Tuesday, June 24, 2014

He's a Dodo






Connie Cass (AP) offers "Iraq at Risk Again: How Did We Get Here So Fast?" and dozens more want to see (or insist) that there are lessons there for Afghanistan.  And the on the extreme insane side is Mike Whitney's assertion that this is all about Israel.

It's all useless unless the point is to churn out meaningless prattle about Iraq which people can repeat in a psuedo informed manner.

Mike Whitney's not a bad writer, he's gifted and we've often considered him for "truest statement of the week" at Third.  But if there is a connection to US efforts right now in Iraq and the government of Israel ("it's all for Israel"), Whitney's failed to establish it in his piece of writing.  As for Case?  If this is an attempt to mock, okay, great job.

Maybe it's a bad edit?  To ask, "When did the trouble start?" and offer "632 AD"?  This is stand up, right? Or maybe it's parody of the press industry itself as a reporter believes 'analysis' from 632 to the present

But to make your starting point 632 AD? And finish up in 2013?  In five brief paragraphs?

I believe Cass' article could be the text book example for "shallow press."

I have no idea how anyone could find any 'lesson' or 'example' to apply to Iraq from Cass' article.

Except maybe the lesson that no one paid attention?

We were pointing in 2011 that violence was increasing -- during 2011, we were saying violence was increasing.  We noted it during 2012.  We noted it during 2013.  About mid-way through 2013, the press started to notice.

In 2010, violence was reduced.  It fell based on the death toll.  In 2011, it increased a little.  In 2012, it increased a little more.  You can click here and look at Iraq Body Count's totals.

What was going on?

2010 was a parliamentary election year.  They held elections in March.  Nouri lost to Ayad Allawi and Nouri refused to step down.  For eight months, Nouri refused to step down.  This was the political stalemate.

He could refuse because he had the backing of the White House.  The White House also negotiated The Erbil Agreement with the heads of the political blocs -- which included Nouri.  This contract ended the stalemate.  It gave Nouri the second term as prime minister that he wanted -- that he wanted but did not earn.  To get the heads of the other political blocs to agree to that, the contract promised them things as well and outlined the new government, a power-sharing government.

That contract was signed off on in November 2010 and finally Parliament held their first real session (they had held one faux session in the spring of 2010) and Nouri was named prime minister.  He then trashed the agreement.  First, he said that he needed time to implement it.  Then his spokesperson said the contract was illegal and he refused to implement it.

He was never going to.  Nouri breaks every damn promise he makes.  He can't be trusted.  He used a contract to get a second term and then refused to honor it.  By the summer of 2011, Moqtada al-Sard (Shi'ite cleric and movement leader), the Kurds and Iraqiya were calling publicly for Nouri to implement The Erbil Agreement but he refused.  And the White House that swore the contract they negotiated was legal and had the full backing of the White House?

Suddenly, the White House couldn't remember the contract.

Look at the violence in 2011 slightly increasing.  In May 2012, there's an attempt for a no-confidence vote in Parliament and all the requirements are met but President Jalal Talabani (pressured by the White House) basically rips up the signatures.  And the violence goes up.  Protests return to the street at the end of 2012 and Nouri refuses to listen to them.  And the violence goes up.

It's a surprise?

Only if you weren't paying attention.

Back in July 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."  

As violence increased year after year, Nouri refused to fill the security positions.

Can you imagine if the US had combat in multiple US cities and Barack had failed to appoint a Secretary of Defense and a Secretary of Interior?

In fact, Barack or any other US president that failed to fill a cabinet for a full four year term would be roundly criticized and possibly impeached.

The refusal to fill the posts was a power-grab on Nouri's part and it took place while the violence was climbing each year.

How did we get here so fast, AP's Connie Cass asks?

I believed I just answered your question and I'm rather amazed you couldn't do it yourself.

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Iraq today.  Alsumaria features this photo of John Kerry making nice with tyrant Nouri.

Chelsea J. Carter and Holly Yan (CNN) note, "As radical Sunni militants snatch city after city in their march to Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Iraq on Monday during the country's tensest time since the U.S. withdrawal of troops. He'll meet with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the man some say needs to step down."  John Kerry discussed his visit today:

Now, President Obama asked me to visit Baghdad today to demonstrate America’s support for Iraq and its people during this time of crisis. This is clearly a moment when the stakes for Iraq’s future could not be clearer. ISIL’s campaign of terror, their grotesque acts of violence and repressive ideology pose a grave danger to Iraq’s future. ISIL is not, as it claims, fighting on behalf of Sunnis. ISIL is not fighting for a stronger Iraq; quite the contrary. ISIL is fighting to divide Iraq and to destroy Iraq.
So this is a critical moment for Iraq’s future. It is a moment of decision for Iraq’s leaders, and it’s a moment of great urgency. Iraq faces an existential threat, and Iraq’s leaders have to meet that threat with the incredible urgency that it demands. The very future of Iraq depends on choices that will be made in the next days and weeks. And the future of Iraq depends primarily on the ability of Iraq’s leaders to come together and take a stand united against ISIL – not next week, not next month, but now.
In each of my meetings today, I stressed that urgency and I stressed the responsibility of Iraq’s leaders to act, whether the meeting with Prime Minister Maliki, with speaker Nujaifi, with ISCI leader Hakim, or Foreign Minister Zebari, I emphasize that defending Iraq against ISIL depends largely on their ability – all of them – to form a new government and to do it quickly. It is essential that Iraq’s leaders form a genuinely inclusive government as rapidly as possible within their own constitutional framework.
It’s also crystal-clear that ISIL’s rise puts more than one country at risk. ISIL threatens the stability of the entire region and it is a threat also to the United States and to the West – self-declared. Iraq’s neighbors can bolster Iraq’s security, as well as their own, by supporting the formation of an Iraqi government that represents all Iraqis and also respects Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Now, President Obama has stated repeatedly that he will do what is necessary and what is in our national interest to confront ISIL and the threat that it poses to the security of the region and to our security in the long run. None of us should have to be reminded that a threat left unattended far beyond our shores can have grave, tragic consequences.

The President understands very clearly that supporting Iraq in the struggle at this time is part of meeting our most important responsibility:  The security of the American people, fighting terrorism, and standing by our allies.


Let's start with allies.  Nouri's been screaming and begging for the US military and its weapons since the end of October. And this month Barack agrees.  Why?

I think sending weapons and US troops to Iraq is wrong.  I think Nouri's government's falling because it's illegitimate and Nouri's a tyrant.

But the 'why' here is for another reason.  Nouri wants it.  Barack promises it.  And now we learn that Nouri can't agree to certain basics?

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/06/23/231223/records-show-how-iraqi-extremists.html#storylink=cpy
Eli Lake and Josh Rogin (Daily Beast) report today:

Obama will take Iraq's word for now that U.S. soldiers won't be prosecuted by the country's courts as they defend Baghdad.

President Obama pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq in 2011 because he couldn’t get Iraq’s parliament to offer U.S. soldiers immunity from Iraqi prosecution. But now Obama is promising to send in hundreds of special operations forces based on a written promise that these soldiers will not be tried in Iraq’s famously compromised courts for actions they are taking in defense of Baghdad.  
The U.S. military and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have opposed sending any special operations teams to Iraq until there is a written agreement from Iraq’s government that they will not be prosecuted under Iraqi law.

I don't know who's more stupid: Nouri or Barack.

Nouri wants US weapons and troops, has asked for them, is now getting them and is foot dragging (or refusing) to sign needed agreements?  And Barack is willing to send in US troops without the immunity agreement?

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