You are hereIraq

Iraq


Congresswoman Lee Praises Passage of Bipartisan Resolution to Stop Endless War in Iraq

Washington DC – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelming passed the bipartisan McGovern-Jones-Lee resolution which requires the President to seek Congressional authorization before deploying armed services engaged in combat operations in Iraq.

“This resolution reclaims Congressional responsibility in matters of war and peace. In 2001, Congress gave the Administration a blank check for endless war and it’s long past time for Congress to take back that authority,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Enough is enough. After more than decade of war, the American people are war-weary; we must end the culture of endless war and repeal the AUMFs.”

Recent polling by Public Policy Polling found seventy-four percent of American voters oppose military action in Iraq.

“There is no military solution in Iraq,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Any lasting solution must be political and respect the rights of all Iraqis.”

“This resolution is a step in the right direction but Congress needs to repeal the AUMFs that serve as a blank check for endless war,” added Congresswoman Lee.

Congresswoman Lee authored H.R. 3852 to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. Congresswoman Lee joined Congressman Rigell in a bipartisan letter signed by more than 100 Members of Congress calling on President Obama to seek Congressional authorization before taking military action in Iraq.

If Iraq Were in Central America

Just as in discussions of bombing nations for women's rights it's hard to bring up the subject of the right not to be bombed, in discussions of shipping so-called illegal children away from the border where you've been terrorizing them in reenactments of Freedom Ride buses it's hard to bring up the subject of not having your government overthrown and your nation turned into a living hell.

Imagine, however, if Iraq were in Central America.  Most people in the United States don't realize how convenient it has been to have millions of Iraqis made homeless so far away from the United States, fleeing to places like Syria, and then fleeing Syria when it's Syria's turn to be destroyed. 

If, during the past decades of war and sanctions and war on Iraq, Iraq had been located closer to Miami and San Antonio than New York or Seattle is, wouldn't it have been a bit harder for people to tell pollsters that Iraq was benefitting from the war?  Wouldn't it have been a bit harder to continue pretending immigrants are something different from refugees?  Wouldn't immigrants rights groups have been compelled to notice the military and the wars that create the justification for abuses in the United States but also the motivations for fleeing homes where the wars happen?

If Gaza were in Maryland, would the United States still provide the weapons for bombing the homes there? Would CNN still blame Gazans who remain in their homes? Or would it, rather, scream at them to get back home where they belong?

Well, Honduras is closer to Florida and Texas than much of the United States is.  The U.S. government facilitated the overthrow of the government of Honduras with a military coup in 2009 and has supported, funded, armed, and trained the military and the police that have turned Honduras into the most violent and dangerous place on earth, beating out Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and other top contenders in the World Cup of Hell Holes.  The President of Honduras was yanked out of bed and flown to a U.S. military base and out of the country.  The military that replaced him has been trained in torture and assassination at the School of the Americas in Georgia.

And now President Obama is ordering Honduran toddlers flown home from the United States where they are disturbing good democratic citizens of the land of liberty.  Perhaps this is a moment, after all, in which to unite the movement for the rights of immigrants with the movement for peace and the rule of law in foreign relations. 

Imagine the strength of those two movements combined.  Words like Hope and Change might actually mean something.

Until then, forgive me if I'm simply disgusted with the level of evil imposed on the world by those in power and the failure of those abused to unite against it.

Courage to Resist Calls for Military Personnel to Resist

A hearty "thank you" to Courage to Resist, which just issued a call to "all U.S. military personnel to resist any effort to pursue a new military attack on Iraq via troops, bombs, drones or any other means.  In keeping with our Mission Statement, we affirm that, just as there was never any legitimate reason for the United States to send military forces to Iraq in the past, there is not now any reason for the United States to participate militarily in the affairs of the people of Iraq."

It is absolutely essential to put before the US public the need for visible resistance to US re-escalation and occupation of Iraq. 

Congress Members Write to Obama on Iraq, Mention Law, But Not Its Enforcement Mechanism (Impeachment)

Dear Mr. President:

We join you and with those in the international community who are expressing grave concern over the rise in sectarian violence in Iraq over the last days and weeks. The consequences of this development are particularly troubling given the extraordinary loss of American lives and expenditure of funds over ten years that was claimed to be necessary to bring democracy, stability and a respect for human rights to Iraq.

We support your restraint to date in resisting the calls for a "quick" and "easy" military intervention, and for your commitment not to send combat troops back to Iraq. We also appreciate your acknowledgement that this conflict requires a political solution, and that military action alone cannot successfully lead to a resolution.

We do not believe any such intervention could be either quick or easy. And, we doubt it would be effective in meeting either humanitarian or strategic goals, and we are certain that it could very well be counter-productive. This is a moment for urgent consultations and engagement with all parties in the region who could bring about a cease fire and launch a dialogue that could lead to a reconciliation of the conflict that is spreading like a conflagration through the region.

Any solution to this complex political crisis can only be achieved through such an effort, and nothing short of that can successfully bring stability to Iraq or the region and only if the process and outcome is inclusive of all segments of the Iraqi population.

As you consider options for U.S. intervention, we write to urge respect for the constitutional requirements for using force abroad. The Constitution vests in Congress the power and responsibility to authorize offensive military action abroad.

The use of military force in Iraq is something the Congress should fully debate and authorize. Members of Congress must consider all the facts and alternatives before we can determine whether military action would contribute to ending this most recent violence, create a climate for political stability, and protect civilians from greater harm.

We stand ready to work with you to this end.

Sincerely,

Justin Amash
Karen Bass
Earl Blumenauer
Julia Brownley
Michael Capuano
Lois Capps
Andre Carson
Judy Chu
Katherine Clark
Yvette Clarke
Emanuel Cleaver
John Conyers
Lloyd Doggett
Anna Eshoo
Peter DeFazio
Rosa DeLauro
Lloyd Doggett
John J. Duncan Jr.
Keith Ellison
Sam Farr
Los Frankel
John Garamendi
Chris Gibson
Alan Grayson
Raul Grijalva
Janice Hahn
Alcee Hastngs
Rush Holt
James Himes
Rush Holt
Michael Honda
Jared Huffman
Hakeem Jeffries
Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr.
Walter Jones
Kathy Kastor
William Keating
Joseph P. Kennedy III
Ann McLane Kuster
John. B. Larson
Barbara Lee
John Lewis
Zoe Lofgren
Alan Lowenthal
Stephen Lych
Jim McDermott
Betty McCollum
Gloria McLeod
James McGovern
Michael Michaud
George Miller
James P. Moran
Jerrold Nadler
Grace Napolitano
Rchard Neal
Richard P. Nolan
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Beto O'Rourke
Fran Palllone
Ed Pastor
Dnald Payne
Colin Peterson
Chellie Pingree
Mark Pocan
Charles Rangel
Reid Ribble
Scott E. Rigell
Bobby Rush
Matt Salmon
John Sarbanes
Kurt Schrader
Robert C. "Bobby" Scott
Jose Serrano
Krysten Sinema
Louise Slaughter
Jackie Speier
Mike Takano
Bennie Thompson
Niki Tsongas
Nydia Velazquez
Maxine Waters
Peter Welch

Iraq/Syria News - July 4, 2014


Predident Barzani calls for independence referendum, says Kurdish control of Kirkuk will continue - The Guardian


VIDEO: Interview: Barzani calls for a independence referendum - BBC


Interview: Barzani’s Push for Kurdish Independence: “It is Our Natural Right” - VOA | EA WorldView


VIDEO (Kurdish): Full speech of President Barzani to parliament on independence - YouTube


Iraqi Kurds say will sue Baghdad if it blocks oil sales - todayszaman.com


Maliki Rejects Kurdish Independence Vote, Territorial Expansion - Rudaw


Iraqi Kurd Officials Lobbying for Independence in Washington - WSJ


Iraqi Kurdish officials in Washington describe 'different country' after Mosul - Al-Monitor


VIDEO: Roundtable: Members of the official delegation to US from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) address the crisis in Iraq - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


