Friday, August 28, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Friday, August 28, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, persecution of Sunnis continue, Barack cooks the intel or does he have it cooked for him?, and much more.

To the land of Haider al-Abadi's Iraq.

Remember him?

The US government installed him this time last year as prime minister.

Iraq was in flames.

US President Barack Obama had already called the Islamic State "jv" (junior varsity -- meaning not good enough for varsity).

And he really wasn't wrong.

Some leap on him for that.

But the Islamic State was -- and still is -- junior varsity for Iraq.

Meaning when you go through the problems Iraq faces, the crises, the Islamic State really isn't the most pressing.

That's why, June 19, 2014, Barack insisted that the only solution to the crises in Iraq was a political solution -- you know, the only thing they've refused to work on.

A political solution is needed because the country is dividing, yes, along sectarian fault lines but also because if you are a Kurd in today's Iraq there is a good chance you are persecuted and if you are a Sunni in today's Iraq there is a great chance you are persecuted.

Doubt it?

  • 's celeb militiaman Abu Azrael was filmed mutilating corpse of -er he allegedly burned to death. He's one of the good guys, right?

  • As noted, this thug is treated by the western media as something heroic -- a Rambo.

    It's that sort of whoring by the press that allows so many around the world to never grasp what's going on in Iraq or how things got to the point they are now.

    Or take this:

  • After executing 20 Sunni today.. Ministry of 'Justice' in is set to executes 21 Sunni female prisoners in soon..

  • How is that different from Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq?

    Right or wrong, the perception from Nouri's executions was that he was using the death penalty to get rid of Sunnis.

    Haider was supposed to provide a re-set.

    He was supposed to say to the Iraqi people, "We do not have dictators in today's Iraq.  Nouri's policies were Nouri's policies.  The Iraqi people tired of them and we can change.  I am change."

    Haider was a name change.

    Anything else though?

    Not really.

    He's supposedly addressing corruption.


    Seen any arrests yet?

    Any trials?

    Anything other than words?

    Well . . . there's the power-grab.

    That's what the reforms are.

    Remember in January 2011 when Nouri finally had his cabinet?

    But he had refused to nominate anyone for the national security posts?

    And the press insisted that, for example, Nouri would nominate someone to be the Minister of Defense in a matter of weeks -- the western press insisted that?

    Remember how one voice said that wasn't happening?

    Ayad Allawi, leader of Iraqiya, who had won the 2010 elections, defeated Nouri (who was kept on by the US-brokered Erbil Agreement -- a legal contract that gave him his second term).

    Allawi said it was a power grab.

    Allawi said Nouri was taking control of those ministries.

    And a few outlets -- western outlets -- quoted Allawi.

    None took him seriously.

    In August of 2014, Nouri finally was out as prime minister.

    During that time, who was Minister of Defense?

    Oh, right, Nouri never nominated anyone for that post or the other security ministries.

    It was a power grab.

    Ayad Allawi called it correctly.

    So maybe the press should show some interest when Allawi makes a call today?

    Doesn't mean he's right.  Just means he's worth listening to.  Worth considering.

    And what is he saying?

    National Iraqi News Agency reported:

    Head of the National Coalition (Watania List), Iyad Allawi said the government's action to cancel positions is austerity measures and not reforms.

    He said in a televised interview tonight, "the government austerity measures and not a reform, warning at the same time to circumvent the demands of the demonstrations or the political agreement document, stressing that the real reform is the agreement that produced the three presidencies (the Republic, the government and parliament)."

    He added that the Iraqi Constitution has been shredded by the lack of implementation of the agreed political agreement before the formation of the government, ".

    Yesterday, Alsumaria reported Allawi issued a statement declaring support for the Constitution and for the Iraqi citizens who have protested for the last five weeks demaning and end to currption and their rights.

    In addition, Middle East Online reported:

    Iraqi President Fuad Masum said Wednesday Iraq's constitution should be amended rather than bypassed, in an apparent criticism of the premier's plan to abolish the constitutionally mandated vice presidency.
    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered Iraq's three vice presidential positions to be scrapped and their funding reallocated as part of a reform drive aimed at curbing rampant corruption and government waste in response to weeks of protests.
    Masum called on his website for "protecting the constitution... and not bypassing it and not stopping working with it."

    It's funny because John Kirby and other US State Dept spokespersons avoid the issue -- the issue of the law and the Constitution and the objections being raised.  They just offer support.

    Even the hideous Victoria Nuland -- spokesperson during Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State -- attempted to cloak her ruthless imperialism with the law.

    Not the latest spokespeople.

