Thursday, July 21, 2016. Chaos and violence continue, the UN notes the
humanitarian crisis, a response may or may not result in people getting
helped, the Iraqi military is caught on video executing a bound young
boy, there's an update on the Ashraf community, Pretty Lashes John Kirby
forgets to announce a live broadcast at the State Dept website today,
the UK fundraising for prosecuting War Criminals continues, and much
The disaster that is newly 'liberted' Falluja has many concerned about
what happens to the city and citizens of Mosul when Iraqi forces attempt
to 'liberate' it from the Islamic State which has held it since June of
Yesterday, the United Nations announced:
One of the top United Nations officials in Iraq is warning that an
expected military operation in Mosul will lead to the largest and most
dramatic humanitarian crisis in the world, which could impact as many as
1.5 million civilians.
“The impact of the Mosul military campaign on civilians will be
devastating,” said Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
“Mass casualties among civilians are likely and families trying to flee
are expected to be at extreme risk.”
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
is asking for an additional $284 million to start preparing food,
water, emergency shelter and medical assistance, and other immediately
Military operations by the Government of Iraq and its allies to retake
areas from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are already
forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians, including more than 85,000
people from Fallujah, to flee their homes in search of safety.
More than 3.3 million Iraqis are currently displaced across the country
and as many as 2.5 million more people may become newly displaced along
the Anbar and Mosul corridors and in Mosul city in the months ahead.
SWISSINFO CHANNEL reports
Switzerland has donated the US equivalent of $1 million dollars. Canada pledged $158 million
Yesterday, in DC, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted, "I am pleased to announce that, by securing more than $2 billion of
pledges that we know will be forthcoming, we have exceeded our
expectations and the conference is by all measures successful. Within
that total is more than $450 million for humanitarian assistance, much
of which is going to go directly to the most recent UN humanitarian
appeal. I’m very proud to say that the United States, each of the countries
here, have donated significant – hundreds of millions of dollars, and I
think when we finished just making our commitments, we were well over
half a billion dollars, and now we are over the – excuse me, were well
over half a billion and close to the full billion, and now we’re over
Sorry to interrupt the chorus of "We Are The World" but how will it be ensured that the money goes to those in need?
Kerry's comments included, "The goal of our pledging conference is to raise money to help Iraqis in
four priority areas: humanitarian aid, de-mining, immediate
stabilization, and longer-term recovery."
These would have been questions to pursue but Elise Labbot didn't.
CNN's reporter got the first question -- when you're the State Dept's
pet you get those sort of favors -- and immediately turned a briefing on
Iraq into Turkey.
No one was surprised.
When everyone's whispering -- true or false, I don't know -- that you're
sleeping with John Kerry, presumably, you're calling the shots. He is
after all married (to a very good friend of mine, so watch your back,
Elise, if the rumors are true and say prayers of thanks that you don't live in China
). And if the rumors aren't true, stop pretending flirting is part of a reporter's arsenal.
Iraq's attending this conference with government officials. Presumably their hands are out.
And Iraq is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and has been
for over a decade -- see the rankings on Transparency Index.
Yes, the students are angry, as are the people of Iraq.
Iraq is an oil rich country raking in billions in oil revenues each year
-- billions more than they have millions of people. Yet government
corruption is so great that this oil rich country now has to beg the
International Money Fund for dollars. You don't catch oil rich Saudi
Arabia doing that.
Where is the money going?
That's an important question also in terms of who benefits.
Iraqi forces paid by the government?
The video shows a young boy, hands bound, on the ground, surrounded by
Iraqi forces. They circle him, then step back and then shoot him dead.
Are these to be the beneficiaries of 'humanitarian' aid?
If the footage going to finally force the US government to publicly rebuke the targeting of Sunni civilians?
Will this War Crime register anywhere?
In related news, today a meeting will be held in the US. The State Dept issued the following:
Office of the Spokesperson
July 19, 2016
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash
Carter will host foreign and defense ministers of the Global Coalition
to Counter ISIL in Washington D.C., on July 21, 2016, for the first
joint ministerial of the Counter ISIL Coalition.
More than 40 members of the Coalition will assemble to review the
campaign to date, and strategize how to further accelerate ISIL’s
It will include a detailed discussion of priorities for the
Coalition’s multiple lines of effort, including its working groups on
political-military coordination, combatting foreign terrorist fighters,
counterterrorist financing, counter-messaging, and stabilization of
liberated areas, to increase the momentum of the campaign.
With the recent liberation of Fallujah and other parts of Anbar
Province in Iraq, as well as the advances around Manbij in Syria, this
is a key moment to continue to set core ISIL on a lasting, and
irreversible, path to defeat.
The Coalition’s Small Group regularly meets to synchronize and
enhance combined efforts to counter ISIL. The last meeting of Coalition
foreign ministers took place in Rome, Italy, on February 2, 2016, and
the last meeting of defense ministers took place in Brussels, Belgium,
on February 11, 2016.
We'll include that in full since spokesperson John Kirby has 'forgotten'
to include it in any press briefing this week (Monday or Tuesday, there
was no briefing on Wednesday). If he had included, he might have noted
the meet-up would be live broadcast on the State Dept's website
Well I guess that's what John Kirby's paid to announce, now isn't it?
Oops, someone forgot to work their to-do list.
In other news, Turkey's back to bombing Iraq. These bombings were
supported by the US government but objected by the Iraqi government. In
the name of bombing 'terrorists,' Turkey has killed and wounded
thousands of Iraqis living in northern Iraq -- most of them in villages
and living on farms. It's destroyed homes and farms. But that's what
happens when a blustering idiot is in charge of a country. Recep Tayyip
Erdogan has survived a military attempted coup. While the president's
power was in question, airstrikes on Iraq were put on hold and they even
called the Turkish troops in Iraq back to Iraq. (Iraq's Prime Minister
Haider al-Abadi is among those who have been demanding that the troops
leave Iraq.) AP reports
the Turkish government is claiming to have killed 20 'militants' with
yesterday's War Planes. If things went as usual that means they
probably killed at least 3 children.
