Friday, September 12, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Friday, September 13, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack's speech implodes, and a little more.

US President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday about Iraq.  By Thursday, the speech was a joke.

Stephen Colbert was Tweeting:

Obama brought back the Iraq War AND Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix!?! It's a miracle!

As Betty pointed out, "it has already fallen apart."  Trina noted her encounters with The Cult of St Barack and how it appears "there's no more hopium to smoke."  And Susan Jones (CNS News via Information Clearing House) explains:

NBC News Correspondent Richard Engel, reporting live from Kurdistan in northern Iraq Wednesday night, said U.S. troops are on the ground in Iraq and avoiding reporters.
"I know there are already American boots on the ground where I am now," Engel told MSNBC. "They are not necessarily firing their rifles or kicking down doors, and we're not going on embeds with these troops.

"They are troops who are staying away from reporters, they are embedded with local fighters trying to guide in air strikes, gathering intelligence -- the kind of thing you would have thought the Green Berets would have done many years ago, and which are now being done by Navy SEALS and Delta Force and other Special Operations Forces.

At today's Pentagon press briefing, spokesperson Rear Adm Jack Kirby attempted to push back against the reality of what US troops were doing in Iraq:

Q: Admiral, thank you. On the strategy, specifically, do military commanders really believe that ISIS can be defeated or destroyed with U.S. airpower alone and without sending U.S. combat troops or U.S. troops in the field to lase these targets, to find these targets? Because one of the criticisms is you can't rely on others to do it. And without having these men in the field, you're not going to have an accurate picture of the targets.

REAR ADM. KIRBY: The short answer to your question, Justin, is yes, but now let me try to explain what I mean by that. We've said all along -- Secretary Hagel has been very clear -- that there's not going to be a purely military solution to the threat that ISIL poses in the region, specifically inside Iraq. There's not going to be a military solution here.

We have been conducting airstrikes now for a number of weeks. I think we're up over almost 160 of them. They have helped provide some space and support to Iraqi security forces on the ground, as well as Kurdish forces up north. But military measures are not going to be enough.

And so the other thing that I would say is, it's -- we've been able to do these very effective and -- and we know we're having a tactical effect on ISIL, and we've been able to do that without, quote, unquote, "combat boots on the ground."

Q: Now you're doing more of them. You have -- you've said you're going to ramp up the airstrikes, so...

REAR ADM. KIRBY: We're going to -- I think you can expect that we will be more aggressive going forward, but we've been pretty aggressive so far, nearly 160, all very effective, and effective without needing U.S. troops in a combat role on the ground in Iraq. The commander-in-chief has been very clear, we're not going to do that and that's not part of the mission going forward.

The other point -- and I think it's -- and we need to consistently make this -- is that the destruction of ISIL and their capabilities is going to require more than just airpower. We've been very honest about that. And it's going to require partners on the ground to take back and hold the territory that this group has tried and -- and it has tried to obtain and maintain.

It also is going to take the ultimate destruction of their ideology. And that -- that also can't be done just through military means alone. That has to be done through good governance, both in Iraq and in Syria -- we've talked about that -- and in a responsive political process, so that the people that are falling sway to this radical ideology are no longer drawn to it. So that's -- I mean, that's really the long-term answer.

Q: I think people would be surprised, though, to hear you say that there is no military solution, given the nature of ISIS. I mean, this is primarily a military strategy, is it not?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: What is primarily a military strategy?

Q: To defeat and destroy ISIL has to be done militarily, doesn't it?

Uh-oh, logic entered the room and left Kirby scrambling.

If Kirby's going to sell this latest phase of the Iraq War, he's going to have to work harder.  Maybe borrow one of those eye-sore jumpsuits Victoria Clarke wore when she was spinning the start of the war?

The clothes change, the people change, but the war just drags on.

The State Dept's not even trying.

They're the 10th grader who grabs a sister's old paper, types a new cover sheet and pretends work has been done.  For example, the State Dept's Catherine Russell attempted today to sell this phase of the ongoing, illegal war on the backs of Iraqi women:

Beheadings are not the only horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL.  Over the past two months, there has been a tragic stream of reports about thousands of women and girls abducted from their families and sold in markets. These violent extremists are attacking their own women and girls.
While captive, these women and children have been tortured, raped, given to ISIL thugs as “brides,” or kept as sex slaves. Some have committed suicide to avoid sexual enslavement. Others have been forced to watch as ISIL beat their children to coerce the women into converting to Islam. Some have simply been executed. Hundreds of women and girls have been taken from Iraq to ISIL camps in Syria and never heard from again.
We cannot allow these voices, these lives, to be silenced. All of us must stand up for those who are defenseless.
Reports indicate that ISIL has abducted between 1,500 to 4,000 women and girls, mainly from Iraq’s religious community of Yezidis and other minority groups. Girls as young as 12 or 13 have been forced to marry extremists or sold to the highest bidder -- like cattle at an auction.  These are young girls, mothers, and sisters facing imminent rape, trafficking, and forced marriage.  These are women and girls who pleaded to be killed in airstrikes rather than be brutalized by ISIL.

A lot of people have said this or that was happening to Yezidi women.

No one's really been able to prove it, but they do say it, don't they?

PFrance 24's Wassim Nasr and Djamel Belayachi noted last week:

Photos of women allegedly sold as slaves

Citing an Iraqi parliamentarian, several websites claimed that hundreds of women from the Yazidi community had been sold as slaves after the capture of Sinjar at the beginning of August. One photo showing women chained and veiled spread on social networks and was taken as proof of the claim. It turns out that this image was taken during a Shiite procession in the town of Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon, in 2013.

The fake photo of 'enslaved women' circulating on social media networks.
Already at this time, the same photo had been published online by websites claiming it showed the jihadist organisation’s treatment of women in Syria.

They have plenty of other examples in their report.

And isn't sad that the best the State Dept can offer is a 'people say' kind of foot noting?

The State Dept's recent interest in women is touching.

Where were they when Iraqi women and girls were being falsely imprisoned and tortured and raped?

Where was the concern for women then?

This was one of the main underlying issues which led to over a year of continuous street protests.

But the State Dept didn't say 'boo' about it, did they?

When Nouri al-Maliki was overseeing rape and torture, they didn't object once.

Back then, they were more than happy to stay silent.

Ali Younes (Arab Daily News) notes some problem with Barack's plan or 'plan:'

The key to Obama’s objective however, is not just to try to degrade and destroy ISIL a tall order by on its own, but rather to try to end the sectarian divisions in Iraq and compel the Iraqi Shia establishment to treat the Iraqi Sunnis as partners.
To start with the new Iraqi government needs to have a new beginning by including the disfranchised Sunnis in the government, the army and other governmental and security agencies. Iraqi Sunnis argue that the 8 years of Al Maliki’s sectarian rule has left them alienated and created so much hatred and division in Iraq.

The illegal war is not ending but the administration seems unable to sell it (or anything else) with any real enthusiasm.

How bad is it?

The State Dept held a lengthy press briefing today.

Spokesperson Marie Harf acted as moderator.

However, Iraq wasn't on her mind.

And it wasn't on the minds of any reporters attending either.

Two days ago Barack sold the latest phase of the Iraq War.

Yet the State Dept can't even be bothered with addressing the topic?