Maliki has responded by declaring a state of emergency, imposing a curfew in Baghdad and other cities, and, in a move that smacks of desperation, issuing calls to arm citizen irregulars to fight the well-organized and armed ISIS military.
Nouri al-Maliki isn't just a failure, he's a threat to the safety of Iraq, to its very future.
Nancy A. Youssef offers the sort of silly article she's become famous for.
She really has just become a mouthpiece for the US Pentagon.
Meanwhile Hillary Is 44 notes, "Hang on to your wigs, there’s a storm a’blowing. Tighten your girdles so you don’t bust a gut laughing. Reuters poll: Obama approval at 38/55, two-thirds worry about “dangerous” detainee swap precedent. Anyone who ties herself to this loser is making the wrong choice. "
On the subject of that trade, Gordon Lubold (Foreign Policy) has a must read article which includes:
As more information emerges about the decision to free Bergdahl, it has exposed a rift between military officials and the White House over the circumstances of Bergdahl's release. On the day Bergdahl's captors delivered him to U.S. forces aboard a Black Hawk helicopter, Obama appeared in the White House's Rose Garden, along with Bergdahl's parents, Robert and Jani, to formally announce the soldier's release. The celebratory atmosphere, coupled with subsequent remarks by Obama aides, was at odds with a growing sense among some military and intelligence officials that the administration had made a bad deal and had overlooked the possibility that Bergdahl was a deserter. When National Security Advisor Susan Rice appeared on ABC's "This Week" on June 1, she described Bergdahl as soldier who had served with "honor and distinction," triggering an uproar since many in the military -- and in Congress -- held a far more nuanced view of the former prisoner. While many troops strongly believe in the "no man left behind" ethos, large numbers saw Rice's comments as, at best, an avoidable gaffe, and at worst, an insensitive remark that underscored a disconnect between the White House and the many people in the military who saw Bergdahl as a deserter who may have effectively abandoned his fellow soldiers during one of the most intense periods of the Afghan war.
It's an important article with some original reporting (I didn't quote from that, go read the article) that provides much more perspective on the trade than anything I've read or heard so far on TV or radio.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
So much going on in Iraq. Before we start with that, let's first note something on the ongoing VA scandal. Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office issued the following:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Monday, June 09, 2014 (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Statement on VA’s Nationwide Access Audit
“Disturbing” data from new VA report shows gaps in quality, access to care
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released the results from its Nationwide Access Audit of veterans health facilities.
“Today’s report paints a serious and disturbing picture of the VA’s system-wide failure to provide timely access to care for our nation’s heroes. I am especially concerned by the number of facilities that serve Washington state veterans that have been flagged for further review and investigation. This information confirms what I have been hearing from so many veterans who are struggling with extended wait times in the Pacific Northwest.
“These are not new problems, but I hope today’s data will spur continued bipartisan momentum as we work to pass the Sanders-McCain compromise. Finalizing this legislation is a critical step toward addressing some of the immediate accountability and access concerns plaguing the VA. In addition, as further investigations and reviews are completed, we need to keep working to ensure the VA continues to take substantive action to address any management, resource, and personnel shortcomings that have contributed to today’s findings.”
The VA Access Audit and Fact Sheet on the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20, which includes Washington state facilities, can be found here.
Today, the VA also released information Senator Murray has been requesting as part of her ongoing call for transparency, including: medical center quality and efficiency data and mental health provider survey data.
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834
In Iraq, the day began with this alarming headline: "Gunmen control several districts in Mosul, The governor sneaks out of the city." Mosul was hardly the only area that was, to put it nicely, in flux. NINA reports rebels "seized control of government and security buildings in al-Hawija and districts of al-Zab, al-Riyadh, al-Abbasi and Rashad" in Kirkuk. NINA also reports rebels have seized "full control of the city" of Sharqat "and completely destroyed the security centers in the village Aouijilyah left side of Sharqat." In addition, NINA notes rebels "dominated on Tuesday a checkpoint at the northern entrance of Tikrit, and the island of Albu-Ajeel east of Tikrit."
AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:
Just when you thought Iraq couldn't get any worse, word comes through that militants have taken control of parts of Kirkuk province.
Now back to Mosul. Liz Sly and Ahmed Ramadan (Washington Post) report Mosul is under the control of rebels, "Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot, overran the entire western bank of the city overnight after Iraqi soldiers and police apparently fled their posts, in some instances discarding their uniforms as they sought to escape the advance of the militants." Mohammed Tawfeeq, Jomana Karadsheh and Laura Smith-Spark (CNN) report:
Speaking at a news conference in Baghdad, Osama al-Nujaifi appeared to point the finger at the central government, accusing security forces of abandoning Mosul when the fighting began.
Al-Nujaifi said security forces "abandoned their weapons, their tanks and their bases and left them to terrorist groups, even Mosul airport." He also said gunmen had taken over ammunition storage facilities.The speaker, whose brother Atheel al-Nujaifi is the governor of Nineveh province, said the central government had been warned over the past few weeks that militant groups were gathering but had taken no preventive action.
Atheel al-Nujaifi, the provincial governor told al-Arabiyah satellite channel that "the gunmen took control of the left and right sides of Mosul except for small pockets." The left and right sides of the city refer to east and west banks of the Tigris River which bisects the city of Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Nujaifi said that the top army officers who came recently from Baghdad to supervise the battles suddenly withdrew with their troops from the left side which was under control of the security forces.
Mitchell Prothero and Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) quote Mosul teacher Zaid Mohammed stating, "I asked one soldier I know why he was leaving. He told me, 'We came here for salaries, not to die'." Ziad al-Sinjary (Reuters) notes corpses of security forces were "littering the streets" and quoted an unnamed military officer stating, "We can't beat them. We can't. They are well trained in street fighting and we're not. We need a whole army to drive them out of Mosul. They're like ghosts: they appear, strike and disappear in seconds."
Alsumaria reports Nouri has ordered military commanders to arrest all security forces who abandoned their posts. NINA adds that the Ministry of Defense has announced "al-Taji Camp, north of Baghdad," is where the arrested security forces will be held. After the 2003 invasion, the US military used that camp and called it Camp Cooke. Military.com notes it is located 30 kilometers from Baghdad. While security forces ran, All Iraq News notes, "More than 70 female students are stuck inside the University of Mosul after the control of the ISIL elements on the city."
It should be noted that Al Mada's actually spoken with an officer with the federal police, an officer who deserted Mosul, and he tells the news outlet that leadership ordered the federal police to drop their weapons and evacuate. Al Mada also reports that the first security forces to desert in Mosul were the Iraqi army forces.
In addition to ordering security forces arrested, All Iraq News reports Nouri has also promised, "The security forces will re-control Mosul city within 24 hours."
Wait. There's more. RT notes, "Eyewitness accounts describe the scenes of chaos on the streets of Iraq’s second-largest city as people fled for their lives. A number of reports say that militants are freeing detainees from police stations, while AL RAI Chief International Correspondent Elijah J Magnier tweeted that the ISIS had freed over 2000 inmates from a 'counter terrorism prison'." Dentist Mahmoud al-Taie tells Ali A. Nabhan and Matt Bradley (Wall St. Journal), "The whole of Mosul collapsed today. We've fled our homes and neighborhoods, and we're looking for God's mercy. We are waiting to die." AFP's WG Dunlop Tweets the following:
In Nouri's Iraq, it can always get worse (and usually does).
All Iraq News reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi declared at a press conference today, "The ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] elements controlled the IA [Iraqi Army] helicopters and security forces withdrew from Shurqat Airport in Mosul."
Well thank goodness the White House hasn't been supplying Nouri with weapons, helicopters and F-16s . . .
They have been supplying Nouri with those things. In fact, Nouri got his first F-16 last week.
Doesn't look smart, does it?
The White House supplying a government with weapons the government can't even secure?
Maybe Barack can next press the Congress to okay plutonium being shipped to Nouri?
Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) notes:
Iraqi provincial officials confirmed reports from ISIS media outlets that at least one major Iraqi military base had fallen and with it, huge amounts of American-supplied military equipment, including possible attack helicopters. ISIS-linked Internet accounts were filled with credible appearing photos of large amounts of captured and destroyed U.S.-built armored vehicles.
The New York Times words it this way, "The insurgent fighters who routed the Iraqi army out of Mosul on Tuesday did not just capture much of Iraq’s second-largest city. They also gained a windfall of arms, munitions and equipment abandoned by the soldiers as they fled -- arms that were supplied by the United States and intended to give the troops an edge over the insurgents."
If true, the world has little to say except to offer a sarcastic, "Thank you, Barack."