White House talks down Kurdish independence - TheHill


US State Dep Does Not Support Kurdish Referendum for Independence - BAS NEWS


NGOs hold 'Kurdistan' demonstration in front of KRG Parliament - CİHAN


Kirkuk’s Kurds Don’t Trust Baghdad, "going to Baghdad to take part in the next Iraqi government is a big mistake” - Rudaw


Israel, Turkey back off pro-Kurd independence stances - THE DAILY STAR


Netanyahu expresses support for Kurdish independence - Los Angeles Times


Israel and Kurdistan's Alleged Oil Deal Is Putting the U.S. on Notice - New Republic


AKP spokesman Indicates Turkey Ready to Accept Kurdish State in Iraq - Rudaw


Turkey’s Erdogan asks Parliament to approve talks with Kurds - McClatchy DC


PYD Kurdish leader Muslim: We don’t seek independence from Syria - BAS NEWS


YPG Kurdish Commander: Kurds in Syria ‘Deserve’ US Support - Rudaw


--------------------------------------------------------

Saudi Arabia deploys 30,000 soldiers to border with Iraq: al-Arabiya TV - Reuters


Experts: Iraq’s new jets likely from Iran - Al Arabiya News


In a telephone call Saudi king and Obama discuss the ISIS threat, call for Iraq unity govt - Al Arabiya News


Biden, Kerry Work the Phones to Unite Iraqi Politicians - ABC News


Obama Admin Debates Whether Assad Really Must Go - The Daily Beast


Pentagon leaders: Iraq probably needs outside help to retake seized territory - The Washington Post


Islamic State seizes oil field and towns from rival rebel fighters in Syria's east - Reuters


VIDEO: Islamic State seizes oil field from rival rebel fighters in Syria's East - YouTube


Syrian activists say powerful tribe in town near Iraq pledge allegiance to jihadi group - Fox News


VIDEO (Arabic): Syria tribes and factions in east Deir az-Zor, including Ahrar ash-Sham and Nusra, refuse to fight IS - YouTube 


Senior al-Qaeda leader calls for followers to support ISIS - Channel 4 News


Syrian rebels threaten to quit fight against ISIS - Al Arabiya News


Jarba insists Syria and Iran behind rise of ISIS - THE DAILY STAR


Indian Nurses in Iraq's Tikrit Moved, Are In ISIS Captivity - NDTV


Turkish truck drivers held by ISIS in Iraq are freed (VIDEO) - euronews


ISIS Militants Kidnap 150 Kurdish Students in Syria - NBC News


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Iraq News - July 1, 2014


U.S. sends 300 more troops, helicopters and drones to Iraq, consider second operations centre in the autonomous Kurdish region - Yahoo News


Pentagon says the U.S. military is directing up to 40 unmanned and manned aircraft missions per day in and around Baghdad - World Tribune


US Rushes Hellfires to Iraq, Trying to Rebuild Arsenal - From ABC News


Iraq’s bid to regain Tikrit: armed US drones enlisted to keep militants at bay - The Australian


Russian Jets and Experts Sent to Iraq to Aid Army - NYTimes.com


Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki: Russian jets will turn tide - BBC News


Bomb ISIS Or We'll Ask Iran To Do It, Top Iraqi Politician Warns United States - huffingtonpost.co.uk


US to co-operate with Iran for countering ISIS militants: military chief - DAWN.COM


Saudi King Tells Kerry He Will Press Sunnis To Join Iraq Government - Gulf Business


Iraq crisis: US steps up drone flights amid intelligence blame game - The Independent


CIA let Iraq spy network wither after troop withdrawal, officials claim - Fox News


Former Marine Corps Adviser: The Current Chaos In Iraq 'Was Totally Predictable' - Business Insider


WikiLeaks: PM Barzani Had Warned US of Current Iraq Crisis - Rudaw


Opinion: US Intelligence Failure in Iraq - huffingtonpost.com


How 2 shadowy ISIS commanders designed their Iraq campaign - Merced Sun-Star


In Iraq and Syria, ISIS Militants Are Flush With Funds - NYTimes.com


Russia Asks UN to Stop Syrian Terrorist Oil Sales - ABC News


Blackwater threatened to kill US investigator in Iraq in 2007 -  NYTimes.com


------------------------------------------------------

Sunni militants declare Islamic state in Iraq and Syria - Fox News


Full text of the ISIS announcement of Caliphate (English) - myreader.toile-libre.org


ISIS declaration of Islamic state threatens anti-Shiite Sunni alliance - Fox News


Syria rebels say IS caliphate 'null and void' - Yahoo News


ISIS Crucifies 8 Syrian Rebel Fighters, According To Human Rights Group - huffingtonpost.com


We will stand by ISIS until Maliki steps down, says Al-Suleiman leader of Iraq's Sunni biggest tribe - Telegraph


VIDEO (English subtitles):  Al-Suleiman leader of the tribal rebels speaks about the independent Sunni state - LiveLeak.com


Iraq Sunni group calls for autonomy in decentralized Iraq - Middle East Eye


Iraqi Shiites Fleeing ISIS Fear A Divided Iraq Would Leave Them Homeless - huffingtonpost.com


Kurds’ deputy PM Talabani calls for decentralised Iraq - FT.com


Barzani: Kurds will hold referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed areas on joining Iraqi Kurdistan - middleeastmonitor


VIDEO: Barzani says Kurdish Self-Rule in Kirkuk to Stay - Iraq Business News


Maliki's coalition: Kurdish annexation of Kirkuk is a declaration of war - middleeastmonitor


Turkey rejects Kurdish independence, wants Iraq unity government, officials say - Reuters


Maliki must not run for 3rd term: Muqtada al-Sadr Speech - Iraqi News


Prisoner Deaths Indicate Mass Executions By Iraqi Police - huffingtonpost.com


Iraq’s Christians See Putin As Savior - The Daily Beast

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Audio on Afghanistan and Iraq on the Coy Barefoot Show

GUEST: David Swanson, author, activist, and blogger. His books includes Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union and War is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War. Follow him on Twitter.

TOPIC: David reacts to the news that Bowe Bergdahl has been released— and that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Friday, June 6, 2014.

Listen.

Iraqis Are Not Abstractions

by Debra Sweet        Today, help on challenging how people in the U.S. are looking at "helping" Iraq:  Larry Everest writes in Revolution, More U.S. Killings and War Crimes in Iraq? HELL NO! today:

When you hear the commander-in-chief of the U.S. empire talk about freedom and giving people "the opportunity to forge their own future," here's what that has meant for the people of Iraq:

The Syrian Election and ISIS in Iraq

By Judy Bello

Earlier this month, I traveled with seven other westerners to Syria where we joined with thirty plus activists, journalists and politicians from Asia, Africa and South America to observe the Syria Presidential election.       Bashar. Assad won 88% of the vote.    Though some people in opposition areas boycotted the election, and others could not get to a polling station, 73% of the entire population of Syria eligible to vote did vote.  The 73% turnout was more significant than the votes for Assad.   I had heard a detailed report back from the electoral commission, and spent voting day touring voting sites, so I wasn’t entirely surprised by this outcome.

Looking at the election as a referendum on the current government, the result was an expression of unity across Syrian society, the unity of a people who came forward to support the sovereignty and independence of their country.    When Bashar Assad was declared the winner of the Syrian election, people celebrated in the streets late into the night. in central Damascus, and other cities around Syria.   Even in Homs, people danced all night in celebration.  The slogan of the President was 'Unity' and that is what the people wanted to hear.

There were those who gushed in their affection and support of the President.  And I have at least one recorded on video.  However there were many more people who are tired of war and suffering and hoping to begin rebuilding under a government that could support their basic needs.  And there were those who were ready to cut their losses and return to a life that wasn’t so bad.  Whatever softness there was in the connection between the very well thought out process and the villagers who loosely followed it, there is no doubt that the majority of Syrians want Assad to continue to govern. 

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry dismissed the Syrian election as a fraud several days before it took place, and many Western countries, including the US, Canada and members of  the EU joined Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Monarchies in denying Syrian expat voters the opportunity to participate in the election at a local Embassy.      The Western press largely dismissed the election, though a massive outpouring of Syrian voters in Lebanon surprised everyone including, we later learned, the Syrian Election Board.  

