Saturday, February 7, 2015

Those racists at the NAACP!

This week, the NAACP handed out their awards and: Racists!

They refused to give Ava DuVernay the award for Best Director!

Damn racists!

I'm joking.

Ava DuVernay is a lousy director.

And Antoine Fuqua deserved it for The Equalizer.  Not just because that film was a huge hit (unlike Selma) but because Fuqua has a body of work and didn't just direct his first studio film.

It's amazing how novice Ava DuVernay has dominated the news with her so-called 'snub.'

She's a loser and a failed director.

Her lies about LBJ were bad enough but I'm more offended by the way she created/invented an embarrassing scene of Coretta confronting MLK about affairs.

And I hate how MLK was reduced in so many ways (including in that scene) and made more of 'Democrat' and less of a hero.

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

Saturday, February 7, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the White House hides everything from the American people, the State Dept flashesback to 2003 for some of the worst spinning in years, another whore comes along to tell the American people how to sit back and do nothing, and much, much more.

Thursday in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Guantanamo, as Senator Lindsey Graham was speaking, a man yelled, "Let's restore the rule of law! You have betrayed the American people! What's wrong with you, America! What's wrong with you!"

He was quickly escorted out.

What led to that?

Had it been the collective nonsense building up?

Because there was a more outrageous part that Graham's recounting of his efforts with US President Barack Obama to fine tune laws to keep people imprisoned forever even if they were released from the US gulag that is the prison on Guantanamo Bay.

Guantanamo has been a gulag since 2002.  A costly one in terms of image, in terms of the law, in terms of dollars.  In the hearing, Senator Martin Heinrich noted that approximately $5 billion had been spent on the facility since 2002.  "And in 2014, the American taxpayer spent more than 3 million per Guantanamo detainee -- and compare that with about $78,000 it costs to house a prisoner at Colorado Super Max Prison."

The Center for Constitutional Rights explains Guantanamo this way, "The story of Guantánamo remains that of nearly 800 men and boys thrown into an island prison designed to exist beyond the rule of law. Most were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, refugees fleeing the chaos of war in Afghanistan. The U.S. military captured only one in twenty; many were sold for significant sums of money to the U.S. by local authorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Of the 149 men who remain at Guantánamo as of January 2014, approximately half were cleared for release years ago."

Thursday's hearing found the Committee hearing testimony from DoD's Deputy Under Secretary of Defense For Policy Brian P. McKeon, Nicholas J. Rasmussen with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Rear Admiral Ross Myers.

Senator Dan Sullivan: So from a broad perspective, of the remaining Gitmo detainees, how many are assessed to be high or medium risk?

Under Secretary Brian McKeon: Senator, I don't have those numbers at my finger tips and if you're referring to the assessments that were done by JTS GITMO back in the last decade, uh, my impression is knowing the population of that which we've already transferred using those categories, I think we have transferred most of those who were low risk.  But I don't know the precise data.  We'll have to -- We'll have to get that to you, sir.

Senator Dan Sullivan:  But I mean of the current remaining detainees, we don't have a handle on who's high or medium risk right now?

Under Secretary Brian McKeon:  I don't have that at my finger tips as we both -- I and Rasmussen -- explained, sir, when we bring forward a case for possible transfer, we look at the totality of the evidence, what the detainee had done on the battlefield, how they behaved at Guantanamo, what their current -- what our assessment is of their current intentions?  So it's not just to look at the assessments 

Chair John McCain: Mr. Secretary, you're not answering the question.  If you don't have the information, then submit it.  It's important for this Committee to know who's low risk, medium risk and high risk.  I would have expected you to come to this hearing with that information.

Under Secretary Brian McKeon:  Yes, Mr. Chairman.  I should add that these risk levels -- in terms of who's in what category -- is-is classified.  So we'd be happy to have that conversation with you in a classified session as well.  I just don't have those numbers at my finger tips. I think it's safe to say many of them are in the medium or high risk category. 

Senator Dan Sullivan: It would be very important for us to know that --

Under Secretary Brian McKeon:  Yes, sir.

The American people are too stupid to handle knowing X% is high-risk and Y% is low-risk?

If you're not getting how ridiculous the government's behaviors are, let's go further into this exchange.

Senator Dan Sullivan:  And one more thing, I understand there was an MOU regarding the Taliban Five -- that they have a, my understanding was a one year restriction with regard to their activity and movements.  Uhm, after a year are they free to go and do whatever they want?  Return back to Afghanistan?  I think again that's a concern not only for this Committee but, uh, for the American people.

Under Secretary Brian McKeon:  You're correct about the one year matter, Senator.  We -- The agreement between our two governments is classified and we've briefed to your staff and, I think, some of the members in closed session.  And I'd want to get into that in a closed session -- about what happens after one year.

Senator Dan Sullivan:  Okay.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Okay?  Thank you?

Deals are made with conditions.

That's not surprising.  We'd call it parole in the criminal justice system.

But no one treats the conditions of parole as a national security secret.

Nor should the Memorandums of Understandings between the US and other governments on this issue be kept secret.

I believe in closing down Guantanamo and releasing anyone you can't convict.  Others feel differently.  That includes some who feel that the release of any prisoner at Guantanamo is dangerous and could lead to terrorists acts against the United States.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, how dare the US government, how dare the White House, think they can make deals without informing the American people.

The terms of 'parole' should not be a state secret.

This is one more example of how Barack Obama heads not only the most deceptive administration but the most secretive.

Strange times in Portland, Maine
Lobsters dancing on the docks
Switzerland's been weird since they unplugged the clocks
Man and a woman in Brooklyn Heights
Each convinced the other's in the wrong
While last year the divorce rate tripled in Hong Kong

If through all the madness
We can stick together
We're safe and sound
The world's just inside out and upside down

-- "Safe and Sound," written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman, first appears on Carly's Hotcakes.

Yes, the world remains inside out and upside down.

But we need to be careful who we "stick together" with.

I'd been avoiding an article because it's by a whore and I do get so tired of having to call them out.

They're a pissy little bunch on the left.

If you call out a right-wing whore -- or they think you do (hello, Robert Kagan) -- they write you an e-mail and that's about it.

By contrast, take I-Need-Attention Medea Benjamin and how my words have apparently left more psychological scars for Medea than did her 'tragic' pie-ing.

(In June 2007, at the US Social Forum, Bakers Without Borders and Co-optation Watch pied Medea noting that they were demanding "accountability from a self-appointed 'spokesperson' whose actions further the commodification of resistance and sabotage our movement's sustainability and credibility."  To this day, Medea is said to tremble and go into shock while wheeling her cart down the frozen foods section of a grocery store if she encounters pies, pie shells or even just a container of Cool Whip.)

The article's the usual cut-and-paste with a huge layer of stupidity smeared on top so I thought I could ignore it.

Then an Iraqi community member e-mailed and wanted to who Sarah Lazare was thinking she could speak for Iraq "and speak so poorly at that"?


Who is Sarah?  She's a whore.

She's not a Democratic Party whore, she's a Socialist whore -- of the US Socialist Worker type.  (The WSWS doesn't whore.  The US Socialist Worker can't stop-won't stop whoring.)

And so she writes about Iraq in that idiotic manner she's so famous for.

Like her infamous piece that should have been called "Iraq War Veteran Cock Has Made Me An Expert On The War."  In that piece, an apparent bareback affair allowed Sarah to learn more than anyone about suffering in Iraq.  Semen may have given her something, but it wasn't wisdom as that overly long article on 'suffering' neglected to acknowledge the suffering of the Iraqis.

Presumably and her Iraq Veterans Against the War lover have parted or maybe his sperm has just lost its magical powers because she doesn't mention "S" once in her latest long-form bamboozlement.

This one's entitled "Where's the Anti-War Movement When You Really Need It?" and don't let the title fool you, she's not providing answers and, hell, she's really not even asking questions.  (There are many places you can read the crap -- and I'm told the FDA is in the process of certifying it as a legal sleeping aid -- but we'll give a link to CounterPunch.)

Where's the peace movement?

It was dismantled by the so-called leaders.

United for Peace and Justice immediately closed shop less than a week after the November 2008 US presidential elections.  CodeStink set up shop in DC with the intent of 'getting' Barack's back and taking on Republicans.  Leslie Cagan disappeared took a self-imposed sabbatical to contemplate the role of Communism in the 21st century and whether or not facial electrolysis could provide her with new vistas?  Tom Hayden went on a drunken bender that's lasted nearly six years although he does come up for air from time to time to pen laugh getting, Onion worthy pieces -- like December 2011's  "In Iraq, peace at last."

The leaders put the Christ Child Barack Obama above the movement, above the truth and above the people of Iraq.  The Cult of St. Barack did real harm and before Sister Sarah tries to minister to the flock, maybe she should step into the confessional and atone for her own sins?

She could start with an article about Iraq that is faux historical and never notes Nouri al-Maliki or Barack Obama.

She could start by admitting Socialists like her stick together which is why she's citing Patrick Cockburn over and over.

The Arab world slams Cockburn repeatedly and rightly and has done so to such a degree that he's had to adjust his writing and suddenly recognize the Sunnis.

That's why Sarah can't get her facts right.

And, let's be really clear, if at this late date, you're writing about the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija  and you can't note it resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in or that the over 50 dead included children --  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured) -- who the hell do you think you're helping?

You're certainly not helping the truth.

In her article, Sarah's suddenly interested in the "2013" protests -- not interested enough, of course, to know that they kicked off in December of 2012 or that they continued through January of 2014.

But she cares . . . about pretending to care.

The Iraqi people had a chance at freedom in 2010.  Against all odds, they voted -- and they were prevented from voting in so many ways -- and they didn't choose Nouri and State of Law.  Nouri stomped his feet and got the United Nations to whittle away some votes but he was still the loser.

The people had gone for Iraqiya which was a non-sectarian party led by Shi'ite Ayad Allawi.

And Allawi had a future for Iraq that looked promising.

Iraqiya included all variations of Iraqis -- there was a place for everyone.  That's why the new political slate proved so popular.

But instead of seizing this effort on the part of Iraqis to build a cohesive country, US President Barack Obama backed Nouri al-Maliki who pouted like a spoiled brat for eight months, refusing to step down as prime minister and creating a political stalemate.

Barack had US officials in Iraq negotiate The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri a second term.  The White House got that legal contract signed via bribes, bullying and lying.  And after Nouri used it to get his second term, he shredded it and Barack played dumb and pretended he hadn't lied to every political group in Iraq when he said the contract was legally binding and had his full support and backing.

These are among the truths that Sarah Lazare will never tell.

And when you can't tell the truth there's no reason for a peace movement.

Sarah can call out . . . Bully Boy Bush for the Iraq War.

And, we all know, he left the White House in January 2009.

If he's the fault for everything today then there's nothing to protest because he's out of office and has been for seven years.

That Hawija massacre that she claims to give a damn about? She never names or even quotes one of the survivors or one of the dead.  But Thamer Hussein Mousa refused to be silent.  He was there when Nouri's forces attacked.  His son was killed by those forces.  The BRussells Tribunal carried his eye witness account which ended with:

I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.

Don't look for that kind of honesty in Sarah Lazare's nonsense.

And since she can't hold the person in charge responsible, don't be surprised that her grand plan for saving Iraq from further destruction is . . . donate to a charity.

Is Sarah with the peace movement or some 'ladies auxiliary unit' of the Chamber of Commerce.

The dishonesty never ends.

Which brings us to the US State Dept and their Friday press briefing.  In the exchange below, spokesperson Marie Harf  refuses to answer questions from Al Quds' Said Arikat.

QUESTION: Yesterday it was reported that the United States has intensified its search-and-rescue operation. But until recently, they were located in Kuwait, which is quite a ways back, now moving it to – maybe to the north of Iraq maybe.

MS. HARF: Well, I think that the Pentagon can probably speak more specifically. They have immense search-and-rescue capabilities, which we’ve discussed with our partners, including some of our partners that are flying alongside of us here. But I don’t have any more specifics for you than that.

QUESTION: And finally, would you say that the international coalition today is basically a duet; it is Jordan and the United States of America and nobody else is --

MS. HARF: Not at all. It’s over 60 countries, Said. I think the other countries would probably not like you discounting their contributions.

