Thursday, October 01, 2015

Never mind

Don't expect Hillary Clinton to talk about this:

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urgently needs funds to cover an unprecedented budget shortfall caused by the conflict in Syria and Iraq, a senior official said, warning that unless needs are met in the region, more refugees will make the hazardous journey to Europe.
Robert Mardini, the ICRC’s regional director for the Middle East, said the funding gap for operations in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon reached “the alarming figure” of 80m Swiss francs ($82m) for 2015 in late September.


Why is that Hillary thinks she has all the answers but she can't address something as basic as a refugee crisis?

Oh, right.

Because she helped cause it by supporting the Iraq War.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, September 30, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi continues his trip to the United States, more e-mails reveal the real Hillary Clinton (homophobe and greedy), and much more.


As part of Haider al-Abadi's continued visit to the United States, the prime minister of Iraq sat down with Margaret Warner (PBS' The NewsHour -- link is text, audio and video) for an interview.  Excerpt.


MARGARET WARNER: Another thing, of course, that happened over the last few days was news that Iraq had entered an intelligence pact with Russia and Iran and Syria to share intelligence about ISIS. Why did you join that?


HAIDER AL-ABADI: ISIL is an international terrorist organization. As far as the intelligence is concerned, we can only gather information about ISIL inside Iraq.
We need the help of other countries. Russia now considers ISIL as a national threat to them. It is a national threat to Syria. And, of course, it is a threat to Iran as well. Now, to share this intelligence with these countries is going to help us. I will do whatever it takes to protect the Iraqi people.
And there are many terrorist networks all over the world and fighters coming across different countries, to Syria, to Iraq. I need the help of that intelligence, as well as the intelligence of the international coalition, which is…

(CROSSTALK)


MARGARET WARNER: But doesn’t most of your intelligence in fact come from the Americans? And are you worried that the U.S. will become more wary and less forthcoming sharing intelligence with you if they know it also goes to Iran and Russia and Syria?


HAIDER AL-ABADI: No, we will be careful not to share this information which comes from other parties with another party.




Some have little faith in Haider al-Abadi's ability to self-censor.  It was on another US trip, for instance, when he created an international incident by declaring he had intel about planned attacks on American targets including the NYC subway system.



It was a year ago when Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Allen (Reuters) reported:



Iraq has "credible" intelligence that Islamic State militants plan to attack subway systems in Paris and the United States, the prime minister said on Thursday, but U.S. and French officials said they had no evidence to back up his claims.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's comments were met with surprise by security, intelligence and transit officials in both countries. New York's leaders scrambled to ride the subway to reassure the public that the nation's largest city was safe.




As his heavily reported claims were rebuked by both US and French government officials, Haider was left standing alone on the world stage and returned to Iraq an object of both ridicule and scorn.



The man who can't trust his own mouth now says he can handle top secret intelligence and not pass it on to Russia?



Noting that Iraq has long allowed Russia to fly over the country, in Iraq air space, David L. Phillips points out at CNBC:


Iraq's Shiite-led government appears to be more loyal to Iran than the United States. Iran's Quds Force is fighting alongside Shiite militias against the Islamic State in Anbar and other western provinces of Iraq. Iran's political support and security assistance are critical for the survival of Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government. 
Iraq's Shiite-led government appears to be more loyal to Iran than the United States. Iran's Quds Force is fighting alongside Shiite militias against the Islamic State in Anbar and other western provinces of Iraq. Iran's political support and security assistance are critical for the survival of Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government.
  Further demonstration of Iraq's non-cooperation with the United States surfaced over the weekend: Iraq has reached an understanding with Russia, Iran and Syria to share intelligence about the Islamic State. Iraqi officials kept Washington in the dark during negotiations.

The Obama administration should be able to influence the government of Iraq. Washington supported Abadi's bid to become prime minister. The Pentagon has an extensive equip-and-train program bolstering the Iraqi Security Forces. Between 2005 and 2013, the U.S. spent $25 billion on security assistance to Iraq. U.S.troops were indispensable in toppling Saddam Hussein, which created conditions for Shiites to ascend in Iraq.   




Should be able to but apparently the puppet pulls the strings.


Operation Inherent Failure we dubbed it.


And the final grades keep rolling in.