However, it seems clear, as the current events in Iraq unfold, that somebody took the results of the Syrian election along with the successes of the Syrian Arab Army in liberating the towns along the Lebanese border, and throughout most of the populated areas of the country (except for Aleppo) quite seriously.   Suddenly, a week after the election, the most militant, brutal fighting force in Syria moved much of its forces to Iraq where, with the support of a well organize Sunni defection, they brazenly swarmed across the north west area of the country taking over one city after another.   Iraq is seriously shaken.   It has already been through a terrible bloodbath within this decade and the healing has not seriously begun.  Now a new sectarian war has appeared to be on the horizon.

ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), a violent, fanatical organization of religious extremists,  supposedly a breakaway from al-Qaeda, is not new to Iraq.  It was born there during the US occupation.  The man who currently leads ISIS spent several years in the US prison camp at Bucca.  After spending another year in an Iraqi prison, he was released, and shortly after that he took charge of ISIS.   Wealthy Saudis have consistently  funded ISIS, while Turkey has facilitated delivery of arms and other supplies to ISIS across their border.    ISIS has been dismantling the factories in Aleppo, transporting them across the Turkish border and then setting them up for business there.   This could not be done without the tolerance of the Turkish government.  Members of ISIS were trained by US Special Ops forces in Jordan last year.   When ISIS took over the oil well at Raqqa in Syria, the EU dropped its sanctions against Syrian oil production so that they could provide parts to repair the old broken down wells so ISIS could start pumping the oil, which I assume European countries are now buying.

During the last year Syria had, with the help of Iran and Hebollah, begun to beat back the insurgency and recover the territories lost to war.   It is true that thousands of Syrian refugees are in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, but many times more are in refugee camps in the government held areas of Syria where they are supplied with food and shelter, and basic medical care,  and schools for the children.   The Syrian Arab Army is mostly Sunni.  It reflects the population demographics of the country as does the government bureaucracy.    Iraq does not have the resources, the political integrity or the stable social structures to fight a war like this.   It is already fractured in all directions.   There are no resources left for refugees in Iraq.    A sectarian war is a real possibility.

Iraqi President al Maliki has requested the United States to provide assistance.  US President Obama has sent a few Special Ops forces and promised more.   There is a lot of talk about  whether the US should put ‘boots on the ground’; whether the US should use air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.   While the American people stood fast against bombing or sending troops to Syria, they are wavering on Iraq.   Once there are boots on the ground in Iraq, there will be boots crossing the border into Syria.   If drones strike Iraq, they will soon be striking Syria.   It will be open season on Iraq and Syria.  

There is talk of dividing the country.  I’m hearing the “We broke it - now we own it” line again.   This is a serious distortion of reality.  We aren’t talking about accidentally knocking a pot off the shelf in a department store.  We didn’t ‘break Iraq’.  We deliberately invaded the country and smashed it.    We had another 7 or 8 years after that to try to ‘fix it’, but instead we presided over the destruction of what remained of the society.  We should not be given control over any process that might affect the integrity of Iraq or Syria.   Who  governs these countries is not our business and we have no right to choose for them.    Creating mayhem with fanatical militias capable of obscene acts of violence is not the way to ‘free’ people.   Dividing people and power according to ethnic and religious affiliations destroys the fabric of ancient societies and benefits only foreign overlords who find it easier to control a weak and unempowered society.

No matter how bad it looks for Iraq, we must not forget that it is most likely that US officals at some level, at least the CIA, had something to do with the redeployment of ISIS to Iraq.   Therefore the last thing they need is ‘help’ from us.   Let us send them our prayers.  Let us send food and medical aid for refugees.  Let us respect their elections be they ever so fragile and flawed.   Let us respect their sovereignty and their right ot solve their own problems.  AND, let us pressure our government to stay out of the fray and to demand that our allies cease to support and facilitate blood thirsty fanatical militant forces in this region.  

Let the Iraqis and the Syrians have a chance to restore their countries and their lives.     We don’t own them.  We haven’t earned even the privilege to call ourselves their friends.   Let us give them the freedom to make their own choices and solve their own problems. Cede to them their right to self determination.   That is what we really owe them.

Iraq News - June 26, 2014


Syrian warplane airstrikes targeting ISIS kill at least 50 in Iraq, authorities say - Fox News


Iran Secretly Sending Drones and Supplies Into Iraq, U.S. Officials Say - NYTimes.com


More Details on Advanced Warnings Kurdish Intelligence Gave U.S. About ISIS Upcoming Attack in Iraq - NBC News


US planning to split Iraq into three states according to a report obtained by Time magazine - Gulf Daily News


POLL: Not Worth It: Huge American Majority Regret Iraq War, Exclusive Poll Shows - NBC News


Lebanon’s Hezbollah ready to fight ISIS in Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


ISIS Suicide Bomber Blows Up Part of Beirut Hotel: Official - NBC News


Detained French national recruited by ISIS militants for suicide attack in Lebanon - AhlulBayt News Agency


Saudi Funding of ISIS - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


'Thank God for the Saudis': ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback - The Atlantic


VIDEO: Who’s funding ISIS? - Al Jazeera America


Russian diplomat urges UN to probe into oil exports by terrorists in Syria, Iraq - ITAR-TASS


After Opening Way to Islamist Rebel Groups of Any Stripes, Turkey Is Paying Heavy Price - NYTimes.com


Abbas says he backs Syria's "war against terrorism", Assad election as Syrian president will help to end the country's three-year war - Al Akhbar English


----------------------------------------------------------

US officials say Maliki still committed to form a new government, shrug off Maliki blast on 'national salvation' govt - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says he's committed to forming a new government, rejects 'national salvation' government - YouTube


Iraq's Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Sadr warns will 'shake the ground' against militants - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Iraqi Shiite fighters parade in show of force in Baghdad - YouTube


In Iraq, former militia program eyed for new fight against ISIS, They were known as the Awakening Councils - Yahoo News


Iraq: Tribal forces pledge to confront ISIS advance on Haditha Dam - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


Sunni tribes register in Basra to help Iraqi army against ISIS radicals - AhlulBayt News Agency


ISIS not impacting Iraqi oil sector much, Push to Shiite south would be difficult for Sunni insurgents: Analyst - UPI.com


Shiite villagers describe ISIS ‘massacre’ in northern Iraq - The Washington Post


Iraq: Suicide bomber kills 13 south of Baghdad - AP


Report: Christian Father Allegdely Commits Suicide After ISIS Members Rape Wife and Daughter in Front of Him Because He Couldn't Pay Poll Tax - christianpost.com


ISIS strengthened on Syria border after Nusra Front unit joins it - THE DAILY STAR


Syria jihadists now using Humvees seized in Iraq: NGO - THE DAILY STAR


REPORT (English): New issue of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām’s magazine: “Islamic State Report 4″ - JIHADOLOGY

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

War Stories: Bad Wars and the Voice of Disillusion

By John Grant

 

      When lo! An angel called him out of heaven,

      Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, . . .

Audio: Connect the Dots on Iraq

Listen to Lila Garrett's Connect the Dots on KPFK: AUDIO.

Guests include:

David Swanson organizer of WORLD BEYOND WAR does an in depth analysis of our intervention in this civil war in Iraq including its connection to those interests in the US determined to feed and maintain our permanent war economy.

Former Congressman Bob Filner served as Chair of the Congressional Com. On Veteran Affairs from 2006-2010.   As chairman, Filner increased spending on veterans healthcare, and a new GI bill for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Filner describes the serious cut backs by this Congress on those benefits. This includes the 50,000 vets on medical lists waiting to see a doctor for months…even years.

Senate Candidate  Shenna Bellows, Democrat from Maine, whom journalist John Nichols has called “possibly the future of progressive politics in America”, describes Maine’s extreme rightwing leadership.  About Bellows' opposition, Republican Susan Collins,  author Stephen King writes: “Senator Susan Collins is considered a moderate who compromises a lot. Sounds good, but when it comes down to casting votes that serve Mainers, she always seems to end up with her Republican colleagues, led by Mitch McConnell.”

Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)

KPFK 90.7 FM in LA; 98.7 Santa Barbara; 93.7 San Diego;

99.5 China Lake

Airs Mondays from 7AM to 8AM.

Moral Injury: WashPost Neocons and Iraq

 

 


Iraqis Are Not ‘Abstractions’

 

 

Editor Note:  U.S. policymakers have long behaved like spoiled, destructive children treating Iraq as if it were some meaningless plaything. The game has been about who “wins” or “loses” in Washington, not who lives or dies in Iraq, a moral failure that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern addresses.

By Ray McGovern

Iraq News - June 20, 2014


Obama sending 300 military advisers to Iraq in no-combat role, leaving open the possibility of targeted airstrikes - AP


VIDEO (short version): President Obama Remarks on Iraq - YouTube


VIDEO (full version): President Obama Remarks on Iraq - C-SPAN.org


TRANSCRIPT: President Obama's remarks on Iraq - CNN.com


The military advisers will have a number of missions, Pentagon officials say - NYTimes.com


Dempsey: Too Soon for US Air Strikes in Iraq "until we can clarify this intelligence picture" - Military.com


CIA facing gaps in Iraq as it hunts for ISIS militants - THE DAILY STAR


VIDEO: General Patrick Dempsey and Chuck Hagel Senate Committee Testimony on Iraq - Unedited Politics


Kerry says U.S. may share information with Iran over Iraq, not cooperate - Reuters


Iranian Leader Vows to Protect Holy Sites in Iraq - NYTimes.com


Saudi FM blasts Iraqi PM Maliki’s ‘sectarian policies’ - Al Arabiya News


With eye on Iran, Saudi insists Iraq solution is internal, opposes "all foreign intervention and interference" - Yahoo News


Gulf Nations Struggle With Iraq Militant Blowback - ABC News


ISIS advance in Iraq forces Gulf donors to rethink their patronage - Yahoo News


How Arab backers of the Syrian rebels see Iraq - The Washington Post


Turkey gives cold shoulder to US strikes in Iraq - todayszaman.com


Turkey Gives Up On Unified Iraq - The Daily Beast


---------------------------------------------------------

Iraq's Maliki: I won't quit as condition of US strikes against ISIS militants - theguardian.com


Iraqi capital out of danger; urgent need for U.S. strikes eases: Maliki ally - Yahoo News UK


Iraq's al-Maliki extends overtures to Sunni and Kurdish rivals - Yahoo News


Biden urges Maliki , Barzani and Nujaifi to unite against ISIS - shafaaq.com


Readout of the Vice President's Calls with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, Nujaifi and Barzani - The White House


Kurds support dividing Iraq into three autonomous regions - Al-Monitor


Battle rages for Iraq's largest oil refinery - Middle East - Al Jazeera English


Iraq exodus? Oil majors withdraw staff as terror threat rises - RT Business


Kurdish Oil Keeps Flowing, For Now - Rudaw


Iraqi Kurds link Kirkuk to own oil pipeline, plan more exports via Turkey - hurriyetdailynews


Iraqi Kurds seize control of key Syria border crossing - Al-Monitor


ISIS alliance with a deeply rooted network of Saddam Hussein loyalists - nytimes.com


ISIS photos show gains and Iraqi support - The Long War Journal


ISIS, Inc. – Jihadists attract investors, fighters with annual reports & glossy PR - RT News


ISIS publishes its annual report called al-Naba covering all its activities with attack metrics: Analysis - Institute for the Study of War (ISW)


With gritty determination, Iraqi Shiites rush to fight ISIS militants - CSMonitor.com


VIDEO (Arabic) : We'll "demolish" ISIS and Saudi, Qatar “enemies”: Iraqi Shia Volunteer leader - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Supporting Democracy is So Yesterday: Washington’s Rats are Abandoning Maliki

By Dave Lindorff 


The rat, among mammals, is one of the most successful animals on the planet. Cunning, ruthless, competitive and above all adaptable -- it is able to change its habits quickly as needed to accommodate the situation it finds itself in.  


When it comes to foreign policy, the US government is filled with rats.

U.S. Veteran on Violence in Iraq

By Evan Knappenberger, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice

My Friends,

I have been asked a few times this week what I make of the situation in Iraq.  As an analyst who worked in the southern tip of the Sunni triangle at the north end of Baghdad, and somebody who dealt extensively with the sectarian issues, working to uncover what is now known as the Islamic State of Iraq, I have to explain what happened. 

But also my heart is heavy and I have been walking in grief over this for nearly a decade.  Here's the thoughts which I feel compelled to share, and I hope that they can clarify for you what I believe has happened.


A short explanation of Iraq, 2004-2014


The Americans were unable to defeat in any significant measure the Sunni insurgency in 2005 and 2006 when I was there.  Because the Bush administration was desperate for a political fix, they hired Petraeus to implement a special plan in 2007, as part of the "surge."  At this point, 70% of the American public was of the opinion that going to Iraq was a mistake, and tensions with other countries in the region were high.  Troop morale was low, and StopLoss (the backdoor draft) was the only way that the military was able to keep at acceptable numbers.  The situation was desperate.  In Iraq, we were losing a dozen soldiers a day to the insurgency -- quantitatively worse than anything that happened in fighting in Afghanistan in the last several years.  Also, the Iraqi government was terribly corrupt, and the security forces were a shambles.

The success of Petraeus' "surge" was not sending in more troops to Iraq.  The success of the surge was in literally paying off the Sunni insurgents.  We gave them millions of dollars and helped them organize the Sunni militia groups, empowering them because we could not overpower them.

As a disabled veteran I receive about $850 per month.  A Sunni militiaman in 2007 could receive about $600 per month, just to have name placed on the rolls by the local Shayk, payable by the US government and your tax dollars.  This was the Bush administration's secret weapon to pacify the peace movement that was burning his butt politically.  The Sunni insurgents used this time to train, to re-equip, to organize and to plan.  The US military watched that happened, encouraged it.  Wait till we're gone then, whatever.


The wrong narratives

Of course, the Peace movement started losing momentum as soon as Obama was elected, and the relative stability of US body counts was no longer a news item, so we started bickering about gays and health insurance.  Now, veterans are feeling betrayed, "we fought to make that city safe!  We're just gonna leave em' and let em' die!"

And the narrative is at a turning point.  The Sunni militiamen are doing it right this time, taking no prisoners, and there is no stomach for any intervention.  The Iranian government is so scared, they're ready to ask the US for help!  The Kurds, the Turks, the Syrians, the Israelis are all freaking out.  What are we to make of this?

Good pacifists will say that you reap what you sew, violence begets violence.  That's still true, but it doesn't speak to the feelings of betrayal and loss that Iraq veterans are experiencing as the country implodes into chaos.   It misses the nuance of the situation, and disengages the political truth.  Leftists, centrists and rightists will engage in a blame-game: whose fault, Democrats or Republicans?  Who's less effective, the "bomb em to dust" militarists or the "human security" cultural anthropologists who work with them?  Did we "lose" the war?  Was it "because of" the pacifists?  Please, friends, do not let the narrative turn into the simplified Vietnam apologetic: "if only those damn hippies would have supported the troops..."

But the reality is, that this tragic middle east situation has been in the works for years.  I myself have been mourning it for eight years now since I was made aware of it. 



The hard truth


The hard truth of the situation is not that now we have left the savage hordes are going to revert to murdering each other.  The hard truth is -- and this is something that needs to be minded most especially by comfortable center-left Americans as we go about our summer vacations -- that the US put this regional, genocidal conflict into motion in 2003 and 2004 while Paul Bremer was dictator of Iraq.

Because the US military was blinded by the Bush administration's ideology, the occupation paradigm was unable to handle the inevitable insurgency.  And rather than stay and admit that we caused this, the occupation under Petraeus decided to stave it off for a few years till we could leave, in the process making it much, much worse.  That is the narrative that won't be spoken in the media, and that is what you need to know to connect with the soldiers who left blood and tears in the Sunni Levant.


An Iraq Vet for Peace Responds

My friends, the men and women who left a decade of the best part of their lives in Iraq are hurting as Mosul, Tall Afar, Fallujah, Ramadi are burning.  Reach out to them.  Help them make sense of this.  They are sensitive human beings, and they need listening, as I do.
 
There will someday be a chance to reconcile all the evil of the past.  The events of this summer in Iraq will shatter the entire paradigm of smug satisfaction of militarists everywhere.  They will be looking for new paradigms, and may even be open to the difficult truth of peace.  Now is the time to begin reaching out to veterans, if you haven't already.  Pacifist institutions need to jump on the opportunity now. 

I am not the only Iraq veteran interested in peace, though I may have been on the early side of it.  There are a million former analysts and interrogators and tankers and military policemen who need that truth now.
 
Thank you for your solidarity and support until the peace that surpasses understanding reigns.
 
v/r,
 
Evan K.M. Knappenberger
Veterans for Peace Chapter 171, (president)
Charlottesville Center for Peace & Justice, (board member)

Eastern Mennonite University, (B.A. 2015)

The Democratic Push to Bomb Iraq Again

People forget the extent to which Democrats, who controlled the U.S. Senate at the time, pushed for and supported the 2003 attack on Iraq.  Remember them or not, theeeeeeeeeey're back!

The Center for American Progress, the head of whose "action fund," former Democratic Congressman from Virginia's Fifth District Tom Perriello, slipped through the revolving door into a State Department job in February, is now pushing for "principled" bombings of Iraq.

Principled or not, the Center for American Progress is funded by Lockheed Martin and other huge war profiteers. C.A.P. has just put out a report recommending that air strikes be considered.

For that to happen, many other things need to not be considered:

1. The views of the U.S. public, which opposes more wars and some of whom here in the fifth district of Virginia fantasized they'd elected an antiwar candidate in Periello several years back.

2. The views of the Iraqi public, who have been nonviolently and violently protesting an illegitimate government installed by the U.S.-led occupation.

3. The rule of law, which bans wars (under both the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact) even in places where the U.S. has recently fought wars in blatant violation of the law without any legal consequences.

4. The U.S. Constitution, which required that wars be authorized by Congress even before Article VI came to encompass the aforementioned treaties.

5. The 100-year history of foreign military interference consistently making things worse in Iraq.

6. The 11-year history of foreign military interference making things dramatically worse in Iraq to the point where it is no exaggeration to say that the nation has been destroyed.

7. The record suicide rate among U.S. war veterans, many of whom are realizing the role they played in destroying Iraq.

8. The liberties we keep losing as long as the wars for "freedom" role on.

9. The environmental destruction of our largest consumer of petroleum and greatest poisoner of land masses, the U.S. military.

10. The financial cost of trillion-dollar wars when tens of billions in reparations and actual aid could make a world of difference.

11. The history of small numbers of "advisors" in Vietnam and many other wars mushrooming into devastating occupations and millions of murders.

12. The need people have to imagine that Democrats are fundamentally different from Republicans. Think of the damage being done to that already tenuous pretense.  Spare those tender souls any troubled thoughts if you can't spare the lives of Iraqis for their own sake.

Iraq Veterans Warn Obama: Military Intervention Will Be a Disaster

WHEN: 1 PM THURSDAY, JUNE 19

WHERE: NATIONAL PRESS CLUB (Lisagor Rm.), Washington, DC, 529 14th

WHO: ROSS CAPUTI and MATT SOUTHWORTH, Iraq War Veterans

 TIM KAHLOR, Father of 2-tour Iraq veteran with PTSD

 RAY MC GOVERN, former CIA Intelligence Analyst

Iraq War veterans are sending a message to President Obama: Don’t intervene in Iraq, it will only

result in more lost lives, both U.S. and Iraqi.

After the nightmare of more than a decade of war, many Iraq veterans see the destabilizing U.S. invasion and

occupation of Iraq as the reason for the crisis the country finds itself in. They point to the futility of further U.S.

military action and the likelihood that airstrikes, rather than benefiting the Iraqi people, will continue to bring

them death, destruction and dislocation, while also putting U.S. service members in further danger.

Today, Iraq veterans and family members are calling on the Obama administration to stay out of the

brewing civil war; to provide humanitarian aid to refugees; and to pursue international diplomacy towards

reconciliation for the people of Iraq.

ROSS CAPUTI is a Marine Corps veteran of the 2nd siege of Fallujah in November and December of 2004,

considered the bloodiest battle of the U.S. war in Iraq. Today he is on the Board of Directors of ISLAH

(www.reparations.org) and he is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

“The many American lives that were lost in Iraq cannot be made meaningful by propping up an

unpopular government with violence. Any further actions taken by the U.S. to arm the Maliki

government in Baghdad or support it through military intervene:tion and airstrikes would be completely

unacceptable and immoral, as Iraqi civilians will surely suffer the most.“

MATT SOUTHWORTH is an Iraq War veteran who in 2004 was stationed near the strategic town of Tal Afar,

260 miles northwest of Baghdad, which was captured by Sunni militants this week. He has expressed his

sadness and outrage in an article for Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), where he works. Matt

is a member of Veterans For Peace, an organization that represents thousands of U.S. veterans.

“With nearly 5,000 U.S. troops killed, over 30,000 wounded, hundreds of thousands of Moral Injuries

and millions of Iraqis killed, wounded and displaced, today I wonder for what? Never until this

moment have I felt so much like it was all for nothing.... The human costs are incalculable, but will

the trillions of dollars spent on war and veteran care do any good whatsoever for the U.S., Iraq or the

world? A decade after the invasion, almost no positive effect of our involvement in Iraq remains intact

and yet the talk is almost exclusively around military intervention. Why?”

TIM KAHLOR is the father of medically retired Sgt. Ryan Kahlor. His son served over 24 months in 2 tours in

Iraq. He and his wife Laura live Murrieta, CA.

"People want to believe that when your loved ones come home from war, it’s all good. End of story.

Yet seven years after our son’s last deployment and getting him diagnosed with TBI and PTSD, we

are still fighting to make sure our son is alive and well and getting the treatment he needs for all his

injuries. Now I know the wounds of war will never heal completely and our son like so many others

continue to be in mental combat every day."

RAY MC GOVERN served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer during the early Sixties; was then a CIA

analyst for 27 years. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

“Already too much carnage in Iraq has been ‘justified’ by ‘unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-
existent’ intelligence (Senate Intelligence Committee, June 5, 2008). 100 years ago as WWI loomed,

Rudyard Kipling pulled strings to get his (under-aged) only son, John, into the army. Filled with remorse

when young John was killed a year later, Kipling put the following words in his dead son’s mouth:

‘If they question why we died, tell them because our fathers lied.’ The soil of Iraq is caked with blood

borne of lies – lies that persist and poison public discourse. We are all responsible for this chaos.

No more war!”

“U.S. intervention will give new energy to current fighters and likely draw a whole new group of people to

fight against the U.S.,” said Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace. “The U.S. does not

need to create new enemies. This will make a political solution even more difficult, while endangering the lives

of Iraqis and Americans. It is time for the U.S. to move away from war.”

Veterans and military families will participate in a White House rally at 1 pm this Saturday, June 21, in

conjunction with demonstrations around the country.

Iraqi Perspective

IRAQ VETERANS WARN OBAMA AGAINST MILITARY ACTION

        
Press Advisory from Veterans For Peace    
             216 S. Meramec Avenue St. Louis, MO 63105 (314) 725-6005


                           www.veteransforpeace.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
            


IRAQ VETERANS WARN OBAMA AGAINST MILITARY ACTION

WHENThursday June 19, 2014 (tomorrow) at 1 pm EDT
WHERE:  The National Press Club, Lisagor Room
                   529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
                   Washington D.C. 20045

WHAT: As Iraq approaches the brink of another civil war U.S. veterans of the war in Iraq call on the Obama administration to learn from the lessons of our country’s past and to pursue non-military diplomatic solutions in supporting the people of Iraq in reaching reconciliation. Those veterans who have served inside of Iraq know intimately that not one more life should be lost inside of Iraq due to U.S. military actions neither service members nor Iraqis.
WHO: Veterans of the Iraq War Calling for An End To U.S. Military Intervention in Iraq with military family members and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern




PRIMARY SPOKESPEOPLE:

Ross Caputi is a Marine Corps veteran of the 2nd siege of Fallujah. Today he is on the Board of Directors of ISLAH (www.reparations.org) and he is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Matt Southworth is an Army veteran of the Iraq War.  He currently works in Washington, DC for Friends Committee on National Legislation and he is a member of Veterans For Peace.

Tim Kahlor is the father of medically retired Sgt. Ryan Kahlor. His son served over 24 months in 2 tours in Iraq.  He is a member of Military Families Speak Out.

Ray McGovern served as an Army infantryman/Intelligence officer in the early Sixties and was then a CIA analyst for 27 years. He a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).



SPONSORS: Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) , Veterans For Peace (VFP),  Military Families Speak Out (MFSO)


Attention Media: On camera interviews will be available with various Iraq veterans and family members.





#####

* Veterans For Peace is a 29-year-old U.S. based nonprofit educational organization with chapters in over 100 US cities and several international chapters.  VFP members include veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as non-veteran allies.  The mission of Veterans For Peace is to abolish war as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy.




 








Veterans For Peace, 216 S. Meramec, St. Louis, MO 63105, 314-725-6005

www.veteransforpeace.org

A Brief History of Iraq for Westerners

Iraq was saved from ignorant subhuman barbarism by a gentlewoman named Gertrude at the time that the civilized nations of the world were, in a quite advanced and sophisticated manner, slaughtering their young men in a project now called the First World War. 

Because the Arabs were too backward to be allowed to govern themselves, or even to contemplate creating a world war, and because tribes and ethnicities and religions never really garner much loyalty or support that can't be wiped away with a good cup of tea or a few clouds of poison gas, and because the French were too dumb to know where the oil was, it became necessary for the British to install an Iraqi leader who wasn't Iraqi, through a democratic election with one candidate running.

The great Winston Churchill explained the governance of Iraq and the new civilizing technique of bombing civilians thusly: "I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes." Others failed to see the wisdom, and the Royal Air Force used non-chemical "terror bombing, night bombing, heavy bombers, [and] delayed action bombs (particularly lethal against children)" to police disobedient Iraqis. Only by developing these techniques on Iraqis were the world's civilizers prepared to use them on Nazis when the time came to level German cities in the name of defeating Nazis, which of course also places the rest of this paper beyond the reach of moral criticism.

Iraqis, from the formation of Iraq by Gertrude to this day, were never quite able to create a democracy for the CIA to overthrow as in neighboring Iran.  But the idea that Iraqis have been violent or resistant to control because of lack of representation misses the central fact that people in the Middle East enjoy killing each other over sectarian differences.  Of course it's hard to find evidence of significant sectarian fighting in Iraq prior to 2003 and some say there wasn't any.  There was violent looting of Jewish neighborhoods in 1941, but the British government keeps all information on that event secret.  There was bombing of synagogues in Baghdad in 1950-51 but that turned out to have been done by Zionists trying to convince Jews to come to Israel.  And "until the 1970s nearly all Iraq's political organisations were secular, attracting people from all religions and none."  But what was simmering just below the surface waiting to burst out at the slightest scratching?

Think how little it took.  Supporting and arming a brutal dictator in Saddam Hussein and his catastrophic war against Iran, then bombing Iraq and imposing the most murderous sanctions in history, and then newly bombing Iraq and occupying it for 8 years while arming and training death squads and torturers and imposing sectarian segregation, creating 5 million refugees, and killing a half-million to a million-and-a-half people, while devastating the nation's infrastructure, and then imposing a puppet government loyal to one sect and one neighboring nation.  That, plus arming the new government for vicious attacks on its own people, while arming mad killers in neighboring Syria, some of whom want to combine parts of Syria and Iraq: that was all it took, and suddenly, out of nowhere, ignorant Arabs are killing each other, just out of pure irrationality, just like in Palestine.

During the 8 years of U.S.-led occupation people mistook purely irrational violence that had been bubbling under the surface for centuries for resistance to the occupiers, and now some imagine that part of the violence against the puppet government is motivated by grievances against that government. But this misses the fundamental truths here, which are:

1. Shock and Awe was meant to put people at ease and make them comfortable.

2. The plan to rid Iraq of weapons it was about to use against those of us who matter was successful beyond the wildest expectations, working retroactively by a decade.

3. Our great leaders, Bush and Cheney, meant well in giving Iraqis freedom even if they weren't ready for it.

4. The election of Maliki was even more legitimate than the election of Faisal.

5. When the Bush-Maliki treaty ended the U.S. military presence in Iraq, that was thanks to President Obama who is way smarter than Bush but couldn't get Iraq to let U.S. troops stay with immunity for crimes -- crimes of course being necessary for policing, just ask Winnie.

6. When Iraq remained a disaster, that was President Obama's fault for focusing too much on murdering people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen, and never Iraq -- as if we just don't care about Iraq any more.

7. The U.S. weapons being seized and used against the U.S. puppet government in Iraq are no match for the vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction that we can and must ship into Iraq now to be seized and redirected later on down the road.

8. The few people getting rich from all of this misery mean well.

Iraq News - June 18, 2014


White House: US not ready to make decision on military action in Iraq - theguardian.com


US focus shifts away from airstrikes in Iraq - AP


Conducting U.S. airstrikes in Iraq would be complicated, former military officers say - The Washington Post


POLL: Voters support Obama approach in Iraq over NeoCon Republicans - publicpolicypolling


White House sending special forces to advise the Iraqi army and provide embassy security, will not be engaged in combat - Fox News


U.S. deploys amphibious transport dock ship Mesa Verde to Persian Gulf in response to Iraq crisis - UPI.com


VIDEO: USS Mesa Verde Heads to Iraq - DoDLive


John Kerry: U.S. Open To Cooperating With Iran Over Iraq Conflict - huffingtonpost.com


Pentagon: No joint military acts with Iran in Iraq - WHDH-TV


British embassy reopens in Tehran as Iraq crisis helps thaw Iran relations - theguardian.com


Iran Offers Iraq ‘Everything it Needs’ to Fight ISIS - The Daily Beast


Iraq says Saudi Arabia "siding with terrorism" - Al Akhbar English


Qatari: U.S. intervention in Iraq would be seen as war on Sunni Arabs - Enquirer Herald


Syrian war planes strike inside Iraq with the help of Iranian intelligence, sources say - Fox News


Iraq Shiite volunteers in Syria head home to fight rebels: NGO - THE DAILY STAR


Gunmen loyal to the rebel Free Syrian Army and al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise Al-Nusra Front seize Iraq-Syria border crossing - skynews.com


-----------------------------------------------------

Maliki stands with Sunni leaders, appealing for Iraqi unity - Reuters


Spokesman defends Maliki against claims of sectarianism (VIDEO) - CNN.com Blogs


Maliki fires 4 Iraqi Army commanders for failing 'their national duty' when confronted by ISIS - UPI.com


Sistani stresses need for unity over sectarianism in battle for Iraq - Al-Monitor


VIDEO: Interview with Kurdistan PM Nechirvan Barzani, "calls for independent Sunni region like Kurdistan” - BBC News


Kurdistan PM Nechirvan Barzani and Iran Discuss Iraq as Rebels Advance - Rudaw


U.N. says ISIS rebels carried out ‘cold-blooded executions’ in Iraq - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Alleged ISIS executions in Iraq - CNN


Iraq's children of war: ISIS Rebels force boys to watch execution and youngsters join regime troops (VIDEO, PHOTOS) - Mail Online


40 Indians kidnapped in Iraq's Mosul, involvement of ISIS rebels suspected - The Times of India


46 Indian nurses stranded in Tikrit narrate their ordeal “in the line of fire” of ISIS - Khaleej Times


ISIS forces beaten back by Iraqi military forces and allied Shia militias in Baqubah - Threat Matrix


Allegation of Shiite sectarian killings of Sunnis near Baqubah: 44 detainees killed - Fox News


VIDEO: Gunfight to keep militants at bay in Baqubah - BBC News


Iraqi Turkmen Front takes up arms against ISIS - Worldbulletin News


Fears of sectarian killings rise in Baghdad after Sunni imam, two aides found dead - The Washington Post


Officials in Iraq say an explosion in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City district has killed 10 people - huffingtonpost.com


Iraq: Key Iraqi oil refinery shuts down as Islamists press to seize it - Kentucky.com


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

On Recent Events in Mosul and Other Cities in Iraq

Mosul and other cities in Iraq are experiencing dramatic, dangerous, and fateful changes.[ISIS fighters in Iraq. Image from Creative Commons/Google.]

The media, especially that which is allied with the Iraqi government and western states, has been focusing on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIS) and its control over several Iraqi cities, provoking its audiences against the militant group. Indeed, ISIS terrorist groupings do exist among armed groups there and its influence in the recent events is clear. However, it is also true that Iraqis generally reject ISIS, whether in the central or southern regions of Iraq or in parts of the country that are no longer under government control: the so-called "Sunni" areas or the "Sunni Triangle," a term that intelligence services, particularly the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), devised as part of a plan to engineer sectarianism in Iraq. At the same time, Iraqis generally reject Maliki's regime and its policies, built as they are on an ethno-sectarian basis. This is especially the case in urban areas where sectarian discrimination is most concentrated, wherein the government treats ordinary people as political enemies.

The fall of several Iraqi cities in the hands of armed groups does not represent the dreams of the people who live there. Their demands to be rid of sectarianism are clear and direct. They expressed them through nonviolent sit-ins, but armed terrorist groups took advantage of this environment to take power. The people's demands against discrimination and sectarianism are just and fair, whereas Maliki's policies are reactionary and discriminatory, and are therefore rejected. In the meantime, ISIS' control of cities and people poses a serious threat to everyday life and to society.

Popular demands have morphed into a tool for reactionary forces to divide up the political pie, from the terrorists of al-Qa’ida, the Baath Party, and tribal leaders to the Shi'a religious leadership that has called for open warfare and the Kurdish nationalist forces that have achieved military and political gains. This all comes at a moment when Iraq has clearly become divided according to the wills of dominant political forces, whereas the will of the Iraqi people remains ignored.

Regional forces that benefit from Iraq's disintegration—especially Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—operate in their own way to achieve political gains. All the while the US government—the prime cause of these problems to begin with—prepares to intervene however it chooses. President Obama has so far expressed his concern over Iraqi oil twice when talking about recent events. He has not shown any regard or concern for the fate of two million people now under the control of ISIS, or for the women who have started committing suicide in Mosul as a result of ISIS gangs. The working class in Iraq is the common force that exists across the county, from the north of Kurdistan to the furthest points south. It is this force whose very existence and survival depends on the eradication of discrimination and the unification of the Iraqi people. This is the only force that can end fragmentation and division.

We reject US intervention and protest President Obama's inappropriate speech in which he expressed concern over oil and not over people. We also stand firmly against the brazen meddling of Iran.

We stand against the intervention of Gulf regimes and their funding of armed groups, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

We reject Nouri al-Maliki's sectarian and reactionary policies.

We also reject armed terrorist gangs and militias' control of Mosul and other cities. We agree with and support the demands of people in these cities against discrimination and sectarianism.

Finally, we reject the interference of the religious institution and its call for indiscriminate warfare.

We aim to stand with those who represent the interests of the people and to empower them in the face of this dangerous and reactionary attack. We call for a clear international position to curb the deteriorating situation as well as regional interference, and to support the people of Iraq.

Falah Alwan
Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq

This statement originally appeared on Jadaliyya in Arabic and Ali Issa translated it into English.

Falah Alwan is President of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq

Iran 'saving democracy' in Iraq

susnetflag1

Iran may rescue Iraq from a major threat posed by a Sunni Muslim extremist group formerly aligned with Al Qaeda.

A few days ago, ISIL, a Sunni Muslim group, attacked and captured Iraq's third largest city, Mosul, population 1.8 million, located in Northern Iraq near Iran's border. ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  The group was formally expelled from Al-Qaeda in February due its extremism and the fact that it was attacking Al Qaeda forces in Syria, where both groups were attacking Syria and its government. (Image: Fabian Bromann)

As US prepares to bomb, what we're not being told about ISIS and the Iraq crisis

By Ross Caputi


Former US marine Ross Caputi says ISIS is not a lone actor in Iraq, capturing territory for a future Islamic state: it is just one faction in a larger popular rebellion against the Maliki government.

ISIS rebels in Iraq

What unites marginalized Sunnis in Iraq and hardcore ISIS ideologues is their desperation to be rid of Prime Minister Maliki.

Ross Caputi, 29, is a US veteran of the occupation of Iraq. He took part in the second battle of Fallujah in November 2004. That experience led him to become an anti-war activist.

This week Iraq emerged from the recesses of American memory and became a hot topic of conversation. Alarming headlines about ISIS’s “takeover” of Mosul and their march towards Baghdad have elicited a number of reactions: The most conservative call for direct US military action against ISIS to ensure that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki remains stable in Baghdad. The most liberal lament the ongoing violence and divisions in Iraqi society caused by the US occupation; though they make no attempt distinguish between the violence of ISIS and the violence of the Maliki government. 

This range of ideas and perspectives is fascinating, and it says much about American war culture, but mostly for the ideas and perspectives that are omitted from this debate. Entirely absent is the perspective of Iraqis and the issues that are important to them: accountability, independence, and resistance. Moreover, the real complexities of this issue have been lost in a number of the Western media’s favorite binaries: terrorism vs. counterterrorism, good vs. evil, and insurgency vs. stability. 

If we dare to take Iraqi voices seriously and think outside of the dominant framework presented to us by the mainstream media, a very different picture of the violence in Iraq emerges and a whole new range of options open up for achieving peace and justice. 

The Rise of ISIS

One year ago ISIS was concentrated in Syria, with almost no presence in Iraq. During this time, a nonviolent protest movement, which called itself the Iraqi Spring, was in full swing with widespread support in the Sunni provinces and significant support from the Shia provinces as well. This movement set up nonviolent protest camps in many cities throughout Iraq for nearly the entire year of 2013. They articulated a set of demands calling for an end to the marginalization of Sunnis within the new Iraqi democracy, reform of an anti-terrorism law that was being used label political dissent as terrorism, abolition of the death penalty, an end to corruption, and they positioned themselves against federalism and sectarianism too.

Instead of making concessions to the protestors and defusing their rage, Prime Minister Maliki mocked their demands chose to use military force to attack them on numerous occasions. Over the course of a year, the protestors were assaulted, murdered, and their leaders were assassinated, but they remained true to their adopted tactic of nonviolence. That is, until Prime Minister Maliki sent security forces to clear the protest camps in Fallujah and Ramadi in December of 2013. At that point the protestors lost hope in the tactic of nonviolence and turned to armed resistance instead. 

It is important to note that from the beginning it was the tribal militias who took the lead in the fight against the Iraqi government. ISIS arrived a day later to aid Fallujans in their fight, but also to piggy-back on the success of the tribal fighters in order to promote their own political goals. 

A command structure was set up in Fallujah within the first weeks of fighting. It consisted primarily of tribal leaders and former army officials and went by the name of the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries. This council was led by Sheikh Abdullah Janabi, who also led the the Shura Council of Mujihadeen in Fallujah in 2004. After the 2nd US-led assault on Fallujah, Janabi fled to Syria, but returned to Iraq in 2011. His calls for cooperation between the various militant factions in Fallujah was a significant unifying factor

Yet despite the glaring differences between the various militant groups in Fallujah, the Iraqi government insists on treating all fighters as terrorists. A government official said it clearly to Reuters, “if anyone insists on fighting our forces, he will be considered an [ISIS] militant whether he is or not.” The Iraqi government launched an indiscriminate bombing campaign that to date has killed 443 civilians and has wounded 1657 in Fallujah, and has displaced over 50,922 families from Anbar Province as a whole. The Fallujah hospital has been targeted numerous times, and residential neighborhoods have been bombed and shelled daily for six months. Struan Stevenson, President of European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, wrote an open letter calling the Iraqi government’s operation “genocidal”.

