Saturday, April 16, 2016

Glen Ford calls out the racism

Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) calls out Hillary and Bill Clinton's racism:

Bill Clinton’s tirade against Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Philadelphia, last week, signals that his wife’s inner circle is having great difficulty resisting the urge to lunge rightward into general election campaign mode to scoop up the millions of Republican voters disaffected by Donald Trump. For months, corporate Democratic strategists have been salivating over the prospects of building a super-party – the ultimate “big tent” – from the ashes of a disintegrating GOP. They calculate that the numbers of suburban Republican “moderates” that can be won over to the Democrats in November is greater than potential defections from the party by disgruntled Sandernistas. The Black vote does not even count in this equation, on the assumption that they have nowhere else to go.
There is no question that Bill Clinton’s attempt to create another “Sister Souljah moment,” as the Washington Post’s James Hohmann put it, was dangerously premature. The hordes of Trump-traumatized Republican defectors to the Democrats are still theoretical, while polls show that about a quarter of Sanders’ supporters say they will not vote for Clinton in November if she wins the nomination. Plus, now that the primaries have moved out of the South, larger percentages of Black Democrats are willing to the be swayed by Sanders. The Philadelphia episode will have an impact on their decisions.

Don't you love how Bob Somerby keeps insisting that the racism that Hillary and Bill are sporting doesn't matter?

Well, of course, he's a White man.

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

Friday, April 15, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue . . . and that's just in the Parliament!

Yes, starting with PARLIAMENT GONE WILD.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Parliament got wild.

On Wednesday, it got wilder.

And Thursday?

It was off the chain.

AFP words it this way:

Iraqi lawmakers voted Thursday to remove the parliament speaker and his deputies from office, increasing political turmoil as the country battles jihadists and struggles with a financial crisis.
The chaos at parliament is a significant setback for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, overshadowing his efforts to replace the current cabinet and preventing nominees from being brought to a vote.

The lead up to Thursday was an ongoing sit-in (against the list of proposed ministers).  Wednesday had been an emergency session.  Thursday was supposed to see a vote on the list.

Instead, it saw a vote on the Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri.

Mohammad Sabah (AL MADA) calls it a "dramatic" and a "raucous" session.

REUTERS notes that neither Haider nor al-Jabouri showed up for Thursday's session.

In fact, a lot of MPs failed to show up.  That's an important detail.

But those who did show up decided to table the proposed nominees, to table the issue of the three presidencies and instead launch a vote on whether to remove the Speaker.

Ali al-Badri, of the large Shi'ite block the National Alliance, insists the vote was unanimous.

But it wasn't agreed to by all the political blocs.

ALL IRAQ NEWS quotes State of Law Mp Kazem Sayadi declaring that they do not support the vote to remove the Speaker and insisting State of Law is one of the largest blocs in Parliament.

State of Law is the political alliance Nouri al-Maliki started.  Nouri was prime minister of Iraq from 2006 through 2014 and left unwillingly.  He wants to return to the post.

It's said on Arabic social media that he's formed alliances with Ammar al-Hakim (leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) and Ayad Allawi (leader of Iraqiya).

If so, that would be a powerful group banded together in opposition to Haider al-Abadi.

ALSUMARIA reports MP Adnan al-Janabi insists that Saturday should see the Parliament voting on a new Speaker and, oh, by the way, Adnan's declared himself the interim Speaker.

But will such a vote take place?

These days, you can even question whether a session will be held.

But in terms of a vote taking place, the reports of the Speaker being voted out of office, while very dramatic, might not be very realistic.

NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY notes 171 MPs were assembled for the session.

They have 328 MPs so 171 did not reach a quorum.

Without a quorum, no real vote took place.

RUDAW quotes Speaker al-Jabouri declaring, "I have no objections if the parliament wants me to leave my position but the vote was both inconclusive and unconstitutional."

 Pinned Tweet
sum up today: vote removing speaker, likely invalid, leaves parl't w/o recognized legit leadership. Abadi's 2nd cabinet shuffle fails.

ALSUMARIA reports that Haider called on the Parliament to wisdom and patience.

Oh, yeah, he should talk, right?

His sudden push for a new Constitution not only is unconstitutional, it also showed no patient or restraint.

His first effort, began March 31st, outright failed.

Instead of learning from his lesson, he tried to shove through a new list this week.

That's what's caused the turmoil.

ALL IRAQ NEWS notes the comments were in a televised address where he offered that this political struggle "could lead, God forbid, Iraq into turmoil."

As though he were somehow above the fray?

And exactly when was turmoil absent from Iraq?

More to the point, what's going on in Parliament is not that disruptive.

Nouri al-Maliki refusing to step down after the 2010 elections for eight months, thereby refusing to allow a new government to form?

That was disruptive.

This just qualifies as lively politics.

Haider's attempting to replace the Cabinet in a manner that goes around the Iraqi Constitution.

He's calling it a 'reform' and a way to address corruption -- which is also an insult to every member of the Cabinet.

What's really going on?

Erin Banco (IBT) notes one aspect of the issue:

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says he is trying to curtail endemic corruption by appointing a new Cabinet filled with technocrats, but his efforts have so far failed: Several of his nominees have refused to accept his appointments and, amid the ensuing chaos, officials are quietly trying to skew the country’s economy for personal gain.
Ayad Allawi, a former interim prime minister under the U.S. occupation and one of the vice presidents whose position was cut by Abadi in 2015, is one of those officials. The recently released Panama Papers have revealed Allawi’s secret offshore accounts and the scope of his connection to one of the world’s largest energy companies, raising questions not only about his current motivations, but also the motivations of his Kurdish and Sunni confidants.  
[. . .]
Although he may not be vying for a leadership position himself, he is looking to put some of his Kurdish allies into power, according to two officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources in Erbil who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak on the matter. 
If Allawi succeeds, he could get massive financial payouts from energy companies. Many of those companies, including the United Arab Emirates' Crescent Petroleum, have received late payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government. Those companies are also interested in keeping allies in top positions in order to continue to maintain profitable contracts. 

And that's one aspect -- one oil aspect.

Of course, there are others.

We're dropping back to Tuesday because the above is one oil aspect but it's not the only one:

  • After dramatic media hype, PM Abadi & his comrades caged in the Green Zone agreed to continue the etho-sectarian distribution of power

  • It certainly says it all.
    "Dramatic media hype."
    As we noted in last night's snapshot, to push that drama, they had to ignore the pushback which was immediate.
    Our April 2nd snapshot noted at length the various objections to what Haider al-Abadi was proposing.
    REUTERS didn't report it.
    AP didn't cover it.
    But if you read Arabic, you could find coverage from the Iraqi press -- and we did.
    It was obvious immediately that this plan cooked up by the White House was going to fail.
    And it has.
    That hydrocarbons legislation?
    They want it, they want it so bad.
    They being elements of the ruling class in the United States.
    They wanted it when Bully Boy Bush was in the White House.
    And they tried repeatedly to get it.
    Bully Boy Bush even made it one of his 2007 benchmarks -- the passage of that legislation.
    He failed repeatedly.
    As has Barack.
    And bad news -- and, no surprise, unreported by US outlets -- Iraqi officials are calling for the oil wealth to be distributed to the people.
    It's not just Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr -- though he has been the most prominent thus far.
    The story of Iraq's oil is the story the western press is always skittish to cover -- other than how it's doing in the stock market.
    Barack Obama and his underlings tried to present the move as 'democratic' and 'reform.'
    And the western press went along.
    They ignored that the move went completely against the Constitution of Iraq -- both how it was done and what was being proposed.
    They ignored the objections to the proposal.
    They did everything they could to propagandize for the White House.
    But it all imploded.

    ALSUMARIA observes fun and games are to resume on Saturday when Parliament is scheduled to next meet.

    The world waits to see what happens next.

    Meanwhile, yesterday the US Defense Dept announced more bombs dropped on Iraq:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, ground-attack and fighter aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Hit, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, destroying four ISIL machine gun positions, an ISIL boat, an ISIL boat dock, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL command and control node and denying ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL bunker.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, and an ISIL storage facility.

