Saturday, September 27, 2014

Anita Baker and Heart

 "What We’re Listening to This Week" (CounterPunch):

Rapture: Anita Baker
Flood: Moreland and Arbuckle
Enter the 37th Chamber: El Michels Affair (Fat Beats)
Lee Ballinger co-edits Rock and Rap Confidential.

Lee's the only one worth noting because he's the only one noting a woman as equal.

It's amazing how so many sexists write for CounterPunch -- men and women -- until you grasp that it is one of the most sexist websites online.

Anita Baker is a one of a kind artist and one who does not get the credit she deserves.

If she were a copycat, she'd be much better known.

Instead, she's a true original who broke in when radio was a little less restrictive.

You don't compare her to some pop tart.  She's an artist in line with Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington and Judy Garland.

She is one of the greats.  Fortunately, when she released Rapture, the country was in a place where it could recognize artistic genius.

 "This edition's playlist" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Red Velvet Car

1) Heart's Red Velvet Car.

2) James Blake's Overgrown.

3) Prince's Controversy.

4) Ben and Ellen Harper's Childhood Home.

5) Joni Mitchell's Ladies of the Canyon.

6) Stevie Nicks' Bella Donna.

7) Supergrass' Life On Other Planets.

8) Carly Simon's Playing Possum.

9) Stevie Wonder's Talking Book.

10) The Replacement's Pleased To Meet Me.

What a great list and what a great mix.

I guess I'll note Heart.

Heart is Ann and Nancy Wilson.  The two sisters are the backbone and heart of the group.  Others come and go, but Ann and Nancy are there.

When the group started, the boyfriends, then also in the band, were usually falsely credited with the success of the group because, you know, women don't know anything.

When the boyfriends left and Ann and Nancy continued the band, it was a shock to some that the band continued, let alone thrived.

Ann is the front person.  She and Nancy often write the songs (frequently with childhood friend Sue Ennis).

Had they been men, no one would have ever questioned their talent, their leadership or their ability to rock.

Their hits are legendary: "Magic Man," "Crazy On You, " "Dreamboat Annie," "Dog & Butterfly," "Barracuda," "Tell It Like It Is," "Straight On," "Never," "Even It Up," "What About Love," "Nothing At All," "These Dreams," "Alone," "How Can I Refuse," "This Man Is Mine," "Who Will You Run To," "There's The Girl," "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You," "Wild Child," "I Didn't Want To Need You," "Stranged," "You're The Voice," "Black On Black II," "Will You Be There (In The Morning)" and more.

With Red Velvet Car, they had another hit album and reminded everyone that Heart is one of the supreme rock bands working today.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Saturday, September 27, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, US bombing kills civilians in Iraq, Iraqi military continues to bomb residential areas in Falluja, Barack's 'plan' is a bust the same way the 'surge' was, England wants a piece of it and its not the only country that does, Haider al-Abadi's window of opportunity continues to close, and much more.

Jimmy Carter is the only US president since the start of the 20th century who can't seriously be accused of being anti-Arab.  In actions and words, Carter has done what Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, the George Bushes and so many more haven't.

So earlier this week, when he spoke publicly, we linked to the video and noted that at least he was raising the issue of civilian casualties which put him far ahead of so many observers of the latest wave of the Iraq War.   We also included his comment regarding boots on the ground with Carter supporting them.

I didn't try to mind read, didn't try to minimize, we just included them.

Jimmy Carter's thoughts still carry weight in the Arab world and anyone reading the snapshot could read them and interpret them for themselves.

There's now confusion over the statements.  But not in the Arab world.

The confusion comes in the United States.

In an unsigned 'report' at the Inquisitr (well, would you want to put your name to a pack of lies?), someone (and the outlet) argues (argue) that Carter did call for boots on the ground but he supports Barack's plan.

That is where the confusion always starts n the last six years -- when members of the press attempt to figure out how to sell disagreement with Barack as "agreement."

If Carter wants boots on the ground, and he stated he does, he is at odds with Barack's so-called 'plan.'

Carter is in agreement with some people.  Gen Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, is publicly skeptical of the plan.

But he says he supports it!

Dempsey is one of the few speaking who has to speak in code and carefully.  The term is "insubordination."  His testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee -- in full, not pull quotes -- made clear he does not believe the 'plan' is satisfactory or will achieve.

Robert Gates and Leon Panetta served in the administration as civilians.  Both were Secretary of Defense.  Both disagree regarding boots on the ground.  Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has publicly expressed his belief that the 'plan' requires boots on the ground.

I believe Carter's point is more along what Time's Bobby Ghosh was pointing out (on MSNBC) ahead of Barack calling for bombings -- without US troops there to verify, a lot of people could be hurt with US airstrikes and also some Iraqis could use the airstrikes to kill their political rivals and enemies.

That's what I believe Carter was thinking.


But I didn't try to decipher him when we noted his remarks.

We let them stand for themselves.

But The Inquistr has to bend them, has to reshape them, has to insist that Jimmy is backing Barack's 'plan.'

No, he's not.  If he's calling for boots on the ground -- and he is -- then he's not backing Barack's 'plan' which (publicly) calls for no boots on the ground.

The press repeatedly cannot deal with disagreement with Barack so they repeatedly misinform and outright lie to make it appear it's not taking place.

The press tends to do this to a degree with every president.

It has nothing to do with 'respect for the office' but everything to do with the press being made up of suck ups who quickly learn and instill what gets in print and what doesn't.  Fawning?  Outlets make time for that?  Challenging reporting?  Oh, it's less common than investigative journalism.

Let's hold on a second to describe the 'plan' for anyone not paying attention in the last weeks.  The US military will bomb all over Iraq (and now in Syria as well -- Syria is the new Laos) to 'defeat' the Islamic State -- a group of Sunni fundamentalists who have received some backing (in terms of concealment as well as in terms of aiding in violence) by some Iraqi Sunnis as a result of the oppression of the Sunni community in Iraq which includes but is not limited to, false imprisonment, arrests without warrants, arrests of known innocents (arrested because the police couldn't find the suspect so they arrested a mother, or a wife, or a child, or a . . .), torture and rape in Iraqi prisons, etc.

Barack has repeatedly stated in public that Iraq requires a political solution.

When he makes those statements, he's referring to the need for a government that is inclusive and represents all Iraqis.  He's basically trying to turn the clock back to 2010 when Iraqis had again (see the 2009 election results) expressed a growing belief in a national identity and a rejection of a country made up of warring sects.  Nouri al-Maliki (with the White House's backing) came close to destroying such a possibility.

Nouri wanted a third term and Barack (wisely, in my opinion) worked to ensure that it did not happen.

The whole point of that was so that Iraq could get a new prime minister, a new leader, so that people could have hope that maybe a new Iraq was possible.

A hope like that doesn't survive months.

It's either confirmed or it's a fleeting hope that quickly passes.

