Saturday, April 18, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, April 18, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Erbil is attacked, journalist Ned Parker endures fresh attacks (this time from Haider al-Abadi's love slaves), Haider fails again, and much more.

Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos  (Los Angeles Times via News) report that a car bomb detonated in Iraq on Friday.

Among the things making this bombing different?

It took place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government -- known as "the other Iraq" because of the much lower level of violence.

Another thing making this bombing different was the apparent target: The US Consulate in Erbil.

The US  State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted:

Re: VBIED in near US consulate, we appreciate rapid response of KRG authorities and now working w/them to investigate the attack. 1/2
70 retweets 24 favorites

2/2 All Chief of Mission personnel accounted for & no reports of injuries to these personnel or local guards. Closely monitoring situation.
37 retweets 15 favorites

At the State Dept press briefing on Friday, spokesperson Marie Harf stated:

I know a lot of you have questions about Erbil, so I just wanted to give you some information at the top. A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device was detonated directly outside an entry point on the perimeter of the U.S. consulate in Erbil today. AT 10:44 a.m. Eastern, the duck and cover protocol was activated at the U.S. consulate. All chief of mission personnel have been accounted for. There are no reports of injuries to chief of mission personnel or to the local guards.
Host nation fire assets responded to extinguish the fire. Local authorities have also responded and are securing the area. We appreciate the rapid response of the Kurdistan Regional Government authorities to this matter, and we will work with them to investigate the incident to determine the facts behind the explosion.

During the press briefing, a few questions were asked:

QUESTION: Was there any intelligence or any sense that something of this nature could happen inside Erbil?

MS HARF: I’ve --

QUESTION: It’s very out of character for this city.

MS HARF: I think that Iraq remains a dangerous place – many parts of it do. So I’m not going to get into specifics, but we know that the security environment there is quite a challenging one and obviously take a number of security precautions when it comes to our people and our facilities.

QUESTION: Is there any early consideration of changing the travel patterns of consulate staff?

MS HARF: Well, I’m not sure why an explosive device outside the consulate would change travel patterns, given this happened outside the consulate. But there’s already a high level of security at the consulate, at our embassy in Baghdad. Obviously, this is something we take very serious in Iraq.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Can you say how many personnel, roughly, work out of the consulate?

MS HARF: We don’t generally give those numbers, for security reasons.

QUESTION: Yeah. I figured that.

MS HARF: But good try. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Any idea of responsibility?

MS HARF: We do not have any details on who’s responsible at this time.

Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "The attack was the first direct assault on U.S. facilities in Iraq since the Islamic State took control of much of the northern and central areas of the country last summer, and only the second bombing in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government, a city considered so safe that the United States moved many of its diplomats here from Baghdad when the Islamic State captured the city of Mosul and threatened Baghdad last year."

That was far from the only violence on Friday.  Xinhua reports the latest on the failed leadership of Haider al-Abadi:

In Iraq's western province of Anbar, the IS militants in the morning advanced in the provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, and managed to seize the Grand Mosque area in central the city and came close to the heavily fortified government compound in central Ramadi, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The troops, government-backed Sahwa paramilitary groups and allied Sunni tribesmen fought back and after fierce clashes they pushed back the extremist militants from the Grand mosque area, but the IS militants were still fighting about 500 meters away from the government compound, the source said.

Later in the day, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of Iraqi armed forces, ordered to send reinforcement troops immediately to support the troops in Ramadi to prevent the fall of the city, Saad Maan, the Interior Ministry spokesman said.

How does that qualify as a Haider failure?

The Islamic State is going to attack where ever it wants.

Ramadi was a likely target and you didn't have to be a psychic to see that.

However, that's not why it's Haider's failure.

Dropping back to Wednesday's snapshot, this is why it's Haider's failure:

This morning, Arwa Damon (CNN -- link is video and text) reported on the situation in Anbar Province's Ramadi noting that deputy provincial council head Falih Essawi is issuing "a dire, dire warning" as the Islamic State advances.

Arwa Damon:  ISIS forces, it seems, early this morning managing to enter the outskirts of the city of Ramadi from the east.  This now means that ISIS is fighting on the east.  ISIS advanced from the north -- taking over three towns from the outskirts there over the weekend.  The routes to the south already blocked off.  The city basically under siege except for the western portion that is still controlled by forces, by government forces, but that is wavering as well.

Sky News notes the three areas taken, "The militant group took the villages of Sjariyah, Albu-Ghanim and Soufiya, in Anbar province, which had been under government control, residents said." Nancy A. Youssef (Daily Beast) observed:

Pentagon officials stopped short of saying the city was on the brink of falling. But they didn’t sound confident it would hold, either.
“The situation in Ramadi remains fluid and, as with earlier assessments, the security situation in the city is contested. The ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] continue to conduct clearing operations against ISIL-held areas in the city and in the surrounding areas of Al Anbar province,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Army Maj. Curt Kellogg, a said in a statement, using the government’s preferred acronym for ISIS. The Coalition continues to coordinate with ISF forces and provide operational support as requested.”

AFP's Jean Marc Mojon and Karim Abou Merhil sound out various Middle East experts about the prospects for victory in Anbar.  We'll note this section:

“Anbar, and especially Fallujah, is like Asterix’s village,” said Victoria Fontan, a professor at American University Duhok Kurdistan, referring to an unconquerable town in the French comic book series.
The province is packed with experienced fighters and while some Sunni tribes have allied with the government, others are fighting alongside ISIS or sitting on the fence.
Local knowledge is seen as key to retaking territory along the fertile strip lining the Euphrates, where ISIS has inflicted severe military setbacks to the police and army since June.

Iraqi Spring MC notes this takes place as calls for reinforcements of government troops to be sent to . . . Baiji.

That's in northern Iraq, Salahuddin Province.  These reinforcements are being sent in to protect . . .  Well, not people.  There are people in Ramadi who need protection.  But the government forces going to Baiji are going to protect an oil refinery. 

That's why it's Haider's fault.

The events of Wednesday?

That should have meant immediately sending reinforcements to Ramadi.

An attack on a refinery?

He didn't hesitate to send reinforcements to Baiji on Wednesday.

But he waited until Friday to send them to Ramadi?

That's Haider's failure of leadership.

Thursday, Haider was in DC, speaking at an event hosted by CSIS and insisting that it was his job to protect Iraqis.

But Wednesday, he didn't order reinforcements to Ramadi.

And Thursday, he didn't order reinforcements to Ramadi.

And while he dithered the people suffered.  Loveday Morris (Washington Post) reports:

Thousands of families fleeing Iraq’s western city of Ramadi choked checkpoints leading to Baghdad on Friday, after an Islamic State advance spread panic and left security forces clinging to control.

A column of traffic several vehicles wide snaked for miles at a checkpoint in Sadr al-Yusufiyah, on the edge of Baghdad province, as minibuses, cars and trucks picked up families who crossed by foot carrying their possessions in bags and wheelbarrows. Suhaib al-Rawi, the governor of Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital, described it as a human disaster on a scale the city has never witnessed.

On Thutsday, he couldn't or wouldn't order refinforcements.

But he could tell those gathered at the CSIS event that this violence was all about a message and his visit to the US, "When they lost Tikrit and lost the whole of  Salahuddin [Province] they want  to send another message I think it's timed with my visit to the US.  They want to show that despite the support Iraq is receiving, 'we are there to cause damage and we are still there.'  They want their voice to be heard.  That's what they're doing."

Is that what they're doing?

I think the world's more concerned with what Haider's doing and, this week, it wasn't protecting the Iraqi people.

He was too busy mocking journalism at Thursday's event.

He's helped this week by faux journalist Arianna Huffington who

She prints the garbage of Luay al-Khatteb and Abbask Hadhim which includes:

The recent departure of Ned Parker, the Baghdad bureau chief of Reuters, is a case in point. Reuters announced that Parker "left Iraq after he was threatened on Facebook and denounced by a Shi'ite paramilitary group's satellite news channel, Al Ahad TV, in reaction to a Reuters report last week that detailed lynching and looting in the city of Tikrit." While no threat should be taken lightly, it is hard to say that what the satirical talk show host said was a threat to Mr. Parker or the agency. From reviewing the segment in question, it appears clearly that the host, Wajih Abbas, was reading a published request that the Iraqi government expel Mr. Parker because "he writes articles for the Western public opinion defaming the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU)." He then reads verbatim a letter he received about Reuters from an Iraqi living in the U.S. without any comments enticing violence against the agency or its bureau chief. In an interview with him, Mr. Abbas told the authors that he did not threaten anyone: "All I did was reading a letter sent to me saying Mr. Parker equates Da'ish (ISIS) with the Hashd (PMU), and asked that the government should not accept this and should expel him, which is our right," Mr. Abbas said. We did not have access to the Facebook threat which Reuters cited in its article; we tried to contact Mr. Parker to discuss the nature of the Facebook threat, but we couldn't get an answer. Later on, Parker was interviewed by NPR to explain why he had to flee Iraq, except this time his statement alluded to blaming Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi's recent speech prior leaving to Washington DC, as well as highlighting the accusation on Al Ahad TV for mobilizing a campaign against him and Reuters. Nonetheless, the Iraqi government was very responsive to the alleged threat on Mr. Parker by enforcing further security to Reuters's fortified compound while investigating the case. After careful review and examination of PM Abadi's segment as well as the one of Al Ahad TV, we found no evidence of any threat.

I've seen the same clip that they're writing about.

It was a threat.

And it wasn't read calmly or in an amused manner.

It was a threat.

The only thing that confuses me about the Huffing Post piece is why two whores have their name on it?

For those of us attending Thursday's event, we're well aware that the whores 'writing' is nothing more than repetition of the crap Haider churned out.

It's a shame the whores weren't there.

They could have been rebuked the way Haider was.

Despite Luay's whoring, Ned Parker did not leave Iraq blaming prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

He wasn't even aware of it which is why Ned has the date wrong.

He thinks the verbal attack on journalism took place on Thursday.  It took place on Wednesday.

As the only   person in the world who reported on Haider's public attack on journalism -- yes, that's me -- I damn well know when it took place.

Ned Parker was not aware of it when it took place.

He had many other things to focus on that day which included doing his job -- he edited reports that day -- and also enduring the attacks on television.

Haider was in rare form, wishing publicly, he stated this at the event, we've already reported it unlike the lazy whores, that he hopes to have the power to curb the press (foreign press -- he's already curbed much of the Iraqi press) the way the US government did with the embed program.

He made jokes, he belittled Ned Paker.

Ned Parker is a serious journalist and he's the one who exposed Nouri al-Maliki's torture sites.

Ned Parker doesn't flinch at empty words.  He's covered Iraq for over a decade.

He covered Iraq when Nouri was attacking the press -- and suing the Guardian -- and he didn't flee Iraq or sacrifice journalistic ethics to be safe.

How dare anyone belittle him or any other journalist in a War Zone who is actually trying to tell the truth?

There were two reasons Ned left Iraq: his own safety and the safety of others working for Reuters.

And to pretend otherwise, is shameful.

To attack him or belittle him for this is shameful.

To pretend that Haider is a friend of the press?

I love BRussells Tribunal but they're a little cultish about Haider.

The reality is, he's already Nouri al-Maliki.

He's Nouri's friend (though that won't stop Nouri from trying to unseat him) and he carries out the same programs.

He's a change!

People need to wake the hell up.

He's done nothing.

He's flapped his gums and made pretty statements that are supposedly so important.

But if you declare, on September 13th, for example, that you are going to stop the Iraqi military bombings of occupied homes in Falluja, then that means you have to stop it.

Haider declared he had.

But September 14th, the bombings continued.

And have ever since.

And these are War Crimes.

Legally defined War Crimes.

I'm not the BRussells Tribunal.

I'm not going to gouge at my own eyes so I can be blind and have hope.

Haider's a thug and a bully.

Pretending otherwise?

Oh, that worked out great with Nouri, didn't?

The world humored thug Nouri and he attacked women, and he attacked gays and lesbians, and he attack religious minorities, and he attacked peaceful protesters, and he attacked Sunni politicians, and he attacked ...

We don't have room to list all he attacked.

But we don't have to.

We paid attention in real time -- check the archives.

We documented the slide to chaos as it happened.

We predicted the rise of the Islamic State years before it happened.

Because I'm a psychic?

No, because I studied revolutions, rebellions and uprisings in grad school.

What was going on in Iraq?

It was obvious where it would lead.

And we noted that here.

We noted it when Barack Obama overturned the votes of the Iraqi people.

They were now disenfranchised.

We noted it when the politicians attempted to use Constitutional measures to address Nouri's crimes --- Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds banding together -- and the US (via Jalal Talabani) stripped them of that right.

We noted it when the people took to the street and Nouri began physically assaulting these peaceful protesters.

I don't have to be a psychic to grasp that when you strip people of their vote, when you take power from their political leaders and when you assault peaceful protesters, you've left them with nothing.

There are no more non-violent tools.

This is not an earth shattering insight.

This is basic political science.

It's also basic that ignoring a corrupt leader never makes a situation better.

If they are not pressed to make improvements, they don't make them.

The US government loved Saddam Hussein.

He terrorized the Shi'ites and they were okay with that.  He attacked the Kurds and they were okay with that.

True, he wanted to go off the dollar system and that did cause concern, but almost everything else the US government repeatedly and consistently looked the other way on.

They did the same for Nouri until his actions brought the country to the brink.

And now we're all supposed to trust that somehow, some way, with Haider, this do nothing approach will work?

First off, there should be no F-16s delivered to Iraq.

Haider has attacked the Iraqi people.  Per US law, the White House is not authorized to arm or fund Haider.

Samantha Power is a blow hard and a War Hawk.  But it would be a public service if at least one member of the press could get her to comment on Iraq at length.

Her 'never again' stance wrongly led idiots (Davey D, you're on that list -- so is Jeremey Scahill) to think she was a woman of peace.

She was not.

She is not.

Libya should have settled that for all the idiots who chose to ignore Edward S. Herman's repeated  analysis of Power.

But Power will again present herself as for human rights -- she's not.

And her refusal to call out the use of Shi'ite militias in Iraq goes to that.

There will never be peace in Iraq with Shi'ite militias terrorizing the people.

And this raises other issues.

Samantha Power was clearly not a person of peace but she was applauded as such by many 'left' journalists (Scahill was practically her love slave) and by many activists.

So maybe the reality is we don't want peace?

Maybe the reality is we want credit for working towards a peace that will never come.

I'm not talking about the US government.

Clearly, the US government doesn't want peace in Iraq.

If you identify the need for a political solution and then fail to work on that all these months later (Barack said it was the only answer back in June), then clearly you don't want peace.  You want chaos and instability because they allow you to control the country and its resources, the region and its stability.

When Henry Kissinger told the Kurds to fight back, he didn't want the Kurds to actually win and once a signal had been sent to Saddam, Henry and the Nixon White House wrote off the Kurds.

This is not speculation.

This is documented in the Pike Report Congress wrote.

Rebecca just noted how the Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Gen Martin Dempsey, declared this week that it didn't matter if Ramadi fell.  Stan noted how, since August, the White House has spent over $2 billion on fighting (with combat, not with diplomacy) the Islamic State.

And there is no political solution.

The US government is putting no effort into working towards a political solution.

$2 billion down the drain in the time since Haider became prime minister -- not even a year -- and the only 'answer' the White House is more of the same.

Clearly, peace is not the goal.

You don't waste that kind of money and that kind of time, don't insist publicly that it doesn't mater if Ramadi falls if peace is your goal.

That's the White House, that's the government.

But I'm talking the US peace movement.

Or what passes for it.

I've yet to see Medea Benjamin or any of the other self-appointed leaders do a damn thing that was for peace.

I see them pull stunts that get press attention.

I see them brag about these stunts.

I just don't see them working for peace.

I see them working very hard to pretend that they're better than other people.

I just don't see them working for peace.

At the Thursday morning event, Haider insisted, "We must not only win the war – we must also win the peace. Together, we must take action against the political, economic and social problems that give rise to violent extremism, so that terrorism on the scale of Daesh will never re-emerge to threaten our nation and our neighbors again.[. . .] Let me be as clear as I can be: Our government’s highest priority is reducing ethnic sectarian tensions and divisions in Iraq. And we have nurtured close working relationships with parliament and Iraq’s community leaders and religious institutions to ensure an outcome that is favorable to all our people."

Yeah, well when do you plan to get to work on that?

Because he hasn't done a damn thing to improve the situation in Iraq and weeks have turned to months and he's proven to be a liar and a failure.

As for Ned Parker, he reported the truth.

That's usually enough of a 'crime' to get anyone in trouble.

  • This is the Reuters report that prompted death threats against Iraq bureau chief , forcing him to leave

  • That's what it's about and if you can't tell the truth, at least the world a favor and sit your tired ass down and stay there in silence.

    Arianna Huffington, count your blessings.  This snapshot was finished eight hours ago but I held it because it included exposing the real you.  That's what a friend -- or in this case, former friend -- can do.  This time I paused.  Next time I might not.  Time or just not caring might force me to post reality.  So think about that before you allow your 'brand' to be used to attack someone like Ned Parker.

    Because next time, I might not  be saying, "Think of her children.  Think of her children.  Think of how humiliated they would be."

    Instead, I might just say, "She's a grown up.  She's responsible for her actions.  She gets what she gets."


    arwa damon
    nancy a. youssef