July 23, 2014
Paris Quiet on News Christians in Mosul, Iraq Expelled
I meant to get to this yesterday, but it's almost too depressing to read:
After being issued an ultimatum from ISIS in Mosul, some of the city’s last Christian families have fled, only to be robbed of their last possessions at ISIS checkpoints. Friday at noon was the deadline for Christian families to meet ISIS’s demands: Convert to Islam, pay an anachronistic Islamic tax for non-Muslims known as jizya, leave Mosul, or be killed. But the day before the final exodus, Christians were informed jizya was no longer an option. The order came to convert, leave, or die.Jesus wept.
Gathered along an unlit street on the edge of Hamdaniyah, a majority Christian town on the outskirts of Mosul, large, well-dressed families of refugees from Mosul shared their stories in their only remaining set of clothes, trying to make sense of what had happened. According to the Iraq-based Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, whose field office was receiving internal refugees in Hamdaniyah, 1,500 Christian families have fled Mosul in the last four days. They were the last of the last.
Those families leaving from the checkpoints on the eastern side of the city were harassed and robbed of their possessions but ultimately allowed to leave Mosul with only the clothes on their backs and possibly cab fare. All families who fled on the last morning reported having money, belongings, jewelry, and even documents stolen from them. Women had crucifixes torn from their necks.
July 21, 2014
Iraqi Town of Zowiya Destroyed
And by Destroyed I mean utterly wiped off the map by ISIS, because the residents refused to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
A small Sunni Arab town north of Baghdad put up a fight when Sunni Muslim extremists from the so-called Islamic State tried to impose their rule on the town.Well Obama, you're sure doing a heckuva job there. There's plenty of Iraqi Sunni Muslims out there willing to fight ISIS if they could fight with an army they trust. They at one time drove AQI and ISIS to the brink of extinction with our support. Now we have abandoned them to ISIS savages. No wonder they hate us.
The residents lost, and now the town, Zowiya, just outside of Tikrit, is destroyed. More than 200 of its homes have been blown up, and the residents have fled.
Abu Saad rented a little home in Erbil he shares with his four married sons and their families.
"We have good houses, very luxury houses," he says. "I'm businessman. I have two houses for my sons. They bomb it." Everything is gone: passports, furniture, memories.
"Because we fight them, they destroy us," Abu Saad says.
He asked us not to use his name for his protection. The rest of his family fled only this week, after government air strikes rained down, killing nearly two dozen people.
The men say they would go back and fight, if they could fight with an army they trust.
So it was that on Friday the Christians of Mosul, a community of thousands settled in the city since the early days of Christianity, were given 24 hours to either convert or face the sword. A third alternative was to pay jizya, an Islamic tax historically levied on religious minorities.They are describing the ISIS offensive as worse than Genghis Khan.
But only a brave or gullible “infidel” would put much faith in protection of that sort, and Christians as well as Yazidis and Shabaks, two other Iraqi minorities, are now fleeing for their lives.
For the Christians this is not a new catastrophe but rather the consolidation and systemisation of a terrible process of extirpation from their historic homelands that has been under way for years. It is nonetheless remarkable that the West has so far had nothing in particular to say about it.
"This has never happened in Christian or Islamic history. Even Genghis Khan or Hulagu didn't do this," he said. Hulagu Khan led a Mongol army which sacked Baghdad in 1258, killing tens of thousand of people, destroying a caliphate which lasted nearly 600 years and leaving the city in ruins for centuries.So Genghis Khan destroyed an Islamic caliphate? Where is he when you really need him.
Muslims at the service held up leaflets declaring "I am Iraqi, I am Christian", some writing it on their shirts.
July 15, 2014
When It Comes to Iraqi Kurdish Oil US Should BUY IT!
Kurdish security forces, the peshmerga, have taken over two major oil fields near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq. The fields have the potential to put billions of dollars into the coffers of the Kurdish regional government.When asked about the move US officials said some crap like
But there's a hitch: Even if the Kurdish government has control of the oil, it doesn't necessarily mean it can export it — thanks to the Baghdad government and the U.S.
On May 22, about 4 million barrels of crude oil surged through a pipeline running from the autonomous region in northern Iraq, which is controlled by Kurds, to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The crude was loaded into four tankers commissioned by the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG. One tanker, the United Leadership, sailed through the Mediterranean toward Morocco — where the first alleged buyer of the oil was, says Ben Lando, editor-in-chief of the Iraq Oil Report.
Related NPR Stories
Soldiers with the Kurdish peshmerga man an outpost near Kirkuk, a city they've sought to control during the chaos that has gripped Iraq.
Kurdish Leaders Boycott Iraqi Government Meetings
Secretary of State John Kerry (second from left) arrives at Irbil International Airport with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Robert Stephen Beecroft (fourth from left) on Tuesday. The president of Iraq's ethnic Kurdish region declared Tuesday that "we are facing a new reality and a new Iraq."
Kerry Visits Kurds To Urge A United Iraq
A member of the Kurdish security forces stand guard atop a armored vehicle at Taza district, south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq, Friday, June 20, 2014.
Iraq's Ethnic Kurds See Opportunity In Nation's Chaos
"But just as it was about to reach the port and unload, the Moroccan authorities refused entry and forced it back into international waters," Lando says. That's where the tanker remains, he says.
"This is because the Iraqi government and its international lawyers and the U.S. government pushed back and essentially claimed that this oil is stolen, it's smuggled, that it hasn't been exported with the authority of Baghdad and thus would be considered illegal," he says. "They convinced the Moroccan authorities not to 'play ball.' "
The U.S. also opposes oil exports by the Kurds because it could undermine Iraq's unity, says State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.The basis being that there are not personal mineral property rights in many of these countries. They are all held by the state and the US still sees the Malik regime Malaki as the legitimate holder of these rights in a unified Iraq.
"Our position has long been that we don't support exports without the appropriate approval of the federal Iraqi government, and certainly we do have concerns about the impact of those continuing," she says.
The problem is that we are caught flat footed yet again. The reality on the ground is that there is no unified Iraq. ISIS controls much of Iraq and has an outlet for its Syrian and Iraqi oil through the Syrian regime via the Baathists in its ranks. ISIS will use its oil money to further its insurgency.
Now ISIS is not without problems. Its saddled with running a large portion of Iraq and Syria. Now taking that area and ruling it are two different things. The Kurds can make things hard on ISIS be keeping open another front. Leaving ISIS involved in battles on all sides of its little Caliphate. It will be very difficult for ISIS to both maintain all those fronts and implement a regime that satisfies the people. I mean we tried it, let it be their effing problem.
The Kurds are a natural counter to ISIS power. If we fail to back the Kurds this time there will be no one to oppose ISIS in all of northern Iraq. And lets face it the Kurds deserve our help.
I don't care how they work it out, if there has to be a royalty or kickback to the Iraqi government that's fine, whatever. But this oil must flow, lest the Kurds not have enough income and resources to hold Iraqi Kurdistan from ISIS.
So like I said, THERE IS NO UNIFIED IRAQ ANY LONGER. The US led Iraqi transitional government is a defacto failure. It will be lucky to hold Baghdad and the south.
The sooner we face that reality and make the required adjustments the better. Delay and failure to adjust only serves ISIS interests.
July 11, 2014
Kurds Seize Two Oil Fields Price of Oil Down
Iraqi Kurds have taken over two oil fields amid a growing dispute with the government in Baghdad, Iraqi and Kurdish sources say.Lets face it the Kurds have been getting screwed too long. Its their turn to play pitcher.
Kurdish peshmerga forces seized control of production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oil fields in the north of the country on Friday.
Kurdish MPs have also withdrawn from Iraq's central government.
They did so after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused the Kurds of harbouring extremists.
Kurdish forces have moved into areas of north-western Iraq abandoned by the Iraqi army during the advance of Islamist insurgents led by the Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) group over the past month.
The Kurds have since declared plans to hold a referendum on independence in the areas seized, escalating tensions with Iraq's central authorities.
July 09, 2014
Why It's Hard to Hear the Voices of Moderate Muslim Clerics
Did you see that article about ISIS goons desecrating the tomb of Jonah? Pretty bad. But read all the way to the end:
Three Sunni clerics were also killed by ISIS gunmen in Mosul after calling on locals to reject the terror group and refusing to leave the city, authorities said.Oh, and they found 53 people dead near a Shia town. Their hands were tied and they were shot in the back of the head. But, you know, we're supposed to be more outraged that some tomb that no one actually believes contains the earthly remains of Jonah (the whale guy) and Seth (Adam's son).
The victims were Khattab Hassan, 43, Riyadh al-Wandi, 39, and 48-year-old Abdul Ghafoor Salman.
Priorities, people. Priorities.
Oh, and very much related: What, me worry?
Iraq's government has lost control of a former chemical weapons facility to "armed terrorist groups" and is unable to fulfill its international obligations to destroy toxins kept there, the country's U.N. envoy told the United Nations.But Osama bin Laden is dead and "al Qaeda is on the run" so if you question Obama's foreign policy then, racist!
In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, made public on Tuesday, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said the Muthanna facility north of Baghdad was seized on June 11. He said remnants of a former chemical weapons program are kept in two bunkers there.
July 07, 2014
Turns Out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a Fatass
Iraqi authorities are looking at a video that purportedly shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Mosul to determine whether it is really the notorious leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Iraq's military spokesman said Sunday.The video is here. If say something were to happen to it, after all ISIS is a specially designated terrorist group, I have saved a copy of Fatass' speech.
The video surfaced on social media sites tied to ISIS, the terror group that now calls itself the Islamic State. It shows a man identified as al-Baghdadi conducting Friday prayers at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri.
As part of that declaration, an ISIS spokesman said the group would now be known as the Islamic State, and al-Baghdadi as its leader would be known as Al-Khalifah Ibrahim -- a reference to the leading religious figure considered a successor to the Prophet Mohammed.
The video, which was released by the media arm of ISIS, identified the man as Al-Khalifah Ibrahim.
Look at that fat f*cking f*ck, not a scratch on him and while Syrians under his rule starve, he apparently hasn't missed a single Kabaab. Also he apparently doesn't spend ANY time outside, he's paler than vinnie's description Rusty's pasty white ass.
July 02, 2014
Good News: al Qaeda Affiliate Continues to Fight "Islamic State" Caliphate
You know your new "Caliph" is a loser when the official al Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al Nusra, wants you dead:
Following the defection of a local brigade affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) to ISIS in the border town of Abu Kamal on June 25, JN sent reinforcements to bolster remaining rebel forces and prevent the town from falling to ISIS. In cooperation with rebel groups, the JN reinforcements set up roadblocks, demanded that ISIS hand over its weapons and leave the city, and imposed a curfew on the city’s residents. Clashes between rebels and ISIS escalated on June 28, with an SVEST targeting an ISIS headquarters in the city, killing 3 and wounding 18. A subsequent regime airstrike on the city targeted a building that had been taken by JN and rebel fighters during the fighting. Contrary to reports circulating in western media, the JN-led Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in Deir ez-Zour Province denied that ISIS is in control of the city on June 29. ISIS is reported to have sent reinforcements from the T2 oil station and from al-Qa’im on the Iraqi side of the border. With these new forces ISIS was able to seize control of a neighborhood at the northeast entrance to the town.The bad news here is that it looks like ISIS is now in control of the area mentioned above. But that's just territory swapped between bad guys -- bloods taking over your neighborhood in lieu of the crips.
The good news is that al Qaeda's local boys continue to fight ISIS -- Red on Red.
The more of these guys that kill each other, the better we'll all be.
June 30, 2014
So, if Islamic State is a "Country" Now ....
... does that mean we can declare war, carpet bomb them, then round up their leaders and try them for war crimes before executing them? If only:
In an audio statement posted online that coincided with the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a spokesman for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), announced that the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was the "caliph," or leader, of a state whose territory extended from the city of Aleppo in northwestern Syria, to Diyala province in northeastern Iraq.My opinion? Part of me says let them have their caliphate. It's about time the Islamist supporters realized their dreams and are forced to lie in the beds they've made.
The spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, described al-Baghdadi as "the imam and khalifah (caliph) for the Muslims everywhere." He also said that with the establishment of the caliphate, the group was changing its name to just the Islamic State, dropping the mention of Iraq and the Levant.
"The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph's authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas," al-Adnani continued. "Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day."
Like communism, the fantasy of the ideal will only be crushed by the hard facts of reality: life under Islamic law is oppressive.
Then again, it took 50+ years for the Soviet Empire to collapse under it's own weight. Can we really wait 50 years for these people to figure out that their utopian experiment is doomed to failure from the start?
That's not really a rhetorical question. I'm actually torn as to what our response, if any, should be.
June 14, 2014
10,000 On The ISIS Offensive In Iraq
June 13, 2014
ISIS Militants Firing At Random Vehicles (Updated: Full Video With Translation
These savages videotaped themselves shooting civilians in vehicles:
They are also beheading captives and executing civilians in the street. The story is HERE.
UPDATE: The leader of the ISIS currently wreaking havoc in Iraq was released by Obama in 2009.
UPDATE II: I've been informed in comments and by email that this video was released several weeks ago. The victims may be military or Iraqi police. It may be a clip from a much longer video found HERE. (Thanks, Birbal & ShortTimer!)
Update III by Howie: The full video release is here at Jihadology, with English subtitles. Note they aren't just shooting cars but at random pedestrians as well. Later in the video they make Sunni members of the Awakening Councils dig their own graves.
At 29:26 they change an anti-Christ(ian) slogan, "Break the Crosses and destroy the grandsons of Monkeys." Referring to Jesus Jewishness and Christianity's heritage as religion having its roots in Jewish theology.
But I'm pretty sure they didn't mean it like it sounds because Islam is a Religion of Peace and they respect People of the Book.
I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Later they go beating on doors searching Muslim's houses in the dark of night. Taking more murder victims, they wear uniforms so that the victims cannot be sure who is taking them. Didn't Muslims get outraged when the US searched for insurgents? And we were not shooting them in the head in their own front yard, so do you see Muslim outrage at the same behaviour by ISIS? Not quite.
At 52:55 a member of Iraq's counter terror unit resists the terrorist. The tape then cuts to after the struggle showing the man has been beheaded in his own bedroom.
Iraq: 800 Militants Defeat 30,000 U.S. Trained Iraqi Soldiers
This isn't that shocking if you understand that we are not fighting a conventional enemy. We are fighting a radical ideology that permeates every part of the Middle East. It knows no boundaries. Its sole goal is to conquer all.
From Military Times:
The extremist group seizing vast swaths of Iraq this week is most likely fielding a small force of less than 1,000 fighters equipped with little more than small-arms weaponry and soft-shelled pickup trucks.
But the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, apparently has routed an estimated 30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers who were trained by the U.S. military and given billions in sophisticated American military equipment.
The stunning outcome reflects widespread desertions among the Iraqi units in the north as well as the Sunni-Shiite sectarian tensions that underlie the military battles, experts say.
"It's a relativity small force that managed to take the city [of Mosul], and it’s shocking that they were able to do that," said Charlie Cooper, who studies Islamic extremism for the Quilliam Foundation in London.
"To me, that suggests there is collusion or at least deliberate capitulation on the part of Sunni tribes in western and northern Iraq," Cooper said. "It's likely that this happened because Sunni tribes in the area let it happen."
No amount of training or equipment will change a belief system. We cannot fight an ideology with weapons. Until we understand that, we will never defeat Islamic terrorists.
All this mess reminds me of a story I posted a while back. Here's an excerpt, but it's worth a full read.
"You were a philosophy major or minor at that podunk little college you went to long ago," said the Time Traveler. "Do you remember what Category Error is?"
It rang a bell. But I was too irritated at hearing my alma mater being called a "podunk little college" to be able to concentrate fully.
"I'll tell you what it is," said the Time Traveler. "In philosophy and formal logic, and it has its equivalents in science and business management, Category Error is the term for having stated or defined a problem so poorly that it becomes impossible to solve that problem, through dialectic or any other means."
I waited. Finally I said firmly, "You can't go to war with a religion. Or, I mean... sure, you could... the Crusades and all that... but it would be wrong."
The Time Traveler sipped his Scotch and looked at me. He said, "Let me give you an analogy..."
God, I hated and distrusted analogies. I said nothing.
"Let's imagine," said the Time Traveler, "that on December eighth, Nineteen forty-one, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke before a joint session of Congress and asked them to declare war on aviation."
"That's absurd," I said.
"Is it?" asked the Time Traveler. "The American battleships, cruisers, harbor installations, Army barracks, and airfields at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere in Hawaii were all struck by Japanese aircraft. Imagine if the next day Roosevelt had declared war on aviation... threatening to wipe it out wherever we found it. Committing all the resources of the United States of America to defeating aviation, so help us God."
"That's just stupid,' I said. If I'd ever been afraid of this Time Traveler, I wasn't now. He was obviously a mental defective."The planes, the Japanese planes," I said, "were just a method of attack... a means... it wasn't aviation that attacked us at Pearl Harbor, but the Empire of Japan. We declared war on Japan and a few days later its ally, Germany, lived up to its treaty with the Japanese and declared war on us. If we'd declared war on aviation, on goddamned airplanes rather than the empire and ideology that launched them, we'd never have..."
I stopped. What had he called it? Category Error. Making the problem unsolvable through your inability - or fear - of defining it correctly.
Obama Sends Message To Iraq: 'Come Together'
This administration just doesn't get it. These terrorists believe it is their religious and moral duty to conquer for Allah. They don't want a part in government, they want to control everything. They don't care about money, land, country, family, or peace. All they want is a world-wide caliphate.
The only choice they will give us is to convert, submit or die.
The Obama administration delivered a message Friday to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as Al Qaeda-inspired militants took control of more cities on their march toward Baghdad, reportedly leaving a trail of decapitated government forces in their wake:
Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the message, putting the onus on the Maliki government to "put sectarian differences aside and to come together in unity to begin to be more representative and inclusive."
Yeah, that will work. /s
If that doesn't, Obama threatened to gather his administration together to sing "Give Peace A Chance" until the terrorists relent.
June 12, 2014
Good News! ISIS Captures Blackhawk Helicopter
Update: There is some question as to the accuracy of these reports. CBS is reporting the Mosul airport is taken and helicopters seized by ISIS. As for questions about ISIS ability to fly, all they really need is a pilot, put a gun to his head. Piloting skill aquired.
ISIS Imposes New Rules in Iraq
* All Muslims in the city have bee instructed to attend mosque for the five daily prayers.Well it looks like they picked some of the finer points of their policy from the Democrat party?
* It confirms that it seized up to half a billion dollars from the Mosul branch of the Bank of Iraq but states it can be trusted with the funds. Any one of its members who breach this promise will have their hands cut off.
* No drugs, no alcohol and no cigarettes allowed
* No public gathering other than those organised by ISIS will be allowed
* No guns will be allowed
* All tribal leaders and sheikhs in the area have been warned not to co-operate with the state.
* Finally all women must dress in concealing clothing that preserve decency. Females should only go outside "if necessary".
I'm sure its only to protect the Iraqi people from themselves.
June 11, 2014
Good News: Terror Group Considered too Extreme for al Qaeda Now Has More Money than al Qaeda Ever Did!
You've heard about the military hardware that the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) captured in the past few days, but what about all the cash they've taken? Yes, they're are banks in towns like Mosul and Tikrit and ISIS now has all that cash. How much? I've been seeing claims on Twitter from ISIS sources claiming as much as ... wait for it .... $500 million dollars:
Nevertheless, this is very significant, and analysis of the fall of Mosul so far has given it short shrift. If the number is accurate, ISIS now has more money than Osama bin Laden ever did -- not accounting for inflation, but also not counting ISIS's previous bankroll and the fundraising bonanza that its conquest of Mosul is likely to produce.alQaedaOnTheRun!11!
Media coverage has thus far focused on pictures circulated by ISIS of its jihadists driving around in American Humvees captured from the Iraqi army. But you can't fly a Humvee into a skyscraper in Manhattan. Armor travels regionally, money travels globally. ISIS is now arguably in a better position to bankroll global terrorism than al Qaeda ever was.
Dog Bites Man: ISIS Takes Over Turkish Consulate in Mosul
But don't worry, ISIS claims that the consul general and the 45+ other Turks being held against their will aren't "hostages" ... they're holding them pending an "investigation". If they're being "investigated" for "crimes" them I'm pretty sure we know what the outcome will be.
Why is this a dog bites man story? Because the vast majority of foreign jihadists in ISIS's ranks came through Turkey, which today mostly ignores the problem and up until last year was actively encouraging them to do so and helping them on their way.
The silver lining here is that maybe this will push Turkey into taking more action in securing it's borders. And maybe, if we're lucky, they'll take some military action against ISIS strongholds in Syria.
