Friday, November 06, 2015




Turning to Iraq . . . 
The failed Operation Inherent Resolve continues with US President Barack Obama promising 'liberation' to Iraq via bombs dropped from overhead.  The Defense Dept announced today:

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Albu Hayat, two strikes struck two separate large ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL building, and four ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Beiji, one strike wounded an ISIL fighter.

-- Near Mosul, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL building and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, nine strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bomb-making facility, an ISIL staging facility, three ISIL staging areas, four ISIL weapons caches, an ISIL headquarters location, an ISIL bed-down location, 10 ISIL fighting positions, and two ISIL vehicles.
Since August of 2014, these bombings have taken place.
And the Islamic State is still not on the run.

All the money wasted on these bombs and the Islamic State is still not on the run.

All the civilians killed in these bombings and the Islamic State is still not on the run.

All this destruction to Iraq -- yes, bombs dropped from the air landing on Iraq causes destruction -- and the Islamic State is still not on the run.

Operation Inherent Failure is Barack's big solution.
It it any wonder a growing chorus of voices register that they are unimpressed with Barack's plan or 'plan.'  
For example, Nicholas Watt (Guardian) reports, "Jeremy Corbyn has suggested Britain should review its involvement in coalition airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq, as the government confirmed it had no current plans to seek parliamentary approval to extend the bombing campaign to Syria."
ITV's Chris Ship interviewed Corbyn and they note:

"I'm not sure how successful it [military action in Iraq] has been because most of the action appears to have moved into Syria so I think we have to look again at that decision," the Labour leader told Chris Ship.
Mr Corbyn was speaking as Downing Street denied reports that Prime Minister David Cameron has abandoned hope of winning parliamentary approval to extend RAF operations into Syria.
The name changes of the groups fighting in Syria and Iraq should not fool anyone. In essence they are the same forces; they are “agents of chaos” being using to create insecurity against U.S. rivals and any governments or entities that are resisting U.S. edicts. With the erosion of Al-Qaeda and the fading of Osama bin Laden from the limelight, Washington created new legends or myths to replace them in the eyes of the public and the world as a means to sustain its foreign policy. Soon Jubhat Al-Nusra, ISIL/ISIS, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were all conjured up and fostered as new bogeymen and monsters to sustain Washington’s “long war” and to justify the militarism of the United States. These bogymen also have been used to fan the flames of sedition, drive out Christians and other minorities, and fuel sectarianism among Muslims with the objective of dividing the region and pushing Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims to kill one another.

He was a destructive force who did huge damage.

We noted his role in fueling the Iraq War Tuesday.  We did not blame him for the Iraq War.

Adam Johnson (FAIR) and a 'writer' at Salon are among a group of xenophobic and, yes, racist whiners.

They're offended that some news outlets are taking so much blame to Chalabi.

They whine that Bully Boy Bush and Dick Cheney are getting off easy.

Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal and Dick Cheney is so much worse that there's not even a term -- not one we can use in a work safe environment -- that can describe him.

But let's stop being so damn xenophobic.

America is not the great god of the world.

Every thing that happens does not require an American lead or guide.

For Sunnis in Iraq, Chalabi was a bigger obstacle than Bully Boy Bush.

Bully Boy Bush (with aid from Democrats and Republicans in Congress) went to war on Iraq.

Guess what?

The history of Iraq is a history of western countries going to war on it.

Bully Boy Bush is just one in a long parade of ants masking as leaders who tried to destroy Iraq.

He inflicted harm, no question.

But stop pretending that the story begins and ends there.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

Thursday, November 05, 2015





US President Barack Obama continues to bomb Iraq to 'liberate' it.  The US Defense Dept announced the following strikes today:

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Beiji, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Habbaniyah, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL tactical vehicle.

-- Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Makhmur, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns, three ISIL fighting positions, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, and destroyed two ISIL tactical vehicles, an ISIL vehicle bomb, two ISIL command and control nodes, four ISIL buildings, two ISIL fighting positions, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL weapons cache, and two ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Tal Afar, one strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.

The Defense Dept always alleges that all bombs landed on the Islamic State.  That's only sometimes the truth.

But read the above and grasp (a) the Iraq War is never ending and (b) a couple of hundred thousand were spent by US taxpayers for the Tal Afar strike alone and all it can really claim is that it "destroyed an ISIL vehicle."

Saturday saw the end of October which means it's time for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq to release their monthly totals:

Baghdad, 1 November 2015 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 714 Iraqis were killed and another 1,269 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in October 2015*.

The number of civilians killed was 559 (including 25 civilian police), and the number of civilians injured was 1,067 (including 43 civilian police).
A further 155 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army / Not including casualties from Anbar Operations) were killed and 202 were injured.
“Once again, these figures illustrate the suffering of the people of Iraq from terrorism and conflict,” the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Ján Kubiš said. “I am hopeful that the this suffering of the Iraqi people will come to an end with the support of the international community,” he added.
Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,150 civilian casualties (298 killed, 852 injured). Diyala suffered 92 killed and 141 injured, Ninewa 86 killed, Salahadin 28 killed and 40 injured, and Kirkuk 39 killed and 7 injured.
*CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. UNAMI could not obtain the casualty figures for the month of October from the Anbar Health Directorate. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

Like the war itself, the monthly death tolls never end.

Maybe some are confused by this?

It can be confusing keeping track of Barack's many wars.  To avoid any confusion, we'll include Bill Press (The Hill) explaining the basics:

Sending the first ground forces into Syria comes on top of June’s decision to dispatch an additional 450 troops to Iraq, for a total of 3,500, and last month’s announcement that American troops would remain in Afghanistan through the end of 2017. 
That makes three wars at one time under Obama’s administration: a rekindled war in Iraq, an extended war in Afghanistan, and a new war in Syria, with no end in sight. In fact, it’s looking more and more like Syria could become Obama’s Vietnam. 

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) added to the list, " In addition to the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the U.S. continues to carry out drone strikes across the globe, from Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia."

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

Monday, November 02, 2015






The silence is deafening.

More war is declared and the so-called leaders of what was once a peace movement are playing duck-and-cover to avoid standing up.

The New York Daily News declares, "Mark another awkward milestone in President Obama’s foreign policy: The United States of America has kind of, sort of backed into combat operations in Syria and Iraq."  Trevor Timm (Guardian) goes further:

In 2012, Obama unequivocally said he would end the war in Afghanistan, and chided Mitt Romney the Republican nominee for not promising that. In 2013, Obama said: “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.” In 2014, Obama said: “We will not be sending US troops back into combat in Iraq”. At this point, all of those promises have been completely broken. 
Worse, the Obama administration has effectively removed the democratic process (and Congress) from any decision making on whether to go to war. We now have ground troops inside Syria without any sort of legal authorization from Congress. Obama explicitly campaigned in 2012 on ending the Afghanistan war, which he has now extended beyond his term. The Obama administration also went into Libya and removed Muammar Gaddafi, despite the House voting against it beforehand. 

The war against the Islamic State is morphing yet again despite Operation Inherent Failure's lack of measurable success.  Bill van Auken (WSWS) reminds:

When ISIS headed eastward from Syria and overran roughly a third of Iraq, including its third-largest city, Mosul, the Obama administration launched its direct intervention in both countries, conducting air strikes and redeploying some 3,500 US troops to Iraq. Now the intervention has morphed into a war against ISIS dubbed “Operation Inherent Resolve.”
More than a year after that “war” was launched, the grip of ISIS over large swathes of both Iraq and Syria remains virtually unchanged. The desultory character of the US campaign is explicable only from the standpoint that Washington has no desire to destroy the Islamist militia, which it still counts as one of the main fighting forces in the war for regime change, which remains the principal US objective.

The White House announced troops would be sent into Syria. 

Repeating, the White House announced troops would be sent into Syria.

Barack declared,  "I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria."

But, too bad, that was September 10, 2013.

So many broken promises.

And all those promises
that you made me from the start
were filled with emptiness
from the desert of your heart 
Every sweet caress
was just your second best
Broken promises

Baby, I'm amazed
at how long I still believed
How many lies it takes
before someone like me sees
All the tears you cried
They never could deny
that you made love a lie
All those tears you cried
They never could deny
that you made love a lie

-- "All Those Promises," written by Janis Ian, first appears on her album Folk Is The New Black

It's as though Janis composed the theme song for the deprogrammed members of The Cult of St. Barack.

