Sunday, March 08, 2015


Saturday's snapshot noted the death of Canadian Sgt Andrew Joseph Doiron in Iraq.  Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the death here.

CBC reports the Canadian government and the Kurdish government are at odds over what happened.  Kurdish government officials insist that the sergeant and unnamed Canadians appeared on the front line and started calling in air strikes and when they  replied to questions from the Peshmerga in Arabic and began replying in Arabic, the Peshmerga began shooting them.  Among the disputes the Canadian government is offering to the Kurdish account is that the Peshmerga would have been the third 'checkpoint' -- and that the Canadian soldiers had passed through two prior successfully.  Canadian Minister of Defence Jason Kenney insists the soldiers were not on the front line when the attack took place.

Meanwhile The NewsHour (PBS -- link is text, video and audio) spoke with the New York Times' Anne Barnard about the assault on Tikrit:

HARI SREENIVASAN: Iraqi forces have been making significant headway against ISIS in the last few days, pushing extremist fighters back out of some of the territory they seized last year.
Anne Barnard has been reporting for The New York Times on the fighting and the rising political tension. She joins me via Skype from Baghdad.
So, what is the latest on the Iraqi forces’ efforts to take back some of the ground that ISIS gained last summer?

ANNE BARNARD, Beirut Bureau Chief, The New York Times: Well, tonight, we’re starting to hear reports that they have moved into another village called Abu Ajeel, which is close to Tikrit.
The — the offensive has been going for the last week, perhaps more slowly than expected, but moving steadily ahead.
And there’s about 30,000 troops involved. ISIS has been able to hold out against them in the center of Tikrit but they lost a number of villages around Tikrit and Samarra.

HARI SREENIVASAN: So, by some measures, this is a sign of success.
I mean, is the Iraqi military ready for this fight now versus in other times where we had reports of them turning away on the battlefield and fleeing?

ANNE BARNARD: Well, we were out on the front lines the other day.
And we definitely saw, I would say, a new level of organization and enthusiasm.
But I wouldn’t say it’s as much the Iraqi army that is leading the fight as the Shiite paramilitary organization known as the Popular Mobilization Committee, the Shiite militias, which are closely tied to Iran, which are providing the bulk of the fighters.
And there was a call that went out from Shia clerics asking everyone to come and fight ISIS.

Where do you start with that?

How about with the fact that they were supposed to be in Tikrit by Friday.  That was what Iraqi officials were insisting.

It's Sunday and they're still not in.

But let's spin this?

Monday would be a week since the assault started.

A week to get into Tikrit?

That qualifies as success?

That's provided they're able to get into Tikrit on Monday.

And this reliance on Shi'ite militias?

We're still pretending that's a good thing too?

Or that Tehran is directing the operation -- the operation against a Sunni dominant city.

The operation against Saddam Hussein's hometown?

We still pretending there's no significance in that and no need for Sunnis in the area to fear for their safety?

Margret Griffis ( counts 95 dead and 22 injured in violence across Iraq today.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4494.

The following community sites -- plus Susan's On the Edge and Law & Disorder Radio updated:

  • Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Hillary's E-mails" and The World Today Just Nuts "Hillary Teaches Children" went up earlier.  After this goes up, his third comic in the cycle goes up.

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