Saturday, July 06, 2019

Iraq -- recycling news

  1. Iraq's largest dam is now safe. partnered with Iraqi and Italian governments to provide essential water supply, irrigation, flood control, and hydropower for the people of Iraq. Read more:

Wasn't this already news?  Yes, it was (see the June 17th snapshot).  Apparently, there's so little good to point out that the US Army is now Tweeting old news to fill the void.

They're not the only ones recycling.  Tuesday, we caught REUTERS trying to pimp as new something that really wasn't.

Turning to Iraq, REUTERS insists today:

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought on Monday to curb the powers of influential Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militias, a politically risky move apparently aimed at placating the United States.

Did he?  How did he do that?

Two weeks after the first of several unclaimed attacks on bases in Iraq hosting U.S. forces and on a site used by a U.S. energy firm, Abdul Mahdi issued a decree ordering militias to integrate more closely into the formal armed forces.

Is that what he did -- emphasis on "he"?  Because not everyone agrees that this is an Adil creation.

: PM signed an executive order to restructure the PMFs (al-Hashd al-Sha’bi) & integrate them in the Iraqi Armed Forces. This is not a new initiative. It is an overdue implementation of the 2016 PMF Law. (1)

In other words, that particular dress has been on the floor for several years already.

And it's still not selling.

Jonathan Spyer (JERUSALEM POST via MIDDLE EAST FORUM) provides a walk through:

Firstly, it is worth remembering that this latest announcement is not without precedent. The first law making the militias part of the Iraqi security forces was passed in November 2016. From that time on, they have constituted a part of the state security apparatus. Formally, the militias report directly to, and are under the authority of, the prime minister.
In March 2018, then-prime minister Haider al-Abadi issued a decree formally integrating the militias into the security forces, regularizing their salaries and affording them rights similar to members of the Iraqi army and other services, under the control of the Ministry of Defense.
The latest decree, undertaken, it would appear, largely in response to US pressure and cajoling, resembles these earlier moves. What was their result?
With the welcome cover of official status, the militias predictably continued to act as the strong arm of Iran in Iraq. As a result of the blurring of the boundaries between the state army and the Shia militias, however, Iran's fighters gained welcome access to the resources available to the official security forces.
These included state-of-the-art US equipment – such as the nine M1A1 Abrams tanks that the militias used against (pro-US) Kurdish forces in the assault against Iraqi Kurdistan following the Kurdish bid for independence from Iraq in late 2017. The latter operation was planned by Soleimani.

The US has provided over $22 billion in aid to the Iraqi security forces since 2005. As the lines between the army and the militias blur, so the possibility of preventing this access will also fade. Only strong and direct action against the militias and their leaders could prevent this.
The militias are powerful players – politically, militarily and economically. Abdul Mahdi, meanwhile, is a weak figure with no real power base of his own. Iraq is not a country ruled by law. The prime minister, as a result, simply possesses no coercive mechanism for imposing his will on the Shia militias. He can order their dissolution, if he so wishes. The result would be the further enmeshing and fusing of the militias with the official bodies of the state – without the ceding by the latter of their own vital chain of command. This chain of command leads to Soleimani, and thence to the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Adil Abdul Mahdi is weak.  And that's been obvious for some time -- probably for at least since he threatened to quit and no one rushed to object.

By the way, Abbas Kadhim notes in a piece of writing earlier  this week that the Parliament confirmed a Minister of Defense and a Minister of the Interior on June 24th.  My apologies, because I missed that until I read Kadhim's piece tonight. 

We'll wrap up with this from the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Iraqi authorities should investigate the armed raid against the Baghdad offices of Al-Journal and 7C TV and determine if the perpetrators were acting on behalf of a member of parliament, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today [July 2nd].
On June 22, in central Baghdad, more than 20 armed men raided the offices of independent Iraqi newspaper Al-Journal and its affiliated broadcaster 7C TV, held the outlets' employees inside during the raid, destroyed computers, cameras, and other equipment, and seized documents, broadcasting equipment, and vehicles belonging to the outlets, according to a statement from Al-Journalnews reports, and local press freedom groups.
Al-Journal editor-in-chief Ahmed al-Saleh told the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq, a local independent advocacy organization, that the men identified themselves as private security forces employed by Hamad Yousef al-Musawi, an Iraqi member of parliament, whom they claimed had purchased the office building. Al-Saleh told the press freedom group that the news outlets had signed a lease on the building in 2016 and were not aware of any change in ownership.
An Al-Journal employee who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity said that the raid came days after the newspaper published a story that detailed corruption allegations against al-Musawi.
The employees were allowed to leave four hours after the raid began, al-Saleh said.
"Sending armed guards to raid a newsroom, hold journalists, and seize their equipment over an alleged property dispute is a clear attempt at intimidation," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. "We condemn the raid on the offices of Al-Journal and 7C TV and call on Iraqi authorities to do their utmost to ensure journalists' safety."
The Al-Journal employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the men who raided the office searched for documents relating to the corruption case, but also inflicted needless damage to the outlets' property and to the journalists' personal cars.
In an interview given to Iraqi news website Nas News, al-Musawi denied any affiliation with the men who raided the offices. CPJ reached out to al-Musawi for comment through his personal website but did not immediately receive a response.
CPJ emailed Iraq's Interior Ministry for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

