Thursday, January 28, 2016

Iraq briefly

Yesterday, the US government continued bombing Iraq under the pretense that this action, began in August of 2014, was restoring peace and/or order:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL weapons caches and an ISIL bunker and damaged an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL excavator.
-- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL sniper position, two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL fuel truck, damaged a separate ISIL vehicle and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

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 one 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.

All those bombings, all that destruction, the Islamic State remains in Iraq and Iraq remains a challenge for its own citizens.

Dropping back to June 2, 2012:


That's from their report on Iraqiya's response.  The woman is Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoon al-Damluji.  We've noted her many times and there's been a few curious e-mails over the last month so we're putting a face to the name.  I've noted she is the most heavily featured Iraqi woman in the news and she's heavily featured being the spokesperson for Iraqiya.  I've also shared that it was a very smart move to choose a woman because it goes to the message the political slate Iraqiya is attempting to convey: We are all Iraqis.  That's why they're not bound by one sect.  And it's that message that had people respond so strongly in the March 2010 elections that the brand new political slate, which is headed by Ayad Allawi, emerged the winner.  Saleh al-Mutlaq, mentioned above, is also a member of Iraqiya.  He's been repeatedly targeted by Nouri.  While Allawi is a Shi'ite, al-Mutlaq is a Sunni.  While Nouri repeatedly works out grudges against Sunnis in public, Allawi and al-Mutlaq (and others) attempt to build a party of unity that can translate to the nation.  That's the message of unity that Iraqiya tries to convey.  

We're noting that because earlier this month, NIQASH offered their year-in-review and wondered who was 2015's person of the year.  One possibility?

Maysoon al-Damluji
An MP for the Iraqiya bloc as well as the head of Iraq's Parliamentary Committee on Media and Culture. As the head of this committee, al-Damluji has strongly supported civil society organisations and given them a role in formulating amendments to laws that her parliamentary committee supervises. In formulating these laws, she organised a lot of meetings with civil society organisations and took into account their suggestions before the laws were read in Parliament. She has most definitely helped in preventing laws that could potentially violate human rights in Iraq. Interestingly, al-Damluji is married to an individual who was a member of former, much-criticised Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law party. But this has not affected her support for a balanced and impartial media and her support for civil society actors.

We'll note two other contenders.


The Iraqi demonstrators
Although they've been through so much – most Iraqis you meet know at least one person well, who has died a violent death – the locals who started popular demonstrations against judicial and political corruption still had some hope that things could change. Although many young Iraqis continue to want to leave (and do leave, especially after Europe appeared to open its borders to them in the middle of this year) for cities where car bombs are not a regular occurrence, those who took to the streets were prepared to stand up for change at home.

It's not an easy thing to do in a place where you don't know if the soldiers guarding the demonstration will turn their weapons on you. The demonstrations resulted in some of the most significant promises for real reform in years, backed – perhaps most importantly - by senior religious figures in Iraq. Although those promises will likely take a lot longer to be fulfilled – and that is, if they are ever completely fulfilled - the demonstrators who started that process in good faith deserve to be celebrated for their bravery and their hope, in a country where the latter is a particularly scarce commodity right now.

The Iraqi people endure over and over.  They fight for change, they fight for liberty.  If their politicians had even half the spine the Iraqi people do, it would be the best country in the world.

And there's also:

Hero Ibrahim Ahmad
Ahmad is married to Jalal Talabani, the head of one of Iraqi Kurdistan's largest and most influential political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK. Between 2005 and 2014, while her husband was Iraq's President, she was the First Lady of Iraq. After Talabani was felled by a stroke in 2012 and officially left that job in 2014, his wife became just another member of her party's caucus. However behind the scenes Ahmad has a lot more power than this and is widely seen as maintaining her family's control over the PUK. She rarely appears in the media or on public occasions. However it is clear that nothing can change in Iraqi Kurdistan and, in particular, in areas where the PUK holds sway, without her approval. Her son, Qubad Talabani, is currently Iraqi Kurdistan's Deputy Prime Minister and she is the liaison between her party, the PUK, and Baghdad.

That's a delicate way of describing Hero.  I don't mean that in a mean way, I just mean that after her husband had his stroke, she was the president of Iraq.  They pretended he was fine when he wasn't.  She ruled.  It was like an episode of ABC's SCANDAL.

This is quick and there was nothing last night, sorry.  I've had major diabetic nerve pain in my feet since 12/31/15 and finally went and got a prescription for it yesterday.  They told me it would knock me out (only slightly) so I passed on that I wouldn't be doing a snapshot.   My apologies.

The e-mail address for this site is