Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, October 21, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Russia and the US want to dance with Haider, the US continues bombing Iraq, the number of reported cholera cases continue to increase, and much more.

In the fall of 2014, US puppet Haider al-Abadi, newly installed as prime minister of Iraq, thought he'd be a player on the world stage.  Full of hubris, he made one faux pas after another culminating with his public claim that he had intel the Islamic State was determined to strike NYC subways.

After that he was bum rushed off the world stage and has been left to nurse his hurt pride ever since.

 I see a possibility 
And try it out for size
And it's so scary
What I might be losing
But I'm willing
Open for surprise
Feeling so alive 
Between the promise and the prize
-- "The Promise And The Prize," written by Carly Simon for the television show PHENOM

Iraq, especially puppet Haider al-Abadi, is caught between something.   Patrick Cockburn (Independent) reports:

Iraqi political and military leaders are demanding that the government follow Syria in requesting Russia to start air attacks on Isis fighters in Iraq. 
Two members of parliament are quoted as saying that the Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, is under "tremendous pressure" from his ruling National Alliance group to call for Russian military help.

But Pravda reports, "Iraq no longer intends to appeal to Russia for help in the fight against terrorists. Allegedly, such a decision was made after the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army Joseph Dunford paid a visit to the country. "  CBS and AP quote Dunford stating, "I said it would make it very difficult for us to be able to provide the kind of support you need if the Russians were here conducting operations as well.  We can't conduct operations if the Russians were operating in Iraq right now." Ahmed Rasheed and Saif Hameed (Reuters) observe, "Growing pressure on Abadi to seek Russian support puts him in the delicate position of trying to appease his ruling coalition, as well as militias seen as a bulwark against Islamic State, while keeping strategic ally Washington on his side."

Exploring the topic further, Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Al Monitor) offers:

So far, Abadi seems to have resisted the pressure placed by Shiite forces and parties, such as the Popular Mobilization Units that announced Sept. 20 that “the Baghdad-Damascus-Tehran-Moscow alliance is a natural and legal right for Iraq.” These forces stressed the need for full participation in the Russian alliance and to speed up the official request that Russia take part in attacks on IS in Iraq.
Yet Abadi is taking his time and does not want to risk his relations with the West at this sensitive stage. He has contented himself with the intelligence cooperation and arms deals with Russia, and he has refrained from going beyond this point to avoid losing the United States as a strategic ally of Iraq.
Abadi is reasonable in being cautious, because the Iraqi political situation is vulnerable and would not tolerate further internal divisions, which would take place in the event of a radical change in the Iraqi international alliances. In addition, Abadi does not perceive the new Russian alliance as a guaranteed alternative to the Western one, and he does not desire that Iraq be turned into a field for a new battle between the world powers, which would lead to dire consequences.
At the same time, Abadi does not believe he can manage without an external party to help Iraq restore its territorial integrity and get rid of IS. This is particularly true in light of Russia's strong participation in fighting IS and US confirmation that the fight will be long.

Haider al-Abadi is at a deciding point.

What can I say this time
Which card shall I play
The dream is not over,
The dream is just away
And you will fly
like some little wing
straight back to the sun
The dream was never over
The dream has just begun
The dream has just begun

-- "Straight Back," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on Fleetwood Mac's MIRAGE

He seems to be taking cues from his predecessor.

Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki loved to play kick the can.

His special brand of it was to make promises for a future date and then stall and stall and, when the date finally arrived, act like no promises were ever made.

Haider seems to think he can wait out this power struggle between the governments of Russia and the United States.

But most likely, his stalling only continues to weaken him internally within Iraq.

Meanwhile, the United Nations calls attention to worsening conditions in Iraq:

The humanitarian situation in Iraq is deteriorating and growing more complex, as conflict protracts, coping capacities diminish, and funding falls short, according to a report issued today by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The number of Iraqis requiring humanitarian assistance has grown to over 8.6 million people, including over 3.2 million people who have fled their homes since January 2014, according to OCHA. The International Organization for Migration’s most recent tracking of displacement shows that there are now 3,206,736 internally displaced people in Iraq, while military operations and insecurity have triggered new displacement in Salah al-Din and Anbar governorates.
Cholera has spread across the country, with over 1,600 confirmed cases and two deaths one month after the outbreak was first declared, according to the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO). The main causes for the current outbreak are broken water supply systems and the lack of sufficient chlorine in the country to provide clean water.
Insecurity and military operations continue, as Iraqi security forces and its allies continue military operations to retake areas from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Amidst unverified reports of an escalation of military operations there have been reports of civilians seeking to leave Ramadi and Falluja, but access to safety for civilians in conflict areas remains a concern, according to the OCHA report.
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq reported that at least 537 Iraqi civilians were killed and 925 civilians injured nationwide in September 2015. This includes civilian police and casualty figures from Anbar.
International assistance has alleviated the suffering of over two million Iraqis during the past year, but funding is still short of growing needs, said OCHA. Overall global funding to Iraq in 2015 is $618 million, of which $237 million has been received outside the UN and its partners' joint appeals. On 4 June, the Government of Iraq and the UN launched a revised and prioritized Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan seeking $498 million, 41 per cent of which has currently been received. 

The Associated Press notes the 1,600-plus cases of cholera today are in contrast to the 54 cases that had been confirmed previously as of September 22nd.  Saif Hameed, Isabel Coles and Jon Boyle (Reuters) add that the Iraqi Ministry of Health has confirmed over 1800 cases and, "The illness, which can lead to death by dehydration and kidney failure within hours if left untreated, was detected last month west of Baghdad." And AFP reports, "Ministry spokesman Rifaq al-Araji told AFP that the governorates of Baghdad and Babil, south of the capital, were the worst affected with more than 500 cases each."

Monday night, Betty weighed in:

The failure Barack pretends the bombings are 'humanitarian' but when Iraq needs real humanitarian help, where's the money?
No where to be found.

And still the bombs drop as Operation Inherent Failure continues with the DoD announcing today:

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 14 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the government of Iraq:

-- Near Kisik, six strikes struck an ISIL vehicle bomb facility and destroyed five separate ISIL staging areas.

-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL command and control node, an ISIL bomb, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 14 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL light machine gun, and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike suppressed ISIL mortar fire.

-- Near Tal Afar, one strike destroyed 16 ISIL fighting positions.

Jacky Sutton's death was news earlier this week.

A little blubber in my igloo
And I knew you pigtails and all 
Girls, when they fall
And they said Marianne killed herself
And I said not a chance
-- "Marianne," written by Tori Amos, first appears on her BOYS FOR PELE

The family has decided to go along with a 'finding' many who knew Sutton feel is off the wall.  They would like their privacy.  So they'll have it here.  But in closing on this issue, we'll just note that it is deeply, deeply stupid to issue the statement they did while also wanting to add sotto voice that if other details emerge . . .

No, there are no other details when you tell the world, "Disperse, nothing to see here."  Should other details emerge, they will do so when the press' attention has moved on to other topics and when there is no 'fresh' value to Sutton's death to motivate coverage.

The family has ensured that there will be no serious investigation as a result of their idiotic statement.

It is one thing to say, "We want our privacy and await the results of the investigation."

It is quite another to say, "We want our privacy and believe the findings reported by the Turkish press."

We have serious issues to cover here.  The family's statement has ensured that Jacky Sutton's death will no longer be treated like a serious issue.

ahmed rasheed