Monday, March 24, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri’s assault on Anbar continues, the death of an Iraqi working for a US propaganda outlet means the US government can’t shut up about the death (they really do expose their own hands, don’t they?), the Kurds get stabbed in the back again, polio is back in Iraq (great job, Nouri), Juan Cole seems to forget what he did in 2010, and much more.
Nouri’s Iraq has another first. As with all his other firsts, it’s not good news. Maya Rhodan (Time magazine) reports Iraq has a confirmed polio case, “A six-month old baby near Baghdad was paralyzed as a result of the debilitating virus, which is generally found among children under five years old.” IRIN notes it’s been 14 years since Ira had a “confirmed case of the virus.” And they quote the World Health Organization’s Iraq mission head, Syed Jaffar Hussain, declaring:
Knowing that Iraq itself has a lot of security challenges and large amounts of population movement, internally and from outside, this presents a major public health challenge in the country.
We do have a worry that other children may have been infected and that is why we are going door-to-door in the area where this child lives in order to collect samples to see if the virus has spread.
It just baffles me that failed Neocons like Dan Senor are still given a hearing inside the Beltway. ABC News actually interviewed Senor, the spokesman for the Bush administration’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq on the Crimea crisis!
The necons? The ones who teamed with conservatives (traditional ones) and Democratic Hawks and neoliberals to sell the illegal war? Trash like Juan Cole will never call out neoliberals, et al., but he’ll make sure everyone knows the term “neocon.”
As for disappointment?
I think it’s disappointing that people who cheered on the illegal war continue to be treated as though they’re wise or informed.
I mean people like Juan Cole.
He can fool everyone he wants today but even he knows that when push came to shove he was whoring for the Iraq War.
It was over eight years ago that Steve Rendall called him on it during an interview broadcast on the February 9, 2007 of CounterSpin.
Steve Rendall: Professor Juan Cole, you’ve expressed some reservations about US withdrawal from Iraq. How do you reconcile that with the people poll done by the University of Maryland that finds that strong majorities of Iraqis — both Shia and Sunni — want the US out.
Juan Cole: Well, first of all, you’re misreading my position. Uh, for a year and a half now I have been maintaining that the US should withdraw from Iraq. I supported [US House] Representative [John] Murtha’s position — and indeed I believe I preceded it — which is the US should make an orderly withdraw from Iraq and what I oppose — and I think anybody should oppose — and something very worrying — would be for the US to pull precipitously out of Iraq, just pull up stakes and get out in a rush and let the chips fall where they may because this would be a very bad idea.
Juan loves to rewrite the record, he loves to reinvent and spin yarns and do everything except tell the truth.
When the illegal war started 11 years ago, CIA contractor Juan wrote that “the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides” (click here for Wikipedia and his attempts to justify and rewrite what he wrote).
No one was punished or harmed for advocating for the illegal war which is why it’s so shameful that Robert Scheer publishes Cole at Truthdig. The MSM protected their own and promoted ‘left’ bloggers who supported the Iraq War so for an outlet like Truthdig to present the lies of Juan Cole is very upsetting.
Juan Cole is a damn liar. He’s so very fond of thinking he can intimidate everyone into going along. I’m not cowed by a pudgy bitch like Juan, so sorry.
He writes today:
Senor had the unmitigated gall to blame President Obama for “Iraq unraveling”!!
Let’s see. The American administration of Iraq fired 100,000 Sunni Arabs from their jobs, abruptly abolished the whole Iraqi army, closed all the major state-owned factories, coddled corrupt Shiite politicians, and generally plunged the country into a massive civil war, which at its height was killing 3000 civilians a month and was responsible for 2 million being displaced abroad and 4 million internally, in a country of 26 million.
Not gall, mind you, but unmitigated gall.
That’s a strange argument to present but because Dan Senor is correct in the argument. But before we move to facts — those things that cause Juan to break out in hives — let’s just examine what Dan Senor did that was so wrong.
According to Juan Cole, ‘historian,’ it is wrong for Senor or anyone to blame Barack for the state of Iraq.
If Barack can’t be blamed for it, he also — pay attention — can’t be praised.
But in January 2010, Uninformed Boob Juan Cole was declaring the Iraq War was over and Barack had won it.
I wouldn’t have called the Iraq War ended then (it’s ongoing even now) and I wouldn’t have declared Barack had won it.
At that point, I’d already called Barack out for entering into negotiations with terrorists (League of Righteous) and agreeing to release their leaders (so that they’d turn over British hostages — all but one was turned over as a corpse). And I’d called him out for lying about the Status Of Forces Agreement. But, in January 2010, I never said, “He is losing the war!”
