Friday, March 17, 2017

That's who she is


  1. Tillerson cut his visit short to South Korea because he's tired. Remember when Hillary Clinton traveled 956,733 miles as Secretary of State?



I remember when she was getting on an airplane and tripped and fell.

I remember the other fall before she stepped down that made her look so ridiculous when she testified before Congress.

I remember the fall when she was campaigning for president and how the campaign tried to lie and lie and lie.

I remember a lot more episodes involving Hillary Clinton.

Mainly though, in terms of personal, what I remember is that a woman, Juanita Brodderick, accused Bill Clinton of rape.

And Hillary said nothing.

Not one word.

I'm married.

If a woman accused my husband of rape, I'd either be saying yep or nope loudly.

But Hillary's silent.  Which means it's true.

Professionally?

She's the scum of the earth who helped start the Iraq War and wants to kill people all over the world.

That's who she is.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
 
Friday, March 17, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, Iraqi civilians are killed in another bombing by US-led warplanes, George Clooney's beard presumes to speak for the US government, and much more.




Excellent interactive . spent 28 hours trapped & under fire from ISIS...she went back





Day 151 of The Mosul Slog.

In June 2014, the city of Mosul was seized by the Islamic State.

The Iraqi government's response?

Non-existent.

Finally, in mid-October of last year,t hey launched an operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul.

It's 151 days later and ongoing.

It took seven months to fight The Gulf War and retaking Mosul is already on month six?

Grasp that.


Susannah George (AP) reports:


Iraqi and U.S. commanders offered conflicting accounts Thursday of progress in western Mosul, where U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have been battling the Islamic State group for nearly a month as they try to retake the remainder of the city.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, the American commander of coalition ground forces in Iraq, said the troops had recaptured "a little over a third" of neighborhoods west of the Tigris River, while Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, an Iraqi military spokesman, said they had retaken up to 60 percent, with fighting still underway. Iraq declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated" in January.  



This is not the first time that the two have reported conflicting 'progress.'  Of the Iraqi claims, Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) offers, "That’s a lot of gains in the past few days, and particularly hard to believe since it’s only been a few days since they declared 33% recovered, and in those days that followed, fighters had described the advance as virtually halted by ISIS snipers and inclement weather."


What's not in doubt?

That yet another refugee crisis has been created by The Mosul Slog.

This is UNHCR's Babar Baloch:

As displacement from Western Mosul continues unabated, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is opening two new camps and asking donors for additional funding to help protect and shelter those forced to flee.Around 255,000 people have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since October, including over 100,000 since the latest military campaign in western Mosul began on 19 February. The last week has seen the highest level of displacement yet, with 32,000 displaced between March 12 and 15.
For 2017, UNHCR needs USD 212 million, currently barely funded, to continue providing urgent assistance to IDPs from Mosul and for Iraqis who have crossed to Syria. The appeal includes a new request for an additional USD 7 million in the next 10 days and USD 30 million in the next two months, totaling USD 37 million.
UNHCR’s new Hasansham U2 camp, east of Mosul, is ready to shelter 3,000 people from this weekend, before expanding to 9,000, while Hammam al-Alil 2, 25kms south of Mosul, will be ready to receive 6,600 people on Monday and will have capacity for 30,000 when complete.
UNHCR continues to advocate with the Iraqi Security Forces and authorities for newly displaced people from western Mosul to be taken to camps east and north of the city, where there is capacity. We anticipate that IDPs will begin to be transported to camps in the north this week.
For several days, arrivals at the screening site at Hammam al-Alil have averaged 15,000 a day, with Iraqi Ministry of Transport buses bringing IDPs daily. UNHCR is doubling the capacity of the adjacent reception and transit centre from 20,000 to 40,000 to try to ensure a safe, relatively comfortable transit to other camps with capacity, as Hammam al-Alil 1 camp is now full. Protection partners are present at the site to identify and assist vulnerable IDPs, including separated families and unaccompanied children. New arrivals have been given the options of going to Gogjali, east of Mosul, Qayyarah, or other IDP camps, including the recently opened UNHCR Chamakor camp, now full to its 12,000 capacity after just one week.
While thousands displaced from western Mosul continue to arrive at the Hammam Al-Alil screening site, arrivals have slowed down in some of the camps receiving those fleeing western Mosul, suggesting that out-of-camp displacement is increasing.
Reports indicate some people are moving in with friends and family in east Mosul, finding shelter in tribal communities and squatting in unfinished buildings in southern and eastern Ninewa. The extent of out-of-camp displacement is still to be confirmed. Humanitarian partners are liaising with local authorities in east Mosul to identify the locations of IDPs who don’t live in camps and prioritize protection and assistance needs. UNHCR is prepared to support emergency shelter needs in urban locations and offer flexible solutions for up to 50,000 IDPs. Emergency relief items have been distributed in various locations around Mosul.

Another UNHCR camp at As Salamiyah 2, south east of Mosul, with capacity for up to 60,000 people, is being planned. UNHCR currently has 10 camps operating or under construction to host up to 111,000 people.


Again, this is an addition to an already existing refugee crisis in Iraq.



The International Organization for Migration notes, "As of 2 March 2017, the DTM has identified 3,062,808 internally displaced persons (i.e. 510,468 families) displaced after January 2014, dispersed across 106 districts and 3,660 locations in Iraq. For the same period, DTM has identified 1,579,362 returnees (i.e. 263,227 families)."

That just since 2014.

One group assisting the refugees is the Norwegian Refugee Council.  Their director in Iraq, Wolfgang Gressmann, notes, "People are arriving in the camp with only the clothes that they are standing in. They are cold, exhausted and hungry --crying from either exhaustion or trauma or both. NRC and other aid agencies are meeting their needs for now but we fear what will happen as the wave continues and even increases."



THE BAGHDAD POST reports this morning, "Al-Seha tunnel, located on the right bank of Mosul has been bombed by the jets of the US-led coalition, reports said Friday. The tunnel has been completely destroyed after the bombardment."


And this morning, the US Defense Dept announced:


Strikes in Iraq
In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted seven strikes consisting of 37 engagements against ISIS targets, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Huwayjah, two strikes engaged an ISIS staging area and destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle storage facility and a vehicle bomb storage facility.

-- Near Mosul, four strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units; destroyed 11 fighting positions, seven vehicles, a recoilless rifle, a heavy machine gun, a rocket-propelled grenade system, an explosives factory, a supply cache and an ISIS-held building; damaged 14 supply routes and a fighting position; and suppressed 13 ISIS mortar teams.


-- Near Tal Afar, a strike destroyed a vehicle bomb facility and an ISIS-held building.




The bombs don't fall on empty land.

A lot of civilians are being killed.






Relatives react near the bodies of civilians killed in air strike, during a battle between forces and ISIS, in








And all of this for what?

There's still no political reconciliation.


THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER'S Trudy Rubin is a long time observer of Iraq -- and a reporter who never forgot the Iraq War continued.  She's back in Iraq and in her most recent column notes:

What happens when the fighting stops?
Most Iraqis worry that the same grievances that allowed the Islamic State to flourish will enable jihadi cells to regroup and reemerge. The history is there: Sunni anger at being marginalized by the U.S. invasion and by the sectarian Shiite-led governments produced al-Qaida in Iraq in the mid-2000s, and its successor group, the Islamic State.
Today, Sunni cities lie in ruins, their infrastructure deliberately destroyed by the jihadis or damaged by fighting. The Sunni community is divided between backers and supporters of the Islamic State, and all fear vengeance by Shiite militias.
Iraq’s moderate Shiite prime minister, Haidar Abadi, called for reconciliation at the Suli conference, but he heads a government financially strapped by the war and low oil prices, and undercut by Iranian meddling. Unless he can find funds to rebuild wrecked cities, the angry and unemployed may again find purpose in jihadist ideology. If the country splinters further, if Iranian mischief precludes reconciliation, watch out.



We'll note this from yesterday's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Mark Toner (and conducted over the phone):

OPERATOR: And that’s from Laurie Mylroie with Kurdistan W-24. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mark, for taking my question. Can you explain what is being done to bring ISIS members to justice for the genocide against Yezidis? Amal Clooney spoke eloquently about that issue last week, and the UN Ambassador Haley said that the U.S. is committed – or she tweeted, “The U.S. is committed to bringing ISIS to justice, not just on the battlefield, but in the judicial system as well.”
So I want to know, what are you doing on this issue?

MR TONER: Sure. First of all, we’re appalled by the horrific acts being committed by ISIS against people from a wide variety of ethnic and religious groups in Iraq and Syria, and that includes, of course, the Yezidis. We’re working with these communities and the government – and the Government of Iraq to facilitate their safe return to their ancestral homes. That’s first and foremost.
And our ambassador to Iraq, for example, just completed a visit to Bashiqa in northern Iraq, where he met with Yezidi and Christian communities to better understand and assess their situation on the ground. We also, of course, welcomed the determination by the House of Representatives last year with respect to the genocide of Yezidis, and we stand with all the innocent victims of ISIS’s inhumanity. And we’re working with our partners – and this can’t be underscored enough – we’re working with our partners around the world to defeat ISIS and destroy ISIS and eradicate it from both Iraq and Syria and wherever else it extends its tentacles to.
We’re also continuing to strongly support efforts to collect, document, preserve, and analyze the evidence of atrocities, and do all that we can to see that the perpetrators of these atrocities are held accountable. And as I said, that starts with eliminating, defeating ISIS both on and off the battlefield.
I’m going to end there, guys. Thanks so much for joining us and have a great afternoon.
Toner had a really nice way of saying: Amal Clooney doesn't know what the hell she's talking about.
Reminder, not only has Anal Clooney not been voted into a US government position by any group of American citizens, she also hasn't been appointed to one by the US government.
More to the point, she's only American -- dual citizenship -- actually, she has triple citizenship -- by her recent arranged marriage.
In other words, she needs to stop attempting to speak on behalf of the American government.
The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan -- updated:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

No to Chelsea

Sarah Abdallah Retweeted Chelsea Clinton
Where was your concern for Somalis when your warmongering mother and her buddy Obama were bombing with drones?
Sarah Abdallah added,



We don't need Chelsea.



Not one bit.

She's done nothing to earn a political career.

I'm tired of these people who think they can have whatever because of what their parents did.





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

 
Thursday, March 16, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the refugee crisis continues and Hayder al-Abadi wants foreign troops reduced in Iraq.



Day 150 of The Mosul Slog.

How's it going?


Iraq camps overwhelmed with Mosul's displaced
 
 




REUTERS visits a refugee camp at the Mosul Airport, "Men push wheelchairs carrying elderly relatives or carts loaded with small children over the dusty and uneven ground, part of an exodus of people who have escaped from Islamic State's last major Iraqi stronghold."  While some would like to return home, "[o]thers simply have no homes to go back to, with countless houses and businesses used by Islamic State as military positions destroyed in air strikes and artillery shelling."  REUTERS explains that while there are toilets at the airport, "there's no water."


As Jordan Shilton (WSWS) observed earlier this month:

The disregard for the civilian population is an inevitable product of the predatory aims of US imperialism in Iraq and the broader Middle East region. When ISIS first emerged in Syria, Washington was prepared to tolerate it as a fighting force in opposition to the government of Bashar al Assad in Damascus, which the Obama administration had been seeking to remove since 2011. ISIS only became a problem for the United States when it gained substantial territory in Iraq, threatening to undermine Washington’s puppet regime in Baghdad.
In its efforts to oust ISIS from Mosul while at the same time expanding its intervention into neighboring Syria to bring about regime change in Damascus, the United States is seeking to secure its geostrategic dominance over the energy-rich Middle East, while simultaneously weakening the positions of its geopolitical rivals, above all Iran, Russia and China.



These are the civilians.


The citizens of Mosul.

The ones who have had to live under the Islamic State since June 2014.


The ones supposedly being rescued and liberated.

Wasn't that the whole point?


Bill Van Auken (WSWS) reported earlier this week:

 
A US airstrike claimed the lives of at least 11 civilians in the besieged northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday, according to Iraqi security officials.
In addition to the dead, including women and children, another four civilians were wounded in the bombing.
“A suspected coalition plane struck a mobile target, which left 11 civilians dead and injured four others,” a security source told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency. The brief description suggests that the US warplane struck a vehicle loaded with civilians attempting to flee the fighting.
The densely populated area of western Mosul has been under constant attack since mid-February when Iraqi forces--including army troops, police, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni tribesmen and Shia militias--began operations aimed at retaking that part the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which routed government forces and took control of Mosul in June of 2014.

The US-backed offensive is steadily reducing much of Mosul to rubble and there are clear indications that the Pentagon has given the green light for airstrikes that inevitably result in the killing of unarmed men, women and children.



