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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


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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


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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

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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.

Iraq News - June 16, 2014

 

Iraq Army tries to roll back Sunni militants’ advance, says nearly 300 ISIS militants killed and 50 vehicles destroyed - Bloomberg


VIDEO: Iraq conducts air strikes on ISIS targets - The Washington Post


Maliki Orders Iraqi Troops To Make Stand At Samarra - ibtimes.com


Samarra: Holy City where Iraq is doing battle against Sunni radicals - Telegraph


Shia militia: 'ISIS will not take Baghdad' - The Observer


Shiite militias strike back in Iraq, "We want to show the world that we can protect ourselves” - washingtonpost.com


VIDEO: Shia volunteers leave Basra for Baghdad to confront ISIS - theguardian.com


Powerful Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr calls for a military parade across Iraq - AhlulBayt News Agency


Anti-al-Qaeda Sunni Group Backs Iraq’s Shiite Government - Bloomberg


Kurd forces hold Iraq border crossing with Syria - Arab News 


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Advancing Iraq rebels seize northwest town Tal Afar in heavy battle - Yahoo News


Bombings Kill Up to 21 People in Baghdad - NYTimes.com


ISIS photographs detail execution of Iraqi soldiers (PHOTOS) - The Long War Journal


Iraq crisis: Cracks emerge in fragile alliance of insurgents - FT.com


VIDEO: General Military Council of the Iraqi Revolutionaries: ‘We are stronger than ISIS’ - warincontext.org


Iraq arrest that exposed wealth and power of ISIS jihadists - The Guardian


ISIS By The Numbers: How The Group Funds Terror (VIDEO) - newsy.com


The Future of ISIS and the Sectarian Response: ISIS has Picked a Fight it Cannot Win - Syria Comment


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Obama pushes Iraqis to mend sectarian rifts, prodding the leaders to form a new national unity government - NYTimes.com


US, UK create joint team to prepare for air strikes in Iraq: report - RT News


Security boosted at U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, some personnel are evacuated - The Washington Post


US prepares for talks with Iran to stop ISIS militants, says official - theguardian.com


Iran, US can end Iraq crisis says Rouhani adviser - Al-Monitor


Iran sends 2000 Basiji forces into Iraq to aid fight against ISIS militants - theguardian.com


Beleaguered Iraqis Court Iranian Mastermind of the Shiites Who Fought the U.S. - NYTimes.com


Syria pounds ISIS Northeast bases in coordination with Iraq: activist group - THE DAILY STAR


Syrian army crushes rebel push near Northwest Turkish border - US News


Spread of fighting in Iraq to Turkmen town Tal Afar alarms Ankara - CİHAN


America's Allies Are Funding ISIS: Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have dual agendas in the war on terror - The Daily Beast


Saudi press blames Iraq PM's 'sectarianism' for unrest - Ahram Online


ISIS recruitment drive in Riyadh also poses a potential threat to the Al Saud family’s rule - Businessweek


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

Manning says US public lied to about Iraq from the start

New York (AFP) - The detained US soldier convicted of leaking a trove of secret documents to WikiLeaks made a rare foray into public life Saturday to warn Americans they were being lied to about Iraq once more.

Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence on espionage charges and other offenses for passing along 700,000 secret documents, including diplomatic cables and military intelligence files, to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in the largest-scale leak in US history.

"I understand that my actions violated the law. However, the concerns that motivated me have not been resolved," the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning wrote in a New York Times editorial.

"As Iraq erupts in civil war and America again contemplates intervention, that unfinished business should give new urgency to the question of how the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan."

President Barack Obama said this week he was "looking at all the options" to halt the offensive that has brought militants within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of Baghdad's city limits, but ruled out any return of US combat troops.

Obama has been under mounting fire from Republican critics over the swift collapse of Iraq's security forces, which Washington spent billions of dollars training and equipping before pulling out its own troops in 2011.

While the US military was upbeat in its public outlook on the 2010 Iraqi parliamentary elections, suggesting it had helped bring stability and democracy to the country, "those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality," Manning wrote.

"Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed."

Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst, said he was "shocked by our military's complicity in the corruption of that election. Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media's radar."

Criticizing the military's practice of embedding journalists, Manning charged that "the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance."

Manning is serving out the prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and had requested a name change after court-martial proceedings revealed the soldier's emotional turmoil over sexual identity.

A US Army general denied clemency to Manning in April, upholding the 35-year sentence.

Mosul, Kirkuk ,Salahuddin and Diyala: Protecting Civilians and Providing Relief to Displaced Families Must Come First!

By ICSSI
 

With Mosul, areas of Salahuddin and Kirkuk out of Iraqi government control, the situation for civilians there and in Iraq as a whole is increasingly dangerous. Moment by moment, the media/news agencies are busy gathering news of what has happened and continues to happen in northern Iraq, and with each report, anxiety grows.

 

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative declares its great concern for the fate of civilians and displaced families in cities beyond the control of the central government. In this critical moment it calls on the Iraqi government and armed groups involved in the conflict in northern Iraq to adhere to international humanitarian law, specifically in providing protection to civilians and their property, as well as to aid workers, ambulances, and civic organizations that seek to help civilians and reduce their suffering. The protection of civilians, hospitals, schools and basic services, as well as sites that house refugees and displaced persons, is a binding legal and humanitarian responsibility for everyone — violating it might bring later accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. We stress the need for everyone to recognize the neutrality of Iraqi and international aid workers. Their work is to help all civilians, professionally and without discrimination.

 

We also call on the authorities of the Kurdistan Region to abide by their stated political commitments to support displaced people, and to act on them immediately, allowing families and civilians to cross into safe areas within the region, and to provide them with the necessary relief. We also ask them to provide needed facilities to aid organizations and civic organizations. We call upon the UN and the international community to support regional authorities and organizations working there to provide the urgent aid required to deal with the humanitarian crisis.

 

We also call on local and central governments, along with the Kurdistan Regional Government to take seriously their responsibilities to protect civilians and their property in accordance with established law, the Iraqi constitution, and international laws related to armed conflict and human rights. The can be no rush to collective punitive measures like bombing cities and places where civilians may be harmed. The priority now is to protect civilians, and to review the factors which led to the deterioration of political stability which has resulted in the current security crisis, and to prevent it from spreading to other safe cities.

 

We also call on the politicians elected by the Iraqi people to leave their conflicts aside and direct  their full attention to the selection of a national Iraqi government that is able to unite Iraqis without discrimination or bias. This government must work to build peace with the active involvement of local communities, and to establish an open and public dialogue in which everyone has a voice. The government must adopt a policy of continuous dialogue, and it must reject war as a solution to its political and economic problems. The claim that war can end violence and unrest, that guns can solve problems, is based on a lie — using violence to combat violence can yield no lasting peace, provide no enduring security, as the experiences of Mosul and before it, Fallujah, well attest. Iraqis, Kurds, Arabs — all people in the region — are able, given a stable political atmosphere, to protect their cities and their country. Any international or U.S military intervention will only increase and reinforce the negative effects Iraq has suffered over the past decade.

Rome, June 2014

Iraq News - June 14, 2014


Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's Highest-Ranking Shia Cleric, Issues Fatwa To Fight ISIS - ibtimes.com


VIDEO: Top Iraqi Shia cleric calls on followers to take up arms against ISIS - euronews


Why Ayatollah Al-Sistani's Iraq Fatwa Is So Important - ibtimes.com


Thousands of Iraqis volunteer to battle ISIS militants - AFP


Iraq PM Maliki Arms Tribes In Fight With Anbar Militants - haberler.com


VIDEO: Recruits from Karbala set off to help fight ISIS - YouTube


ISIS' advance halted at Samarra - The Long War Journal


Iraq PM in embattled Samarra for security meet - GlobalPost


VIDEO: ISIS threatens Samarra shrine - YouTube


President Barzani: Peshmerga in Areas Abandoned by Iraqi Army - Rudaw


Kurdish Peshmerga Say They are Ready if Islamists Bring Fight - Rudaw


Iraq cracks down on ISIS with airstrikes, killing 40 - Daily Sabah


Samarra, Baghdad, Karbala, and Najaf: These cities and their Shi’a shrines will not fall the way that Mosul did - Institute for the Study of War Iraq Updates


U.S. Officials Say 4 of Iraq’s 14 army divisions abandoned their posts under ISIS attack, Other units stationed closer to Baghdad would put up a resistance - NYTimes.com


In Iraq, ISIS militants continue drive, grab 2 towns close to Baghdad - CBS News


Extortion, bank robbery fuel ISIS bloody drive to establish Sharia caliphate (VIDEO) - Fox News


The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Has a Consumer Protection Office, A guide to how the militant group overrunning Iraq actually governs - The Atlantic


ISIS boast of slaughtering 1,700 soldiers after posting beheading video of Iraqi policeman - Mail Online


U.N. Warns of Atrocities, Abuses and Hundreds Dead in Iraq Fighting - NYTimes.com


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Obama Considering 'Targeted' Military Action in Iraq - rollcall.com


VIDEO: President Obama Makes a Statement on Iraq - The White House


TRANSCRIPT: Statement by the President on Iraq - The White House


Report: Carrier Bush to move toward Iraq crisis - AP


Pentagon Said to Plan Increased Surveillance Over Iraq - Bloomberg


Iraq May Turn to Iran for Help, Maliki Aide Says - NYTimes.com


In a phone conversation Rouhani, Maliki stress eradication of terrorism in Iraq - PressTV


Exclusive: Alarmed by Iraq, Iran open to shared role with U.S. - Iran official - Yahoo News


State Department: U.S., Iran Have a 'Shared Interest' in Stabilizing Iraq, But Haven't Discussed the Iraqi Crisis - WSJ


Iranian Proxies Step Up Their Role in Iraq - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


Hizbullah Vows Not to Intervene in Iraq, Warns of ISIS Spread - Naharnet


Jihadist expansion in Iraq puts Persian Gulf states in a tight spot - The Washington Post


Iraq government to blame for Islamist rebel advance: Saudi prince - Yahoo News


Fears About Iraq Continue to Push Up Oil Prices - NYTimes.com


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

War, Profits and the U.S. Government

                In 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan. The invasion was purported to be a response to the Taliban’s refusal to surrender Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks on the United States, but probably had a lot more to do with enabling the construction of an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. Today, thirteen years later, U.S. soldiers continue to fight there.


Two years later, the U.S, the most powerful country in the world, unleashed its terrorism on Iraq, due, it was said, to the dubious then and later unproven charge that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was moments away from using them to destroy the American way of life (whatever that is). It wasn’t until 2011 that something that President Barack Obama and his minions decided to call ‘victory’ was sufficient to withdraw U.S. troops.

Dear America: It's Over (Rulers of the World Era)

by Tom H. Hastings

Reinvade, reoccupy, and redestroy Iraq. That is the solution to the inevitable civil war that happens when the US pulls out? Will we do it until either Iraq is remade in our image or until the US economy, political environment, and culture is also destroyed?

Eight years ago a group of Portland peace activists raised the funds to bring together a number of experts to produce an exit strategy from Iraq. Ours was done, as it turns out, at the same time that the Iraq Study Group did their work. We were just unaware that the government had finally at long last decided maybe it was time to think Exit Plan. Duh. I expect we were all simply inspired and challenged by the insightful and cogent strategy published shortly before in the widely cited peer-reviewed journal, The Onion.

Still, despite the obvious--and our group, which was informed by military experts and conflict transformation experts alike, noted well that no matter when the US left the Iraqis would have a bloody civil war and settle on a new autocratic government that shot its way to power and repressed its citizenry--it took the US three more years to begin to leave, longer to finish leaving, and now the correctly predicted violent settling-out process is happening in earnest.

Naturally, the US conflict industry is dismayed when the US isn't spending every last centavo on weaponry and other military profiteering contracts. Time to respond! Go bomb! Send in "advisers." No-fly attacks, hunt down insurgents with drones and war jets. Remobilize US troops because if there is one glaringly blatant truth, proxy troops no longer work in this post-Cold War era. They seemed to be Just Fine and a great way to drain the American taxpayer when their loyalty was fairly dependable. But the era of "he may be a son of a bitch but he's our son of a bitch" (ascribed a bit dubiously to FDR about our boy Somoza, the Nicaraguan dictator) is over. Our SOBs are now routinely driven from power by the ballot, the bullet, or the bodies--that is, by the elections we no longer control, by violent insurgencies, or by civil society nonviolent revolution.

Stop it. Stop interfering in other countries. Stop sending arms. Stop the drones. Just support civil society with helpful and requested aid, never guns or tanks or war jets or anti-insurgent helicopters or anti-government rocket-propelled grenade launchers. And for any chance of success, keep US troops at home. Let Iraqis work it through and then try to be a friend to their citizenry with our goods of life. It may not be as fast as the "I've got a gun to your head so go vote!" model of spreading "democracy" that is favored by our leaders and our military industrial congressional complex, but it is the only one that actually works. Can we please start now?

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoiceDirector.

Tell the Pentagon to stop "helping" in Iraq and Ukraine


To: U.S. Congress, President, Department of "Defense"

Stop arming Iraq. And do not bomb or send in troops. Remove U.S. drones immediately. Pursue a ceasefire and negotiations, working through the United Nations and the Arab League.

Why is this important?
Iraq needs actual aid, not "military aid." A policy of promoting, facilitating, and engaging in violence has produced nothing but disasters for decades.





To: U.S. Congress, President, Department of "Defense"

We call on the U.S. government to work with other NATO governments to cancel the Rapid Trident exercise, and to commit to not participating in military exercises in Ukraine.

Why is this important?
We note with great concern that U.S. and other NATO troops are scheduled to participate in joint military exercises in Ukraine in July as part of NATO’s Rapid Trident maneuvers. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Its participation in military exercises by a nuclear-armed alliance with a first-strike policy can only further destabilize the country.




Make your own petition like the ones above. Promote it, show us it's popular, and we'll promote it too!

Give it a try: http://DIY.rootsaction.org

Iraq News - June 13, 2014


In new audio recording ISIS urges militants to march to Baghdad - Al Arabiya News


VIDEO: ISIS release audio urging fighters to march on Baghdad - Telegraph


Saddam-era fugitive’s armed group fighting alongside militants in Iraq, officials say - Fox News


UN Official Sees No Immediate Threat to Baghdad - VOA


Iraq: Government Controls Baiji Oil Refinery - VOA


Maliki Turns to Militias to Halt Militant Onslaught - Bloomberg


Kurdish peshmerga seize a chaotic victory in Kirkuk, Police loyal to Nouri al-Maliki powerless to stop looting - The Guardian


VIDEO: Kurdish Peshmerga fighters clash with ISIS militants - ITV News


ISIS Shelling Kurdish Peshmerga-controlled Areas South of Kirkuk - Rudaw


Q&A with Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim: Peshmerga to Stay 'As Long as Necessary’ - VOA


How effective is ISIS compared with the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga? - theguardian.com


AUDIO (Arabic): Full audio message from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām: “The Good That Has Happened To You Is From God” - JIHADOLOGY


TRANSCRIPT (English): Full audio message from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām - azelin.files


PHOTOS: Iraqi refugee reveals the horrors of the jihadi takeover as Baghdad vows to fight back - DailyMail


Iraq Isis Crisis: Medieval Sharia Law Imposed by ISIS on Millions in Nineveh Province - Yahoo News UK


ISIS Takes Over Thermal Plants - Eurasia Review


ISIS Claims Baghdad Terror Attacks that Killed Dozens: Statement - The New Indian Express


How ISIS Pulled Off A Rapid Takeover In Iraq - ibtimes.com


VIDEO: Remarkable footage of 100s of Iraq soldiers surrendering to ISIS near Tikrit - Twitter / Charles_Lister


How ISIS is exploiting the economics of Syria's civil war - Vox


ISIS Threatens to Invade Jordan, 'Slaughter' King Abdullah - gatestoneinstitute.org


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US President Barack Obama meets national security team on Iraq - zeenews


VIDEO: Obama considers options to help Iraq, Not ruling anything out - YouTube


U.S. Secretly Flying Drones Over Iraq - WSJ


Americans being evacuated from Iraqi air base as militants advance, The three planeloads are mostly contractors and civilians - Fox News


