Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tony The Pimp Blair






National Iraqi News Agency reports:

Sheikh Ali al-Suleiman Amir of Duleim tribes said that Sahwa forces should take out of Anbar province., if the central government want security and stability in the province for the next phase.
He said in a speech in the courtyard of the sit-in north of Ramadi : "At the beginning of the formation of Sahwa forces was to fight terrorism, and has been integrated into the security services , but in these days , Sahwa works in favor of a particular parties. so if the central government want security to preavail in Anbar then must get them out of the province.

That's the smartest request he could make.  Sahwa leaders in Anbar are becoming an embarrassment and a menace.  They are threatening the protesters and this week began telling the press that the way to deal with the protests is to go into the sit-ins and bash heads.

The heads that need to be bashed?  Sahwas.  No one really gives a damn about 'em.  They're part of the mafia in Iraq -- that's why so many leaders hail from the concrete business.  They're whorish little toadies who took money from the occupying power (the US) to spy on and attack other Iraqis.

Now the whores have sold out to Nouri and have become his muscle to attack the protesters.

They thought -- as did Nouri -- that they could take the heat of SWAT and other of Nouri's forces -- forces that are primarily Shi'ite.  But the Sahwa in Anbar?  Those are Sunnis.  Sunnis attacking Sunnis, they and Nouri thought, would be able to pull off violence.

It doesn't work that way.

And if Sahwa can't be put on a tighter leash, Iraq's really going to erupt.

The State Dept, the White House and US Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft need to explain this to Nouri real quick.

Call them militants, call them rebels, call them insurgents, call them terrorists -- it doesn't matter one damn bit.

What happens if Sahwa doesn't sit its ass down?  What happens if they go after the protesters?

The resistance/the terrorists/the militants/the insurgents suddenly and immediately get street cred in Anbar because they're the only ones who will be seen as standing up for the Sunni population.

If you think things are bad in Iraq right now, you're right.  But if Sahwa launches a violent attack on the protesters, things will get much worse and militants will be able to move much more freely because they will have many people in Anbar aligned with and/or sympathetic to them and their cause.

Nouri can't protect the Iraqi people, he can attack them -- as he's attacked the Camp Ashraf residents all along.  There are 7 Ashraf members who were kidnapped this fall.  Where are they?

Last month,  Brett McGurk, the State Dept's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, appeared  Wednesday before the  US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa (see the November 13th  "Iraq snapshot," the November 14th "Iraq snapshot" and  the November 15th  "Iraq snapshot").  In that hearing, this exchange took place.

US House Rep Sheila Jackson Lee:   [. . .]  But there are hostages in Iraq that we must have now.  There's documentation that those hostages are there by our French allies, by the United Nations and other supportive groups and information.  I can't imagine with the wealth of sophisticated intelligence authorities that we have, that we have funded who have a vast array of information about Americans  cannot pinpoint where starving Iranians, loved ones [are] whose families are trying to save their lives after being on a hunger strike for 73 days.  And so I would ask this question of you, already knowing about your heart and your concern, I will not judge you, I already know that you're committed to getting this right/  Will you -- will you demand of Maliki, not next week or months from now, but can we expect in the next 48 hours a call to the head of the government of Iraq demanding the release of these hostages and demanding their release now?  Or the documented, undeniable evidence that they are not held in Iraq?  Second, would you be engaged with -- or  the Secretary [of State John Kerry] be engaged with -- and I have spoken to Secretary Kerry, I know his heart -- with Maliki to demand the security of those in Camp Ashraf  for now and forever until a relocation to a homeland, a place where their relatives are or where they desire to be? [. . .]

Brett McGurk:  [. . .] We can pinpoint where the people are and I'd like to follow up with you on that.  The seven are not in Iraq.  But I will guarantee in my conversations with Maliki on down, the safety and the security of Camp Ashraf, Camp Liberty, where the residents are, the government needs to do everything possible to keep those poeople safe  but they will never be safe until they're out of Iraq.  And we all need to work together -- the MEK, us, the Committee, everybody, the international community -- to find a place for them to go.  There's now a UN trust fund, we've donated a million dollars and we're asking for international contributions to that fund for countries like Albania that don't have the resources but are willing to take the MEK in.  And we need to press foreign captials to take them in because until they're out, they're not going to be safe and we don't want anyone else to get hurt.  We don't want anymore Americans to get hurt in Iraq, we don't want anymore Iraqis to get hurt in Iraq  and we don't want any more residents of Camp Liberty to get hurt in Iraq and until they're out of Iraq, they're not going to be safe.  This is an international crisis and we need international help and support. 

US House Rep Sheila Jackson Lee:  May I follow -- May I just have a minute more to follow up with Mr. McGurk, Secretary McGurk?  And I hear the passion in your voice but let me just say this. We're in an open hearing.  You know where they are.  Who is going to rescue them?  Whose responsibility will it be to get them from where they are into safe haven?  Because otherwise, we're leaving -- we're leaving Maliki now without responsibility.  We're saying, and you're documenting that they're not there.  Let me just say that when my government speaks, I try with my best heart and mind to believe it.  But I've got to see them alive and well to believe that they're not where I think they are, they're in a pointed purse.  I'm glad to here that but I want them to be safe but I want them to be in the arms of their loved ones or at least able to be recognized by their loved one that they're safe somewhere.  So can that be done in the next 48 hours?  Can we have a-a manner that indicates that they are safe?

Brett McGurk:  I will repeat here a statement that we issued on September 16th and it's notable and I was going to mention this in my colloquy with my Congressman to my left, that within hours of the attack, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Score issued a statement praising the attack.  We issued a statement on September 16th calling on the government of Iran to use whatever influence it may have with groups that might be holding these missing persons to secure their immediate release.  And I can talk more about details and the status of these individuals.  And I've briefed some members of the Subcommittee. I'd be happy to follow up. 

Brett McGurk and the US government are not believed on this statement and, as we noted when we reported the above exchange, the whereabouts shouldn't be classified.

If the US was physically protecting the 7, that might -- briefly -- be a reason for not giving their whereabouts.  That is not what the government has suggested. So if they're being held against their will by the Iranian government or a proxy for the Iranian government -- or by Nouri or a proxy for Nouri's government -- newsflash, the ones doing the holding no where the 7 are being held.

It's not classified and kept from the holders.  So why the need for the State Dept to play like the location cannot be spoken of?

Tuesday Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  It was a testy hearing.   John needs to stop being so damn combative in hearings.  He also needs to stop insisting over and over that he get to yammer on.  There's a five minute rule in House hearings.  He was often rude (but at least he spread it around -- he was rude to Republicans and to Democrats). .

US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: And lastly, two issues.  Regarding Camp Ashraf, are the Ashraf 7 being held in Iran or are they in Iraq?  And, Mr. Secretary, [. . .]

He went on and on.  I'm not including it.  I'd love to include the insult to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (and I agreed with him 100% on that), for example that took place in the exchange that followed Ros-Lehtinen, but I don't have the time.  As it is, I'm pushing back coverage of another hearing to Monday's snapshot.  So we'll ignore all of his words that had nothing to do with Camp Ashraf and pick up here.

US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:  If you could answer the Ashraf and the Cuba question?

Secretary John Kerry: Beg your pardon?

US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:  If you could answer the question about Ashraf --

Secretary John Kerry:  The question of Ashraf was where-where are they?

US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:  Iran or Iraq?

Secretary John Kerry:  Well they're in Iraq.

US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:  They're in Iraq?

Secretary John Kerry:  The people.

US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: The seven hostages that were taken from Ashraf?

Secretary John Kerry:  I-I-I . . .

US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:  They have not -- We have not known where they are.

Kerry spoke with the people sitting behind him, then returned to the microphone.

Secretary of State John Kerry:  Uh, I can talk to you about that in classified session.

We're talking about the Ashraf residents so, before we note one more exchange, let's include the overview on the Ashraf community.  As of September, Camp Ashraf in Iraq is empty.  All remaining members of the community have been moved to Camp Hurriya (also known as Camp Liberty).  Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.  As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."  Those weren't the last attacks.  They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked Sunday.   That was the second attack this year alone.   February 9th of this year, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."  They were attacked again September 1st.   Adam Schreck (AP) reported that the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.  It was during that attack that the 7 hostages were taken.

US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher:  I am introducing a bill today that will allow 3,000 refugees from Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty -- now Camp Liberty -- status --refugee status and thus will permit them to be able to come to the United States.  Hundreds of these people have been slaughtered.  They live under constant threat of being murdered, we know that.  And, uh-uh, will this administration be supporting my legislation to prevent these people from being slaughtered by this pro-Mullah regime that we have in Iraq now?

Secretary John Kerry: Well Congressman, I've gone to the lengths of appointing a special representative to work exclusively to get the, uh, -- 

US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher:  I'm just asking about my legislation.

Secretary John Kerry:  Well I need to see the legislation but  in principle we're trying to find a place for -- 

US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher:  So in principle -- you would agree with letting these refugees have status -- refugee status so they can come here

Secretary John Kerry:  Uh, we are -- We're trying to find a place for them to go now.

US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher:  Okay, so in principle --

Secretary John Kerry: In principle, I'd like to see the legislation but I can't speak for the President. 

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