The Common Ills

Saturday, April 08, 2017
Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Friday, April 7, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the partisan liars continue and let's learn to tell the difference between a partisan piece of crap and a peace activist.

There's a chance peace will come, in your life please buy one
There's a chance peace will come, in your life please buy one

For sometimes when I am feeling as big as the land
With the velvet hill in the small of my back
And my hands are playing the sand
And my feet are swimming in all of the waters
All of the rivers are givers to the ocean
According to plan, according to man

Well sometimes when I am feeling so grand
And I become the world
And the world becomes a man
And my song becomes a part of the river
I cry out to keep me just the way I am
According to plan, according to man
According to plan, according to man
According to plan, according to man
According to plan, according to man
According to plan
-- "Peace Will Come (According to Plan)," written by Melanie Safka, first appears on her album LEFTOVER WINE

There's a chance that peace will come . . . but not as long as people lie.

Take this idiot, "Peace Is Active."

Bush Said Iraq Would Welcome Us As Liberators... Many Lives Lost... Civil War We Sparked Bled Into Syria...



Where's Barack on that list?

I get that D Cheney smirk when I see orgs quote Dr. King today that said nothing during Obama's 8 years of bombings.

If he hadn't overturned the 2010 Iraqi vote -- talk about foreign interference in an election -- Nouri al-Maliki wouldn't have gotten a second term and Iraq might not have witnessed the rise of the Islamic State.

Where's Bill Clinton?

Do a half million dead Iraqi children not matter?

Or, like Madeline Albright (Bill's Secretary of State and Destruction), do you think killing them was "worth it"?

There's a special in place for hell for Madeline Albright and plenty of spots for those who lie and cover for her as well.

Where's Jimmy Carter?

Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

Brzezinski: Regret what?

That's  Mika Brzezinski's dirty ass father Zbigniew Brzezinski who served as Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor.

Peace will never come when whores and liars pretend the problem is Republicans.

John Kerry voted for the Iraq War.  John Edwards voted for the Iraq War.  Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War.  Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War. 

What do they hold in common?

They're all Democrats for one thing.

And they were all on presidential tickets after their votes for war.

The 2004 Democratic presidential ticket was Kerry - Edwards (or John and John -- two toilets for twice the flushing).

Joe Biden was the running mate on the 2008 and 2012 ticket.

Hillary Clinton was the presidential candidate on the 2016 ticket.

Before you start cheering on Barack Obama and Tim Kaine for not voting for the Iraq War, remember that neither was in the US Congress -- House or Senate -- in 2002.

And add in that Barack told THE NEW YORK TIMES in 2004, during the national convention in Boston, that he didn't know how he would have voted had he been in the Senate.

And yet someone claiming to want peace, is pimping the wars as the responsibility of the sole Republican Party?

That's a lie. 

And peace will never come while we continued to allow ourselves to be hijacked for partisan purposes.

Grasp that in 2006, Democrats promised they would end the war in Iraq if they were given control of a house of Congress.

At the time, they were in the minority in both houses.

In those November elections, the American people gave them control of both houses.

January 2007 saw that Congress sworn in.

Did the Iraq War end?


Did it end in 2008?


Give us one house of Congress and we'll end the war . . . 

A lie.

Nancy Pelosi, elevated to Speaker of the House, tried to pin the blame on then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

What a load of nonsense.

She didn't say, "Give me both houses of Congress," she said one.

They thought they had a chance at winning back the House.  That was the promise she was making.  So she expected the Senate would obstruct -- that it would be controlled by Republicans. 

Instead, it ended up controlled by Democrats.

And she whined -- the the editorial board of THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- that she only had control of the House herself so she couldn't end the war.

What a lying sack of s**t.

Shame on everyone who provides cover for politicians who start and/or continue illegal wars.

Shame on those who use it as a partisan issue.

This is about human life and you're lying to churn out the vote for a political party?

That includes Peace Is Active who doesn't give a damn about peace -- check out the Twitter feed -- just about slamming Republicans and praising Democrats.

You are the problem.

You are the cause of continued war.

Because you whore.

I'm hoping Chris Hayes is just stupid.

Remember: US re-involvement in Iraq started with humanitarian mission to save Yazidis from slaughter on Mt Sinjar.

No, Chris, it didn't.

You refused to report what happened but Tim Arango reported it, we've covered it here hundreds of times and, in your magazine THE NATION, Tom Hayden even wrote about Tim Arango's report.

So are you stupid?  Are you lying? Or are you whoring?

The drawdown (not withdrawal) was at the end of 2011.  The Yazidi 'rescue' began in 2014.

Where's Barack sending special-ops into Iraq in 2012?  Oh, Chris ignores it.

From November 7, 2012's "Let the fun begin (Ava and C.I.):"

 If you doubt that, September 26th, the New York Times' Tim Arango reported:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.

September 26th it was in print.

Days later, October 3rd, Barack 'debated' Mitt RomneyAgain October 16thAgain October 22nd.
Not once did the moderators ever raise the issue.

If Barack's sitting before them and he's flat out lying to the American people, it's their job to ask.  They didn't do their job.  Nor did social menace Candy Crowley who was apparently dreaming of an all-you-can-eat buffet when Barack was babbling away before her about how he wouldn't allow more "troops in Iraq that would tie us down."  But that's exactly what he's currently negotiating.

Maybe Candy Crowley missed the New York Times article?  Maybe she spends all her time pleasuring herself to her version of porn: Cooking With Paula Deen Magazine?

That is possible.

But she was only one of the three moderators.  Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer also moderated.  Of course, they didn't foolishly self-present as a fact checker in the midst of the debate  nor did they hit the publicity circuit before the debate to talk about how they were going to show how it was done.

Poor Crowley, a heavy weight strutting into a non-competition will always look woefully misdressed.

Barack lied and Americans will face that or not.

Chris Hayes appears to indicate that America will not face that.

Let's all hope he's wrong.

Meanwhile . . .

President Erdogan: It is not appropriate to raise the Kurdistan flag alongside the Iraqi flag.

Must be wonderful to be Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, so few problems that you can stick your nose into other countries' business and do so over issues like whether or not they should raise a flag.

