Friday, August 11, 2017

Peace Fake

peace fake

From September 15, 2014, that's "Peace Fake."  C.I. noted:

CodeStink's Medea Benjamin declares, "I'm protesting attacks on Gaza, Hobby Lobby's insurance position, Burger King's tax position, my own personal obscurity and the refusal of the CBS network to consider a Barnaby Jones reboot."  A man in a t-shirt with a peace symbol asks, "And Iraq?"  Medea replies, "I-raq?  Is that like an I-phone or I-pad or I-pod?  I can't keep up with all that new technology."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

Medea Benjamin lost me.  She stopped being about ending the Iraq War and became a Barack cheerleader.

Once upon a time, I respected her.

She lost me.

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

Friday, August 11, 2017.

Elections were supposed to take place in Iraq this year.

First in Mach but they were pushed back.

Then in September but again pushed back.

Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki has used the time trying to look impressive.  That was behind his recent underwhelming trip to Russia.

Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has also used the time -- he's visited Saudi Arabia and restarted his protests against corruption.

On the former,  Fanar Haddad (WASHINGTON POST) offers:

Though previously known as a “firebrand cleric” with a Shiite populist and militant line in Iraq, Sadr today presents himself as a moderate, nationalistic champion of change. His visit to Saudi Arabia was likely designed with two audiences in mind.
A message to Iraq’s Shiite population
Sadr’s visit was a message to his competitors in Iraq’s increasingly fragmented Shiite political scene. The Riyadh visit and the fact that Sadr was hosted at the highest levels of the Saudi establishment will underline his international relevance and burnish his prestige and credentials as an Iraqi statesman. This kind of political plumage is especially useful as Sadr and his rivals jockey for position ahead of next year’s Iraqi elections.
A message to Iran
Sadr’s visit demonstrated to Iran — and to Iran’s allies and proxies in Iraq/Sadr’s political rivals — that he not only has options, but he can even push back against Iran and has the power to potentially hurt Iranian interests in Iraq. If nothing else, this enables Sadr to present himself as the face of Arab (non-Iranian) Iraqi Shiism.

This is a position that resonates with his base — although the extent to which they will accept a Saudi embrace remains to be seen — and further differentiates him from his competitors. Having already announced a political alliance with Ayad Allawi, an anti-Shiite-Islamist figure, this visit will further polish Sadr’s credentials as a nationalist political figure who can rise above the politics of sect and ethnicity.

Ammar al-Hakim has also appears to be campaigning.  The Shi'ite leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq has formed a new party called National Wisdom; however, he has insisted that this does not mean he's left ISCI.

Ali Nasseri (NIQASH) reports:

The provincial government in Dhi Qar has been unstable for some time, with members of different parties and blocs defecting at will or forming new alliances. The most recent change saw seven members of the Muwatin, or Citizen bloc, join a brand new party created by the cleric Ammar al-Hakim.
 At the end of July al-Hakim, who had led one of the country’s largest Islamic parties, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, or ISCI, since 2009, announced he was leaving the party to form a new one. Called the National Wisdom party, Al-Hakim has said the new party, which has dropped Islamic from the name, is a project to rejuvenate Shiite Muslim politics in Iraq and to appeal to younger supporters. Al-Hakim had been at odds with older members of the ISCI for years.
As one commentator has noted, al-Hakim’s new party kept all the ISCI’s assets, essentially “stripping [them] of both the symbolism and the assets”.

Politicians in Dhi Qar appear to agree with al-Hakim’s new stand. The new party is about the creation of a new political generation,” said Adel al-Dukhili, the deputy governor of the province, one of those who defected to the National Wisdom party. ” A movement that believes in rapid change and turning challenges into opportunities, by adopting a clear manifesto.”

Will elections come in 2018?


Maybe not.

They've been twice postponed this year with no outrage expressed on the part of the global community.

Maybe Hayder al-Abadi will decide to postpone them yet again, say they'll hold elections in 2019?

Maybe he'll just play kick the can over and over.

He certainly hasn't suffered any outrage -- or consequences -- over the decision.

One election that may take place this year is on the fate of the Kurdistan region.

Will the semi-autonomous region move on to full autonomy?

RUDAW notes a new voice in the debate:

Iraqi Sunni politician and leader of the Ummah Party Mithal al-Alusi says that Iraq has failed its people and that the Kurds are justified in their quest for separation and the establishment of a state of their own.

“This is a cardboard state,” says al-Alusi in an interview with al-Iraqiya state television. “The Kurds have the right to say: I don’t want to be part of such a failed state.”

Al-Alusi, who describes himself as a secular politician from Anbar, cites the interference of regional countries as proof of Iraq’s failure.

“Is Qasem Soleimani entering Iraq on a visa? Does he have residency permit?” he asks. “Iranian intelligence working as advisors is this sovereignty? Saudi money piling up with the Sunnis, is this Iraqi sovereignty and an intact state?”

Soleimani is the commander of Iran’s Quds Force who is said to have been hired by the Iraqi government as an advisor to the defense ministry.

Al-Alusi who has been elected twice to the parliament and is a proponent of good relations with the West, including Israel, believes that Iraq has violated its own constitution which has given the Kurds a reason to seek a path of separation.

“We all voted for and agreed on this constitution that stipulates the unity of Iraq, but where has it got now and what democracy have we Iraqis got?” he says.

The move for self-determination is outlined in the Constitution.

Among the fear if the Kurds attempt it?

Neighbors like Turkey which regularly crush their own Kurdish population fear this will set an example.

The other fear in the room?

That Kurds taking this step might lead other areas of Iraq to do the same.

The following community sites updated:

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    Friday, August 4, 2017



     From August 24, 2014, that's "Golfing."  C.I. noted:

    Barack, gold club about to swing, explains, "People say, 'Barack, Iraq is on fire.  Stop golfing!' Like golfing is what's kept me from focusing on Iraq for the last six years."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    Barack got away with everything.

    He could vacation.

    He only went to Iraq once in two terms as a president.

    He delegated Iraq to Joe Biden.

    And he golfed and golfed and golfed.

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

    Friday, August 4, 2017.

    ALSUMARIA reports that early this morning the security forces began cutting off the roads to Baghdad's Tahrir Square.


    They always do this when they know of a planned protest.  It's to intimidate people with the hopes that they won't participate and to make it hard for those who still want to participate to reach the square.

    Haydar Majid (ALSUMARIA) reports  many came out to demonstrate today following Shi'ite cleic and movement leader Moqtada's call on Thursday to protest.  XINHUA notes:

    "I wish the people are aware of what corrupt politicians are engaged with a dirty scheme to restore corruption which will not only control the people's food, but also their necks and blood. So that they would stage demonstration by millions to determine their fate," Sadr said in a statement by his office.
    Sadr pointed out that the "sectarian storm," which engulfed the Iraqi people after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, made many Iraqis to close their eyes about what the politicians and the parliament blocs were doing.

    He said the politicians, who were seen as corrupts by many Iraqis, are planning to bring a new electoral commission and to approve an election law for the provincial elections that would take into account the interests of the same old large parliamentary blocs, according to the statement.

    Provincial elections were due in March but Hayder refused to hold them.  It was thought they would be held in September -- thought and publicly stated.  Yet again they've been pushed back.  It's now said they'll be held in 2018.

    Earlier this week, Moqtada met with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

    : Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman receives Muqtada Al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist Movement in on Sunday

    Madawi al-Rasheed (MIDDLE EAST EYE) offers:

    This is not Sadr’s first visit since the 2003 American occupation. He arrived in Riyadh in 2006 at the height of the Iraqi resistance to the occupation and the Iraqi civil war. But the visit was unsuccessful then. It yielded little benefits to either side. Like other aspiring clerics turned politicians, Sadr entered Iraqi politics with his own Jaysh al-Mahdi militia that later changed its name to the Peace Brigades.
    Saudi Arabia grew very frustrated over the Iranian expansion in Iraq after 2003 and found itself constantly backing losing Iraqi horses. From patronising Sunni tribal chiefs in 2005 as part of al-Tawafuq electoral list to backing the Iraqi Sunni-Shia coalitions under Iyad Allawi in 2010, Saudi efforts to find an entry into post-Saddam Iraqi politics led to further frustration amounting to hostility on several occasions.
    Saudi relations with Iraq deteriorated so much during Nouri al-Maliki’s premiership with Iraq bluntly accusing Saudi Arabia of sponsoring terrorism and precipitating a sectarian war in Iraq as a result of its Wahhabi ideology and the Saudi jihadis found in Iraq. Only in 2015 did a Saudi ambassador return to Iraq after almost 25 years of absence.  
    Sadr’s recent visit to Jeddah is a break from past Saudi practices and strategies. Mohammed bin Salman and his Trump administration backers want to limit Iranian expansion in the Arab world without outright military confrontation with Iran or its various militia that operate in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. 

    In familiar news, Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports:

    Last week, unknown assailants broke into the medical clinic of Iraqi doctor, Salim Abdul-Hamzah, in the Maamel neighbourhood of Baghdad. In other parts of Baghdad, two doctors were kidnapped: Mohammed Ali Zayer who works in a hospital in the Sadr City area and Saad Abdul Hur who had a private clinic in the New Baghdad neighbourhood. In the same week, a dentist, Shatha Faleh, was killed in a medical centre in the Washwash area.
    All of the above happened within the space of just one week in Baghdad. No wonder Iraqi doctors are worried.

    “The recent crime wave targeting Iraqi doctors is catastrophic for the country,” Jasib al-Hajami, a senior official in the Baghdad health department, told NIQASH. “The doctors and medical staff are the real wealth of our country and these crimes targeting them will push medical professionals out of Iraq. In fact, many of them have migrated or are thinking about migrating. More efforts must be made to protect them.”
    On June 25, doctors in Baghdad and in other parts of the country organised sit-ins inside their local hospitals to protest the crime wave that appeared aimed at them and their colleagues. Their banners called upon the Ministry of Health to offer them better protection and the individuals protesting also warned of a decrease in the number of trained professionals in Iraq.


    Longtime observers will read the above and nod while thinking of the "brain drain" as it was called in earlier waves.  Shi'ite militias targeted doctors throughout the Iraq War.  In part, it was a war on science.  The doctors and others with technical expertise that fled Iraq during the waves were part of a "brain drain."

    In other topics, let's move over to the Yazidis.

    1. Replying to 
      42) Nechirvan Barzani's speech today was highly disrespectful to the survivors of the Genocide—such disgusting remarks only cause more pain.
    2. Replying to 
      41) Instead of helping return to and build a secure future, their Genocide is still being exploited for political gain.
    3. Replying to 
      40) Instead, Nechirvan used his genocide commemoration speech today as a platform to attack Baghdad ahead of the KRI Independence Referendum
    4. Replying to 
      39) survivors of genocide do not need more empty and false excuses—they need a genuine apology.
    5. Replying to 
      38) That officials cannot honestly face up to these facts continues to be a painful thorn in the side of those who lost everything.
    6. Replying to 
      37) Everyone knows the truth about Sinjar, and these continued excuses are downright embarrassing.
    7. Replying to 
      36) Whether a calculated decision or simply sheer cowardice, the withdrawal allowed the Genocide to take place.
    8. Replying to 
      35) Though it is nice to see the PM now calling the event the "Yazidi Genocide," the ongoing attempts to avoid responsibility do not help.
    9. Replying to 
      34) In previous commemorative events on the Genocide's anniversary, officials called it "the Sinjar crisis" or the "Sinjar genocide."
    10. Replying to 
      33) In the first couple years after the Genocide, the KRG would not use the language "Yazidi Genocide."
    11. Replying to 
      32) < "…weapons in their hands there was no way the Peshmerga could defend Shingal.” This statement is offensive to every Genocide survivor.
    12. Replying to 
      31) In his speech today, Nechirvan said “When IS came with those weapons they were more advanced than our Peshmerga. And with the old >>
    13. Replying to 
      30) Such is the brazenness of this hypocrisy: Presenting an instance of cowardice and negligence as the selfsame group's bravery and heroism
    14. Replying to 
      29) Next, the KDP built a monument to the incident, memorializing the vehicle and placing a large image of Masoud Barzani next to it.
    15. Replying to 
      28) Poor rural people with no power or education, and no sense that they have any voice in politics, can be easy to intimidate or co-opt.
    16. Replying to 
      27) << but which broke down. Later, the KDP put the poor mechanic on their payroll, as they typically do, and made him a "commander."
    17. Replying to 
      26) Sinjar was saved, in part because of an accident, a vehicle that the Peshmerga tried to take with them, against the cries of Yazidis >>
    18. Replying to 
      25) This is how effective one single gun can be—imagine the outcome if all the Peshmerga had stayed and fought.
    19. Replying to 
      24) << airstrikes helped repel IS advances on the mountain. The mechanic may have single-handedly saved the mountain from IS.
    20. Replying to 
      23) Because of his high-ground advantage, the jihadists were not able to continue their ascent. This bought time until coalition >>
    21. Replying to 
      22) << Yazidi mechanic with no military background climbed into the vehicle, took hold of the gun, and aimed it at the ascending jihadists.
    22. Replying to 
      21) The vehicle had a heavy weapon mounted on the back. As IS later pursued Yazidi civilians up the mountain road, a poor, uneducated >>
    23. Replying to 
      20) As the Peshmerga withdrew, one of their vehicles broke down on the main road leading from Sinjar City up the mountain.
    24. Replying to 
      19) << of those weapons to the Yazidis who were begging them to leave anything that would help them defend their families.
    25. Replying to 
      18) Nechirvan is talking a lot about the inferiority of Peshmerga weapons, but it is interesting that they refused to leave behind any >>
    26. Replying to 
      17) He also didn't mention that on Aug 2 the local Yazidis asked Pesh leaders whether they should evacuate the area, but were told to remain
    27. Replying to 
      16) << once IS had already taken the area (rather than having had the advantage of holding the area to begin with, as the Peshmerga did).
    28. Replying to 
      15) In his speech, Nechirvan did not explain how the YPG, who were less equipped than the Peshmerga, were able to fight through IS lines >>
    29. Replying to 
      14) << stayed and fought to defend Tal Afar until gradually being forced to withdraw. The "we had no weapons" excuse is baseless and a lie.
    30. Replying to 
      13) Further, the Peshmerga in Sinjar looted the weaponry and vehicles of sections of the Iraqi army that did not dissolve, but which >>
    31. Replying to 
      12) << likewise fell into the hands of the Kurds. If fact, entire weapons depots in Nineveh were seized by Kurdish forces.
    32. Replying to 
      11) He also emphasized that Iraqi weapons fell into the hands of IS after the Iraqi army collapsed, but failed to mention that weapons >>
    33. Replying to 
      10) Nechirvan focused on the collapse of the Iraqi army, not drawing attention to the fact that it was the Peshmerga who controlled Sinjar.
    34. Replying to 
      9) Instead, they fled the entire region and left the civilians defenseless, after promising to protect them.
    35. Replying to 
      8) << plains near the mountain, they could have remained on the edges of the mountain and provided cover to fleeing civilians.
    36. Replying to 
      7) << how much more effective the defense would have been if the Peshmerga had stayed. Even if they felt unable to defend areas in the >>
    37. Replying to 
      6) If local people with no combat training or equipment used the high ground to prevent the jihadis from taking the mountain, imagine >>
    38. Replying to 
      5) Nechirvan should be asked how handfuls of Yazidi farmers w/ hunting rifles were able to prevent IS' ascent in some parts of the mountain.
    39. Replying to 
      4) Nechirvan repeated the tired claim that the Peshmerga were not sufficiently equipped to defend Sinjar, lacking adequate weaponry.
    40. Replying to 
      3) Nechirvan's speech contained many false and misleading statements that sidestep the uncomfortable realities of the Genocide.
    41. Replying to 
      2) In today's speech, Nechirvan tried to shift responsibility for the abandonment of from the Peshmerga onto the Iraqi army.
    42. 1) Today in Dohuk, KRG PM Nechirvan Barzani gave a speech to commemorate the Genocide:

    Oh, those poor persecuted Yazidis.

    I'm really getting tired of their p.r. efforts.  Not surprised to see the right-wing US p.r. firm that trolls the press to give them coverage is now reaching out to the University of Chicago -- a hot bed of neocons and among the universities that sold the Iraq War.

    It's amazing that the Mandeans are suffering and are being ignored but neocons continue to 'just know' that one more push will help sell both the Yazidis and further war.  Neocons are not just Jewish (though Peggy Noonan described them as such in her first book decades ago), the ones working on this were ignorant of Christianity.  They honestly believed they could sell the Yazidis to Christians in America (to further war) -- this despite the reality that Yazidis are known as "devil worshipers" -- Excuse me, were known as such every year of the Iraq War in the western press -- in all of the western press -- until the p.r. firm was hired.  Strange how up until 2014, they're "devil worshipers" in one report after another but they hire a p.r. firm and suddenly the press no longer describes them this way.  However, the press describes them, American Christians were never going to embrace them -- especially when you consider the assault on Iraqi Christians which the press tends to ignore.

    As we noted in yesterday's snapshot, 'comic' Samantha Bee needs to first practice no harm.

    It's clearly too much for her.

    Or for her ugly followers in the press.

    Who is Matt Wilstein I asked a friend on the phone a few minutes ago?  An actor on a long running series, he laughed and replied, "Proof that celebrity 'reporters' only got into reporting because they're so butt ugly."

    Oh, yes, I see.

    And big boned and fey (hat tip to Joanna Newsom) Matt watched Samantha's KRG segments religiously and felt he was getting truth.

    At THE DAILY BEAST, Matt attacks the Kurds.  They love US President Donald Trump and only do so, he explains (thanks to Samantha's 'reporting') because Trump has armed the Kurds.

    No, you stupid -- and ugly -- idiot, that's not reality.

    Just because you're too stupid to know the facts (and so stupid you see a comic's special as reporting), doesn't mean the rest of us are idiots.

    Some Iraqis were naming their babies after Donald right after the election and before he was sworn in.

    In fact, see these reports: Ben Wedeman and Elizabeth Roberts (CNN) and Stephen Kalin (REUTERS) for Donald's popularity in the KRG before he was even sworn in.

    Matt and Samantha re physically ugly.

    Even worse, they're ugly in the soul -- and no plastic surgeon can ever fix that.

    They sneer and mock a people (the Kurds) which is bad enough but they hold the Kurds up for ridicule by distorting reality.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

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