Sunday, July 26, 2015

Princess and President

the princess and the president

From Sunday, December 30, 2012, that's  "Princess and President:"  

Barack does a ta-dah! while David Gregory grins.  Barack declares, "Notice my single tear.  I turn it on when I need sympathy.  I'm a big crybaby and a princess.  Today I told Meet The Press the worst day of my presidency was the shooting at Newton that killed 26 people.  I didn't say Benghazi when 4 Americans were killed even though, as president, I am responsible for those deaths.  I didn't list the over 2000 people killed in my over 300 Drone Strikes in Pakistan or the 1543 US service members killed in Afghanistan since I became president and princess in 2009.  I'm a big frilly princess!  Did I mention my single tear?" Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

The main thing on that one?

Sometimes I feel the comic is a little bland visually so I'll add a color screen to it.

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

Saturday, July 25, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Turkey renews bombing Iraq and the PKK,  the US government looks the other way having gotten what it wanted from Turkey, and much more.

Holy war
Hate and cruelty...
How can this be holy?
If I had a heart I'd cry.

These ancient tales...
The good go to heaven
And the wicked ones burn in hell...
Ring the funeral bells!
If I had a heart I'd cry.
-- "If I Had A Heart," written by Joni Mitchell first appears on her Shine

DEBAKA reports:

The Middle East woke up Friday, July 24, to two new full-fledged wars launched by Jordan and Turkey for cutting down the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as is forces advanced on their borders. The United States and Israel are involved in both campaigns. Jordanian armored, commando and air forces are already operating deep inside Iraq, while Friday morning, Turkey conducted its first cross-border air strike against ISIS targets in Syria. Clashes between Turkish troops and Islamic fighters erupted at several points along the border. Both governments also conducted mass arrests of suspected Islamists. The Jordanian police picked up ISIS adherents, while 5,000 Turkish police detained 250 Islamist and outlawed Kurdish PKK suspects in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Saniurta. Jordan Friday shut down its only border crossing with Iraq.

But Turkey's not trying to cut down the Islamic State with these attacks.

It's using the threat or 'threat' of the Islamic State to advance their own interests which is to yet again re-start the war between Turkey and the PKK -- Kurdish fighters who have fought for an independent Kurdish homeland (fought via armed violence) for decades now, since 1984.

Contanze Letsch (Guardian) points out:

Turkey launched overnight airstrikes against several positions of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s party (PKK) in northern Iraq for the first time in four years, the country’s government has said.
The air raids put an end to a two-year ceasefire between the Turkish government and the PKK, severely endangering the already fragile peace process started in 2012 in an attempt to end a bloody conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people over 30 years.

ITV adds, "The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has said its 2013 truce with Turkey 'has no meaning anymore'."  AP explains, "The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling the Islamic State group. The strikes further complicate the U.S.-led war against the extremists, which has relied on Kurdish ground forces making gains in Iraq and Syria."  Zia Weise and Chris Stevenson (Independent) note the shift in their report which includes:

“With the bombardment, Turkey has ended the ceasefire,” said Zagros Hiwa, a spokesman for the PKK and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) based in the Qandil mountains, told The Independent on Sunday. “It ended the ceasefire and it ended the peace process unilaterally. From now on, we will continue our struggle against all odds.”

The action of the Turkish government should be immediately and universally called out.

This is not helping anything.

The Turkish government -- probably like many others -- is using the pretext of the Islamic State to attack Iraq.

In doing so, it is violating Iraq's sovereignty yet again.

This didn't work out well before, for any who paid attention.

The Turkish warplanes, announcements swore, killed 'terrorists.'  Reality, they bombed farming communities and killed civilians.

This didn't endear them to the Iraqi people.

There was outrage, naturally.

Now the Turkish government uses the threat or 'threat' of the Islamic State to overturn a peace initiative that they clearly never supported and were only waiting for the first chance to void.

In terms of Turkey, this means the PKK is now engaged in war with them which will mean on the outskirts of Turkey as well as inside.

This was a stupid decision by the Turkish government.

The question right now is whether or not the White House approved this assault.

Did the White House know about it and is that why there's been no major public condemnation of the assaults on northern Iraq from the White House?

The best they can offer, as the BBC notes, is a minor player with minor words:

US White House spokesman Alistair Baskey said Turkey had the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks by Kurdish rebels and urged the PKK to renounce terrorism.
But he said that Ankara should also avoid violence towards the PKK and seek to de-escalate the conflict.

Jacques Brinon (AP) notes that meek and weak wasn't the response in France where at least a thousand "Kurds and leftist Turks" took the streets of Paris to register their objections to Turkish warplanes bombing northern Iraq with banners decrying the action and some accusing the Turkish government of assisting the Islamic State.

The bombing raises many questions -- such as did the White House agree to look the other way as part of a deal with Turkey to use a Turkish base?

Friday on NPR's Morning Edition (link is audio and text), Steve Inskeep discussed the White House's latest arrangement with Deborah Amos:

INSKEEP: So why is it a big deal the U.S. can use Turkey as a base?

AMOS: Steve, this is a real estate question. It's all about location. This airbase, Incirlik, is about 200 miles from Syria and ISIS targets. Now coalition jets are taking off from bases in the Gulf. They're flying more than a thousand miles. So what this means is less refueling, more time in the air. And that's a big change. Turkey signing on is also a game changer. Turkey's been frustrated with Washington policy on fighting ISIS. They say that you have to fight Bashar al-Assad in Syria at the same time, but Turkey has been increasingly threatened by ISIS.

Xinhua offers "Ankara is concerned that Kurds, emboldened by gains in Iraq and Syria, may have an incentive now to ask for a greater autonomy and even independence that risks the unitary structure of Turkish state."

AFP notes:

The leadership of Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has condemned Turkish air strikes against positions of Kurdish fighters in its autonomous region, echoing the remarks of the leadership earlier.
Masoud Barzani, president of KRG, spoke to Ahmed Dayutoglu, Turkey's prime minister, over telephone on Saturday and "expressed his displeasure with the dangersou level the situation has reached", according to a KRG statement.
"He requested that the issue not be escataled to that level because peace is the only way to solve problems and years of negotiations are beter than one hour of war," the statement said.

Liz Sly (Washington Post) explains, "The targeting of Kurdish militants will also complicate the United States’ air war against the Islamic State, which has relied heavily on a PKK-allied group of Syrian Kurds to make advances in northern Syria."

