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الخميس، 31 مارس 2016

Iraq, Parliament, Susan Sarandon

Iraq, Parliament, Susan Sarandon

The Common Ills

  • Armed men in civilian clothes inside the Iraqi Parliament ahead of PM Abadi announcement of a reshuffle today. 

  • I guess that's especially needed if it's 2016 and you're a 'prime minister' whose term expired in 2014.  I guess if you're just an unelected figurehead, you really need men with guns -- even in the Parliament -- so that you can continue the fraud.

    Why haven't we been all over this story of how Haider al-Abadi's going to propose a new Cabinet today?

    Well maybe he will, maybe he won't.

    A few have noted that if he doesn't or doesn't do it in a manner that pleases others, there will be a vote of no confidence.

    A vote of no confidence is what should happen.

    But the last time Iraq was close to this (closer, actually), the US government (Barack) pressured then-president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, to stop the no confidence vote.

    Which he did.

    He wasn't supposed to.

    The Constitution didn't give him that power.

    But he did it.

    (And then, claiming urgent health problems, fled to Germany.  He had elective knee surgery in Germany.  Months later, karma would get him for what he did -- including lying.  He'd suffer a stroke in Baghdad and spend over a year in a German hospital.)

    So it's not like anyone knows what's going to happen next.

    And it's not as if there's been any reporting on this possible move that's pointed out what happened earlier.

    It's been a lot of loud, exclamation points.

    Headlines passed off as in depth reporting.

    Not interested in highlighting it.

    Not interested in playing that game.

    Sinan Salaheddin (AP) notes today, "Sunni politicians are demanding a complete cabinet reshuffle, Shiite lawmakers are divided in their stance on the new government and Kurdish politicians have insisted that 20 percent of ministers in the new cabinet must be Kurdish. It is not clear if al-Abadi will propose a complete or partial reshuffle."

    MIDDLE EAST MONITOR adds, "The Sadrist parliamentary bloc, called Al-Ahrar, announced on Tuesday that it will not participate in the next government formation, calling on Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to submit the names of his new cabinet members on Thursday."

    A few e-mails are asking about activist and Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon's recent comments regarding if a vote came down between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

    Susan Sarandon's been called out and she's been praised here.

    And I want to stress that she's one of the few people who will reconsider a position.

    A lot of people get set in stone.

    She will reconsider a position.

    I also want to stress that when she does make a mistake politically, it's with good intentions.

    But in terms of what she said, for a real future, it might be better to vote for Trump than Hillary (my translation)?  (She did not say that she would vote for Trump.  She won't.  I know Susan and we are both in agreement that we'd never vote for Trump.  That belief pre-dates his current run.  He's vile.  Susan would vote Green Party if it came down to Hillary and Trump.  Or if Bernie didn't get the nomination, she'd vote Green Party.)

    She's not off the reservation in her remarks or critique.

    Her remarks are strongly rooted in the tradition of I.F. Stone -- which I'm sure Susan is aware of.

    I found nothing controversial about them.

    And outside of some loud blow hards who are also fakes like George Clooney (tell the truth, George, you're nearly 60 and it's now embarrassing, tell the truth), no one's really going to slam her for those remarks.

    Again, they have a radical tradition that goes back to I.F. Stone.

    "Yes, Susan Sarandon is guilty of blind privilege: Why her comments about Trump & “the revolution” are so wrong" -- oh, look, it's SALON -- what closet are they hiding in?

    They attack Susan because they're posers.  That's why their 'critic' attacked Michael Ware's documentary on Iraq.

    When it gets too real, SALON will always panic.

    I was going to copy and paste the latest updates.  But not everyone's showing up on the sides so I will note them in the snapshot (I'm in too much of a rush to go web page to web page to grab the links, sorry).

    The e-mail address for this site is

    Iraq snapshot Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

    Iraq snapshot Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

    The Common Ills
    Wednesday, March 30, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, a US general embraces the killer of US troops, Iraq still has no legitimate government, the White House finally releases a plan or 'plan' for addressing the Islamic State, and much more.

