Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Situation in Falluja Is Becoming More Dire

Several Iraqi civilians fleeing fighting in the city of Fallujah have drowned in the Euphrates River while attempting to cross to safety into government-controlled areas.

Thousands of civilians are caught in the crossfire in and around Fallujah, controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group, as government forces and allied militias are trying to recapture the city.


There are up 50,000 people still stuck in the centre of Fallujah struggling with dwindling water and food supplies.

No aid has reached Fallujah since September last year and residents have been living on dates, dirty water from the Euphrates river and animal feed, aid groups said.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Poor Falluja

Al Jazeera is certain we have forgotten about Falluja, so explains to us where it is. They are probably right.

The United Nations and humanitarian organisations are concerned over the fate of some 50,000 civilians trapped in Fallujah, a town situated west of Baghdad and the site of an Iraqi army offensive.


Fallujah became in January 2014 the first Iraqi city to be captured by ISIL, six months before the group declared its caliphate.

The city on the Euphrates River had a prewar population of about 300,000. Known as the City of Minarets and Mother of Mosques, it was badly damaged in two assaults by the US army against suspected al-Qaeda fighters in 2004.


"People basically are surviving on dried dates and water from the river," Abdulla said. "The only things these families managed to take with them were the clothes they're wearing and their IDs."

Abdulla explained that the few families who did escape the town in Anbar province had to traverse around 30km by foot and pass numerous checkpoints in order to reach safety.

Although the offensive was launched on Monday, Iraqi government forces have besieged the city and its suburbs for several months now, resulting in shortages of food and medicines.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Criticism of 'American Sniper'

This time, not from a philosophical point of view:






Oh, come on dude.  We all know Saddam Hussein crashed the Twin Towers.  D'uh!  Get over it, traitor.

Important points in there I had not even come across before.  Or if I had, I've forgotten them.

 Read the whole Storify here:

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

American Sniper

Here's an account from a soldier who served with Chris Kyle, the "hero" of American Sniper.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Creation of the Monster: It's STILL About the Oil

According to a little-known November report for the US Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) and Strategic Studies Department, Dividing Our Enemies, post-invasion Iraq was “an interesting case study of fanning discontent among enemies, leading to ‘red-against-red’ [enemy-against-enemy] firefights.”

The US military operation in Fallujah, largely justified on the claim that Zarqawi’s militant forces had occupied the city, used white phosphorous, cluster bombs, and indiscriminate air strikes to pulverise 36,000 of Fallujah’s 50,000 homes, killing nearly a thousand civilians, terrorising 300,000 inhabitants to flee, and culminating in a disproportionate increase in birth defects, cancer and infant mortality due to the devastating environmental consequences of the war.

”[T]his underside of the counterinsurgency coin is calculated to exploit or create divisions among adversaries for the purpose of fomenting enemy-on-enemy deadly encounters.”
The JSOU report referred to events in late 2004 in Fallujah where “US psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists” undertook to “set insurgents battling insurgents.” This involved actually promoting Zarqawi’s ideology, ironically, to defeat it: “The PSYOP warriors crafted programs to exploit Zarqawi’s murderous activities – and to disseminate them through meetings, radio and television broadcasts, handouts, newspaper stories, political cartoons, and posters – thereby diminishing his folk-hero image,” and encouraging the different factions to pick each other off. “By tapping into the Fallujans’ revulsion and antagonism to the Zarqawi jihadis the Joint PSYOP Task Force did its ‘best to foster a rift between Sunni groups.’”


To this day, Fallujah has suffered from being largely cut-off from wider Iraq, its infrastructure largely unworkable with water and sewage systems still in disrepair, and its citizens subject to sectarian discrimination and persecution by Iraqi government backed Shi’a militia and police. “Thousands of bereaved and homeless Falluja families have a new reason to hate the US and its allies,” observed The Guardian in 2005. Thus, did the US occupation plant the seeds from which Zarqawi’s legacy would coalesce into the Frankenstein monster that calls itself “the Islamic State.”


Leaked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor, including notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials, confirmed that as of 2011, US and UK special forces training of Syrian opposition forces was well underway. The goal was to elicit the “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.”


The empowerment of the Islamist factions within the ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) was a foregone conclusion of the strategy.

  MintPress News
Beyond the chaos that could have been (and no doubt was) foreseen in this strategy, according to this article…
The State Department even hired an al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan militia group to provide security for the US embassy in Benghazi – although they had links with the very people that attacked the embassy.

Last year, CNN confirmed that CIA officials operating secretly out of the Benghazi embassy were being forced to take extra polygraph tests to keep under wraps what US Congressman suspect was a covert operation “to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.”


CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, other reports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS.


Classified assessments of the military assistance supplied by US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar obtained by the New York Times showed that “most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups… are going to hardline Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”


In August, Debkafile [an Israeli military intelligence website] reported that “The US, Jordan and Israel are quietly backing the mixed bag of some 30 Syrian rebel factions”, some of which had just “seized control of the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, the only transit point between Israeli and Syrian Golan.” However, Debkafile noted, “al-Qaeda elements have permeated all those factions.” Israel has provided limited support to these rebels in the form of “medical care,” as well as “arms, intelligence and food.


