Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, September 8, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the deputy minister of justice is kidnapped,  Turkey conducts raids into Iraq, and much more.

Starting with the sadly laughable US State Dept where, today, spokesperson John Kirby moderated a press briefing today.

QUESTION: But it seems bizarre that you find Iran’s role in Iraq as kind of positive. I have heard Secretary Kerry saying that whoever kills ISIS is kind of – is positive. And then on the other side, Iran and Assad are kind of the same – different sides of the same coin in --

MR KIRBY: What we’ve said about Iran’s involvement in Iraq is – and nothing’s changed about that, that – and we understand they have concerns, they got a border there, and certainly we’re not unmindful of the fact that they provide some measure of support to some of the Shia militia inside Iraq. But our message has been the same to Iran as it is to every country in the region, and that is: If you’re going to get involved in Iraq, you need to do it through the Government of Iraq and – officially – and don’t do anything that’s going to further inflame or arise sectarian tensions.


John Kirby said what?

"If you’re going to get involved in Iraq, you need to do it through the Government of Iraq."


No, they didn't say that to "every country in the region."

Sorry, John, you're wrong.

No one said that, for example, to Turkey.

Let's drop back to the July 28th snapshot for an extended memory jog:

The Daily Sabah notes that Turkish F-16 war planes continue bombing northern Iraq.

In related news, the US State Dept noted today, "There is NO Daily Press Briefing."

Of course not.

No way could they send John Kirby back out to face the press after yesterday's embarrassing performance.

For those who missed it, we noted this in Monday's snapshot, Kirby prattled on and on about the rights of the Turkish government.

Yes, it was embarrassing but, as we noted, what about the rights of the Iraqi government?

Kirby created a 'right' where Turkey can bomb any country in the world.

He just didn't recognize Iraq's sovereignty.

Not everyone plays it so stupid.

14 hours ago
  1. Council of Ministers considers Turkish airstrikes on Iraqi territory a dangerous escalation and a violation of Iraq's sovereignty (1/3)

  • The Council stressed commitment not to allow any attack on Turkey from Iraqi territory and called on Turkey to respect good relations (2/3)

  • Council of Ministers also called on Turkey to increase water discharge to Tigris and Euphrates in accordance with bilateral agreements (3/3)

  • Haider al-Abadi is the Prime Minister of Iraq.

    In the US government's rush to embrace the bombings Turkey is carrying out, they forgot (a) that Iraq's supposed to be an ally and (b) that these bombings had previously outraged Iraqis.

    It's a reality we were noting in Saturday's snapshot:

    The Turkish government -- probably like many others -- is using the pretext of the Islamic State to attack Iraq.
    In doing so, it is violating Iraq's sovereignty yet again.
    This didn't work out well before, for any who paid attention.
    The Turkish warplanes, announcements swore, killed 'terrorists.'  Reality, they bombed farming communities and killed civilians.
    This didn't endear them to the Iraqi people.
    There was outrage, naturally.

    The US government is now scrambling to craft a 'position' on the strikes -- hoping to approve of Turkey's bombings while still pretending to respect Iraq's sovereignty.

    And that's why there was no press briefing today.

    But there's a good chance that, had the State Dept held a press briefing today, the press would have ignored the issue of Iraq's sovereignty.

    The press ignored it in Monday's briefing.

    And while we've raised the issue every day (here for Sunday and you can also read Third's "Editorial: Turkey attacks Iraq"), the western press has avoided it.

    Now that the prime minister of Iraq has weighed in publicly, the western press may have to cover this aspect of the story.

    Or maybe not.

    It was maybe not.

    Listen to me, don't walk that street
    There's always an end to it
    Come and be free, you know who I am
    We're just living people

    We won't have a thing
    So we got nothing to lose
    We can all be free
    Maybe not with words
    Maybe not with a look
    But with your mind

    -- "Maybe Not," written by Chan Marshall (also known as Cat Power), first appears on Cat's You Are Free.

    And today John Kirby was insisting that, "If you’re going to get involved in Iraq, you need to do it through the Government of Iraq" -- but that was never the policy for Turkey.

    The US government gladly ignored Turkey violating Iraq's sovereignty and gladly ignored it again today.

    AFP  reports,  "Turkish forces crossed into northern Iraq to pursue Kurdish militants Tuesday after the deadliest rebel attacks in years left dozens dead as the decades long conflict escalated. Thirteen Turkish police were killed Tuesday in a new attack by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as violence in the east threatened to spiral out of control."

    Turkey's allowed to repeatedly violate Iraq's sovereignty and even when Iraq's leaders -- including the prime minister object -- the US government just looks the other way.

    If Mexico was bombing parts of California or Texas and launching ground raids, you better believe this same US government would be screaming its head off about national sovereignty being violated.

    There's also the harm that these raids can cause in the battle against the Islamic State.  AP observes, "The operations however, threaten to complicate the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq. The PKK, which maintains bases in northern Iraq, has fought against the extremist militants in Iraq alongside Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces which are allied with the United States."

    But State Dept spokesperson John Kirby just pretends nothing is happening.

    It's amazing what the US government will look the other way for.

    For example?

    Harmeet Sooden (Global Research) has come up with  a timeline of War Crimes in Iraq which includes:

    11 March 2015 – An ABC News investigation into Iraqi units known as the ‘dirty brigades’ uncoversphotographic evidence of “Iraq’s most elite units and militia members massacring civilians, torturing and executing prisoners, and displaying severed heads”. For example, a “photo posted in September [2014] showed the severed head of [an] alleged ISIS fighter lashed to the grill of a U.S.-donated Humvee bearing an Iraqi Army license plate” and a “second related photo surfaced of what appeared to be an Iraqi Army soldier holding up the same severed head next to the gun truck.” In a video circulating in January 2015, “[f]ighters who appear to be a mix of militia and army…take pictures of a captured teenaged boy who appears terrified” and “shoot him to death”. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch review the “graphic evidence of Iraqi government forces committing torture, summarily executing civilians – including children – and even beheading captives.”

    13 March 2015 – A UN report concludes that, throughout the summer of 2014, pro-government militias and the popular mobilisation forces (PMF) “seem[ed] to operate with total impunity, leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake.”

    18 March 2015 – Human Rights Watch releases a report and media statement with evidence of “[m]ilitias, volunteer fighters, and Iraqi security forces engaged in deliberate destruction of civilian property after these forces, following US and Iraqi air strikes, forced the retreat of [ISIS] from the town of Amerli and surrounding areas in early September 2014” and displaced thousands.

    19 March 2015 – Physicians for Social Responsibility releases a report attributing the deaths of up to one million Iraqis to the Iraq War (between 2003 and 2012).

    28 March 2015 – An article in Foreign Policy argues the US-led coalition is effectively providing air cover for ethnic cleansing for government-backed militias.

    3 April 2015 – Amnesty International begins investigating reports of “widespread human rights abuses” by government-backed militias during and after the re-capture of the Tikrit area, including “reports that scores of residents have been seized early last month and not heard of since, and that residents’ homes and businesses have been blown up or burned down after having been looted by militias”, and “summary executions of men who may or may not have been involved in combat but who were killed after having been captured”.

    4 April 2015 – Reuters correspondents witness “a convoy of Shi’ite paramilitary fighters – the government’s partners in liberating the city – drag a corpse through the streets behind their car.” They also witness “two federal policemen…[u]rged on by a furious mob, [who] took out knives and repeatedly stabbed the man in the neck and slit his throat” in an apparent attempt to behead him, and then “fastened [a cable] to the dead man’s feet and dangled him from the pole.” Official sources told Reuters that “dozens of homes had been torched in the city” and “they had witnessed the looting of stores by Shi’ite militiamen.”

    11 April 2015 – The Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters, Ned Parker, leaves Iraq after he was threatened on Facebook and denounced by a Shi’ite paramilitary group’s satellite news channel in reaction to a Reuters report that detailed lynching and looting in Tikrit. Parker is a 12-year veteran of Iraq war coverage. A media advocacy group, Committee to Protect Journalists, says that at least 15 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2013.

    12 April 2015 – The Wall Street Journal interviews several Iraqi soldiers being trained at Taji Military Complex, who openly say “they actively served on their days off with Shiite militia – some of them…still listed by the U.S. as terrorist groups.”

    It's amazing what the Shi'ite militias have gotten away with.

    And now the thugs making up the Shi'ite militias are attempting to destroy Iraq yet again.  Alsumaria reports the so-called popular mobilization -- thugs with guns -- decided to intimidate the Parliament today as they gathered to denounce any efforts of the Parliament to pass a law creating a National Guard.  They insist the law is being pushed by enemies of the people.

    September 10, 2014, US President Barack Obama declared, "We’ll also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL’s control."

    He'd actually begun backing the proposal months before.

    And this was actually supposed to be a 'conditional' -- US support was supposed to require that this be passed.

    Over a year after Barack began bombing Iraq -- to help Iraq, you understand -- there is still no law.

    Alsumaria notes Parliament was supposed to hold a session on the National Guard proposal today but it's now been postponed until at least Wednesday.

    Objections are also coming from Iraqiya.  Al Mada reports that the political bloc's spokesperson Maysoon al-Damalouji declared today that the bloc remains bothered by the lack of clarity regarding who would be in charge of the National Guard -- the provinces, smaller local units, etc.  The bloc Ayad Allawi leads believes that the National Guard should be placed under the control of the prime minister and does not appear willing to support it until that is made clear.

    If Barack had insisted that US efforts work towards a political solution, maybe the struggle over the bill wouldn't be continuing over a year later?

    June 19, 2014, it was Barack who insisted publicly that the only solution to Iraq's multitude of crises was a political solution.

    But it was the same Barack who directed all efforts -- Defense and State -- towards war -- finding other countries to join in the bombing campaign.

    There is no solution in Iraq today mainly because Barack doesn't want one.

    He's more than ready to kick the can and let the next president deal with his mess.

    Though she's failed to provide any plan for how she would address the Islamic State, Hillary Clinton really, really wants to be the next US president.

    As Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "She's Sorry" documents, Hillary still doesn't have the brains to issue an apology and move on.

    And now it's really too late.

    The smug politician who can't admit they're wrong isn't a popular one.

    Now she's arguing the CIA is wrong when they claim that at least two our of 40 of her e-mails they've examined contained classified information.

    Yes, Hillary, everyone's wrong but you.

    Poor little perfect you.

    And the idiots who've defended her -- Bob Somerby and David Brock among them -- fail to grasp, she's not Colin Powell.

    Powell didn't run to become president.

    His using a private e-mail (he did not use a server) as Secretary of State doesn't really matter (and was eons ago in the digital age).

    She did.

    And she wants to be president despite the fact that Inspector Generals and the CIA are saying she sent and received classified information.

    But they're wrong because Hillary says so -- the woman who scrubbed her server says everyone else is wrong.

    What her cult of defenders never got is you can't be president if you're compromising national security.

    Forget whether your actions were illegal or not.

    If you're compromising national security, you really don't qualify as presidential.

    And if she had any brains or integrity left, she'd have issued an announcement that she was suspending her now laughable campaign to address these issues.

    Reuters notes the acting deputy minister of justice was kidnapped today.  When are the press going to start demanding that those seeking the presidency start sharing how they would address the Islamic State and how they'd address the crises in Iraq?