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الثلاثاء، 30 يونيو، 2015

The Islamic State a year later

The Islamic State a year later

The Common Ills
The Inquisitr notes:
The Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS, has turned one-year-old. It was only in June of 2014 the extremist group decided they wanted to solely be referred to as the “Islamic State,” reported Al-Jazeera. The Muslim terrorists further got their point across by removing mention of them as anything but the “Islamic State” on their various official documents.
And retired Marine General James Mattis told TIME he’s concerned about the Islamic State’s longevity.
“They’ve been able to hold ground for a year. The longer they hold territory it become this radioactive thing, just spewing out this stuff as fighters go there and then come home again.”
Cassandra Vinograd and Ammar Cheikh Omar (NBC News) continue:

 Despite a massive international campaign to defeat the the brutal militants, ISIS has not only managed to hold onto the territory but has expanded its reach beyond those borders over the last 12 months. 
"It's been a great year for ISIS," according to Matthew Henman, head of IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center. "This would be close to a best-case scenario for them." 

Majeed Al-Hamadani, a 43-year-old high-school teacher in Baghdad, agreed. "Nothing was changed during the past year," he told NBC News. "ISIS lost some territories but they were able to take over other areas. The Iraqi soldiers do not have the will to fight." 

It's now over a year since US President Barack Obama held a press conference to rebuke the Islamic State and to insist that Iraq needed a political solution to solve the crises (plural) in the country.

And instead of aiding work towards a political solution, the US government has done what?

Let's allow government employee -- he works for you -- Brett McGurk to explain:


  1. 30 new airstrikes last 24 hrs; 9 near  destroyed multiple  units responsible for attacks against civilians. Details 


  • 21 new coalition airstrikes, w/multiple strikes in northern  near ,  

  • That's pretty much his Tweet every day.

    And we'll be kind to the person who yesterday lumped Brett in with the global coalition and forgot that Brett was first and foremost an employee of the State Dept.

    Brett's always been confusing to many.

    The Cult of St. Barack, for example, hates the 'surge' but is too ignorant to grasp Brett's role in it.  Well cults are usually filled with less than bright people to begin with, that's how they end up so easily manipulated to begin with.

    But here's Brett's State Dept bio:

    Ambassador Brett McGurk serves as Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. His previous assignment was Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs with a focus on Iraq and other regional initiatives. In the Obama administration McGurk has served as a special advisor to the National Security Staff and as Senior Advisor to Ambassadors Ryan Crocker, Christopher Hill, and James Jeffrey in Baghdad. In these capacities McGurk participated in President Obama’s 2009 review of Iraq policy and helped manage the transition from military to civilian lead following the U.S. military drawdown. During the Bush administration McGurk served as Director for Iraq and then as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan.
    In 2008 McGurk served as a lead negotiator and coordinator during bilateral talks with the Iraqi Government on both a long-term Strategic Framework Agreement and a Security Agreement to govern the temporary presence of U.S. forces and the normalization of bilateral relations between Iraq and the United States. For these assignments he received the State Department's Distinguished Honor and Superior Honor Awards. He was also one of the chief architects with President Bush of the strategy known as “the Surge,” which contributed to a reduction of violence in Iraq and set the conditions for the responsible withdrawal of U.S. forces. McGurk had earlier served as a legal advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority and then the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad under Ambassador John Negroponte.
    McGurk is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law, where served as Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review. After law school, he served as a law clerk to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the Supreme Court of the United States, Judge Denis Jacobs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2d Circuit, and Judge Gerard E. Lynch, on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He holds a B.A. in political science with honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Connecticut. Follow McGurk at @brett_mcgurk on Twitter.

    Outside of his sex scandals, that's a pretty good portrait of Brett.

    And he and his department have confused themselves with the Defense Dept so it is troubling when you read a site, like yesterday, mentioning him and forgetting to note that he is an employee of the State Dept.

    (He is also a failed nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq.)

    In Brett McGurk's Tweets, you can find all that is wrong with the US policy which continues to be bomb and bomb some more while refusing to help Iraq come to a political solution.

    Adam Jacques (Independent) speaks with Emma Sky, the author of The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq.  Here's Sky:

    Isis can only be defeated by the Sunnis And they are only going to turn against Isis when they see that it can't win, that there are better alternatives, and that they are getting support from the Iraqi government and the US, who, along with Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, need to hammer out a plan to deal with Isis and cajole the Iraqi elites into accepting agreement. But even after 10 years we don't look at how to set a national strategy that delivers a political outcome: I don't think we've learnt anything from the past decade in Iraq.

