The report from the Iraq Inquiry continues to dominate the news on/from Iraq despite being released last Wednesday, one week ago.
Wes and Helen Holmes (BELFEST TELEGRAPH) write a letter to the editor noting that the blame can be spread around beyond Tony Blair:
Ours is a parliamentary democracy and the resolution to go to war was determined by our political representatives.
As the decision was a shared one, the blame also must be shared.
Given that vast numbers of innocents are dead as a consequence of the invasion it is not sufficient for those responsible to claim they were duped.
They're certainly correct about their type of government.
And I do agree that many share blame. I would include Gordon Brown (who replaced Blair as prime minister and could have ended the UK involvement much sooner), I would include Barack Obama who has not ended the Iraq War despite being elected on the promise that he would. I would include members of the US Congress such as Hillary Clinton who voted for it. I would include members of Congress who pretended to be against it but did nothing to stop it once it started -- US House Rep Barbara Lee poses so well she should be in a wax museum, not in Congress. Former US Senator Mike Gravel in 2007 and 2008 repeatedly outlined how anyone in Congress could stop the war. (Gravel was not in Congress during the Iraq War.) I would include a lot of people.
But of all of them: Bully Boy Bush and Tony Blair would be at the top. (Barack would be immediately below them because the Iraq War goes on.)
As for who would be at the top?
Bully Boy Bush was a laughingstock on the world stage.
He needed Blair as an ally to sell the war.
The so-called coalition of the willing would have been next to nothing without Blair.
Blair had an image -- a false one, but an image -- for being upstanding and forthright.
Blair was deceitful and a liar -- as most of New Labour is and was.
He sold out the people in one neoliberal scheme after another.
But he could have held onto the myth were it not for the Iraq War.
Had he not made the promise long before the war started -- as documented in the report from the Iraq Inquiry -- to stand with Bully Boy Bush no matter what, it's very possible the war would not have started.
France already was thought unwilling to take part (the report throws doubt on Blair and Bush's assumptions there). To have also not had the longterm ally of England?
It would have been much harder to get the war off the ground.
The war machine in the US -- which does include the media, never forget that:
The 'mainstream' media are guilty of burying facts and stifling dissent on #Iraq. http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2016/823-the-great-iraq-war-fraud.html … #Chilcot
The war machine had already slimed the French. If they had then done the same with the British, late night comics would have had a field day with who was next and Americans would have been even more suspicious of the impending war.
Bully Boy Bush was seen as a deranged cowboy.
Blair was seen as a wise and thoughtful leader.
Without Blair by his side, a case can be made that the Iraq War would not have started.
A case can be made.
That's not: This is what would have happened.
I have no crystal ball.
But we're talking blame and having to go by likelihood so we make a case to determine who deserves more of it and, I would argue, that's War Criminal Tony Blair.
The Iraq War continues.
SPUTNIK reports, "Swedish authorities plan to increase twofold the number of its military personnel deployed in Iraq to train Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, local media reported, citing Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist." THE LOCAL adds, "Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish radio's current affairs show Ekot on Wednesday that Sweden had been asked to increase its troops in Iraq from 35 to 70 soldiers."
This increase follows the announcement of the US increase on Monday. Dropping back to that day's snapshot:
Today, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited Iraq and declared, "And I'm pleased to report today in that connection that we agreed for the United States to bolster the Iraqi efforts to isolate and pressure Mosul by deploying 560 additional troops in support of the ISF and especially at the Qayyarah West airfield."
[. . .]
Dan Lamothe and Loveday Morris (WASHINGTON POST) explain, "The decision to deploy more service members will elevate the number of U.S. troops the Pentagon counts in Iraq to 4,647. Unofficially, that figure is probably closer to 6,000 when considering a variety of American troops who deploy on temporary assignments that the Pentagon does not include in its official tally."
Bit by bit, the numbers increase. This is the definition of mission creep.
The Iraq War continues.
Some lie -- or maybe they're just that ignorant -- and insist this is not the Iraq War, this is about fighting the Islamic State to defend the Iraqi people.
The Iraq War was never, ever about defending the Iraqi people.
There was never concern for them and that remains true today.