What's that?

Erdogan's Turkey has thousands of problems -- most of them stemming from Erdogan.

And when he's out of office, he will be seen as a butcher for all the civilians he's killed in his so-called efforts to bomb the PKK.  (He's killing Kurds.  He knows it.  The Kurds know it.  He's thinning out the population.  His policies in Turkey are the same only less obviously violent.)

Repeating, when he's out of office, he will be seen as the butcher he is.

And he can shut down every last TV channel, newspaper and blog in Turkey and he still won't be able to silence that truth.


Meanwhile it's day 171 of The Mosul Slog.  

How's that going?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees offers this:

314,268 Iraqis currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016
37,455 core relief item (CRIs) kits distributed to families in camps, assisting some 224,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas
7,814 family plots currently occupied out of 12,497 family plots (for some 75,000 people) in UNHCR built camps ready to receive IDPs displaced from the Mosul corridor
3 million IDPs since January 2014
250,952 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, and 14,878 Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016
USD 578 million requested for IDPs and Iraqi refugees in the region in 2017

And remember that this week, the civilians in Mosul were again instructed to remain in their homes.  There is no safe passage out.  But we can be sure that when the next civilian massacre gets attention we will suffer through members of the US Congress insisting it's all ISIS' fault.

The war continues in Iraq, Trump's attacking Syria and the thing all the 'intelligent' people are doing?  Mocking Jared Kushner for wearing a flack jacket.

No, your priorities aren't screwed up at all.  (That was sarcasm.)

Tulsi Gabbard Retweeted Hawaii News Now
While flying home to Hawaii, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard issues statement: Trump's air strikes on Syria are reckless and short-sighted. –Team Tulsi
Tulsi Gabbard added,

US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard is correct.

By the way, the US State Dept will not have a press briefing today: "There will NOT be a Press Briefing today."  And they haven't held once since March 21st.  The State Dept press briefing is a daily event.  How sad that Donald Trump's people are too scared to face the press.  How sad, but how telling.

So much to work on but so little willing to do the work.

We don't need another war but, by all means, let's not focus on that or Iraq or anything that matters because we can be snotty about Jared!  (Snotty, not bitchy.  It's not mature enough to pass for bitchy.  It's the stuff of 3rd graders.)

Who's for peace?

That should be the question of the day.

The following community sites updated:

  • Posted at 08:38 pm by thecommonills

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017
    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    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

    This should be news covered by all outlets.

    Fort Hood soldier from Massachusetts dies in Iraq

    Instead, I see a lot of junk and, worse, opinion passed off as news all over the net.

    Another death.

    DATE: February 21, 2017 12:13:25 PM CST

    Death of a Fort Hood Soldier

    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne  
    FORT HOOD, Texas -- The Department of Defense announced Feb. 21 the death of a Fort Hood Soldier who died Feb. 20, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne, 21, whose home of record is listed as Ware, Massachusetts, entered active-duty military service in October 2015 as a cannon crewmember.
    He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, since May 2016.
    Odiorne's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Medal. He will be posthumously awarded the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon.
    Circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
    No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigative process.

    For more information contact:
    Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
    (254) 287-9993
    (254) 287-0106
    1001 761st Tank Battalion Ave
    Suite W105
    Fort Hood, TX 76544

    The announcement comes on the same day that THE NEW YORK TIMES runs a letter from a LA reader whose comments include:

    Despite these principles, the armed forces of the United States and its allies have killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, a large number of them civilians, including women and children. And our country has suffered the death and injury of tens of thousands of our own sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives by waging this war in Iraq.
    But for what purpose? We know that there were no weapons of mass destruction threatening our peace and security. We had no plan to bring peace and security to Iraq and its neighbors. So yes, our soldiers and sailors are valiant and represent the best in our country, but I still do not know what we’re fighting for.

    Why is the US still in Iraq?

    Why didn't Barack end the war he promised to?

    These are questions we're apparently not supposed to be asking.

    Which is sad and strange -- because they are the questions that matter.

    They're just there to try and make the people free,
    But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
    Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
    That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
    And the war drags on.
    -- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

    The e-mail address for this site is

    Posted at 05:38 pm by thecommonills

    Media Availability with Secretary Mattis and General Townsend in Baghdad, Iraq

    Media Availability with Secretary Mattis and General Townsend in Baghdad, Iraq

    [Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis hosts a joint press conference with U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, at Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 20, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)]

    SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JIM MATTIS:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

    General Townsend and I have been spending some time together here and -- and getting current on the political military situation as the Iraqi army continues to surge against the enemy on the west side of Mosul.  Despite the casualties they've taken, this is an army that's learned to fight in the middle of a real tough battle against our common enemy and the coalition commander, General Townsend, has briefed me up on the situation -- the current situation there today.

    I would just tell you that by, with and through our allies is the way this coalition is going against Daesh.  We're going to continue to go after them until we destroy them and any kind of belief in the inevitability of their message.  Their message is going to be proven to be false on the battlefield as well as how we deal with their mythology of somehow they are the brave new way.

    They're going to be shown to be at fault, they're going to be shown to be exactly what they are, which is a bunch of murderous relics, to put it bluntly.  So the Iraqi army is in the fight with the coalition supporting them with full support, and as we go through this fight, Daesh will not be over with.  We all know that.  There'll be more fights ahead, we'll stick together.  And as we look at the future, we're going to continue to stand by the Iraqi army, the Iraqi people, who are fighting this enemy.

    So at that point, I would just throw it open to your questions.  We learned a lot here and aligned ourselves politically and militarily for the current fight and the future.  So what's on your mind?  Go ahead.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    LIEUTENANT GENERAL STEPHEN TOWNSEND:  It is true that we're operating closer and -- and deeper into the Iraqi formation, so we adjusted our posture during the east Mosul fight and we embedded advisers a bit further down into the formation.  That is true.  I do not need -- I have all the authorities that I need to prosecute our fight and I'm confident if I need -- if I were to need more, that my leadership would provide those.

    Q:  For both of you also, as you look ahead to -- (inaudible) -- fight and the upcoming difficult fight in Raqqa, what do you see as the key (inaudible) and -- and -- (inaudible) -- to be able to -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  We are going to prosecute this fight against Daesh, against ISIS, in the areas you mentioned and more areas than that, actually.  We'll accommodate any request from the field commanders.  Right now, our allies are carrying, as you can tell from the casualty list, the overwhelming burden of this fight in their own territory and we'll work by, with and through allies from the coalition.  And that coalition, as you know, has got more than 60 nations at varying levels.

    So we owe some degree of confidentiality on exactly how we're going to do that and the sequencing of that fight so that we don't expose to the enemy what it is we have in mind in terms of the -- the timing of the operations.  But you -- you summed up some of the issues that we'll be dealing with as we go forward and we'll be addressing each one of them, from intelligence, to tactics, to logistics as we sustain the fight going into this.

    Q:  You said -- you mentioned a number of things that you're looking at, but you have seven days left to provide your thirty-day review to the president.  Did you learn anything here that you could share with us -- (inaudible) -- what you're gonna -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  I would -- what I specifically learned here is the resilience of this army.  Recognize it took casualties, it has reconstituted itself both equipment and personnel wise, and as you know, has already crossed the line of departure going against the enemy and west Mosul.  This is not something that was a forgone conclusion for an army that only a year ago, many people were questioning.

    And you can see the level of capability they've constituted in the middle of a war with the kind of operation that you're right now witnessing today underway.

    Q:  If I could ask General Townsend. What happens after Mosul? (off mic)

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  Jennifer -- it's good to see you again, by the way.  We rode together in Baghdad a couple times a few years ago.

    I don't anticipate that we'll be asked to leave by the government of Iraq immediately after Mosul.  I think that the government of Iraq realizes this is a very complex fight and they're gonna need the assistance of the coalition even beyond Mosul.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  I wouldn't want to put a timeline on it.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, this is a partnership, Jennifer.  Your question is very appropriate because there's been a lot of rocky times out here.  But there is no doubt, from my discussions today, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi military and the Iraqi political leadership recognizes what they're up against and the value of the coalition and the partnership in particular with the United States which has been, as you know, developing very well in terms of this military's capability.

    So I imagine we'll be in this fight for a while and we'll stand by each other.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    SEC. MATTIS:  That's a political issue, an internal political issue right now what we've seen.  But there is only one country in the near proximity where the security forces actually protect the people when they're out protesting the government policies.

    And I say -- think that says a great deal about how this country has matured in a pretty difficult neighborhood, that their military is actually seen as a protector of people who protest at times against government policies.  That's what militaries are supposed to do under civilian control in a democracy.

    Q:  I have a version of the same question. In your meetings today, did you hear anything that made you confident that while the military’s successes-- (inaudible)and for you General Townsend, do you see (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, your -- both your questions are related because without political progress, you can't set the conditions institutionally, organizationally in a government that earns the people's respect, holds their aspirations close and actually allows a country to be resilient and resistant to this sort of threat.

    So, what we've seen here is actually I think a new =found understanding among the Iraqi people about what it means to be an Iraqi country against this kind of threat, how they have worked together.  You've seen the Peshmerga and the Iraqi security forces working together.  You've seen some of the militias working alongside them.  So there's -- there's something coming together here in terms of political and military maturation, I think, that shows exactly what you're talking about so we're not back here five years with that sort of a situation.

    At the same time, this is not a threat that's going to go away overnight, so it's going -- we all recognize that it's going to be a long-fought battle.

    You have anything to add to that?

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  Nothing to add, Mr. Secretary.

    SEC. MATTIS:  All right.  We'll take one last one, there you go.

    Q:  Thank you.  Thank you, sir -- (inaudible).

    I wanted to ask you about the advance  of Raqqa, in particular -- (inaudible) -- question about whether or not -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, we're still sorting it out.  The allies are working together.  They're sharing planning and that's ongoing right now, but the planning is still underway so there's not -- it's not been all decided on who's going to do what and where.  We're working together to sort it out.

    Q:  (Off mic)Can I ask you a personal question, Mr. Secretary? This is your first arrival as secretary of defense and you spent many years here as a combat commander. How do you feel returning here (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah.  Well, coming back here after the years that we've fought alongside each other through good times and bad times, it's just a privilege to come back and look out the helicopter door and see what's going on down below, to see an Iraqi military that can fight as truly valiantly as this one has considering the situation they faced as -- as ISIS rose to occupy much of their country and to see that in spite of the casualties, it's not only held together, it's come back stronger and is now winning.

    It's now freeing up and I'll have the general say how much they've freed up in terms of area, but he's got better awareness of that.  But look at what the map looked like eight months ago where ISIS was, where they are today and the attack that's underway here.  It's very heartening to come back at this point in my new capacity.

    Steve, if you want to just talk about some of the progress that this army's made during this time which gives more than just my words, it gives objective data for why I would be heartened by it.  Steve?

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  I think the secretary alluded to it a couple of questions ago when he talked about where this army has come over the last year.

    If you look back just a little over two years ago, this army was broken and defeated and barely able to hold their capital when they asked the coalition, the world for assistance.  That army has done this remarkable turnaround in just two years and now they're running a multi-divisional operation involving 40,000 or 50,000 Iraqi security forces up around Mosul 400 kilometers from their capital and their logistics base.

    It is an incredible turnaround.  They've liberated approaching half of their lost territory and they're -- they're about to liberate their second-largest city, the largest population city center held by ISIS anywhere in the world.

    The Iraqi security forces are going to take that city back, no doubt about it.  I think that's a remarkable achievement and it just -- some examples of what the secretary is talking about what the Iraqi security forces have done.

    SEC. MATTIS:  Well done, Steve.  Thanks very much.

    Thanks, everybody.

    Posted at 05:38 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017.  Illusions fall away.

    Let's start with useless.

    Those that tell me not to tweet politics because I'm an uninformed celebrity are the same people that voted for... an uninformed celebrity.

    Actually, no.

    Alyssa, I'm telling you not to Tweet politics.  And I didn't vote for Donald Trump.

    I'm telling you it because you have (a) a herd mentality and (b) you are so woefully uninformed.

    Calling you "ignorant" would be generous.

    You've never done the work required.  And, Alyssa, I know you.

    You have every right to Tweet about anything you want -- we all can weigh in.

    But for your own image, I'd urge you to find something else to Tweet about.

    You're a misguided and misinformed stooge whose Tweets are reactionary and back up war while you're not even aware of it.

    From a professional point of view, it's not smart to take money from Atkins and to offer Tweets that insult a good portion of the American people but your people have already told you that.  (Atkins is also considering parting ways with you at the end of your current arangement.)  They hired you to popularize their product.  That's why a lot of us don't do advertising -- it's whoring.

    But you wanted to keep you name out in front of your public -- such as it is -- and so you agreed.  But you're not living up to the bargain, are you?

    However, my concern is your deep stupidity and lack of curiosity which leads you to accept simplistic pronouncements that encourage violence and war.

    Simplistic pronouncements.

    I was having a debate with a friend last night on the phone that turned into an argument.

    She's an actress who can't stop her nonsense Tweets about Donald Trump being evil and the Democrats being salvation.

    Is Donald Trump evil?

    He may or may not be.  Time will tell.

    Are Democrats the salvation?


    And she was raised in a Socialist family.

    And we both used to listen to Gore Vidal go on (constantly) about the boiled frog.

    Gore was right.

    The Democrats are not the answer.

    Could they be?

    Maybe if they were pushed.

    Susan Sarandon's pushing them.  Which is why hacks like Debra Messing get so angry.

    Everyone should be pushing them.

    No, you don't have a right to our votes.

    You earn them.

    And if the Democratic Party wants our votes, it damn well better try to earn those votes.

    The country doesn't need pretty words, it needs action.

    It needs jobs.

    Real jobs.

    If all your money goes to rent and food, you're not making a living and we need to stop kidding otherwise.

    Alyssa, my friend and I live very fortunate lives.

    We need to be aware that many others are not so fortunate.

    These are the people the Democratic Party has abandoned -- a party that can't even publicly mention the poor, a party that should have declared one of their so-called wars on the issue of the homeless long ago.  If 10% of what's been spent on the 'war on drugs' in any year was spent on addressing the homeless, the people would be better off.

    The Democratic Party has joined the corporations in fleecing the American people.

    That's not going to turn out any votes.

    And Alyssa and others can tell themselves they're so damn superior to Trump or whomever because they say the right things but words don't keep a roof over your head or food on your table (unless you're a paid writer).

    The Democrats need to be pressed to earn votes.

    They don't need to be defended.

    They have lined their pockets with corporate donations.  Nancy Pelosi is a lousy leader but gets to hold on (for now) because she brings in so much corporate cash to each election cycle.

    The party's entirely about greed.

    I doubt that will change.

    But you can pressure them to make concessions to We The People.

    And you don't do that by castigating Susan Sarandon.

    You do that by saying more people are going to walk -- like Susan -- if you don't start addressing the basic needs, the reason political parties exist, which is jobs.  You're going to keep losing if you can't defend the safety net -- which needs to be increased, not gutted.

    Alyssa's very good at fingering pointing at others.  She's just not very good at introspection  -- true of far too many.

    From Danny Haiphong's "Trump's Foreign Policy: Continuity or Break?" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT):

    Some on the left political spectrum in the US are suspicious of Trump's foreign policy, and for good reason. US imperialism's war agenda is non-negotiable. Trump's status as a billionaire champion of American (white) exceptionalism does not necessarily breed confidence in Trump’s rhetorical gestures to scale back key points in US foreign policy. His Administration should be resisted at every turn for current and future war provocations against Iran and China. His Administration should be held accountable for the deaths of thirty people in Yemen during the late January Commando raid just as Obama's Administration should have been held accountable for killing thousands of people in Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan by drone strike over the course of eight years. 
    But the anti-war movement died the day Obama was elected, leaving the contradictions that were brought to the fore throughout the Presidential electoral cycle unaddressed. One does not have to support Trump or refrain from struggle against the GOP to recognize that Trump's rhetorical gestures against regime change in the Middle East and Russia came from somewhere. These statements are the product of a rapidly changing world. In this world, the US can no longer call itself the only most influential or dominant global power. Russia's geopolitical significance, China's unprecedented economic growth, and the stagnation of the US economy have forever changed the international order of things.

    How's that Iraq War that Saint Barack didn't end going?

    W.J. Hennigan and Nabih Bulos (LOS ANGELES TIMES) report:

    U.S. military advisors are now fighting alongside Iraqi forces near the front lines against Islamic State, a sign of President Trump's willingness to grant more latitude to American commanders than they've had since Iraq’s ground war against the militants was launched more than two years ago.
    The Trump administration has not yet granted new authorities, but has loosened the reins for U.S. generals running the war, allowing hundreds of U.S. troops to join advancing Iraqi forces as they embark on their most complex mission to date: liberating Mosul, their second largest city. 

    Thank you, Cult of St. Barack.

    When he sent US troops in back in 2012, you said nothing.

    Let me spoon feed you:

    There's the fact that Barack sent a brigade of Special-Ops in during the fall of 2012. Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." 

    That was reported right before the 2012 presidential debates.

    But no one 'moderator' brought it up.

    And in 2014, when Barack sent in 'advisors' and 'trainers,' people were only slightly more vocal.

    Where were you, Alyssa?

    This didn't happen overnight.

    And those of us who have been covering it have long noted that US troops have been in combat from day one.

    As the then-Secretary of Defense noted, dropping bombs from planes is also combat.

    And the US government had bombed Iraq daily since August 2014.

    Again, where have you been?

    Off with The Cult of St. Barack?

    Hands off the man, flim flam man
    His mind is up his sleeve and his talk is make believe
    Oh, Lord, the man's a fraud, 
    He's a flim flam man
    He's so cage, he's a flim flam man
    Hands off the man, flim flam man
    He's the one in the Trojan horse making out like he's Santa Claus

    "Hands Off The Man" (also known as "The Flim Flam Man") was written by Laura Nyro and she performed it on her debut album MORE THAN A NEW DISCOVERY (now known as THE FIRST SONGS).  It was covered by many including Peggy Lipton.

    Peggy covered many of Laura's songs (they were friends from before Peggy did THE MOD SQUAD) and let's note "Stoney End" because no one did a better cover of that than Peggy.

    "Now I don't believe I want to see the morning" -- indeed.

    Of the US troops fighting in Iraq, Dan Lamothe (WASHINGTON POST) notes:

    Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said that the advisers, numbering about 450, are “operating closer and deeper into Iraqi formations” as a new assault on western Mosul gets underway. U.S. commanders made the adjustment during the fight for the eastern side of the city, which began in October and ended last month, and the deployment has continued with the attempt, beginning Sunday, to capture western Mosul, Townsend said.

    It marks the first time the U.S. military has acknowledged how close American service members are to the front lines as it assists what Townsend characterized as a force of more than 40,000 Iraqi police officers and soldiers fighting to retake Mosul. The battle for the western half of the northern Iraqi city is likely to stretch for months in urban neighborhoods where up to 1,000 militants are believed to be entrenched, U.S. military officials said.

    It's day 127 of The Mosul Slog, the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul from the Islamic State -- the operation that only began in October (despite the Islamic State seizing Mosul in June of 2014).

    Only 180 more days, the Defense Dept has insisted.  Apparently they have based that judgment on the fact that deploying US troops into combat (officially) can accomplish that.  (Of course, they've been wrong before.

    Making official what's been happening all along may be one of the reason for US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis' trip to Baghdad.


    That's him yesterday, meeting with Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi.

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

    Posted at 05:36 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Monday, February 20, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the US Defense Secretary visits Iraq, and much more.

    US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is in Baghdad.

    "We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil." - US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis distances himself from Pres. Trump's media bashing:

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: No plan to seize Iraqi

    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says there's no plan to seize Iraq's oil

    We'll have a full report tonight on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visit to Baghdad on

    US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis lands in Baghdad on unannounced trip

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis just landed in Baghdad; will meet commanders and Iraqi leaders for update.

    Mattis visit comes days after meeting with Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.

    Of that meet-up, the US Defense Dept noted:

     WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani in Munich yesterday, a Defense Department spokesperson said in a statement.
    The two men affirmed their commitment to their partnership to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the statement said, and they discussed the latest developments in the Mosul operation and the key role Peshmerga forces have played in the counter-ISIS fight.
    Mattis and Barzani both noted the important military cooperation between the government of Iraq and the KRG, the statement said. They agreed battlefield success over the past year was made possible by strong cooperation between the government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the United States.

    Donald Trump has not said he would seize Iraq's oil.

    But the press loves to act as though he did.

    It's actually great when they repeat it.

    They remind the world that wars are about resources.

    Even better would be if they'd explain how Iraq's oil has been seized by the IMF and the World Bank.

    But that would require actual reporting.

    Fortunately, Iraqis who listen to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are aware of what took place, even if the western media blacks it out.

    While Mattis is in Baghdad, US Vice President Mike Pence recently met with Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi.

    Personally thanked Iraqi PM for sacrifices in shared fight against ISIS & discussed long-term partnership.

    Posted at 05:22 pm by thecommonills

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the lies of the US election continue, an idiot proposes it is sexist to criticize Hillary Clinton -- at least right now, let us grieve, let us grieve, and other nonsense.

    Starting with the US election so many of us were tired of before it happened and remain tired of now. There are real issues effecting lives right now and it's must be so very nice to be an American citizen unconcerned with the wars your government is currently actively carrying out.

    The ridiculous Angelina Chapin (HUFFINGTON POST) tries to pretend she's a feminist (she's not) and ties criticism of War Hawk, corporatist and scandal magnet Hillary Clinton to sexism:

    I think every liberal woman has broken down at some point in the past week.  For me, it was at 2 a.m. on Wednesday when I called my boyfriend and wept.

    If you think every liberal woman cried, then you're not only a bad columnist, you live in a tiny and terrifying bubble.

    As Demi Moore said THE BUTCHER'S WIFE, "Well you ought to get out more."

    Angelina goes on to whine that Hillary has "30 years of political experience."

    No, she has 12 years -- she was a US senator for 8, she was Secretary of State for 12.  First Lady is not political experience.  Especially now that women have opportunities, we no longer need to pretend that 'woman behind the man' is experience.

    And non-feminist Hillary sneered so at First Lady that she insisted she would give Bill things to do as First Spouse so that he wouldn't have to plan dinners, etc.  In other words, Hillary said, "That's women's work."  And only a few of us feminists took the time to call her out on it.

    She takes Thomas Frank to task for calling Hillary a "party hack."  I'm no fan of Thomas Franks (I hope I've been fair to him but I'm not a fan of his).  But Thomas Frank's criticism of Hillary did not begin today, this month or even this year.  And it has nothing to do with sexism.

    Were Angelina a feminist, she'd grasp that.  But she's just another whiner trying to play the woman card to get her way.

    She insists that "when you inflict your analysis on a woman who is devastated that Americans just elected a man who considers her subhuman, you are being sexist.  Plain and simple."

    Angelina, grow the f**k up.

    Plain and simple.

    Crawl back, crying, to your safe space, try to create the illusion of being in the womb if it helps.

    But stop kidding that you're about feminism.

    Women want to run for political office (and have and are).

    There's no "Oh, but it's a girl so shut up with the criticism."

    That's not feminism.

    That's sexist.

    We can handle it.

    We get pushed around and pushed down every day.  Like many Americans.

    And we get back up.

    And we pull ourselves together and we go on.

    If we want to compete in political races, we can't whine, "Oh, the results hurt my tender little girl bits and feelings so nobody can say anything!!!!"

    People can say whatever they want, first of all, in a democracy.

    Second of all, you need to grow the hell up and you need to toughen the hell up.

    I'm embarrassed, as a feminist, that you chose to publish that crap.

    Your nonsense is as pathetic today as Gloria Steinem's b.s. in REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN about how she saw her future as running a diner and there's a table in there where women can whisper and talk alone.  That's not radical.  Taking the conversation to the public square isn't even radical -- it's just democracy.

    While we're mentioning Gloria Steinem -- who started her career as a CIA operative -- as THE NEW YORK TIMES recently noted and refused her request for a correction because it is true (and she used to brag about it before she suddenly became a feminist) . . .

    She at least got her overall theme right -- don't mourn, organize -- in her recent GUARDIAN column.

    (Though I would have said, don't wallow, organize.)

    Hillary didn't change any rules in the political game.  Gloria's dead wrong on that and the speeches Hillary gave to Wall Street back that up.

    Gloria, for those who are too young to know, appointed herself a feminist leader and had her friends in the media join her with that.  It's how she leaped ahead of women who'd written books on feminism, given speeches, done activism, how she leaped ahead of entire collectives of women.

    She's never done much for women.  Since 1976, she's actively undercut women at every Democratic Party convention -- usually with regards to the party's platform.  This is documented and if you don't know it, you didn't bother to educate yourself.

    She can't hide those actions.  Through the threat of lawsuits and bullying, she was once able to hide the CIA past that she's previously confessed to.

    Gloria's still thinking she can get away with rewriting history.  In her column, she insists:

    In 1972, I ran as a delegate pledged to congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, a candidate for the presidency. 

    You did run, Gloria, but you lost.  A detail you leave out.

    More to the point, not only was Gloria not a delegate for Shirley, she didn't support Shirley.

    From Jackson Landers piece for THE SMITHSONIAN earlier this year:

    “Feminists were split over her candidacy,” recalls Gottlieb. “Gloria Steinem, who you would expect to have supported her, supported McGovern instead. That was significant and it hurt on a personal level quite a bit. . . .you can’t look at 1972 through the same magnifying glass as 2016. Having a woman run for President was like having somebody from Mars run for President. And you then have a black woman running for president and everybody, all interest groups, were grappling with ‘how do you deal with such a changed landscape?’ People were not comfortable with having a black woman. And she often said, between being black and being a woman, the biggest problem was being a woman.”

    So just stop grandstanding, Gloria.

    And stop lying.

    The media anointed her leader and helped her push out "old" Betty Friedan.

    Betty was 52 when Gloria and her cronies shoved Betty aside insisting that "young blood" was needed.

    Gloria's now 82 and has refused to step aside or to elevate any other woman because she's going to die holding on to the title the media created for her.

    Actress Jane Fonda appeared with Gloria recently.  A friend started to tell me about it and I stopped her saying I couldn't deal with the stupidity right now.  She insisted (good for her) and it turns out Jane actually made sense. From CNN:

    "I am very grateful for the time that I lived in Georgia. I learned so much," Fonda said. "And one of the most important things that l learned was the importance of listening to people who you don't agree with, with an open heart."
    And that's what needs to happen now, she said.
    "I know that we all didn't vote for the same people," Fonda told the crowd. "And we have to, as women, we have to have each others' backs, no matter who we voted for. We have to listen carefully."

    Those are smart words.  Maybe they're a step back to activism?  Something Jane spent the last 8 years forgetting?

    And I'm saying "actress" and not "actress and activist" -- as she bills herself -- because the Iraqi people have never forgotten her grandstanding January 2007 speech in DC where she claimed she would not be silent or stop fighting until the Iraq War was over.

    Then Barack was elected and the issue never mattered to her again.

    On actresses, Susan Sarandon.

    Angelina Chapin is just so upset by negative criticism of Hillary.

    It's so mean.

    And what are the outright attacks on Jill Stein and Susan Sarandon?

    Jill ran for president.  As Ann  -- a born and bred Green Party member from day one --  pointed out maybe Jill's supporters should be cursing out Hillary's crowd for refusing to support a woman who was against endless war, for the environment and for the people.

    In other words, Hillary cost Jill Stein the election.  (Jill's run has resulted in the Green Party getting ballot access on 12 more states in the 2020 election.)

    Debra Messing is a psycho, a lousy actress, star of three failed TV shows and a bully online.

    She hates Susan Sarandon.  She lied about her months ago to start a Twitter war and get a little bit of fame in the hopes NBC wouldn't cancel her show.  (They did.  Largely because the hate she was spewing in her Twitter feed at that time was alienating viewers and NBC was getting tons of complaints -- and Ava and I warned about it when it started, we wrote about it at THIRD as soon as NBC suits told us and Debra still didn't cool it.  So she cost a crew, the cast and others jobs because she couldn't stop spewing her hate.)

    She's still hating on Susan Sarandon.

    Debra Messing Retweeted Laura A. Van Vleet
    Send it to .
    Debra Messing added,

    Debra's an idiot.  (I love the "my understanding" Tweet regarding contacting Congress -- did you miss out on third grade, Debra?)

    She just can't stop going after Susan nor can "I forgot because I'm ill" Kurt Eichenwald (see Betty's "Crazy Debra Messing" for a good laugh on that loser).

    Debra Messing Retweeted Kurt Eichenwald
    JESUS CHRIST. NOW she wants to give racist, islamophobic, homophobic, sexist,mysogynists a chance!"Pure" 4 Bernie. F[**]K everyone else.
    Debra Messing added,

    Are Kurt and Debra going to buy food for the people they're trying to put out of jobs.

    If you missed it, if the head of a company endorsed Donald Trump or gave money to his campaign, Debra's started a campaign to put them out of business.

    How many thousands of people is Debra trying to put on the unemployment line?

    Chances are, if you own the business, you'd be okay if it went under -- you should have diversified your portfolio.

    But if you work for the business, where are you going to find a job elsewhere.

    You could argue Debra's crackpot scheme is racist since African-Americans still have a larger unemployment rate in this un-recovered economy.

    Debra and her ilk need to grasp people like Ann.

    She is a Green.

    She was raised that way.

    Ann has never voted Democrat in her life (or Republican) and she never plans to.

    But because she's a woman and African-American, Debra's racist thinking is that Ann owes the Democratic Party a vote?

    Not only is the Green Party a valid party for any American to choose to vote for, it's also now a party with people being born into it.  Just as the Iraq War has gone on so long you have people who were in first grade when it started already having finished high school, the Green Party has been around so long now that there are people who are raised in Green families the same way people have been raised in Democratic families and Republican families.

    So before someone laments poor feelings again and calls for safe spaces, they better curb Debra and get her shots.

    And, for the record, I'm not a bully.

    I'm a bitch.

    There's a big difference.

    One difference?  A bully tries to put you out of business.  A bitch just warns you that if you don't calm down your Twitter feed the corporation paying you money is about to drop you.  And after Ava and I warned on Sunday and it was confirmed on Monday, the actress learned to drop the hate (not the politics, just the hate).

    Atrocious - President-elect Trump wants to put the architects of the Iraq War back in charge of our foreign policy.

    You know what's atrocious?

    US House Rep Barbara Lee did nothing to stop the Iraq War or the Afghanistan War under Barack.  On the Afghanistan War, she was always resetting the clock, "If President Obama hasn't ___ by ___, I'm going to propose . . ."

    Marriage to him?

    Because she never proposed to end a war.

    She was in the Democratic controlled House in 2009 and 2010.  Democrats also controlled the Senate.

    The only way to stop the War Hawks was to do a Congressional investigation into the lies of the Iraq War.

    They elected not to.

    For numerous reasons.

    So don't come crying now that people whose behavior you tolerated and, yes, normalized are now likely to be back in government.  A full and public investigation would have ended that.  You didn't call for one, Barbara Lee.

    For the Democrats -- as many e-mails from Iraqis are currently noting -- it was "move on" about the Iraq War -- a luxury that the Iraqi people did not have.  But on this election, as the e-mails from Iraqis keep pointing out, Americans want to whine.

    Gloria Steinem, he is your president.  I've got 15 e-mails in the last 24 hours alone from Iraqis stating that he is your president, Donald Trump, and you are responsible for what is done in his name the same way you were for Barack Obama (I agree) and the same way you were for Bully Boy Bush (I don't use the p-word for BBB, he was gifted with the oval office by the Supreme Court).

    In Iraq, the war continues, the tragedies continue, the War Crimes continue.

    Iraq: At least one fighter executed after he surrendered.

    And let's dedicate this snapshot to John Stauber who keeps telling truth.  Taking on the nonsense at Huff-n-Puff and Gloria's nonsense inspired by John's latest COUNTERPUNCH article.

    ADDED at 5:43 pm est on 11/16/16:

    The following community sites updated:

  • Posted at 06:53 pm by thecommonills

  • Thursday, July 21, 2016
    Iraq snapshot II

    Iraq snapshot II

    July 21, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, meet-ups to 'help' Iraqis continue, talk of five US bases being built in the KRG circulates, and much more.

    The never-ending Iraq War continues with the US Defense Dept announcing today:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Qaim, a strike produced inconclusive results.

    -- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL command-and-control node.

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL headquarters and an ISIL financial headquarters and destroyed seven ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL artillery piece.

    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL boats, an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL tunnel.

    -- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL recoilless rifle, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL weapons cache.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    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.

    Wait, two strikes near Ramadi?

    Thought that was one of the 'liberated' cities.

    What happened?

    Don't wait for the press to ask.

    And none of these bombings helps the Iraqi people in need, does it?

    10,000,000 people in are in need of humanitarian aid — we must help them. -


    These kids now call this camp outside home. 1.5 million children need food, water & health care in .


    A must-watch video diary from a humanitarian worker in .


    At today's State Dept press briefing, spokesperson John Kirby declared, "Yesterday, also I think as you know, the Secretary [of State John Kerry] hosted the Pledging Conference for Iraq, which raised over $2.1 billion from the international community, to include $316 million from the United States – funds that will provide Iraq with critical stabilization and humanitarian support."

    What's he talking about?

    He was too busy playing Secretary of Defense to explain.

    But President Barack Obama's Special Envoy to Iraq, Brett McGurk, explained it July 19th in a press briefing:

    But very importantly, there’s much more than just the military campaign. We’re very focused on what comes after ISIL in these areas. So as a coalition we’ve established two stabilization funding facilities, one a funding facility for immediate stabilization. This is kind of to get the lights on, to get police trained, to get them back in the streets, to allow people to return to their homes. And this has actually been quite successful. We have about $100 million in the fund at any given time. And in the city of Tikrit, for example, nearly the entire population has returned to the city of Tikrit. And overall in Iraq, we’ve liberated about 50 percent of the territory from ISIL and more than 700,000 Iraqis have returned to their homes in areas that ISIL used to control.

    So we've used Brett McGurk to rescue floundering John Kerry's Wednesday remarks.

    Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke about the military aspects:

    As I said earlier today, our coalition's military campaign plan has three objectives.  First, to destroy the ISIL parent tumor in Iraq and Syria.  That's necessary, but it's not sufficient.  As recent attacks remind us, ISIL safe havens threaten not only the lives of Iraqi and Syrian people, but also the security of our own citizens.

    And the sooner we defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, the safer our countries will be.

    So our second objective is to combat ISIL's metastasizes everywhere they emerge around the world.  And third, and most important, to help protect our homelands.

    In January this year, we updated our comprehensive coalition military campaign plan to accomplish the military aspects of these three objectives.  And we've pursued a number of deliberate decisions and actions to accelerate this plan and hasten ISIL's lasting defeat.

    And since then, in play after play, town after town, from every direction and in every domain, our campaign has accelerated further, squeezing ISIL and rolling it back towards Raqqah and Mosul.  By isolating these two cities, we're effectively setting the stage to collapse ISIL's control over them.

    Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of our local partners and our service members, and more contributions from the nations that met here today, we seized opportunities, reinforced success, and taken the fight to the enemy.

    But we're not going to rest.  Today, we reviewed and agreed on the next plays in our campaign, which of course we won't discuss publicly yet, but let me be clear, they culminate in the collapse of ISIL's control over the cities of Mosul and Raqqah.

    Now, before I continue, I want to say that we're aware of reports of civilian casualties that may be related to recent coalition airstrikes near Manbij city in Syria, which is one of the last junctions connecting Raqqah to the outside world.  We'll investigate these reports and continue to do all we can to protect civilians from harm.

    Being scrupulously careful to avoid civilian casualties and being transparent about this issue is a reflection of the civilized nature of this coalition.

    Getting back to the future campaign and the next plays, after detailing those next plays, we identified the capabilities and the support required to execute those plays.  Since our first full defense ministerial in Brussels in February, our nations, including the United States, have provided even more support to accelerate the campaign, as our local partners have made advances.

    But we're all going to need to do more.  For the United States' part, President Obama decided to deploy an additional 560 troops to support the Iraqi security forces in their offensive to retake Mosul.  And on my visit to Iraq last week, where I met with Prime Minister Abadi and Defense Minister Obaidi, who by the way is here today and I was pleased to speak with him and he spoke to the other ministers several times -- I offered to share some of our hard-earned expertise in countering improvised explosive devices with the Iraqi security forces.

    In fact, the director of our joint improvised threat defeat agency, Lieutenant General Mike Shields, is in Baghdad today meeting with Iraqi officials to discuss this topic, a pledge I made to Prime Minister Abadi last week.

    Meanwhile, away from the meet-ups, a document the US government signed is in the news. Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports:

    The military protocol agreement signed July 12 between the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government and the United States might create controversy in Iraq’s public and political circles, especially those that do not have good relations with the United States and are preparing to fight US forces if they step on Iraqi soil. According to officials in Kurdistan, the agreement states that five US bases should be built in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region areas of Erbil, Atrush, Harir, Dahuk and Sinjar. Moreover, the United States vowed to pay the salaries of the Kurdish peshmerga for 10 years, although this has not been confirmed by any US party.
    Perhaps this agreement will give the peshmerga more autonomy and international legitimacy, but at the same time it might create problems with its counterparts in Iraq such as the predominately Shiite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Sunni tribal forces. The agreement will allow the peshmerga to equal the Iraqi army in strength and might provide it with more arms and develop it further in the future. During the liberation of Iraqi areas, clashes broke out between the peshmerga and forces from the Iraqi army and the PMU, the last of which was in April in Tuz Khormato.
    The PMU that are close to Iran have increased in number and become better equipped, and they are almost on par with the Iraqi army. They enjoy huge influence in Iraq that might be greater than that of the Iraqi army. However, the tribal forces that constitute the Sunni version of the PMU do not have the same impact.

    ALSUMARIA reports that US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones told the network today that Baghdad is fully aware of the agreement the US signed with the KRG.  ALL IRAQ NEWS notes that Jones has stated that the US has "no intention to set up bases" in the KRG.  NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS explains that the party of Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to nominate ministers to Parliament.

    The agreement was signed 10 days after the KRG became the target of threats.

    Strongly condemn the aggressive declarations of some leaders against the region & their own population.

    July 2nd, Adil Alsalmi and Dalshad Abdullah (ASHARQ AL-AWSAT) reported:

    Tension prevailed at the Kurdish frontier between Iran and Kurdistan following the threat of General Hossein Salami, deputy chief of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, to launch an attack on a wide scale.
    Salami explicitly said that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) will not hesitate to strike and destroy any region that threatens the Iranian regime and hosts rebels.
    Salami addressed top officials at Iraqi Kurdistan saying that Kurdistan should abide by its pledges or else the military response will be decisive. The General accused some of the countries in the region of supporting Kurdish opposition parties and playing with fire.

    Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran official Khalid Wanawsha told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the purpose of these threats is to exert pressure on Iraqi Kurdistan but this will not falter the party’s strive to gain the legitimate rights they are demanding.

    Massoud Barzani is the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

    Today in Erbil, the signing of a military MoU between the Kurdistan Region and the United States of America

    That is what he Tweeted.  Here is what was posted on his official website regarding the agreement:

    Salahadin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, ( President Masoud Barzani received a United States military delegation headed by Ms. Elissa Slotkin, the acting assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. This meeting was followed after a telephone conversation between President Barzani and Mr. Ashton Carter, the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

    President Barzani and Ms. Slotkin discussed the liberation of Mosul and the status of the preparations and readiness from the U.S., Iraqi and Kurdistan Region perspectives. President Barzani focused on the importance and urgency of the liberation of Mosul and used the opportunity to reiterated his position of the extreme importance of planning for post liberation Mosul.

    Ms. Slotkin stated that the Peshmerga forces will play an essential role in the Mosul operation just as they have played similar roles in other operations against the terrorists of the Islamic State.

    President Barzani expressed his gratitude to the people and government of the United States for their support to the Kurdistan Region and for leading the collective effort to exterminate the terrorists of the Islamic State.

    The meeting was attended by a number of military officials from both the United States and the Kurdistan Region and a memorandum of understanding on the military coordination between the Kurdistan Region and the United States was signed. The acting Minister of Peshmerga Affairs, Mr. Karim Sinjari and the the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense of International Security Affairs were the two signatories of the MoU.

    The memorandum makes references to military and financial support to the Peshmerga forces and also to some of the details of the Mosul operation.

    That makes no mention of bases -- which doesn't mean they're not in the agreement.

    Nor does Jones' denial mean that the bases aren't in the agreement.

    Meanwhile, WORLD BULLETIN reports:

    Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Thursday welcomed this week’s resignation of seven government ministers, urging remaining cabinet members to follow suit.
    On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi accepted the resignation of six members of his government, including the ministers of interior, industry, petroleum, transportation, housing and construction and water resources.
    The following day, Hussein al-Shahristani, minister of higher education and scientific research, also resigned, leaving a total of seven ministerial portfolios vacant.

    In the United States, the Republican Party wrapped up their political convention tonight with the party's nominee Donald Trump delivering a speech -- a speech Stephen Collinson (CNN) notes lasted "one hour and 15 minutes."

    Gary Johnson is the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party and this is from his Twitter feed:

    “Amid Donald Trumps RNC Gary Johnson Makes His Pitch to Disenchanted Republicans” via
    "Gary Johnson offers a Libertarian alternative to Clinton and Trump" via

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