Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Guillame has passed away and other bad news

That's Taylor Swift doing "Shake It Off."

Not a big Taylor fan, not a Taylor hater at all.

But that song came to mind, "Shake it off."

What am I talking about?

Sometimes I don't blog because I don't have the time or I might have a killer migraine.  (If it's the latter, it's turn off the cell phone, turn off everything but a fan to drown out street noise -- that still comes through even when the windows are all closed -- and turn off all the lights and just lay down and try to deal with the pain.)

But yesterday?

I just wasn't in the mood for it.


I'm doing a light blog.

I'm happy to repost the Iraq snapshot in full.  We all do that because Iraq does not get the attention from our western media that it needs.  Community member Keesha came up with the idea of reposting and noted that by doing so, we could say we covered Iraq in our posts too.

But for what I write?

I'm doing light stuff.

I'll bring up racism and sexism in a movie or TV portrayal.

But it's light.

And these days it's just not light.

These days, it's assault and rape.

All the time.

I don't get why Hollywood can't pull their s**t together and grasp that they need to address this seriously.

They need to form some sort of group or oversight body.

It's not enough to say, "I condemn Harvey Weinstein" or whomever.

It isn't just one person or one group of people.

It's got to be addressed.

Anyway, Robert Guillaume has died.

I'm sorry but BENSON is one of the really bad sitcoms that makes you not want to watch sitcoms.

That's the writing, not Guillame.

I prefer what they have his character do on SOAP (BENSON is a spin-off fro SOAP).

He was also Rafiki so LION KING fans, grasp that we lost a really talented actor.

I feel bad for trashing BENSON but that show sucked.

Oh, is the little white girls in pig tails having trouble in school or needs Daddy the governor to go to her school for a day?

And the assistants -- male and female -- were hideous.

It was a dumb show written by writers who must have thought we were all idiots.

SOAP had humor and bite.

The only episode of BENSON I would ever watch again would be the one where Gladys Knight and the Pips were on.  (I think they performed "Save The Overtime for Me.")

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Tuesday, October 24, 2017.  A US official warns civil war might break out in Iraq but is that happening already?

Saagar Enjeti (DAILY CALLER) quotes Leon Panetta stating, "If the Iraqis keep going after the Kurds we'll have another civil war on our hands."

Leon Panetta has served in the US Army, the US Congress, held the position of Director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense.  (As noted before, I've known Leon for years.)

Let's repeat, "If the Iraqis keep going after the Kurds we'll have another civil war on our hands."

It's already begun.

This morning, Amnesty International released "Iraq: Fresh evidence that tens of thousands forced to flee Tuz Khurmatu amid indiscriminate attacks, lootings and arson:"

  • Lootings, arson and house demolition targeted predominantly Kurdish areas
  • At least 11 civilians killed by indiscriminate attacks
  • Tens of thousands now displaced afraid to go back home
  • Amnesty team analysed satellite imagery, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies
Satellite images, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies collected by Amnesty International show that civilians were forced to flee their homes after fierce clashes erupted between Iraqi government forces, supported by the Popular Mobilization Units, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq’s multi-ethnic city of Tuz Khurmatu on 16 October 2017.
Residents reported that at least 11 civilians were killed by indiscriminate attacks, while hundreds of properties were looted, set on fire and destroyed in what appears to be a targeted attack on predominantly Kurdish areas of the city.
“Within hours the lives of countless men, women and children were devastated in Tuz Khurmatu. Thousands have lost their homes, shops and everything they owned. They are now scattered in nearby camps, villages and cities, wondering whether they will ever be able to return,” said Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle East at Amnesty International.
“The Iraqi authorities already stated they would not tolerate any attacks against civilians, and would hold perpetrators accountable. They must now put word to action, and promptly initiate impartial investigations into these violations. Victims must receive full reparation and those responsible held to account.”
Between 18 and 23 October, Amnesty International interviewed 42 displaced residents of Tuz Khurmatu, conducted analysis of satellite imagery of the city and analyzed and authenticated photos and videos provided by residents showing damage to homes and other civilian property caused by arson and looting.

Tuz Khurmatu residents told Amnesty International that heavy clashes broke out after midnight on 16 October. Most of the civilians interviewed reported that they fled the city between 2am and 6am as a result of the fighting. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) informed Amnesty International that nearly 35,000 civilians have fled Tuz Khurmatu since 16 October.         
“Hameed”, a 68-year-old man, told Amnesty International that on 19 October he travelled from Zinana, the village to which he had fled on 16 October, to Tuz Khurmatu to check on his house, which is located near Sitar Mosque in al-Jumhuriya neighbourhood. He described what he saw:
“When I got to my house, I saw that the door was broken, and the TV and the refrigerator were burned…When I went in, I realized my house was still on fire…We went to my son’s room, and it was like a pressure cooker inside. I fell over from the shock of the heat, and I almost fainted. My house was beautiful - it had two storeys. I loved that house. I kept trying to put out the fire, but finally my nephew said, ‘Uncle, we have to go - it’s not safe for us here’.”
“Sangar” returned briefly to the city to check on his house. He told Amnesty International: “I was creeping through the city, trying to avoid seeing anyone…The market in al-Jumhuriya was completely burned out. And I saw some houses that had been exploded. They were completely collapsed. My house was burned, too…It looked like 90% of the buildings in al-Jumhuirya were burned.”
Witnesses reported receiving threatening messages or phone calls from their Turkmen neighbors. Those who had returned briefly to the city reported seeing extensive damage to homes in al-Jumhuriya and Hai Jamila, both Kurdish-majority neighbourhoods. Amnesty International authenticated photos and videos it received from witnesses showing the damage caused to civilian homes and property by looting and arson in Tuz Khumatu.
Residents who are still in the city, as well as others who fled and then attempted to return, described how Iraqi government forces, as well members of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Turkmen fighters and Turkmen civilians engaged in rampant arson, looting and demolition of civilian homes.
I cant describe what I saw. There is so much destruction - you cant even imagine this was a city.” Zargos
Burning, looting, and house demolitions                                                  
According to “Sarhang”, who stayed in al-Jumhuriya neighbourhood until 6pm on 16 October: “More than 100 people on motorcycles were riding around the neighborhood…They knew the houses [and entered them] one by one. They took anything valuable or worth something. Then they set fire to a blanket and threw it into the house. The fire is [then] lit, and the whole house catches fire. They leave it to burn. I saw trucks and lorries [driven by] the PMU and Turkmen. The Turkmen are PMU anyway. They would take kitchen counters, fridges, stoves - whatever they can.”

Residents also mentioned the history of clashes and revenge attacks between Kurdish and Shi’a Turkmen residents of Tuz Khurmatu. In a chilling example of the tension between the two groups, “Sherine” a resident of al-Jumhuriya neighborhood told Amnesty International that on 15 October, her Turkmen neighbour saw her buying plates and pots in the market. She told her: “Keep buying. I want Kurds to buy things, because in the end it will be left behind for me.”
 Indiscriminate attacks 
Tuz Khurmatu residents reported that the weapons used in the densely populated city included mortars, RPGs, DShk heavy machine guns and Kalashnikov assault rifles. Civilians interviewed by Amnesty International were unable to determine whether the attacks they experienced were attributable to Kurdish or Iraqi government forces; however, in several of the cases documented by Amnesty International, the indiscriminate fire was launched into crowds of Kurdish residents fleeing the city. 
According to “Sherine”: 
“One [mortar] fell very close to our front door. It was about 2am and very dark. The children started screaming and I screamed too. I didn’t take anything. I’m still wearing the same dress as I wore that night. It’s so filthy, but what can I do? I don’t know how I managed to get the children into the car. Everyone was on the street. People were running and in their cars. It was so dusty. The mortars kept coming. We heard the Peshmerga were running away, and that really frightened us. We drove into the emptiness and didn’t stop until Qala Dawoodi [a village about 12km from Tuz Khurmatu]. We slept outdoors until dawn.” 
“Sherine” told Amnesty International that there are no military installations near her house. 
“Soran”, an 18-year-old man from Hai Jamila, told Amnesty International: 
“A mortar fell near my house, and because of that, we fled. I was with my family. We are six people - my mother, father, my brother, two sisters and me. I saw at least a thousand people fleeing with us - it looked like a sea of people. We had to get through the irrigation project to get out. There are all of these ditches and small ponds we had to get through. The mortars were falling around us, and snipers were shooting at us. Some of the elderly people were left behind. Others were carried in blankets - we had to carry them so they didn’t fall in the water. I saw one man who was hit in the leg by a sniper’s bullet. He fell down, and I don’t know what happened to him. Another man was shot in the head and died instantly, in front of me.” 
“Soran” told Amnesty International that there were no military installations near his house and that the crowd fleeing was made up solely of civilians. 
“Jamil” also fled Tuz Khurmatu with his family, around 3:30am on 16 October. He explained: 
“We left on a tractor. It was all we had. We had to go out by a route that goes by the mountains and the irrigation system. It was really difficult - there were bullets whizzing by our head and mortars flying around us. We were so scared. I was with my wife and four children. When we left, I thought to myself: I will definitely lose my house to the burning and the looting, so now I need to take care of my family.” 
“Jamil” told Amnesty International that there were no fighters near him during his flight outside the city. 
Nowhere to Turn 
Of the 42 civilians interviewed by Amnesty International who fled the city and are now sheltering in nearby villages, camps and cities, none felt safe enough to return to Tuz Khurmatu. Amnesty International spoke with four Tuz Khurmatu residents who had returned briefly to check on their homes or shops, but all had returned within hours, citing concerns for their safety. Tuz Khurmatu residents who had fled the city also consistently reported that none of their Kurdish neighbours have returned to the city permanently after 16 October or had any plans to do so. 
“Abbas” told Amnesty International: 
“I want you to know that for us as Kurds, we can’t go back to Tuz Khurmatu… At any moment they can come in a car and pick me up, for any reason…If I need to get a national ID or get some official documents, I would have to go to the intelligence. If I go there, I might never come back…They could kill me, or hold me hostage. We are afraid. And we are sure this is what will happen.” 
“Othman” added: “I will never go back until we have guarantees for our safety. They even burn our mosques - how can we be safe there?” 
“Residents of Tuz Khurmatu have suffered repeated cycles of violence in past years, and violations such as these lead to future cycles, unless the Iraqi government sends a strong signal – not only in word, but by way of concrete action – that perpetrators will be held to account, victims compensated and that the authorities will take all necessary steps to protect the displaced civilians,” said Lynn Maalouf. 
“Humanitarian support for the tens of thousands of people who have fled Tuz Khurmatu must be earmarked and provided as a matter of urgency, both by the international community and the Iraqi government. It is also essential that the authorities swiftly restore security and the rule of law and establish conditions conducive to the safe, voluntary and sustainable return of tens of thousands of displaced residents.”
Tuz Khurmatu was under the joint control of the Kurdistan Regional Government forces, the Population Mobilization Units (PMU) and local police, until Iraqi government forces supported by factions of the PMU took control of the city on 16 October. Its population of more than 100,000 is multi-ethnic, comprised of Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs. The city has been the site of sporadic clashes and communal violence since 2003. 

The most recent clashes had occurred between October 2015 to January 2016, when Kurdish Peshmerga and members of Shia Turkmen militias killed, wounded and abducted civilians and destroyed hundreds of homes and shops.

We'll note this:

Again if you think referendum triggered Iraq military aggression on Kurds, please read history of Kurdish-Iraq relations since 1920s...


The oversimplifications by the western media are almost as stupid as their so-called analysis.

One thing bubbling up on Kurdish social media?

Taylor Swift.

Specifically her "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

Dedicate it to Baghdad.  Scream it at Hayder al-Abadi and his criminal militias, "We are never ever getting back together!"

Mewan Dolamari (KURDISTAN 24) reports:

Kurdish Peshmerga Forces on Tuesday repelled an Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia assault near the town of Rabia, northwest of Mosul.
"Peshmerga have destroyed two armored badger vehicles and a Humvee used by the militia," Peshmerga Commander Mansour Barzani, who is currently on the front lines, told Kurdistan 24. "Following the defeat, the militia retreated."

The New Iraq is looking a lot like the Old Iraq, but worse. An Iranian general is threatening Kurds with Baghdad-sanctioned ethnic cleansing

The US elected to back the Baghdad-based assaults and betray the Kurds yet again.

It's a long pattern that dates back to at least to Henry Kissinger's tenure as Secretary of State.

The US support for Baghdad didn't win the US anything.

Sunday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for the Iranian-backed militias to go home.

The response was a slap down by Iraq's Prime Minister (US-installed) Hayder al-Abadi.  And today AL ARABIYA reports:

Leader of the Special Groups in Iraq, Ahl al-Haq, Qais al-Khazali called for the departure of the US forces from the Iraqi territory after battling ISIS.
This came as a response to the statement of the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson on Sunday, and his call for the departure of Iranian militias from Iraq, along with a the clear response issued by the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi regarding his meeting with Tillerson.

Al-Khazali said via his Twitter account: "To the US Secretary of State, your military forces must prepare now to get out of our homeland Iraq immediately and without delay once the ISIS elimination excuse is over."

How embarrassing for Tillerson -- Hayder's turned him into a pinata and encouraged everyone to take a swing.  Meanwhile Paul Iddon (RUDAW) offers:

Residents of the Kurdistan Region presently feel let down, if not outright betrayed, by the United States and the Western world. Despite the sacrifices of their vaunted Peshmerga soldiers in the war against ISIS, none of these powers have done anything to help while the Iraqi military snatched up all their territories beyond the region's Green Line, most notably Kirkuk. Washington needs to act sooner rather than later to rectify this crisis.

Invariably the US has said that it's allied with both sides, the Kurdistan Region and the federal government in Baghdad, and thus doesn't want to see them clash. The aggression perpetrated by the latter, however, cries out for a response.

For one, the US should draw its own line along the Green Line that demarcates the autonomous Kurdistan Region from Iraq and openly declare that the US military is willing to enforce a defense against any Iraqi military incursions into any of Kurdistan's undisputed autonomous provinces – Erbil, Duhok, Sulaimani, and Halabja.

US Apache attack helicopters operating out of Erbil International Airport were videoed hovering over the battlefield between Peshmerga and Iraqi Army/Hashd at Pirde (Altun Kupri) just south of Erbil Province's frontier with Kirkuk Province, on Friday. Washington should have no compunction about deploying such weapons to defend Kurdistan and its people from any attack. It could condition its support and guarantee of Kurdistan's continued sovereignty and security on the Peshmerga not advancing beyond the Green Line in an attempt to forcibly wrest back control of the territories. 

RUDAW also reports that the KRG Parliament voted today that elections (presidential and parliamentary) would be postponed for eight months (68 of the 111 MPs present voted with 60 voting in favor of the postponement).

In the last 48 hrs, Iraq has continued to deploy tanks and artillery, as well as US equipment, incl Humvees and Armored Personnel Carriers.

The following community sties -- plus Tavis Smiley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:


iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq

No comments: