Monday, April 27, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Monday, April 27, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept pretends to care about the safety of journalists, another journalist is killed in Iraq, Bully Boy Bush opens his trap, rabid dogs rush to bark, and much more.

The increasingly ridiculous US State Dept issued the following today:

The U.S. Department of State launched its fourth annual “Free the Press” campaign today as part of the Department’s efforts to honor the fundamental importance of a free and independent media in the days leading up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
As in years past, the Department will profile on a daily basis journalists or media outlets that are censored, attacked, threatened, disappeared or otherwise oppressed because of their reporting. The purpose of the campaign is to speak out for reporters who otherwise cannot; to call on governments to protect the right to free expression; and to emphasize our own commitment to promoting free expression here in the United States and around the world.
From April 27 to May 1, the Department Spokesperson will highlight emblematic cases of journalists or press outlets under threat around the world at the Daily Press Briefing. The cases will be profiled on and they will be tweeted out using the hashtag #FreethePress.
For more information, please contact Chanan Weissman at or 202 647 4043.
For more information on the State Department’s work on democracy, human rights, and labor rights follow @State_DRL or @HumanRightsGov, or visit

Why does the State Dept even still exist?

It mistakes itself for the Defense Dept.  It doesn't do diplomacy.  It's a crooked organization that fails to even attempt its mission.

And now they want to pretend to care about the press?

In the same month when they couldn't say one damn word at even one daily press briefing about journalist Ned Parker who had to leave Iraq due to threats made on social media, Iraqi TV and verbal attacks by Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the vile Luay al-Khatteb and Abbask Hadhim then attacked  Ned.  We called that out April 18th.  John Bundock (Now Lebanon via Business Insider) takes on the vile nonsense noting:

Abusing their positions, certain sectarian 'fellows' are resorting to networks of calumny and demagogical hate speech to score points for their respective camps.
Take, for instance, Luay Al-Khatteeb, Brooking Institute's non-resident fellow.
Al-Khatteeb was a victim of Saddam Hussein's regime, having been interrogated at age 10 and spent years as an internally displaced person. It's understandable if he bears a grudge against the ex-Baathists whom ISIS appeals to for constituents.
Such feelings, however, cannot excuse ignoring the threats many of his countrymen and journalists now face from Iran-backed militias.
Writing for Huffington Post with Dr. Abbas Kadhim (a professor at John Hopkins' SAIS), Al-Khatteeb dismissed an Asaib Ahl al-Haqq affiliate channel's targeting of Ned Parker, saying Parker's departure "could be handled in a better fashion" and that "such [a] headline is God's sent gift to Bathists [sic] and pro ISIS as it put the future of free journalism in Iraq at stake," before writing a paean to Iranian-infiltrated Popular Mobilization Units.
[. . .]
As one Iraqi researcher remarked, "Ganging up on international reporters when they say something you don't like actually asserts Ned Parker's claims."

The State Dept can't even verbally defend Ned Parker but we're supposed to pretend that they're going to defend other members of the press?

Nor did they even note Iraqi journalist Thaer Ali who was executed by a firing squad in Mosul today -- an ISIS firing squad.

In other State Dept embarrassments, let's note this from today's press briefing by spokesperson Jeff Rathke:

QUESTION: Okay. So on Iraq, there are reforms in the Iraqi armed forces – it happened in the past and still happening, and also in the Peshmerga divisions. Is the United States behind these reforms or endorsing these reforms in any way? Because one of the Iraqi lawmakers accused the United States of appointing or forcing Iraqi Government to appoint one of the Sunni leaders for the Mosul operations. And that’s one.
The other one is on the U.S. veterans joined Peshmerga in Iraq. What is the status for them when they come back or when they’re injured or killed – for their family and also for themselves?

MR RATHKE: Well, the first question, I’m not aware of those reports to which you’re referring so I don’t have any comment on those specifics. Of course, we have joint operations centers in the Kurdish region as well as in Baghdad, and we work closely with our Iraqi counterparts as they – as they look at how they want to carry forward the fight against ISIL. But I don’t have any comment on those.
And certainly, decisions about how Iraq’s forces will respond, whether it’s in Mosul or anywhere else, are decisions made by Iraq’s leaders, not by the United States.

