Sunday, January 31, 2016


Today, the US Defense Dept announced the following bombs dropped on Iraq:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Qaim, one strike destroyed an ISIL front-end loader.

-- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position, an ISIL fighting position, and cratered an ISIL-used land bridge.

-- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL tunnel.

-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, and destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL fighting positions, five ISIL assembly areas, and an ISIL checkpoint.

-- Near Ramadi, seven strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle, three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL front-end loader, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Tal Afar, one strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is a strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

More bombs dropped.

Dropped over and over since August 2014.

Nothing is accomplished.

Nothing is settled or ended.

Except the lives of Iraqi civilians.

And a country already torn apart becomes even more so.


 Lise Grande, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said Sunday that $861 million (795 million euros) in aid was needed to reach Iraq's "most vulnerable," some 7.3 million people.
"Our top priority is to get to the people who are in the most trouble and to give them what they need in order to survive - food, cash, shelter, water," Grande told reporters at a press conference in Baghdad.
Over the past two years, some 3.3 million Iraqis have been displaced by the "Islamic State" (IS), while 250,000 Syrians have fled to Iraq to escape the conflict in their own war-torn country.
The already huge number of displaced Iraqis is expected to increase further in 2016 as Iraqi forces fight to retake areas from jihadist militants in the Anbar and Nineveh provinces.

Iraq's revenues have also been hit by the recent plunge in oil prices, which has left Baghdad unable to cover the costs of addressing the humanitarian crisis.

It's strange how these reports about Iraq's need for assistance never note two basic points.  1) Dropping bombs on a country daily tears it apart and necessitates rebuilding costs.  2) An oil rich country bringing in billions each year should be able to cover a lot of costs and the failure to do so is largely due to Iraq having one of the most corrupt governments in the world.

A lot of facts get ignored and forgotten in reporting.

For years now, the Sunnis in Iraq have been persecuted.  The press has managed to sidestep and ignore the crimes of the Iraqi government.

Yesterday, Human Rights Watch noted:

Members of Shia militias, who the Iraqi government has included among its state forces, abducted and killed scores of Sunni residents in a central Iraq town and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques following January 11, 2016 bombings claimed by the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. None of those responsible have been brought to justice.
Two consecutive bombings at a café in the town of Muqdadiya, in Diyala province, some 130 kilometers north of Baghdad, on January 11, killed at least 26 people, many of them Sunnis, according to a teacher who lives near the café. ISIS claimed the attacks, saying it had targeted local Shia militias, collectively known as Popular Mobilization Forces, which are formally under the command of the prime minister. Members of two of the dominant militias in Muqdadiya, the Badr Brigades and the League of Righteous forces, responded by attacking Sunnis as well as their homes and mosques, killing at least a dozen people and perhaps many more, according to local residents.

“Again civilians are paying the price for Iraq’s failure to rein in the out-of-control militias,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Countries that support Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces should insist that Baghdad bring an end to this deadly abuse.” 

At ANTIWAR.COM, Peter Van Bueren writes, "So, yep, thanks for asking, this war is going well.
Especially now, as we learn some Sunnis are far more afraid of Iraqi government-supported Shiite militias than they are of anyone from Islamic State. This will not end well, especially since the United States still hopes to get those same Sunnis to turn on ISIS and support the same goals as the Shiite Iraqi government."

But we didn't learn "now" about the abuses.

Maybe that's the case at ANTIWAR.COM.

But here we've long documented the abuse and crimes against Sunnis carried out by the Iraqi government.

It's not a "now," it's been taking place for years.

But maybe pretending it's only taking place "now" makes people -- maybe even Peter Van Bueren -- feel less guilty about their years and years of silence on the topic?

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4497 (plus 10 in Operation Inherent Resolve which includes at least 1 Iraq War fatality).

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