Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, July 14, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Human Rights Watch shines a light on the lack of justice in Iraq, Barack gets snippy at a press briefing, bitchy best describes members of The Cult of St. Barack who've yet to figure out how to make a case for the deal with Iran Barack wants, and much more.

As usual, the Iran deal knocks Iraq out of the news cycle.

Not due to any serious discussion, of course.

  • Well the little bitches, come out don't they?

    If I wrote some of the stuff -- in e-mails - -that Joe Conason wrote in 2008, I don't know that I'd judge anyone.  In fact, I'd be so scared they might be floated publicly, I'd keep my mouth shut about what others did.

    Leaving that aside, there's no argument for a treaty with Iran in a ridiculous Tweet about what someone said about Iraq.

    Especially if you've spent forever whoring for the Clintons.

    You're not really concerned with what Hillary said or did regarding Iraq, are you, Joe?

    But again, none of that has a damn thing to do with the deal Barack Obama wants to push through with Iran.

    Joe can't form an argument, he can't do analysis.

    He's far from alone.

  • Does anyone see the stupidity in that?

    Yes, it is sad that the left is going to trust The New Republic(an).

    But, more to the point, the deal hasn't been implemented and no one knows where it leads.

    The New Republic(an) is being as stupid as those cheerleaders for the Iraq War were.

    Or as Bully Boy Bush was when he stood under the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner.

    You really have to be a whore to take a proposal that's not been implemented and hail it as a victory.

    And the mark of a real bitch?

    Holding a press conference to sell something to the American people but being a bitch throughout.

    Yes, I'm referring to Barack's performance today.

    The only thing I can compare it to is when Joan Crawford was married to the CEO of Pepsi-Cola, Alfred Steele and felt the need to attend stock holder meetings like the one described in the May 14, 1958 issue of Variety where Joan insults the stockholders ("Make it brief, boy"), refuses to answer their questions ("It's none of your business") and thinks she was being professional and charming.

    The very first question led to this pompous response from Barack:

    Andrew, if you don't mind, just because I suspect that there’s going to be a common set of questions that are touched on -- I promise I will get to your question, but I want to start off just by stepping back and reminding folks of what is at stake here. And I already did in my opening statement, but I just want to reiterate it because I’ve heard already some of the objections to the deal.

    It never got better.

    And probably culminated in the exchange with CBS News' Major Garrett.

    Major Garrett:  Thank you, Mr. President. As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran -- three held on trumped-up charges, according to your administration; one, whereabouts unknown. Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscience of this nation and the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?  And last week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, under no circumstances should there be any relief for Iran in terms of ballistic missiles or conventional weapons. It is perceived that that was a last-minute capitulation in these negotiations. Many in the Pentagon feel you’ve left the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hung out to dry. Could you comment?

    President Barack Obama:   I got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions. The notion that I am content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails --  Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better.  I’ve met with the families of some of those folks. Nobody is content. And our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out.

    Eliza Collins covers the exchange for POLITICO and  Cedric's "He doesn't like questions" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT HOSTAGES!" also covered the exchange.

    As for Barack's response, Major probably hit on the theme that historians will: Barack's capitulations.

    There are American hostages in Iran and, as president of the United States, you don't make a damn deal with any country that doesn't touch on American hostages being released.

    Barack has shown no respect for American lives and that's the historic thread.

    It connects this deal with the deal he made with the terrorist group the League of Righteous.

    Their leader and top officials were in US custody.  In the summer of 2009, Barack let them go.

    They now terrorize Sunnis in Iraq and that's on Barack.

    But he's never been asked to explain this.

    For those who spent far too long snorting the hopium dispensed by The Cult of St. Barack, let's drop back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

    This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."
    Barack made a deal with a terrorist group.

    In the end only one living hostage was released -- Peter Moore.

    The United Kingdom could have pursued the release of the British citizen.

    Instead, the killers of American soldiers, terrorists who terrorized Iraqis, were released and they have done serious damage in and to Iraq as a result.

    Barack sat at the bargaining table with terrorists.

    That's reality and you can pretend all you want but any semi-honest historian won't overlook that or note how little American lives meant to Barack as evidenced by that deal.

    On top of that, he now has a deal with the government of Iran which does not address the four Americans held hostage in Iran.

    That's disgusting.

    You can Medea Benjamin it all you want, it's still disgusting.

    A sitting president has refused to make the release of American hostages the key starting point to any deal?


    And the pompous nonsense that the families whose loved ones were kidnapped by the Islamic State?  That crap that Barack only recently dropped of they can't negotiate with terrorists?

    Barack did that with the League of Righteousness, he negotiated with them.

    And let's not forget, he did so badly.

    The League took to mocking him in the Iraqi press.

    And while Moore was released and the corpses of Alec Maclachlan, Jason Swindlehurst and Jason Creswell were released, it would be 2012 until the League would honor the original 2009 agreement with Barack and release the corpse of Alan McMenemy.

    So Barack doesn't really have a good record when it comes to making deals, not ones that are successful.

    Iraq was touched on briefly in the press briefing with the petulant president:

    Michael Crowley:  Thank you. You alluded earlier to Iran’s role in Syria, just to focus on that for a moment. Many analysts and some former members of your administration believe that the kind of negotiated political settlement that you say is necessary in Syria will require working directly with Iran and giving Iran an important role. Do you agree? And is that a dialogue you’ll be actively seeking?  And what about the fight against ISIS? What would it take for there to be explicit cooperation between the U.S. and Iran?

    President Barack Obama:  I do agree that we’re not going to solve the problems in Syria unless there’s buy-in from the Russians, the Iranians, the Turks, our Gulf partners. It’s too chaotic. There are too many factions. There’s too much money and too many arms flooding into the zone. It’s gotten caught up in both sectarian conflict and geopolitical jockeying. And in order for us to resolve it, there’s going to have to be agreement among the major powers that are interested in Syria that this is not going to be won on the battlefield. So Iran is one of those players, and I think that it’s important for them to be part of that conversation.  I want to repeat what I said earlier. We have not -- and I don’t anticipate any time in the near future -- restored normal diplomatic relations with Iran. And so I do not foresee a formal set of agreements with Iran in terms of how we’re conducting our counter-ISIL campaign.  But clearly, Iran has influence in Iraq. Iraq has a majority Shia population. They have relationships to Iran. Some are natural. We expect somebody like Prime Minister Abadi to meet with and negotiate and work with Iran as its neighbor. Some are less legitimate, where you see Iran financing Shia militias that in the past have killed American soldiers and in the future may carry out atrocities when they move into Sunni areas. And so we’re working with our diplomats on the ground, as well as our military teams on the ground to asses where can we appropriately at least de-conflict, and where can we work with Prime Minister Abadi around an overall strategy for Iraq to regain its sovereignty, and where do we tell Abadi, you know what, what Iran is doing there is a problem, and we can’t cooperate in that area, for example, unless you get those folks out of there because we’re not going to have our troops, even in an advisory or training role, looking over their shoulders because they’re not sure of what might happen to them. And those conversations have been ongoing. I think they will continue.  The one thing you can count on is that any work that the U.S. government does, or the U.S. military does in Iraq with other partners on the ground is premised on the idea that they are reporting to -- under the chain of command of the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces. If we don’t have confidence that ultimately Abadi is directing those soldiers, then it’s tough for us to have any kind of direct relationship.

    So Abadi is directing the Iraqi military to attack civilians in Falluja with non-stop bombings?  Thanks for clearing up who is responsible for those War Crimes, Barack.

    All Iraq News reports that Saad al-Hadithi, spokesperson for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, declared that the Iran deal negotiated by the "world powers" in Vienna is "a catalyst for regional stability."  How much of that statement is reality and how much of it owes to yet another Iraqi Shi'ite prime minister with ties to Iran is unknown.  Middle East Online quotes al-Abadi himself stating, "The Iran deal expresses a common will to bring peace and security to our region."

    Ethan Chorin (Forbes) offers:

    The Iran nuclear deal announced July 14 is, so far, a sketch of thoughts and clauses, perfectly amenable to different reads.   Champions say it’s brilliant, or the best deal that could be had, or better than no deal.  Naysayers say it’s a catastrophe. The New York Times described the deal as a ‘bet’ whose direction and payout would take years to confirm.  Bunkered-up Syrian leader Hafez al Assad congratulated the signatories; and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned it as a major piece in Iran’s quest for world domination.

