Saturday, May 02, 2015

Hard times for bitchy Barack






 Eleven months ago, US President Barack Obama insisted that the only solution to Iraq's multitude of crises was "a political solution."

Eleven months ago.

And yet there is no progress on that.

And there has been no US government focus on that.

Barack has had officials in the administration -- Defense Dept, State Dept,  Vice President Joe Biden, etc -- focus on lining up other governments to join in bombing Iraq from the air and 'training' Iraqi forces.

Nothing has been done to aid a political solution or to press for one.

 "At the end of the day," Tamara Cofman Wittes declared Thursday, "civil wars end in only end in a couple of ways.  Either one side vanquishes and exterminates or expels the other or they fight to the point where an external power can help -- sometimes impose, sometimes negotiate -- a political solution -- and that's guaranteed by outside powers.  That's how civil wars typically end.  We wouldn't want the first outcome so we should be driving for the second.  And I think the extent to which the administration has articulated a longterm vision, that's its vision.  The question is: How do we get there?"

Dr. Wittes is with the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.  She was testifying at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.  Also appearing before the Subcommittee were the RAND Corporation's Dr. Seth Jones and the Institute for the Study of War's Jack Keane (who is a retired US General).  The Subcommittee Chair is Illeana Ros-Lehtinen and the Ranking Member is Ted Deutch.

Some people want to explore issues.

Let's start with one of those.

US House Rep Brian Higgins: We tried to do one thing in Iraq, and I think we could only do one thing in Iraq, and that is through our military involvement to create a place -- a breathing space -- within which Sunni, Shi'ites and Kurds could develop a political contract.  And they failed miserably. And the guy that we put in there, Nouri al-Maliki, we put him in there first, Iran put him in there the second time basically created another sectarian divide.

To be clear, Iran did not put Nouri in there for a second term.   Iran favored him but he was named prime minister of Iraq on November 11, 2010 -- over a month after Iran got Moqtada al-Sadr to drop his objection to Nouri's second term -- and one day after -- one day after -- the US-brokered Erbil Agreement giving Nouri a second term was signed -- I know Patrick Cockburn's repeated lies have misinformed many but check the archives, it's a day after the US-brokered contract giving Nouri a second term is signed that Nouri gets a second term

In fairness to  Patrick Cockburn, in October 2010, he reported on Iran strong arming support for Nouri.  And then Patrick did what worthless trash always does -- focus on something else.

When The Erbil Agreement was being finalized and signed?

He was off in Libya reporting on Libya.  Seven days later, he hopped over to Syria for two stories before going back to Libya. Then to Iran.  He never filed on Iraq the entire month -- though he did make time for Ireland and Greece.

The Parliament meets for the first time, a president is named, a Speaker of Parliament is named, Nouri is named prime minister-designate and Patrick never reports one word on Iraq.

Playing catch up some time later, he invents the lie that that Iran installed Nouri (The Erbil Agreement is what overturns the votes of the Iraqi people, not Iran -- and that was a White House led objective) and people believe him.  Largely because his clique -- including the increasingly sad Noam Chomsky (oh, the stories I could tell . . .) -- keeps insisting he's the best reporter on Iraq.

Of course, they don't pay attention to Iraq which is why they think he's so damn good.

Arabs in the region see him as anti-Arab, by contrast, and that's due to the fact that they pay attention to his shoddy and misleading 'reporting.'

None of that is a slam at Higgins but I am so tired, almost five years after The Erbil Agreement, of people still trying to pretend it doesn't exist or not knowing that it does.

Higgins explored.

Another member?

Showed their ass.

Lois Frankel is both a member of the US House of Representatives and a deeply disturbed person whose lack of ethics twist and turn, choking in on itself.  We may cover Lois at Third.  Hopefully, in the real world, someone will give her the counseling and/or meds she so desperately needs.

The issue is not my disagreeing with her opinion.  The issue is her disagreeing with her stated opinion about two minutes after she argues it only to turn around and argue the other side.  Not to be philosophical, please understand.  Just to try to absolve Barack Obama of any guilt for the state of Iraq currently.

She is a deeply disturbed person and, sadly, deeply dishonest as well.

(Deeply dishonest includes distorting what the general said.  She pulled words that he had not said out of thin air and accused him -- falsely -- of blaming America.  In his rebuttal, he noted that he had not blamed America but that, yes, American actions in the region were among the contributors to the violence.)