Sometimes I get that feeling and I want to settle and raise a child up with somebody
I get that strong long and then I want to settle and raise a child up with somebody
But it passes like the summer
I'm a wild seed again
Let the wind carry me
-- "Let The Wind Carry Me," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on Joni's For The Roses

Passes like the summer.

And what's happened in Iraq.

Haider al-Abadi was named the new prime minister.

Despite not having a Minister of Interior (over the federal police) or a Minister of Defense (over the military) in his Cabinet.

Just like Nouri.

Who went four years without filling those slots.  Yes, Americans being asked to support bombings today, Nouri went his entire term without a Minister (Secretary) of Defense.

Unlike Nouri, Haider has nominated people for the posts.  The Parliament's just refused to confirm them.

What else has Haider done?

Well, since the start of this year, back in January, under Nouri's orders residential neighborhoods in Falluja have been bombed killing and wounding thousands of Iraqis.  (Falluja's a Sunni-dominated city.)

Near the start of this month, Haider announced that the bombings were over, he had ordered it.

But . . .

the next day the bombings continued and they continue every day.

So his words may be different than Nouri's words, but the results are the same.

He has retained Nouri in the government.

Even Barack didn't do that.  For all the (accurate) critiques of Barack failing to prosecute Bully Boy Bush and his cronies, Barack didn't make Bully Boy Bush Secretary of State, for example.

But tyrant Nouri serves in Haider's government as one of three Vice Presidents (the other two are former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and former Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi).

So Nouri's policies continue, the security ministries continue to remain leaderless and Nouri continues in the government.

Where's the change?

Hope's fleeing.  Joni sings "it passes like the summer."

There are a few new freckles on your shoulders
The hammock swings lower and touches the grass
The apples are ripe and the corn is past
Everyone says summer goes by so fast
And we just got here
-- "We Just Got Here," written by Carly Simon, first appears on her Have You Seen Me Lately?

Joni sings it passes like summer, Carly sings summer goes by so fast.

Friday, NINA reported 3 civilians are dead and nine more injured.  In addition, Iraqi Spring MC noted  Falluja General Hospital received the corpses of 2 children and eight more people who were injured from last night's bombings of the residential neighborhoods.

And how were Friday prayers in Anbar celebrated?  With more civilian bombings.

NINA reports:

Chairman of Anbar provincial Council Sabah Karhot called army troops to focus on the bombing of the IS sites and not targeting residential areas.
Head of the Council Karhot told the National Iraqi News Agency / Nina / that the city of Fallujah exposed to shelling of rockets and explosive barrels that claims the lives of many innocent civilians.
The city of Fallujah exposed, daily, to the bombing of the explosive barrels and mortar shells and rockets, and about 12 civilians were killed and injured in today's bombing, which targeted residential neighborhoods in Fallujah. 

And NINA notes a Friday Mosul bombing by US war planes killed 4 civilians.

So is Haider al-Abadi a liar or powerless?

A number of people are saying powerless and noting articles like this one at Kitabat which maintains that Nouri is refusing to leave the palace he's lived in since 2006, the housing of the prime minister.  And that even high ranking members of Dawa (Nouri's political party) attempting or persuade Nouri that he must leave and allow al-Abadi to move in have failed.

An image is taking hold.  I'm not surprised.

Right now there's a call on Arabic social media for a massive protest in Baghdad on September 30th against Haider al-Abadi.  If it is large, this will not help his image one bit.

The window for Haider to make a difference, to show he was different from Nouri, is closing.

Who will they look to
So innocent they don't know
Life, life isn't always fair
There's always someone who cares
Who will they look to
In whose hands will their future lie
Whose going to tell them stand up again
Why not, why not give them one more try
Who will they look to
-- "Who Will They Look To," written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, first appears on Ashford & Simpson's Street Opera

The White House spent all these weeks shoring up foreign support for bombings and they did nothing to push on the political scene.

So it's a failure in the same way Bully Boy Bush's 'surge' is a failure.

The 'surge' was an infusion of US forces into Iraq and they would address the violence and this would provide time and space for political reconciliations and progress.

The US military did what they were supposed to.  Their side of the 'surge' worked.  But the diplomatic side was a failure which means the 'surge' was a failure since it was created to address the political issues.

Likewise, Barack's bombings.

I never supported them and I don't support them now.  I didn't support the increase of US troops during the 'surge.'  I could have been wrong both times.

If so, I'd admit to it.

But the 'surge' failed because the US diplomatic effort failed.

And the 'bombings' fail in the end not because they're border-line War Crimes (which they are).  The bombings fail because they sucked up all the White House energy and attention and nothing was accomplished in Iraq on the political end.

Okay, well every day's a new day.  Yes, I know that Diana Ross song as well.

But if you're thinking the White House will get started tomorrow (which is a business day in Iraq) or even Monday, you might want to rethink that.

The Iraqi Parliament has just started a two week vacation.  It's the holy period of Eid.

Nothing's happening.

Or did the White House think that the whole world runs on their calendar?

It's apparently 'sexier' and more 'tough guy' to focus on sending troops and bombings but if you're not going to do the really hard work, what's the point?

That's a question which should have been put to Bully Boy Bush and a question which now needs to be put to Barack.

"Nouri wanted a third term and Barack (wisely, in my opinion) worked to ensure that it did not happen," I said above.

You support empire!

I don't support empire, I support the Iraqi people, I support the rule of law.

Nouri did not 'win' the 2014 elections.  He did not even 'win' by the definition of 'winning' he gave before the voting started.  To have become Prime Minister for a third term, he would have needed to form a coalition with others.  The National Alliance, the largest Shi'ite bloc, was filled with leaders who did not support a third term for Nouri -- including cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr and former Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafarri who is now Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The western press thought the White House was in the bag for Nouri (as they were in 2010) so they didn't report the voting accurately.  You had to go to the Iraqi press, the Arab press and some European press (not AFP!) to learn what happened on the day of voting.

Nouri had already worked to suppress Sunni turnout -- which included bombing Falluja before the vote, during the vote, and after the vote.  But on voting day, Sunnis encountered one problem after another in voting.  They were turned away from outside voting centers by Shi'ite militias or Nouri's security forces (Shi'ite militias, at that point, had become a part of Nouri's security forces).  They arrived at other voting centers which were closed.

Many remained closed all day.

Some, if enough complaints went in to the UN and to the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq, were opened mid-day.  While a half-open polling station is better than a non-open one, a half-day's worth of voters have been lost (more if they've shared with neighbors that they went to vote and a sign declared the polling station would not be opening).

It was not a fair vote by any means.

Even with all of that, Nouri did not manage to win as defined by the Iraqi Constitution.

He squeaked ahead of others just barely -- or his State of Law did -- but that was it.