QUESTION: Can you name some of the countries that are actually participating in the air raids?

MS. HARF: Said, we’ve been over this many, many times. I mean, let’s start with the Iraqi Security Forces. Let’s start there ---

QUESTION: Right. No, I’m talking about --

MS. HARF: -- which is where --

QUESTION: -- I’m talking about the aerial bombardment that’s ongoing --

MS. HARF: Well --

QUESTION: -- of the ISIS locations.

MS. HARF: There’s – you know the countries that have flown missions alongside of us. You know that. You also know that there are five lines of effort here, only one of which is military, and only part of the military effort is flying bombing runs. So we have over 60 countries, many countries standing up and helping us train, helping us provide weapons, helping us provide assistance. So this is a very broad coalition, Said.

QUESTION: I’m fully aware of the participation of the coalition.

MS. HARF: Well, your question didn’t make that clear.

And the strangeness never ends.

At, Margret Griffis writes:

At least 276 people, mostly militants, were killed and 25 others were wounded.

While Griffis has the capability to count, she's not examining the bodies and it would be wonderful if she would stop acting as an unquestioning megaphone for the masters of empire.

See, that's another reason there's no peace movement -- even the so-called can't stop repeating -- as fact -- the claims of governments.

Friday, February 6, 2015

They really do need to fire him

He lied.

How can be trust worthy now?

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

Thursday, February 5, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue,  Haider sends food -- Brett McGurk wants you to know -- to Falluja but only after a child dies from the lack of it -- which Brett doesn't want you to know, the Yazidis' revenge attacks get some attention, vengeance gets called out by Amnesty, Senator Richard Blumenthal has some questions regarding veterans, and much more.

Wednesday's snapshot covered some of that day's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nomination of Ashton Carter to be Secretary of Defense.  Senator John McCain is the Chair of the Committee, Senator Jack Reed is the Ranking Member.

We're going to return to the hearing to note Senator Richard Blumenthal addressing veterans issues and Senator Ted Cruz on ISIS.  First veterans.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: Let me move to another area that is very close to my heart and I, again, want to thank our Chairman, Senator [John] McCain, who joined with me in co-sponsoring a measure, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act, Suicide remains a difficult and daunting, horrific problem not only among our veterans -- 22 every day commit suicide -- but also in our active military.  And you and I have talked about this problem.  I believe you're very much attune to it and I'm hopeful that you will continue the military's commitment and the Department of Defense's commitment to providing the mental health care that's necessary to help our warriors deal with these invisible wounds and demons that come back from the battlefield with them.

Ashton Carter: I-I-I am attune to it and they're our -- they're our people and we need to care about them and care for them.  And those who are having these kind of-of thoughts need help.

We did note Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's press release on this legislation in a snapshot earlier this week.  From outside Congress, IAVA led the push for this bill to introduced and to be put to a vote.

From inside Congress, there were many leaders including Senator Patty Murray, the former Chair of the Senate Budget Committee who serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (which she also chaired).  Her office issued the following Tuesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Tuesday, February 3, 2015                                                            (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Votes to Pass Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill
Suicide prevention bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature
Murray: “We simply must do more to ensure the men and women who have served our country get the physical, mental, and emotional support they need when they come home”
Washington state is home to over 600,000 veterans

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray voted to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.  Senator Murray is an original co-sponsor of the bill, which would require the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish an annual third-party evaluation of VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs, promote greater collaboration with community mental health resources, and create a pilot program to attract and retain Department psychiatrists.  The bill is also designed to combat veteran suicide by improving the quality of care at VA facilities and creating a strong base for future mental health initiatives. This bill passes at a critical time when suicide rates continue to rise among female veterans who use VA care, and the rate of suicide has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000 among male veterans ages 18-24 who use VA services.

“Every day, twenty-two American veterans die from suicide, so as a country, we simply must do more to ensure the men and women who have served our country get the physical, mental, and emotional support they need when they come home,” said Senator Murray.  “This legislation will help the VA continue taking steps to make sure it is doing everything it can, from prevention programs to improved recruitment of mental health providers, to giving our nation’s heroes the care they deserve.”

Throughout her career, Senator Murray has been an advocate for service members, veterans, and their families. In 2012 Senator Murray passed the Mental Health ACCESS Act which improved access to the VA’s mental health support services and care. According to a VA report published in 2013, over 25 percent of all suicides in Washington state were identified as veterans, among the highest group of states reporting suicides by veteran status.

The Clay Hunt bill passed the House on January 12th, 2015. Now after Senate passage, it heads to the President’s desk for his signature.

Leah Kennebeck
Deputy Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray

In the years we've been attending and reporting on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, we've seen strong leadership from many including Senator Murray, Senator Daniel Akaka and Senator Richard Burr.  Today, the new Chair is Johnny Isakson and Richard Blumenthal is the Ranking Member.  Hopefully, they will offer strong leadership and also continue the Committee's near-unbroken efforts at working together as one functioning committee and not as two different wings of a committee at war with one another.

For that to happen, they'll have to regain the past footing that was lost under the previous Chair Bernie Sanders who frequently mistook grandstanding and finger pointing for leadership.  It was not helpful and goes a long way towards explaining useless hearings and very little work done on behalf of veterans when Sanders Chaired the Committee.

For example, the Clay Hunt bill didn't get past in the last months of the previous Congress though it easily could have if Sanders had focused on veterans and not on his petty wars with senators on the other side of the aisle.

Senator Blumenthal is someone I expect to carry on the tradition of Akaka and Murray in putting veterans first -- I expect that based upon the work he's already been doing as a member of the Committee since being elected to the Senate.  I hope the same will be true of Isakson but I'm less familiar with his efforts.

Back to Wednesday's hearing and Blumenthal.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: On the issue of our veterans who have suffered from post-traumatic stress as again you and I have discussed, your predecessor Secretary Hagel worked with me, responded to my urging him to establish a new policy guidance on September 3, 2014 that finally directed proper consideration of Post Traumatic Stress by the Boards for Correction of Military Records when considering upgrade requests.  Post-Traumatic Stress was unknown in the Vietnam and Korean eras -- not unknown because it didn't exist but unknown because it wasn't diagnosed and so this new policy gives proper recognition to a medical condition that simply was never diagnosed at the time but may cause less than honorable discharges.  And I hope that, if confirmed, you'll ensure full and forceful implementation of this policy and continue outreach because it's so vitally necessary outreach to anyone who might be able to apply under the new guidelines.

