AP reports 15 people are dead and another forty-five injured as a result of a Baghdad suicide truck bombing last night.
As the violence continues, the United Nations Secretary-General arrived in Iraq.
Just arrived in Iraq to focus on the dire humanitarian situation on the ground. Protection of civilians must be the absolute priority.
He arrives as Iraq is in the midst of a major refugee crisis:
UN News Centre: How is UNHCR handling the large displacement resulting from the current crisis in Iraq?
António Guterres: We immediately started by supporting the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), in northern Iraq, providing tents, blankets and other relief items for the first response for the people that were coming. Now, with our other UN colleagues and NGOs, [we are] working with the KRG in a more organised way in reception centres, in the camps that are being established, and supporting families all over the region. We are doing our best so they get the assistance they are entitled to and that the necessary protection mechanisms are put in place. Of course, the situation is more complex in and around Baghdad, where there is an environment of high insecurity. But we have kept a small team in Baghdad in order to be able to do everything we can to support the people that are suffering so much.
UN News Centre: What is the biggest challenge at the moment?
António Guterres: I think the big challenge is the fighting itself. We are facing an enormous risk in Iraq for the stability of the country and obviously there is no humanitarian solution for this problem; the solution is always political. We humanitarians can do no more than to support people in distress. What we need is to stop the dramatic situations that are now proliferating all over the world.
That's Guterres speaking in 2014.
Amazing how little has changed.
But that's part of the story as well -- even if it's not being reported on -- don't worry, we'll get to it.
For now, PRESS TV notes, "Guterres is scheduled to meet top Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi before heading to Arbil, the capital of the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region." AFP adds, "After his arrival in Baghdad, Guterres met President Fuad Masum, parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi and Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari."
Guterres arrives on day 164 of The Mosul Slog.
For American audiences, AP tries to reset the time clock (it doesn't do the same for foreign audiences). Rather interesting -- apparently, they think American news consumers can't handle the truth and are also so dumb that they won't notice that the clock's being reset.
It's 164 days.
And look at the concerned Paul D. Shinkman of US NEWS & WORLD REPORTS -- and apparently PROPAGANDA as well:
The Trump administration has indicated it plans to largely abdicate a U.S. role in Iraq's political future, despite the certainty that driving the Islamic State group from its remaining stronghold in Mosul – months, if not weeks, away – starts the clock on a dangerous new era for a country on the verge of fracturing along rival warring factions.
The prospect of a reduced U.S. role leaves a vacuum in crafting a long-term political solution to reassemble Iraq. Chief among the concerns is that the country's religious and ethnic populations – minority Sunni Muslims who felt victimized by the central government in Baghdad and now fear retribution, ethnic Kurds certain to seek independence for their semiautonomous region, and a majority Shiite population thought to be under the sway of Iran – will turn on each other without a common enemy to unite their efforts.
According to Shinkman, grab the Greek worry beads, Donald Trump is going to "abdicate" -- oh, no.
Here's the thing, Shinkman's a damn liar.
There have been people concerned about the political situation in Iraq.
I know because -- check the archives -- I'm one of them.
We have laid out the roots for this conflict for years now.
We have talked about the need for diplomacy.
We have gone over and over how delivering F-16s with no demand of political reconciliation within Iraq was stupidity.
We've talked about the diplomatic toolbox.
We've rightly called Barack Obama out for bombing Iraq since August 2014 and sending even more US troops into the country without offering a diplomatic surge because, if ISIS ever is gone, something else will quickly replace it.
For over two years, Barack did nothing.
Secretary of State John Kerry thought he was Secretary of Defense and spent too much time playing general to do his job.
This is all appalling but it's even more appalling when you grasp that June 19, 2014, Barack himself said the only answer was a political solution.
But the US refused to use the diplomatic toolbox to create such a solution.
Now comes Paul Shinkman suddenly concerned.
He's not concerned.
Paul is part of the war think tank Center for a New American Security -- an affiliation that should preclude him from being presented as anything other than biased -- every column he writes should have a disclaimer at the top.
For those who don't know that organization, it was cofounded by Michele Flournoy -- a woman so addicted to war and violence that even Barack wouldn't appoint her Secretary of Defense though everyone thought she had a lock on the job at one point. (She only made it up to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.)
War boy Paul suddenly raises the political issue and he's doing it because he wants the military angle in Iraq. He's lying to justify further war.
Today, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri has declared to the UN Secretary-General that Iraq needs a Marshall Plan to rebuild.
Such a plan would cost millions -- probably billions.
There's your maneuver.
You insist upon meaningful changes as a condition on funding.
I'm assuming this would be done at the UN level.
European countries -- France most visibly -- have long mocked Barack for his no-strings approach to diplomacy with Iraq.
European countries would be on board with this.
This is a tool that can be used.
That Paul Shinkman doesn't note these type of tools is because he doesn't care about a political solution within Iraq.
He's only tossing that out now because he's afraid that the US will 'walk away' militarily from Iraq and human filth like Paul can't stand for any war to end.
The UN chief's visit came as the Iraqi security forces are fighting to dislodge the extremist Islamic State (IS) militants from their last major stronghold in Mosul.
The troops have been fighting street by street and house by house to recapture the Mosul's old city center, but they were slowed by the heavy resistance of IS militants and the presence of some 500,000 people living in the old houses with narrow alleys.
The fierce battles in the western side of Mosul caused heavy casualties among civilians who were either caught by cross-fire or by airstrikes and shelling.
The British newspaper "theguardian":The International coalition has launched "5000"bombs on the neighborhoods in... http://fb.me/1d6aRR3Pw
The debris of destroyed houses, schools and hospitals have turned Iraq’s second largest city into an urban graveyard after the US-led coalition and Iraqi government forces launched the offensive in October to liberate the city.
With explosions and gunfire heard in the distance, RT's crew saw US-led coalition jets heading to and from Mosul every 5–10 minutes on Tuesday night. They also witnessed an Iraqi helicopter launching missiles at IS targets on Wednesday and heard chilling stories of how Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists continue to use civilians as human shields during airstrikes.
But instead of organizing humanitarian corridors for civilian to leave the city, the Iraqi government, as noted in the Amnesty International report earlier this week, has been urging Mosul residents to stay inside. Unfortunately for many of them, the perceived safety of their homes became their graves, as Iraqi and US forces continue to target their houses.
“When we were in our home, it was hit by a shell. We went to my parent’s house, and it was hit by a rocket. Wherever we went, we’d be bombed. I heard an airstrike destroyed our home,” one woman with a child told RT.
That's the reality of 'liberation' for Mosul.
As it was for Falluja and Ramadi before.
That's The Mosul Slog.
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