QUESTION: And there was a response by the U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad Stuart Jones about this, and I was wondering if you have any more than that that he had, that he said that the appointing commander of the Mosul operations was not U.S.-initiated.

MR RATHKE: Well, I think that’s exactly right.


MR RATHKE: And so I don’t have anything --

QUESTION: The second question?

MR RATHKE: -- to add to it. The second question?

QUESTION: Was - did the U.S. – some – voluntarily some U.S. veterans joining --

MR RATHKE: Oh, well, we have long advised American citizens against travel to Iraq. No American citizens who might possibly be there in any kind of capacity fighting or doing so with approval or any sort of support of the United States Government, so I don’t have any comment on the --

QUESTION: Will it be an issue when they come back to U.S.?

MR RATHKE: I don’t have any specific comment on that.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR RATHKE: Well, again, I don’t have any comment on that.
Yes, go ahead --

QUESTION: Wait, no, no, no, just to follow this up --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR RATHKE: Okay, sorry. Brad, go ahead.

QUESTION: I mean, he raised a good point. Is it – is this a criminable offense, fighting for the Peshmerga?

MR RATHKE: Well, that would be a Department of Justice question.

QUESTION: What are you advising American citizens about --

MR RATHKE: Well, we’re advising American citizens against travel to Iraq.


MR RATHKE: And that applies across the board. So --

QUESTION: But you’re not putting out any specific warning – this government – about taking a weapon and joining a non-state military group and fighting?

QUESTION: Or even another --

MR RATHKE: Well, again, that’s --

QUESTION: -- country’s military.

MR RATHKE: Well, that’s – I think is a separate – would be a separate question. But that would be a Department of Justice question. I’m happy to check with them and see if they have guidance that they’re able to offer.

QUESTION: Are you aware – are you aware of whether Homeland Security officials would be taking a closer look at Americans who say they’re coming back from Iraq?

MR RATHKE: I’d encourage you to ask – I’d encourage you to ask DHS colleagues about that.

First, for weeks now the press has been reporting on this US veteran or that US veteran who's gone back to Iraq to fight alongside Iraqi forces against the Islamic State.

If idiots like Rathke need a legal opinion that, they've certainly had plenty of time to get one.

The US government is backing the Iraqi government against the Islamic State.

Historically -- and legally -- there are no charges to be brought against American citizens for that.  (They can be charged with War Crimes if they participate in those.)

If Americans go to Iraq to fight on behalf of the Islamic State, it's less clear cut.  On the face of it, an American could face charges for that upon returning from Iraq.  But it's also true that a strong defense attorney might be able to successfully argue against charges based upon the fact -- pay attention here, Barack -- that Congress has not authorized the White House's current operations.

So the issue of fighting itself wouldn't be the way the government pursued charges.  Instead, they'd most likely go with "aiding terrorists" or terrorism itself with their argument grounded on the declaration of the Islamic State as a terrorist group by the United States. (The US government designated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant a terrorist organization on December 17, 2004.)

As for urging Americans not to travel to Iraq or any other area, that's a warning for their own safety, it's not an edict, it's not a law, it has no teeth and is not enforceable.

In the real word, AFP reports that United Nations spokesperson Eliana Nabaa states that a UN worker ("a liason in Iraq's Diyala province") was kidnapped Sunday in Baquba.

Let's now journey back to the land of crazy.

  • When listening to Pres Bush on Iran sanctions, remember nothing did more to strengthen Iran's influence in region than his invasion of Iraq

  • Really?


    Not, say, in the spring and summer of 2009 releasing the leaders of the League of Righteous?  Handing them over to get the release of 5 Brits -- four of whom were already dead?


    Not overturning the 2010 election results to give Nouri al-Maliki -- Iran's choice for prime minister of Iraq -- a second term?

  • And, Ezzie, it's almost like you think the world has forgotten you supported the Iraq War.

    You'll never be able to walk that back.

