Saturday, August 29, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, August 29, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Nineveh Province residents state US forces are engaged in on the ground combat there, the Minister of Electricity gets a pass, the press gets giddy over Haider's latest statement, Iraqi activists are being assassinated (don't look for to cover it), and much more.

Starting with the farce that is reform in Iraq,  August 25th, the Minister of Electricity was supposed to appear before Parliament.  After no-showing, he finally appeared today.  Saif Hameed (Reuters) reports Qassim al-Fahdawi, after answering questions, had the "confidence" of the Parliament and adds, "The exoneration of Fahdawi, who took office a year ago, could stir anger among protesters who complain they have yet to see tangible results from reforms announced this month by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi."

There are no results -- tangible or otherwise -- in any of Haider's announcement.

Friday saw the fools come out -- not just lunatic Reidar -- exclaiming that the Green Zone was being opened! the Green zone was being opened!

Here's what had the boys and girls jizzing and creaming in their briefs and panties:

Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi issues orders to the Special Operations forces and the Baghdad Operations Command to carry out the necessary arrangements to open the Green Zone to citizens.


Aug 28 2015

Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi issues orders to the Special Operations forces and the Baghdad Operations Command to carry out the necessary arrangements to open the Green Zone to citizens.

PM Media Office

Haider ordered it, did he?

The same way, September 13, 2014, he ordered an ending to the bombing of the residential areas of Falluja?

Because, despite being a War Crime, the Iraqi military continued -- and continues -- to bomb the residential areas of Falluja.

Even the giddy BBC News had to express, deep in their report on the 'opening' of the Green Zone, this deflating reality, "It is not clear when the plan will be implemented."

It never is.

So maybe next time don't treat an announcement as an action?

Just saying.

Or don't treat someone who's exactly the same as his predecessor as though he's a completely different type of leader.

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Al Jazeera offers a ridiculous report on the suffering of the people of Anbar Province.

To be sure, they are suffering.

The ridiculous aspect is the "more than a month" timeline Al Jazeera offers for the Iraqi military operation to liberate or 'liberate' Iraq -- it began May 28th.

Yes, that is "more than a month."

In fact, it's more than two months.

And, today, it's more than three months.

For all the whiners in the press e-mailing how cruel and mean I am to them of late (of late? seriously, of late?), a musical interlude.

Oh, Oh, Oh, I
I learned to wave goodbye
How not to see my life
Through someone else's eyes
It's not an easy road
But now I'm not alone
So I, I won't be so hard on myself no more

Don't be so hard on yourself, no
Learn to forgive, learn to let go
Everyone trips, everyone falls
So don't be so hard on yourself, no
Because I'm just tired of marching on my own
Kind of frail, I feel it in my bones
Oh let my heart, my heart turn into stone
So don't be so hard on yourself, no
-- "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself," written by Jess Glynne, Wayne Hector and TMS, first appears on Jess' album I Cry When I Laugh

Back to Iraq, John Cassidy (New Yorker) surveys the landscape and offers:

Despite more than a year of air strikes by the United States and its allies, and despite some important battlefield successes by the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces during that time, ISIS appears to be as strong as ever. Or, at least, that is what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded, according to a report published a month ago by the Associated Press. And, this week, the Times revealed that the Pentagon is now investigating whether intelligence officials “skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress.”

Obama Administration officials continue to claim that the policy of air strikes, combined with the deployment of several thousand U.S. soldiers to train Iraq’s army and the supplying of arms to the so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria, will eventually bear fruit. “I’m confident that we will succeed in defeating ISIL and that we have the right strategy,” Ashton Carter, the Defense Secretary, said last week. But Carter also conceded that “it’s going take some time.” Assuming so, that means the task of confronting ISIS, and deciding whether to escalate the level of U.S. involvement, will almost certainly fall on the next President.

Rudaw interviewed Jeannette Seppen who was in Baghdad for two years as the Netherlands Ambassador to Iraq and who is leaving to become the Netherlands Ambassador to Pakistan:

What are your best memories of the past years?

On the one hand it is sad to see what happens to the country, and on the other it’s promising to see how much resilience people show. It was surreal to visit [the Iraqi province of] Wassit and see the happiness of the governor and his people—that they had visitors again. Those are beautiful moments; that even using modest means you can still do something.

And the way IDPs and refugees try with all their might to regain their lives, the resilient people you meet. On the one hand it is sad normal people always are the victim, and on the other it is admirable how they are able to get through.

What I told my successor is that we should try to contribute to bring the lives of these people to a more normal level. Let’s realize how good things are for us, compared to so many others, and let’s get the energy and the means from this awareness to share with others that have so much less. 

The Iraqi people continue their heroic struggle for freedom -- from occupation, from puppet leaders, from corruption, from sectarianism and so much more.

But the struggle's never easy, especially when activists are assaulted -- as Iraqi Spring MC and Zaid Benjamin note as activist Khaled al-Akili is assassinated.

  1. واسط: ناشطون: الميليشيات الحكومية تغتال أحد ناشطي محافظة واسط الناشط المدني "خالد العگيلي" قرب منزله بمدينة الكوت .

  • Iraq Times notes he was shot dead Saturday night in Kut by unknown gunmen (plural) and that he is one of several activists calling for demonstrations who has been assassinated.

