Saturday, October 03, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, October 3, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, one outlet joins The New Yorker in breaking the silence on prostitution in Iraq, Hillary Clinton can't address the topic but maybe if she focuses on the 'business' aspect of the sex trade she'll find a voice, and much more.

Friday morning, we again noted The New Yorker report on prostitution in Iraq written by Rania Abouzeid and that CNN's Arwa Damon had Tweeted about it but that it was otherwise being ignored.

From the article:

In 2012, Iraq passed its first law specifically against human trafficking, but the law is routinely ignored, and sexual crimes, including rape and forced prostitution, are common, women’s-rights groups say. Statistics are hard to come by, but in 2011, according to the latest Ministry of Planning report, a survey found that more than nine per cent of respondents between the ages of fifteen and fifty-four said they had been subjected to sexual violence. The real number is likely much higher, given the shame attached to reporting such crimes in a society where a family’s honor is often tied to the chastity of its women. The victims of these crimes are often considered outcasts and can be killed for “dishonoring” their family or their community.

Since 2006, Layla, a rape victim and former prostitute, has been secretly mapping Iraq’s underworld of sex trafficking and prostitution. Through her network of contacts in the sex trade, she gathers information about who is selling whom and for how much, where the victims are from, and where they are prostituted and trafficked. She passes the information, through intermediaries, to Iraqi authorities, who usually fail to act on it. Still, her work has helped to convict several pimps, including some who kidnapped children. That Saturday night, I accompanied Layla and Mohammad on a tour of some of the places that she investigates, on the condition that I change her name, minimize details that might identify her, and not name her intermediaries.

Friday on PRI's The World, Carol Hills spoke with Raina Abouzeid about her report.  Excerpt.

Rania Abouzeid:  But she's told me on more than one occasion that she sees this as her life's cause that she is absolutely determined regardless of the personal violence that she is often threatened with, because it is a dangerous job to sort of move undercover and pretend that you're a pimp or that you're a retired pimp in her case to get access to these brothels and to get into these nightclubs and to have the kind of relationships that she has with pimps and prostitutes.  But she's nonetheless absolutely devoted to this cause.

Carol Hills:  You accompanied her as she tried to get information and she was sort of under cover as a pimp herself in order to get information.  What did you observe her do in order to get information?

Rania Abouzeid:  One of the reasons she can do this was because she was in the trade many years ago.  She has those sort of connections and she mines those connections.  So she's a known quantity if you like in this underworld in Iraq.  And she, uh, she taps into those connections and she uses them to expand her network and it also gives her a kind of street cred, if you like, with these people that she's dealing with.

Carol Hills:  Can you give a couple of examples of the kind of women or girls that are finding themselves in the sex trade.

Rania Abouzeid:  Well it's mainly women and girls who don't have the support of their families -- either because they're fleeing from their families because of some sort of domestic abuse or they've been displaced and their usual family network isn't around them so they're -- so they're in an alien environment, if you like. And you know what one of the young ladies in my piece found herself in a very rough neighborhood because it was cheaper and it didn't take long for pimps and their women in this trade -- for one of these pimps to find her and to offer her free shelter, free food, a sense of stability and that's how she was lured into this trade.

Carol Hills:  You just mentioned that many of the pimps are women and that really surprised me.  How-how does that happen?  It's so different from -- at least our image -- of how prostitution and the sex trade operate.

Rania Abouzeid:  Yes, it's a very different model to the sort of western stereotype of the pimp -- the male pimp -- who's sort of controls the women.  In Iraq, actually in much of the developing world, these are criminal networks that are run by women.  But there are men behind them.  There's quite a tangled web of men behind them and corrupt police and militia men in the case of Iraq.

Carol Hills:  Is the current Iraqi government doing anything about this?

Rania Abouzeid:  Well in August of this year, the Women's Affairs Ministry which was always short of money anyhow was closed down as part of downsizing.  And that was one body that was supposed to sort of advocate for women's affairs.  And it was shut down.

And it was shut down.

As we noted September 10th, "What 'reform' under Haider means thus far is that quotas are going and gone -- meaning minority populations will not be represented or have a seat at the table.  In addition, shutting down the Ministry of Women's Affairs -- not a budget concern since it never had a real budget -- means that there will not be bodies in the government to track the treatment (or mistreatment) of certain segments."

Why is it that when Haider al-Abadi falsely sold his announced moves as 'reform' no one wanted to call them out -- no one in the press.  They wanted to pretend that closing down an underfunded ministry would, in fact, address corruption.

Instead, it leaves a segment of the population without any real resources.

And where were our brave defenders of women's rights in the United States?

I don't want to hear any two-faced women's 'leader' announce yet again: "Human rights are women's rights."

I don't want to hear that or anything else if they were no where to be found when Haider al-Abadi was trying to dismantle the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

Hillary Clinton, for example, was more than happy to vote (2002) to destroy Iraq and to continue to support the illegal war until it became a problem in 2007 as she was seeking the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination.

Today, she's again seeking that nomination but she has nothing to say about Iraqi women.

The notion that some fluff in a badly (ghost)written book means she no longer has to answer for Iraq is one pimped by the whores who want to ignore what a War Hawk Hillary is.

Remember, she can talk business opportunities brought about by the destruction of Iraq, she just can't address the problems facing the Iraqi people.

Moving from a presidential aspirant to the actual US President, Barack Obama mentioned the Middle East briefly this week.


He forgot Iraq.

On the issue of Russia and the air strikes in Syria garnered a lot of press attention this week.  To a lesser extent so did the announcement of the government of Iraq that they would be sharing intelligence with Russia.

The latter topic was addressed this week on Fresh Air (NPR -- link is audio and text) when Dave Davies spoke with the Washington Post's Joby Warrick.

DAVIES: The other development here is that the Russians recently announced an agreement with Iraq and Iran to share intelligence about ISIS. They didn't let the Americans know about this, right? I mean, what are we to make of that?

WARRICK: It's clearly a slap in the face of the Obama administration because, you know, the Iraqis are supposedly our allies. The Iranians certainly aren't, but we've tried to work with them in finding ways - you know, common interest - in going against ISIS. But here, you know, Russia is asserting its own role without telling the United States and essentially giving the signal or the message that the U.S. has been ineffective and been powerless. As Putin said in his speech at the U.N., it's made the situation much worse, so Russia is moving in, again, in a very dramatic fashion to say we're going to take charge here. We're going to help bring a solution to the region. If eventually it leads to a more cooperative effort between the U.S. and Russia and others in doing something against ISIS, that'll be great. I think it's way, way too early to say if that's - if we can have that kind of a hopeful outcome.

Still on Russia, Kevin Liptak (CNN) reports, "In a joint statement Friday, the governments of nations fighting ISIS -- including the United States, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia -- said Russia's military strikes 'constitute a further escalation and will only fuel more extremism and radicalization'."

Oh, Russian strikes will do that?

Fuel more extremism and radicalization?

Russian strikes will do that?

Not US strikes in Syria or Iraq?

Because the US government has no diplomatic efforts in Iraq, just more bombs dropped.

Friday the Defense Dept bragged:

Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, attack, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Huwayjah, six strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL ammunition cache, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL vehicle bomb assembly area and an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Beiji, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 17 ISIL tactical fighting positions and wounded an ISIL fighter.
-- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL rocket
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL command and control node.
-- Near Mosul, a strike destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

And there's this:

  • In other violence, Al Jazeera notes twin suicide bombers took their own lives in different parts of Baghdad today while also killing 24 other people.

    Still on violence, this week saw the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) issue their figures for the month of September:

    Baghdad, 1 October 2015 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 717 Iraqis were killed and another 1,216 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in September 2015*.

    The number of civilians killed was 537 (including 42 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar), and the number of civilians injured was 925 (including 38 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar).

    A further 180 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army / Not including casualties from Anbar Operations) were killed and 291 were injured.

    “The United Nations remains deeply concerned by the ongoing violence and the high rate of ensuing casualties”, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Jan Kubis said. He however noted that “the cycle of violence, displacement and migration, should not hamper the need to properly and meaningfully address the key economic, security, social and institutional reforms that will help stabilize the situation and restore hope among the Iraqis”.

    Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 840 civilian casualties (257 killed, 583 injured). Diyala suffered 67 killed and 86 injured, Salahadin 87 killed and 64 injured, Ninewa 75 killed and 8 injured, and Kirkuk 16 killed and 6 injured.

    According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 204 civilian casualties (28 killed and 176injured).

    *CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted below. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum

    In other failures for Haider al-Abadi, Press TV reports there are now over 800 confirmed cases of cholera in Iraq.

