Thursday, June 12, 2014

It was never about oil . . . right?

US House Rep Adam Smith goes on CNN this morning to talk about US options in Iraq and how he would need to see proof of a threat  --

When the CNN anchor interrupts to explain she's already noticed that oil prices are going up.

After she's done with her drivel, he explains he was talking about terrorist threats to the US.

She doesn't even have the ethics to appear chagrined.

How did people ever think the Iraq War is a war about oil?

Because all the reporters cared about was oil?

Because the media repeatedly identified the need for oil as a national security interest?

This is the second day in a row the media has pimped that the price of oil is a threat worth going to battle over.

On 'options,' Eli Lake (Daily Beast) reports:

If President Obama agrees to launch drone strikes in Iraq, it would not be unprecedented for the region. The United States is playing a similar role in Iraq’s neighbor, Yemen, with intense counterterrorism training and drone strikes. But Obama also has boasted that he ended the U.S. war in Iraq and thus far has been hesitant to reenter the conflict.
“What we really need right now are drone strikes and air strikes,” said a senior Iraqi official Wednesday. But the official stressed that so far the Obama administration has been reluctant.
A senior U.S. military official told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that the request for U.S. air strikes inside Iraq has been discussed in recent months. “There are no plans right now to participate in anything like this,” the official said. In earlier conversations, the official said the U.S. side “did not give them a hard no—it was ‘Thanks for your interest and we will talk about it more.’”

Drone strikes?  Because they never go wrong?

Matt Lemas (IHC) would beg to differ.

Right about now, it would be good for Phyllis Bennis to rediscover Iraq, for many on the left to do so.  Instead, they cower in silence, useless as ever.

On a higher note, Greg Botelho (CNN) offers an attempt at exploring the fighters:

After the military was overrun, it was dissolved -- along with Iraq's defense and information ministries -- by Paul Bremer, the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq.
That left hundreds of thousands of troops suddenly out of work. Those with ranks of colonel and above -- who knew the most about strategy, tactics and more -- were hit even harder, as they weren't entitled to severance packages and couldn't work for the new Iraqi government.
Then they had to go somewhere.
According to Fawaz Gerges, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, "hundreds, if not thousands, of skilled officers of Saddam Hussein's ... joined ISIS."
That means this militant force -- even as it is supplemented by foreign fighters -- is trained and knows Iraq well. And its leaders may be more organized, strategically savvy and adept at fighting than some in Iraq's current military.

Meanwhile Iraqi Taher Hassan tells the Guardian about life in Samarra now that the rebels have taken over:

Everyone in Samarra is happy with the fighters' management of the city. They have proved to be professional and competent. We have water and power; there is a shortage in fuel because Maliki's forces have cut the bridges between Samarra and Baghdad. The fighters themselves did not harm or kill anyone as they swept forward. Any man who hands over his arm is safe, whatever his background. This attitude is giving huge comfort to people here.
Four days ago, Maliki's forces raided al-Razzaq mosque in Samarra, brought a few locals whom they picked up from different parts of the city and killed them in the mosque. What do you think the people's feeling would be towards these military forces? We have lived enough years of injustice, revenge and tyranny, and we can't stand any more.

Might the picture be a lot more complex than the way Nouri tells it or, for that matter, the way so much of the media tells it?

The following community sites -- plus McClatchy, NPR and the Guardian -- updated: