Saturday, October 31, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, October 31, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the Cult of St. Barack plays cat-got-their-tongue while Obama ramps up more war, Amnesty International calls out the attack on the Ashraf community at Camp Liberty, and much more.

The silence is deafening.

More war is declared and the so-called leaders of what was once a peace movement are playing duck-and-cover to avoid standing up.

The New York Daily News declares, "Mark another awkward milestone in President Obama’s foreign policy: The United States of America has kind of, sort of backed into combat operations in Syria and Iraq."  Trevor Timm (Guardian) goes further:

In 2012, Obama unequivocally said he would end the war in Afghanistan, and chided Mitt Romney the Republican nominee for not promising that. In 2013, Obama said: “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.” In 2014, Obama said: “We will not be sending US troops back into combat in Iraq”. At this point, all of those promises have been completely broken.
Worse, the Obama administration has effectively removed the democratic process (and Congress) from any decision making on whether to go to war. We now have ground troops inside Syria without any sort of legal authorization from Congress. Obama explicitly campaigned in 2012 on ending the Afghanistan war, which he has now extended beyond his term. The Obama administration also went into Libya and removed Muammar Gaddafi, despite the House voting against it beforehand. 

The war against the Islamic State is morphing yet again despite Operation Inherent Failure's lack of measurable success.  Bill van Auken (WSWS) reminds:

When ISIS headed eastward from Syria and overran roughly a third of Iraq, including its third-largest city, Mosul, the Obama administration launched its direct intervention in both countries, conducting air strikes and redeploying some 3,500 US troops to Iraq. Now the intervention has morphed into a war against ISIS dubbed “Operation Inherent Resolve.”
More than a year after that “war” was launched, the grip of ISIS over large swathes of both Iraq and Syria remains virtually unchanged. The desultory character of the US campaign is explicable only from the standpoint that Washington has no desire to destroy the Islamist militia, which it still counts as one of the main fighting forces in the war for regime change, which remains the principal US objective.

The White House announced troops would be sent into Syria.

Repeating, the White House announced troops would be sent into Syria.

Barack declared,  "I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria."

But, too bad, that was September 10, 2013.

So many broken promises.

And all those promises
that you made me from the start
were filled with emptiness
from the desert of your heart
Every sweet caress
was just your second best
Broken promises

Baby, I'm amazed
at how long I still believed
How many lies it takes
before someone like me sees
All the tears you cried
They never could deny
that you made love a lie
All those tears you cried
They never could deny
that you made love a lie

-- "All Those Promises," written by Janis Ian, first appears on her album Folk Is The New Black

It's as though Janis composed the theme song for the deprogrammed members of The Cult of St. Barack.

Dan Roberts (Guardian) explains the pretzel 'logic' liars now find themselves in:

Administration officials were left squirming on Friday to explain how sending special forces to work alongside Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State was compatible with Obama’s earlier promises not to “put boots on the ground” in Syria or “engage in combat operations” against Isis.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest claimed there was still a difference of “night and day” compared with the Bush administration’s invasions, but in the space of a few short weeks a central promise of Obama’s presidential campaign has been undermined: first by conceding that he will not meet his pledge of removing troops from Afghanistan before he leaves office and now by acknowledging a long-term ground presence is necessary not just in Iraq, but Syria too.
Earnest would not say whether the deployments were permanent or would be bolstered, insisting: “I don’t want to try to predict the future here.”

Yet arguably that was exactly what Obama claimed he could do when he ran for office promising to bring US troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In light of all this, all the broken promises, all the wars, Tom Hayden Tweeted:

  • Hillary will gain presidential stature

  • Oh, that wasn't in response to that.

    The old drunk couldn't Tweet in response to the White House plans because he's never had the spine to stand up to anyone.  He's just an ugly gigolo who took his second wife for all the millions he could -- despite his non-stop cheating -- and now bills himself as the "leader of sixties peace, justice and environmental movement."

    That's hilarious.

    His colleague Katrina vanden Heuvel also couldn't call out Barack.

