"Where Did Our Love Go" by Diana Ross & the Supremes is one of the 19 number one pop songs (BILLBOARD US singles chart) that Diana Ross has sang on. November 19th, she'll be on the live broadcast (ABC) of The American Music Awards to perform and to receive the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Yesterday, UNAMI issued their monthly undercount of civilian deaths in Iraq:
#Iraq: A total of 114 Iraqi civilians killed & another 244 injured in acts of terrorism, violence & armed conflict in October 2017
The deaths for October are much higher and, remember, thuggy Hayder al-Abadi threw a hissy fit which the United Nations rewarded by agreeing not to count the dead among Iraqi forces anymore.
In today's NEW YORK TIMES, Renad Mansou insists "Iraq Is Not Iran's Puppet." Of course, he also insists, "The prime minister has also become increasingly popular with Iraq’s Sunnis, who are wary of Iran’s deep penetration into the Iraqi state since 2003 and now see Mr. Abadi as a conciliatory figure and a safeguard against too much Iranian influence."
Hayder's not deeply popular with any segment in Iraq.
The Christians want their own area in Iraq and he's against that. Last month, Saad Salloum (AL-MONITOR) noted:
Following the redeployment of Iraqi federal forces in Kirkuk, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako issued a statement Oct. 19 calling on Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and Erbil to proceed with genuine national reconciliation to put the political process on track. He stressed that it is important to preserve human beings and not oil wells, in reference to the recent dispute over the Kurdish independence referendum, which ended with federal government control of Kirkuk. The title of the statement, "An Appeal to Iraqi Leaders," shows the nature of the patriarch's view of his role as a national and moral guide for politicians on all sides, and his view of himself as a leader of Christians amid a Christian political split over the referendum and its results.
In conjunction with the crisis of the Kurdish independence referendum, a group of Christian clerics launched a political project in which they formally demanded separation from Iraq. Some others have called for joining the new Kurdistan state.
The Sunnis remember his bombing their homes. (Nouri al-Maliki started the bombing campaign at the start of 2014. Despite declaring it illegal in September of 2014, Hayder continued it.) Those are War Crimes. In addition, the US media's portrayal of 'liberation' is all soft focus with Vaseline smeared across the lens.
For example, Human Rights Watch notes today:
Iraqi security officials are preventing displaced families from returning home to retaken areas over perceived ties to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi authorities also are evicting other families in an attempt to force them back to their homes, even when these families fear their home areas will be unsafe or their homes were destroyed by fighting.
The concerns about Anbar authorities’ treatment of displaced people are heightened because of new military operations beginning October 26, 2017, to retake the areas in western Anbar still under the control of ISIS and the possible exodus of tens of thousands more civilians from those areas.
While Iraqi forces confront serious security concerns, just being a family member of someone linked to ISIS or having lived under ISIS is not enough to represent a real threat,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities should allow those who aren’t an actual security risk who want to go home to do so in peace and respect the right of people who don’t feel safe to live where they wish.
In mid-2016, Iraqi forces battled ISIS in and around the city of Fallujah, 50 kilometers west of Baghdad in Anbar province. Over the past month, Iraqi forces have continued to push toward Qa’im and Rawa in western Anbar along the border with Syria, the last towns in Iraq still under ISIS control. Fighting in Anbar has displaced at least 507,000 people since 2014, with at least 91,000 still in camps, according to the International Organization for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix.
Most of the displaced have ended up in one of five main camps. Others are restricted to an area of formal and informal settlements, partially due to restrictions on staying outside camps that have increased with the newer arrivals from western Anbar, said two experts who monitor treatment of internally displaced people in Anbar and who requested anonymity. In early July, about 5,000 families were stuck at Suqur checkpoint, the main checkpoint between Anbar and Baghdad, for up to 12 days, with security forces unwilling to provide a plausible explanation.
Since March, Anbar’s Provincial Council has been encouraging districts in Anbar to forcibly return displaced families to areas retaken by Iraqi forces. On March 22 the Anbar Provincial Council issued a notice ordering authorities in the towns of Khaldiya and Amiriyat al-Fallujah to forcibly return all families whose homes were not completely destroyed by the fighting, citing limits in camp space.
Many armed forces are inside the main camps in western Anbar, including Iraqi Security Forces, Popular Mobilization Forces (known as the PMF or Hashd al-Sha’abi), Interior Ministry Intelligence agents, and local police. The experts said that procedures differ based on where residents are from.
In most cases, forces under the Anbar Operation Command carry out an initial screening of people who want to return home, including running the names of all men and boys over 15 through a database of those wanted for ISIS affiliation at Suqur checkpoint. If they pass, local Interior Ministry emergency forces carry out their own screening. In some areas, local PMF units made up of tribal forces carry out a third screening before greenlighting their return home.
According to the two experts and a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report, Iraqi security forces regard most civilians who have remained in the towns of Rawa and Qa’im to be “ISIS-affiliated.”
The Kurds? Well we've covered their conflicts in depth in the last weeks. No, he's not popular with them.
They're split as always.
Moqtada al-Sadr, Shi'ite cleric and movement leader, remains more popular than Hayder (Moqtada's been more popular than every prime minister Iraq's had since 2003). Ammar al-Hakim is also more popular than Hayder. Haytham Mouzahem (AL-MONITOR) observed at the end of August:
The Iraqi Shiite political scene is witnessing remarkable developments ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2018. With a mix of internal and regional political coalitions, the National Iraqi Alliance will not remain as it was in the 2010 and 2014 elections.Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq party and head of the National Iraqi Alliance, withdrew from the council and established a new party in July called the National Wisdom Movement.
Also, Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist movement, visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at a time when conflict is intensifying in the region, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE on one side, and Iran and its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen on the other.
These two events are seen by some as an attempt to form an Iraqi Shiite movement that is independent from Iran and open to Sunni Arabs in Iraq as well as its Arab and Gulf neighbors.
In announcing he was establishing the National Wisdom Movement, Hakim said it “will work hand in hand with Iraqis to ensure democratic elections that include all of Iraq’s spectra, away from sectarian and national polarization, and embark on a new political horizon, because Iraq should be at peace with itself.”
Also more popular than Hayder is Ibrahim al-Jaafari (former prime minister, current Minister of Foreign Affairs).
Nouri al-Maliki (former prime minister forever thug) hopes he's more popular than Hayder. Both Nouri and Hayder are closely linked to Iran.
On links to Iran (Iraq and Iran are neighbors, there will always be links between one another as with any other neighboring countries), Adam Kredo (WASHINGTON FREE BEACON) reports:
The United States has been illegally training, arming, and funding Iranian-controlled militant forces in Iraq, according to a delegation of lawmakers who accused the Trump administration on Wednesday of violating a law barring such activity.
Information provided to lawmakers and viewed by the Free Beacon appears to show Iranian-controlled militants in Iraq using American-provided weaponry, including M1 Abrams tanks, which would require specific training from U.S. forces.
Lawmakers provided additional photographs of what they claim are Iranian-backed fighters cashing in on U.S. military training programs in Iraq during a press conference organized by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) outside of the Capitol.
The lawmakers cited this as a direct violation of the Leahy Law, which bars U.S. military assistance to foreign forces that violate human rights, and called on the Trump administration to immediately take steps to halt these programs.
Each of the lawmakers, experts, and military veterans in attendance at the press conference urged the Trump administration to cease aiding these Iranian militias and take greater steps to arm and support Kurdish forces in Iraq, who have long served as an ally of the U.S. in the region.
"A picture is worth 1,000 words. There's the M1 Abrams tank with a Hezbollah flag. I don't care what the State Department says, they can't argue with this. At the best, the State Department has been derelict in its duties,” US Congressman Duncan Hunter, while holding up a photo of what he believes were Shiite militias on a US tank. “At worse they've been complicit.”
Many of congressmen and advisors who took turns talking on Wednesday emphasized that the State Department policy does not match how they see the facts on the ground.
“We are equipping and training the wrong people. It's time we rose above what the State Department has screwed up over and over. Iraq was a military victory lost by politics in the State Department… The State Department is going to lose us Iraq again in one of the worst ways," added Duncan.
Another indicator of Hayder's 'popularity' being low?
Iraq was supposed to hold elections at the start of this year. Didn't happen. Then it was supposed to take place in the fall. Didn't happen. Currently, the claim is that they will take place in May. These elections will determine Parliament. They're supposed to determine who is prime minister but after the US government installed Nouri in 2006 and again in 2010 and then installed Hayder in 2014, does anyone really still pretend the Iraqi people get to pick their own prime minister?
Grasp that Hayder is a do-nothing. The 'defeat' of ISIS is his high point.
ISIS isn't defeated. Nor is it gone from Iraq.
It's still present.
It will most likely do a series of attacks over the next months that will further undermine Hayder's popularity. (Nouri al-Maliki is especially hoping for that so he can present himself again as the 'strongman' the country needs.)
ISIS did not flee the Iraqi military. It fled the bombings of the US-led coalition.
Iraq would send in 30,000 (or more) Iraqi forces into a city with less than 3,000 members of ISIS (at most). And then Iraq would suffer huge losses -- which is why Hayder threw his tantrum to get the UN to stop including a count of the number of Iraqi forces killed each month.
Let's drop back to the UN for a second. Yesterday evening, they released the following announcement:
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Alice Walpole of the United Kingdom as his new Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
Ms. Walpole succeeds György Busztin of Hungary, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service since 2011 in support of the United Nations role in Iraq.
Ms. Walpole brings a wealth of diplomatic and other relevant experience to the position, including serving for a two-year period as British Consul-General in Basra, Iraq. She most recently served as British Ambassador to Mali, and prior to that as Ambassador to Luxembourg. She has also served in various capacities in London, New York, Brussels and Dar es Salaam with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Ms. Walpole earned first class degrees in English Literature at Cambridge University.
Born in 1963, she has six children.
Alice Walpole becomes the first woman to serve in that position.
While Canada and other countries have sent women to Iraq as envoys and ambassadors, the United States has not done that.
Despite repeatedly being urged to name a woman to the post of US Ambassador to Iraq, for example, Barack Obama refused. Ryan Crocker, Chris Hill, James Jeffrey, Robert S. Beecroft, Stuart E. Jones and Douglas Silliman all held the post while Barack was president. In addition, Barack also nominated Brett McGurk for the post but the Senate refused to confirm him (and then-Senator Barbara Boxer explained to Barack why Brett was such a wrong choice). So 7 men were worthy of the post in Barack's 8 years of president but not one woman was?
This matters because women are under attack in Iraq. They had more rights and freedom (and representation) before the 2003 US-led invasion.
Putting a woman in a position of authority would help Iraqi women.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:
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