The following sites updated:

Some Tweets from Sarah Abdallah

  • Huge anti-Macron protests are still going for the 34th weekend in a row today in . But mainstream media is nowhere to be found because this is not Russia, Syria, Iran or Venezuela.
  •   Retweeted
    Legacy of : Thanks to for running my OpEd on & the right & duty to dissent!
  • In the last 75 years alone the US has bombed or destroyed: Guatemala Chile Argentina Vietnam Nicaragua El Salvador Honduras Grenada Panama Yugoslavia Sudan Afghanistan Iraq Libya Syria Ukraine Yemen & many others Where is all this “remarkable peace and prosperity” you speak of?
  •   Retweeted
    A stupid, dangerous, and cruel move. Syria was almost destroyed by west-backed al-Qaeda and ISIS and now out of cruelty west is denying them ability to recover.
  • Hillary Clinton, the warmonger who helped launch illegal interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and many other countries, is now concerned about international law being violated? I thought today was July 4th, not April Fools’.
  • Just your daily reminder that Julian Assange faces up to 175 years in jail merely for exposing US war crimes in to the world. Meanwhile, those who invaded Iraq on a pack of lies, killing a million people, are still out there planning new wars against and .
  •   Retweeted
    There's nothing more patriotic than being a good-hearted critic of your country. If you want your country to get better, you should call it out on its failures—to refuse to do so isn't love, it's idolatry.
  • On this day 31 years ago, the US shot down an Iranian civilian plane flying over ’s territorial waters. All 290 innocents on board were killed, including 66 children. George HW Bush refused to apologize for the atrocity.
  •   Retweeted
    Happy Birthday to Julian Assange, I hope he understands how much he is missed. There is nothing on this planet that has inspired me more than WikiLeaks. The press is not free. It’s sitting in a maximum security prison in London.
  •   Retweeted
    TODAY July 3 is Julians 48th BIRTHDAY! Please join the world wide celebration of his courageous journalism exposing the crimes & corruption of the powerful, & protest his brutal political persecution. Thank you
  • The war criminal who has literally gotten away with murder and plunder in Haiti, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Honduras, Libya, Syria and Yemen is actually out here lecturing us about accountability. Epitome of shameless.
  • Imagine the international outcry if Putin, Assad or Maduro deliberately bombed a sovereign country in the middle of the night, killing 16 people, including children and a baby. But when Israel does exactly this in , no one even bats an eyelash.
  •   Retweeted
    I understand the importance of national security as well as the high cost of war. As president, I’ll redirect the money now wasted in regime change wars & new cold war into healthcare, a green economy, education, & much more.
  •   Retweeted
    Breaking: 3 civilians killed and over 20 wounded in the Israeli attacks on Sahnaya in countryside
  • Israel is dropping bombs on yet again in a new massive attack, violating the airspace of both Syria and , and terrorizing Syrian and Lebanese civilians in the middle of the night. But don’t expect any international outrage or condemnation.
  •   Retweeted
    There will always be an excuse for the next war. The next war will always be different, justified, purpose-driven. But every single time we intervene abroad, it's a disaster. Why can't America just stay home?
  • Wow. If all this tear gas was deployed against unarmed protesters in , or , rather than demonstrators in today, it would be plastered all across mainstream media, 24/7.
  •   Retweeted
    Hillary Clinton armed the terrorists that massacred my Syrian Christian community. She brought slave-selling jihadists to power in Libya. She voted for the Iraq War that killed over a million Iraqis. She supported Saudi Arabia's genocide in Yemen. HILLARY CLINTON IS A WAR-MONGER!
  • These people right here are collectively responsible for the murder and displacement of millions of human beings in: Iran Iraq Nicaragua Panama Haiti Yugoslavia Afghanistan Venezuela Pakistan Somalia Lebanon Gaza Honduras Libya Syria Ukraine Yemen Just your daily reminder...
  • Tulsi Gabbard: “The neocons in the Trump administration, and Saudi Arabia and Netanyahu, have created a situation where it’s gonna be very difficult for President Trump to avoid a war with .”
  • Eleven different mainstream media outlets refused to publish this piece on Julian Assange’s psychological torture. But when war criminals like John McCain or Bush Sr. die, these very same corporate press outlets celebrate them and whitewash their crimes.
  • US interventions in: -> Millions killed and displaced + the rise of ISIS. -> Thousands killed, millions displaced + slave markets. -> Death and destruction + millions driven from their homes. But sure, America’s totally a peace-loving nation 🤗
  •   Retweeted
    We are in Afghanistan & Iraq where we have lost so many lives and spent so much $ that should be going into our communities here at home. This is why it’s so important to have a commander in chief who knows the cost of war.
  • This is rich. You and Obama deported more immigrants than any other US administration in history. You and Obama also waged multiple illegal wars and interventions in Honduras, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine, creating millions of refugees. Save us the faux outrage.