Saturday, November 26, 2016

Legal protection granted to those carrying out War Crimes

Day 40 and the Mosul operation continues.

Aren't we glad CNN's Elise Labott made clear to the world it wasn't a slog? (By screaming "NO!" in a State Dept press briefing when another reporter characterized it as such.)

The big news out of Iraq today?

The Shi'ite thugs are legally part of the government forces.

Iraq's parliament adopts law legalizing Shiite militias

Iraq’s parliament adopts law legalizing Shiite militias

REUTERS notes that "all the Shi'ite blocs in parliament voted for the bill in a session boycotted by lawmakers from the Sunni minority who object to the existence of armed forces outside the army and police."

This is the group committing War Crimes most regularly among Iraqi forces, by the way.


Sunni Arabs, as well as rights groups, have long complained that the militia members have been involved in extrajudicial killings, abuse and the theft or destruction of property in Sunni districts. They also view the groups with distrust because of links with non-Arab, Shiite Iran, including a reliance on military advisers from that country.

The Parliament has just followed what prime minister Hayder al-Abadi did over two years ago when he brought them into the armed forces.

AL JAZEERA explains, "But Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from Makhmour in northern Iraq, said the passage of the bill is "potentially very significant" in igniting tensions between Shias and Sunnis."  Working from wire reports, THE NATIONAL offers:

The legislation, supported by 208 of the chamber’s 327 members, was promptly rejected by Sunni Arab politicians who said it was evidence of what they called the "dictatorship" of the country’s Shiite majority.
"The majority does not have the right to determine the fate of everyone else," Osama Al Nujaifi, one of Iraq’s three vice presidents and a senior Sunni politician, said after the vote. "There should be genuine political inclusion. This law must be revised."

    Sunni lawmaker Ahmed Al Masary said the legislation fuels doubts about the participation of all Iraqi communities in the political process. "The legislation aborts nation building," he said, adding that the law created a dangerous parallel to the country’s military and police. 

    Iraq's larger problems remain unaddressed by the government.

    One of those is noted when Yousef Al Naimi (MEDIUM) speaks with Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Iraq Thamer Al Sabhan:

    Yasser Al Amro : you tweeted on August 14th “what do you expect from someone who fought Iraq, stood with Iran, and during whose rule Iraq lost 70% of its land to his terrorist allies” who were you talking about?
    Thamer Al Sabhan: “I was talking about Nouri Al Maliki. Currently, He is the main tool used to destroy Iraq. He is behind the destruction of the Iraqi people. He and his people spread Iran’s venom into Iraq. That is a fact that cannot be ignored. Look at Iraq historically, since Maliki became prime minister, he destroyed Shias, he destroyed Sunnis, he fought the Kurds, and sadly, between day and night, we saw small caravans and trucks attack Iraq and occupy 70% of its land in the face of a well equipped Iraqi military force. There are many questions regarding the retreat that took place. Who gave the order to retreat? Who enabled ISIS to fight us here in Saudi Arabia and fight us in Arab countries? Who enabled them to build their wretched and deadly state on Iraqi and Syrian lands? Who assembled this gathering? Did they get help from countries? No country has helped them more than its hosts (Iraq and Syria). The retreat in the face of ISIS made them acquire massive military capabilities and gain access to billions of dollars. So this raises the question of who is fighting Iraq? And the answer is the different political forces, that divide Iraq and the Iraqi people. They fight Shias with Shias, they fight Sunnis with Sunnis, and they fight Kurds with Kurds. That is the reality on the ground. We are not just saying this. Any close observer can easily confirm and understand this. You don’t need to be a political expert. Until now, who is fighting Arab - Arab cooperation?
    There is a deep state in Iraq, which is the state of Nouri Al Maliki. This state refuses any cooperation between Iraq and its Arab neighbors. And it’s unfortunately very influential, but we have hope in Iraq’s many honorable politicians, who come from all sects and ethnicities; Shia, Kurd, Sunni, Christians, Yazidis, and Sabien and everyone else.
    We have hope in them, and they do understand the size of these problems, and understand who is behind this criminality in Iraq. And who is behind the attempts at dividing Muslims into Shia and Sunni, and they understand who wants to create an atmosphere of hostility. 

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter, rotary and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike engaged a vehicle bomb-making facility.

    -- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed a vehicle bomb.

    -- Near Mosul, five strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units; destroying three vehicles, three ISIL-held buildings, three mortar systems, a vehicle bomb-making facility, a vehicle bomb, a supply cache, a watercraft, and a fighting position. A vehicle bomb-making facility and seven roads were degraded. A mortar system was suppressed.

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

    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.

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