Monday, July 11, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Monday, July 11, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, there is apparently no US diplomatic mission in Iraq, more US troops are going into Iraq, and there's no end in sight.

Today, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited Iraq and declared, "And I'm pleased to report today in that connection that we agreed for the United States to bolster the Iraqi efforts to isolate and pressure Mosul by deploying 560 additional troops in support of the ISF and especially at the Qayyarah West airfield."

Carter arrives for meeting with Minister of Defense Ubadi.

Yes, more US troops are going into Iraq.


If you're surprised you may be remembering previous statements by US President Barack Obama.  Such as on June 19, 2014 when he stated "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq" and August 9, 2014 when he insisted, "As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.  American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there's no American military solution to the larger crisis there."

Or August 11, 2014, when he declared:

 But as I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government -- one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country’s fight against ISIL. 

Or . . .

Get the picture?

Yet today, Secretary Ash Carter spoke in Iraq declaring:

And despite the summer heat, our Iraqi partners, with your support, your intrepid support, pressed ahead with the fight, cleared one town after another, dealing ISIL a series of blows.  And just this week, they again demonstrated their strong will to fight in maneuvering north up the Tigris River valley to seize the strategically important Qayyarah West airfield.
Just as you have excelled here in Iraq in support of ISF, our special operators and air crews are also enabling local and capable and motivated forces in Syria to take the fight to ISIL there.  After seizing Shaddadi, which is a crucial road juncture between Mosul and Raqqah, our Syrian partners have now surrounded Manbij city.  This is also significant.  Manbij is one of the last junctions connecting Raqqah to the outside world and one that served as a transit point for external plotters attacking our allies and threatening our homeland.
Simply put, we've been moving out in a deliberate fashion with our local partners in both Iraq and Syria to implement our campaign plan.  And with these consequential results behind us, you will now embark on the next major steps of the campaign to collapse ISIL control over Mosul here in Iraq, and Raqqah in Syria.  That's one of the primary reasons for my visit today, to confer with our commanders, Prime Minister Abadi, President Barzani, Minister of Defense Obaidi, on what needs to be done next to achieve those objectives.
And I'm pleased to report today in that connection that we agreed for the United States to bolster the Iraqi efforts to isolate and pressure Mosul by deploying 560 additional troops in support of the ISF and especially at the Qayyarah West airfield.
This contingent will help the Iraqis establish a logistical springboard for their offensive in Mosul, which Prime Minister Abadi reaffirmed to me that he wants to accomplish this year.  At every step in this campaign, we've generated and seized additional opportunities to hasten ISIL's lasting defeat.  And with these additional U.S. forces I'm describing today, we'll bring unique capabilities to the campaign and provide critical support to Iraqi forces at a key moment in the fight.

As we set the stage for Mosul, we must simultaneously continue to go after ISIL in Syria.  There, we will enable local partners to isolate and press -- pressure Raqqah once Manbij city is seized.  Our efforts will include continuing to find local forces, training their leaders, and enabling them to take the fight to ISIL.

560 more US troops being sent into Iraq.

Despite Barack's promises to the contrary.

The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68
And he told me all romantics meet the same fate someday
Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark café
You laugh he said you think you're immune
Go look at your eyes they're full of moon
You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
All those pretty lies pretty lies
When you gonna realize they're only pretty lies
Only pretty lies just pretty lies

-- "The Last Time I Saw Richard," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album BLUE

Pretty lies.

And ugly liars.

Like at the State Dept today where the educated John Kirby tried to come off 'street' and 'tough' by tossing around "ain't."

QUESTION: Thank you. So about the additional 560 troops that Secretary Carter announced today --


QUESTION: -- did that come in response to a request from the Iraqi Government, or was it your assessment that you need to send these troops?

MR KIRBY: I’m going to point you to what Secretary Carter said when he announced it and he made it clear that this was done in full consultation with Prime Minister Abadi’s government in Baghdad.

QUESTION: Did they request it, or you thought, like, that there needs to be additional U.S. troops?

MR KIRBY: It was done in full consultation and coordination with the Iraqi Government. All of our troops in Iraq are there at the invitation and the support of the Iraqi Government. That won’t change with this additional deployment.

QUESTION: What do you say to critics who are saying this is definitely mission creep? Because – and what kind of role? I know you might refer me to the Pentagon -- what might -- what kind of role they might play in the (inaudible)?

MR KIRBY: You're right, I'm going to refer you to the Pentagon. But listen, it ain't mission creep if the mission ain't changing, and the mission's not changing in Iraq with respect to what U.S. troops are doing in a train, advise, and assist capacity. And then, of course, our airmen are very much engaged in air operations, as they have been inside the coalition.

Oh, go put on more mascara, John Kirby.

"You're the sweetest cherry in an apple ," John.

THE NATION magazine rode the Iraq War to record circulation.

So surely, THE NATION led with coverage today denouncing the sending of more US troops into this never ending Iraq War.



Their 'big' 'report' was idiot Joan Walsh's "How Donald Trump Is Helping White Christian America Commit Suicide."  Really, Joan?

If Jim Wallis or any of the other token Christians that THE NATION elects to print and consult had any integrity, they'd be protesting right now.

But, like THE NATION magazine, they have no integrity.

If that surprises you, you've spent too much time sleeping.

Near the end of 2009, David Walsh (WSWS) pointed out:

There is hardly a more fantastical, futile policy than reliance on the Democrats (and Republicans) in Congress to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Obama’s decision to accelerate the latter conflict demonstrates once again, the Democratic Party is an imperialist party, devoted to the interests of the American corporate-financial oligarchy.
The Nation editorial board, composed of liberals, ex-leftists and opportunists of various stripes, expresses the interests of a section of the American upper-middle class. Their collective superficiality, self-delusion and impressionism have a social basis. The Nation writers speak for a highly privileged, complacent section of the population, largely insulated from the consequences, military and economic, of the Obama administration’s policies.

The American “left” to a prominent man or woman endorsed Obama in 2008, or greeted the victory of an African-American candidate with enthusiasm as a “historic” moment. Individuals with the reputation for opposition to the status quo, such as Moore, professors Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein and many others, lined up behind the Democratic candidate, misleading the American population.

In their craven silence, they encourage war.

But when they were trying to elect Democrats (and tar and feather Republicans), THE NATION ran a cover editorial insisting they would not endorse any Democrat that was not calling for an immediate end to the Iraq War.  Was that really just 8 years ago?

Yes, it was.

And the liars can't even object today.

What's taking place is wrong on every level.

It's not going to bring any improvement to Iraq.

Let's prove that point by citing THE NATION's personal 'god' of choice.

First off, CTV NEWS notes, "This is Carter's fourth trip to Iraq as Pentagon chief, and his second in three months, to assess the campaign to oust Islamic State militants from the country."  Carter assumed office in February of 2015 (and he's the fourth Defense Secretary during Barack Obama's two terms as president -- preceded by Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta and Robert Gates).

During the same time period, there have been two US Secretaries of State.  The first was Hillary Clinton during Barack's first term.  The second was John Kerry who assumed office in February 2013.

While Ash Carter keeps going to Iraq, John Kerry's spent recent days in London, Brussels, Ukraine and Israel -- among other locales.

Why isn't he focusing on Iraq?

If the White House is going to send even more troops into Iraq, why aren't they sending more diplomats?

Let's quote THE NATION magazine's 'god.'

June 19, 2014, Barack declared:

Finally, the United States will lead a diplomatic effort to work with Iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in Iraq.  At my direction, Secretary Kerry will depart this weekend for meetings in the Middle East and Europe, where he’ll be able to consult with our allies and partners.  And just as all Iraq’s neighbors must respect Iraq’s territorial integrity, all of Iraq’s neighbors have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq does not descend into civil war or become a safe haven for terrorists.
Above all, Iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together around a political plan for Iraq’s future.  Shia, Sunni, Kurds -- all Iraqis -- must have confidence that they can advance their interests and aspirations through the political process rather than through violence.  National unity meetings have to go forward to build consensus across Iraq’s different communities.  Now that the results of Iraq’s recent election has been certified, a new parliament should convene as soon as possible.  The formation of a new government will be an opportunity to begin a genuine dialogue and forge a government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis.

August 9, 2014, Barack declared:

What we will do is continue our broader strategy in Iraq.  We will protect our citizens.  We will work with the international community to address this humanitarian crisis.  We’ll help prevent these terrorists from having a permanent safe haven from which to attack America.  And we’ll continue to urge Iraqi communities to reconcile, come together and fight back against these terrorists so the people of Iraq have the opportunity for a better future -- the opportunity for which so many Americans gave their lives in Iraq in a long and hard war.

August 11, 2014, Barack stated:

But as I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government -- one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country’s fight against ISIL. 

So Ash goes back to Iraq again and where is John?

More US troops go into Iraq and where's the diplomatic equivalent?

Iraq's political situation is worse now than in was in August of 2014.

And where are the efforts to build that "lasting solution" Barack spoke of?

Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Bomber, attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL bunker.

-- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL vehicle bomb factory.

-- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL supply caches, an ISIL weapons cache, five ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL mortar system.

-- Near Qayyarah, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL rocket storage facility; destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL headquarters, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL assembly area and an ISIL vehicle; and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL supply cache, two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, four ISIL front-end loaders and an ISIL tactical vehicle.

-- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL mortar systems and an ISIL assembly area.

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. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

If, for every bomb dropped on Iraq by the US government since August of 2014, Barack had sent one US diplomat into Iraq?

By now, there would be over 100,000 US diplomats on the ground in Iraq.

Instead, while the military option has been repeatedly utilized, the diplomatic effort has been non-existent.

Dan Lamothe and Loveday Morris (WASHINGTON POST) explain, "The decision to deploy more service members will elevate the number of U.S. troops the Pentagon counts in Iraq to 4,647. Unofficially, that figure is probably closer to 6,000 when considering a variety of American troops who deploy on temporary assignments that the Pentagon does not include in its official tally."  AL JAZEERA adds:

But Al Jazeera's State Department correspondent Rosiland Jordan said some members of congress have warned that a sizeable deployment of US troops to Iraq would require new legal authorisation. 
"Right now [US forces] are only there on a ‘train and assist’ mission, and if they were to try and take a more active role in helping the Iraqi military try to launch the campaign for Mosul, there would certainly be some eyebrows raised and renewed calls for legalization for that particular activity," she said.

Apparently, Barack's 2014 promise to consult with Congress (obey the law) is in tatters as well.

Well at least this is a limited mission, right?

It'll be ending soon, right?


The mission Ash Carter outlined today has no end.

SEC. CARTER:  Very good question.  So, I don't know if everybody could hear that, but once the campaign for Mosul succeeds, which it will do, what's next for U.S. forces here.  Well, then we will have, with our Iraqi security forces enabled by us, we'll have seized all the major urban centers in -- from Iraq.  But they -- that won't establish control over the entirety of the territory.
So what will be next is continuing to help them establish control and destroy ISIL everywhere throughout the territory, having done that in the major urban centers.  And then also help them combat what we know will be another tactic of ISIL, which we saw here in Baghdad over the last couple of weeks, which is to attack the population, try to terrorize the population.

So there will need to be some work done here to consolidate security over the entire country.  It's important that the major urban centers be seized, and I think one of the reasons for that is that it takes away the logistics of, planning of, communications of -- from ISIL, but it also takes away the idea that this is anything but a bunch of (inaudible), and they all still need to be combated around, so we'll still have work to do.

The never ending Iraq War is 13 years old already.

Who knows how many more years it will drag on.

The following community sites updated this morning:


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