    Yet they've done everything in the last 12 months but work with the Sunnis -- "they" being the US government but it's really true of Haider al-Abadia's Iraqi government.

    And along comes RAND -- one of the most damaging institutions in the country -- and they want you to know that the Sunnis should not be armed -- at least not yet.

    A trove of documents, they insist, from 2010 tell a story.

    Internal ISIS documents may tell many stories but only the truly stupid believe self-documentation sent to leaders.

    For example, FBI files are notorious for being wrong -- not just typos but outright wrong.

    And that's when they're trying to make a case against someone.

    When you're justifying your existence to the lead of a terrorist organization, you have even more reason to inflate 'success.'

    A little skepticism should always greet self-reporting but this is especially true when the self-reports go to a leader who may respond by ordering your death if they're not happy with your progress.

    The best RAND can apparently offer is this:

     Fast forward to today: Several figures described in the document remain key players in Iraq's Sunni political landscape. Atheel al-Nujaifi, governor in absentia of Nineveh and the brother of Iraqi Vice President Usama al-Nujaifi, continues to try to build a 3,000-man local security force to fight the Islamic State after he was sacked in May, when a majority of Iraqi MPs voted to fire him for corruption and complicity in the fall of Mosul to the Islamic State. Even if such a security force ostensibly fell under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's National Guard, Nujaifi has indicated that he would continue to “work as a politician in the governorate and will be a fighter in the liberation process.” 
    In September of last year, Nujaifi paid (PDF) $300,000 of his own money to a Washington consulting firm to help rally support among influential foreign-policy elites and policymakers in the United States for his plan to arm a state militia for Nineveh. This May, Nujaifi and Issawi met with key players in Washington's foreign-policy circles and gave a talk at the Brookings Institution. In the talk, Issawi emphasized the dire security situation and pleaded for help, arguing that the Shiite militias are nearly an equal threat to the stability of Iraq as the Islamic State is. Issawi also noted that he and Nujaifi were two of the few Sunnis to participate in politics since the beginning of the new Iraqi state, as others boycotted politics for years. The sidelining of such key Sunni politicians diminishes the chances that successful political reconciliation between Iraq's Sunni and Shiite groups will occur. 

    Atheel al-Nujaifi hiring a consulting firm may be news but it really doesn't go to supporting any alleged connection he has to IS.

    Also, point of fact, a majority of Iraqi MPs did not vote to fire him.

    The Constitution was not followed -- this is known across the Arab press even if RAND is stupid or too quick to lie.  The majority was in the number present.  But the number present was not sufficient to fire him or to hold the vote.  Oops, RAND caught lying again.

    And Third?

    As Stevie Nicks sings in "I Can't Wait" (written by Stevie, RIck Nowels and Eric Pressly, first appears on her Rock A Little album):

    Blame it on something at first sight
    Put the blame on me if you want to

    And it is me.

    I am sick.  As usual, when I finally get time to be home, I immediately get sick.  So that was my weekend.  And at 10:30 PST, when Third wasn't done, I said I was going to sleep and did. Third will go up tonight.

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

    Hejira

    Hejira

    The Common Ills
    I'm in a mood and then some, consider yourself warned.
    Valerie Plame Tweets:



  • Wonder what the final exam will be. Former Bush officials teaching course on Iraq War 'decision-making' 

  • I don't get it.  What's the point?

    You got a grudge you can't let loose of?

    Valerie Plame, for those who don't know, was an undercover CIA agent who was outed to the press.

    That was only a crime because it was the administration doing the outing.

    Poppa Bush argued for that law back when Bully Boy Bush was still passing out drunk in gutters.

    So Valerie was outed.

    Not the great crime of the century.

    And apparently no great loss.

    The world did carry on.

    As for Valerie, she got a book out of it, got a movie out of it, became famous on it.

    But the reality is she really didn't do a damn thing for Iraq.

    That remains the reality.

    Her husband, diplomat Joe Wilson, wrote a column for the New York Times that made a difference.

    But Valerie didn't do a damn thing for Iraq.

    And hasn't in all the time since.


  • both ISIS & shia militias are terroist both killing innocent civilians the world must save sunnis civilians in Iraq 

  • I'm failing to understand how Valerie distracting from real issues in Iraq with her idiotic Tweets accomplishes anything?

    Maybe she's still working for the CIA and her Tweets are some sort of domestic propaganda and subterfuge intended to distract the American people?
    That's about the only way they make any sense.


  • Help me out on when Valerie Plame has ever Tweeted to call out the bombing of civilian homes in Falluja -- bombings carried out by the Iraqi military?

    Because these bombing have killed and wounded thousands of Sunni civilians and they have been going on since January of 2014.

    So when's Valerie going to Tweet on it?

    Or how about this?
  • Exactly what issues are you raising awareness on?

    The answer is: None.

    You don't care about Iraq and you don't care about the Iraqi people.

    Since being outed, you've had years to try to make some difference but instead you've made it all about yourself -- day after damn day.

    Here's a little hard truth for you, Val: The world does not revolve around you.

    And you're 'suffering' is nothing compared to an Iraqi 14-year-old supporting their sibling because they lost their parents to violence.

    Not only was your outing not the crime of the century, but, truth be told, your actions in the CIA did not qualify you for sainthood.

    What you did, while undercover, actually qualified as crimes in the countries you were active in.

    You know that, most American people know that, so cut the pretense and 'moral outrage.'

    You were not just a tool of empire, you were an advocate for empire.

    You're 'opposition' to Bully Boy Bush's Iraq was not an opposition to empire but an opposition to the plan to carry it out.

    Which is why, all these years later, you still have nothing to say about the Iraqi people.

    They, not you, were the true victims of the Iraq War.

    Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 127 violent deaths across Iraq on Saturday.

    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] 4496.

    The following community sites updated:

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

    الأحد، 28 يونيو، 2015

    The Many Miseries of Yemeni Families

    The Many Miseries of Yemeni Families







    People searched for survivors in the rubble of houses destroyed by an airstrike in Sana, Yemen, on June 12.CreditMohamed Al-Sayaghi/Reuters

    As the civil war in Yemen continues, many families say they are living in constant fear. Parents say that their older children have been wetting their beds at night, and that younger ones are so traumatized that they are sent running for cover by the sound of a door slamming.
    The fighting between Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed government forces has displaced a million people, destroyed cultural heritage sites and terrorized the population. The situation has worsened since a Saudi-led bombing campaign began in March, and a de facto blockade has caused shortages of food and fuel for many of the nation’s 26 million people.
    The New York Times asked Yemenis and their relatives abroad how their families have been affected by the worsening conflict. Close to 350 people submitted responses in English and Arabic. Most said they needed food, fuel, electricity — and an end to the fighting. Many wrote that it has been civilians who have suffered.
    “The airstrikes target civilian places, and so there is nowhere safe now,” wrote Hani Yahya who lives in Sana, the capital, with his extended family. “We basically might die any day, and if we don’t, we will just suffer.”

    Photo

    A Yemeni girl with a notebook found in the ruins of a house apparently destroyed by an airstrike of the Saudi-led coalition in Sana last month. CreditYahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency

    They described destruction to cities they love and their own homes, airstrikes shattering their windows and blowing out doors. Some have tried to make repairs. Others said the damage to their houses and the continuous fear of bombings had forced them to leave.
    Uprooted, Yemenis wrote that they had moved in with extended family members or friends. One man described how all the young cousins hide in the basement of their house. And even the safer areas, they wrote, still face shortages.
    Families have also been divided, with some members fleeing the country. Others have tried to flee, but have been stopped. A young woman said she and her husband had taken their baby boy and made two trips to the border. Once they were turned away by the Saudis, and once by the Houthis.
    Yemenis said they felt ignored, and they pleaded for those outside of the country to pay attention.
    The following is a selection of the responses, expanded in additional interviews, and edited and condensed for clarity.
    Helmi al-Hamadi, 39, originally from Taiz in southern Yemen, has been living in Sana since 1997. He has three children, and his wife is seven months pregnant.
    My 6-year-old daughter is the most affected person in the family. She can’t sleep, always alert to any sounds; even the sound of a door closing terrifies her. If a door slams, she thinks it’s an attack on us or an airstrike. She is losing weight. If anyone wants to go outside, if I have to go get groceries, she says: “I don’t want to lose you, father. I don’t want you to die.”
    They have been out of school since March 26. When the airstrikes started, everything kind of stopped here. None of the residents of Sana can go to school.
    My pregnant wife is in a bad condition, especially, because she is diabetic and at risk that we could run out of insulin at anytime. She can’t receive proper medical care.
    My children wish that they could go back to school; my pregnant wife dreams of a peaceful night to sleep without one of our children screaming in their sleep every time there is an airstrike. I pray every day that when I go to the markets I can still find food for my family; this is decreasing on a daily basis.
    Arwa Naaman Saiid, 23, is a teacher and information technology student. Her family fled a rented house in Sana and moved to Taiz and then to the village of Moaser.
    The children in our family are terrified even by the sound of thunder, thinking it is from airplanes coming to bomb them. Their fear and continued crying forced us to leave our house. We paid $50 per person to leave Sana. I sold my jewelry just to escape.
    We have been affected materially, morally and psychologically because of airstrikes and earthshaking explosions that prevent us from sleeping.
    We are six members in the same house, including my sick mother who broke her back more than two months ago. We couldn’t afford paying her treatment expenses. Now she’s home and can’t move. We have no food, no potable water, no electricity. We are denied the most basic rights.
    We need to put an end to this flagrant aggression. We need the blockade to be lifted. Leave us alone! We are not associated with any political party. We are just Yemeni citizens. We need to be able to sleep, to eat and to drink what God bestowed upon us, without blockade and without killings.
    Maali Jamil, 25, moved to Michigan as a young child before returning to Yemen as a teenager. She and her husband, who were both working as English teachers in Sana before the airstrikes began in March, have a 2-month-old son, Yusuf.
    My husband and I let our apartment go because all the windows shattered in the Faj Attan bombing. And since we are now both unemployed, rent was too high, so we’re living with family. My 9-year-old cousin vomits when the explosions are too loud.
    With the problems and everything, nobody is working. Everybody is at home. Who is going to pay for classes? It’s not important right now. People need to eat.
    My father has heart disease and is very ill. Every few days, he needs to run some blood work so the doctor can adjust his dose. When there is no fuel, he cannot go. If there is fuel, but no power, the labs don’t operate. When he doesn’t get the blood work done, the doctor can’t adjust the dose, so my mom is usually at a loss and ends up guessing what he needs.
    We tried to leave and were stranded at the Yemeni-Saudi border near Haradh twice, once for five days and once for two days.
    The Yemeni people are barely breathing. My family and I are doing really well compared with most Yemenis.
    My mom is from Aden, and the horror stories we hear are heartbreaking. One of my mother’s cousins says all they have to eat is cookies. Her children keep asking her when are they are going to have real food, and she just broke down and cried.
    Hussam Alshami, 37, lives in Sana with his wife, their daughter and his extended family.
    My 2-year-old daughter is oversensitive to any sound now, running to hug anyone in front of her when hearing even a door knock. Some other children in my family now urinate while sleeping.
    Despite almost every glass in our house having broken, we stay and will stay. We have no other choice. We’ve been raised in Sana. We don’t know another place to live. And moving would cost money that’s not available at this time. But more than money, we love Sana very, very much!
    We have only one hour of electricity every three to five days. On the other hand, airstrikes are horrible, indiscriminate. More painful is that the world keeps silent.
    Feel our pain, because Saudi Arabia cannot do this to us unless you, the United States, allow it. The blockade must be lifted. Airstrikes must be stopped.
    Tarad Abdul Aziz Ahmad al-Samawy lives in Sana in a house with 29 other people, including 15 children ages 2 to 10.
    Our children are overwhelmed with fear when they hear airplanes. They cry continuously when they hear the sounds of antiaircraft guns. Sometimes we convince them that there is a wedding outside.
    The war is choking us financially at the individual level and for all Yemenis. Our neighbors can’t find food. We offer them some from time to time. All of Yemen is living under siege.
    Lift the Saudi sea blockade of Yemen because trade is the source of income for many Yemenis.

    Photo

    The empty shelves of a supermarket in the port city of Aden on June 10.CreditSaleh Al-Obeidi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Rawan S. al-Aghbari, 22, was born in Yemen and raised in London. An explosion in Sana in mid-April badly injured her brother and destroyed their home. She returned to Yemen last month to help him get out of the country for treatment.
    During the explosion he was inside the house trying to repair a window. The explosion ripped off the top half of the house, and parts of the window cut through his neck. There were shards everywhere; he was bleeding extensively. He basically flew from one side of the room to the other, and he had a concussion. He couldn’t form proper sentences. He wasn’t in good health, so we wanted to get him out.
    At the time there was no electricity and barely any generators running for the hospitals. Generators need fuel, and there was practically none at that time. There were fuel lines that would extend for kilometers.
    Yemen is suffering from a myriad of problems. At the front line are ordinary civilians, who are paying the price for this unforgiving war.
    Hani Yahya lives in Sana with his extended family. He was working for an international democracy-building organization, but the fighting forced it to shut down. He is now unemployed.
    We live in fear all the time. There is no electricity. No fuel. Food is becoming scarce, and prices are increasing.
    I managed to get my wife and two children out to Egypt after the Faj Attan attack. But my nephews and nieces are still here, and all of them are affected.
    They keep asking: “When will this end? Why do they want to kill us?” They are wetting their beds at night; they are depressed all the time and want to leave the country.
    I speak to my daughter every day in Egypt. She wants to go back home. When she is in Egypt, she keeps asking, “When will this end?” They just don’t understanding why this is happening. We just tell them: “We pray it will end soon. We pray to God that it will be over.”
    Mahdy Abdul Hakeem Mahdy Saleh al-Mutairy is from the western coastal city of Al Hudaydah.
    We are terrified and suffered the tragic loss of life of members of our family. My cousin was 23 years old when he died; he was a student. He was walking in the street when jets bombed the area. Dozens of bodies were found on that day.
    We don’t have electricity because of the siege, but the hospital is still functioning and receiving patients, especially those suffering from dialysis, from other provinces. But I’m concerned that the only hospital here might close soon if this siege and blackout continue.
    What we need is for the bombing to stop and the blockade to be lifted so that shipments of food, medicine and petrol products could be brought into the country.
    Fuad Shaif Ali al-Kadas runs a tour company in Sana. He lost thousands of dollars in plane tickets after a tourist group canceled an April trip. After the area near his home was bombed, he moved in with his extended family in another area of Sana.
    Even if the war ends soon, and if tourists come back, I don’t know if we can refund this large sum. So my business is defunct. One brother works in the airport — he’s lost his job. Another brother works in an area constantly bombed by the Saudis — Faj Attan — and he now has lost his job. So while my family is alive and well, thank God, we, like most people, are struggling and out of work.
    Imagine if this continues and we’ll have an entirely uneducated generation. Plus when the planes fly overhead, or children hear the airstrikes, they cry, and they can’t sleep at night. Now, if a father wants his kids to do something, he says, “Go or I’ll call the planes,” and they move right away.

    Photo

    An airstrike near Sana, the capital, in April. CreditKhaled Abdullah/Reuters

    Assaad Lutf Albarty and his family, who live in Sana, have been affected by the shortages of food, fuel and medicine. His father has not been able to secure his blood pressure medication or get the treatment he needs. He is hoping to travel to Jordan for heart surgery.
    Many times we live without electricity for days or weeks. There is a lack of gasoline, which is used for transportation, and diesel, which is used to transport goods and operate factories. We have returned to the Stone Ages by using firewood and charcoal to cook at home. I’m not exaggerating — we’re doing this on a daily basis.
    We can’t get water without electricity or diesel, and we can’t get the basic things such as flour and wheat, because of the inability to distribute them to consumers and our inability to go to distribution centers. Also because of the blockade, no merchants can import any new food, fuel or medicines.
    Bakil Muttee Ghundol had been taking a course in teaching English in Aden, but he moved to Ibb, where his family lives, shortly before the airstrikes began.
    Hundreds of displaced families from different cities come to Ibb because it’s considered a safe place as there are no airstrikes as there are in Aden, Sana or Taiz. But all the people here in Ibb are suffering as there is a huge lack of fuel, water and food. In addition, the electricity has been cut off for months. Only rich people have generators. Sometimes we go to their homes to charge our phones, our laptops.
    My family is all safe, but some neighbors were killed in an airstrike. One was a close friend of my brother.
    Hanan Ahmed al-Mansor, 23, attends Jinan University in China. Her immediate family is still in Sana, but her extended family managed to escape to Egypt.
    Far from everything, I am still affected as badly as my family. I’ve had sleepless nights, nightmares, continuous anxiety and multiple visits to the doctor. My academic level has dropped, and every day, I am either crying or senseless.
    My mother is my superhero. She has worked her way through a couple of failed businesses, but she finally was able to stand on her own two feet in her mid-50s and created a successful restaurant in Yemen. This restaurant was recently completely damaged after an airstrike hit a building in front of it. Our dream and our only way to eat and live with dignity was shattered. All I can think of now is, how am I going to finish university?
    The children in my family sleep covering their ears. They only speak of how much they fear death, and one of them told his mom: “I want to die before you. I don’t want to see you die.” And, “In heaven, can I ask for a TV to watch you because I’m going to miss you?”
    My cousin told me this about her kids. She was writing and crying at the same time. It’s very hard for me to keep in touch with my family since they usually only open the generator for emergencies, like to pump the water to the pipes. However, I buy calling cards to call them in emergencies, and if they have battery left, they respond.
    I need to sleep knowing that I’ll wake up and my family is safe. I need Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen alone.