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Life on Mars

February 14, 2011 | Major Wayne Wall

Hello again everyone. I know it has been a while since my last post, but things have been a bit hectic. I've been thinking for quite a while on what I may want to talk about, and it has been challenging. In the process of trying to figure that out, I've determined that my posts from this point on are going to have to seem very generic and repetitive. There are several reasons for this. First of all, the work I'm doing is not something I can say much about. I'll have to choose my topics and words carefully in order to avoid discussing things that I shouldn't be discussing. Secondly, aside from work, I'm not doing much else here in Iraq. In comparison to the previous year, my life is going to be very one-dimensional. So... I will do the best I can to make this interesting and informative, but please grant me some leniency as you read.

So, the update from Iraq. Where to begin... Well first I'll tell everyone that the XVIII's Airborne Corps completed its transition from III Corps on the 8th of this month. We had been in place and working to get spun up on the many issues surrounding our operations in Iraq for about two weeks before that point, so we were more than ready to continue operations seamlessly and without incident. My job on the CAG for the Deputy Commanding General for Operations (DCG-O) is both challenging and rewarding. I'm not really using my FAO skill sets at the moment, but will be soon. After some adjusting and settling into roles within the team, it looks like I will be indeed using my training to work on Key Leader Engagements (KLE's) between the DCG-O and Iraqi officials. It's a role that is perfect for a FAO, and one I am very energized to be performing.

I will explain more about life here shortly. For now I just wanted to check in and let everyone know I'm still up on the net. Things are starting to develop a rhythm now so hopefully I'll start having more time to write soon. For now, off to bed. Sleep is a precious commodity at the moment.


Tags:

Deployment, iraq, fao

3 Comments

  • Fahad A. Khan
    3/6/2011 10:43 AM
    Hello again, Sir. Its been a while. I'm glad to see your doing wel; I would like to get perspective on recent events - particulary Egypt, as I was just there for Block Leave in January - and how someone in your position responds to something like this?
    • FAOweb
      3/8/2011 7:11 PM
      We would love to see FAOweb be the home for some of these discussions. Please email FAOwebhelp@nps.edu if you don't have access to FAOweb. (FAO.nps.edu)
  • Wayne Wall
    3/25/2011 3:22 AM
    Fahad,

    Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. The tempo of life around a 3-star in Iraq does not provide a lot of time to contemplate much else than work.

    To answer your question, events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East will be the topic of scholarly discussion and debate for some time to come. They are the manifestation of layers upon layers of social, political, historical, religious, and economic issues that stretch back decades if not centuries. All of this being brought to sudden crescendo by the power of the media. It was not all an accident, however. In Tunisia and Egypt in particular, years worth of collaboration was involved. A well-educated, non-sectarian, tech-savvy 30-something demographic rested at its core, supporting the idea that the key to transformation in the Middle East lies with the younger generations, who now vastly outnumber the older ones. But once revolution took root in Egypt (made possible largely by success in Tunisia), the rest of the region knew it was possible to use the same playbook in their own countries to effect change. We are now seeing differing outcomes in places like Bahrain and Libya. These more violent scenarios will put our foreign policy to the test and produce second and third order effects based on our actions and their outcomes.

    In a situation like the one I am in, the FAO's job is to keep an eye on events and provide contextual understanding to those who may not have the time or background to do it for themselves. So as events were unfolding across the region, that was what I was doing. I would love to say more about it, but given my position I will leave you to look at open sources to see how things went here. There are a lot of news articles available through open sources on the demonstrations that occurred in Iraq in February.

    Here are a couple of news articles that I found useful. They give one very plausible account of the nature of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt that have prompted further demonstrations across the Middle East:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/world/middleeast/14egypt-tunisia-protests.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/world/middleeast/17sharp.html?pagewanted=all

    Hope this gives you the information you were looking for!

    Wayne

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