Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, July 14, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Sunni civilians in Falluja remain targeted, barrel bombs are dropped on Falluja, Antiwar.com ignores that but rushes to repeat the lies of a government ministry with a long history of lying -- way to go, Antiwar.com, another proud moment for you, Nouri al-Maliki appears to plot a coup, and much more.

Nouri al-Maliki did his part to destroy Iraq and then some.

The Iraqi Parliament wanted Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be prime minister following the December 2005 elections but the Bully Boy Bush administration opposed his being prime minister (for a second time) and instead installed Nouri al-Maliki in the spring of 2006.

The CIA profile on Nouri suggested he would be a good fit for the job due to his paranoia which the US government could use to sway and to control him.

It was his paranoia that marked his first time.

Otherwise, he had no accomplishments to speak of.

It was one failure after another for Nouri.

For example, he promised the Iraqi people that the Bremer walls/blast walls the US put up around Baghdad in the summer of 2006 would come down immediately.

That did not happen.

For example, in 2007, he agreed to the White House's benchmarks for measuring success/progress in Iraq and then failed to complete the list.

In the lead up to the 2010 elections, he had Shi'ite rivals kicked out of the election, he barred various Sunnis from running and he bribed and bribed again.

His State of Law still lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.

And Ayad should have been the next Prime Minister of Iraq.

But Barack Obama played Supreme Court and turned Allawi into the new Al Gore as Barack installed the loser Nouri into a second term as prime minister.

And then things really grew rotten.

Despite repeatedly lying and insisting he would, Nouri wanted no power-sharing government and began demonizing all opponents.

He then went after the people insisting peaceful protesters staging sit-ins were "terrorists."

No one was safe in Nouri's second term and he unleashed his goons on the peaceful protesters (as well as on Members of Parliament) resulting in one violent incident after another.

In 2010, the Iraqi people saw their votes overturned by US President Barack Obama.

The Iraqi people saw their leaders attempt to create a representative government and fail. (Largely due to interference on the part of Barack Obama -- such as when the Parliament attempted to hold a vote of confidence on Nouri but the White House prevented it.)

The Iraqi people then took to the streets to protest.

For over a year, they protested -- with little attention from the world media.

And Nouri responded by burning down the areas they gathered in.

This is what gave rise to the Islamic State.

A people who had been stripped of their votes, whose leaders were unable to protect them and who had attempted protest were denied every avenue of redress in a democracy.

As the raving lunatic Nouri got more and more despotic,  even Barack had to step away.

Which is how, in the fall of 2014, Haider al-Abadi became the new prime minister of Iraq after Nouri was forced out.

But he wasn't forced too far.

He became one of Iraq's three vice presidents and, in a typical Nouri narcissistic move,  Nouri declared himself the premier vice president.

As usual, some idiots in the press corps went along with that lie.

As we've noted before, Nouri will never stop attempting to destroy Iraq until he's six feet under.

And he's used his time out of the post of prime minister (while remaining in the home of the prime minister, please note) to plot his return.

This month, Ali Mamouri (Al-Monitor) reports on the latest developments in Nouri's possible efforts to take back the post of prime minister:

During his rule, Maliki’s policy was characterized by its sectarian and divisive tone and was a key reason behind the recent military defeats in Mosul and Ramadi. Now Maliki is urging people to back away from the national reconciliation policy initiated by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi when he took office. Proof of this is that during a tribal gathering June 13 in Karbala, Maliki said that the Anbar province’s tribes were protesting against him. He accused the rival political parties of supporting the objections against his rule when he was prime minister, which he called illegal. Finally, he described the fall of the Sunni areas at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) as “a Sunni sectarian revolution against the Shiites.”
In his speech, Maliki used three forms of extremist thought to incite to sectarian conflict. First, regional division, by generalizing and accusing the tribes of a particular area of being all against the Iraqi government; second, deepening the political dispute by accusing his rivals of standing with the terrorists; and third, describing the dispute in Iraq as religious and sectarian.
All three points contradict reality. There were tribes — such as the Sunni Albo tribe — in Anbar that were always against the protests and the ensuing developments, and the opposition parties to Maliki called for the peaceful resolution of the sit-ins and did not back those up. Finally, the Sunnis who were killed and displaced by IS exceed those from other communities; therefore, what happened cannot be described as a Sunni revolution against the Shiites.
In another speech, on the anniversary of the Popular Mobilization Units June 13, Maliki seemed to have a strong belief in the conspiracy theory that the fall of Mosul at the hands of IS was brought about by internal parties — such as the Kurds and the Mosul Provincial Council — to overthrow his government. He clearly said that the denial of the conspiracy is a conspiracy in itself.

