Friday, June 12, 2020

Iraq snapshot

Friday, June 12, 2020.   The talks between the US and Iraq yield only vague pledges, Joe Biden -- of all people -- wants to talk about stealing elections -- except as it relates to him.

Starting in Iraq, REUTERS notes, "Iraq and the United States have affirmed their commitment to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq without giving a timeline, state news agency INA said on Friday, citing Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi."  Is anyone leaving Iraq?  There's nothing that says anyone's leaving.  Equally true, Mustafa's original statement to the press was that all US troops were leaving Iraq.  He had to walk that one back.  Louisa Loveluck (WASHINGTON POST via STARS AND STRIPES) notes, "Seventeen years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the talks, which began Thursday, focus on a wide range of issues. Thorniest among them is the question of foreign troop presence: Iraq's parliament has urged the U.S.-led coalition to leave, and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is under pressure to satisfy that demand without risking security gaps that Islamic State fighters might exploit."  Of the alleged 5200 US troops on Iraqi soil, how many would be leaving?  Probably none.

It's hard to believe that if there was any real advance on this issue one side -- or both -- wouldn't be trumpeting it.  Especially considering how quickly Mustafa ran to the press with his 'all US troops are leaving' claim.  And "alleged"?  There is no verification and the US government tosses out the unconfirmed number of 5,200.  The 5200 would not include a number of additional service members that were present for surveillance operations, special-ops, etc.

Not only has no number been given for any troops being withdrawn -- actual number, percentage, nothing, Loveluck quotes US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs stating, "There was no discussion of a timeline."

The Trump administration is worried that Iraq is falling short on human rights obligations to detainees and is hampered by widespread corruption, according to a State Department assessment obtained by Foreign Policy, as the United States kicks off talks on Thursday that will help determine the future of the U.S. presence in the war-torn country.

As thousands of Islamic State prisoners sit in lengthy and sometimes undocumented pretrial detention that may pose constitutional questions, the Iraqi legal system is bogged down by an insufficient number of judges, overflowing facilities, and the use of bribes, a snapshot of Iraq’s corruption challenges that kicked off widespread anti-government protests last year.

Falling short on human rights obligations and widespread corruption?  

Yes, that is why the ongoing protests, which started September 30th, have been taking place in Iraq.

Let's turn to Killer Joe Biden.  Killer Joe wanted the Iraq War.  All the Purell in the world won't remove the blood from his hands.

Dithering Joe the killer.

Where do we go from here?

Let's stay with the killing for a moment.


FRANC ANALYSIS.  We noted that in yesterday's snapshot.  There are people who are supposedly independent that are now trying to tell you who to vote for.  Trying to tell grown ass people who to vote for.  Because we're all too stupid, right?

It's the come-to-Jesus tale.  It's supposed to motivate you to do the same.  We called it out in 2008 -- the laughable liars the DEMOCRACY NOW! brought on.  Especially, the liar who is also a lousy daughter because she claimed her mother was ill, implying the end any moment, but she goes to Denver for a convention she's not paid to be at, not obligated to be at?  Remember that liar?  She was a Hillary supporter who had gone over to Barack and we were supposed to relate to her and follow her lead.  Of course, she was a f**king liar, a piece of trash who thought she could con the American people.  Liars always trip up.  She was a firm supporter of Hillary -- when?  If you listened to her remarks after they moved on to another topic, you quickly grasped that she started supporting Barack in February of 2007 for the 2008 election.  Exactly when was she ever a Hillary supporter?

Lying whores.  We don't need them.  

So Krystal Ball and Kyle Kulinski want to trick you.

They think it's important because of the violence in the US.

What about the violence the US does around the world?

Kathy Kelly stumbles around useless (intentionally -- her career would argue "Yes!") at COUNTERPUNCH offering:

And if we’re to learn how to live together without killing one another, how can we dismantle and repurpose the vast killing machine that protects our unfair white privilege?

White privilege exists.  But let's stop pretending that the US government isn't at war with the Muslim world.  Let's stop pretending that it was an accident or an 'overreach' to round up and jail Muslims after 9/11.  These were planned actions.  And it is the height of xenophobia to look the other way regarding Joe Biden's actions in the Arab world.   Franco notes this Tweet by Richard Medhurst:

Kyle and Krystal are saying they might vote for Biden because Trump crossed the line when he deployed the military. Which essentially means “we’re fine with our imperialist military on OTHER PEOPLE’S streets just not ours”. Your american exceptionalism and privilege is showing.

The Arab world has suffered because of people like Joe Biden.  This notion that he's an answer and you need to herd people over to him?

