Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, December 17, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue,  the targeting of religious minorities continues, look which senator refused to call it out, a lot of spin on Iraq insists things are improving, reality argues otherwise, and much more.

We'll start with a letter senators have sent to Secretary of State John Kerry.  From Senator Roger Wicker's office:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, today led a bipartisan effort calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to assist religious minorities facing persecution in Syria and Iraq, such as Christians and Yazidis, to find refuge in the United States. The Senators also urged the State Department to provide these minorities with better access to U.S. humanitarian aid.

“The oppression of Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq has led to an unspeakable humanitarian crisis,” Wicker said. “Tens of thousands have had to flee their homes to seek sanctuary from the Islamic State – whose savage treatment of these people is well-documented. The United States has historically protected minorities facing similar circumstances. We should do so again now.”

“We have an obligation to stand up for human rights,” Brown said. “The U.S. has pledged humanitarian assistance for relief in Iraq and Syria, and that should include refugee assistance for persecuted religious minorities facing persecution.”

The Senators’ letter specifically calls for “the creation of a Priority 2 (P-2) group under the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for religious minorities from Iraq and Syria.”

This new classification would provide a process for Christians, Alawites, Druze, Yazidis, and others to be considered for resettlement in the United States. In the past, this designation has been used for groups of humanitarian concern, including religious minorities from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and Iran.

Wicker and Brown were joined in their letter by Senators Dan Coats, R-Ind., Carl Levin, D-Mich., James Inhofe, R-Okla., John Thune, R-S.D., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

The full text of the letter:

December 16, 2014

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We write to encourage you to take expeditious action to protect Christians and other vulnerable religious minorities from the unprecedented level of violence in Iraq and Syria.

The creation of a Priority 2 (P-2) group under the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for religious minorities from Iraq and Syria would provide a structured process for Christians, Alawites, Druze, Yazidis, and others to be considered for resettlement in the United States. This designation has been used for groups of humanitarian concern, including religious minorities from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and Iran.  Although the Administration has announced that it will create more places for Syrian refugees, we have not stated that religious minorities such as Christians will be considered for admission to the United States.

Religious minorities also have difficulty accessing humanitarian assistance due to the hostility and discrimination that they face from other citizens, including other refugees.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has acknowledged that religious minorities avoid camps for this reason. As such, we encourage you to direct the U.S. Agency for International Development to ensure that religious minorities have sufficient access to the nearly $2 billion in aid that the United States has pledged for humanitarian relief efforts in Iraq and Syria.

Religious cleansing has reached historic levels in the Middle East.  Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011, President Bashar al-Assad, Syrian rebels, and terrorist groups have targeted religious minorities for violence.  In Iraq, Christians, Yazidis, and Mandeans have lived in fear of terrorist groups for the last decade.  Now, the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has openly vowed to end the existence of religious minorities in the Middle East. Accordingly, we urge you to act swiftly to help protect religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

Thank you for your consideration.


Senator Roger Wicker
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Dan Coats
Senator Carl Levin
Senator James Inhofe
Senator John Thune
Senator Marco Rubio
Senator Rob Portman
Senator Mark Kirk

You notice anything?

I did immediately.

Where's the Senate fraud?

Where's Rand Paul?

Where's God's personal friend Rand Paul?

In the December 10th snapshot, we noted the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing which featured Rand Paul's embarrassing grandstanding and his incessant caterwauling about Syrian Christians (while ignoring Iraqi Christians).

We called it because it came off fake ass.

And I could have been wrong in that call.

But where's Senator Rand Paul's signature on the letter?

Staying on the topic of fake ass, the Wall St Journal's round up of corruption reporting includes one on Iraq:

Iraq’s prime minister is quoted saying he’s willing to be assassinated, if that’s what it takes to effectively fight corruption. (NY Times)

That's from Tim Arango's report we've noted already this week.

Haider al-Abadi only looks more ridiculous when he makes statements like that.

In 2016, the United States will vote on a new American president.

That person will be sworn in during the month of January 2017.

And that person (and his or her family) will move into the White House.

You can find similar situations in other countries with elected leaders.

Where does Haider al-Abadi live?

Not in the home of the prime minister.

In August, he was named prime minister.

But the previous one refuses to vacate the home.

Thug Nouri al-Maliki continues to live in the home of the prime minister.

Haider, that's corruption.

Nouri is not the prime minister and he needs to vacate the home immediately.

Haider's either too much of a chicken or in league with Nouri.

(A video of the two emerged last week that records how close the two actually are.)

Tim Arango's article notes Nouri continues to occupy the residence of the prime minister.

The Iraqi people foot the bill for that housing occupation.

That's corruption.

And if Haider can't even weed that out, lots of luck seeing him punish those officials who've stolen money from Iraq (that would also include Nouri).

Tim Arango's article also noted Nouri's plane but insisted he'd surrendered the private jet.

No, he hasn't.

It's parked at Baghdad International airport but it's not been handed over -- and this point has been firmly established repeatedly by both Iraq Times and Kitabat.

I have no idea whether or not Ibrahim al-Jaafari is a fake ass but he's a joke.

In December 2005, Iraqis voted.  No one was named prime minister-designate for months because the Iraqi Parliament wanted to name Ibrahim al-Jaafari to the post but Bully Boy Bush and his administration didn't want that.  They didn't care for al-Jaafari, they feared his personal militia, didn't want him to have a second term as prime minister, etc.

So they forced the pockmarked faced thug Nouri off on Iraq.

Ibrahim never really stood up to Nouri in the eight years that followed despite the hopes of Ibrahim's followers that their leader would discover a spine.

Now Ibrahim has a post.

Foreign Minister!

Yeah, it is a huge step down.

All that's left below it is parking valet.

Hoshyar Zebari held the post for 8 years.  It's photo ops and nothing more.

Xinhua reports of Jaafari:

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government has been in power for only months' time, and the city of Mousl is still in the hands of the IS militants, yet Iraq has made "great" progress in political reforms and the security situation is improving, he said, adding that the IS terrorists have started to pull back.

That's a sweet little dream.  It's not reality but fairy tales have lulled many at bedtime.

In the real world, Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) notes:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is boosting its presence in Iraq’s restive Al-Anbar province in a bid to turn Baghdad’s attention away from the liberation of Mosul, a senior Iraqi military commander said on Wednesday.
The senior Iraqi military officer, who spoke on the condition that his name and rank would not be disclosed, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the battle for Mosul, which government forces are presently gearing up for, would be “critical” to the defeat ISIS. Mosul, the provincial capital of neighboring Nineveh governorate, has been under ISIS control since June.

“We can say that the fate of ISIS is tied to the result of the battle of Mosul, more than any other battle, whether in Iraq or Syria,” the officer said. 

And AFP reports, "ISIS militants forced Iraqi forces to retreat Wednesday after fierce fighting in the city of Beiji, close to the country’s biggest oil refinery, a local official and tribal leader said."

  • And then there's this:

  • The link goes to a Reuters report by Ned Parker and Ahmed Rasheed who are both strong reporters and have many Iraq bylines to point to with pride.

    I wouldn't include the latest article on a list of pride.

    Six paragraphs before what the picture captures is touched on?

    And an article that buries the main point?

    In addition, there's what reads like the acceptance of murder.

    Suspects who are tortured -- which is what Parker and Rasheed are reporting though they refuse to name it -- and then murdered?  That's not democracy.  And if you can't report what's happening, if that's beyond your scope, you pick up the phone and dial Dr. Who's It at Generic University who teaches on ethics and human rights and get a quote from him or her explaining how repugnant and offensive the slaughter of suspects is.

    If the thugs had done the same thing in Iraq to a collie and it had been reported, I believe there would be global outrage.

    How sad that when it's done to humans, there's an acceptance and willingness to move on to the next topic.

    At the Boston Globe, Stephen Kinzer observes, "In Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States has failed to achieve any of the goals we set when we first invaded. Both countries are consumed by violence and terror. This is the very definition of defeat. Yet even President Obama, who did not launch these wars, seems reluctant to end them by saying simply, “We can’t win, so let’s admit it and withdraw.” Whatever the reality, Americans do not like admitting that we can lose at anything. Yet persisting in lost causes weakens us as a nation. Our enemies gleefully wear us down while our friends lament our shortsightedness."