Sunday, July 24, 2016


The violence never ends in Iraq.  Paul Armstrong (CNN) reports, "Terror once again struck the streets of Iraq's capital Sunday, after a suicide bombing killed at least 21 people in a residential neighborhood in northern Baghdad."  In other violence, the US Defense Dept announced today:

Strikes in Iraq
Fighter aircraft conducted four strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Qayyarah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL mortar systems, 12 ISIL rockets, 19 ISIL rocket rails, seven ISIL oil tankers, and an ISIL assembly area and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Ramadi, a  strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL weapons storage facility.

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.

More and more, people are pointing out the need for the political crises to be addressed.  This was a point that US President Barack Obama made June 19, 2014.  But the US government has done nothing to address this issue.

It has only dropped bombs and more bombs.

When the Islamic State loses Mosul, it doesn't leave Iraq.

It was a threat before it seized cities.

The Iraqi government's incompetence and its persecution of Sunnis allowed the Islamic State to flower across Iraq.

That's still not being addressed.

In other news, last Sunday, Stephen Kalin (REUTERS) reported, "Powerful Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr instructed his followers on Sunday to target U.S. troops deploying to Iraq as part of the military campaign against Islamic State."  Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports:

Before Carter’s announcement on sending more US troops to Iraq, Sadr had hinted in a TV interview July 6 about his intention to target the US Embassy in Iraq by saying, “The [US] embassy has harassed us before and now it is our time to harass it.” 
Today, Sadr has a force within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) known by the name of the Peace Brigades, which he said were ready to target US forces anywhere in the country. This places the Iraqi government in an awkward position with its US ally, which has been supporting the war against terrorism and signed the Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq.
What is strange is that Sadr has a political bloc in the Iraqi government and parliament. Iraq has positive bilateral relations with the United States and is working under the Strategic Framework Agreement signed between the two countries in 2011 and voted on by the Iraqi parliament. As per the agreement, the United States is committed to provide support and assistance to Iraq on all levels.

Is Moqtada serious?

Does he have support outside his followers?

Diplomatic efforts, serious ones, would have gone a long way towards allowing for an honest assessment at this point.

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).

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