And it will complicate things within Turkey.  WSWS offers:

Originally, Ankara, Washington and its Arab allies worked closely together in undermining the Syrian regime and arming Islamist groups opposed to Damascus. But when ISIS expanded into Iraq and endangered the regime in Baghdad, Washington made a political turn. It bombed ISIS and, much to the dismay of Ankara, aligned itself with Iraqi Kurdish groups. The recent agreement between Iran and the US further undermines the rapidly declining influence of Ankara.
By joining the war against ISIS and simultaneously escalating the confrontation with the Kurdish nationalist groups, Ankara is trying to win back some influence over the course of events. By doing so, it is escalating the ethnic and sectarian tensions in Syria, Turkey and the entire region, posing a deadly danger for the working class.

A second, no less important, reason for Ankara’s warmongering is escalating social and political tensions at home. The massacre in Suruç has triggered a wave of terrorist attacks for revenge, in which the PKK killed three police officers and a soldier and two alleged ISIS members. A member of the HDP was killed by an “unidentified murderer.” The Turkish Prime Minister’s Office stated that the government would take “any necessary measures to protect public order and national security.”

In the US, Senator Johnny Isakson is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following on Friday:

Friday, July 24, 2015
Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777

Isakson: We Owe Our Veterans 'Nothing Less' than to Hold VA Accountable
Joins colleagues in highlighting committee action on sweeping VA accountability legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, spoke on the floor of the Senate regarding the recent committee passage of legislation aimed at increasing accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was joined on the floor by fellow committee members Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., as well as Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
At a markup held Wednesday, the committee approved both the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act of 2015 (S.1082), which gives the VA Secretary greater firing authority over bad actors in the department, and S.627, a bill that prohibits the VA from granting bonuses to underperforming employees. 
            Isakson delivered the following remarks on the floor of the Senate:
“As chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the United States Senate, I'm proud to be joined by other members of the committee for a colloquy and a report to the American people on the progress we're making to hold the VA accountable for our veterans and for the taxpayers.
“As all will remember, Phoenix, Ariz., had a terrible tragedy at the VA Hospital in Phoenix last year. Because of missed appointments, erased records and consults that were removed, veterans waiting for services never got them and, in three cases, they died. That was malfeasance in office and brought a great scandal to the VA.
“In January when our committee took hold, we decided to go to the Justice Department and the VA’s Inspector General and say, ‘Go into the VA. Investigate these incidents taking place and if we find criminal wrongdoing or civil wrongdoing we should prosecute these people to make sure it doesn't happen again.’
“Now I'm never happy when anybody is indicted, but I was satisfied that last Friday the first indictment came down from the Justice Department against a VA employee. Unfortunately in my state of Georgia at the VA hospital in Augusta for 50 counts of falsifying medical records, the results of which ended up benefiting the employee and hurting veterans.
“And I promise the American people and the members of the Senate that’s not going to be the last indictment. We're going to see to it that people are held accountable for their actions. We owe nothing less to our veterans than that type of treatment.
“Wednesday, the VA committee met in the Senate and we approved two great bills on our effort to bring about greater accountability. One of those bills was the Rubio-Johnson bill which allows the firing and the holding accountable of VA employees for malfeasance, misconduct in office, or for cause.
“As many people know the VA oftentimes in disciplining people just moves them to another job at the same pay but they can't move them out of the system, so the accountability system never takes place. There is no sense of accountability and veterans are not well served. Thanks to the Rubio-Johnson bill, people who are terminated for cause will have a brief hearing and a chance to justify their case. And if their case is not justified they will be removed from the veterans’ administration health services agency and they will be fired. That's the type of accountability every American who is employed in their job at home has. We think it's the same accountability every Department of Veterans Affairs employee ought to have.
“After that we passed the Ayotte-Cassidy bill, a bill that I was really proud of because Senator Cassidy and Senator Ayotte said the following: ‘You know, it's just not right for somebody who's not doing their job to get a bonus.’ As many people know, bonuses were paid in the VA last year to employees that were in fact being reprimanded for misconduct and bad behavior. You cannot take away a benefit retroactively and this bill does not do that but it says to the VA prospectively, rewards cannot be earned and bonuses cannot be earned for those not conducting their job in the way they should.
“These are the type of accountability measures the people of the United States expect. As chairman of the committee, I always want to brag about the good things our VA employees do and they do a lot of good things. For every one scandal you hear about, there are hundreds of thousands of benefits veterans are receiving because of good, loyal employees. But the best employees in the world are brought down a notch when those who are not good are allowed to continue to stay on the job even if they’re not performing or get bonuses when they're not performing.
“I'm so proud of the Ayotte-Cassidy bill and the Rubio-Johnson bill which say to the American people we're going to have accountability. We're going to pay bonuses for good behavior, not for bad behavior. And if somebody doesn't do their job, they'll be held accountable and they'll lose their job if they're fired for cause and that cause is justified. That's what the American people expect of the Senate. That's what they expect of our committee and I'm proud to report to the Senate today that started.”
            You can watch Senator Isakson’s remarks here.
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.

the washington post
liz sly
Read on ...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Barry O's Favorite Topic

barry os favorite topic


From December 23, 2012, that's "Barry O's Favorite Topic."

C.I. noted:

 In his 'eulogy' for the late Senator Daniel Inouye, Barack made it all about himHe also repeatedly called the late Senator "Danny."  He stands at the podium explaining, "And on July 25, 2973, Danny Called some a liar at some hearing but the day is really remembered for me getting my first pube.  It fell off an hour later and it turned out to be a cotton strand from my sweat pants.  But by then I'd already given 16 speeches about it so I still count it."  As he blathers on, 8-year-old Nabila declares, I will not forget October 24th when Barack Obama killed my grandmother with a drone."    Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

Barack has been one of the greatest disappointments of all time.  Truly.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, we explore why that is in a walk through of the last four or so years in Iraq, and more.

The day begins in Iraq with news of a Friday night truck bombing resulting in massive deaths and injuries.

How big is "massive"?

The bombing took place no where Baghdad but it's getting western press coverage, that's how "massive."

Scott Neuman (NPR) notes the Diyala Province bombing has left "at least 11 people" dead and that "Susannah George, reporting for NPR from Iraq, says amateur video shows dazed civilians wandering through destroyed streets and buildings."  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) points out that this is "one of the deadliest single attacks in the country in the past decade."

What's going on?

All that happened when the assault began on Anbar is the violence spread elsewhere.  Consider Falluja the middle of a tube of tooth paste.  Nouri putting the thumb in the middle of the tube did not make the toothpaste disappear, it only made it increase in opposite ends.

You probably think I wrote that today or this week when the (latest) assault on Anbar began.


That's from February 21, 2014.

When is anyone going to wake the hell up?

I am not the smartest person in the room and never will be.

This week the so-called Center for American Progress offered more useless garbage about Iraq and trying to defend Barack.

There's no defense.

There is experience and there is knowledge.

We have explained the toothpaste metaphor over.  I believe the most recent time was April 25th.  Equally true, Gen Martin Dempsey picked it up and used it when testifying before Congress this month.

When he did, I thought about including it here.  But then I thought, "Am I patting myself on the back?"  So we avoided it here.

We can't avoid it anymore.

The United States needs to start paying attention and stop whoring.

Whoring for Bully Boy Bush didn't help Iraq.

Whoring for Barack Obama doesn't help Iraq.

Take your mouth off the cock of which ever of the two men you're in love with and worship and stop your whoring.

(Although some, like Andrew Sullivan, managed to worship and whore for both men.)

If you want a military approach to Iraq -- I do not -- you need to grasp that Barack and Haider al-Abadi's strategy or 'strategy' or plan or 'plan' is doomed.

It does not work.

Even by military standards it will not work.

If you want a military approach to Iraq's political crises, then what you want is not 'degrade and destroy' -- which are two bulls**t terms used to trick the American people -- many of whom want to be tricked, let's be honest.

The two terms are "clear and hold."

That's the military strategy that needs to be carried out in Iraq.

You do not defeat (militarily) an 'enemy' in an area by jumping here (Tikrit) and then there (Ramadi) and then many miles over there and then many miles over here.

If you're trying to defeat an enemy in the borders of country, a state, a province, whatever, you are doing clear and hold.

You are starting from point X and you are methodically working to the next point.

So if we're in California, for example, we don't clear Los Angeles and then jump tons of miles over to Monterey.

If you made Los Angeles your starting point, you would immediately send  troops into Ventura and Kern and Orange and San Bernadino because each of those counties border Los Angeles (while keeping forces in Los Angels county to ensure that it is 'held').

You would take Los Angeles county and then grab the immediate surroundings ones -- this is clear and hold.

Once you had secured those counties, you would continue to work outwards.

When you instead, grab Los Angeles county and then jump miles and miles and miles to the north to grab San Francisco, you accomplish nothing.  Between the two you have San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, Merced, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, etc., etc.

So if you retake Los Angeles and then jump to San Francisco, all those areas between the two?  That's where the 'enemy' will flood to.

That's the point of the toothpaste analogy.  You're just pressing on one point of the tube and the toothpaste is just spreading elsewhere in the tube.

(To be successful, you would need to work from the closed end of the toothpaste tube all the way across -- squeezing all the toothpaste out as you do -- to the nozzle.)

This is not working militarily -- the current approach in Iraq -- and it will never work.  You can't do Tikrit in northern Iraq and then jump down to Ramadi.

Clear and hold.

That's basically door to door.

And once you clear one area, you need to hold it.

And you send additional forces into the bordering area and clear and hold that.  And you do that over and over, working through the country.

That's the only way the approach works from a military stand point.

From a military stand point, the current effort (whatever you want to call it -- plan, strategy, whatever) is a failure and will continue to be a failure.

I don't support a military approach to the problems.  Maybe other Americans will.  That's fine, it's a democracy.  If they do support it, I'll still be a voice opposed to it (that's also democracy).

But if you're going to do a military approach, you need to do one that could accomplish something and not one -- the one Barack and Haider al-Abadi are ordering -- that will never accomplish anything.

Jumping from Tikrit to Ramadi just means the Islamic State moves all over in all directions.

You're not 'herding' them by doing a clear and hold.

You're allowing them to set up multiple bases wherever they want.

The current approach is not methodical and it's insane from a military stand point.

(And, yes, the Pentagon knows that.  That's why they don't like the approach.)

I say it won't work.  Even clear and hold, I say, won't work.

That's my opinion.

What am I basing it on?

I'm basing it on we saw the Islamic State coming.

We warned it was coming, we warned this was where Iraq was headed and we started that warning back in 2010 and got louder and louder until 2012 when we were no longer saying this could happen but saying it would happen.

Because I'm a genius?

No, because I studied revolution, rebellion and resistance in grad school.

Do they still offer those courses all these years later?

I don't know.

But I emphasized campaign politics and Latin America for my underground poli sci work and I went with political theory for my grad school work.

And it boils down to: People can only take so much.

In Iraq, in 2010, an election was held.  There was all sorts of efforts by Nouri al-Maliki to suppress the vote in Sunni areas.  There were polling stations in Sunni areas that never opened.  There were ones that the so-called independent electoral commission was able to get opened by noon.  Sunnis overwhelmingly were told -- when they did get to an open polling station -- that they couldn't vote there and had to travel to X to vote.

Even with this and other dirty tricks -- Sunni politicians were stricken from the ballot -- this includes Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq (who took to Al Jazeera's Inside Iraq to denounce this effort many times ahead of the March election) -- Nouri's State of Law did not win the election.

Iraqiya -- headed by Ayad Allawi and also representing Saleh al-Mutlaq and Osama al-Nujaifi, among others -- won.

This was huge.

This was a breakthrough.

Iraqiya did not win by Sunni votes.

It won with a cross-section of support from Iraq's various sects.

It was the Iraqi voters saying -- as they began to say in 2009's provincial elections -- that they wanted a national identity.

The sectarian approach -- imposed on Iraq by the US government -- had been a clear failure and had only served to divide Iraq.

The voters rejected it.

They went with Iraqiya -- which was a party that welcomed all Iraqis.  Yes, Saleh and Osama were Sunni.  Ayad Allawi was Shi'ite.

They also welcomed women -- a big deal in Iraq after the US-led invasion destroyed women's rights.

In the years after the vote, Maysoun Damalouji became one of the most cited individuals in the Iraqi media.  She was the most cited woman.  And she was probably in the top ten period.  She was the spokesperson for Iraqiya.

That's an accomplishment that only Iraqiya had -- they brought women into the national dialogue, they forced the media to acknowledge women -- not in those ridiculous 'beauty' features some Iraqi media features but as participants in Iraq's society.