Ashton Carter: I-I-I will.  We've learned a lot about that, sadly, in recent years and understand now, uh, a lot better that it truly is a-a-a malady that, uh, we can and need to address.  And thank you for taking an interest in it as you've done about the welfare of the troops in so many ways that you've -- in the course of the wars, I was always very grateful 

Senator Richard Blumenthal:  Thank you.

Ahston Carter:  -- for your attention to the troops.

Senator Richard Blumenthal:  Thank you very much.  I should probably stop there but I do have a couple of more questions.  But I do appreciate your kind words. On the inter-operability of the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration -- and I'm the Ranking Member on the Veterans Administration's Veterans Affairs Committee of the Senate and I think there's been an ongoing concern -- you're aware of it -- of the issues relating to the integrated, electronic health records integrated disability system treating military sexual trauma and other shared efforts that really involve a gap between these two great departments each with a vital mission and I'm hoping that you will continue the effort that your predecessor, I believe, found very important to close that gap and make sure that there really is the kind of connection -- the vital, vibrant connection that is important to our troops and then to our veterans.

Ashton Carter: I-I-I recognize that gap and uh, uhm, there's only one soldier -- there are two cabinet departments.  One soldier shouldn't have to worry about two cabinet departments.

This is an important issue that was touched on and not really explored.  Blumenthal's time was up.  I don't know that the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will lead on this issue. I hope they will. But, historically, the leadership here has come from the House Veterans Affairs Committee -- first from then-US House Rep Bob Filner and since from US House Rep Jeff Miller who is the Chair of Committee and does not let someone putting up a wall stop him.

Miller is tenacious and determined and that's necessary on this issue.

We're talking about a record that is created when a person joins the service -- a medical record.  It needs to be electronic and able to follow the service member through their service time but also when they leave the service and become veterans.

Why one record?

There are many reasons but let's offer one.  Post-Traumatic Stress.  Getting the rating required for that means documentation.  An electronic record that follows the service member as they transition to veteran status can ensure that P-TS or other issues are fully documented and the veteran isn't left trying to assemble documentation after the fact -- documentation the veteran's medical file should include but, when it's paper, may have been lost in transition.

This seamless, electronic record has had a ton of money already spent on it.

It's still not 'arrived' yet.

It was supposed to be in place, at one point, before Bully Boy Bush left the White House.  That didn't happen.  But US President Barack Obama was going to ensure it was implemented.


Didn't happen.

He's got two more years.

In fairness to Barack, the stumbling block was Eric Shinseki.

While VA Secretary, Shinseki had no real interest in anything but the pretense of going through the motions.

With Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Shinseki agreed to and outlined the type of system needed.  Then Leon Panetta replaced Gates.  Despite Panetta telling Shinseki he was fine with whatever had been agreed to (by Gates), Shinseki used the new Secretary of Defense as a means to stall progress.  Then Chuck Hagel replaced Panetta.  And Shinseki thought he'd used Hagel as well.

He did that once.

In an opening hearing.

Once was all Hagel was going to take.

He requested (demanded) a sit-down with Barack on this.

Barack met with Hagel and Shinseki and all the basics were supposedly agreed to.

But the seamless, electronic record is still not a reality.

At what point is going to become a reality?

Both the House and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committees need to be actively following this and holding public hearings on this.  Not only has so much money been wasted in the last six years alone, but the record is needed, those who serve would benefit from it tremendously and it would be so important to accurate ratings on disabilities among other issues.

Let's move over to Iraq.  You might think that with a billion dollars spent 'fighting' the Islamic State just since August -- over a billion US taxpayer dollars -- that Iraq would be a major part of the hearing but you would be wrong.  It was largely ignored.  Chair McCain addressed it and Ranking Member Jack Reed did.  Another raising the issue was Senator Ted Cruz.

Senator Ted Cruz:  How would you characterize our objective right now with regards to ISIS?

Ashton Carter:  To inflict a lasting defeat on ISIS.  I only add the word "lasting" to re-enforce the idea that once they're beaten, they need to stay beaten. Which means you need to create the conditions in Iraq and Syria so that they stay defeated.

Senator Ted Cruz: And final question, in your professional judgment, what would be required militarily for you to destroy or, as you put it, inflict a lasting defeat on ISIS?

Ashton Carter: Uh-uh, militarily it would be the, uh-uh-uh, dismantlement of their forces and their networks.  And, uh-uh, to get to the point about lastingly to -- there's a political ingredient of this uh-uh which I uh need to add which is to have them replaced in Iraq and Syria with, uhm-uh, a government that the people, uh, want to be part of, uh, and so they don't have to be governed by maniacs and terrorists.

Violence continues in Iraq.  All Iraq News notes 4 Baghdad bombings left 1 person dead and fourteen more injured and security forces state that the Islamic State burned 3 people to death in Heet.

The State Dept's Brett McGurk re-Tweeted  this today:

Under the instructions of PM Al-Abadi, 221.5 tons of food items have arrived in Anbar province this morning.
25 retweets25 favorites

Do you wonder why?

Because he wants that message out, not this one:

وفاة الطفل عبدالله طه العيساوي نتيجة الحصار على الفلوجة وقلة الغذاء والدواء وعدم تواجد الفريق الطبي المتخصص بالأطفال.
51 retweets22 favorites

Iraqi Spring MC is raising attention to the death of Abdullah Taha al-Isawi in Falluja.  Why did the child die?  A lack of food, a lack of medicine.

Brett McGurk, after the death of Abudllah, wants to reTweet Haider's late food shipment.

Wants to rob the action of the context in which it took place.

Wants to pretend Haider did something wonderful.

The reality is Abudllah suffered because of Haider and so many civilians in Falluja continue to suffer because Haider's failed to be a leader.

There has been no real effort at political solutions in Iraq.  The US has pushed for retaliation and has set an example by doing that -- not a good example, true, but an example none the less.