Over the course of the months of fighting with the government, ISIS has grown in strength. Their access to funds and weapons has made them an attractive group to young Sunnis who see no future for themselves in Iraq as long as Maliki remains in power. Many of the recruits who have joined ISIS are the same men who were nonviolent protestors one year earlier. Many of them remain opposed to the ideas of federalism and sectarians—ideas which are central to ISIS’s political platform. What unites them and the hardcore ideologues within ISIS is their desperation to be rid of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who has left them with no choice but to operate outside of the political system in order to better their lives in Iraq. 

Insurgency or Revolution? 

This week the media buzzed with the news that ISIS had captured Mosul, the 2nd largest city in Iraq, and was prepared to march towards Baghdad. Two assumptions in these reports went unexamined: that ISIS had been a lone actor and that Mosul had been “captured” rather than liberated. 

While the first assumption is a matter of fact, the latter is a matter of perspective. It was noted in the New York Times that ISIS had collaborated with several local militias in Mosul, including Baathist and Islamist groups; although the significance of such a fact went understated. If one further acknowledges that ISIS has cooperated and continues to cooperate with several militias in several Iraqi cities, it begins to appear that ISIS is not a lone actor in Iraq, attempting to capture territory for a future Islamic state. Rather, it appears that ISIS is just one faction in a larger popular rebellion against the government of Nouri al Maliki. 

When 500,000 residents of Mosul fled their city earlier this week, they did not do so out of fear that ISIS would subject them to sharia courts. They did so out of fear of their government’s reprisal. Many have even expressed gratitude towards the fighters who kicked Maliki’s security forces out of their city. 

This loose coalition of militias—from the tribal militias in Fallujah, to Baathist militias like Naqshabandi, and Islamist groups like ISIS—have come to embody the hopes and aspirations of Sunnis in Iraq to one day be free of Maliki’s oppression. For them there is no other option, no other future is imaginable, and there is no turning back. 

A Path Forward

President Obama has announced that the US would not intervene in Iraq until the Iraqi government made concessions to the disenfranchised Sunni community within Iraq. However, the US has already increased its “intelligence and surveillance assistance” and has shown no sign of decreasing its supply of arms to the Iraqi government. While publicly criticizing the Maliki government’s sectarian policies, the US has been aiding and facilitating this “genocide” against the Sunni population for months.  

The impunity of the Maliki government is never questioned in the debate raging within the US. It is simply unimaginable within the limits of this debate that Maliki might be held accountable for the war crimes his regime has committed against his own people. Equally unimaginable is the notion that his regime should fall and that Iraqis should be able to dismantle the constitution and the institutions that the US-led occupation imposed on them. 

We must take seriously the legitimacy of Sunni resistance, while at the same time taking seriously the fear that a group like ISIS elicits in Shia Iraqis. These fractured communities within Iraq must decide their own future, without the interference of Washington or Tehran. Most importantly for us, as Americans, we must make an effort to analyze this issue outside of the paradigm of US political thought and try to see this issue through the eyes of those most affected by it. We must respect their ideas and values, their politics and culture, and their right to determine their own future, unimpeded by foreign interference.

Source: Common Dreams

What's Really Going on in Iraq

By John Mesler

The latest Truth about the Fighting in Iraq

Things have certainly gotten worse for al-Maliki's government. In the west, the resistance has gained more ground and won more battles against the sectarian Iraqi "government" forces. We continue to read about how Maliki is fighting terrorists ,whether labeled al-Qaeda, al-Nusra or even ISIS or ISIL (same thing) but the truth has remained the same. He is fighting Iraqi resistance fighters who are fighting to re-unite their country.

Since the beginning of this year (Jan.1st, 2014) his indiscriminate bombing of Fallujah alone has wounded 1,647 and killed 443 civilians as of June 12th, 2014, according to Dr. Ahmed Shami Jassen (as told to me by Dr. Muhamad al-Darraji). His bombs have found and hit the hospital in Fallujah no less than 16 times and even according to CNN's own Fareed Zakaria (one of mainstream media's reporters that I find credible) he is "nothing more than a shia thug who sympathizes more with Iran than he does with Iraq". As the resistance continued to occupy al-Maliki's forces in the west (al-Anbar) a very different and interesting event took place just 2 days ago in the north.

Iraq's own version of "Shock and Awe"

The last time I wrote, many of you did not believe what I had to say about al- Maliki calling in his friends, the Iranian militias. Now that even the mainstream media is admitting that fact I hope I have established some credibility. Now our mainstream media reported that on June 13th that ISIS (the Islamist State for Iraq and Syria) took Mosul by surprise and the Iraqi army simply walked away. The truth of the matter is that it was not the ISIS who liberated the province on Nineveh. It is Ibrahim Ezat al-Douri (Saddam Huseins right-hand man in pre 2003 Iraq), leader of the Iraqi National Resistance which consists of the Iraqi people commanded by officers of the old Iraqi Army.

There are also SOME factions of ISIS (the media half- truth again), but not nearly the number they'd like us to believe. Perhaps 20% of the resistance is ISIS. The other is Baa'th party and the very vast majority of Iraqi citizens who want their country back. It is for this reason the churches and Husseiniyat were not closed. Preparations had been planned for more than 2 years under secrecy, and coordination among the various groups was great. They've come to finally free Iraq of its occupiers. This time the occupiers are Iranian militia and its Republican Guard, not Americans.

The decision to liberate Iraq from the Iranian occupation was made after the massacre of Haweijah last year by Maliki. The revolutionary forces treated and captured soldiers of Maliki and handled them with dignity, then released them as long as they promised to not re-enter the fight. The resistance captured many arms, vehicles, tanks and airplanes. Ezat al- Douri, the Commander of the resistance, appeared in Mosul and other places in the newly liberated areas (according to Ibrahim Ebeid ). Banks, schools and other institutions were protected, the TV stations are being readied to operate, and all schools and universities will re-open next week according to Ibrahim's sources.

From what I have learned, most citizens in Mosul welcomed al-Douri with open arms and a two day celebration ensued. Not the reception one would get had these troops actually been ISIS as reported in the rest of the world. As a matter of fact I have just heard that the refinery in Mosul may be open and running again before the publication of this article.

So what are their intentions? Well, so far it truly seems that the main priority is to drive all Iranians back into Iran. No one (other than al-Maliki) can have a problem with that, so the next few weeks should be very interesting.

As I write this, much of Maliki's army has deserted him. You will read that they were all slaughtered by the ISIS, but the truth is that Maliki is killing the army deserters who do not want to kill their fellow Iraqi citizens.

So What Should We Do?

We need to contact our representatives in Washington and do what we did in August and September of 2013. At that time President Obama was being pressured by the corporatocracy to put "boots on the ground" in Syria. We spoke up!! We made the difference. It doesn't happen often but Obama kept his campaign promise. He said we need to speak up. We did and he heard us. Now we need to do it again. The Iraqis don't want our help. We've done enough damage. What will be best for us is also what would be best for Iraq. A free Iraq. Finally free of all occupiers. Then, perhaps, we can once again have a friend in the Mid East who will be willing to be a fair trading partner. But we must also convince our government to recognize in whole the new Iraq. The resistance.

##

I'd like to thank: al-Waleed Khalid, Muhamad al-Darriji, Falcon, Al-Basrahet and dhiqar. Also Khdyer Murshidy of the Baa'th party and General Muzher al-Qaisy for their help on this article. As always, I thank Akkadian Mespotamia for his information and continued friendship along with Hayfaa Ahmed and many other Iraqi friends.

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.