Russia Deploys Iran-backed Shiite Troops To
Having continuously bombed Turkmen villages since October,
Russia is now deploying hired Iran-backed Shiite soldiers to Afrin with the aim
of uniting it with cantons under the control of the PKK-affiliated Democratic
Union Party (PYD), a Turkish daily reported.
Such a move poses a grave threat to Ankara and it has repeatedly warned the PYD
and Russia against the move, saying, "It is our red line." Russia has been
delivering arms to Afrin for the last 20 days. With the deployment of thousands
of Iran-backed troops by Russia, alarm bells have started to ring. Ankara's red
line, namely a possible unification of PYD cantons with Afrin that would spoil
its safe haven plan for refugees, will reportedly not allow the Russians to
realize its plans.
With Ankara planning to create a safe haven for refugees between Azaz and
Jarabulus, a joint plan by Russia, Bashar Assad, the PYD and Iran appears to be
proving a tremendous obstacle. Should the joint plan succeed, Turkey will not
have a border with Syria but will have one with the PYD. It remains a question
whether Ankara's repeated warnings and "red line" statements will lead to a war
in the region.
Following reports of Russia launching airstrikes to support the People's
Protection Units (YPG) offensive against groups in Azaz, it seems that Russia
wants to continue playing the YPG card even after the downed jet crisis with
Turkey. The YPG wants to expand its territory in northern Syria, especially
toward the Azaz region near the Turkish border.
Russian armor delivery went to a YPG camp where fighters are trained and then
brought to battlefields in Aleppo, Kobani and Qamishlo. Veteran soldiers from
the PKK's Qandil headquarters also help run training programs.
The YPG has made reinforcements in Kobani and Tal Abyad in recent days, and PYD
officials are in constant contact with Moscow.
Russia's Putin Sees No Hope To Repair
Relations With Turkey
Despite Ankara's attempts to ease tensions with Moscow, Russian
President Vladimir Putin said he sees no hope for repairing relations with
Turkey and continued his threats and aggressive rhetoric in the annual press
conference held on Thursday with over 1,400 journalists.
"It is hard for us to reach an agreement with the current Turkish leadership,
if possible at all," Putin said, adding that Turkey's downing of the Russian
warplane was "an act of enmity," the reasons for which he did not understand.
NATO, the U.S. and several EU states confirmed Ankara's documents that show
that despite 10 warnings, the Russian warplane violated Turkish airspace. "What
have they achieved? Maybe they thought that we would run away from there
[Syria]. But Russia is not such a country," Putin said.
Russia has increased its presence in Syria and deployed air defense systems.
Putin said that Turkey would likely not be able to penetrate Syrian airspace,
revealing an aim of deploying S-400 air missile defense systems in Syria.
Russia had earlier acknowledged that the system was deployed to protect its own
On Syria and its president, Bashar Assad, Putin said that he would never agree
to any outside force deciding who should rule Syria and that there is no way to
resolve the Syria crisis other than a political solution. He said that Moscow
supports, in general, Washington's initiative to prepare a resolution on Syria
at the U.N. Security Council, adding that the draft resolution is acceptable as
a whole. When asked about Russia's future presence in Syria, Putin said that he
does not know if Russia will need its military base in Latakia, a Syrian port
located in the northeast and a province partly inhabited by Turkmens, after its
bombing campaign ends. He added that Moscow possesses weapons powerful enough
"to hit anyone" thousands of kilometers beyond Russia's borders.
Hours after the Russian Defense Ministry reported that one of its ships, the
destroyer Smetlivy, fired a warning shot to avoid a collision with a Turkish
fishing vessel 22 kilometers from the Greek island of Lemnos last week Sunday,
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey is "not in favor of
"We have read the Russian statement," Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Rome, where
he had been following an international conference on Libya. "But we are always
saying [that] we are not in favor of tension. We are in favor of overcoming
tension through dialogue," Çavuşoğlu added, claiming that Ankara's initiatives
following "the sad event [of downing the Russian warplane] of Nov. 24 had
always been in that direction."
In Thursday's news conference, Putin has also commented on Donald Trump's
running for presidency as the Republican presidential candidate. The Russian
president praised Trump's talents and lauded his calls for better ties with
Putin called Trump an "absolute front-runner" in the presidential race and a
"bright and talented person." He added that he "certainly welcomes" Trump's
calls for better U.S.-Russia ties.
Putin had said earlier he was ready to work with the eventual winner in the
presidential race. And Trump has said he could work with the Russian leader.
"I think that I would probably get along with him very well," Trump said of
Putin in an October interview with CNN. "And I don't think you'd be having the
kind of problems that you're having right now."
Regarding the stalemate in Donbass region in eastern Ukraine and ongoing
clashes between Russian separatists and Ukrainian army, Putin said Kiev have
not been completely fulfilling aspects of Minsk deal relating to special status
for eastern regions.
He urged the Ukrainian government to swiftly approve legislation on holding
local elections in Ukraine, but he says the Ukrainian authorities were dragging
their feet on the issue. He added Russia wants the conflict settled and is
ready to use its influence with the rebels in eastern Ukraine to reach a
Iraq Undermining Fight Against Daesh,
Turkey's UN Ambassador Says
Iraq's referral of its complaint about the presence of Turkish
troops in northern Iraq to the UN Security Council weakens the international
efforts to counter Daesh, Turkey's UN ambassador said Friday.
Halit Çevik's remarks came during a council meeting requested by Iraq on the
recent deployment of Turkish troops, which has caused a diplomatic spat between
Prior to Çevik's speech, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari asked the
council to condemn Turkey for the presence of its troops in northern Iraq.
Ankara has argued that the troops have been been training Iraqi volunteers in
their fight against Daesh.
Jaafari called the presence of Turkish elements a violation of the UN Charter
as well as Iraq's sovereignty, and urged the council to demand Ankara to
withdraw its military personnel immediately.
Turkey has said it has been running a training program in a camp established in
Bashiqa, near Mosul, to provide training to Iraqi volunteers as part of the
fight against Daesh terrorist group. The Turkish troops in the camp are not
assigned to combat duties.
On Dec. 4, Turkey reinforced the force protection component of its units in the
camp due to increasing threats to their security.
Following a series of bilateral talks to alleviate Iraq's concerns, Turkey
rearranged the number of troops in Bashiqa and the additional security elements
left the camp on Dec. 14.
In response to Jaafari's comments, Çevik said Iraq's referral of its complaint
about the troops to the Security Council "would serve no other purpose than to
undermine the solidarity of the international community against Daesh".
"We said it before, we will say it again, and we will keep repeating until we
put an end to all the baseless allegations: Turkey has never had and will never
have any interest in violating Iraq's sovereignty," Çevik said. "Nor unlike
others, do we have any plans or ambitions over Iraqi territory."
He said Turkey had been under attack, not only by Daesh, but also by the PKK
terrorist organization, of which the headquarters is based in the Qandil region
"We have been calling on the Iraqi government to stop the activities of the PKK.
Each time, the response we received has been that the Iraqi government had no
control over that part of the country," Çevik said.
"If the Iraqi government claims that it has full sovereignty over all its
territory, then it is our right to expect that it prevents the use of Iraqi
soil for terrorist attacks against our own territory. However, both Daesh and
the PKK continue to pose significant risks to Turkey's safety and security from
areas beyond the Iraqi government's reach and it is our right to exercise
self-defense," he added.
The remarks by Jaafari and Çevik were followed by closed consultations among
the council members. No statement was issued after the session.
President Barack Obama admitted that ''lone wolf'' Daesh attacks
present a vexing new security challenge Friday, even as he assured Americans
the Daesh group can be defeated. Obama capped a week in which he has tried
repeatedly to reassure a jittery Americans that his administration can
neutralize the terror threat, with an end-of-year press conference that only
underscored the tough task ahead.
''It is very difficult for us to detect lone wolf plots,'' Obama acknowledged.
''Despite the incredible vigilance and professionalism of all our law
enforcement... you don't always see it.
''This is a different kind of challenge than the sort that we had with an
organization like Al-Qaeda,'' Obama said.
''Essentially, you have ISIL (Daesh) trying to encourage or induce somebody who
may be prey to this kind of propaganda.''
Iraqi strike may be mistake by two sides, says Pentagon chief
The American airstrike that may have killed a number of Iraqi soldiers on
Friday seems to be ''a mistake that involved both sides,'' US Defense Secretary
Ash Carter said Saturday. He called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to
Speaking to reporters during a visit to the USS Kearsarge in the Arabian Gulf,
Carter said the incident near the western Iraqi city of Fallujah was
''These kinds of things happen when you're fighting side by side as we are,''
Carter said. He said the airstrike Friday ''has all the indications of being a
mistake of the kind that can happen on a dynamic battlefield.''
Carter, who spent two days in Iraq this past week, called Abadi from the USS
Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship supporting coalition missions in Iraq and
Syria against Daesh militants. The Kearsarge carries a Marine expeditionary
unit and naval aircraft.
The Pentagon chief did not provide details about the airstrike, which the US
military headquarters in charge of the war effort in Syria and Iraq said was
one of several it conducted Friday against Daesh targets. A US military
statement said the airstrikes came in response to requests and information
provided by Iraqi security forces on the ground near Fallujah, which is in
Daesh control, and were done in coordination with Iraqi forces.
A senior US defense official said there was fog in that area and that weather
may have played a role in the incident. The official was not authorized to
discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Carter said he told Abadi that the US was investigating and would work with the
Asked if he was worried the deaths might further anger Iraqi citizens who may
not be happy with the American and coalition presence in Iraq, Carter said, ''I
hope Iraqis will understand that this is a reflection of things that happen in
combat. But it's also a reflection of how closely we are working with the
government'' of Iraq.
Turkey Joins Saudi-led Islamic Military
Alliance Against Daesh (i.e. ISIS), Iran-Sponsored Hezbollat And Their Likes
Turkey says it welcomes the formation of a 34-state Islamic
military coalition to combat terrorism and agrees to join the coalition
announced and led by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday 34 nations have agreed to form a new "Islamic
military alliance" to fight terrorists like Daesh (i.e. ISIS) and
Iran-Sponsored Hezbollat with a joint operations center based in the kingdom's
The announcement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the
alliance will be Saudi-led and is being established because terrorism "should
be fought by all means and collaboration should be made to eliminate it."
"The countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military
alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations centre
based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations," the statement
Turkey, the only country in the alliance that is also a NATO member, welcomed
the new coalition. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called it the "best response
to those who are trying to associate terror and Islam."
"We believe this effort by Muslim countries is a step in the right direction,"
The statement said Islam forbids "corruption and destruction in the world" and
that terrorism constitutes "a serious violation of human dignity and rights,
especially the right to life and the right to security." It cited "a duty to
protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and
organizations whatever their sect and name which wreak death and corruption on
earth and aim to terrorize the innocent."
The new counterterrorism coalition includes nations with large and established
armies such as Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt as well as war-torn countries with
embattled militaries such as Libya and Yemen. African nations that have
suffered militant attacks such as Mali, Chad, Somalia and Nigeria are also
Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Shiite Iran, is not part of the coalition. Saudi
Arabia and Iran support opposite sides of in the wars raging in Syria and
Yemen. Saudi Arabia is currently leading a military intervention in Yemen
against Shiite Houthi rebels and is part of the US-led coalition bombing the
Sunni extremist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Iraq and
The United States has been increasingly outspoken about its view that Gulf Arab
states should do more to aid the military campaign against the ISIL militant
group based in Iraq and Syria.
In a rare press conference, 30-year-old Deputy Crown Prince and Defense
Minister Mohammed bin Salman told reporters on Tuesday the new Islamic military
coalition will develop mechanisms for working with other countries and
international bodies to "coordinate" efforts to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria,
Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan but offered few concrete indications of how
military efforts might proceed. He said their efforts would not be limited to
only countering the ISIL group.
"There will be international coordination with major powers and international
organizations ... in terms of operations in Syria and Iraq. We can't undertake
these operations without coordinating with legitimacy in this place and the
international community," bin Salman said without elaborating.
"Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually ... so
coordinating efforts is very important," he said.
He said the joint operations center will be established in Riyadh to
"coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism" across the
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab neighbors have been locked in nine months of
warfare with Iran-allied rebels in neighboring Yemen, launching hundreds of air
Especially after a rash of attacks on Western targets claimed by ISIL in recent
months, the United States has increasingly said it thinks that firepower would
better be used against ISIL.
As a cease-fire is set to take hold in Yemen on Tuesday alongside United
Nations-backed peace talks, Riyadh's announcement may signal a desire to shift
its attention back toward the conflicts north of its borders.
ISIL has pledged to overthrow the monarchies of the Gulf and have mounted a
series of attacks on Shiite Muslim mosques and security forces in Kuwait and
Smaller member-states included in the coalition are the archipelago of the
Maldives and the Gulf Arab island-nation of Bahrain, which is home to the US
Navy's 5th Fleet.
Other Gulf Arab countries such as Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates
are also in the coalition, though notably absent from the list is Oman, a
neighbor of Saudi Arabia. In recent years, Oman has maintained a neutral role
and has emerged as a mediator in regional conflicts, serving as a conduit from
the Gulf Arabs to Iran.
However, Iraq and Syria, whose forces are battling to regain territory taken by
the ISIL group and whose governments are allied with Iran, are not in the
A Jordanian government spokesman confirmed the Hashemite Kingdom is part of the
coalition. Spokesman Mohammed Momani would not comment specifically on the
alliance but said "Jordan is always ready and actively participates in any
effort to fight terrorism."
Benin, while it does not have a majority Muslim population, is another member
of this new counterterrorism coalition. All the group's members are also part
of the larger Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is headquartered
in Saudi Arabia.
Supports For Newly Formed Islamic Coalition
Against Daesh (i.e. ISIS), Iran-Sponsored Hezbollat And Their Likes
The British Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed London's will
to cooperate with the Islamic Coalition military, the formation of which was
announced by Saudi Arabia. The Arab spokeswoman for theBritish Foreign
Ministry, Farah Dakhlallah, told Asharq Al-Awsat: ''We want to observe countries
from all over the world playing their roles in fighting terrorism. We are
looking forward to receive extra details from KSA on the Islamic Military
Coalition in order to look for the best means of cooperation with them against
This British endorsement for the new coalition coincides with Daily Telegraph's
article on Britain's readiness to provide aircraft support for the Islamic
Military Coalition as, according to military sources, Britain decided to send
Special Forces to fight terrorist organizations in Syria within weeks.
International parties wanting to join the new coalition forces are increasing.
Uganda's ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Rashid Yahya Semuddu,
told Asharq Al-Awsat that his country is ready to join the coalition and is
waiting to make the necessary arrangements. He added: ''We will do what we will
be asked once we figure out what Saudi Arabia wants Kambala, being part of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation and a close friend to the kingdom, to
Moreover, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov announced
Russia's support for the new coalition. This came after Lavrov's meeting with
his Bahraini counterpart, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, in Moscow. Lavrov
said: ''We expect this initiative to motivate all the Islamic countries to unite
against any act of terrorism or any attempt to manipulate religion''.
In a related report, officials announced that gunmen from ISIS launched an
attack on a Turkish military camp in Mosul, Iraq, causing the injury of four
China Supporting Saudi-led Islamic Alliance
Adel Al-Jubeir Saudi Foreign Minister announced that China approved the
establishment of an Islamic Military Coalition against terrorism, and expressed
its willingness to cooperate.
Al-Jubeir's announcement came after a meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi
last Friday on the sidelines of the International Syria Support Group meeting
in New York. The Saudi Foreign Minister also affirmed the strong relationship
between Saudi Arabia and China, and confirmed efforts were underway to develop
them so they cover all arenas.
Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Li Chengwen, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the
cooperation between the two countries encompassed various political, economic,
military, and security domains.
The ambassador also indicated that Saudi Arabia and China share the same
opinion on the necessity of fighting terrorism in all its forms and making
arrangements for similar causes of common interest.
''China supports the Saudi political efforts within other international ones, in
the fight against terrorism which has no religion, culture, or land and also to
promote regional and international security and peace,'' he added inviting
international efforts to unite and collaborate in fighting terrorism in all
regions of the world.
Ambassador Chengwen also indicated that common efforts between Riyadh and
Beijing are being coordinated to fight terrorism in all its forms. He explained
that terrorism is everybody's enemy threatening the whole global community
entirely, adding that it is imperative to separate terrorism from any religion,
culture, or nation.
Saudi efforts on fighting terrorism were praised by Chengwen, who revealed
Saudi Arabia's early caught concern and Riyadh hosting the International
''Each country in the world has a responsibility to spread peace and security
and fight terrorism at the same time; as there are various experiences that
could be exchanged among countries for them to benefit from in the war against
Laughable Shiite Militias Threaten Turkey Over
Deployment To Iraq's Mosul - The Cowards That Ran Away From ISIS Attacks Are
Prepared To Expel Turkish Army Might
Shiite paramilitary groups with ties to Iran threatened to use
force against Turkey on Wednesday unless it withdraws its troops from Iraqi
territory, after a 48-hour deadline set by the government expired.
Turkey deployed a contingent of troops to a camp near the frontline in northern
Iraq last week, provoking an outcry in Baghdad, which condemned it as a
violation of sovereignty and asked NATO to intervene.
Both Turkey and Kurdistan Regional Government repeatedly stated that the
deployment was not a recent development and carried out with cooperation.
Turkish officials said that the troops are in the region to train Kurdish
Peshmerga forces in their fight against DAESH (i.e. ISIS).
The area north of Mosul where the Turkish troops are stationed is under the
control of Kurdish forces and Shiite militia has no presence there, which would
make it difficult for them to follow through on the threats.
But it puts additional pressure on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who was
already under fire from the same Shiite factions over an announcement by the
United States that it will send a new special operations force to conduct raids
Badr Brigade spokesman Karim al-Nuri likened the Turkish incursion with the
occupation of Iraq by ISIS militants and said "all options" were available.
"We have the right to respond and we do not exclude any type of response until
the Turks have learned their lesson," Nuri said. "Do they have a dream of
restoring Ottoman greatness? This is a great delusion and they will pay dearly
because of Turkish arrogance."
Ankara says the troops are there as part of an international mission to train
and equip Iraqi forces to fight ISIS and will not withdraw them, although it
said on Tuesday it would send no more. Baghdad says it never invited such a
In the Iraqi parliament on Wednesday, a motion condemning the Turkish
intervention was approved unanimously, supporting the government in taking
whatever measures it viewed as appropriate.
Several MPs suggested Iraq could wage "economic war" on Turkey, but Jafaar
Hussaini, a spokesman for one of the Shi'ite armed groups, Kata'ib Hezbollah,
said violence was likely.
"We say that they military option is still probable and we might reach a stage
in the next few days where we start carrying out operations against the Turks,
be it against their soldiers or Turkish interests in Iraq."
In September, 16 Turkish workers were abducted in Baghdad by an unknown armed
group that used a familiar Shiite slogan and threatened to attack Turkish
interests in Iraq if its demands were not met. The men were eventually
'Dialogue' With DAESH (i.e. ISIS) Terrorists
Necessary: Dalai Lama
DAESH (i.e. ISIS) terrorist organization harms Islam through its
intolerance, but "dialogue" with the militants is vital, the Dalai Lama said in
an interview reported on Monday by the Italian daily La Stampa.
"Islam is a religion of peace. Those who are intolerant harm their own faith
and their own brothers," the Tibetan spiritual leader was quoted as saying in
Bangalore, southern India, where he took part in a seminar on peace and the
Even so, "There has to be dialogue, with ISIS as well," the Dalai Lama said,
using an alternative acronym for ISIS.
Asked how this should be achieved, he replied, "Through dialogue. One has to
listen, to understand, to have respect for the other person, regardless. There
is no other way."
The US-led coalition formed in October 2014 has been conducting airstrikes
against ISIS, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda terrorist organization which carries out
brutal executions, abductions and rapes in areas under its control in Iraq and
Syria, and conducted a wave of terror operations abroad in Paris, Ankara and
Vladimir Putin Facing Defeat In Syria To
Result To Using Nuclear Missiles In The Middle East
Vladimir Putin has floated the notion of using nuclear weapons
against members of the Islamic State, according to quotes published by the
Kremlin. The state's press service claimed on Wednesday that the Russia's
President and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed launching nuclear-tipped
cruise missiles at Isis positions in Syria during a recent meeting at the
Shoigu told the president that conventional Kalibr cruise missiles had already
been fired from the Rostov-on-Don submarine in the Mediterranean. Putin added
that the Kalibr missiles could be equipped with a nuclear warhead, but said he
hoped they would "never be needed."
"We must analyse everything happening on the battlefield, how the weapons
operate," Putin said. ''The Kalibrs and KH-101 have proved to be modern and
highly effective, and now we know it for sure -- precision weapons that can be
equipped with both conventional and special warheads, which are nuclear.
''Naturally, this is not necessary when fighting terrorists and, I hope, will
never be needed,'' he added.
Moscow launched its air campaign against targets in Syria on September 30. Last
month, Russian authorities revealed its refurbished National Defence Control
Centre, a monstrous, fortified operations base in he heart of the capital next
to the Moskva River from which military officers oversee attacks.
Only 9 percent of Russian strikes
target ISIS, Turkey says
Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın on Wednesday said that only 9 to
10 percent of Russian airstrikes in Syria targeted ISIS, while the remaining 90
percent targeted moderate opposition forces.
Speaking at a press conference, Kalın said that Russian airstrikes mainly
targeted the moderate opposition forces and Turkmens rather than ISIS.
He said that Turkey opened İncirlik base to hit ISIS terrorists and has
deported over 2700 suspects, most of who arrived from Europe to join ISIS in
"It is not possible to resolve the refugee crisis, -which has become a global
concern- without finding a resolution to the Syrian conflict" Kalın said,
adding that the moderate opposition forces should move in unison and
With regards to the tensions between Turkey and Russia, Kalın said that it is
significant to utilize diplomatic efforts.
"Turkey does not have a problem with Russia striking ISIS targets in Syria, as
it also fights against the terrorist organization" Kalın said, adding that
Turkey is against Russia targeting civilians rather than ISIS.
Turkey's foreign minister has called on Russia to end ''provocative acts'' after
Turkish media captured images of a Russian soldier apparently pointing a
missile launcher as his warship navigated through the Bosporus on its way to
Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday Turkey had had made the necessary response over
Sunday's incident which came amid escalating Russian-Turkish tensions following
Turkey's downing of a Russian plane.
Cavusoglu did not provide details but said: ''The ship's passage in such a way
was an openly provocative passage. This has to end.''
The minister renewed a call for the two sides to overcome tensions through
diplomatic means and for Russia to halt punitive sanctions on Turkey.
Cavusoglu added: ''We are asking Russia to act as a more mature state.''
Criminal Complaint Filed Against Putin For
Insulting President Erdoğan
Mair Akkar, a suspect in the Ergenekon case, filed a criminal
complaint on Wednesday against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy
Defence Minister Anotoly Antonov on grounds of "insulting the President" and
In the letter of denunciation he submitted to the Ankara Public Prosecutor's
Office, Akkar said that the President can be criticized as long as "the
boundaries of criticism are not exceeded."
"This is a democratic right but we cannot turn a blind eye to defamation
against our President by other Presidents or officials," he said, adding that
Russian officials should be punished for their defamation and smear campaign
-which was initiated as retaliation to Turkey's downing of a Russian SU-24
warplane that violated its airspace - that the family of President Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan is allegedly "involved in oil trade with DAESH (i.e. ISIS) terrorist
Akkar demanded in the letter that a criminal case against Putin and Antonov be
A warplane of unknown nationality, which turned out to be a Russian-made SU-24
jet, entered Turkish airspace on November 24. It was downed by Turkish F16
fighter jets patrolling the border, upon the Russian pilot's refusal to quit
Turkish airspace despite 10 warnings.
Russia later claimed responsibility for the jet which fell in the Bayırbucak
region in Syria bordering the Yayladağı district of southern Hatay province in
Turkey. NATO confirmed the validity of the information disclosed by Turkey
regarding the airspace violation.
In early October, Russian warplanes had also violated Turkish airspace and
Russian officials had apologized for the incident saying that it would not be
repeated. Later on, Turkey again declared that rules of engagement including
military response would be implemented.
Bulk Of DAESH (i.e. ISIS) Arsenal Made In
Former Soviet States: Improvised Weapons The Main Issue
The majority of weapons used by DAESH (i.e. ISIS) come from
supplies plundered from the Iraqi military and mainly consist of stock designed
or manufactured in former Soviet bloc states, according to Amnesty
Advances made across northern Iraq last year, particularly the capture of Mosul,
gave ISIS access to a huge stockpile of arms that also included modern
"We have been able to see what type of weapons they have got but in terms of
quantity it's very difficult to know that," Patrick Wilcken, an arms control
researcher at Amnesty, told Anadolu Agency.
"However, what we can say is that the top one is definitely Russian and former
Soviet Union weapons. So it's Russian and Eastern European and it's their
standard equipment that they are using."
Wilcken said the U.S-made and NATO equipment in ISIS's hands was a result of
arms transfers made to Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
He added that the bulk of ISIS's arsenal was old and dated from the 1980s and
"The 1980s was a crucial era for arms buildup and that was the time of the
Iran-Iraq War, when Russia was the principal supplier of Iraq," Wilcken said.
"But I think it's important to remember that just because the weapons are old
does not mean that they were necessarily transferred in the era they were
"And a lot of old Warsaw Pact stock has been transferred by the U.S., the U.K.,
other coalition members, during the occupation of Iraq and post-2003. And even
more recently, supplies to Kurdish forces in post-, mid-2014 were mainly old
Warsaw Pact stock."
ISIS also buys weapons from corrupt members of the Syrian military and on the
"illicit market that runs across the borders," Wilcken added.
"There does seem to be a lot of reports of illicit traffic. And it would be
surprising if there wasn't illicit traffic given that the whole region is in
Improvised weapons the main issue
Although ISIS fighters have an essential stock of weapons - consisting mainly
of Kalashnikov assault rifles and RPG-7 grenade launchers but also including
Russian armored vehicles and tanks and U.S. Humvees - Wilckin said the main
issue was not its conventional armory but improvised weapons.
"It is the improvised weapons and explosives that IS are using that has caused
the most casualties in Kurdish peshmerga forces and is a really serious
problem," he said, using an alternative acronym for ISIS.
In a report issued this week, Amnesty documented the group's use of arms and
"Taking Stock: The Arming of Islamic State" reported on the use of arms
supplied by at least 25 different countries including Russia, China, the U.S.
and EU states.
Most weapons had been looted from Iraqi army stocks. Weapons captured in Syria
also form part of the arsenal.
"Much of IS' substantial military stocks date back to the 1980s and 1990s,
drawn from the vast quantities of arms and ammunition that have been supplied
to Iraq by all permanent members of the Security Council and others since the
1970s," according to the report.
This includes equipment from "irresponsible arms supplies to Iraq organized by
permanent members of the Security Council and their allies" during the
Iran-Iraq war and arms supplied to Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition and other
states since 2003.
"From 2003 to 2007, the U.S.A. and other coalition members transferred more
than 1 million infantry weapons and pistols with millions of rounds of
ammunition to the Iraqi armed forces, despite the fact that the army was poorly
structured, corrupt and ill-disciplined," Amnesty reported.
"Hundreds of thousands of those weapons went missing and are still unaccounted
for. During this period, illicit markets flourished, as did covert supplies
from Iran, making arms and ammunition readily available to armed groups
operating in Iraq."
Iraqi Bush Warmonger Chalabi Perish With Poison At Last
By Dina al-Shibeeb
Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi politician accused of providing false information that
led to the United States toppling longtime dictator Saddam Hussein in the 2003
invasion, died on Tuesday of a heart attack, state television and two
Attendants found the controversial lawmaker, 71, dead in bed in his Baghdad
home, according to parliament official Haitham al-Jabouri.
Chalabi's body has been sent for a post-mortem autopsy to examine if the late
Iraqi politician was poisoned, according to Saudi-owned news site Elaph.
Elaph's source, identified as a close contact of Chalabi, said that the late
Iraqi politician was, up until last night, in great health and was seen having
dinner with friends at a shooting club in Baghdad.
During his heyday, the smooth-talking Chalabi was widely seen as the man who
helped push the U.S. and its main ally Britain into invading Iraq in 2003, with
information that Saddam's government had weapons of mass destruction, claims
that were eventually discredited.
Chalabi had also said Saddam - known for his secularist Baathist ideology - had
ties with al-Qaeda.
After Saddam's fall by U.S.-led coalition forces, Chalabi returned from exile
in Britain and the United States. Despite having been considered as a potential
candidate for the powerful post of prime minister in the immediate aftermath of
Saddam's 24-year reign, the politician never managed to rise to the top of
Iraq's stormy, sectarian-driven political landscape.
His eventual fallout with his former American allies also hurt his chances of
becoming an Iraqi leader.
''The neo-cons wanted to make a case for war and he [Chalabi] was somebody who
is willing to provide them with information that would help their cause,'' Ali
Khedery, who was the longest continuously-serving American official in Iraq in
the years following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, told Al Arabiya News.
Khedery, who today heads up Dubai-based political advisory Dragoman Partners,
added that the interests of both the U.S. and Chalabi ''intersected'' at the
Chalabi's death comes days after it was announced that the findings of a
long-awaited UK government investigation into the Iraq war, known as the
Chilcot inquiry, would be released in June or July next year.
There have been several delays in the release date of the inquiry, which is
investigating decisions and mistakes made in Britain's planning and execution
of the 2003 invasion.
However, analysts deem Chalabi's death as insignificant to the inquiry.
''No, I don't think they interviewed him and even if they had, he would have
maintained the same story as always, which is that he provided the best
information available at the time,'' Khedery said.
Ghassan Attiyah, who is president of the Iraqi Foundation for Development and
Democracy, voiced doubts that Chalabi's death would have any effect on the
''The inquiry is concerned with the Blair government. Chalabi will not enhance
or delay the report,'' he said.
In October, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, apologized for aspects of
the Iraq war in an interview with CNN, although some commentators said the
gesture was too little, too late.
'End justified the means' for Chalabi
Born in 1944, Chalabi left Iraq in 1956 and spent most of his life in Britain
and the United States, where he received a doctorate degree in mathematics.
He organized a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq in the mid-1990s, a conflict
that took the lives of hundreds of people. He later fled the region, returning
only when U.S.-led invading forces took control a decade later.
Key figures in the-then U.S. President George W. Bush's administration hoped
Chalabi and his party, the Iraqi National Congress, might take over Iraq after
the fall of Saddam, but the group failed to gain both recognition and support
in the war-wracked country.
However, he briefly managed to become president of the U.S.-installed
provisional administration, the Iraqi Governing Council, for one month in 2003.
For a one-year period from May 2005, he also served as Iraq's deputy prime
During his time as a politician in Iraq, he switched sides after he failed to
win a seat in parliament in the Dec. 2005 elections. Despite his liberal
background, Chalabi later joined Islamists to garner a wider base of support.
Attiyah described Chalabi as a ''controversial, survivalist, loner'' politician
who was later unable to obtain any seat after a run as an independent
Yet ''[Chalabi] managed to survive in Iraq and was able to create a strong
financial base to sustain his political efforts,'' he said.
Chalabi was also tried and sentenced to prison in his absence in Jordan in 1992
for financial fraud in the collapse of a bank, this background added more to
people's mistrust of him.
In addition to siding with Islamists in an effort to gain more political clout,
Chalabi also appeared to support his country's powerful neighbor Iran.
He was accused of providing information to the Islamic Republic after the 2003
invasion, which would put him at odds with Washington.
''He worked with the Americans and then he moved to operate with the Iranians,
[but] later he ultimately lost trust of both parties,'' Attiyah said.
In essence, Chalabi was ''an example of a person who is driven by power and
could justify any means to reach it, that's why he lost the trust of so many
people,'' said Attiyah. ''His death is a tragic end to a politician who thought
he would be a rising star, yet [ultimately] ended in disappointment.''
Rafsanjani: Iran Planned To Have Nuclear Weapons During 1980's War With Iraq
Iran considered pursuing a nuclear deterrent
when it began its nuclear program in the 1980s, during an eight-year war with
Iraq, a former president has been quoted as saying.
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's comments comes at a sensitive moment, as
Iran implements an agreement reached with world powers in July aimed at curbing
its nuclear program, to allay Western fears it was trying to build an atomic
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear
watchdog, is investigating whether Iran's nuclear program ever had a military
application. It is due to issue a report by Dec. 15.
Throughout the negotiations, Iran insisted its program had only ever been for
In an interview with Iran's Nuclear Hope magazine this week, Rafsanjani
suggested that officials were thinking about a deterrent capability when the
nuclear program first began but it never took shape.
"When we first began, we were at war and we sought to have that possibility for
the day that the enemy might use a nuclear weapon. That was the thinking. But
it never became real," Rafsanjani said in the interview, which was carried by
state news agency IRNA on Tuesday.
"We were still at war and Iraq had come close to enrichment before Israel
destroyed it all," Rafsanjani said, referring to an Israeli air strike against
Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981.
"Our basic doctrine was always a peaceful nuclear application, but it never
left our mind that if one day we should be threatened and it was imperative, we
should be able to go down the other path," he added.
Rafsanjani was parliament speaker during the war and became president shortly
after. The 80-year-old cleric now heads the Expediency Council, a powerful
unelected body, and some observers consider him a candidate to become Supreme
Leader after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
But he has been targeted by conservatives after clashing publicly with Khamenei.
In June, the hardline judiciary upheld a ten-year prison sentence against his
son, a businessman, on corruption and security charges.
Rafsanjani also said he had traveled to Pakistan to try to meet Abdul Qadeer
Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, who later helped North
Korea to develop a bomb, but did not meet with him.
Khan was at the center of the world's biggest nuclear proliferation scandal in
2004, when he confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and
Iraq invasion, Saddam Hussein, regime change
Comment: The US invasion of Iraq was based on lies and has lead to unspeakable
horrors. It is time for accountability, says former UN representative to Iraq,
Hans von Sponeck.
The books of the UN contain no reference to "regime change", nor is it in the
law books. Regime change is a term coined by western governments, especially
the US, to describe a policy that has no basis in international law.
Externally induced regime change has never solved international conflicts. On
the contrary, it has intensified them wherever they have been attempted.
Innocent civilians are invariably the victims. There are many examples, with
Iraq being the most prominent.
Following years of clandestine co-operation between US spies and Iraqi
opposition groups, the US Congress came out into the open by approving the Iraq
Liberation Act, which stated that US policy should seek to "support efforts to
remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein".
The act was signed by Bill Clinton on 31 October 1998. Five years later, in
March 2003, Clinton's presidential successor, George W Bush, sent in the
The US legitimised this invasion by insisting that Saddam's Iraq harboured
weapons of mass destruction and cooperated with terrorism networks, including
The politics of fear
US think-tanks promoted fear. Statements released to the public included:
"Because of the limited capability of Iraqi conventional military forces, its
WMD programmes loom even larger," and "There is... a general suspicion that
Iraq is working on a variety of terrorist contingency plans in case Saddam
finds it necessary to strike the United States."
The Bush administration welcomed wholeheartedly such insinuations advanced by
alleged scholars including Kenneth Pollack, a fellow for the US Council on
Foreign Relations, who is identified on the cover of his 2002 book, The
Threatening Storm, as "one of the world's leading experts on Iraq".
It is now a fact of history that Iraq had no WMD, as Iraq's deputy prime
minister, Tariq Aziz, told various UN chief arms inspectors including Richard
Butler and Hans Blix, the former a henchman for US interests. Some UN arms
inspectors had indeed confirmed that since 1995 Iraq was not a threat.
Links with terrorist groups also went unproven, and many knew the claims to be
false even before the invasion. Iraq, a secular republic, had no interest in
allying with fundamentalist groups like al-Qaeda.
Iraq, a secular republic, had no interest in allying with fundamentalist groups
Without these WMD and terrorist fabrications, there would not have been any
basis for US authorities to argue that Iraq posed "a threat to many of its
neighbours in the absence of US forces".
Facts are stubborn things. Thirteen years of sanctions had kept the government
of Saddam firmly in place, the UN "oil-for-food programme" had become a
political tool and the people of Iraq were being exposed to "unavoidable
John Negroponte, the US ambassador, did not hesitate to confirm this to the US
Senate in April 2004: "Although the flow of humanitarian and civilian goods to
Iraq was a matter of strong interest to the US government, it should be
emphasised that an even greater pre-occupation throughout the period of
sanctions was to ensure that no items be permitted for import which could...
contribute to Iraq's WMD programme."
Following the 2003 invasion and the lifting of sanctions, the full scale of
human misery became known. In 2002, 132 of every 1,000 Iraqi babies died before
the age of five, according to Unicef - second only to Afghanistan.
Relief goods imported to Iraq in the oil-for-food programme, which ran from
1996 to 2003, amounted to a mere $185 per person a year.
The UN estimated at the time that about 60-75 percent of the population had
been dependent on UN support.
Warnings ignored and unheeded
The tragedy for the Iraqi people, international law and the standing of the UN
is that the voices from within the UN secretariat in both Baghdad and New York,
as well as some members of the UN Security Council, had been warning of the
consequences of such policies.
They were drowned out by Washington and London in favour of an uncompromising
bilateral regime change dictated by pure self-interest.
To ensure as tight a cover-up as possible, no means were spared:
* The falsification of facts was encouraged, a severe hindrance for the UN in
* political support was often bought with bribes;
* obtaining supplies was turned into a tortuous bureaucratic process to ensure
* ordered goods were often blocked on spurious grounds;
* agents were sent to infiltrate the UN Iraq operations;
* UN staff who opposed US/UK policies were threatened.
Brazil's courageous ambassador to the UN in New York, Celso Amorim, used
Brazil's presidency of the security council to review the human conditions in
He convened in 1999 an Iraq panel on the adequacy of the oil-for-food
programme. Soon after the Amorim, under strong pressure from Washington, was
transferred out of New York.
Following the release of the panel report, the permanent representative of
Malaysia to the UN, Dato Agam Hasmy, addressed the security council in a speech
that will remain forever an honourable and powerful testimony of courage:
"How ironic is it that the same policy that is supposed to disarm Iraq of its
weapons of mass destruction has itself become a weapon of mass destruction."
In 2003 the government of Saddam had been eliminated and Iraq had been
"liberated". According to US authorities, Iraq was finally eligible for
democracy. In 2015, 12 years after the invasion and four years since the end of
occupation, Iraq is facing myriad difficulties at national, regional, local and
While the Islamic State group is featured as "the" issue in Iraq, there are
other serious problems. Wars, sectarianism, civil conflict and crime are
shaking the country's foundations.
Wars, sectarianism, civil conflict and crime are shaking the country's
Many children are not in school, the education system is permeated by religious
divisions, Iraqi academics have been subjected to abductions, extortions and
random killings, Iraq has become one of the transit points for opium and
cannabis, millions of Iraqi children are orphans and there are an estimated one
million female-headed households.
Those responsible have refused to accept responsibility. They have become
either mute or insist that the infamous "bigger picture" justified the means.
They absolve themselves of today's conditions in Iraq. They ignore their part
in the destruction of Iraq's physical and social infrastructures, for the use
of proscribed munitions such as depleted uranium and white phosphorous, for
brutality and horrific torture during eight years of occupation.
Torture and lies
No one can forget the photographs of Satar Jabar, the "hooded man of Abu Ghraib".
The US Senate assessment of CIA torture released in December 2014 by US senator
Diane Feinstein - a brave act of necessity - confirms in intricate detail that
so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" were widely used.
The report corroborated that deliberate misrepresentation of facts and events
by US authorities, especially the CIA, intensified after 9/11.
The torture report points out that much of the so-called US "war on terrorism"
was justified and legitimised by entirely false claims.
The release of the torture report has encouraged the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes
Commission to submit two volumes of torture evidence to the recently appointed
new chief prosecutor of the ICC in the Hague.
This information has been collected from prisoners who were tortured in Abu
Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo.
With reports like these laying bare the crimes committed in the name of "regime
change" and the "war on terrorism", now is the time for political
Thirteen years after the invasion there has been a shift from US unilateralism
to multi-polar international decision-making. This provides important new
perspectives for the end of impunity.
Tony Blair did not, repeat did not, say sorry for the Iraq war. Tony Blair did
not apologize for it, he did not say if he was sent back in time to 2003, he
would not have the same thing. There was no 'mea culpa' for going to war.
He will never say sorry for the Iraq war so for those dreamily expecting this,
Days after his CNN interview, it is necessary to state this because if you
google Blair and Iraq you are inundated with links to articles saying that
Blair had made an apology. They myth has gone viral. 1-0 to the Spin
Blair's first apology was for something he was not directly responsible for and
something he had already said before. ''I apologize for the fact that the
intelligence we received was wrong.'' He was given faulty intelligence, so it
was not his fault in fact at all. He blames the intelligence services.
Apology number two was little better. ''I also apologize for some of the
mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what
would happen once you removed the regime.'' He does not exclude himself from the
blame but he certainly shares it out but only for 'some' of the mistakes note.
Was it a mistake in understanding? Blair was clearly and expertly briefed by
experts on Iraq about many of the consequences of an invasion and occupation
that did actually arise. This included the consequences of a power vacuum,
looting, sectarian tensions and greater Iranian influence. The reality was
Blair did not want to listen. After all, it is crystal clear he had made a pact
with President George Bush in April 2002 and was in no mood to entertain
His third non-apology was a most ground-breaking admission - that the war
contributed to the rise of ISIS. ''I think there are elements of truth in that….
Of course you can't say those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no
responsibility for the situation in 2015.''
And then a gross distortion that barely any commentator picked up on. In a
rewriting of history and the facts, Blair claimed that ''ISIS actually came to
prominence from a base in Syria and not in Iraq.''
ISIS originated, flourished and expanded from Iraq with its core leadership
being Iraqi. It was dependent to a large extent on an alliance with disgruntled
ex-Saddam era Ba'athis like Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri. Clearly it is convenient
for Blair to cast ISIS as a Syria issue, so he was really saying that he does
not bear much responsibility at all.
So let's spin another mythological apology. Here is something you will never
read or hear. This is what a heartfelt meaningful apology from Tony Blair might
look like delivered to the Iraqi people, not to CNN.
''Today I have come to Baghdad, to the heart of Iraq, to set the record
straight, something I should have done many years ago. This is tough for me to
say but I know I must. To Iraqis, from all communities, all those who suffered
as a result of the sanctions, the war and occupation, I am truly, deeply sorry.
I failed Iraq. Prior to the war, I should have done more to lift the sanctions
in the U.N. Security Council. We should never have allowed a situation to arise
where 5,000 children under the age of five were dying every month. It was not a
price worth paying. We did have to restrict the power of the Saddam Hussein
regime but should have found a way that did not devastate the lives of millions
of Iraqi civilians. The intelligence on Iraq's weapons was faulty but I did not
question it, so convinced was I that Saddam had them and would use them again.
We should have given the U.N. weapons inspectors more time to complete their
Let's be clear - I had hoped that the removal of Saddam Hussein, the monster
who had caused such devastation to Iraq and its people would bring more
positive results. I did genuinely wish to see Iraqis living in their own free
and democratic state.
But for that to happen, we had to deliver results that benefitted all Iraqis.
We did not adequately prepare for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and for
that, I am responsible. As Prime Minister, I should have demanded and ensured
that this was the case. I clearly failed. Our planning was inept. In the past I
have said we made a mistake, that the planning was ''inadequate.'' We did not
provide the proper human, financial and technical resources to give Iraq a
chance to get up and running. I was wrong to ignore the advice of British
experts on Iraq who did actually predict with all too chilling accuracy what
would happen. We did not ''safeguard the wealth of the country for the future
prosperity of the people'' as I stated in Parliament was one of our aims. I
should have directly and even publicly challenged a U.S. administration many of
whose leading lights advanced ideological views that were both flawed and
dangerous. The dishing out of contracts to private companies and security firms
making lavish profits from Iraqi funds was something I did nothing to stop.
This was a war that cost over a trillion dollars but most of that was frittered
away. I did not use British leverage and influence enough with our American
partners. We should have pushed harder for a greater U.N. role in Iraq but I
conceded too easily.''
Neither will Blair make such an apology, nor will many accept it. Blair aside,
there are many others, George Bush, included who should own up to their own
sorry part in this. They have yet to do so.
In the meantime perhaps Mr. Blair could take the advice of the former Chief of
Staff, Lord Dannatt, and maintain 'a dignified silence' until the Iraq inquiry
reports whenever that will be. Blair will be hoping it will never happen, a bit
like his apology.
______________ Chris Doyle is the director of CAABU (the London-based Council for
Arab-British Understanding). He has worked with the Council since 1993 after
graduating with a first class honors degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies at
Exeter University. As the lead spokesperson for Caabu and as an acknowledged
expert on the region, Chris is a frequent commentator on TV and Radio, having
given over 148 interviews on the Arab world in in 2012 alone. He gives numerous
talks around the country on issues such as the Arab Spring, Libya, Syria,
Palestine, Iraq, Islamophobia and the Arabs in Britain. He has had numerous
articles and letters published in the British and international media. He has
travelled to nearly every country in the Middle East. He has organized and
accompanied numerous British Parliamentary delegations to Arab countries. Most
recently he took Parliamentary delegations to the West Bank in April, November,
December 2013 and January 2014 including with former British Foreign Secretary
The Association of Muslim Scholars Rejects Tony Blair's Apology For Iraq War;
Calling For Justice
The Association of Muslim Scholars refused
the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's apology, about the mistakes he
committed during his country's participation in the naked aggression and the
brutal US-led occupation against Iraq, describing it as not worthy of
The Association emphasized in a statement today that Blair's apology was too
late, and would not accept an apology from whose hands stained with blood of
the innocent; asking the international community to prosecute Blair to be a
lesson in the history of mankind in those who shared his heinous crimes.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has apologized for Iraq war in an
interview with CNN on Sunday, although analysts suggest that the gesture is too
little, too late.
''I can say that I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was
wrong because, even though he [late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein] had used
chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the
program in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we
thought,'' Blair told CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria.
Last week, a leaked White House memo proved that Blair backed military action a
year before seeking a vote in parliament.
Bush-Blair Achievements - Terrorism: The Legacy Of US War In Iraq
The US, as global policeman, is no
different from any other imperial power when asserting its influence.
By Haifa Zangana
In Iraq today, security means lawlessness and the rule of law means the rule of
sectarian militias, writes Zangana [AFP]
"The defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear
that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any
meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way,"
said George Orwell in "Politics and the English language", highlighting a
pattern of statements that "are almost always made with intent to deceive".
Orwell's words could not be truer than in Iraq today where the conscious intent
to deceive continues to be the US policy, 11 years after its illegal "shock and
awe" invasion. Assisted by a sectarian corrupt regime, the US-led occupation
"democratised" Iraq by dismantling the Iraqi state whose foundations were laid
in the 1920s.
