Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, November 18, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the Pentagon spins, the media issues a call for more war, and much more.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Bomber, attack, and fighter aircraft conducted 16 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Kisik, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL bunkers, two ISIL weapons caches, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL staging area, an ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL fighting position, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL vehicle-borne bombs, 29 ISIL fighting positions, six ISIL vehicles, 16 ISIL machine gun positions, three ISIL tactical vehicles, four ISIL vehicle-borne bomb staging areas, an ISIL bulldozer, five ISIL weapons caches, an ISIL building, an ISIL staging area, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes suppressed an ISIL rocket position and an ISIL mortar position.
The strike release published on Nov. 16 includes a French strike listed as “Near Ar Raqqah, one strike struck an ISIL storage depot.” After further coordination with the French Ministry of Defense, CJTF-OIR officials said they have determined that France conducted two separate strikes on two different targets. The first target was an ISIL storage depot and the second strike against an ISIL command and control node.

Yes, more bombings.

It's apparently the only thing in Barack's tool box.

More bombings at a time when Robert Burns (AP) estimates the average number of bombs dropped on Iraq and Syria by coalition forces in one month is 2228, that the US government is spending $11.1 million a day of taxpayer dollars and has spent $5 billion alone "since August 2014."  

And what is the result?

The Associated Press words it carefully:  "But what has been the result? In a word, stalemate, although U.S. military officials say they see the tide gradually turning in their favor."

In straight forward words?

Operation Inherent Failure.

On CNN this week, we had the always ready to wrap her legs around a war Christian Amanpour insisting on "an honest conversation"

She was speaking to Anderson Cooper on Monday, during CNN's endless Paris coverage, and insisting that Barack Obama's strategy or plan for addressing the Islamic State was a failure.

It is a failure.

How many moths have we been calling it Operation Inhernet Failure here?

Thanks for joining the conversation, Christiane, but I won't let you hijack it.

Barack's 'plan' has been non-stop bombings.  It is a military plan.

Despite the fact that he insisted two months before he started the bombings that the only answer was a political solution (June 19, 2014, he said it).

So Barack's 'plan' is a failure but it's a failure because he's spent about 16 months bombing and finding other countries to bomb Iraq.

He's failed tto address the issues in any way that have resulted in a political solution.

Now if the whores who see their poster boy Barack as more important than Iraqi life could have been honest, I wouldn't be alone in making this argument.

But the left or 'left' seems paralyzed when it comes to sticking up for any belief if it conflicts with their It Girl Barack.

 The military plan he's executed was always going to be a failure.

If, like the War Hawks, you've accepted the military plan of Barack's as the answer, then of course you will insist for more military action.

Niles Williamson (WSWS) notes the one-note response the media is presenting:

Less than 24 hours after the terrorist attack by ISIS in Paris on Friday night killed 129 people and wounded hundreds more, the chief liberal opinion writers in the United States are calling for a massive escalation of the imperialist interventions in Syria and Iraq.
[. . .]
In their drive for an expanded war, no serious questions are raised about what lies behind the attacks, or about the impact of more than 14 years of unending war in the Middle East as part of the efforts of the US and its allies to assert hegemonic control over the region and its strategic resources.
Among the chief warmongers are the New York Times’ Roger Cohen and the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, two journalists who represent what passes for liberal democratic opinion in the United States.
Over the last two decades there has not been a single American military intervention or imperialist provocation that either Cohen has not supported. In their endorsement and promotion of intervention in Iraq in 2003 on the basis of lies about nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction,” they bear significant responsibility for the catastrophe in the Middle East which they now seek to escalate.

If you want to talk about war and further war, endorsing it, the media has a spot for you front and center.  But if you want to question this war -- not to increase military action but to insist upon political solutions -- there's no space for you among all the papers and all the channels throughout the United States.

The conformist cry for more war passes not only for 'insight' but also for 'diversity' in the conformist and limited media landscape that bullies the people.

At the State Dept there was no time to talk about Iraq.

Not a word on Iraq.

However, today's Pentagon Press briefing did acknowledge Iraq and was conducted by Colonel Steve Warren in a video conference from Baghdad.  He started with some opening remarks.

Colonel Steve Warren:  Moving on to Iraq, we'll start in Mosul, which is circle number one, blue one in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. That's Mosul, where we continue our disruption operations in the Tigris River Valley, which includes Baiji, Mosul and Hawaija. We've conducted 105 airstrikes since October 15.

The vicinity of Sinjar, further west, which is star number three, the coalition has conducted 290 airstrikes since October 15. Peshmerga have secured Sinjar, established a new forward line of troops and continue their clearance operations there.

Finally, along the Euphrates River Valley, which includes Ramadi, Fallujah, and Abu Hayat, we've conducted over 190 airstrikes since October 15.

So these are all the whats, and the important, I think, question is always the why. And the why is -- and the why I tell you all of this is because it's -- I think it's important for everyone to understand our overarching objective, which is to partner with indigenous ground forces, enable those indigenous ground forces to conduct offensive operations and then provide coalition air power on top of those offensive operations.

As indigenous friendly forces maneuver against our enemy, it causes our enemy to move. The enemy has to react, and as soon as the enemy reacts, we kill them from the air. So I think that's my overall message here. This is an operation, it -- it spans the breadth and the depth of this battlefield, now going as far south as the tri-border area, as far west as the Mara line and as far east as -- as Baiji.

There was more but that was the only section on Iraq.

It was spin and Warren sounded on the defensive, suggesting that even he couldn't believe his own spin.

Most of the questions at today's briefing focused on Syria.  We'll note two exchanges on Iraq.

Q: Hey, Colonel, it's Jamie Crawford with CNN. Thanks for -- for doing this.

I was just curious if you could give us an update on the operation in Sinjar that began last week. How close are we to -- or are the Kurdish forces to completely liberating that -- that town. And then, just as a follow-up, if you could just give us a picture of any sort of tangible results of difficulty that ISIS is now having to resupply their population center as they hold like Mosul after this operation started?

COL. WARREN: So, Sinjar is liberated. The Peshmerga forces are now going through the laborious process of identifying and reducing, or clearing the IEDs, booby traps, et cetera that -- that ISIL left behind.

As far as the impact on Mosul, certainly, as is always the case with logistics, it won't be instantaneous, but, you know, having severed that main artery between Raqqa and Mosul, it will force ISIL's resupply on logistics operations off the high-speed avenue of approach, and they'll have to now move through these ratlines and smuggling routes that go through the desert south of Sinjar. This will take a -- what normally would be a several-hour drive from Raqqa to Mosul, will turn it into potentially days.

So this will have an impact. This will cause them -- it will cause our enemy to be less able to do what they want to do, which is to mutually reinforce their own position. Again, this is -- this is the operational nature of what we're doing now. So, pressure in Iraq; pressure in Syria; pressure in the north; pressure in the south.

And what this does -- and all those pressures, primarily by ground forces, but all of those pressures cause -- cause the enemy to have to make very difficult decisions. And cause the enemy to not necessarily be able to help other portions of his organization.

And by continuing this ground pressure, what we see is that as you're being attacked from the ground, as was the case in -- in Sinjar, as was the case in Al-Hawl, as was the case in Al Tam -- the enemy will move, you know, as a reaction to the ground pressure that's been placed on them. And that causes them to pop up and become a very easy target for our air power to kill. So this is the beauty of, you know, these combined air-ground operations.

So, we don't have specific statistics yet, a percentage of how much Mosul will be constricted by the seizure of Sinjar, but what we do know is it will drive ISIL off the main road and onto the back roads which will slow their operations substantially.

In addition to being asked about Sinjar,  Warren was also asked about Ramadi which fell to the Islamic State in April.

Q: Steve, Tom Bowman again. 

I wonder if you could give us an update on Ramadi. I think last time we talked, you said they'd almost encircled the city, except for the bridge over the Euphrates and I think trouble with the river itself. And if they have completely encircled it, why haven't they gone in yet?

COL. WARREN: So the western access has seen some fairly good activity. I think I mentioned that Camp Warar has not only been seized, but now cleared of nearly 30 -- I think it was 24, 26 IEDs that have been discovered buried at Camp Warar, which is right on the west bank of the river and overlooks the main city.

The CPS then kind of looped around and now they're working up through the -- there's a neighborhood that runs parallel to Camp Warhar. They're working their way up through that.

The northern access has met with some very stiff resistance, frankly. The enemy has put up a good fight here in the last couple of days, so they're continuing -- I think it was about a 200-meter movement here yesterday. So this is -- this is slow and sometimes incremental work, but you know, they're continuing.

We believe that all the piece are in place, you know? We've -- Iraq has asked for some additional enablers, additional air, et cetera. We're providing that. So we believe that all the pieces are in place and that the Iraqis have a plan that's -- that's a good plan and workable and it's time for them to execute it.

Q: Major General Rich Clark of the 82nd that -- the Iraqi security forces outnumber ISIS about 10 to one. If that's the case, I don't understand the stiff resistance if you're 10 to one.

COL. WARREN: Yeah, that's -- that's 10 to one, total. But you know, in any attack, right, there's always a point to that spear. When that point to that spear gets blunted against some stiff resistance, it could -- it could stop all the rest. That's the case here.

You know, the enemy, as I've described, I think -- once or twice before has put in some fairly complex obstacles and then they are fanatical defenders of Ramadi.

Now, that said, we -- we've provided some very substantial air power, some very good training and some specialized equipment to help with these problems -- you know, with -- with this -- with the problem of this integrated defense.

So, again, we believe all the pieces are in place, and that it -- it's time for the Iraqis to -- to make this final move and -- and get Ramadi cleared. We do believe that.

"We do believe that."

I guess you have to at this point -- in order to justify the lack of success, you have to believe that.

The rush of the stupid to find something -- anything to hug -- is always something to roll the eyes over.

Currently, a number of idiots have bought into the propaganda that Yazids are ponies and rainbows and we must support them.

They're people just like anyone else.

And right now they are people carrying out retaliation.

  • Yazidi are burning down mosques in Sinjar. The start of blanket immunity against Sunni for ISIS. Hope you're happy with your lies.

  • They aren't saints and anyone surprised that a persecuted people could carry out retaliation and worse clearly missed the history of the state of Israel.

    Monday, AFP reported that the Yazidis 'celebrated' their return to Sinjar by looting Sunni homes and setting them on fire.

    AFP also reminds, "Rights group Amnesty International documented attacks by Yazidi militiamen against two Sunni Arab villages north of Sinjar in January, in which 21 people were killed and numerous houses burned."

    The back-and-forth never ends in Iraq -- in non-inclusive Iraq.

    Where's that political solution?