Friday, December 11, 2015

Iraq's Turkish infestation and purge of Sunnis

Link to headline article

How does this not qualify as an invasion?

The Iraqi government is insisting that Turkey withdraw its troops and Tayyip Erdogan refuses to do so.

For those still uncomfortable with calling this an "invasion," could we split the difference by terming it an "infestation"?

Sunday, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave Turkey 48 hours to withdraw Turkish troops from Mosul.

All that's happened is Erdogan's said more troops would not be going in (at present) but that they were not withdrawing the troops that were there.

Iraq is not "southern Turkey."

It's an allegedly independent country.

Turkey's decision to keep troops in Iraq after the government has ordered them out is a hostile action.

By the rules the US government has set up in recent years, Iraq has every right to use those F16s the US provided it with to now go and drop bombs on Turkey for its refusal to remove troops.

Ahmed Rasheed, Isabel Coles and Hugh Lawson (REUTERS) report that Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sisanti added his voice today to the calls for Turkish troops to leave Iraq via a statement made by spokesperson Sheikh Abdul Mehdi Karbala'i at today's weekly sermon in which the spokesperson declared, "The Iraqi government is responsible for protecting Iraq's sovereignty and must not tolerate and side [with] that [which] infringes upon it, whatever the justification and necessities."

Meanwhile the persecution of Sunnis within Iraq continues.  Kristina Wong (THE HILL) reports the latest:

Officials in the Shiite-majority government aligned with Iran are making moves to consolidate power, quietly purging Sunnis from the rolls of the military.

Several hundred senior Sunni officials in the Iraqi military have been fired and replaced with members of the Badr Corps, a Shiite militia created and supported by Iran, according to a U.S. official and sources in the region.
The Iraqi Ministry of Interior has also fired several thousands of other Sunni security forces in the past several weeks while continuing to arrest and “disappear” thousands of Sunnis, the sources said. 

US officials are said to be privately concerned.

The last time I remember the State Dept being privately concerned was April 21, 2013:

Friday's snapshot included,  "Iraqi Spring MC also reports that activists at the Hawija sit-in were targeted by Nouri's forces and three were injured.  National Iraqi News Agency adds that in addition to the three injured, 1 of the protestors was shot dead."  Nouri's forces are out of control in Hawija and people are appalled.  National Iraqi News Agency reports it is has been occupied by Nouri's forces since Friday.  As Nouri's forces harass and intimidate the protesters, there are rumors that KRG is thinking of sending the Peshmerga in.  The US State Dept hopes that doesn't happen because, a State Dept official tells me on the phone, "things are already raw enough and the two sides" Baghdad and Erbil "were supposed to be working on reconciliation."  Hawija is in Kirkuk, disputed province.  Nouri's forces should have left some time ago.  If the KRG sends in the Peshmerga to protect the people, it may not please the US government but it will be understandable.
All Iraq News quotes Iraqiya MP Wisal Saleem declaring, "The Government is adopting injustice and oppression as if we are in an occupied land rather than in a country that granted us the freedom of expression.  End the military siege imposed on Hawija and let the medial and food supply be brought inside the district.  This is the duty of the Government rather than a gift from it."  Alsumaria reports Nouri's forces are doing tent to tent searches and insisting they have 'only' arrested 8 people.  All Iraq News also quotes Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi calling for the military siege of Hawija to end and for the security forces to leave the people alone.

[. . .]
We're going to leave it with that.  I had thought we'd go over the violence and any election commentary but we only finished at Third about 30 minutes ago and I had a friend at the State Dept who had called repeatedly, I didn't know, the cell phone was off.  He informed me that the US was "closely following" developments in Hawija and figured I was as well.  No, I'd been working on Third forever and a day.  I told him give me 15 minutes to search Arabic social media and I'd call him back with what was being said.  This will be big in Arabic social media but it's not yet.  Most are unaware of what's going on and -- as usual -- you can't count on the western press to tell you a damn thing.
Hawija is a hot spot right now.  And we're not going to distract from that with other things -- including the Falluja bombing that we can cover tomorrow.

That's the last time I can think of the State Dept being concerned.  And they were so concerned they were actively reaching out far beyond their usual pool (or why call me repeatedly).

We all remember how that worked out, right?

That concern on April 21st?  The US government did nothing.  And two days later?

The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Along with Mike's "What is the plan?," the following community sites updated:

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