8/19/2014

ick factor (harry reid)

harry reid is the senate majority leader.

he's also the biggest whiner in the senate.

but he's found reason to smile of late.

he's convinced that events in iraq will be good for democrats running for offiice.

he really is that disgusting.


let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


Monday, August 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack talks Iraq, Marie Harf insists the US can stand with IS in Syria and oppose it in Iraq and not be contradicting itself, a new poll has some depressing and distressing findings, and much more.



A busy day for Iraq with violence and political overtures, various US cabinets making statements and US President Barack Obama speaking on the topic.

Let's start with  CENTCOM which issued the following:

TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 18, 2014 – U.S. Conducts More Airstrikes Near the Mosul Dam
From a U.S. Central Command News Release
TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 18, 2014 — U.S. military forces today continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq, using a mix of fighter, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft to successfully conduct 15 airstrikes near the Mosul Dam.
The strikes damaged or destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions; an ISIL checkpoint; six ISIL armed vehicles; an ISIL light armored vehicle; an ISIL vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft artillery gun, and an IED emplacement belt.
All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.

 Since Aug. 8, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 68 airstrikes in Iraq. Of those 68 strikes, 35 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam. These strikes were conducted under authority to support Iraqi security forces and Kurdish defense forces as they work together to combat ISIL, as well as to protect critical infrastructure, U.S. personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts.


Barack noted the dam in his speech today as well, "Today, with our support, Iraqi and Kurdish forces took a major step forward by recapturing the largest dam in Iraq, near the city of Mosul. The Mosul dam fell under terrorist control earlier this month, and is directly tied to our objective of protecting Americans in Iraq."

So this was a success?

Forget your feelings on bombings.  Along with all that the Kurdish and Iraqi military do, the US military conducted 35 air strikes in approximately five days and with that, the US government insists, the Islamic State is no longer in control of the Mosul dam.

I'm confused.

How many air strikes did IS conduct?

I'm pretty sure that number is zero.

US military might used to bomb repeatedly -- 35 air strikes -- is what it took to apparently rescue one dam.

That's really not looking good for the US military, the Iraqi military and/or the Kurdish military.

The only one who comes out looking strong in that recap is IS.

We're all aware that Iraq has more than one dam, right?


In that general vicinity alone, Iraq also has Duhok Dam, Badush Dam, Bekhme Dam, Dukan Dam and Dibis Dam.

That's not a full listing of Iraq's dams.  It's not even a full listing of the dams in the Tigris river basin (the Ephrates river basin also has dams).

But this is what it took to wrestle one dam away.  Barack's spoken of the alleged danger of that dam -- probably more to justify his own actions.

Baghdad would be flooded!

That was the claim.  It popped up on the chat and chews all weekend which is how you knew it was a White House talking point.

No, Baghdad would not have been flooded.

There is not a grand Slip and Slide between Mosul and Bahgdad that will carry the water through.

There is dried land, land that bakes in the summer heat.  Iraq's supposed to reach 116 degrees F on Tuesday and 117 on Wednesday.  We all get what happens in those temperatures, right?

 Most of the water from the dam -- had the dam been ruptured -- would have endangered very little -- even Mosul itself may not have seen water standing for hours.

But it was a talking point.

Why?


To justify the actions taken.

Barack declared this afternoon, "If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic, with floods that would’ve threatened the lives of thousands of civilians and endanger our embassy compound in Baghdad."

No, the Baghdad Embassy was not in danger of 'flooding.'

Barack's going to have to work hard at scaring Americans.

In "TV: Spoiler alert" on Sunday, Ava and I touched on some of the TV coverage of Iraq:


Martha Raddatz was again filling in as host of the program and she wanted [ABC News' Terry] Moran to "tell us the difference between these airstrikes" and the earlier ones the US launched last week.

"This is different," Moran responded.  "This is moving on beyond helping people."

What was he speaking of, this difference?


Bombing IS near a Mosul dam was not part of the defined mission.

Thursday, for example, US President Barack Obama declared:


Last week, I authorized two limited missions:  protecting our people and facilities inside of Iraq, and a humanitarian operation to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians stranded on a mountain.
A week ago, we assessed that many thousands of Yezidi men, women and children had abandoned their possessions to take refuge on Mount Sinjar in a desperate attempt to avoid slaughter.  We also knew that ISIL terrorists were killing and enslaving Yezidi civilians in their custody, and laying siege to the mountain. Without food or water, they faced a terrible choice -- starve on the mountain, or be slaughtered on the ground.  That’s when America came to help.
Over the last week, the U.S. military conducted humanitarian air drops every night –- delivering more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water.  We were joined in that effort by the United Kingdom, and other allies pledged support. Our military was able to successfully strike ISIL targets around the mountain, which improved conditions for civilians to evacuate the mountain safely.
Yesterday, a small team of Americans -– military and civilian -– completed their review of the conditions on the mountain.  They found that food and water have been reaching those in need, and that thousands of people have been evacuating safely each and every night.  The civilians who remain continue to leave, aided by Kurdish forces and Yezidis who are helping to facilitate the safe passage of their families.  So the bottom line is, is that the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts.Because of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped vulnerable people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives.  Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain. 



Martha Raddatz also spoke to retired Colonel Steve Ganyard who noted the change, pointing out Barack was moving away from his declaration that "these strikes will only be based on humanitarian purposes and to protect American people" in Iraq. 




After a weekend full of nonsense about how the water in the dam could flood Baghdad, Barack declared today it could have harmed the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Do the lies ever end?

It's all so confusing.

For instance, the US government says IS is bad and evil in Iraq but the same US government backs IS in Syria.

Efforts failed in today's State Dept press briefing to make sense of this nonsensical 'mission' which cancels itself out.  Spokesperson Marie Harf moderated.  Excerpt.


QUESTION: Can we move to Syria?

MS. HARF: We can.

QUESTION: As you know, the Syrian regime has been bombing Islamic State’s positions in Raqqa for two days. Since you are doing the same thing across the border in Iraq, what would you say --

MS. HARF: I would disagree that we’re doing the same thing, but go ahead.

QUESTION: But, I mean, you are bombing Islamic State position in Iraq, so would you say that the U.S. and Syria are on the same page against a common enemy?

MS. HARF: No. No, I would not. And in large part, that’s because it’s the Assad regime’s own actions that helped lead to the rise of ISIS or ISIL or IS or whatever we’re going to call it this week. It is the security environment they created. It is them – the Assad regime encouraging the flow of fighters into Iraq that they did, certainly, when we were there and also have done recently. So I would strongly disagree with the notion that we are on the same page here in terms of what we’re doing.

QUESTION: Regardless of the cause, you do agree that you share an enemy in common, correct? I mean with ISIS, in particular.

MS. HARF: I don’t want – I’m not going to say that we share anything in common with the Syrian regime.

QUESTION: Okay. Let me ask you this. Do you think that ISIS --

QUESTION: Anything? (Inaudible) breathe, don’t you? About air, do you have that in common?


MS. HARF: I missed your insightful questions, Matt.


QUESTION: Is ISIS in Iraq a different organization than ISIS in Syria, or is it one and the same, to the best of your knowledge?

MS. HARF: They’re an organization, it’s my understanding, with the same leadership in general. Obviously, there’s different parts of it on the ground operating in different places, but under the general same umbrella of this group, yes, it’s my understanding.

QUESTION: So if you bomb them in Iraq and the Syrian regime bombs them in Syria, you’re bombing the same organization, right?

MS. HARF: Well, the – that’s a little too simplistic, Said. The reason that they were able to flourish and grow so strong is because of the Assad regime who enabled them to grow in the security environment and indeed fostered their growth throughout many years. So I think that I – again, I just – I don’t concede the point that we’re on the same page here in any way.


"That's a little too simplistic" huffed the woman who sees bombings as different based upon who is being killed.  She was pressed again on the topic shortly afterwards.


QUESTION: I just want to stay on Syria. The Syrian coalition has asked actually the United States to bomb ISIS positions in Syria. So people – what do you respond – but what do you respond --



MS. HARF: Well, the operational picture is a lot different in Syria.


QUESTION: Sure. They say you’re bombing in Iraq, but they don’t recognize a geographical border. Why can’t you go --


MS. HARF: Okay. Well --


QUESTION: -- if they ask you officially to bomb it?


MS. HARF: -- let’s talk about the difference here. First, in Iraq we have a government that has asked for our help and asked for our support and welcomed us in. That obviously is not the case in Syria. Even if the moderate opposition is asking, I would remind people that the Syrian Government does still maintain some level of anti-aircraft capabilities. It’s a very different operating picture. It would require very different things.


Did the Iraqi government ask for help?

I ask because  All Iraq News reported:


The office of the Commanding General of the Iraqi Armed Forces announced that "The Iraqi Government did not give permission for any military plane to violate the Iraqi space," in a sign to the US airstrikes targeting the shelters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant near Erbil and Mosul.
A statement by the office received by AIN cited "During the last few days, we noticed violation of some military air-jets for Iraqi space and handing over of military equipment without permission of the Iraqi Government," which is a sign for providing the Kurdish peshmerga with western weapons.


The statement added "We welcome the supportive stances of the international community for Iraq in its war against terrorism but we assert the necessity of respecting the sovereignty of Iraq."


It would appear things are not as simplistic as the US government has portrayed them.

But why should they worry?  Why should Barack?

The US is bombing Iraq.

And Barack honestly believes the world will believe his lie (This is NOT a combat mission!) as long as significant numbers of US troops are not on the ground in Iraq.  Until then, Barack's convinced he can conduct a war but no one will  call it out.

Raed Jarrar continues to struggle with holding Barack accountable.  However, he does manage to point out (in a column for the Chicago Tribune), "Iraq cannot be bombed into stability or moderation. So-called surgical strikes will not transform the war-torn nation into a peaceful and prosperous one. While the United States should search for productive multilateral methods to help Iraq, our top priority should be doing no additional harm.

It's interesting that Barack presented his own actions and decisions as a humanitarian impulse when All Iraq News reports that it's the Australian Government which has announced it is prepared to take in 2,200 refugees from Iraq.

Of course, humanitarian actions do not include War Crimes.

Nouri al-Maliki remains prime minister of Iraq.  So it's no surprise his War Crimes continue.  Nouri continues to bomb the residential neighborhoods of Falluja.  Alsumaria reports 6 people were killed in the latest bombing with another seven left injured.


Barack's speech today prompted questions.







  • Others found humor in the hypocrisy of the remarks:


  • People told me if I voted for McCain and Romney, we'd have another war in Iraq. Turns out they were right!
  • Barack Obama says there will be no American "boots on the ground" in Iraq. You know what this means? HOVER SOLDIERS.


  • Moving to another topic . . .


    The wolf is at Iraq's door declared Barack in the brief question and answer period which followed his speech:


    Dr. Abadi has said the right things. I was impressed in my conversation with him about his vision for an inclusive government.  But they’ve got to get this done because the wolf’s at the door and in order for them to be credible with the Iraqi people, they’re going to have to put behind some of the old practices and actually create a credible united government.

    Haider al-Abadi is the prime minister-designate of Iraq.  He was named that last Monday and has 30 days to form a Cabinet or, per the Constitution, someone else gets named prime minister.

    For now, many are tossing signs that they are eager to see al-Abadi move from prime minister-designate to prime minister.  For example, Alsumaria reports that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr expressed his desire to see his bloc work with al-Abadi and that a delegation had met with Haider to explore how that could happen and how Iraq can work at inclusion.  Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports the Kurds are gearing up to meet with al-Abadi in Baghdad.   Nidal al Laythi (Al-Monitor) offers:


    Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi is working, along with some of his assistants, including friends and colleagues, on drafting the governmental program he will discuss with the other blocs to form the new government, Dawa Party spokesman Zuhair al-Naher says.
     Naher, who's close to Abadi, told Azzaman [in London] over the phone: “Abadi’s priority is to reinforce the armed forces through training and armament. The decision to designate Abadi is purely Iraqi. Washington and Tehran only agreed on the decision after it was already made, like all other countries.”
    Naher added that the prime minister-designate is going to ask the UN Security Council to issue a resolution which allows an international joint operation to be conducted with Iraqi forces against the Islamic State (IS) to liberate Mosul, Tikrit and the rest of the villages controlled by IS in Diyala and Kirkuk.


    In other news, National Iraqi News Agency notes 1 person was shot dead in Yusifiyah,  2 Alexandria car bombings left 1 person dead and eight more injured, a battle west of Kirkuk left 3 rebels dead and two more injured, and an air strike in Sedira Village left 1 suspect dead.  Alsumaria adds 2 corpses were discovered near Baquba.



    Reporting on the latest poll, Susan Page (USA Today) notes,  "Americans are increasingly inclined to say the United States has a responsibility to respond to rising violence in Iraq, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds, although most also express fears about getting pulled back into a extended conflict there."


    Has the White House -- including Barack -- really been that successful in selling more war?

    Not seeing it.

    But I do see idiotic behavior from the likes of Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com) to ridicule victims.  As we noted awhile back, that sort of behavior only sends people running.

    The fight really is for the uninformed on any issue.  You have similar percentages supporting and opposing and the 'winner' is whomever gets the uninformed motivated.

    When you mock victims, you repulse a number of people.  These people no longer need to know any intricate issue, they just need to know that they don't want to be on the same side as the boorish prick making fun of victims.

    I favored air drops and opposed a US bombing campaign.

    You could have opposed both and done so in a manner that didn't repulse people.


    Where does the Pope stand?

    Supposedly, Pope Francis is in full support of war on Iraq.

    Supposedly.

    Greg Hillis argues people are reading everything but what Pope Francis actucally said.











  • iraq

    8/16/2014

    a tale of colas and conformity

    renee lives in oklahoma and, due to work, has to go to surrounding states to train people.  she's most fond of texas, she writes because it has dairy queen and mcdonald's.

    why?

    both are offering all drink sizes for a buck.

    tea, cola, small, medium large it's a buck.

    she asked if i'd pass it on because she went to a taco bell and got what they called a large but which 'was the size of a medium and they charged me $1.99.'

    she's a sweet tea addict, self-identified, and notes she spends a lot of time talking for her job and will dart in, as she drives from training to training, to this or that fast food place just to get something to drink.

    i bet that's interesting, training different groups.

    but to her larger part, i am passing it on.

    i think dairy queen is only in texas - i could be wrong.  i know we don't have them in my state.

    but i'd suggest you to go mcdonalds or dairy queen to show your support for the buck drinks.

    i don't like to go through the drive thru.

    now days drinking diet is common.

    i don't have diabetes but it runs in my family.  so i do worry.

    years ago, a friend of ours (elaine, c.i. and mine) married a guy named darren.  her name was denise.  they are still together.

    but he was diabetic and was the 1st person i knew who drank diet cola constantly.  it was diet dr. pepper, i believe.

    but it got me to thinking - don't mention tab, i was already drinking that, i'm talking about sodas with sugared and diet versions - that i should move towards that, not for the calories but due to diabetes running in the family.

    so i started drinking diet.

    in the early days, people didn't seem to care a lot.

    so i'd take a sip and i'd turn around, go back through the drive thru and be like, 'i'm sorry, i ordered diet and this isn't diet.'

    some would want to argue with me - like you couldn't taste the difference, especially back then - but most would say it was a mistake and replace it.

    this happened often enough that i stopped using the drive thru for a number of years.

    and renee's e-mail reminded me of that.

    which reminded me of a bigger point: how unaccepting we can be as humans.

    back then, some 1 was so threatened that i was breaking from the pack, being just a little different, that they would slip me regular soda when i asked for diet.

    forget that if i had been diabetic it could have seriously harmed me.

    but there's such a lord of the flies instinct to reject any 1 different and it's so ingrained in our species.

    all the more reason for us to work to champion over that instinct.




    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


    Friday, August 15, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, possibilities as to why Nouri is steeping down, some look to the prime minister-designate for hope, and much more.


    Yesterday's big news that Iraq's two-term prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki had agreed to step down continues to be news.   Al Mada notes statements of relief made by US Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov.  Andrew Reiter (US News and World Reports) offers:
     
    This is an unquestionably positive development for Iraq. First, the peaceful transfer of power represents a key step in Iraq’s young democracy. Second, the new government should be better equipped to deal with the worsening security threat posed by Islamic State militants. And third, it could usher in a period of improved relations with the U.S.
    A peaceful transfer of power is a welcome development for Iraq’s nascent democracy that has seen al-Malaki consolidate his rule over his eight years in office. Following the controversial 2010 parliamentary elections, al-Malaki created the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, giving himself direct control over the Iraqi army and police. In response to recent events, he deployed a number of elite security forces throughout Baghdad’s Green Zone in an overt threat to his opponents. Fears of a military coup were rampant.


    Loveday Morris and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) point out, "Maliki has become a deeply divisive figure but had clung to his position in the face of a growing consensus among Iraq’s politicians and the international community that only a new leader would have a chance of unifying a country experiencing growing sectarian divisions."  How bad did it get for Nouri?  Martin Chulov, Julian Borger and Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) explain, "He had lost the support of his party, of the president, the parliament, the Americans, Saudis and finally the Iranian government, his biggest foreign ally and sponsor. Even the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, issued a statement pointedly welcoming the appointment of Abadi."

    How did he lose the support of Ali Khamenei?  Ali Hashem (Al-Monitor) reports:

    An Iraqi source close to Ayatollah Ali Sistani told Al-Monitor: “Around 10 days before the designation, an envoy representing the Iranian leadership visited Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Najaf. The envoy heard a clear stance from Sistani: Nouri al-Maliki shouldn’t continue as a prime minister. …​ Sistani won’t say this in public, but he had to tell it to the Iranians, because he thought the crisis in the country needed a solution and that the deadlock would complicate efforts to reach an agreement.”
    According to Al-Monitor’s sources in Tehran and Baghdad, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after learning of Sistani’s position, asked his aides to facilitate the change, calling on them to play a role in convincing Maliki to withdraw. “There were several alternatives for Maliki, one was him being appointed vice president. He refused. He was obstinate on the prime minister position and gave all those who tried [to talk] with him reasons for him not to accept. His main challenge was that he’s the leader of the bloc that won the election, and the constitution gives him the right to form the new government.”

    Also weighing in was The Diane Rehm Show.  In the second hour of Friday morning's broadcast, Diane addressed Iraq with her guests Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers), Greg Myre (NPR) and Jim Sciutto (CNN).  Excerpt:


    REHM: Good to see you all. Jim Sciutto, what finally made Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki agree to step aside? 

    SCIUTTO:  I think the loss of the support of the support of both the U.S. and Iran. And once you had public statements. For the U.S. statement, somewhat more predictable, but once the Iranians said they wanted a transition, they wanted a more inclusive government, he saw the writing on the wall. But it was touch and go, because on Sunday night, and we were on the air Sunday night, as you had tanks in the streets, bridges closed in Baghdad. Forces loyal to Maliki being ordered -- you know, accounts from Baghdad police telling us ordered around key buildings. It looked like, for a moment, he was gonna make a power grab. So, you know, it appeared he had some second thoughts towards the end, but once that support disappeared, even he could see the writing on the wall. 

    REHM:  Nancy. 

    YOUSSEF:  So, the reason he gave, in his speech, in which he was surrounded by members of his party and his successor, was, in part, that he didn't want to see Iraq return to dictatorship, which arguably was code for that he didn't think that the militias and the armed forces he put on the street could actually keep him in power. The only other list -- person I would add to that list is Sistani, Ayatollah Sistani, who's the leader of the Shias in Iraq had called and supported his transition.  And so, internally, that was perhaps the most important loss for his support. And so, once all those factors came in to play, it was impossible to see who would support him. In addition, I would add also are the court systems, because the last time he had sort of been challenged, the courts had supported him, and constitutionally, he didn't have the ground to stand on to continue his fight. 

    REHM: Greg. 

    MYRE: Just looking back, Maliki came to power in 2006. At that moment, Iran was facing this Sunni insurgency that was tearing the country apart. The U.S. felt a real sense of urgency to intervene. Here we are eight years later going through the same thing. And you can go back, and the U.S. military involvement has now been over 20 years in Iraq. And are we moving forward anywhere, or are we just going in circles? 

    While various possibilities were tossed around at various outlets, few bothered to examine Iraqi sentiment.  Kholoud Ramzi (Niqash) covers Iraqi reaction:



    The desperate attempts of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stay in power may have been taken seriously by many and led to questions about attempted coups and concern as to which sectors of the military supported him - but there are many Iraqis who are not taking al-Maliki seriously at all. Sarcastic pictures, jokes and comments have been circulating on Iraqi social media for the past few days, with those photo shopping pictures and posting jokes appearing to compete amongst themselves to make a mockery of their soon-to-be-former Prime Minister.
    One of the most popular pictures shows al-Maliki wearing a Hitler-style moustache. Another shows US President Barack Obama patting al-Maliki on the back, as if to bid him farewell. This has garnered a number of humorous comments. 
    One Iraqi Kurdish journalist shared a picture that shows young men trampling on a picture of al-Maliki that is lying on the floor. “They started to throw your pictures on the ground as soon as they heard about al-Abadi,” the journalist wrote in the caption. “They started to throw shoes at the picture as soon as they knew you were out. I fear that soon they will beat you with their shoes. We Iraqis are the kind of people who receive our leaders with cheering and applause and then farewell them with shoes.”
    Another picture showed two tribal leaders, or sheikhs, sitting behind al-Maliki at a funeral. “Let us grieve for the soul of [al-Maliki’s] third term,” those who shared the picture wrote. “The funeral of the State of Law bloc.”
    Another Iraqi prankster posted a picture of al-Maliki’s wife. “Breaking news,” they wrote. “Al-Abadi’s wife has called al-Maliki’s wife to ask her where she put the presidential mugs.”
    Those who supported al-Maliki also came in for ribbing, with politicians who protested al-Abadi’s nomination or al-Maliki’s ouster also targeted by jokers. 
    Another commenter wrote this: “Al-Maliki ruled us for eight years and he brought us right back to the era of the Caliphate. If he had had another four years, we might have seen dinosaurs roaming the streets of Baghdad”. 
    Some other activists wrote on one of al-Maliki’s Facebook pictures that Iraqis need to thank the Prime Minister for his achievements before he leaves. They listed 14 of the most important ones. This included sectarianism, displacement, insecurity, corruption and lack of government services. “Last but not least we should congratulate him on the birth of Daash, which came from all of these achievements,” they wrote, using the Arabic acronym for the Sunni Muslim extremist group known as the Islamic State, that now controls parts of the country.

    Deeply unpopular Nouri.  So many have wanted him gone for so long now.  And where do things stand now?  Shashank Bengali and Patrick J. McDonnell (Los Angeles Times) state, "Maliki’s surprise announcement Thursday that he would give up his bid for a third four-year term raised hope that a new government could unite a country that is more bitterly divided than at perhaps any time since the sectarian civil strife of 2006-07."

    So few want to admit that.  In part because they whored for Nouri and in part because they lack the ability to they were wrong to cheer Nouri on.  The man was a tyrant and a despot. He had Iraqis rounded up -- usually Sunnis -- mass 'arrests' that lacked arrest warrants.  The people were then lost in the 'legal' system -- often never tried, not on trial once, but kept in prisons.  Some people were arrested with arrest warrants -- for other people!

    They have an arrest warrent for Ali al-Mutlaq.  They go to his family's home.  Ali is not present so they arrest Ali's wife, sister, child or parent.  That's not justice.  It is why so many innocents rot in prison -- accused of no crime but held regardless.

    Many of the females in Nouri's prison arrived there as a result of being a relative of someone.  Once in prison, many girls and women were assaulted or raped.  Nouri attempted to ignore this when it became the topic of fall 2012.  An investigation by Parliament found that the assaults and rapes were taking place -- this would also be backed up by the work of Human Rights Watch:


    Iraqi authorities are detaining thousands of Iraqi women illegally and subjecting many to torture and ill-treatment, including the threat of sexual abuse. Iraq’s weak judiciary, plagued by corruption, frequently bases convictions on coerced confessions, and trial proceedings fall far short of international standards. Many women were detained for months or even years without charge before seeing a judge.
    The 105-page report, “‘No One Is Safe’: Abuses of Women in Iraq’s Criminal Justice System,”documents abuses of women in detention based on interviews with women and girls, Sunni and Shia, in prison; their families and lawyers; and medical service providers in the prisons at a time of escalating violence involving security forces and armed groups. Human Rights Watch also reviewed court documents and extensive information received in meetings with Iraqi authorities including Justice, Interior, Defense, and Human Rights ministry officials, and two deputy prime ministers.
    “Iraqi security forces and officials act as if brutally abusing women will make the country safer,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “In fact, these women and their relatives have told us that as long as security forces abuse people with impunity, we can only expect security conditions to worsen.”


