Iraq snapshot (C.I.)

Iraq snapshot


Friday, November 22, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, flooding continues, earthquake — well that’s different, rumors attached to Paul Bremer have Nouri currently asking Barack for US troops in Iraq, and more.

National Iraqi News Agency notes that US State Dept official Brett McGurk met with Iraqi Vice President Khodair al-Khozai to discuss “the latest developments” in Iraq and he met yesterday with the head of the  Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakeem, and that “US Ambassador to Iraq, Robert Beecroft, attended the meeting.

What could they be discussing?

And Beecroft an after thought?

Thank goodness that MoveOn and everyone else got together and said “NO” to Brett McGurk’s nomination to be US Ambassador to Iraq.

Oh, wait, they didn’t.

They stayed silent or they whored.

Brett did what?

That’s right, he was a key negotiator in Iraq during Bully Boy Bush’s occupation of the White House.  His responsibilities included extending the US military presence in Iraq.

What could he be discussing this time?

The last week of October, chief thug and prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki visited DC.  On Friday, November 1st, US President Barack Obama hosted Nouri at the White House.

Though the visit received some attention, it may be about to get a little more.  At least in the Arab world which has a more functioning press than we do in the United States.

Kitabat reports on an interview Paul Bremer gave.  I’ll assume it was to a non-US outlet since there’s no US coverage of Bremer’s remarks (although the US press ignores Iraq repeatedly so maybe not).

Bremer stated in the interview that Nouri asked Barack to send US troops.

What answer did Nouri receive?

According to Bremer (according to Kitabat), he was not turned down, he was told the US was prepared to study how to best do this.

Dar Addustour columnist As Sheikh also weighs in on the Bremer interview and notes, if Bremer’s remarks were accurate, Nouri has acted unilaterally and not informed the Parliament or sought their input or approval.

This would qualify as a serious Iraq issue.

So of course no one’s talking about in the US media — not even the so-called watchdogs and press critics.

Let’s move to The Great Frauds of NYC.  Peter Hart of FAIR, come on down.  Hart wants to whine that some media members are comparing ObamaCare and/or its roll out to the Iraq War.  That comparison’s gone on for some time now, we’ve never made it here.  It’s not one I would make.  It’s also not the simplistic comparison FAIR and others reduce it to.  ObamaCare supposedly is going to save lives.  So, yes, it does matter whether the rollout works or not.

It is the same lies that led to the Iraq War?

To me, no.  But the Iraq War — the ongoing Iraq War — actually matters to me.

Let’s bring another loser into the conversation.  Greg Mitchell’s being itching for another woman to hate on.  What do do after the pack sent out a woman to attack their despised network TV woman and it turned out the attacker wasn’t a reporter but someone who repeatedly had sex with military officers to get her lame newspaper stories?

Find another woman to attack.  At his blog Pressing Issues, Mitchell’s had another fit.  No, I’m not talking about his attack on Courtney Love — in a week when he mentioned hundreds of male musicians and didn’t attack any of them.  I’m talking about this:

Unlike a lot of media and political writers I am not one to let bygones be bygones, at least in a very few tragic or high stakes cases.  For example, the media failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, given the consequences.  This explains my reaction to the Columbia Journalism Review today announcing, after a widely-watched search, that it was hiring Liz Spayd of The Washington Post as its new editor.

Now, I suppose I should review her entire career, for context, though others are doing it and you can read about it in plenty of places.  She has been managing editor of the Post for years now and obviously supervised a good deal of important work (and some not so terrific, of course).  But I am moved to recall, and then let go,  one famous 2004 article, by Howard Kurtz, then media writer at the Post, which I covered in my book on those media failures and Iraq, So Wrong for So Long.

And what was so wrong?  That she said this about the paper’s coverage:

“I believe we pushed as hard or harder than anyone to question the administration’s assertions on all kinds of subjects related to the war. . . . Do I wish we would have had more and pushed harder and deeper into questions of whether they possessed weapons of mass destruction? Absolutely,” she said. “Do I feel we owe our readers an apology? I don’t think so.” 