A multitude of opinions were offered throughout the hearing -- by members of the Subcommittee and by witnesses.  And you could agree with them or disagree with them or be apathetic.  But with Lois Frankel, you couldn't agree with her because, just as soon as you did, she was ripping apart her stated beliefs to argue something else.  Her district needs to look very closely at her statements -- which please remember, the last time we covered her, included her calling the American people stupid instead of attacking the media if she believed the American people had received the wrong message.

From the March 26th snapshot:

US House Rep Lois Frankel:  I have a couple of questions.  First relates to underlying conditions that led to the rise of ISIL.  Would you -- would you agree that ISIL is not the cause of the turmoil in the region but a symptom of a deeper problems?  And I'd like to get your opinion is it unstable governments, poverty, desperation, radical religion, what?  I'd like to get your take on that.  And secondly, I think the American public somehow thinks that you can simply get rid of ISIL by bombs or dropping -- or drones.  Could you just explain the difficulty of -- of their assimilation into the population, and so forth, the terrain.

Oh, that stupid American public!

A Congressional representative who makes a statement like that is one who should seriously be primary-ied and should she emerge from the Democratic Party primary still standing, let's hope a Green or a Republican can take her out of office because when you're using your soapbox to attack the very people who vote for you, you don't deserve a spot in the US Congress.

We should probably also note shrill and hysterical Gerry Connelly.  No doubt, he'll again blame his wife for his performance but he shows up in the final minutes of the hearing and goes on to attack a witness for what he thinks a witness said at the start of the hearing.

Gerry's attack is weak in every way.

But mainly because he yet again almost cried in the midst of it.

Is there a reason he's that unbalanced?

He spoke for maybe two minutes and he had to tear up.

I'm sorry, what's the deal with cry babies in Congress.

Now I've defended any woman or man's right to cry when they're discussing serious issues.

Gerry was not, as one did, noting his parent who had suffered under the VA.

Gerry was just trying to attack.

Maybe he was about to cry because his attack was failing?

Maybe he was about to cry because his tighty-whiteys were crawling up his ass?

Maybe he was crying because his running in to attack meant he missed the end of General Hospital?

I have no idea.

But if he can't hold it together for two minutes without crying, it may be time for his peers to suggest he get some counseling or for him to announce he's retiring from Congress.  He clearly has other things on his mind.

Let's go back to Thursday's hearing.

Brian Higgins: The second issue is the panel seemed to be dismissive of the sectarian nature of the conflict in Iraq and in Syria and I don't think it can be dismissed at all.  I mean, it amazes me.  General, you had made reference to Qaem Soleimani who heads the Quds forces in Iraq.  I mean, he's not only a tan -- He's not a tangential player in what's going on in Iraq today and Syria, he's there physically.  He's on the ground directing Shia militias to prop up the the Shia government in Iraq.  And there not doing that as a goodwill measure, they're doing that to ensure that in the aftermath of ISIS, that Iraq remains Shia. And one could argue that ISIS basically wants their country back, they want to re-establish Sunni dominance in Iraq.  And, you know, someone had said here -- it's a fair assertion -- that we should talk less to our enemies and more to our friends. We don't really have friends in that part of the world.  You know, there's the discussion when Americans are in the room and the discussion when Americans are not in the room.  And typically we count our friends as people whose interests are aligned with ours at any given time but they're not really helping us.  And it just seems that given everything that Americans have invested in towards peace in Iraq -- $25 billion dollars to build up, to help them build up an Iraqi army, security force, $25 billion dollars -- and their first test, they ran.  They ran from a fighting force of less than 31,000.  The Iraqi army at that time was estimated to be anywhere from 180,000 and 240,000 fighters.  And then we depend on our allies who have proven to be helpful to us, the Peshmerga, good fighters, experienced fighters, pro-Western, helped us in the early stages of the Iraq War. [. . .] Shi'ite militias?  Who are controlled directly by Qasem Soleimani.

I don't make a point to identify "this person is a Democrat!" or "this person is a Republican!"  If you're interested in party labels, look it up.  I'm more interested in what's being discussed.

But we will note that Higgins is a Democrat.

And we'll note that because, pay attention here, he's commenting on who the US is arming.

Not the Peshmerga, not the Sunnis.

Though certain Shi'ite politicians in Iraq would like to pretend that it is Republicans only who are disgusted with the Shi'ite controlled Baghdad government refusing to adequately share the weapons and equipment the US is supplying, that's not the case.

Higgins is on record in many hearings -- and he's not the only Democrat who is -- expressing dismay over the lack of help to the Sunnis and the Kurds.

The proposal that was voted out of the Armed Services Committee on Thursday -- which will now go to a vote by the full House -- was not about creating three governments in Iraq.

That is a lie.

It could have been a misunderstanding on day one.

But as certain Shi'ite politicians -- not all -- continue to insist that it splits Iraq into three governments, they're now lying.  There's been plenty of time to grasp reality.

What it would do is arm the Kurds and the Sunnis in addition to supplying Haider with weapons.

It would guarantee that what was supposed to happen -- the US was supplying all Iraqi forces with weapons to combat ISIS -- actually was happening.

Take it up with Haider al-Abadi who refused to do what he was supposed to.

Those weren't his personal gifts to give to Shi'ites.

Those were supposed to go to Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds.

And to certain bloggers and Tweeters in Iraq, you don't the US government.

The Congress can stop all weapons from going to Iraq.

You seem to think -- wrongly -- that Barack Obama is a King.

He is a public servant.

He heads the executive branch which is equal to the legislative branch and to the judicial branch.

Unlike thug Nouri, Barack doesn't control the US Parliament (Congress) or the Supreme Court.

And it is the US Congress that determines how much money (and weapons) Iraq will or will not get from the US.

If that's not clear enough to you, study up on  former US President Ronald Reagan and grasp that had he been in better health, he would have been impeached for going around the US Congress to arm a group that the Congress said no to (Iran-Contra).

I grasp that Saddam Hussein did not instill democracy in Iraq.

I also grasp that Nouri al-Maliki bullied the Parliament and the Supreme Court.

But that's not the United States.  And the US Constitution makes the three branches co-equal, they are checks and balances written into the system as such.

So you can pout and you can bitch, moan and whine but that's not going to change the fact that the US Congess will decide whether Baghdad gets arms or not.

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Friday, May 01, 2015

Mouth of babes





Moving on to another topic, let's note this exchange from yesterday:

US House Rep Sheila Jackson Lee: Let me finish by saying that if you have any comments about Camp Liberty and those continued attacks if you want to include that and how we can work to better stop that I would appreciate the Chairman's indulgence and I thank you very much for your answers to these questions. 

Maryam Rajavi:  [. . .] And just very briefly about Liberty as I said to expect that the United States government will uphold its expectations which have been violated but and the US must really put Camp Liberty under its own protections soon and put an end to the barricade, to demand from the Iraqi government to lift the blockade and to recognize their rights as a protected person under the Geneva convention.

That exchange took place on Wednesday as the House Foreign Affairs on Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade held a hearing.  The Subcommittee Chair is US House Rep Ted Poe and US House Rep William Keating is the Ranking Member.

Maryam Rajavi is the President-Elect of the National Council of Reistance of Iran and she was testifying to the Subcommittee via satellite while former US Ambassador Robert Ford and Walid Phares of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group on Counterterrorism testified to the Committee in person.

Camp Liberty is where the Ashraf community was relocated.  As of September 2013, 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 9, 2013, 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 1, 2013.   Adam Schreck (AP) reported that the United Nations was able to confirm the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.  In addition, 7 Ashraf residents were taken in the assault.  November 2013, in response to questions from US House Rep Sheila Jackson Lee, the  State Dept's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Brett McGurk, stated, "The seven are not in Iraq."

The Ashraf community at Camp Liberty is supposed to be relocated outside of Iraq.

If and when that ever happens, the US government's legal obligation will be over. The minor number that the US has helped relocate, for example, are no longer under the protected persons designation.

It is in the US government's own interest to get these refugees out of Iraq.

The administration of Barack Obama has shirked their legal obligations and only addresses the issues of these refugees when the world is aghast over an attack.  Such was the case in September 2013 and this led to the State Dept naming Secretary of State John Kerry's personal friend (who really had no qualifications for the job) to be the "Senior Advsior for MEK Resettlement."

Having no qualifications for the job, Jonathan Winer's failure at it was appalling.  Less than 3,700 refugees needed to be re-settled outside of Iraq.  They couldn't be sent to Iran (where they would face prison and torture for their dissent) but it's big world and there were plenty of other countries (including the US) where they could be restteled.

However, being John Kerry's roll dog means never having to do any actual work.

So Winer rewarded for his failures by being given a new post in May of 2014.

Maybe in the future, when John Kerry puts personal friends on the US payroll, he can make their payment conditional upon getting results.  The US taxpayers footed the bill for Winer -- which reportedly included many design modifications for his office -- from September to May and, during that time, he accomplished nothing.

In approximately 8 months he was unable to resettle 3,700 people.

Again, in the future, maybe when John Kerry puts his personal friends on the US taxpayer's dime, their salary should be conditions-based and, if they're unable to do the job they were hired to do, they can be paid minimum wage for a 40 hour work week and nothing more.  (Should payment in excess of that amount have been made to them, they should immediately be required to refund it or faces charges of defrauding the US government.  Just a suggestion of one way to bring accountability to the cronyism that is rampant in the State Dept currently.)

We'll note this exchange from the hearing:

US House Rep Judy Chu: I would like to address these questions to Mrs. Rajavi, I'd like to ask about Camp Liberty.  Camp Liberty is the military base that has become a permanent home for over 3,000 Iranian refugees but the conditions there are poor and freedom severely restricted.  Worse, there are reports that the Iraqi government is blockading the base preventing food, water and medicine from arriving, combined with the restriction on travel, this blockade has led to at least 25 deaths.  The most recent being Mr. Jalal Albadini on April 17th.  Can you give us a sense of living conditions in Camp Liberty in regard to food, medicine and decent housing?  

Maryam Rajavi:  Our primary concern about the residents of Camp Liberty is their safety and security. That is the main problem that they're facing in Camp Liberty now to the extent that since the protection of the residents were transferred from the United States to Iraq, 126 have been killed, 7 have been taken hostage and the residents are denied timely access to medical care for this reason so as you just mentioned 25 people have lost their lives while there was the possibility to save their lives I think it was 127 who have been killed during these attacks by the Iraqi forces.  They have no freedom of movement and enormous restrictions have been imposed upon them.  Just to give you one example, Camp Liberty is the elecricity is still not connected and since the Abadi government took office there have been no changes in the conditions and there is still a prison-like condition for the residents. And I think the new government must recognize Camp Liberty as a refugee camp and remove and lift inhuman restrictions which have been imposed on the Camp and put an end to the daily harassment of the residents.  In particular, it is very important that the camp management be changed because they are the same people -- the people who manage the camp are the same people who were engaged in the massacre and the killing of the residents in the past attacks and as you know the United States has made the written commitment to provide safety and security for these people but that obligation has been violated and I think Camp Liberty should be really under the protection of the United States or at least their personal weapons to be given so that if they're attacked by the militia or paramilitary groups that they could defend themselves.  And I expect that the United States would uphold its commitment to regular monitoring of Liberty.

US House Rep Judy Chu:  Let me ask now about do you have any confidence in the current government to improve conditions? And what is the future for the residents of Camp Liberty?  Is there a US role?

Maryam Rajavi: I think the US government can really demand and urge the Iraqi government to uphold its obligations. So far the government has not done anything that we could really trust them that they would do the right thing.  And, as I said, people are still living in a prison-like situation in Camp Liberty as a prisoner.  That's what I said, that the new government should recognize Liberty as a refugee camp and remove all the restrictions imposed on the camp and end the harassment of the residents. And I want to reiterate that it is very vital to change the camp management and do not allow the mullah's regime to send its agents for psychological torture of the residents and lay the ground for another massacre of Camp Liberty.  These are the actions that they can take. And I believe that the United States government is really in a position to call and demand from the Iraqi government to uphold these obligations. 

In the hearing, doubts were raised about the White House's plan or 'plan' for addressing the Islamic State.  We'll note this critique.

US House Rep Scott Perry:  President Obama declared his intention to defeat ISIS and developed a plan he believes can achieve his aims.  However, I have serious concerns with the strategy -- and I use the term loosely -- especially because the President doesn't seem to have a clear understanding of our enemy.  In the past year, President Obama has referred to ISIS as not Islamic and as al Qaeda's j.v. [junior varsity] team.-- statements that cause confusion about the group and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.  Denying that the US is at war with radical Islam makes it difficult to engage in a factual, honest, idealogical debate exposing ISIS' false narrative and to empower moderate Muslim voices.  Misperceptions and the lack of understanding about ISIS have consistently led to underestimating this rapidly expanding terror group.  

