France has already announced they are pulling their troops out of Iraq. Now New Zealand announces that they are doing the same. NEW ZELAND HERALD reports:
New Zealand troops who were stationed at Camp Taji in Iraq are coming home.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark made the announcement today, saying it followed the successful conclusion of the mission at Taji to train Iraqi forces.
"New Zealand is very pleased to have fulfilled its commitment to the Iraqi Government and the Defeat-ISIS Coalition to train Iraqi Security Forces at Taji," Peters said in a statement.
Since December New Zealand has had 45 Defence Force personnel in Taji; 28 personnel arrived back in New Zealand last week and are in isolation at the Royal New Zealand Air Force base in Auckland.
Scroll down for that story, it is not at the top of the page ("PM sets up website for Kiwis to dob in coronavirus lockdown price gouging" is at the top of the page).
Yesterday, we noted Shi'ite cleric, cult leader and lunatic Moqtada al-Sadr was blaming coronvirus on same-sex marriage. Here are some Twitter reactions in English:
IRAQUEER, an LGBTQ organization in Iraq, released the following statement:
We condemn Muqtada Al Sadr's statement which claims that same sex marriage is the cause of the coronavirus. Such statements do not only lack scientific grounds, but are also weaponizing Iraqi people's fears during stressful times to target LGBT+ people. Making such ignorant statements will not only endanger LGBT+ people's lives, but will also put the lives of all Iraqis at risk. The coronavirus is a pandemic that must be dealt with seriously and medically, and Muqtada Al Sadr's tweet will only distract us from what is really important, which is to save Iraqi lives.
ANTIWAR.COM publishes a lot of strong and wonderful pieces. It also publishes some real trash. In 2011, there was an attempt -- that didn't end until 2014 -- to turn Nouri al-Maliki into a hero. He was a thug. But some people need simplistic narratives and they need 'good guys' to root for so desperately that they'll tell any lie. While they were celebrating Nouri, even Barack Obama was rebuking him. By 2014, Barack was publicly calling him out and not just refusing to take Nouri's phone calls (that started in November of 2012). I bring this up because I called out a piece at ANTIWAR.COM last week.
It was another 'Moqtada is a hero!' bit of nonsense.
These people don't know what goes in Iraq -- these people who push these lies.
Moqtada, in 2011, began building a real movement. He destroyed that in February of this year and became a national joke. Many of his 'lieutenants' began leaving his movement -- some publicly. The Iraqi people began openly mocking him. He was seen as someone with loyalties to another state (Iran) and who would sell out Iraq for that foreign government. I know there is a great deal going on in the world at any given time, even before a pandemic, but I've always called out people who decided, on their own, to Iraq 'expertise' without doing the work. I called out Phyllis Bennis for going on COUNTERSPIN and insisting that no one knew something when anyone who read Nancy A. Youssef's final report for KNIGHT RIDDER (right before it was officially taken over by MCCLATCHY) knew it (that the US government did have a count of the Iraqi dead). If you're going to present as an expert, you better do the work required.
Moqtada cratered at the start of February. By the end of that month, protesters were mocking him and laughing at him (at that point for his claim that men and women should not protest together). His fear of women was what really got the 'Moqtada is a closet case' rumors going on Arabic social media.
Anyone praising Moqtada today is suspect in my book. Also true of those who don't grasp how badly Moqtada has diminished his own reputation and standing over the last eight weeks.