Google+ Followers

السبت، 28 فبراير، 2015

Iraq snapshot Saturday, February 28, 2015.

Iraq snapshot Saturday, February 28, 2015.

The Common Ills 

Saturday, February 28, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, a lot of gabbing over the attack on the Mosul Museum but not any real analysis, Barack's desire for combat troops gathers more attention, is the Islamic State just desperate for more press or are they carrying out large acts as part of a farewell to Mosul, and much more

A friend who's a TV actress can talk Iraq every few months.  Whenever there's a story, for example, about how zoo animals are hunted in Iraq, she's all over it.  She's outraged.  She's angry.  Her speech can go on for 90 minutes -- and it is a speech, it's not a conversation.

And I guess I should be grateful that in a world of apathy -- in the United States of Apathy -- she thinks passionately about Iraq at all.

But, no offense to the big game animals, I'm really more concerned with human life in Iraq.  I didn't notice, for example, anyone getting upset about the slaughter when new buildings or US outposts in Iraq were accompanied by the ritualistic slaughter/sacrifice of an animal.

I bring this up because in Thursday's snapshot we quoted the Metropolitan Museum on the attack on the Mosul Museum.

We could have quoted any number of organizations or what have you.  To me, however, if it's a museum that's attacked, let's listen to what another museum is saying.  And I think it's valid for museums around the world to issue statements.

But there's valid and then there's questionable.

A.R. Williams (National Geographic) reports:

Islamic State militants released a video on Thursday showing the destruction of priceless antiquities in northern Iraq.
Running for more than five minutes, the video records men toppling statues in a museum and smashing them with sledgehammers, and attacking other statues at an archaeological site with a jackhammer.

And I think about it and, yeah, this is something National Geographic should be on, it's their reporting beat.  The Guardian carries a column by Haifa Zangana which notes:

Earlier attacks on Mosul’s heritage by Isis targeted the tomb of Nabi Yunus (the prophet Jonah), and the grave of Abu al-Hassan al-Jazari, a 12th- and 13th-century historiographer known as ibn al-Athir.
The destruction of Mosul’s history is a crime against people who are proud of their education and heritage, and fully aware of the value, for example, of the library of Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria (668-627BC), with its 22,000 cuneiform tablets. Destruction of monuments that have been preserved through 14 centuries of Islam in Iraq is widely abhorred. These actions can be likened to the barbarism of an extreme sect in early Islam that demolished the shrine in Mecca.

And there's no question Iraqi novelist Haifa should be weighing in.  But Pravada's got a report that opens, "Islamic State has committed yet another atrocity, adding vandalism and desecration of world cultural heritage to its list of crimes. UNESCO has expressed outrage over the attack on Mosul Museum and the destruction of statues and other artefacts, and has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council."  And AFP's report notes, "Archaeologists and heritage experts called for urgent action to protect the remains of some of oldest civilisations in the world."  BBC offers, "The reported destruction of the statues follows recent reports that IS burnt down Mosul Library, which housed over 8,000 ancient manuscripts."  And CNN has filed multiple stories including this one.

And we could go on and on with all the outlets filing stories.

But here's the thing, I can remember when Nouri used his Minister of the Interior to go after Iraq's LGBT and Emo and suspected LGBT and Emo communities.

And I can remember the reality -- not spin, not rumors -- of the violent deaths by stoning (often with bricks) or super-gluing the anuses, etc.

And I can remember the US press and the world press ignoring it for weeks and weeks.

I can remember getting traction with friends in the music press (including one who got a deal that I would stop slamming him if his publication tackled the story) and how even that took forever and took a mountain of work.

I love books, I love art, I love film and music but I don't think I value art more than I value human life.

But I'm not sure our modern press can say the same.

Forget the LGBT issue for a moment, it's also true 2010 through 2014 saw a vicious government assault on the Sunnis in Iraq and very few wanted to report on it.  Some, like Patrick Cockburn, did so begrudgingly and minimized while 'covering' it.  (Which is why Patrick Cockburn's reputation is so awful in the Arab world.)

I'm an artist.  I believe in art.  But I believe we can and do create new art every day.  And if you told me a ship was sinking and we could save five people or save Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa which was also on the ship for some reason, I'd say save the five people.

That's not me calling art or culture disposable but it is me noting that people are needed for art: they're needed to appreciate it, they're needed for it to have value.

So it bothers me that when people are being killed by their own government, the world press is happy to take a pass..  But some objects being destroyed gets the attention of the entire world press.

