Monday, February 20, 2017

Really, NAACP? Really?


That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Chelsea's Days of Faux Rage" and the last thing we need is Chelsea in Congress.

That spoiled brat doesn't know the meaning of an honest day's work.

She doesn't know how people whose parents don't rake in millions have to struggle to survive.

She has no ethics and no causes.

She does not belong in Congress.

Money corrupts.

And if you doubt it . . .

The NAACP, which opposes net neutrality, has named AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast as corporate fundraising partners.

I am so ashamed of the NAACP right now.

And outraged.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, February 20, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the US Defense Secretary visits Iraq, and much more.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is in Baghdad.

"We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil." - US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis distances himself from Pres. Trump's media bashing:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: No plan to seize Iraqi

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says there's no plan to seize Iraq's oil

We'll have a full report tonight on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visit to Baghdad on

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis lands in Baghdad on unannounced trip

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis just landed in Baghdad; will meet commanders and Iraqi leaders for update.

Mattis visit comes days after meeting with Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.

Of that meet-up, the US Defense Dept noted:

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani in Munich yesterday, a Defense Department spokesperson said in a statement.
The two men affirmed their commitment to their partnership to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the statement said, and they discussed the latest developments in the Mosul operation and the key role Peshmerga forces have played in the counter-ISIS fight.
Mattis and Barzani both noted the important military cooperation between the government of Iraq and the KRG, the statement said. They agreed battlefield success over the past year was made possible by strong cooperation between the government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the United States.

Donald Trump has not said he would seize Iraq's oil.

But the press loves to act as though he did.

It's actually great when they repeat it.

They remind the world that wars are about resources.

Even better would be if they'd explain how Iraq's oil has been seized by the IMF and the World Bank.

But that would require actual reporting.

Fortunately, Iraqis who listen to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are aware of what took place, even if the western media blacks it out.

While Mattis is in Baghdad, US Vice President Mike Pence recently met with Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi.

Personally thanked Iraqi PM for sacrifices in shared fight against ISIS & discussed long-term partnership.

No, the photo has not been doctored.

Hayder really is that short.  (Pence is five feet and eleven inches tall.)

It's said his small stature helped him escape Iraq in the 80s as he posed as a tiny peasant woman, gathering himself up in a large shawl.  He'd remain out of Iraq for decades, returning only in April of 2003 -- like so many other cowards -- once the foreign forces sent Saddam Hussein out of his Baghdad home.

When not clothed as a woman, Hayder supported armed insurrection in Iraq though, as far as anyone knows, he was not plotting against the US or killing US troops the way former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki had done while he was out of Iraq.

In 2014, FRONTLINE (PBS) briefly noted:

Maliki climbed the ranks quickly, rising to lead the Dawa branch in Damascus, an assignment that has fueled questions about what role -- if any -- he played in several high-profile attacks carried out by the group. In 1981, for example, Dawa operatives launched a suicide attack that killed 61 people at the Iraqi embassy in Beirut. Two years later, they struck the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait.

That's the Dawa political party -- which Hayder belongs to as does Nouri al-Maliki.  And which the US government has embraced repeatedly throughout the administrations of Bully Boy Bush and Barack Obama.

Is it any wonder that today is day 126 of The Mosul Slog?

Back in June of 2014, the Islamic State seized the city of Mosul.

Only last October did Hayder al-Abadi launch an operation to liberate or 'liberate' the city.

The 'success' has been the semi-liberation of east Mosul -- only semi due to the renewed violence there in the last 14 days.

Now useless tag alongs (embedded with the Iraqi military) try to sell the operation as dynamic.

They're idiots.

As Shelly Culbertson and Linda Robinson (RAND) noted earlier this month:

 The liberation of Mosul will not be complete with the military operations that oust ISIS. Failing to get the civilian response right risks a short-term pyrrhic victory and widening civil war in Iraq.
This should concern the U.S., as instability in Iraq threatens U.S. foreign policy interests in the Middle East and violence that continues to create large numbers of refugees. 
 Steps are required to manage the needs of displaced civilians and get them back home. Since the start of the conflict with ISIS, a peak of 3.4 million Iraqi civilians were displaced by violence, and 3 million remain displaced today. An additional half million people may be displaced during the fight to take back remaining parts of Mosul.
On our recent trips to Erbil and Baghdad, where the military and humanitarian responses to Mosul are being managed, we spoke with numerous stakeholders and identified key challenges that will need to be resolved to stabilize Mosul and get its civilians back home.
The government of Iraq is sending displaced persons from Mosul into camps instead of allowing them to move to other urban areas due to concerns that there might be ISIS collaborators among the displaced.

The civilians' identification documents are taken from them for as long as they stay in the camp. They are permitted to return to their homes when it is considered safe, but widespread destruction of public, residential, commercial and agricultural infrastructure means that it may be years before they can go home. 
 While security concerns are understandable, a solution must be found that respects international norms against holding displaced civilians in detention.
We visited two emergency camps a short distance from Mosul. Khazer is a tent city of over 32,000 people, next to Hassan Sham with a similar number. Despite the valiant efforts of aid workers to supply basic needs, these emergency camps are not equipped to house Iraqis for more than a few months.

In addition to the flimsy tents without electricity, only outdoor pumps for water, no 24-hour health care services, and no spaces where people could prepare hot food, community activities and psychosocial treatment is lacking for these traumatized people who fear for their futures. 

Important issues.

And ones regularly missing in the western press coverage.

But the embedded 'reporters' are too busy bedding down with Iraqi forces to think about the Iraqi people.

New content at THIRD:

And Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Chelsea's Days of Faux Rage" went up earlier this morning.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The facts

As a Green, I completely support this Tweet.

Wondering how broken are? These past 8 years they lost 1042 seats. Including the Presidency. To Trump. 💩

Sorry, she's telling the truth.

If Democrats want to woo voters, they better realize how disgusting they are as they kowtow to corporations and betray the people.

Start working for the people.

You might win some actual votes and an election or two.

This is C.I.'s "Adele and Beyonce:"

Friday, February 17, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, Zaid Al-Ali grabs his pom-poms and attempts a Leapin' Lora of historic propaganda proportions, Baghdad's slammed with bombings, The Mosul Slog continues, and much more.

Yet again, the neoliberals are out for war and eager to send other people's children off to die.  The Center For Progress is getting it's war on as we noted in Wednesday's snapshot.  And then there's Zaid Al-Ali.

He did such a bang up job working in Iraq (that's sarcasm) that he's decided he's an expert.

He has an insipid column that was apparently too pathetic for even THE GUARDIAN to run so he took to ALJAZEERA.  Here's a typical passage:

Analysts and commentators in various parts of the world claimed that Mosul's population took sides in the conflict, throwing their lot in with ISIL. A video was widely circulated on social media, supposedly showing Mosul's inhabitants stoning Iraqi army vehicles on their way out of the city - never mind that the video was actually from Sadr City in 2008.

Second sentence first: Social media is global.  Not everyone speaks or reads Arabic.  It is very easy for a posted video to be shared with unintentional misrepresentations on social media.  I really have no idea what point the idiot thought he was making with that.

The first sentence?

It's a paragraph in a September 2015 column by Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group.

A word on the International Crisis Group.  Early on, we were asked to note them by someone inhouse there and I blew it off.  We ignored them for probably the first three years.  As coverage on Iraq in the west continued to dwindle, we began to cite them.

In a perfect world, we probably would never have.  Their larger goals are in conflict with my own concepts of peace.  So I'm not a fan.

I know Joost only through his public writing.

Here's what he wrote in September 2015:

In Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s autocratic tendencies and sectarian-imbued repressive policies further alienated a Sunni population that, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, threw in its lot with the Islamic State (IS), despite the latter’s brutal rule. Iran could have acted to moderate Maliki’s behavior but neglected to do so, content that a friendly Shi’ite Islamist coalition ruled a neighbor that, barely a generation ago, had launched a destructive eight-year war against it. The Iraqi army’s collapse in the face of Islamic State’s advance in June 2014 created a security vacuum that Iranian military advisers have tried to fill by commanding urgently mobilized Iraqi Shiite militias. But what will the proliferation of such militias do for the unity of the Iraqi state, which Iran claims to want to preserve? The country’s breakup into warring fiefdoms is now a more likely scenario.

That's paragraph ten of a 21 paragraph column.

Iraq is not his focus in that column.

From his other writing does he believe the Sunni population in Iraq acts in unison?


From his other non-Iraq writing, does he believe any group of people act in unison 100%?


He was writing on another topic, Iran, and he did a short cut.

It happens.

I do short cuts here and hear about it.  "You say THE NEW YORK TIMES reported in September of 2012 that Barack Obama sent Special-Ops back into Iraq but there's no link because it didn't happen!"

No, there's no link because I'm not here to spoon feed you.

Check it out, we've linked to that report over 570 times since it first ran.

Here's one random example:

There's the fact that Barack sent a brigade of Special-Ops in during the fall of 2012. Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." 

So after 570 times linking to it when I'm mentioning it in passing to make another point I'm still required to link to it?  A five year old article that was outright ignored in real time but that we covered in real time and that we have linked to over 570 times since?

Sorry, I don't have that time or kind of space.

Joost took a short cut because he wasn't writing about Iraq.

Joost took a shortcut.

Zaid Al-Ali lies outright which is a wrong.

Yes, there are Sunnis who support the Islamic State -- Sunnis in Iraq.

Sorry, that's reality.  If you can't deal with it, stick with lying, Zaid Al-Ali.

The majority position of Sunnis in Iraq as the Islamic State began rising was: It's not my fight.

That was conveyed in social media as well as in strong journalism done by NPR and other outlets.

The Sunnis were being persecuted by Nouri al-Maliki.

The Islamic State rises up in response to Nouri.

Nouri had made clear that Sunnis were not part of his vision of Iraq.

It wasn't their fight.

There were some Sunni Iraqis who were against the Islamic State.  They were quoted in real media early on.  They saw it as a foreign effort (the Islamic State) and read it as an incursion in the way Iraqis see Iran's attempts to expand their border (I'm referring to cartography here, not political influence -- though it doesn't get much western media attention, Iran is frequently seen as attempting to redraw the actual border it shares with Iraq).

There were some Sunni Iraqis who were horrified by what they knew of the Islamic State and were against them for that reason.

But there were some who supported them.

And you have to remember when they rose up -- it's not a fact that the western media ever gets correct because it would require them confessing to their own failure.

Iraqis had been peacefully protesting for over a year -- demonstrations and sit-ins.

And the western media that built up the Eygpt protests as the great change in the world (didn't turn out that way, did it?) ignored the protests in Iraq.

Ignored it as Nouri used the Iraqi forces to attack the protesters.

Ignored it as Nouri used the Iraqi forces to attack journalists covering the protests.

Ignored it as Nouri used the Iraqi forces to kill the protesters.

As this became the reality and Nouri began threatening the peaceful protesters blocking the road between Baghdad and Falluja, as he began calling them terrorists and speaking (publicly) of setting them on fire, that's when the Islamic State goes public.

They are the black garbed figures that show up with guns to protect those protesters.

In their earliest public form, that's what they were -- defenders of the Sunni population who protected the peaceful Sunni protesters.

And they did protect them.

Nouri didn't kill them on that road the way he did elsewhere.

That's reality.

And that's why there were some Sunnis who saw them in a better light.

That probably would have continued for some if the Islamic State had not decided it should take and hold areas.

Once it did that, it was not just extremely fundamental, it was also corrupt.

As a movement (that resorted to violence), it could have had some success in the region.

We are speaking in political terms.  Do not e-mail me saying, "You said ISIS was successful or would have been successful and I don't think it's a success to enslave people!"  A movement's success is based upon it's ability to spread.  Even with limited violence, ISIS could have spread it's movement.  For those who recoil at that notion and insist that bombing is not an answer, I didn't say it was.  I'm referring to their movement.  For those who insist that Iraqis would recoil from violence, a number of people do not recoil in any area of the world.  Some do, some don't.  There is not a universal response.  Equally true, bombing is a daily fact in Iraq today -- including the daily bombs US war planes drop on Iraq.

As a governing force, it was always going to be doomed.

It couldn't manage a co-op, let alone a city.

And it's idealization was not even met within its own ranks so attempting leadership of a city was always going to expose hypocrisy and corruption.

But had they not started seizing territories in Iraq, they might have been able to have succeeded as a movement.

Can they now?

If they are defeated in areas that they hold in Iraq, they could go back to attempting to be a movement only.  However, since they attempted to expand and their expansion was destroyed, they'll always be seen as failures who scaled back to smaller goals and that would hurt success in the immediate future.  (Though the narrative, how it plays out, over ten or so years could lead to a revival.)

Zaid Al-Ali is slobbering over the 'success' in Mosul.

No one's looked so stupid since   that October State Dept press briefing when a journalist termed it a "slog" and CNN's Elise Labott screeched "NO!"

123 days ago, the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul started.

123 days ago.

It's a slog.

The International Organization for Migration notes today, "As military operations to retake Mosul intensify, concerns mount that these operations may displace additional tens of thousands of civilians – beyond the 160,000-plus individuals currently categorized as 'displaced' in the Mosul region after four months of combat."  While RUDAW reports:

Oxfam International Director for Iraq Andres Gonzalez visited Rudaw's office in Erbil to discuss the next phase of the Mosul operations and warned of the looming humanitarian crisis which could affect 750,000 civilians as military operations target the western part of the city .

“Oxfam is calling on all armed forces to avoid the use of heavy weapons in populated and built up areas, including mortars and artillery, and to provide genuinely safe escape routes to avoid the high number of civilian casualties seen so far,” Gonzalez said this week.


Siege conditions in west : residents say they eat once a day and expect it to get worse

That's not a success.

It's The Mosul Slog.

And this Tweet from Brett McGurk this morning touches on other issues Zaid Al-Ali's ignoring.

Vital partners & training Iraqi forces to hold ground cleared of terrorists.

Lucky for Zaid, if westerners are paying attention to Iraq right now, most are paying attention to the attack in Baghdad yesterday.

Nearly 50 people killed in a car bomb explosion in southwestern on Thursday. claims responsibility.

Baghdad: At least 55 killed in car bomb attack on Thursday, the latest in wave of blasts to strike the Iraqi capital

The aftermath of car bomb today that killed more than 45 people and wounding more than 60

The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

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