    Of course, Le Figaro and Iraq Times are convinced that the focus should be not on Haider but on his invisible man, his hidden man, Deputy Director Nofal Hassan Abu Barns who fled Iraq in the early 90s and went from a refugee at a refugee camp to, boom, CIA territory and the United States.   According to those two outlets, the White House insisted to Haider that his becoming prime minister hinged on whether or not he agreed to take Nofal on as deputy (or handler).

    Meanwhile Shane Harris and Nancy Youssef (Daily Beast) report:

    Senior military and intelligence officials have inappropriately pressured U.S. terrorism analysts to alter their assessments about the strength of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, three sources familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast. Analysts have been pushed to portray the group as weaker than the analysts believe it actually is, according to these sources, and to paint an overly rosy picture about how well the U.S.-led effort to defeat the group is going.
    Reports that have been deemed too pessimistic about the efficacy of the American-led campaign, or that have questioned whether a U.S.-trained Iraqi military can ultimately defeat ISIS, have been sent back down through the chain of command or haven’t been shared with senior policymakers, several analysts alleged.

    And that comes as Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo (New York Times) reported mid-week, "The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry."

    Why would they cook the intelligence?

    Maybe because Barack's plan or 'plan' is a failure.

    Maybe because bombing Iraq hasn't helped Iraq.

    Maybe because training Iraqi forces hasn't helped one bit.  Not in the years and years and years of training.

    This week saw two major reports on military actions in Iraq.

    Thursday, a suicide bomber has struck in Ramadi.  BBC News reported that the bomber took his own life as well as the lives of Iraqi General Abdel Rahman Abu Ragheef and Brigadier Safeen Abdel Majeed as well as three other people.

    And to think, the three months and counting operation was getting so little attention but today, thanks to that awful news, Haider al-Abadi's failed mission is back in the news.

    Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) notes that the Islamic State has claimed credit for the bombing:

    The extremist group gave different account about the attack, saying that it was carried out by four of its suicide bombers driving explosive-laden vehicles and two supporting militants with heavy machine guns who targeted the main headquarters of the provincial operations command in north of Ramadi, the statement said.
    All of its six militants were killed along with killing dozens of officers and soldiers, including Staff Major General Abdul-Rahaman Abu Raghif, deputy commander of Anbar provincial Operations Command, and Staff Brig. Gen. Sefien Abdul-Majid, commander of the Army's Tenth Division, said the group which the authenticity of its statement could not be independently verified.

    The statement gave the names of the IS attackers, whom their names showed that they are from Tunisia, Gaza Strip, Tajikistan, Germany, Saudi Arab and Syria.

    Wednesday brought news of multiple villages allegedly being liberated from the control of the Islamic State.  Isabel Coles and Raissa Kasolowky (Reuters) reported that the Kurdish military -- with assist from US bombers -- had liberated ten villages in Kirkuk.

    But, again, that was the Kurdish forces.

    They're not under Haider al-Abadi's control.

    The forces under Haider's control are noted for repeat failures.  In fact, their only real 'success' tends to be in the pillaging aspect they try to down play.

    There's been no success with US training or US direct arming.  And the Kurds have been kept at arms' length with the White House and State Dept insisting the rule of law must be respected -- that is except when the rule of law is the Iraqi Constitution and Haider al-Abadi's trampling it.

    Or when the rule of law is international law and the Leahy Amendment which forbid the US to provide weapons to a government that uses those weapons on its own people -- and the civilians of Falluja have been bombed by the Iraqi military every day since January 2014.

    But we all look away from that, don't we?

    And if we can will ourselves to ignore that, we can certainly will ourselves to pretend Barack's bombings have been a success and that the Islamic State is on the run in Iraq, right?

    Matthew Continetti (Free Beacon) offers an assessment:

    The anniversary of the U.S. war against the Islamic State passed with little notice. It was August 7 of last year that President Obama authorized the first airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, a campaign he expanded a month later to include targets in Syria. So far this month, the president has delivered remarks on the Voting Rights Act, his deal with Iran, the budget, clean energy, and Hurricane Katrina. ISIS? Not a peep.
    Obama’s quiet because the war is not going well. Despite the loss of Tikrit earlier this year, the Islamic State’s western boundary is stable, and its eastern boundary now encroaches on Damascus. The president’s air campaign is one of the most limited and desultory America has fought in decades—ranking last in daily averages of strike sorties and bombs dropped. In late July, when the Turks permitted America the use of their air bases to launch attacks on ISIS, a “senior administration official” told the New York Times that the decision was “a game changer.” In the ensuing days the number of airstrikes in Syria actually fell.

    The growing number of U.S. advisers—there are now more than 3,300 American military personnel in Iraq—has been unable to repair the damage wrought on the Iraqi Army by sectarian and political purges after our 2011 withdrawal. Even as the administration brags about killing more than 10,000 ISIS terrorists, a number that strains credulity, the Caliphate has become more deeply entrenched in its territory, and inspires attacks abroad.