Sunday, June 15, 2014


Through Saturday, 815 people were killed in violence in Iraq so far this month, according to Iraq Body Count.  It wasn't even the half way mark for the month and yet the death toll was already that high.

The number includes civilians Nouri has killed.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Nouri continued to bomb the residential neighborhoods of Iraq left 4 civilians dead and fourteen more injured.  War Crimes is the term for these attacks.  Collective punishment is where you're unable to target just a person or persons responsible for certain actions, so you target an entire area.  Collective punishment is not just wrong, it's legally defined as a War Crime.

Of today's violence, Margaret Griffis ( notes, "The Iraqi government and ISIS/DAASH rebels traded claims that they each had killed hundreds of men in the last few days. Independent confirmation of these reports is not available. However, at least 30 civilians were killed, and 89 more were wounded in bombings and artillery fire."

The US State Dept issued the following today:

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Washington, DC
June 15, 2014

The United States strongly supports Iraq and its people as they face security challenges from violent extremists.  The people of Iraq have repeatedly rejected violent extremism and expressed their desire to build a better society for themselves and for their children.
The Embassy of the United States in Baghdad remains open and will continue to engage daily with Iraqis and their elected leaders – supporting them as they strengthen Iraq’s constitutional processes and defend themselves from imminent threats.
As a result of ongoing instability and violence in certain areas of Iraq, Embassy Baghdad is reviewing its staffing requirements in consultation with the State Department.  Some additional U.S. government security personnel will be added to the staff in Baghdad; other staff will be temporarily relocated – both to our Consulate Generals in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman.  Overall, a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the Embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission.
We advise U.S. citizens in Iraq to exercise caution and limit travel to Anbar, Ninawa, Salah ad-Din, Diyala, and Kirkuk provinces; make their own contingency emergency plans; and maintain security awareness at all times.  We also encourage all U.S. citizens in Iraq to register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at in order to receive the latest updates from the Department.

As the violence continues, the USS George H.W. Bush floats just off the coast of Iraq and more US personnel are arriving in Iraq.  Mohammed Tawfeeq, Yousif Basil, Ashley Fantz and Mark Morgenstein (CNN) report, "Between 50 and 100 U.S. Marines and U.S. Army personnel have arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, a U.S. official told CNN on Sunday.  A U.S official acknowledged to CNN that the additional embassy security personnel being added include U.S. Marines who specialize in embassy protection during high-threat conditions."

The precautions the US government is taking appears to indicate that they believe it is possible that rebels may seize Baghdad.

Last week's seizures indicated just how weak and ineffectual Nouri is as a leader.  Any more seizures this week would be even more humiliating to Nouri.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

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