Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, April 6, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government wants more US bases in Iraq,  Falluja faces a recognized crisis, Haider al-Abadi loses another proposed Cabinet minister, Hillary Clinton laughably accuses someone else of not doing their homework, and so much more.

War Hawk and overweight pig at the trough Hillary Clinton made news today when she insisted that Senator Bernie Sanders had not "done his homework" on bank deregulation.

The sense of entitlement Hillary has always gets her into trouble.

Which is how the woman whose actions are the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation could date to criticize anyone else on having not done their homework.

Against all guidelines -- and common sense -- Hillary Diane Clinton set up her own e-mail server while serving as Secretary of State and used her own e-mail account.

This action put national security at risk.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has since insisted that she made a mistake.

But the reality is that she didn't do her homework.

If she had, she wouldn't be the subject of a federal investigation.

The one time First Lady also 'distinguished' herself on the topic of Iraq, of course.

She voted for the Iraq War and supported it for years.  She found her 'objection' to it only after public opinion turned against it.

At which point, Clinton was forced to comment in some way and did so by insisting that to was a "mistake."

It's been a "mistake" for various reasons though, of late, she's favored the excuse that the "mistake" was in trusting Bully Boy Bush.

Trusting Bully Boy Bush?

Yes, she tried to play the wronged woman in public yet again knowing that pathetic display earned her applause in the nineties.

Poor, poor, pitiful Hillary.

Her husband cheats on her.

She just didn't know.

But, of course, she did.

Bill cheated on her for decades.

Why does a woman stay in a marriage where her husband always strays?

Is Hillary really so physically unappealing that she thinks no other man would ever want her?

Is she so filled with self-loathing that she thinks she deserves to be repeatedly cheated on over and over?

Maybe it was greed?

At WSWS, Andre Damon notes:

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, has, together with her ex-president husband, made over $140 million in the eight years since the 2008 financial crash. She garnered a substantial portion of this wealth in speaking fees from major corporations and banks. In the first 15 months after she left her post as secretary of state in 2012, Clinton received $5 million in speaking fees, putting her squarely in the top 0.1 percent of income earners. Such payouts are, in the world of American politics, nothing more than a form of legalized bribery.

Greed can be a powerful motivator for staying in a marriage that brings so much public humiliation repeatedly.

Or  she maybe just like playing the victim?

Some people do get off on playing the victim.

Strangely, those who make a show out of playing the victim rarely are able to offer real or fake sympathy for actual victims.

Harper Neidig (THE HILL) reports Bernie

A CBS reporter tweeted that she asked the Vermont senator about Clinton's calls for him to apologize to Sandy Hook victims because of his stance against holding gun manufacturers liable for gun crimes. Sanders reportedly responded by saying that Clinton should apologize to the victims of the Iraq War, which she voted in favor of as a senator.

Votes have consequences.

Many Iraqis have been killed (over a million), many more have been wounded.  Many US troops have been killed, many more wounded.

Hillary, however, has been sitting pretty.

And she doesn't feel for the real victims of the Iraq War, she only feels and frets for herself.

Nancy A. Youssef (THE DAILY BEAST) reports:

The U.S. military is planning to expand the number of so-called “fire bases” in northern Iraq to prepare for an assault on Mosul, ISIS’s Iraqi capital. The bases will be there to support local Iraqi forces. But they’ll also put U.S. troops near the frontlines of what will likely be the biggest battle of the war with the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Troops at up to three temporary bases, on the north-south route from central Iraq to the northern city of Mosul, would advise Iraqi security forces, provide logistical support so Iraqi troops can move toward Mosul and even ground base support fire, defense officials told The Daily Beast.

Speaking to Rear Adm Andrew Lewis, AP words it this way:

The Pentagon will consider opening more small military outposts that would provide artillery support and other aid to Iraqi forces as they prepare to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, a senior military officer on the Joint Staff said Wednesday.

And what does Hillary Diane have to say about that?


Because as usual, she hasn't done her homework.

Staying with the Pentagon, the US Defense Dept announced today:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Hit, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions, six ISIL boats, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL medium machine gun and three ISIL vehicle bombs and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL command and control node, an ISIL bed-down location, three ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle bomb and an ISIL machine gun.

-- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, seven strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units, an ISIL financial storage center and an ISIL headquarters and destroyed two ISIL supply caches, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL command and control node and three ISIL assembly areas.

-- Near Qayyarah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL supply cache and three ISIL assembly areas.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb, two ISIL fighting positions, six ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle, two ISIL mortar systems and an ISIL tunnel system.

-- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

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.

And DoD's Teri Moon Crock states, "The U.S.-led coalition is making significant progress in the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, despite facing a long road ahead, the Joint Staff’s senior official who oversees the U.S. military’s daily global operations told Pentagon reporters today."

Human Rights Watch is sounding alarms over Falluja:

Residents of the besieged city of Fallujah are starving. Iraqi government forces should urgently allow aid to enter the city, and the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, which captured the city in early 2014, should allow civilians to leave.
“The people of Fallujah are besieged by the government, trapped by ISIS, and are starving,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “The warring parties should make sure that aid reaches the civilian population.”
Since government forces recaptured nearby Ramadi, the capital of Anbar governorate, in late December 2015, and the al-Jazira desert area north of Fallujah in March 2016, they have cut off supply routes into the city, three Iraqi officials said. Tens of thousands of civilians from an original population of more than 300,000 remain inside the city.
Human Rights Watch has not had access to Fallujah, and it is very difficult to get information from the remaining residents because ISIS prohibits the use of mobile phones and the Internet. Residents sometimes manage to catch a cell tower signal at night and are able to respond to some messages, including several that Human Rights Watch relayed via rights activists in Baghdad. Human Rights Watch was recently able to speak with one person in Fallujah and to seven others from the area who are in contact with people there.
Iraqi activists who are in touch with Fallujah families said that people were reduced to eating flat bread made with flour from ground date seeds and soups made from grass. What little food remains is being sold at exorbitant prices. A 50-kilogram sack of flour goes for US$750, and a bag of sugar for $500, whereas in Baghdad, 70 kilometers to the east, the same amount of flour costs $15 and of sugar $40, one Fallujah resident said. In late March 2016, a Fallujah medical source told Human Rights Watch that each day starving children arrive at the local hospital and that most foodstuffs are no longer available at any price.
An Iraqi official in touch with some Fallujah families provided Human Rights Watch with a list of 140 people, many elderly and young children, whom the official said had died over the past few months from lack of food and medicine. The official did not want the names of the dead published for fear that ISIS, which prohibits contacting people outside the city, would punish relatives of the dead.
A new campaign, “Fallujah Is Being Killed by Starvation,” has sought to draw attention to the impact of the siege. In one recent video that Baghdad-based activists provided to Human Rights Watch, an unidentifiable woman says she is from Fallujah and that her children are dying because there is no rice, no flour – not even local dates – and the hospital has run out of baby food.

The Facebook account “Fallujah is my city” (“فلوجة مدينتي”) posted a video on March 23, 2016, showing several lifeless bodies in a body of water. Baghdad-based activists said that it shows a mother who drowned herself and her two children because she could not find food. Another activist from Fallujah, now based in Iraqi Kurdistan, corroborated this account based on information from relatives still in Fallujah.

Iraq's prime minister has had little to say about Falluja since September 2014 when he lied to the press and declared that he had called off the bombing of Falluja's residential areas (the next day, the bombing continued and it has ever since).

Haider al-Abadi did give an interview with MIDDLE EAST MONITOR.

It was about his plan to build a new Cabinet.

As we've noted, see Saturday's snapshot for a few examples, there is real push back among Iraqi law makers to Haider's attempt to circumvent the Constitution and create a new Cabinet.

From that snapshot:

The US State Dept loves to give lip service to the rule of law in Iraq when it benefits their goals, otherwise they stay silent.
The United Nations and the White House could've called for new elections in Iraq if they wanted a new Cabinet.
But,per the Constitution, short of that the only way a new Cabinet comes about is via a vote of no-confidence in the Parliament.
The rule of law is followed or it's not.
AL MADA notes that the proposed Cabinet was greeted earlier this week by a statement from KRG president Massoud Barzani who declared Haider's proposal had no importance and that it was long ago cleared there was no true partnership in the current government.
What's really amazing is how little objections to Haider's proposed Cabinet is covered by the international press.
There was an election in Iraq today.  Ammar al-Hakim was re-elected as the leader of the (Shi'ite) political body the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.  And ISCI issued a statement that any political reforms (the Cabinet) should not weaken the law or increase political differences.
ALL IRAQ NEWS notes Ammar issued a statement as well when he noted reform did not equal proposing a new Cabinet.
Ammar held a press conference today where he expressed surprise by Haider al-Abadi's proposal to reform the Cabinet.  This as NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports that there is strong division in Parliament over Haider's proposed Cabinet with some likening Haider's proposals to the start of a "dictatorship."
Meanwhile AL MADA notes that the Kurds continue to demand 20% of the positions on any new Cabinet while Haider's nominees are facing criticism from Sunni political blocs.
But it's the Shi'ite criticism that's emerging and the most vocal.  IRAQ TIMES notes State of Law MP Kazem al-Sayadi has declared that, no way, no how, will any former member of the Ba'ath Party sit in the Cabinet.
In addition, ALSUMARIA reports that the Coalition of National Forces are also voicing objection to Haider's proposal with MP Khaled Mafraji declaring that what Haider has done is both incorrect and illegal.
As if Haider's proposal didn't have enough problems to face, it's already minus one.
NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports Nazar Muahmmad Salim al-Numan withdrew his name from consideration on Friday.  Haider had nominated him on Thursday to be the Minister of Oil.  He stated he was withdrawing his name due to a "lack of political consensus."