Per the Constitution and per the Supreme Court decision he sought ahead of the 2010 elections but waited until after he came in second to Ayad Allawi to reveal it, Nouri did not win the 2014 elections.

In 2010, the White House demanded a second term for Nouri after the vote demonstrated the people rejected him.   And after Moqtada al-Sadr's April 2010 vote among Shi'ites demonstrated that even a large number of Shi'ites were rejecting him. (Moqtada's vote was open to all but those voting were mainly Shi'ites.  The turnout was such that it's also true that it was not just Moqtada's followers voting.  Slightly over a million Shi'ites not considered to be Moqtada's followers voted in that special April vote to determine who Moqtada should back for prime minister.)  The White House circumvented the Iraqi Constitution by giving Nouri a second term via a legal contract (The Erbil Agreement).

That was empire, what took place in 2010.

This time what Barack did was pull US support for tyrant Nouri -- a man known to run secret prisons where people were tortured -- this was documented -- Ned Parker reported on it at the Los Angeles Times (Ned's now with Reuters).  They shouldn't have supported him in 2010 but Barack was smart, in 2014, in pulling the support for Nouri.  I think it will eventually be seen as one of the smartest and most significant moments of foreign policy during Barack's two terms as US President.

There's always been a shortage of leaders in this world overrun with copy cats.  That point was made clear yesterday in England.  Matt Chorley (Daily Mail) reports:

Britain is to join air strikes against ISIS militants in Iraq after MPs voted overwhelmingly by 524 to 43 to back military action.
Six RAF Tornados are expected to join war planes from the US, France and Arab nations after Parliament staged a six-hour emergency debate on UK intervention.
David Cameron insisted Britain cannot 'walk on by' in the face of the threat posed by 'psychopathic terrorists'.
But divisions emerged over expanding action into neighbouring Syria, with Labour leader Ed Miliband insisting a UN Security Council resolution should be sought first, even though Russia and China are certain to veto it.

Laura Smith-Spark (CNN) explains, "Parliament was recalled by Cameron for the vote on military action in Iraq, which was approved after lengthy debate in the House of Commons and House of Lords. Any proposal to expand the strikes to Syria would require additional action by Parliament, according to the motion."

And the vote came after various speeches and columns such as this from Simon Jenkins (Guardian): "Islam’s wars are not Britain’s business. We owe their human victims all the aid we can to relieve suffering. We do not owe them our incompetence in trying to recast their politics. That is a task for the Arabs and their neighbours, not for Britain’s soldiers and taxpayers."

Not all rushed to join Conservative leader David Cameron or centrist Labour leader Ed Miliband in supporting war.  The Scottish National Party refused to support the war.  Michael Settle (Scotland's Herald) reports:

However, during an impassioned eight-hour debate, the Moray MP yesterday told the Commons that because there was no coherent plan to "win the peace" in the Coalition's motion then SNP MPs would vote against it.
He said there was "deep scepticism for the potential of mission creep and a green light for a third Iraq war", given what had happened previously in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
He added: "The motion asks for a green light for military action which could last for years [but] there is no commitment in the motion for post-conflict resolution."

And it's not just England rushing to join in senseless bombing, Griff Witte and Rebecca Collard (Washington Post) note "Denmark and Belgium also opted to join the fight."

Margaret Griffis ( reports of yesterday's violence:

At least 102 people and 40 were wounded. Most of the dead were killed in today’s airstrikes, but some of them were killed during a concentrated attack on soldiers in Anbar province last week. Details about that multi-faceted attack have been slow to leak out.

New details have emerged concerning a weekend massacre of soldiers in Anbar Province. Although many questions remain, soldiers stationed at Albu Etha told a discouraging story about being unable to get any help from army commanders or Baghdad before abandoning their post. Fifteen were killed and 40 were wounded. The Anbar assaults also took place in Saqlawiya and Sijr. Both Sijr and Albu Etha have been reclaimed by Iraq forces.

Good thing Barack's got a 'plan,' right.

The 'plan' doesn't address the Iraqi military refusing to follow the prime minister's orders.

And it doesn't address the failure of Iraqi military commanders to provide support.

But it sure does blow up a lot of stuff and a lot of people.

So let's all pretend it's a 'plan' and we can also pretend, at least for a few more weeks, that it's a success.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ed Miliband is like Tony Blair with more jowls

Ed Miliband.

I know Ed and his brother David.

When I was dating a member of the British government years ago, C.I. and I used to dart back and forth across the Atlantic constantly and the Miliband family was only one of the political families I grew to know.

I am not going to say, "Ed, your father would be ashamed of you."

For going along with the Tories push for more war on Iraq.

I'm not going to say it because I don't believe it's true.

Ed's father had beliefs and principles but he also want Ed and David to succeed.  So I think he'd look the other way for Ed if he thought there was a chance it would bring his son happiness.

However, I do know someone who would be disappointed:  Young Ed.

Ed was going to be different, he never tired of telling anyone.  He was going to be about the people and he wasn't going to be like New Labour and blah, blah, blah.

David was always the more pragmatic, Ed was the dreamer.  David could always detach, Ed was always ruled by passion.

So what happened to that Ed and how does today's Ed even manage to look himself in the mirror knowing how far from grace he's fallen?

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, September 24, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, the US continues to focus on bombings and not on political solutions, we note time's running out there, we provide a few basic steps that could be taken immediately, and much more.

I have a friend I'm going to share a story on.  Many years ago, she had a mouse problem.

I kept saying call an exterminator and she wouldn't.

We'd be on the phone and she'd squeal and announce she just threw something at the mouse.

Now she'll deny my hypothesis here but she was on a TV show at the time that was successful.  This was her second successful TV show and she'd been fired from the first.

So I would point out that she was kind of tight with the money.  She's spend outrageously for public appearances (and that is work related, I'm not mocking her) but for the basics to live on, she was saving every penny and that's why I think she refused to call an exterminator.

Today, she insists it was because she couldn't kill a living thing but that wasn't true then.

So anyway, I'm at her place two weeks later and she's screaming all the sudden and jumping on furniture and I'm looking for what I'm expecting to be a huge and ugly rat -- which are all over Malibu and are not a reflection on anyone's home or how clean they are, they're just beach rats.  They'll come in because you have an inside dog and they can smell the dog food in the bowl or whatever.

So I'm looking for one of those Malibu rats but seeing instead the tiniest mouse.  About the size of a field mouse.  Tiny and more scared of her -- tossing books at him -- then anything else.  So he's scurried against the wall and I reach over and grab him (or her, I don't know) by the tail.

At which point, my friend is screaming, "Kill him! Kill him!"  Which is why I say this 'couldn't kill a living thing' wasn't true back then.  I didn't kill him -- not because I'm a nice person but because it looked like a pet and I asked her to go over to her neighbors while I put the mouse in a plastic cup.  Sure enough, they had four mice that their daughter had as pets and one had escaped, so she got her pet back.

But the point of this story?

My friend was sometimes scaring the mouse by tossing books at it or near where she thought it was -- she also broke one of her lamps and several glasses doing that.  But she didn't kill it, she didn't stop the problem.

To get the mouse, I had to put both feet on the floor, go over to it and grab it.

I'm not for US forces on the ground in Iraq.

But I'm also not for stupidity.

US President Barack Obama has no plan.

Barack's bombing is not a plan anymore than my friend throwing books at a mouse was.

Now if his plan was: 'We will bomb and we will surround the bombed areas with US troops?'

I'd say that was a plan.  It be a bad plan, in my opinion, but it would be a plan.

My friend's mouse was usually smart enough, when my friend threw books at in one room, to try to move to another.

I don't understand how we can be so stupid to think these 'precision' bombings are accomplishing thing.  They're not.

I don't favor US boots on the ground.  But if Barack was announcing that the boots on the ground -- which already there and, yes, already engaged in combat -- if he were announcing/admitting that and coming up with someway to use them, it wouldn't be a plan I'd back but I wouldn't dispute that it was a plan.

What Barack's doing is nonsense on every level.

If you want the US to 'defeat' the Islamic State militarily (I don't think that's possible), then you're going to have to do something more than selective bombing.

Let's stop being stupid about that at least.

I don't believe there is a military answer.  I believe that bombing is just going to breed more terrorism.  I believe a number of Islamic State men who have been killed (some of who were Islamic State and some of whom were not) have loved ones they've left behind and I don't believe that the loved ones are saying, "Thank goodness he got killed!"  I think resentments and anger are being bred by Barack's actions.

I also think civilians are being put at risk.  Some are being killed and there's no point in kidding around about that.  There's never been a series of ongoing strikes anywhere that didn't result in the death of at least a few civilians -- which is why terms like "collateral damage" were invented in the first place.

So what's the solution.

For years now, with the prison breaks in Iraq and the prisoners who don't get recaptured -- and most don't -- we've repeatedly pointed out here that the escapees are able to blend and elude capture because the communities are sympathetic.

It's not, "Oh, you're a Sunni?  I'm a Sunni too!  I won't rat you out to the police for that reason!"

The sympathy comes from the fact that, under thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Sunni community was targeted.  Sunnis were taken away, many times without arrest warrants only to vanish into the jails and prisons of Iraq -- jails and prisons infamous -- even post-Saddam Hussein -- for torture and abuse.

Add in that not only were Sunni suspects arrested but so were relatives of suspects.

The Iraqi forces show up at a home looking for 28-year-old Ali Hammadi.  Ali's not home.  But his wife is.  Or his dad.  Or his mom.  Or his grandparents or maybe even a child.  There was a protest this week in Iraq calling for the Sunni children to be released from Iraq's prisons and jails.

That may shock you.  It shouldn't.

The US government instituted this practice in the early years of the Iraq War -- showing far less ethics than even the mob.  And Nouri carried it over.  If he couldn't get you, he'd arrest one of your relatives.  No arrest warrant for them, maybe no hearing for them, and they disappear into Iraq's overpopulated jails and prisons.

And that's why many Sunnis don't give a damn when there's a prison escape.  That's why their attitude is, "Good."  Too many of them have family members or friends who have been wrongly imprisoned.

This and other mistreatment is why some Sunnis join the Islamic State, join with the Islamic State in actions (worded that way because they assist in actions but do not join the Islamic State) and/or look the other way when they might otherwise alert authorities to suspicious persons.

Sometimes e-mails come in saying, "Oh, you're so mean to poor little Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio."

No, I'm not.

He's either a whore or he's an idiot.

That's reality.

We were dealing with reality in 2010 and 2011 and pointing out what was building up because of Nouri and Scotty was off basically masturbating on air because he felt Nouri had flipped the bird to the US.  That got Scotty and his little willy all excited.

And he other idiots or whores -- Patrick Cockburn, we mean you -- would giggle and guffaw and have a good time.

It was outrageous they were praising Nouri al-Malik while Nouri was targeting Sunnis, while Nouri was using the Ministry of the Interior to target Iraq's gay population, while Nouri was doing this or that.

Nouri is a War Criminal.

The agreement the US oversaw to get Nouri to step down included a no-prosecution promise.  That's too bad because Nouri should stand trial for War Crimes.  (And, point of fact, that promise is useless if the issue heads to the Iraqi courts.)

Girls and women were beaten and raped in Iraq's jails and prisons.

In fairness to Horton and Cockburn, the US government was ignoring as well.  (Members of Congress did object to the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community.  They also publicly objected to the targeted of certain religious groups and to the mistreatment of and attacks on the Ashraf community.)

Right now, John Kerry can't shut up about how 'evil' the Islamic State is for what it's doing to women.

But when Iraqis took to the streets to protest non-stop from December 2012 through January 2014, while they demanded over and over that Iraqi girls and women be released due to the abuse and rape taking place, John Kerry never said one damn word.

When the Iraqi Parliament investigated and found proof of the abuse and rape, John Kerry didn't say one damn word.

And when Human Rights Watch began documenting these rapes and abuse?

John Kerry didn't say one damn word.

Of course, in defense of John, he's part of an out-of-control administration that's probably going to be seen as even more crooked and more criminal once Barack's out of the White House.


Well John's not claiming to be anti-war, is he?

Horton was.  Cockburn went on a show called Antiwar Radio (repeatedly went on).

So their covering for Nouri al-Maliki is shameful.

I was told by a friend, a professor at Stanford, that this site isn't clearly establishing what the alternative is.

He's right.

Because I know most people reading this are either community members or readers who've been around for awhile and we've spent the last four years discussing how Nouri al-Maliki bred terrorism in Iraq.  We noted he was doing that in real time.  Not because I'm especially smart or highly intelligent but because it was obvious if you just paid attention.

A lot of people didn't.  Some were misled by people like Cockburn (whose bias against the Sunnis allowed him to ignore their suffering and to minimize it when he had to mention it because others were).

But my friend is right, it may not be clear what the alternative to bombing is.

Barack's said that Iraq requires a political solution not a military one.

We've agreed that statement here.

We've applauded it.

But instead of working on a political solution, the US government has wasted time trying to build a coalition for bombing Iraq.

Why the hell is John Kerry working on that?

That should have been Chuck Hagel, he's Secretary of Defense.

John Kerry's time should have been spent on diplomacy and political cohesion in Iraq.

No one seems to want to do the work required for peace.

Countries are rushing to sign on as partners in bombings.

But no one wants to do the work required for peace.

Nouri al-Maliki came to power -- installed by the US government -- with a huge chip on his shoulder about having run out of the country like a coward because Saddam Hussein didn't like Nouri.

Feeling like a coward -- because he was one -- now that he was in power, all Nouri wanted was to destroy the Sunnis.

And the US looked the other way over and over.

