MR KIRBY: Yeah.
QUESTION: The Iraqi Kurds have claimed that ISIS has used chemical – may have used chemical gas against their fighters near Erbil. Is that – have you seen those reports?
MR KIRBY: I have not.
Yesterday afternoon, the State Dept's spokesperson John Kirby hadn't even heard of the reports.
Hours later, unnamed "US officials" ("defense officials") were telling NBC News' Courtney Kube that they believed the Islamic State had used mustard gas.
Elliot Hannon (Slate) worded it this way:
American officials believe ISIS likely used chemical weapons in Iraq on Wednesday, a development that for the first time indicates the militant group has obtained outlawed chemical weapons. Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in northern Iraq reported difficulty breathing following an ISIS attack, a worrying sign generally considered an indication of chemical weapons use. U.S. officials believe mustard gas was the chemical agent used.
The US is highly concerned about this possible use of chemical weapons indicating a sea change of concerns when it comes to chemical weapons in Iraq.
It was the US that used white phosphorus (admitted after pressed) and depleted uranium (still denying), for example. The chemical attacks on Falluja, for example, have resulted in birth defects -- a huge increase -- and the US government has neither apologized nor acknowledged its role.
So it's good that the US government is finally showing a little bit of concern over the use (or alleged use) of chemical weapons in Iraq.
The US government should, of course, be even more outraged by the attack on a maternity hospital in Falluja yesterday.
This attack is not "alleged." The staff has spoken to the press about it and there is photographic evidence.
The attack resulted in many deaths including the deaths of infants.
Of course, the US government and the world press have averted their eyes because the attack was carried out by the Iraqi military (using the war planes the US provided them with).
How has Haider al-Abadi and, the prime minister before him, Nouri al-Maliki gotten away with two years of bombing civilians in Falluja?
Because the world looks the other way.
Plenty of puffed up chest talk about Iraq and how important it is -- but that all boils down to political football words in the US. There's no real concern for Iraqis, just efforts to use them and their country for partisan gain.
Thug Nouri's back in the news:
Al Baghdadiya TV broadcasted the following report on Thursday, August 13th citing Iraqi government sources:
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has sent two letters to the Integrity Commission to have this commission immediately begin investigating on a number of corruption files regarding Nouri Maliki and Baha al-Araji. The most important of these files is equipping the army with weapons, selling foreign currency in the Central Bank and granting loans to the provinces.
According to these sources Haider al-Abadi has emphasized on opening the corruption files of Ahmad Maliki, the son of Maliki.
File it under "believe it when you see it."
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