Monday, August 18, 2014

Wait, who objected to the US air strikes?

The weekend's actions in Iraq and the press focus was mainly centered on a dam in Mosul. In a misdated article (it carries Saturday's date currently but it was published this morning), Rebecca Collard attempts to answer "Why Iraq Is So Desperate to Retake Mosul Dam From ISIS" (Time magazine):

Now that dam — the country’s biggest, holding back 11 billion cubic meters of water and producing over 1,000 megawatts of electricity — is at the center of a military struggle between Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which took control of the structure on Aug. 7.
Kurdish forces retook part of the dam early Sunday, the Associated Press reported, aided by U.S. and Iraqi air strikes. The Americans brought along some serious hardware to the fight; a combination of bombers, fighter jets, attack planes and unmanned drones, according to U.S. Central Command, conducted 14 strikes on Sunday and nine the day before. The show of force proves that the threat posed by ISIS control of the dam is finally being taken seriously.

Iraq is that "desperate"?

Strange because "Iraq" doesn't seem to be.

In fact, "Iraq" had an official response that western outlets don't seem able to quote from or to find.  Reuters notes that who is in control of the dam now remains in dispute:

The television station quoted Lieutenant-General Qasim Atta, a military spokesman, as saying the forces were backed by a joint air patrol. He did not give details. An independent verification was not immediately possible.
A Twitter account belonging to a media organisation that supports the Islamic State said the dam was still under the group's full control.

John Vandiver (Stars and Stripes) adds, "The U.S. military used a mix of aircraft to carry out attacks on Sunday, including fighters, bombers and drones, U.S. Central Command said in a statement."
AP insists that "U.S. and Iraqi airstrikes pounded the area in the past two days."

A lot of words to say so little.  For example, who's objected to the air strikes?  It's a rather significant detail and only All Iraq News appears able to report on that:

The office of the Commanding General of the Iraqi Armed Forces announced that "The Iraqi Government did not give permission for any military plane to violate the Iraqi space," in a sign to the US airstrikes targeting the shelters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant near Erbil and Mosul.
A statement by the office received by AIN cited "During the last few days, we noticed violation of some military air-jets for Iraqi space and handing over of military equipment without permission of the Iraqi Government," which is a sign for providing the Kurdish peshmerga with western weapons.

The statement added "We welcome the supportive stances of the international community for Iraq in its war against terrorism but we assert the necessity of respecting the sovereignty of Iraq."

I'm sorry but that objection -- from the Iraqi Armed Forces -- is probably one of the most important details of the story and the Mosul action can't be reported on in an honest manner without including that objection.

The press can and does quote from the White House letter to Congress:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Letter from the President -- War Powers Resolution Regarding Iraq

August 17, 2014
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
On August 14, 2014, I authorized the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct targeted air strikes to support operations by Iraqi forces to recapture the Mosul Dam. These military operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to support the Iraqi forces in their efforts to retake and establish control of this critical infrastructure site, as part of their ongoing campaign against the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace. Pursuant to this authorization, on the evening of August 15, 2014, U.S. military forces commenced targeted airstrike operations in Iraq.
I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. These actions are being undertaken in coordination with the Iraqi government.
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.


The press just isn't interested in quoting from the Iraqi Air Force.

This despite the fact that conflict is always news.

In other news, National Iraqi News Agency notes 1 person was shot dead in Yusifiyah,  2 Alexandria car bombings left 1 person dead and eight more injured, a battle west of Kirkuk left 3 rebels dead and two more injured, and an air strike in Sedira Village left 1 suspect dead.

On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) they continue their silence on Iraq and their never ending focus on Israel.  Also, Heidi's left the National Lawyers Guild.

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