Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, August 19, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq's been provided with nearly $20 billion in weapons by the US (for all the good it's done), Nouri al-Maliki continues to hide out in Iran as rumors of his impending prosecution swirl, and much more.

Starting with a question, and it's an important one, from Human Rights Watch's Sarah Leah Whitson.

  • what on earth has done with $18.6 billion in weapons bought from US over past decade? (from

  • The cost of the ongoing, illegal war on Iraq never ends.

    Here's a thought: Tie in the cost to Barack's retirement package -- deduct from that -- and maybe Barack and others would be less willing to spend US taxpayer money so wildly?

    Here's the State Dept press release Sarah Leah Whitson is linking to:

    The United States is committed to building a strategic partnership with Iraq and the Iraqi people. Under the Strategic Framework Agreement between Iraq and the United States, we remain dedicated to helping Iraq improve security, maintain sovereignty, and push back against terrorism, most recently ISIL. U.S. security cooperation activities are increasing the Iraqi Security Forces’ capability to respond to threats and conduct counter-terrorism operations, while supporting the long-term development of a modern, accountable, and professional Iraqi military capable of defending Iraq and its borders.
    In the fight against ISIL, the United States continues to work with our coalition partners along multiple lines of effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. Our strategy requires a well-equipped and trained partner on the ground. We have seen that with effective training, equipping, and command and control, and backed by Coalition firepower, Iraqi forces, including the Kurdish Peshmerga, have achieved clear victories on the battlefield in Tikrit, in Baghdadi, in Haditha, at Sinjar Mountain, at Rabiya, at Mosul Dam and now as they are isolating ISIL in Anbar as they prepare to move on Ramadi. We are seeing successes in this fight but, as we’ve said, it will take time, and the Iraqi Security Forces will need our continued assistance and partnership to achieve victory in this fight.
    Foreign Military Sales (FMS)
    • Since 2005, the Department of State has approved more than $18.6 billion worth of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) with Iraq. The Iraqi Government has financed the vast majority of these government-to-government transfers of military systems and equipment using their own national funds. Iraq values the FMS system because of its transparency and reliability and uses its own funds to purchase a wide range of U.S.-origin military equipment, demonstrating Iraq’s commitment to building a strong and enduring U.S.-Iraq defense and security relationship.
    • Recent Iraqi FMS purchases include 3,300 Hellfire missiles; 31,000 2.75-inch rockets; and over 30,000 120mm tank rounds. Other Iraqi FMS purchases include 146 M1A1 Main Battle Tanks; 36 F-16 fighter aircraft; 24 IA407 helicopters; and 9 C-130 cargo aircraft.
    Additional transfers of U.S. equipment, training, and support have been funded through other U.S. security assistance programs, including Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Excess Defense Articles (EDA) grants and Presidential Drawdown Authority overseen by the U.S. Department of State; and Building Partner Capacity grants administered by the U.S. Department of Defense in the form of the Iraq Security Forces Funding (ISFF) and the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF).
    Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
    • Iraq’s FMF program began in 2012 following the end of the ISFF program, which ran from 2005-2011. Since then, Congress has appropriated $1.6 billion in FMF funding for Iraq. These funds were originally intended to build up Iraq’s long-term sustainment and logistics capabilities, and for Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) professionalization and other essential training.
    • Starting in 2014, as ISIL moved into Iraq, portions of FMF funding were redirected to urgent counterterrorism requirements, including critical resupply of Hellfire missiles, 2.75-inch rockets, tank ammunition, small arms/ammo, and individual soldier items. These funds were critical to the Iraqi effort to blunt ISIL’s advance while the Department of Defense’s Iraq Train and Equip Fund was being stood up, demonstrating the flexibility and speed of Department of State security assistance programs.
    FMF also allowed Iraq to purchase body armor, transport and refurbish Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected tactical vehicles (MRAPs) provided under EDA, and funded contract logistics support for systems critical to the counter-ISIL fight, including M1A1 tanks and Cessna attack aircraft.
    Excess Defense Articles (EDA)
    • For the fight against ISIL, in addition to over 300 MRAPs, the United States has granted Iraq numerous systems under the EDA program, including Armored Tactical Vehicles, Howitzers, OH-58 helicopters, soft-skinned High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), and individual body armor.
    Presidential Drawdown Authority
    • In 2014, the President used his drawdown authority to grant Iraq $25 million worth of defense articles and services directly from U.S. defense inventories. Drawdown was used to provide urgently needed counter-IED equipment, including 326 Bangalore torpedoes; 200 anti-personnel obstacle breaching systems (APOBS); 1000 AT-4 anti-tank weapons systems; 50 MaxxPro Plus MRAPs; 50 MRAP mine rollers; and 50 mine roller kits.
    Iraq Train and Equip Funding (ITEF)
    • In FY 2015, Congress appropriated $1.6 billion in Iraq Train and Equip Funding (ITEF) to provide assistance to military and other security services associated with the Government of Iraq, including Kurdish and tribal security forces and other local security forces with a national security mission. The Department of State works closely with the Department of Defense to ensure ITEF execution supports overall foreign policy objectives.
    • Materials provided under ITEF as of August 6, 2015, include over 1,200 military transportation vehicles, approximately 20,000 small arms and heavy weapons; 2,000 additional AT-4s; Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) equipment, including 200 additional APOBS, 20 Mine Clearing Line Charges (MICLIC), as well as 29 Iraqi Light Armored Vehicles (ILAVs).
    • Through over 100 airlift missions and in coordination with the Iraqi government, the coalition has provided to Iraqi Kurdish forces more than 8 million pounds of ammunition and equipment, including small arms, machine guns, mortars, radios, and vehicles donated from more than a dozen countries. Many of the U.S. contributions were purchased using ITEF.
    • Through ITEF, the United States has also trained more than 2,000 Iraqi Kurdish Forces and currently several hundred more currently training at the Erbil Building Partner Capacity site. Units trained under this program will receive the same weapons, vehicles, and equipment as the Iraq Army forces: including small arms, mortars, HMMWVs, cargo trucks, trailers, and radios.
    The United States stands with a coalition of more than 60 international partners to assist and support the Iraqi Security Forces to degrade and defeat ISIL. U.S. security cooperation has contributed to Iraq’s significant progress in halting ISIL’s momentum and in some places reversing it.
    For further information, please contact PM-CPA at

