Monday, April 10, 2017

Lee Grant

Lee Grant.

She's an incredible actress and a great director.

I think STAYING TOGETHER is one of the most underrated 80s film (she directed it).

Here's an interesting article on her.

She was a guest once, on THE MAJORITY REPORT (Janeane Garofalo's radio show) and I was seriously disappointed.

But then I remembered that someone blacklisted who survives doesn't emerge brave so much as they emerge desperate to fit in and never be on the outs again.

Her best performance is SHAMPOO (and she won the Academy Award for that film).  After that?  THE LANDLORD.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, April 10, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, Kirkuk moves closer to resolution, and much more.

Iraqi lawmakers move to impeach over flag controversy

This morning, RUDAW reports:

At least 100 Iraqi lawmakers have now signed a petition that calls for the parliament to impeach and possibly remove Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim from his post after raising the Kurdistani flag in the contested province, several MPs have told Rudaw. 

The move follows Karim’s polarising decision in March to hoist the Kurdistani flag at government buildings alongside the Iraqi national flag, setting off a bitter row at the multi-ethnic Provincial Council, with some Turkmen and Arab members furiously opposing the decision.

The Turkmen and Arab provincial lawmakers have threatened to bring the case to the Supreme Court in Baghdad which is the highest judiciary office in Iraq and could reverse the decision. 

“We have so far the signatures of around 100 MPs to remove the governor,” Abdulhadi Muhan, a Shiite lawmaker from the State of the Law Coalition told Rudaw. 
State Of Law -- wherever there's trouble in Iraq, there's Nouri al-Maliki (he created the State of Law coalition to avoid answering to his political party Dawa).
There are 328 members of Parliament.
There are also rules and nothing has met the rules (read on into the article).
So what's going on?
Kirkuk is oil rich.  
The central-government out of Baghdad claims it as does the Kurdistan Regional Government which makes up northern Iraq.
If only there was some way to resolve this issue?
Oh, wait, the 2005 Constitution of Iraq explained, in Article 140, just how to resolve the issue:
Article 140 of Iraq's Constitution is rather straightforward on oil-rich Kirkuk:

The responsibility placed upon the executive branch of the Iraqi Transitional Government stipulated in Article 58 of the Transitional Administrative Law shall extend and continue to the executive authority elected in accordance with this Constitution, provided that it accomplishes completely (normalization and census and concludes with a referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed territories to determine the will of their citizens), by a date not to exceed the 31st of December 2007.   
But the US indulged their various puppets who ignored Article 140.
The US has a long, long history of backstabbing the Kurds.
The very beginning of the relationship was documented by the US Congress in the Pike Report which the Congress quickly decided not to publish.  But the report was leaked to the press and, February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers."  Latham explained:

In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah.  Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program.  Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail.  They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq].  The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting.  Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds.  And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."

That is the root and start of a relationship where the US government repeatedly used and misled the Kurdish people and repeatedly lied and broke promises.
It has continued all this time -- most recently with The Erbil Agreement which then-US president Barack Obama had negotiated and insisted had the full backing of the US government . . . until he decided to act like it never existed.
Let's drop back to the July 26, 2011 snapshot:

Of greater interest to us (and something's no one's reported on) is the RAND Corporation's  report entitled "Managing Arab-Kurd Tensions in Northern Iraq After the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops."  The 22-page report, authored by Larry Hanauer, Jeffrey Martini and Omar al-Shahery, markets "CBMs" -- "confidence-building measures" -- while arguing this is the answer.  If it strikes you as dangerously simplistic and requiring the the Kurdish region exist in a vacuum where nothing else happens, you may have read the already read the report.  CBMs may strike some as what the US military was engaged in after the Iraqi forces from the central government and the Kurdish peshmerga were constantly at one another's throats and the US military entered into a patrol program with the two where they acted as buffer or marriage counselor.  (And the report admits CBMs are based on that.)  Sunday Prashant Rao (AFP) reported US Col Michael Bowers has announced that, on August 1st, the US military will no longer be patrolling in northern Iraq with the Kurdish forces and forces controlled by Baghdad. That took years.  And had outside actors.  The authors acknowledge:
Continuing to contain Arab-Kurd tensions will require a neutral third-party arbitrator that can facilitate local CMBs, push for national-level negotiations, and prevent armed conflict between Iraqi and Kurdish troops.  While U.S. civilian entities could help implement CMBs and mediate political talks, the continued presence of U.S. military forces within the disputed internal boundaries would be the most effective way to prevent violent conflict between Arabs and Kurds.
As you read over the report, you may be struck by its failure to state the obvious: If the US government really wanted the issue solved, it would have been solved in the early years of the illegal war.  They don't want it solved.  The Kurds have been the most loyal ally the US has had in the country and, due to that, they don't want to upset them.  However, they're not going to pay back the loyalty with actual support, not when there's so much oil at stake.  So the Kurds were and will continue to be told their interests matter but the US will continue to blow the Kurdish issues off over and over.  Greed trumps loyalty is the message.  (If you doubt it, the Constitution guaranteed a census and referendum on Kirkuk by December 31, 2007.  Not only did the US government install Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister in 2006, they continued to back him for a second term in 2010 despite his failure to follow the Constitution.)
Along with avoiding that reality, the report seems rather small-minded or, at least, "niche driven."  Again, the authors acknowledge that as well noting that they're not presenting a solution to the problems or ways to reach a solution, just ways to kick the can further down the road and, hopefully, there won't be an explosion that forces the issue any time soon. ("Regional and local CBMs have the potential to keep a lid on inter-communal tensions that will, without question, boil beneath the surface for a long time.  They cannot, however, resolve what is, at its heart, a strategic political dispute that must be resolved at the national level.") Hopefully? Page nine of the report notes that the consensus of US military, officials, analysts, etc. who have worked on the issue is that -- "given enough time -- Arab and Kurdish participants will eventually have a dispute that leads to violence, which will cause the mechanism to degrade or collapse."
The report notes that, in late 2009, Gen Ray Odierno (top US commander in Iraq at that point) had declared the tensions between Arabs and Kurds to be "the greatest single driver of instability in Iraq."  It doesn't note how the US Ambassador to Iraq when Odierno made those remarks was Chris Hill who dismissed talk of tensions as well as the issue of the oil rich and disputed Kirkuk.
The authors argue that the unresolved issues could still be solved (and "civil war is not imminent") but that "the window is quickly closing".  So what's the problem?  The authors explain:
The issues that divide Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, and other minorities in northern Iraq mirror the nation's most complex and contentious political challenges: disputed internal boundaries (which must be settled in order to determine the territorial boundaires of the Kurdistan region), the lack of clarity regarding control over Iraq's hydrocarbons, and the need to professionalize and integrate Iraq's military and police.  More locally, Arab-Kurd disputes extend to the sharing of power on local governing bodies, the ethnic composition of local police, rights to previously seized or abandoned property, the jurisidiction and condut of Kurdish security and intelligence services, and protections for minority rights.
If the US military leaves can the US State Dept fill the role?  While the authors note that the State Dept is interested in doing that and might be able to grab some roles, "U.S. diplomats would be ill-suited to join Kurdish and Iraqi security forces on armed patrols or at checkpoints, where disagreements on operations and tactics are more likely to lead to violence." The authors think the United Nations might be able to play a role in the CBMs but acknowledges that in June of 2009, UNAMI was uanble to please either side.
The issue has never been resolved.
It's always been considered political dynamite.
The Kurds are smart to push it now (a) when they have more power than they sometimes do (the peshmerga have been more important to security gains in Nineveh Province than the Iraqi forces) and (b) while the US government's focus is elsewhere -- the US government and its fan club which tries to pose as an independent press.

Intifadh Qanbar: Abadi is a weak man who gives false promises, in Washington ,he talks about dissolution of Hashd...

The Mosul Slog continues.

Let's start with some good news from Mosul.  THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD reports:

Animal welfare activists have managed to remove a lion and a bear who found themselves stuck in a zoo in war-torn Iraq.
A New Zealand cameraman, Anton Leach, is among the group that helped to get Simba and Lula safely out of the Mosul zoo and the city.
In a Facebook post put up yesterday, animal welfare charity FOUR Paws International shared the good news that its members had finally got the animals out.

"We did it! Lula and Simba are at a safe place outside of Mosul.

Day 174 of The Mosul Slog and that's about all that can be praised.

And the refugee crisis is not helping.

The World Food Program notes today:

BAGHDAD – More than half of Iraqi families are at risk of food insecurity and can no longer absorb any further shocks such as conflict or increases in basic food prices, a joint WFP-Iraqi Government food security report said today.
The report, one of the most robust technical food security studies ever conducted in Iraq, warns of unprecedented levels of vulnerability and provides key recommendations to avoid a hunger crisis in the country.
“The Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis should guide the work of the government, policy makers, and humanitarians across the country to improve the food security and nutrition status of every Iraqi so that no one is left behind,” said Sally Haydock, WFP Representative and Country Director in Iraq.
The study, which was conducted prior to the recent offensive in Mosul and does not capture the food security situation among people fleeing these conflict areas, found that 2.5 percent of Iraqis are already food insecure – a level of need that requires support. Almost 75 percent of children under the age of 15 are working to help their families to put food on the table rather than going to school.
Data collection was conducted hand-in-hand with the Government of Iraq and concluded in 2016. More than 20,000 Iraqi families were surveyed in urban and rural areas, including people who were internally displaced and those living in their homes.
The analysis found that 53 percent of residents and 66 percent of internally displaced people are vulnerable to food insecurity. The prevalence of food insecurity was twice as high among internally displaced families compared to those remaining in their homes. The highest concentration of food insecure families was found in the southern portion of the country, particularly in northern Muthanna and portions of Salah al-Deen.
The recommendations of the study, focused on improving nutrition awareness, access to education, especially for girls, social safety nets and livelihoods in rural areas, will be used by WFP and the Government of Iraq to work towards the objective of achieving the Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal and will provide the basis for five to ten years of strategic development planning.
WFP has been operating in Iraq since 1968, providing emergency food assistance during crises as well as investing in development such as school meals, nutrition support for babies, pregnant and nursing mothers, tree planting, and assisting the government with technical capacity building and reform of the Public Distribution System.
Since June 2014, more than three million Iraqis have been displaced by conflict. In coordination with the government, WFP provides monthly food assistance to 1.5 million of the most vulnerable displaced people in all 18 governorates through a cash assistance programme and monthly family rations.
WFP urgently requires US$113 million to provide full monthly food rations and cash-based assistance to cover the needs of 1.5 million vulnerable Iraqis until the end of September 2017.
#                              #                                 #
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @wfp_mena

For more information please contact (email address:
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 66634352
Dina El-Kassaby, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 15218882
Peter Smerdon, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 2150, Mob. +39 342 878 4107
Bettina Luescher, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 842 8057
Gerald Bourke, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 525 9982

Every day the Iraq War drags on.

Every day.

Every day, someone else dies.

Every day is anniversary of a death.

One son notes his father's death today on Twitter.

Replying to 
Not many Shia like to remember this as the blood spilt that day in Najaf remains an awkward inconvenience. Killers not Sunnis or Baathists.

14 years ago today, my father was slaughtered beside the holy shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf by Shia militiamen who now want to reform Iraq.

Ranj Alaaldin Retweeted Hayder al-Khoei
Patriot & democrat.Iraq would have otherwise been in much better shape.His murder was met with shameful silence from Shia elites & community
Ranj Alaaldin added,

Luay al-Khatteeb Retweeted Hayder al-Khoei
When my father learned of al-Khoei's entry to Najaf, he said: he will not last long if not careful, it's not the same place he left in 1990s
Luay al-Khatteeb added,

Replying to 
Though this is a novel, it's based on the murder in Najaf and cover-up that continues to this day. Highly recommend:

Replying to 
He is a Martyr and a great man that could have done so many things to Iraqi youths. The legacy of the Al-Khoei family will continue to live.

Today marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Sayed Abdul Majid al-Khoei in I still remember 10th April 2003 like it was yesterday.

Dylan O'Driscoll Retweeted Hayder al-Khoei
I am truly sorry for your loss , Iraq needs people like him today. I hope one day you have a role to play in reform.
Dylan O'Driscoll added,

10 Apr 14th anniv. of assassination of Sayed Abdul Majid Al-Khoei. Photo: Al-Khoei laying the cornerstone of our Pak branch (Al-Kauthar Uni)

Maitham Alfaisal Retweeted منتظر العمري
ذكرى اغتيال السيد عبد المجيد الخوئي على يد المطالبين بالأصلاح اليوم
Maitham Alfaisal added,

May Allah grant him a high maqam in Jannah with Ahlul Bayt. Sincere condolences from a Sunni brother. May Allah grant us unity. Ameen.

| 10/4 ذكرى أغتيال السيد عبد المجيد الخوئي ابن زعيم الحوزة العلمية السيد ابو القاسم الخوئي بعد عودته من المنفى إلى .

Mina Al-Oraibi Retweeted Hayder al-Khoei
May he rest in peace... Iraq lost a great man and leader that horrid day
Mina Al-Oraibi added,

شهادةللتاريخ الشهيد عبد المجيد الخوئي رحمه الله كان من الداعمين والمؤيدين لذكر اسم الايزيدية في الدستور العراقي بمؤتمر لندن قبيل سقوط النظام

Let's move over to Syria.

Replying to 
Matt Stoller Retweeted NewsJunkie
Just to clarify, I think this is right. Lots of reasons for Syrians to oppose Assad. Bad drought compounded them.
Matt Stoller added,

First, applause for Matt Stoller for refusing to pound the war drums.  He's been vocal on his Twitter and deserves praise.

That said, "Lots of reasons for Syrians to oppose Assad"?

You're oversimplifying based upon western media.

Yes, some Syrians are opposed to Bashar al-Assad.

But, also true, some Syrians support Bashar al-Assad.

The War Hags like Christiane Amanpour have 'reported' on Syria for years now but failed to note that reality.

Matt Stoller may have rushed to reply to a Tweet, or he may not be aware of that reality.

Regardless, there is great support for Bashar al-Assad among some Syrians (probably at least half the country's population).

Let's note two members of Congress.

First, US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:

Tulsi Gabbard Retweeted Hawaii News Now
The Syrian people have suffered for too long. Regime change trumpeted by the WH has devastating unintended consequences.
Tulsi Gabbard added,

Establishment: Resist, resist, resist! Except when it comes to waging war on Syria.

Tulsi's being insulted by Neera Tandem.

Which shocked me because I'd not seen Neera on TV before and didn't realize I knew her.

She's rude and she's arrogant and throws fits.

And I'm referring to at salons.

That's how I know her.

Neera is an ugly woman -- who speaks like an airhead.  Her hair?  There is nothing anyone can do with it but she will scream and shriek and play the diva -- the whole time those jowls will waddle.  For someone so vain and obsessed with her appearance, you'd think she would have had those pockets of fat below the corners of her mouth removed.

Neera was on TV trashing Tulsi and all I could remember was (a) how hateful I've seen her be and (b) how she smells.

Neera wants war on Syria because a higher power made her smelly and unattractive (similar to John McCain's reasons, in fact).

She's an idiot who should stick to writing because that Minnie Mouse on helium voice is laughable -- especially when she's screaming vulgar curse words at some hair dresser.

Okay, let's go to the Senate, here's Senator Rand Paul.

Rand Paul: Syria strikes 'not in the national interest'

Rand Paul: The "Stupidity" Of The McCains Of The World Hinders Solution In Syria | Video | RealClearPolitics

Trump's dangerous expansion of executive war powers

ANTIWAR.COM's Justin Raimondo supported Donald Trump in the presidential election and has this to say regarding the attack on Syria:

Betrayal is a painful experience: it is also a useful one. Physical pain is the body telling us that there’s something in the environment that must be avoided: psychic pain plays the same instructive role. As Trump’s supporters process what is undoubtedly a painful experience for them, they will realize how and why it happened – and with a little help from, the best of them will come to understand how to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
The post-Trump political landscape is far better for anti-interventionists than it was before the orange-haired real estate mogul came on the scene: there now exists a considerable faction within the GOP and its periphery that not only supports an anti-interventionist foreign policy but is also in open rebellion against the policies of the President they helped elect. They are sorely disappointed, but they are also angry – and energized. Because anger, after all – anger at injustice – is the primary motivating factor in politics, and never more so than at this moment in our history.

I think that's a wise response and it's certainly wasn't offered by any Barack Obama voter -- in fact, The Cult of St. Barack would have you believe that The Big O was a peacenik.  Good for Justin.  He's a grown up.  He's mature enough to vote for someone but still call them out when they are wrong.

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