Saturday, May 14, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, May 14, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, one of the fallen is laid to rest, Haider al-Abadi blames his failures on other politicians, and much more.

May 3rd, it was announced that Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV had died in Iraq -- in combat.  This week, he was laid to rest.

Navy photo from the memorial service held for Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Charles Keating IV in San Diego

  • Hannah Mullins (10NEWS.COM, CITY NEWS SERVICE -- link is text and video) reports:

    A San Diego-based Navy SEAL killed in action in Iraq last week was laid to rest at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery Friday following an enormous display of support from grateful members of the public.
    Petty Officer First Class Charles H. Keating IV, 31, was fatally shot in a May 3 battle with Islamic State forces in Tall Usquf, Iraq. According to the Navy, ISIS broke through the front lines north of the city of Mosul, and Keating's SEAL team and air support were called in to repel the attack.
    A funeral service was held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Coronado, after which a hearse carrying his body and a long procession of vehicles wound their way through the city and across the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

    WATCH: 1000s line streets of Coronado, Calif., to honor US Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV, who was killed last week.
    WATCH: 1000s lined the streets of Coronado, Calif., to honor US Navy...
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    Julie Watson (AP) adds:

    At a memorial ceremony attended by more than a thousand people in Coronado on Thursday, Keating was posthumously awarded a Silver Star, the nation's third-highest combat medal, for his heroic actions during a battle against Islamic State fighters in Iraq, said Lt. Beth Teach, a spokeswoman for the SEALs.
    He also received a Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon for what he did the day he was killed. He was part of a quick reaction force that moved in May 3 to rescue U.S. military advisers caught in a gunbattle with more than 100 Islamic State militants.

    Memorial mass held today at for SEAL Chief Charles Keating IV killed in action in Iraq May 3.

    Keating died in combat.  US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the death on May 3rd (later in the day, Keating's name would be released) and he noted it was a combat death.

    SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER: Okay.  Once again, good morning.  Everybody hear me? Well, we had a very meaningful, and important and wonderful ceremony this morning.  I won't repeat the main themes of what we all said there, but as to remind you, as we stood -- or to tell you that as we stood there in from of those magnificent service members, I'm getting some reports now that an American service member has been killed in Iraq, in the neighborhood of Erbil.
    And I -- again, these are preliminary reports.  I don't know much more than that, but I believe that much is true.  And so our thoughts and prayers are with that service member's family.
    As we're here in Stuttgart today and as we learn more, we'll give you more information about that.  But it shows you, it's a serious fight that we have to wage in Iraq.  There are American service members involved and that's all I know at this time.  But I wanted you to know as soon as we begin getting those reports. And with that, let me turn things over to Peter, and we'll answer your questions.
    [. . .]
    STAFF:  (inaudible) -- of The Wall Street Journal.
    Q:  (inaudible) -- from The Wall Street Journal.  I was just wondering -- two questions.  One is on the death in Iraq -- (inaudible).
    SEC. CARTER:  I can't at this time.  It does -- it is a combat death, of course.  And very sad loss.  I don't know all the circumstances of it and as -- we'll give you more as we learn more.  I wanted to give you everything I knew.  I really just can't go any further than that.

    The White House thinks they can lie and spin and pretend like it's not combat.

    They think as long as they don't admit it was combat, they can get away with Barack Obama continuing the Iraq War.

    In Friday's snapshot, we noted US House Rep Seth Moulton appeared on CNN's THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER.  CNN doesn't have a transcript for it -- though they've posted transcripts -- and doesn't provide a link for the video.

  • Democratic Congressman blasts Obama's ISIS strategy after death of friend

    Jake Tapper's link takes you to the CNN clip posted at SNAPPY TV.  It's an important interview.  I have no idea why CNN wants to bury it.

    Jake Tapper:  Now there are more than 4,000 US personnel, US military personnel, in Iraq right now but the White House argues this is not a combat mission.  Do you think that the Obama administration is misleading the American public.

    US House Rep Seth Moulton:  That's just simply not true, this absolutely is a combat mission.  In 2004, I had an advisory mission as a Marine with my platoon in Iraq.  We were advisors to an Iraqi unit and when that unit started to get overrun, we went to their assistance and started the battle of Najaf which was some of the fiercest fighting of the war until that time.  So there's a very fine line between an advisory mission and full fledged combat. It's very clear from the death of the Navy Seal just last week that this is absolutely a combat mission.

    It is a combat mission.

    And if Americans are being asked to still risk their lives in Iraq because the White House continues to send them into Iraq, it is past time to ask what 'success' is and when Iraq's leader is going to stand up and do his damn job.

    In Iraq today, Haider al-Abadi, US-installed prime minister, gave a speech broadcast on state television.  ALSUMARIA reports he expressed dismay over the ongoing political crisis and spoke of the plan (hope?) to liberate Mosul.

    For those who have forgotten the Sunni terrorist group the Islamic State seized control of Mosul in June of 2014.  The two year anniversary approaches.

    Where's that liberation effort?

    It starts.

    It stops.

    Two years that Mosul's been held and controlled by the Islamic State.

    This as Corey Dickstein (STARS AND STRIPES) reports:

    Roughly half of Iraq’s American-trained security forces are stationed in and around Baghdad to protect the country’s capital, where recent political turmoil was followed this week by a wave of terrorist attacks, a U.S. military spokesman said Friday.

    Half the forces are protecting Baghdad?

    There's your clue that Haider's government is not working.

    Not to mention the fact that last month, with all that Baghdad protection, Moqtada al-Sadr's zombies still managed to storm the Green Zone and storm Parliament.

    Haider al-Abadi is a failure.

    Nouri al-Maliki, former prime minister and forever thug, used his second term as prime minister (2010 through 2014) to harden divisions along sectarian lines.  The Shi'ite politician went after Sunnis.  He persecuted them.

    They protested and did so for over a year and never got a fraction of the world press' attention that Moqtada al-Sadr's zombies got for one Saturday faux-test.

    The world has turned its eye away from Iraq, yes.  But worse was it turned its back on the Sunni suffering.

    The Sunni people were persecuted. they were disappeared, they were taken away from crimes that others were alleged to have committed (Shi'ite forces show up to arrest a man and he's not there, they take a parent, a wife, a child instead), the Sunni politicians had their homes circled by tanks, at what point does the world pay attention?

    In March of 2013, activists in Samarra put their message on display.

    From Samarra من سامراء

    "Obama, If you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?"

    They even made it real simple, they put in English in the hopes that the west would notice and carry the message.

    That didn't happen.

    What did happen?

    For one thing, the following month, Sunnis would be slaughtered at a protest elsewhere.

    April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

    And the west yawned, if they bothered to acknowledge the massacre at all.

    How did a Sunni terrorist group like the Islamic State flow into Iraq and set up roots there?

    Because you had a government that was persecuting and killing the Sunnis.

    Sympathy was created.

    They were able to present themselves as "defenders."

    And they were able to seize that role because the world didn't care.

    The White House didn't give a damn.

    They installed Nouri for a second term (after he lost the 2010 election) and they looked the other way.

    They never condemned anything.

    They didn't even condemn the massacre in Hawija -- which was only a larger scale version of events that repeatedly took place.

    That's why the Islamic State was able to take root in Iraq.

    And until this is dealt with, there is no solution or moving forward in Iraq.

    I guess the Iraqi government could kill off every Sunni in Iraq and maybe then they could 'resolve' the issue.

    And possibly that's the 'plan'?

    But the only way to have a peaceful solution in Iraq is to end the persecution of the Sunnis and allow for a true partnership to take place.

    Does Haider al-Abadi grasp that?

    There's no indication that he does.

    Of today's speech, PRESS TV reports he declared, "The political conflict among politicians and their impact on the brave security forces permits acts of terrorism to occur."

    His "political conflict" is that he's not being allowed to tear apart his existing Cabinet -- one he had to present to Parliament and get their okay to become prime minister in the second half of 2014 -- and replaced them with people he wants.

    His April list was shot down.

    He's now attempting to push through a new list.

    He paints them as "technocrats" but it's about ending the established quota system that guarantees representation of all Iraqis.

    That's what he's at war with, that's what he's trying to dismantle and destroy.

    Martha Raddatz will be reporting from Iraq Sunday on ABC's THIS WEEK.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Rocket artillery and fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL command-and-control node.
    -- Near Albu Hayat, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL weapons cache.
    -- Near Rutbah, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL headquarters, an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb facility and an ISIL staging facility.
    -- Near Beiji, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bunker.
    -- Near Fallujah, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
    -- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL anti-air artillery piece.
    -- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL weapons cache.
    -- Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle and an ISIL mortar system.
    -- Near Tal Afar, two strikes destroyed an ISIL tunnel system and an ISIL road-roller.

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

    The Iraq War continues.  And one of the people who helped start it (and kept it going) is running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Philip Weiss (MONDOWEISS) notes War Hawk Hillary Clinton was discussed on MSNBC's HARDBALL when host Chris Matthews spoke with NEW YORK TIMES journalist Mark Landler:

    Matthews: Her key decision politically which hurt her in the 2008 race was supporting the authorization for going to war in Iraq. How did she turn on that… How did she get to that decision. How has she reviewed it since?

    Landler: First of all, She’s acknowledged that was a mistake

    Matthews: What’s that mean, though, what’s mistake mean?

    Landler: OK, she’s acknoweldged that was a mistake because she said she wasn’t given access to the full intelligence dossier, right?

    Matthews: That’s not a mistake.

    Landler: And the point is she didn’t read the full NIE that actually talked about whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or not.

    Matthews: Well did he have nuclear weapons? I’ve got no evidence that ever have suggested we knew or thought he did. But they sold it.

    Landler: That’s right. She sort of hung it on her being deceived by the administration when the argument is she probably didn’t do adequate due diligence to figure out the truth.

    Matthews: Why did she want to vote yes?

    Landler: I think it was a combination of what I said earlier, which is her own instincts, plus you have to also acknowledge, New York senator, post-9/11, worried about her own–

    Matthews: Concerned about Israel, too.