Dropping back to Tuesday's snapshot
Starting with War Criminal Tony Blair, Nicole Stinson (DAILY STAR) reports:
The Iraq War Families Campaign Group launched an online appeal to the
raise £50,000 to "bring to justice those responsible for the war and
the deaths of our loved ones" earlier today.
In the less than a day they have managed to attract 1,428 backers.
They now have their sights on raising £150,000 to cover legal costs.
THE MIRROR adds, "It comes weeks after the Chilcot report tore into Mr Blair, other
leading politicians and senior officials over their actions before,
during and after the conflict, in which 179 British service personnel
died." Adam Taylor (WASHINGTON POST) notes, "Blair came under renewed scrutiny after the release of the Chilcot
inquiry. The report included evidence suggesting that he had
misrepresented intelligence ahead of the war. In one memo from July 2002
before the war, Blair writes to President George W. Bush that 'I will
be with you, whatever' -- which many took as implying that he would
support the war, no matter the opposition."
But while those injured by Tony Blair have to crowd source to get money for legal bills, Robert Mendick and Ben Farmer (TELEGRAPH OF LONDON) explain, "Taxpayers will be obliged to pay all Tony Blair’s legal bills if he is sued by the families of soldiers killed in Iraq."
Should the families prevail in court and win? RT reports
Roger Bacon, whose son Matthew was killed serving in Iraq, told
RT that any money raised in a civil case by military families against
Tony Blair will be donated to the Iraqi people to improve their lives.
Matthew Bacon, a British
Army major, was killed by a roadside bomb while traveling in a
lightly-armored Snatch vehicle in Iraq in 2005.
father described to RT his awe at the staggering success of the Iraq War
Families Campaign’s crowdfunding drive to fund a full legal examination
of the Chilcot Report for evidence challenging the legality of the war.
Lastly, the Ashraf community.
Background: As of September 2013, Camp Ashraf in Iraq is empty. All remaining members of the
community have been moved to Camp Hurriya (also known as Camp Liberty).
Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were welcomed to
Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp
Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US
invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations
with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the
residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that
US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person
under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the
Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks. The Bully Boy Bush
administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on
the books but they grasped that one. As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush
administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they
would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp
repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009
Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert
Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer
entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents
Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later,
on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at
least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six
residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They
were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor
health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011
Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of
Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault
took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way
"Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within
the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who
tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of
the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and
more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and
other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a
committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on
other occasions when the government has announced investigations into
allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the
authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions
whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out." Those weren't
the last attacks. They were the last attacks while the residents were
labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept. (September 28, 2012
, the designation was changed.) In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed
that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of
Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva
Conventions." So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.
3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf. They have moved to Camp Hurriyah
for the most part. A tiny number has received asylum in other
countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was
attacked Sunday. That was the second attack this year alone. February 9th of 2013
, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah. Trend News Agency counted
10 dead and over one hundred injured. Prensa Latina reported
, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of
Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls
terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an
Iraqi official release." They were attacked again September 1, 2013
-- two years ago. Adam Schreck (AP) reported
back then that the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.
This week, the UNHCR has issued an update:
Update on the implementation of solutions for residents of Hurriya Temporary Transit Location (TTL)
• The relocation of residents of the Hurriya Temporary Transit
Location (TTL) out of Iraq continues to maintain momentum, with more
than 1700 residents having now been relocated to a situation of safety
in third countries. This represents a significant milestone: more than
half of the residents registered by UNHCR have now been successfully
• Prospects for relocating all residents out of Iraq in 2016 are at
their most buoyant since international efforts to find solutions began
in 2011. UNHCR is supporting a steady and growing stream of movements
out of Iraq in coming months. It is hoped that the process will be
completed well before year end.
• This progress has been achieved with the cooperation of the
residents who have proceeded with the relocation process despite
difficult circumstances, including the attack on 4 July 2016, which
fortunately did not result in any casualties.
• Ongoing success in the implementation of solutions has also been
assisted by the residents’ commitment to meeting the bulk of the
associated costs, particularly for long term support of all residents
relocated out of Iraq who have no access to state-sponsored assistance.
This commitment is crucial to the ongoing implementation of solutions
for the group.
• UNHCR deeply appreciates the measures taken by some countries to
relocate residents to situations of safety and security. Albania’s
exceptional contribution to this humanitarian endeavour merits special
note, as Albania has received a significant proportion of the residents
who have been relocated. Likewise, the United States has been actively
supporting the relocations in a number of ways, and without those
sustained and concerted efforts, the progress reported here could not
have been achieved.
• Despite noteworthy progress made over the last two years, UNHCR
maintains its call upon States to find ways to offer long term solutions
for the residents in the Hurriya TTL and to do so with urgency. This
appeal should be read in light of the potential for more attacks on the
Hurriya TTL, as has been recently witnessed. This emphasizes the need
for quick and pragmatic action on the part of States to ensure that
these people are very swiftly relocated to a situation of safety and
• UNHCR continues to call upon the Government of Iraq to take all
possible measures to ensure the safety and well-being of residents,
including ensuring access to life saving medical treatment and
assistance with the provision of goods and services to enable the
residents to make arrangements for their own protection.
• UNHCR also recalls the Memorandum of Understanding between the
Government of Iraq and the United Nations explicitly recognizes that
residents benefit from the principle of non-refoulement.
UNHCR, Geneva, 19 July 2016