    Protests took place Friday throughout Iraq:

    Incredible photos from by - protestors call for a secular  

    Turning to US politics, Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin.  Supposedly, he's seeking the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination.

    Supposedly, because I've never seen such a crap ass campaign and we covered Jill Stein's idiotic run in 2012.

    Walker's in the news because he gave a "major foreign policy speech."

    And you can find that out at NBC News, CBS News, etc.

    You just can't really find it at his campaign website.

    They're helpful enough to tell you how you can watch the now past speech "live" and they even offer five bulletin points from it.

    Here's a clue for Scott Walker's campaign, come into the 21st century.

    If you give a major speech, post it on your campaign website, you damn fool.

    If you don't, why did you give it?

    What a moron.

    And that "moron" is due to his idiotic campaign website.

    We long ago noted at Third, ten years ago?, that your website was your online office.  You need to run it effectively.

    Bill Barrow (AP) reports:

    Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is calling for U.S. forces in Iraq to engage in direct combat to defeat "radical Islamic terrorists" in the Middle East.
    Yet even as the Wisconsin governor predicts a "generational struggle," he continues to avoid calling for additional ground troops beyond the roughly 3,200 military security personnel, trainers and advisers now deployed.

    Is that an accurate portrayal of Walker's view?

    I have no idea.

    He and his campaign were too stupid to post a transcript of the speech online.

    Some partisan outlets (Vox, to name one) are treating the above position sketched out by Barrow as outrageous.

    But this is US President Barack Obama's position -- though they never call him out.

    He's the one who's put over 3,200 US military personnel in Iraq.

    And this is close to the 3,500 to 4,000 he wanted to leave in Iraq after December 2011.

    And their being in combat?

    That's what he told the New York Times when he was first running for the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination -- that after starting a withdrawal, if things went bad in Iraq, he was fine with sending troops back into Iraq.

    Oh, is this news to you?

    It's because the New York Times failed to report it.

    They did a fluffy, frou-frou report based on an extensive interview with Barack.  We took the transcript of the interview and wrote the reality at Third in November 4, 2007's "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq':"

    Presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama who is perceived as an 'anti-war' candidate by some announced that he would not commit to a withdrawal, declared that he was comfortable sending US troops back into Iraq after a withdrawal started and lacked clarity on exactly what a withdrawal under a President Obama would mean.

    Declaring that "there are no good options in Iraq," Senator Obama went on to explain that even with his 16 month plan for withdrawal, he would continue to keep US troops in Iraq, agreeing that he would "leave behind residual force" even after what he is billing as a "troop withdrawal."

    "Even something as simple as protecting our embassy is going to be dependent on what is the security environment in Baghdad. If there is some sense of security, then that means one level of force. If you continue to have significant sectarian conflict, that means another, but this is an area where Senator Clinton and I do have a significant contrast," Senator Obama offered contrasting himself with his chief opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination. "I do think it is important for us not only to protect our embassy, but also to engage in counter-terrorism activities. We’ve seen progress against AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq], but they are a resilient group and there’s the possibility that they might try to set up new bases. I think that we should have some strike capability. But that is a very narrow mission, that we get in the business of counter terrorism as opposed to counter insurgency and even on the training and logistics front, what I have said is, if we have not seen progress politically, then our training approach should be greatly circumscribed or eliminated."

    The Senator insisted, "I want to be absolutely clear about this, because this has come up in a series of debates: I will remove all our combat troops, we will have troops there to protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities. How large that force is, whether it’s located inside Iraq or as an over the horizon force is going to depend on what our military situation is."

    The positon of the majority of Americans in poll after poll is that all US troops need to be brought home by 2008. Senator Obama's strategy calls for bringing some troops home, should he be elected president, in his first sixteen months; however, he is not, by his own words, an advocate of a "Out of Iraq" strategy.

    While maintaining that he would remove all combat troops in sixteen months he did agree that the forces left behind to fight "terrorists" would be performing "a combat function."

    He also spoke of deployment, and presumably bases, "in places like Kuwait" in order "to strike at terrorist targets successfully."

    Returning the topic of leaving US forces in Iraq even after what he's billed as a "withdrawal," the Senator delcared, "As commander in chief, I’m not going to leave trainers unprotected. In our counterterrorism efforts, I’m not going to have a situation where our efforts can’t be successful. We will structure those forces so they can be successful. We would still have human intelligence capabilities on the ground. Some of them would be civilian, as opposed to military, some would be operating out of our bases as well as our signal intelligence.

    The senator also admitted that he was comfortable with sending troops back into Iraq after what he's terming a "withdrawal" though he wanted to split hairs on what constituted "armed force."  

    Again, if that's news to you, take it up with the New York Times which had the above quotations and chose not to run with them.  As we said at the end of the above:

    That's the story they could have written based upon the interview conducted by Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny. As C.I. noted in Friday's "Iraq snapshot," the interview the reporters conducted hit harder than the sop they wrote up on it that ran on Friday's front page of the paper. 

    Walker's position is not significantly different from Barack's.  (And, for the record, I don't support either's position on Iraq.)

    And for those really harping on Walker's position that US forces should be in combat, they already are.  Those bombs dropped from US war planes?

    That's combat.

    In addition, Wael Grace (Al Mada) reported this week on what the people of Nineveh Province were seeing: US forces joining Iraqi forces in combat.

    The residents say this is not 'consulting' or 'advising' but that US forces are actually taking part in on the ground combat.