The US State Dept issued the following statement today:
June 10, 2014Press Statement
The United States is deeply concerned about the events that have transpired in Mosul over the last 48 hours where elements of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIL) have taken over significant parts of the city. The situation remains extremely serious. Senior U.S. officials in both Washington and Baghdad are tracking events closely in coordination with the Government of Iraq, as well as Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum including the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and support a strong, coordinated response to push back against this aggression. We also commend efforts by the KRG to respond to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The United States will provide all appropriate assistance to the Government of Iraq under the Strategic Framework Agreement to help ensure that these efforts succeed.
ISIL continues to gain strength from the situation in Syria, from which it transfers recruits, sophisticated munitions, and resources to the fight in Iraq. It should be clear that ISIL is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region. This growing threat exemplifies the need for Iraqis from all communities to work together to confront this common enemy and isolate these militant groups from the broader population.
The United States stands with the Iraqi people and the people of Ninewa and Anbar now confronting this urgent threat. We will continue to work closely with Iraqi political and security leaders on a holistic approach to diminish ISIL’s capacity and ability to operate within Iraq’s borders. Our assistance enables Iraq to combat ISIL on the front lines, where hundreds of Iraqi security force personnel have been killed and injured in that fight this year.
The failures of Nouri are the failures of Barack. And shortly after Psaki released the above statement, she moderated today's State Dept press briefing. Excerpt of Associated Press' Lara Jakes exchange with Jen Psaki:
LARA JAKES: Okay. I’d like to start with the statement you just put out on Iraq on the attacks in Mosul, and I’ll start with a question that I asked yesterday. And that was: Do you believe that ISIL is – obviously we’re seeing it gain ground in Iraq. Do you believe that this is something that’s going to be sustained for a long time? Does this indicate more than just isolated instances of this extremist group’s strength?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Well, we have seen ISIL continue to gain strength over time from the situation in Syria. And as you all know, that has been an issue that we have been concerned about for months now and we’ve talked about, I think, in this briefing room. And we’ve seen from the situation in Syria and the overflow of the impact of that that there have been a transfer – an impact on the transfer and its recruits of sophisticated munitions and resources to the fight in Iraq. And that has, of course, been of great concern to us.
What should be clear and especially given this and the impact of Syria on – of the events in Syria on what’s happening in Iraq, that the threat that ISIL is presenting is not just a threat to Iraq or the stability of Iraq, but it is a threat to the region. And this growing menace exemplifies the importance of Iraqis from all communities working together to confront this common enemy and to isolate those militant groups from the broader population.
So as you know, over the past couple of days, and certainly even before that, the Iraqi security forces have been able to enter a stalemate with ISIL on the situation in Anbar. But the attacks over the last couple of days have shown that there is an ongoing threat, one we remain concerned about. Our DAS McGurk has been on the ground since this weekend. He is continuing to consult with a range of officials on the ground, and that we expect will continue.
LARA JAKES: The reports out of Mosul today indicate that the Iraqi security forces, most of which I believe are Shia, have fled the city and many parts of Nineveh province. So I’m wondering if (a) you can confirm that and (b) if you – what that says about the ability of the Shia-led government to operate and to protect people in the Sunni areas.
Also – sorry – there are also --
MS. PSAKI: Go ahead.
LARE JAKES: How long do you think this can be sustained? We’ve seen ISIL in control of Fallujah for months now. Is this something that can really be sustained in one of Iraq’s largest cities, i.e. Mosul?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Well, first let me say we’ve seen – on your first question – these reports. I mentioned DAS McGurk is on the ground. We’re consulting with the Government of Iraq on what occurred on the ground to gain more information. We do understand that the Nineveh operations command is still operating and coordinating a response to this aggression.
There’s no question, Lara, that the Iraqi security forces face a severe challenge by the threat posed by ISIL, but we have seen in recent days that they are actively engaged in this ongoing effort. We continue to encourage them to stay at it. And we would note that also thousands of Iraqi security forces have lost their lives fighting this effort as well.
In terms of how long it’s sustainable, obviously we are concerned. We remain concerned about the situation on the ground. We have been encouraging all sides, as was indicated in the statement that we put out just before I came out here. We’re tracking the events closely. We, as I talked about a little bit earlier, remain concerned about the strength that ISIL is continuing to gain on the ground. And we believe that this growing threat just exemplifies the need for all Iraqis to stand together and face this threat.
LARA JAKES: But you said that the Iraqi security forces are actively engaged, and yet they’re fleeing one of Iraq’s major cities.
