Monday, October 27, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Monday, October 27, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq still has no budget, but the cost of US President Barack Obama's 'plan' continues to increase, we note Sean P. Neal and Jordan L. Spears who died in Barack's operation this month, we note the sexism -- the ingrained sexism -- of The Intercept, and much more.

Let's start with inflation.  Sky News notes that the US Defense Dept stated previously that the Iraq and Syria air strikes were costing "more than $7 million" per day but now the cost has risen to $8.3 million per day.  US President Barack Obama still has no actual plan -- supposedly, it will be proposed after the US-midterm elections -- but he's spending US tax dollars freely in his non-stop bombings.

Non-stop bombings that aren't accomplishing anything, non-stop bombings that even the Pentagon notes has led the Islamic State to both adapt and anticipate.   The 'plan' is a failure.  Ali Mamouri (Al-Monitor) notes:

Since Oct. 13, IS has moved on Baghdad from the northern and western sides. At the same time, it relies on the southern and sympathizing areas where large Sunni segments reside. The group has recently dominated most parts of Anbar province, and still retains many areas in the provinces of Diyala and Salahuddin, north and east of Baghdad. It killed Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed Saddak al-Dulaimi on Oct.12, upon whom the government relied to control the province, given his tribal affiliation with the area and his long military experience and harsh manner in dealing with terrorists.

August 8th.

That's when Barack's 'plan' was implemented.  In 12 days, Barack's 'plan' will have been carried out for three months and there's so little to show for it.

Earlier this month on Meet The Press, administration liar Susan Rice declared that rescuing the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar had been a success.

But (a) the rescued were rescued by the Kurdish Peshmerga and (b) as the world learned last week, the 'rescue' did not rescue all the Yazidis.  At least 700 families are said to remain trapped on Mount Sinjar.

Where are the successes in Barack's 'plan'?

The White House struggles to find them, the State Dept as well.

Yet Barack continues his (failed) open-ended war, wasting millions of US tax payer dollars despite the fact that he, as a US Senator, attacked Bully Boy Bush for his failure to clearly present an economic price tag on the Iraq War.  Now that he occupies the White House, he's fine with using the US Treasury as his personal ATM to fund the illegal war.

Where are the questions, where are the demands on Barack?

Maybe more will be made after tomorrow night's broadcast of Frontline?  The PBS program examines the rise of the Islamic State in the episode most PBS stations will be broadcasting Tuesday night.

It'll be a surprise to so many -- and a number of whores will pretend to find it surprising -- but the reality is that what took place was not a surprise.  The broadcast makes that clear but so do our archives here.

While whores like Jane Arraf (remember, she whored for Saddam Hussein when he was in power too) treated chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as, at worst, a scamp, we were pointing out he was breeding terrorism with his attacks on the Sunni population.  We were pointing out that they'd tried the ballot box (Nouri lost the 2010 elections but the White House demanded he get a second term as prime minister), that they tried peaceful protest and at what point do you lose faith in the process?  That's the time when you turn a blind eye to the Islamic State or maybe you help them or maybe you even enlist.

The Islamic State did not appear in the blink of an eye.

Years and years -- you could say Nouri's entire second term -- brought Iraq to where it is now.

It's an interesting hour of TV.

More interesting, of course, will be failed journalist Robert Parry.  Frontline is his only connection to respectability at this late date.  Will he yet again lie and whore to protect Barack?  Doing so would require him to attack Frontline.

Again, it's his only link to respectability.

And if he loses it, he loses everything most likely.

So what will Robert Parry do?

Such a sad sack.  Such a tiny, shriveled sad sack.  Remember, Cedric and Wally are sending the tired whore up in their series of joint-posts where Parry proclaims he's pregnant and carrying Barack's baby.  Thus far, that ongoing novelization includes:

 "THIS JUST IN! OCTOBER SURPRISE!," "The shocking news," 
"THIS JUST IN! THE OCTOBER SURPRISE ARRIVES!," "Parry talks of naming the expected First Child," 
"THIS JUST IN! PARRY TALKS BIRTH NAMES!," "It's about the babies!," 

Parry has no questions for Barack -- other than what night he gets to be concubine -- but some questions are starting to emerge.

Elizabeth Norling writes the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times wanting to know, "What is the perspective of the Yazidi or Christian woman who has seen her husband murdered, her daughters taken captive, her sons decapitated, and who has been sold into sexual slavery?"

The Yazidis are only one religious minority under fire in Iraq currently.    Cathy Otten (Religion News Service via Huffington Post) reports on the Iraqi city of Alqoosh:

The Assyrian Christian town of around 6,000 people sits on a hill below the seventh-century Rabban Hormizd Monastery, temporarily closed because of the security situation. Residents of Alqosh fled this summer ahead of Islamic State militants. Around 70 percent of the town’s residents have since returned. Still, a sense of unease hangs in the air.
Below the monastery in the boarded up bazaar a lone shopkeeper waits for customers. At the edge of town local Christian fighters staff lookout posts, checking for danger. With Islamic State fighters just 10 miles away, these men and most residents of the town are scared that they may have to flee again.
In August, the Christian town of Qaraqosh, 18 miles east of Mosul, was overrun, along with neighboring villages, home to Iraqi Christian communities for centuries. Islamic State forces came close but never entered Alqosh.

The targeting of Iraqi Christians has been non-stop since the US-invasion of 2003.  Currently, there are efforts to aid the Christian community in Iraq and displaced from Iraq.  Syndicated right-wing columnist Cal Thomas notes:

Reality television producer Mark Burnett and his actress wife, Roma Downey, are trying to raise awareness and money to help displaced and threatened Iraqi Christians who survived the genocidal attacks against them.
Burnett and Downey, who produced the highly rated “The Bible” for The History Channel and are working on another biblical epic, “A.D.”, which NBC will broadcast next Easter season, have announced a campaign to raise $25 million to aid homeless Christians in the region with housing, food and clothing. They say they are donating the first $1 million and have set up a website called “The Cradle of Christianity Fund” through which people can give. They promise the money will go directly to the churches for distribution to those in need.

Last week, Catholic News Agency noted another effort to aid Iraqi Christians:

Crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $1 million for Iraqi Christians

The crowdfunding campaign will run from Oct. 14-Nov. 24, and can be found on Indiegogo, which is one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the world. Almost $5,000 of the $1 million goal has been raised so far.

“We invite all of our brothers and sisters in Christ to join us and contribute, from as little as $10, to the crowdfunding campaign that we have initiated,” stated Eduardo Paz, co-founder of La Filotea Productions.

There are so many tragedies in Iraq.

And Barack should be asked about them.  Why is there no televised prime time press conference focusing on Iraq?

Oh, that's right.

Because the US press can't focus on Iraq.

If Helen Thomas were still around, you can be sure she'd be asking about one topic  everyone should be asking about?

That's Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal (photo from Facebook).   We noted his death in Saturday's snapshot.

Missy Ryan (Washington Post) notes, "The Pentagon said Neal’s death was the first U.S. casualty in Iraq since the Obama administration began its 'Inherent Resolve' mission, which now includes airstrikes against the extremist group in Iraq and Syria and a growing number of U.S. military personnel on the ground in Iraq in August."

Murtaza Hussain (Intercept) offers:

Cpl. Neal was only 19 years old. He would have only been eight at the outset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and merely six on 9/11 – a child at the time of both these events.  The fact that he ended up losing his life in Iraq is on one hand tragic, and on the other completely absurd.
The tragedy here is that a young man with a long future ahead of him ended up dying in a distant country before even reaching the age of twenty. The absurdity is that men such as him are still losing their lives as a result of still-inexplicable decisions made over a decade ago. The Iraq War never ended, but now it’s being fought by men who were just children when it started. Walter Lippman once said, “I don’t think old men ought to promote wars for young men to fight.” In our time, old men have been promoting wars that kids would ultimately end up fighting.

You know what?

Those statements are offensive.

And it's why the Intercept is such a lame venture.

It's a bunch of   sexist jerks like Murtaza Hussain, Glenn Greenwald (if his sexism is news to you, where have you been the last decade), Jeremy Scahill and so many others.

And when you hire sexists, you get garbage like what Hussain's offering, garbage that renders the US female service members who've fought in the ongoing Iraq War -- and who've died in it -- invisible.

It is a complete, 100% tragedy that Sean Neal is dead.  It is a huge loss.  But Hussain makes an ass out of himself by reducing it to "men."

If the Intercept wants to have any future at all -- most likely it doesn't, Libertarians online have long been sexist -- it's going to have to accept the fact that half the world is female.

Shame on all the useless jerks (Dan Froomkin, that means you) who have treated Hussain's sexist rambles as manna from heaven.  Shame on you.

Last May, The Daily Beast offered Kate Hoit's "The Names You Don't Hear: Nearly 200 Women Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Froomkin, who has made time to attack female artists, didn't really have time to give props to Hoit for that piece.

Too bad.  The sexism needs to end and it needs to end now.