    And, of course, it wouldn't be Twitter if they couldn't flaunt their stupidity.

  • In addition...They choose to forget GW's agreement to exit. Even GW has forgotten.

  • You go, Melinda, sport that ignorance for the whole damn world to see.

    From Sunday:

    I was asked if we'd note Josh Rogin's report for WND?  We'll note this section:

    Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama's policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. He called Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011 a "strategic blunder." Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.

    I'm not interested in Bully Boy Bush's evaluations on anything -- unless he wants to explore his culpability in War Crimes.  But considering that -- check the archives -- we noted in real time, November 2008, that the Status Of Forces Agreement was a three year agreement that could be succeeded by another agreement while the press and whores (that includes, sadly) insisted it was an end to the Iraq War.
    It wasn't.
    And Barack attempted to extend it but couldn't because Nouri wanted more troops than Barack was offering.
    The whole point of the three year agreement was to help Nouri.
    The UN agreements had been one year long.  And Nouri had suffered each time with Parliament when he extended the agreements (without consulting the Parliament).  So the point was to get Nouri out of the three year agreement. It was also to extend it past the end of 2009 elections (which became March 2010 elections as a result of Tareq al-Hashemi objecting to the election law failing to include Sunni refugees).
    Barack tried to get an agreement.  He failed.
    Whether that was right or wrong, others can explore.
    If you want my opinion, we can go into it in a snapshot this week.

    Oh, Melinda Collins, what a frightful idiot you are.

    Bully Boy Bush didn't intend for America to ever leave Iraq.

    How stupid are you really?

    He invaded Iraq, he destroyed it and you think he was washing his hands of it in November 2008?

    No, you silly fool.

    When Nouri was installed as prime minister, the United Nations had authorized the occupation.

    The illegal invasion had no legal cloak.

    But the occupation of Iraq did.

    And it was a yearly mandate.

    I'm sorry if this is confusing to you.  Maybe all those hours thinking MSNBC was a news outlet, left you starving for facts?

    Joe Biden was a US Senator at this point.  We can quote him at length but I'm not in the mood to spoon feed.  Go to the archives for 2008 -- April.  You can search "Petraeus and Crocker variety show."  It was the week that David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker appeared before various Congressional committees.  Click here for that week's coverage.

    The SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) was a three-year deal and not a one year to give Nouri political cover.  The Parliament was outraged when he first renewed the UN mandate without their input (required by the Iraqi Constitution).  He said he'd get it next time.

    Then it was time to renew and he side-stepped them again outraging them even further.

    This is where the Bully Boy Bush White House realized that the agreement between the US government and the Iraqi government would need to be more than one year.

    The UN was not going to do any more UN mandates.  That's addressed in the April 2008 coverage we linked to earlier.  The United Kingdom, like the US, would have to enter into its own agreement with the Iraqi government for any troops to be out and about starting January 1, 2009.  (The Senate Foreign Relations Committee --  in one hearing Joe Biden chairs during that April week -- says that if no deal is reached by December 31, 2008, troops would be confined to the bases or brought home.)

    Three years became the goal.

    Had they done one year agreements -- like the UN mandate, that would have meant negotiations for another year in the fall of 2009 -- right before the 2009 parliamentary elections.

    They made it a three year agreement in order to give Nouri breathing space.

    (Do not e-mail, "Parliamentary elections were in 2010!"  Yes, I know that.  I also know they were supposed to take place in 2009.  Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi used his power -- as one of the three presidencies -- to refuse to allow a bill Parliament had passed on elections to go through.  He objected to the representation of Sunni refugees -- he felt they were not accurately accounted for -- in the election law.  His objection pushed the parliamentary elections back to 2010.  And if you don't even know that fact, maybe you shouldn't e-mail to 'correct' someone else -- though many of you have already felt the need to do so.)

    The SOFA would cover 2009, 2010 and 2011.

    There was a kill clause built in but it really only applied to 2009 and 2010.  If, in 2009, they wanted to kill the agreement (either side), it would expire at the end of 2010.  If, in 2010, they wanted to kill the agreement, it would expire at the end of 2011 -- which is when the SOFA was set to expire.