Update by Howie: Rusty says above, I'm pretty sure we know what the outcome will be...
Police officials also told the British Telegraph that the group had freed some 300 inmates in a city prison there and made advances in parts of Kirkuk; local authorities have reported mass beheadings throughout the city.Mass beheadings? The cell phone networks there must be simply overloaded with bloodcurdling snuff porn downloading, but mostly peaceful, followers of the Religion of Peas.
The above victims appear to be shot.
Hat Tip: Pat.
ISIS Moves on to Tikrit And Samarra
Officials say militants are now in control of some parts of Tikrit - Saddam Hussein's hometown which lies just 150km (95 miles) north of Baghdad.Yesterday it was reported that the ISIS offensive has created between 150 and 500 thousand refugees fleeing ISIS strict Islamist rule, that even bans cigarettes.
Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has vowed to fight back against the jihadists and punish those in the security forces who have deserted.
The insurgents who attacked Mosul are from the ISIS group.
It is not confirmed who is attacking Tikrit but one report said there was also fighting further south in Samarra.
ISIS - the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is also known as ISIL - is an offshoot of al-Qaeda.
It controls considerable territory in eastern Syria and western and central Iraq, in a campaign to set up a militant enclave straddling the border.
Point of Order To ABC on The Fall of Mosul
Um, I have a bone to pick with ABC on this report about the fall of Mosul to ISIS.
In the report ABC claims that the forces who fled in the face of ISIS are the same troops that the US trained. The Sunni Awakening Councils that expelled al-Qaeda in Iraq from Mosul Diyala and Fallujah back in 2008 and 2009
In Mosul, many troops in the Iraqi army and police forces — which the U.S. spent billions to train and equip — simply dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms and fled, according to numerous reports. And they left behind many of their heavy weapons, which have now fallen into the hands of the rebels.They even include a video clip of General Petraeus (1:24) saying, "I don't think you'll have that problem here." when asked if al-Qaeda would intimidate the new Iraqi troops once the US left.
But the plan was, and the Shia led Iraqi government agreed, to integrate these local Sunni militias into the regular Iraqi security forces. Up till that point the US had armed trained and funded those militias.
ABC could not resist taking a swipe at Petraeus to to protect President Obama.
Its a low blow, because after Obama failed to secure a status of forces agreement and withdrew our forces from Iraq, we could no longer put pressure on the Shia led Iraqi government to keep its promise to fold these local militias into the security forces.
The same day, one group of the fighters north of Baghdad announced they were resigning from their Awakening Council, the Iraqi name for what the Americans call the Sons of Iraq. And in the town of Salman Pak, councils in southern Baghdad and its suburbs, an area once called “the ring of death,” met to denounce Iraqi efforts to integrate them.So even as the writing was on the wall that the US was leaving, the Iraqi government began going back on its promise to integrate the fighters we had worked so hard to split from al-Qaeda. After we left the problem only worsened, with Shia forces from the south moved to Sunni areas to keep a lid on Sunni Baathists like Ansar al-Sunnah, al-Qaeda allied groups and Sunnis in general.
These are among the signs that the fighters’ patience is fraying badly at a difficult moment. After months of promises, only 5,000 Awakening members — just over 5 percent — have been given permanent jobs in the Iraqi security forces. Those promises were made last year when Iraq was flush with oil money.
Now with Iraq’s budget battered by falling oil prices, the government is having trouble paying existing employees, much less bringing in Sunni gunmen already regarded with suspicion by the Shiite-led government.
In interviews with leaders from a dozen local Awakening Councils, nearly all complained that full-time jobs were lacking, that pay was in arrears and that members were being arrested despite promises of amnesty.
Perhaps most ominously, many expressed concern this might drive some followers back to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a largely Iraqi group with some foreign leadership, at a time when both Iraqi and American military commanders say that the group seems to be making gains, small but worrisome, around Baghdad.
The complaints are not completely new, as Awakening members bargained for power and cash, but the threat to rejoin the insurgency has grown more fervent as more time has passed without government jobs.
“Until now, promises are all we’ve gotten,” said Adil al-Mashhadani, a leader of the Awakening Council in the Fadhil neighborhood in Baghdad, where 12 of the 180 members have been able to join the police. “When the government does not even pay them enough to stay alive, Qaeda and armed groups are ready to pay them generously.”
The forces that fled Mosul, ditching their equipment and uniforms were most likely NOT the same local forces that General Petraeus trained to keep al-Qaeda from retaking northwest Iraq.
Then Obama's policy debacle in Syria only worsened the problem. But when you think about it that was Bushes policy too, the domino effect, where if Saddam fell then there would be an Arab Spring and many Muslim Nations in the middle east would witness a big giant democracy cakewalk. And it would all be hunky dory.
As we find out on the train, destabilizing the despots in the Middle East is a bad idea. They are there for a reason.
June 10, 2014
Map Definitively Shows al Qaeda Not On the Run
Okay, technically they're no longer part of al Qaeda. In fact what we have here is a group so bloodthirsty that even al Qaeda disavowed them. Controlling large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. So, this isn't exactly proof that Obama lied when he told the American people that "al Qaeda is on the run" because this isn't al Qaeda. It's worse. Much much worse.
