Saturday, May 09, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, May 9, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the Barzani liars are exposed as the week comes to a close, we refute the claim that Haider al-Abadi's abuses must be ignored, and much more.

Deb Riechmann (AP) reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani declared "he had not backtracked on his request for the U.S. to bypass Baghdad and directly supply" the KRG with weapons.


It's shocking . . . if you're a useless liar

That would be Huffington Post's  Akbar Shahid Ahmed who refused to rely Wednesday on what Barzani said because it was so much more 'fun' (if not journalistic) to go with what Ahmed really, really wanted Barzani to have said instead.

(See Wednesday's snapshot for what Barzani said as opposed to what liars like Akbar insisted Barzani meant or would have said or should have said.)

Friday,  Rudaw reported:

The United States has reassured Iraq’s Kurds they will have the weapons they need in the war with ISIS, promising the arms will continue to be expedited by Baghdad, a member of the Kurdish presidential delegation in Washington told Rudaw.The official, speaking to Rudaw on background and refusing to be named or directly quoted, said US officials had told Kurdish President Masoud Barzani’s delegation that Baghdad would be courting problems with Washington if it tried to delay weapons funneled to Erbil through the Iraqi central government.

Deb Riechmann quotes Barzani declaring the KRG and the Peshmerga have not seen "a bullet or a piece" of the many arms and weapons the White House has insisted the US government had to supply Iraq with to fight the Islamic State.

These are weapons that were supposed to be distributed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds.

The one who lied, the one who failed?

That's Haider al-Abadi who has refused to arm anyone but the Shi'ites except for a few token items here and there.

That's the reality of the story.

That's the crux.

That's what it all boils down to.

But whores passing themselves off as journalists have bent over backwards to avoid that reality.

They've attacked the US House of Representatives instead.

They've lied and passed a bill that was voted out of Committee on a vote of 60 for and 2 against as a "Republican bill."

No, that's a bi-partisan bill.

And the fact that whores think they can get away with lying about that bill goes too how deeply troubled the US press truly is because it's decided since 2008 that they were an advocacy organization for then-Senator Barack Obama and not a functioning press.

The White House has refused to address what is going on in Iraq.

That's why the country's in shambles.

Bully Boy Bush invaded in 2003!

Yes, he did.

Is that going to be your excuse forever because you're really going to the well one time too many on that.

Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal.

He's also out of office -- thank heaven for that and for the fact that he can never, ever occupy the Oval Office again.

Bully Boy Bush left the White House in January of 2009.

The country he (and the US Congress) attacked was not 'fixed' or 'safe' or maybe even 'better,' but it hadn't fallen apart to the extent that it has today.

The United States is supposed to stand for democracy.  It's supposed to stand for elections.

It gives lip service to the people having a say.

In 2010, Iraqis went to the polls and voted.  They did so in the face of violence.

They endured checkpoints, they endured threats, they endured making it to a polling station only to be told they couldn't vote there but had to go through checkpoints in the opposite direction and, did we mention, they did this in areas with bans on cars.

They did all of this to make their voice heard.

Few will ever go through so much to have a say in their government.

And for Barack Obama to overturn their votes is not a minor thing and Iraq falls apart as a result.

This was briefly touched on this week on The NewsHour (PBS) when Margaret Warner spoke with Emma Sky, author of  The Unraveling: High Hopes And Missed Opportunities In Iraq

MARGARET WARNER: But, in 2010, after quelling the Sunni-Shia civil war and al-Qaida, the Americans, Sky says, made a fateful mistake, throwing their weight Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki after he narrowly lost the 2010 election against a non-sectarian rival.

EMMA SKY: There was a sense of, do we uphold the election results or do we keep Maliki in power? And General Odierno was, we’re Americans, there’s been an election, we must uphold the results.
But there were others who thought, we know Maliki. He will give us a follow-on security agreement. So, that was the debate. And, unfortunately, Vice President Biden came down on the side of, there’s no one but al-Maliki, this is the quickest option, keep the status quo, and we can get an security agreement, and then just really disengage.