Clearly, the Yazidis now believe violence is the answer.  Dropping back to the January 27th snapshot:

While Barack worried about diplomacy in Saudi Arabia, a natural event took place in Iraq.
The persecuted decided to persecute.  EFE reports:

A militant group including Yazidi and Syrian Kurdish fighters has killed at least 25 Arab civilians on the perimeters of the northwestern Iraqi town of Rabia, on the Syrian border, an official source announced on Tuesday.
Hosam al-Abar, a member of Niniveh's Provincial Council, told Efe that a series of barbaric revenge attacks targeted four Arab villages located 120 kilometers (74 miles) west of Mosul.
The attacks were carried out by Yazidi fighters supported by militias affiliated to Syrian Kurdish parties.

'Pity us!  Feel sorry for us!  Now look the other way as we kill and kidnap!'

This is only a manifestation of the hateful remarks some Yazidis were making publicly in 2013 and 2014.  Their being trapped on the mountain was a crisis and did require humanitarian aid being dropped to them.  That's really all the US should have committed.  (And that's all we advocated for here.)  In Iraq, the Yazidis are basically the short man at the party -- chip on their shoulder and easily outraged.
Years of being called "Satan worshipers" took their toll long before the Islamic State showed up.
Now they've mistaken global pity for permission to destroy and kill.

Last Thursday, Khales Joumah (Niqash) reported on the Yazidis attacking of Arab communities and concluded with this:

The fallout from the massacre saw Yazidi leaders, who have become responsible for parts of Sinjar newly liberated from the IS group, organized a meeting. They condemned the massacre and promised that such an act would never be repeated. They also said that the fighters who had carried out these acts were not able to be identified as they don’t belong to any of the known fighting factions. 

The provincial council says that there are now around a thousand families who have left their homes and who are in need of shelter and aid. On the ground in the area are hundreds of armed men from the villages which were attacked, vowing to protect what is theirs should they be attacked again. In the middle are a handful of Iraqi Kurdish military. Right now things are relatively calm but if tribal justice – which calls for reparations and an eye for an eye - continues to be meted out, it is hard to say how long it will stay that way.

As for Zahra, she found shelter in the home of a nearby relative. But she couldn’t stand not knowing what had happened to her family whom she had left at the mercy of very angry fighters. So, still wearing the same black clothing she had on the night of the attack, she returned to her village to search for her husband and two young sons. She eventually found their burnt corpses in one of the houses in the village that had been set on fire. 

Vengeance doesn't usually end violence.  It's a mirror to reflects and reproduces violence.  Which is why we've noted the response from the Jordanian kingdom this week has been risky and damaging.  Amnesty International released the following statement on the rush to vengeance:

The vicious summary killing of a Jordanian pilot who was burned alive by the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) is an atrocious attack against humanity, said Amnesty International, but responding with executions is not the answer.
The video showing Muath al-Kasasbeh being burned alive in a cage has sent shockwaves across the world. This morning at dawn the Jordanian authorities executed Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouli, two Iraqis linked to al-Qa’ida, in apparent revenge for his killing.
“The abhorrent killing of Muath al-Kasasbeh is a war crime and an all-out attack on the most basic principles of humanity,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“The Jordanian authorities are rightly horrified by this utterly reprehensible killing but the response should never be to resort to the death penalty, which itself is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty should also not be used as a tool for revenge. The IS’s gruesome tactics must not be allowed to fuel a bloody cycle of reprisal executions.”
Under international humanitarian law holding hostages is a war crime and all detainees should be treated humanely by their captors.
“The killing of Muath al-Kasasbeh while he was trapped in a cage in such a brutal and orchestrated manner shows the savagery that a group like the IS is capable of,” said Philip Luther.
One of those executed by the Jordanian authorities today was Sajida al-Rishawi, who was on death row for her role in the 2005 bombing in Amman that killed 60 people. Her lawyer’s request for her to undergo psychiatric assessment to assess her mental fitness to stand trial was refused by the court.
According to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, following his visit to Jordan in 2006, she was tortured during interrogation over a month-long period in the custody of Jordan’s General Intelligence Department (GID).
Ziad Karbouli, the second person executed this morning, was convicted on charges of belonging to an illegal organization, possessing explosives leading to death of a person and murder. His lawyer told Amnesty International that he had been forced to confess under duress.
After an eight-year halt in executions, Jordan resumed its use of the death penalty in December 2014 when it carried out the executions of 11 men. Amnesty International is calling on Jordan to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
Muath al-Kasasbeh, a fighter pilot in the Jordanian air force, was captured when his plane came down near al-Raqqa, Syria, during a mission against the IS in December 2014.
The IS has killed dozens of its captives in the past year including in the past month the Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and a second Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa.
Amnesty International calls on the IS to cease summary killings, abductions and hostage taking. 

Brian Williams?

E-mails ask about when Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News, will be noted here for getting caught lying about Iraq?

It's a TV issue.  Ava and I plan to cover it Sunday.  We toyed with doing it here and risking the wrath of Jim who would (rightly) point out it was a TV issue so it belonged to our beat at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

If between now and Sunday someone grabbed our point and ran with it?  Well, we'd find something else to cover.

But we were pretty sure that the the issue we saw would be missed or overlooked by others -- we think its the main point.  And it has been missed or overlooked.  So many silly people commenting but not really grasping.  It's part of a problem Ava and I've documented with NBC News -- documented in the past at Third.  Justin Raimondo has an interesting take at -- read it, it's worth reading.  But that's not the way we're approaching it.

Does Brian Williams need to go?  His lies may mean he has to but the issue is larger than his lies.  So unless someone grasps the point between now and Sunday, Ava and I will cover it at Third.

In addition to noting Justin Raimondo's take, we'll also link to Jim Naureckas' piece at FAIR.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Best e-mail

A lot of you share my concern regarding the episode of The Mindy Project this week that ended with the revelation that Mindy was pregnant.

Where does that leave things?

I think Jan's e-mail summed it up best, "This show is supposed to be a homage to When Harry Met Sally . . . not Juno!"


I have nothing against children -- I'm a new mother.

But Mindy's search for romance now will include pregnancy?

I don't know.

I just don't know.