    That's a huge amount of money and it's not coming out of Barack's pockets.

    It's not even a lot of money being spent effectively.

    There is nothing to show -- no accomplishments -- for all this wasted money.

    And still the US drops bombs on Iraq and still the liberation or 'liberation' of Iraq never takes place.

    The assault on Anbar Province was sold as needed and with the Iraqi forces and officials willing and ready.  And then the assault vanished from the view of the press -- because it wasn't going well.

    All these weeks later, there are still no 'victories' to claim.

    And maybe that's why officials reacted as they did today?

    The Washington Post's Loveday Morris Tweets:

    Ramadi fell in April.  The press treated the promise of prosecutions, this week, by Haider al-Abadi as 'news' or at least as gossip.

    As they rushed to hail Haider (on his terms), they forgot their duty to point out that not only was Haider prime minister in April of this year, but he was in DC at the time and instead of immediately ordering armed forces to protect Ramadi, he sent them to Baiji . . . to protect . . . an oil refinery.

    Middle East Monitor reports today:

    The Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi reassured oil companies operating in the country that his government will protect their businesses and employees after tensions erupted near the southern oil fields.
    Al-Abadi’s assurances came during his visit to the West Qurna 2 oilfield in Basra yesterday where he met with managers in the Russian Lukoil company which operates the oilfield, according to a statement issued by the premier’s office.

    There's a great deal of mismanagement going on.

    Going on.


    Nouri al-Maliki oversaw mismanagement, corruption, War Crimes and so much more.

    A Parliamentary investigation into the 2014 fall of Mosul to the Islamic State has found much fault to distribute and the bulk of it lands at Nouri's feet.

