Friday, May 27, 2016

Tweet of the week

I love that Tweet.

It really gets the message across.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, May 26, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Falluja continues, reports of War Crimes carried out by Shi'ite militias, and much more.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Rocket artillery and bomber, attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 25 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Fallujah, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL tunnels, four ISIL vehicles, an ISIL artillery piece, an ISIL weapons cache and three ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL bunkers and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

-- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.

-- Near Hit, a strike destroyed two ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, five ISIL headquarters, an ISIL media center and an ISIL communication headquarters and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL supply cache.

-- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck two ISIL rocket production facilities and an ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL rocket position.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes suppressed two ISIL mortar positions.

-- Near Tal Afar, eight strikes struck eight ISIL-used bridges and an ISIL-used culvert and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

These bombings have been going on since August.

Of 2014.

Nearly two years later, Chris Pocock (AIN ONLINE) observes:

Coalition air forces have helped Iraqi and Syrian opposition ground forces regain significant territory from ISIS in recent weeks, according to Pentagon media briefings. But following the virtual destruction of Ramadi during its recapture by Iraqi forces earlier this year, observers are questioning the value of intensive airstrikes in support of the current moves to evict ISIS from Mosul and Ramallah in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. The composition and allegiances of the ground forces that are fighting ISIS in both countries remain complicated. 
Since the beginning of May, Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) has conducted an average of five airstrikes daily on Syria and 15 on Iraq. Airstrikes might involve multiple aircraft attacking a single target. According to official statistics released by U.S. Central Command, more than 23,000 targets have now been damaged or destroyed during just over 12,500 airstrikes since OIR began in October 2014. Twelve other countries have contributed air forces to the U.S.-led operation. They have performed just under 25 percent of the airstrikes. The average daily cost of the operation to the U.S. alone is $11.8 million. 

Flint doesn't have safe drinking water -- I don't care that Barack Obama had a photo op pretending it was safe -- but the White House can spend over $11 million a day bombing Iraq -- and has spent that daily since August of 2014.

There's no success but we're not supposed to question that.

Today, airplanes dropped bombs on Falluja.  IRAQI SPRING MC reports bombs were dropped on a Falluja market killing 4 civilians and leaving thirteen more injured.

ALSUMARIA quotes US Army Col Steve Warren stating that the US-led coalition had bombed 30 sites in Falluja today.

The assault on Falluja is putting thousands of civilians at risk and we're not supposed to question that either.

Families who've fled besieged city Fallujah. Kids flee without shoes. 50,000 trapped inside MUST be given safe exit

Fighting intensifies with no safe routes out of for the trapped civilians. Only few has escaped.

Falluja was targeted twice in 2004.  It's targeted again today.

The claim today is that this is to 'save' and 'liberate' the city.

But if that were the case, the last two years would have seen the US government leading on political reconciliation instead of ignoring it to pursue daily bombings.

Bill Van Auken (WSWS) notes:

Nonetheless, Washington is supporting in Fallujah precisely the type of murderous siege that it has accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of waging against areas controlled by the Western-backed Islamist “rebels” in Syria.
At least 21 civilians were reported killed in the US-led bombardment of Fallujah on Monday and Tuesday.
The population of Fallujah, which was the scene of bloody US sieges in 2004, has been subjected to bombardment for the last two years. Government forces have cut off supply routes to the city, depriving it of food, health care and other basic necessities. There are reports that substantial numbers of civilians are on the brink of starvation.
The Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq, a militant Sunni organization formed in 2003, denounced the new offensive against Fallujah as “an unjust aggression, a reflection of the vengeful spirit that the forces of evil harbor against the city.” It reported in a statement that 10,000 Fallujans have been killed or wounded by government bombs and shells over the past two years.
While staying in Fallujah may entail starving to death, those who flee risk being killed by either ISIS or Iraqi government forces. As few as 80 families have managed to flee Fallujah.

The United Nations refugee agency has expressed concern over Iraqi government forces separating men and older boys from women and children, taking them to the Habbaniyah Military Base for “security screening.”

The civilian lives matter far less to US-installed prime minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi then does trying to clamp down on the objections to him.  He's using the death and destruction to try to make himself look better.

Paul McGeough (TRANSCONTINENTAL) offers:

With his government now rudderless and under pressure, Abadi needs to be seen to be in control. So he struts in the all-black fatigues of the country's elite counter-terror forces; he orders up a new military assault; and he goes on late-night television to promise that "the Iraqi flag will be raised high over the land of Fallujah".
Security threat No 1 in Baghdad is the recent advent of wild, mass protests on Fridays over the political gridlock, corruption and damned awful power and water services, in which followers of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have breached the security perimeter of Baghdad's high-security Green Zone – and last week, even managed to invade Abadi's office. Since the protests began, other Shiite movements have also taken to the streets, lest Sadr and his followers steal a march on them.
Security threat No 2 is a ferocious new wave of suicide attacks that have killed almost 200 people in predominantly Shiite areas of the capital. While analysts read these bombings as a bid by IS to draw Abadi's forces back to the capital and away from efforts to recapture parts of northern and western Iraq held by the jihadists, Baghdad residents hold Abadi's chaotic security services just as responsible as IS for the attacks.
There is also Security threat No 3 – the risk that another failure by Iraq's official security forces would reveal Abadi's dependence on the Shiite militias funded, trained and armed by neighbouring Iran – for which reason they are shunned by Washington.
Launched by Abadi on Sunday, the new war on Fallujah promises to be tough. The reputations of all the players in the Iraq crisis are on the line: Abadi and his administration; the Iraqi security forces and their American and Australian trainers; more than a dozen Shiite militia groups and their Iranian sponsors; and the IS forces that hold Fallujah.

And there are reports of War Crimes being committeed yet again by these militias.

  • Shia militias crimes
    لينظر العالم معممين الشيعه مع المحتل الايراني لقتل العوائل السنيه بالفلوجة افضحوهم يامسلمين

  • Soleimani Spotted near Giving Advice for Shia militias against Iraqi sunni civilians

  • Shia militia crimes
    صور مباشر من الفلوجة
    الحشد الشيعي يستخدم القنابل العنقودية واستشهاد عدد كبير من العوائل افضحوهم

  • Pics now
    Shia militia Bombed Iraqi sunnis civilians  with cluster bombs in Fallujah


    Haider al-Abadi is a US puppet as was Nouri al-Maliki before him as was . . . 

    Though some struggle to call Haider what he is today, it's a little more comfortable for some to speak in retrospect.  

    RT reports:

    The Iraqi government, formed in 2003 after Saddam Hussein’s regime had been overthrown by the US invasion, was fully controlled by “inspectors” from the United States and its allies, a former Iraqi Defense Minister, Hazem Shaalan, told RT.

    “I was not independent in my ministry,” Shaalan said. “Inside the ministry, there were American inspectors in each department. There were also the British and Australians. There was not a single one department in the ministry, where there would be no inspectors.”
    The former defense minister also revealed that the first post-Saddam Iraqi government was not elected but instead was fully appointed by Washington.
    Interim Prime Minister of Iraq Ayad Allawi, who held office from 2003 to 2005, was “among the first to be appointed [by the US]. We were all appointed by Americans, by [Lewis Paul ] Bremer [top civilian administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq]. The first [post-Saddam] Iraqi government was appointed directly by Bremer,” Shaalan said adding that “no elections were held.”
    The former minister also emphasized that all decisions taken by the prime minister at the time required approval by US authorities. At the same time, this government was protected by the US authorities, he added.

    bill van auken

    Thursday, May 26, 2016

    Networks plan to call it for Hillary

    Shaun King (NY DAILY NEWS) reports Chris Matthews declared on MSNBC Tuesday that the networks plan to call the race for Hillary at 5:00 pm EST on June 7th (when I'll be voting, California holds its primary that day).

    This would be a clear effort to suppress the vote.

    We should all be outraged.

    But since Hillary Clinton benefits, David Brock and his zombies won't object or call it out.

    They'll be giddy with delight.

    I loathe the unethical.

    Sanders consistently beats Trump in the polls. It's getting harder to overlook. | Getty

    Bernie could win in November.

    Hillary's a big question mark.

    You'd think that would matter.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government has no diplomacy to share apparently, Father Louis Sako makes a surprising announcement, the State Dept press corps has no interest in Iraq, and much more.

    At a time when the only answer or 'answer' some can see in Iraq is weapons and more weapons, a surprising twist emerges.

    As calls for the US government to arm every group in Iraq, Sameul Smith (CHRISTIAN POST) reports Father Louis Sako, the patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, is stating do not send arms to what have been termed "Christian militias."  The priest explains, "There are no 'Christian militias,' but only politicized groups and simple people who are in desperate need of a salary.  The remaining Christians in Iraq are only the poor and those belonging to the middle class, and among them, there are 100,000 displaced people."  Instead, the priest states,  any arms should go to the Kurdish military to protect Christians in Nineveh Province.

    But for Iraq otherwise, it's weapons and more weapons, always weapons, that are the 'answer.'

    Today, the US State Dept did their third press briefing of the week.

    And, in a sign of how the US government and the press are forever entwined in a whorish embrace, for the third day in a row, not one reporter present had a single question about Iraq.

     Sunday, the assault on Falluja began.
    And yet not one reporter covering the State Dept asked a question about Iraq on Monday.
    Or on Tuesday.
    Or on Wednesday.
    Remember, prostitution isn't solo masturbation -- it requires at least two people -- as the press and State Dept spokesperson Mark Toner have demonstrated for three days in a row.
    It's a sign of the failure of the White House and the State Dept -- the continued failure -- that they refuse to pursue political options in Iraq.
    Earlier this month, US House Rep Seth Moulton Tweeted:

    Yesterday I lost my closest friend in the Iraqi Army to ISIS and our failed policy in Iraq.

    His friend was Lt. Col. Ehab Hashem Moshen.

    Dropping back to the May 13th snapshot:

    Yesterday on CNN's THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER, Jake spoke with US House Rep
    Seth Moulton (and just as soon as CNN posts a video or a transcript, we'll note a link -- instead, we'll just link to Jake's Twitter):

    Jake Tapper:  So you blame the Obama administration's failed ISIS policy of the death of your Iraqi comrade who you describe as "your closest friend."  Why?

    US House Rep Seth Moulton: He was my closest friend in the Iraqi army and the bottom line is that we have a military strategy to defeat ISIS but we don't have any longterm political strategy to ensure the peace.  And that's why we find ourselves back in Iraq again today refighting the same battles that I, myself, my fellow Marines and soldiers fought just eight or ten years ago

    Jake Tapper: And what needs to change, sir?

    US House Rep Seth Moulton:  We need to have a clear mission for the troops, a clear end game, a clear goal that they can achieve and than a strategy to maintain the peace once we defeat this terrorist group because, look, we already fought these same battles against al Qaeda but then when we pulled out of Iraq so quickly and not just pulling out the troops, I'm talking about pulling out the diplomats.  I'm talking about the people that were working in the prime minister's office, in the ministries.  The Iraqi government just went off the rails and as a result created this political vacuum that ISIS came in to occupy.  We cannot keep repeating this mistake in Iraq, going back again and again.

    Jake Tapper:  Now there are more than 4,000 US personnel, US military personnel, in Iraq right now but the White House argues this is not a combat mission.  Do you think that the Obama administration is misleading the American public.

    US House Rep Seth Moulton:  That's just simply not true, this absolutely is a combat mission.  In 2004, I had an advisory mission as a Marine with my platoon in Iraq.  We were advisors to an Iraqi unit and when that unit started to get overrun, we went to their assistance and started the battle of Najaf which was some of the fiercest fighting of the war until that time.  So there's a very fine line between an advisory mission and full fledged combat. It's very clear from the death of the Navy Seal just last week that this is absolutely a combat mission.

    Jake Tapper:  Why do you think the White House is-is pursuing the strategy that they're pursuing -- calling it an advisory mission, not a combat mission? Not pursuing the line of attack that you're suggesting they need to -- in terms of the clear strategy with an end game?  Why?

    US House Rep Seth Moulton:  I don't know.  I mean, some would say that this is trying to do war on the cheap just like the Bush administration when they got us involved in in the first place.  Let's not forget that we wouldn't be involved in this mess at all if George Bush hadn't invaded Iraq with faulty intelligence back in 2003.  But this a president who promised to get us out of Iraq and promised to use the tools of diplomacy to prevent wars from happening -- and that just hasn't happened.  You know if you think about what happened when ISIS swept into Iraq from Syria, they didn't just defeat the Iraqi army.  The Iraqi army put their weapons down and went home because they had lost faith in their government.  And yet our solution, our strategy, is to train Iraqi troops.  Well you don't fix Iraqi politics by training Iraqi troops. And Iraqi politics are broken.  That's the fundamental problem in Iraq that we need to fix.

    BOSTON GLOBE columnist Joan Vennochi profiles Moulton and notes:

    "I think the problem is the president just wants to be out of Iraq," said Moulton. "I understand why he feels that way. A lot of Americans feel that way." But, he said, America needs more than short-term military force to keep order. It needs to help Iraqis sustain a stable government, and with it, the hope of long-term peace.
    To that end, Moulton authored an amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that would require the administration to submit reports on its political and military strategies to defeat ISIS. It was passed by the House Armed Services Committee, on which he serves, and the Foreign Affairs Committee, and according to Moulton, there's "a high probability" it will be voted on soon.

    The State Dept posted weekly reports on Iraq when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.  It continued briefly once Barack Obama became president.

    Maybe the press should be writing about why these reports stopped during Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State?

    And then maybe the press should ask where the diplomatic efforts are?

    We've seen the military efforts repeatedly.

    Where are the diplomatic efforts?

    All this time later, where are they?

    Here's Barack from June 19, 2014:

    US President Barack Obama:  Above all, Iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together around a political plan for Iraq’s future.  Shia, Sunni, Kurds -- all Iraqis -- must have confidence that they can advance their interests and aspirations through the political process rather than through violence.  National unity meetings have to go forward to build consensus across Iraq’s different communities.  Now that the results of Iraq’s recent election has been certified, a new parliament should convene as soon as possible.  The formation of a new government will be an opportunity to begin a genuine dialogue and forge a government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis.
    Now, it’s not the place for the United States to choose Iraq’s leaders.  It is clear, though, that only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis.  Meanwhile, the United States will not pursue military options that support one sect inside of Iraq at the expense of another.  There’s no military solution inside of Iraq, certainly not one that is led by the United States.  But there is an urgent need for an inclusive political process, a more capable Iraqi security force, and counterterrorism efforts that deny groups like ISIL a safe haven.

    Nothing has happened on the political front.

    The Cabinet issue is a smoke screen.

    Whether Haider al-Abadi gets a new Cabinet or not has nothing to do with improving the issue of inclusion (it might, in fact, harm inclusion by doing away with quotas).

    The White House is in bed with Haider the same way it was with Nouri al-Maliki.

    Just as Barack tolerated Nouri al-Maliki killing Iraqi civilians -- most infamously in the Hawija massacre -- Haider will be tolerated as well.

    Instead of investing in the process, the White House invests in the person and we've already seen with Nouri al-Maliki (former prime minister and forever thug) that this approach accomplishes nothing.

    From 2006 through 2014, the US government backed (the US-installed Nouri) and nothing was accomplished.

    As early as 2007, Nouri signed off on the White House benchmarks for success that included national reconciliation.  These were 'measures' that Congress would use to determine whether or not to cut off funding -- allegedly use.

    There was never any national reconciliation.

    In fact, each year Nouri continued as prime minister, the targeting of Sunnis only worsened.

    Has the US government learned anything?


    Here's State Dept spokesperson John Kirby from Thursday of last week, "What we are going to do is continue to support the Iraqi Government -- the central government in Baghdad -- as it, under Prime Minister Abadi's leadership, continues to make the reforms they know they need to make to move Iraq forward. And some of those include, obviously, the security sector, and so we’re going to remain committed to our mission of trying to improve the competency and capability of the Iraqi Security Forces."

    There are no conditions on Haider, he just keeps muddling through, doing nothing and getting US dollars, US troops and US weapons.

    At IHS JANE'S, Zaineb al-Assam notes:

    Persistent bombings in Shia neighbourhoods of Baghdad and latterly the use of force by security forces will fuel anger at the government, triggering further violent protests. The prospect of further Islamic State bombings, together with violent Shia protests will provide the pretext for Shia militias to consolidate their presence on the streets and by default take control of neighbourhoods' security from the state. 

    Is Barack attempting to bring peace to Iraq or just to continue the ongoing, never-ending war?

    Meanwhile, there is one view the western media keeps thumping the war drums on -- Lucky Falluja, being liberated!

    That's not the view of all.

    A funeral has held for two of hashd militia elements in Mahmoudiya district killed in Fallujah battles,one of them is named Yasir Al-kilabi ,he is one of Amar Al-Hakim guards ...
    The violent attack on Fallujah has revealed that the officials ,parties and blocs leaders have sent even their guards ...Also ,Haider Al-Abadi has sent the special presidential regiments and his guards to annihilate Fallujah people ...Fallujah battle is larger than any battle against terrorism........


    "to annihilate Fallujah people."

    You may agree with that view, you may not.

    But you should be aware of it.

    You should also be aware that one of the biggest topics on Arabic social media is the way certain Iraqi sites are being targeted and denied service.

    Views are being suppressed and truth is being suppressed.

    Today's the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 18 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Beiji, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar system.

    -- Near Fallujah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL front end loader.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, three strikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position, four ISIL weapons caches and an ISIL tunnel and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units; destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle, three ISIL assembly areas, three ISIL bed-down locations, and an ISIL tunnel; and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed two ISIL mortar systems.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

    al jazeera