The violence finally built to the point where Barack had to address the problem.

And I wish it had happened sooner but I do applaud him for pulling the plug on Nouri.  Iraq now has a chance at peace.

Bombings are not helping the chances.

If they continue -- this is my prediction and I can be wrong and often am, these bombings are going to turn the Iraqi people not just against the White House but against the new prime minister.  They're going to be outraged that their country is being torn apart by war planes bombing -- foreign war planes.

And I can be wrong and often am.

But I don't just make stuff up.

I'm thinking of the early days of the Turkish bombings of northern Iraq.  There was some support for it among the populations near the shared border.  And that faded as the bombings continued.  Long before western news outlets were willing to acknowledge that the bombings were killing civilians, the people knew the reality and they turned on those bombings.

Currently, there is no majority support among the Iraqi people for these bombings.  Movement leader and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has denounced those bombings.  (And the attack yesterday on Sadr City is seen by some as a response to Moqtada speaking out against the bombings -- a response from some hard-line Shi'ite militia groups -- like a certain group who split off from Moqtada some time ago.  Check out Arabic social media if you haven't already for those discussions.)

Barack's exhausting people's patience with these bombings.

And if anger grows towards the US for the bombings, anger will also build against Iraq's new prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

The whole point of someone other than Nouri was a fresh start.

A fresh start goes stale quick if change doesn't emerge.

No change is emerging.

Yes, two Saturdays ago, al-Abadi did give the order to stop the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods.

And how did that turn out?

It didn't stop.

It continues.

For example, today NINA reports:

A medical source at the hospital in Fallujah said on Wednesday that /17/ civilians were martyred and wounded, including women and children by indiscriminately bombing on Fallujah.
Th[e] source told the National Iraqi News Agency / Nina / that the indiscriminate shelling with explosive barrels and mortars targeted residential neighborhoods in the city of Fallujah, including Aljughaifi , Golan, al-Askari, al-Shuhadaa and al-Shurta, and resulted in the killing of / 4 / civilians and wounding / 13 / others, including two children and a woman were taken to the hospital.

Those deaths are bad for numerous reasons starting with the bombings of civilian targets -- residential neighborhoods -- are War Crimes -- legally defined as such.  Those deaths are bad because those people were killed for the 'crime' of living their lives.  Those deaths are bad because they appear to demonstrate that the Iraqi military -- at least some segment of it -- is refusing to follow the orders of the prime minister.

If Haider becomes a clown, no one in Iraq will take him seriously.

The bombings of residential neighborhoods -- War Crimes -- were ignored by the US when their pet Nouri started carrying them out in January of this year.  It is past time for Barack Obama and John Kerry to denounce these bombings.

The bombings daily demonstrate that nothing has changed and that the Sunnis -- Falluja is a Sunni-dominated city -- will continue to be attacked.

The US and Haider are blowing it.

You only get a brief window of time to prove you are different.

If the White House could get its thumb out of its ass long enough to stick a finger in the wind, they'd realize that things are already changing and they've wasted far too much time focusing on bombing and far too little time robbing the Islamic State of credibility -- which is the only thing that will defeat it.

There need to be serious steps taken and they need to be taken immediately.

As the Iraq Inquiry (also known as the Chilton Inquiry) in London established, de-Ba'athifcation was destructive to Iraq.  In 2007, Nouri al-Maliki signed off on a series of benchmarks put forward by the White House and one of those was demanding an end to de-Ba'athification.  (We called it "de-de-Bathification" here -- search that if you're late to the party.)

Now de-Ba'athification should end immediately.

Can it?

Maybe, maybe not.

But what can happen immediately is the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament can announce that the Justice and Accountability Commission is no more.  It was supposed to have termed out before the 2010 elections but Nouri (illegally) revived it and used it to eliminate political rivals from running for office and the same was done in 2012.  This Commission is not supposed to exist, it's not supposed to be receiving funding.  The Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament can announce that this commission and any other illegal commission will not be recognized by the government nor will they receive funding.

The Prime Minister should also immediately have his government file papers with the Iraqi Courts to overturn the conviction of former Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.  al-Hashemi was Vice President of Iraq from 2006 until this summer.  From the end of December 2011 on forward, he has been Vice President in exile because, as soon as most us troops left Iraq, Nouri insisted Tareq was a terrorist.

The Prime Minister's government should file a formal request that these charges be vacated.

It was a kangaroo court, yes.  Months before the case was heard, Iraq's judiciary in Baghdad held a press conference to announce Tareq was guilty.  Iraq, in its Constitution, notes that all are innocent until proven guilty.  The judges erred there.

They erred on evidence, they erred everywhere.

But here's why the decision needs to be vacated -- it was illegal.

al-Hashemi was a member of Parliament until this summer.  Members of Parliament have to be stripped of their rights to be sued while in office.

Tareq could be tried today.

He's no longer Vice President.

But the 'trial' took place when he was a sitting Vice President, the trial took place when the Iraqi Parliament refused to strip him of his rights.

The trial was unconstitutional and should never have taken place.

The decision needs to be vacated and the new government calling for that would go a long way towards establishing respect for rule of law and that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land -- not the whim of a tyrant like Nouri al-Maliki.

These are basic steps which can be taken right now.

They need to show change and do so quickly.

War has made Iraq a very young country population wise.

According to the CIA's estimates (Iraq is long overdue for a census), the median age is 21.5 years (21.6 for women, 21.4 for men).  To provide contrast, you can compare that to the US where the median age is 37.6 years-old (36.3 for men, 39 for women).

You're asking a lot of a young population if you're expecting them to wait months for change to start coming.

Again, the White House and Haider are blowing the opportunity for Haider to establish that he is a fresh face, a new start for Iraq.

Parliament went on vacation today.  It's going to be about two weeks before they hold another session.

Iraqis can't wait that long to see changes taking place.

And it's really past time -- does no one grasp this in the White House -- for Iraq's new prime minister to announce a program for his term, a program that will create jobs (a huge issue in Iraq) and that will benefit the public.

Nouri was real good, for example, about providing ice.  Every two years, about a month and a half before an election, Nouri would send out ice trucks to various areas.

Now that didn't create potable water -- a public works program to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure would have done that -- but it was what he offered -- about all that he did.

If Haider wants to prove he's not Nouri, he needs to announce a program on how he intends to make life better for the Iraqi people.

That the White House has not assisted him in drafting such a program demonstrates that they're unable to both rope people into their bombing programs and practice diplomacy.

There are other things I want to focus on but when a friend calls and says I'm blowing it and we need to provide concrete examples "for a highly unintelligent White House," we'll spend the whole snapshot on the basics.

The White House issued the following today:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Abadi of the Republic of Iraq After Bilateral Meeting

United Nations Building
New York City, New York
12:05 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to thank Prime Minister Abadi and his delegation for the opportunity to meet here this morning. 
As I’ve said previously, the United States and Iraq have a strategic relationship that is important to both countries.  We believe in a vision of an Iraq that is inclusive, in which Sunni, Shia, Kurd are all able to come together to peacefully iron out their differences and to achieve prosperity and peace for all the people of the country.
Obviously, Iraq is under enormous threat at the moment from the organization that calls itself ISIL.  And as I’ve discussed today and for many weeks now, we consider ISIL to be a threat not only to Iraq, but to the region, to the world, and to the United States.
We are committed to working in support of Iraq regaining territory that ISIL has currently taken over, and making sure that an inclusive Iraqi government is able to control its territory and push ISIL back.  In doing that, we are coordinating closely in our military campaign.  And the airstrikes and air support that we’re able to provide, as well as the training and assistance, I think will be critical in partnership with Iraqi forces on the ground.
One of the things I’m very impressed with, however, is the fact that Prime Minister Abadi understands that in order for Iraq to succeed it’s not just a matter of a military campaign; it’s also the need for political outreach to all factions within the country.  And I’ve been very impressed with Prime Minister Abadi’s vision. 
Since he took over the prime-ministership, he has reached out systematically to all the peoples of Iraq.  He has articulated a vision of reform and a commitment to moving forward with many of the laws that had previously stalled but offer the potential of unleashing energy and entrepreneurship inside of Iraq. 
And so, in addition to the military campaign in which we’re going to be coordinating, I want to say directly to the Prime Minister that we fully support his political vision, and we are also encouraged by his willingness to reach out and work with other countries in the region who are going to be very important in supporting our overall effort to defeat ISIL.
The last point I would make:  I think that the Prime Minister recognizes this is not something that is going to be easy and it is not going to happen overnight.  But after talking with the Prime Minister, I’m confident that he’s the right person to help work with a broad-based coalition of like-minded Iraqis and that they will be successful. 
And my main message to the Prime Minister is that although we cannot do this for you, we can be a strong partner, and we are fully committed to your success.  We wish you Godspeed.  And we are grateful for your willingness to take on this leadership mantle at such a critical time in your country’s history.

PRIME MINISTER ABADI:  (As interpreted.)  In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, I would like to thank President Obama for allowing for this opportunity for Iraq to explain its points of view towards the confrontation that is happening in Iraq and in which Iraq is at the forefront of the confrontation against the forces of ISIL.
The Iraqi people have confronted this very brutal, ruthless attack on the Iraqi territory with bravery, and I am very proud to say that I am the commander of the Iraqi armed forces.  Our armed forces have also offered a lot of sacrifices when they confronted the Daesh attack.  And I can say today that in many of the areas we are now turning around the ground.   
Today, I am also proud to say that our people are brave, and the popular effort on the ground has been of utmost importance.  I am keen to protect our brave people on the ground, and I am proud of the sacrifices and protect them and protect all that they have been doing to protect their communities on the ground, their religious sites, and to stand a firm stance against the terrorist attacks that targeted the minorities, and targeted and killed children, men and women.
In my discussion with President Obama, I emphasized the importance of the respect of the sovereignty of Iraq and the territorial integrity of Iraq.  And as a Prime Minister of Iraq, I reaffirmed the importance for all forces that want to help Iraq to respect the sovereignty of Iraq and its territorial integrity. I am very thankful for President Obama and all the allies, all who are helping, for maintaining and respecting the territorial integrity of Iraq and its sovereignty.
Finally, one of the requests that I have put forth for President Obama is the importance of equipping and arming the Iraqi army and to provide the Iraqi armed forces with weapons.  As you know, our armed forces are in dire need for equipment and for weapons, mostly because we lost a lot of the equipment and the weapons in our confrontation and our fight against ISIL, and specifically when the ISIL groups came through the borders from Syria, many of the weapons were destroyed.  Some of the weapons fell in the hand of ISIL.  Therefore, I am very thankful for President Obama that he promised that weapons and supplies would be delivered to Iraq as soon as possible so Iraq can defeat ISIL and Iraq can overcome this crisis.
We are keen in Iraq to promote further the strategic relationship between our two countries, a strategic relationship that is based on mutual respect within the Strategic Framework Agreement that was signed between the two governments back in 2008.  I am pleased to say that President Obama has promised to reinvigorate the Strategic Framework Agreement not only to put the focus on the military and security aspect of that agreement, but also on all other levels -- scientific, educational, economic, cultural and academic, social and other aspects of our relationship.
Mr. President, I thank you for all your support and all the promises that you have given us.  And I hope to see that these promises will be concretely fulfilled on the ground as soon as possible. 
Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, everybody.

12:17 P.M. EDT

Barack may think he did his part with that speech.

He didn't.

Leaving aside that Haider's done nothing to present a 'vision' (let alone a plan) to the Iraqi people, when Haider did speak, none of it was about political, none of it was about the Iraqi people.

No, Haider drooled over military hardware.

Not unlike Nouri when he went to Russia to get war planes.

Today, Haider blew any chance to prove he was different.  Each day that this happens is another blow to a fresh start for Iraq.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Medea and her little doggie David

So Medea I Just Remembered Iraq When The Media Did Benjamin and her spineless puppy David Swanson did one of their usual fake ass protests.

You may remember David Swanson as the little bitch.

C.I. and I cannot stand him.

See, the little bitch was e-mailing Rebecca -- the e-mails still exist David.

Apparently, he was doing it with ulterior motives.

He was forwarding the e-mails.

She found out about it only because one accidentally bounced back to her.

(It was sent to the Hip Hop Caucus.)

When she got that e-mail, she was surprised and she was hurt.

She immediately e-mailed David to let him know what happened and he denied it.

He flat out lied and claimed he hadn't forwarded anything.

She then e-mailed him that, yes, he had, she had his forwarded e-mail, it had her e-mail at the bottom and him writing, in his forward of it, about her.

Not in nice words did he write about her.

He's a piece of human shit.

That is all he is.

Because he was (briefly) rallying against the war, Rebecca asked C.I. to highlight him.  She didn't care what he'd done to her because Rebecca's not petty like piss ant piece of shit David Swanson.

So C.I. highlighted Swanson.

But those days are over.

Little David Swanson is a fake ass and your proof is his hanging with Medea.

You might also notice that when the Democrats dumped Cindy Sheehan (after her brave stand), David couldn't run fast enough away from her.

Again, he's a piece of human shit.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, September 23, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, bombings continue, John Kerry points fingers at others, Barack suffers from mission creep, US army prepares for a new headquarters in Iraq, and much more.