    AFP's WG Dunlop Tweets:

  • The Baghdad bureau obtained a copy of the unreleased report on the fall of Mosul; we'll be covering its contents this afternoon.

  • Nouri skirted out of the country right before the (announced) release of the report and remains hiding in Iran where he's taken to giving near hourly breathless updates.

    He's attacked the reports findings.  He's attacked Turkey.  He's denied any and all guilt.

    None of which is new for Nouri.

    He can always deflect onto others.

    He can talk endlessly about the Islamic State without ever acknowledging how his policies -- specifically, using security forces to target Sunni protesters, tossing Sunni family members into jails and prisons without arrest warrants (and when the forces can't fight the person they want to arrest, they arrest the parents, the siblings, the spouses, the children), etc -- contributed to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.

    For example, last November, in an interview for Press TV's Face To Face, he could and did blame everyone -- at length -- except himself and his own thuggish policies and actions.  Excerpt:

    Rahshan Saglam: Let's start with the first question which is who do you think is behind ISIL creation? 

    ISIL has a radical, dangerous and sectarian ideology and it's a terrorist group in the true sense of the word. The terrorist group was not created from nothingness but rather it was born in an extremist region and more specifically in the state of Saudi Arabia and the region has witnessed it. This terrorist group was born from the Wahhabi ideology; an ideology which regards all Muslims, Shias and Sunnis alike, as Takfiris (excommunicated by Islam).  That's why when the world wants to find the roots of this event, it gets to the ideologies that has resulted in this extremism. And Saudi Arabia knows very well that this ideology which has a kind of financial and administrative independence within itself, is now spread to all across the Muslim world. This group has its own research centers, books and it carries out research.  Initially, it was thought that they only have problems with the Shias. But later on, it came to light that they regard all Muslims. and Islamic sects as Takfiris.  This is the very mindset out of which al-Qaeda was born and developed. Tpoint where Osama bin Laden was created and moved towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, and some parts of Yemen, Libya and even Iraq. In their opinion, the roots of this ideology and culture have legitimacy. However, in political conflicts, political projects are planned to seek interests and make gains. As we saw in Afghanistan, this trend resulted in the creation of the Taliban  The Taliban was created by an international consensus; a resolution adopted by a super power to counter another super power, or specifically to counter Communism which was ruling over Afghanistan back then. The support for the Taliban was an international support to push back the Soviet Union.  This scenario was replayed in Iraq and Syria and the entire region. ISIL, no matter who created it, was used as a tool to topple the Syrian government in the first place.  And it was used as a tool to execute the political plans and ideas by some countries in the region as well as the major powers in the world. That's why this group was born from political plans.  Now, the problem is, politics should not be hinged on murder, violence or hostility among Muslims in order to achieve certain goals for certain countries. And this is quite natural, this is a rule in societies that "he who plays with a snake will be bitten" and all those who were in contact with ISIL felt the bite by the group.  That's why when ISIL and al-Qaeda slipped out of control and the organizations and institutions of those countries were exposed to threats, some coalitions were formed to counter the terrorist groups. They have openly admitted that a day will come when ISIL will be fighting on the streets of London and Paris. That was the time when attacks against ISIL were launched by the coalition and yet there are those who think that ISIL shouldn't be uprooted completely, but rather it should continue its activities under control -- it means keeping it under control without defusing the crisis. 

    Rahshan Saglam: So how do you think this organization is being funded?

    ISIL receives support from rich individuals as well as some organizations which are disguised as charity organizations.  There are also some political figures who advocate sectarian ideologies and back this terrorist group. These groups funnel the funds to ISIL under the cover of charity organizations. Certain countries also supported this group and prepared the grounds for them. But I think the big chunk of the support for ISIL was provided by rich individuals with radical views and the so-called charity organizations which follow sectarian and religious ideologies. This terrorist group is also supported by some countries and gets military support and arms supplies. For example, ISIL was provided with weapons in Iraq and Syria by certain countries, or after the Qaddafi government was toppled most of the weapons which were being traded on the Libyan streets were purchased by two countries and they were sent to Iraq and Syria as well. Therefore, besides the charity organizations, some other countries which were at odds with the Syrian government also supported ISIL.  They didn't even stop the al-Nusra terrorist group which is a terrorist, heinous and criminal group and didn't stand in the way of other armed terrorist groups.  Based on the reports these countries were receiving, they concluded that the Syrian government wouldn't last more than two months and they thought after the fall of the Syrian government, they would also conquer Iraq within months and they would put an ened to the political system in Syria.  Right from the beginning, we said that the Syrian government won't be toppled in two years, three years or even more and the political system in this country will remain in place.  This issue has sectarian, regional and international aspects. 

    He can talk on endlessly, pointing each finger at someone else.

    He insists it has many, many aspects -- but, per Nouri, none ever have a thing to do with him.

    The Parliamentary investigation found otherwise.

    Iraqi Spring MC notes he's found a new line of attack:  Slamming the head of the Parliamentary Committee, insisting that the man stands accused of murder and kidnapping.

    Does the man stand accused of that?

    Because Nouri stands accused of mismanagement of the armed forces (to put it kindly) and corruption.

    Nouri's hourly bulletins might carry some weight (not much) if he made them from Iraq instead of hiding in Iran.

    But that is his pattern, after all.

    Flee Iraq whenever he wants.

    And this is the man that Bully Boy Bush installed as prime minister (in 2006) and that Barack insisted get a second term (after losing the 2010 elections).

    Fars News Agency reports today:

    "The ISIL was a movement created by certain regional states, headed by Saudi Arabia, with sectarian and political goals," Maliki, a former Prime Minister, told FNA in the Northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday.

    "The ISIL is supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey as Ankara sought to overthrow President Assad's government," he added.

    PMOI states, "Sky News TV reported on Tuesday, August 18th citing Iraqi sources: Maliki no longer enjoys judicial impunity and the Iraqi Parliament has referred an investigative committee report on the fall of Mosul to the Iraqi judiciary. Maliki is still in Iran and reports indicate other members of his family have joined him."  Asharq Al-Awsat's Manaf al-Obaidi reports:

    Some reports from Baghdad have suggested Maliki intends to remain in Iran following the referral of the Mosul report to Iraq’s judiciary and the possibility of his facing trial. But the source said Maliki would most likely return to Iraq on Thursday.
    “If he does not return or delays his return beyond this point, then it will be the end of his political career in Iraq, and this is something Maliki will not allow to happen so easily.”

    Never count rabid dog Nouri out until he's six feet under.  But the consensus among the chattering class insists Nouri's day is done.  For example, Noah Feldman (Bloomberg) offers:

    Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, is taking severe steps to rid himself of his troublesome predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki. On the heels of a government shakeup, the latest move is a parliamentary report blaming Maliki and many of his political and military leaders for the fall of Mosul to Islamic State last summer. The report is going to be referred to a public prosecutor -- which means Abadi may be plotting a criminal prosecution. Maliki is fighting back, issuing a public statement repudiating the report.

    In the continued and ongoing Iraq War, Margaret Griffis ( counts 179 violent deaths across the country today.

    Finally, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following today:

    IAVA works with Project on Government Oversight on veteran protections

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 19, 2015) — The Office of Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has dropped its demand to turn over records related to the more than 800 whistleblowers who came forward last year voicing problems within the VA healthcare system.
    After reports of fraud and mismanagement within the VA surfaced last year, IAVA partnered with the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to launch a secure website in May 2014 that allowed more than 800 whistleblowers and veterans to come forward. The site allowed whistleblowers to avoid going directly through the VA, which faced accusations that it had retaliated against whistleblowers.

    “IAVA is proud to work with POGO in giving whistleblowers and veterans a voice for our community at a time when the VA was not doing right by veterans,” said Matt Miller, IAVA Chief Policy Officer. “We are pleased to hear that the Office of Inspector General has ceased efforts to identify whistleblowers and we hope that the office will begin to focus its efforts based on what is best for the veteran.”

    Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA has repeatedly received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.