    -- Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL headquarters and an ISIL financial headquarters and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas.
    Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes destroyed seven ISIL boats and an ISIL mortar position and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:


    Friday, April 15, 2016

    She ain't done nothing, as Stevie Wonder would say

    Got nothing,  Tired from the piece I co-wrote for the gina & krisa round-robin.

    So I'll offer Benrie Tweets:

    1. Women in America want the whole damn dollar. And they're right. Equal pay is an issue of basic equality not a radical idea.
    2. It’s time to tell Wall Street that if they do not end their greed, we will end it for them.
    3. Thanks to Bernie Sanders, we now know how many big corporations don’t pay taxes
    4. The millionaire class and billionaire class increasingly own the political process, and they own the politicians that go to them for money.
    5. My "radical" $5 billion youth jobs plan costs 1/120th the amount of potential tax revenue we let corporations hide overseas.
    6. BIG thanks for joining 1,000+ others urging UN to end the drug war.

    So help me out.

    What can Hillary claim?

    She's posed for photos.

    What conversation has her campaign started?

    What constructive conversation?:

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

    April 13, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue -- and that's just in the Parliament, threats of dissolving Parliament, bombs dropped, and much more.

    Murtaza Hussain (THE INTERCEPT) reports:

    MORE THAN 90 PERCENT of young people in Iraq consider the United States to be an enemy of their country, according to a new poll.
    After years spent justifying the war as a “liberation” of the Iraqi people, the survey casts further doubt on the success of that endeavor.

    Today the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, fighter and ground attack aircraft conducted seven strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL machine gun positions and four ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike produced inconclusive results.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    These bombings have been carried out daily since August of 2014.

    Again, Murtaza Hussain reports:

    MORE THAN 90 PERCENT of young people in Iraq consider the United States to be an enemy of their country, according to a new poll.
    After years spent justifying the war as a “liberation” of the Iraqi people, the survey casts further doubt on the success of that endeavor.

    And how has this addressed the problem of the Islamic State?

    It has not.

    The editorial board of THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE reminds:

    The Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has its own problems, considered largely to be a result of the actions of its Shiite Muslim leadership in monopolizing authority in Baghdad, excluding the 35-percent Sunni Muslims who ruled the country from 1932 to the U.S. invasion in 2003. That piece of unwise religious discrimination is bad enough in itself, but it is joined by serious pushing and shoving among the Shiites themselves.

    The refusal to address the persecution of the Sunnis, the refusal to bring the Sunnis into the government fully is what resulted in the rise of the Islamic State.

    Until that's addressed, time's just being wasted.

    Tuesday, the Iraqi government used their time responding to Haider al-Abadi's call for a new Cabinet -- and it was chaos in the Parliament as some supported Haider's push and others opposed it.

    Things did not improve on Wednesday.

    AP words it this way "Iraqi lawmakers have resorted to throwing water bottles and punching each other."  Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

    Schoolyard-style chaos descended on Iraq’s parliament on Wednesday as lawmakers scuffled and threw water bottles at one another amid a political crisis that is destabilizing the country.
    In a day of bickering and brawls in Baghdad, more than 100 parliament members signed a petition calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, President Fuad Masum and the speaker of parliament, Salim al-Jabouri, lawmakers said. About the same number are staging a sit-in in the parliament building.

    Saif Hameed and Maher Chmaytelli (REUTERS) report:

    Iraq's parliamentary speaker Salim al-Jabouri may request the dissolution of the assembly after ministers scuffled during a chaotic parliamentary session on Wednesday over a plan to overhaul the government that aims to tackle graft.
    The possibility of holding new elections in Iraq was raised after state TV reported that al-Jabouri was considering the future of the current assembly.
    According to Iraqi constitution, dissolving the parliament requires the approval of the majority of the MPs at the request of one third of the assembly, or the approval of the president at the request of the prime minister.

    How serious could al-Jabouri be?

    That depends.

    He could be dead serious.

    Or this could be a parent bluffing from the driver's seat, "If you kids don't straighten up, I'm turning this car around right now! I'm not joking!"

    Possibly, it's the latter?

    ALSUMARIA reports that his office is denying rumors that he plans to resign.

    One would think if you were really serious about dissolving the Parliament, you'd have other things to do besides refute rumors that you might be resigning.

    But who knows?

    What is known is that the Iraqi Constitution states:

     Article 61:
    First: The Council of Representatives may dissolve itself with the consent of the absolute majority of its members, upon the request of one-third of its members or upon the request of the Prime Minister and the consent of the President of the Republic. The Council may not be dissolved during the period in which the Prime Minister is being questioned.

    Second: Upon the dissolution of the Council of Representatives, the President of the Republic shall call for general elections in the country within a period not to exceed sixty days from the date of its dissolution. The Cabinet in this case is considered resigned and continues to run everyday business.

    We know what general elections are in Iraq, don't we?

    I ask because few seem to grasp that dissolving the Parliament would mean another contest for the post of prime minister.

    That's what general elections are.

    So if the Parliament is dissolved (and the Constitution followed -- always a big "IF" in Iraq), Haider al-Abadi might or might not be chosen to be prime minister of Iraq.

    It's very likely there would be a push to go with someone else.

    Not only does Nouri al-Maliki still covet the post (Nouri was prime minister from 2006 through 2014) but a large number of Shi'ites see Haider al-Abadi as a failure.

    It's only the governments of Iran and the United States that continue to firmly back him.

    The fact that he could lose his post may be why Haider's talking state of emergency.

  • Prime Minister Haider Abadi may declare state of emergency, as chaos rises in political statue.

  • Brawls in Parliament?

    Iraq's seen them before.

    Nothing on Tuesday or Wednesday in the Parliament qualifies as a state of emergency.

    But making such a declaration might be able to temporarily save Haider's job.

    The controversial Zalmay Khalilzad (former US Ambassador to Iraq) has a column at THE NEW YORK TIMES where he offers:

    The Iranians, who usually act as brokers between Shiite groups, have generally been skeptical of Mr. Abadi, whom they regard as too close to the United States. However, Iran has recently opposed unseating the prime minister, perhaps fearing that prolonged negotiations over his succession could drive Shiite parties further apart and divert diplomatic and security resources away from the fight against the Islamic State. Iran might also realize that lasting success against the jihadist group requires addressing Iraqi Sunnis’ concerns rather than encouraging sectarianism.
    The United States has also played an influential role in facilitating agreements among Iraqis in recent years. The United States has had a good working relationship with Mr. Abadi, as Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Baghdad last week affirmed. But officials in Washington are, like their Iranian counterparts, concerned that a political crisis in Baghdad could delay the campaign to retake Mosul from the Islamic State. The political crisis could also derail efforts by the Iraqis to deal with their financial problems.

    Even Zalmay can't pretend there's support among the Iraqi people for Haider to remain in place.

    Meanwhile, Edward Tick writes the editorial board of THE NEW YORK TIMES:

    As a psychotherapist working closely with our military and veterans, I am deeply troubled by your article about a Marine’s death on a secret Iraqi base. I am concerned not only for the family of this fallen Marine, but also for all of us being misled by leadership disguising the realities of war.
    It is tragic enough that another American son has fallen, but when families and the nation are told that he and others are not counted as being deployed in the combat zone because they are on temporary assignment or there less than four months; when the public is told that our Marines are on “fire complexes” rather than fire bases so that they sound safer; when we were told combat operations were over while we are still sending troops to fight and be killed in that same region, we are fed a series of lies.

    Yes, it sounds like the peace movement is reawakening.

    And doing so after years of being in a medically induced coma.  Leslie Cagan and other liars broke up various peace organizations following the November 2008 election.

    They didn't want to challenge or pressure Barack.

    They weren't peace leaders, they were just get-out-the-vote tools for the Democratic Party.