(Jan, thank you for the e-mail.  I was drinking Diet Coke out of the can and laughed so hard, I spewed on my laptop screen and had to clean it.)

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

Wednesday, February 4, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Shi'ite militias -- insists the minister of Iraq's Human Rights Ministry -- have killed only a 'tiny' number of Sunnis, the nominee for US Secretary of Defense is concerned about Iran's influence in Iraq and wanting to arm the CIA-backed 'rebels' in Ukraine, and much more.

Remember when the media used to mock the way Sarah Palin spoke when answering questions?

"And to -- uh I-I-I think the uh-uh-uh the-the strategy connects, ends and means -- and our ends with respect to uh  ISIL needs to be it's lasting defeat.  Uh,  I say lasting because it's important when they get defeated and they stay defeated.  Uh, and, uh, that is why it's important that, uh, we have, uh, those on the ground there who will ensure they stay defeated once  defeated."

And to really underscore that statement by Ashton Carter, let's note that it was in response to this question from Senator John McCain, "What do you understand the strategy to be?"

Again, the answer was:

And to -- uh I-I-I think the uh-uh-uh the-the strategy connects, ends and means -- and our ends with respect to uh  ISIL needs to be it's lasting defeat.  Uh,  I say lasting because it's important when they get defeated and they stay defeated.  Uh, and, uh, that is why it's important that, uh, we have, uh, those on the ground there who will ensure they stay defeated once  defeated.

This morning the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing.  Senator John McCain is the Committee Chair and Senator Jack Reed is the Ranking Member.  They heard from only one witness:  Ashton Carter,  the nominee to be the next Secretary of Defense.

Yes, it's time for a new Secretary of Defense.

It's the start of year seven of Barack's eight years as president and that means a new Secretary of Defense, apparently.

Already, his tenure has seen Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel serve as Secretary of Defense.

So, if confirmed, Ashton Carter will be the fourth Secretary of Defense in the administration.

For context, let's turn to Bill Clinton's terms.

Bill was elected president twice (1992 and 1996).

In his eight years, he had three Defense Secretaries: Les Aspin, William Perry and William Cohen.

Aspin was a mistake.  He had health issues which got worse in his brief tenure and he also had a highly embarrassing public moment (the Mogadishu attack which left eighteen US service members dead and over seventy injured) which led Bill to ask for Aspin's resignation.

Barack's asked for no resignations (as far as we know) from Gates, Panetta or Hagel.  He just can't seem to keep them.  Maybe he should be singing "Shake It Off"?

I go on too many dates
But I can't make them stay
That's what people say
-- "Shake It Off," written by Taylor Swift, first appears on her 1989.

Carter's biography at DoD is as follows:

Ashton B. Carter served as the Deputy Secretary of Defense from October 2011 to December 2013.
Previously, Dr. Carter served as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics from April 2009 until October 2011.  As Under Secretary, Dr. Carter led the Department’s efforts to accelerate the fulfillment of urgent operational needs; increase the Department’s buying power; and strengthen the nation¹s defenses against emerging threats.
Over the course of his career in public service, Dr. Carter has four times been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal.  For his contributions to intelligence, Dr. Carter was awarded the Defense Intelligence Medal.
Dr. Carter earned bachelor's degrees in physics and in medieval history from Yale University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and received his doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. 
Prior to his most recent government service, Dr. Carter was chair of the International and Global Affairs faculty at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Co-Director of the Preventive Defense Project.   Dr. Carter was also Senior Partner at Global Technology Partners, a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, a member of the Board of Trustees of the MITRE Corporation and the Advisory Boards of MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories and the Draper Laboratory, and an advisor to Goldman Sachs.
During the Clinton Administration, Dr. Carter was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy.  From 1990 until 1993, Dr. Carter was Director of the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Chairman of the Editorial Board of International Security.  Previously, he held positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and Rockefeller University.
Dr. Carter is a member of the President’s Management Council and the National Council on Federal-Labor-Management Relations. He has previously served on the White House Government Accountability and Transparency Board, the Defense Science Board, the Defense Policy Board, the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board, and the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States.  
Dr. Carter is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Diplomacy and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Physical Society.
In addition to authoring articles, scientific publications, government studies, and Congressional testimonies, Dr. Carter has co-edited and co-authored eleven books.

Dr. Carter is married to Stephanie Carter and has two grown children.

His wife Stephanie sat behind him this morning and fidgeted throughout the (very long) hearing.

Various issues came up throughout the hearing.  We'll note this exchange on Iraq.

Ranking Member Jack Reed: So, the Middle East, do you believe the most immediate threat there to US interests in the region is ISIL?

Ashton Carter: Uh, uh-uh-uh-uh, I hesitate to, uh-uh-uh, ISIL only because in the back of my mind is Iran as well.  Uh-uh-uh, so I think that we have two immediate, substantial dangers, uh, in the Middle East.  Uh, one is ISIL and one is Iran.

Ranking Member Jack Reed: In terms of our current military operations, they are clearly directed at ISIL is that --

Ashton Carter:  That's true.

Ranking Member Jack Reed: -- the appropriate response at this moment to the threats in the region.

Ashton Carter:  It is. 

Ranking Member Jack Reed: And as you point out, there are two theaters.  One is Iraq where we have more traction and the other is Syria.  So you would think in terms of responding to the threat that our actions or our vigorous support of the current Iraqi government is appropriate in responding to this ISIL threat?

Ashton Carter:  It is appropriate if I -- as I said -- if I -- if, uh, -- whether and how to improve it will be my first job if I'm confirmed as Secretary of Defense.

Ranking Member Jack Reed: One of the issues  -- particular with respect to Iraq --  is that not only  improvement as you suggest in your comments, the longterm defeat, uh, of ISIL rests not just on military operations but on political arrangements.  And what we've witnessed in Iraq particularly was a political arrangement that consciously and deliberately degraded the Sunni population.  At least, that's there perception.  And it gave rise.  So would you acknowledge that part of a strategy has to be constituting an Iraqi government that is perceived by its own people as being a bit fairer and inclusive?

Ashton Carter: Absolutely.  That's what the previous government of Iraq did not do and that was instrumental in their military collapse.

