Understanding “The Letter” by General William H Seely III (now Including Postscript)

On Monday 6th Jan 2020 at 8pm local time, the Iraqi Government received a letter from William H Seely III, Commanding General US Marine Corps, informing them that the American military would be withdrawing from Iraq and that the government should expect to witness increased flights in and out of the International Zone (IZ).
The Letter
Also see here

This increased air activity at night was nothing to worry about as it was being undertaken to “alleviate any perception that we may be bringing more Coalition Forces to the IZ (International Zone)”.

When the letter became public, the military first denied its authenticity and then claimed it was an unsigned draft that had been sent out prematurely. This last excuse had some surface plausibility because the contents were extremely odd. Here is a military commander saying they will be withdrawing because the Iraqi Parliament voted on them leaving. So they were going to leave because, "We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure"! What's wrong with that picture?

Much of the international press got it wrong. Here is an example of that misunderstanding complete with an amusing cartoon-
Daft Draft

The leaked letter was unsigned but the acting Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, confirmed that he had actually received this letter and that his copy, complete with Arabic translation was signed and there were in fact two versions of it – the second one had an amended Arabic translation on the reverse side.

So the US military are lying about the letter being first a fraud, then the letter being a draft and never being intended to be sent. Should we be surprised at the lies when we know that General William H Seely III is in charge of Marine Intelligence? What do we know about all intelligence agencies? They Lie. Lies are their 'stock in trade'. That's what they do. Its not called Psychological Warfare (Psy-Ops) for nothing.

So what's going on? Here is what I think William of Ockham would say about it.

'The Letter' was sent as designed and received by the Iraqi Prime Minister as intended and its purpose was to deceive the Iraqi government into thinking that troops were leaving the International Zone at night when in fact, under the cover of darkness, more troops were being brought into the IZ.

After all, if you want to avoid the perception that troops might be coming in when in fact they were going out, wouldn't it be better to do that in daylight? Clearly, Seely III's intention was to deceive and that was the purpose of the letter.

What General William H Seely III didn't count on was someone in his command taking a picture of it (before it has been signed) and releasing it on the net. He also didn't calculate on the Iraqi PM confirming its existence when asked. Seely III would have had a reasonable expectation that it all would be confidential as the Iraqi PM admitted that multiple threats of extra-judicial killings had been threatened over the years and had even been carried out and all without the public being any the wiser. (Folks, you need to read that last link!) Here is an example from it -

"Later on, when the Iraqi Minister of Defense publicly said that a third side was targeting both protesters and security forces alike, Abdul-Mahdi allegedly received a new call from Trump who threatened to kill both him and the Minister of Defense if they kept talking about this "third side".

That, along with much else in the Middle East has changed now courtesy of the US/Israel extra-judicial killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Well done, chaps!


Here is a very important article written by Frederico Pieraccini that directly quotes Iraqi acting Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi addressing the Iraqi parliament regarding Trumps threats of violence -

The Deeper Story Behind the Assassination of Soleimani


From Penny For Your Thoughts

Hi james:

the letter was interesting for what it didn't say and how the media spun it.
I questioned it's existence.. it seemed so surreal.
The letter came hot on the heels of the Iraqi vote to ask US troops to leave (which was meaningless) since the vote was boycotted by Sunni Kurdish and Sunni Arab mp's- So killing Soleimani was certainly a means to send Iran and Iraqi affiliates a message about who is the boss.

"Soleimani’s death is the result of a convergence of U.S. and Israeli interests."

Absolutely. As has been the case all along in the region.


Rock and a Hard Place

Thanks for your comment Pen.

Agree about the "surreal" nature of the letter.

The Sunni politicians couldn't vote for the proposal because they, no doubt, were fearful of their American sponsors and they couldn't vote against it for fear of their constituents. So they abstained.

At 173 votes for the proposal asking ALL foreign troops to leave Iraq, the parliament had a quorum and an absolute majority. In other words, the proposal would have passed even if all the Sunni politicians voted against it. So it is binding.

The dickering is about the fact that the Prime Minister is only in an 'acting' role so he can't put it into effect. But when a new PM is finally elected, it will become law and binding (as I understand it).

I agree that it is all about 'who's boss'!

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