Monday, January 05, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Monday, January 5, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Kevin Drum tries to rewrite the Iraq War, the State Dept loves it when other countries offer advancement for women (even if the White House won't), and much more.

Let's start with the garbage, Kevin Drum.

The trash that Mother Jones continues to employ wants to pin the blame for the Iraq War starting on Fox News.  (Through click bait -- Limpy never can deliver, he goes flaccid way too quickly.)

In his puzzling piece of nonsense, never are the words "I watched Fox News" written.

Because, let's remember, Kevin Drum was a whore for war, he championed it.

And FAIR can whine all it wants about how the media refuses to shut those types out of the conversation today but until they call out Mother Jones for employing human garbage like Kevin Drum, FAIR's a damn hypocrite.

So what's the little bitch doing today?

Oh, he's pretending Fox News is responsible for starting the illegal war.

That lie let's a lot of people off the hook including himself.

But the reality -- always too hard for Kevin Drum to get honest about -- is that NBC's Meet The Press sold the illegal war, Oprah Winfrey sold the illegal war on her daytime talk show, Judith Miller, Michael Gordon and others at the New York Times sold the illegal war, reporters for the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times sold the illegal war, NBC Nightly News sold the illegal war, ABC's Good Morning America sold the illegal war, Dan Rather sold the illegal war . . .

On and on, it went.

I'm really getting sick of these whores who want to pin it on Fox News.

They want to hope people forgot or never knew what went down.

The Kevin Drums and Juan Coles and all the other pieces of human filth that sold the illegal war now want to pretend otherwise.

I'm no fan of Fox News but I won't take part in the lie that it was Fox News that sold the illegal war.

Fox News couldn't have done it on its own.

It took 'respectable' whores like Kevin Drum and Juan Cole and so many others.

Kevin can lie all he wants but until the day he dies he will be haunted by the Iraqis killed in the illegal war he pimped to America.

Let's move over to the brief mention of Iraq that took place in today's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki.

QUESTION: The Kurdish officials are engaged in an effort to gain international recognition for the massacre of the Yezidis by ISIS as genocide. Do you – I mean, I know President Obama used the word genocide in his --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- first address to authorize military action on Mount Sinjar. Does the United States believe that what ISIS ended up doing on that mountain or in Sinjar town, in general*, constitute genocide?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would point you to what the President has already said. I don’t have any new definitions for you.

QUESTION: Is it --

MS. PSAKI: Obviously, what happened there was horrific. It was barbaric. We took very quick action to help address the situation. I’m not going to put new labels on it today.

QUESTION: But wouldn’t recognizing the slaughter as genocide, like, boost U.S. efforts to degrade and defeat ISIS, like in this --

MS. PSAKI: I think the actions we took at the time, including military action, coordinating the world’s significant humanitarian action, spoke to our concerns and how strongly we felt about it.

QUESTION: Just one more question, Jen.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The KRG also appointed Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, a woman from Sinjar, actually, as its representative in Washington. She arrived here yesterday. What do you – do you have anything to say on that decision by the KRG – a woman from Sinjar to be in Washington?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we certainly support women in prominent positions as a government. I don’t think I have more specifics. Are you asking of their – do you have another specific question?

QUESTION: Do you welcome the decision?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more details for you.

Do "we certainly support women in prominent positions as a government"?

First off, it's not even functional, the statement.  But let's pretend Psaki wasn't speaking like a robot.

Does the US support women in prominent positions of government?

You'd never know it to look at the US ambassador to Iraq.

1) Chris Hill

2) James Jeffrey

3) Brett McGurk

4) Robert S. Beecroft

5) Stuart E. Jones

Those are the five men Barack's nominated for the post.

There are no five women he's nominated.

All but Brett McGurk were confirmed by the Senate.

Since Brett couldn't be confirmed, Barack just -- slap in the face to the Senate -- put him in charge of Iraq.

Five nominees, five chances and he gave him all to men.

This isn't about 'oh the women who weren't given a chance!'

That's a serious issue but that's not the issue we're raising now -- or have been raising forever (including to Barack's transition team following the 2008 election prior to Barack being sworn in as president)..

Iraqi women have suffered in the Iraq War.  They've suffered from a US government that didn't just an order an invasion into their country but a US government who put thugs in charge and then looked the other way as these same thugs repeatedly attempted to strip women of their legal rights.

It was Iraqi women, not the US government, who fought these attempts.  It was Iraqi women who took to the streets in protest.

Iraq is a young country.  The CIA puts the median age at 21.5 years.

The Iraq War hits the 12 year mark this March.

The population that can remember when women had equal rights continues to decrease.

Barack, a symbolic president -- after six years, that's the only credit on his resume, should have grasped the importance of symbolism.  A woman in the position would have been a symbolic asset for the Iraqi people.

As for Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, she was actually promoted to this current position back in October.  Today was her first day on the job.

In January of 2013, she attended the International Conference entitled The Untold Story: The Kurdish Genocide in Iraq and noted:

This year sees a convergence of significant anniversaries of events that have had an immense impact on the people of Kurdistan in Iraq. It is not only the 25th anniversary of the poison gas attack on Halabja and the Anfal genocide campaign, it is also the 30th anniversary of the abduction and killing of men and boys from the Barzani tribe and the 10th anniversary of the West's intervention in Iraq, which we Kurds refer to as the liberation. January 17, the day this conference is being held, marks the 22nd year since Operation Desert Storm which triggered a sequence of events that eventually led to the Kurdish Uprising of 1991 and Kurdistan’s first breath of freedom. 
Apart from noting this unusual coming together of memorable dates, we see this as an opportunity to reveal the horrific crimes that the Kurdish people have fallen victim to since the 1960s, to tell the secret story of life under Saddam Hussein's brutal dictatorship, to give the victims and survivors a voice and to have a debate on the issues that surround genocide. How is genocide legally defined ? What are the challenges to legal and political international recognition? What role did the Kurdish diaspora play in raising awareness of the atrocities in their homeland at the time and what is their role today? What can we do to prevent other genocides? How can we ensure that those who helped the perpetrators or profited from those crimes are brought to justice? What lessons can be learnt from experts, NGOs and survivors of other genocides such as in Rwanda and Bosnia ? 
It is with these questions in mind that we decided to host the first international conference in Britain on the Kurdish genocide. As we look around the Middle East, we see much to be concerned about, including the situation in Syria. The slaughter of people, including children, while the international community vacillates as to how to respond, brings back memories of those events in Iraqi Kurdistan not so long ago. Of course it is not easy to intervene in another country's strife but surely the international community has a responsibility to protect people who have no defence against a well armed dictatorship that does not hesitate to use violence to suppress dissent. 
Since we announced this conference, three Kurdish women activists were assassinated in Paris. They strived for Kurdish rights and their murder reminds us that even today, in the heart of Western Europe, Kurds are not safe. Sadly, our history is interspersed with assassinated leaders and activists, yet few Kurds think to give up the struggle for Kurdish rights or to evade the duty to remember and honour those who have been killed.
The subject of this conference show s the dark side of humanity. Yet time and again, listening to the survivors and eyewitnesses to the horrors of poison gas, imprisonment, torture and mass murder, we hear of small gestures of kindness that lifted the spirit of someone who was in utter despair, we hear of the risks people took to save a stranger's life as in the case of the Shia Arab family that rescued Teimour , a young Kurdish boy who had escaped from a pit full of dead bodies. We also see the survivors' desire to forge a better future for their children and to spread the word of peace. We hope that this conference will not only make us listen and search for answers, but also gain inspiration.

That'll give you an overview of the issues that matter to her.  When she was named the KRG's High Representative to the UK, the Kurdish Regional Government noted:

Before her appointment, Ms Abdul Rahman worked as a journalist for 17 years. She began her career on local newspapers in London and won the Observer Newspaper’s Farzad Bazoft Memorial Prize in 1993, which led her to work at The Observer and later at the Financial Times. She worked for the FT in Britain and in Japan, where she was Tokyo Correspondent.
Her late father, Sami Abdul Rahman, was a veteran of the Kurdish movement, joining the Kurdistan Democratic Party in 1963 and playing a critical role in the Kurdish and Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime. He held the post of Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and General Secretary of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Sami Abdul Rahman was killed alongside his elder son Salah and 96 others in a twin suicide bombing in 2004. 

While she's been successful in her positions other officials haven't fared so well.

Take thug Nouri al-Maliki.  The man Bully Boy Bush imposed on Iraq, demanded he be prime minister is, was and always will be a thug.  Despite that reality, in 2010, when Nouri lost to Ayad Allawi, Barack Obama demanded Nouri get a second term.

That second term pulled Iraq ever closer to the abyss as Nouri attacked protesters, allowed his goons to rape girls and women in Iraqi jails and prisons, bullied politicians, threatened leaders of neighboring countries and much more.

Nouri's finally out as prime minister (Haider al-Abadi currently holds the title) but Nouri has reportedly told his flunkies that he'll be back in the post of prime minister in a matter of months.  Currently, he spews his crazy from the post of Vice President -- he's one of three -- the other two are Osama al-Nujaifi and, yes, Ayad Allawi.

Former European Union member Struan Stevenson offers:

 Riven with dishonesty and fraud, the Iraqi army mirrors the rampant corruption of the Iraqi government in post-Saddam Iraq.
These circumstances have provided the perfect conditions for the brutal Shiite militias to thrive and take control of the battlefield. There are perhaps hundreds of these militias. They are trained, financed and often led by the terrorist Iranian Quds Force. They are Iranian proxies. So the US air strikes are aiding and abetting Iran in achieving its ultimate objective, which is total control of Iraq.
The current war raging across Iraq was as avoidable as it was predictable. Nouri al-Maliki’s second term as prime minister was a tragedy for the Iraqi people, for the region and for the world. As a puppet of the Iranian mullahs, he encouraged the Iranian-led Shiite militias and used them to enforce his merciless “iron fist” sectarian policy of indiscriminate bombing, shelling, arbitrary arrests, torture and mass execution of innocent Sunni civilians. Maliki utilised the claim of fighting a war against terror to secure his grip on power and the West fell for it. 

Nouri's failures and crimes are well known.  Despite that reality, Nouri attempted to rewrite history on Sunday.   AFP reports:

Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, who was widely criticized for sectarian policies during his time as premier, said Sunday that politicians are to blame for the country’s Sunni-Shiite strife.
“There is no problem between the Sunnis and the Shiites as communities, but rather between us the politicians -- we think as Sunnis and Shiites, and we are driving people toward this doom, for which we will bear responsibility before God,” he said.
Maliki himself pursued policies that marginalized and angered members of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority, especially during his second term as premier.

Richard Engel is a correspondent for NBC News.  Today, he Tweeted.

  • As of now there are 2,140 American soldiers and Marines in Iraq, to grow to around 3k this spring.

  • Staying with the topic of US service members in Iraq, Nikki Henderson (Nexstar Broadcasting) reports that US Col Steve Warren has confirmed that US troops stationed at al-Assad airbase are under regular mortar assault from the Islamic State with Warren terming the assaults "completely ineffective."  (So far, at any rate.) Barbara Starr (CNN) adds the attacks are "raising continuing concern that U.S. forces in Iraq can be kept safe and at least technically out of a combat role, a separate defense official said. The Pentagon would not say whether security measures had changed at the base."

    Earlier today, Abdulrahman al-Rashed noted new efforts at diplomacy between Iraq and Saudi Arabi and wondered, "Will a Saudi embassy in Baghdad end tensions with Iraq?"

    Later, BBC News notes, there was a suicide bomber attacking the border Iraq and Saudi Arabia share.  Angus McDowall (Reuters) counts 3 of the Saudi border employees dead.  Alsumaria notes Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the attack.

    In other violence, Sputnik notes, "Iraq's security forces have killed at least 26 Islamic State (IS) militants in the country's northern province of Salah al-Din, a military source told the Iraqi News agency on Monday."
    Margaret Griffis ( counts 52 dead across Iraq from violence today.