Today, the US Defense Dept announced:
Strikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Fallujah, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL supply caches, and six ISIL staging areas and damaged three ISIL fighting positions and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL heavy machine gun, and an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL staging area and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck an ISIL bomb-making facility and an ISIL vehicle bomb factory.
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 bombing has been going on since August of 2014 and the only noticeable damage has been to the US taxpayer's wallet.
The assault on Falluja continues.
In Wednesday's snapshot, we noted our disbelief in western press reports that the assault on Falluja had ceased (due to concerns for 20,000 kids trapped there). Thursday's snapshot noted that Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had stated the assault had never been halted.
Even the US State Dept was going to town on western media outlets.
State Dept spokesperson Mark Toner, "First of all, beginning with Fallujah. I wanted to update you on the ongoing effort to retake Fallujah. Contrary to some media reports, efforts have not stalled."
Poor western media, so foolish, so stupid.
It's why they also struggle to report reality -- like the War Crimes taking place in the 'liberation' of Falluja.
These are the "non sectarian" Shia Hashd militia abusing Sunni clerics. This is the Iraqi Shia alternative to ISIS
To the War Crimes, the US government turns a blind eye.
And, when questions are raised about the war crimes, a deaf ear.
From Friday's State Dept press briefing:
QUESTION: Similar to Said’s question but involving the PMF, the Popular Mobilization Force.
MR TONER: Sure.
QUESTION: If – we’ve got some eyewitness accounts from a camp south of Fallujah, people who have escaped the fighting there, saying that the PMF has separated the men from the women and children, beating, handcuffing for security screening purposes the men. And then the government denies any of this abuse is happening. Does that suggest that the government is reluctant or incapable of reining in some of the purported abuses of the PMF?
MR TONER: Again – and I’m aware of the, as you talked about it, the separation. I’m hesitant to get too into the weeds in terms of what’s happening on the ground there. My understanding is that part of that is simply an effort to ensure that members of [the Islamic State] aren’t trying to escape Fallujah. So there has – there does need to be some measure of screening conducted. Now, how that’s conducted is certainly important, and whether it’s done respectfully is also important, and we’re looking at that closely as we see these allegations.
QUESTION: There are quite a few warnings from human rights groups and others saying that the potential for abuse is imminent as the city and then other cities are cleared. Is there some kind of mechanism beyond the good faith assurances from Baghdad that they are attempting to rein in the PMF; as was alluded to earlier, that --
MR TONER: Sure.
QUESTION: -- a lot of this – that sectarian division is what lead to some of these – ISIL to be able to take hold, et cetera?
MR TONER: I’m – we are in close contact with the command and control of the Iraqi Security Forces and – as well as the Iraqi Government as they conduct these operations. This is an Iraqi-led operation, and we’ve been very clear about that. But we still believe that the government is committed to conducting an operation that is respectful of the civilian population, and we’ve seen it by the fact that they have opened some of these safe passageways for civilians to escape from the city. But it’s something, obviously, we’re keeping an eye on.
Yeah, let's not get into 'the weeds' of War Crimes, let's not get too hung up on the persecution and brutality against civilians, right?
No one will ever remember Barack Obama as a human rights president.
Nor as much of a success when it comes to Iraq.
Despite again wasiting billions on training Iraqi forces -- as he did from 2010 to 2012 -- there are no results to be encouraged by.
Ned Parker and Jonathan S. Landay (REUTERS) report:
A 17-month U.S. effort to retrain and reunify Iraq's regular army has failed to create a large number of effective Iraqi combat units or limit the power of sectarian militias, according to current and former U.S. military and civilian officials.
Concern about the shortcomings of the American attempt to strengthen the Iraqi military comes as Iraqi government forces and Shi’ite militias have launched an offensive to retake the city of Falluja from Islamic State. Aid groups fear the campaign could spark a humanitarian catastrophe, as an estimated 50,000 Sunni civilians remain trapped in the besieged town.
The continued weakness of regular Iraqi army units and reliance on Shi’ite militias, current and former U.S. military officials said, could impede Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s broader effort to defeat Islamic State and win the long-term support of Iraqi Sunnis. The sectarian divide between the majority Shi'ite and minority Sunni communities threatens to split the country for good.
It's one failure after another. Moni Basu (CNN) offers:
I spoke this week with Ross Caputi, a former Marine who fought in Falluja and later became critical of the U.S. presence in Iraq. Caputi told me that the situation in Falluja now, as then, is simplified as a good guy vs. bad guy narrative.
"The fighting is predicated on the belief that if you eradicate every single fighter of the Islamic State, then everything goes back to a happy equilibrium in Iraq," said Caputi, who researched Falluja in the years since 2004 and launched the Justice for Falluja Project to raise awareness of the city's suffering.
"We are repeating history. A lot of the same things that happened in 2004 are happening now. It's the civilians paying the price."
I watched Caputi's documentary, "Fear Not the Path of Truth," in which he explores the atrocities of war in Falluja. Among those he interviewed was Amir Alani, a sociologist from Falluja who spoke of the British occupation and said he grew up with an understanding that foreigners who occupied his country were not welcome.
And the assault on Falluja has not ended the violence elsewhere in Iraq, AL JAZEEERA reports, "At least 15 people have been killed and more than 40 others were injured in bombings targeting a police checkpoint, a restaurant and two markets in and around Baghdad, Iraqi officials said."
jonathan s. landay