Take this week's [PDF format warning] Foreign Fighter Task Force report from the House Homeland Security Committee.


 The report explains:


One jihadist group in particular saw an opening.  The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), a successor organization to al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), called for sectarian war and the creation of a regional Islamic state.  AQI was a terrorist group whose leadership had pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden in 2004 and which led an insurgency against U.S. forces in the country.  After the group's leader Abud Musab al-Zarqai was killed in a 2006 U.S. airstrike, it rebranded as ISL.  The terror outfit was weakened by the surge of U.S. troops into Iraq, the Anbar awakening, and later the death of its two top leaders in 2010.  With the eventual withdrawal of American forces, however, ISI took advantage of the security vacuum and Sunni disenfranchisement with the central government to ramp up attacks.  Its new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, oversaw the escalation in violence.
In April 2013, al-Baghdadi declared the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (hereafter, ISIS).  He sought to merge his forces with those of al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, but al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahirl rejected the merger, creating a schism between the groups.  Nevertheless, ISIS expanded its operations in northern and eastern Syria, claiming territory and creating tension with other rebel factions.  The momentum allowed ISIS to attract additional resources, especially more foreign fighters.
On New Year's Day 2014, ISIS convoys stormed Falluja and Ramadi, Iraqi cities which only a few years earlier had been liberated by U.S. forces.  The Iraqi army crumbled as the fighters arrived in convoys of 70-100 trucks, armed with heavy weapons and anti-aircraft guns.  The group's growing success resonated with Islamist radicals across social media.  ISIS launched another major offensive in June 2014, capturing Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, and taking control of others towns as it pushed south toward Baghdad.



Further in, the report offers this stark assessment:



The United States conducted its first series of coordinated airstrikes against ISIS in August 2014.  The strikes focused initially on curbing ISIS advances in nothern Iraq and protecting religious minorities but eventually shifted to supporting offensive operations against the militant group in both Iraq and its Syrian territory.  In September, President Obama declared the aim of degrading and ultimately destroying the group.  The United States has since conducted more than 5,000 airstrikes against ISIS.
Airstrikes, however, do not appear to have kept aspiring foreign fighters away.  When the strikes began, counterterrorism officials estimated the total number of extremists was around 15,000.  However, fighters continued to enter Syria at a rate of 1,000 per month.  In December 2014, intelligence officials pegged the total at more than 18,000 and by February 2015 it surpassed 20,000.  Today the figure stands at 25,000-plus foreign fighters, more than triple the number from just a year ago.  The majority of these fighters still come from the Middle East and North Africa, with Tunisia as the most significant source country.  But the total also includes 4,500 Westerners and more than 250 Americans, figures which have surged since 2014.
Indeed, foreign fighters have helped ISIS to remain strong.  Nearly 10,000 of the group's foot soldiers have been killed by airstrikes, but they have been replaced by new foreign and domestic fighters almost as quickly as they are taken off the battlefield.  There has been "no meaningful degradition in their numbers," according to one defense official, as estimates place ISIS's total fighting force at 20-30,000 -- the same as it was last fall.



Operation Inherent Failure continues on, doing the same thing with no real results.


Some call it a 'plan,' some call it stupidity.



Meanwhile, the US State Dept issued a press release today:


Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 30, 2015
Today at the UN General Assembly event on the humanitarian emergency in Iraq, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall announced that the United States is providing more than $56 million in additional humanitarian assistance to Iraqis who have been affected by violence and are in urgent need of help from the international community. This new funding brings total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Iraq humanitarian response to nearly $534 million since the start of Fiscal Year 2014.
Nearly 3.2 m
illion Iraqis have been internally displaced due to conflict since January 2014—the fastest growing displacement crisis in the world. Iraq’s neighbors are hosting approximately 370,000 Iraqi refugees, on top of the millions of Syrians who have also sought refuge and are in need of aid. U. S. humanitarian assistance aims to assist millions of Iraqi civilians affected by conflict, providing them with critically needed relief commodities, food, shelter, clean water and sanitation, protection, medical services, livelihoods support, and other essential goods and services.
In June, the UN issued a $498 million appeal for the highest priority needs inside Iraq for July through December 2015. The United States is extremely concerned that there has not been a more robust response to this appeal from other international donors. Despite U.S. contributions, only 40 percent of the necessary funds for the most critical needs have been committed. As a result, humanitarian programs that provide essential food, health, water and sanitation, shelter and other relief services are shutting down. The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government are taking steps to provide for the 3.2 million IDPs and the 250,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq. But more needs to be done, and the international community’s help is urgently needed.A range of organizations will receive this funding, including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Food Program (WFP), and other international and nongovernmental organizations.
For further information, please contact Danna Van Brandt, vanbrandtdj@state.gov, or visit PRM’s website.



