Friday, June 05, 2015






One is forced to ask the question: is the president just another Ivy League asshole shredding civil liberties and due process and sending people to die in some shithole for purely political reasons?



Today as the US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Marie Harf was asked about the US intent regarding ISIS in 2012.

QUESTION: On Iraq, actually, could you give us a sense of the significance of the pledge of allegiance from various Sunni tribes in Anbar province to ISIL?

MS HARF: Well, I appreciate the question, certainly. I think that, quite frankly, I’m not sure exactly what sheikhs or leaders you’re referring to specifically. We’ve said since the beginning of this crisis that the situation in Anbar is complex. Many top Sunni leaders are supporting the government in their efforts against ISIL; some don’t. So it’s pretty complex, and I wouldn’t want to categorize everyone, certainly, in one way.
I think we’ve said the U.S. is supporting the plan that was announced by the Iraqi council of ministers to accelerate the training and equipping of local tribes in coordination with Anbar authorities. They announced that on May 19th. This also calls for expanding recruitment into the Iraqi army coming from Anbar. And we’re also encouraged by the announcement on May 27th by the Iraqis of the induction of 800 additional tribal fighters into the PMF, the Popular Mobilization Force.
So again, the prime minister has been clear that this plan has to be centered around leaders in Anbar, and Anbari fighters being part of the solution here. I don’t know exactly who you’re referring to, but the situation in Anbar is, of course, a complex one, and there may be some people who support ISIL, but there are many who don’t.

QUESTION: The al-Jumailis, I guess, is the main --

MS HARF: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: The al-Jumailis, I think, are the main tribe in the --

MS HARF: Look, I’m happy to check on them specifically.

QUESTION: It is striking, though, how similar – how what’s happening currently does chime in with the prediction we now know that the Defense Intelligence Agency made in 2012 that a Salafist principality might grow up in eastern Syria and western Iraq, and that – in fact, that was the policy. That’s what – the goal of the GCC countries, your allies in the region. Would you accept that that’s what’s happened?

MS HARF: Well, I think you’re making a number of sort of sweeping generalizations.

QUESTION: That was the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012.

MS HARF: Well, I haven’t read the whole DIA report. I’m happy to go back and pull that and take a look at it. There was a lot of assessment done at the time about the possible futures – directions that Iraq could take, certainly. So I’m happy to go back and look at those, but --

QUESTION: You don’t think it’s the goal of the GCC to have some sort of Salafist area there to be a sort of bulwark against Iran?

MS HARF: I think the fact that GCC and regional countries are taking direct military action against ISIL in the region now, I think, should make it pretty clear how they feel about ISIL.

First, let's briefly note the pledge Marie was being asked about.  Jason Ditz ( explains, "Today, key Anbar sheikh Ahmed Jumaili read a joint statement from a number of key tribes in Fallujah, pledging loyalty to ISIS, and expressing their belief that the best way to return calm to the province was by backing ISIS against the 'infidels, apostates and Shias'."

Now for the other point being raised,  the recently revealed 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report.  Brad Hoff reported on it at the end of last month:

May 22, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Levant Report " -  On Monday, May 18, the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch published a selection of formerly classified documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department through a federal lawsuit.
While initial mainstream media reporting is focused on the White House’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attack, a much “bigger picture” admission and confirmation is contained in one of the Defense Intelligence Agency documents circulated in 2012: that an ‘Islamic State’ is desired in Eastern Syria to effect the West’s policies in the region.
The DIA report, formerly classified “SECRET//NOFORN” and dated August 12, 2012, was circulated widely among various government agencies, including CENTCOM, the CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA, State Dept., and many others.
The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.
While a number of analysts and journalists have documented long ago the role of western intelligence agencies in the formation and training of the armed opposition in Syria, this is the highest level internal U.S. intelligence confirmation of the theory that western governments fundamentally see ISIS as their own tool for regime change in Syria. The document matter-of-factly states just that scenario.

Yesterday, Seaumas Milne (Guardian) also noted the DIA report:

A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria.
Raising the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality”, the Pentagon report goes on, “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)”.
Which is pretty well exactly what happened two years later. The report isn’t a policy document. It’s heavily redacted and there are ambiguities in the language. But the implications are clear enough. A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of “Islamic state” – despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria.

The report has received little attention despite the fact that it outlines a possible outcome (which appears to be coming true) which, judging by the White House inaction on Iraq in the year of the report and the two years that followed, Barack Obama did nothing to alter or combat.

David Mizner (ICH) reminds:

The report concerns a period in time when the escalating violence in Iraq had ceased to be a prominent topic in the US press and when its coverage of the war in Syria — mirroring the discussion in Washington — focused on the Assad government, not the forces aligned against it. This may be hard to imagine now that ISIS has become the US government’s favorite monster, but during these months President Obama and his team gave major speeches on Syria that didn’t even mention the group.
Even after ISIS took Fallujah in January 2014, discussion of the group in establishment outlets was scarce. It wasn’t until later in 2014 — after continued battlefield victories and heavily publicized beheadings of westerners — that Islamic State became Public Enemy Number 1.

American officials claimed the ascendancy of ISIS had caught American intelligence by surprise. Yet in the 2012 report — which was circulated widely through the US government — the DIA foresaw the creation of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria. It also said that Islamic State of Iraq could “return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi” and declare an “Islamic state” in western Iraq and eastern Syria.

Dahlia Wasfi (ICH) puts the 2012 DIA report into some context of earlier actions in the Iraq War observing:

Once Iraq’s secular government - known for its ruthlessness - was deposed via the “Shock and Awe” invasion, US administrators installed sectarian Shia leaders with strong ties to Iran into power.  Many of these new Iraqi officials had been forced into exile by Saddam Hussein decades earlier because of their theocratic political ambitions.  They found safe haven in Iran, where their parties were supported by the government.  Some of these men served in the Iranian Army during the Iran-Iraq War. These Shia conservatives have remained in power in Iraq through several rounds of controversial elections.  For example, current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, like his predecessors Nouri al-Maliki and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, is a member of the conservative Shia Dawah Party based in Iran.  Their rule in Iraq has been characterised by brutal repression of the population, including the use of death squads to eliminate opposition.
The “new” (since 2003) Iraqi Army has also been shaped by Iranian influence.  Former Badr Brigades commander, Bayan Jabr, organised the Army’s ranks when he served as Iraq’s Minister of the Interior.  Since its inception, the new Army has consisted of young Iraqi recruits desperate for paying jobs, as well as members of conservative Shia party militias from Iran. This fighting force - armed, trained, and funded by the US - is today led by General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The repressive theocratic Shia regime imposed on Iraq by US occupiers inevitably spawned a counter movement: a sectarian Sunni opposition faction which in the last several years has morphed into ISIS.  Like the Iraqi Army, ISIS is also comprised of foreign fighters and young Iraqis desperate for paying jobs and an end to their oppression.  According to journalist Nafeez Ahmed, Western powers predicted the rise of a dangerous extremist group such as ISIS in 2012.  But not only did Western powers predict ISIS, they supported its creation via funding and arms to extremist “rebel groups” in Syria to serve as a check on Shia power in the region - power that expanded as a result of US policy in Iraq in the first place.  Now in 2015, President Obama is not about to destroy the terror group that he and other Western governments and regional allies helped to create. 

Changing topics, this morning we were noting the sad and disgusting position of Foreign Policy in Focus which now apparently supports the bombing of civilians:

And it serves no one.
Nor does Russ Wellen's latest insta-expertise where he knows everything thanks to a Mitchell Prothero article.
Wellen repeats this:

“Requests for air support,” Prothero continues, “which already go through an overly cumbersome process before the U.S.-led coalition will act—went unnoticed or ignored, and most of the units in Ramadi were unable to coordinate with one another because of deep-seated distrust among units composed of soldiers from different sects.”

And you know he [Wellen] thinks it's awful because he adds "Even worse" immediately after.
Did you ever think you'd see the day where Foreign Policy in Focus would publish an article whining that bombs were not being dropped fast enough on a country?
First off, Iraq is not an empty field.
It's an occupied country.
The process should be "cumbersome."
These air strikes have killed civilians.
They could kill many more if they were less "cumbersome."
Second, they have to be "cumbersome" because otherwise -- as Congress and the administration have both noted -- the US bombings could be used by various Iraqis to take out their political rivals.
It really is appalling that Foreign Policy in Focus has published an article bemoaning a process for bombing that they find too rigorous.
But I guess when a Democrat's in the White House a number of supposed activists let their inner whores work the street corner.

Shameful and when whores do what Wellen did, events always slap them in their ugly faces.  See previous efforts at Operation Happy Talk and this is how it always ends, Iraq and karma get the last word.

Hours after Wellen's embarrassing war propaganda went up, AFP was reporting, "An airstrike by a U.S.-led coalition flattened an entire neighborhood of a northern Iraqi town controlled by ISIS, killing dozens of people including civilians, witnesses and security sources said."  An estimated 70 civilians were killed in the bombing of Hawija. AFP quotes Hassam Mahmoud al-Jubbouri stating, "I ran with my sons and wife and took cover under the staircase. Three to four powerful explosions followed the first blast and I felt the roof of my house was about to collapse over our heads."

But Russ Wellen wants more US air strikes on Iraq.  He wants more and he wants them to be "less cumbersome."

Again, this is a very sad day in the history of Foreign Policy in Focus.

You can't walk it back when you've come out as a War Hawk.  When you've come out in favor of bombings and of relaxing even the most tiny efforts of constraint on those bombings, you really have nothing to left to say, not on the left.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Isakson, Blumenthal Introduce Legislation to Incre..."
"Iraq: Failed follow ups and whining that bombs are..."
"Soul Kiss (Olivia Newton-John and Barry Gibb)"
"Glen Ford on Bernie Fake Ass Sanders"
"Poor Hillary"
"An appeal during a crisis"
"Rand Paul"
"O'Malley gets it"
"Margaret Griffis frequently bothers me"
"Chafee versus Clinton"
"Nichelle Nichols"
"She's no bachelor"


Thursday, June 04, 2015






This afternoon, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing on proposed legislation.  The first panel was made up of the VHA's Dr. Thomas Lynch, Dr. Maureen McCarthy and Susan Blauert.  The second panel was made up of Disabled American Veterans' Adrian Atizado, Medicalodges, Inc's Fred Benjamin, Fleet Reserve Association's Thomas J. Snee and retired SFC Victor Medina.

Senator Patty Murray: To this panel, Dr. Lynch, I wanted to ask you about the Women Veterans Access To Quality Care Act.  I was really pleased to work with Senator [Dean] Heller on this legislation.  As I'm sure you all know the population of women veterans is increasing dramatically.  It's actually doubled since 2001.  This bill will require all VA medical centers to have at least one full time OB-GYN.  And I want to ask you today, how long will it take to meet that standard?  And does the Department usually struggle to recruit OB-GYNs?

Dr. Thomas Lynch: Right now, VA has GYN specialists in 78% of our VA facilities -- about 118.   There are plans to add additional GYN providers, uh, by directive to, I think around 20 more facilities, as part of our operative complexity model.  Uh, the VA has a model of operative complexity that looks at a certain infrastructure required to support surgical services at facilities.  Uh, the mandate would be that all of our complex and intermediate facilities would have a GYN provider.

Senator Patty Murray:  Sure.

Dr. Thomas Lynch:  Some of the smaller facilities -- and, unfortunately, Senator, I don't have the exact count for you --  would have difficult supporting a full time GYN provider and, in some of those case, care is provided through community contract. So I think --

Senator Patty Murray:  So if you do not have an OB-GYN, you do contract out to a community OB-GYN?

Dr. Thomas Lynch:  The expectation would be yes, that we would provide those services in the community if we could not provide them at the VA. 

Senator Patty Murray:  So you can meet the needs of this bill?
Dr. Thomas Lynch: Dr. McCarthy, would you like to?

Dr. Maureen McCarthy:  I-I believe that we could meet the intent.  Uh, which is to do what Dr. Lynch said which is based on the surgical complexity, that there would be a plan to hire for all the facilities, that there would be a certain level of complexity and hire.  But for the facilities, the smaller facilities, there is the expectation that there would be access to care either in the community by contract or by having someone actually come into the facility.

Senator Patty Murray:  Do you have a timeline on how long that would take? 

Dr. Maureen McCarthy:  No, ma'am, I don't.  Some of our facilities are in areas where it may be a challenge to recruit and so I couldn't give you an absolute timeline, I'm sorry. 

Senator Patty Murray:  Okay.  Well if you can give me an estimate, I'd really appreciate it.

Dr. Maureen McCarthy:  Would you be okay if I took that for the record?

Senator Patty Murray:  Yes, you may do it for the record.

Dr. Maureen McCarthy:  Okay.

The VA keeps saying it's aware of the explosion in the number of women veterans but every time they appear before Congress they're offering statements that say otherwise.

At the very least, Lynch should be able to say, "We will have a full time OB-GYN at every VA medical facility who have a need for one or we will have a contract with a private practice provider."

There's a lot of hedging and, honestly, I was bothered that Lynch can't refer to the doctors as OB-GYN and instead goes with GYN.

It's obstetrics and gynaecology -- if you divide it up, you're dividing up what's being practiced.

Just the use of GYN only made me wonder what Lynch sees the practice as.

Murray's long been the leading advocate on women veterans issues as well as on the issue of family planning (highlighting the needs for the VA to cover in vitro fertilization, for example).  Senator Richard Blumenthal is the Ranking Member of the Committee and his addition has allowed one more voice who consistently raises issues that effect women veterans.  Murray is the former Chair of the Committee.  With Republicans in control of the Senate, the Chair is now Johnny Isakson.

Senator Patty Murray: Dr. Lynch, one provision of the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act would allow the grant per diem program to provide payments for dependents who are accompanying homeless veterans.  This is an important change to consider as the number of veterans with dependents -- especially women -- is rising.  Now VA has stated that they support the intent of this part of the legislation but it raised concerns about the need for additional resources to meet the needs of the veterans that would be served.  If this unmet need is still there, why did the VA ask for cuts in the grant per diem program in the budget request?

Dr. Thomas Lynch:  Senator, I'd have to get back to you with the specifics on that. I can't answer it.  I know that we certainly do support the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act.  Uh, we do support, uh, the increase in per diem for veterans participating in the grant per diem program and the transition in place.  Uh, I can't comment specifically on the budget issues that you're speaking to right now.

Senator Patty Murray:  Okay, if you can get an answer back to me?  That's really an important question.

Dr. Thomas Lynch:  We will do that.

Senator Patty Murray:  And finally, Dr. Lynch, it's really essential that we make sure our veterans have seamless transition from DoD to VA's healthcare systems.  But there are still a lot of barriers out there for our service members and veterans.  And one frequent problem for new veterans is having to switch medications when they leave the military and come into the VA because the departments don't carry the same medications.  What are the differences in how the VA and DoD decide which medications to carry?

[Lynch and McCarthy off mike speaking to each other]

Dr. Maureen McCarthy: Senator Murray, the VA formulary is one that is based on published evidence of drug safety and effectiveness.  So there is a process of consideration once a drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration of whether or not it be included in the pharmacy.  The DoD formulary is one that's statutory -- that anything approved by the FDA is part of the DoD formulary. So the VA formulary is one that has a, uh, a second level review, uhm, for evidence based -- evidence base, efficacy, safety and so forth.  Our formulary process has been reviewed by Inspector General, oh, multiple-multiple Institute of Medicine, multiple people.  And what they say is our-our forumlary is actually a model for the federal government.

Senator Patty Murray: So how come the DoD hasn't done that?  You're probably the wrong people to ask, but you're here.

Dr. Maureen McCarthy: You're probably exactly right about that.  We, uh, we-we feel very strongly that we want to work with DoD and we want to ease those transitions very much but I don't know that the answer is to have exactly the same formulary given that theirs is this statutory formulary by regulation -- then it's everything that's approved.  Uh, for us, it, uhm, it makes sense.  I believe Senator Blumenthal proposed legislation talks about, uhm, the, uhm, medications related to pyschiatric conditions as well as pain.  And I think that's an important place to start.  And in particular his legislation talks about systemic drugs not topical meds which have-have caused some problems in the past.  So systemi- oral meds that we prescribe for psychiatric conditions and pain would be uh-uh a very, uh, important place to start for blending. 

Dr. Thomas Lynch: If I could, Senator, I would just repeat from my opening statement: Right now 90% of mental health medications and 96% of pain medications dispensed by DoD are also on the VA formulary.  And we also mentioned that there was a specific, uh, directive sent to the field, uh, that veterans will be maintained on their discharge medications from the military, uh, when they transfer to the VA if that is clinically approriate.  I would add that qualification.  But we would not take veterans off of medications that they had been receiving from the military if it was felt to be appropriate to continue those medications. 

Senator Patty Murray:  Okay.

Dr. Thomas Lynch:  I realize there are still -- as you will probably hear in the second panel -- there are still areas where we have failed.  We can do better and we need to do better to make sure that that transition occurs. 

Senator Patty Murray:  Okay, we want to make sure there are no barriers but we also want to make sure people are taking the right medications.  I understand the balance.  But we need -- some attention really needs to be focused on this. 

Chair Johnny Isakson:  I thank Senator Murray for raising that question.  And I'll just make an observation.  I'm not a pharmicist or a physician but it doesn't make a lot of sense to me for the formularies to be different from DoD and the Veterans Administration.  And I know Senator [John] McCain is working on that same issue and we've expressed our desire to see if we can't get that worked out, so I appreciate your focus on that issue today.

 That exchange bothered me first and foremost because of the problem it's creating for veterans -- we'll go more into that in a moment.

But I'm also bothered by the notion that the FDA isn't doing its job.

That's what the VA is arguing.

The FDA is tasked with a responsibility and DoD doesn't question it.

But the VA thinks its their role to do so?

The FDA is tasked with determining what is safe for the American public.

But the VA doesn't accept the FDA's verdict.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Post-9/11 Vets Caucus Hosts Screening of Veterans’..."
"Ministerial Meeting of the Small Group of the Glob..."
"The day after the big meet-up"
"Joshua Frank has some advice"
"Excellent points"
"Welcome back"
"Janet's returning"
"There are rules for Hillary and then there are rules for others"
"The fake ass distraction"
"Bruce Dixon on fake-ass Bernie Sanders"
"She's back"
"who are the fools supporting bernie sanders?"
"Is he still pretty?"

  • Wednesday, June 03, 2015







    And now we have the answer.

    How could Secretary of State John Kerry fall off his bicycle last week in France?  And how could he be stupid enough to go riding at his age?


    Clearly, the State Dept needs to institute weekly drug testing for all employees.

    At today's US State Dept briefing, spokesperson Marie Harf stumbled around as if on acid and tripping hard as she was pressed on what the US is doing, why Blinken said the US would "redouble efforts," and why the US was not, in fact, going to "redouble efforts"?

    QUESTION: Can I ask you about the Paris conference?

    MS HARF: You can.

    QUESTION: I think you’ll be able to answer maybe more about that than this subject.

    MS HARF: Yes.

    QUESTION: Deputy Secretary Blinken said that everyone would redouble efforts. What did he mean? What are you going to double – advisors, equipment? What is the actual redoubling going to --

    MS HARF: Well, I’m not sure he was using “double” in a specific way. I think he was using it colloquially to mean that this group that met in Paris agreed on a couple of things. The first is that given the situation on the battlefield, we need to increase even more intelligence-sharing, getting them assistance as quickly as we can. We’ve been doing all of this for some time, but really underscoring the need to do as much as we can and more as quickly as possible.
    I think it was also important to note that they fully expressed their support for Prime Minister Abadi and the plan that he laid out recently to take on ISIL when it comes to Anbar. He was there at the meeting. So these were all, I think, important things that came out of it, but nothing specific to announce at this point.
    I would note – and the Secretary made mention of this as well – that there has been – and let me get the specifics on this – delivery that’s already gone through, I think, of 1,000 AT4 anti-tank weapon systems. They were delivered on May 30th to the Government of Iraq. These are one of the kinds of weapons that are effective at fighting back against ISIL, particularly in Anbar, so this was delivered on May 30th. We’ll see more deliveries like this happening.

    QUESTION: That delivery was – that decision to send those was actually made before Ramadi fell, is that correct?

    MS HARF: I believe that – I believe so, but it’s just an example of how we’re getting them things as quickly as we can, and will continue to do so.

    QUESTION: Now just on the redoubling – I mean, if he didn’t actually talk about anything specifically more you’re going to do, what does it mean, then?

    MS HARF: Right.

    QUESTION: I mean, you’re talking about redoubling, but you’re not actually going to do anything more?

    MS HARF: Well, no, that’s not what I’m saying. With our partners inside the room, I know they talked about ways we can share more intelligence, we can get assistance more quickly to the Iraqis, certainly how we can do more to support the Syrian opposition. These were all things discussed in the room, certainly. I don’t have anything to announce publicly about more today.

    QUESTION: But if I had asked a month ago if you’re doing everything you can to help defeat ISIL in Iraq, you would have said the coalition is doing everything it can.

    MS HARF: Yes. Well --

    QUESTION: And now you’re saying we’re going to do more because we need to do more. I mean, I don’t quite get it.

    Jason Ditz ( notes of Blinken's ridiculous claim, "That’s been the official US position all along, and it gets reiterated all the more often the more obvious it gets that ground is being lost to ISIS forces. The loss of Ramadi, a city of 500,000 people and capital of Iraq’s largest province, is the latest evidence the war is being lost."

    The right plan both politically and militarily?

    You can evaluate whether or not you think the 'military plan' is working.

    You really can't evaluate the 'political plan' because it consists solely of US President Barack Obama claiming, June 19th of last year, that the only answer to Iraq's crises is a political solution.

    He made that statement.

    It got echoed a bit.

    And then everyone marched off to play toy soldier -- State Dept included! -- and diplomacy and the need for Iraq to resolve its glaring mistreatment of Sunnis and Kurds was ignored.

    Not just for a day or two.

    Not just for a week.

    Not just for a month.

    But for 17 days short of a year.

    Where is the work towards a political solution?

    Not the US State Dept.

    Don't take my word for it, let's go to Brett McGurk who handled the June 1st State Dept background briefing (here in full) and wanted to explain what the US government was doing.

    SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The common objective is to defeat ISIL in all aspects of its organization, and really to asphyxiate it. That includes the military line of effort with a focus on activities in Iraq and Syria, and that’s important because Iraq and Syria is the heart of its perversely claimed caliphate, which is attracting foreign fighters from all around the world. The second line of effort is the foreign fighter networks, trying to cut down on the foreign fighter flows into the Syria and Iraq theater. The third line of effort is the financing, cutting down on ISIL’s attempts to finance itself and also to access global financial markets. The fourth line of effort is focusing on the humanitarian crisis, which has been generated by the fighting. And the fifth is countering ISIL in the messaging space. And the sixth is a new line of effort that we created a couple months ago focused on stabilization, and that is really (inaudible) cleared of ISIL, how do you flush resources into those areas, how do you take care of people, how do you bring services back. So that is the stabilization piece, which also brings an element of police with some coalition members really stepping up to help the Iraqis in policing.
    So that is how we’re organized. Let me just kind of go through some of the highlights of what we’re doing. And let me say that we’re learning more about ISIL every single day, and we’re learning more about it because of our activities, because of our intelligence activities, and because of this coalition – because of the information we share, because of the information that is shared within each working group and which is shared across each working group. General Allen and I just hosted here in Paris a meeting of the working group leads, the leads from many different countries. For example, stabilization is led by Germany and the UAE, and they’ve done really great work in helping the Iraqis to organize a stabilization fund through the United Nations, which is now finalized. And we will have – it’ll be a key part of the discussion tomorrow. So we brought those capitals in the room together to share information and really learn more about this network.
    I’ll give you an example: On the foreign fighters, this is a global network. As you know – we’ve discussed this before – more than 22,000 fighters from a hundred countries all around the world have poured (inaudible) Syria to join extremist organizations, mostly ISIL. And this is something that the world has really never seen before on this scale. Since September, when we formed this coalition and the United Nations Security Council passed the Chapter 7 Resolution 2178 to really encourage countries all around the world to crack down on foreign fighter terrorist networks, 34 countries since we formed this coalition in September have updated or enhanced their laws against foreign fighter networks. Twenty-six – in 26 instances, capitals have broken up cells. Interpol is now dramatically involved in this effort. Turkey has about 13,000 members on a no-entry list. And within the United States, the Department of Justice has brought charges to over more than 40 cases to date in individuals within our country trying to join ISIL.
    So this is a significant international network. I can just say we know a lot more about it now than we did in September, and we’re looking at ways to collapse the networks as they try to move foreign fighters, foreign terrorist fighters, into Syria.
    In the financing side, we’re working to deny any use of the financial system to any affiliates of ISIL or anyone associated with ISIL. We are targeting their oil processing capabilities, because one of their primary sources of financing, particularly when we started this effort, was in the oil trade and oil bartering. And of course, we just conducted – our special forces conducted a raid into Syria to target Abu Sayyaf, who was the number one financier. He kind of ran the whole financial network for ISIL. And I’ll just say from that raid we’re learning quite a bit that we did not know before we did that raid.
    So again, every single day the picture becomes clearer of what this organization is, how sophisticated it is, how global it is, and how networked it is. And through these meetings with the coalition we’re able to learn more, synthesize, compare notes, and really kind of accelerate efforts where we need to.
    On the military side, of course, that gets most of the focus but that’s only one of the lines of effort. We have 12 coalition partners now in Iraq training Iraqi forces. We’ve trained so far 7,000 Iraqi soldiers; 4,000 are in training now. Again, important to keep in mind that this effort is really just getting up and running. We always knew this would be a very long-term, very long haul, and it’s getting moving now. Important to note in Ramadi, which I’ll talk about, but the troops in Ramadi that retreated were not troops that we had trained. Some of the troops that will participate in the counter-attack we anticipate will be troops that we trained, so we’ll have to see how they do. We’re obviously very focused on supporting them.
    We also, of course, have nine coalition partners conducting airstrikes in Iraq, six coalition partners conducting airstrikes in Syria. Jordan is now conducting airstrikes in Iraq. Canada is now conducting airstrikes in Syria. And the military line of effort, of course, is very closely coordinated through CENTCOM and our Department of Defense.
    Getting to the meeting tomorrow, we’re, of course, going to go through all of the lines of effort, the working groups comparing notes as we usually do, learning more. What do we know now that we didn’t know when we first – when we got together in January with this group? But tomorrow also has a significant purpose. This is not a business-as-usual meeting. We’re coming in the wake of the events in Ramadi, and we’re coming to discuss with Prime Minister Abadi his plan – his plan – for liberating Ramadi and Anbar province. And this is important because in the immediate wake of Ramadi, Prime Minister Abadi called together his national security council, his cabinet – Sunni, Shia, and Kurds – and they unanimously adopted a national program for taking back Ramadi, and not just Ramadi but securing Anbar province and cutting off the access route that we know ISIL is using to funnel its – funnel resources all the way up north into Mosul, because as you may recall, we’ve been successful in cutting off its access routes into Mosul from the north with various operations we did with the Peshmerga and some of the Arab tribes in that area earlier this year.
    So the Iraqi plan has – which was endorsed by their entire cabinet in about 72 hours after the events of Ramadi – really has five key elements, all of which we’re going to discuss tomorrow. One, and very significantly, is mobilizing the tribes of Anbar (inaudible). Iraqis have been working to do this. They need help, and we’re ready to help. Since this plan was announced, 800 tribal fighters have been enrolled as volunteers to serve with a paycheck from the state, with a weapon to go out and join the fight alongside Iraqi Security Forces, again, in a coordinated, organized way, in a way that we can help. So that happened – those 800 fighters were formally enrolled at Habbaniyah just last week, and that is just a start. We have about 5,000 now enrolled in Anbar province. That number is going to keep going up.
    So we’ll be talking to Abadi tomorrow about his plan for mobilizing the tribes of Anbar province, and most significantly how we and other coalition members can help. That’s pillar one.
    Pillar two is recruiting new recruits into the Iraqi Army. And since this campaign started (inaudible) new recruits into the army. The soldiers that we have been training, for example, are already existing Iraqi army soldiers who we bring in (inaudible) our building partner capacity sites, and they go through substantial training with us and coalition partners.
    This plan for liberating Anbar brings in new recruits into the Iraqi army. That’s been a real challenge for the Iraqis due to fiscal constraints and a real budget crunch that they’re facing, but they’re finding a way to do this. And specifically in their plan that they announced, it mentions the divisions in Anbar province, and particularly the 7th Iraqi Army Division out at Al Asad Air Base, where we are present with the Australians, with the Danes, doing an awful lot of training. So we think that is actually quite significant.
    And our efforts out at Al Asad, up the Euphrates River about 30 kilometers from Ramadi, have actually been quite successful. We’ve been working there now – we didn’t get out there until about mid-November, where we’ve been working with three tribes in that area and with the Iraqi Security Forces. And if you look on a map of the Euphrates Valley, all the way from Jarabulus all the way down to Ramadi, the area where there’s a big green circle, where Daesh has been trying its hardest but without effect, is in that area between Haditha and Baghdadi, because the tribes are mobilized. We’re helping them and they’re working directly with the Iraqi Security Forces all through the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. And we think that’s been quite successful, and we’ll obviously be looking to see if we can replicate that elsewhere.
    The third part of the Iraqi plan is to recall and refit the police, and particularly the police in Anbar province. We think there’s about 24,000 policemen. And immediately after the events of Ramadi, Prime Minister Abadi fired the police chief of Anbar province. He appointed a new provincial police chief who has the full support of the Anbaris and the Anbari provincial council, and that effort is now underway. And we think mobilizing the police will be critical because as areas are cleared, it’s going to be crucial that local police are there to maintain order as the army and military forces go on to take on additional objectives.
    The fourth plank of this plan is an international stabilization fund, and this fund will be – it’s now finalized – and this will be a part of the discussion tomorrow. And we’ll have a little bit more to say about that tomorrow. But the idea of this – it was developed through the Stabilization Working Group through the coalition, but also with the United Nations and with the Iraqi Government in the lead, and it builds on best practices from around the world of where this has been done in the past. And I refer to the UN experts – we were just talking to some of them today – who are very eager to get this moving because they think it is based on very sound principles and very effective principles. But it’s focused on immediate, quick-hit projects. So if an area is cleared and after fighting and after a military campaign, it immediately needs to flush resources, to clean out the streets, to remove mines and IEDs, and basically to make areas livable again so people can come back. This has been a real problem, because the Iraqis are not able to access capital markets; they remain fairly cash poor and they’re not able to flood resources quickly to areas, which is really essential as areas are cleared.
    So again, a lesson we’ve learned over the last eight months. This has been something we had to correct. We think the International Stabilization Fund corrects that, and we hand it to our colleagues in the Stabilization Working Group led by Germany and the UAE; also the UN team in Baghdad and our team at the embassy who have worked with Iraqis to get this up and running. It is now up and we’ll be looking for coalition contributions.
    The fifth – finally, the fifth part of this Iraqi plan which is very important is that as they organize all forces in the country to be part of this effort – and as you may recall in the fall of Ramadi, the Anbari provincial council unanimously asked Popular Mobilization Forces to come into the province to help, primarily to help cut off roadways and logistical resupply routes into Ramadi. But it’s very important as this proceeds that all forces be brought under the command and control of the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi prime minister, and its something that is a fundamental element of the plan for Anbar province. It’s something that leaders, including religious leaders like Grand Ayatollah Sistani, speaks to quite frequently.
    So those are the five core elements of this Iraqi plan. One, mobilizing the tribes; recruiting into the army; recalling of police; the stabilization fund to get resources to people quickly as areas are cleared after military conflict ceases and military operations cease; and the command and control over the forces.
    In addition, there’ll be discussion tomorrow and also two days from now in Brussels about the tremendous humanitarian toll of the fighting and of the refugees that’ve flown, particularly out of Anbar province, as ISIL has gone on the offensive there. And that is something that the UN will be speaking to the (inaudible) when they’ll be making an appeal in Brussels in two days for specifically what they need. It’s probably around a range of $4- to $500 million. And we, of course, when Prime Minister Abadi was in Washington a few weeks ago, contributed an additional $200 million to the UN humanitarian efforts in Iraq, which are truly heroic efforts.
    So again, tomorrow – it’s a time for the Small Group members of the coalition to get together to share information, to say what do we know now that we didn’t know in January – what is working, what is not working, what do we have to fix – and really kind of synthesizing all the different working groups to learn more about the network and then think ahead; as we look ahead to the next two months, to think about how we can really strangle and squeeze the network: the foreign fighters, the financing, and of course in the military sphere, particularly in the near term in this campaign in Anbar. And we’ll hear from Prime Minister Abadi about his campaign plan for Anbar province and where the coalition can help. And we’re already 

    Hey!  Wake up!

    That was long winded, wasn't it.

    Brett had all the words in the world and used each at least 12 times.

    But did you notice that it was military, military, military, military, Justice Dept on financing, military, military, military . . .

    Did you hear him talk about the political solution?


    All the words in the world to define what the US government was doing and not once did he offer that the government was actively involved in fostering a political solution.

    Toy soldiers.

    Little overgrown boys like Brett who like the uniform but were too scared of the thought of actually being in combat to serve in the military.

    Now, as the middle age years thin out and vanish, they pretend like they were warriors, they recreate the jobs they have to make it appear that they're warriors.

    Ashamed of their own past actions, they rush to play toy soldiers.

    RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
    "Press Availability With Iraqi Prime Minister Haide..."
    "Media Advisory: Gathering of Post 9/11 Caucus High..."
    "Isakson to Hold Hearing on Veterans’ Health Legisl..."
    "Background briefing on the June 2 Paris Counter-IS..."
    "Big meet-up in Paris, Haider brings the whine"
    "Will our government ever stop spying on us?"
    "Prison Break"
    "am i the only 1 bothered by ms. mag's blog?"
    "The press and Rand Paul"
    "President Fake Ass"
    "On being right"
    "Cameron Crowe's full of s**t"
    "Shonda Behind The Times Rhimes"
    "Barack Obama is just so disgusting"
    "Tell us more lies, Barry Van Auken"
    "They don't like her, they really don't like her"

    Tuesday, June 02, 2015








    In the biggest news out of Iraq today, Alsumaria reports that  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi went on state TV today to criticize the international coalition for its failure -- its failure -- to keep foreign fighters out of Iraq.

    Don't you hate when that happens?

    When other countries won't protect your country?

    Shouldn't you be able to just sit on your lazy all day and let other countries fight your battles for you?  Well shouldn't you?


    Haider was installed by US President Barack Obama.  He's the latest US puppet.

    And what a whiny little puppet he is.

    He's been put in charge of one of the richest countries in the region and all he can do is Bitch, Moan and Whine.

    He can't fix anything because he won't try -- and maybe Barack really doesn't want anything fixed -- remember planned chaos was always the US strategy for Iraq.

    But he really needs to grow the hell up.

    If only not to be such a joke on the international stage.

    But maybe he can't help that?  Maybe he was put in place to play the bumbling fool?

    RT notes, "Iraq has admitted that ISIS jihadists captured huge caches of US-made weapons, including thousands of Humvees seized from Iraqi forces retreating from Mosul last year."

    Yeah and how much did the Islamic State pick up in Ramadi last month when it fell to the Islamic State as Haider's forces fled?

    How's Haider dealt with that?

    Oh, right!

    Insisting it didn't happen.

    Insulting those who told the truth (including US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter).

    Saying they must have their facts wrong.

    Iraqis Spring MC notes that Baghdad Provincial Council declared bankruptcy and will be cutting the salaries of over 3,000 employees.

    Iraqi Spring MC notes the devastation and hardship that Ramadi refugees are living under.

    معاناة نازحي الرمادي الى ناحية العامرية جنوب مدينة الفلوجة في ظل الإهمال الحكومي المتعمد.

    Alsumaria reports UNICEF is stating Iraq is close to catastrophe and that $500 million is needed just to meet relief needs and over 8 million Iraqi need urgent humanitarian aid.

    But instead of focusing on that, the UN has other concerns.  The United Nations 'mission' in Iraq noted Sunday, "The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Ján Kubiš welcomed the UN General Assembly Resolution on ‘Saving the Cultural Heritage of Iraq’, which was adopted unanimously on Thursday in New York."  A little more focus on the things that actually matter -- human life -- would be appreciated.

    Yesterday, Margaret Griffis ( noted that "at least 4,007 [people] were killed and 897 were wounded" in Iraq in the month of May.

    In today's violence, AFP reports, "A huge suicide attack on an Iraqi police base killed at least 37 people on Monday as an operation against the self-styled Islamic State group continued but looked far from retaking Ramadi."  Iraqi Spring MC notes 1 woman was shot dead in Jabour area of Baghdad by government forces who were passing by.  Margaret Griffis ( counts 165 violent deaths across Iraq today.  Dropping back to Sunday, government shelling left 3 children and 8 adult civilians dead in Falluja with twenty-one more people injured.

    RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
    "More failures from the (retired) general"
    "President Obama and Joan of Arc (Sherwood Ross)"
    "Martin O'Malley's announcement that he's running f..."
    "Idiot of the week: AJ Delgado"
    "That useless Bob Somerby"
    "elizabeth banks"
    "Everything in 13 words"
    "Debt Free College (Martin O'Malley)"
    "Barack's success in Iraq"
    "Melissa Manchester"
    "Clooney can't carry a film"

    "Oh, Ralph, just shut your cowardly mouth"

  • Sunday, May 31, 2015







    CBS and AP note Iraqi officials declared yesterday that car bombings targeted two Baghdad hotels leaving 15 people dead. The bombings were late Thursday and, in addition to those, Margaret Griffis ( counts 22 dead from violence on Friday across Iraq.  But back to the 15 dead from Thursday's hotel bombings, where were they?


    Dropping back to Thursday's snapshot:

    In other signs that there is no political solution in Iraq today, Margaret Griffis ( notes, "Baghdad has asked the Kurdish government to allow 20,000 refugees from Anbar province to relocate there because they will not be allowed into the capital. The fear is that terrorists will be hidden among the displaced."
    First, you have citizens of Iraq being denied the right to enter their own capitol.
    Second, if Haider al-Abadi really believes there's a threat of terrorists being in with the refugees, why would he insist the KRG take them in?
    In what world does that make sense?
    'We can't let them into Baghdad because they might be bombers but how about you take these possible bombers into the KRG because it doesn't matter if Erbil gets attacked or Kurds get killed."
    That's what it sounds like.
    And it sounds like Haider's placing a premium on one group of lives (Shi'ite) while arguing that Sunni lives (the refugees) do not matter nor do the Kurds.
    There is no unity in Iraq under Haider al-Abadi -- not even a pretense of unity.

    Sad news for Haider, attacks will take place inside Baghdad whether or not he lets the refugees in.  Already in Baghdad, the seeds of his own destruction are present.

    You people can watch while I'm scrubbing these floors
    And I'm scrubbing the floors while you're gawking
    Maybe one you tip me and it makes you feel swell
    In this crummy southern town in this crummy old hotel
    But you'll never guess to who you're talking
    No, you couldn't ever guess to who you're talking
    Then one night there's a scream in the night
    And you wonder who could that have been?
    And you see me kind of grinning while I'm scrubbing
    And you say, "What's she got to grin?"

    "Pirate Jenny" is from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera which debuted in 1928. The song has been covered by many including Nina Simone and Judy Collins.

    The thing about corrupt and unresponsive governments is that they crater from the inside all on their own.  External factors may distract from what's taking place, but they're rotten at the root and beg for their own fall.

    Following in the footsteps of Noam Chomsky (2006's Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy), Loren Thompson (Forbes) declares Iraq a failed state and notes:

    Iraq’s political culture is one of the most corrupt in the world.  Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, ranks Iraq 170th out of 175 countries in terms of the rapacity of its leaders and the extent of official corruption.  Virtually every transaction of the government from construction contracts to military commissions to prisoner releases is tainted by corruption.  A commission to investigate the extent of wrongdoing has calculated that up to $330 billion in public funds is missing as a result of malfeasance by officials.  This continues a long tradition in which political leaders disbursed funds to strengthen ties with families, tribes and religious communities at the expense of the larger good.  And as Patrick Cockburn observed in the British newspaper The Independent, “The system cannot be reformed by the government because it would be striking at the very mechanism by which it rules.”

    Ramadi fell to the Islamic State this month despite the fact that the Iraqi forces present far outnumbered the Islamic State fighters on the scene.  Michelle Tan (Army Times) quotes Gen Ray Odierno stating, "As you look at this, you could say there probably is a problem with leadership.  They have to have the will to fight. It always goes back to the government of Iraq.  Unless you get everyone to believe the government of Iraq is there for all Iraqis, you're always going to have this problem."

    Whether working in Bully Boy Bush's administration or Barack Obama's, Odierno has always been one of the smarter officials.

    And for a diplomat, proving how stupid he truly is, Barack hires a retired general to be an envoy -- a retired general who doesn't want to be seen as a diplomat and who insists on being called a general.  As everyone knows, Barack went for John Allen to try to shut Allen up (Allen was criticizing Barack's foreign policy).  But, as everyone knows, Allen is unqualified to work towards a diplomatic solution.

    The White House notes:

    Special Presidential Envoy Allen Travel to Iraq and France

    Media Note

    Washington, DC
    May 30, 2015

    Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL General John Allen is in Baghdad to meet with Prime Minister Abadi and other senior Iraqi political and security leaders. They will discuss U.S. support for Iraqi-led efforts to counter ISIL, including operations in Anbar and how the U.S. and the Coalition can continue to support the Government of Iraq’s plan for re-taking Ramadi from ISIL and restoring Iraq’s territorial integrity.
    General Allen and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk will then travel to Paris to join Secretary Kerry at the Small Group Ministerial of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL on June 2.

    The retired general who now likes to play toy soldier spoke to France 24:

    FRANCE 24: Can a group like the Islamic State organisation be entirely defeated? Is that even possible?

    General Allen: "Well, we need to be careful about applying...solely a military term to an outcome. When you hear us talk about the defeat of Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group), inherent in the outcome is an expectation that specifically, and more broadly, we can deal with some of the underlying causes that ultimately bring an organisation like Daesh into being.”

    “So at the same time we talk about the defeat of Daesh, we’re also talking about dealing with the origins of violent extremism, and I think we would say that we have to deal with the political issues. We have to deal with inherent social, economic, religious issues, because in the end, the aggregation of those creates an environment where an organisation like Daesh can find cohesion and purpose.”

    Well when does the envoy plan on addressing those "underlying causes"?

    It's almost a year since Barack declared the only solution for Iraq was a "political solution."

    All this talk about military aspects.  Would it be any different -- would the administration be working on a political solution -- if they'd picked someone more appropriate for the envoy job -- say Jimmy Carter?

    If Carter wasn't available, he could have gone with Cher.

      SpendREALLY Arming The Kurds.We
      BLEW Off Sunni Tribesman,4 Shiite Gov &Now We'll Pay

    Iraq is in ruins and all Barack can think to do is drop more bombs from overhead.

    Which will produce?

    More ruins.

    RECOMMENDED: "Martin O'Malley's announcement that he's running f...
    "Iraq snapshot"
    "Book Lovers Rejoice! -- And Watch! (Channel 56)"
    "And things only get worse in Iraq"
    "San Andreas"
    "The Nation Bullpen"
    "A loss"
    "Martin O'Malley announces"
    "Remember when Lizz Winstead would slobber over the Emanual brothers?"
    "Hillary the shoe-in?"
    "Martin O'Malley makes it official"
    "Finally a real candidate"
    "martin's a real contender"
    "Bernie Sanders is disgusting"
    "Can she be more haggard?"