    Barack pursued another SOFA.

    If that escapes you as well, why are you even Tweeting about Iraq because you clearly don't give a damn about it.

    Oh, that's right, you give a damn about pissing and moaning about Bully Boy Bush.


    Yeah, that'll help Iraq today.

    Your obsession with 2003 through 2008 will really help Iraq today.  (That's sarcasm.)

    Even after October 2011, when the press was reporting that the SOFA negotiations had fallen apart and that they were over, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and still-Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey would tell Congress that negotiations continued:

    If that's news to you maybe it's because the press clowned you, made a mockery out of you, by refusing to report that reality and instead 'reporting' on the exchange of words between Senator John McCain and Leon Panetta.  (While failing to note that the two smoothed things out in the second round.)  They wanted drama, they wanted to turn a hearing into an episode of Gossip Girl.

    They just didn't want to tell you the truth.

    For those wanting the truth on the November 15, 2011 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, you can refer to this real time coverage:   "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot."  Ava reported on it with "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava), Wally reported on it with "The costs (Wally)" and Kat reported on it with "Who wanted what?").

    In fairness, CNN, for example, did note in their 'report' that the negotiations might continue (they were continuing that's what Panetta said, we covered it).

    Here's Charley Keyes 'reporting' that for CNN: "Panetta did not rule out that negotiations with Iraq about a small U.S. force could resume later."

    That's his 18th paragraph.

    He didn't rule that out?

    Uh, he actually said talks would continue.

    Senator Joe Lieberman:  Let me, Secretary Panetta, pick up from that point. I've heard from friends in Iraq -- Iraqis -- that Prime Minister Maliki said at one point that he needed to stop the negotiations -- leave aside for one moment the reasons -- but he was prepared to begin negotiations again between two sovereign nations -- the US and Iraq -- about some troops being in Iraq after January 1st.  So that's what I've heard from there. But I want to ask you from the administration point of view. I know that Prime Minister Maliki is coming here in a few weeks to Washington. Is the administration planning to pursue further discussions with the Iraqi government about deploying at least some US forces in Iraq after the end of this year?

    Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: Senator, as I pointed out in my testimony, what we seek with Iraq is a normal relationship now and that does involve continuing negotiations with them as to what their needs are.  Uh, and I believe there will be continuing negotations.  We're in negotiations now with regards to the size of the security office that will be there and so there will be -- There aren't zero troops that are going to be there. We'll have, you know, hundreds that will be present by virtue of that office assuming we can work out an agreement there.  But I think that once we've completed the implementation of the security agreement that there will begin a series of negotiations about what exactly are additional areas where we can be of assistance? What level of trainers do they need? What can we do with regards to CT [Counter-Terrorism] operations? What will we do on exercises -- joint-exercises -- that work together?

    That's only one example from the hearing.

    We reported it here.

    You need to ask yourself why supposed news outlets treated you like fools and children and refused to tell you what actually took place in that hearing?

    I consider Bully Boy Bush a War Criminal.  I've stated that here since this site started in 2004.

    But I don't practice situational ethics.

    Meaning, I don't pretend that Barack doesn't have plenty of blame himself.

    The way Barack could have avoided blame was clear.

    And we argued it here after the election and before he was sworn in and repeatedly in Barack's first year as president.

    The American people believed Barack's lie that he'd pull all US troops out of Iraq in 16 months.

    (It was a lie -- this was established by Samantha Power in a March 2008 BBC interview and that interview is why she left Barack's campaign -- not because she called Hillary a monster.  We don't have time to spoonfeed.  If you're ignorant of the facts, look it up yourself.)

    Had Barack kept his promise, there would be no fault for him today.

    Even if Iraq was as bad as it is now or worse, it wouldn't be on Barack.


    Because he withdrew all troops in 16 months.

    As he'd stated while campaigning.

    So anything that happened?

    All Barack had to say was, "I was elected on the pledge to pull all troops out in 16 months, that's what was put before the American voters and the majority supported that position.  Once sworn in, I carried out that desire.  We made our decision collectively in the spirit of democracy."

    Iraq slides into crisis 17 months into Barack's term?

    Not his fault.

    He did what he promised and what the American voters responded to.

    Barack and Joe immediately caved on that promise (lie) after the election.

    Throughout the election, both had insisted -- going back to when Joe was running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination -- that any agreement between the US and Iraq (the SOFA) must go through the Senate for ratification.

    It was even up at the official Barack Obama - Joe Biden campaign site.

    Or was until they won the election.

    Then they purged the site of that.

    Because now, via Bully Boy Bush, they had three years to play with Iraq.

    And the reality about the psychos who end up in the Oval Office -- and most are psychos -- is that they think they're much more brilliant than they ever are.

    Remember, Bully Boy Bush never disputed the notion that the Christian God chose him to lead.

    It was then-First Lady Laura Bush who scoffed at that silly notion -- drummed up by members of the press -- and that includes so-called 'objective' members of the mainstream press -- not just partisans on Fox News.

    They always think they know best.

    And Barack and company could have kept their promise but instead decided to f**k around with Iraq because they were so smart and they knew best.

    And that's how you get Barack overturning the Iraqi people's votes in 2010.  That's how you get him ordering a contract be negotiated (The Erbil Agreement) which went around the voters, the Iraqi Constitution and democracy to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister.

    It's how you get the silence throughout Nouri's second term from the White House.

    Yes, Barack did privately have enough before he finally called Nouri out starting in June 2014.

    In November 2012, he was done with Nouri privately.

    (Which is why he refused to take the congratulations phone call Nouri made following the 2012 election.)

    As Iraq slid into chaos during Nouri's second term, the White House backed Nouri and repeatedly made the decision that this attack on the Iraqis or that attack didn't matter as much as keeping Nouri in office mattered to them.

    In the spring of 2012, the White House even stopped Iraqi politicians -- Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi, KRG President Massoud Barzani, Ammar al-Hakim (leader of the Shi'ite Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) and others -- from holding a no confidence vote in Parliament despite the fact that the group had followed every Constitutional guideline for seeking such a measure.

    Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal.

    And though we can pretty much all nod in agreement on the left over that call, we get skittish when the same is said of Barack.

    But he is.

    And the reality is that Bully Boy Bush left Barack with an Iraq at its most stable that it had been since the illegal war started and Barack humored Nouri and ignored Nouri's crimes -- arresting and killing Sahwa, for example, refusing to bring them into the government as promised, etc.

    And it was this humoring of Nouri, this ignoring of Nouri's crimes that led Iraq to its current state.

    I don't believe -- now or then -- that Iraq's answer was US troops.

    But Barack didn't need US troops to take on Nouri.

    All he needed to do was, for example, pull funding -- or just threaten too -- and Nouri most likely would have fallen in line.  (Nouri is highly corrupt and he 'allegedly' stole millions while prime minister.)

    If that was too much, if standing up to Nouri was too much for Barack, he could have also just sat his tired ass down and let the no confidence vote take place in the Iraqi Parliament.

    Moving on . . .

  • Source tells me anti-gov't protests in being encouraged by Maliki's crew, capitalising on popular anger at military failures in

  • I don't doubt it.  And Nouri's feeling particularly humiliated after an event this month, a Dawa event, found him sidelined, bounced from the dais and leaving in a huff.

    If Haider al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq, had any real power, he'd be demanding that Nouri stop meeting with the military in various provinces.

    Nouri is a highly paranoid person.

    Throughout his two terms, he 'knew' a military coup was about to be carried out because . . .

    that's how he'd handle it.

    There were no military coups or even attempted ones.

    But now that he's out of power, he's attempting to build support within the Iraqi military for a coup against Haider al-Abadi.

    Margaret Griffis ( counts 148 dead and 74 injured across Iraq in today's violence.

    Tweet of the day (non-embarrassing) is via the Washington Post's Liz Sly:

    Today, Saudi bombed Yemen, the U.S. bombed Iraq & Syria, Israel bombed Syria & Syria bombed Syria
    492 retweets 194 favorites