Thursday, July 17, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, July 17, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri makes a mess of everything, 'reporter' Hannah Allem piles the blames on others, fact checking her outlandish lies let's us drop back to the realities others ignored in real time, how did Nouri get a weaponized drone in Mosul, did Iraq just get their first suicide bomber from Australia, and much more.

Nouri al-Maliki is a thug.  The 'liberal' media -- Scott Horton's Antiwar Radio, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! and so many others -- have whored for Nouri and they continue to whore for him.

Yesterday on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman continued her war against Iraqi Sunnis by booking noted Sunni hater Patrick Cockburn as well as the always ridiculous Hannah Allem (McClatchy Newspapers) who somehow, someway, just happens, repeatedly, to slant things so that Sunnis come off so badly.  Now that Patrick's documented hatred of Sunnis has moved from Arabic social media into the mainstream media, we can ignore him and just zoom in on Hannah.

Hannah Allem:  Down in Najaf, even more important than the prime minister’s call to arms was the fatwa issued by the Shia highest authority in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. He issued a call to arms that asked all Iraqis to come and help in the defense of the nation. And he and his office and officials around him have stressed several times that that was not a sectarian call to arms, that it was a patriotic national duty. But that’s not how it’s been interpreted on the ground, and it’s not how it’s playing out on the ground. It has given religious cover to the remobilization of militias that the government spent—and the U.S. military, when it was here, spent—the past several years trying to disband. 

We have to stop Hannah there, the lies are just too intense.

Hannah lies in July of 2014 that Shi'ite militias are reforming.


In the summer of 2014?

We're going back to October 4, 2013 and the start and the end of the excerpt will be signified by "**********."  Excerpt:



As the photo above (Baghdad) by Iraqi Spring MC demonstrates, protests continued in Iraq.  Protests also took place in TikritNajafRamadi, FallujaSamarra, Baquba, Balad RuzJalawla, among other sites.   Protests have been taking place non-stop since December 21st.   Of today's protests, NINA notes:

Preachers of Friday-prayers called on the sit-inner in their sermons to continue the sit-ins as are the only way to get rid of injustice and abuse policy.
They said in the common prayer which held in six regions of Diyala province : " Iraqi government must not deal with the demands of the protestors in a double standard . Urging worshipers to unify their stand until getting the demands, release innocent prisoners and detainees from prisons.

Kitabat reports that Sheikh Mohammed al-Dulaimi spoke at the Falluja protest and accused the government of supporting militias who target and kill Sunnis.  The Sheikh said that instead of implementing the demands of the protesters, the government would rather target or ignore the protesters.  National Iraqi News offers the Sheikh said, ""The Iraqi government rather than implement the demands of the protesters and adopt genuine reconciliation with people, it tracking and embarrassing the protest leaders,since 9 Months ago claimants the usurped legal rights."

Sheikh Mohammed al-Dulaimi is correct in his accusation:  Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister and chief thug of Iraq) is supporting Shi'ite militias.  Tim Arango (New York Times) broke that story last week -- but somehow the US Congress and the rest of the media missed it.  (The media may be playing dumb.  Members of Congress actually missed it, I spoke with several yesterday about Tim Arango's report.)   Arango noted:

In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.


So the October 4th protests were noting that the Shi'ite militias were regrouping and attacking them and the New York Times' Tim Arango was even reporting that Nouri al-Maliki was arming and garbing Shi'ite militias?

Kind of an important detail.

And one of the reasons the Sunnis felt so targeted.

But leave to Whore Hannah to show up in July 2014 and claim that Shi'ite militias were reforming -- Shi'ite militias who reformed long ago.

Hannah Allem: So we’re talking about groups like Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which was a splinter group of the Mahdi Army trained by Iran, close ties to Iran, and several other Iranian-backed Shia Muslim militias. And then, on top of that, you’ve got tribes that are offering up tens of thousands of their members, and you’ve got these just ordinary teenagers, you know, and young men who are answering the call on religious grounds. So, it’s this hodgepodge of forces. They really sort of lack a central command. So far they’ve said that they would all play fair and answer to the government and work within the government structure. But that’s just simply not the case. There are just too many people with arms roaming around with disparate leaders.

