Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kim Kardashian's deformity

If you missed it, Kim Kardashian tried to break the internet this week.

Apparently by sitting on it.

The sex tape worker is famous for her ever expanding ass.

There's something to be said about her attempt to go 'Blackish.'

But there's even more to be said about the reality in the Black community where huge asses are not uncommon.

Such as: Back problems.

I really find her offensive as she glamorizes what is a problem for many African-Americans.

I'm not talking about having a round butt or even a large butt.  I'm talking about the huge asses.

This usually goes hand-in-hand with other problems -- such as diabetes.

But even at it's most basic, it is a problem.  A friend whose doctor ordered her to lose 50 pounds and to walk 30 minutes minimum five days a week had non-stop back problems as her ass balloooned and ballooned.  She couldn't sleep on her back because her lower back would not hit the mattress -- putting all the weight on her shoulders and ass and throwing her back completely out of whack.


Leave it to a trashy White girl to present a serious deformity (one she's has via plastic surgery) as a goal to strive for.

She really is a freak, as much as the White women who have plastic surgery to make themselves look like Barbie.

(And I'm talking about certain women, not all White women.  I'm also aware -- look at Latoya Jackson and the late Michael Jackson -- that African-American celebrities have their own plastic surgery issues.)




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


Friday, November 14, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the only person outside the Iraqi government working towards a political solution is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the US sends another military officer into Iraq (while yet again ignoring diplomacy),  General Martin Dempsey's remarks about US troops possibly fighting on the ground in Iraq continues to garner attention, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi makes clear she's neither a friend to veterans or to women, and much more.



The war on women never ends.  The latest attacking women include US House Rep Nancy Pelosi.


Tammy Duckworth is not only a member of Congress, she's also a veteran of the Iraq War.  Nancy Pelosi chose to 'honor' veterans this week by announcing that a veteran who lost both legs in combat would not be allowed to vote by proxy on the issue of who would hold what office -- for example, who would be the next Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Duckworth is at home in Illinois.  Why doesn't she just fly to DC?

CBS News notes Duckworth "was told by doctor that it was unsafe for her to fly at this stage in her pregnancy."


Joining Pelosi in the war against women?  US House Rep Rosa DeLauro who feels that if you grant an exception for Duckworth, you might have to grant exceptions for everyone.

Doesn't Rosa sound like a homophobe against marriage equality?  Is she afraid that granting Duckworth the right to vote by proxy will lead to people marrying goats?

Who knows.

What is known is that US Senator Patty Murray busted her rear to ensure that the Senate explored the issues effecting wounded veterans who try to start a family.

What is known is that Nancy Pelosi and Rosa DeLauro  had other things to do.

On her website, Rosa proclaims she "believes that as a nation we have an obligation to ensure that these brave men and women who serve our country, as well as their families, have access to the medical care they need" -- wait.  If a doctor's orders prevent Duckworth from flying to DC -- and they do prevent her from doing so -- how is Rosa maintaining her belief?

Oh, that's right, she's not.

Again, it was Senator Patty Murray that led on the issue of the needs of wounded veterans when it came to starting families or adding to their families.

It wasn't Rosa or Nancy.  Those two?  They always seemed to have something 'more important' to do.
.
The choice -- or so-called choice -- Tammy Duckworth is being given is, if you want to vote, you'll have to put your pregnancy and your own health at risk.

That is a war on women and Nancy and Rosa are leading it.

Nancy doesn't give a damn about rules.  Remember Denver in 2008?  She stopped the delegate vote, remember?

The vote on the Democratic head for the Energy and Commerce Commission is yet another battle between Nancy and Steny Hoyer who are each backing different candidates.  Nancy's taken to referring to Hoyer -- snidely -- as Martin Frost.  (In 2002, Nancy took on Frost and won.  She also worked hard to ensure that he was redistricted out of office in Texas' redistricting plan.  Nancy worked overtime to save certain House members but not Frost who she tossed to the wolves.)

For Nancy (and her supporters) this pissing match justifies denying a pregnant woman a vote.

She should be ashamed of herself.

AP notes Tammy Duckworth has stated she will abide by the decision and that she thinks her colleagues for considering her request.  That was a classy move -- and again, it didn't come from Nancy.

Nancy's tasteless and tacky move comes as Disabled American Veterans' Garry J. Augustine (Turlock Jounral) pens a column noting the mistreatment of America's women veterans:

Based on currently available data, it is clear that our country isn't fully meeting the unique physical, emotional and employment needs of women veterans. When they return home, they receive less support than their male counterparts from government programs primarily designed for men.
Today, nearly one in five women veterans has delayed or gone without necessary health care in the past year. One in 11 is unemployed. Former servicewomen experience homelessness at between two to four times the rate of their civilian counterparts.
It's unacceptable that the women who honorably served our country-our mothers, spouses, sisters and daughters-are at risk. A new report released by my organization, Disabled American Veterans, finds that the federal, state, and community programs to support women transitioning out of military service have serious gaps that put some women veterans in jeopardy.



We might suggest Congress could help with that but as Nancy Pelosi's made very clear, the needs of women veterans don't matter to her at all.

Yesterday, the House heard from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey.  The main takeaway was Dempsey's reminding that US troops taking part in combat on the ground was not, in fact, off the table and a possible recommendation he might be making shortly.


Dempsey's reminder was an issue raised in the US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki today.





QUESTION: Can I stay on ISIS?


MS. PSAKI: Sure.


QUESTION: I wanted to ask about Chairman Dempsey’s comments yesterday that he can envision – I’m paraphrasing – that he can envision contingencies in which U.S. troops would accompany Iraqi troops. Is there a disconnect at all between the DOD’s desire to preserve options for the battle and the Administration’s stance that no ground troops will be sent at all to Iraq?


MS. PSAKI: Well, Chairman Dempsey also made clear in his testimony that he has not made that recommendation. And he also stated that he does not see a scenario when it would be in our interest to take this fight on ourselves with a large military contingent. So it was obviously a large hearing, but he was consistent with our view, which is that yes, there are challenges on the ground; yes, there’s a need to continue to train and support and build up the Iraqi Security Forces; but obviously, the President will make any decision, and the chairman hasn’t even made a recommendation to him.


QUESTION: Sure. And he was talking about the future, but he didn’t explicitly rule it out. And he did say that for example, the fight to retake Mosul could be a situation where the Iraqi army would have difficulty on their own, which might require some close support from the U.S. But do you not agree that that is any – that there’s any kind of gap there between what you and Josh Earnest have said?


MS. PSAKI: If you look at the full context of his entire remarks, he also made clear that he doesn’t see a scenario where we would get more engaged with a larger military contingent. So yes, he was having a dialogue with members of Congress, and certainly, that’s part of what happens in any testimony, but the fact is the President makes the decision anyway. 

The fact is Barack told the American people "no boots on the ground" and yet "boots on the ground" remains a possibility -- one discussed as Dempsey attempts to 'inform' Congress.


As Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com) observed:


Whatever the President’s real views, we are sliding down the Iraqi slope pretty rapidly. Hardly a week goes by when we don’t hear of another few hundred GIs being quietly shipped to Iraq – "non-combat" troops, to be sure. Yes, they’re going over there to engage in some pretty dangerous and potentially lethal "non-combat" – and when they start getting killed in numbers high enough to notice, will they come back in non-bodybags? 


Bill Van Auken (WSWS) points out:

The Pentagon is “certainly considering” sending US ground troops into Iraq for inevitably bloody battles to retake Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and to secure the predominantly Sunni Anbar province and its border with Syria, the top uniformed US commander told a Congressional hearing Thursday.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the House Armed Services Committee barely one week after the Obama administration ordered the doubling of the number of US troops deployed in Iraq, with another 1,500 “advisers” being sent into the country, most of them to embattled Anbar province.
With the new US war in the Middle East now in its fourth month, there is every indication that this was only the first in what will prove a series of military escalations as Washington pursues a strategy that extends well beyond the stated aim of “degrading and destroying” ISIS.


As the latest wave in the never-ending Iraq War heats up, the White House wants Congress to provide them with legal cover for the actions Barack has already (illegally) taken.  Specifically, the White House wants an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by the US Congress.


Earlier this week, Laura Koran and Ashley Killough (CNN) reported US Senator Tim Kaine declared that "there's no legal authority for the current U.S. mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria" and quoted him stating, "We have been engaged in a war -- that is not about imminent defense of the United States -- without legal authority."  The reporters notee the senator "has proposed a new, limited authorization specifically targeted to the current mission against ISIS."

At yesterday's House Armed Services Committee, US House Rep Walter Jones stated:

US House Rep Walter Jones:   Now we are going to possibly be asked by the President of the United States -- like we were by George W. Bush -- to authorize an AUMF.  This is nothing but an abdication of our Constitutional responsibility.  To give any president an AUMF.  We tried this past year in June when we had the NDAA bill, Adam Schiff tried to sunset out the AUMF that we gave to President Bush -- which is what was used by President Obama.  And I do not understand how we in Congress can continue to abdicate what the Constitution says is our responsibility.  Before I get to a brief question, James Madison once said this, "The power to declare war -- including the power to judging the cause of war  -- is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature."  And I do not believe sincerely because when -- this happens to be President Obama.  He wants to have another AUMF or an extension of what we have.  I hope that the Congress -- both parties -- will look seriously at what is our responsibility because it's not going to be but so long.   


H.A. Goodman (The Hill) weighs in noting:


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is correct in claiming that President Obama’s decision to send 1,500 more soldiers back to Iraq is illegal. We now have over 3,000 American soldiers back in a country we left in 2011, when the president fulfilled a promise of ending the Iraq War. The illegality of the Obama’s decision lies in the fact that Congress has not been consulted on matters that could easily lead to another war. Sending military advisers to train Iraqis seems to be a last ditch effort at succumbing to media and political pressure on the part of our president. Nobody wants to be in the White House if Bagdad falls to ISIL, but Saigon fell in 1975 and Gerald Ford didn’t send Americans back to Vietnam. ISIL indeed poses a threat, but not enough of threat to jettison Constitutional principles in the name of national security. 
Paul, in a recent Daily Beast op-ed, explains exactly why Obama is breaching certain laws by increasing troop levels without consulting the American people. The Kentucky senator cites both the Constitution and the War Powers Act to highlight Obama’s overreach in doubling the size of our military presence in Iraq: 
"If the Constitution were not enough, the War Powers Act reiterates the legislature’s prerogative. The War Powers Act does not allow for any military action to take place that is not authorized by Congress or to repel imminent attack. Period. The only exception is military action to repel an imminent attack. In that case, the president has 60 days to report to Congress. Obviously, it’s an exception that doesn’t apply to any of our current wars."



Former US House Rep Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth Kucinich (Huffington Post) point out of the White House's desired  AUMF,  "This new request rests not on fraud, but on hubris -- the vainglorious notion that we will, at last, 'stabilize' (remake) Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, that US military might trumps culture, religion, history. "


Reuters notes Gen Dempsey has landed in Iraq on an "unannounced visit."  All these years later, US officials still have to sneak into Iraq.  The State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted:





Back to the US State Dept press briefing:


QUESTION: Yesterday Chairman Dempsey said – he was talking about the cost of the fight against ISIL and so on, but he said something very interesting about Iraq. He said that we expect them to have an inclusive government and inclusive participation of all parties, otherwise you are going to leave them – I’m paraphrasing – to their own volition, so to speak. Is there like a time limit to see how inclusive the Iraqi Government is and is functioning and so on before you say, “That’s it, we give up on you”?


MS. PSAKI: I wouldn’t – I don’t think that’s exactly what he said. I know you’re paraphrasing in your own way --


QUESTION: I’m paraphrasing.


MS. PSAKI: -- but I think, one, we do think, absolutely, that it’s very important that not only they govern in an inclusive way but that the Iraqi Security Forces are inclusive and the way that they fight back against ISIL is inclusive. Now, Prime Minister Abadi has done a great deal of outreach to the Sunni tribes. He’s visited a number of regions to do that outreach. There was even an event just a couple of days ago earlier this week at the Al Asad Air Base where the speaker made reference to weapons and supplies that tribal fighters will be provided.
So certainly, just – the proof is in what happens, of course, as is true in any scenario. But we have seen them attempt to do a great deal of outreach. We’ve been doing a great deal of outreach through General Allen, through Ambassador McGurk, and we do feel that’s an important part of how things will be effective moving forward.


QUESTION: Okay. Seeing how the Sunni tribes were – felt alienated or felt abandoned, as a matter of fact, after the Americans left Iraq and their pay was cut off and so on, and everybody’s talking about some sort of a national guard that will bring in the Sunni tribes, is there any movement in that direction? Has any – has there been any progress, let’s say, in that area?


MS. PSAKI: Well, I just mentioned the fact that Prime Minister Abadi – he visited Sunni tribal leaders in Amman and Baghdad and stressed in public remarks that he will advocate for all Iraqis. We’re in the implementation stage – they are – of the national guard program, but obviously, beyond that it’s also about incorporating and including people from many different backgrounds into the ISF forces.


QUESTION: Yes, please --


QUESTION: So you are satisfied with his efforts so far on bringing the leaders of the --



MS. PSAKI: We’ve seen him take a number of – make a number of steps – take a number of steps, I should say – as well as people within the Iraqi Government to be more inclusive. Obviously, this is something that they’ll have to continue to work hard at implementing. There’s a great deal of mistrust, as we all know, and it’s going to take some time to incorporate everyone back in together.


The above would matter at any time but it especially matters when there's no real progress in Iraq.  Months into US President Barack Obama's so-called 'plan' to address the Islamic State, Cassandra Vinograd  (NBC News) reports:



U.S.-led airstrikes have failed to slow the number of ISIS attacks and its defiant militants are now racking up a higher body count than ever before, according to data provided exclusively to NBC News.
Analysis of IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center's (JTIC) database shows the current face — and pace — of the group's battle for Syria and Iraq.
Data showed that ISIS massively stepped up attacks after conquering the Iraqi city of Mosul on June 10 — and has stepped them up further since airstrikes were launched in August. Deaths caused by ISIS also climbed since the key city was overrun and have continued to rise since the U.S.-led coalition started bombing the militants.         


The plan is a failure thus far.

That's even more clear in Richard Engel and Carlo Angerer (NBC News -- link is text and video) report:


Active soldiers in the Iraqi army also told NBC News that they need more training. While they said they were willing to take on ISIS, they said they felt ill-prepared.
A 32-year-old sergeant from Baghdad, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said that the army was simply not prepared for battle and that it would take a long time to get rid of ISIS.         


Despite this fact, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, declared at yesterday's House Armed Services Committee,  "There is no change, and there is no different direction."

He also ridiculously insisted, "I think progress purchases patience."


There is no progress.

And, no, the claims of liberating an oil refinery (in Baiji) from the Islamic State (all over the news this morning) would not constitute progress.

I don't believe Barack sold this latest wave of war on "We must make the oil safe!"


AP notes Baghdad was struck by a car bombing which killed 15 people and left thirty-four more injured.  But, don't worry, soon Iraq's oil may be safe and doesn't that matter more than the Iraqi people?

Because if the Iraqi people mattered to the White House, they would be focusing on the government and working to help it on issues of inclusion.

Near the start of last month, the White House's official liar Susan Rice took to NBC's Meet The Press to specifically cite Mount Sinjar as one of the "very important successes" in Barack Obama's 'plan' to confront the Islamic State.   Yet only dyas later, Alsumaria reported that Yazidi MP Haji Kndorjsmo is calling for the government to rescue 700 families who are still trapped on Mount Sinjar.


Yazidis remain trapped on Mount Sinjar, months after Barack supposedly liberated them, but the 'rescue' of an inanimate object, an oil refinery, will be sold as 'progress.'

Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) reports:

At least 97 people were killed; about half of them were civilians. Another 122 people were wounded as Baghdad suffered a series of bombings today.

Military forces declared the town of Baiji liberated. Joint Iraqi, Peshmerga and Shi’ite militiamen fought for months to liberate the city and are in the final stages of retaking the refinery just outside of town. That refinery was the largest in Iraq before the Islamic State took over the city. Other sources say the militants are still in control of the city. At the very least, the city is filled with bombs and booby-traps making access difficult. At least 17 militants were killed.



Barack insisted to the American people that Iraq required a political solution.  But all he and the US government have focused on is a military solution.  In fact, the only figure outside the Iraqi government attempting to aid a political solution is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.



Last month, he called out the corruption in the Iraqi military.  All Iraq News notes al-Sistani made several calls on Friday.  His representative Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalayi applauded Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's decision earlier this week to relieve military commanders who were not performing their jobs and who were engaging in corruption.  al-Sistani's representative called for the political blocs to do something similar, identity "the sources of corruption" and purge them of their ranks.


Noting that al-Sistani met with al-Abadi October 20th and with Iraqi President Fouad Massoum November 11th, Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Al-Monitor) explains:


Concerning Sistani’s previous position of boycotting politicians, there is a fine line between intervention of the religious authority in politics and isolation from it. This is why Sistani insisted on forgoing a political position or interfering in politics. It would not be in line with the democratic path. At the same time, he has been protecting the country's democratic and civil framework through his social authority. This policy sustains the independence of both the state authority and the religious authority within a cooperative and constructive context.
The independence of the religious authority is a concept that Sistani strongly defends. Even when he opposed a third term for former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, he tried not to overstep this principle. Instead, he supported the independence of the state from the religious authority and expressed his discontent through indirect messages. For instance, he continued not to host politicians, and let his spokesmen, including Sheikh Karablai and Sayyid Ahmad al-Safi, deliver statements during Friday prayers in Karbala.
Sistani welcomed Massoum and Abadi to reaffirm his previous positions, which also clarify what led him to previously boycott politics and reveals why he supported the political shift that brought Abadi to power rather than Maliki. Sistani’s stance toward the Abadi government, his open messages of support in achieving change, fixing past mistakes and implementing reform should not be viewed as unconditional. The religious authority’s support is bound by the government’s ability to keep its promises to the Iraqi people. Sistani has vowed to support the reformist trend of the new government as long as it makes progress. Any slackening or failure by Abadi to follow through with reforms, and Sistani will change his position, turning his support to criticism.
Sistani’s conditions for backing Abadi’s government are not a secret. They are unrelated to the religious authority and the Shiites' role in it. Rather, they are about the ability of Abadi’s government to bring about social consensus, open itself to others in the country and abroad and fix the imbalance stemming from state corruption and past bad leadership.























Friday, November 14, 2014

Those mid-terms

A good commentary at IHC by James Petras notes:


The meteoric rise to power of Barack Obama in 2008 was propelled by one of the greatest demagogic US Presidential campaigns of all time: To millions of young Americans, he promised to end the US wars in the Middle East. To millions of working and middle class voters, he promised to end the economic crisis by confronting Wall Street.
To women, he promised to protect and expand their social rights and end the gender gap in wages and salaries. To human rights and civil liberties activists, he promised to end police state surveillance and torture, and to close the Guantanamo concentration camp, which had denied political prisoners a fair and open trial. To blacks, he promised higher living standards and greater racial equality in income. To Latino-Americans, he promised immigration reform facilitating a path to citizenship for long-term residents. Overseas he spoke in Cairo of a “new chapter” in US policy toward the Muslim world. To Russia, he promised President Putin he would ‘reset relations’ – toward greater co-operation.
Obama’s rhetorical flourishes attracted millions of young activists, women and minority voters and leaders to work for his election and the Democratic Party. He won a resounding victory! And the Democrats took control of the House and Senate.
Obama Embraces the Rightwing Agenda
The rhetorical exercise was a massive smoke screen. For his electoral campaign Obama raised over one billion dollars from the ‘1%’ - Wall Street bankers, Hollywood media moguls, Silicon Valley venture capitalists, Chicago Zionists and the Mid-Western business elite. Obama was clearly playing a double game – talking to “the people” and working for ‘the bosses’.

A few analysts cut through the demagogy and identified Obama as the ‘Greatest Con-Man of recent times”, the Washington counterpart of the great contemporary Wall Street swindler Bernard ‘Bernie’ Madoff.


Petras has a really important article and I hope you'll appreciate it and appreciate IHC for offering it.

You'll notice that The Nation, The Progressive and In These Times continued to whore for Barack.

IHC has more lively and real commentary.

If you haven't already, bookmark the site.

And if you're someone who supports media that speaks to you, consider making a donation to the site.


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



Thursday, November 13, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, CENTCOM host a military meet-up, Gen Martin Dempsey seems eager to send more US troops into Iraq, and much more.



US House Rep Walter Jones:  Mr. Secretary it's kind of ironic the last time that I heard, before today, a Secretary of Defense talk about military involvement in Iraq was Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  That got us into a war that was unnecessary.  I know ISIL is evil.  There's no question about it.  They need to be taken out.  But I looked at some of your statements from 2002 when you were a senator and how you felt about the obligation of a member of Congress to make a decision to send a young man or young woman to die.  I also looked at your statements  in 2007 when, like myself, you came out against the surge in Iraq.  Now we are going to possibly be asked by the President of the United States -- like we were by George W. Bush -- to authorize an AMUF.  This is nothing but an abdication of our Constitutional responsibility.  To give any president an AMUF.  We tried this past year in June when we had the NDAA bill, Adam Schiff tried to sunset out the AMUF that we gave to President Bush -- which is what was used by President Obama.  And I do not understand how we in Congress can continue to abdicate what the Constitution says is our responsibility.  Before I get to a brief question, James Madison once said this, "The power to declare war -- including the power to judging the cause of war  -- is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature."  And I do not believe sincerely because when -- this happens to be President Obama.  He wants to have another AMUF or an extension of what we have.  I hope that the Congress -- both parties -- will look seriously at what is our responsibility because it's not going to be but so long.  You have sent more and more troops to Iraq to train.  Many of these [being trained] are former Saddam Hussein loyalists and now they're fighting with ISIS -- some are fighting for the other side.  It's very complex, I understand that and I agree with that.  But for goodness sake, why in the world should we make such a commitment?  And we don't even have an end point to it.  I would like for you or Gen Dempsey -- I have great respect for both of you -- to submit for the record two things very quickly: how does this new war end in your opinion?  And I realize that it's just your opinion but it's very important because of what you are.  What is the end state of what we're trying to accomplish.  The American people -- fifty -- over fifty percent of the American people do not want our personnel in Syria or in Iraq.  And I will be honest with you, I don't know how we can convince the American people that a nation that's financially broke  -- You sat right here, Gen Dempsey, and you were exactly right, sequestration and all the budget problems coming your way and yet you're asking for five or six billion dollars to drop more armaments in Iraq and in Syria?  Where is it coming from? Please explain to the American people and to this Congress how this war is going to end some day?  Whether we are advisors or we are fighting?  And I hope to God we are not fighting and I hope we do not give the president a new AMUF.  So if you'll get those into the Committee in written form [take the question for the record] then you won't have to answer them now.  But this, again, looks like we're going down the same road that Secretary Rumsfeld said we had to do -- we had to do! -- and yet there was no end point to that as well.  Thank you very much.




That was Jones from this today's House Armed Services Committee hearing where Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey testified.

Committee Chair Buck McKeon made clear from the start that any authorization he got behind would not be an open-ended one.

The hearing was often surreal (and what was up with the band aid Hagel had on the left side of his face?) and a demonstration of just how insane the government is.

For example, to listen to Dempsey, the Islamic State is nothing but a big pimple "We need to squeeze ISIL from all directions."

He also insisted, "There is no change, and there is no different direction."  Or when he declared, "I think progress purchases patience."  Were that true, the reality would still be that there is no progress.  A fact Hagel seemed to acknowledge when he declared,  "We are three months into a multi-year effort."  Not a reassuring statement.


Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com) offers:



So what’s our policy? You can’t really tell from here what this most "transparent" of administrations is up to, and what’s particularly scary is that one doubts whether even they know. Obama says one thing, and then does another. Dempsey says more, Obama says less. This game of seesaw between the President and Dempsey is a bit banana-republic-anish – I mean, who’s in charge here, exactly? Or are we being fooled into thinking Obama is the "reluctant interventionist," as he cynically plays the game once played by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the run up to our last world war?
FDR, you’ll recall, pledged "again and again" that "your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars" – even as he was scheming and plotting to get us in by doing everything possible to provoke a German attack on our trans-Atlantic shipping. While FDR pussyfooted around – or appeared to – his allies and advisors clamored for more decisive measures, to which he eventually and gladly gave in.

Whatever the President’s real views, we are sliding down the Iraqi slope pretty rapidly. Hardly a week goes by when we don’t hear of another few hundred GIs being quietly shipped to Iraq – "non-combat" troops, to be sure. Yes, they’re going over there to engage in some pretty dangerous and potentially lethal "non-combat" – and when they start getting killed in numbers high enough to notice, will they come back in non-bodybags? 


At one point early on, Chair Buck McKeon noted that Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes went on TV (PBS' Frontline) and stated that US President Barack Obama would not reconsider his decision re: sending in troops for combat on the ground.

Dempsey stated he was under no limitations with regards to what he recommends to Barack. and that there was nothing to stop him, if he felt it was needed, from recommending US troops accompany Iraqi troops on missions in Mosul and along the border, "I'm not predicting at this point that I would recommend that those forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by US forces, but we're certainly considering it."


US House Rep Loretta Sanchez wanted to know what was different this time?  After all the training that had taken place, what was different in this latest 'solution'?


Hagel insisted one difference was the new prime minister (Haider al-Abadi) and how Iraq now had a Minister of Defense, "We haven't had a Minister of Defense in Iraq for more than four years -- [former] Prime Minister [Nouri al-]Maliki took that job for himself -- as he did the Minister of Interior."


There is no political solution in Iraq still.  And no real effort to work towards one on the part of the US government.  But, as we noted in yesterday's snapshot, CENTCOM was leading more military efforts.  Today CENTCOM issued the following release:


TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 12, 2014 – U.S. and partner-nation military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria Nov. 10 to 12 using bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 16 airstrikes, U.S. Central Command officials reported today.
Separately, U.S. and partner nation military forces conducted seven airstrikes in Iraq Nov. 10-12 using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists, officials said.
Meetings at Centcom Headquarters
And, Centcom will host military planners from more than 30 nations for an operational planning conference at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, from today until Nov. 21, officials said today. The conference provides an opportunity for coalition partners to strengthen relationships and further develop and refine military campaign plans to degrade and defeat ISIL. The event, officials said, is another milestone in U.S. and coalition military efforts to work together with Iraq and other partners from around the world to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community.
"This gathering of military planners from more than 30 nations is historic in many ways," said Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Centcom's commander. "The nearly 200 participants represent the broad coalition that has come together and is key to the success of our campaign to defeat ISIL.
"Indeed, it is the coalition that our enemies fear most," Austin continued. "And, it is the coalition that will get the job done and done the right way, and as quickly as possible. I have every confidence that over the next several days this esteemed group will do tremendous work and through their efforts set the conditions necessary to ensure that ISIL is defeated and long-term security and stability is achieved throughout the Central Region."
Airstrikes Target ISIL in Syria, Iraq
In Syria, 10 airstrikes conducted near Kobani struck eight small ISIL units, damaged three ISIL fighting positions and destroyed an ISIL logistics facility. There were two airstrikes south of Al-Haskah damaging a crude oil collection point operated by ISIL. Three airstrikes northeast of Dayr Az Zawr damaged an ISIL crude oil collection facility. Near Dayr Az Zawr, one airstrike struck a small ISIL unit and damaged an ISIL vehicle.
In Iraq, two airstrikes near Kirkuk struck a small ISIL unit and a large ISIL unit. Five airstrikes near Bayji struck three small ISIL units, one large ISIL unit and destroyed two ISIL buildings, an ISIL sniper position, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL mortar tube and an ISIL artillery piece. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely. Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.
The strikes were conducted as part of Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community.
The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project power and conduct operations. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

 Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the U.S., Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


In the meantime, Barack says that he can't be expected not to arm and support tyrants.  AP reports the White House is seeking an exemption from the Leahy Amendment which, among other things, is supposed to prevent the US government from giving aid and weapons to those they know torture.

Barack always takes the low road.

Today the spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared:

The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement reached between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government aimed at finding a solution to the issues related to the general budget and oil exports.
He congratulates Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Kurdistan Regional Government's Prime Minister Nechervan  Barzani for the willingness to negotiate and conclude agreements that are in the interest of the Iraqi people.

The Secretary-General encourages the Federal and Regional authorities to build on this important first step and to solve all remaining outstanding issues within the framework of the Constitution. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq stands ready, within its mandate, to continue supporting this process.


The issue came up today in the State Dept press briefing.


QUESTION: Just somewhat related to – well, not related to this at all, but in Iraq.


MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.


QUESTION: Have you seen reports that the Kurds and the Iraqis – or the government in Baghdad have reached an oil agreement?


MS. PSAKI: Yes. Yes, I have.

QUESTION: Do you have any response to that?


MS. PSAKI: We welcome the announcement that an agreement has been reached between the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to take initial steps at finding a fair and comprehensive solution on the management of Iraq’s hydrocarbon resources. We urge that these steps be taken as soon as possible to build trust as Iraqi leaders continue to discuss remaining issues in the coming days toward a just and constitutional solution that will allow all Iraqis to benefit fairly and equitably from Iraq’s hydrocarbon sector.
We are encouraged by this development and the willingness of officials in Baghdad and Erbil to address these complex issues directly and earnestly. We understand that this is the first of many steps that will be required to reach a comprehensive agreement, and the United States will continue to serve as a neutral broker and facilitator to the extent desired by the leadership of both Iraq and the KRG.


QUESTION: Do you know or can you speak to what the U.S. involvement as a neutral facilitator was in getting to this point? Do you know?


MS. PSAKI: I – that’s a great question. I’d have to talk to our team about our involvement in the last couple of days. Obviously, we’ve been encouraging both sides for some time to resolve this issue, but I can see if there’s more on that front to report.


QUESTION: Ambassador McGurk was in Iraq. Did he play any role to facilitate this agreement?


MS. PSAKI: Say that one more time?


QUESTION: Ambassador Brett McGurk was in Iraq a few days ago.



MS. PSAKI: Yes, he was. It’s a great question. I don’t have any details on his involvement. Obviously, this was largely negotiated between the KRG and the Government of Iraq. We’ve certainly been encouraging them to resolve this for some time. I can see if there’s any more to read out about his involvement.



To his credit, Brett McGurk didn't try to claim credit he didn't earn:





The violence continues and Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) reports, "At least 181 people were killed and 46 were wounded on Thursday. As well as the usual bombings in Baghdad and airstrikes in ISIS/DAASH territory, militants executed a number of tribe members. Also, several dumped bodies were found in Baghdad."


And we'll close with this from RT's Abby Martin:


















  • Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    I have been played

    A very good friend is down on herself because she got tricked.  She helped someone who was basically a con artist.

    I told her we've all been there.

    And I'm writing about my being there tonight in case anyone else is feeling like they're the only one who's been played.

    But first off, I will be played again.

    I refuse to stop helping others because one person ran a con.

    This was probably 2008 or 2009.

    But a woman I worked with (she quit in 2010) was always having problems.

    And I was pretty much responsible for her lunch every workday (paying for it).

    And that was fine, she was having money problems and we've all been there.

    But she and her husband moved at the end of that month.

    She was commuting -- a 45 minute drive.

    And so she moves in on Friday.

    And all she has is an air mattress.

    He's going to bring the furniture on Sunday -- her husband.  He's got to work Friday and Saturday and those are his last days (he's going to get a new job).

    So I'm helping her with the air mattress, she's never used one (I have)   and I'm looking around and all.

    That's it.

    That's all she has.

    I point out that the thing needs batteries to inflate.

    So we hit Wal-Mart or Target, I forget which.

    Now she has a bar in the apartment and says her table won't fit so they'll just the bar to eat at.

    So I point out the stools and get her to sit on them and choose the most comfortable one.  I grab three and put them in the cart and say my treat.  She grabs a pillow and a blanket.  That's really it.

    I say she can't not get food but she says she doesn't have money and blah blah blah.

    She loves Dr. Pepper so I go and get her a six pack of them in the bottles.  She also loves Cheetoes so I get the big bag of those.  I grab the six-pack of pop corn.  She's got snacks for the night at least.

    We then drive to her fave food place (Chick-Fil-A -- which I hated before they floated their homophobia) and I buy her dinner.

    After she eats (and I inflate the bed), I leave.

    I get home and realize, she has no toilet paper.

    So I grab a roll, grab an unopened toothbrush, two boxes of bar soap (I use Irish Spring), a small (travel size) unused bottle of shampoo, four big towels, some plates, a pitcher, an unopened thing of Country Time mix, some cans of Raviolie (with the pull off lids in case she doesn't have a can opener), some ramen type noodles in trays, some TV dinners, some plastic glasses, some of my silverware (spoons, forks and knives -- which I hoped I would get back when her stuff was moved on the Sunday but I never did) and some other stuff I'm forgetting now.

    Oh, and my clock radio.

    She had no radio, she had no TV, she was just going to be in there with nothing (I also grabbed several magazines).

    I go over with it.

    On Monday, I give her a ride home and we stop for her to get some food since her husband had texted that he hadn't had time to go to the grocery store.  So we go through the drive in at a burger place and she pays but she pays 32 bucks and change for the food for her and her husband.

    The next day, same thing.

    Wednesday, she picks me up and drives me home to say thank you.  And she says she needs to go by the pharmacy after work to pick up some prescriptions and hopes that won't be a problem.

    Not at all.

    But we don't.  She drops me off because she and her husband are going to a Mexican food place to eat and she'll stop by the pharmacy on the way.

    Why are they doing that?

    He still hasn't had time to go to the grocery store and she's too damn lazy too.

    So in two days, they've already spent over 60 bucks just on dinner and are now going out to eat at a pricey Mexican food place?

    And I was buying her lunch for the last four weeks because she told me she had money problems?

    I spent over $100 bucks at Target or Wal-Mart buying her stuff the night of her move in because she didn't have money?

    I mean it was so obvious that she'd always had money and that she was just using me.

    We all get played.

    But don't feel stupid.  We tried to be nice.  We did good things.

    The people who should feel bad are the little con artists.

    I stopped buying her lunch and when she came to me 3 weeks later asking me please to buy it again I told her no and told her if she really did have money problems -- and maybe she did -- stop spending 30 bucks at fast food places for one meal, go to the grocery store and eat at home.



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


    Wednesday, November 12, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hands out some pink slips, the US bombing coalition in Iraq kills 15 civilians in one strike, US CENTCOM starts a big meet-up today of military leaders from at least 30 countries, the State Dept learns of the meet up in Wednesday afternoon's press briefing when a reporter (Al Quds' Said Arikat) brings it up, and much more.


    Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth Tweeted:




  • Many of # Iraq's ruthless Shia militias, which are driving Sunnis into the arms of ISIS, are backed by # Iran.


  • US President Barack Obama's so-called 'plan' isn't accomplishing anything and isn't a plan.


    It's also not legal.

    Laura Koran and Ashley Killough (CNN) report US Senator Tim Kaine declared today at a Wilson Center panel discussion that "there's no legal authority for the current U.S. mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria" and quotes him stating, "We have been engaged in a war -- that is not about imminent defense of the United States -- without legal authority."  The reporters note the senator "has proposed a new, limited authorization specifically targeted to the current mission against ISIS."


    So much pride in the bombings on the part of Congress -- among others.




    Wise guys
    Shy guys
    And sly lover boys
    With big bad bedroom eyes
    I never loved a man I trusted
    As far as I could pitch my shoe
    -- "Lucky Girl," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Dog Eat Dog

    Wise guys, shy guys and apparently pee shy guys.

    Listening to the spokespeople for the US government, the Canadian government, the British government, the Iraqi government, et al announce their daily 'kills' from bombings who knew the big swinging dicks would go all pee shy the moment they had to step up?

    This morning,  NINA reported Mosul Medical Center "received the bodies of 15 civilians, including six women and four children, [who] were killed in an air strike on the Mithaq area east of Mosul."

    Yet night has fallen and none of the big swinging dicks have come out to brag.

    Come on, 15 kills.

    Why the sudden shyness?

    Usually, 15 kills would have you all crowing about the 'terrorists' you killed.

    But this time, when it's known before you can brag that the dead were civilians, so you clam up.

    How many times, be honest, do you think these governments have crowed they killed 'terrorists' in Operatoin Inherent Bulls**t when, in fact, they killed civilians?

    Lots?

    Yeah, I'd go with that too.

    RT observes today, "The US military has admitted that it is reliant on satellite images, drones and surveillance flights to try and get a better picture of what is happening on the ground. It has very few reliable sources on the ground which it can use to get up to date and precise information. The data gained from the air is also used to pinpoint possible targets where airstrikes can be carried out. "


    The editorial board of the Oman Tribune offers:

    At this point in time it is impossible for thousands of Iraqi troops to overwhelm even a few hundred well-trained, well-equipped and highly motivated fighters of the Baghdadi militia. The blame for this must go to the Americans. When Obama announced the end of the deployment of US forces in Iraq, not much was done to ensure that the country would be handed over to the safe hands of well-trained Iraqi forces with the latest armaments. It seemed at that time that the Americans were in a hurry to get out to justify the Nobel Prize for Peace that Obama won as soon as he became president. And today, Iraq is paying a heavy price for American myopia. Much more will  now have to be done to ensure the war in Iraq turns against the extremists. Who knows as time passes, more and more American soldiers might be needed in Iraq. And Obama, under heavy pressure after the horrifying loss of his Democrats in the recent Congressional elections, will have no other option but to send more troops. Or else without having any legacy to shout about, he might become the most unpopular American president in recent times. Afghanistan, after the withdrawal of US forces at the end of the year, might add to his woes. But it may not be as bad as Iraq since about 10,000 western forces will remain to advice and train Afghan soldiers who are also said to be ill-trained and ill-equipped and without effective weapons. In fact, the Americans have destroyed a lot of military equipment there, fearing that ill-trained Afghan troops would lose them in battle to the Taliban.

    In Iraq especially, it is doubtful if there will be a decisive outcome on the battlefield. Perhaps it is time the government of Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi works hard for a political solution. He has made a start by wooing disgruntled elements many of who support the Baghdadi militia and have even joined it. This task is going to be tough. But Abadi will have to try hard for the sake of ensuring that his country remains a single entity and enjoys peace in the long term. The Americans will have a role to play in this by being a reliable partner and provide stability to the government. Running away like the last time will mean more trouble for the Middle East. And, having a stake in the region, they will doubtlessly be hit hard.



    Barack's non-plan stared with a few hundred US service members going into Iraq and rose to 1500.  That's right 1500.  Huffington Post needs to grasp reality.  To mock Senator John McCain, they felt the need to say AP estimates it's 1400.  Yes, but they don't include the 100 Special Ops service members the White House and the Pentagon have previously acknowledged were sent into Iraq.

    So from a few hundred it went up to 1500 and last week Barack announced that figure would now double to 3,000.   Bill Van Auken (WSWS) reports:


    The Pentagon has dispatched at least 50 US troops, including “advisers” and “force protection” forces, to Iraq’s embattled western province of Anbar, 80 percent of which is reportedly under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
    The elements that arrived Tuesday are the advance team for a much larger deployment, which will include the bulk of the 1,500 additional troops whose dispatch to Iraq the Pentagon announced last week, effectively doubling the American forces on the ground in the country.
    Anbar, which is predominantly Sunni, was the scene of the bloodiest fighting during the more than eight-year US war and occupation, which ended in 2011. It had risen in revolt against the Shia sectarian government of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last year, paving the way for the rapid advance of ISIS and routing of the corrupt and crumbling US-trained Iraqi army.
    The US military’s advance team has been sent to the sprawling desert Al-Asad air base, which was a principal hub for US military operations during the 2003-2011 occupation before it was turned over to Iraqi security forces.


    AFP notes, "The deployment raises the risk of potential American causalities if the Baghdadi militia group overruns an Iraqi air base there or if it manages to down an American helicopter with a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile, though US officers insist those are remote scenarios."  Jeff Schogol (Military Times) adds, "About 50 U.S. troops have deployed to Al-Asad Air Base conducting a site survey to see if U.S. advisers can use the installation to support the Iraqi military, said Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a Defense Department spokeswoman."

    Al-Asad Air Base . . .  Why does that strike a chord right now?

    Oh, yeah, Iraq's Speaker of Parliament is Saleem al-Jobouri was just there as he was visiting Anbar Province to examine conditions there.  All Iraq News reports his bodyguards stopped an "assassination attempt in Ain al-Assad Military Base" today.

    News of the assassination attempt on an Iraqi military base comes two days after the US government announced that F-16 training for Iraqis would no longer take place in Iraq but instead in Arizona.  Gareth Jennings (Jane's Defence Weekly) explains, "Iraq has ordered 36 F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft in all, the first of which were due to be delivered to Balad Airbase earlier this year. However, the deteriorating security situation on the ground meant that the DoD had to evacuate its contractors at the base, and postpone handing over the jets."


    What did AFP say again?  Oh, right, "The deployment raises the risk of potential American causalities if the Baghdadi militia group overruns an Iraqi air base there or if it manages to down an American helicopter with a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile, though US officers insist those are remote scenarios."


    Adam Taylor (Washington Post) notes, "The U.S. military seems to have decided that Anbar must be a key ground for the fight against Islamic State. President Obama last week announced a dramatic increase in the number of U.S. soldiers being sent to Iraq, with officials adding that a new hub for U.S. military advisers would be set up in Anbar."


    With all the military action, since Barack has declared that the only answer for Iraq is a political solution, you just know that the US government is leading on the diplomatic side, right?

    Wrong.

    And, in fact, diplomacy suffered a major setback today.

    Note this exchange which took place at the US State Dept today in the press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki.



    QUESTION: Jen, there is a meeting that will take place tomorrow here in Washington by 200 military experts from 30 countries that will be discussing the next phase in the fight against ISIL. That might also include some ground troops. Are you aware of that or could you share with us any information that you might --


    MS. PSAKI: Is the Department of Defense – I assume is engaged in this event or hosting it in some capacity. Or do you have more details on it?


    QUESTION: Okay. I don’t have more details. 


    The spokesperson for the State Dept is asking a reporter for information about a DC meet-up

    Because she knows nothing about it.

    She knows nothing about it.

    Two hours before she went to the podium, US Major Brian Fickel Tweeted this:






    US Central Command issued the following press release today:

    November 12, 2014
    RELEASE #20141109
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


    TAMPA, Fla. - U.S. Central Command will host military planners from more than 30 nations for an operational planning conference Nov. 12-21 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. The conference provides an opportunity for coalition partners to strengthen relationships and further develop and refine military campaign plans to degrade and defeat ISIL. The event is another milestone in U.S. and Coalition military efforts to work together with Iraq and other partners from around the world to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community.

    "This gathering of military planners from more than 30 nations is historic in many ways," said Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, U.S. Central Command commander. "The nearly 200 participants represent the broad Coalition that has come together and is key to the success of our campaign to defeat ISIL. Indeed, it is the Coalition that our enemies fear most. And, it is the Coalition that will get the job done and done the right way, and as quickly as possible. I have every confidence that over the next several days this esteemed group will do tremendous work and through their efforts set the conditions necessary to ensure that ISIL is defeated and long-term security and stability is achieved throughout the Central Region."



    Can someone get a copy of that over to the State Dept?

    Let's go back to the press briefing.


    QUESTION: Let me ask you about a poll that was conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Study in Doha. They have a satellite office here in Washington that held a press conference today. And it shows that while a majority of Arabs support the fight against ISIS itself, they remain suspicious of U.S. intentions. Now, they also say that you don’t take into consideration Arab opinion in – when formulating U.S. policy, whether military or just policy. Do you have any comment on that?


    MS. PSAKI: Well, I haven’t seen that poll and I’m not going to speak to a poll, but let me convey, though, that obviously, from the beginning we felt it was important for Arab countries to be partners militarily when we did our first airstrikes. We’ve been partnering and working closely with Arab countries and Arab leaders because we feel specifically that the voices of those leaders, the voices of religious leaders, of faith leaders, of government leaders in many of those countries is far more effective than the voice of the United States. So I think our actions just contradict the findings of that report.


    QUESTION: Well, that’s the fact – that’s why they’re angry. Their beef is on this point, that you do consult with the leaders, but you don’t – you dismiss totally the sentiments of the so-called “Arab street,” the sentiments of the public, how they view your interventions and so on in the region.


    MS. PSAKI: Well, I think our view, Said – and we’re not just talking to leaders; we’re talking to a range of civil society leaders, of religious leaders, of faith leaders, we’re communicating via social media. And a lot of this is done, though, through partnering with many high-level officials in these countries. We certainly feel that there is a view that ISIL poses a threat to the region. We’re taking on that threat with these countries, and I don’t know that there’s much disagreement about that particular challenge.


    QUESTION: On the political dimension of your strategy against ISIS in Iraq, can we – have you made any progress in, for example, vis-a-vis Iraq’s Government’s efforts to reach out to the Sunni communities in Anbar?


    MS. PSAKI: Well, there have been – Prime Minister Abadi has spoken to this, but he’s also taken a range of steps to meet with leaders, Sunni leaders and Sunni tribal leaders. He’s ramped up outreach to Sunni tribal leaders in Amman and Baghdad and stressed in public remarks that he is an advocate and will continue to be an advocate for all Iraqis regardless of ethnicity or religion. We know there’s quite a bit of history here and hard feelings given some of the events over the last several months prior to Prime Minister Abadi taking over, and we know it’s going to take some time to repair some of those relationships. But we’ve seen him take some steps to address them and we’ve seen him make efforts to both encourage the security forces to operate in a more inclusive manner, in a regulated manner, including the Shia militia, to reach out himself personally, which is what I just referenced.


    QUESTION: What about the relationship between Baghdad and the KRG, Kurdistan Regional Government? Yesterday – or it was this weekend, actually, prime minister of Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani, slammed the Iraqi Government for failing to deliver on promises that it had made before forming the government in Baghdad.


    MS. PSAKI: Well, are you --


    QUESTION: It seems that people like the Kurds are frustrated with Baghdad, with Prime Minister Abadi’s new government, the same way that they were with al-Maliki’s government.



    MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t think it’s been put specifically in those terms. Obviously, there are discussions about everything from oil revenues to payments that are ongoing. And we’re certainly encouraging those to be – the Iraqi Government to resolve those issues, but those are negotiations that are ongoing. And there have been some back and forth on it between the Kurdish government and the central government. And we hope it will be resolved soon.


    Regardless of how she'd put it, it's not new or just emerging.  From the November 5th snapshot:


    Tuesday morning, we noted:

    Word is the Kurds have about had it with al-Abadi.
    But you don't see that in the press do you?
    Last week, not covered in the US or western press, former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani sent a delegation to Baghdad to speak about serious issues and how the rift between the KRG and the central government out of Baghdad was again widening.  Among the issues resurfacing are the failure of al-Abadi to pass a budget for 2014 or 2015 (he inherited the failure to pass the 2014 budget) and the attempts to prevent the Kurds from selling their own oil.
    At a time when the KRG is denied federal funds and when the KRG's fighters (the Peshmerga) are carrying a heavy load, Talabani's delegation expressed the opinion that now is not the time to be pursuing Nouri's failed politics.
    Though pleasantries were exchanged, the delegation wasn't stupid enough to be mollified by pretty words.  If the rift widens, look for things to get even worse in Iraq -- and who would have thought that was possible?



    Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan (Wall St. Journal) report on the budgets (2014 and 2015) today and also on the conflict between the KRG and Baghdad while getting it right -- something few do -- about what came first (Nouri's withholding the 17% of the federal budget the Kurds are entitled to) in this economic battle. 



    Apparently those realities have also caught the State Dept by surprise.  Alexander Whitcomb (Rudaw) reports today:

    The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is moving forward with legislation to further reduce its ties with Baghdad, as the cabinet put two oil and gas laws forward for parliamentary approval next week, KRG officials said.

    The cabinet approved a bill at its session on Wednesday that would create a special account consolidating the region’s various sources of oil revenue to provide transparency.

    A second bill would create a publicly-owned company to sign contracts for discovery, production, development, marketing and export.

    Parliament is expected to vote on the measure after the energy committee convenes on Monday. 



    Don't tell Psaki, she might pass out.


    As for the poll Said Arikat referred to, it was from The Doha Institute which issued a press release on the poll noting:



    Findings from a survey by the Arab Opinion Index team, within the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, and which were presented at near-simultaneous press conferences in Doha and Washington, DC, have demonstrated the depth of the Arab public’s distaste for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Findings from telephone interviews with 5,100 respondents in seven Arab countries and in Syrian refugee camps located Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey show that 85% of the Arab holds negative views of ISIL, to varying degrees. This compares to only 11% of the Arab public whose views towards the group were either “Positive” or “Positive to some extent”.
    When asked to explain the reasons for the backing which ISIL enjoyed amongst its supporters, only 13% of respondents cited the group’s adherence to Islamic principles. A much larger group (55%) explains support for ISIL by citing a host of other reasons: either due to its military achievements; its preparedness to challenge the West; its opposition to Iran and the Syrian and Iraqi regimes; or its purported support for the Sunni Muslim community in the Levant.

    In line with respondents’ negative attitudes towards ISIL, 59% also voiced support for the military campaign led by the international coalition set up to oppose the group. Additionally, the public in the Arab region is supportive of Arab participation in the coalition. In contrast, roughly one-third of the Arab public forms an opposing camp who disagree either with the aims of the international coalition against ISIL and/or the participation of Arab countries within that coalition.


    In the limited efforts at diplomacy, the State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted the following today:



    W/PM Abadi yesterday in . Today, he ordered key security reforms to advance fight:




    Psaki could have noted that (if she was aware of it).  She might also have noted what Iraq's prime minister did today.  The Iraq Embassy in DC issued the following today:


    Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces visited Baghdad Operations Command on November 10, 2014 and held an extended meeting with commanders and officers from various units of the Armed Forces.
    He hailed the efforts of Baghdad Operations Command, calling on its officers to firmly deal with organized crime and enforce severe measures against criminals who seek to undermine Baghdad’s security environment.
    The Prime Minister also stressed the need to work hard to address serious challenges that threaten our society. He confirmed that the Ministry of Interior would resume responsibility for the management of security in Baghdad and noted the government’s determination to remove all concrete barriers in the city of Baghdad. The Prime Minister announced plans to remove road blocks that do not contribute to enhanced security and noted that the issue must be dealt with professionally and thoughtfully in order to ease traffic for the residents of Baghdad. In addition, the Prime Minister noted intentions to open access to parts of the Green Zone and stressed the need for vigilance against terrorists who seek to exploit these new measures.
    Prime Minister Al-Abadi also discussed a number of issues related to living conditions and traffic accidents in the city of Baghdad, and issued several executive orders in this regard.
    On November 12, 2014, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Dr. Haidar Al-Abadi issued executive orders to relieve 26 military commanders from their posts and retire an additional 10 commanders. He also appointed 18 military officers to senior posts within the Ministry of Defense as part of ongoing efforts to professionalize Iraq’s military institutions and root out corruption in its various forms.
    Prime Minister Al-Abadi also met in his office today a number of military commanders from the Armed Forces. During the meeting, he stressed the need for Iraq’s military leadership to exhibit efficiency, integrity and courage so that soldiers can rally behind their commanders and fight effectively, adding that any assessment of the armed forces should be based on these merits.
    Prime Minster Al-Abadi said that the Iraqi Army’s losses were the result of many complicated internal, external and political factors, stressing the need to restore confidence in the security forces through real action and by combating corruption at the individual and institutional levels. He emphasized his strong support for this approach, stressing the need to act swiftly, particularly given that the military enjoys considerable political and popular support, in addition to backing from the religious establishments.
    The Prime Minister noted that the army is the defender of the homeland, and in the near future will seek to limit its task to defending Iraq's borders, while transferring security responsibilities to the Ministry of Interior and other security agencies.

    The Prime Minster highlighted the great victories achieved by our armed forces on various fronts and their determination to liberate every inch of Iraqi territory in cooperation with the people of the provinces. 


    Many outlets reported on the above -- AFP, the Associated Press, etc.  But no one pointed out the obvious re: firing the commander over Anbar.

    Since January, the Iraqi military has been bombing residential neighborhoods in Falluja (and in other Anbar cities, but Falluja's been bombed daily since the start of the year).  September 13th, Haider al-Abadi announced that the bombings would cease.  (The bombings fit the legal definition of War Crimes.  They are collective punishment.)  Despite that announcement, the bombings have continued.

    Anbar's military command has refused to follow the orders of al-Abadi who is supposed to be commander in chief of the Iraqi military.

    That's kind of a key detail and one that everyone left out in their so-called reports.

    David D. Kirkpatrick (New York Times) reports on the firings and forgets the issue of the bombing of Falluja's residential areas.  But he gets credit for noting that al-Abadi appears to have ignored the role Parliament is supposed to play in this sort of action and that he mirrors Nouri al-Maliki in that.  He also gets credit for this:


    Mr. Abadi was elected three months ago, with strong American backing, on a pledge to build a more inclusive and responsive government after the divisive eight-year rule of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.
    Mr. Maliki is a senior leader of a political faction based in the Shiite Muslim majority, and he is widely blamed by many Iraqis and the White House for cronyism, nepotism and police abuses that alienated the Sunni Muslim population, opening doors to the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State. As prime minister, he was a strongman who kept tight control of the security services, and he stacked the military’s top ranks with loyalists rather than the most competent officers, contributing to the erosion of the military’s fighting ability.


    It's a detail that, for example, AP leaves out.  In fact, AP is defending Nouri and white washing his reign of terror in their useless 'report.'


    I wish Kirkpatrick had addressed the residential bombings but at least his report was filled with skepticism and details and examples.  It was a report.  A solid one.  Others can't make the same claim.


    In addition to the violence already noted, Ahmed Rasheed, Saif Sameer, Michael Gregory and Andrew Roche (Reuters) report "suicide bombings and car bombs" have led to 23 deaths in Iraq today.  That figure also does not include the 2 corpses National Iraqi News Agency reports were dumped "in the Hurriah area, northwest of Baghdad."






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