Sunday, December 25, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

Today US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued the following statement:

Today, the United Nations and the Government of Iraq signed an important agreement on the temporary relocation and eventual resettlement of the more than 3,000 residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. We commend the Government of Iraq for its work with United Nations Special Representative Ambassador Martin Kobler, and welcome this important step toward a humane resolution to the ongoing situation at Ashraf. The UN effort has our full support.
The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding represents significant progress on this issue and outlines steps necessary to achieve a peaceful and viable solution for the residents of Ashraf, including their temporary relocation to Camp Liberty, a former U.S. military base near the Baghdad International Airport. At this new location, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will be able to conduct refugee status determinations for the residents of Ashraf -- a necessary first step toward resettlement to third countries.
We are encouraged by the Iraqi government's willingness to commit to this plan, and expect it to fulfill all its responsibilities, especially the elements of the MOU that provide for the safety and security of Ashraf’s residents. We welcome the agreement by the Government of Iraq to allow the United Nations to station monitors at this new location around the clock and to observe the move from Ashraf to this new location. In addition, officials from U.S. Embassy Baghdad will visit regularly and frequently. We also welcome the Iraqi government's willingness to delay the final closure of Camp Ashraf to give this plan time for implementation.
To be successful, this resettlement must also have the full support of the Camp's residents, and we urge them to work with the UN to implement this relocation. All those who want to see the people at Camp Ashraf safe and secure should work together to see that the agreed upon plan is carried out.

You'll notice she takes no credit for the agreement nor should the State Dept. They can't even meet their court ordered obligations with regards to Camp Ashraf. As for the agreement, it entered the news cycle on Wednesday and Victoria Nuland in the State Dept briefing had to spin and it became obvious that, in the word of one report, "So you guys didn't know anything about it until today." Joby Warrick (Washington Post) reports that the deal "has not yet been accepted by the Iranian exiles, who have repeatedly insisted on a U.S. troop presence to guard against possible attacks by Iraqis."

As with Camp Ashraf, the administration's response to the ongoing political crisis in Iraq has been lackadaisical at best. Helene Cooper and Thom Shanker (New York Times) report that Joe Biden, US Vice President, has been on the phone with Nouri al-Maliki and Osama al-Nujaifi and presumably Massoud Barzani.


The names above? I'm supplying them. The paper feels no need to provide names. And "the Kurdish leader" could refer to Jalal Talabani who is the Iraqi President and who Joe Biden has been speaking on the phone with but he's also spoken to Massoud Barzani, President of the KRG, where the Sunni vice president Tareq al-Hashemi has sought refuge from Nouri al-Maliki. In paragraph 13, readers learn that the reporters probably meant Talabani. So it could be argued that the reporters are also taking a lackadaisical approach. (Joe Biden did speak on the phone with Massoud Barzani today. I have no idea whether he spoke with Jalal Talabani, but he did talk to Barzani.) They note David Rothkopf on how Iraq could become a huge minus for the administration:

For instance, Mr. Rothkopf and other national security experts said, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq is swiftly adopting policies that are setting off deep divisions among Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites. If Iraq fragments, if Iran starts to assert more visible influence or if a civil war breaks out, "the president could be blamed," Mr. Rothkopf said. "He would be remembered not for leaving Iraq but for how he left it."

But even that doesn't light a fire under the administration or its 17,000 employees that remain in Iraq. David Ignatius (Washington Post) speaks with Gen Ray Odierno who made a special trip to Iraq last week to attempt to ease the crisis. Ignatius observes, "The effort to work with Maliki has been consistent from the Bush to Obama administrations. It perplexes some (including me) who doubt Maliki’s ability to break from his sectarian roots in the Dawa Party and become a unifying figure. A measure of Washington’s support for Maliki’s government was that, before the final troop withdrawal, the United States handed over a prisoner named Ali Mussa Daqduq, an Iranian-backed operative who allegedly plotted attacks on U.S. soldiers. The United States concluded that, under its security framework agreement with Iraq, it had no other option." And that will be the qustion, won't it? If Barack was supposed to represent a change from Bush on Iraq, why the hell did the new administration back Nouri? Who was already known to be a thug. Ryan Crocker's embassy cable was already widely distributed prior to Barack being sworn in. WikiLeaks releasing it only underscored it. He was a known thug running secret prisons and torturing. But that's who Barack Obama backed and he will have to answer for that.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4487. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4487.


Reuters notes a Dujail suicide car bombing which claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers and left twelve people injured and that yesterday 1 corpse was discovered in Baquba.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "I See Ba'athists" went up this morning. As did new content at Third:

The e-mail address for this site is