Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We Are Family

Sister Sledge had a signature attack on the charts with "We Are Family."

The group had their own following but nothing like what was to come with this song.

It's a perfect song.

Perfect in vocal.  Perfect in notion.

Women supporting women.  :Dance.

It had everything.



Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 
Wednesday, August 20, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack talks a beheading, then heads off for a round of golf, United for Peace and Justice still can't issue a statement on the bombings, and much more.


This afternoon, US President Barack Obama spoke from Martha's Vineyard.  These are his remarks in full:


THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL.
Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother, and a friend.  He reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away.  He was taken hostage nearly two years ago in Syria, and he was courageously reporting at the time on the conflict there.
Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world.  He was 40 years old -- one of five siblings, the son of a mom and dad who worked tirelessly for his release.  Earlier today, I spoke to the Foleys and told them that we are all heartbroken at their loss, and join them in honoring Jim and all that he did.
Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers.  Let’s be clear about ISIL.  They have rampaged across cities and villages -- killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence.  They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery.  They have murdered Muslims -- both Sunni and Shia -- by the thousands.  They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion.  They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people.
So ISIL speaks for no religion.  Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.  No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.  ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings.  Their ideology is bankrupt.  They may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision, and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.
And people like this ultimately fail.  They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley, and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.
The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people.  We will be vigilant and we will be relentless.  When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.  And we act against ISIL, standing alongside others.
 The people of Iraq, who with our support are taking the fight to ISIL, must continue coming together to expel these terrorists from their communities.  The people of Syria, whose story Jim Foley told, do not deserve to live under the shadow of a tyrant or terrorists.  They have our support in their pursuit of a future rooted in dignity.
From governments and peoples across the Middle East there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread.  There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies.  One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.
Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday.  And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism, and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.  And that’s what Jim Foley stood for, a man who lived his work; who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings; who was liked and loved by friends and family.
Today, the American people will all say a prayer for those who loved Jim.  All of us feel the ache of his absence.  All of us mourn his loss.  We keep in our prayers those other Americans who are separated from their families.  We will do everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for.
May God bless and keep Jim’s memory, and may God bless the United States of America.



AP notes Barack went golfing after delivering the speech.  Nelson Sigelman (Martha's Vineyard Times) explains, "Afterward, the motorcade drove to the Vineyard Golf Club where he has played once before on this vacation. His golfing companions were retired basketball player Alonzo Mourning‎, businessman Glenn Hutchins, and Valerie Jarrett family member Cyrus Walker‎, according to the White House."  The speech followed Barack's day in DC yesterday.  AP notes, "The day appeared aimed in part at countering criticism that Obama was spending two weeks on the Massachusetts island in the midst of multiple crises."

B. Christopher Agee (Western Journalism) notes this Tweeted reaction:




Attention , you won't get Barack Obama's attention by beheading Americans. If you hide Obama's golf clubs however, the gloves are off.



Noting the nearness of the November mid-term elections, the editorial board of the Washington Times offers, "If Mr. Obama wants to keep the Senate in his party’s hands, he should put down his driver and putter and think about how to strengthen the economy and make the world quit laughing at us."

Mario Trujillo (The Hill) reports, "House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) suggested President Obama should cut his vacation short in light of the apparent murder of a U.S. journalist by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria."
Barack is not the only leader of a nation on vacation.  David Cameron, for example, is another and he's also been criticized for being on vacation as Iraq melts down.  But, as Polly Mosendz (The Wire) notes, Cameron has ended his vacation:


Cameron offered this statement on his decision, "If true, the brutal murder of James Foley is shocking and depraved." His office announced "[Cameron] will meet with the Foreign Secretary and senior officials from the Home Office, Foreign Office and the agencies to discuss the situation in Iraq and Syria and the threat posed by ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) terrorists."

Sebastian Payne (Washington Post) also notes Cameron's decision:

On Monday, he defended his decision to go on holiday in language that echoed the White House's defense of Obama's Martha's Vineyard break. “Wherever I am in the world I am always within a few feet of a BlackBerry, and an ability to manage things should they need to be managed,” he said.

But Cameron promised to return if the situation called for it. And on Wednesday, he announced that he had made that decision, saying it is “increasingly likely” that a British citizen beheaded Foley. Upon his return to Downing Street on Wednesday, Cameron has said he will chair meetings on the situation in Syria and Iraq.





The beheading was also discussed at today's State Dept press briefing by Marie Harf.  We'll note this section:

QUESTION: You mentioned the 14 strikes from Central Command around Mosul Dam --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- in the last 24 hours. Were those strikes conducted after the video was released or obtained by the U.S. Government?


MS. HARF: It is my understanding that they were, yes. I believe they happened today.


QUESTION: Right. Is there a concern – today as in our time or today as in Iraqi time? I guess --


MS. HARF: Today Iraqi time.


QUESTION: Okay. Is there a concern that these airstrikes – I mean, given the threats that were laid out in the video that were pretty explicit, is there a concern that the continued airstrikes around Mosul Dam on ISIL targets will lead directly to the death of Mr. Sotloff?



MS. HARF: Well, let me make a few points here. First of all, there is no justification for these kind of barbaric acts, period. None. Second, we don’t make concessions to terrorists. The United States Government has a longstanding policy that we feel very deeply about that we do not do that. The President was clear we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. And I would also note that, as I said earlier, ISIL has been willing to kill and rape and enslave anyone who gets in their way, regardless of what country they’re from, regardless of the policies of that country. They’ve been – shown themselves very willing to kill Christians and Muslims and Yezidis and people from all across Iraq and Syria. So again, while highlighting that there is absolutely no justification for this in any way, we have seen them be very willing to kill people – really anyone who gets in their way.



QUESTION: And you call on ISIS, I assume, to release Sotloff, even though --


MS. HARF: To immediate release Mr. Sotloff, yes.



QUESTION: And in terms of the video, was the Secretary and the President – they were briefed on the video. Did they watch the video?



MS. HARF: I don’t know the answer to that. I’m happy to check. I have not watched the video and don’t intend to.

Yes.


QUESTION: This horrific event – would this event is going to trigger any kind of assessment of your policy for the last 18 months when the ISIL spread very rapidly without any real check on it?