He's a bloody killer who never did a thing in his life except hide away in Congress.

When he was draft age, he didn't serve.  Though he played football and baseball in high school and college, when it came to go to the draft board what did Joe claim?  Asthma.  His asthma wouldn't let him serve.  What a load of, yes, malarkey.

He has no shame.

I don't know what to say here.  On the one hand, I try to grasp that the American people are poorly served by their media but it's 10 years since Iraq held elections in March of 2010.  Yes, the media did a lousy job covering it.  But at some point, grow the hell up and take responsibility for yourself.

If you aren't put off by Joe's words in the clip above then you either don't care about other people or you're not just trying to inform yourself.

Karma.  That's the word that would be applied should Donald do what Joe's floating.

It would be karma for Joe.

In 2010, Iraq held elections.  

The Iraqi people voted out thug Nouri al-Maliki.

But Nouri got a second term.

How did that happen?

If you don't know by now that's on you.  If you're not watching the coverage of Joe's remarks and not being appalled, that's on you.

No one else at this late date.

Your government does things in public?  It's your job to know about it.  Or else just shut up about who to vote for.  Truly, no one needs your ignorance.

In 2010, the world knew Nouri was a thug.  Sunnis were targeted and being disappeared.  Secret prisons and torture centers -- the kind Saddam Hussein ran and we were supposedly outraged by -- were back in Iraq.

But that didn't matter to the US government.

They wanted Nouri to get a second term.

So Joe sold The Erbil Agreement -- a legal contract signed off on by all the leaders of Iraq.  It ignored the results, overturned them, and gave Nouri a second term.

How did they get others to sign off?

By lying.  They said the contract was legally binding and had the full backing of the US -- and written into the contract were certain things that the various blocs wanted.  

They lied.

The contract was used to give Nouri the second term and then ignored.

And the US government did nothing.  Despite their earlier lies.

That's bad but let's zoom in on the overturning.

'Liberation' and 'democracy' were the terms people in the US government -- Democrats and Republicans -- used to describe the Iraq War.

But when there was time to show what democracy was and how elections work, the US government -- led by Joe Biden (he was Barack's lead on Iraq) -- shredded any hopes of democracy.  The people risked everything to vote -- including their lives.  And they voted real change, voting Nouri out.

And Joe Biden backed Nouri.  Joe didn't back democracy.  Nouri was a thug and that didn't matter to Joe.  Nothing did except keeping the thug in power.

The message this sent to the Iraqi people?  Election turnout has gotten lower as a result.  They are in the streets because the ballot box has failed them repeatedly.

Joe wants to talk about stolen elections?  Then the press needs to ask him to justify giving Nouri a second term after the Iraqi people said no.

et's again note the August 2015 broadcast of Kevin Sylvester's THIS SUNDAY EDITION (CBC) which featured Emma Sky discussing Iraq:

Emma Sky: And that [2010] national election was a very closely contested election. Iraqis of all persuasions and stripes went out to participate in that election.  They'd become convinced that politics was the way forward, that they could achieve what they wanted through politics and not violence.  To people who had previously been insurgents, people who'd not voted before turned out in large numbers to vote in that election.  And during that election, the incumbent, Nouri al-Maliki, lost by 2 seats.  And the bloc that won was a bloc called Iraqiya led by Ayad Allawi which campaigned on "NO" to sectarianism, really trying to move beyond this horrible sectarian fighting -- an Iraq for Iraqis and no sectarianism.  And that message had attracted most of the Sunnis, a lot of the secular Shia and minority groups as well.

Kevin Sylvester:  People who felt they'd been shut out during Maliki's regime basically -- or his governance.

Emma Sky:  Yes, people that felt, you know, that they wanted to be part of the country called Iraq not -- they wanted to be this, they wanted Iraq to be the focus and not sect or ethnicity to be the focus.  And Maliki refused to accept the results.  He just said, "It is not right."  He wanted a recount.  He tried to use de-Ba'athification to eliminate or disqualify some Iraqiya members and take away the votes that they had gained.  And he just sat in his seat and sat in his seat.  And it became a real sort of internal disagreement within the US system about what to do?  So my boss, Gen [Ray] Odierno, was adamant that the US should uphold the Constitutional process, protect the political process, allow the winning group to have first go at trying to form the government for thirty days.  And he didn't think Allawi would be able to do it with himself as prime minister but he thought if you start the process they could reach agreement between Allawi and Maliki or a third candidate might appear who could become the new prime minister. So that was his recommendation.

