AFP reports a suicide bomber or bombers detonated in Taji leaveing "at least seven people dead" and another seventeen injured. Al Arabiya News adds, "A newly appointed ISIS commander in Iraq's Anbar province has been killed, a police chief from Haditha told Al Arabiya News Channel on Thursday."
Where is the progress?
Oh, wait, the US State Dept's Brett McGurk hasn't had time yet to Tweet the number of bombs that were dropped on Iraq today by the US-led coalition of war planes.
After all, that passes for progress to the US government.
And for a plan!
Doesn't look that way to everyone though. Today, James Brown (The Australian) observes, "The campaign against Islamic State forces remains ongoing but with little clarity about how the US plans to motivate the beleaguered Iraqi security forces, or when a campaign to recapture Mosul might be feasible."
Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry pontificated and thundered ("make no mistake") at a diplomatic meet-up today in London. Andrew Osborn and Warren Strobel (Reuters) note, the meeting was hosted and led by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. UPI explains John was a "co-host."
You know those type of co-hosts, right?
You do all the work and then they show up moments before the event starts and proceed to glory-hog their way through it.
That's John Kerry.
22 countries showed up and that's a victory for Hammond but an embarrassment for "co-host" Kerry.
Or maybe just 21.
Your numbers may vary, apparently.
Which is why Jane Onyanga-Omara (USA Today) just goes with "more than 20."
Was it sixty leaders of defense the US pulled together?
But for those brief moments when they pretend diplomacy matters, they make do with 20.
No word on whether John Kerry darted into Lancaster Hall with some packets of Kool-Aid and an open package of Chip Ahoy! cookies declaring, "Don't worry, I did bring snacks!"
The British Foreign Secretary Tweeted:
Read my article60 retweets 8 favorites
@Telegraph setting out how the UK and international community are combating #ISIL: http://ow.ly/HK0vM
And the US State Dept issued a release which included the following:
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I want to thank Secretary Hammond and Great Britain for hosting us here today, and I’m pleased to co-host with him this important meeting of the most engaged, most involved leading-edge countries, though we are critically dependent on all 60-plus nations that are engaged in this effort.
But as we have put this together now in a matter of a few months, we have gone from zero at the end of September to now, in January, in our fourth month, having stopped ISIL’s advance in Iraq, having negated their resources, their capacity to move foreign fighters, to a significant degree, and changed their operations as a result of what we’ve been able to do. We still have a lot of work to do, and the purpose of coming here is to bring everybody’s best advice, everybody’s thoughts about where there may be weaknesses, everybody’s thoughts about things we can do better, put that together, improve our own performance and operation, and lay down the strategy for the days ahead.
And as Philip said, we will make this now a regular meeting almost on a monthly basis, not at the ministerial level. Ministers will meet as necessary. But it is important to coordinate. We have a tremendous amount of work to do.
I want to thank particularly our friends here in London. Prime Minister Cameron and the President, President Obama, met a few days ago in Washington. I think everybody sensed the power of our friendship and our cooperative partnership which has never been more important on so many different fronts as it is today, and that’s why we thought it was important to come together here to follow up as effectively as possible.
Vivian Salama and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes that before leaving to attend the meet-up in London, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that more military aid was needed in Iraq and that "we are in this almost on our own." These are similar to the remarks he made last week.
Oh, well. Maybe John let Haider take home any of the stale Chip Ahoy! cookies that didn't get eaten.
The following community sites -- plus L Studio, Susan's On the Edge, Iraq Inquiry Digest, Antiwar.com and the Guardian -- updated:
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.