MS. HARF: Well, I think you’ve seen us, as ISIS – and ISIL now in Iraq – has gained in strength, that we have continued to assess our policy and use the tools at our disposal to work to degrade their capabilities. You’ve seen that with the airstrikes that the U.S. military has taken beginning about a week and a half or two weeks ago now. They’ve taken – I think I have the number here – 84 total airstrikes since August 8th.

So in that vein, we are constantly looking at how we can further degrade their leadership, their financing, their capabilities. We know they’re a threat. We have known that for some time, and that’s what we’ll be focused on going forward.


QUESTION: Would you be able to tell us, is there any regret on your part that the U.S. Government did not take more robust action in Syria to stop ISIL?


MS. HARF: Well, as I said, I think to Michel’s question, I’m hesitant when people say if only we had done X, everything would be different or everything would be fixed. I think we have constantly looked at ways in Syria, in a very complicated situation where there are no easy answers, to improve the capabilities of the moderate opposition to fight not only the regime, but also terrorist groups like ISIL and Nusrah.

So this is an ongoing process here. We are committed to fighting this in the long term. I can assure you we are putting all the resources of this Government – military, diplomatic, intelligence – towards finding Americans who are being held and bringing them home, and towards, in the long term, taking out the capabilities of ISIL, because we’ve seen what they can do. As the President said, there’s no place for this kind of group in the modern world, and that is what many, many people are working on every single day.

QUESTION: So it’s safe to say that you don’t have any regrets? That’s what we should --



MS. HARF: Just not – I think I made very clear what my position was.



Marie thinks she made clear her position.  If she did, that certainly puts her ahead of many others.


By the end of this week, the US will have conducted over 100 bombings of Iraq.

And where's our brave United for Peace and Justice?

Here's their home page.







Well try to remember that in 2007 and 2008, like CodeStink, UPFJ abandoned protesting war to instead campaign for Barack Obama.  In fact, immediately after Barack won the November 2008 election, UPfJ said bye-bye in a post which appeared to mistake the latest coronation of a War Hawk Corporatist with the emergence of a peace leader.

During the war on Libya, UPFJ kepts its trashy mouth shut.  Ditto throughout Barack's ongoing Drone War. They only re-emerged earlier this year so that, come 2016, they can pretend like they haven't taken six years off and instead tell you, as your dear and trusted friend, who to vote for in 2016.

Not one damn word on the Iraq War have they offered in weeks.

Not one damn word.

Not everyone is as pathetic as Leslie Cagen and her cronies.  Iraq Solidarity Association issued the following:



The US once again is bombing in Iraq and threatens the country with a "long-term project". The pretense is to stop the extremist Islamic state (IS) movement and “prevent genocide”. The experience – from the US occupation 2003-2011 and from “humanitarian interventions” in other countries – shows that this in fact means continued war against the people of Iraq, with devastating effects on the civilian population. The true purpose is to secure American interests and strengthen military control of Iraq.
The fact that the United States was forced to withdraw its troops from Iraq in 2011 – and that Prime Minister al-Maliki’s regime was forced to reject the demand for impunity for a remaining continuation force – was a significant achievement for the popular resistance. Since then, the United States has worked to regain military control and to carve up Iraq into smaller, more easily controlled statelets and not least to secure control over the oil production.
It is in that perspective the IS should be seen. It is in fact a creation of the UK, the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia. That has been well documented and confirmed for instance by secret documents publicised by Edward Snowden. At the Al-Mafraq military base in Jordan the US is said to have gathered and trained 20-30 000 terrorists for the war against Syria and Iraq.
After setbacks in Syria the IS are now concentrating on Iraq, committing heinous crimes and providing an excuse for the US to intervene against the locally rooted resistance movement, which has fought for the unity and independence of the country ever since the 2003 occupation.
The IS are a barbaric, reactionary force, which in no way contributes to the liberation of Iraq from the remains of the occupation. Just like US Vice President Joe Biden, the IS wants to extinguish Iraq as a state. Also Israel now openly wants an independent Kurdistan, i.e. to divide Iraq. Is it a coincident that the US is intervening now, when the IS are attacking Kurdish areas?
The IS are expelling Christians from Mosul. They are expelling Yezidis, Turkmens and other religious and ethnical groups. That is another serious crime against the Iraqi people, but the notion that this can be prevented through intervention of the superpower that lies behind the last decade of ethnic cleansing and displacement is an illusion. This dispossession of people is a continuation of the sectarianism and ethnic cleansing that accompanied the US occupation and the structure that was set up by the administrator of the occupation, Paul Bremer. The US has done nothing to prevent attacks against peaceful Sunnis, or against the popular uprising headed by local leaders. On the contrary, they sent weapons to the al-Maliki regime, weapons used to defeat the popular movement and to bomb Fallujah and other cities. Already a few months ago, UNHCR estimated the number of civil sunni refugees forced to leave their homes in the Anbar province to 450.000.

Once again US President Obama speaks about the responsibility of the “outside world” to prevent a looming genocide in accordance with the R2P (“responsibility to protect”) doctrine. That is an argument that has been used in past conflicts to justify imperialist intervention in violation of the UN Charter. In this case too, that argument lacks credibility. If the United States really wants to prevent genocide – why do they not react sharply against Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza?
The United States has conducted devastating assaults on Iraq. Cities like Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi, Al Qaim, Samarra, Haditha, Rawa, Baquba, Tal Afar and many more have suffered extensive American bombing. The consequences remain in the form of dead and displaced people, deformed children, ruined infrastructure. Those responsible for these war crimes must be held accountable for their crimes.
Instead of imposing justice, President Obama has shielded the war criminals and continued their policy of war by other means. While the US leaders continue their policy of war with devastating consequences for Iraq and other countries and peoples, they mask themselves as a force for universal good.
The dictatorial regime in Baghdad, appointed through a sectarian constitution dictated by the United States, can never defeat the dark anti-humanitarian forces that IS represent. Only the Iraqi people can liberate the country and re-establish a sovereign independent Iraq. That presupposes a secular, democratic government of national unity, irrespective of religion or ethnicity.
We demand an end to the US war policy and justice for Iraq. The war criminals must be put on trial.
We demand an end to all foreign intervention in Iraq, from IS, but also from the USA, Israel, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
We call for support for the popular demands for respect for human rights – for Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs and Kurds, and others.