That's why Iraqiya had the support it did in 2010.

It represented a way forward for the country.

And that's why it came in first.

But Barack Obama chose to ignore the Iraqi voters.

Nouri al-Maliki did not want to step down as prime minister.  (Bully Boy Bush installed him as prime minister in the spring of 2006.)

He wanted a second term.

And instead of the US insisting that Nouri step down and that the vote be honored, they backed him.

So for eight months, it was a standstill Iraq -- this is the political stalemate.

Nouri refused to step down and Parliament wasn't meeting to address issues.

With Chris Hill, Samantha Power and others insisting that Nouri was the only way (he would, they insisted, allow US troops to remain in Iraq after the end of 2011), Barack ordered US officials in Iraq to bypass the vote (and the Constitution) via a legal contract.

This is The Erbil Agreement.

It's what Patrick Cockburn and all the other liars ignore.

They tell the lie that Iran was responsible for Nouri's second term.

It's a cute lie and it absolves Barack of any blame.

But it was The Erbil Agreement.

Some lazy know-nothing is going to e-mail the public e-mail account insisting that's not true and they know it because they watch MSNBC.

So let's note this:

▼  11/07 - 11/14 (20)

That's the week that mattered, know-nothings.

That's the week.

In October 2010, Patrick Cockburn insists (lies), Iran resolved the issue and Nouri was prime minister.


As we explain in an entry in one of the above (I'm really tired of spoon feeding, can you tell?):

March 7th [2010], Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. November 10th a power sharing deal resulted in the Parliament meeting for the second time and voting in a Speaker. And then Iraqiya felt double crossed on the deal and the bulk of their members stormed out of the Parliament. David Ignatius (Washington Post) explains, "The fragility of the coalition was dramatically obvious Thursday as members of the Iraqiya party, which represents Sunnis, walked out of Parliament, claiming that they were already being double-crossed by Maliki. Iraqi politics is always an exercise in brinkmanship, and the compromises unfortunately remain of the save-your-neck variety, rather than reflecting a deeper accord. " After that, Jalal Talabani was voted President of Iraq. Talabani then named Nouri as the prime minister-delegate. If Nouri can meet the conditions outlined in Article 76 of the Constitution (basically nominate ministers for each council and have Parliament vote to approve each one with a minimum of 163 votes each time and to vote for his council program) within thirty days, he becomes the prime minister. If not, Talabani must name another prime minister-delegate. . In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister-delegate. It took eight months and two days to name Nouri as prime minister-delegate. His first go-round, on April 22, 2006, his thirty day limit kicked in. May 20, 2006, he announced his cabinet -- sort of. Sort of because he didn't nominate a Minister of Defense, a Minister of Interior and a Minister of a Natioanl Security. This was accomplished, John F. Burns wrote in "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" (New York Times), only with via "muscular" assistance from the Bush White House. Nouri declared he would be the Interior Ministry temporarily. Temporarily lasted until June 8, 2006. This was when the US was able to strong-arm, when they'd knocked out the other choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) to install puppet Nouri and when they had over 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Nouri had no competition. That's very different from today. The Constitution is very clear and it is doubtful his opponents -- including within his own alliance -- will look the other way if he can't fill all the posts in 30 days. As Leila Fadel (Washington Post) observes, "With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) points out, "Maliki now has 30 days to decide on cabinet posts - some of which will likely go to Iraqiya - and put together a full government. His governing coalition owes part of its existence to followers of hard-line cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leading Sunnis and others to believe that his government will be indebted to Iran." The stalemate ends when the country has a prime minister. It is now eight months, four days and counting.

The power-sharing agreement is The Erbil Agreement.

One day after it it is signed (November 10th), the Parliament finally meets (November 11th).  (There was a do-nothing meet-up in the late spring of 2010.  They didn't carry out their duties then due to the political stalemate.)

The Erbil Agreement was brokered by the US government.

This is how they sold to the various political leaders in Iraq: Look, it's about 8 months and the countries not moving forward because Nouri refuses to step down.  He could do this for another 8 months.  Be the bigger person here, do what's right for Iraq.  Let's just let him have a second term as prime minister so we can move things forward.  Now in exchange, we'll get the things that the voters you represent want.  And we'll make this legally binding by putting it into a contract that has the full support and backing of the White House.'

So the Kurds, for example, demanded (among other things) that the contract include Article 150 of the Constitution be implemented.

This was insanity as I've said over and over.

The Constitution itself demanded Nouri implement Article 150 by the end of 2007.

If he refused to do so when the Constitution of Iraq demanded he do so, why the hell would you think a legal contract brokered by the US government would now force him to do what he'd refused to for his entire first term?

The Kurds weren't the only insane ones.

By 2010, when had Nouri ever kept his word?

In 2007, for example, he agreed to meet the White House benchmarks.

Those were going to determine whether or not the Iraq War continued to be funded by Congress, remember?  Give them the tools to measure 'progress' in Iraq.

He never did.

Not in 2007.

Not in 2008.

And by 2009, cheap whores in Congress (we mean you, Barbara Lee) no longer cared because Barack Obama was now in the Oval Office.

So Ayad Allawi, for example, per The Erbil Agreement, was going to head an independent national security commission.

And he foolishly believed that would happen.

Until November 11, 2010 when the Parliament met and Nouri announced . . . that Erbil Agreement?  He was going to need to put in hold.

He'd implement it, sure, absolutely, but it was going to take a little time.

Allawi walked out of Parliament with the bulk of Iraqiya.

And Barack called Ayad and begged him to go back in and swore to him that The Erbil Agreement was a legally binding document and had the full support of the White House.

Because the President of the United States personally gave his word, Allawi went back in.

Biggest mistake he ever made.

There was no power-sharing government.

(And Nouri refused to nominate anyone to head the security ministries because he was staging a power grab and wanted to control them.*)

In January of 2011, small protests began breaking out in Iraq.

This was ahead of the Arab Spring or 'Arab Spring.

They wanted a power-sharing government.

I'm guessing because of the whorish manner of the US press that they ignored those protests to protect the administration.

The general rule -- especially true at the New York Times -- is foreign coverage is dictated by foreign policy conveyed by the US State Dept.

The protests became bigger in February.

By then the US press was enthralled by the Arab Spring.

They loved Egypt, for example.

They weren't interested in Iraq.

But Nouri knew he was in trouble and he declared a number of things including (a) he would not seek a third term as prime minister, (b) he would implement the power-sharing agreement (The Erbil Agreement) and (c) give him 100 days -- stop protesting and give him 100 days -- and he would end government corruption.

He didn't do any of those things.

He just wanted protesters off the street, fearful of the impact they might have.

So you have the Iraqi voter expressing their intent at the ballot box.

And you have their will and intention over turned (by a foreign leader -- Barack).

They now have their elected reps who can possibly address the situation.

And that's what their reps try to do.

Beginning in the summer of 2011, the Kurds, Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqiya and others begin demanding that Nouri implement the power-sharing agreement (the one he signed off on, the legal contract, in order to get a second term as prime minister).

And he refuses.

And here's what Barack dummies up and he, the White House and the State Dept act like they never heard of The Erbil Agreement, let alone negotiated it, let alone gave Ayad Allawi a promise that it was legally binding and had the full backing of the President of the United States.

Not only did Nouri ignore the calls to implement it, he had his spokesperson float to the Iraqi media that the contract was illegal so Nouri wouldn't be bound by it.

That's when, at the start of 2012, there is a move towards removing Nouri from office.

It moves slowly with many hoping that just floating the idea will scare Nouri enough so that he will implement The Erbil Agreement.

It doesn't happen.

Small meetings in March quickly turn into public meetings in April.

Throughout, Moqtada al-Sadr says publicly that Nouri can end this process to move towards a vote of no-confidence in Parliament by implementing The Erbil Agreement.

He makes no so move.

In May, the needed signatures are gathered (actually more than needed) on a petition.  The MPs are glad to sign off because all the groups were promised things in The Erbil Agreement and no one's getting any of it.

So as May 2012 draws to a close, it's time for the vote in Parliament.

The petition goes to then-President Jalal Talabani whose sole role in this is to present it to Parliament -- it's a ceremonial role.

But under pressure from the US government (this is Barack again, not Bully Boy Bush), Talabani suddenly declares that he has to vet the signatures.

Eye brows are raised over this, it's not his role, but no one objects.

Vet the signatures?

Sure, let him speak to each Member of Parliament that signed the petition and make sure that they signed it.

Where's the harm?

Jalal quickly announces that some people admitted they signed the petition but -- he says -- they say they wouldn't sign it today.

So he's not submitting the petition.

And, oh, by the way, he's got to have emergency, life necessary surgery so he's leaving for Germany immediately.

You better believe that lying coward fled immediately.

There's no, "I won't take back my signature."

If you've changed your mind, you just change how you'd vote when the no-confidence vote is held.

You're not able to remove your signature after you sign the petition.

That lying, fat ass Jalal Talabani -- doing the work of the US government -- created a role that didn't exist and did so to kill the no-confidence vote.

If you're a religious person, this might be where you insert, "God don't like ugly."

I call it karma, you can call it whatever you want.

But Jalal fled the country like the lying coward that he was.  He actually had elective knee surgery -- there was no danger to his life.  He lied and he left the country to avoid fall out for what he did.

But here's where karma or a Higher Power or whatever kicks in.

Nouri remained in power.  In December of 2012, Nouri and Jalal got into a rage-fest in Jalal's office.

Jalal suffered a stroke.

He ended up in Germany for 18 months.

He lied in May of 2012 that he needed to have surgery to save his life.

And in December 2012, he got a life altering event.

Fat ass Jalal still can't face the Iraqi people.  Even now, he does not have control of his body or his speech.

He will never recover from this stroke -- brought on, again, by his face-to-face December 2012 rage-fest with Nouri al-Maliki.

That may be the only justice that Iraq's seen since the US-led invasion of 2003.

The Iraqi citizen has seen their vote trashed (by Barack).  They've seen their representatives attempt to seek redress by following the Constitution and -- with Jalal doing Barack's bidding -- that didn't happen either.

This is when the people take to the streets.

They begin protesting and the protests last for over a year.

Nouri responds by attacking the protesters.

He calls them "terrorists."

He has them followed.

He has them arrested.

He has them beaten.

He has them killed.

Most of that is done away from the protest areas.

Then comes the killings at the protest areas.

The most infamous one?

The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported 53 dead  -- indicating that some of the wounded did not recover. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Now this freaked out the State Dept (see the archives and it's the Sunday before the massacre where I note speaking to the State Dept about what was taking place in Hawija and how they were concerned).

But nobody did anything to help the Iraqi people.

And publicly the State Dept insisted there would be an investigation (there never was) and the results would be released (nope) while acting as if there was a good chance that the dead killed themselves or were responsible for their own deaths due to taking part in a peaceful sit-in.

That could have been enough to set Iraq on fire.

In some countries, it would have been.

But the protests (peaceful) continued.

Let's note this because it's very important: The Iraqi people were awesome.  They showed true belief in their country and in a process (democratic or whatever) that would lead to a better Iraq.

They didn't give up when their vote was stolen.

They didn't give up when their representatives were ignored (or arrested).

They didn't give up when their peaceful protests led to them being killed.

They believed in a better Iraq and were trying desperately to work towards that.

But they repeatedly were cut off at the knees by Barack Obama and his administration which either stole their vote, overturned the actions of their representatives or looked the other way as the US-installed Nouri al-Maliki terrorized them.

Many people share blame and fault in the events that led up to the current crises in Iraq but the Iraqi people deserve applause for their patience, for their beliefs and for their willingness to work for a better future.

If at any point, the White House had taken a moment to recognize what was going on with the people of Iraq and to appreciate that, today's crises might not be taking place.

Instead, in January of 2014, the US looked the other way as Nouri began burning down protest areas.

And the Islamic State -- which had largely concerned itself with prison breaks but had warned that if the Iraqi people were attacked, they would step forward -- became the presence it is today.

A persecuted people, the Sunnis, had a protector.

That's the role the Islamic State sees itself in.

You may not see that.  I don't happen to agree that they are that.

But at last, someone was able to defend the Sunni people.

It wasn't the United States government.

In fact, all Barack's done is piss on Sunni Arabs, let's be clear on that -- because they are -- they are very clear on that in Arabic social media.

The Yazidis -- a religious faith that worships a god and is tied to the archangel expelled from heaven or something -- end up trapped on a mountain top.  Instead of merely sending food and rations, Barack responds with a new wave of war (this is last summer).

But Sunni civilians in Falluja are bombed starting in January of 2014 (under Nouri) and it continues to this day (under Haider al-Abadi) and Barack doesn't give a damn.