Okay, Moqtada's Mahdi Army?  I have no idea whether it reformed or not but those rumors of it reforming started in early 2013.

To take the heat off Hannah, let's note the load of the crap that came up next:

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, last month Democracy Now! interviewed former U.N. special envoy for Syria, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi. He was previously the U.N. special representative for Iraq. He suggested that sectarianism in Iraq was fostered in the early years of the U.S. invasion and occupation.
LAKHDAR BRAHIMI: The impression one had was that the people that were preferred by the occupying powers were the most sectarian Shia and the most pro-Iranian Shia, so, you know, that Iran—that Iraq is now very, very close to Iran. Again, from the point of view of somebody who looks at things from outside, I have absolutely no knowledge of what went on in the high spheres of power in Washington. The impression we had is that these people were put in charge either out of total ignorance—and that is extremely difficult to accept—or intentionally. But the fact is, you know, that the system that was established was very sectarian.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Hannah Allam, that was Lakhdar Brahimi, the former U.N. special envoy for Syria. He was previously the special representative, the U.N. special representative for Iraq. Could you comment on what he said and also on reports of the Islamic State’s violence and atrocities, really, against Sunni Muslims, in addition to Shia and Kurds?

Don't bother trying to remember the question, Hannah really won't try to answer it.

But Nermeen is beyond stupid.  Brahimi's a tool, no one expects honesty from tools.

No, the US government -- under Bully Boy Bush -- did not choose to back Iraqis (Iraqi exiles) because these were Iraqis close to Iran.

That's beyond stupid, it's a lie.

We have to do a back story here.

I don't care for Naomi Klein.  The woman's a piece of trash. She became that before she whored (and lied) for Barack. She became a piece of trash as she did the bare minimum a Canadian activist could do for war resisters.  She'd sign a petition but that's about little Naomi could manage.

She certainly wouldn't stand with them.  She wrongly feared she'd loose access to the United States.

No, she wouldn't have.  She was an American citizen.  Bully Boy Bush couldn't have kept her out of the country.

What's that?

She's Canadian?

Yeah, she has dual citizenship.  Because her parents are Americans.  Her mother and her father.

Her parents went to Canada during Vietnam.  Her father was a war resister.

So for that trashy mall rat Naomi Klein to refuse to share her story, her family's narrative to make the case for the need for Canada to offer asylum to war resisters as they did during Vietnam?

I have no use for Naomi Klein.

As the late, great Cass Elliot used to say, "I wouldn't piss on her if she were on fire." That's how I feel about Naomi.

But when she briefly cared about Iraq, she was able to make the point that realities in Iraq weren't accidents.

And we would note her Harper's essay and expand on it to point out that you have to make the people docile and fearful if you want to take them down "Year Zero."

The US government backed the exiles they did because those exiles would terrorize the Iraqi people -- keep the people fearful of safety while the US government and the installed Iraqis worked to fleece the country.

Let's go back to Hannah.  We're picking right back up but don't worry about the question she was asked because Hannah talks about what Hannah wants to.

HANNAH ALLAM: Sure. I think it’s important to note that the Islamic State is not doing this land grab, this insurgency alone. It has a lot of support, really crucial support, especially for holding territories that it seized, from, again, this mixture of former Baathists, ex-military and intelligence from the old regime, some tribes. And the reason they’ve been able to cultivate some support among those community—well, some are just, you know, against the whole political system that was established under the U.S. occupation. 

Still with Hannah but I really want you to pay attention to what she says next:

Some haven’t come to terms with the loss of their former power and prestige. But then there are a wide swath of Sunni communities who are simply fed up with the sectarian policies they’ve seen under this administration of Nouri al-Maliki. 

Some Sunnis haven't come to terms with a loss of power and prestige?

Am I the only one who can see Hannah taking two skips to the right in order to next justify slavery?

Hannah is such a damn xenophobe.

Power and prestige weren't the issues for the Sunni people.

It's cute how Nouri never gets called out by the Hannahs.

This has been addressed at length in the UK's Iraq Inquiry.

Paul Bremer kicked off de-Ba'athification -- sending many Sunnis (and Shi'ites) out of the government.  This was a huge mistake -- British intelligence saw it as such, check the testimonies to the Iraq Inquiry.  And a huge mistake was made worse by Nouri 

He was supposed to end de-Ba'athifaction.  This was supposed to allow the country to unify and Nouri promised to do this in 2007.  This was part of the benchmarks the White House came up with.

McClatchy reported on those benchmarks repeatedly -- they did so badly, but they did so repeatedly.

Hannah Allem:  And I think we should point out he [Nouri]  first ran on a platform that was considered nationalist. He went after Shia militias in the south, and people thought, OK, maybe this isn’t going to be as sectarian as we feared. 


Shi'ite militias in the south?

Oh, the Mahdi.  Yeah, with the US, he went after one Shi'ite militia, the militia of his political rival Moqtada al-Sadr.

One militia.  Hannah's always got to lie. She's the proud mommy with the unaccomplished son so she just makes s**t up and hopes no one catches on.

Nezir Akyesilmen (Daily Sabah) offers this take on events in Iraq:

A coalition of oppositions composed of resentful Sunni groups, former Ba'athists and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) - or from its Arabic acronym as Da'ish - has been able to control most of the Sunni populated Iraq territory (except for the Kurdistan region), including Mosul, the second biggest city of Iraq, within a short time. Such a sudden contagion, shows on one hand, the weakness and ineffectiveness of the Iraqi central army and on the other hand depicts the coalition of opposition as an important and powerful actor that cannot be ignored in Iraq anymore. There are also signals showing that this de facto situation will remain for a long time and may even be permanent.
When the PM of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Nechirvan Barzani said that "it is difficult to be able to return to the order before Mosul in Iraq" in an interview on the BBC, he was most probably referring to this reality. The conflict which has become particularly violent is escalating in Iraq and transforming into an inhuman situation with casualties increasing day by day. Hate speech by Nouri al-Maliki and violent acts against Shia by the coalition under ISIS patronage have deepened the separation and conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims not only in Iraq but also on the whole planet. Some regional powers have made great contributions both in design and ideology to this sectarian conflict. If this conflict is not resolved in a short time, all the regional countries will be negatively affected in terms of economic, social and political stability, particularly the actors that are trading with Iraq (essentially with the Kurdistan region), including Turkey. In such a case, regional escalation of a lasting, comprehensive and sectarian conflict is unavoidable.

See, if you're not Hannah, you can speak honestly about Iraq.

NINA reports 1 person was killed today in Mosul and five more were left injured.

What's curious is the weapon used.  A drone.

US President Barack Obama has insisted that no US drones were being used as weapons as yet in Iraq and those present were in Baghdad.

So what's happened?

Iran's suddenly got drones? Weaponized ones?

Russia's delivered them?

Or Barack's lied to the American people?

Julian E. Barnes (Wall St. Journal) reports on how Barack's rush to arm Nouri suffered a little setback:

U.S. defense officials are tamping down any talk of a quick decision on what to do next in Iraq.
And on Wednesday, Mr. Obama addressed a range of foreign policy challenges, including the Afghanistan elections, negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, the fighting between Israel and Hamas, and Russian provocations in Ukraine, but there was no mention of imminent action in Iraq. In fact, Mr. Obama didn’t mention Iraq at all.
What’s going on?

A fresh assessment of Iraq’s security forces prepared by U.S. military teams working in Iraq was delivered to the Pentagon this week. It wasn’t exactly a sunny outlook, but Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said that while defense leaders felt a sense of urgency, they were not going to rush their work.

Dahr Jamail observes (in a repost at The Nation), " What is left of Iraq, this mess that is no longer a country, should be considered the legacy of decades of US policy there, dating back to the moment when Saddam Hussein was in power and enjoyed Washington’s support. With Maliki, it has simply been a different dictator, enjoying even more such support (until these last weeks), and using similarly barbaric tactics against Iraqis."

Vietnam veteran Roland Van Deusen writes the Watertown Daily Times to share his thoughts on Iraq which include:

Since we left Iraq, the government we set up there has replaced almost every senior officer in the Iraqi army with Shi’ite yes-men, regardless of their military ability. Three hundred U.S. advisers won’t undo this damage before ISIS threatens to topple Iraq’s government.
That government refused John Kerry’s condition that our defending them depends upon their sharing power with Sunnis and Kurds. Yet now our adviser/grunts are on the ground, with another 200 on the way, in spite of our president’s saying the answer to this crisis is political, not military. Why are we there?

James Cullum (Talk Radio News) speaks with US House Rep Ted Poe:

“I think he has to go,” Poe told TRNS after a subcommittee meeting on Tuesday. “He needed to go a long time ago. He’s incompetent and has the inability to lead, and he can’t lead all the people in Iraq. He’s trying to preserve his fiefdom, and rulers in that situation have many times dealt in an unreal world, and do not know they have lost their credibility and authority, and he is one of those.” 

Since begging the US government to provide 'traineers' and 'advisors' on the ground in Iraq, Nouri has demonstrated that he will not change one bit.  His latest tantrum has only further inflamed tensions in Iraq. Press TV notes:

Iraq’s Kurds have just recently announced plans for a referendum on the independence of the semi-autonomous Kurdish province.The Arab League however has downplayed the significance of these plans as “media talk”.Meanwhile, the Kurds, including ministers in the Iraqi cabinet, continue to disengage from Baghdad completely, following accusations by Prime Minister Maliki that Erbil was harboring ISIL terrorists.

PNA notes, "Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has urged PM Nouri Maliki to apologise for saying the Kurdish region authorities are sheltering extremists."  But when has Nouri ever worked to clean up one of his own messes?

Robin Wright (New Yorker) notes Nouri's problems with the Kurds:

The Kurds have many reasons to split off. They’re furious with Baghdad, which since January has refused to fork over the Kurds’ share of the national kitty. They’re terrified of the sweeping territorial conquests by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an Al Qaeda offshoot, which is now poised along a six-hundred-mile border with Kurdistan that the Iraqi Army abruptly abandoned last month. And they’re engaged in a war of words with Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, about stepping aside to let a new government salvage the nation. Last week, Maliki accused the Kurds of aiding ISIS militants. He fired all the Kurds in his cabinet, including the stalwart Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

“He has become hysterical and has lost his balance,” Barzani, who is now Kurdistan’s President, said in an unusually peppery statement on July 10th. “He is doing everything he can to justify his failures and put the blame on others.” Barzani noted that Maliki himself had once taken refuge from Saddam’s dictatorship in Kurdistan—and that others were now taking refuge from Maliki. Barzani also told the BBC, “Iraq is effectively partitioned now. Are we supposed to stay in this tragic situation?”

Those factors would make many tread lightly -- but not Nouri al-Maliki.   He just stomps his feet, creates more problems and then begs others to clean up his mess.

Let's turn to violence.  Warwick Daily News notes, "The first Australian suicide bomber in Iraq reportedly killed three people in the heart of Baghdad on Thursday, raising the involvement of local jihadists in the spiraling violence to a chilling new level."  IS used a Tweet to note the bombing and dub the bomber Abu Bark al-Australi.  3 News adds, "If the man is confirmed to be Australian, he will be the first from his country to have been involved in carrying out a suicide bombing in Iraq.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports a battle in Alsger left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead, a Muqdadiyah battle left 6 rebels dead, the military killed 2 suspects in Hit, a central Baghdad bombing left 5 people dead and thirty-seven more injured, an al-Khalid bombing left seven Peshmerga injured, and Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 19 suspects.  Margaret Griffis ( notes, "At least 109 people were killed today, and another 148 were wounded."