Solidarity with the Iraqi people for a free, united and independent Iraq!


In England, Stop the War isn't silent.   Debra Sweet of World Can't Wait hasn't been silent and noted earlier this month:

The U.S. always says it's bombing/selling arms/torturing to “keep us safe” from whatever group it identifies as the most dangerous target of the “war” on terror.  Each time a US president bombed Iraq, from 1990 on, whether the stated reasons were removing Saddam Hussain, breaking a fabricated connection with Al Qaeda, or finding weapons of mass destruction, the actual national security need was always keeping control of that strategic, oil-rich region.
This time, it is complicated. US military domination of the region, from Afghanistan across a sweep to Egypt, has increased the attraction of Islamic fundamentalism as a way of resisting western empire. US occupation in Iraq and support for the murderous, torturing Maliki regime created the conditions by which Iran has been strengthened in the region, and ISIS has gained a following.


By the way, I wasn't ignoring Debra's piece as a mutual friend fretted.  I didn't know about it until tonight.  I love Debra but since she organized a protest against a film she had not even seen, it's been very hard for me to take her or World Can't Wait seriously.  I don't believe in censorship and when you start trashing art, you're trashing my craft, my profession -- probably my religion and I do not take kindly too it.  Many decades ago, I was with a friend watching a small group of people protest the opening of his film -- supposedly it was 'mean' to the Bible or something -- and it had just opened and no one had seen it.  As he said at the time (paraphrase), 'I could take people seeing it hating it and would even be curious as to what points in the film bothered them.  But how do I take seriously people who give up their own time to go out and protest something they haven't even bothered to see?"  You don't -- you don't take those kinds of people seriously.

But Debra is speaking out and I will note her and applaud her for that.  And it's needed because Barack said he was just sending in around 300 US troops -- sending them into Iraq in the last weeks.  There are now a little over 800 that have been sent in the last weeks.  (Not counting Special-Ops.)  Lolita C. Baldor and Lara Jakes (AP) report that Barack is planning to seen about 300 more into Iraq.

At what point do people start objecting?

I'm not seeing the importance in a big topic that Tom Hayden does.  That may mean I'm wrong.  Maybe not. But I will note that he's one of the few who can talk about the last four years in Iraq accurately.  At The Nation, Hayden writes (in his big topic column):



But what Obama doesn’t acknowledge is that the United States might have done far more in support of the Sunnis, instead of tolerating or backing two allies of Iran—Assad and al-Malik—both of whom treated the Sunnis with brutal force and without any hope of peaceful political progress. As for Syria, Obama often criticized the Assad regime, it is true, but hardly with the kind of pressure the United States has brought to bear on Cuba for fifty years. Assad was seen as a lesser evil who was impossible to defeat because of his geopolitical support. But in the case of Iraq, the United States was involved directly with the empowerment of al-Maliki and his repressive Shiite colleagues during two American administrations. Why exactly the Bush and Obama teams accepted al-Maliki is beyond comprehension at this point in history. It might simply have been that al-Maliki was “our guy,” or that US “experts” believed that a fair power-sharing process was gradually underway after a shaky start. Instead, al-Maliki built up his sectarian special forces, army and police, and implemented brutal ethnic cleansing against the Sunnis. By the end of 2006, Baghdad was cleansed of its 40 percent Sunni population, the remaining Sunni enclaves “withering into abandoned ghettos, starved of government services.”(1) With the awareness of American advisers, Shiite authorities began operating as many as ten secret prisons, rounding up Sunnis, and according to a State Department memo, engaging in “threats intimidation, beatings and suspension by the arms and legs, as well as the reported use of electrical drills and cords and the application of electric shocks.”(2)
The repression and exclusion never ended, al-Maliki guessing that the United States would never pull the plug. He even arrested and threatened Sunni political figures in Baghdad, including the country’s vice-president, who fled to Kurdistan.


Nouri al-Maliki is (finally) the outgoing prime minister.  Even as I type that, I'm aware how that could bite me in the butt.  A snake like Nouri isn't truly out until he's dead and buried.

But it appears Nouri is out.  Haider al-Abadi is prime minister-designate which means he has 30 days since Monday of last week to form a Cabinet -- that means nominating people and getting Parliament to vote in favor of them.

Tim Arango and Michael R. Gordon have a report on  al-Abadi.and Nouri:  "There is little in Mr. Abadi’s political history to suggest that he harbors views at odds with the Dawa Party establishment. Even so, interviews with Iraqi political leaders and foreign diplomats paint a more nuanced portrait, with some holding out hope that he could break the mold of Iraq’s recent leaders."  Shashank Bengali treads similar ground at the Los Angeles Times:

Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders all have endorsed the new prime ministerial nominee, veteran Shiite lawmaker Haider Abadi, a member of Maliki's Dawa political party. But observers say that one of Abadi's greatest challenges will be to forge consensus among sects that have grown deeply wary of one another.
"There is an absence of trust, an absence of dialogue, an absence of understanding," said Hanaa Edwar, a prominent Iraqi human rights advocate. "If you don't rebuild that, it's very difficult otherwise to reform the political process."



Mewan Dolamari (BasNews) notes:

Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani has said that the formation of the new Iraqi government is the last chance for a united Iraq.
He believes that the object should not only be forming the new government, but to also implement new programs and refrain from making the same mistakes as the previous government.
Bengali avoids recent history.  Apparently, more important than any hope Iraqis might have or need is the hope that US readers might need to cling to.  To allow for that, all US involvement in Iraq must be erased.  So Bengali, for example, offers that Iraqis turned against Nouri -- which many did -- while refusing to note that the White House also turned on Nouri.


It is a very rough and delicate time for the country.   Abdulrahman al-Rashed (Al Arabiya) offers a look at the outgoing p.m. and the potentially incoming one:

The appointment Abadi as prime minister brought a wave of optimism because Maliki's departure itself a victory for the political process and for the new Iraqi system. I am confident that if Maliki had managed to impose himself as a prime minister for a third term – as he tried to fight for until the last minute - he would have ended up hanged in one of Baghdad's squares after four years. His end would have been the same as that of the dictators who preceded him. He was a horrific tyrant, and the whole world has seen how he exploited his personal forces and whatever he put his hands on to impose himself and obstruct the naming of Abadi.

Al Arabiya News notes that the Kurds are working with others on forming the next government and have called off their recent boycott:

Infuriated by Maliki’s accusations of harboring terrorists in June following the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) offensive in northern Iraq, Kurdish ministers said they were boycotting meetings of Iraq's caretaker cabinet and authorities in Baghdad and halted cargo flights to two Kurdish cities.


Rumors are that al-Abadi will offer up nominations for his proposed Cabinet this coming Monday.  If so, he'll be at the half-way mark of the Constitutional deadline (30 days to put together a Cabinet).

  • If he does manage to form a Cabinet (full) in 30 days, not only will he meet the deadline, it will be the first time the deadline has been met.
  •  











  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    The death anniversaries

    1. :Ceremonies held in Baghdad & Erbil to remember 22 staff who died in an attack on UN HQ in Baghdad on 19 Aug '03


    Every day in Iraq is an anniversary of deaths in the Iraq War.

    I don't mean to imply that the 22 who died were more important than any of the others who died.

    But the picturs caught my eye and when I read what was going on, I thought, "I've got to note this."

    Again, every day is the anniversary of who knows how many people's deaths.

    The illegal war that never should have started doesn't appear to ever be ending.

    And Barack just wants to get the US more involved.



    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"




    Tuesday, August 19, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, public musings over mission creep become more common, the Pentagon gets confused when asked how much the US bombings of Iraq are costing the taxpayers, and much more.



    Yesterday found US President Barack Obama declaring:

    Today, with our support, Iraqi and Kurdish forces took a major step forward by recapturing the largest dam in Iraq, near the city of Mosul. The Mosul dam fell under terrorist control earlier this month, and is directly tied to our objective of protecting Americans in Iraq.
    [. . .]
    Iraqi and Kurdish forces took the lead on the ground and performed with courage and determination. So this operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together and taking the fight to ISIL. If they continue to do so, they will have the strong support of the United States of America.


    And today?

    No speeches to the world today.

    Not on the day that found Lizzie Dearden (Independent) reporting the battle for the dam continues and that, "Government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are trying to push back the militants on the ground around the dam, which is 45 miles from Mosul."  Australia's Sky News (link is text and video) reports:

      Sky's Alex Crawford, at Mosul Dam, said: "We heard firing behind us about 1km away. The president's son said he suspected some hardened IS fighters were in the south of the dam who had not been cleared from the area."
    She added: "They are still clearly holding out and putting up some sort of defence."

    Crawford said she heard heavy machine-gun fire and possibly mortar shelling as well as jets overhead.

    AFP states, "Fighting erupted Tuesday in the area surrounding the dam and U.S. warplanes carried out fresh strikes targeting ISIS, a senior officer in the Kurdish peshmerga forces told AFP."

    At the Pentagon today, spokesperson Rear Adm Jack Kirby took questions from the press.



    Q: Where do the missions -- the airstrikes for Mosul, where do they fit into the two -- the missions the president delineated, protecting humanitarian issues and then protecting U.S. personnel? Because this seems like a classic softening up the opposition, close-air support for invading -- a counter-invading force. Where do -- where do the missions fit? And wasn't that -- this an example of mission creep, albeit maybe accidental?


    REAR ADM. KIRBY: Well, let's take the second part first. Mission creep -- you know, this is a phrase that gets bandied about quite a bit, but let's just kind of talk about it for a second. Mission creep refers to the growth or expansion of the goals and objectives of a military operation, that the goals and objectives change, morph into something bigger than they were at the outset.
    It doesn't talk about -- mission creep doesn't refer to numbers of sorties, numbers of troops, numbers of anything. It doesn't refer to timelines. It doesn't even refer to intensity. It's about the mission itself. Nothing has changed about the mission, missions that we're conducting inside Iraq. As I said before, airstrikes are authorized under two mission areas -- humanitarian assistance and the protection of U.S. personnel and facilities.
    The airstrikes that we conducted in and around Mosul dam over the last 72 hours or so fit into both those categories, both helping prevent what could be a huge humanitarian problem should the dam be blown or the gates -- they're just allowed to flood, and also to protect U.S. personnel and facilities. So there's been no -- well, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to say a negative. What I'll just tell you is, the missions are clear. The operations that we're conducting are inside the authorizations for those missions. And we're going to continue to be vigilant going forward. And if there is a need for more airstrikes in conjunction with either of those two mission areas, those two authorizations, we'll conduct them.


    Q: How effective, how crucial were the strikes to retaking the dam? Do you have a sense of that? What -- you know, without those airstrikes, would the Iraqis and Peshmerga have been able to have retaken the dam?



    REAR ADM. KIRBY: It's hard to, you know, arm-chair quarterback here a military operation that just wound up. We believe they were critical to assisting in that -- in the retaking of the dam. But I also would -- at the same time -- point to the courage, the bravery, the skill of both the Kurdish forces and Iraqi forces and their extensive cooperation with one another in conducting this operation. Yes, we were a critical part of it, but it was a team effort.


    It was a team effort?  What's Kirby trying to say?  "IS just wanted it more"?

    Before the bad news that the issue of the dam was still up in the air, Barack was preaching Operation Happy Talk.  As Matthew Weaver (Guardian) observes:

    Barack Obama hailed the retaking of the Mosul dam as a symbol of how Isis militants could be defeated by co-operation between Kurdish, Iraqi and US forces. “This operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together and taking the fight to Isil [Islamic State]. If they continue to do so, they will have the strong support of the United States of America.”



    On the topic of mission creep, William Saletan (Slate) notes the changing scope of Barack's misadventure:

    On Aug. 7, Obama specified two grounds for military action: to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq and to prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis trapped by ISIS on Mt. Sinjar. Two days later, however, he added another issue: “We have to make sure that ISIL is not engaging in the actions that could cripple a country permanently. There’s key infrastructure inside of Iraq that we have to be concerned about.” Specifically, on Thursday, he authorized airstrikes “to recapture the Mosul Dam,” arguing that its destruction “could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad [280 miles away], and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace.” In Obama’s foreign policy, nation-building is out. But using force to help governments provide “critical services” is in.

    Gordon Lubold and Kate Brannen (Foreign Policy) also address the issue:



    The administration entered the conflict with an aggressive airstrike and airdrop campaign in northern Iraq based, it said, on the need to protect the U.S. personnel in the country and to prevent militants from slaughtering members of the Yazidi religious minority sect stranded atop Mount Sinjar. Then last week, U.S. officials announced that a reconnaissance team that had visited Sinjar discovered that the humanitarian crisis wasn't as bad as first feared, thus removing one of the main justifications for the air campaign. In recent days, the United States has launched a barrage of airstrikes in and around Mosul that appear to be directly targeting the Islamic State, leading many to conclude that the mission is expanding beyond the administration's stated goals and objectives.
    "The administration can call it whatever they want, but semantics aside, they're now waging war," said Stephen Biddle, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. 


    The word games leaders resort to in order to deceive the people they supposedly represent.


    The Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus observes, "Even without American boots on the ground, Obama has entered the United States in its fourth Iraq war. It won’t be over quickly. As the president said, this is going to be a long-term project."

    It's a reality few want to tackle, let alone acknowledge.


    BBC News, noting the United Kingdom's involvement, reported yesterday, "Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said the UK's military involvement in the country could last for 'months', and has revealed that RAF surveillance aircraft are operating there."  However, wire services carry British Prime Minister David Cameron's denial, "Britain is not going to get involved in another war n Iraq.  We're not going to be putting boots on the ground."


    And, like Barack Obama, Cameron thinks as long as he can insist that it's just dropping bombs, it's not really war.

    Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) went in search of someone to make sense of the events:


     Dan Trombly, an Iraq military analyst from Caerusa Associates, a Washington consultancy, said that Tuesday’s defeat showed that the Iraqis had made little progress in reforming their military from the shattered hulk that was swept aside by a much smaller force of fighters from the Islamic State in June.
    “From what we’ve been able to see in Tikrit, ISF has made far too little progress towards building organizational cohesion and professionalism,” he said by email, referring to Iraqi security forces. “The new volunteers seem undertrained and coordination between and within conventional military units and militia forces is insufficient to withstand the pressure of relatively simple guerrilla tactics.”
    Trombly noted that a national military with heavy armor and artillery support, as well as rudimentary air power from a handful of decades-old Iraqi air force jets, should not see an offensive stalled simply because the enemy fought back.

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/19/237016/iraqi-drive-on-tikrit-falters.html#storylink=cpy

    The issue of mission creep was raised in today's State Dept press briefing.  Spokesperson Marie Harf struggled yesterday as she insisted it was consistent policy for the US government to attack the Islamic State in Iraq while aiding and arming it in Syria.  Today, she tried to explain how narrow goals being expanded did not constitute mission creep.  Excerpt.

    .
    QUESTION: As you know, the – yesterday the Kurdish forces recaptured the Mosul Dam, and of course they --

    MS. HARF: Working with Iraqi security forces, yes.

    QUESTION: Yeah, working with Iraqi security forces. And of course, that was because of the help that the United States provided from the air.

    MS. HARF: Yes.

    QUESTION: But don’t you – if we go back a little bit and to President Obama’s first statement about Iraq, and he said it – the operation would be limited.

    MS. HARF: To two goals.

    QUESTION: Two goals, yeah.

    MS. HARF: One of which was protecting our people. And as we said very clearly the night the President announced military action, and as we have said multiple times since then, that Mosul Dam is critical infrastructure that if breached, either because ISIS can’t run it or because they take some sort of nefarious action to do so, it would threaten our people and our facility in Baghdad. So we’ve said that from the beginning.

    QUESTION: So --

    MS. HARF: This is very much in line with the goals the President laid out that first night.

    QUESTION: So does that mean the threat is now gone and the United States will stop its operations? Because the Mount Sinjar crisis is almost over, and the advance on Erbil has stopped. The dam is – has been recaptured.

    MS. HARF: Right. And those are all good things. But we maintain the ability to strike at a time and place of our choosing if we believe our people or our facilities are in danger. That applies to Baghdad, that applies to Erbil. So we will continue monitoring the situation. We have a number of assets at our disposal if we feel that any of those people are threatened.

    QUESTION: Do you – don’t you believe that there has been – that limited airstrike that President Obama outlined very explicitly, you’ve gone beyond that now?

    MS. HARF: Not at all, in no way. He outlined two goals for this, one of which was protection for our people. The Mosul Dam, if breached, which – we have no idea if ISIS would be able to or would be willing to actually run it and not do something to breach it, would directly threaten our people in Baghdad.

    QUESTION: How so?

    QUESTION: And – sorry, one more question. Kurdish officials --


    MS. HARF: Because of the massive flooding that would occur.

      
    Again with the lie that the dam breaking would flood Baghdad?  
    There are over 200 miles between Mosul and Baghdad. In addition, the wave of water would have to have a southeast trajectory and to ignore the bits of river bed it would have to cross over repeatedly to strike Baghdad. 
    The lie re: Baghdad was first popularized by journalist or 'journalist' Patrick Cockburn in 2007 when he cited 'experts' Ryan Crocker and David Petraeus saying there could be "flooding along the Tigris river all the way to Bahgdad."  Neither Crocker nor Petraeus is an engineer and Cockburn was noting a US Army Corps of Engineers report elsewhere so it's strange he didn't go to that.
    Strange until you read the (long) US Army Corps report and grasp that there's nothing in it that backs up Crocker and Petraeus' claims re: Baghdad.  Then you understand why a reporter or 'reporter' would elect to sidestep the issue. 
    The 2007 Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction's "Relief and Reconstruction Funded Work at Mosul Dam Mosul, Iraq" notes the letter Crocker and Petraeus wrote in passing but only refers to Mosul being flooded (in three to four hours).
    Well threats of destruction were used to pimp the Iraq War at its start, it's probably necessary to continue to pimp threats of destruction to keep the war going.
    It certainly keeps people from asking questions like "how are we paying for this?"
    At the Pentagon press briefing that issue briefly arose.

    Q: Do you know how much these airstrikes are costing yet? And are they coming from the OCO budget or the base budget?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: You'll have to go to CENTCOM for that. I don't have a budget figure. The operations budget that -- that Central Command and the services have are funding this. There's not a request in for extra funding or anything like that for this operation. I just -- I'd refer you to CENTCOM, though, for more details on that.
    Someone forgot to tell the American taxpayer that the card already maxed out on an illegal war was about to see its credit limit raised just so more money could be spent on the illegal war.
    Someone also forgot to tell Barack the way it works with the Iraq War:  Any time you try to spin success, reality slaps you in the face.

    At this point, they're have been so many 'turned corners' in the Iraq War, the world is left dizzy.

    And the bombs keep getting dropped.



  • The US is on pace to conduct more airstrikes in Iraq this month (204), than in Afghanistan last month (160).


  • Being forced to fight again over the dam wasn't the only major operation attempted today.  Early on, NINA reports, the military announced, "The security forces started today a massive military operation to liberate the city of Tikrit, the center of Salahuddin province, from the (IS)."  After the announcement?

    Xinhua explains what happened:


    Iraqi security forces on Tuesday halted an offensive to retake control of the militant- seized city of Tikrit, the capital of the Sunni-dominant province of Salahudin, due to heavy resistance by the militants, security sources said.
    Earlier in the day, the troops entered Tikrit from three directions, but was forced to retreat after fierce clashes with the Sunni militants, including those who are linked to the Islamic State militants, an al-Qaida offshoot, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.


    Heba Saleh, Claer Barrett and Giulia Segreti (Irish Times) note:

    Abu Abd al-Naami, a spokesman for the Council of Iraqi Revolutionaries, which represents some of the country’s Sunni tribes that are fighting against the Iraqi government, claimed that Tikrit had come under attack from the Iraqi army, but that “tribal” and “revolutionary” forces had repulsed the assault. 
    Mr al-Naami, whose organisation insists there is no such body called Isis, added that fighting continued on the southeastern outskirts of the birthplace of executed former president Saddam Hussein. 


    National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 corpses were discovered in al-Hawy, the aerial bombing of Mosul left 6 civilians dead and five more injured, and a Sabea al-Bour mortar and rocket attack left 2 people dead and ten more injured.


    LINKS: International Journal of Socialist Review interviews author and activist Tariq Ali


    What are your thoughts on US President Barack Obama’s commitment of the US to long-term involvement in Iraq, which he claims is a response to the rise of Islamic militants?

    Nonsense. The real reason is to make sure that the US-Israeli protectorate [Kurdish region] remains safe. The aftermath of the occupation was designed to divide Iraq across religious lines. What we are witnessing (as I pointed out a decade ago) is the balkanisation of Iraq.

    Do you agree with Hillary Clinton’s recent statement that the rise of ISIS can be attributed to the failure of the US to help rebels in Syria?


    Another absurdity. The US did help and arm the Syrian rebels via Turkey. They did not bomb Assad out of existence, as they were unsure of the consequences. After all, Clinton, who supported the war on Iraq, should see what happens if you destroy a regime unilaterally. The rise of ISIS in Iraq is because they destroyed all the structures of the old regime. Had they done the same in Syria, we would have had an even worse situation than now, with at least three different wars taking place. Qatar/Turkey/US backing the so-called moderate Islamists, and the Saudis angry that the Muslim Brotherhood is being revived in Syria.



    We'll note Morgan Fairchild's Tweet about Iraq today:


  • 'No' from one Iraq villager triggered Islamic State mass killings via



  • We won't note a discussed death.  It hasn't been confirmed.  There's no need to 'rush out' on this.  If it was your family member, you'd likely be holding out hope unless it was confirmed and the last thing you'd need was the whole world speaking of your loved one in the past tense while you waited for confirmation of life or death.


    Lastly, All Iraq News notes the rumor that Haider al-Ebadi, prime minister-designate, intends to nominate cabinet members next Monday.  If true, that would be a smart move since he has thirty days (starting on Monday of this week) to form a Cabinet -- which requires Parliament confirming his nominees.  Attempting it in 7 or so days would allow him some time to seek out nominees to replace anyone Parliament shot down.
















    tariq ali

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    An important Tweet

    I thought there was great merit to this Tweet:


    Imagine that.

    It would certainly enlarge our scope and focus.



    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

     
    Monday, August 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack talks Iraq, Marie Harf insists the US can stand with IS in Syria and oppose it in Iraq and not be contradicting itself, a new poll has some depressing and distressing findings, and much more.



    A busy day for Iraq with violence and political overtures, various US cabinets making statements and US President Barack Obama speaking on the topic.

    Let's start with  CENTCOM which issued the following:

    TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 18, 2014 – U.S. Conducts More Airstrikes Near the Mosul Dam
    From a U.S. Central Command News Release
    TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 18, 2014 — U.S. military forces today continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq, using a mix of fighter, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft to successfully conduct 15 airstrikes near the Mosul Dam.
    The strikes damaged or destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions; an ISIL checkpoint; six ISIL armed vehicles; an ISIL light armored vehicle; an ISIL vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft artillery gun, and an IED emplacement belt.
    All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.

     Since Aug. 8, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 68 airstrikes in Iraq. Of those 68 strikes, 35 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam. These strikes were conducted under authority to support Iraqi security forces and Kurdish defense forces as they work together to combat ISIL, as well as to protect critical infrastructure, U.S. personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts.


    Barack noted the dam in his speech today as well, "Today, with our support, Iraqi and Kurdish forces took a major step forward by recapturing the largest dam in Iraq, near the city of Mosul. The Mosul dam fell under terrorist control earlier this month, and is directly tied to our objective of protecting Americans in Iraq."

    So this was a success?

    Forget your feelings on bombings.  Along with all that the Kurdish and Iraqi military do, the US military conducted 35 air strikes in approximately five days and with that, the US government insists, the Islamic State is no longer in control of the Mosul dam.