Bombed and terrorized.


And terrorized by more than the bombings.



Displaced Iraqi civilians tell they’re as scared of the militias as they are of ISIS
Iraq Uncovered - Trailer
Ramita Navai examines the power of Iraq's militias, concerns about sectarian fighting, the impact on civilians and what’s happening in the places where ISIS has been pushed out.
 
 



THE FRONTLINE special debuts March 21st.


With a flood of foreign forces added to The Mosul Slog, there is some movement.

And Hayder al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq, sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

Jonathan Steele (MIDDLE EAST EYE) reports:

Iraq wants fewer US forces on its territory now that the Islamic State group is close to defeat in Mosul, Haider al-Abadi has told Middle East Eye.
The Iraqi prime minister used his regular weekly press conference to set out his stall for Donald Trump, on the eve of becoming the first Arab leader to visit the US president in Washington next week.
Asked by MEE whether he favoured a reduction in US troops, the Iraqi leader said: "As we are crushing [. . .] [IS], it is clear that there is a need to reduce the number of our allies who are helping us." 
He pointed out that it was his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, who had asked US forces to return after IS captured Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, in June 2014. 



And for now, the Iraqi government continues to ignore the people of Iraq.


AFP reports:

Iraqi authorities said Thursday that more than 150,000 people have fled fighting in and around west Mosul since security forces launched an operation to retake it from jihadists last month.

The International Organization for Migration released displacement figures on Wednesday indicating that nearly 100,000 had fled, but those statistics included fewer people residing outside of camps.


This stage of the operation -- western Mosul -- isn't even a month old and already 150,000 new refugees created.


And the Iraqi government did nothing to prepare for the refugee crisis.


What is it doing?

A question sort of touched on at yesterday's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Mark Toner.


QUESTION: Iraq?


MR TONER: Yeah, Iraq and then back to Michele, and then I’ll work my way around, I promise.


QUESTION: Yeah. Reuters quoted an Iraqi politician, Khamis Khanjar, who said at least 3,500 civilians have been killed in Mosul within the past month. He also said that the mounting casualties came mainly from airstrikes and indiscriminate shelling of heavily crowded neighborhoods. As I understand, neither the Iraqi Government nor the coalition had officially acknowledged any civilian casualties in this operation. Does it mean that they didn’t happen? What information do you have?


MR TONER: I’m sorry, can you just repeat the top part of your question? Who – who has made these claims?


QUESTION: Sure, sure, sure. So Khamis Khanjar, who is an Iraqi politician, he said that at least 3,500 civilians had been killed in Mosul within the past month. He also said the mounting casualties came mainly from airstrikes and indiscriminate shelling of heavily crowded neighborhoods. As I understand --


MR TONER: Sure, go ahead.


QUESTION: -- the Iraqi Government – neither the Iraqi Government nor the coalition had officially acknowledged any civilian casualties in this operation. Does it mean that they didn’t happen? What information do you have?



MR TONER: No. I mean, as I’ve said many times, if there’s credible allegations of civilian casualties as a result of Iraqi Security Forces’ actions or, frankly, of the coalition’s actions, then they should be investigated. I just don’t have any kind of visibility on these precise – or these exact allegations. I can only say that we stand by what we said before, which is we take every effort in carrying out our own airstrikes, but also in sharing information with Iraqi Security Forces, to – obviously, to avoid civilian casualties. I just don’t have any sense of whether these are credible numbers or not. I just can’t answer – I can’t speak to it.


QUESTION: About --

MR TONER: Yeah, please. One more and then Michele.



QUESTION: About visibility, I remember on Aleppo, the State Department cited monitoring groups and credible organizations, like John Kirby would say, to talk about civilian suffering in Aleppo. What information do you have from monitoring groups and credible organizations about civilians in Mosul and what they’re going through?

MR TONER: Sure.

QUESTION: Can you cite any reports?


MR TONER: I think there’s UN organizations on the ground, obviously, dealing with refugees fleeing the city. I’d have to get back to you on what are the monitoring groups. And again, it’s not that there aren’t them – there aren’t some there, I just – I don’t have precise details. But obviously, we’re working very closely and the Iraqi Government’s been very clear about wanting to avoid civilian casualties.







Wishing a happy holiday to 's ancient Sabean Mandaean community who are celebrating Al-Brunaya.
 
 
 






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