It took a slow US news day (Thanksgiving) and a major death toll but, in the last 24 hours, Iraq finally made it back into the news cycle with everyone from CNN to NPR remembering a war does in fact continue in Iraq.
The numbers continue to rise in Thursday's suicide bombing in Hilla. Murtada Faraj (AP) reports, "The death toll from a car bombing south of Baghdad claimed by the Islamic State group rose to 73 on Friday, including about 40 Iranian pilgrims, Iraqi hospital and police officials said, the deadliest IS attack in four months." BBC NEWS adds forty more people were left wounded.
ISIS kill around 100 (100!) Shia Muslim pilgrims, mainly Iranians, near Baghdad. Iraq's horrors never end:
If you're wondering why Mehdi is so specific, he's a Shi'ite Muslim himself.
No, when it's Sunnis in Iraq he's not outraged.
He's not even concerned enough to Tweet.
But remember, he's 'objective.'
Oh, he's something alright.
Noam Chomsky tells me on @ajupfront that leftists who didn't vote for Clinton to block Trump made a "bad mistake":
Did they make a bad mistake, Noam?
And what about leftist professors who recruited for the CIA?
Right now, I'm just asking Noam.
But we both know this is a question I ask fully knowing the answer already.
Mehdi's only up in arms when it's Shi'ites.
Life in Iraq isn't easy for anyone.
But the people that the government target are Sunnis.
Even in the so-called liberation of Mosul.
Shia Militias crimes الممثل الشيعي القطري غازي حسين في كربلاء ليدعم الحشد الشيعي #الارهابي لقتل سنة العراق
Leith Fadel (AL MASDAR NEWS) states, "The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd Al-Sha'abi) launched their 5th stage of the Mosul offensive on Friday, targeting the western part of this strategic city located in Iraq's northwestern countryside."
If you're scratching your head, yes this is what they were saying on Wednesday as well.
Actually, on Wednesday, they were saying that the effort had been completed successfully.
From AL JAZEERA on Wednesday, "ISIL's last supply line from Mosul to Syria has been severed by Iraqi-led forces, leaving the armed group's stronghold completely isolated. Shia-Muslim paramilitary forces, known as Hashed al-Shaabi, captured the road linking Tal Afar to Sinjar west of Mosul on Wednesday and linked up with Kurdish forces there, security officials say."
From AFP on Wednesday, "Forces battling the Islamic State group in northern Iraq have cut off the jihadists’ last supply line from Mosul to Syria, trapping them in the city for a bloody last stand. [. . .]
To the west of Mosul, Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitary forces made a push to cut the road between two towns on the route heading to Syria, security officials said on Wednesday."
So now, it turns out, that the success being boasted of on Wednesday was premature.
Another "turned corner" in the Iraq War usually turns out to be a detour and not success.
That's one thing the waves and waves of Operation Happy Talk have taught us all over the years.
Today is day 39 of the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul.
How's that 'victory' going?
Not well at all.
Tim Arango (NEW YORK TIMES) reports:
By the time little Amira, just a year old, reached the field clinic near the front line in Mosul, she was already dead. All her father could do was bundle her up in a golden blanket, carry her to a nearby mosque and bury her.
When a Humvee pulled up to the door of the clinic, a young boy in the back was draped over a man’s body. “My father, answer me!” he cried. “My father, answer me! Don’t die!” But he, too, was already dead.
It was barely noon on Wednesday, and eight bodies had already arrived at the clinic, an abandoned house where medics provide a minimum of treatment, just enough to keep the lucky ones alive long enough for the hourlong drive to a trauma center.
Arango observes "civilians are paying a growing price."
Tamer el-Ghobashy and Ali A. Nabhan (WALL STREET JOURNAL) report:
Ahead of the battle to oust Islamic State from its Mosul stronghold, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sent a message to residents: Stay in your homes.
Now, more than a month into the battle, Iraq’s top military commanders are lobbying Mr. Abadi to shift tactics, officials said, as the initial lightning advance toward Iraq’s second biggest city turns into a perilous urban slog, with gains measured in feet rather than miles.
Commanders want the government to encourage residents of Mosul to flee through the handful of neighborhoods the military has already secured, they said, and thereby free the military to use heavy artillery and air power that could cause widespread harm in densely populated neighborhoods.
But the civilians of Mosul aren't really a concern.
They never were.
If they were, they wouldn't have bombs dropped on them already by the US-led 'coalition' (that term was mocked when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House but is treated seriously with Barack Obama in the White House).
If the citizens of Mosul were of any real concern to the government of Iraq, the effort to liberate the area wouldn't have started last month.
Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.
Two years and four months later, the Iraqi government finally gets around to trying to liberate it?
At THIRD on Sunday, we offered "Editorial: Was the Christian population why the Iraqi government didn't try to liberate Mosul sooner?" which asks a question no one wants to ask.
The Christian population was of no concern to the Baghdad-based government.
They were more than happy to see it disperse out of Baghdad and to Mosul or other countries.
There was no effort to protect the Iraqi Christians.
There was no effort to go after those who attacked the Iraqi Christians.
There were efforts to trash their stores.
More recently the Parliament banned the sale of alcohol.
Who sells alcohol in Iraq?
That's why their shops have been trashed repeatedly since the US-installed exiles who embrace fundamentalism as a means to control the population.
Saad Salloum (AL MONITOR) noted earlier this month the reactions to the new law:
Journalist Ali Hussein's Oct. 24 column posted on al-Mada news site ran with the headline, "Parliament decides: No place for Christians in Iraq." In it, he summarized how Christians and other minorities view the message behind the new law.
Joseph Sylawa, a Christian member of parliament with the Warka bloc, told Al-Monitor the ban on alcohol is part of a war against religious minorities that aims to force them out of the country through exclusion, marginalization and harassment policies.
Others also challenge the law.
"This is an unprecedented, dangerous and controversial law," said Mona Yako, a law professor at the University of Salahuddin in Erbil and an activist defending the rights of minorities. "It is a clear indicator of the nature of the conflict between those who support applying the Islamic Sharia and those who support a civil state."
Some activists believe the law is a step toward the Islamization of a state that was destined to be a pluralistic model in the Middle East.
Abbas Sharifi, a member of the Civic Center for Studies and Legal Reform in Baghdad, told Al-Monitor, “[We] are truly afraid for how the civil state, agreed upon in the constitution, is going to be. [We] fear this tight grip on personal freedom would be a prelude toward altering the state’s laws to apply Sharia law, such as in Saudi Arabia and Iran.”
The law passage was major. We covered it here.
Which US outlets treated it as real news?
Part of the problems in today's Iraq -- besides the war itself -- stem from the US insistence upon (a) installing exiles into power and (b) imposing de-Ba'ahtification.
de-Ba'athification was supposed to remove all the members of the Ba'ath Party -- a pan-Arab political party that was also the party of Saddam Hussein -- the ruler the US toppled.
But de-Ba'athication didn't work.
Nor was it ever intended to work.
If it was an honest mistake on the part of the US government, then surely it would have removed all Ba'ath Party members.
It did not.
So if you were a Shi'ite who was a Ba'athist -- as so many were (most Iraqis were Ba'athists) -- you got a pass and a seat at the table. If you were a Sunni, you were kicked out -- or fought like crazy against Nouri al-Maliki in the 2010 elections to stay in.
In neighboring Syria, where the US isn't supposed to be engaged in combat either, a US service member has died. The US Defense Dept noted Thursday:
Defense Secretary Ash Carter today offered his condolences to the family, friends and other loved ones of a U.S. service member who was killed on Thanksgiving in Syria.
“I am deeply saddened by the news on this Thanksgiving Day that one of our brave service members has been killed in Syria while protecting us from the evil of ISIL,” Carter said in a statement issued today. “It is a painful reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face around the world to keep us safe.”
The secretary added, “Please keep this service member's family, friends and teammates in your thoughts and prayers, and this Thanksgiving I hope you will join me in expressing thanks to all of our dedicated troops who selflessly protect us every day.”
The U.S. service member died from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast in the vicinity of Ayn Issa in northern Syria, according to a Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve news release.
US President Barack Obama had no statement, of course. He never does. Not on real issues.
Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) takes on Barack's nervous nellie dance around 'fake news:'
Was the world’s most powerful individual (until January 20) in despair over Facebook’s failure to erase three or four fictitious, yet ultimately inconsequential, stories from its pages? Of course not. Obama’s problem -- and capitalism’s crisis-- is that people no longer believe the fake “news” and bogus narratives issued by the ruling class and its corporate and military misinformation specialists. “If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media when so many people are getting their information in sound bites and off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,” said Obama.
This is the man that told the nation’s assembled bankers, a year after the Greet Meltdown of 2008, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks." When the people come to believe that the president and the corporate media’s narrative -- that the system can be fixed with a little tinkering -- is a bunch of “propaganda,” rather than “serious argument,” then future Obamas will no longer be able to protect the Lords of Capital from the pitchforkers.
Losing control of the narrative is what happened after Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri, when Black youth stopped listening to Obama’s fictitious sermon that racism is not endemic in America, a fake history that candidate Obama had successfully dispensed in his “A More Perfect Union” speech in Philadelphia, in 2008.
Obama’s targeted handful of phony social media articles generally favored Donald Trump. But the biggest “fake news” of the recent campaign, promulgated by virtually the entirety of the ruling class ensconced in Hillary Clinton’s Supersized Tent, was that the Russians were scheming to despoil and disrupt the U.S. elections -- crimes Americans commit all by themselves every cycle through massive voter purges and other racist conspiracies. To Clinton and Obama’s horror, this McCarthyite deluge of fake anti-Russian news failed to sway the very “Middle Americans” that were thought to be the most belligerent, warlike constituency of all.
Fake news attempts to turn War Criminals into people worthy of applause.
Blair talks of political homelessness but most of us won't forget half a million Iraqi children his illegal war turned into orphans. #BBCQT
Tony Blair, forever linked to Bill Clinton and Bully Boy Bush, isn't that different from Hillary Clinton.
But the massive efforts by so many to paint that War Hawk as the face of humanity continue, don't they?
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