Thursday, June 04, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, May 4, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the civilian killed by a US air strike in Iraq are revealed just as Foreign Policy in Focus argues for less restraint when bombing in Iraq, the State Dept gets asked about the 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report on the Islamic State which found the Pentagon drooling over the prospect of the rise of ISIS, a dumb Tweeter (redundant?) tries to blame Bully Boy Bush for installing Nouri while ignoring that it was Barack who insisted Nouri remain prime minister of Iraq in 2010 despite Nouri losing the election, and much more.

Today as the US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Marie Harf was asked about the US intent regarding ISIS in 2012.

QUESTION: On Iraq, actually, could you give us a sense of the significance of the pledge of allegiance from various Sunni tribes in Anbar province to ISIL?

MS HARF: Well, I appreciate the question, certainly. I think that, quite frankly, I’m not sure exactly what sheikhs or leaders you’re referring to specifically. We’ve said since the beginning of this crisis that the situation in Anbar is complex. Many top Sunni leaders are supporting the government in their efforts against ISIL; some don’t. So it’s pretty complex, and I wouldn’t want to categorize everyone, certainly, in one way.
I think we’ve said the U.S. is supporting the plan that was announced by the Iraqi council of ministers to accelerate the training and equipping of local tribes in coordination with Anbar authorities. They announced that on May 19th. This also calls for expanding recruitment into the Iraqi army coming from Anbar. And we’re also encouraged by the announcement on May 27th by the Iraqis of the induction of 800 additional tribal fighters into the PMF, the Popular Mobilization Force.
So again, the prime minister has been clear that this plan has to be centered around leaders in Anbar, and Anbari fighters being part of the solution here. I don’t know exactly who you’re referring to, but the situation in Anbar is, of course, a complex one, and there may be some people who support ISIL, but there are many who don’t.

QUESTION: The al-Jumailis, I guess, is the main --

MS HARF: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: The al-Jumailis, I think, are the main tribe in the --

MS HARF: Look, I’m happy to check on them specifically.

QUESTION: It is striking, though, how similar – how what’s happening currently does chime in with the prediction we now know that the Defense Intelligence Agency made in 2012 that a Salafist principality might grow up in eastern Syria and western Iraq, and that – in fact, that was the policy. That’s what – the goal of the GCC countries, your allies in the region. Would you accept that that’s what’s happened?

MS HARF: Well, I think you’re making a number of sort of sweeping generalizations.

QUESTION: That was the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012.

MS HARF: Well, I haven’t read the whole DIA report. I’m happy to go back and pull that and take a look at it. There was a lot of assessment done at the time about the possible futures – directions that Iraq could take, certainly. So I’m happy to go back and look at those, but --

QUESTION: You don’t think it’s the goal of the GCC to have some sort of Salafist area there to be a sort of bulwark against Iran?

MS HARF: I think the fact that GCC and regional countries are taking direct military action against ISIL in the region now, I think, should make it pretty clear how they feel about ISIL.

First, let's briefly note the pledge Marie was being asked about.  Jason Ditz ( explains, "Today, key Anbar sheikh Ahmed Jumaili read a joint statement from a number of key tribes in Fallujah, pledging loyalty to ISIS, and expressing their belief that the best way to return calm to the province was by backing ISIS against the 'infidels, apostates and Shias'."

Now for the other point being raised,  the recently revealed 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report.  Brad Hoff reported on it at the end of last month:

May 22, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Levant Report " -  On Monday, May 18, the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch published a selection of formerly classified documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department through a federal lawsuit.
While initial mainstream media reporting is focused on the White House’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attack, a much “bigger picture” admission and confirmation is contained in one of the Defense Intelligence Agency documents circulated in 2012: that an ‘Islamic State’ is desired in Eastern Syria to effect the West’s policies in the region.
The DIA report, formerly classified “SECRET//NOFORN” and dated August 12, 2012, was circulated widely among various government agencies, including CENTCOM, the CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA, State Dept., and many others.
The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.
While a number of analysts and journalists have documented long ago the role of western intelligence agencies in the formation and training of the armed opposition in Syria, this is the highest level internal U.S. intelligence confirmation of the theory that western governments fundamentally see ISIS as their own tool for regime change in Syria. The document matter-of-factly states just that scenario.

Yesterday, Seaumas Milne (Guardian) also noted the DIA report:

A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria.
Raising the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality”, the Pentagon report goes on, “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)”.
Which is pretty well exactly what happened two years later. The report isn’t a policy document. It’s heavily redacted and there are ambiguities in the language. But the implications are clear enough. A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of “Islamic state” – despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria.

The report has received little attention despite the fact that it outlines a possible outcome (which appears to be coming true) which, judging by the White House inaction on Iraq in the year of the report and the two years that followed, Barack Obama did nothing to alter or combat.