Ranking Member Jack Reed: And one of the issues that complicates, you've pointed out, in terms of Iran being a strategic issue for the United States in the region is their relative influence in Iraq and throughout the region was enhanced over the last several years by the government in Iraq, by the [Nouri al-] Maliki government.  Is that accurate?

Ashton Carter:  That is accurate, yes.

Ranking Member Jack Reed:  So we are now in a position of.trying to essentially contain the regional ambitions of the Iranians and kinetically defeat the Sunni radical Islamists.  Is that the strategy?

Ashton Carter: Yes, that sounds right.

Ranking Member Jack Reed:  And you understand that?  And that to you is a coherent strategy?

Ashton Carter: It is, uh, yes.

Ranking Member Jack Reed: Uh, now that means that your prioritizing -- or the administration is prioritizing these actions you've talked about in building, uh, over time, capability in Syria. Uh, in terms of using US resources in addressing the most serious threats, is that a coherent response in your mind?

Ashton Carter: Uh, I think it is the beginning of a, uh, strategic response.  Uh, I think that, uh, as I noted on the, uh, Syrian side of the border, the, uh, assembling of the force that is going to keep ISIL defeated. Uh, there is, uh -- We're in the early stage of trying to build that force.  We're participating in the uh-uh building of that force, I think it's fair to say that we're at an earlier stage there.  On the Iraqi side, we have the existing Iraqi force.

Senator Jack Reed:  Let me --

Ashton Carter:  Uh, uh, mister, uh, Senator Reed -- 

Senator Jack Reed:  Please.

Ashton Carter:  Let me add one other thing.  Maybe it's something I missed in your, uh, line of uh-uh questioning.  There is, uh, an issue, uh-uh, looming over this which is Iraq in the region.  I mean Iran in the whole region.  That is why I pointed it out at the beginning.  That is a serious complication. 

There are other moments I'd like to note about the hearing.

I'm not really concerned with his position on the Ukraine -- but then I'm not selling war on the Ukraine.

The US press corps is which is why they ran like crazy with that aspect of the hearing.

They can't stop beating off and fingering themselves to the thought of a full blown US invasion of Ukraine.  They're that sick and that nutty.

Carter insisted that he did support sending arms to the so-called 'rebels' in Ukraine and, in one exchange, he added "lethal arms" at that.

If they were less hot and bothered over war on Ukraine, they might have wondered about his wording and if that reflected on his competency?

I have no idea if it does or not.

People can get flustered speaking off the top of their heads and clearly Ashton Carter was flustered throughout the hearing.

But if someone's going to be over the Defense Dept, I kind of expect that they would grasp that any arms sent to be used in battle would be "lethal arms."

Or is Carter proposing water guns and super soaker water blasters be sent to the CIA-backed 'rebels' in the Ukraine?

Equally true, it doesn't matter what Carter thinks.

US policy in terms of whether to go to war will continue to be decided by the president and the national security advisor and others -- the others and the national security advisor were, of course, neither elected nor confirmed by an elected body.

The American people had no say in them.

That's not how it's supposed to be in a democracy.

And careful readers of Robert Gates and Leon Panetta's recent autobiographies caught what the press refused to explore: how little the Secretary of Defense can impact foreign policy.

What the person holding the post can impact is regulations and rules for those serving.

With that in mind, we'll note this exchange.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: [. . .] but specifically, let's focus on the military sexual assault issue, which you know, I'm very passionate about trying to solve this scourge.  One of the concerns I have is that last year, we had 20,000 cases of sexual assault and unwanted sexual contact within the military.  And I would like your view as to whether you believe that level of sexual assault today is still the good order and discipline we would want from our services?

Ashton Carter:  No, Senator, it's not. And I-I use the word "passion."  I have the same passion you do.  This-this problem of sexual assault is something that is -- It persists in our military.  It's widespread in our society but it's particularly offensive in the military community because uh-uh-uhm the military community ethos is one of -- one of honor.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:  Mm-hmm.

Ashton Carter: And uh-uh trust.  You have to trust the person who is, so to speak, in the foxhole next to you.  These are violations of honor and trust.  It-it-it -- Also in military life, we put people in positions -- we put them in positions of austere deployment -- of a situation where the hierarchy of military life is a necessity in-in battle.  And these also provide opportunities -- these -- this-this military context for predators.  So it is more offensive in military, uh, life even than civilian life.  And we've-we've got to root it out.  And I-I know that many members of this Committee, but you especially, Senator, have-have led in that regard.  And I'm-I'm grateful for the, uhm -- for the thoughts and, uhm, frankly for-for keeping the heat on. I-I-I-I -- If I'm confirmed, I'll feel that heat and I'll-I'll understand it and-and be with it. 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:  The one statistic I was particularly concerned about in the most recent report is that in all those who were willing to report the assaults openly were retaliated against.  62% of those who reported these crimes were retaliated against -- experienced some form of retaliation.  So I am highly concerned that the military is still failing in living up to their zero tolerance policy.  Do you agree?

Ashton Carter: I-I-I-I  do agree that retaliation is a dimension of the problem that be-  we-- uh, to me at least is-is-is, uh, uh.uh,uh, be-be-becoming increasingly apparent.  Uh, this is a problem, if I may -- if I may say -- and you know this because you've worked so-so hard on it.-- but that the more we dig into it, the more dimensions of it we come to understand.  And I think the idea that victims are retaliated against not only by the hierarchy above them but by their peers is something that is unacceptable that we have to combat also.  And the survey that you referred to indicated that that is widespread and we need to get at that. 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:  I understand from your testimony that you place a premium on chain of command and I fully understand that for combat situations the chain of command is not only essential but necessary in every respect.  Uhm, I would like you though to consider all options for how you can reform the military justice system to actually professionalize it, make it more effective.  And when our allies have reformed their military justice system to guarantee more civil liberties and to professionalize it and to take out biases, they've not seen diminution in the ability to train troops, to instill good order and discipline within the troops and to do their jobs.  I would ask you that you would keep an open mind to look at all possible solutions for improving our criminal justice system within the military

Ashton Carter:  I-I will.  

