Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, June 11, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Tikrit falls to rebels, Nouri tries to shift the blame on the issue of security forces deserting their posts in Mosul, Kenneth Pollack has some (bad) suggestions, and much more.

Starting in the US, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office issued the following today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Wednesday, June 11, 2014                                                                         (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Remarks on Sanders-McCain Compromise
Murray: “We must keep working to address the management, resource, and personnel shortcomings we know exist at the VA.”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor before voting on the Sanders-McCain legislation aimed at addressing transparency, wait times, and accountability issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The measure overwhelmingly passed the Senate and will now be reconciled with legislation passed by the House of Representatives, before heading to the President for his signature.
Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared:
“This compromise is an excellent example of what Congress can do when we work together to put veterans first and work toward substantive solutions to the challenges they face. Passing this legislation is a critical step toward addressing some of the immediate accountability and transparency concerns plaguing the VA and fixing its deep-seated structural and cultural challenges.
“Each new report seems to paint a more serious and more disturbing picture of the VA’s system-wide failure to provide timely access to care for our nation’s heroes. I am especially concerned by the number of facilities that serve Washington state veterans that have been flagged for further review and investigation. The VA has promised to get to the bottom of this and I expect them to do so immediately.
“However, these new reports are not only consistent with what I hear so often from veterans and VA employees, but also with what the Inspector General and GAO have been reporting on for more than a decade.
“These are not new problems and Congress must continue to take action on them, while addressing the inevitable issues that will be uncovered as ongoing investigations and reviews are completed.

“I expect this chamber to come together, as the House did yesterday – twice, in fact – to move this bill forward – so we can work out our difference with the House and send this legislation to the President’s desk as soon as possible.
“As we all know, there are serious problems at the VA that will not be solved through legislation alone or by simply replacing the Secretary. However, I am hopeful these steps will spark long-overdue change -- from the top down -- in order to ensure our veterans are getting the care and support they expect and deserve.
“I commend the Senator from Arizona and the Senator from Vermont for their commitment to bipartisanship and putting the needs of our veterans first. This is an important compromise and I urge my colleagues to continue the bipartisan collaboration that made this bill possible.
“Let’s pass this bill quickly so we can get these reforms in place. And we must keep working to address the management, resource, and personnel shortcomings we know exist at the VA.”
Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

Turning to Iraq . . .

Yesterday, rebels seized control of Mosul.  Today, Asharq Al-Awsat reports, "Insurgents captured parts of the Iraqi city of Tikrit on Wednesday, only a day after members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized the city of Mosul amid scenes of chaos among Iraqi military units."  Tikrit, Encyclopedia Britannica explains, "lies on the west bank of the Tigris River about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Baghdad.  In the 10th century Tikrit had a noted fortress and was home to a large Christian monastery.  Its wealth at that time derived from its production of woolen fabrics.  Saladin, the Muslim founder of the Ayyubid dynasty was born at Tikrit about 1137."  It is the capital of Salaheddin Province.  AFP quotes a police colonel stating, "All of Tikrit is in the hands of the militants."

Asharq Al-Awsat also notes:

An eyewitness told the BBC that insurgents entered the town from four different directions, and that at midday intense fighting was taking place in the city center, around the headquarters of the Salaheddin provincial government.

Al Jazeera adds, "Sources told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that gunmen had set up checkpoints around Tikrit, which lies between the capital Baghdad and Mosul, which was caputured by ISIL on Tuesday."

Back to Mosul, the CIA estimates its population to be 1.447 million which puts it behind the most populous city of Baghdad with an estimated population of 5.751 million.  These are estimates.  Iraq has not had a census  BBC News reports, "As many as 500,000 people fled Mosul after the militants attacked the city. The head of the Turkish mission in Mosul and almost 50 consulate officials are being held by the militants, Turkish officials say."

Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports, "On Wednesday, several Mosul residents said the gunmen were knocking on their doors, trying to reassure locals they would not be harmed and urging civil servants to return to work. The situation appeared calm but tense, said the residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing for their own safety."  The United Nations News Center notes:

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council today deplored the kidnapping of Turkish diplomats in the Iraqi city of Mosul, while the United Nations humanitarian arm reported that hundreds of thousands of people have fled the area amid rising violence.
Islamic insurgents seized Iraq’s second largest city on Tuesday following days of fighting against Iraqi Government forces. As many as 500,000 people have reportedly fled Mosul in the wake of the violence, and today, terrorists kidnapped the Consul General of Turkey and several consulate staff working in the city.
“This is totally unacceptable,” Mr. Ban said, as he addressed an event at UN Headquarters related to terrorism. “As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am condemning in the strongest possible terms such a terrorist attack against diplomatic officers.”
In a separate statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the upsurge in violence in Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which have reportedly taken control of the cities of Mosul, Tuz Khourmatu, Beiji and Tikrit.
“Terrorism must not be allowed to succeed in undoing the path towards democracy in Iraq as determined by the will of the Iraqi people,” said the statement. “The Secretary-General urges the international community to unite in showing solidarity with Iraq as it confronts this serious security challenge.”
Members of the Security Council deplored the recent events in Mosul, and condemned the recent terrorist attacks that are being perpetrated against the people of Iraq “in an attempt to destabilize the country and region,” Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the Council’s presidency for June, said in a statement to the press.
“The members of the Security Council strongly denounced the taking of hostages at the Turkish Consulate and insist on the immediate and safe return of all personnel,” he added.

Let's drop back to yesterday's snapshot for this on the security forces flooding out of Mosul yesterday:

Mitchell Prothero and Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) quote Mosul teacher Zaid Mohammed stating, "I asked one soldier I know why he was leaving.  He told me, 'We came here for salaries, not to die'."  Ziad al-Sinjary (Reuters) notes corpses of security forces were "littering the streets" and quoted an unnamed military officer stating, "We can't beat them.  We can't.  They are well trained in street fighting and we're not.  We need a whole army to drive them out of Mosul.  They're like ghosts:  they appear, strike and disappear in seconds."
Alsumaria reports Nouri has ordered military commanders to arrest all security forces who abandoned their posts.  NINA adds that the Ministry of Defense has announced "al-Taji Camp, north of Baghdad," is where the arrested security forces will be held.  After the 2003 invasion, the US military used that camp and called it Camp Cooke. notes it is located 30 kilometers from Baghdad.  While security forces ran, All Iraq News notes, "More than 70 female students are stuck inside the University of Mosul after the control of the ISIL elements on the city."
It should be noted that Al Mada's actually spoken with an officer with the federal police, an officer who deserted Mosul, and he tells the news outlet that leadership ordered the federal police to drop their weapons and evacuate.  Al Mada also reports that the first security forces to desert in Mosul were the Iraqi army forces.

Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) insists, "The scale of the catastrophe, as troops loyal to Mr. Maliki flood north and troops controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government rush west and south, can't be overstated." Which is probably why Nouri's rushing to insist that someone other than him gave the order for the security forces to fall back.  BBC News notes Nouri al-Maliki gave a live, televised address today:

Mr Maliki said he did not want to apportion blame for who had ordered the security personnel "to retreat and cause chaos".

He added: "Those who deserted and did not carry out their jobs properly should be punished but we will honour those who are resisting."

Roy Gutman (McClatchy Newspapers) offers, "The charges are flying back and forth between regional leaders and Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki as to who’s responsible. The provincial governor, Atheel al Nujaifi, charged Maliki with full responsibility, and said the fall of Mosul spelled the fall of the Maliki regime. Maliki said the conquest of Mosul was 'a trick and conspiracy'."

Read more here:

Who's in charge in Mosul?

No one really knows.


Because reporters didn't do their job.

That's the real story of the never-ending Iraq War.

Early in the war then-New York Times correspondent Dexter Filkins was giddy over a planned interview with rebels.  But he shared that news with US military brass who gave Dexter a good glaring and suddenly he was no longer interested in interviewing or speaking to the resistance.

The whole media embed process ensured that reporting would be one-sided.  Lazy journalists seemed to think that they were breaking new ground by moving beyond US military sources to quote Iraqi government sources -- the Iraqi government that the US government used the US military to set up.

That passed for 'balance.'