For context, last Friday, Martin Bashir made hideous comments on MSNBC.  I’m not going to link to them — I think they were hideous, why would I want to promote them? — but I didn’t see it.  Every day this week, e-mails have come in insisting it must be noted.

And it might have been noted if I’d heard of his remarks on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or early Monday.  I first heard of them on Tuesday and that was after his Monday evening apology.

He apologized.

We all say things that we regret.

He apologized.  I did stream that.  It appeared sincere.

So he made remarks that he admitted were out of bounds and he offered an apology.

To me, that’s the end of the story.

I don’t like Martin Bashir (going back to his 90s ‘reporting’), but if someone offers a sincere apology for words they spoke, I think we’re grown ups and we accept it.

Greg Mitchell is having a fit over Elizabeth Spayd’s remarks in 2004 — brief remarks.

Spayd worked for the paper.  She states she wishes the paper had pushed harder on WMD.  She doesn’t believe the paper owes an apology.

I don’t think the Washington Post needs to apologize either.

I think they need to add corrections to hundreds of articles they ran on Iraq.

I think they were wrong and I think they served up a lot of lousy journalism.

But that’s a difference of opinion with Elizabeth Spayd.  Or a difference of opinion I have with her opinion expressed back in 2004.

Back in March, Ava and I wrote “TV: The War Crimes Documentary” covering  James Steele: America’s Mystery Man In Iraq — the British documentary about counter-insurgency in Iraq.  I also covered it repeatedly here in multiple snapshots.  dropping back to the April 30th Iraq snapshot:

December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots — lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets — apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango’s September 25th New York Times report which noted, “Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.”

For months, we were the only ones analyzing the MoU.  Then there’s Tim Arango’s very important report noted above.

We have covered it and linked to it and covered it again.  That didn’t stop in 2012.  We continue to cover it.  In addition, we also repeatedly note his important report this year.   In September, Tim Arango (New York Times) broke that story about Nouri arming and outfitting Shi’ite militias to target Sunnins:



In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.

That’s important.  Why aren’t press critics at FAIR, as well as Greg Mitchell, amplifying these reports? Why aren’t they offering critiques of how the rest of the media treats Arango’s reports as though they have “Classified” stamped on them?

And let’s quote hypocrite and fat ass, limp dick liar Greg Mitchell one more time:

Unlike a lot of media and political writers I am not one to let bygones be bygones, at least in a very few tragic or high stakes cases.  For example, the media failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, given the consequences. 

High stackes cases?

That’s what he says.  And “the media failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, given the consequences.”

What consequences?

You mean death and dying?

If so, that never ended and continues to this day.

So it must be Greg Mitchell’s “media failures” that have prevented him repeatedly from noting Iraq.

The only time he brings up Iraq, is as a finished, past story — and then, only to clobber people over the head with it.

Well put on your big boy pants Greg and explain to us — if consequences matter — why you didn’t cover the documentary at your site, why you don’t cover Arango’s reports, why you don’t cover the ongoing, 11-month old protests in Iraq?

These are some of the ongoing consequences of the Iraq War.

You want to hold someone else accountable, you need to make sure you’re doing your job and, let’s be honest, since Bully Boy Bush left the White House, Greg Mitchell’s ‘reporting’ has been about running interference for the White House.  He doesn’t give a damn about the Iraqi people.

He can write — and write poorly — about people who question Barack’s eligibility to be president.

We are critics of Barack Obama — as we would be of any War Hawk.  And yet I’ve never had the time to indulge in writing about that topic.  We’d never noted it at Third if it wasn’t a pattern of Greg Mitchell’s lies.

Yes, Greg not only felt the need to write about it but, liar that he is when we pointed his mistake at Third (comprehension is so hard for Greg), when we laughed him for being so stupid and so wrong, he went back into Pressing Issues and changed what he wrote without noting that he’d changed it.  That is a liar.

FAIR didn’t cover the British documentary about counter-insurgency.  They didn’t cover the lack of coverage of Tim Arango’s reports.  They have yet to do a blog post, report or on air mention (CounterSpin) of how protests can continue for eleven months — with protesters being killed — and the US media can ignore it.

Iraq matters.  As much today as it did in 2003, Iraq matters.

In fact, it actually matters more now.  Back in 2003, there was media attention on Iraq — All Things Media Big and Small.  Today, there’s really not attention in the United States.

And let’s be real damn clear, in 2013, whining about what happened in 2003 is neither productive nor helpful.

It can be part larger effort to cover Iraq.

But if that’s what passes for your Iraq coverage today?

You’re not just a whore, you’re a dumb whore.

This is from CJR’s announcement of that Elizabeth Spayed was becoming editor in chief and publisher of Columbia Journalism Review (magazine) and of the CJR website:

Spayd has spent the last 25 years at the Washington Post, most recently as managing editor of the paper, where she helped supervise a newsroom of 600 journalists in Washington and around the world, overseeing coverage of everything from political, foreign, and financial news to investigative projects and features. Spayd’s previous job was managing editor of the Post’s website. She joined the Post in 1988 as an editor on the business desk, and before that she was business editor at the Detroit News. She earned her BA in journalism from Colorado State University in 1981.
“Journalism is shape-shifting into a form like nothing we’ve ever seen, a process that’s fascinating and invigorating but also nerve-wracking and confusing,” said Spayd. “It makes intelligent coverage of the field essential, and I hope as we fortify CJR’s mission, we’ll emerge as something of a North Star for those who care about journalism.”
Spayd’s mandate is to lead a strategic reset of CJR’s audience and editorial vision, with an eye toward ensuring rising visibility, impact, and relevance for CJR’s content through print, digital, video, and mobile channels. The magazine will continue its traditional media criticism, while also exploring and clarifying how traditional journalistic ethics apply to the digital space, as well as analyzing and evaluating new business models that have the capacity to change the profession.

You can judge for yourself whether she’s qualified or not.  I honestly don’t care.  (I do care that Mitchell’s never-ending War On Women made her the latest target.)  Mainly because we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and do what FAIR and Greg Mitchell and all the other useless ones won’t do, we have to cover Iraq.

Since December 21st, protests have been taking place in Iraq. Zvi Bar’el (Haaretz) observed this fall that the protests have taken place in spite of obstacles, “For its part, the regime has done all it can to prevent major demonstrations. The centers of the cities have been flooded with police. Cars fitted with loudspeakers have been banned from the streets and major access roads have been closed off. And there is a new directive which, in violation of Iraqi law, bans demonstrations out of ‘concern for security risks.’ None of this has managed to quell the protest and the regime understands that the demonstrations are liable to spread, posing a threat to the government.”  Iraqi Spring Media notes protests took place today in Rawa, Falluja, Ramadi, Jalawla, Tikrit, Samarra,  among other places.  Iraqi Spring Media Tweeted the following:

  1. متظاهرو الرمادي يعلنون بقاءهم على الطرق الرئيسة التي اغلقت من قبلهم ولن يغادروها الا بعد اطلاق سراح المعتقلين. .
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  2. مظاهرات أهالي مدينة الرمادي القائمة الآن في المدينة: “اعتقال الأبرياء ظلم للشعب” .
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  3. #عاجل: عشيرة البوفهد تعلن #قطع الطرق الرئيسية المؤدية الى مدينة الرمادي #إحتجاجا على حملة #الاعتقالات التي طالت المدينة.

Kitabat reports that protesters decried the injustice of the government and delcared their support for the detainees, the displaced and the oppressed.  It was noted that Nouri’s government has killed and arrested thousands and thousands of innocent people, displaced families and attempted to marginalize the Sunni people.  In Samarra, it was asked how long the Sunni people could endure that militias targeting them and the other attacks, how long can they endure the targeting and killing, and how many more ‘talks’ must take place resulting in empty promises and empty words?

National Iraqi News Agency reports Samarra’s protest saw Sheikh Sajid Khudair denounce the government’s refusal to protect the Sunni mosques in Baghdad (“a disgrace”) leading to their closures today, “By what right kill the sons of Sunni component while the security forces which see the killing of innocent people keep silent, including Sheikh Qasim al-Mashhadani.”