    CBS News notes:

    While many believe a more transparent Iran will reduce tensions in the Middle East, CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata says some of the nations within reaching distance of the Islamic Republic don't buy that the nuclear deal reached Tuesday will stop Iran from building an atomic bomb, and they worry and the country's massive financial windfall could tip a delicate power balance.

    At a time when the battle against the Islamic State is said (by the White House, by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, by outgoing Chair of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey) to depend upon the support of regional allies, the wisdom of pursuing a treaty that raises so much concern among Arab states is a topic that goes largely unexplored.

    One exception?  Adam Schreck and Lee Keath (AP) report on this issue and note:

    Arab countries have deep fears of Iran gaining a nuclear weapon, and some have been skeptical that a deal will prevent that from happening. But equally high for key Sunni-dominated Gulf allies of the United States is the worry that a deal gives Iran the means – through an economic windfall – and an implicit green light to push influence in the region.
    The Arab world has been polarized for years in a worsening proxy conflict between Iran and Gulf powers, particularly Saudi Arabia, fueling Sunni-Shiite tensions and stoking wars. In Syria, Iran’s support has ensured the survival of President Bashar Assad against Sunni rebels backed by Gulf nations in a devastating civil war, now in its fifth year. Yemen has been torn apart this year as Saudi Arabia, leading a coalition air campaign, has tried to help fend off Shiite rebels supported by Tehran. In Iraq, Saudi Arabia has opposed the growing power of Iran even since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein and the rise of a government led by Shiite politicians close to Iran. 

    While US Vice President Joe Biden was pressing the US Congress about the deal on Tuesday, Barack was making a few calls in an attempt to reassure Middle East leaders.  Ammon News notes:

    President Barack Obama telephoned Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday from Air Force One to discuss the newly completed Iran nuclear agreement, the White House said.

    Saudi Arabia expressed hope Tuesday for an end to Iran's regional "interference" after a historic nuclear deal aimed at ensuring Tehran does not obtain an atomic bomb was struck.

    While neighboring states worry about the deal with Iran, Iraq has plenty of internal troubles.

    Human Rights Watch notes one of the biggest problems, the lack of a functioning justice system:

    Iraqi authorities should set aside the guilty verdict and death sentences of 24 men in the June 2014 massacre of up to 1,700 Shia cadets by the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. On July 8, 2015, Baghdad’s Central Criminal Court sentenced the 24 at the end of a patently unfair trial that lasted only two hours and denied the defense the right to present witnesses and evidence.
    The entire trial of 28 persons charged lasted just a few hours, with 24 convicted, and 4 exonerated. Iraq Media Net, the official broadcaster, announced its conclusion just over two hours after announcing its start. Iraqi authorities should order a fair retrial, Human Rights Watch said.
    “The killing of hundreds of young cadets was a horrendous crime, and a fair trial for the accused is an important indicator of Iraq’s commitment to fix its justice system,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “The families of the massacre victims, and in fact all Iraqis, deserve a full account of what happened at Camp Speicher and who was responsible for these tragic deaths.”

    On June 12, ISIS militants entering Tikrit from the north captured hundreds of cadets from Camp Speicher, north of the city. ISIS separated Sunnis from Shia, and then held them for hours in Tikrit’s Presidential Palaces before executing them in groups in nearby areas, according to their own videos released and satellite images Human Rights Watch reviewed.
    In total, 28 defendants faced charges under article 4 of Iraq’s 2005 Counterterrorism Law, which lumps together those who carry out, participate, plan, finance, or enable terrorism. Prosecutors accused them all of participating in the June 2014 massacre, without specifying individual roles.
    The court considered each defendant’s case for no more than five minutes, and delivered its verdict after only two minutes of deliberation, Habib al-Quraishi, an Iraqi lawyer who attended the trial as an independent observer, told Human Rights Watch.

    Al-Quraishi said that all defendants denied the charges and alleged that officials had extracted their confessions during pretrial detention under torture. The confessions were the main evidence presented against the defendants. The court ignored the defendants’ allegations of torture and refused to allow them to present evidence that could shed doubt on the charge, al-Quraishi said. Some defendants claimed they had not been in Tikrit on the day of the massacre, but the court did not let them call witnesses to corroborate their claims.

    Lastly, Margaret Griffis ( counts 177 violent deaths across Iraq today.