But, hey, Obama killed Osama bin Laden. So I guess it's all good.
1k Words on People of Mosul Welcoming Their New Islamist Overlords
That's not a used car lot, those are people trying to get out of Mosul.
Extra Super Good News : al-Qaeda in Iraq (ISIS) Takes Mosul From Iraqi Army
BAGHDAD — Iraqi army soldiers abandoned their weapons and fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday, as Sunni militants seized military bases, police stations and the provincial governor’s headquarters. The rout in Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city after Baghdad and an important oil center, was a major defeat for the government’s forces.Lets see just what did we go through to take Mosul?
By midday, militants believed to belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an extremist group, were in control of much of central and southern Mosul, according to witnesses. Local officials claimed that many of the fighters were jihadists who had swept in from the porous border with neighboring Syria.
As hundreds of families fled Mosul, the bodies of slain soldiers, police officers and civilians were seen lying in streets. “They took control of everything, and they are everywhere,” said one soldier who fled the city, and gave only his first name, Haidar.
Update: An estimated 150 thousand people, mostly Muslims, have fled ISIS for Kurdish ruled areas.
Update: Some video from Mosul.
May 27, 2014
Mass Murder of Muslims in Iraq (by other Muslims because they weren't the right kind of Muslim)
19 in a mosque:
A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Shi'ite mosque in central Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 19 people, security and medical sources said.Four more elsewhere:
A Reuters photographer at the site of the blast in the busy district of Shorja said the mosque's walls were blackened with smoke, blood streaked the ceiling, and prayer mats were strewn around.
Most of the victims were merchants and shopkeepers from the area who had gone to pray. Policeman Abbas Inad told Reuters: “The bomb was so big and stuffed with tiny metal balls to kill as many people as possible."
Elsewhere in the capital, roadside bombs in the Sadr City and Dura districts left two people dead.
Bombings in the main northern city of Mosul killed another two people.
April 29, 2014
Remember when the Left claimed that the US was the CAUSE of violence in Iraq?
Not that every one on the Left made this argument. Some, we'll call them 'realists', made a much more subtle argument that I don't think is in dispute: We weren't responsibly for the mess Iraq had become when we were there, but we were responsible for removing the only thing keeping the lid on it: the harsh thumb of a brutal dictator.
Ok, that's not a terrible argument.
But many others on the Left made the claim that our presence as an "occupying force" was the cause of instability and violence in Iraq. Remove the cause, and the violence is reduced. This kind of argument is neo-Marxist in origin and is very much in line with all neo-Marxist arguments: America is bad, mmmkay.
The thing that differentiates scientific theories from "theories" is that scientific theories are testable. They are falsifiable. If a theory predicts X causes Y, and then it can be empirically shown that X does not in fact cause Y, then that theory is disproven. (Indeed, scientific theories are not "provable" as many believe, but only falsifiable)
So what can we say about the theory that the US "imperialism" was to blame for violence in Iraq?
A pair of back-to-back bombs ripped through an outdoor market northeast of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 42, officials said, the latest spasm of violence to convulse Iraq ahead of parliamentary elections...It's almost like the underlying cause of the violence isn't related to the US at all ...
Earlier Tuesday, the al-Qaida splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for a wave of deadly attacks across Iraq on Monday, including a massive suicide bombing in a Kurdish town northeast of Baghdad that killed at least 25 people.
The bomber in the Monday evening attack in the Kurdish town of Khanaqin in the turbulent Diyala province blew himself up among a group of Kurds who were celebrating the appearance on local TV of Iraq's ailing president, Jalal Talabani, also a Kurd.
January 30, 2014
Meanwhile in Baghdad
Obama said in the State of the Union that he would take the US off of a permanent war footing or out of a permanent state of war.
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ISIS suicide team assaults Iraqi ministry
By BILL ROGGIOJanuary 30, 2014
A suicide assault team likely from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, al Qaeda's branch inside Iraq, killed 24 people after attempting to storm the Transportation Ministry today.
A heavily armed team of six suicide bombers "took a number of hostages .. and killed nine of them inside the building, which was used to receive visiting delegations," Reuters reported. "It was not immediately known where the other eight victims died."
Iraqi security forces responded and killed the suicide assault team in a firefight. At least one policeman was killed while battling the insurgents, the National Iraqi News Agency reported.
While no group has claimed credit for today's attack, the ISIS is currently the only group in Iraq staging suicide assaults of this magnitude in the Iraqi capital. Ansar al Islam (or Ansar al Sunnah), another al Qaeda linked group that operates in Iraq, occasionally deploys suicide bombers against Iraqi security forces and civilian targets, but has yet to claim what the ISIS calls a "storming operation."
I'm cool with that but al-Qaeda apparently didn't get the memo.
January 09, 2014
ISIS: Yeah, We're Murdering Tribal Leaders in Iraq
I think maybe I forgot to mention in that last post about al Qaeda now controlling more actual territory that there is also an actual shooting war going on in Iraq, with ISIS pretty much taking over Fallujah and Ramadi.
And just to remind people that things haven't changed much, here's a pic tweeted just a few hours ago by al Qaeda itself. The caption is "Implementation of the judgment of God on the awakening leader in Salahuddin province".
This isn't even Muslims shooting other Muslims in the back of the head for being the wrong kind of Muslim. Presumably most of the tribal Awakening leaders are themselves Sunnis like al Qaeda, and not Shiites like those in government power.
This is Sunni Islamists murdering other Sunnis because they don't show the appropriate amount of enthusiasm for al Qaeda's "liberation" of Anbar province, aren't the right kind of Islamist, aren't Islamists at all and believe in a more secular governance, or wish to retain tribal power at the expense of al Qaeda's power.
In the end it doesn't matter which. All that matters is that they got on the wrong side of al Qaeda. And no matter how much al Qaeda wishes to refashion themselves as the "Islamic State" of this or that, in the end they are really just a bunch of thugs with a cause and with guns.
I'll remind you that it's al Qaeda themselves putting these photos out. They take great pride in murdering people.
Meanwhile, Iraq's leadership is complaining that we've kind of dropped the ball. Really, ya think?
I'm not saying this is our mess to fix. I'm done with these people. It's a problem, but it's not our problem.
But it would be nice if the media would force Obama to own the consequences of the mess he's made with his policy choices.
January 06, 2014
Meanwhile in Fallujah
I thought Bronco Bamma endeded the war in Iraq, no?
raq’s prime minister on Monday urged residents and tribes of Fallujah to “expel” al-Qaida militants from this western city to avoid an all-out battle — remarks that may signal an imminent military move to retake the former insurgent stronghold.Guess not.
Nouri al-Maliki’s message came as dozens of families were fleeing from Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in fear of a major showdown.
Iraqi government troops have surrounded the city, which lies in the western Sunni-dominated Anbar province and which was overrun by al-Qaida fighters last week.
November 20, 2013
Meanwhile in Baghdad
al-Qaeda set off two car bombs, following yesterday's bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut. The Syrian conflict is escalating very quickly outside of Syria.
A wave of attacks, mostly by car bombs, hit mainly Shiite and commercial areas of Baghdad on Wednesday morning, killing at least 24 people and wounding 87, Iraqi officials said.Its apparent that AQI can now act in co-ordination from Beirut through Syria all the way through to Baghdad.
The bombings were part of a surge in violence that has rocked Iraq over the past months as insurgents seek to thwart the Shiite-led government's efforts to stabilize the country.
November 08, 2013
Meanwhile, Iraq Continues Death Spiral into Post-Apocolyptic Chaos
On the bright side if things continue along the same trajectory my dreams of seeing Thunderdome will finally come true:
Twin suicide car bombings at an Iraqi army base just north of Baghdad killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens more, security and medical officials said. The late-night blasts struck the base in Tarmiyah, a predominantly Sunni Arab town about 45 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital.Of course, I'll have to go to Iraq to watch two men enter, one man leave -- but the bad always comes along with the good. It's a yin-yang thing or something.
November 06, 2013
Iraq Terror Death Toll at 5,500+ in Single Year
Which makes 2013 the worst year in terms of terror attacks since 9/11, possibly ever:
Attacks in Iraq killed 10 people on Tuesday, including eight security personnel, officials said, the latest casualties in a country-wide spike in violence that the government has failed to stem.And by worst year I don't mean in Iraq, I mean in the world. In Syria it's even worse.
Iraq is mired its worst violence since 2008, a surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 5,500 people this year despite several major military operations and tightened security measures.
But, you know, Hopenchange!
October 15, 2013
Iraqi Sunni And Shia Share Traditional Eid Customs
Shias in Iraq Celebrate Eid in Traditional Way by Blowing up Sunni Mosque
A bomb exploded near a mosque in Kirkuk on Tuesday, killing eight Sunni worshippers after the first prayer of the Eid al-Adha. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Eyewitness Ibrahim Mohammed said, "I was on my way home nearby when I heard the explosion. I ran back to see what had happened and there were many killed and wounded people. There is drilling work on one of the mosque pillars and the bomb was placed there".
October 10, 2013
Iraq Executes 42 in 48 hours
You'll have to excuse Reuters' use of quotation marks around "terrorist". Reuters doesn't believe that there are terrorists. But this reminds me of an old joke.
What do you call executing 42 terrorists in Iraq over a two day period? A good start:
Iraq executed 42 people, including a woman, for mass killings and other "terrorism" offences over two days this week, the justice ministry and the United Nations said on Thursday after a surge in sectarian violence....Thanks to Lou
Sixty-eight death sentences were carried out in 2011, according to Amnesty International. The 42 hanged this week amounted to almost a third of the total number the campaign group said were executed in all of 2012.
"The criminals were found guilty of terrorist crimes... (that) led to the deaths of dozens of innocent citizens, as well as other crimes aimed at destabilizing the security and stability of the country and causing chaos and terror among the people," Minister of Justice Hassan al-Shimary said in a statement.
August 28, 2013
Muslims in Iraq Kill 50+ Other Muslims in Iraq for Being the Wrong Kind of Muslims
I worry far more about Iraq falling into total chaos than Syria. Iraq has oil. It's called national interest. Perhaps President Obama should look that phrase up?
A wave of bombings has killed at least 51 people in the Iraqi capital.
The explosions Wednesday hit mainly Shi'ite areas of Baghdad, including the Kazimiyah and Sadr City neighborhoods, leaving at least 140 more people wounded.
August 27, 2013
Meanwhile, in Iraq ....