Kevin Sylvester:   Well he even calls [US Vice President Joe] Biden -- Biden seems to suggest that that's what the administration will support and then they do a complete switch around.  What happened?

Emma Sky:  Well the ambassador at the time was a guy who hadn't got experience of the region, he was new in Iraq and didn't really want to be there.  He didn't have the same feel for the country as the general who'd been there for year after year after year.

Kevin Sylvester:  Chris Hill.

Emma Sky:  And he had, for him, you know 'Iraq needs a Shia strongman. Maliki's our man.  Maliki's our friend.  Maliki will give us a follow on security agreement to keep troops in country.'  So it looks as if Biden's listening to these two recommendations and that at the end Biden went along with the Ambassador's recommendation.  And the problem -- well a number of problems -- but nobody wanted Maliki.  People were very fearful that he was becoming a dictator, that he was sectarian, that he was divisive. And the elites had tried to remove him through votes of no confidence in previous years and the US had stepped in each time and said, "Look, this is not the time, do it through a national election."  So they had a national election, Maliki lost and they were really convinced they'd be able to get rid of him.  So when Biden made clear that the US position was to keep Maliki as prime minister, this caused a huge upset with Iraqiya.  They began to fear that America was plotting with Iran in secret agreement.  So they moved further and further and further away from being able to reach a compromise with Maliki.  And no matter how much pressure the Americans put on Iraqiya, they weren't going to agree to Maliki as prime minister and provided this opening to Iran because Iran's influence was way low at this stage because America -- America was credited with ending the civil war through the 'surge.'  But Iran sensed an opportunity and the Iranians pressured Moqtada al-Sadr -- and they pressured him and pressured him.  And he hated Maliki but they put so much pressure on to agree to a second Maliki term and the price for that was all American troops out of the country by the end of 2011.  So during this period, Americans got outplayed by Iran and Maliki moved very much over to the Iranian camp because they'd guaranteed his second term.

Kevin Sylvester:  Should-should the Obama administration been paying more attention?  Should they have -- You know, you talk about Chris Hill, the ambassador you mentioned, seemed more -- at one point, you describe him being more interested in putting green lawn turf down on the Embassy in order to play la crosse or something.  This is a guy you definitely paint as not having his head in Iraq.  How much of what has happened since then is at the fault of the Obama administration?  Hillary Clinton who put Chris Hill in place? [For the record, Barack Obama nominated Chris Hill for the post -- and the Senate confirmed it -- not Hillary.]  How much of what happens -- has happened since -- is at their feet?

Emma Sky:  Well, you know, I think they have to take some responsibility for this because of this mistake made in 2010.  And Hillary Clinton wasn't very much involved in Iraq.  She did appoint the ambassador but she wasn't involved in Iraq because President Obama had designated Biden to be his point-man on Iraq and Biden really didn't have the instinct for Iraq. He very much believed in ancient hatreds, it's in your blood, you just grow up hating each other and you think if there was anybody who would have actually understood Iraq it would have been Obama himself.  You know, he understands identity more than many people.  He understands multiple identities and how identities can change.  He understands the potential of people to change. So he's got quite a different world view from somebody like Joe Biden who's always, you know, "My grandfather was Irish and hated the British.  That's how things are."  So it is unfortunate that when the American public had enough of this war, they wanted to end the war.  For me, it wasn't so much about the troops leaving, it was the politics -- the poisonous politics.  And keeping Maliki in power when his poisonous politics were already evident was, for me, the huge mistake the Obama administration made. Because what Maliki did in his second term was to go after his rivals.  He was determined he was never going to lose an election again.  So he accused leading Sunni politicians of terrorism and pushed them out of the political process.  He reneged on his promises that he'd made to the tribal leaders who had fought against al Qaeda in Iraq during the surge. [She's referring to Sahwa, also known as Sons of Iraq and Daughters of Iraq and as Awakenings.]  He didn't pay them.  He subverted the judiciary.  And just ended up causing these mass Sunni protests that created the environment that the Islamic State could rear its ugly head and say, "Hey!"  And sadly -- and tragically, many Sunnis thought, "Maybe the Islamic State is better than Maliki."  And you've got to be pretty bad for people to think the Islamic State's better. 



Wednesday night was a group post night with the topic of what live TV production NBC and FOX need to do next: Ann's "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,"  Marcia's "Jelly's Last Jam," Rebecca's "jamaica," Stan's "MEMPHIS," Mike's "THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE," Trina's "Pajama Game," Ruth's "I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE," Elaine's "THE FANTASTICKS," Betty's "SOPHISTICATED LADIES" and Kat's "BEAUTIFUL."

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