Michael Crowley (Time magazine) documents the US mission creep in Iraq:

From a podium in the White House’s state dining room on the night of Aug. 7, Obama gravely described his authorization of two military operations. One was to stop ISIS’s advance on the Iraqi city of Erbil, which Obama described as a threat to Americans stationed there. The other was to rescue thousands of Yezidi people besieged by ISIS fighters atop Sinjar Mountain.
[. . .]
On a Sunday afternoon ten days later, the White House quietly issued a statement announcing air strikes with the goal of liberating the Mosul dam from the clutches of ISIS militants. 
[. . .]
Then, on Sept. 7, came word of still another mission: A Pentagon statement said the U.S. was now bombing ISIS around the Haditha dam, in western Iraq—far from Erbil, Sinjar and Mosul. By now, American drones and planes had conducted about 150 strikes in the country. The U.S. was conducting a de facto air campaign against ISIS in support of Iraq’s government.

Crowley continues with his documentation but for those who need a single example of the mission creep, Michelle Tan (Army Times) reports:

As the U.S. expands its war against the Islamic State, the Army is preparing to deploy a division headquarters to Iraq.
Officials have not identified the division that will deploy — the first division headquarters to go to Iraq since the U.S. withdrawal in 2011.
An official announcement is expected in the coming days. But Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno recently confirmed the Army “will send another division headquarters to Iraq to control what we’re doing there, a small headquarters.”

Yeah, that never-ending Iraq War is expanding.  David Corn(nuts) and all the other trashy whores can toss aside ethics and offer justifications but the reality is there for anyone who wants to see it.

Flash from Mexico
The Toreadors have all turned gay
Roman whores have quit to seek a better way
Dope has undermined the morale of
The Buckingham Palace guards
Motorcycle gangs ride naked down Hollywood Boulevard

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

In the crazy, upside down world we live in, Christi Parsons and WJ Hennigan (Los Angeles Times) can report:

President Obama said Tuesday that he will "do what's necessary" to fight the Sunni Muslim extremists targeted in a fierce round of U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria and that he'll do so with the support of regional partners whose coordinated bombing makes it "clear to the world that this is not America's fight alone."
Speaking just before his departure for New York to meet with world leaders at the United Nations, Obama said the bombings he ordered overnight had the support of Arab coalition partners.

So how long does this crazy last?

The 'plan' is nothing but bombing.

If the US wasn't taking part in the bombings in Iraq and Syria (along with France), the White House would be decrying these actions, would be insisting that the country or countries carrying them out needed to be punished.

In what world is bombing a country a 'plan' for peace?

In New York today, NINA notes, Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari met up with the Danish Foreign Minister Martin Legurd.  And Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in New York today for the United Nations' General Assembly.

Iraq's President Fuad Masum didn't arrive in New York today.  Because he was already there. All Iraq News notes he arrived on Monday.

With so much of the government out of the country, maybe it's good that Iraq now has three vice presidents?

Of course, with Nouri al-Maliki being one, that means the other two, Osama al-Nujaafi and Ayad Allawi, must spend the bulk of their time ensuring Nouri's not carrying out a coup.

Two Iraqi officials who aren't in New York?  The Minister of Defense and the Minister of Interior.

They're not in New York but that's mainly due to the fact that those two posts have still not been filled.

Nothing like leaving the security posts empty to scream, "We are committed to fighting the Islamic State!"

All Iraq News reports MP Hamid al-Khudhari states these positions must be filled and that "there must be Ministers to run the security file."  Meanwhile Nouri's State of Law coalition is whining because they want Hadi al-Amiri to be the nominee and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not nominated al-Amiri.  MP Salah al-Jubouri tells NINA, "There is a need to name the ministers of defense and interior, because of the security problems in the country, whichmakes it imperative for the Prime Minister to resolve this file in nearest opportunity."  He notes Parliament begins a 2 week vacation starting September 26th and he doesn't expect the positions to be filled until after the break.

With rumors that the United Kingdom's about to join France and the US in bombing Iraq, there's apparently no rush for Iraq to prepare their own defense team and plan, let alone put people in charge of executing it.

Why were they in New York?  Because Iraq will be the topic Wednesday at the United Nations.Security Council meeting with US President Barack Obama acting as Chair of the special session.

That's tomorrow.  All Iraq News reports, "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday blamed Islamic State militants and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for destroying cultural treasures in Syria and Iraq describing it as 'ugly, savage, inexplicable, valueless barbarism'."

Who's the 'barbarian'?  Who sent war planes into a foreign country to bomb the country?

And having done that, is the US government really in a place to slam others for destruction taking place in Iraq?

Is the White House now insisting that US planes are dropping Nerf footballs on Iraq because that's about the only way US bombs aren't also "destroying cultural treasures."

Today, John Kerry insisted:

Now obviously there are a range of terrorist groups that concern us, and we are laser focused on combatting them. But we gather this week to discuss as priority a threat that has a particular resonance for every country in this room, and that’s ISIL.
ISIL is an organization that knows no bounds, as it has proven. It brutalizes women and girls and sells them off as slaves to jihadists. It forces grown men to their knees, ties their hands behind their back, and shoots them in the head. Fed by illicit funding and a stream of foreign fighters that have come, regrettably, from many of the countries around this table – mine included – it has seized territory, and it has attempted to undertake announced genocide against minority groups like the Yezidis. This kind of barbarity simply has no place in the modern world. And these coldblooded killers, masquerading as a religious movement, need to be stopped.

Now President Obama has laid out a coordinated global strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. And we’ve assembled a broad coalition. And last night, by conducting strikes against ISIL, targets inside Syria, we took another major step towards getting the job done. But it will require enormous cooperation and perseverance by everybody.

Aslumaria notes that John Kerry is insisting that many Arab countries have joined what Mike's dubbed The Spread The Blame Around Coalition.

How many?

The State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted the answer:

AP proclaims, "World leaders meet at UN facing turmoil from multiple crises, with few solutions."


There was no talk of solutions, just of bombings.

I've castigated the press for failure to cover the political issues in Iraq -- especially since Barack has repeatedly insisted that Iraq's only solution is a political one, not a military one.

But what has the White House offered thus far except a military response and focusing on garnering support for that?

Exactly who works on the political process and when?

The State Dept released the following today:

SECRETARY KERRY: Mr. President, you go right ahead.

PRESIDENT [FUAD] MASUM: (Via interpreter) Our meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State was very positive and very fruitful. We have discussed several issues, especially the situation in Iraq and the region. And also, we specifically focused on this terrorist organization known as ISIL. We have common views concerning this issue, and also we believe that the latest session of the UN Security Council was remarkable, and it gives peace and – gives assurances to people in the region that this threat will be dealt with.
Therefore, we would like to thank the countries that have come together in order to support Iraq and to stand by Iraq and support it in its war against terrorism, which is a new threat in this area.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much. Delighted to be here with President Masum and with Foreign Minister Jafari, who have already proven to be important partners in this effort, and I appreciate the very constructive meeting that we’ve just had to talk about where we are.
Before I get started, I want to just say a few words about our decision to conduct strikes against ISIL targets in Syria, and also against seasoned al-Qaida operatives in Syria, who are known as the Khorasan Group. We have been very clear from the beginning we will not allow geography or borders to prevent us from being able to take action against ISIL, and we will not allow them to have a safe haven where they think they can have sanctuary against accountability. We will hold them responsible for their grotesque atrocities, and we will not allow these terrorists to find a safe haven anywhere. That is President Obama’s resolve.
If left unchecked, ISIL is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq and to the region, but it is a threat to countries elsewhere, including here. From the beginning President Obama has been very clear that this is not America’s fight alone. ISIL poses a threat to not just Iraq and Syria but to the region as a whole, and the region has to be a leader in this effort in order to fight back.
I want to commend President Masum and Prime Minister Abadi for the critically important steps that Iraq has taken to help form a government, and it is obviously important that they continue to take those steps, and we talked about some of that today. They are committed to doing so.
But they’ve also been, importantly, reaching out to their neighbors and helping to build this coalition. More than 50 countries have now agreed to join this effort to combat ISIL, including the Arab countries that joined us last night in taking military action in Syria. The overall effort is going to take time, there are challenges ahead, but we are going to do what is necessary to take the fight to ISIL, to begin to make it clear that terrorism, extremism does not have a place in the building of civilized society. And we will work with our friends from Iraq in order to make certain that their choice to move forward in a democratic and viable way will bear fruit and be supported by the international community.

Thank you.

No, thank you, John.  And could you explain to us why the head of US diplomacy could only talking bombings and war while offering some vague salute to vague events of over two weeks ago?

There's been no political progress in Iraq overseen by the president of Iraq. There's been no progress at all and, in three days, the Parliament breaks for a two week vacation.

Where's the progress?

Where's the work on that?

If you don't get that there are serious political problems to address, you need to read Mustafa Habib's piece for Niqash:

Recently there have been three major issues that the different political blocs in the Parliament have been working on.

Firstly, a new internal bylaw to regulate the work of the prime minister's department. This is something that Iraq's last Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, had refused to even discuss because, one imagines, such a bylaw would have reduced the many powers he tried to keep solely for his executive branch.

The second issue centres on a steering committee for all of the parties that identify as Shiite Muslim majority, which work in an alliance in Parliament. The committee would bring about more unified and quicker decision making among the alliance. In the past, al-Maliki had also refused to help form such a committee because once again, it would have taken away his power.
The third issue is possibly the most important and concerns a number of decisions made by al-Maliki shortly before he was ousted by al-Abadi. The new government wants to know what all of these were – some remain unclear – and they want them annulled or reversed.
This series of decisions includes al-Maliki making some important appointments, handing out sensitive positions to his closest allies and even relatives, as well as withdrawing money from the national coffers.
Early in September al-Maliki appointed one of his closest allies, Ali al-Allaq, to head Iraq's Central Bank. This came at the same time as the Central Bank's former head, Sinan al-Shabibi, was sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of corruption.
It is generally thought that because al-Shabibi, an economist, had resisted al-Maliki's attempts to interfere in Central Bank business and not allowed him to withdraw money from the bank's reserves, that al-Maliki cooked up the corruption charges in order to have him removed from the post.

There have already been calls to reverse the decisions made against al-Shabibi. 
Other appointments made by al-Maliki include appointing his spokesperson, Ali al-Mousawi, as director general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, making the head of his financial office, Dea'a al-Quraishi, the Deputy Minister of Planning and appointing an MP from his own party, Ali al-Shlah, as chairman of the board of trustees at the national broadcaster, the Iraqi Media Network, which also runs the Iraqiya TV channel.
Current MPs say that behind the scenes, al-Maliki also appointed dozens more of his closest allies and followers into senior jobs in sensitive positions. Other job holders were forced to retire, army officers loyal to al-Maliki were unjustifiably promoted and other army officers were paid above and beyond their salaries by his office.

There are serious issues to address and there's no excuse for the failure of US outlets to cover that reality.

One of the few figures with national standing in Iraq to remain in Iraq is Ammar al-Hakim.  All Iraq News notes that the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq met today with the leader of Goran, Nicherwan Mustafa, to discuss outstanding issues between Baghdad's central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Under the 'leadership' of thug Nouri al-Maliki, relationships between the Kurds and the central government out of Baghdad soured, to put it mildly.  The conflict which received the most western press was the conflict over oil.  In the continued absence of a national gas and oil law, the Kurds exercised their right to do with their oil as they saw fit.  This alarmed Nouri and the State Dept.  Another conflict was Nouri's refusal, in both of his terms as prime minister, to implement Article 140 of the Constitution.  Oil-rick Kirkuk is claimed by both Baghdad and the KRG.  Article 140 is how the situation gets resolved -- census and referendum.  Victoria Nuland and other spokespersons who were so bothered by the selling or potential selling of oil by the Kurds never expressed a sad note over the refusal of Nouri to obey the Constitution.

They also didn't decry Nouri withholding federal funds from the KRG.  That move was an attempt to blackmail the Kurds on the oil issue.  Nouri also called the Kurds "terrorists" and supporters of "terrorists" and much more.  Nouri refused to respect their territorial integrity and frequently sent the SWAT forces into disputed areas which only heightened tensions.

There's much more and there's much to sort out.

It may not be as 'sexy' as war planes but it should still capture the attention of the western press.

Al Mada notes KRG President Barzani called for Iraq's new government to listen to the Kurds and that KRG President is calling for the three presidences -- Iraq's president Fuad Masum, Speaker of Parliament .  Salim al-Jubouri and Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi -- to visit the KRG.

Over on the violence front,  Alsumaria reports a Sadr City car bombing left 14 people dead and sixty-seven more injured.  All Iraq News quotes a security source stating the bombing was "in front of Muntadher police station."  Alsumaria reports a Baghdad roadside bombing left two police officers injured.  Margaret Griffis ( counts 103 killed in Tuesday's violence.

In some possible good news regarding bombings (on the ground, not dropped from war planes), Alsumaria quotes a senior official at the Ministry of the Interior, Adnan Hadi al-Sadi, declared that "sophisticated equipment" would soon be utilized in Iraq to detect bombs.

This would be a huge improvement.

For those who've forgotten, once upon a time a device was invented to find lost golf balls on the golf course.  It couldn't even do that.  But a hack and a crook decided he'd market it as a device that could detect bombs.  You held the magic wand by a car, for example, and ran in place and if the wand moved, there was a bomb!!!!

The US military was publicly calling out this 'magic wand' in 2008 but Nouri al-Maliki, then prime minister, kept spending a fortune on this device.

Even after the man selling it was arrested, Nouri continued to insist it be used.  Even after the man was tried and convicted in a British court.

Even as late as this summer, Nouri was still insisting the magic wands be used.

Because stupidity is not unique to one nation, we'll note this Tweet highlighting US government stupidity: