Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's The Great Bumpkin, Barry O


it's the great bumpkin, barry o



From October 31, 2013, that's "It's The Great Bumpkin, Barry O."  C.I. noted:


Barack is in the pumpkin patch with Kathleen Sebelius and Valerie Jarrett.  He explains, "The trick was when I said, 'If you like your plan, you can keept it!'  The treat was that lie got me 4 more years in the White House."  Valerie Jarrett declares, "I should have left after the first term."   Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.


ObamaCare was a rigged scheme to enrich insurance companies, not to help the American people.  And if you doubt it, be sure to read Trina's "Higher premiums just around the corner" from this morning.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Saturday, June 18, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the War Crimes in Falluja continue, thousands of new refugees have been created by 'liberating' the city, US President Barack Obama meets with Saudi royal, and much more.


The stupidity runneth over -- and circles around itself:

In light of Fallujah quick fall, Mosul upcomig battle seems now less unrealistic.







Does it get any more stupid than Green Lemon and Joel Wing?


A terrorist organization is not a government.

The Islamic State seized portions of Iraq not because they were so wonderful or so trained but because the government of Iraq was much worse than inept -- it was (and remains) corrupt and selective -- persecuting all that aren't in power but most openly persecuting the Sunnis.

We have repeatedly pointed out how embarrassing it is for Haider al-Abadi (US-installed prime minister of Iraq) that he's been prime minister since August of 2014, Mosul was taken over by the Islamic State in June of 2014 and Mosul still is held by the Islamic State.

al Qaeda, the big terrorist in the world mind throughout the '00s, never controlled Afghanistan.  (The Taliban did.)


The Islamic State is able to do amazing attacks, vast destruction, deadly deeds, criminal acts.

In Iraq, thanks to the government of Iraq, they were able to seize territory.

That they can be driven from that territory should not been seen as a shock.

That it's taken two years for Haider -- and counting -- to reclaim Mosul is shocking.

And appalling.


That the Islamic State could be driven out of cities it holds in Iraq was never in doubt -- even without US participation.

That it's taking so long goes to the corruption that is the Iraqi government.


[Sidebar, we don't focus on Syria here.  We have not made a point to condemn or even criticize US President Barack Obama's scattershot approach -- which has included arming some of the same groups designated as terrorists elsewhere.  I would not have armed anyone but the picture there is different than in Iraq.  Though Barack's now being pressured -- heavy this week -- he has refused to send US combat troops into Syria.  I think that's probably the smartest thing he's done in his presidency.  The briefest possible description for Syria remains "civil war."]


And, again, these 'victories' should have taken place "even without US participation."

The fact that the 'victories' come only after a year and five months of daily US bombings, after that long in training, after the use of US forces in combat, etc, etc, is appalling.




Iraqi gov officials/militia commanders recruit children

















  • And they're using child soldiers.

    Which is appalling.

    And should not happen.

    But such children demonstrate more dedication and passion than the government of Iraq has.

    That is the story.

    For nearly two years, Haider al-Abadi has been prime minister of Iraq.

    During that time, Mosul has been occupied by the Islamic State and remains occupied.

    How do you look yourself in the mirror when you've allowed a terrorist group to take over cities and when you won't do anything yourself?

    Every action taken -- whether by the Iraqi forces proper or by them and/or the Shi'ite militias (which are part of the Iraqi forces now -- is backed by either the United States or Iran.

    There is no rah-rah here despite the media drum beat and desire to create one.

    I do not care for the Shi'ite militias.  That said, these comments are not a slap at them.  They are not a slap at the Iraqi military proper.

    They are an acknowledgement that the government of Iraq is a failure.

    Beyond that, these actions are empty -- these military 'victories.'

    That's before you take into account what 'liberation' has looked like in Ramadi and elsewhere.

    But the military actions are meaningless in terms of wiping out the Islamic State.

    It's a terrorist organization that took root in Iraq because of the government persecuting the citizens.

    Ammar al-Shamary and Jim Michaels (USA TODAY) explain:


    Analysts say the battlefield gains will need to be followed by political reconciliation, since the Islamic State was able to take advantage of Sunni anger at the Shiite-dominated central government.
    The Islamic State is not popular among Sunnis, but resistance in some areas of the country was weak, since many Sunnis did not want to fight on the side of the Iraqi government — allowing the militants to take over large swaths of territory two years ago.
    "Political concessions with Sunnis will be needed for the Fallujah operation to sustain any gains," said Sterling Jensen, an assistant professor at the United Arab Emirates' National Defense College in Abu Dhabi.


    There has been movement on the political front.


    Haider al-Abadi has replaced Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister but the persecution has not changed.

    That's not surprising.

    The two are friendly (at one point, they were friends) and they both hail from the same political party (Dawa).

    Haider's blusters about ending corruption but then appoints a member of Dawa to head the so-called investigations thereby ensuring that Nouri and he himself are protected.

    The corruption starts at the top.

    As does the disregard for the Constitution of Iraq.


    Haider's tossed out vice presidents -- a power he does not have in the Constitution.  He's tried to put together a new Cabinet -- while the old ministers remain in their role -- never having been stripped of the roles by the Parliament (the only body that has the power to do so).


    He long ago lost the support of the leading Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.


    In the face of his continued failures, the 'liberation' means very little.

    It certainly does not wipe away or justify War Crimes that have taken place this week -- such as:


    Iraqi Sunni civilian displaced from Fallujah tortured by Shia Militias

     
     
     



    Iraqi Sunni woman displaced from Fallujah arrested by Shia militias without guilt or charge in
     
     
     




    And then there's the new refugees.


    43,000 Iraqis Recently Displaced from - - via

     
     
     




    With no time spent on a political solution and no time spent on a plan for what happens after the Islamic State is driven out of Falluja, it's really a hollow victory -- if it's even that.



    The White House issued the following yesterday:



    The White House
    Office of the Press Secretary
    For Immediate Release

    Readout of the President’s Meeting with Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    President Obama met this morning in the Oval Office with His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, to continue discussions begun in April at the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh. The President expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the campaign against ISIL. Reviewing recent Iraqi gains against ISIL, the President and Deputy Crown Prince discussed steps to support the Iraqi people, including increased Gulf support to fund urgent humanitarian and stabilization needs. On Syria, they reaffirmed the importance of supporting the cessation of hostilities and a political transition away from Asad.   The President and Deputy Crown Prince also agreed to build support for Libya’s Government of National Accord. With regard to Yemen, the President welcomed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to concluding a political settlement of the conflict and of GCC support to address urgent humanitarian needs and rebuild the country. More broadly, the President and Deputy Crown Prince discussed Iran’s destabilizing activities and agreed to explore avenues that could lead to a de-escalation of tensions. They also discussed the important role Saudi Arabia can play in addressing extremist ideology. 
    The President commended the Deputy Crown Prince’s commitment to reform Saudi Arabia’s economy and underscored strong U.S. support for achieving the recently-announced Vision 2030 goals. The Deputy Crown Prince underscored Saudi Arabia’s strong support for the Paris Agreement and welcomed cooperation with the United States on clean energy issues. The President and Deputy Crown Prince reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.





    The following community sites updated:




















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    Saturday, June 11, 2016

    Accountability



    accountability




     
    From October 31, 2013, that's "Accountability."  It's often forgotten now just how corrupt Barack's administration was.  Kathleen Sebelius is one of the worst.  C.I. noted:



    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hard at work as usual declares, "Hold me accountable for the debacle.  I'm responsible."  She also wonders, "Can we wrap this up now?  I still have to get a facial."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    She never took accountability for anything.

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


    Saturday, June 11, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the persecution of the Sunnis continue, Barack Obama's inability to address the roots of the Islamic State's support in Iraq continue, Moqtada al-Sadr orders his followers to stop protesting, and much more.


    NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports that the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim, has decried the protests Friday at the offices of various political figures and parties.

    Friday,  bridges and roads to Baghdad were closed by the US-installed prime minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi in an attempt to head off protests against corruption in the government.  ALSUMARIA reported Haider issued a statement stressing actions against political officials or public institutions will be dealt with firmly.

    IRAQI SPRING MC reported that the Dawa party is shooting at protesters in Dawa.  The Dawa political party is the party that both the present prime minister (Haider) and the most recent one (Nouri al-Maliki) hail from. Forever thug Nouri denounced the Najaf protesters who had blocked off his office.   In Wasit, protesters stormed political headquarters.
    Iraq, a major OPEC exporter which sits on one of the world's largest oil reserves, ranks 161 out of 168 on Transparency International's Corruption Index.
    The dispute within Iraq's majority Shi'ite community began turning violent when Sadrist protesters stormed Baghdad's heavily fortified government district, known as the Green Zone, for a second time, on May 20. Four demonstrators were killed.
    Sadr's followers have been staging protests demanding anti-corruption reforms since February. His rivals see in the demonstrations an attempt by the cleric to dictate his views to the rest of the political class. 

    Today, ALSUMARIA reports Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr called on those protesting corruption by targeting the headquarters of political parties to cease their demonstrations and wait until the end of the holy month of Ramadan to protest.  He added that regardless of when they protest, the government forces must protect protesters, not attack them.  ALL IRAQ NEWS adds that he also called on his followers to pray and practice worship.


    Those have not been the only protests in Iraq.


    Demonstrations in Karbala against the Iranian Qassem Soleimani & Against the Iranian occupation







    Concern continues to grow in Iraq over the involvement of the Iranian government within Iraq's borders.  At MIDDLE EAST MONITOR, Dr. Noureddine Miladi offers:



    American satellite TV channels as well as human rights organizations have signposted the Iranian involvement in the invasion of Fallujah and other remaining Sunni majority places. The Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi army has been reported to be waging a war by proxy for the Iranian ‘Revolutionary’ Guard. The fact that Kassim Sulaiman, leader in the Iranian ‘Revolutionary’ Gard, is roaming free in Iraq, giving advice to the militia, while he is wanted internationally raises a lot of questions, argues the head of Al-Hayat newspaper in New York.
    The recent shutting down of Al-Jazeera offices in Iraq is another attempt to silence the witness. Along with other Arab media outlets, Al-Jazeera has been accused of misinformation and fabrication of news. The same reasons ostensibly had been given by the US army in 2003 when they decided also to shut down the channel’s offices in Iraq because of its daring journalism.

    History will soon unveil that the invasion of Fallujah is not merely to uproot [the Islamic State] but to strategically broaden the sectarian rule backed by Iran on all Iraqi soil. This plan is partly about silencing all forms of Sunni dissent against the sectarian government of Baghdad and partly to expand the Iranian hegemony in the region.



    The liberation or 'liberation' of Falluja continues.  The Iraqi military -- which includes the Shi'ite militias -- struggle to follow commands, Shi'ite militia leaders openly criticize Haider al-Abadi, civilians are targeted and persecuted.


    Chris Rogers (GUARDIAN) writes:

    As US and Iraqi forces continue to press against Isis in Falluja, over 50,000 civilians remain trapped in the city. Protecting them is not only a moral imperative, but critical to long-term US strategic objectives. As a new report by the Open Society Foundations details, failing to do so would be a rebuke to the hard-learned lessons of US generals in Afghanistan.




    Shia Militias crimes فديو مسرب جديد يظهر الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يعذب شيوخ سنه عراقيين كبار بالعمر بطريقه وحشية



    Iraqi Sunni civilians displaced from Fallujah tortured by Shia Militias






    افضحوها النائبة الشيعية حنان الفتلاوي تهدد الشاهد السني الذي قال انها اشرفت على تعذيبي حياته الان بخطر



    This needs to be investigated - Dawa Party MP Hanan al-Fatlawi allegedly oversaw the torture of Sunni captives




    Dawa Party MP Hanan al-Fatlawi allegedly oversaw torture of Sunni captives fm Fallujah - see video











    Douglas Burton (WASHINGTON TIMES) speaks with Sunni Atheel al-Nujaifi, the former governor of Nineveh Province who states that he's assembles a force of 1500 Sunni fighters:


    Mr. Nujaifi shares the concerns of many U.S. analysts that the largely Sunni populations in Islamic State-held cities such as Mosul and Fallujah harbor deep suspicions of the Iraqi national army and Shiite militias that are leading the fight in Anbar Province.
    Mike Pregent, an adjunct scholar from the Hudson Institute and a former U.S. military intelligence officer, warned that "continued U.S. support to Iraqi units that work with, tolerate and integrate Shia militias into their operations will reset the conditions that led to ISIS to begin with: A disenfranchised Sunni population that would be ripe for ISIS 2.0 to exploit."
    Added retired Gen. Jay Garner, director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq following the 2003 invasion: "If the Shia militia enter Mosul, there will be a bloodbath."



    The US continues to ignore the War Crimes.

    Why?


    Same reason they tolerated Nouri al-Maliki's persecution of the Sunnis throughout Nouri's second term, they want to change Iraq -- not for the Iraqi people but for the corporations.  That's what the IMF invasion is all about.  Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani gets that which is why he warned against it throughout 2015 and this year.


    The violence continues in Iraq.  ALSUMARIA reports a Baghdad roadside bombing left three people injured, and a bombing outside of Baquba left two Iraqi soldiers injured.


    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

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

    -- Near Baghdadi, two strikes destroyed two ISIL artillery pieces and an ISIL front-end loader.

    -- Near Fallujah, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit; destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL recoilless rifles, three ISIL light machine guns, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL anti-air artillery piece; and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL staging area, an ISIL command and control node, and two ISIL storage areas and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL rocket cache.

    -- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL supply cache and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two ISIL tactical units; destroyed an ISIL fighting position, three ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle bomb and an ISIL heavy machine gun; and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Qayyarah, seven strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, five ISIL communication sites, an ISIL recruitment facility, and an ISIL bed-down location; destroyed four ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle, six ISIL rocket rails and an ISIL mortar position; and suppressed a separate 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. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.


    This has been Barack Obama's answer since August of 2014, daily bombings.


    They've really not helped.

    At the end of March, Brookings' Kenneth M. Pollack attempted to spin things pretty but even he struggled:


    As has too often been the case in Iraq, progress in the military sphere is not being matched by equivalent (or even commensurate) political progress. I continue to see Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as a decent, intelligent man who wants to take Iraq in what I consider to be the right direction: toward ethno-sectarian reconciliation, more efficient government, and a more balanced foreign policy (or at least reduced foreign influence in Iraq). He continues to make smart moves in the military sphere, he has taken some important steps to decentralize power to the provinces, and his desire for a more technocratic and less political (or cronyist) government is laudable. However, his government continues to have little to show for all its good intentions, and that is costing the prime minister support in a variety of quarters.
    [. . .]
    As part of this debilitating process, reconciliation among Sunni and Shiite Arabs remains moribund. President Fuad Massoum has convened a committee on reconciliation to try to push the process forward, but the committee rarely meets, and when it does, it accomplishes little. Sunni leaders are pleased with Abadi’s willingness to decentralize authority and resources to the governors of Anbar and Salah al-Din provinces to help with the reconstruction of Ramadi and Tikrit respectively, but still regard it with suspicion, fearing that the prime minister is giving them that rather than seats at the table in Baghdad.
    Even some of Abadi’s closest allies among the moderate Sunni leadership are becoming frustrated that there is so little tangible progress on reconciliation. Of course, the Sunni leadership remains badly fragmented (even more so than the ever more fragmented Shiite leadership), but the government makes little effort to unify them or to use proxies to negotiate on behalf of the Sunni community. As I have written previously, I believe it critical for the United States to take on that role because I do not believe the Iraqis are able to do so themselves. That point was only reinforced by my impressions from this trip.

    Trying to spin pretty, Pollack sugar coated the political failure by glorifying the military success -- or, as it turns out, 'success.'

    On last weekend's THE NEWSHOUR (NPR), host Hari Sreenivasan spoke with REUTERS' Ned Parker about Parker and Jonathan S. Landay's report on the state of the Iraqi military:



    HARI SREENIVASAN: The Reuters news agency reports that the 17- month U.S. effort to train and build up the Iraqi army has fallen short. Current and former U.S. officers and officials told Reuters that despite U.S. efforts, the army’s combat capacity has barely improved, and that the government relies too heavily on Shiite militias to do the fighting.
    For more about the readiness of the Iraqi army, I am joined via Skype by Ned Parker of Reuters, who co-wrote the report.
    For someone watching at home, give us a little bit of the lay of the land here. What’s the mix between the Iraqi army and the militias? Who is doing most of the fighting?

    NED PARKER, REUTERS: Well, it’s a mixed bag, really. The problem is is that the Iraqi army only has about five functioning divisions, according to U.S. officers. And those divisions are about 60 to 65 percent capacity. So on the ground now, when fighting happens, the Iraqi military has basically a shortage of labor. And the one good fighting force that’s there, that’s effective from the state, is the Iraqi Special Forces. And according to U.S. officers, those forces are in real danger of burning out because they are the only force the state has been able to rely upon time and time again over the last two years.

    So the other force fighting alongside the special forces are militia groups that many of them are funded by Iran. They have hard-line sectarian ideology, and have been deeply controversial. So on the ground, what happens is many places like north of Baghdad, in areas like Tikrit or Beiji that were retaken from the Islamic State, by the Iraqi special forces, as soon as the battle is over in effect, the militias take over. And people in these areas, whether local officials, ordinary citizens, see not the state but the militia forces as the ultimate power.



    There's no real success in Iraq because the issues that drove the rise of the Islamic State have still not been addressed.


    The White House has focused solely on a military solution despite Barack declaring June 19, 2014 that the only answer was a political solution.


    In September of 2014, the RAND Corporation's Ben Connable testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and declared, "The thrust of my proposition here is that the success or failure of any coalition effort to defeat IS --  and ultimately to stabilize Iraq -- hinges not on tactical considerations or tribal engagement efforts, but on the more critical issue of Sunni Iraqi reconciliation. I believe the new anti-IS coalition can succeed if it predicates all of its actions in Iraq on national reconciliation between Sunni and Shia Iraqis. If political reconciliation is not the core aspect of an anti-IS strategy then coalition efforts are likely to fail in the long run."


    As Loveday Morris and Missy Ryan (WASHINGTON POST) observed this week:

    At the same time, only limited progress has been made in addressing the frustration that Iraqi Sunnis have with their Shiite-led government, a core reason some of them initially welcomed militants into their cities. That jeopardizes the longevity of any territorial victories U.S. trainers hope to achieve.













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