Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, February 17, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the persecution of Sunnis continues, the lack of a political solution is noted to the UN Security Council, Haider tries to justify the government attacking civilians, and much more.

Today, the US Defense Dept bragged/announced/claimed:

Strikes in Iraq
Fighter, attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL supply cache and suppressing an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL beddown locations, an ISIL command and control node, two ISIL-used bridges, and an ISIL vehicle-bomb facility.
-- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes destroyed five ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike destroyed an ISIL tunnel.

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.

These bombings have gone on every day since August 2014.

And nothing's changed in Iraq.

Doubt it?

Here's Jan Kubis speaking to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday:

Persistent political polarization and divisions continue to hamper Prime Minister Abadi’s ability to advance the reform agenda, including in decentralisation and fighting corruption. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement aimed at establishing a more professional Cabinet with members selected on merit, and not on sectarian or political quotas, should be accompanied by accelerated implementation of a genuine political, security and economic reform package. The complex and deepening set of challenges before the country and its people requires that the political blocks finally work together in support of comprehensive and profound reforms, as they did when adopting the budget for 2016.
Iraq’s persistent and rapidly-deepening fiscal crisis and growing budget deficit, compounded by the security and humanitarian situation and drastic decline in global oil prices, has almost halved the State’s planned income since then, and the Kurdistan Region faces at least a situation as grave as that of Baghdad. Fiscal challenges are also likely to impact the fight against ISIL as a significant number of fighters, notably the Peshmerga, have not received salaries for several months.

I am mindful that if left unaddressed, such an unsustainable situation may seriously undermine the renewed morale of pro-government forces and confidence of the people, including youth, communities, minorities and IDPs that they can have a future in Iraq. And while the Governments in Baghdad and Erbil must rapidly prioritise and take full ownership over the state finances and reforms, I urge the international community to assist Iraq in overcoming these difficulties through increased technical support and funding, including through lending by international and regional financial institutions. Genuine economic reforms by the Governments in Baghdad and Erbil could pave the way to such financial and budgetary support.

Kubis is the special envoy to Iraq for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

He was noting the lack of progress on a political solution, the inability the Iraqi government has with any efforts towards political reconciliation.

Nothing has changed.

US President Barack Obama ordered the daily bombings of Iraq in August of 2014.

Months before that, June 19, 2014, he acknowledged the need for a political solution in Iraq.

US President Barack Obama:  Above all, Iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together around a political plan for Iraq’s future.  Shia, Sunni, Kurds -- all Iraqis -- must have confidence that they can advance their interests and aspirations through the political process rather than through violence.  National unity meetings have to go forward to build consensus across Iraq’s different communities.  Now that the results of Iraq’s recent election has been certified, a new parliament should convene as soon as possible.  The formation of a new government will be an opportunity to begin a genuine dialogue and forge a government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis.
Now, it’s not the place for the United States to choose Iraq’s leaders.  It is clear, though, that only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis.  Meanwhile, the United States will not pursue military options that support one sect inside of Iraq at the expense of another.  There’s no military solution inside of Iraq, certainly not one that is led by the United States.  But there is an urgent need for an inclusive political process, a more capable Iraqi security force, and counterterrorism efforts that deny groups like ISIL a safe haven.

Not getting it?

Here he is still speaking on June 19, 2014:

But I don’t think there’s any secret that right now at least there is deep divisions between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish leaders.  And as long as those deep divisions continue or worsen, it’s going to be very hard for an Iraqi central government to direct an Iraqi military to deal with these threats.
And so we’ve consulted with Prime Minister Maliki, and we’ve said that to him privately.  We’ve said it publicly that whether he is prime minister, or any other leader aspires to lead the country, that it has to be an agenda in which Sunni, Shia and Kurd all feel that they have the opportunity to advance their interests through the political process.  And we’ve seen over the last two years, actually dating back to 2008, 2009 -- but I think worse over the last two years -- the sense among Sunnis that their interests were not being served, that legislation that had been promised around, for example, De-Ba’athification had been stalled. 
I think that you hear similar complaints that the government in Baghdad has not sufficiently reached out to some of the tribes and been able to bring them in to a process that gives them a sense of being part of a unity government or a single nation-state.  And that has to be worked through.

Nothing changes.

The wedge is still the same, the Sunnis are still persecuted.

Haider al-Abadi's done nothing to address that persecution.

Last week, Tim Arango (NEW YORK TIMES) reported:

When Iraqi ground forces and American aircraft began assaulting the city of Ramadi more than a month ago, Ghusoon Muhammed and her family fled to the government’s front line, as did many other Sunni Arab families who had been trapped for months. Soldiers sent her and the children one way, and her husband another, to be interrogated in a detention facility.
She has not seen him or heard from him since.   She and her children, who will most likely not be able to go home to Ramadi for months given the destruction, have been left to wait in a ramshackle tent camp here in Anbar Province.  She is desperate, and adamant: "The innocent people in jail need to be released!" she said.
Standing nearby on Sunday was another woman, Karima Nouri.  Her son an auto mechanic, was also taken away by the authorities, and she has had no word about him for weeks.  Ms. Nouri said the government considered civilians who remained in Ramadi to be sympathizers of the Islamic State.

Are we forgetting that one of the many complaints of the protesters was the disappearance of loved ones, seized by the Iraqi forces and vanished into no one knew where?  For that matter, the seizing of loved ones for no valid reason to begin with.

We can't forget it because most western outlets never bothered to report it in the first place.

Even though this led to over a year of continuous protests which kicked off  December 21, 2012.

This was one of the big issues.

 The issues for those protests were numerous.  Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) summed up the primary issues as follows:

- End of Sectarian Shia rule
- the re-writing of the Iraqi constitution (drafted by the Americans and Iranians)
- the end to arbitrary killings and detention, rape and torture of all detainees on basis of sect alone and their release
- the end of discriminatory policies in employment, education, etc based on sect
- the provision of government services to all
- the end of corruption
- no division between Shias and Sunnis, a one Islam for all Iraqi Muslims and a one Iraq for all Iraqis.

The persecution of the Sunnis continues.  It has not been addressed.

Under Nouri al-Maliki, the US government ignored it.

From 2010 through 2014, the man Barack gifted with a second term as prime minister destroyed Iraq.  And the US government -- including Barack -- didn't give a damn.

The Islamic State wouldn't have taken hold in Iraq without Nouri's actions.

But the US government was happy to ignore it.

Just like they're happy to ignore Haider al-Abadi's persecution of the Sunnis today.

Over and over human rights watch organizations have noted what is going on in Iraq.  Most recently, at the end of last month,  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.” 

But the White House ignores it.

And dropping all the bombs will not drive the Islamic State out of Iraq.

Maybe people don't get that because of the 'reporting' by people like The Whore of Baghdad herself Jane Arraf who pens another ridiculous piece.

It's supposedly about the lack of reconciliation in Iraq.

But it's just pulling together talking points from the right wing p.r. firm that's used the Yazidis.

It's garbage but that's all Jane can offer.

All those years in Iraq, whoring for Saddam Hussein and then whoring for Nouri al-Maliki and now whoring for Haider al-Abadi.

Don't forget the CNN position when Jane first made it to Iraq was cover up and don't report anything that would anger the country's leader.

That's been her operating principle all along.

Even after she left CNN.

It's whores like Jane that allow Haider al-Abadi to 'defend' the government persecution of Sunnis.

Abadi defending AAH militia: ISIS bombing killed many Shia Vs militias killed 6 Sunnis only in the aftermath.

As Human Rights Watch has noted, these Shi'ite militias are now part of the government.

And Haider's defending the 'right' of the government to attack citizens.

He's saying the Islamic State killed more.

The Islamic State is a terrorist organization.

It kills.

It commits crimes.

A government exists to protect its people.

When it instead attacks its own people?

There is no excuse for that.

Haider also wants the world to know they don't have to worry about the following.

  • Haider's insisting this is no big deal and there's no proof it's fallen into the wrong hands.


    It's probably just being used for a school science project, right?