In September, Adnan Abu Zeed (Al-Monitor) reported:

 In the same vein, Riyad al-Gharib, an Iraqi writer and media personality from Babil radio, told Al-Monitor, “The Iraqi dream of democracy is likely to fade away. Political elites have long undermined the meaning of the democratic process and therefore citizens — who look up to these elites — have begun to view democracy as a problem.”
“Political elites ought to reconsider their policies, because the citizens who helped them arrive to power are capable of ousting them in a peaceful democratic process,” he added.


There have still been no concessions.  At the start of 2013, there was the pretense of releasing some of the innocent detainees.  But the government refused to provide a list of the released — not even to Parliament — and at least some of the families of the ‘released’ never saw the ‘released.’

Iraq’s been facing many issues lately.  Today was a new one for the month.  Nihad Qais (Alsumaria)  reports that Baghdad and other provinces were hit by an earthquake.  Dar Addustour notes it was a 5.2 on the Richter scale and that it hit Baghdad, Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Basra and Wasit Province.  All Iraq News reports on it here.   Earthquakes in addition to the flooding.  AFP reports, “The floodwaters, which have cut off entire areas of Baghdad and several other cities to most vehicles, were caused by several days of heavy rainfall that overwhelmed the crumbling drainage system.  Video footage posted on Facebook depicted residents of the Iraqi capital negotiating water-logged streets in life rafts or on planks of wood, armed with makeshift oars.”

On the issue of the flooding, UNAMI issued the following today:

UN Iraq working closely with Government to assist flood victims

Baghdad, 22 November 2013 – The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Mr. Nickolay Mladenov and the UN family in Iraq have been closely following with Iraqi officials the assistance that the United Nations can provide to the Government, more particularly the Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoDM), in its efforts in assisting the communities affected by the recent floods caused by heavy rains.

At an emergency meeting yesterday between representatives of the MoDM and the United Nations Humanitarian Country Team, it was announced that, while an overall joint assessment of needs is ongoing, the United Nations agencies are providing emergency assistance to the most affected populations, and are ready to support affected populations as required. 

The UN Iraq assistance includes the distribution of Non-Food Items (NFIs) packages by the UN Refugee Agency (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees –  UNHCR) to 600 families in several affected areas in Najaf, Kerbala, Anbar, Babylon and Baghdad; as well as pumping out water in flooded internally displaced settlements in Baghdad, through its implementing partners. 

The UNHCR NFIs packages contain plastic sheets, mattresses, blankets, jerry cans, stoves, and kitchen and hygienic sets.

The United Nations agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are liaising and coordinating with the MoDM to identify the support needed towards ensuring a coordinated response to those in need.

The Iraqi people have to put up with Nouri’s incompetent governance.  They suffer from his lack of leadership.  AFP’s Prashant Rao Tweets:

Meanwhile, Iraq Times reports that issues are being raised about potential health issues arising from the stagnant water — measels, cholera, etc — and calling for the government to address these issues.  Hamid Shabab (Iraq Times) notes that there are forecasts predicting heavy rains next week.

The US Embassy in Baghdad issued the following yesterday:

The U.S. Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Baquba and Baghdad

November 21, 2013

The U.S. Mission in Iraq strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack in Baquba that killed more than 25 innocent women, men, and children and yesterday’s suicide attacks that killed dozens throughout Baghdad. The United States is committed in its support to the Government of Iraq in combating terrorism. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these attacks and wish a rapid recovery to the injured.

Violence continued today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Col Abid Homaish al-Jumaily’s Ramadi home was attacked leaving two of his body guards injured, a Mosul sticky bombing left Mayor Abid Abbass Ali (a Shaback) dead, in al-Khalis 1 cleric and 1 of his relatives were shot dead leaving a mosque, a Baghdad roadside bombing (Mada’in distrcit) left 3 people dead and six injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing (Adhamiya) left 1 doctor dead, a Baghdad bombing (Tarmiya) left 3 Sahwa dead and three more injured, a Baghdad bombing (Abu Ghraib) left 1 person dead and four more injured, and a Baghdad bombing (Saydiya) left 1 person dead and nine more injured.  Reuters adds, “The deadliest attack took place in a predominantly Sunni Doura neighborhood in southern Baghdad, where two roadside bombs exploded near a soft drinks store, killing six people and wounding 18, the police and medics said.”



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