Attacks killed 11 people in Iraq yesterday, officials said, including six who were snatched from their homes and shot dead, the latest in spiralling violence.Let's do a little historical quasi-experiment in cause and effect.
Before the US invaded: Iraqis were killing each other.
During the US occupation: Iraqis were killing each other and killing Americans
After the US left: Iraqis continue killing each other.
If the goal of US military intervention in the Middle East is to stop these people from killing each other then .... why do we think this is going to work?
July 22, 2013
Awesome News: Mass Jailbreak in Iraq Includes "Senior al Qaeda"
Yes, by all means, continue to discuss the new royal baby. There's nothing else happening in the world worthy of news merit:
Hundreds of convicts, including senior members of al Qaeda, broke out of Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail as comrades launched a military-style assault to free them, authorities said on Monday.If the reports are true, then it was a fairly sophisticated and coordinated attack:
Suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives to the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night and blasted their way into the compound, while gunmen attacked guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.How many escaped? Close to 500. Many of them "senior members of al Qaeda" carrying death sentences.
Other militants took up positions near the main road, fighting off security reinforcements sent from Baghdad as several militants wearing suicide vests entered the prison on foot to help free the inmates.
Naturally it remains to be seen just who escaped and what is meant by "senior" here. Best case scenario: they make their way to Syria, kill a few of Assad's thugs, and then bite the bullet themselves.
But I think one question remains: did they coordinate the jail break to start on the news of that the Duchess of Cambridge had started labor?
Just thought I'd throw that out there for no particular reason.
July 11, 2013
Post US Iraq: Not a Whole Lotta Change
The bad news? People in Iraq continue killing each other:
Militants killed 25 Iraqi security forces in a wave of attacks on Thursday, and 15 other people died in other attacks including 10 mourners in twin bombings, officials said.The good news? Not a single US soldier was killed in the violence.
The latest attacks come as Iraq witnesses a surge in violence that has killed more than 2,500 people already this year, including over 240 so far this month.
Analysts point to widespread discontent among Iraq's minority Sunni community, and the failure of the Shia authorities to address their grievances, as the main factors driving the increase in violence.
When I say Iraq was a success, I don't mean to convey the notion that by "success" I mean we turned it into post-war Germany or Japan. No, by success I mean that we successfully defeated one of the world's largest standing armies in a matter of weeks, successfully set up a central government, successfully defeated an insurgency which threatened that government, and then successfully left that government able and willing to fight future threats themselves.
I think anything more than that was just wishful thinking. So, yes, Iraq was a success. And it's not nearly in Iran's pocket as a lot of people are being led to believe.
It's ironic how this has all turned out, isn't it? That the "bad" "unwinnable" war in Iraq turned out so well, while the "good" and "winnable (?)" war in Afghanistan is probably going to end up .... well ... not so great.
So, what is the best case scenario for a post-ISAF Afghanistan? That's a real question.
March 05, 2013
Things Not Looking So Great in Iraq
I think that it would be wise to remember that the movement toward democracy in the Muslim Middle East began with the invasion of Iraq. For all the talk of the "Arab Spring", it was preceded by the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and the failed Green Revolution in Iran. Both, in turn, were spurred by Iraq's forced democratization.
To be honest, I don't know how democratization is going to turn out in the Middle East. Some of my friends who are experts in third-world development assure me that what is going on in the Middle East is quite common to all developing nation-states. That after several decades of fits and starts that they will get it right in the end. They see the fall of dictatorships as a good thing.
I hope they're right, but I don't think they are. The near term evidence seems to suggest that my pessimism is warranted:
A local leader of anti-Al Qaeda militiamen was shot dead Tuesday in western Baghdad, one of four people killed in violence in different parts of Iraq, officials said.Perhaps there's a longer view here in which Muslim countries in the Middle East learn to reconcile competing versions of Islam and the state, but I just don't see that happening any time soon.
The pro-government militiamen, known as the Sahwa group, joined forces with U.S. troops to fight Al Qaeda during the Iraq war. Since then, the group has been a target for Sunni insurgents who consider its members to be traitors.
February 12, 2013
Iraq: What Is With Cross-dressing Terrorists?
The Iraqi police on Tuesday (February 12th) arrested three men wanted by the judiciary on terrorism charges in the Ur neighbourhood, eastern Baghdad.Omar, how many times did Muhammed tell you not to wear a short burkah?
Busted again and again and again.
January 30, 2013
Cornhole Watch: Two Iraqis Sentenced in Kentucky
Q: At what point does the watch out for the cornhole quote get less funny? A: Never:
Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 25, received his [life] sentence hours after Waad Ramadan Alwan was given a lesser sentence...Thanks to The Realist of Queensland for the image.
The two men were arrested in May 2011 and pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to help al-Qaeda in Iraq.
They admitted using improvised explosive devices against US soldiers in Iraq were also accused of plotting to send weapons and money to the organisation.
January 13, 2013
How the Muslim Brotherhood is Trying to Take Over Iraq
Alternate title: Arab Spring Is Coming To Iraq
The Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt and it’s the official rebel Syrian government, as determined by Qatar, France and Obama. Muslim Brotherhood protests are mounting in Jordan and the Muslim Brotherhood is a definite player in Libya’s future.Thanks bronco bama!
But Iraq remains an obvious and gaping hole in their map of the region. Perhaps not for long.
This sucks the suckiest of all.