MS. PSAKI: Well again --
LARA JAKES: And so – but let me just ask.
MS. PSAKI: Okay, go ahead.
LARA JAKES: That seems to raise a question for all sorts of people about the extent that Shia forces have bought into protecting Sunni-dominated areas. And I think it speaks to one of the larger points that this building has tried to make about needing a unified government in Iraq and making sure that the new government after the April elections are really stepping up to show Iraqis that this is a government for all Iraqis and not just for certain sects. And so I’m wondering: Does this have any kind of larger implication – signals about unity of the Iraqi Government? And can the current leadership really be relied upon to deliver unity after eight years of not so much?
MS. PSAKI: Well, let me be clear first. We don’t know all the circumstances of the events on the ground. We’re seeking more information on that. There’s no question that coordination and a unified front is a prominent part of the message we are sending both publicly and in our conversations with officials on the ground. It was in our statement; it is certainly a message that DAS McGurk is conveying on the ground as well.
We’ve seen even, as I think just this morning I believe or in the last 24 hours, that the Speaker of Iraq’s parliament, Nujaifi, came out and called on the international community to support Iraq in its efforts to counter ISIL’s offensive. I know you’re asking me about the military, but the point I’m trying to make here is that there’s no question that unity and all sides and officials in Iraq working together is the only way that they can be successful here.
And on your second question, there is also no question that all Iraqi leaders need to do more to address unresolved issues to better meet the needs of the Iraqi people. We continue to work with a broad spectrum of Iraqi leaders, and we continue to urge them to secure support from all Iraqi communities and across the board to present a common political and unified vision as they address these challenges.
LARA JAKES: Do you believe that Prime Minister al-Maliki should remain as prime minister as – I mean, it’s a relevant time to be asking since the government is in their kind of building process right now.
MS. PSAKI: Well, we never – we don’t take positions on issues around future leadership or current leadership. I will say that he’s obviously been elected previously. They’re still finalizing the results. When I said that there’s more that officials can do on the ground, that certainly includes Prime Minister Maliki.
That's what happens when you thwart an election and insist the your special friend is the 'winner.' (In 2010, Nouri 'won' a second term not via the election or even via post-election horse trading. He 'won' via the US-brokered Erbil Agreement -- a contract which circumvented the Iraqi Constitution.) Dan Roberts (Guardian) reports on the White House's response to today's events:
But in comments that may strain relations with Baghdad, the White House made clear it believed Maliki's Shia-led government was partly to blame for his forces' lack of support in other areas of the country.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US was encouraging “all Iraqi leaders including Prime Minister Maliki to do more to address unresolved issues to better meet the needs of all the Iraqi people”.
“We are going to continue our important relationship in terms of providing some security assistance to the government of Iraq but ultimately there is a responsibility on behalf of the Iraqi leaders to step up to the plate here, that includes prime minister Maliki,” he told reporters in Washington.
Colin Freeman (Telegraph of London) observes, "Many Sunnis accuse the government of treating them as second-class citizens, and while not all of them support al-Qaeda's ideology, the growing sense of discontent has driven some to see al-Qaeda as an ally again. The Iraqi government's slow response to the demands of a new Sunni-led civil rights movement, based on the Arab Spring protests in neighbouring countries, has also inflamed tensions." Interesting word choice and one that the Washington Institute's Aaron Y. Zelin objects to:
Litmus test for if one should read an article on ISIS: If it says ISIS is “al-Qaeda” that's your cue to stop reading/not take it serious.
NBC News' Richard Engel offers this observation.
Now thug Nouri wants a third term as prime minister?
Martin Chulov (Guardian) observes, "Maliki had positioned himself as the only Iraqi politician who could stand up to Isis. But his forces have been unable to win back Fallujah, or Ramadi and seem increasingly impotent as the insurgency gathers steam."
Nouri is a failure. Instead of easing tensions, he spent the last four years increasing tensions and hardening divisions in Iraq. By April 2013, when he was openly slaughtering civilians, the US government should have been demanding he heed the call of the protesters.
The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted from Nouri's federal forces storming in. Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk) announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault. AFP reported the death toll rose to 53. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).
Instead of demanding change -- which could be forced by cutting off arms or funds, the White House played footsie with Nouri (Barack apparently likes the bad boys) and worked overtime to get him more weapons. Weapons that are now in the hands of the rebels.