    On the 13th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, another US service member died in Iraq.  As the month of March draws to a close, Timothy Whiteman (WILMINGTON CONSERVATIVE EXAMINER) reports:

    The earthly remains of Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, USMC, have been returned home to California. As reported by KABC-TV of Los Angeles on Mar. 28, 2016, the fallen Leatherneck will nonetheless receive a hero's welcome in the Southern California town of Temecula, albeit a sad one.
    The small town on the edge of California's High Desert region will honor their hometown hero with a public viewing this Friday at the Temecula City Hall Town Square. Mayor Mike Naggar in a statement, "Temecula is deeply saddened to learn that one of our hometown high school graduates, who grew up to be the bravest of warriors, died protecting our Nation's freedoms. Cardin is forever a hero to Temecula and to our Nation."

    March 19th, Liz Sly and Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST) explained:

    A senior Iraqi army officer in Makhmour said two rockets landed about 8:20 a.m. Saturday on the U.S. camp, a small, closely guarded facility where American advisers have been based for several months helping Iraqi army and peshmerga forces battle Islamic State fighters nearby and preparing for an offensive to recapture the key Iraqi city of Mosul.

    Kim Henderson (DAILY LEADER) notes Louis Cardin:

    Back at home, Cardin was kown as "Louie," the second-youngest of eight siblings, a military-minded guy who joined the Marines in 2006 just two days after graduating from his Temecula, California, high school.  So while his former classmates moved into dorms that fall, Louis moved into dorms that fall, Louis moved into a different mold -- that of a field artilleryman.  He was following in the footsteps of his two grandfathers and an older brother, Vincent, who told reporters that Louis would have turned 28 next month.  Vincent said he and Louis had recently been messaging via Facebook about getting their mother a ring for her birthday, one containing all the siblings' birthstones.
    Mary Pat, mother of Cardin brood, has waved away offers of condolences, preferring instead to speak of her years with Louis as a gift.  She's aware that President Obama publicly acknowledged her son's death during his visit to Cuba, but says her Louie would have wanted the attention deflected from himself and directed instead toward his fellow Marines.  That's why the two care packages Mary Pat was preparing to send to her son -- filled with desert essentials like baby wipes and over-the-calf socks -- will be sent to other recipients.  "That's what he'd want," she told The Press Enterprise, a Riverside, California, newspaper.

    And no one can tell you why Cardin died.

    To protect Iraq?

    What Iraq?

    The government that is no more?

    In March 2010, national elections were held.

    There is no one in the national government today who legitimately holds office.  From Iraq's Constitution:

    Article 54: 
    First: The electoral term of the Council of Representatives shall be limited to four calendar years, starting with its first session and ending with the conclusion of the fourth year. 

    Second: The new Council of Representatives shall be elected forty-five days before the conclusion of the previous electoral term.

    Get it?

    Their terms expired in 2014.

    It's 2016.

    The country being helped or 'helped' has refused to hold elections.

    This isn't a representative government or one that even cares enough to look that way.

    This is an abusive and non-responsive government which refuses to abide by accountability.

    This is why US troops have been sent to die in Iraq?

    To defend this joke of a government?

    And today, US President Barack Obama just made things worse.

    Background comes via Human Rights Watch, here they are discussing Iraq's 'popular mobilization forces' -- Shi'ite militias:

    Mostly Shia militias fighting ISIS, such as Badr Brigades, League of the Righteous, or Imam Ali Battalions, carried out widespread and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular, demolishing homes and shops in recaptured Sunni areas.
    Militia fighters as well as Iraqi security forces in late August 2014 succeeded in driving ISIS fighters from the Shia Turkmen and Sunni Arab town of Amerli and subsequently raided several dozen neighboring Sunni villages driven by revenge and expelled Sunni Iraqis to alter the area’s demographic. Kurdish Peshmerga fighters told Human Rights Watch of 47 villages that Shia forces methodically destroyed. Raids included looting, burning, and demolition by explosives, as well as the abduction of at least 11 local men.
    After recapturing Tikrit in March 2015, militia forces torched and blew up hundreds of buildings and destroyed large sections of neighboring al-Dur, al-Bu ‘Ajil, and southern al-Alam. Militias also forcibly disappeared some 200 men and boys.

    Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also carried out, or failed to prevent, destruction of Arab homes and looting of shops in areas recaptured from ISIS. Witnesses implicated Peshmerga forces in the wholescale destruction of the village of Barzan, in Zumar district, in September 2014, as well as in nearby Bardiya town, where KRG forces, at a minimum, allowed Kurdish civilians to raze Arab houses.

    Okay, so US troops are on the ground in Iraq to protect the innocent civilians from these Shi'ite militias?


    The US military is now hugging and dry humping these forces.

    Ali Mamouri (AL-MONITOR) reports:

    On March 12, US Consul General Steve Walker visited Al-Sadr Teaching Hospital in Basra to pay his respects to wounded members of the Popular Mobilization Units. The visit marked the first time a US official has publicly met these troops. This is particularly remarkable as until now, the official US position toward the Popular Mobilization Units was negative, and the United States had even demanded that the Iraqi governmentprevent the forces from taking part in the operations to liberate some areas, such as the city of Ramadi in Anbar, that were freed without their participation by US request. 
    Walker made it clear that the trip was not just a courtesy visit. Accompanied by TV stations such as the US-based Alhurra, which broadcast the visit and his remarks in Arabic, Walker said, “The US recognizes the important contribution of the Popular Mobilization Units under the command of Prime Minister [Haider al-Abadi], and most of the Popular Mobilization troops came from the south. This is why I would like to express my condolences to the people of Basra and the south who have lost their loved ones or friends in the war against the Islamic State.”
    Walker expressed his solidarity with the wounded, who welcomed his visit. He told them, “The US and Iraqi people are very, very proud of you.” 

    General Steve Walker is dry humping these Shi'ite forces?

    If you're not getting how disgusting this is, you're not familiar with these forces and what they've done to US forces in the not-so-long ago past.

    For just one example, we'll drop back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

    This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s.Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of.Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

    That's the League of Righteous.

    That's who US General Steve Walker 'paid his respects' to.

    They killed US soldiers.

    And now Walker has, on behalf of the US government and military, 'honored' them with praise.

    Why are US forces in Iraq?

    To die for an illegitimate government and to hug the very militias that killed other US troops.

    As if to make clear how fake and phony the entire operation is, the White House (finally) delivered to Congress a "Strategy for the Middle East and to Counter Violent Extremism."  PDF format warning, click here for the seven page document.

    Despite invoking phrases like "whole of government approach," it's just bomb, bomb, shoot, shoot.

    There's no diplomatic effort and this is the most the seven page paper can offer that doesn't involve the military:

    In Iraq, we are pressing the Government of Iraq regularly to institute political reforms that promote reconciliation and inclusive governance. We are also working with the Government of Iraq to assist with stabilization and reconstruction in liberated areas. Finally, we are also leading an effort to organize financial support for Iraq, so that Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) can continue operations against ISIL notwithstanding depressed oil prices. 

    It's always about oil, isn't it?

    Even cuter, "we are pressing the Government of Iraq regularly to institute political reforms that promote . . ."

    There is no government of Iraq.

    And forget political reforms, how about holding a damn election, one that's now nearly two years overdue?

    Quit pretending, quit fake assing.

    Republican Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the US House of Representatives.  His office issued the following in response to the White House plan or 'plan:'

    This is not a real plan to defeat ISIS
    On the eve of Easter weekend, the Obama administration quietly released its whopping seven-page, one-month-late “plan” to counter violent extremism and defeat ISIS. No fanfare. No announcement from the president. No campaign to sell this strategy to Congress and the American people. Why? Because this is not a real plan.
    Congress mandated this report to compel the administration to finally present a comprehensive plan to eliminate ISIS. There is little mention of how we’ll work alongside our allies in this fight, or which groups will help us counter violent extremism, or how we’ll develop a capable ground force in Iraq and Syria following disastrous attempts to train and equip vetted factions in both countries.
    This morning, Speaker Ryan discussed the issue further on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show:
    “We are not doing what we need to do to get ISIS. The president we required in law [to] deliver a plan to Congress to defeat ISIS—he was a couple months late in delivering that plan. He just gave it to us a couple of days ago. And I guess you could say that that’s a good thing that he finally gave us a plan. But what was more disheartening and just shocking about it was it was just a recitation of the status quo of what they’re doing—which is even more disturbing to me because it shows me that they are just phoning it in on the war on terror, they’re phoning it on radical Islamic terrorism, and they’re not doing anything near what we need to do. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m going over to the Middle East to talk with our allies who are combating this.”
    As the speaker mentioned, he will travel to the Middle East to discuss the threat posed by ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism with several key allies. House Republicans are seriousabout strengthening our alliances and confronting these threats. That’s why our Task Force on National Security is working on a specific policy agenda to build a stronger, safer, and more Confident America.

    Ryan's criticisms revolved around the military aspect which he feels are not strong enough.

    There are many points that would back up Ryan's view.

    Chief among them the fact that Barack has now set up the Iraq War as something that will continue beyond his term and be left for the next US president.

    It can also be noted that the 'plan' or plan has the same thing happening over and over -- despite the lack of any noticeable success.

    For example, the US Defense Dept issued the following today:

     Strikes in Iraq
    Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL boat.
    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
    -- Near Hit, three strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL safe house and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL vehicle bomb.
    -- Near Mosul, five strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL vehicle.
    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL tunnels and an ISIL assembly area.
    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position and suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.
    -- Near Kirkuk, a strike destroyed two ISIL assembly areas.
    -- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed an ISIL assembly area.
    -- Near Makhmur, a strike destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes destroyed an ISIL assembly area and an ISIL fighting 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.

    They issued it today. 

    And beginning in August of 2014, they've issued it every day.

    And when what you are doing militarily does not work but you instead double down on it -- do the same thing but with increased assets -- what do you get?


    For Paul Ryan, the response is to demand a more robust military plan.

    But that's not going to defeat the Islamic State.

    The group got its foothold in Iraq because the government was persecuting the Sunni people.

    Stop that persecution and you remove the reason for the Islamic State to be in Iraq.

    Thomas Friedman raves again while the Iraqi military faces a fashion crisis

    Thomas Friedman raves again while the Iraqi military faces a fashion crisis

    The Common Ills
    "Being back in Iraq after two years' absence has helped me to put my finger on the central question bedeviling U.S. foreign policy in the . . ." isn't a sign of the apocalypse but is a sign of stupidity and a lot worse.

    Thomas Friedman offers 'wisdom' in today's NEW YORK TIMES.

    Thomas Friedman still has a job.

    Truly shocking, yes.

    He didn't just cheerlead the Iraq War.

    Today, people say Ted Cruz or whomever is making racist statements.

    And my reaction is always, "Huh?"

    Because when it comes to talk of bombing people for their religion and their beliefs, no one could hold a candle to Friedman who offered xenophobia (and stupidity) not just on the pages of THE NEW YORK TIMES but also while playing footsie with Charlie Rose on Rose's awful PBS program as well as other television programs.

    And not only did few object, Thomas Friedman still has a job.

    And enough of a following to think he can honestly offer advice about Iraq.

    And that it will be welcome.

    If you want to read Friedman's garbage go visit THE NEW YORK TIMES but we can't, in good faith, give a link to the xenophobe who preached bombing Muslims just for the fear factor alone (as he did at one point).

    Again, nothing a Ted Cruz could say would ever shock me more than what Friedman said and what he got away with -- and he got away with a lot.

    So many get away with so much.  Like 'helpers' who come with serious strings attached.  Suleiman al-Khalidi (REUTERS) reports, "The International Monetary Fund could approve as early as June a standby arrangement (SBA) with Iraq unlocking $15 billion in international assistance over the next three years, the head of the IMF's Iraq mission said on Tuesday."

    The IMF will destroy whatever's left of Iraq's sovereignty -- real or imagined.  Dropping back toMonday's snapshot:

    In other problems for the country, Daniel J. Graeber (UPI) reports:

    The World Bank, meanwhile, said Iraq "needs to put its economic house in order" by reforming state-owned enterprises, enacting more even distribution of oil revenues and addressing chronic shortages of electricity.
    "Through demonstrating a commitment to such real changes, we hope Iraq can find the support it seeks to relieve its immense fiscal pressures in the light of significantly reduced oil prices," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

    And that's why you don't take money from the World Bank or the IMF.  They loan it.

    And then they make demands.

    It's never handed out freely.

    And Iraq never needed the loans.

    Corrupt leaders have stolen billions from the country since 2003.

    The World Bank and the IMF are not about helping, they are about restructuring and, once you owe them money, they will impose whatever they want.

    As more US troops are in Iraq -- and as more are said to be going to Iraq, Campbell MacDiarmid (USA TODAY) reports:

    The Iraqi army soldiers smoked nervously as they described their ordeal. Sent to clear a village of Islamic State fighters, they found themselves pinned down by sniper fire. A few hours later, after 10 comrades were wounded, they withdrew.
    “We need to get new uniforms,” soldier Ali Basra, 22, said, pointing to torn and blood-spattered fatigues. “But we'll return to take the village.”

    A lot of people fail to understand the importance of fashion in combat.

    It's thought that D-Day would have been a failure if it weren't for crisply tailored uniforms and, of course, General Patton had Coco Chanel as a close advisor -- that was sarcasm.

    We're stopping the fight -- Ali Basra insists -- because we need to get some new and clean uniforms.

    And that's seen as acceptable?

    If Barack's operating under the we'll-stand-down-when-they-stand-up, the US troops are never leaving Iraq.

    The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

  • Iraq snapshot Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

    Iraq snapshot Tuesday, March 29, 2016. 

    The Common Ills
    Tuesday, March 29, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the persecution of Sunnis continue, an illegitimate government continues to rule Iraq, and much more.

    Two US service members are known to have died in the Iraq  War in the last months.

    Dropping back to the October 24, 2015 snapshot:

    Thursday saw the death of yet another person in Iraq -- this time a US citizen.

  • And now dropping back to the March 23rd snapshot:

    On the 13th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, another US service member died in Iraq.

    The USMC just released a photo of SSgt Louis Cardin, KIA Saturday in Iraq. RIP Marine.


    Barbara Starr (CNN) reports, "A U.S. Marine stationed at Firebase Bell was killed by an ISIS Katyusha rocket attack on Saturday. Eight U.S. troops were also wounded in the attack. Three were medivaced to Germany where one is described as having serious injuries a defense official told CNN."  


    Why did they die?

    Why did US President Barack Obama send them and others into Iraq?

    To help Iraq?

    He said, before he sent US troops in, that the only answer for Iraq was a political solution.

    But there has been no political solution.

    More to the point, there is no legitimate government.

    Yes, Barack forced Nouri al-Maliki to step down as prime minister before the end of his term.

    Yes, Barack backed Haider al-Abadi to be the new prime minister.

    But we're not talking about that.

    Iraq has no legitimate government.

    This is from Iraq's Constitution:

    Article 54: 
    First: The electoral term of the Council of Representatives shall be limited to four calendar years, starting with its first session and ending with the conclusion of the fourth year. 

    Second: The new Council of Representatives shall be elected forty-five days before the conclusion of the previous electoral term.

    Do you get it?

    Because the White House really, really hopes you don't.

    Nouri's term should have ended in November of 2014.

    Since Haider replaced Nouri, Haider's term should have ended in November of 2014.

    Haider is no longer a member of Parliament.

    There are legally no members of Parliament* because their four year term expired in November of 2014.

    [*We can argue this all you want but when Tareq al-Hashemi was Vice President from 2005 to 2010 and before he (and anyone else) was named to the posts following the 2010 elections, he was visiting other countries to promote investment and business in Iraq and Nouri objected and insisted that Tareq was not a vice president because his term had expired.  Nouri's understanding/view was not disputed by the press, they treated it as gospel.  So if that was the case then, it's the case now.]

    The current Parliament held their first official session November 11, 2010.  So if we're generous, we can argue their term expired in November 11, 2014.

    It's March 29, 2016.

    There is no legitimate government in Iraq nor any legal one.

    Where are the elections?

    Per the Constitution, they should have taken place over a year ago.

    Where are the elections?

    And how can Barack justify sending US troops into the failed state of Iraq when it doesn't even have a government?

    At the very least, he should have made any troops being sent in, any aid -- weapons or dollars conditional upon free and fair elections.

    Iraq is a failed state.

    The US troops are in Iraq to prop up the illegitimate government of Iraq.

    In what world is this acceptable?

    In the United States, elections are not postponed.

    9/11 did not result in a loss of elections nor, for that matter, did the American Civil War.

    What is Iraq's excuse?

    As we asked in yesterday's snapshot, where are the elections?

    We know where US troops are -- in Iraq with more to be deployed shortly.

    Thomas Gaist (WSWS) observes:

    In 2014, at the outset of the latest US Iraq war, known as “Operation Inherent Resolve,” the Obama administration vowed that the US intervention would be limited to air strikes and a minimal ground role, restricted to small numbers of “advisors” embedded with Iraqi units.
    During the nearly two years of escalating US operations that followed, these promises have been continuously rolled back. A familiar pattern has emerged, whereby the US military chiefs periodically announce, without any suggestion that the civilian administration has been consulted or even informed, their plans for an imminent expansion of the quality and role of US forces in the war.
    Last June, the Pentagon unveiled plans for the indefinite stationing of US ground forces throughout Iraq in a network of “lily pad” bases. In December, Secretary Carter announced the deployment of a Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) “expeditionary targeting force,” essentially a small army of lavishly funded and equipped commando units specializing in assassination, kidnapping, and other black operations.
    The US moves toward larger ground operations have proceeded beneath a relentless bombing campaign. US-led coalition planes have pummeled Iraq with more than 7,336 strikes since the beginning of the air war in August 2014.
    The American military violence being inflicted upon Iraq in the name of fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is part of a decades-long assault on the country.

    And the pummeling of Iraq continued today with the US Defense Dept announcing/claiming/boasting:

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack aircraft conducted four strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck an ISIL bed-down location and an ISIL safe house.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed two ISIL assembly areas and suppressed an ISIL machine gun position.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed three ISIL assembly areas.

    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.

    Turning to other violence, Al Jazeera reports:

    The armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in central Baghdad that police said killed seven people and wounded 27.
    The blast occurred on Tuesday near a gathering of workers in Tayaran Square, about a kilometre from a sit-in held by supporters of influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to demand political reforms.

    Meanwhile, Moqtada's rally behind Haider position appears to be wavering:

  • While Haider stands in danger of losing support from his fellow Shi'ites, he's done nothing to reach out to the long persecuted Sunni community.

  • One of the many reasons the Sunni youth join  the Tyranny of the Rafidah Snakes 

  • Iraqi Sunni civilians arrested by Shia militias without guilt or charge  

  • Haider has become not just the failed leader of a failed state but the illegitimate leader as well.  When will Iraq hold elections?  When will it follow the country's Constitution?