Dan Roberts (Guardian) explains the pretzel 'logic' liars now find themselves in:

Administration officials were left squirming on Friday to explain how sending special forces to work alongside Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State was compatible with Obama’s earlier promises not to “put boots on the ground” in Syria or “engage in combat operations” against Isis.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest claimed there was still a difference of “night and day” compared with the Bush administration’s invasions, but in the space of a few short weeks a central promise of Obama’s presidential campaign has been undermined: first by conceding that he will not meet his pledge of removing troops from Afghanistan before he leaves office and now by acknowledging a long-term ground presence is necessary not just in Iraq, but Syria too.
Earnest would not say whether the deployments were permanent or would be bolstered, insisting: “I don’t want to try to predict the future here.”

Yet arguably that was exactly what Obama claimed he could do when he ran for office promising to bring US troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In light of all this, all the broken promises, all the wars, Tom Hayden Tweeted:

  • Hillary will gain presidential stature

  • Oh, that wasn't in response to that.

    The old drunk couldn't Tweet in response to the White House plans because he's never had the spine to stand up to anyone.  He's just an ugly gigolo who took his second wife for all the millions he could -- despite his non-stop cheating -- and now bills himself as the "leader of sixties peace, justice and environmental movement."

    That's hilarious. 

    His colleague Katrina vanden Heuvel also couldn't call out Barack.

    What of 'brave' Ruth Conniff, the editor of The Progressive?

    The woman, the trash, that once bragged on KPFA's The Morning Show that no one she knew had been touched by the Iraq War managed to Tweet or re-Tweet 37 times during the CNBC GOP presidential aspirants debate but on Iraq and Syria on Friday or even today . . .

    That's right, boys and girls, zero.



    Remember: No one she knows was touched by the Iraq War.

    Jill Stein's a liar.  She's a lot of things but mainly she's a liar.   October saw Amy Goodman again announce Jill's appearance in the NYC studio of Democracy Now -- with Goodman hailing her as the Green Party's 2016 nominee.

    For Jill's failure to correct that -- repeatedly, she's failed with every media outlet -- the Green Party should select someone else . . . when they pick a presidential candidate in August 2016.

    Jill Stein is a liar.

    She's not the Green Party's presidential candidate.

    Goody Whore and her ilk get so upset when the press does something like this -- the real press, not the beggar media crying "send money!" -- but they have no ethics themselves.

    Nor does Jill.

    When she started campaigning for the nomination (2016 nomination) we noted her silence on Iraq here and that prompted her to pretend she cared.

    But we were right: She doesn't.

    And if you doubt it grasp that she's been Tweeting but has nothing to say about Iraq or Syria.

    This is an alternative to Democratic Party candidates?

    The person who should be the nominee noted:

  • Frustrated with the treatment of events in Syria? Listen to CPR News that really needs your support! 

  • Cynthia may run for the Green Party's 2016 presidential nomination.

    RECOMMENDED: "Hejira"

    Sunday, November 01, 2015





    In Iraq, there's been another attack on Iranian dissidents.

    UNHCR issued the following statement:

    UNHCR statement on today's attack on vicinity of Baghdad International Airport, including Camp Liberty, in Iraq

    News Stories, 29 October 2015
    UNHCR strongly condemns today's rocket attacks in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport, which have also hit adjacent Camp Hurriyet (Camp Liberty), reportedly causing injuries to dozens of people of concern and some 20 deaths.
    Camp Liberty is home to around 2,200 people of concern to the Office. The authorities have evacuated the injured to Baghdad hospitals. The full extent of the casualties and damage to the camp is still being ascertained.
    "This is a most deplorable act, and I am greatly concerned at the harm that has been inflicted on those living at Camp Liberty," said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "Every effort must continue to be made for the injured and to identify and bring to account those responsible."
    The residents of Camp Liberty previously lived at Camp Ashraf. 
      For more information on this topic, please contact:
    • Adrian Edward in Geneva, on mobile +41 79 557 9120
    • Ariane Rummery in Geneva, on mobile +41 79 200 7617

    This attack was on the Ashraf community.   Background:  As of September 2013, Camp Ashraf in Iraq is empty.  All remaining members of the community have been moved to Camp Hurriya (also known as Camp Liberty).  Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to  Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could  utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.  As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."  Those weren't the last attacks.  They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked.   That was the second attack of 2013.   February 9th of 2013, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."  They were attacked again September 1, 2013 -- two years ago.   Adam Schreck (AP) reported back then that the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.

    This is a travesty, the latest attack.

    The State Dept did respond with something more than their usual 'we call on both sides' b.s.  They issued the following:

    Press Statement
    John Kerry
    Washington, DC
    October 29, 2015
    The United States strongly condemns today’s brutal, senseless terrorist attack on Camp Hurriya that killed and injured camp residents. Our condolences go out to the families of the victims, and we hope for the swift recovery of those injured.
    We have been in touch with senior Iraqi officials to ensure that the Government of Iraq renders all possible medical and emergency assistance to the victims. We also urge the Government of Iraq to provide additional security for the camp’s residents and to find the perpetrators and hold them accountable for the attack, consistent with its obligations under the December 25, 2011 agreement with the United Nations.
    We are consulting with the Government of Iraq to ascertain the full extent of this unprovoked attack.
    No matter the circumstances, on this point we remain absolute: the United States remains committed to assisting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the relocation of all Camp Hurriya residents to a permanent and safe location outside of Iraq. We call on more countries to assist in responding to this urgent humanitarian situation by welcoming camp residents for relocation and by contributing to the fund established by the United Nations to support their resettlement. The Department, through its Senior Advisor for MEK Resettlement, will remain actively engaged in the international effort to relocate the residents of Camp Hurriya to safe, permanent locations as soon as possible.

    The US government needed to make that statement and they need to do a great deal more.  This was addressed in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing of October 7th (covered in the October 10th snapshot).  We'll note this exchange:

    Senator Angus King: Several times you gentlemen used the term "the US made assurances," the term "solemn promise,""guarantee," and Col Martin, you mentioned a card.  What did that card say?  I'd like to know specifically: what assurances were delivered, by whom and when?

    Colonel Wesley Martin [Retired]: Yes, sir.  This was the protected persons status under the Geneva Convention.  And I have a copy of it.  If you give me a second, I can find it real quick.

    Senator Angus King: Well I'd like to know what is says.

    Colonel Wesley Martin:  Okay. 

    Senator Angus King: What I'm searching for here is what are the assurances specifically and who delivered them and when.  I think that's a fair question given that seems to be the premise of this discussion.

    Colonel Wesley Martin: "This card holder is protected person under the agreement of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Should the assigned person" uh, it's a little blurry "should an incident occur, we request that the person contact the [US] military police brigade."  And then it goes on the agreement that they made: "You are being offered your release from control and protection in exchange for your promise to comply with certain regulations."  And it clearly states they are protected, they will not be -- they will not be arrested, they will not be harmed.

    Senator Angus King: What did they have to do?

    Colonel Wesley Martin: And what they had to do, sir, is go ahead and sign an agreement --

    Senator Angus King: That's when they were moved from Ashraf to Liberty?

    Colonel Wesley Martin: No, sir. That was a whole set of different promises.  If I may, sir, Senator McCain, [holding clipped stack of papers], if I could, I'd like to make this submitted for the record.

    Senator Angus King: Well you can make it for the record but I want to know who made assurances -- 

    Colonel Wesley Martin:  Yes, sir.

    Senator Angus King (Con't): -- and what those assurances were.  And saying they were protected person under the Geneva Convention isn't a promise that the US will take you in.  I just want to understand what the promise is that we're being urged to honor.

    Colonel Wesley Martin:  Yes, sir.  I understand.  The first one is they would be protected and they would remain at Camp Ashraf.  That was 2004. That was with the US State Dept in agreement with the United States Dept of Defense and [then-Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld was the person that finally approved it -- but working with the State Dept.  The person that issued those cards, working with the Embassy, was US Brigadier General David Phillips [. . .]

    The US government made a promise and it has refused to honor it.

    The Ashraf community could be resettled from Camp Liberty to outside Iraq in the blink of an eye.

    At one point, John Kerry had tasked his friend with this assignment.

    Despite holding the post for over a year, his friend didn't do anything but sit on his ass and collect a check.

    Resettling less than 4,000 people does not require a year or even six months.

    If the White House had the will, the desire, to resettle the Ashraf community, they would have been re-settled some time ago.

    RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"