Nouri didn't keep the status quo, he made things much worse.  And the US didn't get the new Status Of Forces Agreement that Barack and Joe Biden just knew was going to happen.

The Iraq people?

They got four more years of a despot they voted to get rid of.

2009's provincial elections seemed to suggest that Iraq was resisting sectarianism and moving towards a national identity.  This was born out in the 2010 results.

This was something to encourage, something to foster.

Instead, Barack Obama ripped it apart.

Doing so, he didn't just saddle Iraq with four more years of thug Nouri, he destroyed hope and belief in the democratic process.

How are Iraqis to trust their own votes when they see Barack Obama overrule their intent?

And it only got worse.

To ram through a second term of Nouri, Barack orchestrated The Erbil Agreement.  Nouri didn't win a second term.  The legal contract gave him one -- in exchange for concessions on his part.

But Nouri refused to honor his written, contractual promises after he got his second term.

Which led political leaders -- including Ayad Allawi, Moqtada al-Sadr and Massoud Barzani -- to demand that he honor the contract.

When he refused, they moved for a no-confidence vote to remove Nouri.

This is a legal procedure, one outlined in the Iraqi Constitution.

And they met the legal requirements, they gathered the petition with enough signatures of MPs.

But Barack couldn't leave that alone, he had to have Nouri.  So, in the spring of 2012, pressure was brought on Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to bring a stop to the no-confidence vote.

Per the Constitution, the signed petition was handed to Jalal who then, in his ceremonial role as president, had only one duty: formally introduce it to Parliament.

Jalal insisted he needed to verify the signatures.

Not in the Constitution, but people indulged him.

Only he wasn't verifying.

Verifying is making sure the MP signed the petition.

Verifying is not browbeating the MP into saying they wouldn't sign it today.

Didn't matter if they'd sign it today or not, it mattered did they sign it.

But Jalal claimed enough had begged off to him that he was refusing to introduce the petition.

He then claimed a medical emergency and fled to Germany where he actually had elective surgery (on his knee).  Fate and karma don't like whores which is probably how, months later, Jalal had a massive heart attack and/or stroke and ended up in Germany again and how he'd never, ever serve another day as president and how, to this day, he's an invalid who requires 24 hour care.

All of this is Barack, none of this is Bully Boy Bush.

And if we want to tell the ugly truth -- let's tell the ugly truth.

The insipid and whorish US press couldn't have sold the myth of St. Barack as successfully as they did if a large number of the US public wasn't so desperate to believe in it.

How'd that work out for you anyway?

You've got a secret trade pack that sees Barack threatening members of Congress over.

You've got the continued illegal spying which has only increased under St. Barack.

You've got more wars than you did under Bully Boy Bush which includes the never-ending military (and, yes, combat) presence in Iraq.

You've got the war on whistle blowers.

And you didn't even get Medicare for all.  You didn't even get what FDR wanted to give the American people back in the 1940s.  Instead, you're shackled to corporations and if you're working poor you're screwed because you make too much for real assistance and you've have to purchase a policy with some ridiculous deductible like $6,000 before you see any benefits at all.  That's not universal health care and only a lying whore would pretend that it was.

But the US press pretended.

The left didn't get anything out of Barack's presidency. There are 19 more months left -- maybe that's when St. Barack begins delivering miracles.

But thus far, he's failed to live up to all the promises The Cult of St. Barack swore were coming.

What he did with Iraq?

He destroyed it.

In 2011, he could have stood with the Iraqi people as they hit the streets protesting.

He did not.

When Nouri began sending his goons into schools to tell Iraqi teenagers that gay men should be killed that they were vampires who would suck blood from the innocents, Barack could have stood up to the thug but he did not.

When Iraqi women and girls were being wrongly imprisoned by Nouri, Barack didn't stand up.

When Iraqi women and girls were being tortured and raped in Iraqi prisons and jails, Barack didn't stand up.

When Nouri's secret torture chambers were revealed by the press, Barack stayed silent.

When Nouri called peaceful protesters "terrorists," Barack said nothing.

When Nouri began targeting protesters, Barack said nothing.

Then came the major attack, the April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the toll increased to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

And Barack said . . .


Now the useless trash on Twitter obsessed with Dick Cheney or Bully Boy Bush can pretend they're focused on Iraq but they're not.

And the reality is that these types of people weren't misled by the press, they willingly followed the liars because they just didn't give a damn about Iraq.

They prove it by having a meaningless conversation about events ten years ago while refusing to focus on the factors the led Iraq to the current state today.

And this matters now more than ever.

Last month, I was at a hearing where various 'officials' think tankers explained to Congress that pressure couldn't be put on Haider al-Abadi to live up the human rights or even to distribute weapons fairly.

Tamara Cofman Wittes of Brookings,  the RAND Corporation's Dr. Seth Jones and the Institute for the Study of War's Jack Keane (who is a retired US General) are the ones I'm referring to and you can find coverage of that April 30th Congressional hearing in the May 2nd snapshot.

Instead of demanding accountability, these RAND, Brookings types insisted that Haider had to be indulged and challenged because, apparently, Iraq needs a thug and can only respect a thug.

Putting pressure on Haider to follow the law would risk weakening him.

If there's a bigger load of s**t delivered to Congress, I've failed to see it.

But, pay attention, this is what they said about Nouri.

This is why Nouri indulged throughout his second term as things in Iraq only worsened.

The same pack of lies that were used to justify looking the other way on Nouri's human rights abuses and War Crimes are now being used to cover for Haider al-Abadi.

If you care about Iraq and the Iraq people, you need to pay attention.

To right now, you need to pay attention.

You need to reject the notion that the US government can arm and financially aid a government led by a thug who attacks whole sections of the Iraqi population.

Long after Barack's out of office, future generations in the United States will talk about, for example, the Hawija massacre and denounce those Americans who stayed silent in real time, who refused to call it out.

Those on the left will, anyway.

That's what we do.

How could we have gotten in bed with _____?  How could we have looked the other way on ____?

What Nouri al-Maliki did, he did openly.

And The World Can't Wait was too busy attacking this film or that film to call out the slaughter of peaceful protesters.

What Haider's doing, he's doing openly.

There are no more excuses.

At this late date, if you're going to lie about Iraq for Barack at least admit it.

Massoud Barazni never denounced the moves of the US Congress to arm the KRG directly.

But that didn't stop a lot of 'reporters' from pretending otherwise this week.

Turning to violence,

Iraq jail riot leaves up to 50 prisoners and 12 police dead as dozens escape

And Margaret Griffis ( counts 149 violent deaths on Friday in Iraq with 81 more people left injured.

Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration.  We'll close with this from Bacon's photo essay "Hard Labor In The Organic Potato Field" (gatronomica: the journal of critical food studies, Spring 2015):

Workers in the potato field bundle up against the sun and the heat.

By seven thirty in the morning it is already 80 degrees in a potato field in Lamont, in the southern San Joaquin Valley. By mid-afternoon here it will reach 107. The workers moving up and down the rows are not dressed in shorts and tank tops, though. They wear multiple layers of clothing, including long sleeves and, in the case of women, bandannas that cover their faces, leaving only their eyes visible.

Farmworkers know how to handle heat. They work in these intense conditions every day. ''Clothing is like insulation,'' says Evelina Arellano. ''It actually protects you. And if I didn't wear my bandanna, by the end of the day it would be hard to breathe because of the dust.'' [The names of the workers in the field have been changed-Ed.]

The rows are as long as two football fields, each a deep furrow next to a mound bearing the potato plants. Between the potatoes grow weeds, some spreading out next to the dirt and others growing as tall as the workers themselves. On this day in mid-June the farm labor crew is pulling the weeds.

the newshour
margaret warner