The Common Ills

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, June 22, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri al-Maliki insults  Sunni politicians and Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the US government hopes tossing some money will let them off for assisting with War Crimes in Iraq and much more.

Since August of 2014, the US government has bombed Iraq daily.

Recall: our current bombing campaign in Iraq was pitched as "limited". It's now almost 2 yrs old.


Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Rocket artillery and bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

-- Near Beiji, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL improvised explosive device, an ISIL vehicle-borne IED, four ISIL rocket rails, two ISIL mortar systems, an ISIL supply cache and an ISIL anti-air artillery piece and damaged five ISIL berms.
-- Near Fallujah, three strikes struck two separate large ISIL tactical units and destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, two ISIL heavy machine guns, five ISIL light machine guns, five ISIL rocket propelled grenade systems and two ISIL mortar systems and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL tunnel and three ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, six ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL rocket system.
-- Near Qayyarah, three strikes destroyed three ISIL rocket rails and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL light machine gun, an ISIL rocket-propelled-grenade system, an ISIL boat and three ISIL weapons caches.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

That they'll release.

Other things?

Not really.

At yesterday's Pentagon press conference moderated by press secretary Peter Cook, the following exchange took place

Q:  Peter, during last week's briefing, the issue of injured American service members came up, and you said you would take the question and look into it.

      Can you confirm that four American service members were injured in Northern Syria on June 9th?

      MR. COOK:  (Inaudible) -- this is -- I'm glad you raised the question, because this does raise a question, a policy question for us about identifying injured service members.

      And as I stated last week, and probably should have stated more clearly, our policy is not to identify wounded service members, for a variety of reasons -- including operational security, including privacy reasons.

      And so, I'm not going to be able to elaborate more fully on that situation.  Just as I wouldn't with other wounded service members, because of that -- because of our policy in place.

      Q:  I believe on May 31, the Pentagon did come out and say there were two service members, one in Iraq and one in Syria, who were injured and I think you even gave a specific location -- (inaudible), north of Raqqah.  And I'm not asking for a specific location or name.  You know, were there American service members injured?  Because in the past, you have acknowledged when they have been injured.

      MR. COOK:  And what -- and of course one of the things that we're concerned about here is not just operational security -- (inaudible), but also, we do not want to provide additional information to the enemy that might enhance their own assessment of the battlefield situation and their own impact.

      Q:  (inaudible) -- because on May 31, you did give out two numbers of Americans injured.

      MR. COOK:  I'm just spelling out right now our policy consistent with what it's been in the past with regard to wounded service members.  We provide information with regard, of course, to casualties.  But for a variety of reasons, we do not provide information on wounded service members and we're going to continue to stick to that, again, because we don't want to provide information to the enemy that might be helpful, we have privacy concerns that we want to address.

      And again, we don't routinely release that information.  There have been some exceptions in the past, but that is our -- our basic policy and I'm going to stick to that policy.

Cook insisted this was not a change.  Idrees Ali and Leslie Adler (REUTERS) point out, "However, the Pentagon has released such information in the past and responded to queries, and it was unclear how Cook's comments were consistent with previous disclosures."  At the conservative website HOT AIR, Jazz Shaw maintains:

It’s hard not to read something overtly political into this policy change, no matter how the Pentagon describes it. We’ve already seen the President standing by his policy of not mentioning Islamic terrorism and our own Attorney General has tried to keep mentions of ISIS out of transcripts of conversations with terrorists attacking at home. Any news about battlefield injuries in the war against this enemy clearly plays against the Democrats in general and Hillary Clinton’s election hopes in particular, so suppressing public discussion of such unpleasant realities has a clear political side to it.

ALSUMARIA reports that independent politician Izzat al-Shahbandar states that while Iraq has made gains in the battle against the Islamic State but none on the political front.  Though described in the article -- and by the press usually -- as "independent," he is a member of Nouri al-Maliki's political slate State of Law.

Shi'ite Nouri al-Maliki is the former prime minister of Iraq and the forever thug.

RUDAW reports today that he's slammed Sunni politicians as "terrorists" (he did that while he was prime minister too) and denounced Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr and compared the rallies carried out by Moqtada's followers to "robbery."

Nouri's persecution of the Sunni population provided the Islamic State the foundation they needed in Iraq.

Also on the political front, the office of the current prime minister, Haider al-Abadi,  issued the following today:

استقبل السيد رئيس مجلس الوزراء الدكتور حيدر العبادي في مكتبه اليوم الاربعاء رئيس ائتلاف الوطنية الدكتور اياد علاوي.

وجرى خلال اللقاء مناقشة الاوضاع السياسية والامنية والاقتصادية التي يشهدها البلد واهمية توحيد الجهود لمواجهة 
التحديات التي يمر بها العراق.

كما جرى التأكيد على ضرورة ادامة زخم الانتصارات بعد تحرير الفلوجة والدعم والاسناد لقواتنا البطلة وتوفير المستلزمات 
الضرورية والعيش الكريم للنازحين.

ودعا الدكتور العبادي جميع الكتل السياسية الى دعم قواتنا البطلة في حربها ضد العصابات الارهابية والابتعاد عن كل ما من 
شأنه ان يؤثر سلبا على عزيمة مقاتلينا مؤكدا في الوقت ذاته على اهمية نبذ الخلافات واللجوء للحوار لحل القضايا العالقة 
للسير بالبلد الى بر الامان.

المكتب الاعلامي لرئيس الوزراء
22 حزيران 2016

The press release notes that Ayad Allawi traveled to Haider al-Abadi's office today and the two met to discuss economic, security and political developments within Iraq and the need to unite to face the challenges and to carry on the momentum of victory beyond the liberation of Falluja.

Allawi now leads the National Coalition.  In 2010, he led Iraqiya which offered a way forward for Iraq, a political party built not on sect but on commonalities.

Despite election irregularities and Nouri al-Maliki's stunts, Iraqiya won the 2010 elections and Allawi should have been named prime minister-designate and given the opportunity to attempt to form a government.

However, Nouri al-Maliki refused to step down bringing the country to a standstill.  That political stalemate lasted over 8 months and Nouri was able to carry out that paralysis of the Iraqi government with the help of US President Barack Obama who had US officials negotiate The Erbil Agreement -- a legal contract that did away with the votes of the Iraqi people and gave Nouri a second term as prime minister.

On 'liberated' Falluja, AFP notes the large number of Iraqis it has created:

"We have to admit that the humanitarian community has also failed the Iraqi people," said Nasr Muflahi, Iraq head of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

"There are serious funding shortfalls, but there is no justification why there aren't more aid agencies helping the people of Fallujah," he said.

As already existing camps filled way beyond capacity, other camps were being set up but the newly displaced families arriving there often found nothing to sleep on or under, nothing to eat or drink.

Salam Khoder (ALJAZEERA) speaks with the refugees:

When Um Anwar, a resident of Fallujah, was asked to describe her life in the refugee camps at Amiriyat al-Fallujah, she summed it up in a sharp, clear voice: "We are staying inside the camp but living outside the tents." 
Um Anwar left Fallujah on Friday June 17, with her four daughters. "We have been sleeping out in the open for days now," she told Al Jazeera. "My four daughters and I take turns in sleeping during the night. Two of us have to stay up watching while the rest of us fall into sleep. This is the only way to ensure no one is coming our way during the night. They told us that they had no tents to spare us one as a family."

Her son, Anwar, fled the city 15 months ago and has been trying to make a living in Baghdad ever since, while her husband was killed in a bombing in Fallujah city shortly after her son left.

And the refugees also have to deal with the Shi'ite militias.

Iraqi Sunni civilians displaced from Fallujah tortured by Shia Militias


War Crimes took place throughout the 'liberation' of Falluja and continue to take place.

Awash in blood and guilt, the US government attempts to buy it's way out.

>1/2 of Iraq's 3.4m displaced are children. Today we announced July 20 pledging conference to raise support for Iraqi people in dire need

What's she talking about?

US State Dept spokesperson John Kirby explained at today's State Dept press briefing:

On Iraq, we are pleased to announce that the United States will co-host a pledging conference with Canada, Germany, and Japan in Washington, D.C. on the 20th of July to raise support for urgent humanitarian and stabilization needs in Iraq. This will be an effort to help the people of Iraq weather the humanitarian crisis and destruction wrought by [the Islamic State] in the country, and as – to remind, as you know, I mentioned yesterday, we announced yesterday $20 million of assistance for Iraq specifically for humanitarian purposes. And I fully would expect that the pledging conference will see, as I said yesterday, additional contributions by the United States.
Now, while [the Islamic State] has suffered continued defeats on the battlefield, we now believe we’re at a critical juncture in the fight. Iraq needs the international community’s support to provide desperately needed items such as food, water, shelter, medicine for those in need, and to assist in the return of displaced families back to liberated areas as quickly as possible. It’s critical that we focus not only on defeating [the Islamic State], of course, but also what comes after that. Reconciliation and long-term peace are simply not possible until Iraq’s acute humanitarian crisis is alleviated and people can return to their homes with access to basic services, to health care, education, and with at least a modest hope for prosperity.

We believe that this pledging conference will provide a unique and important opportunity for the international community to assist in doing just that, and to helping Iraq’s citizens move past some of these challenges and in remedying the harm caused by [the Islamic State] and to show solidarity with the people of Iraq as they rebuild their nation.

Turning to politics in the US where Democrats in the House of Representatives are staging a useless move that's supposed to lead people to vote for them.

Glenn Greenwald Retweeted The Intercept
Of all things Dems could've but didn't do a sit-in for (end Iraq War, punish Wall St & torturers), they choose this:
Glenn Greenwald added,

Not everyone's falling for the nonsense and a hashtag has been created #DemsNeverSat:

Anoa J. Changa, Esq. Retweeted AC Uhuru
against systemic disinvestment, poverty, school closures, health care access, etc
Anoa J. Changa, Esq. added,

Posted at 07:26 pm by thecommonills

Pausing a moment to note it is Barack's war

Pausing a moment to note it is Barack's war

Falluja is not just a mess, it's a human rights disaster.

It is a blot on Barack Obama and his administration and throwing $20 million in aid at the problem will not fix it or remove responsibility.

The political solution Barack rightly noted that Iraq needed (noted on June 19, 2014) has not come about.

Haider's so-called proposal for reform with his desired new Cabinet will not provide a political solution (nor will it address corruption).  It will actually make marginalized communities in Iraq feel even more so since Haider's point is to destroy the quota system that was supposed to allow everyone a seat at the table.

(Haider's past corruption effort was to put a member of his own party in charge of 'rooting out' corruption.  That didn't address corruption either.  Though the man is said to have received many large gifts since assuming office.)

It didn't have to be this way.

Repeatedly, here I said early on that Barack needed to end the Iraq War and do so quickly.

Ava and I wrote pieces here, I wrote pieces here, I advocated for it to friends among the then-incoming administration.

And repeatedly we both said that ending the Iraq War would be messy.

But you do it in your first year as president and you say "I was voted into the White House to end the Iraq War, it's what the American people wanted."

You do that and then if it goes badly afterwards?

It was a decision by the American people.

But Barack, like so many others, couldn't leave well enough alone.

Inflated and puffed out by a fawning press, he thought he was the genius they said and thought he could play with a few things and then a few things more.

All that did was make Iraq his.

His refusal to end the war immediately and his refusal to stop tinkering (including overruling the Iraqi people who voted Nouri al-Maliki out in 2010 as prime minister but Barack kept Nouri in power until summer of 2014) made Iraq his.

As did the negotiations with the League of Righteous -- a terrorist group that continues to terrorize Iraq.

A terrorist group that killed American soldiers and whose leadership was in US custody.

But to get four corpses (British corpses) and one live Brit released by the League, Barack released their leaders.

And non-veterans still often look at you blankly on that.

Even though it was front page news on THE NEW YORK TIMES.

But it wasn't talked about widely (we talked about it repeatedly here) because let's not hold Barack accountable was the mood of the press (and remains it).

There is also the SOFA.

Barbra Streisand needs to find some Laura Nyro song to rip off again.  (Oh, for the days when Michael Douglas used to put Babs in her place on that rip off -- the only way she could revive her career, ripping Laura off note-for-note.)

Last week Babs wanted to Tweet (see Betty's "That political idiot Barbra Streisand").

Yes, Bully Boy Bush negotiated the SOFA.

And Barack and Joe Biden both said they wouldn't abide by anything the Senate didn't approve.

They put it up at their website and ran on that.

It was their first broken promise (and the first thing disappeared from the website).

But the SOFA was a contract.

It had a kill clause for each year.

At the end of the three years, it could be redone (like the UN mandate it replaced had been done yearly) or it could be replaced.

And what Babs hopes you don't know is that Barack tried to get a new one.

And failed.

So 'blaming' the so-called end of the Iraq War (it didn't end) on Bully Boy Bush because of the SOFA is lying.

And considering how little Barbra did to stop the Iraq War, she really has no point in speaking.

Scared witless in the early seventies, she still did more on Vietnam than she did on Iraq.

That includes, singing over the phone -- in an auction -- to raise money for Daniel Ellsberg's defense.

Barack's hands were all over Iraq long before he began sending troops back in during 2014.

It's his war as sure as it's Bully Boy Bush's war.

And it didn't have to be that way.

And a number of people (not just Ava and myself) raised that point repeatedly before he was ever sworn in.

The e-mail address for this site is

Posted at 07:22 pm by thecommonills

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Iraq's LGBT community remains under fire -- from both the government of Iraq and from terrorist groups such as the Islamic State.  Chris Godfrey (ATTITUDE) reports on the work of Iraqi activist Amir Ashour:

Amir Ashour is not someone who’s happy to hide in the shadows. As Iraq’s only openly LGBT activist, he was always going to court attention. Since embarking on his mission to visibly champion LGBT rights, he’s been arrested and detained twice, lost friends and extended family, can no longer return to Iraq, and been forced to relocate permanently to Sweden.
But in the face of such resistance, and at great risk to his personal safety, he’s managed to set up the country’s first LGBT rights organisation, IraQueer, which is forced to operate underground. One year on, its 40 members have never met face-to-face, instead communicating exclusively through social media and apps such as Grindr.
Considering the severe human rights violations LGBT people in Iraq face, as well as the country’s absolute lack of legislative protection, their anonymity is their only protection. From the killing campaigns that are practised by armed militias in Baghdad, to the rise of Islamic State and its brutal executions of gay men, anonymity is literally a matter of life and death.
“We will be meeting in person soon, somewhere outside Iraq,” says Ashour. “We use safe ways to communicate with each other to exchange information. I make sure that all the publications that we post on the website or social media are being done from Sweden, so if someone does track it, they are led only to Sweden.”

“The security concerns are our biggest,” he continues. “The people who look more as if they might be LGBT+ people face a lot of difficulty in the streets: they could be attacked by people, by religious militias, or they could be violated by police forces.”

From the start of the wave of persecution that began under then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, the UK press has been better than any western country in reporting on the attacks on the LGBT community in Iraq.

In other news, BBC's Ahmed Maher reports that Islamic State members remain in Falluja. DEUTSCHE WELLE reports that the 'liberation' of Falluja  has created 84,000 refugees according to UNHCR and:

An Iraqi aid worker employed at a nearby refugee camp said their resources were woefully inadequate.
"We secured tents for some of them, but the rest, including women and children, are sleeping on the ground under the sun," he said. "Their situation is a tragedy."

The 'liberation' didn't end the War Crimes, obviously:

Graphic pic Iraqi Sunni civilian arrested ,Burned & killed by Shia militias without guilt in

Iraqi Sunni civilians displaced from Fallujah tortured, Burned & killed by Shia Militias

And the 'liberation' didn't end the ongoing US bombings of Iraq.  Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Rocket artillery and bomber, ground-attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Baghdadi, two strikes struck an ISIL beddown facility and an ISIL staging area and destroyed an ISIL bunker.
-- Near Beiji, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL recoilless rifle and an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Fallujah, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 22 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, 10 ISIL heavy machine guns, seven ISIL light machine guns, an ISIL recoilless rifle, three ISIL rocket-propelled-grenade systems and an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL assembly area.
-- Near Mosul, a strike struck an ISIL oil headquarters.
-- Near Qayyarah, five strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL mortar systems, an ISIL assembly area, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL command-and-control node and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, an ISIL boat and an ISIL light machine gun and damaged a separate ISIL boat.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck two separate ISIL foreign fighter command posts.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

June 19, 2014, US President Barack Obama stated the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution.  At what point does he plan to put US resources into pursuing that?

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4517 (including 20 in Operation Inherent Resolve which includes at least 3 Iraq War fatalities).

Isaiah's "It's The Great Bumpkin, Barry O" and the following community sites  -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is

    Posted at 09:56 pm by thecommonills

    Tulsi Gabbard: Many people simply have not learned from the past

    Tulsi Gabbard: Many people simply have not learned from the past

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran.

    1.  Pinned Tweet
      Tulsi Gabbard Retweeted E McMorris-Santoro
      We cannot afford to be silent about the reforms our party needs. Sign now:
      Tulsi Gabbard added,
    Glad to see stand up to at yesterday’s convention. We must abolish superdelegates.
    " needs to hear from us and show the same courage again we need to send a strong message, END THE WAR" -
    "Let leaders in DC know that we must stop wasting our resources on this and instead, strengthening our communities here" -
    “Stand with me to demand an end to the war to overthrow the Syrian government... demand an end to interventionist wars.”
    "President showed tremendous courage in 2013 when he chose not to carry out airstrikes against the Assad government”
    "I have introduced a bill, HR 4108 to end this regime change war in Syria and urge you to call on Congress to support this bill.”
    "The only way to prevent this is for the American people to come out strongly… and say this regime change war policy must end.”
    "Many people simply have not learned from the past. They’ve learned nothing from Iraq & our overthrow of Saddam Hussein.”
    "United States activity in Syria based on "same argument" used for Iraq and Libya intervention" -

    Posted at 09:55 pm by thecommonills

    WikiLeaks on Hillary Clinton's stinky leaks

    WikiLeaks on Hillary Clinton's stinky leaks

    WikiLeaks on Hillary Clinton and Libya:

    1. Hillary Emails show UK, French, Egyptian special forces were secretly in Libya providing arms to "protestors"

  • Hillary Emails: Egyptian military had covertly moved into eastern by early 2011

  • Hillary rejected Qaddafi plan to democratise ; instead bombed it into an ISIS swamp

  • Hillary Clinton's "Tick Tock" details how she 'led' the destruction

  • It was meeeeeee! Hillary Clinton's secret brag sheet -- before moved in (fixed)

  • RELEASE: Search engine for 30,322 Hillary Clinton emails

  • Video: Hillary gets an emotional rush out of killing the president of Libya; feels a sudden need to quote Caeser

  • Hillary's war: H fed ISIS, by pushing for desruction of Libya over Pentagon warnings. GOP too distracted to see H's big natsec weakness.

  • Posted at 07:30 pm by thecommonills

  • Rejecting the lesser of two evils (Michael Matteo Rossi)

    Rejecting the lesser of two evils (Michael Matteo Rossi)

    Jill Stein is seeking the Green Party's presidential nomination.

    Filmmaker shares his thoughts on why he's rejecting the lesser of two evils for the greater good.
    Filmaker Michael Matteo Rossi Endorses Jill Stein
    The revolution must continue. Join us:


    Posted at 07:29 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Saturday, June 18, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the War Crimes in Falluja continue, thousands of new refugees have been created by 'liberating' the city, US President Barack Obama meets with Saudi royal, and much more.

    The stupidity runneth over -- and circles around itself:

    Green lemon Retweeted Joel Wing
    In light of Fallujah quick fall, Mosul upcomig battle seems now less unrealistic.
    Green lemon added,

    Does it get any more stupid than Green Lemon and Joel Wing?

    A terrorist organization is not a government.

    The Islamic State seized portions of Iraq not because they were so wonderful or so trained but because the government of Iraq was much worse than inept -- it was (and remains) corrupt and selective -- persecuting all that aren't in power but most openly persecuting the Sunnis.

    We have repeatedly pointed out how embarrassing it is for Haider al-Abadi (US-installed prime minister of Iraq) that he's been prime minister since August of 2014, Mosul was taken over by the Islamic State in June of 2014 and Mosul still is held by the Islamic State.

    al Qaeda, the big terrorist in the world mind throughout the '00s, never controlled Afghanistan.  (The Taliban did.)

    The Islamic State is able to do amazing attacks, vast destruction, deadly deeds, criminal acts.

    In Iraq, thanks to the government of Iraq, they were able to seize territory.

    That they can be driven from that territory should not been seen as a shock.

    That it's taken two years for Haider -- and counting -- to reclaim Mosul is shocking.

    And appalling.

    That the Islamic State could be driven out of cities it holds in Iraq was never in doubt -- even without US participation.

    That it's taking so long goes to the corruption that is the Iraqi government.

    [Sidebar, we don't focus on Syria here.  We have not made a point to condemn or even criticize US President Barack Obama's scattershot approach -- which has included arming some of the same groups designated as terrorists elsewhere.  I would not have armed anyone but the picture there is different than in Iraq.  Though Barack's now being pressured -- heavy this week -- he has refused to send US combat troops into Syria.  I think that's probably the smartest thing he's done in his presidency.  The briefest possible description for Syria remains "civil war."]

    And, again, these 'victories' should have taken place "even without US participation."

    The fact that the 'victories' come only after a year and five months of daily US bombings, after that long in training, after the use of US forces in combat, etc, etc, is appalling.

    Iraqi gov officials/militia commanders recruit children

  • And they're using child soldiers.

    Which is appalling.

    And should not happen.

    But such children demonstrate more dedication and passion than the government of Iraq has.

    That is the story.

    For nearly two years, Haider al-Abadi has been prime minister of Iraq.

    During that time, Mosul has been occupied by the Islamic State and remains occupied.

    How do you look yourself in the mirror when you've allowed a terrorist group to take over cities and when you won't do anything yourself?

    Every action taken -- whether by the Iraqi forces proper or by them and/or the Shi'ite militias (which are part of the Iraqi forces now -- is backed by either the United States or Iran.

    There is no rah-rah here despite the media drum beat and desire to create one.

    I do not care for the Shi'ite militias.  That said, these comments are not a slap at them.  They are not a slap at the Iraqi military proper.

    They are an acknowledgement that the government of Iraq is a failure.

    Beyond that, these actions are empty -- these military 'victories.'

    That's before you take into account what 'liberation' has looked like in Ramadi and elsewhere.

    But the military actions are meaningless in terms of wiping out the Islamic State.

    It's a terrorist organization that took root in Iraq because of the government persecuting the citizens.

    Ammar al-Shamary and Jim Michaels (USA TODAY) explain:

    Analysts say the battlefield gains will need to be followed by political reconciliation, since the Islamic State was able to take advantage of Sunni anger at the Shiite-dominated central government.
    The Islamic State is not popular among Sunnis, but resistance in some areas of the country was weak, since many Sunnis did not want to fight on the side of the Iraqi government — allowing the militants to take over large swaths of territory two years ago.
    "Political concessions with Sunnis will be needed for the Fallujah operation to sustain any gains," said Sterling Jensen, an assistant professor at the United Arab Emirates' National Defense College in Abu Dhabi.

    There has been movement on the political front.

    Haider al-Abadi has replaced Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister but the persecution has not changed.

    That's not surprising.

    The two are friendly (at one point, they were friends) and they both hail from the same political party (Dawa).

    Haider's blusters about ending corruption but then appoints a member of Dawa to head the so-called investigations thereby ensuring that Nouri and he himself are protected.

    The corruption starts at the top.

    As does the disregard for the Constitution of Iraq.

    Haider's tossed out vice presidents -- a power he does not have in the Constitution.  He's tried to put together a new Cabinet -- while the old ministers remain in their role -- never having been stripped of the roles by the Parliament (the only body that has the power to do so).

    He long ago lost the support of the leading Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

    In the face of his continued failures, the 'liberation' means very little.

    It certainly does not wipe away or justify War Crimes that have taken place this week -- such as:

    Iraqi Sunni civilian displaced from Fallujah tortured by Shia Militias


    1. The e-mail address for this site is

    Posted at 10:04 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Donald Trump serves as a distraction, the Sunnis continue to be persecuted, and much more.

    The faux outrage continues regarding GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump comments regarding theft in Iraq and US troops.   We addressed it this morning in "Did the sacred cow moo?" and noted this non-story was sucking up all the oxygen in the room on the topic of Iraq.  It continues to do so.

    Again, it's faux outrage.

    It's not a conversation.

    It's partisan spin and crap, it's marketing, don't mistake for truth or thought.

    Two exceptions?

    Thomas E. Ricks (FOREIGN POLICY) who opens his piece with, "Bottom line: Trump is right, some soldiers did steal money in Iraq. Not only from baskets of cash for compensation, but from Iraqis carrying their own cash."  And at the Libertarian outlet REASON, Ed Krayewski explores the topic and notes:

    But this is a little bit of a manifestation of Trump Derangement Syndrome. After he made his comments, the Trump campaign insisted Trump was referring to Iraq soldiers. In the speech he didn't specify. But that's irrelevant. The fact is that U.S. soldiers and contractors, indisputably, stole money, up to billions of dollars. Democrats like to fashion themselves anti-war, especially when talking about Republicans and especially when Democrats are not in power. But President Obama made his perceived military toughness ("Osama bin Laden is dead") a cornerstone of the 2012 re-election and Democrats have not been shy to wrap themselves with the flag in a similar manner as Republicans in the service of a partisan, sectarian agenda.

    The truth is U.S. soldiers were convicted of $50 million worth of crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Were Trump's comments about U.S. soldiers (and they appeared that way at least to me when reading the initial comments), there would be nothing controversial or inaccurate about them. And it's no more a controversial or inaccurate statement applied to Iraq soldiers, who also participated in thefts of money and equipment.

    Near the end of last month, Drew Griffin (CNN) reported:

    Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald downplayed Monday the time it takes for veterans to receive medical treatment by comparing the "experience" of waiting for health care to Disneyland guests waiting for a ride.
    "When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what's important?" McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. "What's important is what's your satisfaction with the experience?"
    American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett excoriated McDonald: "The American Legion agrees that the VA secretary's analogy between Disneyland and VA wait times was an unfortunate comparison because people don't die while waiting to go on Space Mountain." 

    It was a deeply stupid comparison and ill thought out remark, especially for someone who worked at Procter & Gamble for 33 years, retiring as Chairman of the Board.

    The day after making his Disneyland comparison, McDonald issued this statement:

    On Monday, I made some remarks on how we’re working to improve Veterans' satisfaction with the care they receive from VA. It was never my intention to suggest that I don't take our mission of serving Veterans very seriously. 
    In fact, improving access to care is my number one priority and the priority I have set for the entire department. For the last two years, the huge majority of VA employees have worked tirelessly to improve the timeliness of the care and benefits we provide to Veterans. 
    As I've told Veterans Service Organizations, Members of Congress, and myriad other groups of Veterans stakeholders, our goal is to ensure VA becomes the Number 1 customer-service organization in government. 
    To do that, we are following many of the best practices of private sector health care providers and exceptional customer-service organizations. 
    At VA we take our mission of caring for those who "shall have borne the battle" very seriously; we have the best and most noble mission in government. 
    If my comments Monday led any Veterans to believe that I, or the dedicated workforce I am privileged to lead, don't take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
     As we approach the Memorial Day holiday and pay tribute to the sacrifices of courageous men and women who placed the interests of others above their own, we at the VA remain focused on our mission to care for those who bravely served our Nation.

    Stupid comments aren't the end of the world.

    The outrage in response to McDonald's comments, however, was not solely over the comments.

    It had to do with the VA itself and the continued wait times and the continued backlog.

    McDonald made a bad analogy and did so at a time when promises are not being met to veterans.

    His bad analogy came as many veterans were still outraged over wait times and the backlog.  And over the many scandals such as the hiring scandal last fall which led to the resignation of Allison Hickey, undersecretary of benefits at the VA.

    And the outrage increases with the growing realization that Hickey and the 'reforms' she touted was mere paper pushing and shell games to put a positive spin on a lack of real progress.

    Following up on those issues, or Barack Obama's failed promise to endless veterans homelessness, might serve some real purpose.  The continued nonsense over Trump's remarks is about trying to game an election -- nothing else.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Bomber, attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL homemade explosives cache.

    -- Near Bashir, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL command-and-control node and two ISIL assembly areas.

    -- Near Fallujah, two strikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL heavy machine guns and six ISIL light machine guns and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Mosul, six strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and foreign fighter support facilities including an ISIL operations center, two ISIL headquarters and an ISIL weapons factory and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Qayyarah, six strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL communications facility and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, four ISIL assembly areas, five ISIL mortar systems, an ISIL mortar position, nine ISIL boats, eight ISIL rocket rails, an ISIL rocket system, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL ammunition cache and an ISIL vehicle bomb and suppressed a separate ISIL tactical unit and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Ramadi, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL boat.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed three ISIL rocket rails and three ISIL rocket systems and denied ISIL access to terrain.

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

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

    Let's note the section entitled "U.S. Policy Response to the Islamic State" from the Congressional Research Service most recent "Iraq: Politics and Governance" report (March of this year) by Kenneth Katzman and Carla E. Humud:

    The gains by the Islamic State in Iraq in mid-2014 posed a threat to the territorial and political integrity of Iraq, and caused the Obama Administration to resume an active military role in Iraq. President Obama stated on September 10, 2014 , that U.S. policy is "to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State." That statement represented an escalation of the U.S. response well beyond the responses undertaken as the ISIL challenge increased in late 2013. From late 2013 until the ISIL capture of Mosul in June 2014, the United States took several actions: 

    * Delivered and sold additional weaponry . The Defense Department supplied Iraq with several hundred HELLFIRE air-to-surface missiles for use against ISIL training camps. 
    * Additional Training . The Department of Defense increased bilateral and regional training opport unities for Iraqi counterterrorism (CTS) units to help burnish ISF counter insurgency skills. By June 2014, U.S. Special Operations Forces had conducted two sessions of training for Iraqi CT forces in Jordan. 
    * After the Islamic State's capture of Mosul in June 2014 , the U.S. response broadened significantly into a multifaceted strategy to try to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State .

    The military component of the strategy, conducted in partnership with several dozen other countries playing various roles, is termed "Operation Inherent Resolve."

    * Advice and Training . The United States has deployed over 3,500 U.S. military personnel to train and advise the ISF, peshmerga forces, and Sunni tribal fighters. 
    * Air Strikes . Since August 8, 2014, U.S. military action in Iraq has included airstrikes on Islamic State positions and infrastructure. 
    * Weapons Resupply . Since mid-2014, the United States has delivered to Iraq significant quantities of additional weapons, HELLFIRE missiles , and the F-16s previously purchased. In addition to support for the ISF, the Administration has supplied weaponry and ammunition to the peshmerga of the KRG, via the Iraqi government. Under the Arms Export Control Act, all U.S. foreign military sales (FMS) go to central governments, not sub-national forces. However, Section 1223 of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act ( P.L. 114 - 92 ) grants the President authority to provide arms directly to the peshmerga and to Sunni security tribal security forces if the President reports that Iraq has failed to increase inclusiveness of ethnic and sectarian minorities in governance and in security institutions. The legislation appeared intended to address KRG complaints that their efforts against the Islamic State suffers from Baghdad's slow passage to the KRG of U.S-supplied weaponry although numerous sources say the flow to the peshmerga has improved substantially since late 2015. KRG officials continue to assert that they have a deficiency of heavy weapons --particularly those that can stop suicide attacks from long range. 
    * Military Aid. The Administration is providing substantial amounts of military aid to help the Iraqi government counter the Islamic State threat. For FY2015, over $1.6 billion in  "Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO)" funding for an "Iraq Train and Equip Fund" has been provided. For FY2016, the Administration is providing $715 million for those purposes, supplemented by a request for $250 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Iraq. That amount is provided in the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriation ( P.L. 114 - 113 ). For FY2017, the Administration has requested $620 million in Train and Equip funds as well as $150 million in FMF - OCO. 

    "The military component of the strategy," it reads.

    But search in vain through all the pages of the report for any other component of the so-called strategy.

    June 14, 2014, Barack insists the only solution to Iraq's crises is a political solution.

    And yet every bit of US energy has been channeled solely through the military.

    Nothing has been done to address the conditions that aided the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.

    In other words, the persecution of the Sunnis continues.

    idris sanusi Retweeted IRAQ GIRL قمر العراق
    Here family killed This is the case of the Sunnis in On the hands Here for 13 years
    idris sanusi added,

    Iraqi Sunni woman her Children arrested & tortured by Shia militias without guilt or charge in


    :Names of dozens of missing persons who disappeared at hands of Hashd factions in al-Azrakiya in NW Fallujah

    Posted at 12:01 am by thecommonills

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