One group is trapped on a mountain and 'we must rush into war.'

Another group is being bombed by the Iraqi government -- this is a War Crime -- and Barack doesn't do one damn thing.

You can worship him, you can bury your nose in his pubes and pretends that he is Mr. Peace all you want but the facts don't bear you out and you are as ridiculous as those who worshiped (and some continue to) Bully Boy Bush.

Today in Iraq, some Sunnis support the Islamic State, some see the issue as a fight between the Shi'ite government out of Baghdad and the Islamic State.

Idiots like Joel Wing who blog with one hand on the keyboard and one hand down their pants try to pretend that Nouri didn't create this situation.

He damn well did.

And if you check the archives or just Google "the common ills prison break," you will see that long before the Islamic State rose, we were talking here about this exact same thing.

We were noting that the prison breaks, where people escaped (usually via the Islamic State) and then couldn't be found?

It was because these were Sunni areas.

And the Sunnis saw Nouri's government suppressing them and took the positions of (a) good for the breakouts or (b) this isn't my dance, this is between them, the government does nothing but persecute me, I'm not supporting it.

And the government did.

Sunnis were rounded up and tossed in prisons and jails.

They were denied a legal system.

There were either no arrest warrants in most cases or the warrants weren't for who was taken in.

On the latter, Iraqi forces would go to a home to arrest, pulling a name out of thin air here, Mohammed Hamadi.  Mohammed is not home.

But his mother is.

Or his wife.

Or his son.

Or whatever relative.

That relative is not wanted for anything.

But that relative (or relatives) gets arrested and hauled off to prison.

Americans have had the luxury -- via a whorish press -- of looking the other way on Iraq once Bully Boy Bush left the Oval Office.

But just because Americans averted their eyes does not mean that in 2009 Iraq became a land of milk and honey, let alone one of social justice.

June 11, 2014, Barack said that Iraq needed a political solution to the crises.

He was right then.

But he's done nothing to assist with that.

There is no military solution to Iraq (again, Barack's said that himself).

The only answer, the only way to defeat the Islamic State, is to make the Iraqi government inclusive, to end the persecution of the Sunni civilians.

It is now a year since Barack recognized publicly that reality.

And yet the White House and the State Dept haven't done a damn thing.

Even Nouri felt the pressure -- when the beatings and rapes of Sunni women and girls tossed in Iraqi prisons  was revealed and then confirmed by the Iraqi Parliament -- to do a for-show release.

Haider al-Abadi hasn't even done that.

All he's offered the Sunnis was on September 13, 2014, he acknowledged that bombing civilians in Falluja was wrong (he did not call it a War Crime, though it is).  He then stated that these bombings were no more on his orders.

But September 14th came and despite his (heavily reported) remarks, the bombings of Falluja's residential neighborhoods continue.

Where's the change?

There is no military solution in Iraq, in my opinion.  (And in Barack's opinion when he's forced to comment on it.)

You can disagree.

And that's fine and we can debate and we can discuss it and we can offer our examples and supporting evidence and blah blah blah.

But I do draw the line on the military aspect.

Clear and hold is the only thing that works from a military stand point (I don't think it works at all, I think it breeds further hostilities but that's my opinion).

From a military stand point, it works.

This nonsense of "degrade and destroy" which translates at, 'This month we take on Tikrit. And then, a month or so later, we'll move over 110 miles and go after Ramadi'?

That's insane from a military stand point.

You 'clear and hold' if that is your objective.

If you're bouncing around here, there and everywhere, you're not accomplishing a damn thing except allowing the Islamic State to spread out from various points and set up new bases.

I don't support a military strategy (and don't believe it will work).  I'm semi-shocked that the so-called Center for American Progress is supporting it publicly.

But if you want a military approach -- and goodness knows, US tax dollars (billions) are being spent right now on a military approach in Iraq -- at least have the intelligence to demand that the US government create a plan based on past military success and not the nonsense that's being used currently.

Lastly, stop the lying.

The Joel Wings minimized Nouri's actions in real time.

They continue to today.

Remember this above:

(And Nouri refused to nominate anyone to head the security ministries because he was staging a power grab and wanted to control them.*)

When a country's security falls apart -- and I think most of us can agree that is the current state in Iraq (and why Barack says they need US 'trainers') --  you need to look at what happened.

If there is no Minister of Defense or Minister or Interior?

Then that's part of the reason for the collapse of the security forces.

And throughout his second term, Nouri refused to nominate people to hold this office.

Joel Wing will quickly lie and tell you that they had them, Nouri put them in, blah blah blah.

No, he didn't.

He put puppets in and they did what he said, not what was needed.

If he had nominated people to hold the posts and they were approved by Parliament they could do what they saw necessary.

But his flunkies did only what he told them because since they weren't really ministers (Parliament never voted on them because they were never nominated), they only held the post while Nouri let them.

Nouri's second term began in November of 2010.

In July of 2012,  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."

That remained true for Nouri's entire second term.

Can you imagine the outrage if Barack had spent four years failing to nominate anyone to head the Defense Dept?

Nouri is at fault in each and every way for today's crises in Iraq.

And all the Joel Wing liars and all their lies in support of Nouri will never change that.

If the above events were brand new to you, you can check the archives for real time coverage of the events, you can also refer to Emma Sky's new book The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq as well as Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor's  The Endgame.


For Friday, Margaret Griffis ( counts 227 violent deaths across Iraq.

Read on ...

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Theme post time and I said, "Let me get in on this."

We're picking our all time favorite cover recording.

Herbie Hancock is an immensely talented artist.

I love everything he's done.

But my all time favorite of his albums is River: The Joni Letters.

Working with various artists (including Tina Turner), he reworks some of Joni Mitchell's classic songs.

This is the one that really nails it for me from that album.

He and the great saxophone player Wayne Shorter are working with vocalist Corinne Bailey Rae on that one and isn't she amazing?

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, even the UN's undercount of deaths finds June's death toll the highest since last September, Margaret Griffis ( reports nearly 5,000 deaths for the month of June, the refugee crisis continues, Matthew Hoh and Jesse Ventura take on Barack's Iraq War spin, and much more.

Yesterday's snapshot focused basically on an e-mail Hillary Clinton sent and how the New York Times' lazy 'reporting' was distorting the e-mail.

Did it matter that they distorted?

Wouldn't most people have the brains to realize the distortion?

It did matter and clearly most people don't have the brains needed.

Presumably an outlet calling itself "Pink News" wants to accurately report on LGBT issues.

Yet Joseph Patrick McCormick kicks off his nonsense with:

Newly released emails show Hillary Clinton discussed Saddam Hussein’s treatment of LGBT people, calling it “sad and terrible”.

No, you are wrong, you are grossly incorrect.

You should be embarrassed and ashamed of yourself for writing such stupidity.


Two were released.

The first is Cheryl Mills forwarding to Hillary a news report: Ashley Byrne's "Saddam's rule 'better' for gay Iraqis" (BBC News).

The second is Hillary replying:

So sad and terrible.  We should ask Chris Hill to raise this w govt.  If we ever get Posner confirmed we should emphasize LGBT human rights.

The news report is that things were better for Iraq's LGBT community under Saddam.

Bynre writes in the report:

All the LGBT Iraqis interviewed for Gay Life After Saddam maintained that life was easier for them when Saddam Hussein was in power, from 1979 to 2003. 

So if you write, as McCormick does at Pink News today:

Newly released emails show Hillary Clinton discussed Saddam Hussein’s treatment of LGBT people, calling it “sad and terrible”.

You are flaunting your ignorance in the public square and really need to sit your tired ass down.

Hillary did not discuss Saddam's treatment of LGBT people and the article she was commenting on was noting that in the post-Saddam era, life had become very dangerous for Iraq's gay community.

This is what happens when 'reporters' like Peter Baker and Steve Eder get away with lazy and inaccurate work -- it quickly spreads and the truth is distorted.

Today, UNAMI announced the figures for Junes death toll in Iraq.  They go with 1,466 dead and 1,687 injured and those are the number you'll see.  Add 801 deaths for 2,488 deaths from violence (that includes security forces) and  2342 for the injured (includes security forces).

After over a year of criticism, they've made some attempt to include Anbar Province in the body of the report (136 killed and 163 injured).

This is an undercount.

They do not include the civilians in Falluja killed by the Iraqi military bombings of residential neighborhoods, for example.

Even so, AP notes, "The monthly death toll was the highest since last September, and the rise from last month appeared to be almost entirely due to higher casualties among security forces."

Margaret Griffis ( reports, ", using news reports, found at least 3,311 militants were killed and 287 were wounded. Many of these deaths were reported by the Iraqi government, which could be exaggerating its successes. On the other hand, many of the wounded might not have fallen into government hands and therefore are uncountable. In total, 4,777 were killed and 1,974 were wounded during June."

The violence takes place in a populated country with a very young population.  The United Nations notes:

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today said that over the past year in Iraq, it has seen a 75 per cent increase in grave violations against children that include killing and maiming, abduction, recruitment as soldiers, sexual violence, attacks against schools and denial of humanitarian access.
“We could never have predicted that one year on we would be looking at a violent crisis that has affected more than eight million people,” said Colin MacInnes, UNICEF’s Acting Representative in Iraq briefing the press in Geneva from Irbil. This month marks the anniversary of the beginning of the widespread violence across the country.
This time last year, many communities in Iraq, particularly in locations such as Mosul and Tikrit, witnessed violence that displaced people on a scale that caught everyone by surprise. It led to the collapse of the healthcare system, the education system the public safety net. The situation for children in particular was desperate. In the 2014-15 school year more than 650,000 children had received no schooling whatsoever and over three million did not attend a regular school cycle.
“For those children not in school and who did not have services the situation continued to worsen,” said Mr. MacInnes.

The speed and scope of the crisis has been very severe, he continued, affecting both national and international actors. The ability of families to access even basic items was also harshly impacted. Recently nearly 3,000 people from Anbar were being displaced every week. 

The refugee crisis is so great that even the Iraqi government has to acknowledge it in some form.  Andolu Ajansi reports the Ministry of Migration and Displacement is stating that the last 12 months have seen 493,990 Iraqi families displaced within Iraq.  Those numbers are an undercount and they do not include the number of families who have fled Iraq in the last 12 months due to the ongoing violence.

On the internally displaced, Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) reported last week:

Al-Monitor met with people who had been displaced from the towns of al-Alam, al-Dor and Tikrit in Salahuddin governorate who refuse to return for other reasons. Samer al-Douri, a civil engineer from al-Dawr who was displaced to the city of Sulaimaniyah, said that returning to al-Dawr is now impossible in light of the Popular Mobilization Units imposing their control over the areas that were recently liberated.
He added, “We will not be safe even though we ran away from al-Dawr when IS invaded it. The government and the Popular Mobilization Units still deny the return of our families.”
Iqbal al-Ojaili, who was displaced with her family from Tikrit to Sulaimaniyah, told Al-Monitor, “I refuse to return at the government's discretion. I have three boys and their lives are in the hands of a security member. If the latter decides that they are terrorists, it will be over for them.”
Ali Issam, who also fled to Sulaimaniyah, told Al-Monitor that his house in Tikrit had been completely looted. He owned a food store that was burned to the ground. “How do I get back, and where and how will I live?” Issam asked.

Last week, Shalaw Mohammed (Niqash) reported on a refugee camp in Kirkuk:

Omar Sabbah has not left the displaced persons' camp where he is now living for two whole months. Originally from Tikrit, he says that if he wanted to leave, he'd have to walk a long way on an unpaved road. There are no easy ways to get out of here, he complains. “Life in the camps is another kind of prison,” he says. “We can only hope conditions improve in our own home towns soon so we can return there.”
Sabbah is one of around 8,500 people living in 1,800 tents in the Laylan camp for displaced people, about 20 kilometres out of the northern city of Kirkuk.
When he managed to escape the extremist group known as the Islamic State that had control of Tikrit until recently, Sabbah said he'd never expected to end up living in such a remote area.
Although the Islamic State, or IS, group was pushed out of Tikrit Sabbah doesn't think he can go back to the city anytime soon. The city was liberated by a mixture of pro-government Iraqi forces, which also included a large number of fighters from Shiite Muslim militias. These have been both celebrated for their victories and controversial because of bad behaviour after the fighting ended.

Omar knows this only too well. He has already changed his first name to Ammar. In Iraq, it is possible to tell which sect or tribe any person is from because of their names. “The Shiite militias hate the name Omar, which is why I changed mine,” Sabbah explains. “It's going to make it easier for me to return home in the future.”

The above and so much more should result in the US State Dept spearheading a diplomatic mission which would include making a sizable donation to the United Nations' aid programs in Iraq and encouraging other nations to do the same.

Instead, the UN has to repeatedly note that their aid programs in Iraq are in danger due to serious shortfalls in the budget.

They could also foster an environment which would allow for reconciliation and a political solution.  Instead, the State Dept mistakes itself for the Pentagon and when Iraqi officials take tentative steps, there's no encouragement or support from the White House.

For example, National Iraqi News Agency reports that the three presidencies (Iraqi Preisdnet Fuad Masum, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri and Prime Minster Haider al-Abadi) were supposed to meet tonight:

 A source told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / "The meeting will deal with a number of issues in the forefront will be the national reconciliation and the political agreement document as well as some of the bills that are still waiting for legislation."

He noted that "the three presidencies perhaps, will call to convene a meeting for the political blocs, explaining that there is a consensus among the three presidencies on the need to come out of usual routine meetings and reach clear decisions on the files that are discussed."

Salim al-Jubouri, House Speaker held a meeting yesterday evening with MPs and ministers of the Iraqi forces coalition to discuss a number of important files, particularly the political file and what was achieved from the terms of the political agreement, in addition to the bills that await to be approved in the House of Representatives during its legislative term and laws sent by the Council of Ministers. "/ 

This news is apparently so unimportant to the administration that it can't even get a Tweet from the State Dept's Brett McGurk -- McGurk who Tweets daily on US airstrikes on Iraq.

Were Barack Obama and the White House not being held hostage by the government of Iran, maybe they could address issues in Iraq?

Instead, the wasted time continues.  We were told that all the focus would end in March when a deal was arrived at.

There was no deal.

The White House insisted that by the end of June, they'd have a deal.

June has ended.

Currently, they've tacked on another week.

As former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has repeatedly noted in the last weeks, Iran is not helping Iraq, it is assisting in the hardening of divisions among Iraqis and in inciting ill will.

But that can't be addressed when Barack is held hostage by Tehran.

Some news reports today made the laughable claim that Barack knows how to walk away from the bargaining table.

No, he doesn't.

And when you demonstrate that, and he did last March, you have no power.

That's why tacking three more months to the 'talks' did not result in a deal.

Tehran knows Barack will do anything to avoid walking away.

Tehran knows they're calling the shots.

It's not a debate among equals, it's one group insisting on what they want (Tehran) and another party too scared to end the talks.

And while he continues to allow Iran to take center stage, Iraq suffers every day.

Barack Obama's 'plan' for Iraq doesn't stem the violence, it only adds to it.  The US Defense Dept announced today:

Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Baghdadi, three airstrikes struck land features, denying ISIL a tactical advantage and destroying two ISIL excavators.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL tunnel system.
-- Near Haditha, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL vehicles.
-- Near Mosul, two airstrikes struck an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL mortar firing position, destroying an ISIL building.
-- Near Waleed, an airstrike destroyed three ISIL armored personnel carriers.

None of that steers Iraq towards a political solution.

None of that addresses the very real grievances of the Sunni population, a population targeted under the (mis)leadership of Nouri al-Maliki for years and still targeted by the man who replaced him as prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

In January 2014, Nouri began bombing civilians areas in Falluja (Sunni-dominate Falluja).  These bombings continue under Haider al-Abadi (they are collective punishment which is legally defined as a War Crime).

On Falluja, Rudaw reports:

Airstrikes carried out over the last two weeks by the Iraqi Army against the Islamic State, or ISIS, have been causing heavy collateral damage on the civilian residents of Fallujah, the city's top health official reported Wednesday.

“The random airstrikes carried out by the Iraqi air forces against Daesh [ISIS] gunmen have killed 71 people and wounded 90 others,” Ahmad Shami, head of physicians in Fallujah Hospital, told Rudaw.

Iraqi Spring MC notes today's Iraqi military bombings of Falluja's residential area left 4 children dead and their mother and father injured.

Falluja is only one city in Anbar Province.  Middle East Monitor reports:

The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq denounced what it described as "crimes and flagrant human rights violations" committed in the city of An-Nukhayb in the Anbar province, adding that the area is being emptied of its indigenous people as part of a systematic policy of demographic change carried out by the Popular Mobilisation Forces with the support of the government.
In a statement released yesterday, the association quoted eyewitnesses from the area as saying that on Monday "members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces started to burn dozens of safe homes and houses inhabited by the people of the area. They also attacked the inhabitants by beating them and yelling obscene and sectarian insults at them."

Iraq War veteran Matthew Hoh appeared on Jesse Ventura's Off The Grid today.  Excerpt:

Jesse Ventura:  What do you think of this latest troop deployment?  We already have 3,100 troops in Iraq and now we're sending in at least 450 more to "train local security forces" -- whatever that means.  What do you make of it, Matt?

Matthew Hoh:  Oh, it's completely absurd, Governor.  You know, it's -- What does anybody expect to come out of this?  Except more violence in Iraq, more violence in Syria, more violence where ever we put our troops into the middle of a civil war.  It only benefits groups like the Islamic State or Shia militias that get all riled up because of the presence of foreign troops and basically us trying to pick winners and losers again in someone else's civil war that we had a lot to do with starting, of course. But also too, the other people that make a ton of money off of this, the only other people that benefit, are the defense companies.  And the amount of money that goes into these conflicts is-is just obscene -- particularly when you look and compare it to the declining states of our nation -- how our own schools are failing, our infrastructure is failing, etc. But we are more than willing to send troops overseas to fight in foreign civil wars.  And most of that -- or a good deal of that -- has to do with American defense companies making billions and billions of dollars of it.

Jesse Ventura:  Now Obama said, Matt, that these are not combat troops, they're "trainers."   What the hell does that mean?

Matthew Hoh:  You're talking about putting American troops into the middle of Iraq.  More American troops into the middle of Iraq where we had already lost 4,500 troops, 4,500 Americans in the Iraq War, tens of thousands wounded, 100,000 or more with mental issues, homeless issues, etc. But this notion that they're just going to be trainers is just -- is just a politician trying to sound both tough and safe at the same time.

Lastly,, Trevor Timm explores the topic of civilian deaths at the Guardian.  He's noting the calls for more civilian deaths in Iraq.  We noted this when we reported on the House Armed Services Committee hearing on June 24th.  And you can also refer to the June 4th snapshot as well as in "Iraq: Failed follow ups and whining that bombs aren't being dropped quick enough"

Read on ...
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