    Now the peace movement is realizing that their 'leaders' were liars with few exceptions (Cindy Sheehan was not a liar and would be high on the list of exceptions -- but if you weren't speaking out like Cindy in the last years, you are on the liar list).

    It's going to be hard for them to assume 'leadership' posts again.

    They're exposed for the tawdry liars they are.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    Will the FBI save America?

    Pepe Escobar (CounterPunch) writes:

    The FBI team, led by Director James Comey, together with DoJ prosecutors, is now on overdrive. There will be interviews ahead. Possibly in a matter of days or weeks. And one of them will feature Comey talking to Hillary Clinton in person.
    There will be, essentially, two answers to the key question. Either Hillary Clinton ignored the rules of the secrecy game. Or she willfully breached the rules. The undisputed top reason for the existence of the subterranean private server was for Hillary Clinton to keep her emails, well, secret, and thus not subjected to freedom of information laws.

    Clinton even had a request for a government Blackberry denied by the NSA in 2009. Yet immediately afterwards she was busy on a Blackberry using private email accounts to contact State Department staff. Legitimate questions in this case include whether the subterranean server was protected against hacking. And whether State Department information morphed into Clinton Foundation information.

    Which makes me wonder:  Could the FBI save America?

    They've long presented themselves as the heroes.

    Could they really be in this case?

    Could they deliver us from Hillary?

    One can dream.

    At least right now, anyway.

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

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Haider al-Abadi's circus of failures continues, the US State Dept makes clear they (still) prefer the Talabanis to the Barzanis, and much more.

    This morning a Tweet is gathering a lot of attention but it has not been confirmed by any news outlets:

  • HUGE NEWS A Number of Marines killed inside their Base in Northern by shelling.

  • Again, no news outlet has yet reported on a shelling or the death of any US Marines.

    It may or may not be accurate.  We'll note it and move on to the chaos that is Haider al-Abadi.

    March 31st, the US-installed Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi proposed a series of 'reforms' that the US government wanted: A new Cabinet filled with people of his choosing.

    The did not go over well.

    In part because he currently has a Cabinet.

    In part because there are two ways to change the Cabinet.

    First, the Parliament can vote individual members out -- one at a time.

    Second, the Parliament can do a no-confidence vote in the prime minister which dissolves the Cabinet . . . but would also remove the prime minister.

    So there was the whole unconstitutional issue to start with.

    Then there was the sheer audacity of what he was proposing.

    Two of his proposed new members would publicly announce that they were no longer seeking the posts -- and would do so within seven days of his announcement.

    It was not a pretty time.

    Tuesday, he appeared before Parliament to announce, wait, wait, I have a new list.  Forget my March 31st list that I insisted was Iraq's best and brightest! Two weeks later, I have a new list to spring on you!

    It was received worse than the last time around. How dramatic was the whole thing?  ALSUMARIA broadcast a special program on the turmoil inside the Parliament.

    Click here for video of the angry reaction in Parliament.  And here.

    Mohammad Sabah (AL MADA) calls the entire response (sardonically calls?) the continuous birth pains of democracy.

    It could have been more of a free for all had more MPs been present.  IRAQ TIMES counts 245 plus the Speaker.  They note strong words between the Speaker and members of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc.  ALL IRAQ NEWS reports MP Hairth al-Harthy led a sit-in in Parliament calling for immediate action.  He is with the Al-Ahrar Bloc, Moqtada's group.  The photo of the sit-in AL MADA runs shows seven male MPs and nine female MPs seated.  AP notes some Sunni lawmakers also joined in the sit-in.  ALL IRAQ NEWS notes 115 MPs participated at one point or another in the sit-in and that it also included some Kurdish MPs.

    Moqtada is the Shi'ite cleric and movement leader who gave Haider al-Abadi cover to announce his first list through a series of rallies in support of a new Cabinet.

    IRAQ TIMES reports that in exchange for that support, Moqtada was able to name 6 of the 14 proposed ministers.

    Let's hope it was worth it for Moqtada.

    Apparently, others were listening in to Moqtada's conversations with Haider al-Abadi.  IRAQ TIMES notes that sites linked to State of Law have published the dialogue between Moqtada and Haider as a result of their phone conversations being recorded.

    Those paying attention may remember that State of Law led the most public Shi'ite resistance to Haider's proposal of doing away with the current Cabinet.

    State of Law is the creation of Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister of Iraq from 2006 through 2014).

    Meanwhile NINA explains that Kurdish MPs went into a private session to devise a unified front to the proposal.

    IRAQ TIMES notes the whole thing ended without any resolution and with Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri stating they'd vote on the new list Thursday.  However, ALSUMARIA reports that 61 MPs have called on al-Jubouri to hold an emergency session today.  REUTERS reports this morning that the emergency session is currently taking place.

    NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY adds that Citizen Bloc MP Salim Chawki declared that this reviewing the nominees and voting will take time and that Parliament will vote on each one as an individual (and not as one vote for the entire slate).

    No one is commenting on what a revelation the Cabinet proposal is.

    It reveals Haider is uniquely unqualified to be prime minister.

    He proposed that cabinet in the fall of 2014.  Not even two years later, he needs a new Cabinet?

    More to the point, forming a Cabinet is the only requirement for a candidate to move from prime minister designate to prime minister.

    Haider is an all out failure.

    His requests for a new Cabinet demonstrate this.

    Some Sunnis are calling for all three presidencies to be dismissed (Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister, President of Iraq) and that would be Constitutional.  It would also be the way this is supposed to be handled Constitutionally.

    Yet the White House continues to shore up the disaster that is Haider al-Abadi.

    Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Fighter aircraft and rocket artillery conducted nine strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed 20 ISIL fighting positions, 16 ISIL heavy machine guns, four ISIL rocket-propelled grenade systems, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece and two ISIL staging areas and denied ISL access to terrain.

    -- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and two separate ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed three ISIL machine guns and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes destroyed an ISIL staging area and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    And now let's note yesterday's State Dept press briefing (presided over by spokesperson Mark Toner) and what it meant:

    QUESTION: I just want to talk about Iraq.

    MR TONER: Great. Happy to talk about Iraq.

    QUESTION: So there’s a KRG delegation here in the United States. Before they get here, the KRG spokesperson said they are here at the request of the United States. I was wondering if the United States has actually invited them to be here. And they are here, obviously, from what they say, requesting for more financial help for the Peshmerga forces, especially when it comes to the liberation of Mosul. That’s my first question.

    The second question: I think it was last Friday when Secretary Kerry was in Baghdad, and it was notably – he didn’t go to Erbil. So the decision not to go to Erbil by Secretary Kerry – how much this decision has to do with the refusal of President Barzani to step down from presidency?

    MR TONER: Well, a couple things. First of all, on the KRG delegation, there is a delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, who’s in – rather, scheduled to be in Washington. I think they arrived yesterday. They’re scheduled to be here till the 15th. They’re going to meet with Administration officials to discuss the economic crisis facing the Iraqi Kurdistan Region as well as humanitarian assistance and, of course, overall U.S. support for the fight against [the Islamic State].

    As to who invited whom, I can’t speak to that, but I know they’re scheduled to meet with several Department of State officials, including Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq Joseph Pennington, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein, and Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall – Sewall, rather.
    In answer to your second question about why the Secretary didn’t travel to Erbil, all I can say is that he was on the ground in Baghdad for a day. Obviously, there are security concerns always when he’s moving about in Iraq. I don’t think it was mean to be – send any signal to the people of the region of – Kurdistan Region, rather – Iraqi Kurdistan Region. We’ve been very supportive of their efforts to combat [the Islamic State]. They have played an absolutely vital role, in fact, within the overall Iraqi command and control structure in pushing [the Islamic State] out of key parts of the country.
    And – sorry – Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk did remain in Iraq, and he also, I believe, met with Iraqi Kurdistan Region officials as well over the last several days. So we’re fully focused on the Kurdistan Region. We’re committed to helping them as much as we can in providing what assistance we can.

    We're going to stop Toner right there because that's an interesting and telling slip.

