Wasn't this already news? Yes, it was (see the June 17th snapshot). Apparently, there's so little good to point out that the US Army is now Tweeting old news to fill the void.
They're not the only ones recycling. Tuesday, we caught REUTERS trying to pimp as new something that really wasn't.
Turning to Iraq, REUTERS insists today:
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought on Monday to curb the powers of influential Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militias, a politically risky move apparently aimed at placating the United States.
Did he? How did he do that?
Two weeks after the first of several unclaimed attacks on bases in Iraq hosting U.S. forces and on a site used by a U.S. energy firm, Abdul Mahdi issued a decree ordering militias to integrate more closely into the formal armed forces.
Is that what he did -- emphasis on "he"? Because not everyone agrees that this is an Adil creation.
In other words, that particular dress has been on the floor for several years already.
And it's still not selling.
Jonathan Spyer (JERUSALEM POST via MIDDLE EAST FORUM) provides a walk through:
Firstly, it is worth remembering that this latest announcement is not without precedent. The first law making the militias part of the Iraqi security forces was passed in November 2016. From that time on, they have constituted a part of the state security apparatus. Formally, the militias report directly to, and are under the authority of, the prime minister.
In March 2018, then-prime minister Haider al-Abadi issued a decree formally integrating the militias into the security forces, regularizing their salaries and affording them rights similar to members of the Iraqi army and other services, under the control of the Ministry of Defense.
The latest decree, undertaken, it would appear, largely in response to US pressure and cajoling, resembles these earlier moves. What was their result?
With the welcome cover of official status, the militias predictably continued to act as the strong arm of Iran in Iraq. As a result of the blurring of the boundaries between the state army and the Shia militias, however, Iran's fighters gained welcome access to the resources available to the official security forces.
These included state-of-the-art US equipment – such as the nine M1A1 Abrams tanks that the militias used against (pro-US) Kurdish forces in the assault against Iraqi Kurdistan following the Kurdish bid for independence from Iraq in late 2017. The latter operation was planned by Soleimani.
The US has provided over $22 billion in aid to the Iraqi security forces since 2005. As the lines between the army and the militias blur, so the possibility of preventing this access will also fade. Only strong and direct action against the militias and their leaders could prevent this.
The militias are powerful players – politically, militarily and economically. Abdul Mahdi, meanwhile, is a weak figure with no real power base of his own. Iraq is not a country ruled by law. The prime minister, as a result, simply possesses no coercive mechanism for imposing his will on the Shia militias. He can order their dissolution, if he so wishes. The result would be the further enmeshing and fusing of the militias with the official bodies of the state – without the ceding by the latter of their own vital chain of command. This chain of command leads to Soleimani, and thence to the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Adil Abdul Mahdi is weak. And that's been obvious for some time -- probably for at least since he threatened to quit and no one rushed to object.
By the way, Abbas Kadhim notes in a piece of writing earlier this week that the Parliament confirmed a Minister of Defense and a Minister of the Interior on June 24th. My apologies, because I missed that until I read Kadhim's piece tonight.
We'll wrap up with this from the Committee to Protect Journalists:
The following sites updated: