Yesterday, human rights organization Amnesty International issued a report entitled [PDF format warning] "IRAQ: TURNING A BLIND EYE THE ARMING OF THE POPULAR MOBILIZATION UNITS." REUTERS reported:
Militias fighting alongside Iraqi troops against Islamic State are committing war crimes using weapons provided to the Iraqi military by the United States, Europe, Russia and Iran, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
The rights group said that the predominantly Shi'ite Muslim militias, known collective as the Hashid Shaabi, were using weapons from Iraqi military stockpiles to commit war crimes including enforced disappearances, torture and summary killings.
Yesterday on AL JAZEERA's INSIDE STORY, host Jane Dutton explored the issue with Qatar University's Mahjoob Zwein, Exeter University's Tallha Abdulrazaq and "Former US army officer & Iraqi government adviser" Michael Pregent.
Michael Pregent: This should be something that the US intelligence community would agree with. That US weapons, US supplies, US monies is falling into the hands of designated terrorist groups in Iraq and are falling into the hands of those Shia militias -- two of them which are designated terrorist groups Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq [League of the Righteous] and Kata'ib Hizbullah [Hizbullah Brigades]. And they are falling into their hands because weapons are going through Baghdad and Baghdad is beholden to the Shia political parties so that they're making sure that US weapons and money gets to these militias --
Jane Dutton: And I'm assuming that the US must know that this is happening?
Michael Pregent: We know and we're trying to use the government to stop it. But anyone who knows the Iraqi government, who's worked this issue for the last ten years, knows that the government is beholden to the Shia political parties and there's not a lot we can do without putting US forces in Iraq at risk from attacks by these very militias.
Jane Dutton: Mahjoob Zweiri, are you surprised, hearing this information?
Mahjoob Zweiri: To be honest with you, I'm surprised by the fact that all of these weapons went to Iraq and the United States and other European countries are aware of this and they have not stopped it. That is surprising to everyone following the Iraq story. However, if you look at the Iraqi situation post-2015, Iraq has been categorized as a conflict zone whereas you don't have a steady government, you don't have -- I would say -- a unified government and you have no economy, you have no military institution, you have a sectarian government running the country. You have Iranian rule which basically tried to destabilize the situation in Iraq and benefit from that politically. And you had basically the United States had washed its hands of Iraq and withdraw its troops under the Obama administration. So basically all of this together had helped all of those players to send their weapons. Let's not forget that this militia basically has been -- I would say -- given a sort of legitimacy by the religious authority [Grand Ayatollah Ali al-] Sistani in 2014 and based on his fatwah they were basically established. And they have used the military, the military capability of the government, and the name of the government at a time when the military institution has been disabled of doing anything in Iraq since 2015 at least --
Jane Dutton: They really filled the role.
Mahjoob Zweiri: Absolutely. The only military institution -- or part of the institution -- working is actually the special forces trained by the Americans which are forced to attack those in the Islamic State and basically those 60,000 forces they lost those in battling Anbar and Mosul now. The other part of the military, basically, they are fragmented they aren't really provided with the needed equipment in time. Most of them are out of date. There are a lot of stories about, you know, about more fragmentation within the institution itself and also regarding leaders who are running the institution. So basically you have an institution which falls apart with basically the government of all of that.
As noted in the excerpt above, The League of Rightous is an issue. The Amnesty report notes:
The PMU are comprised of large, well-established militia groups, such as Munathamat Badr (or Badr Brigades or Badr Organization), Saraya al-Salam ( Peace Brigades, formerly Mahdi army), Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) and Kata'ib Hizbullah (Hizbullah Brigades), that were either formed before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 or emerged in opposition to the US- led invasion and occupation of the country. Other groups emerged and grew as the fight against IS progressed. There are no official statistics available on the number of militias within the PMU . Media reports quote unspecified officials estimating that there are between 40 and 50 militias. The 2016 Federal Iraqi Budget indicated that there were 110,000 persons in the PMU. In December 2016, Ahmed al-Asadi, the spokesperson of the PMU, claimed that there were 141,000 fighters affiliated with the PMU.
And in the program on AL JAZEERA it was stated that the US was limited because the Shi'ite militias might attack American troops. Why would anyone think that?
Because they have.
And Barack is now supplying them with weapons. They killed American troops and the president of the United States is supplying them with weapons.
Of course, he's already made deals with them. In fact, in 2009, if Ben Rhodes hadn't pulled in his marker with his brother who heads CBS NEWS, CBS was about to go all out on the story THE NEW YORK TIMES had published about the deal Barack made with this group of terrorists. Ben may have killed some media attention but he did not kill the historical record which will not be kind to him or to Barack. Dropping back to July 9, 2011:
Earlier we were mentioning the little scamp Ali al-Lami who was killed a few weeks back. A terrorist, in fact. The US military held him for awhile. They held others with the Shi'ite thug group the League of Righteous. They're responsible for the deaths of 5 American service members. Maybe more. But 5 they are known to have killed.
And Barack let their leader and some of his followers go in a deal in the summer of 2009 -- a deal that the families of the 5 fallen soldiers were not consulted on or even given a heads up to -- because Barack didn't want to be president of the United States. That was too small for Barry. He needed -- his ego needed -- a world stage. So when the British needed something to get their 5 citizens kidnapped by the League freed, Barry said, "Screw dead Americans who were killed doing a job their government ordered them to do, I'm going to free the League -- this rag-tag group of killers -- because I don't give a damn about the safety of Iraqis and because I want to get in good with England."
So Barry released them and, as usual from Princess Tiny Meat, his 'grand gesture' fell quickly. Because the addiction to the Kool-Aid was still so high in 2009, let's drop back we'll drop back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot with the realization that some who looked the other way in real time will now be outraged:
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."
Agreed. Not only did Barry betray the fallen, he demonstrated yet again no one should trust him at the adult table by himself. His 'big' deal resulted in only one living British citizen released. Three corpses were released.
The fifth kidnapped victim?
Though Barry's 'big' deal was supposed to free all five, the League, years later, is now insisting they want a new deal (and figure Barry's just the pushover to give it to them?). 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?
Alan McMeney's corpse was eventually released. In 2012, Colin Freeman (Telegraph of London) observed:
If a prisoner exchange was done, though, it was a high price to pay, particularly for the Americans, who believed that Khazali brothers's militant group, the League of the Righteous, was involved in the Kerbala attack. Not long after Moore and Qais al Khazali were released, I spoke to Vanessa Chism, the stepmother of one of the murdered soldiers, Specialist Johnathan Bryan Chism. While she didn't object to a prisoner swap in principle, she lamented the prospect of not getting justice for her stepson.
"We were informed that this was going to happen, and while personally we would like the people who did this to our child to be punished, they will have to live with what they did," she said. "But if some good came out of it, by the release of that British man, then I am fine with that."
It wasn't just Westerners, though, who lost their chance for a day in court. The League is also believed to have been behind the abduction of 30 Iraqi Red Crescent workers in Baghdad in 2006, most of whose fate remains unknown. When I was last in Baghdad, the family of one of the workers told me that they felt that they too should have been consulted over any prisoner swap. They argued that as part of any deal, the League should have been made to hand over some of its Iraqi hostages as well as Mr Moore – or at least say where the bodies lay.
But Barack made a deal with the terrorists.
And it wasn't even a good deal.
And the League got out and pursued their terrorist activities and now Barack's given up on even trying to prevent US weapons and monies from going to them. What a legacy.
And then there's this.
People screaming about an imminent fascist reign of terror don't seem to care much about this. http://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2017/01/05/bombs-dropped-in-2016/ …
Yes, the Iraq War continues.
And this morning, the US Defense Dept announced:
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted six strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an artillery system.
-- Near Huwayjah, two strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL-held building and a vehicle.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units; destroyed three ISIL-held buildings, three supply caches, two mortar systems, a fighting position and a vehicle bomb; damaged 24 supply routes; and suppressed two mortar teams.
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 U.S. dropped more than 25,000 bombs, mostly in Syria and Iraq, last year |
Here for MCCLATCHY's report by Teresa Welch.
The Iraq War continues.
Andrew deGrandpre (MILITARY TIMES) reports:
At least 14 American military personnel have been wounded in combat since the start of October while battling Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, according to Defense Department data reviewed by Military Times.
The sudden increase accounts for nearly half of the 30 wounded-in-action reports that the U.S. has publicly acknowledged since the ISIS campaign began in August 2014, and coincides with two ongoing offensives targeting the terror group's strongholds in both countries: Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, the Islamic State's self-declared capital.
Yes, the Iraq War continues. Barack did not end it.
Now you can be a Debra Messing and put your head in the sand (and if you have a face like Debra's which appears to show signs of botched cosmetic surgery, you should put it in the sand) or you can face reality.
Fake news = the Iraq War ended.
It has not ended.
If we could all get on the same page regarding that reality, maybe we could end the Iraq War.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated: