In his latest book, Neil DeGrasse Tyson recalls the first time he really understood the relationship between astrophysics and the military. Chemists made napalm, physicists created the atom bomb and biologists weaponized anthrax, but how astrophysicists figured into modern warfare wasn't so obvious to him. He wasn't thrilled.
"It was odd, I was at a conference, a space conference, when the second Gulf War was ramping up big time. At that space conference were all these contractors that make the missiles, the weapons, the bombs and they of course broke into many of the sessions to bring the live coverage, the live TV coverage. And every time it was announced that this was a Lockheed Martin missile or a Boeing missile or General Dynamics, that group would applaud and cheer. It was like, people are dying in this. I got very upset," Tyson told "CBS This Morning" on Friday.From SALON:
I'm actually reading the book right now and hope to have a review of it by the weekend if not sooner.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Spoke with Prime Minister @PMBarzani of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government earlier today & condemned Iran’s recent rocket attacks into the Kurdistan region as an effort to threaten and destabilize its closest neighbor.
What's he talking about?
Iran attacks Kurdish group in Iraq with missile strike
Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) confirmed on Sunday that it had launched deadly missile attacks against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq a day earlier.
Rockets struck the headquarters of two Iranian Kurdish opposition parties in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region with reports saying at least 11 people were killed and 50 others wounded.
The missiles hit the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) in the town of Koya, 300km north of Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
Mike Pence objected the IRGC striking a terrorist or 'terrorist' group . . . but it's okay for Turkey to repeatedly bomb northern Iraq -- killing livestock and villagers -- to target terrorists or 'terrorists'? Is the issue the bombing because it honestly just looks like it's who carried out the attack not the attack itself.
Violent protests in this oil-producing city have dealt a fateful political blow to pro-American Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, all but ending his bid for a second term as both allies and opponents blame him for the unrest.
Abadi visited Basra on Monday after a week of demonstrations left at least 15 people dead and government offices, political party headquarters and the Iranian consulate in sooty ruins. He discovered that a fragile calm had returned to the city over the weekend — but that his own political future had at the same time become much more uncertain.
The protesters had fixed their frustrations on Iraq’s entire political class, chanting slogans aimed at both the government and the parties and militias aligned with Iran. But Abadi’s challengers for the post of prime minister have outmaneuvered him, seizing on the public anger to cast him as an impossible choice.
I think it can be strongly argued that Hayder al-Abadi spent the last four years casting himself in that role. He accomplished nothing. He ran on defeating ISIS but reality demonstrated that he didn't do that. It was his sole claim to fame. And it was false. But had it been true, it wouldn't have mattered one bit. He did nothing for the Iraqi people.
Corruption grew worse, public services broke down further. He had four years to improve the lives of the Iraqi people and he did nothing.
'12 people were killed last week during protests over water and electricity shortages in the southern province'
He wants four more years. Why? So he can do nothing for four more years?
The Iraqi people have not benefited from the puppet governments the US has repeatedly installed since invading Iraq. That's the point Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has made. AL ARABIYA reports:
Iraq’s Supreme Shiite spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s office released a statement that he was not supportive of “politicians who have been in authority in the past years” nominating themselves the becoming the country’s next prime minister.
The US government installs weak leaders in a system that the US government created which promotes instability. This is key to the continuing occupation of Iraq -- as important as keeping US boots on the ground in Iraq. The Iraqi people suffer over and over.
Hayder wants four more years but every day just reveals how inept he's been. For example, Moayed Kenany (REUTERS) reports this morning, "Iraq, a major Middle East grain buyer, will cut the irrigated area it plants with wheat by half in the 2018-2019 growing season as water shortages grip the country, a government official told Reuters." Inept or corrupt or both? Hayder's failed to deliver on anything.
Omar Sattar (AL-MONITOR) offers:
As differences between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and some pro-Iran factions of the Popular Mobilization Units escalate, these factions are trying not only to dismiss Abadi but also to change the system of government from a parliamentary to a presidential one. Currently, the prime minister holds executive power.Several of the factions demanded Abadi's resignation Sept. 8 after parliament held an emergency session to address deadly protests in Basra. Citizens are rioting over, among other things, a lack of basic public services that has resulted in tens of thousands of people flooding hospitals after consuming water that is highly polluted and salinated. Abadi is visiting Basra Sept. 10.
Iraq's political parties have failed to form a new Cabinet; they are still arguing over which coalition holds the majority of parliament seats. Abadi, who leads one of the coalitions, is seeking another term as prime minister.
Calls to transform the type of government are being met with a series of substantive and legal obstacles, which experts say makes it difficult to imagine this scenario playing out anytime soon. However, some prominent political forces confirm that this goal is one of their priorities.
Meanwhile a number of people appear to be getting the protests wrong. This includes Amy Goodman with her snippet of 'coverage' and it includes Kimberly Kagan who is seeing a Shia civil war.
"Intra Shi'a Civil War Begins in Iraq"
No, it hasn't. This is absurd. A few comments in case this confuses anyone.
1) To begin with, the Basra protesters are both anti-Abadi and anti-Badr/Maliki/AAH. The violence there has been directed at every major symbol of establishment power; the provincial govt (controlled by Abadi allies), party buildings, roads used by oil companies.
Note what Basra protesters AREN'T doing: they aren't killing anyone. They aren't attacking people aligned with Iran. There have been some clashes with security forces, which are controlled by Abadi (& he has defended them), but no systemic "civil war" pattern.
2) This article starts off on the wrong foot, citing a previous article that was totally wrong on all counts. The US in fact had not "disrupted Iran's play" at all, & in any case ISW misunderstands what Iran's play is. See this thread on the previous:
3) Abadi's visit to Hashd HQ came after firing Falih al-Fayyad for working against him politically. It was a push-back against the Amiri-Maliki camp for sure; it was not part of a "civil war." Statements from extreme Shia groups can be cited anytime. They constantly mouth off.
4) One essential element of an intra-Shia civil war would be the Sadrists deciding to engage in this war against Badr et al. There is zero evidence that Sadr has wanted this, & recent days have in fact seen a partial rapproachement with Badr.
Furthermore on this point: Badr, pushed by Iran, has been trying to reconcile with Sadr for a couple of months. It was never Badr's intent to try and form a govt they & other Iran-aligned groups alone would dominate. @mushrikabbas explains this here:
5) As I mentioned in my thread on ISW's previous Iraq article, the only way an intra-Shia civil war could be started would be if the US took ISW's bad advice & pressed Abadi to try to exclude Iran-aligned figures entirely through the use of sanctions. Why would Abadi do that?
1- ISW's "Shia civil war" scenario would only come to pass if the extreme policy advocated by ISW itself were adopted.
2- Badr has been seeking rapproachement to form a big Shia bloc, with Iran's backing, all along.
3- Basra protesters are not pushing civil war.
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