In March 2010, it would be different.
That’s where Barack ensured the current state of Iraq.
Parliamentary elections took place. Even with the media (western media) in his pocket, Nouri and his State of Law still lost to Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya. Nouri screamed voter theft and insisted on a recount which didn’t change the results.
So Nouri decided he’d just refuse to step down. He refused for 8 months (this was the political stalemate and Iraq set the world record at the time for the longest duration between an election and the formation of a government).
During this time Barack backed him. More than that, he had US officials broker The Erbil Agreement. The legal contract provided Nouri with a second term as prime minister in exchange for Nouri agreeing to certain demands of the political blocs. For example, the Kurdistan Regional Government demanded that Article 140 be implemented (referendum and census on disputed and oil-rich Kirkuk).
Barack had no business overriding the votes of the Iraqi people or going around the country’s constitution to provide Nouri with a second term.
And the man who planned her life
Commanded all that followed
Well they bellowed and they hollered
And they threw each other down
— “Memorial Day,” written by Carly Simon, first appears on her album Spy
Today’s problems stem from this. It was Barack’s decision (urged on by Samantha Power) and he owns it. It cannot be explained away or wiped away.
The administration got the blocs to sign on by insisting the contract had the full backing of the White House. Vice President Joe Biden gave his word personally to Iraq President Jalal Talabani. And the day after the contract was signed, when, in the session of Parliament, it appeared Nouri was refusing to honor it, Ayad Allawi walked as did many other members of Iraqiya.
At which point — pay attention, Juan Cole — Barack personally called Allawi and made promises that led to Allawi returning to Parliament and ending the walk out.
But Nouri refused to honor the contract. He used it to get his second term and then his lawyer and his spokesperson both began announcing the contract was illegal (it probably was — it was extra-constitutional) and so Nouri didn’t have to honor it.
By the summer of 2011, aware that the White House and Barack were not backing the contract they insisted they would, the Kurds, Moqtada al-Sadr and Allawi went public demanding that Nouri follow the contract.
In April of 2012, they began publicly exploring a vote of no confidence in the Parliament. Moqtada made clear publicly that Nouri could stop the effort at any point by implementing The Erbil Agreement.
He didn’t and, per the Constitution, the groups began gathering the signatures needed for a no confidence vote. They got the needed number and then some.
The vote would take place.
But the White House was pressuring Jalal, insisting the vote could not be allowed to go forward. They offered (empty) promises and made demands. Suddenly, Jalal announced that it was his job (it wasn’t) to verify every signature. On top of that, he created another new step not in the Constitution, “Did you mean to sign it?” Clearly, if the signature was their own, they meant to sign it.
But Jalal would insist that several, during the verification process, stated they would not sign it today. So he was striking their signatures.
That’s not how it works.
They don’t have to vote against Nouri in the vote but if they signed it, they signed it. Change of heart (due to the spread of US money) doesn’t let you undo your signature.
The people spoke in 2010, they did not want Nouri. The US re-installed him via a legal contract they swore (in November 2010) that they would back. By 2011, the White House was ignoring it (and also insisting it didn’t matter since Nouri had promised publicly not to seek a third term — Nouri’s a whore, his word means nothing). In 2012, Kurds, Shi’ites and Sunni politicians agreed to pull together and use the means provided in the Constitution to recall Nouri. The White House demanded this not happen.
Juan Cole is a liar.
All of the above has brought Iraq to the brink yet again.
And that is on Barack.
That and so much more. Raya al-Jadir (Muslim Sister via OnIslam.net) observes today:
Iraq has been in gradual decline since the 1980s, but never in all of its modern history has it witnessed such atrocious and devastating conditions as it is currently experiencing. According to the latest UNICEF report, Iraq has about five million orphans, 500,000 homeless children, and more than 100,000 children between the ages of 8 and 15 who have left school to support their families.
Juan Cole likes to pretend the illegal war ended. It didn’t. You can overlook the Special-Ops Barack sent back into Iraq in fall 2012, but how do you overlook the billions the State Dept’s put into Iraq — US taxpayer monies — since the drawdown? And how do you excuse that money doing nothing to improve the lives of the Iraqi people?
If you’re honest, you know you can’t excuse it.
Honesty? In such short supply today. Saturday, there was a shooting in Baghdad:
One journalist after another has been killed in Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki’s never cared. In some cases, as with Hadi al-Mahdi, Nouri is likely the one who ordered the murder.
But today, the prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, found a murder he could condemn, that of Mohamed Bedewi.
There are a number of reasons this murder is being condemned and one big reason that’s not being stated by the press.
As NINA notes, Bedewi was the “director of Office of Radio al-Iraq Al-Hur” and was shot in Baghdad by 1 member of the Peshmerga who was charged with protecting the area around President Jalal Talabni’s Baghdad residence.
Jalal Talabani is the President of Iraq. December 2012, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke. The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18, 20102 snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad’s Medical Center Hospital. Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany. He remains in Germany currently. His residence proper is in northern Iraq in the Kurdistan Regional Government. November 20th, his chief bodyguard was shot dead in Sulaimaniyah.
Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) points out Talabani is Kurdish and so are his protection forces.
It also helps that the Peshmerga has already turned the guard over to the police. All Iraq News notes Nouri arrived on the scene (in time for the press to cover it).
[. . .]
The dead isn’t a journalist. He’s part of a propaganda outlet.
The stations he works for is better known as “Radio Free Iraq.”
And if that sounds vaguely familiar, yes, it is one of those “Radio Free” propaganda stations that the US government waste taxpayer dollars on. Some may remember Hillary Clinton’s lunatic ravings against China’s outlets and Russia’s and demanding Congress — in her best Nikita Khruschev shoe banging performance — do more for the propaganda outlets of the US.
Oh, and by the way, Ukraine’s about to get Radio Free Europe — but let’s all pretend not to notice that too.
What was the ‘journalist’ doing?
Who knows maybe he was pursuing a story?
Maybe he was spying for the US government?
Regardless, he was shot in public and by a Kurd so it was a political win for Nouri even before the US government dialed up Nouri announcing this murder be punished. It was after this call that Nouri got his ass to the scene of the crime.
You should have known something more was going on then what the press was telling you just by the fact that Nouri was finally calling for the murderer of a journalist to be punished.
Sunday, Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) falsely reported all newspapers in Iraq took Sunday off in terms of print versions in order to protest the shooting of Mohammed Bdaiwi. Yacoub, as a friend pointed out to me, got that ‘info’ from a report filed for Voice of America — only even that propaganda outlet didn’t claim “all” — instead it went with “dozens.” As AP rushed to cover Mohammed Bdaiwi’s death the day before, they didn’t even make time to note that journalist Raji Hamadallah was shot in Babel Sunday and left injured.
I’m going to be real blunt with the next statement: You need to wake the hell up and stop being so stupid.
Journalist after journalist has been killed in Iraq. It never mattered to the US government. In fact, a number were killed by the US.
Suddenly a death matters?
If you’re not getting how important this death is to the US government, the BBG Board issued two press releases on it on Saturday. One opens:
The senseless death today of the Baghdad bureau chief of RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq has shocked the members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, who called for the immediate arrest of the Iraqi presidential guard accused in his shooting.
The other opens:
An Iraqi presidential guard has shot dead the Baghdad bureau chief of RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq (RFI), Mohammed Bdaiwi Obaid al-Shammari.
The BBG? “The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is both the name of the independent federal agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media and the name of the board that governs those broadcasts.” Radio World explains, “The BBG is the independent federal agency overseeing U.S. civilian international media, including Voice of America, RFE/RL, Radio and Television Marti, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.” These propaganda outlets are forbidden by law, by US law, from broadcasting over American airwaves because they are propaganda outlets.
Let’s go to today’s US State Dept press briefing.
Marie Harf: Hello. Happy Monday, everyone. Sorry for the delay. I have a few things at the top, including a travel update, and then I am happy to open it up for your questions. So, first item is on Iraq.
The United States condemns the murder of Radio Free Iraq’s Baghdad bureau chief, Mohammed – excuse me, let me start over here. I haven’t briefed in a while.
The United States condemns the murder of Radio Free Iraq’s Baghdad Bureau Chief Mohammed Bdaiwi al-Shammari, which occurred following a confrontation at a checkpoint in Baghdad on Sunday. We are deeply concerned about the circumstances surrounding his death and we call on the Government of Iraq to conduct a full investigation into the incident and to hold the perpetrator of this criminal act to account. The killing of any innocent is to be deplored. The murder of a journalist is a particular affront because it strikes at a fundamental pillar of democracy.
Our understanding is that the case is now with the Iraqi judiciary, and we call on the Iraqi Government to ensure that the investigation is handled in a manner consistent with the constitutions and laws of Iraq. Mr. al-Shammari’s death is a major loss for the entire country of Iraq, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his families – to his family and to his colleagues.
Is your jaw on the floor yet?
For the first time in her life, spokesperson Marie Harf spoke of Iraq at the top of a press briefing and did so without even being asked.
It is a moment.
There have been many for Marie recently. She’s become a quite popular topic in the Iraqi press and looked so ridiculous in the photo of an Iraqi newspaper last Friday. Let’s hope the US Embassy in Baghdad is tracking her popularity. She’s been noted repeatedly in the last three weeks on Arabic social media where she’s referred to as the woman who endlessly flaps her mouth but never speaks of Iraq (it’s a little more poetic in Arabic).
They know her. They know how useless she is.
It’s a shame so few Americans are aware of her.
But she spoke about Iraq all on her own.
Well, she spoke about the shooting death of a propagandist working for the US government.
Let’s drop back to the September 8, 2011 snapshot:
Al Mada reports Iraqi journalist Hadi al-Mahdi is dead according to an Interior Ministry source who says police discovered him murdered in his Baghdad home. Along with being a journalist, Al Mada notes he was one of the chief organizers of the demonstrations demanding change and service reform that began on February 25th — the day he was arrested by Iraqi security forces and beaten in broad daylight as he and others, after the February 25th protest, were eating in a restaurant. The New York Times didn’t want to tell you about, the Washington Post did. And now the man is dead. Gee, which paper has the archives that matter to any real degree. Maybe it’s time to act like a newspaper and not a “news magazine” with pithy little human interest stories? (That is not a dig at Tim Arango but at the paper’s diva male ‘reporter’ who went on NPR to talk of an Iraqi college this week.) So while the Times missed the story (actaully, they misled on the story — cowtowing to Nouri as usual), Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reported:
Four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest at Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit.
“It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists,” said Hussam al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet, who was among a group and described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. “Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq.”
In fairness to Marie (who’s actually said to be a nice person), she wasn’t the spokesperson then. Disgusting and vile Victoria Nuland was. On September 8, 2011, did Vicky Nuland note the assassination of Hadi? Nope. How about September 9, 2011? Nope. Vicky didn’t have then either.
But today, before a single question can be asked, the State Dept wants to put out a statement noting the death of a propagandist on the US payroll.
You’ll notice that even though Raij Jamdallah was injured in a shooting on Sunday, Marie didn’t note Jamadallah. He doesn’t work for the US government, so his death doesn’t matter.
Just like all the other Iraqi deaths that never mattered to the US, never got noted at the top of a State Dept press briefing.
Again, if you’re missing the reality now, you’re just choosing to wallow in stupidity.
Rudaw reports Nouri’s calls for vengeance (“It will be my responsibility to avenge this killing, and blood can only be expiated by blood.”) is causing alarm among politicians in Iraq:
Hamid Mutlaq a member of the parliamentary defense and security committee criticized this comment, saying, “Iraq can not be ruled based on blood for blood because it won’t get us anywhere.”
Though some Iraqi and Kurdish officials have said that the killing was “an individual act” and shouldn’t incriminate the entire presidential guard unit, the Iraqi prime minister has personally taken up the case and promised to punish those responsible.
Others believe that the Iraqi prime minister is using the death of Muhammad Bidaiwi, a university professor and head of Radio Free Iraq as a means to get back at the Kurds amid political disputes with Erbil.
In a statement, the Change Movement (Gorran) warned of politicizing the incident and inciting nationalist and sectarian feelings, while demanding a fair trial for the Kurdish officer charged with killing Bidaiwi.
Shortly after the shooting, interior ministry forces arrived at the gates of the presidential compound to arrest the Kurdish guard, which led to a tense standoff between both sides. However, it was reported that the guard was eventually handed over to the Iraqis after talks between Iraq’s First Lady, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed and Prime Minister Maliki.
Nouri is using Mohammed Bdaiwi The US government is working hard to help tensions reach the boiling part over the death and Nouri and his office can’t stop issuing statements (here for one). The US government and Nouri are spreading lies and rumors.
So much so that the First Lady of Iraq, Hero Ibrahim, has had to issue denials about false rumors.
The ‘journalist’ was killed by a Peshmerga –Kurdish force — and the US government and Nouri are trying to use the death to stir up animosity against the Kurds. That’s the thank you, they had coming. The Kurds again tried to work with the US government last week — they came to an understanding on oil with Baghdad at the US government’s insisting. A Kurdish MP was thrilled about it and e-mailed this site to insist it was a new day. I dictated back a reply stating that within five days the US government would show how it really feels about the Kurds.
We’re seeing it now, aren’t we?
The US government has never cared about the Kurds and has a pattern and history of lying to the Kurds..
That is not my opinion. That is what the US Congress found in the Pike Report. February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham’s “Introduction to the Pike Papers.” Latham explained:
In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah. Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program. Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
The committee report charges that: “The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail. They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally’s neighboring country [Iraq]. The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting. Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise.”
During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, “personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful.”
Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds. And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.”
That is the history. Deception on the part of the US. Promises are made to the Kurds with no intention of them being kept. In part, these promises are made to destabilize all of Iraq, to pit one region against the other which does ensure that while Nouri al-Maliki may get cozy and fall into bed with Iran, the two won’t be hitting any wedding registries.
US policy is to lie and deceive and leave other governments, even friendly ones, forever guessing and off balance.
Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 788 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month. Today the violence continues.
Nouri’s continued assault on Anbar, specifically his bombing of residential neighborhoods, left 2 women dead and two children injured. Around 200 people have been killed since the start of the assault — many elderly, many children. Telling, isn’t it, that the State Dept’s never objected to those deaths.
National Iraqi News Agency reports a security source states 21 suspects were killed today in Diyala Province, 1 federal police was shot dead “inside the Mosul university campus” and one Iraqi soldier was left injured, a Mosul car bombing left 3 people dead and three injured, a Kirkuk battle left 3 Sahwa dead and two more injured, a southern Baghdad (Dora district) bombing left 1 person dead and another injured, a southern Baghdad roadside bombing (Yusifyah area) left one police member injured, a southwestern Baghdad sticky bombing (Saidiya area) left one person injured, a Mosul bombing left five water department employees injured, and a Mosul car bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and a child injured.
We’re way over but we need to go back to today’s State Dept press briefing because Said Arikat, Al Quds bureau chief, raised Iraq later in the briefing.
QUESTION: Can we go to Iraq?
MS. HARF: Get me back on track here.
QUESTION: Yeah, right. Great. Can we go back to – you started at the top with Iraq.
MS. HARF: I did, yes.
QUESTION: On the killing and the murder of Mohammed Shammari.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Now, are you saying that the government forces may have killed him? Is that what you’re suggesting because he – it was altercation at the checkpoint?
MS. HARF: Well, what I said – I said a couple things. First, the Iraqi judiciary is just beginning their investigation into this crime. I think a lot of the details about what actually happened have already been reported in terms of it being a security guard. As I said, the judiciary is beginning their investigation. I don’t want to speculate on all the facts, other than to say, obviously, we strongly condemn the actions that took place here and want the Iraqi Government to investigate what happened.
QUESTION: Okay. Now, do you – would you describe your relationship with Iraq as being at least precarious at this point? Because yesterday Prime Minister Maliki really criticized your allies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He basically accused them of being behind all the terrorism that is taking place in Iraq. I mean, them being your close allies, security, and you have a lot of security coordination, do you also arrive at the same conclusion that the Saudis and the Qataris are behind it?
MS. HARF: Well, I didn’t see his comments specifically. I’ll make a few points. The first is that we have a strong and continuing partnership with the Iraqi Government. We have said since we ended the war there that we will continue working with the government and the people of Iraq to help them build their capacity and move forward past the situation they have been in.
Secondly, what we’ve said is separate from – you’re talking about terrorist attacks in general in Iraq.
QUESTION: Right, right.
MS. HARF: In terms of the terrorist activity inside Iraq, we believe it’s a direct result mostly of the situation in Syria and the destabilizing impact that Syria has had on Iraq in terms of foreign fighters being able to flow into Iraq and really wreak havoc there as well. So again, I didn’t see his specific comments, but that’s how we look at the situation. We’re working with the Iraqi Government to increase their capacity to fight these threats on their own.
QUESTION: Okay. So would you give credence to his claims? Because you also —
MS. HARF: I didn’t see the claims, Said. I’d have to take a look at his specific claims.
QUESTION: Okay. Let me ask you one last question on this. There was supposed to be deliveries of Hellfire missiles, other equipment, helicopters and so on to Iraq.
MS. HARF: Yep.
QUESTION: Is that still – or is it on hold now, or is it being delivered?
MS. HARF: Not to my understanding.
QUESTION: Do you know – what is the status?
MS. HARF: It’s my understanding it’s ongoing. And we talked about some Hellfires that we delivered, I think back in December, and some ScanEagle surveillance platforms as well. It’s my understanding it’s ongoing, that’s nothing’s changed there, because we do think this is a very important fight to help the Iraqis build their capacity to go after themselves. But I’m happy to check. I just don’t think anything’s been changed.
 The ScanEagles have not yet been delivered to Iraq but are on track for delivery in the next few months. As for equipment recently delivered to Iraq, see the statement issued by Embassy Baghdad on March 16: http://iraq.usembassy.gov/pr-03162014.html.
Greg Mitchell has a Nation post that ties the run up to the illegal war events with something more recent. I told a Nation friend I’d consider linking to it and we just did. That’s also all that we have room for.