This support also went to ISIS.


In mid-2013, the Obama administration intensified its support to the rebels with a new classified executive order reversing its previous policy limiting US direct support to only nonlethal equipment. As before, the order would aim to supply weapons strictly to “moderate” forces in the FSA [Free Syrian Army].
As if anyone actually believes that to be possible.
The US government keeps track of rebels receiving assistance purely through “handwritten receipts provided by rebel commanders in the field,” and the judgement of its allies.


[P]rivately, Pentagon officials estimate that “more than 50%” of the FSA is comprised of Islamist extremists, and according to rebel sources neither FSA chief Gen Salim Idris nor his senior aides engage in much vetting, decisions about which are made typically by local commanders.
And, IS now has control over some oil fields in Iraq and is selling it through Turkey, and reportedly, Kurdistan. And, before you make a joke about how we will soon be buying oil from IS, it’s no joke.
Early last month, a tanker carrying over a million barrels in crude oil from northern Iraq’s Kurdish region arrived at the Texas Gulf of Mexico. The oil had been refined in the Iraqi Kurdish region before being pumped through a new pipeline from the KRG area ending up at Ceyhan, Turkey, where it was then loaded onto the tanker for shipping to the US. Baghdad’s efforts to stop the oil sale on the basis of its having national jurisdiction were rebuffed by American courts.

In early September, the European Union’s ambassador to Iraq, Jana Hybášková, told the EU Foreign Affairs Committee that “several EU member states have bought oil from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist organisation that has been brutally conquering large portions of Iraq and Syria,” according to Israel National News. She however “refused to divulge the names of the countries despite being asked numerous times.”


In May, Reuters revealed that Israeli and US oil refineries had been regularly purchasing and importing KRG’s disputed oil.
Yes, ExxonMobil and Chevron have been drilling under KRG contracts.
No wonder Steve Coll writes in the New Yorker that Obama’s air strikes and arms supplies to the Kurds – notably not to Baghdad – effectively amount to “the defense of an undeclared Kurdish oil state whose sources of geopolitical appeal – as a long-term, non-Russian supplier of oil and gas to Europe, for example – are best not spoken of in polite or naïve company.”


White House officials now estimate that the fight against the region’s ‘Islamic State’ will last years, and may outlive the Obama administration.
How very lucky for the US “defense” industry.

Of course, that assumes no nuclear holocaust, which may not be a well-founded assumption.
But this ‘long war’ vision goes back to nebulous ideas formally presented [in 1996] by late RAND Corp analyst Laurent Muraweic before the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board at the invitation of then chairman Richard Perle. That presentation described Iraq as a “tactical pivot” by which to transform the wider Middle East.


The 2002 Perle-RAND plan was active in the Bush administration’s strategic thinking on Iraq shortly before the 2003 war.
Yes, the Project for a New American Century. We haven’t forgotten.
The policy paper advocated a strategy that bears startling resemblance to the chaos unfolding in the wake of the expansion of the ‘Islamic State’ – Israel would “shape its strategic environment” by first securing the removal of Saddam Hussein. “Jordan and Turkey would form an axis along with Israel to weaken and ‘roll back’ Syria.” This axis would attempt to weaken the influence of Lebanon, Syria and Iran by “weaning” off their Shi’ite populations.


In 2008, the strategy re-surfaced – once again via RAND Corp – through a report funded by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command on how to prosecute the ‘long war.’


One way or another, some semblance of this plan is in motion.
Right on target.

More and more it looks like the "election" of Barack Obama was just part of the plan...who could they put in place to pacify the growing liberal resistance to Bush but who would in actuality speed the Project on its way?


Iraq lost contact with soldiers during an operation Sunday aimed at rescuing a battalion that was repeatedly attacked by militants near the city of Fallujah, the defence ministry said.


"Forces from the interior and defence ministries, counter-terrorism forces and volunteers are advancing to clear the Al-Sijr area," Iraqi military spokesman Qassem Atta told AFP earlier on Sunday, referring to an area near Fallujah, west of Baghdad.

He said the operation was backed by US air support, without elaborating.

The strikes in Syria begin after six weeks of U.S. airstrikes have failed to significantly alter the landscape in Iraq, where the Islamic State has claimed vast swaths of territory. On Monday, reports emerged that dozens and potentially hundreds of Iraqi soldiers had been killed after militants overran a base north of Fallujah. An Iraqi lawmaker told The New York Times more than 300 soldiers died after the loss of Camp Saqlawiya.

  Democracy Now!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Back in Falluja

Iraqi militants have captured a dam just south of the city of Fallujah, in order to strategically flood selected parts of the valley and stall the advance of security forces, which have been shelling the city since its seizure by insurgents last year.

One week ago, militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) flooded the area around the city with the waters of the Euphrates by closing all of the dam’s 10 gates to stop the government forces’ siege of Fallujah.