Monday, June 16, 2014

June 2014, deadliest month in Iraq since July 2007

Holly Yan (CNN) reports, "One by one, Iraqi cities seem to be falling to a militant group bent on continuing its march forward.  What's happening in Iraq now has all the makings of a civil war -- and a full-blown foreign policy crisis. The United States is mulling direct talks with Iran while it boosts security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad with military personnel."  Matthew Lee (AP) notes US Secretary of State John Kerry has been tasked with floating the trial balloon on talks between the governments of the US and Iran.

The trial balloon needs to be floated because (a) the US government has repeatedly portrayed the Iranian government as terrorists, devils and a world wide threat, (b) Barack's tanking in the polls, (c) the lack of trial balloon on the recent Taliban swap caught the American people off guard and is part of the reason for the anger and/or shock over the surrendering of five Talbian and (d) it's important that it come from Kerry and not Barack who's already a lame duck president and who, with any further erosion of public support, will be weaker than any recent US president in his final two years of his last term.

There are those in the US who will rejoice because of their desire for improved relations between the two governments.  They might want to temper that long enough to ask themselves if the answer for Iraq is to have Iranian troops on the ground?

The Iraq - Iran war may be nothing to many Americans -- some of whom will not even be aware it took place.  But it's still known in Iraq and why any ruler of Iraq has to a dance between showing warmth towards the Iranian government -- a neighbor which shares a border -- while also demonstrating public independence from that government.  That show of independence?  It's why Nouri's National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayadh held a press conference -- held a press conference -- yesterday to insist that the government was denying entry to any and all Iranian forces and insisted that reports otherwise were "groundless."

So what is Kerry floating?

He sat down this morning with Katie Couric (Yahoo News with Katie Couric) and she raised the issue of Iran.

Katie Couric:  Will you reach out to Iran and how can that country be helpful?  Or is that like entering into a hornet's nest because --

Secretary John Kerry: Well we're open to -- Look, we're open to discussions if there's something constructive that can be contributed by Iran, if Iran is prepared to do something that is going to respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq and the ability of the government to reform, uh,  --

Katie Couric:  Can you see cooperating with Iran militarily?

Secretary John Kerry:  I, uh, at this moment, I think we need to step-by-step and see what, in fact, might be a reality.  But I wouldn't rule out anything that would be constructive to providing real stability, a respect for the Constitution, a respect for the election process and a respect for the ability of the Iraqi people to form a government that represents all of the interests of Iraq -- not one sectarian group over another.  It has to be inclusive.  And that has been one of the great problems of the last few years.

Katie Couric: If Iran recognizes that, would you be willing to work with that country?

Secretary John Kerry:  Let's see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements.  I think we are open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together -- the integrity of the country, and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces that are ripping it apart.


That's the number of Iraqis who've been killed in violence so far this month (through yesterday) according to Iraq Body Count.

That makes it the deadliest month in Iraq since July 2007 when IBC counted 2690 deaths.

But, thing is, June's only at the half-way point.


National Iraqi News Agency reports Baghdad Operations Command states they killed 56 suspects, Baghdad Operations Command spokesperson Saad Maan denies that Baghdad International Airport was attacked with mortars,  the Iraqi military bombed the Habbaniyah oil depot in Anbar stating it was necessary because rebels had taken it over,  Anbar Operations Command announced they killed 200 suspects to the north of Falluja, and Jabbar Yawar, Secretary General of the Peshmerga Ministry, announced 7 peshmerga fighters have died and thirty-six more were injured from battles in Nineveh, Salahuddin and Diyala provinces (the peshmerga are the elite fighting forces of the Kurdish Regional Government).

In addition, NINA reports that the April 30th election results were ratified today by the Federal Court -- well, all but "4 names" which "have been postponed."  All Iraq News reveals the four: "MPs, Abaas Mitaiwi, Raad al-Dahlaki, Saleem al-Jouburi, and Omer al-Humairi, are behind the delay of the approval of the elections results due to some judicial claims against them."

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "He wins again!" went up earlier this morning.  After this goes up, I'll change the time stamp on the comic to make Isaiah's cartoon the top item on the site until tonight's Iraq snapshot.

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