For all the White House insistence of success in the battle, there's been no success.
It's been back and forth with the Islamic State still maintaining a hold in Iraq. (They maintain that hold due to the Iraqi government's persecution of Sunni citizens. You address that or the Islamic State remains an 'alternative' to the Shi'ite violence in the minds of many Iraqis.)
The White House likes to insist that there is success.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS examines satellite photos of Ramadi and sees nothing but destruction, housing toppled, business establishments destroyed. AP concludes, "When Iraqi government forces backed by U.S.-led warplanes wrested this city from Islamic State militants after eight months of IS control, it was heralded as a major victory. But the cost of winning Ramadi has been the city itself."
Ben Connable (NATIONAL INTEREST) argues:
Three years of engagement with Sunni Arab Iraqis, analysis of Sunni Iraqi media and a recent trip to Baghdad with former ambassador Ryan Crocker’s Task Force for the Future of Iraq have convinced me of two things. First, most Sunni and a number of Shia Arabs are hungry for more direct U.S. involvement in the Iraq’s political reconciliation process. Second, while Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi has genuine intent to foster reconciliation, he does not have the political power to make it happen. Worse, as he struggles to form a new cabinet, he is rapidly losing the support of the Iraqi leaders he will most need to effect change. While the winds of political influence can quickly shift in Baghdad, it seems most likely that reconciliation will remain at best a secondary issue while the government contends with Sadrist protestors, wavering reform efforts and the omnipresent threat of Shia militias. These “alligators closest to the boat” continue to distract from the crucial process of reconciling the Sunnis with their government. It is time for the United States to step in and take the lead for reconciliation in order to bolster the tactical fight against ISIL and to ensure Iraq does not further destabilize.
I would argue it is past time for the White House to step in.
In fact, I have.
We've pointed out here repeatedly how John Kerry's been allowed to play toy general as opposed to acting like the Secretary of State.
We've noted how the reconciliation is essential and that this required a diplomatic push.
We've also repeatedly noted with each weapons shipment that Haider got those weapons without making any concessions towards reconciliation.
National reconciliation is not a new goal of the US government.
When Congress demanded Bully Boy Bush provide measurements for measuring "success" in Iraq (the White House benchmarks), national reconciliation was on that short list.
But nearly a decade later and there's been no national reconciliation.
Failure to achieve that was supposed to result in the US government cutting off aid to Iraq -- financial and military.
Meanwhile . . .
Today, Amnesty International has issued a press release which opens:
The daily security threats that plague the lives of Iraqi civilians must not open the door to more human rights violations, Amnesty International warned today at the end of a six-day trip to Baghdad and Erbil headed by the organization’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty.
Both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government promised to investigate a string of abuses by their respective militias and security forces.
“The atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS) armed group do not give a free pass to Shi’a militias and Kurdish Peshmerga to go on the rampage in blatant violation of international humanitarian law,” said Salil Shetty.
“The Iraqi authorities and their international backers should ensure human rights are not sacrificed in the fight against IS. Even during conflict there are rules that must be observed - the protection of civilians is paramount.”The Iraqi authorities and their international backers should ensure human rights are not sacrificed in the fight against IS. Even during conflict there are rules that must be observed.
In Baghdad Amnesty International met with Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and urged him to rein in security forces and the multitude of militias that have committed egregious abuses with impunity for years, including extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings. The Prime Minister committed to investigate such abuses as well as promising to look into cases of hundreds of detainees being held without charge in horrendous conditions in makeshift detention centres in Anbar exposed by Amnesty International earlier this week.
The organization also met with senior Shi’a clerics in Najaf, known to command the respect of government-backed militias, and urged them to call on such groups to respect international humanitarian law.
In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, President Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and other senior government officials promised to investigate abuses by Peshmerga forces documented by Amnesty International including the destruction of thousands of homes in Arab villages and the forced displacement of residents. The organization urged the authorities to ensure the investigations into these abuses are impartial and independent.
“Neither militias backed by the Iraqi government nor Peshmerga forces are above the law. The promise of investigations is a positive sign, but the true test will be how robust and effective these prove to be. There can be no whitewash – perpetrators of such abuses must be held to account and mechanisms to ensure justice must be put in place,” said Salil Shetty.
Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "She Wanted It To Be A Surprise" as did:
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