Saturday, May 09, 2020

Mustafa al-Kahimi

Iraq finally has a prime minister.  Mustafa al-Kadhimi replaces the last prime minister who resigned in November.  He is not supposed to be in office for a long time, just long enough to oversee a round of elections.  Martin Chulov and Mohammed Rasool (THE OBSERVER) note, "With Kadhimi now Iraq’s premier decision-maker, US and Saudi officials are privately hailing a new era of Iraqi sovereignty. Washington pushed its allies in the country’s Kurdish north and Sunni centre to endorse him." And they quote an unnamed "regional official" stating, "They think they’ve got their man.  They're celebrating. When will they ever understand Iraq?"  AFP reports:

Iraq’s new government promised Saturday to release demonstrators arrested during mass protests that erupted in October and pledged justice and compensation to relatives of over 550 people killed during that unrest.
The announcement was made in a televised address following Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhemi’s first cabinet meeting. 
Kadhemi, who with 15 of his proposed 22 ministers won the confidence of Parliament on Wednesday evening, promised “the truth about everything that happened” during the months-long protests.
He vowed to “hold to account all those who shed Iraqi blood”.

And the prime minister is not just talking about the protesters.  Haydar Karaalp (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes that the prime minister "said Saturday that a [2008] strategic agreement with the US on the basis of protecting the unity and sovereignty of Iraq will be reviewed.  Following his first Cabinet meeting, al-Kadhimi told reporters the group established a crisis desk consisting foreign affairs experts."  He met today with the ambassadors from Iran and from the United StatesXINHUA reports that in his meeting "with Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi, during which he confirmed Iraq's keenness to maintain the best relations with Iran and all other neighboring countries to serve the interests of the two neighbors, as well as regional security and stability, al-Kadhimi's media office said in a separate statement."  CGTN adds, "During his meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller, al-Kadhimi underscored the need for bilateral cooperation in the economic and security fields, as well as for preparing for the strategic dialogue between the two countries, the prime minister's media office said in a statement."

AL-MONITOR offers:

The Trump administration played this transition as well as it can be played. The State Department offered a "strategic dialogue" with Iraq on April 7, two days before Salih designated Kadhimi to form a government, as Adnan Abu Zeed reported. In discussing Iraq last month, US officials praised Kadhimi, but steered short of an endorsement, making clear this was an Iraqi process. In the meantime, Kadhimi received the backing of Iran and the United Arab Emirates, among others, to form his government.
On April 27, as Kadhimi’s candidacy seemed to stall, the United States renewed a sanctions waiver for Iraq on Iranian electricity imports for only 30 days, another kind of signal that Iran was still front and center in US priorities in Iraq.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among the first to congratulate Kadhimi on May 6, extending the waiver to four months, through Iraq’s hot summer, and giving the prime minister some breathing room on a vexing issue. 
Iraq has been seeking to lessen its dependency on Iranian electricity, including through an arrangement with the Gulf Cooperation Council via Kuwait, but this is a long term process, as Ali Hashem explains

AL-MONITOR is a strong outlet.  We note it often.  I have no problem with their call that's quoted above -- it might be a good evaluation, it might not be.  But I have problem with the article itself.  If you don't, maybe we need to fall back to the recent past.

For example, in the October 22, 2015 snapshot, we noted:

Exploring the topic further, Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Al Monitor) offers:

So far, Abadi seems to have resisted the pressure placed by Shiite forces and parties, such as the Popular Mobilization Units that announced Sept. 20 that “the Baghdad-Damascus-Tehran-Moscow alliance is a natural and legal right for Iraq.” These forces stressed the need for full participation in the Russian alliance and to speed up the official request that Russia take part in attacks on IS in Iraq.
Yet Abadi is taking his time and does not want to risk his relations with the West at this sensitive stage. He has contented himself with the intelligence cooperation and arms deals with Russia, and he has refrained from going beyond this point to avoid losing the United States as a strategic ally of Iraq.
Abadi is reasonable in being cautious, because the Iraqi political situation is vulnerable and would not tolerate further internal divisions, which would take place in the event of a radical change in the Iraqi international alliances. In addition, Abadi does not perceive the new Russian alliance as a guaranteed alternative to the Western one, and he does not desire that Iraq be turned into a field for a new battle between the world powers, which would lead to dire consequences.
At the same time, Abadi does not believe he can manage without an external party to help Iraq restore its territorial integrity and get rid of IS. This is particularly true in light of Russia's strong participation in fighting IS and US confirmation that the fight will be long.

Yesterday, Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Al-Monitor) reported that few Iraqis have bothered to update their records for voting:

The low number of voters who showed up to update their records in preparation for the legislative elections in April 2014 is worrisome and raises questions about the will for change. The figures leaked from the Electoral Commission indicate that fewer than 500,000 people updated their records days before the expiration of the statutory period.
Even though leaders such as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr called on voters to update their records, this failed to raise the participation rates to numbers significant enough to make an impact.
This raises concerns of political leaders such as Ethel Nujaifi, the governor of Mosul, who said that only 4% of Mosul’s Arabs showed up to update their records.

It's a bit difficult to get excited about voting when the US government keeps overturning your votes.  First, in 2006, Bully Boy Bush rejected the Iraqi Parliament's choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jafaari) and insisted on installing Nouri al-Maliki then, in 2010, Barack Obama insisted Nouri get a second term the Iraqi voters vetoed.  Why exactly are they supposed to be eager to vote?

They keep voting and the US government keeps overturning their votes.

Barack Obama seriously harmed Iraq's chances to become a democracy when he refused to honor the Iraqi's people voice and instead dismissed the votes to back Nouri.

Getting it?  For years Mustafa worked for AL-MONITOR and that's not noted in the article.  Are things as rosy as AL-MONITOR claims?  Maybe they are and maybe they're not.  But they do need to disclose, in a piece evaluating Mustafa, that Mustafa has a history with the news outlet.

Princess Badiya bint Ali, a survivor of the bloody 1958 coup that ended her family’s rule in Iraq, has died at the age of 100.
Princess Badiya died in London where she had lived in exile. She was the last of Iraq’s princesses.
Born in Damascus in 1920, Princess Badiya was the sister of Iraqi Prince Abd Al-Ilah, who served as regent from 1939-1953, for King Faisal II.
Prince Abd Al-Ilah, was also crown prince and heir to the throne before the 1958 coup.
King Faisal II was killed in the wave of pan-Arab revolutions that swept the Middle East and were promoted by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser.
The coup in Iraq unseated the British-backed Hashemite monarchy that had been established in 1921 by King Faisal I.

Another death is getting far less attention.  Iraq War veteran Rory Hamill has taken his own life.  James LaPorta (AP) Tweets:

Another #Marine from my unit who served in both #Iraq and #Afghanistan took their own life this past weekend. Cpl. Rory Hamill of 2nd BN, 8th MAR leaves behind 3 children. Rory spoke to groups of #veterans about healing from the wounds of war—both seen and not seen. #RIP

Meanwhile Megyn Kelly's interview with Tara Reade currently has 297,597 views.


I continue to be disgusted with how many Democrats are blindly defending Joe Biden. Politicians who have been ardent supporters of #MeToo suddenly believe the powerful man and dismiss his accuser. Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Dianne Feinstein are just a few examples of politicians who have been extremely hypocritical. 
The sad reality is that there isn’t likely to be a good outcome here. Biden won’t release his documents and won’t drop out. Democrats will continue to defend him because they are so motivated by power and beating Trump. The glaring hypocrisy will severely damage the #MeToo movement. And I don’t think it will even be worth it as Trump is likely to win anyway.
This also shows just how difficult it is for women to come forward. Tara has been smeared, doxxed, and threatened since coming forward. It’s no wonder why women wait so long before speaking out against powerful men. But hopefully Tara’s strength will still inspire other women to share their stories.

Australia's NEWS.COM notes:

The fact that many outspoken proponents of the #MeToo movement have declared they will vote for Joe Biden despite sexual assault allegations levelled against him by a former staffer shows the movement is dead, according to Sky News host Rita Panahi. The former Vice President Biden has been accused of assaulting former employee Tara Reade in 1993 when she worked in his senate office, a claim he flatly denies. The #MeToo movement, which rose to worldwide prominence as part of a hashtag campaign on Twitter two years ago, is designed to raise awareness about the pernicious societal impact sexual assault. Many high-profile celebrities have been caught up in the scandal, including Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein who has been jailed after being found guilty of rape. Ms Panahi said the movement has no credibility left after many high-profile proponents are saying they believe Ms Reade but are “willing to vote for Biden anyway.”

The following sites updated:


Mother’s Day Is For Ending War

By Leah Bolger, President of World BEYOND War, May 8, 2020
I remember when I was a kid, my mom and I rolling our eyes at Mother’s Day ads from stores trying to sell vacuums or blenders as the perfect gift to honor mothers…ads written by men, no doubt! As inappropriate as a kitchen appliance is for honoring one’s mother, the commercialism itself of the holiday became a major affront to the woman who created it, Anna Jarvis.
The holiday was created in 1908 to honor her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, a woman who created community health services and cared for soldiers on both sides of the U.S. Civil War. But, the original call for a Mother’s Day was made by fellow activist Julia Ward Howe, a suffragette and abolitionist in 1872. She believed that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level, and in 1870 issued an “Appeal to womanhood throughout the world,” which said in part, “Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated in more than 40 countries. In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Granted, flowers make a better gift than vacuum cleaners, but a gift that would truly honor women would be the abolition of war.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive 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, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
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2 0:02 / 13:37 #tarareade #megynkelly #joebiden Tara Reade Calls For Joe Biden To Drop Out During Interview With Megyn Kelly

The more I hear from Tara the more I believe her and Megyn asked a wide range of questions during this interview so I highly recommend checking it out. Follow me on instagram @username1492 ✌️ #tarareade #megynkelly #joebiden #joebidensexualassault #megynkellyinterviewstarareade #tarareadejoebiden #metoo #dropoutbiden #bidensexualassault #megynkellytarareade #elizabethwarrentarareade #alyssamilanotarareade

Weekends with Ana Kasparian and Michael Brooks: May 9, 2020 (featuring Glenn Greenwald)

Every Saturday starting at 1 PM ET,  Ana Kasparian and Michael Brooks will be broadcasting a new show live from the Jacobin YouTube channel.  “Weekends” will feature free-flowing and entertaining conversations between Ana, Michael, and their guests. The guest today: Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author, and co-founder of The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald. Subscribe to the channel and press the like button! Subscribe to Jacobin:

How to Avoid a Draft for Dummies

There are two brand new ways to avoid any military draft that should come along.
(I know you’re not worried about a draft, but the numbers of failed coup attempts in Venezuela and of failed attempts to start a war on Iran are both approaching the number of years of war in Afghanistan, so frustration may be building. Two candidates for U.S. President are competing in hostility toward China. Plus, military recruitment is faltering, and even corporate mainstream politicians are being brought around to the idea of making college part of a public education. So, I wouldn’t get too complacent).
Method #1: Catch coronavirus. Recover. Be banned from the U.S. military for life.
While this is a truly dumb approach, four out of five doctors do recommend getting banned from the military for their patients who tend to do whatever is not banned.
Method #2: Eliminate the draft.
This approach isn’t terribly dumb, but it is simple. There’s a bill in Congress to repeal the Selective Service Act and stop making 18-year-old males register for the draft.
There are two strategies being deployed to complicate this, however, and they’re both too smart for their own good.
One is to argue that depriving 18-year-old women of the right to be forced against their will to register to be forced against their will to kill and die in wars is an afront to women’s rights. Women must be treated as savagely as men! They demand their equal right to be forced into war!
The problem with this strategy is that there are just about no women actually demanding this “right” outside of female weapons lobbyists and military recruiters. If you eliminate draft registration for men, then men won’t be getting any “special” “benefit” that women aren’t getting. Both men and women will be equally free to volunteer, just as they are now.
The second strategy is to package expanding mandatory draft registration to women in all kinds of rhetoric about voluntary national service in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps so that compulsory participation in killing is misunderstood as just another voluntary humanitarian service program. If you don’t believe me that this is a key strategy now being deployed, please read this other bill in Congress.
The best way around this deceptive approach might be offered by a third bill that seriously promotes national service programs with a focus on the coronavirus pandemic and with the support of major service organizations, but with war left out.
In fact, the smart approach for those who’d like to move the United States toward addressing dangers rather than creating them might just be to promote both the first bill I mentioned, HR 5492, to end draft registration, and the third one, to create actual service jobs. This pair of bills does everything we need in the way of providing services.
Anyone wanting to oppose that pair or bills with forcing young women to kill and die for oil profits should have to make their case straightforwardly and see who finds it persuasive.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive 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, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
Help support,, and by clicking here:

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#MegynKelly #DianneFeinstein #AOC AOC Inspires Tara Reade Biden Drop Out Demand—Megyn Kelly Interview--Feinstein-Pelosi Hypocrisy

HUEp317 AOC Inspires Tara Reade Biden Drop Out Demand—Megyn Kelly Interview--Feinstein-Pelosi Hypocrisy Listen on Podcast! Howell Underground on Youtube #MegynKelly #DianneFeinstein #AOC The MK Interview: Tara Reade Fiorell Isabel AOC NPR Tweet The MK Interview: Tara Reade responds to Joe Biden; calls for him to drop out BOMBSHELL developments: Court docs corroborate Tara Reade claims, she calls on Biden to drop out Manu Raju Dianne Feinstein Tweet Pelosi says she’s done answering questions about Biden sexual assault claims Krystal and Saagar: Are Dem primary voters REVOLTING against Biden after assault allegations? Dianne Feinstein only believes women if they accuse Republicans of sexual assault Linda Hirshman NYT - I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway. Political Animal--Joe Biden needs to drop out of the presidential race USA Today Poll: 15% of Sanders supporters will vote for Trump if Biden is nominee; 80% would back Biden There Can Be No Viable Progressive Movement Without Labor Strikes . . . Vote for Bernie in the Primaries Howell Underground FaceBook Page Revolt Against Plutocracy donation to help spread the word. Buy the Book!

Transforming Leadership in the Face of the Pandemic

Transforming Leadership in the Face of the Pandemic

By Arlene J. Schar and Dr. David Leffler

The world is currently experiencing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which may well linger long after the pandemic itself is resolved. Devastating death tolls are ripping apart families, and no one has been spared from the economic collapse brought on by this pandemic. Once we emerge from this crisis, the very fabric of our society may be irrevocably altered. As we put our faith in our leaders, we question if there is anything our leaders can actually do to alleviate this emergency; we also recognize that some leaders have responded better than others during this challenging time.

Leaders are simply a reflection of the Collective Consciousness of the people under them. In the words of psychologist Roger K. Allen, PhD: "People live in one of four states of being, which could be considered levels of emotional development or maturity. These are: survival (fear-based living); security (duty-based living), success (ego based living) and serenity (love/trust-based living)."

If the Collective Consciousness of the people is fear-based, their leader will exhibit characteristics reflective of that state: using power, coercion, blame, and other negative tools to accomplish ends which may not be in the best interest of the people. If the Collective Consciousness of the people is rooted in love/trust-based living, their leader will have a more altruistic approach in dealing with crises, taking into consideration the needs of all the people and not just a select few.

The best way to gain a leadership that is grounded in love/trust-based living rather than fear-based living is to find a way to elevate the Collective Consciousness of the country. Transcendental Meditation is an effective way to do that.

There is a powerful brain-based technology known as Invincible Defense Technology (IDT), which utilizes the non-religious Transcendental Meditation (TM) program and its advanced techniques. Militaries worldwide are beginning to use IDT as a ground-breaking and effective means to help solve supposedly insurmountable problems and create lasting peace. Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated that this advanced IDT practice raises the consciousness of all those within its field. Positive solutions to ongoing problems occur naturally and society more readily shifts from division to unity.

How can this be? While it seems too simple to be true, sometimes the simplest approach is the most effective. For those who remain skeptical, we recommend the following book: An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence, by Barry Spivack and Patricia Anne Saunders which details in depth the scientific research supporting this approach.
Tony Nader MD, PhD (@DrTonyNader) | Twitter

Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.R.R.
Also, during these stressful times readers can follow Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.R.R. on Facebook Dr. Nader is an Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) expert and medical doctor trained at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D. in neuroscience) and Harvard University. He leads daily online TM meditations, and his Facebook page has videos featuring a variety of breathing techniques which produce a calming effect.

COVID19 may be an opportunity for the entire world to re-evaluate its approach to societal issues and try something new. Our governments have no time to lose: as the Coronavirus impacts its citizens and its economy during this stressful time, we all need to come up with immediate and effective solutions to this virus and societal issues in general before it is too late.

About the Authors:

Arlene J. Schar has served as Dr. Leffler's Executive Assistant at the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS) since 2015. She has edited and co-authored many of Dr. Leffler's articles.

Dr. David Leffler served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director at CAMS.