Tuesday, August 18, 2009

US forces to patrol northern Iraq?

The top U.S. commander in Iraq is pushing to send American troops into disputed territory in the north of the country to serve alongside Iraqi forces and Kurdish militia, a tactical shift aimed at tamping down a recent surge of violence in the region.
The proposal to deploy fresh forces in the north underscores a growing worry among U.S. commanders over violence there after the June 30 withdrawal of U.S. troops from all Iraqi cities. American commanders blame the trouble in the north on a security void that has emerged because of tensions between Arabs and Kurds. A spate of bombings directed at Shiite civilians has killed more than 150 in the past two weeks.
The U.S. shift comes as the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced draft legislation calling for a referendum on the rest of the American military's withdrawal schedule. Washington and Baghdad signed a security pact that went into effect in January that sets a timetable for all U.S. forces to leave the country by the end of 2011.

The above is from Chip Cummings' "Kurdish Iraq Gets Offer of Troops" (Wall St. Journal). That's the story Ernesto Londono was reporting online at the Washington Post yesterday morning. The violence in northern Iraq is proving a bit of an embarrassment to Nouri and the US. So the answer is to deploy US troops into the region.

You should be paying attention to this because, on a small-scale, it's what then candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination Barack Obama told the New York Times would happen if violence increased in Iraq as the US began withdrawing (he called it that then). So if an increase in violence means the US gets sucked back in -- even as Barry O's lying to the VFW that the US is out of all Iraqi cities yesterday -- you should really be paying attention to this because it is the get-out-of-jail card Barack used in 2007 to explain why he would continue the illegal war.

US troops have not left Mosul. Foreign outlets can and do make that very clear even while US outlets tend to play dumb. But there was Barry lying yesterday and notice how if Bush gave that speech, exact words, it would be called out everywhere but Barack gives it and . . . not a word of objection.

This revisionary statement alone should have produced howls: "When communism cast its shadow across so much of the globe, you stood vigilant in a long Cold War -- from an airlift in Berlin to mountains of Korea to the jungles of Vietnam." You do not expect to hear that rewrite of history, that much monumental ignorance, from a Democratic president. It's jaw dropping in its ignorance. 'The Communist menace' that never was. 'The Domino Theory' that was thoroughly debunked.

If Bush had said it, you better believe every Pacifica program would be devoting substantial time to it and to addressing how inaccurate it is. Howard Zinn would be trotted out to explain. Matthew Rothschild and Katrina vanden Heuvel would rush to their keyboards to pound away furiously.

But Barack says it and everyone pretends it didn't happen.

It's going to be a long four years. Or to put it another way, we're going to need a separate locker for the hat.

Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) quotes Gen Ray Odierno stating of the proposed flooding of US forces into Nineveh Province this September, "It won't be full-on if we do it. It will just be to build confidence, then we will slowly pull ourselves out. As we deliberately withdraw our forces, you will see that there will be less forces withdrawn from the north than any other place. It's a recognition of where we think the bigger problem areas are." She also speaks with US Institute of Peace's Sam Parker who gets at the potential problems which is the US is in the middle and, if the central government in Baghdad and the KRG are still in conflict (a good bet is they will be), their presence will be taking sides. (Taking Nouri's side.) And, as Aljazeera explains, the plan, US "forces would start in Ninevah province, which includes Mosul, and then extend to Kirkuk and to Diyala province north of the capital." Today Reuters notes a Mosul car bombing injured an Iraqi soldier, as well as a Monday Mosul car bombing claimed the life of 1 civilian and a Monday Mosul bombing which injured four people (including two police officers). From yesterday's snapshot, "Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul checkpoint was attacked and 2 police officers were killed with a civilian wounded and 1 'off-duty' police officer was shot dead in Mosul and, dropping back to Sunday, 1 civilian was shot dead in Mosul."

Meanwhile Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that Nouri al-Maliki is now backing a referendum on the US remaining in Iraq. For those who have forgotten, even with the US and Nouri strong-arming the Iraqi Parliament last November, even with many fleeing to avoid voting on the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement, in order to barely squeak by with the votes needed, it was promised that, in July, a referendum would be held on the SOFA. July came and went without a vote. Nouri's proposing the referendum being part of the January vote (national elections are scheduled for January -- postponed from December). Parliament doesn't come back until September. Nouri's announcement appears to be another in his many efforts to woo voters. If January 2010 the voters decided to reject the SOFA, that would mean after Iraq's government notified the US that they were rejecting it, the SOFA would end one year from that date. Londono says January 2011. That's optimistic. Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) says a vote would mean that US troops would leave "by the end of 2010 instead of 2011." What?

From the SOFA:

Article 30
The Period for which the Agreement is Effective

1. This Agreement shall be effective for a period of three years, unless terminated sooner by either Party pursuant to paragraph 3 of this Article.

2. This Agreement shall be amended only with the official agreement of the Parties in writing and in accordance with the constitutional procedures in effect in both countries.

3. This Agreement shall terminate one year after a Party provides written notification to the other Party to that effect.

4. This Agreement shall enter into force on January 1, 2009, following an exchange of diplomatic notes confirming that the actions by the Parties necessary to bring the Agreement into force in accordance with each Party’s respective constitutional procedures have been completed.

The one that applies is "3. This Agreement shall terminate one year after a Party provides written notification to the other Party to that effect." If the SOFA is followed, a January vote -- even if the count was instant and it was certified on the day of the vote and swearing in and all other official acts all took place on the same voting day -- would not mean a December 2010 departure. Is counting really that hard?

Back to our main point, it takes a minimum of approximately nine days for Iraq to get an official count of a vote. It could be February before a vote was official. And from that point, the Iraqi government (not the voters) have to formally notify the US government that they are ending the SOFA. According to the SOFA's outlines, it would expire one year after the official notification was made to the US government. A minimum of nine days and national elections, Londono notes, are supposed to take place January 16th. That would be January 26th at the earliest. And it would likely be February. If Parliament approves and it goes through. Londono notes that the basic framework needed for the January national elections have still not taken place.

For any who can't grasp how the health care INSURANCE reform is useless and not a real plan for helping Americans, Micah recommends they watch this video of US House Rep Dennis Kucinich explaining realities:

You can also refer to Single Payer Action for more and you can learn real quick that any person who doesn't cover single payer while pretending before the camera to give a damn about Americans is a paid newsreader who learned to fake caring long ago. I didn't hear it but yesterday's The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) had a townhall its first hour and Diane had stated last week that single-payer would be addressed.

"We're going to need a separate locker for the hat," is a line Lily Tomlin says in the film 9 to 5. Online, Lily's part of wowOwow.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

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