    Reuters reports that July saw Haider al-Abadi refusing to pay the salaries to workers -- "pensioners, civil servants, doctors, teachers, nurses, police and workers at state-owned companies" -- in Iraqi cities controlled by the Islamic State.  And what are people saying about this move?

    The Iraqi government’s decision to choke off funding for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by cutting off all wages and pensions in cities controlled by the group has plunged people into hardship and could help the insurgents tighten their grip, officials and residents say.

    Way to go, Haider al-Abadi, way to make things even worse.


    Planned Parenthood needs to get its act together

    There will be a snapshot later today but people are complaining in e-mails about the lack of new content.

    I'll offer a reason near the end.

    But this week Anita Little at the Ms. magazine's blog felt the need to tell feminist that we have to support Planned Parenthood and here's how.

    No, we don't.

    It is not my job as a feminist to support any organization.

    I support abortion.

    I'm 100% pro-abortion.

    Not just pro-choice, pro-abortion.

    I believe there are times when that is the only answer for a woman.

    Is every abortion meeting my definition of when it's the only answer for a woman?

    Probably not.

    But I also don't know the reasons or need to know the reasons why a woman chooses to have an abortion.

    That is her decision.

    She owes no explanation.

    But Congress is interested in cutting off Planned Parenthood's funds.

    The problem is the leadership of the organization.

    Ann Richards' daughter is not Ann Richards nor is she a leader -- not an effective one.

    Here's another reason I'm not interested in supporting Planned Parenthood from a Congressional attack.

    Cameron Joseph (The Hill) reported in May of 2012:

    Planned Parenthood endorsed President Obama's reelection Wednesday morning and slammed Mitt Romney for what it called his "harmful positions on women's health."
    "There is no greater champion for women’s health than President Obama and Planned Parenthood Action Fund couldn’t be prouder to endorse his reelection as president today," said Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards. "The contrast with Mitt Romney couldn’t be starker. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to ensuring that voters know how wrong Mitt Romney is for women — in his own words."

    Get out of partisan politics.

    It's not your job to endorse for president.

    Not when you're receiving federal funds.

    And don't give me the crap about it being a "PAC" and not the organization itself.

    The president of the 'action fund' is Cecile Richards -- also president of Planned Parenthood.

    You can't take federal funds and make presidential endorsements.

    It's as corrupt as an Supreme Court decision giving corporations personhood.

    $1.4 million wasted on a TV ad?

    Maybe they don't need federal funds.

    I support reproductive health services.

    I do not support an organization taking federal money and also feeling they can get away with making political endorsements.

    Planned Parenthood's biggest problem is Cecile Richards.

    Anita Little can't tell that truth.

    If Cecile knew how to do her job, she wouldn't have been called before Congress this week.

    This nonsense of refusing to call out leaders has to stop.

    When they're ineffective, they need to go.

    On new content, there's been new content every day.

    Not as much, no.

    But as I've stated there's increased demand for speaking.

    And one night this week, not Thursday, I'd passed out shortly after the last speaking gig and wasn't in the mood when I came to.  Blood sugar issues and this isn't going away.  I'm giving everything I have.  If it's not enough, then it's not enough.

    We can do pieces like this where I weigh in on a topic.  But it is what it is.

    Again, there will be an Iraq snapshot later this evening.

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  • Friday, October 02, 2015

    The only game in town

    Shen Qing (Xinhau) reports that Haider al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq, "says he would consider and welcome Russian airstrikes in his country. The Prime Minister gave his views in an interview with France 24 on Thursday on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly."

    Loveday Morris (Washington Post) reports, "As Moscow deepens its military involvement in the region, Iraq appears to be increasingly looking east for assistance in its fight against Islamic State extremists, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi indicating Thursday that he would welcome a Russian bombing campaign."

    Reuters notes, "Iraq's government would welcome Russian air strikes against Islamic State and was receiving information from both Syria and Russia on the militant group, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Thursday."

    On and on it goes.

    And, of course, they're all working from this France24 interview.

    And, of course, Sputnik reported, "Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned on Thursday against speculation concerning the possibility of Russian airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq, as no plans have been announced by Russian authorities."

    It was around one a.m. when we were done with the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin.  And I look through the news to see what to focus on for the snapshot and all I see is the garbage above -- written and rewritten by one outlet after another.

    This is reporting?

    Iraq continues to fragment -- the government anyway.  Somehow the Iraqi people have managed to hold their country together -- Islamic State seizing territory, the Baghdad based government dropping bombs on civilians, etc, etc.  But the Iraqi people have continued better than most ever could.

    But the story for over 24 hours is the above.

    Russia has not dropped one bomb on Iraq yet.

    But it might!

    It might!

    Is this really an effective way to utilize news resources?

    And does anyone really believe the above in any way is providing coverage of the ongoing Iraq War?  Or, for that matter, informing the American citizens what is going on in Iraq or how all the tax dollars are being spent?

    In what way does the above provide transparency or even basic information?

    All of these reporters working from the same France24 interview.

    By contrast, did any of them amplify The New Yorker piece?

    CNN's Arwa Damon Tweeted about it.

    Again, The New Yorker report is by Rania Abouzeid and here's an excerpt:

    In 2012, Iraq passed its first law specifically against human trafficking, but the law is routinely ignored, and sexual crimes, including rape and forced prostitution, are common, women’s-rights groups say. Statistics are hard to come by, but in 2011, according to the latest Ministry of Planning report, a survey found that more than nine per cent of respondents between the ages of fifteen and fifty-four said they had been subjected to sexual violence. The real number is likely much higher, given the shame attached to reporting such crimes in a society where a family’s honor is often tied to the chastity of its women. The victims of these crimes are often considered outcasts and can be killed for “dishonoring” their family or their community.
    Since 2006, Layla, a rape victim and former prostitute, has been secretly mapping Iraq’s underworld of sex trafficking and prostitution. Through her network of contacts in the sex trade, she gathers information about who is selling whom and for how much, where the victims are from, and where they are prostituted and trafficked. She passes the information, through intermediaries, to Iraqi authorities, who usually fail to act on it. Still, her work has helped to convict several pimps, including some who kidnapped children. That Saturday night, I accompanied Layla and Mohammad on a tour of some of the places that she investigates, on the condition that I change her name, minimize details that might identify her, and not name her intermediaries.

    The work is extremely dangerous. The pimps whom Layla encounters are women, but behind them is a tangled hierarchy of armed men: corrupt police, militias that profit from the sex trade, and militias that brutally oppose it. On the morning of July 13, 2014, the bullet-ridden bodies of twenty-eight women and five men were retrieved from two apartments, said to be brothels, in a building complex in Zayouna, a neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. I saw the bodies a few hours later, at the city morgue, laid out on the floor. Morgue workers blamed the religious militias, singling out the pro-Iranian Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, one of the many armed outfits proliferating in Iraq. Other groups of suspected prostitutes have been found shot dead, but the Zayouna incident was the largest killing in recent years, and it prompted at least fifteen neighborhood pimps whom Layla knew to flee with their girls to Iraqi Kurdistan. Layla often visits apartments like the ones in Zayouna, posing as a retired pimp. As a cover, she sells the madams abayas that are intricately embroidered with colored crystals and diamantés; they serve to identify women as pimps, rather than prostitutes, at night clubs.

    Considering how many outlets have been complicit in providing silence and cover for the prostitution rings in Iraq -- and how they've done that throughout the long and ongoing Iraq War -- you'd think they'd want to correct their past.  Or at least get absolution for it -- weren't the same outlets just heavy panting for a full week over the Pope visiting the United States?

    But they ignore the prostitution.

    They instead work overtime to report (repeat) what might happen.

    I guess that is the real story of the MSM coverage of Iraq:  What might happen.

    They focused on What Might Happen to sell the illegal war.

    They focused on What Might Happen to keep the illegal war going.

    Reality has always been too scary for the MSM.

    Which is probably why most Americans think of Iraq as something 'solved' by Barack Obama.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

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    Thursday, October 01, 2015

    Cassidy Stands Up for Military and Veterans

    US Senator Bill Cassidy's office issued the following today:

    Michigan Greens Welcome Pope’s Efforts for Peace, Justice, and the Environment

    Green Party of Michigan

    News Release
    October 1, 2015

    For more information contact:
    Chris Silva, GPMI Chair (313) 815-2025
    Linda Cree, GPMI State Central Committee

    Michigan Greens Welcome Pope’s Efforts for Peace, Justice, and the Environment

    At their statewide membership meeting in Grayling recently, members of the Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) welcomed the attention Pope Francis has brought to the inequalities in our economic and political systems and to our mistreatment of the Earth.

    In a July speech, Pope Francis asked: “Do we realize something is wrong in a world where there are so many farmworkers without land, so many families without a home, so many laborers without rights . . . so many senseless wars?” And he added: “Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste, and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin.”