It is insulting to the women who have served -- and to the memory of the women who died -- to write such sexist nonsense as Hussain did.  Hussain, The Intercept and every man who Tweeted that article without pointing its fatal and sexist flaw should issue an apology -- but they won't.  The day will come when sexists are shunned in the same way that racists are.  That day is in the future.  When it does come, history will not be kind to the many men -- including those at Intercept -- who regularly engaged in sexism -- history will not be kind, nor should it be.

Spencer Ackerman (Guardian)  points out, "Technically, Neal may not have been the first US fatality of the Iraq-Syria war against the Islamic State. Naval forces assigned to US Central Command, which has operational control of the war, acknowledged on October 3 that a Marine, Corporal Jordan L. Spears, went missing at sea in the North Arabian Gulf after bailing out of his MV-22 Osprey. Spears took off from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, which carried Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, assigned to support the war in Iraq and Syria."  UPI notes Spears was (or is) 21-years-old.  RT notes that the commander of Spears unit wrote online, "Cpl. Spears was a cherished member of our MEU family, and he fulfilled a key role in our aviation combat element."  Stars and Stripes notes:

Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, of Memphis, Ind., was one of two aircrew members who went into the water when the Osprey’s pilot lost control of the aircraft, which the Navy said was participating in flight operations in support of the missions over Iraq and Syria. The pilot regained control of the Osprey, and the other aircrew member was recovered.

I have no idea about Sean Neal's unit, but the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Jordan Spears' unit, there are women in that unit -- I know that would shock Murtaza Hussain -- there are several women who are part of the current deployment of that unit.

Turning to violence . . .

Michael Georgy, Dasha Afanasieva,  Isabel Coles and Angus MacSwan (Reuters) report that a Jurf al-Sakhar suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of "at least 27 Shi'ite militamen" today.  BBC News notes it was a car bombing and a Humvee was used, one "likely to have been captured from government forces, reports say."

Al Jazeera notes it was a suicide car bomber and the reason Jurf al-Sakhar is so important at this moment:

Jurf al-Sakhar is part of a predominantly Sunni strip of territory that runs just south of Baghdad and lies on a road usually taken by Shia pilgrims, when they head in large numbers to the holy Shia city of Karbala further to the south.
Pilgrims will be taking the route again next week in order to commemorate the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein --  one of the most revered Shia martyrs.

In addition, Iraqi Spring MC reports a central Baghdad car bombing left 9 dead and twenty-seven injuredBBC News notes the death toll rose to 10.  In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports  1 person was shot dead in Baghdad while World Bulletin News notes "a bomb-laden motorcycle killed two and injured 20 in Tuzhurmatu district of Salah ad Din Province."  Margaret Griffis ( notes, "At least 317 people were killed, mostly militants. Another 145 were wounded, about half of them security members."

Barack spent the summer insisting that Iraq required a political solution.  His point then was that the second term of Nouri had left the Sunnis 'estranged' from their own government and that a new government needed to demonstrate it was inclusive.  Iraq has a new prime minister today, Haider al-Abadi, but where is the progress on the political?

Nouri should have put through a 2014 budget no later than September 30, 2013.  That's because the 2014 Fiscal Year kicked off October 1, 2013.

Fiscal Year 2015 kicked off at the start of this month.

Guess what?

Iraq still has no 2014 budget.

Yes, al-Abadi's only been prime minister for a short time but he's been prime minister long enough to push through a budget.  Certainly he could have done that if the US government had made helping him on that a focus.  But they didn't.

National Iraqi News Agency reports:

MP for the Kurdistan, Abdul Bari Zebari held the federal government responsibility for the delay in the adoption of the current year's budget. 
He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that "the Parliament has long been calling for the federal government to quickly accomplish what is required from its side in the budget, including the employees' salaries in Kurdistan after the Parliament put its remarks upon in order to bring it back and start reading and approve it as soon as possible."

All Iraq News notes that MP Wafaa Kadhim states the Council of Ministers is supposed to send the 2014 budget bill to the Parliament on Tuesday.  Whether it's sent or not, it won't be discussed tomorrow.  All Iraq News points out the budget didn't make the topics on the agenda.

Here's the State Dept's Brett McGurk getting giddy on the fumes of a nasty jock worn by a member of the US military:

Yeah, Brett, you should be working on diplomacy.

There's something very sad about a grown man, a middle aged man, who's obsessed (sexually obsessed?) with the military that he never elected to serve in.

I have a relative who's even more gung ho that Brett about the military but the difference?  My relative enlisted.

Brett's just an old man trying to look manly by standing close to the US military.  Someone needs to ask him to step out of the picture, explain that it's only for those who served in the military.


missy ryan