Molly Bingham and Steve Connors were the only western journalists to demonstrate serious interest in documenting the realities of the war which, yes, does include the Iraqi rebels.  Meeting Resistance was the documentary film that Bingham and Connors made.  In 2007, Judith Egerton's "Iraqis air their views in 'Meeting Resistance'" (Louisville Courier-Journal) reported:

Who is behind the attacks that maim and kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq?
And why?

"Meeting Resistance," a documentary shot in 2003 and 2004 by photojournalists Molly Bingham and Steve Connors, goes into a Baghdad neighborhood near the protected green zone to answer those questions.
The 85-minute film captures the viewpoint of Iraqis who oppose U.S. troops in their country. The film reveals that ordinary people have joined with former Iraqi military officers, religious leaders and others to drive out what they consider to be an occupying force.
They call themselves resisters, nationalists and patriots. Many are self-proclaimed Jihadists willing to martyr themselves for Islam and Iraq; others are not religious zealots but teachers, engineers, wives and shopkeepers who say they are fighting Americans out of pride and love for their homeland.
A former Iraqi soldier called the U.S. presence in his country "subjugation," and an Iraqi woman told the reporters, "I yearn to be martyred -- my country is occupied."
The documentary will be screened at Baxter Avenue Theatres, 1250 Bardstown Road, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Both Bingham and Connors will be there after each screening to answer questions about their documentary and their experiences in Iraq.

They're really the only journalists to take the resistance seriously -- something all journalists should have been doing.  Coverage does not equate identification or embrace.  Journalists are supposed to nail down the story and that requires covering a story from all angles.   Without that approach, the full story isn't known and the media serves up cheesy, generic statements passed off as 'illuminating details.'

Leela Jacinto (FRANCE 24) states, "ISIS basically emerged from remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq following the 2011 US troop pullout. The group declared itself fairly recently – in April 2013, when the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, issued a statement announcing the merger of his group with a Syrian rebel group, the al-Nusra Front under the new ISIS banner."

What the hell does that mean?

If you want to bash US President Barack Obama on the issue of al Qaeda, it means you just got ammo.  We have long noted that the White House needed to clarify the situation in Iraq or start taking the criticism -- such as here:

Where the press stands is that al Qaeda in Iraq is a nightmare group which has increased its power in Iraq and gone on to Syria (and Libya -- for the few who bother to note the horror that is Libya today).
Guess what boys and girls, if you want to run with that allegation, then you have to blame Barack.
You can't have it both ways.  If al Qaeda is on the rise in Iraq after the (bulk) of US troops withdrew, then this is, in fact, on Barack.
He clearly made a huge error.
I'm not saying he did.  But I don't buy into the mythical al Qaeda in Iraq.
He can't have been brilliant on the Middle East if al Qaeda in Iraq is truly on the rise.
You're going to have to reconcile your two assertions are in conflict, they're at cross purposes.
If al Qaeda in Iraq is on the rise, Barack's to blame for that.

After advocating for that -- and decrying the "al Qaeda" catch all -- I was thrilled to see the White House and the State Dept reject the nonsense.  (See the January 2nd snapshot for State Dept spokesperson Marie Harf declaring, "I think it’s not as simple as saying al-Qaida. Each of these groups is a little bit different, and that’s important because when you’re trying to figure out how to combat them and fight them, it actually matters who they take guidance from and who’s giving them orders and who’s planning these attacks.")

Good for them.

Let's note some of today's State Dept press briefing moderated by Jen Psaki:

QUESTION: Well, don’t you think, though, that, like, you can apply this example also to Syria in terms of that the situation is much more grave now as you consider providing additional support to the rebels than had you had done it two years ago when these discussions first surmised. And in Iraq in particular, like, you’ve seen what was happening in Iraq for – the violence has been steadily increasing for some time, and now you’re kind of a little bit late to the game, don’t you think?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would argue with that. I think in Syria, it’s entirely different for a range of reasons, including the fact that we have not had troops on the ground and there’s never been a consideration to do that. So we’re not talking about a similar situation. They’re obviously linked because of the impact of Syria on the violence in Iraq, and that is a contributing factor that we think has been – has had a major impact on what we’re seeing.

QUESTION: I’m just saying, though, that isn’t there a kind of recognition that you need to be more proactive instead of crisis – responding to these various crises as they’re --

MS. PSAKI: Well, clearly --

QUESTION: -- after it’s a little bit too little too late?

MS. PSAKI: I would disagree with that. The steps that we’ve taken over the last several months to expedite the support that we are providing was in advance of obviously the events that have occurred over the last couple of days. We have a strong diplomatic presence on the ground. We’re constantly evaluating what – how we can best assist, how we can best help prepare to – and partner with the Iraqis to combat these threats from terrorists, and that will continue.

QUESTION: Then why not deploy something that is likely to change the situation on the ground like drones? Since we know their address, we know the address of Daeesh, the ISIL in Iraq. We know where they are. We know where they are moving – their convoys, whatever, their movement is well known. And this is something that can really change things on the ground. Why not? I mean, this is something that --

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, as I mentioned --

QUESTION: -- you continue to do in Pakistan and in Afghanistan and in Yemen.

MS. PSAKI: Well, we don’t discuss operational details along those lines, as you know. I will say, as I noted, you can expect we will increase our assistance. I have nothing I can outline further on that front at this point.

QUESTION: Okay. Because as it seems, the Iraqi army or the Iraqi security forces aren’t able to hold onto what they have. For instance, yesterday there was a helicopter that was overcome by Daeesh, by the ISIL.

MS. PSAKI: I know you asked me about that yesterday. I still don’t at this point have confirmation of those details you mentioned.

QUESTION: Okay. And also, we heard that the central government has requested the aid of the Peshmerga, the Kurdish army or the Kurdish militia, to going to after these bad guys. Will you assist the Peshmerga, which – they have very close relations with the U.S. military. Would you --

MS. PSAKI: I think I just noted a few minutes ago, Said, so I’d point you to this, that we support the steps taken by the Iraqi federal government and the KRG in their efforts to cooperate on a security plan. And that has, as you know, been difficult in the past, so that we see that as a positive step.

QUESTION: Are you also – I mean, the flipside of that – would that help solidify the sort of – the separation in Iraq along ethnic lines, like the KRG may become an independent country?

MS. PSAKI: Again, we – you know where we stand on that. We are encouraged by calls for national unity. The threat from ISIL and the terrorists in Iraq is a challenge for all of the people as well as the region.

QUESTION: And my final question on national unity: Do you have faith – I mean, this question was asked to you yesterday. Do you have faith that Mr. Maliki can lead a national unity effort that can be crowned with success?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as I noted yesterday – and our position hasn’t changed – there’s more that Prime Minister Maliki can do. There’s more that many leaders can do. We’re encouraged by calls for national unity and we think that is the right step forward.

"al Qaeda in Iraq" is homegrown.  It was bred by the illegal war.  There was no "al Qaeda" in Iraq prior to the start of the war and it is not part of a global jihad.  It has outsiders who join -- a Canadian, for example, was revealed to have been a suicide bomber (successful -- meaning he's dead now) last month.  Depending on Nouri's mood, he's slamming Saudi Arabia or Jordan for the fighters.  But the bulk are Iraqis.  (And, in fact, the State Dept believes a number of the foreign fighters are coming from Lebanon.)

The increase in non-Iraqis is largely a result of Nouri's targeting Sunnis.  This has created regional sympathy which leads some to join Iraqis in fighting Nouri and the US-installed government.

There's a lot of nonsense about how Syria's recruiting or influencing.

That's the sort of stupid reporters offer.

In the United States, Nevada and Utah share a border.  If war or unrest breaks out in Utah while was is declining or just being 'accepted' in Nevada, there may be some overlap but what you will largely have is outside fighters pouring into Utah which is where the new war/struggle is.

In Iraq, the Sunni population is in the minority.  In Syria, Sunnis are in the majority.  In Iraq, Shi'ites control the government.  In Syria, Shi'ites control the government (specifically the Alawite sect).  If it's Sunni versus Shi'ite, you really think a significant number of Sunnis in Syria are saying, "Hey, let's forget about Syria where we outnumber the Shi'ites by around three-to-one and let's go fight in Iraq!"


Looking at two potential battlefields, Sunni fighters would flow into or remain in Syria.  That's far more likely than the idea that they're flooding into Iraq.  Common sense has always been in short supply among journalists -- hence the birth of tabloid journalism in the first place.  I agree with what Pensaki said with regards to Syria's alleged impact (said in today's press briefing quoted earlier).

AFP insists, "The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant posted pictures online of militants bulldozing a berm dividing Iraq and Syria, symbolising its goal of uniting its forces in the two countries."  It may or may not symbolize that.  But if the US military was stretched thin -- and it was -- with two major battlefields (Iraq and Afghanistan), then so is whatever groups AFP sees or thinks it sees in Syria and Iraq.

Do foreigners come into Iraq to fight with the Sunni resistance?  All the time.  And you can thank Nouri al-Maliki for that.  His persecution of Sunnis is a recruitment tool.

He's run off Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.  He falsely charged Tareq, then he had his Baghdad court hold a press conference insisting Tareq was guilty -- before the trial ever started.

That's not justice.  That's not what the Iraqi Constitution defines as justice.  The Constitution defines all as innocent until proven guilty.  So it's outrageous that Baghdad judges announced Tareq's guilt before he was ever tried.

That is just the most extreme example of Nouri targeting Sunni politicians.

Then there's his targeting of Sunni protesters.  They are harassed, they are rounded up by the police and beaten, they are followed to their homes, they are killed while peacefully protesting -- on the latter, most infamously the April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll rose to 53.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

The protesters protested why?

FRANCE 24 won't tell you.  AFP struggled with reality.

Sunnis were being disappeared in the Iraqi legal system -- rounded up and disappeared.  Some without charges, some without trials.  This outraged many.  This prompted the 2011 protests.  There were many demands but in terms of getting bodies in the street, that was the ethical outrage which prompted action.

At the end of 2012, when protests re-emerged, the ethical outrage could be traced to the abuse and rape of girls and women in Iraqi prisons.  These reports began emerging two months prior to the protests resuming.  Parliament's investigation had found the charges to be valid.

Sunni girls and women being beaten and raped in government prisons?

Not only will that lead to protests, it will also pull in foreign fighters.  Sunnis in other countries will be outraged by it.

Nouri needs to take accountability for any foreign Sunni fighters in Iraq.  His actions have outraged the worldwide Sunni community.  These are among the reason Betty makes this call, "Nouri al-Maliki isn't just a failure, he's a threat to the safety of Iraq, to its very future."

While the White House loves to use 'terrorists,' we use the terms: rebels, fighters, etc.  As Mike noted last night:

I prefer "rebels" or "militants."  I do not go along with "terrorists."
Maybe they are terrorists but all I have on that is Nouri's words.
They fight Nouri.
That doesn't make them terrorists.
Nouri is a thug, a US installed thug.
If I were Iraqi, I'd be fighting to topple him.
So I'm not going to rush to call people fighting for their country "terrorists" just because the media says they are.
They have a government and leaders imposed on them by the US.
They have every right to resist and many noted that they would when the bulk of US troops left Iraq.
It's their country and they have every right to fight for it.

At The Huffington Post, Daniel Nisman offers an analysis which includes:

In a troubling development, Maliki has already threatened to "arm citizens" to fight ISIS, and claimed to have created a special crisis unit to implement a process of "volunteering and equipping." Such rhetoric is eerily in line with Maliki's past tendencies of mobilizing Shiite militias, many of them religious extremists, to combat Sunni jihadists. In the recent Fallujah and Ramadi counteroffensives, local residents complained of seeing Shiite militia insignias on Iraqi army tanks, alleging that these militias had been mobilized under the guise of the regular army, accusations that only fomented further mistrust among the Sunni population.

I agree with many of the points Nisman makes elsewhere in his analysis.  Read the whole thing. At the Wall St. Journal, Kenneth M. Pollack offers mini-analysis and suggestions.  I disagree with so much.  Pollack seems unaware that he's arguing the Iraq War was about oil (but when you write, that the events in Iraq right now are "a serious threat for the United States.  Americans seem to think that the vast increased in domestic oil production from shale deposits has immunized the U.S. economy from Middle East instaiblity" that's what you're suggesting).

We're going to look at these two suggestions Pollack makes in order to clarify why I disagree with him:

• A constitutional amendment imposing a two-term limit on the presidency and prime ministership. (A third term for Mr. Maliki may have to be grandfathered in to get him to agree, but simply advertising to all Iraqis that he will not rule for life would be an important reassurance that Iraq is not drifting back into dictatorship.)


Nouri is the cause of the violence.  Pollack doesn't state that, I do.  He does note Nouri abuses power.  So even though Moqtada al-Sadr, the Kurds, Osama al-Nujaifi, Ayad Allawi and various others opposed a third term for Nouri (that list includes Ammar al-Hakim provided al-Hakim is named prime minister), the Iraqi people have to endure Nouri?

That makes no sense.

Nor does the notion that Nouri accepts the imposing of two terms only.

Here's what will most likely happen.  Nouri might agree to get his third term.  He would then say the law passed after he started his third term so he can still be elected to two more terms.

I'm sorry Pollack didn't pay attention the what happened in the KRG recently.  KRG President Massoud Barzani was in office when the KRG's Parliament passed the two term rule for his post.  What happened?

He was allowed two terms plus two years because it was passed two years after his first term started.

And Nouri's State of Law had a reaction.  I get so damn tired of spoon feeding.  But they had a reaction and it was publicly stated to Iraqi media that if a two-term law ever passed for the Iraqi prime minister post (I believe it did pass and then Nouri's court ruled it unconstitutional, but whatever), that term limit would only kick in for elections after the law passed.

Which would mean Nouri could go five term.

Again, people need to pay attention.

I'm being more kind than I usually am on stuff like this because I believe Pollack genuinely thought his suggestions had value.  Let's examine another:

• A law defining the powers and prerogatives of the defense and interior ministers, thereby limiting the ability of the prime minister to exercise those powers.


Does Pollack not know that Nouri grabbed those powers?

He did so by refusing to nominate anyone for the security posts.

Back in July 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."

Nouri's second term is ending and those three Cabinent posts remain empty.

Nouri controls them.

Now, Pollack, help me out on how Nouri's going to be forced to nominate people for those posts this go round having made it through four years without them?

The easiest way to slow down the violence is to kick Nouri out of office.  The US government needs to pull all support.  If you don't grasp that, maybe you shouldn't be having this conversation.

Iraqis are scared of Nouri because he's a thug and he's destroyed the country and Pollack wants to suggest the answer is a third term?

Violence didn't disappear after the April 30th elections.  But it did kick up a notch after Nouri claimed (he was lying) that he had the seats in Parliament to get a third term.

That's when the already violent day-to-day got more violent.

You are stripping a people of hope and forcing them to live in fear.  Of course, they will resort to violence.

Pollack is correct when he notes that "the Obama administration seems to turn a blind eye toward Iraq no matter how bad things get."  And they continue to support Nouri.

Nouri breaks every promise.  He breaks with them with the Iraqi people.  He broke them with Bully Boy Bush.  He's broken them with Barack Obama.

You have to want to be fooled to take Nouri at his word today.

He promised to implement the White House's benchmarks.  Bully Boy Bush came up with those.  They never got implemented.  Barack's on his second term and Nouri never kept his word on the benchmarks.  To get his second term as prime minister, Barack had US officials negotiate The Erbil Agreement -- quid pro quo, Nouri promised leaders of political blocs certain things in writing in exchange for their agreeing to grant him a second term.  He briefly honored the contract -- long enough to start his second term.  Then he refused to honor it.  This led to the political crisis which led to the increased violence.

Nouri lies and you have to be an idiot at this late date to think that the man who twice took an oath to the Iraqi Constitution but has twice failed to implement Article 140 as the Constitution compels him to (it resolves the disputed Kirkuk) is going to honor any promise.

He's a liar. And only the extreme idiots would, at this late date, believe him when he promised he was going to do something.

Violence continues elsewhere in Iraq.  National Iraqi News Agency reports 17 corpses were found dumped east of Mosul, a Sadr City suicide bomber killed 15 other people and left thirty-five injured,  1 person was shot dead in Almadain and another left injured, a Kadhimiyah suicide car bomber took his own life and the lives of 2 other people with eleven more injured,  a Baghdad roadside bombing left four people injured, a Nu'maniya car bombing left five people injured, and a Karbala car bombing left 5 people dead and four more injured.  Iraq Body Count notes that the first ten days of the month have witnessed at least 584 violent deaths.