    “The Pope says it straight up - it’s immoral to harm our Earth,” comments GPMI member and UP resident Aimée Cree Dunn. “Finally! Real leadership on the world stage.”

    “Greens hope the Pope’s advocacy for the poor will positively affect several urgent issues here in our state – that of Detroit’s water cut-offs and home foreclosures,” says Priscilla Dziubek, GPMI member and member of the Detroit People’s Water Board. “In his encyclical on the environment Pope Francis proclaims that access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right. In Detroit, people’s water is being shut off for inability to pay due to rising water rates, and the people are losing their homes because water bills are being attached to their property taxes.”

    Greens urge voters to contact their representatives demanding support of statewide water affordability legislation. "We need a statute to assure all Michigan citizens access to clean and affordable water,” Dziubek adds.

    Lou Novak, GPMI Treasurer, says, “Our right to clean, affordable water is under attack on many fronts, including fracking, privatization, the Enbridge pipeline, and sulfide mining, among others.”

    “As a Green, I welcome the Pope's call for dialogue among all people on the critical issues confronting us,” says Linda Cree, a member of GPMI’s State Central Committee.“Although we differ on issues like contraception and population, Greens totally agree with Pope Francis on ending the death penalty and senseless wars, on the need to transform our economies so they serve the needs of people not corporations; on reining in industrial agribusiness and supporting small-scale farmers; and, of course, protecting and healing the natural world.”

    “Pope Francis points out the evils of economic globalization,” says Aimee Cree Dunn. “It’s a system of industrialism based on the abuse of the Earth and those who lack financial and political power. It must be replaced with a system based on sustainable visions, like that of the Pope's, and like that of the Green Party.”

    At their meeting Greens also gathered signatures for the Ban Fracking petition and made plans for nominating candidates for the 2016 ballot.For more information about GPMI, please visit can also “like” the Green Party of Michigan US Facebook page, and follow GPMI's Twitter feed @MIGreenParty.


    created/distributed using donated

    Green Party of Michigan *PO Box 504; Warren, MI48090 *313-815-2025*

    GPMI was formed in 1987, and has been on the Michigan ballot since 2000.Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

    Ecological WisdomGrassroots DemocracySocial JusticeNon-Violence

    Community EconomicsFeminismPersonal/Global ResponsibilityDecentralizationRespect for DiversityFuture Focus/Sustainabilit


    From root to tip, lies and more lies

    Glenn Greenwald (Intercept) has some questions and a reminder:

    How do you know when you’re an out-of-control empire? When you keep bombing and deploying soldiers in places where you boast that you’ve ended wars. How do you know you have a hackish propagandist for a president? When you celebrate him for “ending two wars” in the very same places that he keeps bombing.
    All of this, just by the way, is being done without any Congressional approval, at least with regard to Iraq and Syria. As my colleague Cora Currier noted when reporting on the Airwars report in August, these civilian deaths are “a reminder of the extent to which the United States’ air war in Syria and Iraq has rolled ahead with little public debate over its effectiveness. Congress has still not passed a specific legal authorization for the war.”

    The never-ending Iraq War continues.

    On my side (the left), when Iraq is remembered, it's usually with the lie that Barack Obama ended the war.

    Or that democracy 'sprung up' in Iraq.

    Or that Haider al-Abadi is anything other than the latest puppet.

    He's in the US and making ridiculous statements.

  • We are weeding out corruption and incompetence in civil and military institutions

  • Haider and the band of thieves.

    There's John Kerry readying for his post-State Dept botox ads, there's Samantha Power sketching out her plans for the next war -- she hopes it's nuclear! -- there's Susan Rice realizing that her vanity doomed her to destiny of private citizen -- maybe she can go on all five networks this Sunday and talk about that? -- and there, next to Haider, is Barack practicing his autograph -- "Hugs and kisses, Barry :)" -- but most of all, there's Haider.

    Where's the western press?

    You know those guardians of truth and freedom.

    The ones who have spent a year praising Haider and presenting him as the answer to ending corruption?

    Strange though, in Arabic social media, they note Haider's long history which includes multiple allegations of corruption.

    And these charges weren't just printed in Arabic language publications.

    For example, this AFP article from November 2003 is among the English language ones being noted:

    The Financial Times reported last week that two Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) officials and interim Telecommunications Minister Haidar al-Abbadi, were under investigations over allegations of bribery regarding the Orascom contract.
    Orascom and partners deny paying any bribes as does Abbadi.

    And with his history, this is who the US installed last fall.

    It's a history that everyone's buried -- even AFP.

    The illegal war started on lies and lies remain at the foundation.

  • And Marcia's "Healing what?" which isn't showing up above yet.

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  • Wednesday, September 30, 2015

    Iraq snapshot

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi continues his trip to the United States, more e-mails reveal the real Hillary Clinton (homophobe and greedy), and much more.

    As part of Haider al-Abadi's continued visit to the United States, the prime minister of Iraq sat down with Margaret Warner (PBS' The NewsHour -- link is text, audio and video) for an interview.  Excerpt.

    MARGARET WARNER: Another thing, of course, that happened over the last few days was news that Iraq had entered an intelligence pact with Russia and Iran and Syria to share intelligence about ISIS. Why did you join that?

    HAIDER AL-ABADI: ISIL is an international terrorist organization. As far as the intelligence is concerned, we can only gather information about ISIL inside Iraq.
    We need the help of other countries. Russia now considers ISIL as a national threat to them. It is a national threat to Syria. And, of course, it is a threat to Iran as well. Now, to share this intelligence with these countries is going to help us. I will do whatever it takes to protect the Iraqi people.
    And there are many terrorist networks all over the world and fighters coming across different countries, to Syria, to Iraq. I need the help of that intelligence, as well as the intelligence of the international coalition, which is…


    MARGARET WARNER: But doesn’t most of your intelligence in fact come from the Americans? And are you worried that the U.S. will become more wary and less forthcoming sharing intelligence with you if they know it also goes to Iran and Russia and Syria?

    HAIDER AL-ABADI: No, we will be careful not to share this information which comes from other parties with another party.

    Some have little faith in Haider al-Abadi's ability to self-censor.  It was on another US trip, for instance, when he created an international incident by declaring he had intel about planned attacks on American targets including the NYC subway system.

    It was a year ago when Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Allen (Reuters) reported:

    Iraq has "credible" intelligence that Islamic State militants plan to attack subway systems in Paris and the United States, the prime minister said on Thursday, but U.S. and French officials said they had no evidence to back up his claims.
    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's comments were met with surprise by security, intelligence and transit officials in both countries. New York's leaders scrambled to ride the subway to reassure the public that the nation's largest city was safe.

    As his heavily reported claims were rebuked by both US and French government officials, Haider was left standing alone on the world stage and returned to Iraq an object of both ridicule and scorn.

    The man who can't trust his own mouth now says he can handle top secret intelligence and not pass it on to Russia?

    Noting that Iraq has long allowed Russia to fly over the country, in Iraq air space, David L. Phillips points out at CNBC:

    Iraq's Shiite-led government appears to be more loyal to Iran than the United States. Iran's Quds Force is fighting alongside Shiite militias against the Islamic State in Anbar and other western provinces of Iraq. Iran's political support and security assistance are critical for the survival of Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government. 
    Iraq's Shiite-led government appears to be more loyal to Iran than the United States. Iran's Quds Force is fighting alongside Shiite militias against the Islamic State in Anbar and other western provinces of Iraq. Iran's political support and security assistance are critical for the survival of Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government.
      Further demonstration of Iraq's non-cooperation with the United States surfaced over the weekend: Iraq has reached an understanding with Russia, Iran and Syria to share intelligence about the Islamic State. Iraqi officials kept Washington in the dark during negotiations.

    The Obama administration should be able to influence the government of Iraq. Washington supported Abadi's bid to become prime minister. The Pentagon has an extensive equip-and-train program bolstering the Iraqi Security Forces. Between 2005 and 2013, the U.S. spent $25 billion on security assistance to Iraq. U.S.troops were indispensable in toppling Saddam Hussein, which created conditions for Shiites to ascend in Iraq.   

    Should be able to but apparently the puppet pulls the strings.

    Operation Inherent Failure we dubbed it.

    And the final grades keep rolling in.

    Take this week's [PDF format warning] Foreign Fighter Task Force report from the House Homeland Security Committee.

     The report explains:

    One jihadist group in particular saw an opening.  The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), a successor organization to al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), called for sectarian war and the creation of a regional Islamic state.  AQI was a terrorist group whose leadership had pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden in 2004 and which led an insurgency against U.S. forces in the country.  After the group's leader Abud Musab al-Zarqai was killed in a 2006 U.S. airstrike, it rebranded as ISL.  The terror outfit was weakened by the surge of U.S. troops into Iraq, the Anbar awakening, and later the death of its two top leaders in 2010.  With the eventual withdrawal of American forces, however, ISI took advantage of the security vacuum and Sunni disenfranchisement with the central government to ramp up attacks.  Its new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, oversaw the escalation in violence.
    In April 2013, al-Baghdadi declared the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (hereafter, ISIS).  He sought to merge his forces with those of al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, but al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahirl rejected the merger, creating a schism between the groups.  Nevertheless, ISIS expanded its operations in northern and eastern Syria, claiming territory and creating tension with other rebel factions.  The momentum allowed ISIS to attract additional resources, especially more foreign fighters.
    On New Year's Day 2014, ISIS convoys stormed Falluja and Ramadi, Iraqi cities which only a few years earlier had been liberated by U.S. forces.  The Iraqi army crumbled as the fighters arrived in convoys of 70-100 trucks, armed with heavy weapons and anti-aircraft guns.  The group's growing success resonated with Islamist radicals across social media.  ISIS launched another major offensive in June 2014, capturing Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, and taking control of others towns as it pushed south toward Baghdad.

    Further in, the report offers this stark assessment:

    The United States conducted its first series of coordinated airstrikes against ISIS in August 2014.  The strikes focused initially on curbing ISIS advances in nothern Iraq and protecting religious minorities but eventually shifted to supporting offensive operations against the militant group in both Iraq and its Syrian territory.  In September, President Obama declared the aim of degrading and ultimately destroying the group.  The United States has since conducted more than 5,000 airstrikes against ISIS.
    Airstrikes, however, do not appear to have kept aspiring foreign fighters away.  When the strikes began, counterterrorism officials estimated the total number of extremists was around 15,000.  However, fighters continued to enter Syria at a rate of 1,000 per month.  In December 2014, intelligence officials pegged the total at more than 18,000 and by February 2015 it surpassed 20,000.  Today the figure stands at 25,000-plus foreign fighters, more than triple the number from just a year ago.  The majority of these fighters still come from the Middle East and North Africa, with Tunisia as the most significant source country.  But the total also includes 4,500 Westerners and more than 250 Americans, figures which have surged since 2014.
    Indeed, foreign fighters have helped ISIS to remain strong.  Nearly 10,000 of the group's foot soldiers have been killed by airstrikes, but they have been replaced by new foreign and domestic fighters almost as quickly as they are taken off the battlefield.  There has been "no meaningful degradition in their numbers," according to one defense official, as estimates place ISIS's total fighting force at 20-30,000 -- the same as it was last fall.

    Operation Inherent Failure continues on, doing the same thing with no real results.

    Some call it a 'plan,' some call it stupidity.

    Meanwhile, the US State Dept issued a press release today:

    Media Note
    Office of the Spokesperson
    Washington, DC
    September 30, 2015
    Today at the UN General Assembly event on the humanitarian emergency in Iraq, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall announced that the United States is providing more than $56 million in additional humanitarian assistance to Iraqis who have been affected by violence and are in urgent need of help from the international community. This new funding brings total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Iraq humanitarian response to nearly $534 million since the start of Fiscal Year 2014.
    Nearly 3.2 m
    illion Iraqis have been internally displaced due to conflict since January 2014—the fastest growing displacement crisis in the world. Iraq’s neighbors are hosting approximately 370,000 Iraqi refugees, on top of the millions of Syrians who have also sought refuge and are in need of aid. U. S. humanitarian assistance aims to assist millions of Iraqi civilians affected by conflict, providing them with critically needed relief commodities, food, shelter, clean water and sanitation, protection, medical services, livelihoods support, and other essential goods and services.
    In June, the UN issued a $498 million appeal for the highest priority needs inside Iraq for July through December 2015. The United States is extremely concerned that there has not been a more robust response to this appeal from other international donors. Despite U.S. contributions, only 40 percent of the necessary funds for the most critical needs have been committed. As a result, humanitarian programs that provide essential food, health, water and sanitation, shelter and other relief services are shutting down. The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government are taking steps to provide for the 3.2 million IDPs and the 250,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq. But more needs to be done, and the international community’s help is urgently needed.A range of organizations will receive this funding, including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Food Program (WFP), and other international and nongovernmental organizations.
    For further information, please contact Danna Van Brandt,, or visit PRM’s website.

    Sarah Sewall -- aka Sarah Sewer -- remains a threat to peace and humanity no matter how many titles she buys in Barack's administration.

    The counter-insurgency guru used her time at Harvard to pimp war and now thinks she can pretend she stands for anything but destruction.

    Even more amazing, as 2007 drew to a close, there was Sewer and Monty McFate chatting with Charlie (bloom off the) Rose about how Sewer could use a politician as a puppet and the unnamed politician she was speaking of was Barack Obama.

    After public claims like that, you'd think Barack would make sure she had no seat at the table but, apparently, she can in fact use Barack like a puppet hence her continued role in his administration.

    Sarah Sewer's not the only State Dept trash in the news.

    There's former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    Yes, yes, the latest batch of e-mails released reveal her homophobic hatred of non-traditional families.

    But there's also David Sirota and Andrew Perez's report for International Business Times which opens:

    When then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the war against Iraq in 2002, she justified her support of the invasion as a way to protect America’s national security. But less than a decade later, as secretary of state, Clinton promoted the war-torn country as a place where American corporations could make big money.
    “It's time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity," she said in a 2011 speech.

    The quote was included in an email released by the State Department on Wednesday that specifically mentioned JPMorgan and Exxon Mobil. JPMorgan was selected by the U.S. government to run a key import-export bank in Iraq and in 2013 announced plans to expand its operations in the country. Exxon Mobil signed a deal to redevelop Iraqi oil fields. JPMorgan has collectively paid the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation at least $450,000 for speeches, and Exxon Mobil has donated over $1 million to the family’s foundation.

    She's sorry, you understand, that she voted for the Iraq War and supported it for years until well after the majority of Americans had turned against it.

    Her sorry is the same as her husband's when his affair with Monica Lewinsky was exposed -- embarrassment at being caught out.

    She has no real regrets about the destruction of Iraq, the refugee crises she helped create, the increased birth defects directly tied into the illegal weapons the US government used in Iraq --

    She has only one regret, that the mean press asks her about Iraq today.

    Oh, that mean, evil press, expecting the would be Queen of America to answer questions.

    How awful.

    How horrible.

    She's happy to talk about Iraq -- when she thinks the press isn't around and she won't be reported.

    Everything about that woman is fake, not just her hair color.

    And her pretense that she's a fighter took a huge hit over the weekend as she brought out the latest man to fight her battles for her: her husband Bill Clinton.

    If Hillary can't take on the press by herself, how would she ever be able to stand up to world leaders.

    The general rule in a campaign with regards to spouses of candidates is that the spouse smiles and stays positive throughout.

    When your spouse fights your battle -- as Marilyn Quayle did early on for husband Dan -- the candidate gets the image of being weak.

    All that time Hillary's spent trying to out macho her competition just went down the drain.

    Hillary gave a speech this month which Betty noted in "Not On My Watch -- says manly Hillary."

    A few whiners e-mailed thinking I would attack Betty for the post because I'm a feminist.

    Because I'm a feminist, I agree with Betty.

    Hillary's using macho b.s. language which is actually further alienating her from would-be supporters.

    Instead of always putting the emphasis on her own (self)perceived greatness, she should be making her campaign about 'us.'

    But as though she's prepping for a concert, she can only keep singing 'me-me-me-me-me.'

    "Not on our watch" would be inclusive language.

    "Not on my watch" is Hillary aping the most macho posing candidate and swinging her phantom cock at the crowds.

    It's really sad.

    But so is she these days.

    Finally, 16 people who were kidnapped have been released in Iraq.  September 2nd, in the Sadr section of Baghdad, 18 people were abducted -- Turkish workers and a translator.  Two were released earlier this month leaving 16 still held hostage.

    The Dow Jones Business Wire notes that the 16 were released in Mosayeb and then taken to the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad.  CBC quotes Ugur Dogan, the head of their employer Nurol Holding, declaring the workers are safe.

    Sputnik reminds, "This is not the first case of Turkish citizens being kidnapped in Iraq. In June 2014, militants from the terrorist group Islamic State took 49 employees of the Turkish consulate in Mosul in northern Iraq hostage. The hostages were released after three months in captivity."

    Rumors swirl on Arabic social media regarding whether a ransom was paid.

    Kidnapping is an occupation in Iraq -- one that brings in lots of money.

    Along with individual Iraqis having to pay hefty ransoms, many companies (including news outlets) and governments have paid ransoms throughout the ongoing Iraq War.

    the newshour
    margaret warner