This month has also seen Ibrahim Saleh (Niqash) report on what is seen as an effort to return Nouri al-Maliki to power:

Recently there have been calls for major changes to the Iraqi political system, moving it from a parliamentary system to a presidential one. This would mean that rather than elected MPs in Baghdad choosing the country's President, voters would choose the President, who could then work somewhat separately from the also-elected Parliament. For example, the US is a presidential system. Iraq currently has a parliamentary system.
However politicians in Iraq are concerned that if this comes any closer to happening that it will be a way for former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to slip back into power, but this time through a legal back door. They are also concerned that while it may not be something that can happen immediately, there is potential for some changes to occur during the next elections.
The call for these changes were started by one of the Shiite Muslim militias involved in the fight against the extremist group known as the Islamic State. The group, League of the Righteous, or Asaib Ahl al-Haq in Arabic, is known to be closely linked with al-Maliki. It is also known to be one of the more hard line and extremist of the Shiite militias.

Which is why many local politicians saw this as a call to bring al-Maliki, who is currently somewhat sidelined as one of Iraq's three Vice Presidents, back to power. Al-Maliki's divisive policies and attempts to centralise power have taken a fair share of the blame for the country's current security crisis and, although his party was successful in the last elections, al-Maliki lost the post of Prime Minister to colleague, Haider al-Abadi late last year.

While Haider remains in power, he uses his time to seek "revenge" (his term) on the Islamic State.  The problem with seeking "revenge" (as opposed to seeking peace)?  You leave a lot of collateral damage in your wake.

So it's no surprise that, yet again, the Sunni population of Falluja is the one to suffer.

Anadolu Agency reports:

At least 21 civilians were killed on Tuesday – and another 24 injured – when Iraqi government warplanes carried out several “barrel bomb” attacks on the Daesh-held city of Fallujah, according to local medical sources.
Casualties included a number of women and children, the sources said, while the injured were taken to the city’s main hospital.
Iraqi politicians and prominent local figures have recently accused Iraqi military forces of targeting civilian parts of the city with barrel bombs.

Barrel bombs are improvised explosive devices typically consisting of barrels filled with combustible material and shrapnel. They are usually dropped from army helicopters.

It was under Nouri, in January 2014, that the Sunni civilians in Falluja were first targeted by the Iraqi military who bombed and shelled their homes.  This has continued under Haider despite Haider's September 13, 2014 announcement that he was discontinuing those bombings immediately.

For over 18 months now, the Iraqi military has attacked the civilian population in Falluja in a manner which meets the legal definition of War Crime (see collective punishment).  And yet much of the world has chosen to join the White House in looking the other way.

News of the use of the barrel bombs today was preceded yesterday by concerns over this very targeting of civilians in Falluja.  Rudaw reported Monday:

As Iraqi Shiite militia intensify their attacks on Fallujah, a prominent Sunni tribal chief said Monday that civilians fear indiscriminate shelling and the “actions” of the militia forces.

“The only fear of the people of Anbar and especially Fallujah is the Shiite militia because their actions are not less in scale than those of ISIS towards the people of Anbar,” Sheikh Yahya al-Sunbul told Rudaw.

“The proof is the continuous and indiscriminate bombardment of Fallujah, the looting and destruction that will take place after ISIS leaves as we saw in Tikrit,” Sunbul added.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden (below) couldn't look the other way today when a heavily made up Barack Obama addressed the American people and the world looking like the Mary Kay in Chief as he announced a deal or 'deal' with the goverment of Iran..


Barack barely had time to take some cold cream to his face before Andrew deGrandpre and Andrew Tilghman (Military Times) were reporting:

At least 500 U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were directly linked to Iran and its support for anti-American militants, a newly disclosed statistic that offers grim context for the Obama administration's diplomatic deal with the Iranian regime aimed at curtailing the rogue nation's nuclear ambitions.
That figure underscores the controversy surrounding Washington's deal with Tehran, a long-sought goal for the president -- but one that is fiercely opposed by many Republicans in Congress and other critics.

One critic is Senator Johnny Isakson,  the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following today:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
Marie Gordon, 770-661-0999
Isakson Statement on Announcement of Nuclear Agreement with Iran
“I will not be part of any agreement that allows the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon that could harm the state of Israel, the country of the United States of America or any other peace-loving country in the world.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today released the following statement on the announcement of a final agreement reached in nuclear negotiations with Iran:
“As a member of the United States Senate, and of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I have a critical role in judgment over the deal that’s been made by the president of the United States and the Iranian government.
“Iranians have never proven to be a trustworthy negotiator, nor have they been trustworthy in their actions with the United States. Iran has said that we are their stated enemy.
“I will study the deal closely, I will do my responsibility, I will read the appendices and I’ll go to all the briefings, both the secure and unsecure. But I will promise you this: I will not be part of any agreement that allows the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon that could harm the state of Israel, the country of the United States of America or any other peace-loving country in the world.
“This vote may be the most important vote I ever cast as a member of the Senate or the Congress. This vote is about the future of our country, peace in the Middle East, the sanctity of our country, peace for our children and peace for our grandchildren. This is a vote which I will take seriously and I will make sure I do the right thing for the American people.”

Description: Description: cid:image001.gif@01CB9C61.36E8FA70
Press Secretary
131 Russell Senate Office Building | Washington, DC 20510
phone: 202.224.3643 | fax: 202.228.0724
Visit Johnny’s website to learn more about his work in the Senate and to sign up for his newsletter.

Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 180 people killed across Iraq today.

She also stupidly -- and I mean stupidly -- repeats claims by Iraq's so called Human Rights commission as fact.

Oh, Maggie.

As Rod Stewart once sang, "The morning sun when it's in your face really shows your age."

It's cute how she rushes to run their propaganda while ignoring the Iraqi military's use of barrel bombs on Falluja.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post's Ishaan Tharoor expressed dismay over the use of barrel bombs . . . in Syria:

Human rights organizations, witness testimony and foreign governments all point to the Syrian government's frequent use of barrel bombs in densely packed urban areas, including a suspected attack last week in a devastated suburb of Damascus. The fact that it's a deliberately indiscriminate weapon of war makes the Assad regime liable for war crimes.

Like whether or not Ishaan will ever find a comb (and use it on that hair), whether or not he'll ever zoom in on the use of barrel bombs in Iraq remains a mystery.

In May of 2014, the Iraqi government was caught (but denied) using barrel bombs on Falluja.  AFP reported on it at the time and included the following analysis from Human Rights Watch's Erin Evers:

"In terms of what ISIL has taken responsibility for ... (they) have committed horrible crimes," said HRW's Iraq Researcher Erin Evers, pointing to the group's claims of having carried out suicide and car bomb attacks and summary executions.
"But to equate them with the crimes of a government that has rescinded responsibility for protecting its civilian population and ... rescinded responsibility for respecting its own laws and international law, there is no way the two can be equated."

Margaret Griffis misses all of this but does find time for the propaganda of a government ministry -- so much for "Antiwar.com," right?  Just one more outpost uncritically repeating the statements of a government -- one known to attack its own people.

Again, the morning sun, when it's in her face, really shows her age.