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:  Thank you.  Another concern I have is in terms of the issue of how we can create opportunities for women in combat. One of the issues that I have looked at is how each of the services being able to open those positions -- opening all positions to women in combat because, as you know, in order to become promoted within the military, often times combat missions are required and having certain roles that require combat is required for promotion.  Are you committed to allowing women to serve in all positions and to gender-neutral standards for each of the services. 

Ashton Carter:  I-I'm certainly committed to gender-neutral, uh, standards.  Uh, the forces -- What I do know is this: That the, uh, services are examining whether there are any positions, uh-uh-uh, in the military that should not be open to women. I strongly incline towards opening them all to women but I'm also respectful of the circumstances and of-of-of-of professional military judgment in this regard, I've not been involved in those studies.  If I am confirmed, I'd want to confirm with our own leaders in the Dept of Defense, with you and others who've thought carefully about that-that problem and try to come to a view.

The issues Senator Gillibrand raised are serious ones.

And as for the military justice issue, the outgoing Secretary of Defense (Hagel) refused to consider military justice being reformed so that criminals were punished like criminals.

He wanted to keep it a 'good old boy' system where a convicted rapist, found guilty in a military trial, could be set free by a high ranking general.

And this did happen.

It's outrageous and Senator Gillibrand has led the charge against it.

At it's most basic in a democracy, justice should be uniform.  There should not be a standard for rapists in the civilian world and a different one for them in the military world.  The notion that a convicted rapist was set free under 'military justice' is repugnant and undemocratic.

This is an issue that a Secretary of Defense can lead on and reform or can block any changes to.  The next Defense Secretary will have tremendous power over this outcome.  It's a shame the press was so uninterested in the exchange.

There are many other exchanges from the hearing I'd like to note if we have time tomorrow and/or Friday.

Turning to Iraq, AFP reports that the Kurdistan Regional Government is stating that, from June 10th through February 3rd, that close to 1,000 Peshmerga were killed in battle with the Islamic State and another 4,569 were left injured.  The loss of any life is tragic but what makes this news even more important is that this is the body that is seen as having its act together in Iraq.

Yes, there are reports of abuses by the Peshmerga and that's nothing new to this year or last.  But in terms of fighting and winning battles, it's the Peshmerga that's accomplished things.

In today's hearing, nominee Ashton Carter offered his take on the failure of the Iraqi military controlled by Baghdad:

Ranking Member Jack Reed: One of the issues  -- particular with respect to Iraq --  is that not only  improvement as you suggest in your comments, the longterm defeat, uh, of ISIL rests not just on military operations but on political arrangements.  And what we've witnessed in Iraq particularly was a political arrangement that consciously and deliberately degraded the Sunni population.  At least, that's there perception.  And it gave rise.  So would you acknowledge that part of a strategy has to be constituting an Iraqi government that is perceived by its own people as being a bit fairer and inclusive?

Ashton Carter: Absolutely.  That's what the previous government of Iraq did not do and that was instrumental in their military collapse.

Nouri al-Maliki, former prime minister and forever thug, has offered one lunatic conspiracy theory after another for why the Iraqi military deserted when the Islamic State attempted to seize Mosul (and did seize Mosul -- which they continue to hold).  But most observers and commentators take the position that Carter expressed -- Nouri's own divisive actions led to the military being weakened (including his firing generals and replacing them with flunkies loyal to him because he was always convinced the military was going to overthrow him so he didn't want them to be too powerful).

The Iraqi military has been 'beefed up' in the eyes of some -- due to bringing in Shi'ite militias -- armed thugs.  The Badr Brigade is but one example. And of course it means that it was all a lie.  Nouri used the Accountability and Justice Commission to toss out political rivals, to keep them from running in elections.  And insisted that this or that rival (usually Sunni, but not always) was connected to a militia and you couldn't run for office if your organization continued to operate a militia.

Nouri began bringing them in a few years back.  They remain under new prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

Last week, Ahmed Rasheed, Stephen Kalin and Robin Pomeroy (Reuters) reported, "Sunni politicians and tribal chiefs from Iraq's eastern Diyala province accused Shi'ite militias on Monday of killing more than 70 unarmed civilians who had fled clashes with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants."  And then Ahmed Rasheed, Ned Parker and Stephen Kalin (Reuters) reported on the testimony of the survivors.  The testimony makes clear militias were involved.

The US government needs to insist this stops.

Unless, of course, the point is to keep Iraq unstable.  If that's the real point, then by all means continue to look the other way.

Zaid Sabah and Jack Fairweather (Bloomberg News) report on the Shi'ite militias:

“There is gross and widespread sectarian cleansing,” said one of Iraq’s vice presidents, Ayad Allawi, by e-mail while traveling in Amman, referring to the areas controlled by Shiite militias that the government has turned to for its defense from Islamic State. Allawi said he had been approached by victims and taken their concerns to the government.
The risk is growing that Iraq -- the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-biggest producer -- will fragment along sectarian lines, undermining the authority of U.S.-backed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and reigniting the country’s recent civil war, according to Wathiq al-Hashimi, a political analyst in Baghdad.

“The government turned to militias to defend Baghdad, but now they’ve lost control of them,” said Hashimi. “The use of ethnic cleansing by militias is destroying what belief Sunnis had in piecing the country back together.”

As this takes place, the Iraqi government makes an 'interesting' move with regards to militias and the UAE.  Fahd al-Zayabi (Asharq Al-Aswat) reports:

 Iraq has asked the Emirati government to remove an influential Shi’ite political party and its militia from its list of terrorist organizations.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday, Iraq’s minister for human rights, Mohammed Mahdi Al-Bayati, said that the Iraqi government had asked Abu Dhabi to reconsider its decision to blacklist the Badr Organization led by Iraq’s former transport minister Hadi Al-Ameri.

We've warned before about Mohammed Mahdi al-Bayati and the laughable Ministry of Human Rights.  But for those who still don't get it, let's note this from last December, Roula Khalaf (Financial Times of London) reporting on her face-to-face with al-Bayati, "The discussion takes an even more worrying turn, however, when we talk about why his country is facing this predicament. He absolves the former government of abuses against Iraq's Sunni minority, which is widely acknowledged to be one of the factors that allowed Isis to thrive, and also dismisses the number of human rights violations committed by Shia militias as 'tiny'."