Sunday, May 03, 2020

AP gets around to noticing that ISIS is still active in Iraq

ISIS never went away in Iraq.  Apparently burned out on the wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage, AP has suddenly rediscovered ISIS.  They offer, "The man wearing an explosive vest emerged from a car and calmly marched toward the gates of the intelligence building in Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk. When he ignored their shouts to halt, guards opened fire, and he blew himself up, wounding three security personnel in the first week of Ramadan. Days later, a three-pronged coordinated attack killed 10 Iraqi militia fighters in the northern province of Salahaddin -- the deadliest and most complex operation in many months."   IANS explains, "Despite repeated military operations against the IS remnants, IS militants are still hiding in deserts, rugged areas as well as in Himreen mountain range which extends in the provinces of Diyala, Salahudin and Kirkuk. They are capable of carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians."

 The violence happens daily.  Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) reports, that 3 police officers and 1 civilian were killed by the Islamic State at the Zaganiya police station in al-Abara while two more police officers and five civilians were left injured.  Sherwani notes, "The bloody incident comes as part of a recent increase in activity by fighters loyal to the group, over two years after its territorial defeat in Iraq in late 2017 by federal security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias, with air support by the US-led coalition."  ALMASDAR reminds, "Six Iraqi fighters were killed late Thursday night after ISIS terrorists targeted a point belonging to the 35th Brigade of the Popular Mobilization Units in the Salaheddine Governorate."   Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) charts this pattern:

ISIS militants also carried out multiple attacks against Iraqi security forces early Saturday in Saladin province, killing ten  members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as Hashd  al-Shaabi. It was ISIS’s biggest attack in Iraq since its territorial  defeat. 

Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari vowed last week to “ramp up” anti-ISIS efforts. 

Despite Iraq’s coronavirus lockdown measures and the US-led coalition’s withdrawal from several bases across Iraq, the ISF has stepped up its operations against ISIS remnants active in the country’s remote deserts and mountains.

Between January 1 and April 15, the ISF carried out 1,060 operations  and killed 135 ISIS targets, defense ministry spokesperson Yehia  Rasool said on April 21.

At THE NEW YORK TIMES, Elizabeth Bruenig weighs in on Tara Reade and Joe Biden:

I have my own impressions regarding Ms. Reade’s allegations, but no one — save Ms. Reade and Mr. Biden — knows with certainty whether her claims are true. What I can assert with firm conviction is that Democrats ought to start considering a backup plan for 2020.
Ms. Reade’s account is not nearly as incredible as some have argued. In the course of my reporting, I have worked closely with many survivors of sexual assault. It isn’t unusual, in my experience, for survivors to exhibit behavior that seems unstable or erratic to others. They may initially disclose to investigators or journalists only a fragment of what happened, and then reveal more over time — some even falsely recant, either because they sense the police don’t believe them, or because they fear the consequences of pressing their claims. And victims often maintain relationships with their attackers or harbor mixed feelings about them.
“It’s not at all uncommon for someone to still have positive feelings about aspects of the person who assaulted them, or to admire or respect them,” Scott Berkowitz, the founder and president of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) told me. “With people who work for politicians, there’s usually a strong measure of loyalty or respect in that relationship. So it’s not indicative that someone wasn’t telling the truth.”
[. . .]
 But it is also possible that this won’t just go away, and that it will demoralize voters and place Mr. Biden at a disadvantage against Mr. Trump in the general election, despite the fact that Mr. Trump has a damning list of accusers alleging sexual offenses. For a candidate mainly favored for his presumed electability and the perception of empathy and decency, that’s a serious liability. To preserve the strides made on behalf of victims of sexual assault in the era of #MeToo, and to maximize their chances in November, Democrats need to begin formulating an alternative strategy for 2020 — one that does not include Mr. Biden.

 The following sites updated: