Sunday, June 22, 2014


AP reports that Iraqi officials state rebels have seized control of Rutba in Anbar Province, "the fourth [city in Anbar] to fall in their hands since Friday."  Reuters adds that Rutba is one of three cities rebels seized today (the other two were Ana and Rawa). In addition, Chelsea J. Carter, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Hamdi Alkhshali (CNN) report:

Iraqi security officials told CNN that Tal Afar airbase in northern Iraq was taken by militants believed to be ISIS on Sunday afternoon.
Militants took over the town of Tal Afar last week but by Sunday, they also controlled the air base completely, officials said. Thousands of Shiite Turkmen families fled the town last week when ISIS attacked the town.

Friday, the International Crisis Group issued [PDF format] a report which noted:

Hadn’t Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and his “Rule of Law” bloc just been re-elected with a comfortable margin? 1 Wasn’t he criticised not for weakness but for building an authoritarian state, based on his thorough control of a vast security apparatus? Didn’t he have strong backing from both Iran and the U.S., the latter seeing him as a necessary evil, nominally re presenting the majority Shiite population and command- ing enough clout to keep the state together and push back on a violently-inclined rebellious fringe of Sunni malcontents? And wasn’t the “war on terror” a bloody but business-as-usual affair in which ISIL-attributed bomb attacks occurred almost daily in Baghdad, and towns like Falluja were callously shelled by regime troops without any obvious political fallout? 
A widely-shared perception in policymaking circles and the media had been that Iraq was painfully but slowly and surely progressing on the state-building process initiated after the 2003 U.S. invasion and destruction of its institutions. In particular, with President Barack Obama having designated the withdrawal from Iraq one of his signal achievements, the U.S. continued to invest in Maliki as the lynchpin of the country’s fragile stability. That Iraq looked increasingly like an Iran-allied police state wracked by high-level corruption was seen as regrettable, but as long as it re- mained moderately stable and the oil flowed , few cared to take a closer look, much less to seek to change the situation. When Maliki’s rivals – also his partners in a “national unity” government – tried to oust him through a parliamentary no-confidence vote in 2012, they failed to attract U.S. support, and their move failed. 
When whole swathes of the north west fell to the insurgency, the extent of the state’s deterioration became apparent to all. Army and other security forces in Mosul abandoned their posts and weapons, leaving unguarded thousands of prisoners held – in many cases without charge – in prisons and other detention facilities. Maliki’s local allies failed to muster any popular suppo rt when they tried to rally the city’s defences. Ninewa Governor Atheel al-Nujeifi left for the neighbouring Kurdistan region, and many inhabitants also fled, 2 either fearing the jihadis or anticipating indiscriminate retribution from the regime, which had established the model for its military response in Falluja. 3 Some of those who stayed enthusiastically celebrated “liberation”, an astounding development given the nightmarish memories left by al-Qaeda militants after they last held sway in we stern and north-western Iraq, in 2007. 4 Local armed groups jumped on the jihadi bandwagon, later claiming a (probably exaggerated) role in the takeover and hailing it as the beginning of the end of the Maliki era 

Barack's Iraq mission remains murky.  Phyllis Bennis (FPIF) puts it this way, "The White House says it’s 'only' sending 275 soldiers to protect the embassy, it’s 'only' sending 300 Special Forces, they’re only 'advisers.' There’s only one aircraft carrier in the region, they say, and a few other warships. They’re considering missile strikes but they’re not going to send ground troops."

For every Phyllis Bennis who can speak plainly (thank you, Phyllis, for being a straight shooter), you've got a hundred who can't.  Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers (Dissident Voice) appear to believe they're so brave.  But their spineless and worthless report?

It tells you that Hillary is a war hawk.


They never can apply the term to him.

They tell you Barack is making "a mistake" on Iraq and they tell you Hillary is a war hawk.

That's not just whorish, it's cowardly.

What do the two think they're accomplishing?

Keeping Hillary out of the White House?


I'm not voting for Hillary if she runs.  I've stated that already.  And why.

But they kept her out in 2008 and they got a war hawk in there.

But they won't admit it.

People are dying from his Drone War and now as they 'call out' Barack on his Iraq plan, they still can't call him out.

They're a bunch of cowards.

And, let's be honest, they're sexist pigs too.

If you can't call out a sitting president for being a war hawk but you're making time to savage Hillary?

You're not just f**king useless, you're also a sexist pig -- yes, women can be sexist as well (the term for them is usually "queen bee").

We used to have a peace movement in this country.  Now we have a bunch of cowards who can't muster a stinging comment unless it's aimed at Hillary.

Through Saturday, Iraq Body Count counts 2878 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

Isaiah's latest goes up after this.  New content at Third:

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