David Mizner (ICH) reminds:

The report concerns a period in time when the escalating violence in Iraq had ceased to be a prominent topic in the US press and when its coverage of the war in Syria — mirroring the discussion in Washington — focused on the Assad government, not the forces aligned against it. This may be hard to imagine now that ISIS has become the US government’s favorite monster, but during these months President Obama and his team gave major speeches on Syria that didn’t even mention the group.
Even after ISIS took Fallujah in January 2014, discussion of the group in establishment outlets was scarce. It wasn’t until later in 2014 — after continued battlefield victories and heavily publicized beheadings of westerners — that Islamic State became Public Enemy Number 1.

American officials claimed the ascendancy of ISIS had caught American intelligence by surprise. Yet in the 2012 report — which was circulated widely through the US government — the DIA foresaw the creation of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria. It also said that Islamic State of Iraq could “return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi” and declare an “Islamic state” in western Iraq and eastern Syria.

Dahlia Wasfi (ICH) puts the 2012 DIA report into some context of earlier actions in the Iraq War observing:

Once Iraq’s secular government - known for its ruthlessness - was deposed via the “Shock and Awe” invasion, US administrators installed sectarian Shia leaders with strong ties to Iran into power.  Many of these new Iraqi officials had been forced into exile by Saddam Hussein decades earlier because of their theocratic political ambitions.  They found safe haven in Iran, where their parties were supported by the government.  Some of these men served in the Iranian Army during the Iran-Iraq War. These Shia conservatives have remained in power in Iraq through several rounds of controversial elections.  For example, current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, like his predecessors Nouri al-Maliki and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, is a member of the conservative Shia Dawah Party based in Iran.  Their rule in Iraq has been characterised by brutal repression of the population, including the use of death squads to eliminate opposition.
The “new” (since 2003) Iraqi Army has also been shaped by Iranian influence.  Former Badr Brigades commander, Bayan Jabr, organised the Army’s ranks when he served as Iraq’s Minister of the Interior.  Since its inception, the new Army has consisted of young Iraqi recruits desperate for paying jobs, as well as members of conservative Shia party militias from Iran. This fighting force - armed, trained, and funded by the US - is today led by General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The repressive theocratic Shia regime imposed on Iraq by US occupiers inevitably spawned a counter movement: a sectarian Sunni opposition faction which in the last several years has morphed into ISIS.  Like the Iraqi Army, ISIS is also comprised of foreign fighters and young Iraqis desperate for paying jobs and an end to their oppression.  According to journalist Nafeez Ahmed, Western powers predicted the rise of a dangerous extremist group such as ISIS in 2012.  But not only did Western powers predict ISIS, they supported its creation via funding and arms to extremist “rebel groups” in Syria to serve as a check on Shia power in the region - power that expanded as a result of US policy in Iraq in the first place.  Now in 2015, President Obama is not about to destroy the terror group that he and other Western governments and regional allies helped to create. 

Changing topics, this morning we were noting the sad and disgusting position of Foreign Policy in Focus which now apparently supports the bombing of civilians:

And it serves no one.
Nor does Russ Wellen's latest insta-expertise where he knows everything thanks to a Mitchell Prothero article.
Wellen repeats this:

“Requests for air support,” Prothero continues, “which already go through an overly cumbersome process before the U.S.-led coalition will act—went unnoticed or ignored, and most of the units in Ramadi were unable to coordinate with one another because of deep-seated distrust among units composed of soldiers from different sects.”

And you know he [Wellen] thinks it's awful because he adds "Even worse" immediately after.
Did you ever think you'd see the day where Foreign Policy in Focus would publish an article whining that bombs were not being dropped fast enough on a country?
First off, Iraq is not an empty field.
It's an occupied country.
The process should be "cumbersome."
These air strikes have killed civilians.
They could kill many more if they were less "cumbersome."
Second, they have to be "cumbersome" because otherwise -- as Congress and the administration have both noted -- the US bombings could be used by various Iraqis to take out their political rivals.
It really is appalling that Foreign Policy in Focus has published an article bemoaning a process for bombing that they find too rigorous.
But I guess when a Democrat's in the White House a number of supposed activists let their inner whores work the street corner.

Shameful and when whores do what Wellen did, events always slap them in their ugly faces.  See previous efforts at Operation Happy Talk and this is how it always ends, Iraq and karma get the last word.

Hours after Wellen's embarrassing war propaganda went up, AFP was reporting, "An airstrike by a U.S.-led coalition flattened an entire neighborhood of a northern Iraqi town controlled by ISIS, killing dozens of people including civilians, witnesses and security sources said."  An estimated 70 civilians were killed in the bombing of Hawija. AFP quotes Hassam Mahmoud al-Jubbouri stating, "I ran with my sons and wife and took cover under the staircase. Three to four powerful explosions followed the first blast and I felt the roof of my house was about to collapse over our heads."

But Russ Wellen wants more US air strikes on Iraq.  He wants more and he wants them to be "less cumbersome."

Again, this is a very sad day in the history of Foreign Policy in Focus.

You can't walk it back when you've come out as a War Hawk.  When you've come out in favor of bombings and of relaxing even the most tiny efforts of constraint on those bombings, you really have nothing to left to say, not on the left.

Now's a good time to note Margaret Kimberley's observations this week at Black Agenda Report:

Most people who call themselves progressives or who protested the war in Iraq didn’t really want fundamental change. They don’t have the stomach to challenge the assumptions upon which American aggressions are based. That is why they so quickly forgot their supposedly antiwar sentiments and clung so fiercely to Barack Obama. They want to wrap themselves in the flag or in being on a winning team but that means being a part of America’s horrendous tale of conquest, race based terrorism and numerous other oppressions.
The siren song of American superiority is strong. How often did antiwar activists or other progressives claim that a particular atrocity or outrageous act was “un-American.” Of course enslavement and genocide were very American so the claim always rang hollow, but the urge to want to be the good, patriotic American is still there and very, very strong.
Exceptionalism is a concept that is rarely questioned. Manifest Destiny and the violence that comes with it are still considered not just acceptable but noble and benevolent. That explains why Obama’s wars are accepted by the same people who protested against Bush.
It can be difficult to remain in opposition to the American state. It requires an ability to oppose not just war, or economic policy, but a desire for inclusion in a rotten system. The yearning for freedom expressed in the liberation movements was often little more than a yearning to be accepted or to have a seat at the table.

Yes, the whores are always among us.  Telling lies to curry favor and to support their lying heroes.

Take for example this one with the fat face and the shoulder length hair that only makes the face look fatter:

  • Do you think you have a point?

    I'm sure the other whores agree with you.

    But reality does not.

    Yes, Bully Boy Bush installed Nouri al-Maliki in 2006 as Iraq's Prime Minister.  Among the reasons he did so was the CIA profile of Nouri which noted the man's intense paranoia and argued it could be used to control and manipulate him.

    That was the primary reason Bully Boy Bush supported him.  It wasn't the sole reason.  And the second biggest reason was that the Iraqi Parliament wanted Ibrahim al-Jaafari for the post but Bully Boy Bush was concerned that giving al-Jaafari a second, consecutive term could turn it into a lifetime post -- as it was with Saddam Hussein.

    And if that's where it started and ended, a whore like Ali Gharib might have a reason to crow.

    However, there's also 2010.

    When the Iraqi people went to the polls and voted, over extreme obstacles.

    And they voted for change.  Nouri's State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.

    And what happened?

    Barack supported the loser.  And with Barack's support, loser Nouri refused to step down.  And Iraq entered an eight month political stalemate as a result where Parliament didn't meet, the government came to a standstill.

    Nouri could have only brought the entire Iraqi government to an eight month standstill with the support of Barack.

    And the standstill did not end with Nouri stepping aside so that the rightful winner could become prime minister.

    No, it ended with the US-brokered Erbil Agreement.  The US officials went to the leaders of the other political blocs in Iraq and said, 'Look, Nouri's held out for 8 months.  He could keep the government blocked for another 8.  Do the right thing for Iraq, help it move forward.  We'll give Nouri the post of prime minister and, in exchange, we'll get you the things your people need.  We'll put it into the contract, it will be legally binding and Nouri will honor it because he wants a second term and because this contract will have the full backing of the United States.'

    So they signed off on it.

    November 10, 2010, The Erbil Agreement is signed.  November 11, 2010, the Iraqi Parliament has their first real session in over eight months and finally declares a president, a Speaker of Parliament and Nouri as prime minister-designate -- all the things that were supposed to happen in April of 2010 but didn't.

    And now that he had been named prime minister (the "designate" did not matter since he won the post by contract and not by the polls), Nouri insisted he'd have to wait to honor his promises in the contract.

    And the US government and the press treated that as acceptable.

    Only Ayad Allawi had the foresight to publicly note that, by delaying at that point,  Nouri was signaling that he would never honor his part of the contract.

    And that's what happened.

    We could go all over this again and go step by step on how the political process crumbled as a result but that's the reality.

    Nouri would not have had a second term if the will of the Iraqi voters had been honored.

    Instead, Barack Obama wanted a second term (because Nouri would be agreeable to Barack's aims regarding a drawdown) for Nouri.

    So it really doesn't matter, dirty whore Ali Gharib, that Bully Boy Bush installed Nouri in 2006 when, in fact, Barack overturned the votes of the Iraqi people, went around the Iraqi constitution and trampled on what might have been an emerging democracy to install Nouri for a second term.

    The Latin American Herald Tribune notes, "At least 29 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed in a series of attacks by Islamic State militants in the western Iraqi province of al-Anbar, security officials told Efe." Margaret Griffis ( counts 309 violent deaths across Iraq today.

    Lastly, we  noted Sunday that the United Nations is being hard in terms of needed money to continue important programs in Iraq. That has not changed.

  • 6.95m in in need of healthcare and nutrition services. 1.3m children at risk of disease