    And I don't believe Toner's that stupid.

    I do believe he's a liar because he's demonstrated himself to be one repeatedly.

    First off, who's president in the KRG?

    What the hell does it matter?

    Let's be honest.

    The post travels back and forth between two families -- the Barzanis and the Talabanis.

    Part of the reason the CIA's been so successful creating, fueling and backing Goran ("Change'') in the KRG is because of this reality.

    The CIA hasn't had a great deal of success in recent years with political parties overseas.  Goran's emerged as a genuine challenger in the KRG, a true third party.

    And that's because there is genuine resistance on the part of some -- a significant number judging by the most recent KRG elections which saw Goran emerge as the second most popular political party -- to the region being controlled by the two families.

    But at present, that is how the system has been rigged.

    So let's all stop pretending that it matters a great deal whether or not a Barzani is president of the KRG or a Talabani is president of the KRG -- or the prime minister of the KRG.

    Currently, Barazanis are both -- president and prime minister.

    And that's what's so curious about Toner's statement.

    He chooses to bring up a Talabani.  A Talabani is part of the US delegation.

    But he ignores the fact (see the photo above) that Kerry met with a Barzani while in Iraq last week -- Nechervan Barzani who is the nephew of KRG President Massoud Barzani.  The Barzanis control the KDP political party.  The Talabani's control the PUK political party.

    It's curious that Toner failed to note that meet-up or Barzani.

    He did feel the need to, in the same response, note Qubad Talabani.

    Qubad is the son of Jalal Talabani.  Jalal was President of Iraq (not the KRG) starting in 2005.


    Officially in 2014 but the reality is that after December 2012, he was never president -- not acting president.

    December 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 following Jalal's argument with Iraq's prime minister and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot).  Jalal was admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.

    He remained in Germany well into 2014.  He was brought back only in time for photo ops for the national elections of 2014 -- and that was due to Goran emerging as the second most popular political party in the KRG in the provincial elections (Talabani's PUK ended up in third place).

    Such is the power of the Talabani family that they were able to hold onto the presidential post for nearly 18 months with Jalal out of the country and unable to speak.

    He should have been replaced -- per the Constitution, he should have been replaced.

    It's that kind of corruption that allowed the CIA-backed Goran to find eager supporters in Iraq.

    The State Dept has repeatedly backed the Talabani family over the Barzani family.  Probably because the Barzani family has always wanted US troops in Iraq -- both during the Bully Boy Bush days and during Barack Obama's presidency.

    Toner's elected to choose sides again.

    He can -- and did -- name check Talabani.  And let's note Talabani is Deputy Prime Minister.  Barzani is Prime Minister.

    And while Toner didn't think it was worth noting that Kerry met last week with KRG Prime Minister Talabani, Brett McGurk did Tweet about it:

  • Conferring w/ today in . Key meetings w/PM, Speaker, FM, KRG PM. Focus: uniting forces against .

  • Back to Toner.

    QUESTION: So you’re saying it has nothing to do with the issue of presidency in the Kurdistan Region?

    MR TONER: No.

    QUESTION: Because last time he went to Erbil.

    MR TONER: I understand that. I think it was more a matter of scheduling priorities or scheduling demands.

    QUESTION: And just one more --

    MR TONER: Yes, sir.

    QUESTION: One last thing on the --

    MR TONER: Yes, sir.

    QUESTION: -- KRG delegation.

    MR TONER: Yes.

    QUESTION: Do you have news – financial support of the Kurdistan Region or – I mean, they met with the Secretary in Baghdad and now they are here with a request of more financial help from the U.S. Is there any new humanitarian or military or financial assistance to the KRG --

    MR TONER: I mean, I don’t have anything to announce beyond the 155 million that Secretary Kerry announced when he was on the ground in Baghdad, which is obviously going towards humanitarian assistance for displaced conflict-affected areas. And that’s on top of, I think, nearly 800 million since the start of Fiscal Year 2014. But of course, we’re always looking at ways we can provide more support.

    QUESTION: Thank you.