Sarah Sewall -- aka Sarah Sewer -- remains a threat to peace and humanity no matter how many titles she buys in Barack's administration.


The counter-insurgency guru used her time at Harvard to pimp war and now thinks she can pretend she stands for anything but destruction.

Even more amazing, as 2007 drew to a close, there was Sewer and Monty McFate chatting with Charlie (bloom off the) Rose about how Sewer could use a politician as a puppet and the unnamed politician she was speaking of was Barack Obama.


After public claims like that, you'd think Barack would make sure she had no seat at the table but, apparently, she can in fact use Barack like a puppet hence her continued role in his administration.


Sarah Sewer's not the only State Dept trash in the news.


There's former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


Yes, yes, the latest batch of e-mails released reveal her homophobic hatred of non-traditional families.


But there's also David Sirota and Andrew Perez's report for International Business Times which opens:


When then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the war against Iraq in 2002, she justified her support of the invasion as a way to protect America’s national security. But less than a decade later, as secretary of state, Clinton promoted the war-torn country as a place where American corporations could make big money.
“It's time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity," she said in a 2011 speech.

The quote was included in an email released by the State Department on Wednesday that specifically mentioned JPMorgan and Exxon Mobil. JPMorgan was selected by the U.S. government to run a key import-export bank in Iraq and in 2013 announced plans to expand its operations in the country. Exxon Mobil signed a deal to redevelop Iraqi oil fields. JPMorgan has collectively paid the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation at least $450,000 for speeches, and Exxon Mobil has donated over $1 million to the family’s foundation.



She's sorry, you understand, that she voted for the Iraq War and supported it for years until well after the majority of Americans had turned against it.


Her sorry is the same as her husband's when his affair with Monica Lewinsky was exposed -- embarrassment at being caught out.


She has no real regrets about the destruction of Iraq, the refugee crises she helped create, the increased birth defects directly tied into the illegal weapons the US government used in Iraq --

She has only one regret, that the mean press asks her about Iraq today.


Oh, that mean, evil press, expecting the would be Queen of America to answer questions.

How awful.

How horrible.

She's happy to talk about Iraq -- when she thinks the press isn't around and she won't be reported.

Everything about that woman is fake, not just her hair color.

And her pretense that she's a fighter took a huge hit over the weekend as she brought out the latest man to fight her battles for her: her husband Bill Clinton.

If Hillary can't take on the press by herself, how would she ever be able to stand up to world leaders.


The general rule in a campaign with regards to spouses of candidates is that the spouse smiles and stays positive throughout.

When your spouse fights your battle -- as Marilyn Quayle did early on for husband Dan -- the candidate gets the image of being weak.


All that time Hillary's spent trying to out macho her competition just went down the drain.


Hillary gave a speech this month which Betty noted in "Not On My Watch -- says manly Hillary."

A few whiners e-mailed thinking I would attack Betty for the post because I'm a feminist.


Because I'm a feminist, I agree with Betty.

Hillary's using macho b.s. language which is actually further alienating her from would-be supporters.

Instead of always putting the emphasis on her own (self)perceived greatness, she should be making her campaign about 'us.'

But as though she's prepping for a concert, she can only keep singing 'me-me-me-me-me.'

"Not on our watch" would be inclusive language.

"Not on my watch" is Hillary aping the most macho posing candidate and swinging her phantom cock at the crowds.

It's really sad.

But so is she these days.


Finally, 16 people who were kidnapped have been released in Iraq.  September 2nd, in the Sadr section of Baghdad, 18 people were abducted -- Turkish workers and a translator.  Two were released earlier this month leaving 16 still held hostage.