This is what success looks like?
All Iraq News notes Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi met today with US Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft to discuss "the latest security updates." Alsumaria reports that the Assistant US Secretary of State will arrive in Baghdad shortly.
If you're thinking this means the White House is taking things seriously, you're wrong. No one's being sent to Iraq. They're referring to Brett McGurk and he's already in Iraq, just not in Baghdad.
His name came up at Monday's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Marie Harf:
QUESTION: I have a question about the oil dispute between Baghdad and Erbil. A few days ago Deputy Assistant Secretary Brett McGurk was in the region to talk to the officials in --
MS. HARF: Still there.
QUESTION: -- okay. Do you have any details about his meetings with the officials in Erbil?
MS. HARF: I have a little details on his travel, and then if you have follow-ups on specific issues. He arrived in Iraq on Saturday for a series of meetings with Iraqi leaders over the coming days. Over the weekend and into today he held meetings with senior leaders in the Iraqi Kurdistan region to discuss the political and security situation and on the energy front stressed the importance of Erbil and Baghdad returning to discussions to finalize an accord on energy exports and revenue sharing. He will remain in the Iraqi Kurdistan region for additional meetings before heading to Baghdad tomorrow on Tuesday.
In Baghdad he will meet with a variety of Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum to discuss the evolving threat of ISIL, including the situation in Anbar province and the recent attacks in Mosul. He will also stress with leaders in Baghdad the importance of renewing discussions on an energy accord. And I’m sure we’ll have more to say about his meetings after they happen.
QUESTION: Right. The KRG – Kurdistan Regional Government’s head of Office of Foreign Relations, he said in an interview yesterday that – I’m quoting – “Kurdistan is no longer be the victim of U.S. interests in the region,” and they will continue selling oil even though the U.S. is – U.S. Government is against it. Do you have any comment?
MS. HARF: Well, I haven’t seen those comments specifically. But look, our position on this has been clear that – and longstanding, I would also note – that the export or sale of oil, absent the appropriate approval of the federal Iraqi government exposes those involved to potentially serious legal risks. We’re not taking sides on the issue. And look, our primary objective throughout all of this is to help Iraq export as much oil as possible – from all parts of the country, to be clear. But we do think that we want, as I just said, the parties to come back to the table and to have the discussions about how this looks like going forward.
Today, McGurk Tweeted:
Poor Brett, even when he manages to keep it in his pants, he can't keep his mouth shut.
ISIL is a trans-national threat?
That would presumably make it a threat to the United States.
And whose fault would that be except Barack Obama's? Who else advocated and lobbied Congress last fall to get Nouri more arms and weapons?
It's strange that he won't lobby Congress for domestic needs but he can cozy up to them when he wants to arm Nouri with more weapons.
All those weapons and now a great many are in the hands of rebels and along comes Brett to say ISIL is a "trans-national threat."
One with weapons and helicopters and various other items they didn't have until today. Note this Tweet.
Dan Lamothe (Washington Post) speaks with an unnamed "former senior U.S. military commander in Iraq" who provides five areas of concern:
3) The insurgents are likely heading south toward Baghdad. Mosul, in Iraq’s northwestern corner, is some 220 miles from Baghdad. It’s likely ISIS fighters will consolidate their gains there and head south toward Iraq’s capital city, said the former U.S. commander. Indeed, several reports Tuesday suggested insurgents had surrounded Tikrit, which is more than halfway to Baghdad from Mosul. The question becomes when and where Iraqi forces are able to stand their ground against the insurgent advance.
Brookings Doha Center's Charles Lister Tweets:
Ban Ki-moon is the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Today, his office issued the following statement:
The Secretary-General is gravely concerned by the serious deterioration of the security situation in Mosul, where thousands of civilians have been displaced in the recent violence. He strongly condemns the terrorist attacks in Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, Ninewa, and Salah al-Din provinces that have killed and wounded scores of civilians over the past several days. The Secretary-General extends his profound condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Iraq.
The Secretary-General urges all political leaders to show national unity against the threats facing Iraq, which can only be addressed on the basis of the Constitution and within the democratic political process. He encourages the Government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government to cooperate in restoring security to Ninewa Province and in delivering urgently needed humanitarian aid. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) stands ready to support these efforts.
The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned about the situation in Anbar. He welcomes the convening of an Anbar reconciliation conference and strongly encourages all local tribal, political and religious leaders to participate constructively in order to put an end to the fighting.
