Thursday, March 24, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, March 24, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US continues bombing Iraq, the effort to retake Mosul is said to begin, nothing changes on the ground, and much more.

In the ongoing Iraq War, the US government continues dropping bombs on Iraq.  Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced/boasted/claimed:

Strikes in Iraq
Rocket artillery and attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL front end loader, an ISIL machine gun position, and an ISIL bed down location.

-- Near Haditha, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL staging areas.

-- Near Kirkuk, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL supply cache.

-- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position and three ISIL assembly areas.

-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL headquarters, an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Qayyarah, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL used bridge section.

-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle and an ISIL front end loader.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun position and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Hit, two strikes destroyed an ISIL staging area and an ISIL supply cache.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

These bombings have been taking place daily since August 2014.  They've accomplished nothing.  Which is a good time to note THE DAILY BEAST'S Nancy A. Youssef's Tweet:

  • Overheard at the Pentagon: "The generals use the same playbook for every war. ...Strike from the air, send in SF, train locals."

  • One size fits all?

    That might explain why the US has been unable to end any of the wars it started -- the Iraq War continues, the Afghanistan War continues and the Libyan War continues.

    The US government is far too quick to go to war but when they do go they attempt the same cookie cutter pattern despite the lack of positive results.

    Barack Obama said, when campaigning for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2008, that he wanted to change the mindset.

    Apparently, that desire -- like his desire to end the Iraq War -- faded shortly after he was sworn in as president during his first term.

    On the topic of bombings, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS reports:"Turkish jets hit outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) camps both inside the country and in northern Iraq as a part of two separate air operations, the Turkish General Staff has announced."

    Though the Iraqi government has voiced displeasure over this round of bombings which have taken place for months now, the US government has repeatedly backed the bombings and insisted that Turkey has a right to 'defend' itself (see US State Dept press briefings if this is news to you).

    But what else would they say when they'[re also bombing Iraq?

    Neither the US bombings nor the Turkish bombings are effective.

    If the US actually addressed the issues causing the strife in Iraq, that would not only be helpful to Iraq, it could be behavior that others could model.

    The Turkish government, for example, would have to address their own attacks on the Kurdish people within Turkey, the discrimination this population faces within Turkey, etc.

    And when that happens, there's no need for the PKK.

    Calling the PKK or the Islamic State terrorists is not addressing the situation.

    The PKK could probably be called rebels.  The Islamic State's attacks on civilians rules out "rebels" as a term for them -- I am referring to the execution of civilians for various 'misdeeds.'  Both groups set off bombs and kill.  Historically, rebels do such things.  But when you are killing individuals in actions that can only be described as torture and worse, you usually do not get the term "rebel" -- even hundreds of years after you've left the earth.

    Most outside of the Middle East don't know about the PKK or the situation around it to form an opinion.

    For example, this exchange took place at yesterday's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Mark Toner.

    QUESTION: Yeah, thank you. In Iraq, the Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani yesterday said in one interview that the PYD and the PKK are exactly one and the same thing. And he also said that Americans know that they --

    MR TONER: I’m sorry, you said the PKK and --


    MR TONER: And PYD.

    QUESTION: Yeah, YPG.

    MR TONER: Sorry, yeah. Finish. I’m sorry.

    QUESTION: Yeah.

    MR TONER: I just wanted to make sure I had the --

    QUESTION: Okay. And he also said that Americans know this very well, but they don’t want to say it, as the top priority is the fight against ISIS, so they turn a blind eye PYD relation with PKK. And this is what your close ally Peshmerga’s leader, Mr. Barzani, said.

    MR TONER: Well – and you’re asking me for my reaction and whether --

    QUESTION: I want to know, what do you know about PKK and PYD relation?

    MR TONER: I mean, we still adhere to what our policy’s been for the past many months, which is that we view the PKK as a foreign terrorist organization. We condemn its – the violence that it carries out against Turkish civilians and citizens. And separately, we have been working with the YPD – or YPG, rather, in parts of Syria as part of a number of groups we’re working with who are actively fighting and dislodging Daesh or ISIL from territory it controls.