    There was his targeting of Iraq's LGBTQ community.  There was his attack on protesters -- most infamously the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted fvia  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported 53 dead  -- indicating that some of the wounded did not recover.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

    This is who some people are praising?  This is the real Nouri al-Maliki and they ought to explain how 'great' he is to have earned their praise.

    That's why Iraq needed a new prime minister.

    On that need,  Martin Chulov (Guardian via Irish Times) explains:


      Iraq risks being torn apart by warring sects unless Haider al-Abadi, the new prime minister, can gather the country’s estranged factions behind him and form a government, senior Iraqi politicians said yesterday.
    “This is all or nothing,” said one senior Iraqi official who is hoping for a senior ministry within the new cabinet. “None of us are sure that he can do it. And if he can’t, we are doomed.”


    Former State Dept employee Ali Khedery offers, in an essay for the New York Times:


    But if anyone has the potential to unite Iraq and hold it together in the face of ISIS terrorism and Iranian meddling, it is Mr. Abadi. In a society where name and upbringing count for a lot, he comes from a respected Baghdad family and was raised in an upscale neighborhood. He studied at one of the capital’s best high schools, earned a degree from one of its top universities and later received a doctorate in engineering in Britain.
    While Mr. Maliki spent his years in exile in Iran and Syria and earned degrees in Islamic studies and Arabic literature, Mr. Abadi, a fluent English speaker, worked his own way through his long and costly studies abroad. In meetings over the past decade, Mr. Abadi always impressed me and other American diplomats with his self-effacing humor, humility, willingness to listen and ability to compromise -- extremely rare traits among Iraq’s political elite, and precisely the characteristics that are needed to help heal the wounds Iraqis sustained under Hussein and Mr. Maliki.
    “We’ll give Abadi a real chance if for no other reason than because he’s a Baghdadi — not a thug from a village like almost everyone else that’s ruled us since ’58,” a shadowy financier of the Sunni insurgency told me this week.

    There are many expectations out there.  Whether al-Abadi can live up to them -- or even half of them -- all eyes are on him for now.    Chelsea J. Carter and Tim Lister (CNN) report:



    Abadi is viewed as a moderate and has shown more of a willingness to compromise than al-Maliki, Ranj Alaadin, an Iraqi specialist at Columbia University, told the BBC.
    "He is very engaging, articulate and direct," Alaadin told the British network.
    Abadi was born in Baghdad in 1952, according to his website.
    A long-time member of the Dawa Party -- he is said to have joined as a teenager -- he was one of thousands of prominent Iraqis who left the country during Saddam Hussein's rule.
    Abadi left to study abroad after receiving a bachelor's degree in 1975, and stayed away as Hussein tightened his grip on the country. Two of his brothers were not so lucky; they were executed in 1982 for belonging to the Dawa Party. The following year, the regime canceled Abadi's passport.

    There are many issues to be addressed.  Mustafa Habib (Niqash) runs down some and concludes:


    Of all the challenges, any new Iraqi government will have to face, possibly the most frightening and complex is economic.
    The country has seen budget deficits rise by as much as a third, last year’s budget has not been approved and this year’s budget has not yet been tabled.
    “In 2012 and 2013 Iraq had about US$18billion in its coffers in the Development Fund for Iraq [a fund created to save Iraq’s oil revenues] but this year there’s only about US$5billion, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund,” says local economist and researcher Mathhar Mohammed Saleh. “This is very dangerous. But nobody has really paid it much attention because everyone is busy with political conflicts and security problems.”


    The Development Fund is supposed to bridge any budget deficits – but as the deficit gets bigger and the bridging funds get smaller, Iraq may well be facing a serious economic problem.
    “Additionally the delay in approving the national budget gave the last government license to spend in an uncontrolled way,” says Iraqi Kurdish politician, Najiba Najib, who was on the previous government’s Finance Committee. “We don’t know how or where the government spent the money but we do know this conflict with the IS group is draining resources.”
    Additionally, since 2010, al-Maliki has continually rejected any requests to submit annual accounts to Parliament. The excuse was that government ministries had not sufficiently developed their accounting departments or that there were technical issues. However for a long time it has been thought that these excuses were really just a cover for major corruption.
    Iraq has consistently been ranked as one of the most corrupt states in the world by the international watchdog organization, Transparency International.



    “The new Prime Minister is going to spend his four-year term searching for solutions to the problems created by al-Maliki,” says local political analyst, Khalid al-Ani. “Al-Maliki has made a lot of enemies and created many problems. His successor cannot possibly solve them all. He needs the cooperation of all political players as well as international support to find solutions.”


    Ayad Allawi was the leader of 2010's winning political slate Iraqiya -- they bested Nouri's State of Law.  National Iraqi News Agency reports that he offered a cautionary note today:

    Head of the National Coalition Iyad Allawi said on Friday that the Iraq crisis does not depend on changing faces but by putting Iraq on the right road associated with a clear program to solve the Iraq crisis," pointing out that "Abadi is a part of the political structure that ruled Iraq, which is from the womb of Dawa party and we are waiting for what would he do.
    Allawi expressed his doubts on the ability of the Abadi to correct the political process, especially as he has come out of the womb of the Dawa Party, and he is the heir to the unique approach of political governance and based on indifference with politicians in Iraq.
    He stressed "the need to correct the ways of dialogue with the Kurds, especially because they consider themselves to be part of Iraq, and recognize its sovereignty, and there should be clear rules and explicit to deal with the Kurds and the order of the relationship with them is the most important law (oil and gas). 



    Meanwhile, we'll note this Tweet.


    Embedded image permalink
    Remember that time Obama bragged about ending the war in Iraq? Yeah, me too. '





    Lastly, the following community sites were updated since the last snapshot:














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    8/15/2014

    the polls continue to express disappointment

    i'm still awake.  i think most people will post this evening.

    we worked long and hard on the gina & krista round-robin.

    between iraq and the anniversary of the round-robin there was much to do.

    fox news has the results of their latest poll which finds continued bad news for barack as voters rate him super poorly on foreign policy, especially iraq:

    A majority disapproves of the job Obama is doing on Iraq overall (37 percent approve vs. 52 percent disapprove), yet most voters -- 65 percent -- approve of recent airstrikes he authorized against insurgents. Majorities of Democrats (59 percent), independents (68 percent) and Republicans (73 percent) approve of the action. 
    Veterans and those currently serving in the military are more likely than voters overall to approve of the airstrikes (83 percent), yet they are also more disapproving of the job Obama is doing on Iraq (60 percent).

    The president authorized airstrikes Thursday against Islamic militants in Iraq. Over the weekend the U.S. expanded its air campaign and also conducted airdrops of food and water for thousands of refugees trapped in the Sinjar mountains. Interviewing for the poll started Sunday.

    it reminds me of so many earlier polls as i'm sure it does you.

    mainly it reminds me of the buyers regret poll from a few weeks back - where so many were saying they would vote for mitt romney if the election were today.


    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'



    Thursday, August 14, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack talks Iraq, Nouri's stepping down, we talk about what promise had to be made for that to happen, and much more.


    This afternoon US President Barack Obama delivered a speech from Martha's Vineyard.  We'll note the section on Iraq.



    First of all, we continue to make progress in carrying out our targeted military operations in Iraq.  Last week, I authorized two limited missions:  protecting our people and facilities inside of Iraq, and a humanitarian operation to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians stranded on a mountain.
    A week ago, we assessed that many thousands of Yezidi men, women and children had abandoned their possessions to take refuge on Mount Sinjar in a desperate attempt to avoid slaughter.  We also knew that ISIL terrorists were killing and enslaving Yezidi civilians in their custody, and laying siege to the mountain. Without food or water, they faced a terrible choice -- starve on the mountain, or be slaughtered on the ground.  That’s when America came to help.
    Over the last week, the U.S. military conducted humanitarian air drops every night –- delivering more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water.  We were joined in that effort by the United Kingdom, and other allies pledged support. Our military was able to successfully strike ISIL targets around the mountain, which improved conditions for civilians to evacuate the mountain safely.
    Yesterday, a small team of Americans -– military and civilian -– completed their review of the conditions on the mountain.  They found that food and water have been reaching those in need, and that thousands of people have been evacuating safely each and every night.  The civilians who remain continue to leave, aided by Kurdish forces and Yezidis who are helping to facilitate the safe passage of their families.  So the bottom line is, is that the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts.
    Because of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped vulnerable people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives.  Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain.  The majority of the military personnel who conducted the assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days.  And I just want to say that as Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the men and women of our military who carried out this humanitarian operation almost flawlessly.  I’m very grateful to them and I know that those who were trapped on that mountain are extraordinarily grateful as well.
    Now, the situation remains dire for Iraqis subjected to ISIL’s terror throughout the country, and this includes minorities like Yezidis and Iraqi Christians; it also includes Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.  We’re going to be working with our international partners to provide humanitarian assistance to those who are suffering in northern Iraq wherever we have capabilities and we can carry out effective missions like the one we carried out on Mount Sinjar without committing combat troops on the ground. 
    We obviously feel a great urge to provide some humanitarian relief to the situation and I’ve been very encouraged by the interest of our international partners in helping on these kinds of efforts as well.  We will continue air strikes to protect our people and facilities in Iraq.  We have increased the delivery of military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting ISIL on the front lines. 

    And, perhaps most importantly, we are urging Iraqis to come together to turn the tide against ISIL –- above all, by seizing the enormous opportunity of forming a new, inclusive government under the leadership of Prime Minister-designate Abadi.  I had a chance to speak to Prime Minister-designate Abadi a few days ago, and he spoke about the need for the kind of inclusive government -- a government that speaks to all the people of Iraq -- that is needed right now.  He still has a challenging task in putting a government together, but we are modestly hopeful that the Iraqi government situation is moving in the right direction.



    How smart is Barack?

    He's been hailed as a genius.

    I don't think he is.  I know he was a so-so student -- in a manner that indicates boredom, not a lack of intelligence.  And he has the gift of timing which has allowed him to seize moments in the past.  He now holds a position that tends to make people believe they are infallible and fills them with hubris.

    He's at a fork in the road.

    The smart thing to do is walk out, hail the efforts on behalf of the Yazidis as a success (and I have no problem with that call) and walk out.

    Mitchell Prothero and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) fret:



    Humanitarian aid workers warned Thursday that it was too soon to declare the U.S. mission to aid Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq a success, noting that at least 100,000 residents who fled the Islamic State’s capture of Sinjar now crowd cities and refugee camps and will need humanitarian assistance for months to come.

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/14/236526/obama-says-yazidi-mission-accomplished.html#storylink=cpy

    And your point is?

    There are tons of farmers in the US.  Plenty of crops.  Humanitarian aid is not expensive, it can help American farmers, it can do so much to help people in need.

    I'm confused as to why humanitarian aid workers are complaining?  What do they want that hasn't happened?

    Did they want boots on the grounds -- US troops?  Do they still?

    Did they want an open-ended, undefined mission?

    If so, they're not really humanitarian aid workers.


    Bully Boy Bush started an illegal war.  That hangs around his neck forever.

    But he had a tiny window of opportunity where he could have made his image just a little better.  If he'd pulled US troops out of Iraq early on in 2003, his image might not be in tatters now.

    There's a vanity when it comes to leaders, it tells them that, "Sure, every one else has screwed up and destroyed their own legacies but I'm different, I'm special, I'm smart and can pull this off."

    Sadly, that's rarely the case.

    This was a good moment for the US.  Image wise, it was a good moment.

    Good p.r. even.

    Along with hubris, there's also the addiction to applause -- which Barack clearly suffers from.  That addiction can allow you to repeat, can have you singing the same once loved song over and over for the next 30 years.

    So in addition to believing that he can 'take on' Iraq, Barack could also fall into the trap of thinking Iraq's the way for easy bursts of applause.

    Either or both could lead the growing US presence in Iraq to increase even further.

    Barack should take the win, continue humanitarian aid, continue diplomatic relations but not pursue military solutions in Iraq.

    The temptation is there.  To show it can be done 'right' is very tempting and why leaders and officials in Australia, France and England this week and last have been making comments about how they should be involved in the current actions or how they would be more involved than the US government is.

    Everyone wants to be smarter than Bully Boy Bush.

    When it comes to resorting to war, so many lose their intelligence even faster than they lose their reputations.

    Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times) observes:

    Last week, when Obama first announced that he had ordered military action against the Islamists, his language was all about limits. These were "targeted airstrikes," he said, with carefully limited goals: protecting American personnel in Kurdistan and rescuing terrified displaced Iraqis on Mt. Sinjar.
    But it didn't take long for the mission to grow. By the weekend, Obama was already talking about "a broader strategy in Iraq," one that would help a new, improved government in Baghdad repel the fighters of the Islamic State entirely.
    "We will continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces as they battle these terrorists, so that the terrorists cannot establish a permanent safe haven," he said, and added, "This is going to be a long-term project."



    Language did change very fast.  Sarah Mimms and Matt Berman (National Journal) report:


    Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, told reporters on Wednesday that the U.S. is considering sending ground troops into Iraq to help the humanitarian mission to rescue the Yazidis. Military advisers will give their recommendations on the use of troops to the White House in the next few days, following an assessment from about 130 Marines and special-operations forces now in Iraq.
    The distinction here is that these would not be combat troops, as much as ground forces with the specific mission of helping rescue Yazidi refugees. Ground combat with ISIS would not be part of the plan. Whether the humanitarian troops would be forced into combat scenarios is another question entirely, and Rhodes admitted that best laid plans don't always work out. "There are dangers involved in any military operation," Rhodes said.




    I don't buy the idea of Barack The Original Innocent.  Nor do I buy the ludicrous fantasies of some embarrassments on the left (the news dumpster, for example) that Barack would do this or that if he wasn't being controlled by unknown and hidden elements of the government.

    Good or bad, they are his actions and he's responsible for them.

    He went beyond air drops and he got lucky.

    Luck does run out.

    It certainly ran out for Nouri al-Maliki.

    The chief thug and prime minister of Iraq thought he'd had a third term.  He thought that in the lead up to the April 30th elections, he thought that after.  His co-conspirators like 'reporter' Jane Arraf did their part to promote that lie.  He never won the required amount of seats.

    He barely increased his showing from 2010 and that might not have happened if other blocs, seeing a pattern of small blocs benefiting in the 2010 parliamentary elections, hadn't decided to run as part of smaller slates this go round.

    He was not a done deal but damned if his liars didn't tell you he was getting a third term.

    A lot of lies from a lot of places.  Patrick Cockburn bias against Sunnis is well known which is why it was shocking to see Glen Ford citing him favorably in this week's column.

    To repeat, Arabic social media documented Cockburn's bias.  We didn't.  We picked up on it and amplified it for those who read English but not Arabic. His bias is now so widely known that it's noted in Arabic newspapers.

    A lot of people have been misled by him over the years.

    Misled?  Like the greedy woman who wants to bankrupt Pacifica Radio?

    The Goody Whore what's she up to?

    Mishandling Iraq among other things.

    From yesterday's awful broadcast:


    AMY GOODMAN: The situation of what’s happening now in Baghdad with the new prime minister, the current prime minister, and what this all means, who will be the actual prime minister?


    PATRICK COCKBURN: Well, I think, you know, that Maliki is finished. I think he’s been finished for some time. The question was: Would he fight it out? He had military units that were personally loyal to him, but he found that after the new prime minister had been appointed, the Iranians had turned against him. They wouldn’t support him. He didn’t have any outside political support. His own party was disintegrating or would no longer support him. So I think that the transition will happen.
    But I think what is wrong is to think that—almost everything now is being blamed on al-Maliki, both inside and outside Baghdad, that he was the person who provoked the Sunni uprising, he was the hate figure for the Sunni, he produced an army that was riddled with corruption. But I think that it’s exaggerated, that it’s as if there was a magic wand that would be used once al-Maliki had gone. But there were other reasons for this uprising, for the creation of ISIS—notably, the rebellion in Syria in 2011. This changed the regional balance of power. That was a Sunni rebellion, which Iraqi politicians over the last couple of years were always telling me, if the West supports the opposition in Syria, this will destabilize Iraq. And they were dead right. It wasn’t just al-Maliki.


    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Patrick Cockburn, you mentioned that the current Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is obviously not solely responsible for the situation there now. You’ve also pointed out in a piece that he still retains the support of Iraq’s Shia majority. What do you think the consequences of that will be with this shift in power to Abadi?



    PATRICK COCKBURN: I think he did have that support. I don’t think it’s going to last very long, because he had it because he had portrayed himself as the Shia leader who protected their interests, and he tried to get away from the fact he had presided over one of the greatest military defeats in history, when ISIS took Mosul, by claiming that he’d been stabbed—the army had been stabbed in the back by the Kurds, that there had been treachery. But he still had support because he had power, because he controlled the budget, $100 billion, because he controlled millions of jobs. I think once he’s no longer in control of the executive and the money, that support will diminish very fast. There are millions of Iraqis who have their jobs through Maliki. Now that’s changed, and so will their support.

    First off, there is no "new prime minister."  Please get your damn facts right.

    For the first time ever, the Constitution (Iraqi Constitution) may be followed and enforced.  al-Abadi is the prime minister-designate.  He has a task to complete, a pilgrimage to make.  He must form a Cabinet -- that's nominate for each post and have Parliament vote each one in* and do so in 30 days from his being named prime minister-designate (he was named that Monday).  If not, there will be a new prime minister-designate named by the president of Iraq.

    (*If, for example, he nominated Amy Goodman to be Minister of Misinformation and CIA Liason and the Parliament said no, provided the 30 days were up, he could nominate someone -- or many someones -- for the post and have Parliament vote.)

    As for Patrick Cockburn's ridiculous lies, I'd probably say them too if I had rotten egg all over my face, if I'd whored for Nouri like Patrick did over and over.

    Nouri's not to blame for everything!

    What's even funnier than Patrick's sexual obsession with Nouri -- which leads him to 'magic wands' -- is that part of Nouri's failure -- which whorish Paddy won't note -- is due to magic wands.

    Remember those?  The idiot and crook who sold those around the world is in prison for that.  They supposedly were bomb detectors (and golf bomb finders!).  You held the magic wand and basically jogged in place and it dipped or not depending on whether a car had a bomb or not.

    They do not work.  It was established in court.

    Yet as of this month, Nouri was still making the forces use them in Iraq.

    He couldn't fix the infrastructure or provide potable water but he did provide magical wands.  And his decision to keep using them over a year after the UK verdict means he can't win in a lawsuit.  That money is now lost.  When a huckster sells you something and a court finds his actions were illegal, you immediately file charges and stop using the product.  If you continue using it, you're not going to have any legal standing and Nouri destroyed Iraq's legal standing.  The government's legal standing.  An Iraqi family who lost a loved one due to those magic wands being used at checkpoints would have standing to sue the maker/distributor as well as the Iraqi government -- and Nouri himself once he's out of office.  Remember suing Nouri, we're coming back to that topic.


    If you're not getting how whorish and dishonest Patrick Cockburn is, look at this statement closely:


    I think he did have that support. I don’t think it’s going to last very long, because he had it because he had portrayed himself as the Shia leader who protected their interests, and he tried to get away from the fact he had presided over one of the greatest military defeats in history, when ISIS took Mosul, by claiming that he’d been stabbed—the army had been stabbed in the back by the Kurds, that there had been treachery. 


    Is that what he did, Patrick?

    Hmm.  That's a sanitized version of what he did.  He didn't claim the military was stabbed in the back or treachery, he took to the airwaves and accused of harboring terrorists and of terrorist actions, inciting them.

    This is why Kurds walked out of the Cabinet.  And this isn't 'ancient' history, this took place just weeks ago.




    In a column, Peter Van Buren appears to agree with Patrick.  We should care about Peter's opinion why?  Sexism is the least of his problems.  He writes:


    Despite Maliki throwing the last serious U.S. reconciliation plan under the bus, America stood by and watched the Iranians broker a deal after the 2010 elections that gave Maliki another four years as prime minister. American eyes were on the exit, and Maliki was the devil we knew — a quick fix to declare enough democracy in Iraq so we could get out.


    It takes a whore, Peter proves it takes a whore, in fact, it takes a bordello to keep the lies alive.

    Iran did not "broker a deal after the 2010 elections that gave Maliki another four years as prime minister."

    Wrong.

    The US government brokered The Erbil Agreement.  Peter was low level, yes, but he also knows how to read -- or I thought he did -- and should have caught up on reality a long damn time ago.

    For over eight months the political stalemate continued in Iraq after the March 2010 parliamentary elections.  In October of 2010, the Iranian officials did their backing of Nouri.

    Nouri didn't become prime minister then* -- he became it in November, the day after all the political leaders signed off on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement.

    The US gave Nouri his second term via The Erbil Agreement.

    Stop trying to pin everything on the Iranians.  I'm so sick of people who will go to such lengths to erase their own government's actions and rush to blame them on another country.

    I'm also sick of people who don't know how to say "I was wrong."

    I've said it many times.  I've said it many times here.

    I said I was wrong when I disagreed with Justin Raimondo about an issue then-Bradley Manning's attorney was raising.  When I am wrong, I'm okay admitting it.

    I expect to be wrong more than I'm right.

    That's not false modesty (it may be low self-esteem).

    Justin seems to struggle with the words "I was wrong."

    What happens when that's the case?  When you're wrong and events prove you wrong, what happens if you can't say you're wrong?

    Some just act like it never happened and re-adjust their stance or remain silent.

    But Justin appears to belong to the group that digs their heels in, lies -- flat out lies, and tells you night is day.

    That explains his nonsense in his latest column.

    I wanted to like it.

    I saw the headline and thought we might disagree but it would still be a column worth highlighting.

    Wrong. He molests the facts.  That's the only term for it.

    He's flat out lying, cherry picking bits and pieces of broken facts to try to pretend he was right.

    We get it, Justin.  You hate Jesus and you hate any religion that's linked to it even if it's just remotely linked to Jesus.  (And, of course, Justin hates the Jews as well.)

    We get it.

    Every day, you are so damn scared that you might be wrong, that there might be a god of some kind, that you have to rip apart anyone who believes.  We get it.

    I practice no religion.

    That's on me.

    I don't ridicule people who do.

    I don't have to.

    I'm secure in my beliefs.  I don't need to attack people who practice religion or to hate or dislike them.

    So many disappointments.


    Okay, let's go lawsuit.

    Jim Michaels (USA Today) reports, "Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Thursday night that he is stepping down, ending a political crisis at a time when Islamist militants have seized large swaths of the country and remain on the offensive."

    What happened?

    Nouri's a criminal.

    While Patrick Cockburn's still going down on Nouri, others aren't.

    And Nouri's big problem was solved this evening when he received a series of promises that he wouldn't be prosecuted or sued.

    See, Nouri has a list of people he plans to get even with.  And he was hoping two of those MPs wouldn't be re-elected.  One wasn't.  And a third term for Nouri was going to include persecuting and prosecuting that (now former) MP.

    But Nouri realized something similar could happen to him.

    He's already set a precedent where MPs can be tried.  It's illegal but he's done it.

    Per the Constitution, no one serving in the Parliament can be sued while serving.  The Parliament can vote to strip the person of their office and then they can stand trial.  Otherwise, you're supposed to wait until they're out of office.

    Nouri was afraid of what might befall him.  As an MP but former prime minister, could he be sued?  Or would the new government ignore the Constitution the same way Nouri did?

    In a series of talks, Nouri made clear this was his biggest obstacle to surrendering the office.  It was a minor part of a written list he'd agreed to last week when he agreed to not seek a third term.  However, as Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc noted, Nouri then broke that agreement.

    So with a lot of hand holding and promises, Nouri finally agreed to step down.

    Does everything become perfect now?

    No, it does not.

    But when someone is named prime minister, Iraq will collectively hold its breath to see if they have another Nouri or not.

    Another Nouri means intensified fighting across the country.

    A leader who is inclusive and speaks to the Iraqi identity that voters embraced in the 2009, 2010 and 2013 elections could help pull support from the more extremist elements in the country.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry issued the following statement today:


    Press Statement
    John Kerry
    Washington, DC
    August 14, 2014


    We commend the important and honorable decision by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to support Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi in his efforts to form a new government and develop a national program in line with Iraq’s constitutional timeline. This milestone decision sets the stage for a historic and peaceful transition of power in Iraq.
    We urge Mr. Abadi and all Iraqi leaders to move expeditiously to complete this process, which is essential to pulling the country together and consolidating the efforts of Iraq’s many diverse communities against the common threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
    Consistent with our Strategic Framework Agreement, the United States stands ready to partner with a new and inclusive government to counter this threat, and we will encourage other countries in the region and international community to do the same.



    And that's where we're going to leave it.  The stuff about Nouri's fears on prosecution comes from 1 White House friend and three State Dept friends.  There's more that's not being discussed and we may go into that in Friday's snapshot.











    nancy a. youssef