Wednesday, January 29, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, at least 99 reported dead or wounded from Iraqi violence, the weapons sales Barack wants to make to tyrant Nouri al-Maliki mean US boots on the ground in Iraq, Barack’s State of the Union lies get called out, Nouri rebukes Barack, NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, KBR’s in trouble again, and more.
Ed Snowden is an American citizen and whistle-blower who had been employed by the CIA and by the NSA before leaving government employment for the more lucrative world of contracting. At the time he blew the whistle, he was working for Booz Allen Hamilton doing NSA work. Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) had the first scoop (and many that followed) on Snowden’s revelations that the US government was spying on American citizens, keeping the data on every phone call made in the United States (and in Europe as well) while also spying on internet use via PRISM and Tempora. US Senator Bernie Sanders decried the fact that a “secret court order” had been used to collect information on American citizens “whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.” Sanders went on to say, “That is not what democracy is about. That is not what freedom is about. [. . .] While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans.” The immediate response of the White House, as Dan Roberts and Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reported, was to insist that there was nothing unusual and to get creaky and compromised Senator Dianne Feinstein to insist, in her best Third Reich voice, “People want to keep the homeland safe.” The spin included statements from Barack himself. Anita Kumar (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, “Obama described the uproar this week over the programs as “hype” and sought to ensure Americans that Big Brother is not watching their every move.” Josh Richman (San Jose Mercury News) quoted Barack insisting that “we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about.” Apparently not feeling the gratitude, the New York Times editorial board weighed in on the White House efforts at spin, noting that “the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.” Former US President Jimmy Carter told CNN, “I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial.” Since August, he has temporary asylum status in Russia. Sunday, January 26th Ed gave a rare interview to German TV. Bill Van Auken (WSWS) notes Ed declared there were “significant threats” against him and that American “officials want to kill me.” Ed declared, “These people, and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head or poison me when I come out of the supermarket, and then watch as I die in the shower.” Yet, Van Auken also noted that the revelations and the interview itself were “largely blacked out by the US media.”
Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. For approximately one month and one week as US president. In the time since, he has become commander of The Drone War. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that The Drone War has killed as many as 3,646 people in Pakistan (200 of those children) and 423 people in Yemen (6 of those children).
The interview, broadcast by the German television network ARD, was largely blacked out by the US media. The New York Times carried not a word of what Snowden said, while the cable and broadcast news programs treated the interview with near total silence.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee gave an award to a War Hawk who is over illegal spying on the entire world. They can right that wrong this year by giving the award to Ed. On the illegal spying, Senator Ron Wyden’s office noted these remarks Wyden made today during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing:
The men and women of America’s intelligence agencies are overwhelmingly dedicated professionals and they deserve to have leadership that is trusted by the American people. Unfortunately, that trust has been seriously undermined by senior officials’ reckless reliance on secret interpretations of the law and battered by years of misleading and deceptive statements that senior officials made to the American people. These statements did not protect sources and methods that were useful in fighting terror. Instead they hid bad policy choices and violations of the liberties of the American people.
For example, the director of the NSA said publicly that the NSA doesn’t hold data on U.S. citizens. That was obviously untrue. Justice Department officials testified that section 215 of the Patriot Act is analogous to grand jury subpoena authority. And that deceptive statement was made on multiple occasions. Officials also suggested that the NSA doesn’t have the authority to read Americans’ emails without a warrant but the FISA court opinions declassified last August showed that wasn’t true either.
Barack made his own remarks, of course, and did so last night in his State of the Union Address. In yesterday’s snapshot we noted his Iraq lies. Tonight, we’ll note four other voices on his speech. First up, Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) observes:
Barack Obama, who has presided over the sharpest increases in economic inequality in U.S. history, adopts the persona of public advocate, reciting wrongs inflicted by unseen and unknown forces that have “deepened” the gap between the rich and the rest of us and “stalled” upward mobility. Having spent half a decade stuffing tens of trillions of dollars into the accounts of an ever shrinking gaggle of financial capitalists, Obama declares this to be “a year of action” in the opposite direction. “Believe it.” And if you do believe it, then crown him the Most Effective Liar of the young century.
Lies of omission are even more despicable than the overt variety, because they hide. The potentially most devastating Obama contribution to economic inequality is being crafted in secret by hundreds of corporate lobbyists and lawyers and their revolving-door counterparts in government. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, described as “NAFTA on steroids,” would accelerate the global Race to the Bottom that has made a wasteland of American manufacturing, plunging the working class into levels of poverty and insecurity without parallel in most people’s lifetimes, and totally eviscerating the meager gains of three generations of African Americans.
Also providing realities about Barack’s economy, Joseph Kishore (WSWS) offered:
Obama made as brief a reference as possible to the fact that at the end of last year, due to the actions of Democrats and Republicans, 1.6 million people were cut off of extended unemployment benefits. At the same time, he called for “reforming unemployment insurance so that it’s more effective in today’s economy,” which could only mean introducing greater restrictions on eligibility.
The president was also silent on the Democrats and Republicans having just agreed to slash $8.7 billion from food stamps, only the second cut in the program since it was founded (the first coming just a few months ago). He touted a right-wing immigration reform and his health care overhaul, an opening shot against all the social programs introduced in the 1930s and 1960s.
The headline proposal from Obama, intended as a sop to the trade unions and the administration’s liberal and pseudo-left supporters, was an executive order to require federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.10. This requirement will only apply to new or renewed contracts, not existing ones.
In the run-up to the speech, there was a concerted effort in the media to paint a picture of partisan gridlock, which Obama was proposing to overcome through executive actions. Given that Obama’s actual proposals amount to nothing, and that the parties are agreed on fundamentals, Obama’s repeated insistence that “I’m going to do” what is required has the distinct and ominous odor of a presidential dictatorship.
It is notable that even though it is an election year, Obama made no call for voters to elect individuals pledged to implement his proposals. Rather the speech was an assertion, from an individual who more than any other has presided over the shredding of large sections of the Constitution, that the president has the power to act regardless of opposition. The target of these actions is the working class.
There was almost no mention of the vast police-state spying apparatus that has been revealed over the past year. The president sits on top of a military-intelligence complex that monitors the communications of virtually the entire planet. The day before Obama’s remarks, the latest information from Edward Snowden revealed that the US and its UK partners collect data from cell phone applications in order to determine the “political alignments” of millions of users worldwide.
Barack spoke for 80 minutes, so you’d think he’d be able to offer some basic facts; however, basic facts repeatedly escaped Barack. Margaret Kimberley (Black Agenda Report) offers these facts that didn’t make Barack’s speech:
Overall health care outcomes are no better, with the United States ranking at only 37 out of 191 countries. Cuba, which few Americans regard in any positive way, ranks just two steps behind at 39. Costa Ricans, Moroccans, Colombians, and Saudis all have access to better medical care. Most of the members of Congress sitting through the State of the Union address often brag that their constituents have the best health care in the world when those words are obvious lies.
Consider that the Obama administration boasted when the president commuted the sentences of eight people who languished in prison under the old draconian crack cocaine laws. That is good news for those eight persons, but the Obama Justice Department also went to court to oppose efforts to remedy the sentences of 5,000 other people, formally making the case against giving them the chance to be re-sentenced.
The only other trend by which the United States bests every other nation is the amount spent on the military. The combined defense expenditures of the rest of the world total less than our military budget. Violence is the only arena in which America leads the way.
Bruce A. Dixon (Black Agenda Report) also provides some facts Barack left out:
Barack Obama campaigned in 2007 and 2008 saying he would pass legislation raising the minimum wage and making it easier to organize unions so people could stand up for their own rights in the workplace. The president apparently lied. Once in office with a thumping majority in both houses of Congress the president promptly froze the wages of federal workers, and made no move to protect union organizing or to raise the minimum wage. Four and five years later, with the House of Representatives safely under Republican control, the president has begun to make noises about how “America deserves a raise” and has finally declared that federal contract workers will soon have to be paid a minimum of $10.10 per hour.
Although Barack Obama’s career, and those of the entire black political class are founded on the notion that they and the Democratic party somehow “represent” the aspirations and political power of African Americans, the policy concerns of black America were nowhere to be found in last night’s state of the union. The speech contained no mention of the persistent gap between black and white unemployment, or the widening gaps between black and white wealth, and reaffirmed his commitment to “Race To The Top” an initiative to privatize public education in poorer communities across the country.
But possibly the strongest rebuke to Barack today came from outside the US. Xinhua reports that the chief thug in and prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, declared today, “The international community must take the responsibility of supporting us and helping all those who stand against terrorism. Allowing weapons to reach terrorist organizations and extremists in Syria means supporting terrorism in Iraq.” For those who need a translation, he’s saying Barack’s arming of the Syrian ‘rebels’ is providing weapons to rebels in Iraq. He’s calling out Barack’s support of the Syrian ‘rebels.’ And yet Barack would do anything — and does do anything — for Nouri.
Staying in the US, more bad news for war profiteer KBR, Douglas Ernst (Washington Times) reports:
U.S. soldiers deployed to Iraq between 2003 and 2004 were fed ice that was shipped in unsanitized containers used as temporary morgues, if allegations by the Justice Department turn out to be true.
The Justice Department is going after military contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root, as well as Kuwaiti companies La Nouvelle General Trading & Contracting Co. (La Nouvelle) and First Kuwaiti Trading Co., for defrauding the U.S. Army, the Military Times reported. The stomach-churning details of food containers is included in the suit.
From the vile to the simply stupid American. John W. Thomas had a column at the Coloradoan which includes this passage many will agree with:
Not having learned from Vietnam, along came Sept. 11 and Iraq. The Bush-Cheney administration either knew or should have known there were no weapons of mass destruction — that was the false premise for sending troops to Iraq. We were told that we had to eliminate al-Qaida in Iraq. We then found out that until we invaded Iraq, al-Qaida was not in Iraq, at which point they came to Iraq in droves and are now there. Al-Qaida — the ones who perpetrated 9/11 — were definitely based in Afghanistan, and if we had not taken our eye off the ball there (e.g., killing bin Laden) by invading Iraq, we might have gotten out of Afghanistan a whole lot sooner.
And most Americans would probably also agree with him that US forces should not be in Iraq (even those which currently are). But if that’s your opinion — and it is mine — it’s very stupid of you not to object to the US government — to Barack — arming Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, with more weapons to use against the Iraqi people. In fact, if you can’t object to that army then I guess you are what is ridiculed as a non-interventionist — an extreme non-interventionist — because you’ll even support the arming of a despot, a tyrant, in order to avoid more US troops going into Iraq.
It doesn’t have to be either or. But those calling for no (more) US troops being sent to Iraq (that would include me) should also be calling for no arms for Nouri. Otherwise, they express no real concerns about the Iraq people.
The Apache helicopter deal went through, despite the Leahy Amendment, why? Your-Story argues, “One important aspect to consider is the intricate oil infrastructure that should definitely be protected, due to massive energy potential it carries.” Yet again, it’s all about oil.
And so we move back to the topic of vile Americans: Michael O’Hanlon. The Brookings Institution guy is very sensitive and doesn’t like being called names. But what do call someone — at a worksafe site — who feels civilian deaths are okay? I think calling O’Hanlon merely “vile” is showing remarkable restraint on my part. The Voice of Russia speaks with O’Hanlon about the 24 Apache helicopters Barack is supplying Iraq with:
He’s lowering his expectations.
Because he couldn’t lower his ethics — he’s already gone as low as he can there.
He has no ethical standing and should be rejected by all rational players. He has just stated that the “risk is valid” for civilian deaths by supplying Nouri with Apache helicopters but he’s okay with “tragically killed civilians” because it “might have an overall net effect.” Might.
Civilian deaths will be War Crimes.
He disgraces himself and everyone else at Brookings with those comments.
Mad Maddie Albright, asked by CBS News’ Lesley Stahl in 1996 on 60 Minutes about how the sanctions against Iraq had killed a half million Iraqi children, replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”
She cannot live that down. Seventeen years later and she can’t live it down. Confronted on it in July 2004 at the Democratic Party’s convention in Boston, she declared:
I have said 5,000 times that I regret it. It was a stupid statement. I never should have made it and if everybody else that has ever made a statement they regret, would stand up, there would be a lot of people standing. I have many, many times said it and I wish that people would report that I have said it. I wrote it in my book that it was a stupid statement.
She cannot live it down.
If that’s just due to her gender will quickly see. If Michael O’Hanlon’s remarks are not strung around his ankle like a ball and chain for the next seventeen years, then the attacks on Mad Maddie were based on gender. Mad Maddie voiced support for sanctions that led to deaths, Mad Mikey voiced support for civilians being killed instantly by attack helicopters.
UK’s The Platform notes:
In the past few weeks, the U.S. administration has stepped up its delivery of surveillance drones and missiles to Iraq in response to the Fallujah stand-off, and is one rebellious senator short of selling Iraq dozens of Apache helicopters.
U.S. foreign policy is at risk of propping up a bad leader and irresponsible government because of an irrational fear that al-Qaeda could take over Iraq.
Al-Maliki’s administration is continuously emboldened by U.S. funding as Saddam Hussein once was.
That “rebellious senator” was Senator Robert Menendez who joined with the rest to supply tyrant Nouri with weapons to use against the Iraqi people. World Tribune reports, “Congress has until Feb. 10 to try to block the proposed sale, which included intensive lobbying by Boeing. Officials said the program would return hundreds of U.S. military personnel for a training program in Iraq.” The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency posted two notices this week. First:
The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 8 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System, 3 T-700-GE-701D engines, 3 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight (MTADS), 3 AN/AAQ-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS), 152 AGM-114 K-A HELLFIRE Missiles, 14 HELLFIRE M299 Launchers, 6 AN/APR-39A(V)4 Radar Warning Systems with training Universal Data Modems (UDM), 2 Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation System (EGI), 6 AN/AVR-2A/B Laser Warning Detectors, 12 M261 2.75 inch Rocket Launchers, M206 Infrared Countermeasure flares, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions (AIRCM) flares, Internal Auxiliary Fuel Systems (IAFS), Aviator’s Night Vision Goggles, Aviation Mission Planning System, training ammunition, helmets, transportation, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of program and logistics support. The estimated cost is $1.37 billion.
The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner. This proposed sale directly supports the Iraq government and serves the interests of the Iraqi people and the United States.
The proposed sale supports the strategic interests of the United States by providing Iraq with a critical capability to protect itself from terrorist and conventional threats. This will allow Iraqi Security Forces to begin training on the operation and maintenance of six leased U.S. APACHE helicopters in preparation of their receipt of new-build aircraft.
This proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractors will be The Boeing Company in Mesa, Arizona, Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, Florida, General Electric Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Robertson Fuel Systems, LLC, Tempe, Arizona. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 1 U.S. Government and 67 contractor representatives to travel to Iraq on an as-needed basis provide support and technical reviews.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 24 AH-64E APACHE LONGBOW Attack Helicopters, 56 T700-GE-701D Engines, 27 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight, 27 AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors, 12 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars with Radar Electronics Unit (LONGBOW component), 28 AN/AAR-57(V)7 Common Missile Warning Systems, 28 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets, 28 AN/APR-39A(V)4 or APR-39C(V)2 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, 28 AN/ALQ-136A(V)5 Radar Jammers, 52 AN/AVS-6, 90 Apache Aviator Integrated Helmets, 60 HELLFIRE Missile Launchers, and 480 AGM-114R HELLFIRE Missiles. Also included are AN/APR-48 Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers, AN/APX-117 Identification Friend-or-Foe Transponders, Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation with Multi Mode Receiver, MXF-4027 UHF/VHF Radios, 30mm Automatic Chain Guns, Aircraft Ground Power Units, 2.75 in Hydra Rockets, 30mm rounds, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions flares, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, design and construction, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $4.8 billion.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner. This proposed sale directly supports the Iraq government and serves the interests of the Iraqi people and the United States.
This proposed sale supports the strategic interests of the United States by providing Iraq with a critical capability to protect itself from terrorist and conventional threats, to enhance the protection of key oil infrastructure and platforms, and to reinforce Iraqi sovereignty. This proposed sale of AH-64E APACHE helicopters will support Iraq’s efforts to establish a fleet of multi-mission attack helicopters capable of meeting its requirements for close air support, armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare missions.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The prime contractors will be The Boeing Company in Mesa, Arizona; Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, Florida; General Electric Company in Cincinnati, Ohio; Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, New York; Longbow Limited Liability Corporation in Orlando, Florida; and Raytheon Corporation in Tucson, Arizona. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of three U.S. Government and two hundred contractor representatives to Iraq to support delivery of the Apache helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization. In addition, Iraq has expressed an interest in a Technical Assistance Fielding Team for in-country pilot and maintenance training. To support the requirement a team of 12 personnel (one military team leader and 11 contractors) would be deployed to Iraq for approximately three years. Also, this program will require multiple trips involving U.S. Government and contractor personnel to participate in program and technical reviews, training and installation.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
Did you catch it? From the first statement: “Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 1 U.S. Government and 67 contractor representatives to travel to Iraq on an as-needed basis provide support and technical reviews.” From the second statement: “Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of three U.S. Government and two hundred contractor representatives to Iraq to support delivery of the Apache helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization. In addition, Iraq has expressed an interest in a Technical Assistance Fielding Team for in-country pilot and maintenance training. To support the requirement a team of 12 personnel (one military team leader and 11 contractors) would be deployed to Iraq for approximately three years. Also, this program will require multiple trips involving U.S. Government and contractor personnel to participate in program and technical reviews, training and installation.”
Again — as we said earlier when talking about John W. Thomas’ column — you can’t draw a line between the two. If you don’t want more US troops sent into Iraq then you don’t favor sending attack helicopters to Nouri al-Maliki.
Violence continues in Iraq. Continues? It thrives. Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 998 violent deaths in the month of January so far. That’s 2008 levels of violence, early 2008. Nouri al-Maliki’s managed to increase violence in the last years. US Navy Captain Bradley Russell (Oregonian) offers this take:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ultimately bears responsibility for the situation at hand, namely because of his failure to ensure that his government was inclusive for all Iraqi citizens.
The day after the last U.S. soldier left Iraq, al-Maliki, a Shia, sent his security forces to arrest one of his vice presidents, Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, accusing him of running a death squad and assassinating police officers and public officials. Al-Hashemi escaped but was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death. Al-Maliki then used the very institutions that the U.S. spent millions of dollars to develop, the courts, police, and Iraqi army, to persecute his political rivals and oppress the Sunnis in Anbar. The government of Iraq’s heavy-handed persecution of their political rivals and two year oppression of Sunnis have given al-Qaeda in Iraq an opportunity to gain a foothold, make a comeback, and provided potent propaganda in their quest to set up a new Islamic state in the territory of Anbar and eastern Syria.
It is truly a travesty that al-Maliki gave away the opportunity presented him by the U.S. At the aforementioned cost to the U.S., by 2011 violence had fallen to a point where it was possible for the government of Iraq to expand on hard-fought gains and build another rule-of-law based democracy in the Middle East. But al-Maliki squandered that option by governing using the criteria of “what’s best for me“ rather than “what’s best for Iraq.”
How did he squander it? In part by ignoring the Constitution which required a full Cabinet to be formed in by December 2010 after he was named prime minister-designate in November 2010. Per the Constitution, the prime minister-designate does not become prime minister until he names a Cabinet. Because Nouri’s State of Law lost the 2010 parliamentary elections to Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya, the White House brokered a legal contract (The Erbil Agreement) to give Nouri a second term and that contract that circumvented the Iraqi Constitution apparently circumvented the Constitutional issue of forming the Cabinet. Back in July, 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, “Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support.”
That was true then and it’s still true.
You think maybe those three security posts being left vacant for years might also explain the increase in violence?
More to the point, Nouri wants a third term. Can you think of any leader who is more of a failure than one who goes their entire term without having people to head the security ministries? And this as violence increases?
Today, there were at least 41 reported deaths and 58 reported injured.
National Iraqi News Agency reports a Mosul attack left 1 police member and 1 civilian dead, an attack on a Mosul checkpoint left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and another injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing (Nairiyah area) left 1 person dead and five injured, a Tikrit car bombing left 4 police members dead and five civilians injured, an Arab Jabour Village roadside bombing left 1 Sahwa dead and two of his companions injured, 1 “civil servant working Muqdadiyah General Hospital” was shot dead in Muqdadiyah, 2 people were shot dead and four left injured in a Baghdad shooting (area of Camp Sara), and attack on the home of the “Imman and Preacher of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb mosque” left the Imman injured, a Baghdad car bombing (al-Talibiya area) left 2 people dead and eight more injured, another Baghdad car bombing (al-Jawadain area) left 1 person dead and six more injured, another Baghdad car bombing (al-Jadeeda area) claimed 1 life and left four other people injured, a battle north of Ramadi between security forces and rebels left 10 rebels dead, the military shot dead 3 suspects in Abu Ghraib, and 2 al-Shi’la car bombings left 4 people dead and fifteen injured. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) updates the death toll of the al-Talbea bombing by 1 to three dead and the injured by two to ten injured and updates the al-Shi’la car bombings: 4 more deaths (total of eight) and five more injured (total of fifteen). All Iraq News adds, “An employee of the General Vehicles Company was assassinated to the north of Babel province.” And they note 1 Christian was shot dead in Mosul, and 1 “employee of the General Vehicles Company was assassinate to the north ov Babel province.”
AFP offers, “Security forces have been locked in deadly battles in Ramadi, where militants hold several neighborhoods, and have carried out operations in rural areas of Anbar province. Anti-government fighters also hold all of Fallujah, right on Baghdad’s doorstep.” Reuters quotes Iraq’s Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi stating, “I’m not optimistic about the future . . .. I think this spark in Anbar will spread to other provinces. Al-Maliki is targeting Arab Sunnis (in Iraq) in different provinces, with the use of army forces, or handing them death sentences in a way that has never been seen before in Iraq’s modern history, and therefore it’s the right of these individuals to defend themselves in every way possible.” Al Mada adds that Iraq’s Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi spoke with US CENTCOM commander General Lloyd Austin today and that Austin agreed there was no military solution to the Anbar Crisis. So when will Barack, rebuked by Nouri on the world stage today, take the time to tell Nouri his assault on Anbar Province needs to stop?