Iran to combat terrorism in Iraq: Iran President Rouhani - AFP


Iran Deploys Forces to Fight Militants in Iraq - WSJ


Iran Police Chief: Tehran Could Intervene in Iraq to Protect Shia Shrines - The Daily Beast


The Battle for Iraq Is a Saudi War on Iran, Why the ISIS invasion of Iraq is really a war between Shiites and Sunnis for control of the Middle East - foreignpolicy.com


Iraq crisis: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by the Saudi Wahhabis and Kuwaiti oligarchs - The Independent


Militant advances in Iraq 'Saudi terrorism': Syria media - THE DAILY STAR


VIDEO:  Video shows Saudis fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq - Al Arabiya News

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Iraq News - June 12, 2014


ISIS takes control of Bayji, Tikrit in lightning southward advance - The Long War Journal


ISIS Sunni militants push into Iraqi oil refinery town - Reuters


Iraq Says Mosul Violence Won't Spread to Oil-Producing South - WSJ


PHOTOS: Tikrit falls to Islamist terrorists - Mail Online


Mosul Seized: Jihadis Loot $429m from City's Central Bank to Make ISIS World's Richest Terror Force - ibtimes.co.uk


MAP: Where ISIS Is Gaining Control in Iraq and Syria - NYTimes.com


Iraq forces repel militant assault on Samarra: witnesses - THE DAILY STAR


Iraq says to work with Kurdish forces to retake Mosul - Reuters


Kurdish Fighters Mobilize to Stop Threat of Islamist Militants - WSJ


As Islamic Militants Continue Advance, Kurds Vow to Defend Kirku - Rudaw


Sadr calls for new force to defend Iraq religious sites - THE DAILY STAR


ISIS Militants Seize Turkish Consulate Staff in Iraqi City - NYTimes.com


Bombings in Shiite areas of Iraq kill 37 - THE DAILY STAR


Al-Qaida splinter group ISIS encircles Syrian city across the Iraq border - The Washington Post


How ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the world’s most powerful jihadist leader - washingtonpost.com


The Ginger Jihadist of Mosul: Omar al-Shishani the Chechen ‘General’ - ibtimes.co.uk


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

Iraq Asked U.S. for Airstrikes, Officials Say - NYTimes.com


Iraq Requests Accelerated Shipment of U.S. Arms to Counter Militants - Wall Street Journal


US considers sending emergency military aid to Iraq - The Independent


Iraqi, U.S. Forces Trade Barbs Over Failures - WSJ


State Department: US has no plans to send any of its 35,000 Middle East-based troops into Iraq - Mail Online


US ponders whether new leadership in Baghdad could slow extremists but sees few alternatives - Fox News


U.S. Embassy in Iraq prepares evacuation plans - IraqiNews.com


Iraq foreign minister: Iraq faces 'mortal threat' - Yahoo News


Iraq army capitulates to ISIS militants in four cities - The Guardian


Iraq's Army Abandoned Mosul To ISIS By 'Changing Clothes, Abandoning Weapons’ - huffingtonpost.com


VIDEO: Iraqi Army fleeing Kirkuk in civilian clothing - YouTube


How did hundreds of Islamist militants beat thousands of US-trained Iraqi army soldiers? - ITV News


Iraq army was not prepared for ISIS, says former White House advisor - abc.net.au


Iraqi Army's power blunted by a rise in desertions, Exhausted and bereft soldiers quit fight - NYTimes.com


Iraq’s Terrorists Are Becoming a Full-Blown Army - The Daily Beast


President George W. Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq at the root of Iraq’s chaos - Consortiumnews


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Bergdahl, Desertion and Heroics

                A lead article on CNN today reads as follows: ‘Fellow soldiers call Bowe Bergdahl a deserter, not a hero.’


                It seems that one is defining the term ‘hero’ in a rather odd way, if one can’t consider a deserter a hero. Let’s look first at what desertion from the U.S. military means, in terms of actions and possible consequences, and then more specifically at Mr. Bergdahl’s particular situation, or at least what is currently known of it.

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