I love animals, I love art.  I just question the priorities of a global press which repeatedly finds ways to be outraged over something other than the deliberate killing of people.

Nearly fifteen months of daily bombings of civilian areas in Iraq -- in Sunni dominate Falluja -- by the Iraqi military -- bombings that have wounded and killed thousands -- has, in nearly fifteen months, received not even 1/4 of the coverage the attack on the Mosul Museum has received in 48 hours.

Again, I question the priorities of the global press.

For decades, the joke was that UPI was the Ethel Mertz of the global press.  These days Ethel Mertz seems quite a bit loftier than any press outlet.

(That reputation preceded the Unification Church's purchase of UPI -- preceded it by decades.  Ethel Mertz is the character Vivian Vance played on I Love Lucy, a character who always enjoyed sharing a juicy tidbit with Lucille Ball's Lucy Ricardo.)


The priorities seem skewed at best.  Like with this [PDF format warning] report by alleged friends like Minority Rights Group International and Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization.  The report supposedly is concerned with War Crimes in Iraq.  I'm supposed to be using this site to promote it.

The fact that I was being asked (strong-armed) into promoting the Friday briefing that the report would be released at while at the same time not being able to see the report myself ahead of time was enough to set my 'Spidey sense' tingling and I said no.

And I've now read the report and I'm glad I said no.

Is that a report?

Because it reads like a cry for war.

I also don't get the bravery or the need to call out the Islamic State.

What's next?  An emergency press release announcing Adolf Hitler was evil?

Watch this: Adolf Hitler should burn in hell!

Do you know I will probably not get one e-mail complaining about that statement.

It takes no courage to call out Adolf Hitler.

It also takes no courage -- if you're outside of Iraq or Syria -- to call out the Islamic State.

But a worthless report of 38 pages goes on and on about War Crimes carried out by the Islamic State while failing to note the War Crimes of the Iraqi government. But haven't they done that for years now?  Ignore the War Crimes?  Ignore Nouri al-Maliki's goons carrying out his orders to attack peaceful protesters?  But suddenly they're concerned about Iraq.

And they've so very big and brave -- what manly men they are, rising from their haunches to bravely call out the Islamic State.

In keeping with their ground breaking announcement that the Islamic State is bad, next week Minority Rights Group International and Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization will announce the shocking and ground breaking news that some children hate broccoli.

During the Bully Boy Bush era, Canada largely and wisely sat out the Iraq War.  These days, it's foaming at the mouth to get in its 'kills.'  Keith Jones (WSWS) observes:

Canada’s Conservative government is steamrolling its new “anti-terrorism” bill through parliament—legislation that tramples on core democratic rights and dramatically augments the power of the state and its national-security apparatus.
The Conservatives, who last fall sent Canada to war yet again, this time in Iraq, are also plotting to involve Canada still more deeply in US imperialism’s global offensive.
In both instances, the government is justifying its actions with the claim that Canada is under attack from Islamist terrorism.
This has been a constant refrain of Prime Minster Stephen Harper and his minsters since the killing of two members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) last October in separate incidents in St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec and Ottawa.

Harper and his Conservatives seized on these killings—the work of deeply troubled individuals who had no connection with each other, let alone any terrorist group in Canada or the Middle East—to advance a pre-planned right-wing agenda.

Minority Rights Group International and Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization churned out a report that also reads like a War Hawk attempt to spread fear and encourage more violence.  You sort of picture Stephen Harper flipping through with one hand while pulling his pud with the other.

The White House is facing severe criticism for announcing to the press last week that an attempt to drive IS out of Mosul will take place shortly -- no later than May.

Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) reports there are other objections to the White House announcement which include charges that the administration's underestimated the number of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and the level of their dedication:

With the legitimacy of the group’s cross-border claim of authority at stake, analysts said they found it unlikely that the Islamic State would easily give up control of Mosul or dedicate such a small force to protecting it. Many hundreds of Islamic State troops were committed to the failed effort to capture Kobani, a far less important city on the Syria-Turkey border, and Kurdish forces only 12 miles from Mosul report near-daily attacks by hundreds of Islamic State troops.
“The idea that ISIS will vacate Mosul without a substantial fight is almost laughable,” J.M. Berger, an expert on the Islamic State who’s affiliated with the Brookings Institution’s Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, said in an email. “The timing of the caliphate announcement with the capture of Mosul connects the credibility of the former to their ability to hold the latter in a pretty big way. The caliphate announcement was a clear signal they don’t intend to melt away into the hills.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/02/25/257826/islamic-state-experts-worry-us.html#storylink=cpy

The various experts quoted in the article may be correct.

They may be correct in full or in part.

They may also be completely wrong.

I have no idea.

But the attack on the Mosul Museum?

Is the big takeaway there really 'lost cultural heritage'?

For all the hand wringing the press has done, they seem to be missing a point.

That act seems more like a closer.

If you've got a bill of artists performing and Diana Ross is one of them, chances are Diana's closing the concert.  Because she's a closer.  She's a big deal.

The attack on the Mosul Museum could be a closer too.

Meaning the Islamic State, with the announcement from the White House about an impending attack on Mosul, may be resorting to a few last big acts as they prepare to disperse to other areas.

May be.

I have no idea.

I do know that the Islamic State tends to be elusive and while some might argue they need to hold Mosul to prove their strength, it's also true that they've held it for nearly a year and that they could move to another area of Iraq or just move to strengthen their hold in Anbar.

We noted a little while ago that the Islamic State succeeds via fear and that their actions seemed to be getting more and more desperate in order to garner attention and spread fear.

That could be all the attack on the museum was.

But it could also be part of an attempt to pull off some big moments before they begin dispersing in part or in full from Mosul.

It's amazing that so many outlets can 'cover' an event without ever offering possible reasons for the attack.

Or are we so fear-based that we convince ourselves the attack is just part of 'evil'?

The Islamic State has had a game plan from day one.

The White House mistakenly believes dropping bombs is going to take on the Islamic State.  Dropping bombs isn't even playing catch up.

Lying to the American people isn't a way to defeat the Islamic State either.  Thursday's snapshot addressed the fact that the White House clearly plans to utilize US troops in on the ground combat despite Barack Obama's June 'promise' otherwise.  That's why the AUMF if worded the way it is.

We also noted in Thursday's snapshot that it was past time people started giving serious attention to analyzing the AUMF.

Trevor Timm (Guardian) actually does give it serious attention today and notes:

In the Senate hearing this week, the discussion focused on the nebulous language in the White House’s proposed bill and whether the Obama administration actually wants a ground war or not. The President, for months, has been insisting US combat troops would not be fighting on the ground - aside from their comically narrow definition of “combat troops” - but their war resolution paints a different picture. The language says it would “not authorize the use of the United States armed forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.” (emphasis mine)
That means combat troops are on the table, the question is only for how long.

It's Trevor Timm so we're noting the above but before anyone e-mails, Timm's factually wrong.  (Is that redundant?)

Wednesday's snapshot and Thursday's snapshot cover the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that Barack's Special Presidential Envoy for The Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant testified at.  That's John Allen.

I was at that hearing and we reported on it.  I was at other hearings this week that we haven't had time for.  That includes veterans hearings and it includes Tuesday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.  Tuesday is when John Kerry testified.

Timm writes:

 Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to draw a line in the sand at the Senate hearing: “If you’re going in for weeks and weeks of combat, that’s enduring,” he said. “If you’re going in to assist somebody and fire control and you’re embedded in an overnight deal, or you’re in a rescue operation or whatever, that is not enduring.”
Oh really? At the very same hearing, retired General John Allen, special presidential envoy for the global anti-ISIS coalition, said this: “Enduring might be two weeks, it might be two years.”

Kerry was at the Tuesday hearing.  He was not at the Wednesday hearing.  Timm needs to correct his error.  He also needs to pay a little more attention.  The link he offers goes to USA Today where an article clearly notes Kerry testified on Tuesday.

If that's not proof enough, we quoted Senator Barbara Boxer already in our previous coverage -- including this comment she made to Allen:

 I know poor Senator -- Secretary [of State John] Kerry had to hear it over and over from our side yesterday.  But we're very uncomfortable with this language.  And when Senator Menendez was Chairman, he cobbled together a really good AUMF that united all of us on our side because he essentially said no combat troops with these exceptions -- and he put in the kind of exceptions that I think you would agree with -- special forces operations, search and rescue, protecting personnel.  And we would urge you, please, to go back and take a look at it. I just feel very strongly.

I knocked Timm last week for his trouble with the facts.  The policy there is usually you've had three strikes before I call you out.  Timm had his three.  His 'reporting' is problematic and that's because he refuses to nail down the facts.  Kerry did not testify on Wednesday to that Committee nor did he appear at the same hearing as Allen.  These are facts.

You either get them right or you don't.

And it's not just him, it's also the Guardian's editorial oversight -- or lack of it.

If Timm doesn't correct his error soon look for various 'reports' (columns) to repeat the error.

Jessica Schulberg (Huffington Post) reports, "Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that he may move to prevent President Barack Obama from deploying U.S. ground troops against the Islamic State by introducing a funding bill to limit how the money appropriated for the military campaign can be used."

That was at Thursday's House Armed Services Committee hearing.  I wasn't present at that hearing. I'm counting on  Jessica Schulberg to have nailed down her facts (she's never had a problem doing that in any piece of hers I've read).  People reading Timm's piece are counting on him to nail down his facts as well.

We've noted this week how Mosul may be symbolic -- taking it back from the Islamic State -- but that might be all it was.  Walter Smolarek (Liberation) addresses that possibility:

Such a victory would be a much-needed boost to the authority of the central government, led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. It would not, however, settle fundamental questions about the future of Iraq. Recent events have shown that the recapture of Mosul would be little more than a cosmetic sign of Iraqi national unity, which has been shredded by the criminal policies of U.S. imperialism.
Thousands of U.S. troops are deployed across Iraq, and even more may be sent to the country in the lead-up to the offensive. In order to placate both a skeptical domestic population as well as militias that are fighting IS but also fought the U.S. occupation following the 2003 invasion, the U.S. government has insisted that they will not engage in direct combat. Instead, the U.S. military presence, aside from the daily aerial bombardment, is claimed to be solely aimed at reconstructing and advising the Iraqi army.

With Congress considering a wide-ranging war authorization and the steady escalation of the U.S. military presence, the ability of the “advisors” to avoid combat, even if they wanted to, is highly questionable. 

Friday, Alsumaria reported 6 corpses were discovered dumped in Baghdad -- three of the six were brothers, all were shot dead.  They also noted a woman was hanged in Mosul after being accused of helping government security forces (Mosul is occupied by the Islamic State -- and has been since last June), a roadside bombing outside Baquba left 1 police officer dead and three civilians injured, and a Basra home invasion left 3 sisters and their father dead.  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) noted 8 people dead from Baghdad "bombings and mortar strikes."

This morning, Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports 2 Balad Ruz car bombings leaving 11 people dead and another fifty injured while a Samarra suicide car bomber took his own live and the lives of 8 other people with fifteen more left injured.

الجمعة، 20 فبراير، 2015

The lies and silences necessary to sell (further) war

The lies and silences necessary to sell (further) war

The Common Ills
At Foreign Policy, Ali Khedery contributes a major essay which includes:

But after countless visits to Arlington National Cemetery and Walter Reed Medical Center, nothing upsets me more than the fact that thousands of American soldiers, diplomats, intelligence officers, and contractors are now enabling and emboldening a government in Baghdad that is simply beyond redemption.
It took the fall of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, for Western elites to finally begin to understand what many of us saw firsthand in the years since 2003: 
The Iraqi government is hopelessly sectarian, corrupt, and generally unfit to govern what could be one of the world’s most prosperous nations. Washington’s response to the Islamic State’s (IS) advance, however, has been disgraceful: The United States is now acting as the air force, the armory, and the diplomatic cover for Iraqi militias that are committing some of the worst human rights abuses on the planet. These are “allies” that are actually beholden to our strategic foe, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and which often resort to the same vile tactics as the Islamic State itself.

The piece couldn't have been published at a more appropriate time considering Iraqi forces in Baghdad twice attacked the press this week.

From yesterday's snapshot:

Iraqis may recoil at the actions of the Islamic State but they're not pushed into the arms of their government -- no, not when their government is beating up journalists.
Wednesday saw a reporter and photographer for the Sumerian Channel severely beaten and a number of other journalists were harmed -- they were attacked by security forces in Baghdad who were insisting upon seeing their cell phones.  Al Arabiya News reports:


Several journalists were beaten on Wednesday during a press conference with senior government officials held at the Al-Nahrain Strategic Studies Center in Baghdad, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
Al Arabiya’s correspondent in Baghdad said the journalists were assaulted by the body guards of National Security Advisor Faleh Al Fayad when some of them demanded more time to film the event, which was also attended by Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban and Iraq's Military Spokesman Saad Maan.


Alsumaria notes that today another group of journalists were attacked when they openly protested yesterday's attack.  They were attacked by Iraqi forces.  Today's attack took place in Baghdad's Tahrir Square and left several reporters beaten including an Al-Fayhaa photographer.
It's such a public nightmare that even Iraq's laughable Ministry of Human Rights has had to issue a statement decrying the attack.  All Iraq News notes National Alliance MP Hamdiya al-Husseiny has denounced the attacks.  Alsumaria notes that Diyala Province Governor Amer Nostra is demanding that those responsible for the attacks be punished.  Meanwhile the Observatory for Journalistic Freedoms is stating that an apology will not suffice and will not be accepted, that the attack is an attack on basic rights and an apology will accomplish nothing.
All Iraq News reports Speaker of Parliament Saleem al-Jubouri has declared that legal actions will be taken against those who attacked the journalists. While journalists attached to the United Nations in Geneva are calling for an investigation into the "criminal" attacks.
So how many billion has the US taxpayer forked over for the training of Iraqi forces?
Back in January, Loveday Morris (Washington Post) reported on US training efforts and observed, "Years after the U.S. military tried to create a new army in Iraq -- at a cost of over $25 billion -- American trainers have returned to help rebuild the country’s fighting force."
Why?
So they can kill journalists more quickly?
Why are US tax dollars being used to provide training and weapons to forces who openly and publicly attack the press?


At a time when US forces are being deployed to Iraq and billions of US tax dollars are again flooding into Iraq, it is past time to question what has been accomplished and demand that Barack Obama clearly define goals and benchmarks for any further action he's requesting.

An honest discussion about that would require honesty about Iraq.  It's a conversation the press has avoided throughout Barack Obama's presidency.  For example, this very basic observation Khedery offers will shock some because the US press has avoided it:

In its eagerness to withdraw from Iraq, the Obama administration also undermined the country’s central democratic institutions. After preaching the virtues of democracy around the world, Obama chose to bypass the secular, Western-leaning winner of Iraq’s 2010 parliamentary elections, Ayad Allawi, in favor of the runner-up, Nouri al-Maliki. Ignoring Maliki’s sectarian and autocratic tendencies, the White House then repeatedly lobbied Congress to expedite sales of advanced American military equipment, including F-16 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and Hellfire missiles — even as the Iranian-allied strongman unleashed a reign of terror and purged his political enemies with less sophisticated American weapons systems.

From time to time, a few would step forward and tell the truth.  Michael Gordon, media star and NYT reporter, found out that cheerleading an Iraq War (as he did) did not get you pulled from media programs but telling the truth about Barack's 2010 actions did.  Even longtime chatter Charlie Rose didn't want to sit across the table from Gordo after Gordon and Bernard Trainor's Endgame was published.

As Ava and I explained in September 2012:

Gordon's appeared multiple times on The NewsHour.  Strangely, he wasn't booked for the segment on foreign policy last week.
Why would that be?
If you're wondering, he's not suddenly press shy.  To the contrary, he has a new book to sell, one he co-wrote with Bernard E. Trainor, The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. The book came out Tuesday.
Generally, that means you can expect to see and hear Gordon all over PBS and NPR. Strangely, that has not been the case.  No NPR coverage last week of the book.  No come on The NewsHour for a discussion.  Frontline loved to have him on in the past but now now.  Charlie Rose?  He has appeared 12 times in the last ten years on Rose's PBS and Coca Cola program.  But he was no where to be found last week.
Did Gordon show up at the PBS office party loaded on booze with little Gordon hanging out of his fly?
No, he did something far worse than that.
He dared to criticize Barack -- the ultimate media faux pas.  From  John Barry's "'The Engame' Is A Well Researched, Highly Critical Look at U.S. Policy in Iraq" (Daily Beast):


Washington has little political and no military influence over these developments. As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war,The Endgame, Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in 2010 to insist that the results of Iraq’s first proper election be honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government, it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."


And that, boys and girls, is how you get vanished by PBS and NPR.


Barack's useless summit has concluded and did so with little attention to Iraq's real problems.  The Islamic State is more of symptom than an actual problem.  If the White House had spent the last month addressing diplomacy, the Islamic State would have lost their footing in Iraq.

Instead, the White House continues to look the other way.

As Mohamad Bazzi (Reuters) points out:

If Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has any hope of repairing relations with Sunnis and persuading them to turn against militants of Islamic State, he must rein in the Shi’ite militias that are increasingly taking the lead in the fight against the Sunni jihadists — and in the process further alienating the Sunni community by committing new atrocities. 

But that's another truth that the White House doesn't want to acknowledge.

Selling war requires a lot of lies.  True in 2003, true today.

The following community sites updated:
  • Stalker
    4 hours ago

  • The AUMF
    5 hours ago 


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

    Iraq snapshot Thursday, February 19, 2015.

    Iraq snapshot Thursday, February 19, 2015.

    The Common Ills
    Thursday, February 19, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the Islamic State kills a journalist, Iraqi forces spend two days physically attacking journalists in Baghdad, how many US Marines are on the ground in Iraq because Iraqi media has a number and western media plays dumb, CENTCOM whispers about an upcoming assault on Mosul which may involve US troops, Barack's little lecture at this week's failed summit results in criticism from an Iraqi leader who had been seen as a friend of the US government, Nouri continues to reign on Arabic social media (as the most crooked and criminal person on the face of the planet), and much more.

    Starting with reporters . . .

    Iraqi journalist killed by Daesh: Qais Talal Agha show same respect we give to western journos 



    Qais was kidnapped last June and executed Wednesday in Mosul with his corpse handed over to his family afterwards.  The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory notes that 8 more journalists are said to be held by the Islamic State in Nineveh Province. Qais was 27 years old.

    That murder is outrageous.

    It's also all too common in Iraq.

    Iraqis may recoil at the actions of the Islamic State but they're not pushed into the arms of their government -- no, not when their government is beating up journalists.

    Wednesday saw a reporter and photographer for the Sumerian Channel severely beaten and a number of other journalists were harmed -- they were attacked by security forces in Baghdad who were insisting upon seeing their cell phones.  Al Arabiya News reports:

    Several journalists were beaten on Wednesday during a press conference with senior government officials held at the Al-Nahrain Strategic Studies Center in Baghdad, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
    Al Arabiya’s correspondent in Baghdad said the journalists were assaulted by the body guards of National Security Advisor Faleh Al Fayad when some of them demanded more time to film the event, which was also attended by Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban and Iraq's Military Spokesman Saad Maan.

    Alsumaria notes that today another group of journalists were attacked when they openly protested yesterday's attack.  They were attacked by Iraqi forces.  Today's attack took place in Baghdad's Tahrir Square and left several reporters beaten including an Al-Fayhaa photographer.

    It's such a public nightmare that even Iraq's laughable Ministry of Human Rights has had to issue a statement decrying the attack.  All Iraq News notes National Alliance MP Hamdiya al-Husseiny has denounced the attacks.  Alsumaria notes that Diyala Province Governor Amer Nostra is demanding that those responsible for the attacks be punished.  Meanwhile the Observatory for Journalistic Freedoms is stating that an apology will not suffice and will not be accepted, that the attack is an attack on basic rights and an apology will accomplish nothing.

    All Iraq News reports Speaker of Parliament Saleem al-Jubouri has declared that legal actions will be taken against those who attacked the journalists. While journalists attached to the United Nations in Geneva are calling for an investigation into the "criminal" attacks.

    So how many billion has the US taxpayer forked over for the training of Iraqi forces?

    Back in January, Loveday Morris (Washington Post) reported on US training efforts and observed, "Years after the U.S. military tried to create a new army in Iraq -- at a cost of over $25 billion -- American trainers have returned to help rebuild the country’s fighting force."

    Why?

    So they can kill journalists more quickly?

    Why are US tax dollars being used to provide training and weapons to forces who openly and publicly attack the press?

    And does the US press think that if they ignore it (a) they're helping US President Barack Obama and (b) being real journalists?

    On (a), probably.

    They whore constantly.

    On (b), let's remember that when a US reporter dies, the US press expects the entire world to stop and mourn.

    But the same press ignored all the deaths of Iraqi journalists.

    Their true outrage over the Islamic State, please remember, has nothing to do with what the Islamic State does in Iraq.  It has to do with one American reporter and one American-Israeli reporter being killed by the Islamic State.

    When that happened, they went crazy, they put on the hair shirts, they wailed, they wanted 'justice.'

    When it's the Iraqis that suffer, the US press really doesn't give a damn.

    You can tell by the fact that they don't even pretend to be interested in any of the daily (ongoing) violence in Iraq.

    A point this Tweet really dries home.




    While CNN talks Nutella and Kittens, they ignore the 50 Muslims slaughtered in the streets of Iraq today by the Shia. 

                               Retweeted 5,517 times


    While CNN talks Nutella and Kittens, they ignore the 50 Muslims slaughtered in the streets of Iraq today by the Shia.



    In other violence, Alsumaria reports a roadside bombing southwest of Baghdad left 2 parents and their daughter dead,  All Iraq News states over "150 civilians" were executed in Anbar today by the Islamic State.  Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 196 violent deaths today throughout Iraq.

    Still no political solutions in sight to stem the violence.

    But Barack's always up for tossing the US military at any problem -- apparently mistaking trained forces for a giant paper towel from a roll of Bounty.

    Alsumaria reports US Marines -- about 3,000 -- are now on the ground in Iraq to participate in the upcoming effort to seize control of Mosul (which the Islamic State has controlled since June).  3,000 is not being reported in the US.

    Zero is being reported in the US.

    In fact, when even the possibility is floated,   MSM outlets tends to avert their gaze and turn their heads.  Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) notes, "US officials are now saying that the offensive against the ISIS-held city of Mosul will be supported by the US, with both airstrikes and “if necessary” US ground troops backing the Iraqi military."

    Ditz links to the only MSM outlet noting US troops possibly being involved in an assault to take back Mosul, NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski who opens with:

    Iraqi military forces backed by U.S. airstrikes and possibly American ground troops could launch an assault to wrest control of the city of Mosul from ISIS as early as April, a senior U.S. official told NBC News on Thursday.      

    Paul McLeary (Defense News) also cites an unnamed CENTCOM official as his source for these numbers, "Approximately 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi and Peshmerga troops will move on the city to retake it from an estimated 2,000 IS fighters -- an attacking force that will include five Iraqi Army brigades, three peshmerga brigades, and former Mosul police forces, tribal fighters, and Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service troops."

    If you're thinking this is a source Paul has cultivated and worked . . .

    You're wrong.

    This was not a private conversation.

    It was a background briefing.

    Here's how that works, the Pentagon is the john insisting on his fantasies being played out and the press are the whores working to make the fantasy come true.

    At least Nancy A. Youssef (Daily Beast) provides some context when repeating the words the Pentagon wants the news to carry:

    That the Pentagon would announce the makeup, time frame, and goal of a military campaign is unusual, particularly against a group considered to be one of the world’s most lethal. Indeed, ISIS stormed Mosul (and took control of it on June 10) in large part because the Iraqi forces stationed there ran away from their posts. ISIS’s swift sweep through Mosul sparked the U.S.-led military campaign.
    [. . .]
    The CENTCOM official said he was announcing the details of the upcoming operation to demonstrate “the level of commitment… to this upcoming operation.”

    Press Association notes that the effort will begin in March . . .

    or . . .


    . . .  April.

    The Pentagon's not sure which.

    Doesn't exactly build confidence, does it?



    "we are not at war with Islam" says Obama. But he is at war in 5 Islamic countries (Afg, Iraq & drones in Yemen,Pak & Somalia)
    74 retweets 56 favorites 


    Good point.  We noted the remark and the perception in yesterday's snapshot and also pointed out:

    Today, he decided to speak on behalf of Muslims.
    And he's not a Muslim.
    How do you think that plays in the Middle East?
    The man who's bombing Iraq, the man whose drones are killing civilians in Yemen and Pakistan and elsewhere, this man declared today -- this non-Muslim -- what is and isn't Islam, what is and isn't the proper practice.
    How do you think that plays out?
    There's a good chance that Barack put his big foot in his big mouth yet again and only did more damage.


    How do you think it plays out, Barack lecturing the Muslim world?

    If you're still pondering that, All Iraq News reports:

    The head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, Ammar al-Hakim, denounced the "double standards of the US towards fighting terrorism, considering these double standards as "helpful factor for encouraging terrorism."
    In his speech at the weekly cultural Forum he holds in his office in Baghdad, al-Hakim said "We heard reports over killing a Muslim family in the US for racist reasons but we did not hear any denouncement for this crime," noting that "Even the US President took many days to issue a denouncement for this crime which is considered a clear evidence for double standards." 

    That's not Moqtada al-Sadr, cleric and movement leader, speaking.  Moqtada?  The press loves to call him "radical cleric" because he opposes US forces on Iraqi soil and always has and because he's repeatedly called out the US government.

    No, that's Ammar.  Ammar who, like his late father, has always been a friend to the US government.

    Ammar who many administration officials were saying should be named Iraq's new prime minister (instead it was Haider al-Abadi).

    Ammar felt the need to call out Barack.

    The xenophobia of the White House is matched only by its hubris.

    Again, there are times when, if you're smart, you learn to shut your mouth.

    I know Bill Clinton, I like Bill Clinton.  So you can dismiss this observation if you need to.  But when Bill Clinton hosted events -- like Barack's summit this week -- he was more than happy to let others shine.  He was more than happy to let others speak. 

    By contrast, Barack's got to be the center of attention, the one who knows everything and can't stop talking.  It's a 'summit' in name only.  The entire purpose for everyone to assemble and listen to Barack drone on.

    The world did not need non-Muslim Barack explaining what was and wasn't Islam.  In a world in which Muslims are repeatedly persecuted, the last thing needed was a non-Muslim standing up and trying to be the voice -- the single voice -- of a group he's not even a part of.  Pompous doesn't begin to describe it.  And it was and it is offensive.

    Mr. Know It All
    Well ya think you know it all
    But ya don't know a thing at all
    Ain't it, ain't it something y'all
    When somebody tells you something 'bout you
    Think that they know you more than you do
    So you take it down another pill to swallow

    -- "Mr. Know It All," written by Brian Seals, Ester Dean, Brett James, Dante Jones, first recorded by  Kelly Clarkson for her album Stronger

    Barack chose to grand stand and lecture yesterday.  Today, Ammar al-Hakim had words for Barack.  You can be sure others in the Middle East felt even more strongly than Ammar.

    The government of Iraq has wrongly claimed the right to Jewish artifacts. The Jews were persecuted in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion.  Following the start of the Iraq War, the Jewish community was targeted even more and has dwindled to approximately 5 people.  Yet the Iraqi government believes that the Jewish property that they stole or that they forced Jews to leave behind somehow belongs to them.

    There's the exhibit that we've gone over repeatedly.  But there's also an artifact that has made it to Israel -- a 200-year-old Torah scroll -- and no one seems to know how.

    Some thought the US government might have had it and kept it out of the official archive (that they restored and digitized and plan to hand over to the Iraqi government).

    In response to this suspicion, last month the US Embassy in Baghdad issued the following:

    Regarding the Status of the Iraqi Jewish Archive

    January 28, 2015
    The Iraqi Jewish Archive remains in the custody of the U.S. National Archives and Record Administration while plans are finalized on future exhibitions in the United States.  None of the materials in the Iraqi Jewish Archive have traveled outside of the United States.  The United States continues to abide by the terms of its agreement with the Government of Iraq.

    The exhibit of the material in Washington in 2013 and New York in 2014 has led to increased understanding between Iraq and the United States, and a greater recognition of the diverse heritage of Iraq.  We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the Government of Iraq on this matter so that the exhibit can be displayed in other cities in the United States.

    Again, no one knows how the scroll left Iraq and ended up in Israel.  Last month, Justin Moyer (Washington Post) offered:

    How the scroll left Iraq isn’t clear. Jews emigrating to Israel from Iraq were once forbidden from taking cultural objects. But the scroll may have been smuggled out of the country after the United States’s invasion in 2003. The scroll had ended up at Israel’s embassy in Jordan, where Jewish artifacts were often brought after the beginning of the Iraq War. It may even have been salvaged by U.S. soldiers.

    But after a mob attacked Israel’s embassy in Cairo in 2011, Jordan didn’t seem like such a safe place for a Torah after all.

    We bring up the issue today because former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki is more than just one of Iraq's three vice presidents.  He's also the subject of intense debate and speculation in Arabic social media where his criminality is always being discussed.

    This week's big Nouri speculation?  That Nouri actually arranged for the scroll to work its way to Israel in a long process that would hide his involvement in the scroll's journey and that he did this for the cash with the Israeli government paying him several million dollars.

    Is it true?

    Who knows?

    I'd guess not.

    But Nouri told so many lies when he was prime minister (and attacked and killed so many people) and destroyed Iraq that it's only fitting that whenever anything controversial arises, he is always the first person suspected of wrong doing.

    UN Report Reveals How Israel is Coordinating with ISIS Militants Inside Syria

    UN Report Reveals How Israel is Coordinating with ISIS Militants Inside Syria

    Friday 20 February 2015 davidicke.com
    ’21WIRE reported back in December 2014 and again in January 2015, how the State of Israel has consistently provided both material, medical relief and IDF airstrike support to various terrorist and ‘rebel’ insurgents fighting in Syria.
    Last month Israel launched its sixth airstrike inside Syria in the last 18 months, which is described as a ‘targeted killing’ against Hezbollah, whom Tel Aviv maintains is backed by their sworn enemy Iran – which leader Benjamin Netanyahu claims, affords Israel the right to kill them at any time, or any place. Back in 2013, the Assad government in Damascus invited Lebanese Hezbollah militia into Syria to help eliminate terrorists in Syria, and now the uncomfortable reality is finally surfacing – that Israel has been picking off Syrian military and Hezbollah targets who are trying to fight-off ISIS, al Qaeda and al Nusra terrorists – which means that Israel is actually helping ISIS.
    “the UN report identified what the Syrians label a crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS, a point of concern brought before the UN Security Council.’