IT'S NOT JUST THAT FADED CELEBRITY BARRY O'S APPROVAL RATING SITS AT A NEW LOW WITH ONLY 41% APPROVING OF HIM AND HIS CONTINUED FAILURES, IT'S ALSO THAT DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS SEE THE LITTLE PRISS AS A CAVER AND ARE SEMI-OPENLY WONDERING WHAT COMES NEXT AFTER THE MID-TERM ELECTIONS.
REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARRY O SNAPPED, "THEY'RE JUST JEALOUS! JEALOUS HEFFERS! RICHARD BLUMENTHAL AND MARK BEGICH JUST WISH THEY HAD ALL THIS. SEE WHAT I'M WORKING WITH?"
AT THIS POINT, BARRY O TURNED HIS BACK TO US, STUCK OUT HIS REAR AND BEGAN TO TWERK.
SLAPPING HISS OWN ASS, BARRY O MOANED, "OH, YEAH! OH, YEAH! WATCH ME BACK THIS THING UP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
The most important report today is by Ned Parker, Ahmed Rasheed and Raheem Salman (Reuters). They explore the attacks on civilians, explain Nouri's use of Shi'ite militias (which Nouri is calling the "Sons Of Iraq" -- the name previously used for Sahwa). The reporters note that Nouri's operation hasn't had success, not even in the military:
Military personnel and Iraqi officials say several thousand soldiers have deserted; and well over 1,000, if not more, have been killed. The government has yet to release formal numbers.
Soldiers in Anbar speak with desperation. “We are dumped by our military leadership in these deserted houses in the middle of the orchards, without enough ammunition, without night binoculars,” said one soldier from Ramadi.
His battalion has 120 of its original 750 soldiers; most have deserted and he vows to do the same.
One army officer said Iraq’s Special Forces, who have led the fight against the insurgency, are now taking defensive positions to avoid more casualties.
In an executive summary of their report released yesterday, the International Crisis Group notes:
It is too late for steps that might have been taken to reduce tensions before the elections. Any lasting solution requires addressing the deeper roots of Sunni alienation in a country increasingly gripped by sectarian tension. ISIL’s rise is a symptom, not the main cause, of the poor governance that is the principal reason for Iraq’s instability. The government, UN and U.S. should treat ISIL differently from the military council and Falluja as a whole, rather than bundling them together in an indiscriminate “war on terror”.
When in December 2013 Iraq’s central authorities cleared a year-long sit-in in the city that was demanding better treatment from Baghdad, Falluja’s residents took to the streets. ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) took advantage of the ensuing chaos, moved forces into the city and asserted it had seized control. The claim was greatly exaggerated: while it raised its black flag above some administration buildings in the city centre, locals blocked most of their forays and forced them to retreat to the outskirts.
But Baghdad had a casus belli: it besieged the city, ignored local attempts to mediate an ISIL withdrawal and threatened to attack. Falluja residents held no brief for ISIL, but their hatred of the Iraqi army – seen as the instrument of a Shiite, sectarian regime, directed from Tehran, that discriminates against Sunnis in general and Anbar in particular – ran even deeper. The city’s rebels struck a Faustian bargain, forming an alliance of convenience with ISIL. The jihadis’ military might kept the army at bay, but their presence justified the government’s claim that the entire city was under jihadi control. A self-reinforcing cycle has taken root: jihadi activity encourages government truculence that in turn requires greater jihadi protection.
Falluja’s fighters and Baghdad’s central authorities both are posing as the country’s true patriots, deriding their adversary as a foreign enemy. ISIL has benefited by renewing its base of support in Iraq, which had been shrinking ever since the sahwa (awakening) turned against al-Qaeda in 2006. With a high profile from the fighting in Syria and superior weaponry, they once again have become a magnet for the country’s disaffected.
Look, some grown ups have joined the discussion. It's a far cry from the garbage Marie Harf and Jen Psaki swill at the State Dept press briefings.
Nouri has gotten away one War Crime against humanity after another and the same US President who demanded Nouri get a second term as prime minister (despite his State of Law losing the 2010 parliamentary elections) has demanded he be provided with more weapons and with intel to kill Iraqis.
The current assault on Anbar began with War Crimes, the slaughter of peaceful protesters in Ramadi. It has continued the War Crimes. In the name of combating so-called terrorism, Nouri bombs the homes of Falluja, he bombs residential areas. Every day in the last months, civilians have died and been wounded from these bombings. Where is the international outcry?