    What of 'brave' Ruth Conniff, the editor of The Progressive?

    The woman, the trash, that once bragged on KPFA's The Morning Show that no one she knew had been touched by the Iraq War managed to Tweet or re-Tweet 37 times during the CNBC GOP presidential aspirants debate but on Iraq and Syria on Friday or even today . . .

    That's right, boys and girls, zero.



    Remember: No one she knows was touched by the Iraq War.

    Jill Stein's a liar.  She's a lot of things but mainly she's a liar.   October saw Amy Goodman again announce Jill's appearance in the NYC studio of Democracy Now -- with Goodman hailing her as the Green Party's 2016 nominee.

    For Jill's failure to correct that -- repeatedly, she's failed with every media outlet -- the Green Party should select someone else . . . when they pick a presidential candidate in August 2016.

    Jill Stein is a liar.

    She's not the Green Party's presidential candidate.

    Goody Whore and her ilk get so upset when the press does something like this -- the real press, not the beggar media crying "send money!" -- but they have no ethics themselves.

    Nor does Jill.

    When she started campaigning for the nomination (2016 nomination) we noted her silence on Iraq here and that prompted her to pretend she cared.

    But we were right: She doesn't.

    And if you doubt it grasp that she's been Tweeting but has nothing to say about Iraq or Syria.

    This is an alternative to Democratic Party candidates?

    The person who should be the nominee noted:

  • Frustrated with the treatment of events in Syria? Listen to CPR News that really needs your support!

  • Cynthia may run for the Green Party's 2016 presidential nomination.

    Until then, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only candidate running for a political party's presidential nomination who is issuing any sort of statement on the White House's plans:

    DERRY, N.H. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday expressed concern about President Barack Obama’s decision to dispatch U.S. special operations forces to Syria to help battle the Islamic State, a spokesman said.
    “Sen. Sanders expressed concern about the United States being drawn into the quagmire of the Syrian civil war which could lead to perpetual warfare in that region,” spokesman Michael Briggs said. “The senator believes that the crisis in Syria will be solved diplomatically, not militarily.”

    Sanders also expressed strong support for the effort by Secretary of State John Kerry to bring Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and other nations into discussions on how to end the bloody civil war, his spokesman added.

    For those wondering, I checked Senator Rand Paul's campaign site as well as his Twitter feed -- nothing.

    And I checked Jim Webb's Twitter and site.  He can hint that he's considering a third party run (after failing to take off among Democratic Party voters), he just can't weigh in on Iraq and/or Syria.

    To be clear, Donald Trump (running for the GOP's presidential nomination) had something to say on the matter -- but like CNN, I can't make sense of it.

    Though they have nothing to say about Iraq, CodePink, to their credit, did rebuke the Syrian part of the plan:

    CODEPINK condemns the decision by the Obama Administration to send US special forces into Syria.
    By CODEPINK Staff
    CODEPINK condemns the decision by the Obama Administration on Friday, October 30, to send special forces into Kurdish-held areas of Syria.
    This decision by the administration moves the United States away from pursuing a political solution and instead follows a failed pattern of using short-term military tactics to address conflicts in the Middle East. We know that "special forces" means putting boots on the ground, something Obama promised in 2013 he wouldn't do in Syria, and puts more American lives at risk. 
    Alternatives exist to increasing United States' military involvement in the region, which, for over a decade, has delivered death, destruction, and increased extremism including the rise of ISIL . Instead, the U.S. government CAN:
    Diplomacy works. Military “solutions” create more problems and tragedies.

    And US House Rep Adam Schiff had something to say:

      1. My statement on Obama Administration's decision to send U.S. special operations forces into Syria to fight .
        Embedded image permalink

    CNN notes that Barack is getting criticism from both Democrats and Republicans over his latest move:

    And both parties called for the administration to sketch out a more detailed strategy for taking on ISIS, also called ISIL.
    "This commitment of U.S. forces must come with a coherent strategy to defeat ISIL. Otherwise, we are likely to see the same results in the region," newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said in a statement Friday. "I look forward to reviewing the details of this announcement."
    Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat and once Obama's handpicked chairman of the Democratic National Committee, urged the administration "to detail to the America people a comprehensive strategy to bring both the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, which are metastasizing around the globe, to a peaceful end."

    Though he couldn't respond to calls for clarification, Barack did make a call to Haider al-Abadi on Friday.  The White House announced:

    President Obama today spoke by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to discuss the political and security situation in Iraq and underscore the United States' enduring support for Iraq in its fight against ISIL.  The President commended the recent progress that Iraqi forces have made against ISIL in Bayji and welcomed the ongoing campaign to isolate ISIL in Ramadi, noting that the United States in partnership with the Iraqi Government will intensify support for the Iraqi Security Forces in these efforts.  The President also voiced support for Prime Minister al-Abadi's leadership in his efforts to combat corruption and implement governance reforms critical to promoting Iraq's political stability and economic prosperity.  The two leaders noted their full support for the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, emphasizing that both the United States and Iraq are fully committed to partnering with the international community to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.  They also reaffirmed their commitment to the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq.

    If you missed it, with former prime minister and forever thug Nouri attempting to use the Iraqi Parliament to unseat Haider, al-Abadi's openly fleeing Russia for the warm hug from Barack that might, if he's lucky, quell the rebellion he's facing from a growing number of Shi'ite law makers.

    Lastly, Amnesty International issued a statement on this week's attack on Camp Liberty:

    A rocket attack on a camp of Iranian exiles in Iraq is a despicable and callous crime, Amnesty International said as it called for an immediate investigation, urgent protection and assistance for the camp’s residents.
    Camp Liberty, in north-east Baghdad, was struck by a barrage of rockets last night, which killed at least 23 people, including one woman, and injured dozens. An Iraqi Shi’a militia, the al-Mukhtar Army, claimed responsibility for the attack and warned that the attack may be repeated.
    The camp is home to around 2,250 unarmed Iranian exiles, mostly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). 
    “This was a horrific act of violence against the residents of Camp Liberty, which cannot simply be ignored by the Iraqi authorities. They must ensure a prompt, independent and effective investigation into this attack and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. 
    “Their utter failure to investigate previous deadly attacks against the camp sends the message that its residents can be murdered with impunity.”
    Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that the attack started around 7.40pm local time as camp residents were gathering for dinner. Twenty people were killed instantly while another three later died from injuries in a Baghdad hospital.
    Residents said around 80 rockets hit the camp, which they identified as Iranian built Falaq Katyusha rockets, though Iraqi media reported that between 12 and 38 rockets were fired.
    The attack caused widespread destruction as it hit the camp’s electricity generators while hundreds of residents have been left homeless after at least 200 trailers were destroyed. The Iraqi government has yet to make a statement on the events, but other governments as well as the UN Refugee Agency – which considers Camp Liberty residents “people of concern” – have condemned the attack.
    “The Iraqi authorities’ silence about the killing of 23 people is inexcusable. They are manifestly failing in their duty under international law to protect everyone in the camp, many of whom are asylum-seekers. On top of the loss of life, the destruction caused by the attack has left many residents facing desperate conditions,” said Said Boumedouha.
    “The government must urgently ensure that electricity and water are restored, and that those whose homes have been destroyed are provided with adequate temporary shelter without delay.”
    All the exiles living in Camp Liberty had lived in Camp Ashraf since the mid-1980s. After the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq the camp and its residents were placed under US protection but this ended in mid-2009 following an agreement between the US authorities and the Iraqi government.
    Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten.
    In 2011 the Iraqi government announced the closure of Camp Ashraf after relocating its residents to Camp Liberty in the north-east of Baghdad.
    According to a December 2011 memorandum of understanding between the UN and the government of Iraq, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) may process requests for international protection from residents of the camps. Those residents who apply for international protection are asylum-seekers under international law.
    The government failed to investigate previous attacks on Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, and no one has ever been brought to account. In fact, senior Iraqi government officials have in the past made it clear that the camp residents were not welcomed in Iraq. 

    bill van auken