Sunday, October 4, 2015




From February 24, 2013, that's "Sequestration."  C.I. wrote:

Barack exclaims, "Live! I have created sequestration! July 27, 2011!"  Valerie Jarrett gloats, "And we'll spend the next two years blaming the Republicnas!"  While Joe Biden insists, "Only with help from The Biden of Sequestration!"  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

Barack was the father of sequestration.
I like Joe Biden as The Bride of sequestration.
But I really love it when Valerie Jarrett pops up.
She's my favorite supporting character during the Bully Boy Bush years.
Here's C.I.'s  "Iraq snapshot:" 

Saturday, October 3, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, one outlet joins The New Yorker in breaking the silence on prostitution in Iraq, Hillary Clinton can't address the topic but maybe if she focuses on the 'business' aspect of the sex trade she'll find a voice, and much more.

Friday morning, we again noted The New Yorker report on prostitution in Iraq written by Rania Abouzeid and that CNN's Arwa Damon had Tweeted about it but that it was otherwise being ignored.

From the article:

In 2012, Iraq passed its first law specifically against human trafficking, but the law is routinely ignored, and sexual crimes, including rape and forced prostitution, are common, women’s-rights groups say. Statistics are hard to come by, but in 2011, according to the latest Ministry of Planning report, a survey found that more than nine per cent of respondents between the ages of fifteen and fifty-four said they had been subjected to sexual violence. The real number is likely much higher, given the shame attached to reporting such crimes in a society where a family’s honor is often tied to the chastity of its women. The victims of these crimes are often considered outcasts and can be killed for “dishonoring” their family or their community.

Since 2006, Layla, a rape victim and former prostitute, has been secretly mapping Iraq’s underworld of sex trafficking and prostitution. Through her network of contacts in the sex trade, she gathers information about who is selling whom and for how much, where the victims are from, and where they are prostituted and trafficked. She passes the information, through intermediaries, to Iraqi authorities, who usually fail to act on it. Still, her work has helped to convict several pimps, including some who kidnapped children. That Saturday night, I accompanied Layla and Mohammad on a tour of some of the places that she investigates, on the condition that I change her name, minimize details that might identify her, and not name her intermediaries.

Friday on PRI's The World, Carol Hills spoke with Raina Abouzeid about her report.  Excerpt.

Rania Abouzeid:  But she's told me on more than one occasion that she sees this as her life's cause that she is absolutely determined regardless of the personal violence that she is often threatened with, because it is a dangerous job to sort of move undercover and pretend that you're a pimp or that you're a retired pimp in her case to get access to these brothels and to get into these nightclubs and to have the kind of relationships that she has with pimps and prostitutes.  But she's nonetheless absolutely devoted to this cause.

Carol Hills:  You accompanied her as she tried to get information and she was sort of under cover as a pimp herself in order to get information.  What did you observe her do in order to get information?

Rania Abouzeid:  One of the reasons she can do this was because she was in the trade many years ago.  She has those sort of connections and she mines those connections.  So she's a known quantity if you like in this underworld in Iraq.  And she, uh, she taps into those connections and she uses them to expand her network and it also gives her a kind of street cred, if you like, with these people that she's dealing with.

Carol Hills:  Can you give a couple of examples of the kind of women or girls that are finding themselves in the sex trade.

Rania Abouzeid:  Well it's mainly women and girls who don't have the support of their families -- either because they're fleeing from their families because of some sort of domestic abuse or they've been displaced and their usual family network isn't around them so they're -- so they're in an alien environment, if you like. And you know what one of the young ladies in my piece found herself in a very rough neighborhood because it was cheaper and it didn't take long for pimps and their women in this trade -- for one of these pimps to find her and to offer her free shelter, free food, a sense of stability and that's how she was lured into this trade.

Carol Hills:  You just mentioned that many of the pimps are women and that really surprised me.  How-how does that happen?  It's so different from -- at least our image -- of how prostitution and the sex trade operate.

Rania Abouzeid:  Yes, it's a very different model to the sort of western stereotype of the pimp -- the male pimp -- who's sort of controls the women.  In Iraq, actually in much of the developing world, these are criminal networks that are run by women.  But there are men behind them.  There's quite a tangled web of men behind them and corrupt police and militia men in the case of Iraq.

Carol Hills:  Is the current Iraqi government doing anything about this?

Rania Abouzeid:  Well in August of this year, the Women's Affairs Ministry which was always short of money anyhow was closed down as part of downsizing.  And that was one body that was supposed to sort of advocate for women's affairs.  And it was shut down.

And it was shut down.

As we noted September 10th, "What 'reform' under Haider means thus far is that quotas are going and gone -- meaning minority populations will not be represented or have a seat at the table.  In addition, shutting down the Ministry of Women's Affairs -- not a budget concern since it never had a real budget -- means that there will not be bodies in the government to track the treatment (or mistreatment) of certain segments."

Why is it that when Haider al-Abadi falsely sold his announced moves as 'reform' no one wanted to call them out -- no one in the press.  They wanted to pretend that closing down an underfunded ministry would, in fact,  address corruption.

Instead, it leaves a segment of the population without any real resources.

And where were our brave defenders of women's rights in the United States?

I don't want to hear any two-faced women's 'leader' announce yet again: "Human rights are women's rights." 

I don't want to hear that or anything else if they were no where to be found when Haider al-Abadi was trying to dismantle the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

Hillary Clinton, for example, was more than happy to vote (2002) to destroy Iraq and to continue to support the illegal war until it became a problem in 2007 as she was seeking the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination.

Today, she's again seeking that nomination but she has nothing to say about Iraqi women.

The notion that some fluff in a badly (ghost)written book means she no longer has to answer for Iraq is one pimped by the whores who want to ignore what a War Hawk Hillary is.

Remember, she can talk business opportunities brought about by the destruction of Iraq, she just can't address the problems facing the Iraqi people.

Moving from a presidential aspirant to the actual US President, Barack Obama mentioned the Middle East briefly this week.


Daniel Drezner Retweeted Michael Barbaro
He forgot Iraq.
Daniel Drezner added,

On the issue of Russia and the air strikes in Syria garnered a lot of press attention this week.  To a lesser extent so did the announcement of the government of Iraq that they would be sharing intelligence with Russia.

The latter topic was addressed this week on Fresh Air (NPR -- link is audio and text) when Dave Davies spoke with the Washington Post's Joby Warrick.

DAVIES: The other development here is that the Russians recently announced an agreement with Iraq and Iran to share intelligence about ISIS. They didn't let the Americans know about this, right? I mean, what are we to make of that?

WARRICK: It's clearly a slap in the face of the Obama administration because, you know, the Iraqis are supposedly our allies. The Iranians certainly aren't, but we've tried to work with them in  finding ways - you know, common interest - in going against ISIS. But here, you know, Russia is asserting its own role without telling the United States and essentially giving the signal or the message that the U.S. has been ineffective and been powerless. As Putin said in his speech at the U.N., it's made the situation much worse, so Russia is moving in, again, in a very dramatic fashion to say we're going to take charge here. We're going to help bring a solution to the region. If eventually it leads to a more cooperative effort between the U.S. and Russia and others in doing something against ISIS, that'll be great. I think it's way, way too early to say if that's - if we can have that kind of a hopeful outcome.

Still on Russia, Kevin Liptak (CNN) reports, "In a joint statement Friday, the governments of nations fighting ISIS -- including the United States, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia -- said Russia's military strikes 'constitute a further escalation and will only fuel more extremism and radicalization'."

Oh, Russian strikes will do that? 

Fuel more extremism and radicalization?

Russian strikes will do that?

Not US strikes in Syria or Iraq?

Because the US government has no diplomatic efforts in Iraq, just more bombs dropped.

Friday the Defense Dept bragged:

Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, attack, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Huwayjah, six strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL ammunition cache, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL vehicle bomb assembly area and an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Beiji, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 17 ISIL tactical fighting positions and wounded an ISIL fighter.
-- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL rocket
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL command and control node.
-- Near Mosul, a strike destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

And there's this:

  • In other violence, Al Jazeera notes twin suicide bombers took their own lives in different parts of Baghdad today while also killing 24 other people.

    Still on violence, this week saw the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) issue their figures for the month of September:

    Baghdad, 1 October 2015 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 717 Iraqis were killed and another 1,216 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in September 2015*.

    The number of civilians killed was 537 (including 42 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar), and the number of civilians injured was 925 (including 38 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar).

    A further 180 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army / Not including casualties from Anbar Operations) were killed and 291 were injured.

    “The United Nations remains deeply concerned by the ongoing violence and the high rate of ensuing casualties”, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Jan Kubis said. He however noted that “the cycle of violence, displacement and migration, should not hamper the need to properly and meaningfully address the key economic, security, social and institutional reforms that will help stabilize the situation and restore hope among the Iraqis”.

    Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 840 civilian casualties (257 killed, 583 injured). Diyala suffered 67 killed and 86 injured, Salahadin 87 killed and 64 injured, Ninewa 75 killed and 8  injured, and Kirkuk 16 killed and 6 injured.

    According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 204 civilian casualties (28 killed and 176injured).

    *CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted below. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum

    In other failures for Haider al-Abadi, Press TV reports there are now over 800 confirmed cases of cholera in Iraq.

    Reuters reports that July saw Haider al-Abadi refusing to pay the salaries to workers -- "pensioners, civil servants, doctors, teachers, nurses, police and workers at state-owned companies" -- in Iraqi cities controlled by the Islamic State.  And what are people saying about this move?

    The Iraqi government’s decision to choke off funding for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by cutting off all wages and pensions in cities controlled by the group has plunged people into hardship and could help the insurgents tighten their grip, officials and residents say.

    Way to go, Haider al-Abadi, way to make things even worse.

    Read on ...

    Sunday, September 13, 2015

    Serial Cheaters

    serial cheaters


    That's "Serial Cheaters" from February  18, 2013.  C.I. noted:

     Barack explains golfing with Tiger Woods, "Serial cheater Tiger Woods isn't my only supporter.  Remember Jesse Jackson Jr. and John Edwards?  Edwards dodged prison for misuse of campaign funds but Junior's headed to prison."  Jackson and Edwards sport t-shirts that read, "CAMPAIGN MONEY IS MY MONEY."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    Jesse Jr.'s out of prison.

    That's about all that's changed since I did that comic.

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

    Saturday, September 12, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri al-Maliki's latest scheme blows up in his face, kidnapped Turkish workers are back in the news, the attacks on Canada's NDP party continue (because the NDP is arguing for peace), and much more.

    Friday evening, Tim Arango (New York Times) reported the latest on the September 2nd Baghdad kidnapping of 17 Turkish workers and their Iraqi interpreter: "A previously unknown Shiite militia released a video" of those kidnapped and called for "Turkey [to] stop the flow of jihadists into Iraq and lift a seige of several Shiite-dominated villages in Syria."

    Iraq Times notes that the video posted by "death squads" is approximately three minutes and has the 18 victims in the foreground with five masked men -- four of which are holding guns (even if you don't read Arabic, there is an image capture from the video, FYI).  And here's some of the video:

  • Shia terrorist militia publishes video showing Turkish workers kidnapped in Baghdad few days ago.

    Dana Khraiche and Selcan Hacaoglu (Bloomberg News) add, "The group, which appeared to be Shiite, also called for Turkey to 'stop stealing oil' through Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and to end sieges on Syrian villages with majority Shiite populations, according to a video posted on social media on Friday. Nurol Holding Chief Executive Officer Ugur Dogan confirmed the men being held in the video are company staff."  On the oil, Tim Arango explains, "The demands include stopping the flow of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan through Turkey, something that has been at the heart of a dispute between Baghdad and the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north."

    AFP reports Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a statement: "We demand the release of the kidnapped men and the end of such practices, which harm the image of Islam." Alsumaria adds that al-Sistani stated the practice of kidnapping also drops the prestige of the Iraqi state/government.

    Chatham House's Hayder al-Khoei offers this take:

  • Sistani statement is quite significant: he calls on all political groups to support ISF put an end to outlaws who destabilise Iraq

  • Alsumaria also reports that Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has deemed the kidnapping a "heinous crime" and called for the immediate release of the 18 kidnapping victims.

    The video of the kidnapping victims is not the only video catching attention in Iraq currently.  Mamoon Alabbasi (Middle East Eye) reports:

    A video circulating on Iraqi media outlets purportedly shows the head of Iraq's most powerful militia boasting of battles on behalf of Iranian forces against the Iraqi army during the first Gulf war.
    In the video, which appears to be filmed by Iranian TV in the late 1980s, Hadi al-Ameri said that his forces had managed to deal fatal strikes against "the enemy," in a reference to the Iraqi army under executed President Saddam Hussein.
    Ameri then added that his forces managed to stop the "mad" Iraqi advance, which he said was backed by "the hypocrites," in a reference to the Iraqi-based Iranian opposition militia People's Mojahedin of Iran (MEK).

  •  Meanwhile Reuters reports, "Qatar’s emir has appointed an ambassador to Iraq, the first since the embassy was closed 25 years ago, Iraqi and Qatari media said, in the latest sign of a thaw in relations between Gulf Arab countries and Iraq."   Zayed al-Khayareen is the new ambassador.  Heba Fahmy (Doha News) reminds:

    The decision comes on the heels of a controversial conference that Doha hosted to discuss political issues in Iraq.
    That event apparently upset Baghdad, prompting Iraq to recall its Charge D’Affaires ambassador to Qatar last week after what it called a “flagrant intervention in internal affairs.”

    For those who missed that drama, Nouri al-Maliki attempted to oust the Speaker of Parliament.  This was a conspiracy that actually should have landed Nouri in prison.  There was a meet-up in Doha.  Nouri tried to use the participation of the Speaker of Iraq's Parliament, Salim al-Jabouri, as a pretext to have him removed from office.  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi did nothing (no surprise).  The real surprise?  The US State Dept actually did something.

    It leaked the news that Nouri's State of Law was in attendance (Sadiq al-Rikabi among them) as well as members of the Dawa Party (Tarek Najm).

    Nouri had been insisting that this was a Ba'athist meeting, that this was all about putting the Ba'ath Party back in power, blah blah blah.

    He forgot to note that his State of Law were among the (Shi'ite and non-Baathist) participants.

    He's still trying to stir up trouble over this but it appears his moment has passed for this faux scandal.

    In other news, the attacks on Canada's National Democratic Party continue.  As noted in Thursday's snapshot, the NDP has the common sense position that the year of bombing Iraq with war planes on the pretext of defeating the Islamic State has been a failure and, with combat having failed, it's time to attempt new ways to address the various crises in Iraq.

    This honest appraisal and common sense has already earned them scorn from the Canadian Press.   Now the hag of Canada's political commentariat, Kelly McParland (think Thomas Friedman with even less intelligence) has come after them.

    Given his status as frontrunner to become prime minister in October, Thomas Mulcair’s views on the crisis in the Middle East bear closer scrutiny than they’ve received to date.
    In an interview with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge, he repeated his rote dismissal of any role for Canada’s military in halting the horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State across Syria and Iraq. “We will immediately stop the bombing mission and bring those troops home,” he said, stressing he was “profoundly in favour “ of the pledge to pull out.

    Oh, the horror.

    McParland is a mean spirited man who fools himself into believing safety for Canada comes from dropping bombs on Iraq.

    Barack's 'plan' has been a failure.  They've had to cook the books in an attempt to demonstrate otherwise.  But even that's fallen apart. As Ali Watkins (Huffington Post) notes:

    News that senior U.S. intelligence officials may have doctored analysis on the Islamic State weighs heavily on Washington. It suggests that President Barack Obama's intelligence apparatus didn't learn from the costly failures of the Bush era.

    The Daily Beast reported late Wednesday that more than 50 intelligence professionals have formally complained that their analysis of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and of Syria's al Qaeda branch, al Nusra, was altered by U.S. Central Command higher-ups in order to make the U.S. military campaign to defeat those groups look more successful than it actually was.

    It really is amazing to watch how many cowards -- who used to pretend to be pro-peace -- in the US stay silent while the NDP is attacked.

    And someone can make the argument, "You support the NDP."

    I don't vote in Canada, I'm a citizen of the United States.

    But, yes, I do know many NDPs -- including Olivia Chow -- and you can make the argument that I'm 'just sticking up for friends.'  But the reality is honestly that I would support any group standing for peace and being attacked for that stance.

    Turning to some recent violence, All Iraq News notes Kurdish Peshmerga commander Muhammad Haji Mahmoud was injured Friday as the Peshmerga attempted to recapture villages near Kirkuk.  Iraq Times reports 2 Friday evening Dhuluiya bombings left 5 security forces dead and four more injured.  Today?  Alsumaria notes a Kirkuk province bombing left 3 people dead and six more injured (they are said to have been fleeing the Islamic State), a Baquba attack left two police officers dead, a Harthiya stick bombing left one person injured,  That is some of the violence, not all.

    Protests continued Friday in Iraq and as the front page of the Al Mada newspaper website notes . . .


    . . . women took part.

    It's interesting how the western press still ignores Iraqi women.

    If they can use them to pimp war, to promote destruction, they're all over the women.

    I'm not interested in the 'brave' Yazidi women who are fighting in combat units -- this week's whoring to continue war.  And I wasn't interested two weeks ago when the same right-wing US publicity firm was promoting the same Yadzidi women as rape survivors.  Not interested in the Yazidi teen been pimped to promote war either.

    These women and the girl may be wonderful people but for a year now we've been decrying the Yazidi political leadership teaming up with right-wing American officials and a right-wing p.r. firm.  We noted that we were not promoting their stories for the reason that it's the same outlets and officials that pimped war on Iraq.

    We've washed our hands of them and done so publicly.

    That's why we don't cover this nonsense.

    But why does the western press -- especially the US press -- ignore Iraqi women unless it comes out of the right wing of the War Factory?

    Why do they ignore the female activists protesting?

    Why do they ignore the female politicians?

    (Including the female MP who states Haider al-Abadi bailed on Parliament Thursday after he learned that he was going to face serious questioning.)

    Iraqi women have been ignored by the western press throughout the Iraq War.

    This continues to this day.

    So when the western press is in a frenzy over Yazidi women being raped or in combat -- it's suspect.

    Not that whatever didn't happen, but their concern and interest is suspect.

    We will not take part in the promotion of war propaganda.  Sadly, many so-called news outlets in the US cannot say the same.

    So-called news outlets also can't seem to get their reporters to cover Congressional hearings.  With that in mind, we'll close with this:

    Isakson to Hold Hearing on Veterans’ Health, Benefits Legislation
    WASHINGTON The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, on pending legislation for veterans’ health care and benefits, as well as legislation to increase accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  
    The hearing will be streamed online at
    The committee will considering the following proposed legislation at the hearing:
    S.290 (Moran), Increasing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability to Veterans Act of 2015
    S.563 (Moran/Tester), Physician Ambassadors Helping Veterans Act
    S.564 (Moran/Tester), Veterans Hearing Aid Access and Assistance Act
    S.1450 (Hirono), Department of Veterans Affairs Emergency Medical Staffing Recruitment and Retention Act
    S.1451 (Hirono), Veterans’ Survivors Claims Processing Automation Act of 2015
    S.1460 (Brown/Tillis), Fry Scholarship Enhancement Act of 2015
    S.1693 (Hirono), a bill to expand eligibility for reimbursement for emergency medical treatment to certain veterans that were unable to receive care from the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 24-month period preceding the furnishing of such emergency treatment, and for other purposes.
    S.1856 (Blumenthal), a bill to provide for suspension and removal of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs for performance or misconduct that is a threat to public health or safety and to improve accountability of employees of the Department, and for other purposes.
    S.1938 (Blumenthal/Tillis), Career Ready Student Veterans Act
    (Discussion Draft) a bill to make improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs relating to educational assistance, and for other purposes.
    WHO:         Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
    WHERE:   418 Russell Senate Office Building
    WHEN:      2:30 PM
                       Wednesday, September 16, 2015
    WHAT:      Pending Legislative Hearing
    The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 114th Congress.
    Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans.


    Read on ...

    Sunday, August 30, 2015

    Flatter Than A Ken Doll

     The World Today Just Nuts "Flatter Than A Ken Doll"


    From February 10, 2013, that's  "Flatter Than A Ken Doll."  

    C.I. wrote:

    Barack explains, "People ask me, 'Barack, why The Drone War?'  When you've got a crotch flatter than a Ken doll, you really need a penis substitute."    Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    Inspiration for this?

    My 8-year-old niece's birthday party the day before where she got one Barbie after another (including Ken).

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

    Saturday, August 29, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Nineveh Province residents state US forces are engaged in on the ground combat there, the Minister of Electricity gets a pass, the press gets giddy over Haider's latest statement, Iraqi activists are being assassinated (don't look for to cover it), and much more.

    Starting with the farce that is reform in Iraq,  August 25th, the Minister of Electricity was supposed to appear before Parliament.  After no-showing, he finally appeared today.  Saif Hameed (Reuters) reports Qassim al-Fahdawi, after answering questions, had the "confidence" of the Parliament and adds, "The exoneration of Fahdawi, who took office a year ago, could stir anger among protesters who complain they have yet to see tangible results from reforms announced this month by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi."

    There are no results -- tangible or otherwise -- in any of Haider's announcement.

    Friday saw the fools come out -- not just lunatic Reidar -- exclaiming that the Green Zone was being opened! the Green zone was being opened!

    Here's what had the boys and girls jizzing and creaming in their briefs and panties:

    Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi issues orders to the Special Operations forces and the Baghdad Operations Command to carry out the necessary arrangements to open the Green Zone to citizens.


    Aug 28 2015  

    Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi issues orders to the Special Operations forces and the Baghdad Operations Command to carry out the necessary arrangements to open the Green Zone to citizens.

    PM Media Office

    Haider ordered it, did he?

    The same way, September 13, 2014, he ordered an ending to the bombing of the residential areas of Falluja?

    Because, despite being a War Crime, the Iraqi military continued -- and continues -- to bomb the residential areas of Falluja.

    Even the giddy BBC News had to express, deep in their report on the 'opening' of the Green Zone, this deflating reality, "It is not clear when the plan will be implemented."

    It never is.

    So maybe next time don't treat an announcement as an action?

    Just saying.

    Or don't treat someone who's exactly the same as his predecessor as though he's a completely different type of leader.

    . & can help STOP death penalty in , for people like Wassan Talib. Tweet them now! 

    . & can help STOP death penalty in , for people like Wassan Talib. Tweet them now!

    Al Jazeera offers a ridiculous report on the suffering of the people of Anbar Province.

    To be sure, they are suffering.

    The ridiculous aspect is the "more than a month" timeline Al Jazeera offers for the Iraqi military operation to liberate or 'liberate' Iraq -- it began May 28th.

    Yes, that is "more than a month."

    In fact, it's more than two months.

    And, today, it's more than three months.

    For all the whiners in the press e-mailing how cruel and mean I am to them of late (of late? seriously, of late?), a musical interlude.

    Oh, Oh, Oh, I
    I learned to wave goodbye
    How not to see my life
    Through someone else's eyes
    It's not an easy road
    But now I'm not alone
    So I, I won't be so hard on myself no more

    Don't be so hard on yourself, no
    Learn to forgive, learn to let go
    Everyone trips, everyone falls
    So don't be so hard on yourself, no
    Because I'm just tired of marching on my own
    Kind of frail, I feel it in my bones
    Oh let my heart, my heart turn into stone
    So don't be so hard on yourself, no
    -- "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself," written by Jess Glynne, Wayne Hector and TMS, first appears on Jess' album I Cry When I Laugh

    Back to Iraq, John Cassidy (New Yorker) surveys the landscape and offers:

    Despite more than a year of air strikes by the United States and its allies, and despite some important battlefield successes by the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces during that time, ISIS appears to be as strong as ever. Or, at least, that is what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded, according to a report published a month ago by the Associated Press. And, this week, the Times revealed that the Pentagon is now investigating whether intelligence officials “skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress.”

    Obama Administration officials continue to claim that the policy of air strikes, combined with the deployment of several thousand U.S. soldiers to train Iraq’s army and the supplying of arms to the so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria, will eventually bear fruit. “I’m confident that we will succeed in defeating ISIL and that we have the right strategy,” Ashton Carter, the Defense Secretary, said last week. But Carter also conceded that “it’s going take some time.” Assuming so, that means the task of confronting ISIS, and deciding whether to escalate the level of U.S. involvement, will almost certainly fall on the next President.

    Rudaw interviewed Jeannette Seppen who was in Baghdad for two years as the Netherlands Ambassador to Iraq and who is leaving to become the Netherlands Ambassador to Pakistan:

    What are your best memories of the past years?
    On the one hand it is sad to see what happens to the country, and on the other it’s promising to see how much resilience people show. It was surreal to visit [the Iraqi province of] Wassit and see the happiness of the governor and his people—that they had visitors again. Those are beautiful moments; that even using modest means you can still do something.

    And the way IDPs and refugees try with all their might to regain their lives, the resilient people you meet. On the one hand it is sad normal people always are the victim, and on the other it is admirable how they are able to get through.

    What I told my successor is that we should try to contribute to bring the lives of these people to a more normal level. Let’s realize how good things are for us, compared to so many others, and let’s get the energy and the means from this awareness to share with others that have so much less. 

    The Iraqi people continue their heroic struggle for freedom -- from occupation, from puppet leaders, from corruption, from sectarianism and so much more.

    But the struggle's never easy, especially when activists are assaulted -- as Iraqi Spring MC and Zaid Benjamin note as activist Khaled al-Akili is assassinated.

    1. واسط: ناشطون: الميليشيات الحكومية تغتال أحد ناشطي محافظة واسط الناشط المدني "خالد العگيلي" قرب منزله بمدينة الكوت .

  • Iraq Times notes he was shot dead Saturday night in Kut by unknown gunmen (plural) and that he is one of several activists calling for demonstrations who has been assassinated.

    Protests took place Friday throughout Iraq:

    Incredible photos from by - protestors call for a secular  

    Turning to US politics, Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin.  Supposedly, he's seeking the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination.

    Supposedly, because I've never seen such a crap ass campaign and we covered Jill Stein's idiotic run in 2012.

    Walker's in the news because he gave a "major foreign policy speech."

    And you can find that out at NBC News, CBS News, etc.

    You just can't really find it at his campaign website.

    They're helpful enough to tell you how you can watch the now past speech "live" and they even offer five bulletin points from it.

    Here's a clue for Scott Walker's campaign, come into the 21st century.

    If you give a major speech, post it on your campaign website, you damn fool.

    If you don't, why did you give it?

    What a moron.

    And that "moron" is due to his idiotic campaign website.

    We long ago noted at Third, ten years ago?, that your website was your online office.  You need to run it effectively.

    Bill Barrow (AP) reports:

    Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is calling for U.S. forces in Iraq to engage in direct combat to defeat "radical Islamic terrorists" in the Middle East.
    Yet even as the Wisconsin governor predicts a "generational struggle," he continues to avoid calling for additional ground troops beyond the roughly 3,200 military security personnel, trainers and advisers now deployed.

    Is that an accurate portrayal of Walker's view?

    I have no idea.

    He and his campaign were too stupid to post a transcript of the speech online.

    Some partisan outlets (Vox, to name one) are treating the above position sketched out by Barrow as outrageous.

    But this is US President Barack Obama's position -- though they never call him out.

    He's the one who's put over 3,200 US military personnel in Iraq.

    And this is close to the 3,500 to 4,000 he wanted to leave in Iraq after December 2011.

    And their being in combat?

    That's what he told the New York Times when he was first running for the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination -- that after starting a withdrawal, if things went bad in Iraq, he was fine with sending troops back into Iraq.

    Oh, is this news to you?

    It's because the New York Times failed to report it.

    They did a fluffy, frou-frou report based on an extensive interview with Barack.  We took the transcript of the interview and wrote the reality at Third in November 4, 2007's "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq':"

    Presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama who is perceived as an 'anti-war' candidate by some announced that he would not commit to a withdrawal, declared that he was comfortable sending US troops back into Iraq after a withdrawal started and lacked clarity on exactly what a withdrawal under a President Obama would mean.

    Declaring that "there are no good options in Iraq," Senator Obama went on to explain that even with his 16 month plan for withdrawal, he would continue to keep US troops in Iraq, agreeing that he would "leave behind residual force" even after what he is billing as a "troop withdrawal."

    "Even something as simple as protecting our embassy is going to be dependent on what is the security environment in Baghdad. If there is some sense of security, then that means one level of force. If you continue to have significant sectarian conflict, that means another, but this is an area where Senator Clinton and I do have a significant contrast," Senator Obama offered contrasting himself with his chief opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination. "I do think it is important for us not only to protect our embassy, but also to engage in counter-terrorism activities. We’ve seen progress against AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq], but they are a resilient group and there’s the possibility that they might try to set up new bases. I think that we should have some strike capability. But that is a very narrow mission, that we get in the business of counter terrorism as opposed to counter insurgency and even on the training and logistics front, what I have said is, if we have not seen progress politically, then our training approach should be greatly circumscribed or eliminated."

    The Senator insisted, "I want to be absolutely clear about this, because this has come up in a series of debates: I will remove all our combat troops, we will have troops there to protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities. How large that force is, whether it’s located inside Iraq or as an over the horizon force is going to depend on what our military situation is."

    The positon of the majority of Americans in poll after poll is that all US troops need to be brought home by 2008. Senator Obama's strategy calls for bringing some troops home, should he be elected president, in his first sixteen months; however, he is not, by his own words, an advocate of a "Out of Iraq" strategy.

    While maintaining that he would remove all combat troops in sixteen months he did agree that the forces left behind to fight "terrorists" would be performing "a combat function."

    He also spoke of deployment, and presumably bases, "in places like Kuwait" in order "to strike at terrorist targets successfully."

    Returning the topic of leaving US forces in Iraq even after what he's billed as a "withdrawal," the Senator delcared, "As commander in chief, I’m not going to leave trainers unprotected. In our counterterrorism efforts, I’m not going to have a situation where our efforts can’t be successful. We will structure those forces so they can be successful. We would still have human intelligence capabilities on the ground. Some of them would be civilian, as opposed to military, some would be operating out of our bases as well as our signal intelligence.

    The senator also admitted that he was comfortable with sending troops back into Iraq after what he's terming a "withdrawal" though he wanted to split hairs on what constituted "armed force."  

    Again, if that's news to you, take it up with the New York Times which had the above quotations and chose not to run with them.  As we said at the end of the above:

    That's the story they could have written based upon the interview conducted by Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny. As C.I. noted in Friday's "Iraq snapshot," the interview the reporters conducted hit harder than the sop they wrote up on it that ran on Friday's front page of the paper. 

    Walker's position is not significantly different from Barack's.  (And, for the record, I don't support either's position on Iraq.)

    And for those really harping on Walker's position that US forces should be in combat, they already are.  Those bombs dropped from US war planes?

    That's combat.

    In addition, Wael Grace (Al Mada) reported this week on what the people of Nineveh Province were seeing: US forces joining Iraqi forces in combat.

    The residents say this is not 'consulting' or 'advising' but that US forces are actually taking part in on the ground combat.

    Read on ...
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