One of the witnesses, former US Ambassador (to Syria) Robert Ford felt the White House was on better footing than did Rep Perry.  This is from Ford's opening statement and he's discussing Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, etc.  This is the "Iraq snapshot" so I'm editing it so the focus is on Iraq (as always, any edits that leave our remarks between statements are noted by "[. . .]"):

Ambassador Robert Ford: The administration is right to understand that we have to confront the Islamic State and this is an organization wholly different from al Qaeda.  However, if we properly understand the ideology that drives the Islamic State, we would understand that it will never stop fighting in Syria and Iraq, or in other countries where it has a foothold.  It might eventually seek temporary truces but its absolutist interpretations means that eventually the Islamic State will choose to fight all other communities that do not recognize its authority.  Its severe, literalist interpretations of governance and justice alienate a great many of the inhabitants of territories it controls since many of those inhabitants enjoy aspects of 20th and 21st century living.  We have seen this in places like Raqqa and Dier Zour in Syria and in Mosul in Iraq. [. . .] Among jurisprudents in Salafi circles, the Islamic State has vulnerability about its declaration of its being a caliphate and the long-hoped for new caliphate.  If it loses territory so that it cannot govern -- and its judges cannot administer its brand of justice -- it loses some legitimacy of its claim to loyalty and allegiance.  The ground gains in Iraq are important, therefore.  [. . .] Finally, as we and friends fight against the Islamic State, it is extremely important to remember the original context -- aggrieved Sunni Muslim communities in places like Lebanon, Syria and Iraq who are angry at and afraid of Iran and the Arab Shia.  If we ally with Iran against the Islamic State -- directly or indirectly -- we play into the Islmaic State's narrative and will help its recruitment.

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  • Thursday, April 30, 2015

    He has a Burp!





    We'll again start with the ridiculous US State Dept and their pretense that they give a damn about press freedom.  Thaer Ali, Iraqi journalist, was executed by the Islamic State in Mosul this week and the State Dept still hasn't found time to note that murder.  Or the attacks on the press from the Iraqi government.

    Today, spokesperson Marie Harft, apparently finally recovered from the public spectacle she made of herself Saturday night at the White House Correspondents Dinner, handled the briefing.

    MS HARF: Good afternoon, and welcome to the daily press briefing. I have a couple items at the top, so bear with me. First, in the State Department’s Free the Press campaign – and I think we have some photos, hopefully, coming up – we have two cases for today’s Free the Press campaign.
    The first comes from Russian-occupied Crimea, where de facto authorities have shut down 11 of the 12 Crimean Tatar media outlets, including ATR TV – I think it’s up behind me now – the last independent television station serving the Crimean Tatar population. Occupation authorities also have banned most Ukrainian language programming, replacing content with Russian programming. These restrictions on media freedom are part of a worsening situation that demonstrates Russia’s disregard for the population of Crimea. Occupation authorities are systematically closing the space for freedom of expression and leading an intimidation campaign that targets independent journalists for detention and prosecution. All residents of Crimea should have access to a wide range of news, opinion, and information. We condemn Russia’s abuses and call for the end of its occupation of Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, as we’ve said.
    I think the screens have gone on to our second case, which comes from Maldives, where an investigative journalist named Ahmed Rilwan has remained disappeared since August of last year. Mr. Rilwan, who wrote often about politics, criminal gangs, and Islamic extremism, was reportedly forced at knifepoint from his residence. We call on the Government of the Maldives to credibly investigate the disappearance of Ahmed Rilwan and to take steps necessary to create space for independent journalists to work without fear of violence or harassment.
    And along the same lines here, moving on to the next item at the top, we congratulate Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, on being named the United Nations Educational – I think, yeah, let’s stay with the map – Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, goodwill ambassador for freedom of expression and journalist safety. As UNESCO’s goodwill ambassador, Amanpour will keep freedom of expression and journalist safety on the global agenda and serve as a voice to governments, reminding them of their obligation to assure that a free press flourishes and combat the culture of impunity that leads to fear and self-censorship among all media professionals. We look forward to her work.

    QUESTION: She’s going to leave her position with CNN?

    MS HARF: I think you’d probably ask CNN, but I doubt it.

    Marie Harf's ridiculous statements come on the same day that Iraq's Minister of the Interior Mohammad Salem al-Ghaban launched his attack on the press blaming them for the Iraqi military's failures (many, many failures).  AP reports:

    The comments by Mohammad Salem al-Ghaban, in charge of Iraq’s police, come afterReuters bureau chief recently left the country after threats against him by Shiite militias over a story about abuses and looting following the capture of Tikrit.
    Ghaban also suggested that blame for the collapse of Iraqi forces last summer in the initial onslaught by the extremists lay at the feet of journalists.

    AP's referring to Ned Parker who had to leave Iraq due to the public threats made against him.  These include the attacks on journalism that Haider al-Abadi was offering April 8th and April 9th.  Monday, we noted that Haider attacked the press twice -- once via a statement from the Cabinet of Ministers (written statement) and the second time was when he appeared before Parliament that day.

    Marie Harf and others at the State Dept -- as they pretend to give a damn about press freedom -- have failed to note that.

    They look so ridiculous -- but then Marie's been dubbed a "granny chaser" by a friend who attended Saturday's event -- and he has a hilarious routine he's built around that.

    Let's move to more ridiculous from granny chaser Marie Harf.

    QUESTION: Yes. Do you have any comment about this draft resolution at the Armed Services Committee that calls for the recognition of the Sunni fighters and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces as a country, and so they can be – directly receive aid and weapons from the U.S., not through the central government?

    MS HARF: I saw that. I saw that. And to be very clear: The policy of this Administration is clear and consistent in support of a unified Iraq, and that we’ve always said a unified Iraq is stronger, and it’s important to the stability of the region as well. Our military assistance and equipment deliveries, our policy remains the same there as well, that all arms transfers must be coordinated via the sovereign central government of Iraq. We believe this policy is the most effective way to support the coalition’s efforts.
    So we look forward to working with congress on language that we could support on this important issue, but the draft bill, as you noted, in the House – this is very early in the process here for the NDAA – as currently written on this issue, of course, does not reflect Administration policy.

    QUESTION: Thank you.

    QUESTION: Do you – broadly, do you support – do you believe it’s the Executive Branch’s prerogative to recognize countries?

    MS HARF: I do.

    QUESTION: Or is it the Senate Armed Services Committee?

    MS HARF: This actually is the House --

    QUESTION: House Armed Services Committee.

    MS HARF: -- Armed Services Committee. The Executive Branch.

    Oh, Marie.  Are you still hung over from Saturday?

    Or are you that stupid?

    Let's zoom in on this nonsense:

    Our military assistance and equipment deliveries, our policy remains the same there as well, that all arms transfers must be coordinated via the sovereign central government of Iraq. We believe this policy is the most effective way to support the coalition’s efforts.
    So we look forward to working with congress on language that we could support on this important issue, but the draft bill, as you noted, in the House – this is very early in the process here for the NDAA – as currently written on this issue, of course, does not reflect Administration policy.

    It's always hilarious to watch Marie make an idiot of herself.

    That's not US policy.

    It wasn't policy under Bully Boy Bush.

    It wasn't policy under Barack.

    If you don't get how stupid Marie is (or what a liar she is), focus on one word: Sahwa.

    Sahwa, largely Sunni fighters, were paid by who?

    The United States.

    Even after the press first reported Nouri had started paying the Sahwa, he hadn't.  Under Barack Obama, the US taxpayer was paying Sahwa.

    Not through Baghdad, they were paying Sahwa directly -- each male fighter earned approximately $300 a month (female fighters earned less) -- and that was a little over 90,000 men -- and I use "men" intentionally.  No effort was ever made to count the number of female fighters (Daughters Of Iraq, they were called while the males were called Sons Of Iraq and both were also referred to as "Awakenings").

    Not only were they paid by the US taxpayer, they were provided with arms by the US taxpayer.

    And that's before we get into the CERP funds.

    We can get into that too.

    We can expose the lies of all Marie's ridiculous pronouncement today.

    Again, maybe she was still hung over from Saturday?

    Regardless, she didn't utter one true statement in what we quoted.

    US policy has been to provide the Sahwa with money and arms. 

    That didn't go through Baghdad.

    Bully Boy Bush and Barack both knew that sending it through Baghdad would mean it never would arrive because Nouri al-Maliki did not support Sahwa, he did not want them to exist, when the US finally stopped paying the bulk of Sahwa (well into 2010), Nouri refused to pay them, began having leaders and members arrested and worse (killing them is worse). 

    So Marie can stop lying about what was and wasn't US policy.

    She looks like a ridiculous fool and there's no reason for anyone in the US or elsewhere to believe her after she lies so blatantly in a press briefing.

    As we noted this morning and in yesterday's snapshot, the bill in the House of Representatives was making news in Iraq.  It has continued to do so.

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