The Secretary-General recalls that all Member States have an obligation to implement and enforce the targeted financial sanctions, arms embargo and travel ban imposed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) under the sanctions regime pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1989.
The United Nations, including UNAMI, will continue to support the Government and people of Iraq in building a peaceful, democratic and prosperous country.
Anbar. Largely forgotten today is what is going on in Falluja. Nouri has, since the start of the year, been bombing the residential neighborhoods of Falluja wounding and killing many civilians. This is legally defined as a War Crime. It was seen as such when Nazi Germany did it. This is not a new concept that just emerged in the last year.
National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 civilians were killed in Nouri's ongoing War Crimes today with eleven more left injured.
In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports a Shirqat battle left 1 rebel dead and three police members injured, 2 people were shot dead in Baghdad, an Amiriyat al-Fallujah suicide bomber took his own life and the life of 1 Sahwa with four more injured, the corpse of a farmer was dumped on the side of the street in Samarra and police discovered it had been rigged with a bomb, an al-Ratba car bombing left 1 person dead and five more injured, and 2 Baquba bombings have left 5 people dead and eighteen more injured. Alsumaria reports 3 roadside bombings in western Baghdad left 2 people dead and eleven more injured and 1 attorney was shot dead (by an assailant with a machine gun) in Muqdadiya.
Through Monday, Iraq Body Count counts 534 violent deaths so far this month. 534 violent deaths in the first nine days of the month.
Nouri is a failure. He didn't deserve a first term as prime minister but Bully Boy Bush insisted on him. He didn't deserve a second term but Barack Obama overturned the election results and circumvented the Iraqi Constitution to give Nouri a second term (via The Erbil Agreement). Failure Nouri now wants a third term? One has to wonder how much longer Barack can get away with backing Nouri? He's an utter failure and he's harmed the country of Iraq and he's terrorized the people. A few months ago, Barack might have been able to get away with standing next to Nouri. But now Barack's got his own scandals to deal with.
At Foreign Policy, Elias Groll notes:
Whether the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq would have prevented the resurgence of violence is far from certain, but one thing isn't up for debate: Under the rule of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the country has seen a remarkable lack of progress on a variety of economic and security indicators. In many, it's actually taken several steps back. The case against Maliki is laid out in a report by Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cordesman, who has been writing about Iraq since U.S. forces swept into the country in 2003, points out that by several key metrics, the Iraq of today looks worse than it did under Saddam Hussein.
You can use the link for a series of eight charts.
For any late to the party, I'll note our position was US forces needed to leave Iraq immediately. We argued before Barack was sworn in and throughout his first year that he should immediately pull the troops out and point to the election as an indication of what Americans wanted. Then it wouldn't be Barack's war, it would be Bully Boy Bush's war.
But the thing about pampered and overly praised princes, they can't help thinking they're smarter than everyone else and that they can fix anything. So Barack played around with Iraq and made the illegal war his own. He made things a lot worse in Iraq when Nouri couldn't put together a government in 2010. Barack ordered US officials to broker a contract (The Erbil Agreement) with the heads of the other political blocs giving Nouri a second term.
You can't just say, "Sign this!" The heads of the political blocs only signed it because the contract promised them certain things. Barack gave his word that the US would back this contract. Nouri used it to get a second term but refused to implement it. He said it would be a few months. It was the entire four year term and he never implemented it. By the summer of 2012, the Kurds, Iraqiya and cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr were publicly calling for Nouri to honor The Erbil Agreement. And the White House? They didn't say word. Barack's promise that The Erbil Agreement had the full backing of the US government? (Made to Ayad Allawi to get him to stop his boycott of the Parliament in November 2010.) It vanished. And time and again, the White House looked the other way as Nouri bullied and then assaulted and then murdered. Nouri is Little Saddam.
It is true that Bully Boy Bush installed him as prime minister in 2006. It's also true that the Iraqi people turned out at the polls in 2010 to vote for a new Iraq, a better Iraq, a united Iraq. That's why Iraqiya won the 2010 elections. It represented a national Iraq. Barack refused to support a message of unity and refused to back democracy.
Today's events can be traced back to the refusal of Barack to stand up for democracy.
national iraqi news agency
the washington post
the wall st. journal
ali a. nabhan
all iraq news
iraq body count
the new york times
the telegraph of london
prashan raow.g. dunlop
the associated press