    I'm confused.

    How many air strikes did IS conduct?

    I'm pretty sure that number is zero.

    US military might used to bomb repeatedly -- 35 air strikes -- is what it took to apparently rescue one dam.

    That's really not looking good for the US military, the Iraqi military and/or the Kurdish military.

    The only one who comes out looking strong in that recap is IS.

    We're all aware that Iraq has more than one dam, right?


    In that general vicinity alone, Iraq also has Duhok Dam, Badush Dam, Bekhme Dam, Dukan Dam and Dibis Dam.

    That's not a full listing of Iraq's dams.  It's not even a full listing of the dams in the Tigris river basin (the Ephrates river basin also has dams).

    But this is what it took to wrestle one dam away.  Barack's spoken of the alleged danger of that dam -- probably more to justify his own actions.

    Baghdad would be flooded!

    That was the claim.  It popped up on the chat and chews all weekend which is how you knew it was a White House talking point.

    No, Baghdad would not have been flooded.

    There is not a grand Slip and Slide between Mosul and Bahgdad that will carry the water through.

    There is dried land, land that bakes in the summer heat.  Iraq's supposed to reach 116 degrees F on Tuesday and 117 on Wednesday.  We all get what happens in those temperatures, right?

     Most of the water from the dam -- had the dam been ruptured -- would have endangered very little -- even Mosul itself may not have seen water standing for hours.

    But it was a talking point.

    Why?


    To justify the actions taken.

    Barack declared this afternoon, "If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic, with floods that would’ve threatened the lives of thousands of civilians and endanger our embassy compound in Baghdad."

    No, the Baghdad Embassy was not in danger of 'flooding.'

    Barack's going to have to work hard at scaring Americans.

    In "TV: Spoiler alert" on Sunday, Ava and I touched on some of the TV coverage of Iraq:


    Martha Raddatz was again filling in as host of the program and she wanted [ABC News' Terry] Moran to "tell us the difference between these airstrikes" and the earlier ones the US launched last week.

    "This is different," Moran responded.  "This is moving on beyond helping people."

    What was he speaking of, this difference?


    Bombing IS near a Mosul dam was not part of the defined mission.

    Thursday, for example, US President Barack Obama declared:


    Last week, I authorized two limited missions:  protecting our people and facilities inside of Iraq, and a humanitarian operation to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians stranded on a mountain.
    A week ago, we assessed that many thousands of Yezidi men, women and children had abandoned their possessions to take refuge on Mount Sinjar in a desperate attempt to avoid slaughter.  We also knew that ISIL terrorists were killing and enslaving Yezidi civilians in their custody, and laying siege to the mountain. Without food or water, they faced a terrible choice -- starve on the mountain, or be slaughtered on the ground.  That’s when America came to help.
    Over the last week, the U.S. military conducted humanitarian air drops every night –- delivering more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water.  We were joined in that effort by the United Kingdom, and other allies pledged support. Our military was able to successfully strike ISIL targets around the mountain, which improved conditions for civilians to evacuate the mountain safely.
    Yesterday, a small team of Americans -– military and civilian -– completed their review of the conditions on the mountain.  They found that food and water have been reaching those in need, and that thousands of people have been evacuating safely each and every night.  The civilians who remain continue to leave, aided by Kurdish forces and Yezidis who are helping to facilitate the safe passage of their families.  So the bottom line is, is that the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts.Because of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped vulnerable people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives.  Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain. 



    Martha Raddatz also spoke to retired Colonel Steve Ganyard who noted the change, pointing out Barack was moving away from his declaration that "these strikes will only be based on humanitarian purposes and to protect American people" in Iraq. 




    After a weekend full of nonsense about how the water in the dam could flood Baghdad, Barack declared today it could have harmed the US Embassy in Baghdad.

    Do the lies ever end?

    It's all so confusing.

    For instance, the US government says IS is bad and evil in Iraq but the same US government backs IS in Syria.

    Efforts failed in today's State Dept press briefing to make sense of this nonsensical 'mission' which cancels itself out.  Spokesperson Marie Harf moderated.  Excerpt.


    QUESTION: Can we move to Syria?

    MS. HARF: We can.

    QUESTION: As you know, the Syrian regime has been bombing Islamic State’s positions in Raqqa for two days. Since you are doing the same thing across the border in Iraq, what would you say --

    MS. HARF: I would disagree that we’re doing the same thing, but go ahead.

    QUESTION: But, I mean, you are bombing Islamic State position in Iraq, so would you say that the U.S. and Syria are on the same page against a common enemy?

    MS. HARF: No. No, I would not. And in large part, that’s because it’s the Assad regime’s own actions that helped lead to the rise of ISIS or ISIL or IS or whatever we’re going to call it this week. It is the security environment they created. It is them – the Assad regime encouraging the flow of fighters into Iraq that they did, certainly, when we were there and also have done recently. So I would strongly disagree with the notion that we are on the same page here in terms of what we’re doing.

    QUESTION: Regardless of the cause, you do agree that you share an enemy in common, correct? I mean with ISIS, in particular.

    MS. HARF: I don’t want – I’m not going to say that we share anything in common with the Syrian regime.

    QUESTION: Okay. Let me ask you this. Do you think that ISIS --

    QUESTION: Anything? (Inaudible) breathe, don’t you? About air, do you have that in common?


    MS. HARF: I missed your insightful questions, Matt.


    QUESTION: Is ISIS in Iraq a different organization than ISIS in Syria, or is it one and the same, to the best of your knowledge?

    MS. HARF: They’re an organization, it’s my understanding, with the same leadership in general. Obviously, there’s different parts of it on the ground operating in different places, but under the general same umbrella of this group, yes, it’s my understanding.

    QUESTION: So if you bomb them in Iraq and the Syrian regime bombs them in Syria, you’re bombing the same organization, right?

    MS. HARF: Well, the – that’s a little too simplistic, Said. The reason that they were able to flourish and grow so strong is because of the Assad regime who enabled them to grow in the security environment and indeed fostered their growth throughout many years. So I think that I – again, I just – I don’t concede the point that we’re on the same page here in any way.


    "That's a little too simplistic" huffed the woman who sees bombings as different based upon who is being killed.  She was pressed again on the topic shortly afterwards.


    QUESTION: I just want to stay on Syria. The Syrian coalition has asked actually the United States to bomb ISIS positions in Syria. So people – what do you respond – but what do you respond --



    MS. HARF: Well, the operational picture is a lot different in Syria.


    QUESTION: Sure. They say you’re bombing in Iraq, but they don’t recognize a geographical border. Why can’t you go --


    MS. HARF: Okay. Well --


    QUESTION: -- if they ask you officially to bomb it?


    MS. HARF: -- let’s talk about the difference here. First, in Iraq we have a government that has asked for our help and asked for our support and welcomed us in. That obviously is not the case in Syria. Even if the moderate opposition is asking, I would remind people that the Syrian Government does still maintain some level of anti-aircraft capabilities. It’s a very different operating picture. It would require very different things.


    Did the Iraqi government ask for help?

    I ask because  All Iraq News reported:


    The office of the Commanding General of the Iraqi Armed Forces announced that "The Iraqi Government did not give permission for any military plane to violate the Iraqi space," in a sign to the US airstrikes targeting the shelters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant near Erbil and Mosul.
    A statement by the office received by AIN cited "During the last few days, we noticed violation of some military air-jets for Iraqi space and handing over of military equipment without permission of the Iraqi Government," which is a sign for providing the Kurdish peshmerga with western weapons.


    The statement added "We welcome the supportive stances of the international community for Iraq in its war against terrorism but we assert the necessity of respecting the sovereignty of Iraq."


    It would appear things are not as simplistic as the US government has portrayed them.

    But why should they worry?  Why should Barack?

    The US is bombing Iraq.

    And Barack honestly believes the world will believe his lie (This is NOT a combat mission!) as long as significant numbers of US troops are not on the ground in Iraq.  Until then, Barack's convinced he can conduct a war but no one will  call it out.

    Raed Jarrar continues to struggle with holding Barack accountable.  However, he does manage to point out (in a column for the Chicago Tribune), "Iraq cannot be bombed into stability or moderation. So-called surgical strikes will not transform the war-torn nation into a peaceful and prosperous one. While the United States should search for productive multilateral methods to help Iraq, our top priority should be doing no additional harm.

    It's interesting that Barack presented his own actions and decisions as a humanitarian impulse when All Iraq News reports that it's the Australian Government which has announced it is prepared to take in 2,200 refugees from Iraq.

    Of course, humanitarian actions do not include War Crimes.

    Nouri al-Maliki remains prime minister of Iraq.  So it's no surprise his War Crimes continue.  Nouri continues to bomb the residential neighborhoods of Falluja.  Alsumaria reports 6 people were killed in the latest bombing with another seven left injured.


    Barack's speech today prompted questions.







  • Others found humor in the hypocrisy of the remarks:


  • People told me if I voted for McCain and Romney, we'd have another war in Iraq. Turns out they were right!
  • Barack Obama says there will be no American "boots on the ground" in Iraq. You know what this means? HOVER SOLDIERS.


  • Moving to another topic . . .


    The wolf is at Iraq's door declared Barack in the brief question and answer period which followed his speech:


    Dr. Abadi has said the right things. I was impressed in my conversation with him about his vision for an inclusive government.  But they’ve got to get this done because the wolf’s at the door and in order for them to be credible with the Iraqi people, they’re going to have to put behind some of the old practices and actually create a credible united government.

    Haider al-Abadi is the prime minister-designate of Iraq.  He was named that last Monday and has 30 days to form a Cabinet or, per the Constitution, someone else gets named prime minister.

    For now, many are tossing signs that they are eager to see al-Abadi move from prime minister-designate to prime minister.  For example, Alsumaria reports that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr expressed his desire to see his bloc work with al-Abadi and that a delegation had met with Haider to explore how that could happen and how Iraq can work at inclusion.  Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports the Kurds are gearing up to meet with al-Abadi in Baghdad.   Nidal al Laythi (Al-Monitor) offers:


    Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi is working, along with some of his assistants, including friends and colleagues, on drafting the governmental program he will discuss with the other blocs to form the new government, Dawa Party spokesman Zuhair al-Naher says.
     Naher, who's close to Abadi, told Azzaman [in London] over the phone: “Abadi’s priority is to reinforce the armed forces through training and armament. The decision to designate Abadi is purely Iraqi. Washington and Tehran only agreed on the decision after it was already made, like all other countries.”
    Naher added that the prime minister-designate is going to ask the UN Security Council to issue a resolution which allows an international joint operation to be conducted with Iraqi forces against the Islamic State (IS) to liberate Mosul, Tikrit and the rest of the villages controlled by IS in Diyala and Kirkuk.


    In other news, National Iraqi News Agency notes 1 person was shot dead in Yusifiyah,  2 Alexandria car bombings left 1 person dead and eight more injured, a battle west of Kirkuk left 3 rebels dead and two more injured, and an air strike in Sedira Village left 1 suspect dead.  Alsumaria adds 2 corpses were discovered near Baquba.



    Reporting on the latest poll, Susan Page (USA Today) notes,  "Americans are increasingly inclined to say the United States has a responsibility to respond to rising violence in Iraq, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds, although most also express fears about getting pulled back into a extended conflict there."


    Has the White House -- including Barack -- really been that successful in selling more war?

    Not seeing it.

    But I do see idiotic behavior from the likes of Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com) to ridicule victims.  As we noted awhile back, that sort of behavior only sends people running.

    The fight really is for the uninformed on any issue.  You have similar percentages supporting and opposing and the 'winner' is whomever gets the uninformed motivated.

    When you mock victims, you repulse a number of people.  These people no longer need to know any intricate issue, they just need to know that they don't want to be on the same side as the boorish prick making fun of victims.

    I favored air drops and opposed a US bombing campaign.

    You could have opposed both and done so in a manner that didn't repulse people.


    Where does the Pope stand?

    Supposedly, Pope Francis is in full support of war on Iraq.

    Supposedly.

    Greg Hillis argues people are reading everything but what Pope Francis actucally said.











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