    That doesn’t mean we haven’t had disagreements with them when they try to hold territory or not – or declare semi-autonomous self-rule zones. We disagree with them on that and we have frank discussions with them about that.



    Alphabet soup for some outside the region.

    Does it matter to you?

    It should.

    When situations are not addressed but instead are allowed to fester, they consume the world's attention and time.

    The issue in Turkey is starting to become the Israeli-Palestine divide.

    It needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed honestly.

    As for within Iraq, pretend for a moment the bombings were working.

    It still wouldn't matter.

    The root cause has not been addressed.

    Nothing changes until it is addressed.

    |i army starts offensive in region around , according to State TV

    That also doesn't matter.

    Not if they retake Mosul, not if they don't.

    If the root issues are not addressed, none of this matter.

    President Barack Obama understood that at one point which is why in June of 2014 he spoke of the need for Iraq to find a political solution.

    Of course, he also once said American lives would not be put at risk.

    A political solution would address the inequality, the discrimination and the targeting.

    It would take support and/.or sympathy for the Islamic State out of the equation.

    Some fool Tweeted about federalism in Iraq and how it was said -- by the US government -- that it would prevent conflict in Iraq.

    If you want to call what Iraq has federalism -- I'm not sure Vice President Joe Biden would call it that because his idea of federalism was a three region Iraq with the three regions having autonomy -- you're calling it federalism on paper.

    Only on paper.

    In 2010, Nouri al-Maliki lost the election.

    He refused to step down as prime minister.

    For eight long months.

    Although the US government -- the White House -- did not support him remaining originally, they decided (during the long political stalemate) to do so (Samantha Power insisted Nouri would give the US what they wanted).

    So in November of 2010, the stalemate ended the day after The Erbil Agreement was signed.

    The Erbil Agreement was a contract brokered by the US.

    It said Nouri could have a second term as prime minister, that the other major political blocs would agree to it.

    But, in exchange for that, Nouri agreed to a political sharing government, he agreed the winner of the election (Ayad Allawi) would have an independent position over national security, the disputed area of Kirkuk would get a vote, etc.

    Nouri used the contract to get his second term.

    Then he refused to honor the parts he had agreed to.

    And the US suddenly pretended it had never existed.

    But before Nouri trashed it, Barack had issued a statement praising the agreement (November 12, 2010):

    Before I discuss the G20, I want to briefly comment on the agreement in Iraq that's taken place on the framework for a new government.  There's still challenges to overcome, but all indications are that the government will be representative, inclusive, and reflect the will of the Iraqi people who cast their ballots in the last election. This agreement marks another milestone in the history of modern Iraq.  Once again, Iraqis are showing their determination to unify Iraq and build its future and that those impulses are far stronger than those who want Iraq to descend into sectarian war and terror. For the last several months, the United States has worked closely with our Iraqi partners to promote a broad-based government -- one whose leaders share a commitment to serving all Iraqis as equal citizens.  Now, Iraq's leaders must finish the job of forming their government so that they can meet the challenges that a diverse coalition will inevitably face.  And going forward, we will support the Iraqi people as they strengthen their democracy, resolve political disputes, resettle those displaced by war, and build ties of commerce and cooperation with the United States, the region and the world.

    Today, the Iraqi government is still not a power sharing government.

    The current prime minister Haider al-Abadi uses charges of "corruption" on the part of others to try to remake the government.

    He cries "corruption" to alter the government in ways that the Iraqi Constitution does not allow.

    Currently, he's attempting to dismiss his entire Cabinet.

    Moqtada al-Sadr has staged rallies supporting that move.

    But the Constitution does not give him that power.

    If he wants to dismiss a minister in the Cabinet, he's required to get Parliament to vote on it and only if they vote to dismiss the minister would the minister have to go.

    And that's the Constitution of Iraq.

    The one the White House supports sometimes and ignores at other times.

    The government is not a functioning government.

    Iraq remains a failed state.

    No one -- no political observer, no official in the US government -- can honestly explain how ignoring the Iraqi Constitution is going to make things better.

    And no one wants to point out that dishonesty.

    We'll close with this Tweet:

  • Why do Hillary fans say the war was JUST a "mistake" w/such a cavalier attitude? It was a calculated move for political gain.