The Dow Jones Business Wire notes that the 16 were released in Mosayeb and then taken to the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad.  CBC quotes Ugur Dogan, the head of their employer Nurol Holding, declaring the workers are safe.

Sputnik reminds, "This is not the first case of Turkish citizens being kidnapped in Iraq. In June 2014, militants from the terrorist group Islamic State took 49 employees of the Turkish consulate in Mosul in northern Iraq hostage. The hostages were released after three months in captivity."

Rumors swirl on Arabic social media regarding whether a ransom was paid.

Kidnapping is an occupation in Iraq -- one that brings in lots of money.

Along with individual Iraqis having to pay hefty ransoms, many companies (including news outlets) and governments have paid ransoms throughout the ongoing Iraq War.










 pbs
the newshour
margaret warner





Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bernie's problems

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Col Bernie Sanders" went up this week.

colberniesanders


Bernie may be cool with a number of people but he just can't seem to reach African-American voters as the polls repeatedly demonstrate.


He's kind of harping on one topic when he speaks and he doesn't really ask himself, "Is this message inclusive?"

He harps and he hectors and it's no wonder that a number of people are not being reached (not just African-Americans).

"TV: Women's declining fortunes" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Which is especially bad when you grasp that, outside of ABC's QUANTICO and Fox's SCREAM QUEENS, all the shows that haved debuted so far are male led.

Instead, the women are 'helpmates' and 'sidekicks' -- even on MINORITY REPORT where Meagan Good's Detective Lara Vega may carry the gun and have the police training but is secondary to pre-cog Dash (Stark Sands).

In fact, things are so bad this season for women on prime time that Marge's summation of her marriage Sunday night on THE SIMPSONS pretty much  also covered the status of women on TV,  "I know this marriage isn't perfect or even great.  But now I treasure the moments where it's just so-so. I'd kill for okay."



Ava and C.I. wrote another epic as they examined the presence of women on the fall TV schedule.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, September 29, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack gives another speech, the prostitution rings in Iraq finally get some press attention, and much more.




These are the words, the words are these,
death lingering, stunk,
Flies swarming everyone
Over the whole summit peak
Flesh quivering in the heat
This was something else again
I fear it cannot be explained
The words that make, the words that make
murder
What if I take my problem to the United Nations?
-- "The Words That Maketh Murder," written by PJ Harvey, first appears on her album LET ENGLAND SHAKE



Yesterday, US President Barack Obama insisted before the United Nations, "Even as our economy is growing and our troops have largely returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, we see in our debates about America’s role in the world a notion of strength that is defined by opposition to old enemies, perceived adversaries, a rising China, or a resurgent Russia; a revolutionary Iran, or an Islam that is incompatible with peace."


The economy's growing (at a snail's pace) and "our troops have largely returned from Iraq and Afghanistan"?

Not quite what he ran on in 2008, is it?


Back then, the Cult of St Barack gathered to hear him thunder, "We want to end the war!"


They might have puzzled over -- maybe even booed? -- a statement like, "We want to largely end the war!"


He further insisted:


In Iraq, the United States learned the hard lesson that even hundreds of thousands of brave, effective troops, trillions of dollars from our Treasury, cannot by itself impose stability on a foreign land.  Unless we work with other nations under the mantle of international norms and principles and law that offer legitimacy to our efforts, we will not succeed.  And unless we work together to defeat the ideas that drive different communities in a country like Iraq into conflict, any order that our militaries can impose will be temporary.   



What international norm or principle is Barack exhibiting when he drops bombs daily on Iraq?


What hard lesson taught him that would work?


Because it hasn't worked for over a year now.


Operation Inherent Failure.


Robert Burns (AP) sums it up, "A summer of stalemate in the effort to reclaim the Iraqi provincial capital of Ramadi, despite U.S.-backed Iraqi troops vastly outnumbering Islamic State fighters, calls into question not only Iraq's ability to win a test of wills over key territory but also the future direction of Washington's approach to defeating the extremist group."


Not only is Barack's plan or 'plan' a failure but its exhausted patience within Iraq.  Al Mada reports that Shi'ite political parties are nervous about the US' military role in Iraq and plan to ask Haider about it (if and) when he finally appears before Parliament.  MP Mohammad al-Karbouli serves on Parliament's Defense Committee and states that the popular crowd (Shi'ite militias) insist that there should be no foreign troops on Iraqi soil.

Confronted with strong opposition, will Haider fold or dance like the puppet he is for the White House?

Zayd Alisa (Open Democracy) offers this:

One year after Haider Al Abadi took over the premiership and the US commenced airstrikes against ISIL or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, previously known as Al Qaeda in Iraq - AIQ), Iraq is grappling with not only an increasingly menacing existential threat posed by ISIL, but also an intensifying wave of protests. Erupting in Basra—Iraq’s major port and above all where the overwhelming majority of Iraq’s oil exports stems from—the protests swiftly swept through southern provinces, eventually reaching the capital Baghdad.
The demonstrations were initially sparked by a brutal heat wave, which has been exacerbated by an indefensible chronic shortage in the electricity supply and by almost non-existent public services. They have dramatically expanded, however, forcefully calling for an all-out war on corruption and swift political reform.

These protests have sent shock waves across the Shia political blocs, largely because they are severely undermining their credibility and legitimacy with their Shia powerbase. The three biggest Shia political blocs, which have persistently been at the heart of all Shia-led governments since the US-led invasion in 2003, are the State of the Law (SoL), which is led by the Dawa party, and from which comes not only the incumbent prime minister, Abadi, but also his predecessors Nouri Al Maliki and Ibrahim Al Jaafari; Islamic Supreme Council (ISC) led by Ammar Al Hakim; and the Sadrist Al-Ahrar bloc.


Challenges to Haider go beyond the Parliament.  Zaid Sabah and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) report:



A Shiite militia that refuses even to identify its leader is emerging as one of the greatest threats to the Iraqi administration it’s meant to be backing.
Kataib Hezbollah has thousands of fighters deployed against the jihadists of Islamic State. While the Iranian-backed group has played a key role in helping Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi stem the militants’ advance, it’s now joining forces with other Shiite militias to oppose the premier’s push to enact a measure that could limit its own power, and Tehran’s influence.
At the heart of the dispute is the National Guard Law, legislation meant to bring all pro-government armed groups under a unified command. The measure is backed by the U.S. as the only way to halt the breakup of OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer.


And yet All Iraq News quotes MP Jasim Mohammed Jaafar (Iraqi National Alliance) insisting that the National Guard bill "will be endorsed by the Iraqi Parliament after the vacation of Eid Adha."


Of course, one MP after another has insisted for over a year now that this bill was on the verge of passing.

Barack himself's been pushing it publicly since June of 2014.

Maybe he should have made his (military) support conditional?  No passage of the bill, no US war planes?




Haider's been busy in the US of late.


His Tweeter feed is little more than glorified selfies.








  • PM Al-Abadi met Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, special coordinator for the peace process in the Middle East





  • Mladenov?


    The failure as head of UNAMI is now over the peace process?

    Well I guess that's one way to rig the effort and ensure no progress.


    Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) reports that Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari also addressed the United Nations Monday insisting that it needed to help Iraq with its crises.

     Which I guess is his way of insisting that the new deal with Russia was necessary.



    CBS and AP note:


    Iraq will begin sharing "security and intelligence" information with Russia, Syria and Iran to help combat the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS,) the Iraqi military announced Sunday.
    A statement issued by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said the countries will "help and cooperate in collecting information about the terrorist Daesh group," using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

    On CNN (see video on page), they argue the aspect of the goals of the US versus Russia with regards to Syria (the US government wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad replaced -- that has been the goal since the days of Bully Boy Bush).


    But another aspect is how can Iraq share intelligence with Russia?

    The US is sharing intel with Iraq which Iraq will then pass on to Russia?


    I have no problem with intel being shared but I'm not the person in the White House who has demonized Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Barack created the 'great enemy' Putin -- as we noted in real time.


    Putin was a minor player -- a fading one -- until the President of the United States repeatedly elevated him at the end of Barack's first term by verbally attacking him.


    That was Barack's decision and the world lives with the consequences.


    So it's worth noting now that the chain of intel will go something like this: US government shares with Iraq which then shares with Russia.


    Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) offers this take:

    Yesterday’s announcement that Iraq is going to engage in intelligence sharing with Russia and Syria has been met negatively by Pentagon officials, who say that it “complicates” the US war and dramatically weakens America’s own intelligence gathering abilities.
    This problem appears to be largely a function of US annoyance at the information sharing, which means the Pentagon intends to limit intelligence sharing with Iraq, seemingly out of spite, and will subsequently get less intelligence from Iraq in return.


    Ditz seems a little self-righteous and ignorant in the above.

    I have no problem with intel sharing.

    But I do grasp that the US might not want to share intel with someone they're picking a fight with.

    I'm confused as to why that's such a mystery to Jason Ditz.



    Violence continues in Iraq.  Monday?  Alsumaria reports a Baghdad car bombing left 3 people dead and seven more injured and Khalidiya mortar and rockets attack killed 1 sixteen-year-old girl and left two children and two adults injured. Iraq Times adds that a 45-year-old man was shot dead (three shots to the chest) in front of his Basra home by militia members and a Basra tribal clash left 3 people dead and a fourth injured.


    In other news, Alsumaria notes that the Ministry of Health states there are now 401 confirmed cholera cases in Iraq. All Iraq News adds that 14 confirmed cases are in Diwaniya Province.

    On cholera, we'll note this Tweet:













  • For years, we've noted the sex trade in Iraq.  Few have.  Off Our Backs did (the feminist publication ceased publication shortly after).  Today, CNN's Arwa Damon Tweets:


















  • The New Yorker report is by Rania Abouzeid and here's an excerpt:



    In 2012, Iraq passed its first law specifically against human trafficking, but the law is routinely ignored, and sexual crimes, including rape and forced prostitution, are common, women’s-rights groups say. Statistics are hard to come by, but in 2011, according to the latest Ministry of Planning report, a survey found that more than nine per cent of respondents between the ages of fifteen and fifty-four said they had been subjected to sexual violence. The real number is likely much higher, given the shame attached to reporting such crimes in a society where a family’s honor is often tied to the chastity of its women. The victims of these crimes are often considered outcasts and can be killed for “dishonoring” their family or their community.
    Since 2006, Layla, a rape victim and former prostitute, has been secretly mapping Iraq’s underworld of sex trafficking and prostitution. Through her network of contacts in the sex trade, she gathers information about who is selling whom and for how much, where the victims are from, and where they are prostituted and trafficked. She passes the information, through intermediaries, to Iraqi authorities, who usually fail to act on it. Still, her work has helped to convict several pimps, including some who kidnapped children. That Saturday night, I accompanied Layla and Mohammad on a tour of some of the places that she investigates, on the condition that I change her name, minimize details that might identify her, and not name her intermediaries.

    The work is extremely dangerous. The pimps whom Layla encounters are women, but behind them is a tangled hierarchy of armed men: corrupt police, militias that profit from the sex trade, and militias that brutally oppose it. On the morning of July 13, 2014, the bullet-ridden bodies of twenty-eight women and five men were retrieved from two apartments, said to be brothels, in a building complex in Zayouna, a neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. I saw the bodies a few hours later, at the city morgue, laid out on the floor. Morgue workers blamed the religious militias, singling out the pro-Iranian Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, one of the many armed outfits proliferating in Iraq. Other groups of suspected prostitutes have been found shot dead, but the Zayouna incident was the largest killing in recent years, and it prompted at least fifteen neighborhood pimps whom Layla knew to flee with their girls to Iraqi Kurdistan. Layla often visits apartments like the ones in Zayouna, posing as a retired pimp. As a cover, she sells the madams abayas that are intricately embroidered with colored crystals and diamant├ęs; they serve to identify women as pimps, rather than prostitutes, at night clubs.



    I should probably do a correction.

    Off Our Backs did report on the issue.

    In fairness, AFP also frequently mentioned "prostitutes."

    Whenever a woman died and someone accused her of having been a prostitute -- excuse me, whenever a woman was murdered and someone accused her of having been a prostitute -- an anonymous neighbor or a vindictive police officer -- AFP was happy to report this allegation as fact -- despite having no proof and knowing what a slur the charge was in Iraq.

    Now AFP was never interested in reporting on prostitute rings or pimps or anything like that.

    But let a woman be murdered and AFP was happy to stamp her with "prostitute" -- in a "she had it coming" kind of way.





    Lastly, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Col Bernie Sanders" went up last night.