Doctors Without Borders issue an alert about the Anbar crisis today but can only muster the courage to mention the refugees created by the crisis, they can't say one word about the killing of civilians by the Iraqi military. Also cowardly is Amnesty International with their little alert today which lacks the guts and spine to note the daily killing of civilians in Falluja by Nouri's military. Though they can't note the killing of civilians in Falluja, the editorial board of England's Independent can at least call the possible re-election of Nouri "a pity" and write, "Mr Maliki may win the election or stay in office, but more and more of Iraq will be outside his control as the country disintegrates." Even the editorial board of The National Newspaper can point out that "Iraqi security forces have begun employing Shiite militias as shock troops." Hassan Karim ("a university graduate from Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City district") tells AP, "Al-Maliki has had enough chance to prove himself, but he failed. Iraqis lack security, services and housing. The only two things available in the country right now are corruption and checkpoints."
A few citizens of the world can rightly call out Barack's Drone War and call out the killing of people whose 'crime' it was to attend a wedding. What about calling the slaughter of people whose only 'crime' it was to be in their homes?
Today, Nouri's continued War Crimes in Iraq left 2 civilians dead today and four more injured as a result of his use of collective punishment in the continued bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods. "Collective punishment" is so basic that even Wikipedia can explain it:
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone. There are currently 196 countries party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including this and the other three treaties.
In 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted a report from the Secretary-General and a Commission of Experts which concluded that the Geneva Conventions had passed into the body of customary international law, thus making them binding on non-signatories to the Conventions whenever they engage in armed conflicts.
[. . .]
Article 33. No persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
Pillage is prohibited.
Reprisals against persons and their property are prohibited.
Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishment is a war crime. By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World War I and World War II. In the First World War, during the Rape of Belgium, the Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, the Germans carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that occurred in them. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to "intimidatory measures to terrorize the population" in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices "strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice."
Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment. But as fewer states have ratified this protocol than GCIV, GCIV Article 33 is the one more commonly quoted.
Claiming terrorists have taken over sections of Falluja and that this justifies bombing residential neighborhoods is collective punishment, is a War Crime and is, in fact, terrorism against a people.
The White House has elected to embrace, arm and fund terrorism in Iraq.
And, no, it hasn't made things better. It has only worsened the situation. A typical incident for Sunnis? Camille Bouissou and Tom Little (AFP) report:
Since soldiers arrested and beat Abu Noor, his son and nephew at their modest house in Baghdad's Adhamiyah neighbourhood, he and his wife have been too scared to leave home.
"I feel sick when I talk about this... I only go to work and I come back," said the 54-year-old, who was too scared to give his real name, remembering the night six months ago when the soldiers arrived.
Like Abu Noor and his wife, many Sunni Arabs complain they are discriminated against by the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is running for a third term in a parliamentary election on Wednesday.
Umm Noor, a smiling woman in her forties wearing a headscarf, grew angry as she recounted the incident six months ago, when she heard a noise late one night.
Her husband went downstairs to check what was happening, and troops grabbed him, his son and nephew and beat them.
And when the issue isn't direct abuse, the issue is intimidation. Jamie Tarabay (Al Jazeera) reports on Falluja:
In that storied city, once again controlled by Al-Qaeda allies, there will be polling centers only in surrounding areas controlled by Iraqi security forces. That means residents like Mustafa Mohammed won’t get the chance to cast ballots.
“I’m not going to vote,” he told Al Jazeera over the phone from Fallujah. “The Iraqi army has closed the roads. There are no negotiations happening [for a truce]. The government wants a military solution, not a political one. We want a political one.”
The United Nations estimates that 400,000 people have fled the violence in Anbar and moved to other parts of the country. Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission says they will still be able to vote for their province, using absentee votes.
That won’t help Mohammed cast a ballot. The Fallujah resident, who said he preferred life under Saddam Hussein, found himself admitting that he longs for the Americans to return.
“If [Prime Minister] Nouri al-Maliki wins again, it’ll be the end for Sunnis in Anbar, Kirkuk, Samarra and Tikrit,” Mohammed said, ticking off other parts of Iraq that are predominantly home to Sunnis and have also experienced much violence. “The Americans were more merciful than the government. They weren’t sectarian.”
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