Sunday, May 24, 2015


On State of the Union (CNN) today, Barbara Starr interviewed Defense Secretary Ash Carter who spoke of the fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State.

Secretary Ash Carter:  What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. Uh, they were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. And yet they failed to fight they withdrew from the sight and uh that says to me and i think to most of us that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and  defend themselves now we can give them training, we can give them equipment, we obviously can't give them the will to fight.

Al Jazeera adds:

The comments were rejected by a senior Iraqi lawmaker, Hakim al-Zamili, who said the Pentagon chief's comments were "unrealistic and baseless".
Zamili, who heads the Iraqi parliamentary defence and security committee, said the US should bear much of the blame for Ramadi's fall for its failure to provide "good equipment, weapons and aerial support" to the soldiers.

On this topic, let's again note that a Kurdish Peshmerga commander tells  Rudaw that Haider's Special Operations forces not only bailed but did so before Ramadi fell and that he personally told Haider what was happening but Haider looked the other way:

Two days prior to the ISIS attack we had accurate information that the Special Operations had packed up and abandoned their base in Ramadi.
I personally relayed the information through the chain of command and contacted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
I informed him of the photo and video evidence and location of hundreds of army vehicles and Humvees of the Special Operations forces assembled and about to abandon Ramadi.
I explained to PM Abadi the exact location of the forces on the map. It was 4am. They flew a plane to the place I told them and took photos of the assembled vehicles. They learned that the intelligence was correct and that indeed the forces were getting ready to withdraw.
Later that day more than 200 army vehicles abandoned their posts and their withdrawal led to the defeat of all other forces that were in Anbar to fight.
Why did the Special Operations act this way? I personally think there was a political reason behind it.
As a military commander, I don’t think PM Abadi or the Ministry of Defense have any authority over the Special Operations. Or it could be that the Shiite forces close to Maliki committed this act in order to embarrass and bring down Abadi’s government.

The Kurdish commander's comments and those of Ash Carter's stand as a rejection of the 'we are not losing to ISIS' comments of US President Barack Obama last week.

There's little concern about the Iraqi people, you may notice.  There's no concern at all from Starbucks.  The Starbucks Chair and CEO Howard Schultz makes clear his pathetic and mercenary aims at POLITICO in an excerpt from his book with Rajiv Chandrasekaran:

Never mind Iraq’s security disaster; the country has experienced an economic catastrophe after a decade of nearly nonexistent economic reform that featured rapid government hiring with little action to foster a stronger private sector. Rather than trying to shape a modern economy, Iraq’s leaders have chosen to retain an economy that focuses on redistribution of oil revenues. The patronage and political power that go with that redistribution is evident in the explosion of government employment.
The economy's Iraq's thing to focus on?

Well, yes, if you're arguing to privatize it.

The only real problem with Iraq's economy -- other than corruption -- has to do with a need to diversify from an economy relying so heavily on oil.

And that's not me, as an American, making a new or novel point.  Iraq's former Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has made that point publicly since 2007.  As the years have passed, many other Iraqi officials have made the same assessment.  

The success in farming (with regards to, for example, dates) needs to be encouraged.  

But Starbucks doesn't care about the economy or the Iraqis.  Starbucks cares about privatization and you need to remember that the next time you think your Starbucks morning coffee is so necessary.

Margaret Griffis ( counts 133 killed 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] 4496.

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