That was one name withdrawn.

Now it's two.

Today, Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi’s proposed technocrat cabinet is looking shakier by the day, as another high-profile figure, nominee Finance Minister Ali Allawi, has withdrawn himself from candidacy, citing “political interventions and partisan bickering.”

While the corporate western media has ignored this pushback, Haider can't.

Hence the interview with MEM.

In the interview, Haider insists that none of it his fault or, for that matter, his idea.

The puppet insists that he did what he did because he was being threatened by Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

Abadi has been accused of undermining democracy and “leading a coup” against Iraq’s power-sharing political structure that has been in place since 2003, which guarantees a certain number of political positions to the country’s Shia, Sunni and Kurdish blocs.
But Abadi told Middle East Eye in a phone interview that rival political blocs had not responded to his request for them to nominate their preferred independent candidates for cabinet posts last month.
He also said that the call for an independent cabinet had come from Moqtada al-Sadr, the influential Shia cleric who last week threatened to raid Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone unless his demands for political reform were met.
[. . .]
It was Sadr who demanded a government of technocrats, in which everyone is independent except for the prime minister. It was not my demand.” 

Moqtaqda made him do it.

That's what Haider's now insisting of what he had only previously been maintaining was his great effort to fight corruption.

In other news, the US government and the Iranian government bond over ways to suppress Iraq. Stephen Kaplan and Maher Chmaytelli (REUTERS) report:

The United States and Iran have formed an unlikely tacit alliance behind Iraq's prime minister as he challenges the ruling elite with plans for a non-political cabinet to fight corruption undermining the OPEC nation's economic and political stability.

Local calls for Haider al-Abadi's removal -- including one by his predecessor as prime minister Nuri al-Maliki -- had been growing as he pursued a reshuffle aimed at addressing graft, which became a major issue after oil prices collapsed in 2014 and strained the government's finances as it launched a costly campaign against Islamic State.

This is not about reforms.

It's never been about reforms.

For Iran, it's about weakening Sunnis.  And it's the knowledge that as long as Iraq's unstable, Iran benefits.  For the US, it's about pushing through the economic 'reforms' it's long wanted.  Ending subsidies to the Iraqi people, changing the economic system, controlling the oil.

Yes, that oil and natural gas law that the US has been pushing.  Bully Boy Bush pushed it, Barack pushes it.  And it's still never gotten anywhere.

Iran and the US remain in bed together, pillow talking ways to keep Iraq unsteady and in need of 'help.'

At today's US State Dept press briefing today, spokesperson Mark C. Toner was asked about the report.

QUESTION: -- on Iraq? Okay.


QUESTION: Are you aware of efforts last week to basically force Haider Abadi, the prime minister of Iraq, out of office because he wants to introduce or re-introduce a number of new ministers and so on to fight corruption, and that in fact, in that effort, you and the Iranians work together to prevent such a movement by certain coalitions within the government? Are you aware of that?

MR TONER: That we work with Iranians?

QUESTION: Yes, yeah.

MR TONER: I’m not aware of that.

QUESTION: That you and – whether directly or indirectly, you and Iran work to prop up Haider Abadi, the prime minister of Iraq.

MR TONER: I’m not aware of that. I mean, as I think we already said, we do support his reform efforts. Frankly, this is an internal matter, though, for the Iraqi Government. But I don’t have anything to specifically talk about any kind of collaboration we may have carried out with the Iranians. I just don’t have any --

QUESTION: Okay. But all reports suggest that --

MR TONER: I haven’t seen those reports.

QUESTION: -- there was actually a list of 14 new members that he’s shared with you on a possible replacement for existing ministers and so on. Can you confirm or deny or --

MR TONER: I can’t, no. Sorry.

nancy a. youssef