Friday, June 13, 2014

Save Nouri or save the Iraqi people?

Alsumaria reports that Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, declared today that failures of leadership and wrong-headed policies are responsible for the desertion of military forces when rebels storm an area.  As if to proved Ahmed's point about leadership failures, the spokesperson for Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law declared today that the governments of Turkey and Saudi Arabia are paying people to attack Iraq. So lost in his lies, Nouri can't even focus on the problems at hand.

Which would include the bombing of Saad bin Maad Mosque in Muqdadiyah.

Here come the priests, each one wailing and bemoaning
Lordy, they got their heads bowed down
Here come the madmen, they're too excited for atoning:
"Burn the mosque," they're shouting, "Burn it down!"

Save me a place, surrounded with friendly faces
All of us have gathered here to share the end
To watch the world go up in flames

-- "Share The End," written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman, first appears on Carly's Anticipation.

As the situation in Iraq worsens, some are called on to leave.  Alsumaria reports Lockheed Martin is evacuating 25 employees.  All Iraq News reports that the government of Germany is calling for its citizens "to leave Anbar, Nineveh and Salah il-Din provinces and temporarily Baghdad due to the security breaches." ABC News Radio reports, "Americans are being evacuated from an air base in Iraq on Thursday as militants storm toward the area. Several hundred contractors from the northern facility in Balad are being evacuated to Baghdad, a Defense official confirms."

People leave, but the question remains:  How did it come to this?

At CNN, Derek Harvey and Michael Pregent ask, "Who's to blame for Iraq crisis"?

Their answer?

For more than five years, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his ministers have presided over the packing of the Iraqi military and police with Shiite loyalists -- in both the general officer ranks and the rank and file -- while sidelining many effective commanders who led Iraqi troops in the battlefield gains of 2007-2010, a period during which al Qaeda in Iraq (the forerunner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) was brought to the brink of extinction.
Al-Maliki's "Shiafication" of the Iraqi security forces has been less about the security of Iraq than the security of Baghdad and his regime. Even before the end of the U.S.-led "surge" in 2008, al-Maliki began a concerted effort to replace effective Sunni and Kurdish commanders and intelligence officers in the key mixed-sect areas of Baghdad, Diyala and Salaheddin provinces to ensure that Iraqi units focused on fighting Sunni insurgents while leaving loyal Shiite militias alone -- and to alleviate al-Maliki's irrational fears of a military coup against his government.
In 2008, al-Maliki began replacing effective Kurdish commanders and soldiers in Mosul and Tal Afar with Shiite loyalists from Baghdad and the Prime Minister's Dawa Party, and even Shiite militia members from the south. A number of nonloyalist commanders were forced to resign in the face of trumped up charges or reassigned to desk jobs and replaced with al-Maliki loyalists. The moves were made to marginalize Sunnis and Kurds in the north and entrench al-Maliki's regime and the Dawa Party ahead of provincial and national elections in 2009, 2010 and 2013.

Yes, Nouri.

However you look at it, the prime minister who refused -- for his entire second term -- to name a Minister of Defense, a Minster of the Interior or a Minister of National Security is the one who bears responsibility.

Who will save Nouri now?

Some believe Barack will and his statements at the White House are all over Iraqi media.  All Iraq News reports on Barack's assertion of "the readiness of the US to conduct immediate military operations in Iraq."  Alsumaria reports air strikes are being considered by the police and that ground troops are not being considered.  National Iraqi News Agency reports US Senator John McCain is calling for a US brain trust (people such as former General David Petreaus and former US Ambassador Ryan Crocker) to address the problem.  Alsumaria reports US Vice President Joe Biden phoned Nouri al-Maliki yesterday.

Who will save the Iraqi people?

Apparently no one.  Through Thursday, Iraq Body Count counts 724 violent deaths for the month thus far.

The following community sites -- plus Marc Lynch, the Guardian, PBS' NewsHour, the Independent, Jane Fonda,, Cindy Sheehan, Susan's On the Edge, McClatchy Newspapers and Pacifica Evening News -- updated:

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