Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Tonys

Okay, I've given it a few days to think about.

Robert De Niro's "f**k" Donald Trump?

Let's forget who he was f-ing about.

Let's acknowledge that this was a celebration -- supposedly -- of the best in theatre.

What right did he have to sully the even with his cursing?

And don't forget, he's not Al Pacino.  Al Pacino does theater.  He's a real actor.  Robert, despite living on the east coast, only does movies.

Why the hell was he there?

The same question could be asked of Bruce Springsteen.  He had Robert De Niro introduce him.  Bruce is an old grandpa himself and he needs to find retirement.

Robert De Niro had no right to do his cursing.  His tantrum also stole attention from everything else -- including the winners.

That's not what the evening was supposed to be about.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018.  Turkey continues to violate Iraq's sovereignty and the May 12th election remains a struggle.

Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi called on Turkey to "respect Iraqi sovereignty" and accused Turkish politicians of raising tensions for domestic purposes. "We will not accept an assault on Iraqi sovereignty even if it is a Turkish electoral campaign," he said.

REUTERS reports that Turkey is claiming to have bombed (and "destroyed") 12 targets in northern Iraq last night.  In addition, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS notes:

Turkish armed forces have been stationed 30 kilometers inside of northern Iraq as part of its anti-terror operation in the region, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said late June 8.
“We have been deployed in a 300-kilometer area, in 30 kilometers deep in northern Iraq. Next step could be Qandil, Mahmur or Sinjar. We would like to conduct this operation with neighboring countries. We respect the territorial integrity of Syria or Iraq," Yıldırım said during a live interview on private broadcaster NTV.

Turkey will drain 'terror swamp' in Iraq's Qandil, Erdogan says

Erdogan is the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  And the presidency is part of the reason for the violence.  Selcan Hacaoglu (BLOOMBERG NEWS) explains, "Turkey expanded its offensive against Kurdish militants further inside Iraq, raising the specter of a broader conflagration as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks support from nationalist voters ahead of this month’s elections."

The PKK?  Aaron Hess (INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."

Turkey has commenced with another military invasion of Iraq, which not only violates Iraq’s sovereignty but also violates international law and the UN Charter. Alas, the benefits accruing for Ankara as a result of its extensive and special ties with Washington.

The battles between the Turkish government and the PKK show no end in sight.  This latest effort may slow down a bit after the elections which are scheduled to be held June 24th.

The euphoria surrounding Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary elections has died out recently amid eruptions of violence and allegations of widespread fraud. explosions hit Baghdad’s Sadr City, and a depot for ballot boxes was set ablaze on June 10.

In Iraq, elections took place May 12th.  So you might think they were settled -- unless you knew the cry baby politicians who never accept results they dislike. Despite not having the power to declare recounts, the Parliament did that last week.  On Sunday, one of the warehouses storing the ballots was a target of arson.

“To protect your vote, carry this”

ALJAZEERA reports:

An Iraqi court has ordered the arrest of four people accused of setting fire to a storage site housing ballot boxes from a May parliamentary election, state media said.
Three of the suspects are policemen and the fourth is an employee of the Independent High Elections Commission, state television said on Monday.

So, if the four are the arsonists, that would lead back to the Ministry of the Interior.  The Ministry is headed by Shi'ite Qasim al-Araji whose Bard organization is headed by Hadi al-Amiri.  al-Amiri is the leader of the militias.  They came in second to Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc in the election.  If you wanted to come in first after the election took place, on way would be to destroy the ballots and the ballots destroyed were Baghdad ballots -- where a large number of Moqtada's votes came from.

Mike shared last night that he suspected Hayder al-Abadi of being behind the fire.  If so, it's not the first time Hayder would have teamed up with Haid.  The militias had been outlawed, after all.  But it was Hayder who made them part of the Iraqi military.  Elaine noted Hoshyar Zebari's Tweet laying responsibility for protecting the ballots at Hayder's door step and Elaine agreed with this conclusion and the fact that Hayder had failed.  Hayder did fail, yet again. Hoshyar is  a Kurd who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and very close to the US government -- especially to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.   Meanwhile, Betty notes all the billions of US tax dollars sent to Iraq and yet the US media has little to no interest in the topic of Iraq.

This despite the fact that US troops remain on the ground in Iraq and despite the fact that the US government continues to drop bombs on Iraq.  The US Defense Dept announced yesterday:

Strikes in Iraq
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on June 10.
On June 9 near Mosul, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against ISIS targets, destroying five ISIS tunnels.
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on June 3-8.
On June 2 near Tal Afar, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against ISIS targets, destroying an ISIS-held building, an ISIS bunker and an ISIS supply cache.

There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on June 1.

Forever thug and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki didn't like the election results.  He did very poorly (which was no surprise).  He's Tweeted the following in the last 24 hours.

ولاننا نرفض تشكيل حكومة وفق نتائج انتخابية مزوره ، ورغبة منا في إيجاد حل لهذه الأزمة نرى ضرورة حتمية بإجراء مطابقة شامله بين موجودات الصناديق من الاستمارات وبين النتائج التي اظهرها جهاز العد والفرز الالكتروني
بعدما ثبت وجود التزوير والتلاعب في انتخابات الداخل والخارج وزيادة التعقيدات التي رافقت وضع الحلول للازمة ، وصدور قانون من مجلس النواب يلزم القضاء ومفوضية الانتخابات بالعد اليدوي الشامل

He insists that the results have been proven false (they have not) and that he will not accept them.

For those who've forgotten, Nouri's persecution of Sunnis was the reason for the rise of ISIS in Iraq.  When he was forced out of office (by then-US President Barack Obama), ISIS had seized Mosul and several other areas of Iraq -- a source of shame for any leader.  Nouri was revealed as weak.  His base has shrunk ever since.

نطالب الامم المتحدة بوضع حداً وإيقاف الحرب الأهلية التي توعد بها نوري المالكي بعد خسارتهُ في الانتخابات العراقية We call on the [United Nations]to put an end to the civil war Which promised by [Nuri al-Maliki] after losing in the Iraqi elections

Nouri and Hayder are valid suspects.  They or their people could have set fire to the warehouse because both did poorly in the elections and the formation of the new government was moving forward without them.

Reports from Iraq say Moqtada al-Sadr has formed a 94-seat bloc with Iyad Allawi and Ammar Hakim and will attempt to name a government without PM Abadi or Hadi Ameri. But May 12 election has yet to be ratified, and some calling for a recount. Big mess.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

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