This was about putting a group of US-friendly men in charge of Iraq.
Shi'ite men who were blazen cowards.
They fled Iraq -- unconcerned about saving their country, just worried about saving their own ass.
They fled Iraq.
Once safely out of Iraq, they agitated for decades to get someone to attack Iraq.
During that time, they nursed their grudges and remembered every slight -- real and imagined -- to feed their hatred of Sunnis, to project their anger at Saddam Hussein onto the Sunni people.
Once the US-led invasion began, these cowards returned to Iraq (around the time Baghdad was 'liberated').
And the US government put them in charge and drove the Sunnis out of the government.
Even over objections from the British (check out the Iraq Inquiry report and wonder why we're not talking about that section -- which was one of the biggest points in the public testimony, check the archives here) this was done.
If this isn't the same Iraq War, why is the US supplying weapons to these returned exiles -- these returned exiles who persecute and oversee the persecution of the Sunni population.
alKhafaji Shia militia commander Abu al Fadl al Abbas threatens to kill all prisoners in Nasiriyah prison #warcrimes
The Sunnis are persecuted -- openly.
And the US government is not protecting them.
The US government is not demanding that they be brought into the political process though Barack's repeatedly given lip service to that in speeches directed to Americans.
There is no diplomatic effort despite Barack promising that.
So let's stop pretending that the fight against ISIS is about protecting the Iraqi people.
It's about protecting the US-installed leaders.
There's a big difference.
And that's why Mosul's been held by the Islamic State for over two years now -- no US-installed leaders to protect there.
Annie Slemroad (IRIN) covers militias in Iraq and we'll note this:
Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Family of the Righteous) Having split off from the Mahdi Army with leader Qais al-Khazali before it was disbanded, AAH are considered to be one of the more brutal groups on the battlefield.
Khazali himself was captured by coalition forces and released after three years in 2009, reportedly in exchange for British citizen Peter Moore.
AAH is seen as close Iran, and Khazali has boasted that his fighters honed their skills on the battlefields of Syria. Former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki is also an important ally.
Human Rights Watch singled out AAH and another militia for criticism after it said they abducted and killed “scores” of Sunnis and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques as retribution for a January bombing claimed by IS.
At the time, HRW’s deputy Middle East director Joe Stork said: “again civilians are paying the price for Iraq’s failure to rein in the out-of-control militias”.
Not reportedly, it happened, Barack made a deal with the terrorists.
Sorry if you're late to the party but let's drop back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot:
This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."
Well -- well that was just reported in 2009!!!
It was confirmed in 2011.
This is from the July 9, 2011 entry entitled "League of Righteous tells Barack the deal is off:"
Al Mada reports they have issued a statement where they savage the US government for not honoring -- and quickly honoring -- the agreement made with them. As a result, they say Alan McMenemy will not be released.
Peter Moore, the only one released alive, was a computer tech working in Iraq. Four British bodyguards were protecting him. The bodyguards were McMenemy, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec MacLachlan and Jason Cresswell. The families of the four have continued to publicly request that Alan McMenemy be released.
They condemn the "procrastionation" of the US government after the deal was made and state that a promise was also broken when "US forces did not stop attacks" -- apparently Barack made very grand promises -- so now Alan McMenemy will not be released. The statement is credited to Akram al-Ka'bi.
What the statement really does is demonstrate what many condemned in 2009: The US government, the administration, entered into an agreement that did not benefit the US or Iraq. They freed known killers from prison. Killers of Iraqis, killers of American citizens. There was nothing to be gained by that act for Iraq or the US. At some point, history will ask how Barack Obama thought he was fulfilling his duties of commander in chief by making such an ignorant move?
Their leaders were captured.
This deal was brokered and it was covered in the Arabic press -- which even has an interview -- published in English -- with the Iraqi brokering the deal.
This isn't 'reported' or 'alleged' its confirmed by the League of Righteous.
Today, AFP reports a Hussainiyah checkpoint (near Baghdad) was attacked by a suicide bomber who took their own life and the lives of 4 others with at least twenty-one people left injured. AP updates with 8 dead and states it was a suicide car bomber.
And there's also this: