The Common Ills


Friday, June 24, 2016
Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, June 23, 2016. Chaos and violence continue, the persecution of the Sunnis continues, silence on the part of US House Reps Barbara Lee and Nancy Pelosi continue, US House Rep Seth Moulton continues to demand an actual plan, and much more.


Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 22 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL tunnel system.

-- Near Huwayjah, a strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.

-- Near Bashir, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL command-and control-nodes.

-- Near Beiji, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL tunnel entrance and an ISIL vehicle bomb.

-- Near Fallujah, four strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units; destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, five ISIL light machine guns, an ISIL rocket-propelled grenade system and an ISIL boat; damaged two separate ISIL fighting positions; and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Mosul, eight strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units, an ISIL oil ministry headquarters and an ISIL vehicle bomb factory and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, two ISIL weapons caches, 10 ISIL assembly areas, two ISIL command-and-control nodes and an ISIL tunnel entrance.

-- Near Qayyarah, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area and eight ISIL boats and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 14 ISIL boats and two ISIL weapons caches.


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.




And as more US bombings continue, more US troops may be headed to Iraq.

AFP reports:

US military leaders are weighing whether to request additional coalition troops to help local forces fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq, but no decisions have been made, a military official said Thursday.
"We're constantly looking to see if we're right-sized," said British Army Major General Doug Chalmers, adding that troop levels and additional capabilities formed part of an "ongoing dialogue."


This follows Josh Rogin's WASHINGTON POST report earlier this week where he explained:

[US] Military leaders directing operations against the terrorists in Iraq are readying requests for more troops and equipment they feel are needed to solidify and quicken progress toward defeating the Islamic State. These proposals have not yet been formally submitted to the White House for approval, and would first be vetted by the Pentagon leadership, but key generals have already told many in Washington they need hundreds more U.S. personnel to do the job right. 


CNN adds:

The Obama administration is “not ruling out the possibility” of sending hundreds of additional troops to Iraq this fall to help train, advise and assist Iraqi forces as they get ready for a potential assault on Mosul, according to a senior U.S. official.
And while officials won’t publicly confirm it, there have been several meetings to begin to determine if more troops are needed for the upcoming battle for Iraq’s second-largest city and what those troops might do to affect the battle. 



Though he originally insisted in August of 2014, the number sent in would be small and in the hundreds, US troops in Iraq are now in the thousands -- and that's not counting Special Ops.  The number has repeatedly increased.

Back in August of 2014.  Carla Marinucci (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE) reported:


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that congressional Democrats were united in support of President Obama's decision to order air strikes in Iraq as "humanitarian assistance" for refugees trapped by Islamic militant fighters, but added that "we don't consider boots on the ground an option."
Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said 100 House Democrats held a conference call Monday after Obama notified Congress that 275 U.S. troops were being deployed to Iraq as security for American diplomatic personnel in Baghdad. His notification, made under the War Powers Act, came two days after U.S. warplanes fired on Islamic State militants who have bottled up refugees near the Syrian border.
[. . .]
Although House Democrats have made it "very clear" that sending combat forces back to the country is unacceptable, Pelosi said, she left open the possibility that U.S. actions in Iraq could reach "a place where we need congressional action." 

This week, the 76-year-old, elderly Pelosi Tweeted:

 Pinned Tweet
Sit or stand but we cannot be silent for victims of gun violence - we need to take action.
 
 
 






But apparently she can be silent about Iraq.

"We don't consider boots on the ground an option" she said in August of 2014.


Two years later, she's silent.

Off to carry out yet another political stunt to make the American people think she'll do something.

Just like, in the 2006 mid-terms, she repeatedly told the American people 'deliver us one House of Congress and we'll end the war.'

But the voters gave the Democrats both houses of Congress and Pelosi & company did nothing.

The silence, hypocrisy and cowardice from Nancy on the Iraq War are surprising only if you don't know her record.  The website GARLIC & GRASS: A GRASSROOTS JOURNAL OF AMERICA'S POLITICAL SOUL has highlighted some of Nancy's many failures:


  • January 12, 2005 - Two months after the November referendum, Bay Area Congressional Representatives Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, and Sam Farr joined Democratic colleagues from across the country in signing a letter to President Bush calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Pelosi conspicuously refused to sign on.
  • November 17, 2005 - Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) made a brave, groundbreaking call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Pelosi stood up and said, "Representative Murtha speaks for himself." And just one day later, on Nov. 18, 2006, she voted against immediate withdrawal from Iraq. She used her leadership position as House Democratic Leader to encourage others to oppose Murtha. Doing so helped to kill the momentum building at that time to force a timetable for troop withdrawals.

  • November 30, 2005 - Two weeks later (interestingly, just after local San Francisco Green Medea Benjamin spoke about possibly running against Pelosi), Pelosi reversed course and said she supported Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal. Still, she took no action and refused to use her leadership position to call for a 'party caucus position,' which would have put the majority of the Democratic Party on record against the war and shifted the national debate about the war. Indeed, at a point when two thirds of Americans had acknowledged that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and when a majority of Americans began saying that the time had come to start rectifying that mistake by bringing the troops home, Pelosi's actions stalled the national debate and weakened the Democratic Party's stance. 




  • Last week, US House Rep Barbara Lee Tweeted:


    Our service members deserve a Congress willing to debate the war that they are fighting. Silence is cowardice.
    Rep. Lee Call On Congress To Debate An ISIL-Specific War Authorization

     
     
     





    So when's the sit-in for that, Barbara?


    Oh, right, never.

    Because you're nothing but empty words.


    And empty words don't end the Iraq War.


    Not everyone's silent.


    US House Rep Seth Moulton, for example, has not been silent.

    Yesterday I lost my closest friend in the Iraqi Army to ISIS and our failed policy in Iraq.

     
     
     


    From the May 13th snapshot:


    Yesterday on CNN's THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER, Jake spoke with US House Rep
    Seth Moulton (and just as soon as CNN posts a video or a transcript, we'll note a link -- instead, we'll just link to Jake's Twitter):


    Jake Tapper:  So you blame the Obama administration's failed ISIS policy of the death of your Iraqi comrade who you describe as "your closest friend."  Why?

    US House Rep Seth Moulton: He was my closest friend in the Iraqi army and the bottom line is that we have a military strategy to defeat ISIS but we don't have any longterm political strategy to ensure the peace.  And that's why we find ourselves back in Iraq again today refighting the same battles that I, myself, my fellow Marines and soldiers fought just eight or ten years ago

    Jake Tapper: And what needs to change, sir?

    US House Rep Seth Moulton:  We need to have a clear mission for the troops, a clear end game, a clear goal that they can achieve and than a strategy to maintain the peace once we defeat this terrorist group because, look, we already fought these same battles against al Qaeda but then when we pulled out of Iraq so quickly and not just pulling out the troops, I'm talking about pulling out the diplomats.  I'm talking about the people that were working in the prime minister's office, in the ministries.  The Iraqi government just went off the rails and as a result created this political vacuum that ISIS came in to occupy.  We cannot keep repeating this mistake in Iraq, going back again and again.


    Jake Tapper:  Now there are more than 4,000 US personnel, US military personnel, in Iraq right now but the White House argues this is not a combat mission.  Do you think that the Obama administration is misleading the American public.

    US House Rep Seth Moulton:  That's just simply not true, this absolutely is a combat mission.  In 2004, I had an advisory mission as a Marine with my platoon in Iraq.  We were advisors to an Iraqi unit and when that unit started to get overrun, we went to their assistance and started the battle of Najaf which was some of the fiercest fighting of the war until that time.  So there's a very fine line between an advisory mission and full fledged combat. It's very clear from the death of the Navy Seal just last week that this is absolutely a combat mission.


    Jake Tapper:  Why do you think the White House is-is pursuing the strategy that they're pursuing -- calling it an advisory mission, not a combat mission? Not pursuing the line of attack that you're suggesting they need to -- in terms of the clear strategy with an end game?  Why?


    US House Rep Seth Moulton:  I don't know.  I mean, some would say that this is trying to do war on the cheap just like the Bush administration when they got us involved in in the first place.  Let's not forget that we wouldn't be involved in this mess at all if George Bush hadn't invaded Iraq with faulty intelligence back in 2003.  But this a president who promised to get us out of Iraq and promised to use the tools of diplomacy to prevent wars from happening -- and that just hasn't happened.  You know if you think about what happened when ISIS swept into Iraq from Syria, they didn't just defeat the Iraqi army.  The Iraqi army put their weapons down and went home because they had lost faith in their government.  And yet our solution, our strategy, is to train Iraqi troops.  Well you don't fix Iraqi politics by training Iraqi troops. And Iraqi politics are broken.  That's the fundamental problem in Iraq that we need to fix.


    And, thing is, Barack agrees with Seth Moulton -- or did on June 19, 2014 when he (Barack) declares that the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution.


    Yet the last two years has the seen the US government drop more bombs on Iraq and send more US troops in while doing nothing to help broker a political solution.

    Tonight, THE WASHINGTON POST website published a column by Moulton which includes:


    In April, I visited some of the almost 5,000 troops that President Obama has put back in Iraq, and I witnessed a recurring theme: We have a military plan to defeat the Islamic State — and, as initial gains in Fallujah this week demonstrate, it’s going well in many respects — but we have yet to articulate a political plan to ensure Iraq’s long-term stability.

    Sometimes it’s impossible to tell whether it’s 2007 or 2016. The battle plans I hear from our commanders in Iraq today are the same ones I heard at the beginning of the surge, down to the same cities and tribal alliances. My question is: How will this time be different? The silence is deafening.



    And in that silence, War Crimes continue as the Iraqi forces -- supposedly there to protect the civilians -- target the Sunnis.




    Nazli Tarzi (MIDDLE EAST EYE) observes:

    For a brief moment last week, the world learned about the disappearance of at least 643 Iraqi civilians from Saqlawiya, and the torture and humiliation that awaited hundreds more captured by marauding, Iranian-backed militias.
    Outrage was at best tame, and coverage has remained thin. Although government forces have recaptured Fallujah from Islamic State (IS), the fate of the “lost” men of Saqlawiya, Al-Garma and Al-Azraqiya remains unknown. Some were freed but only to have returned with bodies riddled with dark raised welts, inflicted by sectarian militias. It appears that no soundtrack other than a skulking silence accompanies these shameful developments, leaving many important questions unanswered.
    Government officials have repeatedly said that investigations into alleged wrongdoing by its security forces are underway. Last Monday, government spokesman Sa'ad al-Hadithi affirmed that Haider al-Abadi's government is serious about pursuing violations against the people of Fallujah. Defence Minister Khaled al-Obaidi added that four military personnel had been arrested after video evidence of their abuses surfaced.
    So why are the details of federal investigations yet to be made public? Why have those arrested not been quizzed on national TV, as is done with alleged IS members who are paraded before the cameras? 



    The targeting never ends.


    Shia Militias crimes دعاء مزلزل من طفله عراقية سنيه على الحشد الشيعي وتقول ديننا قولوا امين

     
     
     


    Iraqi Sunni Child Crying and screaming from Shia Militias crimes against Sunni Civilians

    Those weak, weak Congressional Dems

    Those weak, weak Congressional Dems

    Senator Harry Reid Retweeted Leader McConnell
    I don't know what the Republican Leader wants. Does he want another invasion of Iraq?
    Senator Harry Reid added,
     
     
     




    And I don't know the name of the trick that worked over Harry but that incident and the whispers about it are why he's finally leaving the Senate.

    So good job, trick.

    The rumors over the years -- all the rumors -- would more than suggest that Harry had it coming for the way he treated sex workers.

    Good job, trick, whomever you are.


    Of course, Harry has no standing with regard to opposing the Iraq War.

    Remember when then-US House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi was speaking to THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE and she was asked why, despite having control of both houses of Congress, the Iraq War continued?

    She said she had her ducks in a line.  She said the House had the votes.

    She explained that it was then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Senate that was the problem.


    That was what Nancy Pelosi said.

    Go look it up.  For the longest, the paper had the full discussion posted in audio form at the website.

    We covered it in the May 28, 2008 snapshot -- so let me spoonfeed: Here's the link to the audio of the discussion.

    Equally true, when Democratic Senators wanted to explore the waste and corruption in Iraq, Reid didn't want it in 'his' Senate so they had to use the DPC to stage the hearings.

    And while we applaud the trick that worked Harry over, let's not leave the impression that Nancy Pelosi is some sort of honest broker herself.

    US troops are on the ground in Iraq.  US troops are in combat.

    By any definition, the US has "boots on the ground" in Iraq.

    And Nancy's said what about that?

    Not one damn word.

    But she had many words in August of 2014.  Carla Marinucci (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE) reported:


    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that congressional Democrats were united in support of President Obama's decision to order air strikes in Iraq as "humanitarian assistance" for refugees trapped by Islamic militant fighters, but added that "we don't consider boots on the ground an option."
    Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said 100 House Democrats held a conference call Monday after Obama notified Congress that 275 U.S. troops were being deployed to Iraq as security for American diplomatic personnel in Baghdad. His notification, made under the War Powers Act, came two days after U.S. warplanes fired on Islamic State militants who have bottled up refugees near the Syrian border.
    [. . .]
    Although House Democrats have made it "very clear" that sending combat forces back to the country is unacceptable, Pelosi said, she left open the possibility that U.S. actions in Iraq could reach "a place where we need congressional action." 

    With Democrats like Harry and Nancy, no wonder the Iraq War continues.

    But remember, in 2006, campaigning during mid-term elections, with a majority in neither house of Congress, the promise they made was give them control of one house and they'd end the war.

    The American people gave them control of both houses in 2006.

    And they didn't end the war in 2007.

    Or 2008.

    Or 2009.

    Or 2010.

    We'll stop there, not just because the Iraq War continues but also because they lost control of both houses in the 2010 mid-terms.


    The following community sites -- plus Wally's "THIS JUST IN! WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS???" which is not showing up yet -- updated:









  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.






    Posted at 12:34 am by thecommonills
     

    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:





    22-6-2016
    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 common_ills@yahoo.com.






    Posted at 07:22 pm by thecommonills
     

    Sunday, June 19, 2016
    Hejira

    Hejira

    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 common_ills@yahoo.com.






    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: http://www.jill2016.com/volunteer

     
     
     






    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

     
     
     





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