Sunday, May 29, 2016


Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack and fighter aircraft conducted 21strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

-- Near Baghdadi, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb and an ISIL weapons cache.

-- Near Fallujah, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, two ISIL mortar systems, an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL tunnel entrance, and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

-- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, 12 ISIL rocket rails, and an ISIL bunker.

-- Near Hit, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL heavy machine guns, and an ISIL boat.

-- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, 12 strikes struck eight separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL headquarters, damaged an ISIL assembly area, suppressed three ISIL tactical units, and destroyed 15 ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL supply cache, five ISIL weapons caches, four ISIL vehicles, and two ISIL command and control nodes.

-- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed five ISIL rocket rails with rockets.

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. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

And why is all this happening?

Oh, right, because the US government has to help the Iraqi government -- because the Iraqi government is so wonderful and fair.

Organization of Women's Freedom's Yanar Mohammed speaks with the Global Fund for Women:

Yanar, you’ve been an activist and a defender of women’s rights in Iraq for over 13 years. What do you think are the main challenges women in Iraq are facing right now?

We focused in the last year on working against trafficking in women and girls and expanding a new network, the Network of Anti-Trafficking of Women in Iraq. We started the network in 2013, barely nine months before ISIS began gaining ground in Iraq. As ISIS grew, they started their attacks against women in the north of Iraq, including against the women of Yazidi faith. They trafficked them in broad daylight.
Trafficking in women and girls is now a tactic used by opposing groups in instances of sectarian violence in Iraq. Women and girls are looked upon as the representatives of a community’s honor, and so the sexual exploitation of women and girls belonging to a certain community is seen as the most effective way to humiliate and break it. Unfortunately, it is therefore not a surprise that the so-called Islamic State, ISIS, as a Sunni group, has targeted non-Sunni Muslim women and girls such as Shi’a Muslims, Christians, and Yazidis. Retaliations ensue and wars are led on women’s bodies.
When ISIS began to enslave women, we found that this was the time when we should rise to the occasion and highlight the issue of trafficking in society and the government. This is an issue that needs to be addressed by laws, practices, programs, and by some understanding from the society as to what it means that a woman gets compromised, gets exploited, and gets enslaved. So we set up this network, which is now about 40 NGOs working together on the issue. We began to talk about trafficking in women and girls, especially sexual exploitation, and address it as something that’s not only happening under ISIS but also happening in Iraq more broadly, without anybody daring to give it any importance.

Beyond ISIS, orphans and widows of war in Iraq who are extremely impoverished have fallen prey to sexual exploitation. They are being used and exploited and violated daily in Iraq, without anybody thinking of it as a human rights issue. So this is our focus; we have decided we will work on this until we get the government to pass laws that make the suffering of these women less, and also that open the way for us to protect the women from this kind of violence.

[. . .]

Can you tell me about the shelters that your group runs?

Our shelters are currently keeping safe women who survive trafficking. They are also getting educated; our shelters are not only a place for women to rest and be safe, they are also schools for social transformation for women to turn from victims into defenders of women. We only had one shelter until 2008; since then we have expanded to have six shelters all over the country. We also have a pipeline from the southern city of Busra, to direct violated women to our shelters in Baghdad. And we have many supporters in the network of the 40-plus NGOs, who are our eyes and ears in more than nine cities in Iraq and are guiding women who are in need of shelter to us. I like to put it in a very short story: our organization was able to spread its wings over most of the Iraqi cities in the last few years.
However, the Iraqi government is not facilitating our undertaking of women into our shelters. And it boils down to one point—we need a piece of legislation from the Iraqi government to provide legal status to shelters that are run by NGOs or other private sector groups. Although the government does not have a law that says that our shelters are illegal, they do have a law that allows the ministry of social affairs to determine if they should stay open. So some of the tribal and misogynist officials did tell us in the past that we are doing an illegal thing, but they did not shut us down.

So, although we are protecting women from trafficking and domestic violence and all that—although we are doing the duty of the government, the duty the government is not taking seriously and do not want to move on, and although they should be supporting us and applauding us for doing their job, in reality they confront us, telling us that our sheltering of women is promoting promiscuity, that it is encouraging women to go against their families and have full sexual freedoms and come stay in our shelters. So some governmental officials have intimidated us in the past, telling us we are doing something illegal, when we are protecting women.

What was all that crap from the White House awhile back about 'save our girls'?

Exactly when do the women and girls of Iraq matter to the White House?

Meanwhile the assault on Falluja continues.

  1. ISF abuses push civilians to extremism. Videos of extrajudicial killings & torture MUST be investigated.
  2. Iraqi Sunni Scholar arrested & tortured by Shia militias

Map shows number of displaced in . 50,000 displaced in Fallujah alone. Number will rise as fighting intensifies

While Haider al-Abadi turns the Shi'ite militias loose on Iraq (and Saudi Arabia objects), the US forces appear on the frontlines of an assault on Mosul.  Isabel Coles (REUTERS) reports:

Servicemen from the U.S.-led coalition were seen near the front line of a new offensive in northern Iraq launched on Sunday by Kurdish peshmerga forces that aims to retake a handful of villages from Islamic State east of their Mosul stronghold.

A Reuters correspondent saw the soldiers loading armored vehicles outside the village of Hassan Shami, a few miles east of the frontline. They told people present not to take photographs.

A SpecOp mercenary (with Kurdistan flag patch) fights with Peshmerga terror militia in Khazar..

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] 4517 (including 20 in Operation Inherent Resolve which includes at least 3 Iraq War fatalities).

The following community sites -- plus THE GUARDIAN and Jane Fonda -- updated:

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