Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, November 26, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the US gears up to provide more weapons to Iraq, this despite the fact that the Iraqi military continues to bomb civilians in Falluja, and more.

Victoria A. Brownworth (SheWired) offers:

We are still at war in Afghanistan. Last week  the Obama Administration quietly announced, to almost no media fanfare, that it was continuing that war, when it was supposed to be ending at the beginning of next year. President Obama is also sending  more troops back into Iraq. This too was met with a shrug by Americans.
Revving up America’s two longest wars has not spurred a single protest march in this country, but the failure of a grand jury to indict Darren Wilson on even the charge of involuntary manslaughter has brought thousands into the streets, from Ferguson itself to New York, LA, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and beyond. Record numbers of tweets have gone out over Twitter, which many consider responsible for drawing attention to the case of Michael Brown and subsequent events in Ferguson after his killing.

The breadth of the protests versus the crickets over Afghanistan and Iraq makes cleat that the real war America is fighting, the one that many of us feel threatened by, is the fight between marginalized communities and law enforcement. 

Interesting but inaccurate.

Black Agenda Report has been calling for action the minute the grand jury released their findings.  The Center for Constitutional Rights has weighed in repeatedly.  Activists have been working overtime on this issue -- United For Peace and Justice, CodePink, on and on.

There's been an enemy named -- the White police officer Darren Wilson -- a focal point to fuel anger.

Whereas, with Iraq, these same people haven't done a damn thing.

In fairness to Black Agenda Report, they've at least called Barack out.

But they haven't led on Iraq.

As Iraqis have been killed in Falluja for 11 months straight now, I've not seen Black Agenda Report object once to the bombings of the residential neighborhoods in Falluja -- despite the fact these bombings are War Crimes.

Where has anyone in the US been when it comes to calling these out?

It didn't start yesterday.

It started in January.

For eleven months now, residential neighborhoods -- that's where people's homes are -- in Falluja have been bombed by the Iraqi military.

It is a legally defined War Crime to attack civilians for the actions of fighters in an area.  It's known as Collective Punishment -- the US, all of Europe, most of the world recognizes Collective Punishment as a War Crime.

Where is the outrage?

September 13th, Iraq's new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the bombings were over.  But let's drop back to September 14th:

Third's "Editorial: The bombing of civilians continues in Iraq" notes Iraq's new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered an end to the military bombing civilian targets on Saturday -- or that al-Abadi said he gave that order -- yet Falluja General Hospital was bombed today.
Iraqi Spring MC notes the bombings of residential neighborhoods in Falluja also continued today with 6 civilians left dead  and 22 more injured.
A very important question needs to be asked:  Did al-Abadi give the order he said he did?
If he didn't, he lied.
If he did, the military is not listening to the new prime minister.
The media needs to be asking was it a lie or is the military refusing to obey orders?
This is why the media exists in the first place.
Either is a story but the military refusing orders would be a huge story.  (While a politician lying would be seen as typical behavior.)

But there was no interest in that either.

Iraqi forces are attacking civilians.  US President Barack Obama wants a waiver so he can violate the Leahy Amendment (which bars providing weapons and aid to governments who carry out attacks on civilians).

He wants.

He hasn't gotten it yet.

But he wants it.

Despite not getting the waiver, the US government's announcing more arms to Iraq.  Aaron Mehta (Military Times) notes, "The State Department has approved an $800 million sustainment deal for Iraq's fleet of C-130E and C-130J cargo aircraft, the government announced Tuesday."

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency issued the following notice:

Media/Public Contact:
Transmittal No: 
WASHINGTON, Nov 26, 2014 – The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for C-130E/J sustainment and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $800 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale for a five-year sustainment package for the C-130E/J fleet that includes operational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance, spare and repair parts, support equipment, repair and return, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $800 million.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner. This proposed sale directly supports the Government of Iraq and serves the interests of the people of Iraq and the United States.
The proposed sale of a C-130E/J sustainment package would allow the Iraq Air Force (IAF) to continue operating its C-130E/J aircraft beyond 2015. The IAFs limited maintenance capability necessitates the need for continued contractor logistics support. The continued support will assist the IAF in continuing to use the aircraft to provide humanitarian relief operations in various locations.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Maryland. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Iraq.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs,

Where's the outrage?

Even Senator Patrick Leahy doesn't speak out.

What happened to Michael Brown is very sad and, yes, an outrage.

It doesn't need to be 'spruced up' with lies and misinformation to make it an issue of concern.

When you lie to advance an argument, people stop supporting you.  Stop lying that he was shot in the back. There is more than enough reason to see the events as tragic and to debate whether or not the grand jury made the right determination.  When you tell lies or just repeat them to advance your side of an argument, people start to think you must have a weak case or you wouldn't result to lying.

Equally important, grasp the lesson everyone should have already known.

When someone has a loaded gun, you shouldn't try to grab it -- but if you do try to grab it you better pull it from the person holding it.

Forget the two people involved, replace them with generic Smurfs.  If someone tries to grab a loaded gun, it is highly doubtful that the situation ends peacefully.

For me, my  opinion only, feel free to disagree, the minute a gun was pulled (by the police officer), violence became a very real possibility.  Might have been one even if Michael Brown had, at that moment dropped to the ground and put his hands behind his back.

People want to talk racism.

One reason is because racism is real and it exists and it's a serious problem in the US and all around the world.

Another reason?  These days it's easy to 'contribute' when you know nothing about an issue by just insisting 'racism.'

Racism is an iffy thing to prove.

If Michael Brown's family wants justice, they need to focus on the gun.

Why was the gun pulled?

Because of racism?

Maybe but you most likely won't be able to prove it.

What you can prove is a climate where citizens are no longer citizens but potential threats.

I was shocked, doing research for a project, in 1990 and 1991, to observe police trainings in several different cities where officers were told that everyone was a threat and blah blah blah.

We think the police are there to help.

But that's not what they're always being trained for.

A gun was pulled.

An examination of the trainings the police officer participated in should reveal if this was the case for the officer.  It would also explain to the country that something's gone seriously wrong and police officer or peace officers are being trained not to resolve issues but to approach citizens as potential threats.

This can be demonstrated in court.  You can subpoena the trainers, the training material and much more.

The press always prefers the 'a few bad apples' storyline to a truer narrative that would indict the system itself.  But when people are being killed, like 12-year-old Tamir Rice for the 'crime' of having a toy gun, the problem is the system itself.

But making that argument is too much for our so-called left leaders who'd rather abandon efforts at real change to instead try to get rage to boil over into violence.

In fact, any real work is too much for our so-called left leaders.

Instead of doing real work, they scan the horizon for any craze or event that they can latch onto and pretend to be a movement -- on they started and fostered.

That's why they latched onto Barack, it's why they latch to everything.

They're too lazy to do the work required

So they rush here and there, where ever they think a media spotlight is and latch on like a leech.

For six years now, Barack has carried one war after another and most of the so-called leaders can't even call him out.

He spends the second half of this year sending more troops into Iraq and there's no leadership from so-called peace leaders in the US.

They can't call him out.

They can't call out the War Crimes against the civilians in Falluja.

They can't do much of anything.

You'll find more criticism of Barack's 'plan' coming out of Iraq than out of the US.  For example, Press TV reports:

“The airstrikes cannot defeat ISIL and liberate the cities. We hear that in some places the warplanes drop weapons for ISIL... What we know is that the victories achieved on the ground are done by the Iraqi army and volunteers,” Iraqi State of Law Coalition MP Hanan Fatlawi told the Press TV correspondent in Baghdad.
On October 22, the US admitted that one of the weapon airdrops intended for Kurds fighting in the Syrian town of Kobani was almost certainly intercepted by ISIL terrorists.

I'm no fan of State of Law, as the archives establish, but they're right that the air bombings are not accomplishing much of anything -- except physically destroying Iraq and intimidating and terrorizing the people.

Since this summer, Barack has repeatedly said Iraq requires a political solution but little has been done to facilitate anything political.  Instead, the US government has overseen two major meet-ups of defense ministers and has spent forever recruiting other countries to take part in the air bombings of Iraq and, less successfully, to send troops into Iraq.

How's that creating a political solution?

It's not.

Today's Zaman reports:

Foreign ministers from up to 60 countries forming the US-led coalition against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants will hold their first meeting next week in Brussels, US officials said on Wednesday.
The Dec. 3 meeting, chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry, is expected to review progress in the fight against ISIL and to discuss how coalition members will coordinate politically in future.

It's taken months for them to plan the above.  Hopefully, it's not too late for a meet-up like the above to make a difference.

We were noting State of Law earlier.  It is the political slate of thug Nouri al-Maliki who was prime minister of Iraq until a few months ago and who is now one of Iraq's three vice presidents.  Of Nouri, Ya Libnan reports:

In an unprecedented development the Iranian Foreign Ministry adviser, Mohammad Ali Sobhani, yesterday blamed the Iraqi regime of  Nouri al-Maliki, and the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad for the creation of the islamic State of Iraq  and Syria  ( ISIS)
In an interview with a local Iranian website «telltale News» Sobhani said  the sectarian policies during the reign of former PM Maliki   led to the formation of an incubator for the«Daash» or ISIS  organization .

Sobhani said that the economic and social problems that plagued Iraq, in addition to sectarian policies practiced  by the al-Maliki  regime led to the formation of a popular base for the emergence of ISIS  in the region.