Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, April 8, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue,  some sort of operation begins in Anbar, Haider holds a gun for the cameras, the US State Dept spends (wastes) more time on war, and much more.

Starting in Iraq where the action was in Anbar Province.

The State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted:

PM Abadi in today to distribute new weapons to tribal fighters in preparation for decisive ops against

PM Abadi in today to distribute new weapons to tribal fighters in preparation for decisive ops against .
36 retweets 28 favorites

This morning, Alsumaria reported that the Iraqi government has launched its assault on Anbar Province. And al-Abadi had left Baghdad to visit Anbar and see how the operation is commencing.
The governor of Anbar Tweeted the following:

I am now in Habbaniyah Airbase overseeing the distribution of arms to the volunteer fighters of
13 retweets 5 favorites

At the Prime Minister's website, there's a photo of Haider holding a rifle -- not since two time Academy Award winnter Shelley Winters attempted to play a Ma Barker in Bloody Mama has someone looked so unconvincing holding a firearm.

The press release with the photo notes that Haider al-Abadi (billed as "Doctor") went to Anbar Province on a visit to prepare for the 'liberation' of all of the province.

Anbar is now the follow-up to Tikrit's 'liberation.'  WG Dunlop and Karim Abou Merhi (AFP) remind, "It also took a month for Iraqi forces to retake Tikrit – a relatively small city that ISIS seeded with bombs and defended with snipers and suicide bombers.  Recapturing the vastly larger area of Anbar, where militants have had even longer to prepare their defenses, will be a major challenge." Rod Nordland (New York Times) points out that 'post-liberation' still finds battles in Tikrit.
 KUNA notes the liberation operation began today while Nordland notes the disagreements on whether such a liberation effort began today or not and that there are disagreements about the scope of what took place today.

Margaret Griffis ( notes 184 violent deaths across Iraq today.

The right wing Ace of Spades HQ offered this Tweet today:

  • "You just can't go around BOMBING countries that upset you!" -- President "Bomber" Barack O-bomba, currently bombing Iraq w/o authorization

  • Barack's bombings have not been authorized by Congress.  At one point he wanted an AUMF but, as with the economy, his interests drifted elsewhere.

    On the bombings I keep coming back to what a member of Congress said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last month.

    US House Rep Lois Frankel:  I have a couple of questions.  First relates to underlying conditions that led to the rise of ISIL.  Would you -- would you agree that ISIL is not the cause of the turmoil in the region but a symptom of a deeper problems?  And I'd like to get your opinion is it unstable governments, poverty, desperation, radical religion, what?  I'd like to get your take on that.  And secondly, I think the American public somehow thinks that you can simply get rid of ISIL by bombs or dropping -- or drones.  Could you just explain the difficulty of -- of their assimilation into the population, and so forth, the terrain.

    Envoy John Allen: One of the, I think, real benefits of the counter-ISIL coalition which numbers at 62 entities right now -- countries and entities -- is the recognition that Da'ash is in fact not the disease, it's a symptom of something bigger.  And that broad recognition includes the base societal factors that have given rise to, uh, the attractiveness of an organization like this.  And it's -- there are societal issues, there are political issues, inclusiveness, participation -- uh, social issues associated with economic opportunity, the ability ultimately to have the opportunity to put food on the table for families. And often the result of the absence of all of those or some of those in these countries and among these populations have created the conditions of despair and desperation which has made those populations susceptible to radicalization and then recruitment.

    Why is Frankel insulting the American people?

    They're not the ones ordering the bombing of Iraq.

    Nor have they insisted that bombing is the answer.

    That's the White House.

    Lois Frankel is happy to basically call the American people stupid but she can't call out the White House?

    Nearly a year ago (in June), Barack insisted the only answer for Iraq was a political solution.

    So where's the work on that?

    No where.

    And Barack's not directing the State Dept to work on the issue.

    What are they working on?

    The State Dept issued the following today:

    Office of the Spokesperson
    Washington, DC
    April 8, 2015

    On April 8 Special Presidential Envoy General John Allen and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk participated in a meeting of the Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL in Jordan. The Small Group met at the Political Director level to review Coalition operations and progress along the various lines of effort to degrade and defeat ISIL.  The leadership of the Coalition Working Groups gave briefings on their respective activities to date and discussed priorities for their efforts in the coming months. This meeting of the Coalition Small Group marked the first Coalition meeting since Working Groups were established in February 2015.
    Working Group co-leads represented at the meeting were:
    Military Efforts: Iraq and the United States
    Stopping the Flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Turkey and the Netherlands
    Counter-Finance: Italy, Saudi Arabia, and the United States
    Stabilization Support: Germany and the United Arab Emirates
    Counter-Messaging: United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States
    The Small Group also discussed Coalition understandings of potential ISIL affiliates and expansions outside of Iraq and Syria, noting the importance of distinguishing between ISIL command and control and local or isolated terrorist groups seeking to affiliate themselves with ISIL branding.
    The Small Group affirmed support for a Coalition meeting at the Ministerial level later this spring.

    So the Special Envoy and Brett with his ever changing titles are doing what?

    Oh, military strategy.

    Who does the US have tasked to work on the political solution?


    Maybe Barack can appoint a person to work on that?  Maybe that will work out as well as his appointing someone over the Ashraf issue?

    Barack's putting all his balls and Joe Biden's basket this week.  On Thursday, the Vice President is scheduled to deliver a major address on Iraq.  Fred Lucas (Blaze) spoke with White House flack Josh Earnest about the choice of Joe for the speech:

    Asked why, given the gravity of the situation in Iraq, Obama couldn’t have spoken on it when he was in the country, Earnest noted Biden’s experience in dealing with Iraqi leadership.
    “For that reason, I think it makes a lot of sense for the vice president in this context, while the president is out of the country, to provide the American people an update on our ongoing efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, starting in Iraq but in other places, including Syria,” Earnest said.

    Let's change topics, what's that smell?

    Oh, it's Medea and Jodie and the great unwashed CodeStink.

  • Those who led us into war are trying to drag us into war. Learn more:

  • Win Without War?

    That laughable piece of crap?

    The silent crowd?

    That faux group used Iraq to elect Democrats in 2006.

    That's all it ever helped on.

    So we can't listen to Chuck Schumer and we shouldn't listen to this person or that but two dumb idiots who went to Iran and embarrassed themselves?  That's what we're supposed to listen to?

    Medea is an attention addict and Jodie's always been an idiot.

    But I'm not screaming that they don't have a right to speak.

    In America, everyone does.

    But the Cult of St. Barack has yet again been activated.

    They've been activated to play the attack dogs and to attempt to silence -- to scare into silence -- anyone who questions Barack's still not reached deal with Iran.

    I have no opinion on the deal -- or the Easter bunny or other things that don't exist.

    I live in the real world.

    Propose a deal and I may make the time to look over it and weigh in.

    But I will always be against the attack poodles -- right or left -- who attempt to silence debate and discussion.

    Chuck Schumer has every right to weigh in.

    Not because he's a US Senator, but because he's an American citizen.

    If you don't like his argument, take that on.

    Or is that too much works for the lazy gals of CodeStink?

    I'm getting really tired of people with objections being ridiculed and made fun of by this cult.

    We didn't like it when the right did it during the reign of Bully Boy Bush.

    We certainly shouldn't participate in it ourselves.

    I could call Medea an "American hater." I could call her that and I could actually back it up because I know Medea.  She's rooting for the fall every day.

    But if Medea ever puts out an actual argument for the non-deal with Iran, we'd refute it if I felt the need.  We'd probably mock her in it as well because, after all, she is Medea and it doesn't get more ridiculous than that.

    But I'm really tired of this cult executing their marching orders to stop dissent, to silence debate.

    They help no one and their bullying is not helpful to democracy.

    Let's move over to the State Dept where spokesperson Marie Harf and the press corps shocked the nation by remembering Iraq for a few seconds today.

    MS HARF:  What else?  Iraq, yes.

    QUESTION:  Yes.  Today prime minister – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi, he visited Anbar and he was talking about the operations to liberate the entire province, and there was some kind of stories in the Iraqi media, local media, that there are disagreement between the United States and Iraqi Government on the problem of operations either in Mosul or in Anbar.  So if you have any comment on that.

    MS HARF:  I hadn’t seen those reports, but I haven’t heard of disagreements.  As we’ve always said, these are decisions for the Iraqis to make in terms of what the next offensive should be.  As we saw in Tikrit, that will, I think, hinge on a cooperative approach with Iraqi ground forces that are under Iraqi command and control.  That’s obviously supported by coalition airpower, but the timing and what comes next is really up to the Iraqis to decide.

    QUESTION:  So the first time, when they have done that – or conducted operations in Tikrit, it was not consulted with – they didn’t consult with the U.S. and the coalitions.  For the Anbar one, did they ask --

    MS HARF:  Well, we’ve consulted with them on an ongoing basis, but these are Iraqi-led operations.  That’s --

    QUESTION:  Did they – because that – he was in Anbar and I see the retweet by Ambassador Brett McGurk, that he was also like endorsing his activities, the prime minister’s activities in Anbar.  So are you talking to them on when the Anbar liberation should be conducted?

    MS HARF:  Well, we’re certainly in close cooperation with them and in conversations with them about the timing of what happens and what comes next, but again, these are Iraqi decisions to make.

    QUESTION:  You don’t have any disagreement on the decision they made to – either on --

    MS HARF:  These are their decisions to make, and we’re happy to keep talking about it.

    QUESTION:  Any – okay.  Anything, do you have anything on prime minister’s visit to Erbil?  Are you encouraging that or not?

    MS HARF:  Let me see.  I had something.  Didn’t that happen a couple of days ago?

    QUESTION:  Yeah.

    MS HARF:  He met with President Barzani.  Yes.  Well, we welcomed that meeting on Monday, I think, in Erbil between Prime Minister Abadi and the KRG President Barzani.  Obviously, we’ve said many times President Barzani and the people of the Kurdistan region are essential partners in the fight against ISIL.  We appreciate the coordination that’s taking place between them and welcomed this visit.

    QUESTION:  One more last one.

    MS HARF:  Okay.

    QUESTION:  Since Prime Minister Abadi is going to visit next week, is going to visit Washington, is there any plan to invite President Barzani also since he refused it last time due to the visa issues?

    MS HARF:  I don’t have more details about that visit.  I’m happy to check.

    QUESTION:  Thank you.

    MS HARF:  Yes.

    QUESTION:  And do you know anything – going back to the situation in Tikrit, do you have anything more on reports that there might have been some retaliation attacks between Shia and Sunni?

    MS HARF:  I had something on this yesterday.  Let me see what I have.  That we obviously take seriously any of these kinds of reports.  We believe the initial reports of widespread looting and burning of homes appear to have been exaggerated, but we do remain concerned by reports that appeared over the weekend and have raised our concerns with the Iraqi Government.  I think it was on Monday that Prime Minister Abadi vowed to protect the people who had been under ISIL control from any retribution or rights violations when the lands are retaken by government forces.  So this is something that we talk to the Iraqis about quite a bit.

    QUESTION:  Is there a mechanism for working particularly with the Iraqi military to make certain that they’re not engaging in something?

    MS HARF:  Well, this is something that Prime Minister Abadi has pledged and it’s up to them to make sure that it doesn’t happen.