Sunday, June 19, 2016

As Nancy Reagan once said: Just say no

Following up on "Bye, bye Bernie," I'd suggest you read Gary Leupp's piece at Dissident Voice:




In his quasi-concession speech last Thursday, broadcast without a live audience (probably due to the fear of loud boos), Bernie Sanders began with the observation: “Election days come and go. But political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end.”
In other words: Even if I concede, I want the movement I generated to continue.
Citing various ongoing mass movements, he declared: “And that’s what this campaign has been about over this past year. That’s what the political revolution is all about.”
Subtext: It’s all about bringing you kids into the Democratic Party—in order to change it.


Bernie's playing sheep herder now.

Trying to bring the 'wayward' back into the fold.

It's not going to happen for a lot of people.

It shouldn't happen for anyone.



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



Saturday, June 18, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the War Crimes in Falluja continue, thousands of new refugees have been created by 'liberating' the city, US President Barack Obama meets with Saudi royal, and much more.


The stupidity runneth over -- and circles around itself:

In light of Fallujah quick fall, Mosul upcomig battle seems now less unrealistic.







Does it get any more stupid than Green Lemon and Joel Wing?


A terrorist organization is not a government.

The Islamic State seized portions of Iraq not because they were so wonderful or so trained but because the government of Iraq was much worse than inept -- it was (and remains) corrupt and selective -- persecuting all that aren't in power but most openly persecuting the Sunnis.

We have repeatedly pointed out how embarrassing it is for Haider al-Abadi (US-installed prime minister of Iraq) that he's been prime minister since August of 2014, Mosul was taken over by the Islamic State in June of 2014 and Mosul still is held by the Islamic State.

al Qaeda, the big terrorist in the world mind throughout the '00s, never controlled Afghanistan.  (The Taliban did.)


The Islamic State is able to do amazing attacks, vast destruction, deadly deeds, criminal acts.

In Iraq, thanks to the government of Iraq, they were able to seize territory.

That they can be driven from that territory should not been seen as a shock.

That it's taken two years for Haider -- and counting -- to reclaim Mosul is shocking.

And appalling.


That the Islamic State could be driven out of cities it holds in Iraq was never in doubt -- even without US participation.

That it's taking so long goes to the corruption that is the Iraqi government.


[Sidebar, we don't focus on Syria here.  We have not made a point to condemn or even criticize US President Barack Obama's scattershot approach -- which has included arming some of the same groups designated as terrorists elsewhere.  I would not have armed anyone but the picture there is different than in Iraq.  Though Barack's now being pressured -- heavy this week -- he has refused to send US combat troops into Syria.  I think that's probably the smartest thing he's done in his presidency.  The briefest possible description for Syria remains "civil war."]


And, again, these 'victories' should have taken place "even without US participation."

The fact that the 'victories' come only after a year and five months of daily US bombings, after that long in training, after the use of US forces in combat, etc, etc, is appalling.




Iraqi gov officials/militia commanders recruit children

















  • And they're using child soldiers.

    Which is appalling.

    And should not happen.

    But such children demonstrate more dedication and passion than the government of Iraq has.

    That is the story.

    For nearly two years, Haider al-Abadi has been prime minister of Iraq.

    During that time, Mosul has been occupied by the Islamic State and remains occupied.

    How do you look yourself in the mirror when you've allowed a terrorist group to take over cities and when you won't do anything yourself?

    Every action taken -- whether by the Iraqi forces proper or by them and/or the Shi'ite militias (which are part of the Iraqi forces now -- is backed by either the United States or Iran.

    There is no rah-rah here despite the media drum beat and desire to create one.

    I do not care for the Shi'ite militias.  That said, these comments are not a slap at them.  They are not a slap at the Iraqi military proper.

    They are an acknowledgement that the government of Iraq is a failure.

    Beyond that, these actions are empty -- these military 'victories.'

    That's before you take into account what 'liberation' has looked like in Ramadi and elsewhere.

    But the military actions are meaningless in terms of wiping out the Islamic State.

    It's a terrorist organization that took root in Iraq because of the government persecuting the citizens.

    Ammar al-Shamary and Jim Michaels (USA TODAY) explain:


    Analysts say the battlefield gains will need to be followed by political reconciliation, since the Islamic State was able to take advantage of Sunni anger at the Shiite-dominated central government.
    The Islamic State is not popular among Sunnis, but resistance in some areas of the country was weak, since many Sunnis did not want to fight on the side of the Iraqi government — allowing the militants to take over large swaths of territory two years ago.
    "Political concessions with Sunnis will be needed for the Fallujah operation to sustain any gains," said Sterling Jensen, an assistant professor at the United Arab Emirates' National Defense College in Abu Dhabi.


    There has been movement on the political front.


    Haider al-Abadi has replaced Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister but the persecution has not changed.

    That's not surprising.

    The two are friendly (at one point, they were friends) and they both hail from the same political party (Dawa).

    Haider's blusters about ending corruption but then appoints a member of Dawa to head the so-called investigations thereby ensuring that Nouri and he himself are protected.

    The corruption starts at the top.

    As does the disregard for the Constitution of Iraq.


    Haider's tossed out vice presidents -- a power he does not have in the Constitution.  He's tried to put together a new Cabinet -- while the old ministers remain in their role -- never having been stripped of the roles by the Parliament (the only body that has the power to do so).


    He long ago lost the support of the leading Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.


    In the face of his continued failures, the 'liberation' means very little.

    It certainly does not wipe away or justify War Crimes that have taken place this week -- such as:


    Iraqi Sunni civilian displaced from Fallujah tortured by Shia Militias

     
     
     



    Iraqi Sunni woman displaced from Fallujah arrested by Shia militias without guilt or charge in
     
     
     




    And then there's the new refugees.


    43,000 Iraqis Recently Displaced from - - via

     
     
     




    With no time spent on a political solution and no time spent on a plan for what happens after the Islamic State is driven out of Falluja, it's really a hollow victory -- if it's even that.



    The White House issued the following yesterday:



    The White House
    Office of the Press Secretary
    For Immediate Release

    Readout of the President’s Meeting with Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    President Obama met this morning in the Oval Office with His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, to continue discussions begun in April at the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh. The President expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the campaign against ISIL. Reviewing recent Iraqi gains against ISIL, the President and Deputy Crown Prince discussed steps to support the Iraqi people, including increased Gulf support to fund urgent humanitarian and stabilization needs. On Syria, they reaffirmed the importance of supporting the cessation of hostilities and a political transition away from Asad.   The President and Deputy Crown Prince also agreed to build support for Libya’s Government of National Accord. With regard to Yemen, the President welcomed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to concluding a political settlement of the conflict and of GCC support to address urgent humanitarian needs and rebuild the country. More broadly, the President and Deputy Crown Prince discussed Iran’s destabilizing activities and agreed to explore avenues that could lead to a de-escalation of tensions. They also discussed the important role Saudi Arabia can play in addressing extremist ideology. 
    The President commended the Deputy Crown Prince’s commitment to reform Saudi Arabia’s economy and underscored strong U.S. support for achieving the recently-announced Vision 2030 goals. The Deputy Crown Prince underscored Saudi Arabia’s strong support for the Paris Agreement and welcomed cooperation with the United States on clean energy issues. The President and Deputy Crown Prince reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.





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