “nuclear war moves” and threatened to respond with an all-out offensive.

Kim’s comments released on Wednesday were his first direct mention of the claim, previously made repeatedly in state media, to have successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to be mounted on a ballistic missile, which is widely questioned.

“The nuclear warheads have been standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles by miniaturizing them,” KCNA quoted him as saying as he inspected the work of nuclear workers, adding “this can be called true nuclear deterrent.”

“He stressed the importance of building ever more powerful, precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and their delivery means,” KCNA said.

Kim also inspected the nuclear warheads designed for thermo-nuclear reaction, KCNA said, referring to a hydrogen bomb that the country claimed to have tested in January.

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 claiming to have set off a miniaturized hydrogen bomb, which was disputed by many experts and the governments of South Korea and the United States. The blast detected from the test was simply too small to back up the claim, experts said at the time.

The U.N. Security Council imposed harsh new sanctions on the isolated state last week for the nuclear test. It launched a long-range rocket in February drawing international criticism and sanctions from its rival, South Korea.

On Tuesday South Korea announced further measures aimed at isolating the North by blacklisting individuals and entities that it said were linked to Pyongyang’s weapons program.m
China also stepped up pressure on the North by barring one of the 31 ships on its transport ministry’s blacklist.

But a U.N. panel set up to monitor sanctions under an earlier Security Council resolution adopted in 2009 said in a report released on Tuesday that it had “serious questions about the efficacy of the current United Nations sanctions regime.”

North Korea has been “effective in evading sanctions” by continuing to engage in banned trade, “facilitated by the low level of implementation of Security Council resolutions by Member States,” the Panel of Experts said.

“The reasons are diverse, but include lack of political will, inadequate enabling legislation, lack of understanding of the resolutions and low prioritization,” it said, referring to the incomplete enforcement of sanctions.


Babylon Without George Bush Junior (Revelation 13:10)

Iraq reimagined: An alternative history of Saddam Hussein and the Arab Spring

Iraq reimagined: An alternative history of Saddam Hussein and the Arab Spring

This piece imagines an Iraq where Saddam Hussein was still in power in 2016. What if President Bush had allowed his red line to be crossed? How would Saddam’s response to the Arab Spring have played into the region’s geopolitics?

Ten years after Saddam’s death in December 2006, the decision to invade Iraq is still a contentious topic in the United States. Hillary Clinton has battled to win the favor of young and leftist Democrats who view her as part of the pro-war establishment that went ahead with a rash and costly military action. Jeb Bush struggled to shake the legacy, and in the end, it may have cost him the nomination. War fatigue is evident among Republicans who view Bush’s decision to invade Iraq as worsening the overall security situation. There is a widespread yearning for the simpler times of the classic Arab dictators.

How different would things have been if Bush had his version of Obama’s “Red Line moment” where he reneged on his threat to invade Iraq and Operation Iraqi Freedom never happened? How would Saddam’s regime have navigated the storm of the Arab Spring? What could’ve happened to the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Iran’s growing power in the region? Fictional depictions of history, such as The Man in the High Castle, occasionally provide insights into what might’ve been different or what could have stayed the same.

The following is a fictional version of events, imagining what might have happened had President Bush not decided to invade Iraq in 2003.

A war avoided

Following the resignation of Vice President Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz from the Administration, President George W. Bush opted to conduct a limited bombing mission (dubbed Operation Desert Fox II) against Saddam’s regime. With a focus on Afghanistan, Iraq falls on the foreign policy backburner.

Following Bush’s presidency, President McCain sets the stage for the Arab Spring. By 2008, new strides in technology, U.S. funded media training, and student exchange programs, led to the creation of a network of young democracy activists (including Iraqis) in the Arab World. President McCain focuses his attention on isolating the Iranian regime.

Despite the many years of hostile relations during Bush’s presidency, the growing threat of Iran’s nuclear program led to low-level bilateral dialogue. Initiated by Saudi Arabia and facilitated through mediation from German and French contacts, the U.S. and United Kingdom, fearing a nuclear Iran, agree to end Operation Southern Watch. Iraq, in turn, surrenders its WMDs, in exchange for cooperation against Iran.

Imagining Saddam’s regime in 2016

Harith al-Qarawee, Fellow with the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University explained to GRI, “In the 1990s and as a result of the harsh international sanctions that followed the war which inflicted huge damage in the infrastructure, the regime lost a great part of its resources and was adapting internally in order to be able to rule with limited resources. This is why it almost completely gave up on its ‘modernizing policies’, continued liberalizing the economy, and created alternative channels of relating to local communities. The Baath party became less relevant, while a process of re-tribalization was initiated to use traditional networks, based on patronage, in managing local communities.”  

The ruling Baath Party leadership is aging. Saddam and his cohorts are almost all octogenarians. Since 2000, Saddam has been preparing for a leadership transition for his second son, Qusay Hussein, who is viewed by some diplomats as reasonable and open to reform. A similar diplomatic overture is being explored with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in Libya.

Years of sanctions crippled Iraq’s economy. The Saddam Dam, one of the government’s grandiose state development projects, continues to teeter on complete disaster. Despite the hardships and high unemployment, the resourceful and innovative people of Iraq found ways to rebuild at the local level.
In the late 1990’s, Saddam had begun experimenting with satellite TV and wireless communications. By the time of McCain’s presidency in 2008, the new window to the outside world was difficult for the Iraqi government to control. Satellite dishes adorn the rooftops of many homes in Baghdad and across Iraq. In 2011 cracks appear in the regime and people began to hold demonstrations organized through online social networks.

A different Iraqi Civil War?

As the demonstrations and repeated violent crackdowns continued, the Iraqi military was severely weakened from repeated bombing, sanctions, and isolation. Grumblings within the Republican Guard led to a new round of purges. Seeking new allies, Saddam turns to his fellow Sunnis and his former financial backer from the Iran-Iraq War, Saudi Arabia.

The Baath Party had embarked on a nominal path towards Islamism under the guidance of Vice President Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri via the faith campaign. This galvanized and shored up Sunni support from Jordan and the Arab Gulf States. Donations from abroad poured in to the Saddam University for Islamic Studies.

It is not long before the demonstrations turned into a full-fledged repeat of the 1991 and 1999 predominately Shia uprisings.

Iran, after several nuclear tests, remained isolated and agitated. Syria’s separate peace with Israel left Iran searching for allies within Iraq’s rebel movement and an increase in terror abroad. A powerful Lebanese Christian-Sunni political establishment with ties to Saddam faces near daily attacks from a hardline and politically marginalized Shia Hezbollah.

The conflict very quickly took on a sectarian element. With support from the Iranian government and trainers, the Iraqi Badr organization and Dawa Party form sizable militias. The Mehdi Army has held out under the regime’s siege of Saddam City for over a year and the humanitarian situation is dire. Smart phone footage from Abu Ghraib shows mass overcrowding and torture in prisons.
The Kurds manage to stay neutral until regime attacks force them to once again side with Iran. Hezbollah comes in via Iran to aid Iraq’s Shia fighters. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, a Chaldean Catholic, appealed desperately for more Western support to protect Iraq’s beleaguered Christians.

The regime struggled to contain the number of Sunni extremists group operating in the country, facilitated by a vast network of Baath army and intelligence officers with questionable loyalties.  Despite the fact that Saddam still provides financial supports to different Palestinian factions, the government’s crackdowns against Ansar al-Islam and the arrest and execution of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi further marginalize the regime’s relations with Sunni Salafists.

Saddam, while using the guise of religion to shore up local support, never trusted the Islamists. Clashes erupt between defecting Republican Guard units and the loyal Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary force. Iraq is soon dealing with a multifaceted civil war.

Should the world miss Saddam?

Realist and idealists will continue to debate the human cost of the war for both the Americans and Iraqis, whether Iraqis were better off under Saddam, and what the region’s geopolitics might have meant for Iran and IS. Iran has increased its influence in the region and Syria was directly impacted by the violence in Iraq. However, it is unclear if Syria could have actually escaped violence or what direction Iran would’ve gone in had Saddam stayed in power.

As for IS, it is difficult to know whether a Sunni extremist organization of its size could’ve formed without the power vacuum that transpired in 2003. Baathist like Abdul Karim Muta’a Kheirallah, Samir al-Khlifawi, and Fadel Ahmad Abdullah al-Hyali from Saddam’s intelligence services may have never met IS leader Al-Baghdadi in Camp Bucca but would’ve instead been instrumental in putting down rebellions instead of fomenting them.

Alternative history shows that one historical decision may have postponed regional upheaval and shifting of alliances, but perhaps only for a while. Dictatorship is not a guarantee of peace and stability. The new era of post-Arab Spring authoritarianism has already begun taking shape. The lessons of Saddam’s long period of brutal rule will continue to demonstrate the impact of his dictatorship on the region.