Saturday, November 10, 2018

Iraq, still occupied by the US government

May 12th, with a historically low turnout, Iraq held elections.  May 12th was months ago, seasons ago -- in fact, so you might think the country finally has a fully formed government.  You would be wrong.  There country still has only a partial cabinet.  Manuel Langendorf (ARAB WEEKLY) explains:

In October, five months after Iraqi elections, new Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi presented his cabinet of ministers. However, key posts were vacant because parties backing him remained divided over whose candidates should take over the eight remaining ministries. These include powerful portfolios, such as the defence and interior.
Debates intensified as parliament was to vote November 6 on the vacant ministerial posts. However, parliament skirted the issue, instead discussing the budget and the death of thousands of fish in the Euphrates River among other things. Abdul-Mahdi said the consultation with parliament to fill the remaining posts continued and vowed that nominations would be completed soon.

“What this reveals first and foremost,” said Renad Mansour, research fellow at Chatham House, “is the fragmentation of parliament.” Parliament has been unable to fulfil its duties amid a failure to agree on the largest bloc in parliament, Mansour added.

As we noted repeatedly in the last weeks, the only thing a person has to do to move from prime minister to prime-minister designate is to come up with a Cabinet (full) in 30 days.  The failure to stand by this Constitutional provision goes a long way towards explaining how each prime minister fails over and over.

The provision in the Constitution exists for a reason.  If the prime minister-designate can form a Cabinet in 30 days, it indicate he or she will be able to govern.  If he or she can't form one, it indicates that they are not up for the task and someone else should be named prime-minister designate and given a chance.

Gridlock before you are even prime minister indicates you're not going to accomplish much of anything.  And these are major posts that al-Mahdi has left unfilled -- including Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior.  The last time these posts were left unfilled?  In Nouri al-Maliki's second term.  And what happened then?  ISIS took hold in Iraq.  ISIS not only took hold by conducting terrorism on a daily basis, they also seized territory.  They controlled Mosul, for example, for three years.

It's the same thing over and over with the Iraq War, no lessons are ever learned.

Take "Get out!"  The Iraqi people -- and their representatives in Parliament -- have been making that cry for years now.  But still US troops remain.  MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:

Iraqi MP Ahmad Al-Assadi, senior leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance, revealed on Friday parliamentarian moves to pressure the Iraqi government to evict US forces from the country.
Al-Assadi said that the previous Iraqi parliament had started the calls, but now the new parliament was calling for a clear timetable for the US withdrawal from Iraq, Arabi21 reported. He added that US forces had entered the country at the request of the Iraqi government for training purposes and assistance in fighting [ISIS].

Yet Al-Assadi stressed that: “After the big victory against these gangs, the Iraqi government has the right to evaluate the need for American forces to remain on Iraqi soil”. He also said that the calls for US forces to leave would be doubled during the next parliamentary term, noting that the parliament was likely to accept the existence of advisors and trainers based only on the need specified by the authorities.

But if US forces leave, the US government can't continue to occupy and control Iraq.  Last week was full of reports about how the US was letting Iraq do this or that with Iran.  Letting.

Iraq is not an official colony of the United States so it shouldn't require permission to do anything from the US.  But the US was "letting" them do something.

Another story getting attention?

Photos of Iraqi border guards killing an endangered Syrian brown bear while it was sleeping have gone viral on social media, prompting widespread outrage. FFS! Deservedly so! Sam🤬

  1. Not a joke. The mass murderer who started the catastrophic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and who vastly expanded the US surveillance state, is set to receive the “Liberty Medal”.

Meanwhile, in Basra, the protests continue.

Search results
  1. Sit-in protests in northern began today near the oilfields. Residents are protesting against unemployment and dire living conditions. They also voiced their need for cancer treatment hospitals, schools, and paved roads—many of ’s roads remain unpaved.
  2. : protests & speech festival calling for “Region of Basra” yesterday (9th of November)

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

  • Another Amazing Coincidence: Man Trained to Mass Murder Commits Mass Murder

    Another Amazing Coincidence: Man Trained to Mass Murder Commits Mass Murder
    By David Swanson
    The suspect in today’s mass shooting (well, the biggest one I’ve heard of thus far this morning; the day is young) is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
    Another mass shooter in Florida last week just happens to have been in the military.
    The man who killed with a van in Toronto this year had been briefly in the Canadian military and promoted his crime on Facebook beforehand as a military operation.
    The mass-killing in a Florida High School earlier this year was also promoted by the killer as a military operation, in the sense that he wore his JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) shirt and killed in the same school where the U.S. Army had trained him to shoot and instructed him in war-supporting views of the world and its history.
    Obviously having been a member of the U.S. military can’t have any causal connection to mass shootings, and that’s why it makes the most amazing coincidence over and over again that so many individuals who’ve been trained to kill lots of people bizarrely end up killing lots of people.
    Looking at a long list of mass shootings in the United States, almost all of the shooters are men, and almost all of them are between ages 18 and 59. Above age 59, the percentage of men in the general U.S. population who are veterans leaps up dramatically. Between 18 and 59 — by averaging the percentages for each age year — about 14.76 percent of U.S. men are veterans, but at least 35% of these shooters were veterans. I determined that by quickly reading available news reports online about each shooting, so the percentage is likely to be significantly higher. I found no news reports that stated that any of the shooters had not been in the military.
    In U.S. mass shootings, military veterans are over twice as likely to be mass shooters, and probably more likely than that. Needless to say, this is a statistic about a large population, not information about any particular individual. Needless to say, profiling and discrimination are counterproductive. But here’s what else might be counterproductive: Training people in the arts of mass murder, launching wars, and dropping people trained for wars and having suffered through wars into a heavily armed society taught by schools and entertainment systems that mass-killing is the way to solve problems. Mass killing in the United States gets you on the news, and if you happen to be a president bombing a distant land it gets you widely praised and labeled as “finally presidential.”
    Of course it’s possible that people inclined toward mass shootings are also inclined to join the military, that the relationship is a correlation and not a cause. In fact, I would be shocked if there wasn’t some truth to that. But it’s also possible that being trained and conditioned and given a familiarity with mass shootings — and in some cases no doubt an experience of engaging in mass shooting and having it deemed acceptable — makes one more likely to mass shoot. I cannot imagine there isn’t truth in that.
    The most killing Western societies do is done abroad by their militaries. In the United States, hundreds of deadly shootings every year are committed by police officers — disproportionately military veterans. Suicides, as well, are disproportionately committed by veterans. And not because we are untactful in pointing to problems, but because we generally fail to admit to and deal with problems. Veteran suicides are driven by guilt over having participated in killing. That guilt is the top factor in predicting suicide, according to the U.S. Veterans Administration, and the very least likely piece of information in the entire world to be mentioned in a celebration of Veterans Day.
    Consider this. If over 35% of U.S. mass shooters were Muslim or foreign or black or gay or socialist or red-haired or any of millions of other things likely actually coincidental, it would be a Big Freaking Deal. But the fact that over 35% of them have been trained by the world’s biggest mass-killing institution is simply not of any interest.
    David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
    Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
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