Saturday, August 20, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, August 21, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Moqtada al-Sadr isn't impressed with Haider al-Abadi's Cabinet, Jill Abramson -- writing for a British outlet -- wants to tell Americans not to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, and much more.

Starting with US politics . . .

Tomorrow on : makes the case for why she’s the best alternative to Trump and Clinton.

. will be LIVE on tomorrow at 10am ET with .

Jill Stein is the Green Party's presidential candidate and she'll be on ABC's THIS WEEK tomorrow (Sunday).

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

The Republican Party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump, accused Hillary and US President Barack Obama of being responsible for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.

Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) shares why that accusation wasn't so far fetched:

Clearly, the U.S. public would not tolerate another episode of massive, direct U.S. troop involvement in the region; that was no longer an option. But what force, then, was available to execute Washington’s unfinished agenda for conquest in this part of the world? In 2011, Obama launched the Mother of All Proxy Wars, first against Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya, then swiftly mobilizing the totality of the international jihadist network that had been created out of whole cloth under Carter and Reagan nearly 30 years before. Washington and its NATO partners in the Libya aggression, in close concert with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, turned Syria into a cauldron of death, funneling billions of dollars in weapons to literally hundreds of Salafist and outright mercenary militias, with Al Qaida’s regional affiliate, al Nusra, at the core. This was Obama’s idea of a “smart” war: a frenzied terror offensive cloaked in lies and deception.
The criminal foreign policy pursued by Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is rooted in the same worldview arrogantly articulated by Brzezinski when he derided those who fretted over the blowback that might result from deploying “some stirred-up Moslems” as foot soldiers of imperialism. As the U.S. and its allies literally competed with each other to flood Syria with the weapons, funds, intelligence resources and diplomatic and media cover to bring down the government in Damascus, they collectively created both the material basis and political space for the jihadists to pursue their own ideological objectives. ISIS emerged, to establish a caliphate of its own in Syria and Iraq. No one should have expected otherwise.

Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) notes the attacks Hillary Clinton supporters are launching on Jill Stein:

Liberals are now quite deranged and applaud a woman who will crush their feeble agenda as soon as she says the oath of office. Progressives and big money Republicans are now on the same page and that is why Stein and Baraka face so much scrutiny and so many big lies.

The Green Party’s existence is proof that the Democratic Party emperor has no clothes. The logical progression of success for the Greens is the end of the party which claims to be more inclusive and the champion of working people and human rights. It does none of those things while the party which actually articulates these policies has been designated an enemy.

In this case the enemies of the enemy are most definitely our friends. Far from being wasted votes, support for the Green Party ticket can be the beginning of the end for the Democratic Party.

She may have been anticipating the nonsense coming from the failed, former executive editor of THE NEW YORK TIMES.  Yes, this was the week that saw War Whore and racist Jill Abramson denounce voting for Jill Stein at the website for the British publication THE GUARDIAN:

I get nauseous every time I hear the name Ralph Nader. If all those votes cast for him for president in 2000 had gone to Al Gore, we might have been spared the Iraq war, the frat-boy alliance of George W and Tony Blair, and other horrors.
So I hate so-called third parties. I prefer to call them “fringe”. I don’t believe that voting has anything to do with the so-called likability of the candidates. Who cares which of them is the one you’d rather meet in the pub? Nor should voting be an act of protest. The Green party zealots who went for Nader because they said there wasn’t a dime of difference between Bush and Gore were tragically wrong.
Voting is a sacred duty of US citizenship and as such, the presidential contest is about one central question:

Oh, give it a rest, you whore.

Pretending to care about Iraq.

Jill A. just jump off your damn high horse.

You real good about rewriting history but only a fool would believe you were against the Iraq War. You did nothing to stop Judith Miller's reporting.

Yeah, after she crashed and burned, you showed up to pretend like you objected.

You didn't.

You were a whore protecting your own job and waving through Judith Miller's factually challenged 'reporting.'

So just stop it.

You're a whore for war.

You're a horrible person.

(And a horrible editor -- check out this NPR report.)

And you've condemned your family to their current lot in life.

Live with it, War Whore.

As for this nonsense: "If all those votes cast for him for president in 2000 had gone to Al Gore, we might have been spared the Iraq war, the frat-boy alliance of George W and Tony Blair, and other horrors."?

I know you're deeply stupid.

That's why you don't try to address your racism -- even though it discredits the only thing of value you have -- that book attacking an African-American Supreme Court Justice that you and Jane Mayer wrote together.

But I didn't know you didn't grasp the electoral college.

Presidents in the US are not elected by a popular vote.

How stupid are you?

Now you can be one of the idiots a little bit smarter than you and argue if voters in X state had only . . .

You can argue that about Florida -- although more Dems voted for Bully Boy Bush than Nader in that state (and Gore gave up the recount so why even bother).

You can argue that about Tennessee -- Gore's home state that he lost in 2000.

You can play that game all you want.

At least it's safer than being Judith Miller's editor while she's filing all those bad 'reports' in the lead up to the Iraq War, eh, Jill?

As for Al Gore as president not attacking Iraq?

That's a what-if and no one can know.

We've addressed before how he made statements supporting the war.

This week, David Barouh did the same at COUNTERPUNCH:

One persistent justification for “lesser evil” voting, the continuing vilification of Ralph Nader’s 2000 presidential campaign, and the relevance of that justification for this coming election is the notion that but for Nader’s candidacy, Al Gore would have been president instead of George W. Bush, and that “we would not have had Iraq.” What this notion is based on is a mystery, especially given the virtual certitude with which it is asserted. But aside from the impossibility of knowing the outcome of an event that didn’t happen, what evidence there is indicates that it’s not true, that had Gore been elected president, he would indeed have undertaken that disastrous invasion.
On September 23, 2002 in San Francisco, six months prior to the Iraq invasion, Gore gave a major address in which he roundly criticized “the course of action recommended by President Bush” and offered his alternatives. Yet for all his criticism, Gore supported in principle Bush’s determination to invade Iraq.
Gore criticized Bush’s timing in changing the focus of the “War on Terror” away from Afghanistan, Bush’s belligerence, and his distain for the European allies, but then said this:
Nevertheless, Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction.
Why? Because…
Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power. Moreover, no international law can prevent the United States from taking actions to protect its vital interests, when it is manifestly clear that there is a choice to be made between law and survival.

Gore clearly accepts the claim of Iraq’s WMDs, and offers a legal justification for an invasion.

There's also something really sad about Jill Abramson writing so 'concerned' about the US election . . . for the British GUARDIAN.

Oh, wait!

She can't get work in the United States!!!!

I forgot.

She's a War Whore and her racism follows her.

She was the most powerful female in print journalism supposedly.

And then her racism brought her down.

Now she gets  a small token payment for writing bad non-thought opinion pieces for the British GUARDIAN.

Here's the right Jill on Iraq: Jill Stein:

The War in initiated an incredible & ongoing series of catastrophes. Being appointed SecState doesn't vindicate Hillary's decision.

The invasion of Iraq to secure access to oil killed 1mil people, produced a failed state & created conditions for the rise of ISIS.

The other Jill?  War Whore Abramson?

She's the one who cut spending on Iraq coverage at THE NEW YORK TIMES.

She's the one who said coverage wasn't important because the US had elected Barack Obama.

She's the one who, in September of 2012, refused to run a report on the return of US troops to Iraq.  Even though the top ranking US commander in Iraq gave on the record quotes for the report.

Instead that report was reduced to one paragraph in the middle of a long report on Syria.

So, Jill Abramson, why don't just stop pretending and just admit to being the War Whore that you are.

People like Jill are not just the reason that the Iraq War started, they're also the reason the Iraq War continues.

Today, THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNAL notes, "In operations related to Iraq, a total of 4,506 members of the U.S. military have died. Another 32,263 U.S. service personnel have been wounded in action."  And, also today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Bomber and fighter aircraft conducted nine strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed two ISIL mortar firing positions.

-- Near Mosul, two strikes struck an ISIL bed down location and destroyed 39 ISIL oil tanker trucks and two ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed two ISIL mortar systems, five ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL rocket rails, an ISIL rocket system and suppressed an ISIL mortar firing position and an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Ramadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar system.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

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.

In other violence, AFP reports:

A technician with an Iraqi satellite channel was killed on Saturday and a journalist wounded as they covered operations against ISIS in western Iraq, their employer said.
Both worked for Al Ahad TV, a channel affiliated with Asaib Ahl al-Haq, one of the most powerful Shiite militias in Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary umbrella.

The pair were hit by mortar fire in Jazirat al-Khaldiyeh in the western province of Anbar.

This week, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi replaced five members of the Cabinet.  Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is not impressed.  XINHUA reports:

The influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Friday called for a complete cabinet reshuffle, and expressed his discontent with the latest partial reshuffle after months of political row.
In a statement by his office, Sadr criticized the latest replacement of five cabinet members, as two were said to be independent technocrats while the other three were believed to be affiliated to leading political parties.


Abdul Aziz al-Zalmi, a member of Iraq's Al-Ahrar bloc, a Sadrist Shia political coalition in the Iraqi parliament, said his bloc embraces a comprehensive change in the government, in order to ensure the existence of a government of technocrats independent from the political parties.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, al-Zalmi added: “The next phase demands the formation of a government of technocrats in order to guarantee its success in its task away from the political blocks.”

The war drags on ever more.  Joseph Bello (ORLANDO SENTINEL) writes:

Where has the middle class gone? The middle class has been fighting the politicians' wars since the Seventies. Vietnam War, War on Drugs, Middle East conflict, after conflict, after conflict. If $28,000 from someone who doesn't earn much goes to the various "wars on ...," which you have no say-so in  -- well, the math is clear.

We have been wasting resources on trying to inflict our democracy on the world for decades. We're right; they're wrong. Let's spend money and young American lives to prove our point. We lose.
[. . .]
ISIS? Its members are just left over from our "war" on the tribes of Islam. How many trillions, how many 19-year-olds, were spent, and continue to be spent, on this wasteful endeavor?

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