Wednesday, August 20, 2014

THIS JUST IN! GUMS KEEP FLAPPING!

BULLY BOY PRESS &    CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

WTF HAS FRED KAPLAN BEEN?

TODAY, HE WROTE, "With his speech on Wednesday condemning ISIS in newly stark, determined language, President Obama now needs to step up his military campaign in equally dramatic fashion."


WHEN HAS BARACK EVER OFFERED MORE THAN WORDS?




Yesterday found US President Barack Obama declaring:

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.
[. . .]
Iraqi and Kurdish forces took the lead on the ground and performed with courage and determination. So this operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together and taking the fight to ISIL. If they continue to do so, they will have the strong support of the United States of America.


And today?

No speeches to the world today. 

Not on the day that found Lizzie Dearden (Independent) reporting the battle for the dam continues and that, "Government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are trying to push back the militants on the ground around the dam, which is 45 miles from Mosul."  Australia's Sky News (link is text and video) reports:

  Sky's Alex Crawford, at Mosul Dam, said: "We heard firing behind us about 1km away. The president's son said he suspected some hardened IS fighters were in the south of the dam who had not been cleared from the area."
She added: "They are still clearly holding out and putting up some sort of defence."

Crawford said she heard heavy machine-gun fire and possibly mortar shelling as well as jets overhead.

AFP states, "Fighting erupted Tuesday in the area surrounding the dam and U.S. warplanes carried out fresh strikes targeting ISIS, a senior officer in the Kurdish peshmerga forces told AFP."

At the Pentagon today, spokesperson Rear Adm Jack Kirby took questions from the press.



Q: Where do the missions -- the airstrikes for Mosul, where do they fit into the two -- the missions the president delineated, protecting humanitarian issues and then protecting U.S. personnel? Because this seems like a classic softening up the opposition, close-air support for invading -- a counter-invading force. Where do -- where do the missions fit? And wasn't that -- this an example of mission creep, albeit maybe accidental?


REAR ADM. KIRBY: Well, let's take the second part first. Mission creep -- you know, this is a phrase that gets bandied about quite a bit, but let's just kind of talk about it for a second. Mission creep refers to the growth or expansion of the goals and objectives of a military operation, that the goals and objectives change, morph into something bigger than they were at the outset.
It doesn't talk about -- mission creep doesn't refer to numbers of sorties, numbers of troops, numbers of anything. It doesn't refer to timelines. It doesn't even refer to intensity. It's about the mission itself. Nothing has changed about the mission, missions that we're conducting inside Iraq. As I said before, airstrikes are authorized under two mission areas -- humanitarian assistance and the protection of U.S. personnel and facilities.
The airstrikes that we conducted in and around Mosul dam over the last 72 hours or so fit into both those categories, both helping prevent what could be a huge humanitarian problem should the dam be blown or the gates -- they're just allowed to flood, and also to protect U.S. personnel and facilities. So there's been no -- well, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to say a negative. What I'll just tell you is, the missions are clear. The operations that we're conducting are inside the authorizations for those missions. And we're going to continue to be vigilant going forward. And if there is a need for more airstrikes in conjunction with either of those two mission areas, those two authorizations, we'll conduct them.


Q: How effective, how crucial were the strikes to retaking the dam? Do you have a sense of that? What -- you know, without those airstrikes, would the Iraqis and Peshmerga have been able to have retaken the dam?



REAR ADM. KIRBY: It's hard to, you know, arm-chair quarterback here a military operation that just wound up. We believe they were critical to assisting in that -- in the retaking of the dam. But I also would -- at the same time -- point to the courage, the bravery, the skill of both the Kurdish forces and Iraqi forces and their extensive cooperation with one another in conducting this operation. Yes, we were a critical part of it, but it was a team effort.


It was a team effort?  What's Kirby trying to say?  "IS just wanted it more"?

Before the bad news that the issue of the dam was still up in the air, Barack was preaching Operation Happy Talk.  As Matthew Weaver (Guardian) observes:

Barack Obama hailed the retaking of the Mosul dam as a symbol of how Isis militants could be defeated by co-operation between Kurdish, Iraqi and US forces. “This operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together and taking the fight to Isil [Islamic State]. If they continue to do so, they will have the strong support of the United States of America.”



On the topic of mission creep, William Saletan (Slate) notes the changing scope of Barack's misadventure:

On Aug. 7, Obama specified two grounds for military action: to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq and to prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis trapped by ISIS on Mt. Sinjar. Two days later, however, he added another issue: “We have to make sure that ISIL is not engaging in the actions that could cripple a country permanently. There’s key infrastructure inside of Iraq that we have to be concerned about.” Specifically, on Thursday, he authorized airstrikes “to recapture the Mosul Dam,” arguing that its destruction “could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad [280 miles away], and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace.” In Obama’s foreign policy, nation-building is out. But using force to help governments provide “critical services” is in.

Gordon Lubold and Kate Brannen (Foreign Policy) also address the issue:


The administration entered the conflict with an aggressive airstrike and airdrop campaign in northern Iraq based, it said, on the need to protect the U.S. personnel in the country and to prevent militants from slaughtering members of the Yazidi religious minority sect stranded atop Mount Sinjar. Then last week, U.S. officials announced that a reconnaissance team that had visited Sinjar discovered that the humanitarian crisis wasn't as bad as first feared, thus removing one of the main justifications for the air campaign. In recent days, the United States has launched a barrage of airstrikes in and around Mosul that appear to be directly targeting the Islamic State, leading many to conclude that the mission is expanding beyond the administration's stated goals and objectives.
"The administration can call it whatever they want, but semantics aside, they're now waging war," said Stephen Biddle, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. 


The word games leaders resort to in order to deceive the people they supposedly represent.


The Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus observes, "Even without American boots on the ground, Obama has entered the United States in its fourth Iraq war. It won’t be over quickly. As the president said, this is going to be a long-term project."

It's a reality few want to tackle, let alone acknowledge.


BBC News, noting the United Kingdom's involvement, reported yesterday, "Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said the UK's military involvement in the country could last for 'months', and has revealed that RAF surveillance aircraft are operating there."  However, wire services carry British Prime Minister David Cameron's denial, "Britain is not going to get involved in another war n Iraq.  We're not going to be putting boots on the ground."


And, like Barack Obama, Cameron thinks as long as he can insist that it's just dropping bombs, it's not really war.



RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

"jfk"
"Iraq"





Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THIS JUST IN! HE CAN'T WIN THEM ALL -- OR EVEN ANY!

BULLY BOY PRESS &    CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF AND COMMANDER IN CONFUSED LAND BARRY O IS ON FAMILIAR GROUND -- SHAKY AND SINKING.


TODAY?  


REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARRY TOLD THESE REPORTERS, "I THINK PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT 'SUCCESS' IS A VERY FLEXIBLE TERM."





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.




RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"




Sunday, August 17, 2014

THIS JUST IN! WHAT DO THEY THINK HIS JOB IS?

BULLY BOY PRESS &    CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O REMAINS PRESIDENT -- MAYBE CAROL AND THE OTHER SEX FREAKS AT POLITICO COULD TRY REMEMBERING THAT?

A VACATION FROM HELL, THE POLITICOS WHINE, PISSING THEIR PANTIES AND BRIEFS.

A VACATION FROM HELL?

DO THEY KNOW HOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SUFFER DAILY TO PAY BILLS?

DO THEY KNOW WHAT A BAD VACATION REALLY IS?

VOTED INTO OFFICE, PROBLEMS LAND AT BARRY O'S DOOR AS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO.  THIS IS NOT "HELL," THIS IS THE PRESIDENCY.

GROW THE F**K UP.




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.”



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.



RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

THIS JUST IN! THEY MAKE NICE!

BULLY BOY PRESS &    CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE


IF THERE'S ANYTHING SADDER THAN HILLARY C ATTACKING BARRY O ON FOREIGN POLICY -- WAR HAWKS PECKING OVER THE SAME WORM -- IT'S THEIR REFUSAL TO STAND BY THEIR POSITIONS.


BECAUSE IN THE END THEIR BIGGEST BEEF IS NEVER WITH ONE ANOTHER.  NO, THEIR BIGGEST BEEF IS WITH THE AMERICAN VOTERS.





Former Governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee Gary Johnson Tweeted the following today:

  • WSJ: "U.S. Begins to Assess Iraq Rescue Strategy". Obama insists we are not going back to war, but how many bombs & troops = war?? 


  • Let's turn to the political in Iraq.  Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) maintains Iraq's prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi is Nouri al-Maliki circa 2006.


    Comically, he does that as Antiwar.com is in the midst of a fund raiser boasting they're always right.

    I'm not always right.  I'm often wrong.

    But I wasn't wrong about Nouri.

    And, unlike Jason Ditz, I didn't giggle on air and agree with Scott Horton about how wonderful Nouri was.

    Jason Ditz has a lot of nerve.  I've been kind but we all know I forget nothing.

    I can quote from those chats with Horton -- where Scott and Jason made like the Gabby Gabors enthralled with Nouri.

    Is Haider the same?

    No.

    Is he good or bad, saint or sinner?  I already said this week that we don't know.

    But what we know is that Nouri's selling point for the American government was chiefly his paranoia which, it was thought, would make him easily manipulated.

    I knew about the paranoia and we wrote about it here, what, three or four years before WikiLeaks confirmed what we were saying?

    I'm not hitting anyone up for their piggy banks.

    I am saying that if you have the nerve, before the prime minister-designate has done anything, to insist he's another Nouri, you damn well better have called out Nouri.

    Or you can sit your tired ass down.

    This is my last nice, Jason Ditz.  

    I'm not in the mood.

    Back to today's State Dept press briefing:


    QUESTION: In Iraq, please. Today Prime Minister al-Maliki said he would not step down from his post until the Iraqi judiciary rules on whether or not his constitutional challenge to the process should go forward or not. I’m wondering if you all have any idea of how long this process might take as it speaks to some concerns people have raised about whether he will try to run out the clock on the 30 days he now – that designate al-Abadi has.

    Also I’m wondering if you were able to get an answer to my question yesterday as to what level of confidence does the U.S. have in the Iraqi judiciary system.

    MS. HARF: A couple issues, and then we’ll – I’m sure you’ll have follow-ups. The comments made by the prime minister today were similar to ones he’s made in recent days, quite frankly. And as I said yesterday, with all political systems there will be differences with how certain processes unfold. We never expected this to be completely seamless, but the United States firmly rejects any effort to achieve outcomes through coercion or manipulation of the constitutional or judicial processes.

    And then look, I don’t want to get ahead of the constitutional process that’s underway. We just began the 30-day time clock for the Prime Minister-designate al-Abadi to form a new government. They are moving along with that process. So we will watch day by day as that plays out, but Prime Minister-designate al-Abadi is moving forward as part of this process, and that’s what we’ll be focused on in the coming days.

    QUESTION: So you don’t believe this court challenge that Maliki is posing is going to be slowing that 30-day clock in any way?

    MS. HARF: Well, look, the prime minister-designate is the one who is in charge of what happens during the 30-day clock, and he’s working actively towards that. And again, we would reject any efforts by anyone to use the judicial processes to manipulate or coerce the outcomes here. But there is a separate process and it’s the constitutional one, and that’s moving forward.

    QUESTION: How is it that the designate has control of the clock when Maliki is still the prime minister?

    MS. HARF: Well, he has control of the clock. What I meant was the progress that can be made in the 30 days to form a new government is in the hands of the prime minister-designate, who has the support, as I said over the last few days. He was nominated by the Shiite bloc, including many members of Prime Minister Maliki’s own party.

    So we’ve seen these kind of comments from the current prime minister before, but separate from those comments there is a process under the constitution that is moving forward. And we expect that to move forward and we will continue watching what happens in the coming days.

    QUESTION: Do you have any expectations of how long this court appeal will last?

    MS. HARF: I don’t have any guess on that.

    QUESTION: May I just follow up on that? I mean, his words were very critical of the United States, today – Maliki’s speech. He basically said that you espouse democratic values but you go ahead and sabotage the democratic process. What do you have to say to that?

    MS. HARF: Well, the Iraqis have their democratic process that’s underway right now, and that process has led to a new prime minister-designate being named by the current prime minister’s own bloc. So the process is playing out how it should. Again, we knew this would not be without complication. Nothing ever is – certainly not here in Iraqi politics. But their own democratically, constitutionally outlined process has been ongoing and that’s what’s happening right now.

    QUESTION: I know that you warned against manipulating whatever legal process in the courts or whatever to sow divisions and so on in Iraq. Has anyone talked to the prime minister personally to say refrain from doing that because you’re driving the country further into the abyss?

    MS. HARF: We’ve certainly had conversations with a range of leaders, including Prime Minister Maliki, emphasizing, Said, that this is a key, critical time in Iraq on the security front, on the political front – they are very closely intertwined – and that nobody should do anything to prevent the progress that’s laid out under the constitution from taking place and from moving forward. Nobody should.

    QUESTION: Mm-hmm.

    MS. HARF: We’ve certainly had those conversations.

    QUESTION: Okay. Now, as we – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, they all welcome the prime minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi, but Maliki still has some support within the Shiites. He has some support within some, like, militant type of militias and so on. Are you concerned that he actually might resort to violence?

    MS. HARF: I don’t want to venture to guess on that hypothetical, Said. There’s a process in place and that process is moving forward. What’s key here is that the President asked the prime minister-designate to name a government. This was the designate that his own bloc, Prime Minister Maliki’s own bloc selected. So I think that should speak very clearly about the support that Prime Minister-designate al-Abadi has. And, again, the process is moving forward.


    We'll note this Tweet.

    Twenty eight women (prostitutes) killed in Iraq! A reminder of Iranian regime when prostitutes were burned to die! 







    I have no idea why a woman would do that to other women.

    28 women were killed.  By thugs.

    The thugs call them whores.

    And we repeat that?

    That's how we show sympathy for these women who were killed?

    The Tweeter's never been there and knows nothing.

    'A press report said it!' 

    Oh, okay then.  Press report are never wrong, right?

    It would be something wonderful if we could see people rejecting an urge to insult the dead.  (I am not attacking women who engage in sex work.  I am noting that prostitute is a huge pejorative in Iraq and dead women who can't defend themselves shouldn't have prostitute tied around their dead necks solely because a group of men -- who killed them -- have labeled them whores.)

    I'm not interested in running down violence.  Monday night, I noted a death and offered Tuesday might be the last snapshot.  The friend I dictated it too wisely pulled that.  But a friend died this week and it really makes me question the point of online life.


    This week saw the passing of actors Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.  (I was referring to Robin in the previous paragraph.)  TCM has a video clip entitled "Lauren Bacall -- (TCM Remembers) 1924-2014."  PBS' The NewsHour remembers her here.

    Maria noted her passing in "The Walker," Ann in "Remembering Lauren Bacall," Stan with "Bacall," Elaine with "The great star Lauren Bacall," Ruth with "Lauren Bacall," Trina with "Lauren Bacall -- one of a kind," Betty with "Lauren" and Kat with "The wrong people keep dying."  Robin's passing was noted in Mike's "Robin starred in so much of our childhood," Rebecca's "robin" and Marcia's "Iraq and Robin Williams." In addition, Robin was noted in a statement the Pentagon released earlier this week:




    August 11, 2014

    Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the Passing of Robin Williams


    The entire Department of Defense community mourns the loss of Robin Williams. Robin was a gifted actor and comedian, but he was also a true friend and supporter of our troops. From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform. He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DoD - so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.





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