A state which had a civil service apparatus that provided services and
stability for the country regardless of the successive regimes. With the aim of
clearing the way for a plethora of multi-billion dollar reconstruction
contracts for the US and UK for decades to come, the occupation ensured the
destruction of the infrastructure. With the aim of creating a compliant
population, the occupation attempted to erase cultural heritage and memory,
torching libraries, pillaging museums and ancient sites, targeting academics
and scientists, and fomenting sectarian violence while human rights violations
became a daily practise.
Words with noble meanings are used to camouflage acts of state terror:
liberation rather than occupation; democratic government rather than a
sectarian regime; transparency rather than corruption by bribes, theft and
extortion; communal violence rather than dirty war with manufactured terrorism
and black operations.
Words with noble meanings are used to camouflage acts of state terror:
liberation rather than occupation; democratic government rather than a
sectarian regime; transparency rather than corruption by bribes, theft, and
extortion; communal violence rather than dirty war with manufactured terrorism
and black operations.
In Iraq today, security means lawlessness and the rule of law means the rule of
sectarian militias, especially the US-trained Special Forces now attached
directly to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office.
The familiar scenario for victims of arbitrary arrests goes like this: First,
they are accused of being terrorists, so they are detained at a secret prison
whose existence is denied by the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Human
Rights. Then, they are tortured to obtain forced confessions, held for months
without trial mostly with the aim of extortion from families; then, sentenced
to either long-term imprisonment or death penalty, based on the forced
confession or information supplied by secret informants.
In some ways, this is a reproduction of how the US and other powerful states
view human rights and international law.
Two levels of international law
The reality is there are two levels in international law. One level is
applicable to residents of the "basement" of the world, ie, citizens of Third
World countries, and the other level applicable to citizens of powerful
countries. The so-called "war on terror" has reformulated many aspects of world
politics and accountability of states has become the first victim. Human rights
and accountability have become an open text subjected to selective
"interpretations". Therefore, some governments have enjoyed impunity, no matter
how brutally they have behaved, while the spotlights are shone on others,
undesirables for commercial and resource appropriation reasons.
In a rather bizarre timing, the International Counterterrorism Conference took
place in Baghdad on March 12, to coincide with the act of aggression that made
Iraq a breeding ground for all kinds of violence and terrorism. Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk spoke at length in the conference
about the US' "holistic" strategy against terrorism in Iraq where "the
government and people are confronting one of the most serious terrorist threats
in the world. Foremost among these threats is the Islamic State of Iraq and the
While assuring the Iraqi regime that the US-Iraq partnership is permanent, he
chose to ignore the continuous catastrophic effects of the US occupation of
Listening to his speech, one cannot help but sense a deja vu: "We are
liberators not invaders." Wasn't this the imperial British attitude while
invading Iraq at the beginning of the last century? Didn't we hear the same
terror-coated statement by US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United
Nations, a month before the invasion?
He said: "Iraq's involvement in terrorism, the gravity of the threat that
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction pose to the world, they are real and present
dangers to the region and to the world, a sinister nexus between Iraq and the
al-Qaeda terrorist network. These al-Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad, now
coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq
for his network, and they've now been operating freely in the capital for more
than eight months."
Iraq launches media campaign targeting
At the end of his dramatic speech, US military invasion of Iraq had become
inevitable, a "must" in order to save the world and Iraqis. It did not take the
world long to see through the heap of lies called WMD and al-Qaeda link. As for
Iraqis, the daily killings in neighbourhoods, and human rights abuses in Abu
Ghraib and other detention centres, has left them with a concrete belief that
the war was not an ill-conceived and badly managed endeavour but a pre-planned
project to destroy and pillage their country.
This racist deception cost the lives of over a million Iraqis, the legacy of
using depleted uranium and white phosphorous, the imposing of a sectarian
kleptocratic regime and the instigating of violence that has driven many Iraqis
to regret opposing Saddam's regime and believing in democracy. The defeat of
the US imperial project is spectacular, thanks to the resistance of the people
who, contrary to some claims, did not welcome the occupier with sweets and
flowers but have seen through the imperial claims of democracy and human
rights, tearing apart the shrouds of its deception.
How is the "holistic" strategy translated in the Iraqi reality? In terms of
propaganda, it claims that Iraqis are beyond the reach of democracy. They are
"extremists" and "terrorists". These are the same Iraqis who have been
demonstrating peacefully for almost two years, until the Maliki regime decided
to turn the terrorism charge against them.
As for Iraqis, every day brings fresh atrocities with an increase in
"execution-style" killings, and early morning discoveries of bullet-riddled
bodies, signifying the presence of death squads, mercenaries, militias, and
Iraqi security forces that have killed thousands in the aftermath of the US-led
The US is determined to continue to provide security assistance to the Iraqi
forces. US assistance includes weapons and security equipment, information
sharing, operational advice, and military training. This goes hand in hand with
a restructuring of the US army to rely more on cost effective US proxy regimes
or "moderates", in order to force terrorist groups into non-populated areas
where they can be captured and killed.
Kurdish, Iraqi officials reject Baghdad's
cooperation with Russia, Iran and Syria on ISIS
Several Kurdish and Iraqi officials have
rejected a recently announced initiative by Iraq's government to cooperate with
Russia, Iran, and Syria in the fight against the Islamic state of Iraq and
Baghdad announced on Sunday it would be sharing ''security and intelligence'' on
ISIS through ''comprehensive coordination'' with the three countries. Russian
President Vladimir Putin announced Moscow would be setting up an intelligence
unit in the Iraqi capital.
However, several Iraqi officials, including from the autonomous Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG) and the influential Shi'ite Sadrist Movement, have
criticized the move in recent days.
Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the Peshmerga, the KRG's military forces,
said on Wednesday the KRG would not be taking part in the intelligence-sharing
alliance with Moscow, Tehran, and Damascus.
''We were not asked for our opinion on this development, therefore we are not
interested,'' Yawar said in a statement.
Several Syria–Kurdish groups, such as the People's Protection Units (YPG), are
currently fighting both Bashar Al-Assad and ISIS in Syria.
Former deputy prime minister Baha Araji, who is also a leading figure in the
Sadrist Movement, said the move to cooperate with Russia, Syria, and Iran would
clash with Iraq's role in the international US-led anti-ISIS coalition.
''This new Russian-led coalition will act as a . . . rival to the US-led
coalition, which will lead to the region in general and Iraq in particular to
become a stage for the two sides to settle scores against one another and for
the redrawing of the map of the region,'' Araji said.
He called the alliance a ''cover'' for further Russian and Iranian intervention
in the region and said Iraq and other neighboring countries would pay a ''heavy
price'' for this.
This comes as Russia on Wednesday announced it had launched airstrikes against
ISIS in Syria. However, initial targets of the campaign include areas in Syria
held by US-backed rebels fighting the Syrian regime, and there have been
several reports on the ground from rebels saying the Russian Air Force has
targeted their positions.
Alongside Iran, Russia is Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's biggest
international ally. At the UN General Assembly this week, Russian President
Vladimir Putin called for the West and the international community to cooperate
with Assad in order to defeat ISIS.
Meanwhile, speaking at a counterterrorism summit on the sidelines of the
General Assembly, US President Barack Obama said ISIS could not be defeated
until Assad had been removed from power, maintaining that it was the Syrian
regime's brutality that had led to people flocking to join the extremist
ISIS Leader Moves To Ramadi, Restructures
Group: Senior Iraqi Officer
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, has left northern Iraq to lead
the battle against Iraqi army forces encircling the western city of Ramadi
after a two-month lull in fighting, according to a senior Iraqi officer.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the officer said the Iraqi government
has received ''almost certain intelligence'' that Baghdadi has moved to Ramadi,
the capital of Anbar province, which although besieged by regular Iraqi army
forces and US-trained tribal fighters has not witnessed much fighting in the
past two months.
Baghdadi's move comes after Iraq agreed to share intelligence on ISIS with
Russia, which wants to join a US-led campaign against the group, as well as
Iran and Syria where ISIS controls large parts of territory.
Baghdadi also introduced changes to the extremist group's leadership by
appointing new commanders ''in an attempt to restructure and prompt the group to
once again carry out terrorist operations against the regular army and
affiliated militias,'' the officer said.
ISIS seized the province in early 2014 as Iraqi forces positioned in Mosul in
northern Iraq deserted their bases ahead of the group's advance.
Efforts by the Iraqi government to retake the province have stalled in the last
two months—a lull the officer attributed to differences between Baghdad and
Washington over the role of a coalition of Shi'ite militias, known as the
Popular Mobilization forces, in the fight against ISIS.
Baghdad initially relied on the Popular Mobilization to battle ISIS but its
role dwindled due to fears that it may carry out acts of revenge against Sunnis
whom it accuses of backing the extremist group.
Meanwhile, Washington has denied that its troops are taking part in ground
operations against ISIS in Iraq, dismissing recent media reports on the issue
Washington's embassy in Baghdad has said the US-led coalition continues to
target ISIS's positions with airstrikes in Anbar province and provide Iraqi
government forces with military equipment and advice.
Asked about Washington's denial, the officer said: ''We cannot talk of a
deployment of large ground forces but the present [US] experts and advisers
have been backed with new forces consisting of two regiments and equipped with
weapons and Apache aircraft.''
According to the source, the new deployment comes against the backdrop of
''understandings'' between Anbar's tribal sheikhs and Washington whom he said
''categorically reject the participation of the Popular Mobilization'' in battles
Turkey Detains 12 ISIS Militants In Kilis Province
Turkey arrested 12 members of the Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria (ISIS) in the south-central province of Kilis, the Istanbul-based Daily
Sabah reported Saturday quoting the Turkish General Staff (TSK).
The arrest, which took place on June 26, included five children, the statement
released on the official website of the TSK said.
Turkey is a member of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS. Most of its 77
million people are deeply opposed to the militant group's savage tactics.
The country has been accused in the past of being lax in controlling the
border, which is used as a transit point by foreign fighters joining the civil
war in neighboring Syria.
In recent months, Turkish authorities said they have blocked entry to Turkey to
more than 7,000 would-be militants. There have been dozens of detentions and
deportations of people suspected of trying to travel to ISIS-controlled part of
What does the Turkey-Qatar military deal mean for Arab conflicts?
ISIS Kills At Least 200
Civilians in Attack on Kobani
Hundreds Also Wounded as ISIS Infiltrates Key Kurdish City
On-again, off-again ISIS attacks on the key Syrian Kurdish border city of
Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic) have begun again this week, with ISIS forces
managing to infiltrate the city with uniforms resembling those of the Kurdish
YPG forces, and killing at least 200 civilians.
ISIS went door-to-door in the city, massacring civilians in what has been
described as a ''suicide mission,'' taking scores of human shields and killing
the rest as they awaited Kurdish security forces, by whom they were now
surrounded. In addition to the slain, over 200 were reported wounded, many not
expected to survive.
While it was among the single biggest attacks by ISIS in the war, the Kobani
strike was believed to be a ''distraction'' for Kurdish forces, and the real
target appears to have been Hasakeh, the de facto Kurdish capital in the
northeast. ISIS fighters there seized a district in the city.
Having lost Tel Abyad, a small Raqqa Province town, to the Kurds last week,
ISIS seems keen to get back on the offensive against them. ISIS has often used
the tactic in Iraq of launching counteroffensives elsewhere after losing
territory, forcing the enemy to spread the defenses even thinner.
Sunni Tribes, Abandoned By Iraq, Key To Islamic State Fight
HABANIYAH, Iraq - Parading across a desert base, hundreds of
Sunni tribesmen who graduated a crash-training course stood ready to take on
the Islamic State group, Associated Press reported June 20, 2015.
Among them were tribesmen who watched as Iraqi forces
abandoned Ramadi a month ago to the Islamic State group.
'For a year and a half we told them we need weapons, we need
salaries, we need food, we need protection, but our requests were ignored until
the disaster of Ramadi happened, ' said Sheikh Rafa al-Fahdawi, one of the
leaders of the Al Bu Fahad tribe of Anbar province.
But money and weapons alone won't be enough to repair the
mistrust between Baghdad and the Sunni tribes it now needs to battle the
Islamic State group, which holds about a third of the country and neighboring
Syria in its self-declared 'caliphate.' After Iraqi forces abandoned Ramadi and
then turned to Shiite militias for help, both sides remain suspicious of each
other, threatening any effort to work together.
Iraq's Sunnis long have complained of discrimination and
abuse since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein's and
replaced it with a government dominated by the country`s Shiite majority. But
the collapse of Iraqi forces in Ramadi on May 17 crystalized the fears many
Sunni tribesmen had when their pleas for help went unanswered.
That night, silence fell over Ramadi after weeks of Islamic
State-launched suicide car bomb attacks and gun battles, said Sunni tribesmen
who spoke to The Associated Press. The Iraqi forces there, including its
vaunted Special Forces units, slipped out of the city, leaving Sunni tribesmen
armed only with light weapons and their personal vehicles to battle the
extremists, they said. The city quickly fell, forcing the tribesmen to flee.
'We felt there was no hope when the military left, ' said
Omar al-Fahdawi, a member of the Al Bu Fahad tribe from Ramadi. 'For a year and
a half we have been begging for government support, for weapons, for help. But
we were forgotten.'
A senior Iraqi intelligence official and operations commander
in Anbar province confirmed that counterterrorism forces were the first to pull
out of Ramadi, abandoning 89 Humvees and armored cars, as well as rifles and
The official said that the counterterrorism units were
ambushed by some 200 militant fighters, breaking their line of defense and
forcing them to withdraw, leaving the army and tribal fighters outnumbered and
On Wednesday, 500 men from some of Anbar's biggest tribes
marched in formation at Iraq's Habaniyah military base in the province's
western desert, part of a force the Iraqi government is quickly trying to make
As many as 80 U.S. advisers are now at Habaniyah, the first
of a batch of 450 additional troops that President Barack Obama agreed to send
to Iraq last week. The advisers declined to speak with journalists on hand for
Human rights groups have accused individual Shiite militias
fighting within the structure of harassing or attacking Sunni civilians, as
well as destroying their homes and businesses.
'They are Iranian militias - nothing more, ' said Majeed al-Fahdawi,
Omar`s brother. 'We`ve communicated our concerns to the government but they
don`t listen. We`re seen as traitors if we speak against them.'
UN Report: 'Terrible Toll' On Civilians In Iraq - Crimes Of Iraqi Government
And Its Shiite Terror
At least 1,031 Iraqis were killed in May 2015 and another 1,684 injured in acts
of terrorism, violence and armed conflict, according to the United Nations
Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
''Current developments in and around the city of Ramadi and in Anbar Governorate
showed grave consequences as around 237,786 individuals have been displaced
from and within Anbar to date, while thousands were killed and injured,
sometimes in the most horrendous way,'' UNAMI chief Ján Kubiš said today on the
release of the figures.
According to UNAMI's latest figures, 665 civilians were killed and 1,313
injured, while a further 366 members of the Iraqi Security Forces lost their
lives and another 371 were injured during the entire month of May. The data
marks an uptick of 219 casualties compared to last month, although the
confirmed numbers might not fully reflect an increasingly volatile situation,
where civilians are also being displaced by the thousands.
Nevertheless, the capital was the worst affected Governorate with 1,044
civilian casualties (343 killed, 701 injured). According to Baghdad Health
Directorate, the Anbar Governorate follows, with a total of 583 civilian
casualties (102 killed, 481 injured), once again the victim toll of Fallujah
has been excluded.
Convinced that a military solution alone will be insufficient to achieve
stability in Iraq, Mr. Kubiš urged Abadi's government to adopt a ''set of
confidence-building measures'' towards Arab Sunnis and other disaffected
communities, and ''enabling them to assume a share in governing the country,'' as
well as ''assuring them of the State's ability to ensure their protection from
It worth mentioning that the actions of the pro-government sectarian militias
were to blame for the growing number of casualties, while UN doesn't regard the
unspeakable crimes committed by those barbaric militias openly.
Crimes Of Iraqi Government And Its
Human rights report highlighted the practices of government-backed sectarian
militias in Diyala province, in the first half of this year which witnessed the
killing and kidnapping of more than two hundred civilians.
The sectarian militias have committed a new crime by killing three civilians
after torturing them; bodies were found dumped on a Wednesday south of the
capital Baghdad, as confirmed by the press and medical sources.
According to press reports published Wednesday ; an earthquake measuring 2.8 on
Richter Scale hit parts of Tamim province, without reports of casualties or
damages it may cause.
Two civilians were wounded seriously after being shot by gunmen suspected of
belonging to the government-backed sectarian militias Wednesday morning,
north-eastern city of Baquba, capital of Diyala province.
At least two of the government military personnel were wounded seriously; in a
bomb north of the capital Baghdad, as confirmed by press and security sources
Some 22 of the government forces and militias of the so-called "Popular
Mobilization" dead or wounded in bombings hit them earlier in Anbar province,
as reported by a reporter of amsi.com on Wednesday.
Three people were killed and fifteen others injured; by two blasts in two
separate places on Wednesday north and south of the capital Baghdad .
An officer in the current Interior Ministry was killed, when an adhesive bomb
exploded in his car Wednesday afternoon west of Baghdad, meanwhile six people
were injured in a roadside bomb southwest of the capital.
The International Occupation Forces, known as 'International Coalition Forces',
has hit on Wednesday ten cities in four provinces west and north of Iraq by
launching 18 airstrike; leaving dozens dead and wounded not to mention a
massive destruction of some of the targeted areas.
The member of the Diyala provincial council, Asma'a Kmbosh, has survived an
assassination attempt in a roadside bomb, while a civilian was killed in
another similar attack on Sunday in the city of Baquba, Diyala province.
Seven militiamen of the so-called "popular mobilization", including a regiment
commander, were wounded in four roadside bombs targeted their patrol on
Saturday, west of the city of Tikrit, Salahuddin province.
Unidentified gunmen assassinated a contractor in an attack on his car yesterday
evening in the city of Kirkuk, the capital of Tamim province, according to a
government security source in the governorate.
Government employee was killed and another seriously injured in an adhesive
bomb in their car Sunday morning east of the capital Baghdad, the current
Interior Ministry source said .
Two people were killed and seven others were injured on Sunday, in an explosion
southwest of the capital Baghdad, the current Interior Ministry source said .
One person was killed and two others were injured in a bomb explosion on
Saturday evening city of Baquba, Diyala province, according to press reports
attributed a source in the provincial police.
A member of the so-called "Anbar's Emergency Regiment" was killed and two
others were injured in a mortar attack on their site south of Falluja, on
One person was killed and five others seriously injured because of a bomb on
Sunday north of Baghdad, said a security source in the current Interior
A 15-year-old girl in a village north of Amara, Maysan province died by suicide
after hanging herself inside her house, on Sunday, whereas it found bodies of a
man and a woman northeast of the capital Baghdad, according to a government
Iraqis Fleeing Battles in Ramadi Being Denied Entry To Safe Areas; They Are
Returning To The Conflict - IRC
Tens thousands people have fled Ramadi since militants overran the city, in
Iraq's Anbar province, earlier this month, the United Nations reports. Most of
those displaced have headed to nearby governates – including Baghdad, about 60
miles to the east. The International Rescue Committee is concerned that
arbitrary and irresponsible security measures are preventing many of them from
''Thousands of people fleeing Ramadi are stuck at checkpoints or being denied
entry to safe areas,'' said Mark Schnellbaecher, the IRC's regional crisis
response director. ''For some people the situation has become so hopeless that
they are returning to the conflict in Ramadi.''
IRC staff monitoring the humanitarian situation around Ramadi have found that
security checks are being carried out inconsistently, leading to confusion and
anguish for those turned away. In some areas a blanket ban has been placed on
''Security checks should never be arbitrary or discriminatory, and every effort
should be made to keep families together,'' said Schnellbaecher. ''Any measures
to separate civilians from combatants should be done according to international
The problem is compounded by a "sponsorship" system, which requires that people
fleeing for their lives have someone from the local governate vouch for them.
The system is leading to serious exploitation, with some ''sponsors'' selling
their sponsorship for up to $700. Not only does paying for sponsorship
undermine its security credentials, Schnellbaecher explained, it also forces an
unacceptable financial burden on displaced Iraqis who will need their savings
to provide for their families.
IRC teams are speaking with people uprooted by the violence in Ramadi to learn
what emergency support they may need, such as food, water and medical
The international occupation forces which called "coalition forces"; have
launched 12 raid, on Wednesday targeted an Iraqi cities in three provinces
north and west of the country.
Agencies news quoted that forces' statement as saying; Fighter jets raided the
cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and Heet in Anbar province, and the cities of Mosul,
Sinjar and Tal Afar in Nineveh province, as well as the city of Baiji in
Salahuddin province, pointing out that the bombing of these cities was under
the pretext of targeting militants.
The international coalition forces have targeted again on Thursday ten Iraqi
cities in the provinces of Anbar and Nineveh, Salahuddin and Tamim, by twenty
air raid in which populated areas bombed signed deaths and injuries as well as
Two people were killed, one of them was a government employee and seven others
wounded, including four soldiers in four explosive devices Wednesday evening in
different areas of the capital Baghdad.
Some 1500 people suffered severe dyspnea due to heavy dust storm that pervaded
on Tuesday the provinces of Baghdad, Karbala and Muthanna, quoted sources in
the current Ministry of Health .
A woman was killed and four other people were wounded in a bomb on Thursday
morning north-eastern city of Baquba, capital of Diyala province.
Three members of the so-called "popular mobilization" was killed and 16 others
were injured, some very seriously during armed clashes broke out Thursday
afternoon south of Tikrit, Salah al-Din province.
Two people were killed, one of them was an element of the Awakening forces and
11 others wounded, including four of the Awakening forces and government
police; as a result of two blasts in separate areas on Thursday south and north
of the capital Baghdad .
No less than 29 element of the government army and militiamen of the so-called
"popular mobilization" have been killed, and 35 others were wounded during
armed clashes continued in the governorates of Anbar and Salahuddin, a day
after the deaths of more than 150 elements of the army and militias.
One person was killed and three others were suffered wounds and fractures;
after a traffic accident occurred on Thursday southern of Sulaymaniyah province
northern Iraq, which witnessed traffic accidents remarkably.
Two people were killed and two others were injured by two bombs in separate
locations Thursday afternoon northeast of the city of Baquba, capital of Diyala
Medical reports published via journalistic sources Thursday evening; confirmed
that the outcome of the ongoing indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in
Fallujah since more than a year, amounted to more than 7600 people dead and
wounded most of them civilians.
Three people were killed and 12 others were injured, in two blasts, Thursday
afternoon in separate locations south and east of the capital, Baghdad.
In two separate explosions Thursday evening south of the capital Baghdad;
killing one person and wounding ten people.
Updates From Anbar, Fallujah And Baghdad - Documenting Crimes Of Iraqi
Government And Its Shiite Terror
The Government Security Forces and Allied Sectarian Militias have experienced a
deadly day in Anbar and Salahuddin provinces
The killing of 33 element of the government army, the Awakening forces and the
popular mobilization militias, and 40 others wounded in an ambush targeted a
joint force on Sunday east of Ramadi, Anbar province.
In Anbar also, no less than 42 component of the government security forces
killed and dozens were injured by a car bomb targeted a military barracks on
Monday afternoon north of Fallujah.
At least 38 government soldiers and policemen and militiamen of the so-called
popular mobilization have been killed, including the commander of the Third
Battalion of the Federal Police, and 46 others were injured, including the
commander of the ninth Regiment in the Federal Police in a tank bomb targeted
their headquarter Monday south of Tikrit, Salahuddin province .
Three militiamen of the so-called popular mobilization were killed and two
others injured in armed attacks on a military headquarters on Monday east of
the city of Fallujah.
One person was killed and eight others were injured, some seriously injured in
a blast Monday southeast of the capital Baghdad morning, a source of the
current Ministry of the Interior said.
Three people were killed and 11 others wounded as a result of two blasts in
separate areas on Monday north and south of the capital Baghdad .
A woman was killed in an armed attack targeted her Monday afternoon south of
the capital Baghdad, a source at the current Ministry of the Interior said.
Two members of the Awakening forces were killed and two others injured in a
bomb targeted their truck on Monday west of the capital Baghdad, according to a
source at the current Ministry of the Interior.
One person was killed and five were wounded in an explosion Monday evening
south of the capital Baghdad.
A civilian was killed in an armed attack targeted him Monday evening east of
the capital Baghdad.
The elements of government-backed sectarian militias Wednesday morning
committing a new crime where blew a Sunni mosque south-eastern city of Baquba
in Diyala province.
A group of sectarian militiamen has assassinated deputy head of the Iraqi
Engineers Association (Abdullah Khalaf al-Jubouri) where shot him after
intercepting his way on Wednesday; north of the capital Baghdad.
Killing of at least 80 element of the government army and militiamen of the
so-called "popular mobilization", and dozens others were injured as a result of
nine car bombs targeted their military positions on Wednesday near Fallujah.
Baghdad Center for Human Rights has confirmed the death of four detainees over
the past week in the prisons of Nasiriyah, Rusafa as a result of brutal torture
and health neglect.
Two people were killed and nine others wounded in a bomb on Wednesday morning
north of the capital Baghdad, said a current Interior Ministry source .
One person was killed and six wounded in an explosion south of Baghdad, in a
second event of its kind seen in the capital today.
A person was killed and four others wounded, some seriously injured in a blast
on Wednesday north of the city of Baquba, capital of Diyala province.
A government police officer was killed and four others were wounded in a
roadside bomb targeted their patrol on Wednesday afternoon west of the capital
According to press and medical sources, the director of the so-called "judicial
police" in Anbar province, died on Wednesday of his wounds sustained in earlier
battles near the city of Ramadi, the provincial capital.
Three militiamen of the so-called "popular mobilization" were killed , and
others wounded; in a booby-trapped house on Wednesday north of Tikrit,
In a preliminary toll; seven people fell dead and wounded; in an explosion
Wednesday evening west of the capital Baghdad, which has seen in the past
twenty-four hours the killing and wounding dozens people in separate incidents.
The International Rescue Committee has denounced the arbitrary actions and
restrictions by the government security services against the displaced people
of Anbar province, which is forcing hundreds of them to return to areas of
conflict, where government authorities have imposed a "sponsorship" system; to
allow them to enter the capital, Baghdad.
The killing of Brigadier General, Saleh Ali Atta, counselor of the current
defense minister, and his driver was seriously wounded in an armed attack on
his car Monday afternoon north of the city of Baquba, capital of Diyala
Unidentified gunmen assassinated a government employee in an attack was
targeted him on Sunday northeast of the city of Baquba, Diyala province.
One person was killed and another was wounded in an armed attack targeted them
Monday morning east of the city of Tikrit, Salahuddin province.
Two people were killed and seven others were injured, some seriously in a bomb
on Monday morning west of the capital Baghdad.
A doctor was killed when an adhesive bomb exploded in his car Monday morning
west of the capital Baghdad.
A man and his daughter were killed and his son seriously injured after a bomb
attack on their home on Monday morning, north of the city of Nasiriyah province
of Dhi Qar.
Person was killed and four others were injured in a roadside bomb on Monday,
the center of the city of Baquba Diyala province.
One person was killed and three others were seriously injured due to a traffic
accident Monday afternoon northwest of the city of Kirkuk, Tamim province.
One of the workers in the oil ministry staff killed in an armed attack by
unknown gunmen and they have stealing contracts were in his possession on
Monday northeastern city of Baquba.
Government security force has found on Tuesday two bodies, one of the was an
imam and preacher of a mosque and the other was a government employee, they
were shot dead, in separate locations south and east of the city of Kirkuk,
Tamim province .
On Tuesday, also, government security forces found bodies of three men who had
been shot dead east of the capital Baghdad.
Two people were killed, one of them an officer in the former Iraqi Army after
an armed attack on their car Monday evening north of the city of Baquba, Diyala
One person injured in a bomb explosion on Tuesday morning south of the capital
One person was killed and six others injured, some seriously injured as a
result of a bomb explosion on Tuesday morning in central Baghdad.
Two militiamen of the so-called "popular mobilization" were killed and three
others wounded in a roadside bomb targeted their patrol on Tuesday afternoon
northeast of the city of Baquba, capital of Diyala province.
One of the elements of the government army was killed and three others were
injured in what is believed that a sniper targeted their checkpoint Tuesday
afternoon north of the capital Baghdad.
A militiaman of the so-called "popular mobilization" was killed and three
others wounded in a bomb targeted their patrol Tuesday afternoon west of the
One government policeman was killed and two others seriously injured as a
result of a roadside bomb targeting their patrol Tuesday evening northeastern
city of Baquba, capital of Diyala province.
Three people were killed and 11 others were injured by two bombs in separate
locations Tuesday evening, south east and east of the capital Baghdad.
Unidentified gunmen have kidnapped an employee of the current Ministry of Youth
and Sports, Tuesday evening in central Baghdad, according to a source in the
Obama Admin Gives Cover To Iraq Shiite Militia Abuses:
Ex U.S. Official
By Mustapha Ajbaili
A former U.S. official and special assistant to five
American ambassadors in Iraq and senior adviser to
three chiefs of U.S. Central Command has accused the
Obama administration of providing cover to abuses
committed by pro-government Shiite militias in Iraq.
In a Foreign Policy article published on Thursday, Ali
Khedery describes the Iraqi government as "hopelessly
sectarian, corrupt, and generally unfit to govern."
He argues that through its response to the Islamic
State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), "The United States is
now acting as the air force, the armory, and the
diplomatic cover for Iraqi militias that are
committing some of the worst human rights abuses on
"These are "allies" that are actually beholden to our
strategic foe, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and which
often resort to the same vile tactics as the Islamic
State itself," added Khedery, who now runs Dragoman
Partners, an international strategic advisory firm.
He blamed the Obama administration for Iraq's
implosion and the rise of ISIS by undermining the
country's constitution and bypassing the secular
winner of the 2010 legislative elections Ayad Allawi
in favor of the runner up Nouri al-Maliki, whose
sectarian pro-Shiite policies helped boost ISIS
presence in the country.
Khedery also accused the White House of having
supported brutal pro-Iran Shiite war lords in Iraq,
including "Badr Organization commander Hadi al-Ameri —
who was welcomed in the Oval Office by Obama in 2011,
and is known for favoring power drills to murder his
The former U.S. official also pointed out to Abu Mahdi
al-Muhandis, the suspected mastermind behind the 1980s
attacks on American and French embassies in Kuwait.
Khedery wrote that al-Muhandis "was given command of
the Kataib Hezbollah (KH) militia, an
Iranian-sponsored group responsible for some of the
most lethal attacks against U.S. and coalition forces
throughout the war."
He argues that these militia leaders and others are
"deeply embedded within Baghdad's power structure" and
a lot of U.S. military assistance to Iraq actually
ends up in the their hands is used to expand their
abuses outside central government or Washington's
Asked by Al Arabiya News whether the Obama
administration is "deliberately" turning a blind eye
to Shiite militias' abuses in Iraq, Khedery replied:
"Basically again because this White House is not
especially interested in foreign policy and is not
especially interested in continuing what it believes
to be the 'dumb wars' – it was Obama's words – the
'dumb wars' that Bush launched in Iraq in 2003. So
what he is desperately trying to do is extract the
United States and his administration and his legacy
from anything related to Iraq, but he's done so in a
very naïve poorly informed poorly executed way,"
Khedery told Al Arabiya News.
"The more he [Obama] distances himself from Iraq the
more he leaves a vacuum that is filled by strategic
adversaries like the Iranians or like ISIS, and you
will never be able to defeat ISIS with the militias
because they will always be abusive, which will always
create a Sunni backlash, which will always radicalize
millions of Sunnis around the world further and so
it's just a vicious cycle," he added.
He said "they know in the White House that this [abuse
by Shiite militias] is happening and yet they have not
condemned it. They did not say anything about it. All
they are doing is further emboldening it which is a
He said the only way to defeat ISIS is by coopting
Sunnis, like U.S. General David Petraeus did when he
helped create and support a Sunni force known as
Sahwat (or the Awakening Councils) to fight the
Sunni-rooted al-Qaeda in 2006.
"You can't defeat a Sunni extremist organization with
Iranians and Shiite militia and Peshmerga, you can
only defeat it with Sunni Arabs," the former U.S.
Some security experts have expressed similar concerns
about relying on Shiite militias to rid Sunni areas of
"Without a new power-sharing agreement, promises that
they will not be mistreated, and a program for
reconstruction, the Sunnis may well see Iraqi
government forces (and even the Kurds) not as
liberators, but as a conquering Shiite army," former
CIA intelligence analyst Kenneth M. Pollack wrote in
the New York Times earlier this month.
Last week, Human Rights Watch published a report
accusing Iraq's pro-government Shiite militias of
escalating abuses against Sunni civilians. "Residents
have been forced from their homes, kidnapped, and in
some cases summarily executed," the rights group
"Iraqi civilians are being hammered by ISIS and then
by pro-government militias in areas they seize from
ISIS," said Joe Stork, HRW's deputy Middle East and
North Africa director. "With the government responding
to those they deem terrorists with arbitrary arrests
and executions, residents have nowhere to turn for
Exclusive: Pentagon Doubts Its Own ISIS War Plan
That didn't take long. Less than a day after the
U.S. military announced its Spring offensive against
ISIS, seasoned military officers said the plan was
Skepticism about the U.S. and Iraqi military plans for
the next phase of the ISIS war begins inside the
Less than 24 hours after U.S. military officials
publicly detailed their plans for a spring offensive
on ISIS-held Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, many
within the Pentagon privately questioned whether that
timetable was plausible. They said that they were
dubious that their partners in the Iraqi military—the
troops supposed to lead the offensive—would be capable
of conducting such a campaign by then.
"I really doubt it is going to happen that soon," said
one military officer who, like several others, served
in Iraq between 2003-2011 and spoke on condition of
anonymity. "And if it does, it will take months."
The largely Shiite troops of the Iraqi army are
unlikely to risk their lives to win back a Sunni
dominated city, several U.S. military officers told
The Daily Beast on Friday. Indeed, when ISIS stormed
the city last June, Iraqi forces walked away, leading
the U.S. and 60 other nations to form a coalition
against the terror group.
Even if the Iraqi troops do stand up and fight the
self-proclaimed Islamic State, having a Shiite force
move in and potentially ravage a major Sunni city in a
bid to save it could have adverse affects on the
Sunnis in Iraq and broader Sunni Arab world. Sectarian
tensions, particularly in Iraq, run that deep.
"I cannot believe that Shiites would fight for Mosul,"
one officer who served in the restive Sunni province
of Anbar during the Iraq War told The Daily Beast.
So far, there is no evidence of a strong
Sunni-majority Iraqi Army brigade, and U.S. Central
Command has said it will take at least eight brigades
to win back the city.
In the absence of such a force, it is not clear that
the Sunni-dominated city would welcome those troops.
Many Sunnis feel betrayed by Iraq's Shiite-dominated
central government, and all indications are that
Shiite militias are becoming increasingly powerful in
Iraq as the war against ISIS drags on, only confirming
Sunni residents fears.
Critics inside the U.S. defense community note that
the battle for Mosul could be much harder than the
coalition's fights so far to reclaim cities from ISIS.
It took 112 days for a capable Kurdish ground force
and U.S.-led air campaign to win back the small
northern Syria city of Kobani.
In many ways, Kobani was one of the easier fights the
coalition could've picked. ISIS wasn't particularly
well-entrenched there. And the city had been largely
abandoned when the ISIS attempted to take it. In other
words: the coalition's airstrikes could be relatively
indiscriminate without risk of civilian casualties.
Mosul, on the other hand, is arguably the capital of
ISIS's Islamic caliphate in Iraq. ISIS's fighters have
moved in and out of the city for the last decade,
first as members of al Qaeda in Iraq.
"They will fight for Mosul. This is not like Kobani,
which was peripheral," one U.S. military official told
the Daily Beast.
Mosul is a heavily populated city, where ISIS forces
have already built trenches and barriers. ISIS
reportedly maintains security forces, collects taxes,
and controls government buildings there. Where Kobani
was aspirational for the group, Mosul is key.
"They will fight to the last drop of blood defending
Mosul, and for them this battle could define their
existence. Losing Mosul means a final defeat for
Islamic State in Iraq," a retired army general living
in Mosul told Reuters last month.
Before the Syrian civil war in 2011, Kobani had
roughly 45,000 people. Around that time, there were
roughly 1.5 million souls in Mosul. Kobani was all but
destroyed in the aftermath of the ground and air
campaign. The broader Sunni Arab world would likely
not accept the same fate for a city as important as
"The outrage in the Arab world if you do to Mosul what
you did to Kobani, primarily with Shiite and Kurdish
forces, would create a firestorm. The integrity of the
city needs to be protected," said Derek Harvey,
director of the University of South Florida Global
Initiative for Civil Society and Conflict, and a
former advisor to former Iraq commanders Gens. Dave
Petraeus and Raymond Odierno.
Just last month, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan
Barzani said he did not think the Iraqi army would be
ready before the fall to take back Mosul. In an
interview with Reuters, he said the two best Iraqi
divisions are currently protecting the capital and
there were not sufficient sources to replace them
should a Mosul offensive began.
Asked by Reuters last month about plans touted by
Iraqi and U.S. officials for an offensive by June on
Mosul, Barzani said: "March, definitely not. June,
also I doubt it."
On Thursday, a U.S. CENTCOM official briefed reporters
and telegraphed the upcoming Mosul operation. The
official, who would not be named as a condition of the
briefing, said an Iraqi force of as many as 25,000
troops could launch an offensive as early as April or
May. The forces, which would be made up, in part, of
six Iraqi army brigades and three Kurdish peshmerga
units would take on an ISIS force of as many as 2,000,
the official said.
The official called it an Iraqi plan that the U.S.
will assist with. But he would not say how the
American forces would help.
Defenders of the war plan announcement noted that ISIS
has been anticipating a counteroffensive since June
10, when its forces moved in, faced relatively little
counterattack, claimed the city, and seized much of
the Iraqi army's U.S.-provided weapons and equipment,
including tanks and Humvees.
The longer the U.S. and Iraqi forces wait, the more
entrenched ISIS becomes in Mosul.
"The stronger the defenses get to be, the stronger
their caliphate becomes in Mosul," the defense
There was little cost to telegraphing the operation,
this official added. ISIS has already dug trenches and
bolstered their forces. Announcing that a counter
offensive is imminent does not change what ISIS
already is doing. In the last month, U.S. and
coalition air strikes have increasingly focused on
Mosul. There have been airstrikes every day in the
last week, striking at least 19 targets, according to
coalition press releases. There were just six
airstrikes during the first week of the year.
Defenders of CENTCOM were quick to dismiss concerns of
sending a Shiite dominated force to Mosul, calling the
military an "Iraqi one, not a Shiite Iraqi Army."
Mosul has been perilous for U.S. and Iraqi forces from
the earliest days of the U.S. invasion. In July 2003,
Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, were discovered
hiding in Mosul. The city quickly became a hotbed for
al Qaeda in Iraq, which would eventually become ISIS.
The U.S. launched its first campaign to take back the
city from Sunni extremists in 2004, and then again in
2008, along with Iraqi forces. The fighting lasted for
several months, on and off.
The CENTCOM official told reporters Thursday that if
the Iraqi Army was not ready, they would move the date
back. But Harvey said there already were costs to
announcing the operation.
"The worst thing you could is telegraph it, go after
it and fail," Harvey said. And neither [the peshmerga
nor the Iraqi security forces] is good at this kind of
Warmongering Obama Proposes $51
Billion In War Funds - Killing Women, Children And
Vulnerable With Billions That's The Way Of Peace
Facing new security challenges in the Middle East
and Ukraine, the Obama administration on Monday
proposed a $534 billion Pentagon base budget plus $51
billion in war funds as it urged Congress to end
spending cuts which it says erode U.S. military power.
In addition to the base budget and war funding
requests, the administration proposed some $27 billion
in defense spending at other agencies, primarily
nuclear weapons work by the Department of Energy.
The Pentagon base budget proposal broke through the
$499 billion federal spending cap for fiscal year
2016, setting up a debate in Congress over whether to
continue deep cuts to federal discretionary spending
or to amend the limits set in a 2011 law that sought
to narrow the U.S. budget deficit.
"The geopolitical events of the past year only
reinforce the need to resource DoD (Department of
Defense) at the president's
requested funding level as opposed to current law,"
the Pentagon said in a statement.
The budget follows several years of deep spending
cuts, also known as sequestration, included in a 2011
law meant to slash government deficits. Projected
defense spending was supposed to be reduced by about a
trillion dollars over a decade but defense officials
say the cuts are eroding military capabilities after
15 years of war.
"As the budget makes clear, a return to
sequester-level funding would be irresponsible and
dangerous, resulting in a force too small and
ill-equipped to respond to the full range of potential
threats to the nation," the Pentagon said.
To counter Russian actions in Ukraine and elsewhere in
Europe, the defense budget includes funding to
increase military exercises and training with European
partners and to increase U.S. military rotational
deployments to the region.
It also includes funding to combat ISIS militants in
Iraq and Syria by providing training and assistance to
Iraqi military troops and members of the Syrian
The proposed budget would enable the U.S. Army to fund
an active-duty force of 475,000 soldiers, down
slightly from its plan to retain 490,000 after the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Pentagon has warned that if the 2011 budget limits
remained in force, it would have to cut the Army to
about 420,000 troops.
The Pentagon again sought approval for several reforms
hotly opposed in Congress, including retirement of the
A-10 "Warthog" close-air support aircraft, conducting
a new round of U.S. base closures and curbing the
rising cost of military pay and benefits.
Countless memories haunt me after a decade of
service in Iraq, gripping the hands of an
assassin-felled member of the provisional government
as the life slipped out of her body in 2003; watching
al Qaeda's beheadings of American hostages in 2004 and
seeing photos of young Sunni prisoners raped and
tortured by Iran-backed Shiite militias serving within
the Iraqi police in 2005.It took the fall of Iraq's
second-largest city, Mosul, for Western elites to
finally begin to understand what many of us saw
firsthand in the years since 2003: The Iraqi
government is hopelessl
sectarian, corrupt, and generally unfit to govern what
could be one of the world's most prosperous nations.
Washington's response to the Islamic State's (IS)
advance, however, has been disgraceful: The United
States is now acting as the air force, the armory, and
the diplomatic cover for Iraqi militias that are
committing some of the worst human rights abuses on
the planet. These are "allies" that are actually
beholden to our strategic foe, the Islamic Republic of
Iran, and which often resort to the same vile tactics
as the Islamic State itself.
Post-2003 Iraq was supposed to be different.
Throughout the past decade, however, countless NGOs
and international news organizations have borne
witness to the accelerating pace of abuses. The
Republic of Fear is being reborn.
Perhaps the most vivid and disturbing evidence that
the Iraqi government simply does not share America's
core values emerged on Feb. 6. In a grainy video
posted on YouTube, a three-minute horror show plays
out on the front lines somewhere in Iraq. Iraqi
military officers and presumably Shiite militiamen —
dressed in black, skull-adorned "Sons of Anarchy"
shirts — crowd an ambulance emblazoned with the Iraqi
state seal. Inside, a blindfolded and hog-tied man in
military fatigues pleads for mercy as the Iraqi
vigilantes beat him over the head, taunting him with
One of the vigilantes picks up a metal toolbox and
slams it down on the crying man, as others enter the
ambulance to beat and kick the helpless prisoner. A
minute into the video, the man is dragged out of the
ambulance and onto the ground, still blindfolded, arms
bound behind his back. A dozen fighters surround him
and begin kicking him until he lays motionless, blood
dripping from his head. With some yelling "enough," a
man in camouflaged trousers walks up to the prisoner
and beats him over the head repeatedly with a sandal,
a gesture of monumental insult. Another man, also in
camouflaged trousers, leaps up twice and lands with
his full weight on the detainee's skull. A third man,
in full military uniform, kicks and punches the
hemorrhaging man, whose blood spills across the sand
In the final horrific minute, the vigilantes carry the
man a few feet away and drop him to the ground.
Several men armed with U.S.-supplied M4 rifles then
empty several magazines — perhaps more than 100 rounds
— into the man.
The video concludes with one man chillingly yelling,
"Enough! What's wrong with you?"
Any viewer capable of understanding the dialogue
overlaying the savage imagery is left in utter shock.
But that emotion should soon be replaced by rage, as
the realization sets in that countless American lives,
families, and taxpayer dollars were sacrificed — and
are being risked today — to facilitate such brazen
Twitter is abuzz with speculation about the victim's
identity. A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter? An Islamic
State spy? Regardless, one thing is clear: These were
196 vivid seconds of a lynching, a field execution, an
Iraqi government and Shiite militia-orchestrated war
crime broadcast around the world. And the sad reality
is that this killing was facilitated by the White
Since assuming office in 2009, President Barack Obama
and his national security team have turned a blind eye
toward the growing crisis in Iraq. They seem to have
simply hoped that Bush's "dumb war," as Obama once
described it, would not distract them from a
domestic-driven agenda. Even as the cancer at the
heart of the Iraqi government metastasized, senior
American officials ignored the countless classified
and open sources implicating the Iraqi government in
theft, torture, rape, and ethnic cleansing — insisting
that the country remained on the right track.
In 2010, Vice President Joe Biden confidently insisted
that Iraq "is going to be one of the great
achievements of this administration," lauding Iraqis
for "us[ing] the political process, rather than guns,
to settle their differences."
"At every significant step along the way [of Obama's
Iraq policy], many predicted that the violence would
return and Iraq would slide back toward sectarian
war," then White House aide and now Deputy Secretary
of State Antony Blinken said in 2012. "Those
predictions proved wrong."
In its eagerness to withdraw from Iraq, the Obama
administration also undermined the country's central
democratic institutions. After preaching the virtues
of democracy around the world, Obama chose to bypass
the secular, Western-leaning winner of Iraq's 2010
parliamentary elections, Ayad Allawi, in favor of the
runner-up, Nouri al-Maliki. Ignoring Maliki's
sectarian and autocratic tendencies, the White House
then repeatedly lobbied Congress to expedite sales of
advanced American military equipment, including F-16
fighter jets, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and
Hellfire missiles — even as the Iranian-allied
strongman unleashed a reign of terror and purged his
political enemies with less sophisticated American
The administration's cumulative mistakes have played a
decisive role in advancing Iraq's implosion, the IS's
rise, and Iran's regional hegemony. From the time that
Obama took office until today, violence in Iraq has
spiked nearly fourfold from the post-surge lows in
2009 — reaching levels not seen since the height of
the civil war in 2006 and 2007. The Islamic State has
conquered more than a third of the country while the
Iraqi military imploded, despite a $25 billion
investment in it by American taxpayers.
The White House responded by dispatching thousands of
American military, diplomatic, and intelligence
personnel to Iraq in a final bid to put Humpty Dumpty
back together again. But this desperate, ill-conceived
effort will inevitably fail because the administration
is employing the chainsaws of Iraq's Iranian-backed
Shiite militias rather than the scalpels of American
special operations forces in its ground war against
When it became clear that the Islamic State posed an
existential threat to Iraq's Shiite-dominated
government, the country's top Shiite cleric, Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, resorted to a measure not
taken in a century: He issued a religious edict
calling for all able-bodied men to take up arms to
defend the state. Within months, hundreds of thousands
of young Shiites responded to the call — and today,
virtually all of them have been absorbed into
Iranian-dominated militias, whose fundamental identity
is built around a sectarian narrative rather than
loyalty to the state. Recently, one militia commander
estimated their total strength at 800,000 men,
dwarfing the official Iraqi Security Forces.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds
Force, Iran's Special Forces unit devoted to
operations outside the Islamic Republic's borders has
filled the void left by Obama's military and
diplomatic disengagement from Iraq. Quds Force
commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani has personally led
operations from the front lines, buttressing
decades-old alliances while at the same time
cultivating new proxies.
The staunchly pro-Iranian Badr Organization commander
Hadi al-Ameri — who was welcomed in the Oval Office by
Obama in 2011, and is known for favoring power drills
to murder his victims — has been tasked with leading
all Iraqi efforts to secure and pacify the
strategically important province of Diyala. Meanwhile,
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the alleged mastermind behind
the bombing of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait
in the 1980s, was given command of the Kataib
Hezbollah (KH) militia, an Iranian-sponsored group
responsible for some of the most lethal attacks
against U.S. and coalition forces throughout the war.
Muhandis and KH pose such a grave risk to Iraqi
stability and American interests that they were
designated as terrorists by the U.S. Treasury soon
after Obama took office in 2009. Qais al-Khazali, the
commander of the Iranian-sponsored Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH)
militia, which kidnapped and killed five American
soldiers at Iran's behest in the holy city of Karbala
in 2007, proudly shared his recent photo with
Suleimani via social media.
This constellation of Iranian-backed militias is
eclipsing official Iraqi institutions, and sowing the
seeds of conflict for decades to come. During a
January 2015 press conference celebrating the
"liberation" of Iraq's Diyala province, Ameri stood in
front of Iraqi military officers and militia fighters,
thanking the Badr Organization and AAH for their
efforts — without once mentioning Prime Minister Abadi
or the international coalition. One of Ameri's Badr
commanders then told the New York Times that Sunni
tribes had backed IS, and pledged that "their
punishment will be more severe than [IS's],"
guaranteeing the continuation of vigilante justice and
These militia leaders are not only operating outside
the Iraqi government's control; many key figures are
deeply embedded within Baghdad's power structure.
Hakim al-Zamili, an Iranian-backed militia commander
notorious for ethnically cleansing Baghdad of its
Sunni inhabitants while serving as Maliki's deputy
health minister, is now chairman of the Iraqi
Parliament's security and defense committee. Ahmad
Chalabi, the convicted embezzler allegedly responsible
for conspiring to feed false intelligence to Western
governments ahead of the Iraq invasion, is now
chairman of the Iraqi Parliament's finance committee.
Mohammed Ghabban, a top deputy to Ameri in the Badr
Organization, is now interior minister, ostensibly
Iraq's top law enforcement officer. And Mohammed al-Bayati,
another Badr leader, serves as Iraq's human rights
minister, with the sacred responsibly of investigating
and curtailing the abuses of Iraqi security personnel.
It would be laughable, if it were not so serious.
These are the men benefitting today from billions of
dollars of American assistance to Iraq.
These Shiite militias' conquests are being aided by
millions of dollars in advanced American military
hardware. Countless pictures and videos have emerged
featuring Iranian-backed Iraqi militias parading with
M1A1 tanks, M1113 armored personnel carriers, M16 and
M4 rifles, Humvees, and MRAPs. At times, the
militiamen launch into sectarian chants, and religious
flags adorn other pictures — some have even taken to
plastering their vehicles with photos of former
Iranian Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini. These
actions directly fuel the regional perception that the
conflicts in Syria and Iraq have metastasized into a
holy war, pitting Islam's billion-plus Sunnis against
the minority Shiites — a worldview directly
responsible for swelling both the Islamic State and
the militias' ranks.
After years of gross neglect, Obama, and the broader
international community now face the seemingly
impossible task of pacifying and reuniting Iraq. The
nation is not only a failed state; it is a shattered
one: years of misrule, corruption, and genocide at the
hands of Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party have totally
destroyed the national identity, leaving only tribal,
ethnic, and religious affiliations that preceded the
founding of the modern Iraqi state in 1932.
It is high time that U.S. officials recognize the
Iranian-backed Shiite militias for what they are: a
supercharged, multi-headed hydra that represents a
clear and present danger to Syria, Iraq, the broader
Middle East, and thus to fundamental American national
security interests. Although these events occurred
less than a decade ago, many in Washington seem to
have forgotten that even with 150,000 U.S. troops
still in Iraq, these militias operated across Baghdad
and southern Iraq much like IS does today: through a
deliberate campaign of kidnapping, torture, extortion,
and murder that would make Tony Soprano blush.
While pockets of success exist — namely in Iraqi
Kurdistan and the holy city of Najaf — by almost any
measure, Iraq as a whole today has regressed to a
state far worse than it was a decade ago.
The impunity with which the Shiite militias operate is
only growing. According to a senior U.S. official with
an intimate understanding of the matter, the American
Consulate General in Basra recently attempted to ship
approximately a dozen used, armored SUVs back to the
U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for export and disposal, per
State Department regulations. En route, the vehicles —
still usable, and collectively worth millions of
dollars when new — were mysteriously stolen. When
senior U.S. diplomats reported the theft to the Basra
governor and top security commanders, the locals
promised an investigation, but reported little
Sometime later, during a routine trip across town, a
U.S. security officer spotted one of the vehicles in
front of a local garage. Bewildered and shaking his
head, the U.S. official told me the Iraqi authorities
insisted they could take no action, since that was a
garage belonging to Asaib Ahl al-Haq — the very group
that had masqueraded as an American diplomatic convoy
to kidnap and kill five American soldiers in Karbala
It is no wonder, then, that the former director of the
Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn,
recently insisted to Bloomberg's Eli Lake that the
militias "represent enemies of a stable, secure, and
inclusive Iraq," and that once the IS threat is
defeated, "they will very likely turn on us."
There is no reason to believe that the militias will
disarm and disband after IS's defeat. Indeed, with
trillions of dollars of Iraqi oil wealth up for grabs,
and the U.S. military no longer deployed in large
numbers to constrain them, the militias have more
incentive than ever to stay in business. And let's not
forget that it is in Iran's strategic interest to use
these militias to consolidate its gains over Iraq and
the Levant, and to advance its ambitions for regional
hegemony, which Iranian commanders are now publicly
Iraq is the new, much larger, much wealthier Lebanon,
and its battle-hardened militias are the new, much
larger, much wealthier Hezbollah. They will haunt the
world for decades to come on a scale exponentially
more lethal and damaging than Lebanese Hezbollah —
whose operations already span six continents, and
whose operatives grace the FBI and CIA's most wanted
The day after the Islamic State is expelled from Iraq
is the day Iraq's next existential struggle for
survival will begin. Given the militias' demonstrated
sadistic penchant for ethnic cleansing and summary
executions, including their joy at beheading enemies —
the same savage tactics used by IS — Iraq is destined
for endless conflict for the foreseeable future.
It is time to admit that the modern Iraqi state as we
have known it is living on borrowed time. Obama's
desperate and delusional strategy to defeat IS — which
commits to investing only a fraction of the time and
resources former President George W. Bush squandered
trying to build viable Iraqi security forces — simply
will not work, because we do not have a critical mass
of Iraqi political leaders willing to put the
country's interests before their sect, tribe, party,
or creed. The thousands of coalition airstrikes will
also not succeed, absent a broader political framework
under which all Iraqis can peacefully share power and
be treated equitably by their government.
In short, as with Ngo Dinh Diem's government in South
Vietnam, no amount of American covert action, carpet
bombing, or diplomacy can ever hope to compensate for
a fundamentally inept, corrupt, and illegitimate local
partner. Despite Washington's delusions and countless
Americans' sacrifices, Saigon was eventually overrun
by Chinese-backed communists — just as Baghdad has
already been overrun by Iranian-backed Shiite militias
advancing Islamic rule.
The White House's myopia, along with Obama's
empowerment of one strategic enemy, the
Iranian-commanded militias, to defeat another
strategic threat, IS, is precisely why the dream of a
stable, peaceful, prosperous, and pluralistic Iraq
increasingly seems doomed. In short, Obama's Iraq
strategy is not only morally bankrupt, but
operationally bankrupt as well.
Congressional leaders and the White House must stop
treating Iraq and other national security matters as
arenas for ideological skirmishes. Instead, they must
craft a comprehensive Middle East strategy to defend
our regional allies and aggressively confront both
radical Sunni and Shiite militants, and Iran's malign
regional ambitions. By finally admitting that Baghdad
is now firmly entrenched in Iran's orbit — and is
ideologically and operationally an extension of Tehran
— Washington can finally begin to develop plans for
how to roll back the new Republic of Fear.
Extract from a Foreign Policy article published by
Washington And Baghdad Publicly
Debate About IS
AAt first, Obama, then a number of US officials
announced that since September 2014, as a result of
air strikes and actions of the allies, Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic
State (IS) has suffered substantial losses in Syria
and Iraq. Advance of the IS was stopped, large areas
According to the US authorities and their
representatives, in the course of hostilities 6,000
members of the IS were killed, over one thousand
pieces of military equipment were destroyed. This was
stated by US ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones in an
interview with Al-Arabiya.
Obama claimed that the IS is "degrading", but "more
time is needed to win".
US State Secretary Kerry stated 50% of military
commanders and other members of senior leadership of
the IS were killed. 200 oil and gas facilities, used
by the IS to fund its operations, destroyed. "Foreign
fighter networks of the IS have been broken up in
Australia, Malaysia, Kosovo and in other countries".
In turn, the Kurds announced their successes in Iraq
and Syria. According to them, large areas in Iraqi
Kurdistan, in Sinjar, were reclaimed from the IS. The
command of Peshmerga forces claim they cut the road
between Mosul and Tal Afa, and now they "isolate Mosul
more every day". The Kurds also claim that they
allegedly control 95% of Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab,
renamed by the IS into Ayn al-Islam).
However, Baghdad does not agree with victorious
reports of the US-backed vice president of the Shiite
regime Ayad Allawi, it said Washington allegations did
not correspond to the reality.
According to him, the IS is not weakened but "getting
stronger" and continues to threaten Baghdad.
"It's not true that they have lost control in Syria
and are losing control in Iraq. Let us face the facts
as they are". He said the threat of IS is "rising now
Allawi said that in fact there was no necessary
coordination among allies, instead there is "chaos and
According to him "the goal should be global and not
limited to Syria and Iraq".
In turn, an official of the Saudi regime, Turki
al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence and
former ambassador to the US, speaking in Davos,
complained that "the coalition, which includes the
Arab countries, is limited in its actions in Iraq".
According to him, the Shia regime in Baghdad "doesn't
want Arab involvement in Iraq". "They want Iran, but
not Arabs", said al-Faisal.
Statements of Ayad Allawi and al-Faisal revealed
significant differences in actions between the
so-called "allies". Allawi acknowledged that up to
now, there was no exchange of intelligence information
with Saudi Arabia. "There is no trust. The
intelligence is undermined by distrust. Really, the
whole region is not equipped to handle the sharing",
American press notes that despite continuing air
strikes, the IS still controls large areas, and the
battle for Kobani also continues.
The IS seeks to enlist the support of the Sunni tribes
with a number of social programs and providing foods
for the poor.
In turn, officials of Western regimes believe that
Iraq has to overcome the "sectarian schism" to achieve
"unity of goals".
Meanwhile, the IS command prepares for defense of
Mosul, according to Reuters. According to the agency,
the IS announced a tender among construction workers
on strengthening fortifications to protect the city.
For example, for every kilometer of the trench, the IS
command is willing to pay $ 4,000.
The western entrance to Mosul is already blocked by
giant cement walls.
ISIS Executes Three Of Its Chinese
Militants: China Paper
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has killed three Chinese
militants who joined its ranks and later attempted to flee, a Chinese state-run
newspaper said, the latest account of fighters from China embroiled in the
Middle East conflict.
China has expressed concern about the rise of ISIS, nervous about the effect it
could have on its Xinjiang region, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But Beijing has also shown no sign of wanting to take part in the U.S.-led
coalition's efforts to use military force against the militant group.
Around 300 Chinese extremists were fighting with ISIS after travelling to
Turkey, the Global Times, a tabloid run by China's ruling Communist Party's
official newspaper, said in December.
The paper on Thursday cited an unnamed Kurdish security official as saying that
a Chinese man was "arrested, tried and shot dead" in Syria in late September by
ISIS after he became disillusioned with jihad and attempted to return to Turkey
to attend university.
"Another two Chinese militants were beheaded in late December in Iraq, along
with 11 others from six countries. ISIS charged them with treason and accused
them of trying to escape," the official said, according to the paper.
ISIS, which has seized parts of northern and eastern Syria as well as northern
and western Iraq, has killed hundreds off the battlefield since the end of June,
when it declared a caliphate.
Chinese officials blame separatists from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)
for carrying out attacks in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people. But they
are vague about how many people from China are fighting in the Middle East.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not comment on the report at a regular
press briefing, but said China was opposed to "all forms of terrorism".
"China is willing to work with the international community to combat terrorist
forces, including ETIM, and safeguard global peace, security and stability,"
Human rights advocates say economic marginalization of Uighurs and curbs on
their culture and religion are the main causes of ethnic violence in Xinjiang
and around China that has killed hundreds of people in recent years. China
denies these assertions.
China has criticized the Turkish government for offering shelter to Uighur
refugees who have fled through southeast Asia, saying it creates a global
Three Things We Have Learnt About Ignorant
After Moaz Al Kasasbeh's Execution
By Bilal Abdul Kareem
After the execution video of a Jordanian pilot being
burned alive, we have learnt three things about ISIS,
writes Bilal Abdul Kareem.
On Tuesday, ISIS released a video of Jordanian pilot
Lieutenant Moaz al Kasasbeh who they captured last
December being burnt alive. He was locked inside a
steel cage wearing an orange jumpsuit that had been
drenched with flammable liquid and burned alive.
Three Things We Have Learnt About Ignorant
After Moaz Al Kasasbeh's Execution
By Bilal Abdul Kareem
After the execution video of a Jordanian pilot being
burned alive, we have learnt three things about ISIS,
writes Bilal Abdul Kareem.
On Tuesday, ISIS released a video of Jordanian pilot
Lieutenant Moaz al Kasasbeh who they captured last
December being burnt alive. He was locked inside a
steel cage wearing an orange jumpsuit that had been
drenched with flammable liquid and burned alive.
Lt Kasasbeh angered many Muslims around the world when
his country Jordan decided to participate in a US-led
coalition to bomb ISIS positions, while totally
abandoning the Bashar al-Assad regime that has killed
more than 200,000 innocent men, women, and children.
ISIS demanded the release of failed suicide bomber
Sajida al-Rishawi who was convicted in connection to a
2005 terrorist attack in Jordan in exchange for
Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. Jordanian authorities
offered to release Rishawi in exchange for Kasasbeh.
However, negotiations broke down, and in retaliation,
Jordanian authorities executed Rishawi yesterday
Now that we've refreshed our minds with what's
happened, let's see what we have learned from these
ISIS are ignorant of the Sunnah
Abu Dawud dedicated a chapter in his Sunan entitled,
"The Detestable Nature of Burning the Opposing Forces
with Fire". Below are a few relevant hadith.
#2673. It was reported from Muhammad bin Hamzah Al-Aslami
from his father, that the Messenger of Allah appointed
him as a commander over a military expedition. He
said: "So I went along with them, and he (the Prophet)
said: 'If you find so-and-so, then burn him with
fire.' Then I turned to depart. He called me to come
back, so I came back to him. He said: 'If you find
so-and-so, then kill him, and do not burn him, for
nobody punishes with fire except the Lord of the
#2675. It was reported from 'Abdur-Rahman bin
'Abdullah, from his father who said: "We were with the
Messenger of Allah in a journey. He went to relieve
himself. We saw a Humrah with two chicks of hers, and
we took one of her chicks The Humrah came and started
shaking her spread out wings. The Prophet came and
said: 'Who distressed her because of her chicks, give
her chick back to her. And he also saw an ant colony
which we had burnt, so he said: 'Who burnt this down?'
We said: 'We did.' He said: 'It is not allowed to
punish with fire, except for the Lord of the Fire."
Both of the above mentioned hadith were classified by
Shaykh Al Albani as authentic in his checking and
review of the book.
In Silsilat al-Ahadith as-Saheehah (#487), he adds a
discussion of the authentic narration of when Ali (ra)
ordered some people to face the death penalty by fire.
When news of this reached Ibn 'Abbas (ra), he
disapproved of the decision and relayed a hadith of
the Prophet (saw) with a similar wording: "Do not
punish with the punishment of Allah!" (Sahih Bukhari
Imam at-Tirmidhi also collected it in his Jaami'
(#1458), adding that when this comment got back to
Ali, he said, "Ibn 'Abbas has spoken correctly."
The ruling on this issue is very clear. The Messenger
of Allah (saw) did not even accept ants to be killed
in this way. How much more so a human being? Perhaps,
it is a case that ISIS members and leadership are so
ignorant of the Sunnah that they weren't aware of
these ahadith. In which case, they should be declared
too Islamically ignorant to be carrying out the
actions they are undertaking. Worst case scenario,
they are fully aware of these ahadith and don't care.
If there is a third option, I'd like to know what it
is because I do not see what else it could be. I am
honestly stuck to find how even the most hardcore ISIS
supporter can explain this action.
Thirst for blood takes precedence
By demanding the release of Sajida al-Rishawi they
placed a spotlight on her. Surely they must have known
that in doing so, they would have potentially exposed
her to a reprisal should negotiations fail. ISIS has
maintained that the blood of one Muslim is worth the
blood of a thousand non-Muslims, or so they have said
on numerous occasions. According to their logic, ISIS
considered Lt Kasasbeh to have apostated from Islam.
Why not make the exchange then if they truly placed
such a high value on Sajida Rishawi's life? Or perhaps
the group is more bloodthirsty than serious about the
very statements they make?
Sajida Rishawi was on death row since 2005 and yet her
sentence was not carried out. Now through ISIS'
actions, a sentence that had not been carried out for
more than nine years was expedited in a matter of
hours. Those who support ISIS, how can you defend the
handling of this affair? They had to have known that
Rishawi would have been killed should they kill Lt
Kasasbeh. Did they consider that displaying to the
world the burning of this pilot was worth the life of
Rishawi? This seems to defy their logic, or is there
Who is benefitting from ISIS?
ISIS has succeeded in uniting the world's powers not
just against them, but against Muslims in general. At
best we could say they are horrible tacticians, at
worst we could say that they have done it purposely.
It is difficult to imagine how anyone could support a
group that displayed the burning of this pilot knowing
full well the clear Islamic ruling regarding burning.
Unless, that was their objective all along: to turn
popular opinion against any just and legal Islamic
struggle. They must have known that popular opinion
would not discriminate against ISIS or other Islamic
groups, thereby hurting every Islamic cause around the
Message to ISIS Members and their supporters
ISIS members and supporters, you must listen to
reason, Islamic reason. You made a mistake in
supporting the unknown Abu Bakr Baghdadi and his
group. It is not the end of the world to recognise
your mistake. As we read in the hadith mentioned
above, Ali (ra) made a mistake and freely admitted it
instead of trying to defend it or explain why. The
worst mistake is to compound the original one and try
to justify and explain away clear violations of the
Quran and Sunnah.
Abandoning ISIS doesn't mean abandoning Islam or the
desire that Muslims around the world share, which is
to see a just and fair Caliphate. So it is now up to
you to decide. What will you do now? Accuse the Ummah
of being against you because you are "on the truth"
and they are not? Spit another takfir laced diatribe
about how Muslims really don't want Islam and only you
do? Truly this is a time to see who supports Islam and
who merely supports Baghdadi.
Bilal Abdul Kareem is an American journalist and
filmmaker who spent two years in Syria documenting the
'ISIL Has Nothing to Do With Qur'an'
Spending 10 months as captive for the so-called
Islamic State (ISIL), French journalist Didier François said his captors
were usually engaged in political discussions and 'didn't even have the
"There was never really discussion about texts or -- it was not a religious
discussion. It was a political discussion," François told CNN's Christiane
Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, February 3.
"It was more hammering what they were believing than teaching us about the
Quran. Because it has nothing to do with the Qur'an."
"They didn't even have the Quran; they didn't want even to give us a Qur'an."
Francois is one of the few captives who were released by ISIL last April
before the militant group's expansion in Iraq.
Though he did not wish to elaborate on how he was treated by ISIL, he
stressed that local Syrians and Iraqis faced most of the torture at the
hands of their captors.
"We could see some of them in the corridors when we were taken to the
toilets," he said, "and we could see some people lying in their blood."
"You could see the chains hanging, or the ropes hanging, or the iron bars."
For François, losing freedom was the worst nightmare he faced during those
"Of course we were beaten up. But it was not every day. I mean, it's hard
enough -- you don't have to overplay it."
"It's hard enough to lose your freedom. It's hard enough to be in the hands
of people who you know are killing hundreds and thousands of local Syrians,
Iraqis, Libyans, Tunisians, can put bombs in our countries."
"It's terrifying enough. The beating is strong, but it's not every day. It
"If they wanted to wreck you, they could. None of us would have been able to
go through if it was beating every day, and torture every day."
Francois was released on April 19, 2014, at the Turkish borders where
soldiers found them with their hands bound and blindfolded.
He was released just before ISIL made its shocking sweep through Iraq,
capturing vast amounts of territory in June 2014.
"So we didn't know the level of the risk, or we didn't realize the level of
the risk at the time.
'Plus it was the time when the people from ISIS were still hiding within
Jabhat al-Nusra and didn't organize their kind of coup within al Qaeda," he
added, using another acronym for the militant group.
Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been
widely condemned by Muslims worldwide who staged several protests to express
anger against the terrorist group.
Echoing Al-Azhar Grand Imam condemnation of the group, Saudi Grand Mufti
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh has urged Muslims to take up arms against the
militant group's members, condemning them as aggressors who abuse people's
lives, possessions and honor.
Al-Sheikh has described Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State jihadists as 'enemy
number one' of Islam.
Months ago, Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam also condemned the militants
for atrocities they have been perpetrating in the countries and their
violation of principles and teachings preached by Islam.
India Sunni and Shiite Muslims have united against the rise of ISIL,
asserting that the actions of destroying holy sites, supporting sectarianism
and divisions between Muslim groups cannot be attributed to a true Islamic
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia's largest Islamic group has condemned ISIL,
urging the government to take firmer action against the possible spread of
the movement in Indonesia.
The Islamic Student Union (HMI) has also condemned Indonesian Muslims
condoning and adhering to ISIL's ideology.
Reactions To New ISIS
Atrocity - The Gruesome Burning Of The Jordanian Pilot By The Extremists:
International Condemnation Of 'Appalling' Execution
Following the 'gruesome'
and extremely violent execution of the Jordanian pilot
by ISIL, international condemnation of this heinous
killing was drawn.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the burning
alive of a Jordanian pilot by Islamic State militants,
calling it an 'appalling act.'
Ban labeled the IS group 'a terrorist organization
with no regard for human life' and urged world
governments to redouble their efforts to 'combat the
scourge of terrorism and extremism,' according to his
spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
The 15 members of the UN Security Council also
denounced the apparent killing, saying 'such continued
acts of barbarism perpetrated by ISIL do not
intimidate them but rather stiffen their resolve' to
counter extremist movements.
Obama earlier decried the 'cowardice and depravity' of
the Islamic State, saying the brutal killing would
only strengthen international resolve to destroy the
'Today, we join the people of Jordan in grieving the
loss of one of their own,' the president added, as his
administration reaffirmed its intention to give Jordan
$3 billion in security aid over the next three years.
'As we grieve together, we must stand united,
respectful of his sacrifice to defeat this scourge,'
Obama said after the latest in a wave of grizzly
King Abdullah II, who was visiting Washington as the
video came to light, recorded a televised address to
his shocked and outraged nation.
The king, who was once in the military himself,
described First Lieutenant Maaz al-Kassasbeh as a hero
and vowed to take the battle to Islamic State
extremists, who have executed several captives on
camera in recent months, provoking worldwide
'Jordan's response will be
earth-shattering,' Information Minister Mohammed
Momani said on television, while the army and
government vowed to avenge the pilot's murder.
'Whoever doubted the unity of the Jordanian people, we
will prove them wrong.'
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that if a
video purporting to show the burning alive of a
Jordanian pilot is authenticated, it just shows the
'Should in fact this video be authentic, it's
just one more indication of the viciousness (and)
barbarity of this organization,' Obama said.
'This organization is only interested in death and
destruction,' he said when asked about the video at a
brief public appearance.
In Tokyo, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned
the apparent execution by the Islamic State group of a
Jordanian pilot as 'unforgivable' on Wednesday, days
after the murders of two Japanese hostages.
'It was an unforgivable, outrageous act. I strongly
condemn it,' Abe said in parliament hours after the
jihadists released a video purportedly showing the
26-year-old pilot being burned alive in a cage.
Muslim World Scholars Condemn Ignorant
Muslim clerics widely condemned the burning to death of a
Jordanian pilot by Islamic State, saying such a form of killing was
considered despicable by Islam, no matter the context.
militants released a video on Tuesday appearing to show captured pilot
Mouath al-Kasaesbeh being burnt alive in a cage. Jordan, which has
participated in a U.S.-led military campaign to bomb Islamic State
positions, responded overnight by executing two al-Qaida convicts on death
Egypt's top Muslim authority, the 1,000 year old Al-Azhar university revered
by Sunni Muslims around the world, issued a statement expressing "deep anger
over the lowly terrorist act" by what it called a "Satanic, terrorist"
The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, said the killers themselves
deserved to be "killed, crucified or to have their limbs amputated."
Saudi cleric Salman al-Odah wrote on his Twitter account: "Burning is an
abominable crime rejected by Islamic law regardless of its causes. It is
rejected whether it falls on an individual or a group or a people. Only God
tortures by fire," he added.
The Islamic State posted a religious edict on Twitter, which ruled that it
is permissible in Islam to burn an infidel to death.
But even clerics sympathetic to the jihadist cause said the act of burning a
man alive and filming the killing would damage Islamic State, an al-Qaida
offshoot which controls wide territory in Syria and Iraq, and is also known
as ISIL or ISIS.
"This weakens the popularity of Islamic State because we look at Islam as a
religion of mercy and tolerance. Even in the heat of battle, a prisoner of
war is given good treatment," said Abu Sayaf, a Jordanian Salafist cleric
also known as Mohamed al-Shalabi who spent almost ten years in Jordanian
prisons for militant activity including a plot to attack U.S. troops.
"Even if the Islamic State says Muath had bombed, and burnt and killed us
and we punished him in the way he did to us, we say, OK but why film the
video in this shocking way?" he told Reuters. "This method has turned
society against them."
SITE, a U.S.-based monitoring service, quoted Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Muhaysini,
whom it described as a Saudi jihadi, as saying on Twitter it would have been
better if Kasaesbeh's captors had swapped him for "Muslim captives". His
killing would make ordinary people sympathetic to Kasaesbeh, he said.
Still, some admirers of Islamic State cheered the killing. In a Twitter
message, a user called Suhaib said: "To any pilot participating in the
crusader coalition against the holy warriors – know that your plane might
fall in the next mission. Sleep well!"
The killing was denounced in the Arab press. The pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper
published the report on its front page under the headline "Barbarity".
Saudi Arabia's Arabic daily al-Riyadh newspaper wrote that the Islamic state
had "deepened its savagery and its bloody approach" by burning Kasaesbeh.
Mask Off America-Iran Secrete
In Fightings In Syria And Iraq: Iran Warplanes Target Mujahidun In Clearest Sign
Yet Of US Partnership
When you see a warplane overhead in Iraq, and its backing Assad's Ba'thi
army, Baghdad's Shiite millitia and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in a battle against
the Mujahidun, especially the Syria resistance power-base of Jabhat An-Nusrah
and the Islamic State Of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), you automatically think of
the United States. They are, after all, the one with hundreds of planes in the
area doing that.
But according to news reporters,
including the antiwar's Jason Ditz video released today shows that their
"anti-Mujahidun coalition" isn't the only ones, as an Iranian F-4 Phantom is
seen backing Kurdish fighters in trying to retake a pair of lost towns.
The plane caught on video backing Iranian staunch ally tyrant
Assad and Kurdish Ba'thist party forces clearly confrims that Iran is involved
in the ISIS war is hardly news, but the use of a warplane in a traditional US
role is a major story, as it is all-but-impossible that Iran would be doing so
without direct coordination with the US.
The US is desperate to the point of paranoia to say they
"control the airspace" in Iraq, and having other nations' warplanes just flying
around willy nilly would make no sense, and would almost certainly make those
planes a target. Iran would not be sending warplanes into Iraqi airspace in
mid-US war, and in the vicinity of several US warplanes, without the US having
confirmed that it was okay with them.
The US continues to deny any coordination with Iran and Syria
on the ISIS war, but this denial seems to be primarily a diplomatic ploy at this
point, and has no bearing on the policy.
Stop the Killing: In Approaching The Nightmare
Of Renewed, Expanded U.S. War In Iraq
By Kathy Kelly
On August 9, 1983, three people dressed as U.S. soldiers saluted their way
onto a U.S. military base and climbed a pine tree. The base contained a
school training elite Salvadoran and other foreign troops to serve
dictatorships back home, with a record of nightmarish brutality following
graduation. That night, once the base's lights went out, the students of
this school heard, coming down from on high, the voice of Archbishop Oscar
"I want to make a special appeal to soldiers, national guardsmen, and
policemen: each of you is one of us. The peasants you kill are your own
brothers and sisters. When you hear a man telling you to kill, remember
God's words, 'thou shalt not kill.' No soldier is obliged to obey a law
contrary to the law of God. In the name of God, in the name of our tormented
people, I beseech you, I implore you; in the name of God I command you to
stop the repression."
The three in the tree with the loudspeaker weren't soldiers – two of them
were priests. The recording they played was of Archbishop Romero's final
homily, delivered a day before his assassination, just three years previous,
at the hands of paramilitary soldiers, two of whom had been trained at this
Fr. Larry Rosebaugh, (who was killed in Guatemala on May 18, 2009), Linda
Ventimiglia, and Fr. Roy Bourgeois, (a former missioner expelled from
Bolivia who was later excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church because
of his stance on women's ordination) were sentenced to 15 -18 months in
prison for the stirring drama they created on the base that night. Romero's
words were heard loud and clear, and even after military police arrived at
the base of the tree and stopped the broadcast, Roy Bourgeois, who would
later found a movement to close the school, continued shouting Romero's
appeal as loudly as he could until he was shoved to the ground, stripped,
In approaching the nightmare of renewed, expanded U.S. war in Iraq, I think
of Archbishop Romero's words and example. Romero aligned himself, steadily,
with the most impoverished people in El Salvador, learning about their
plight by listening to them every weekend in the program he hosted on
Salvadoran radio. With ringing clarity, he spoke out on their behalf, and he
jeopardized his life challenging the elites, the military and the
paramilitaries in El Salvador.
I believe we should be trying very hard to hear the grievances of people in
Iraq and the region, including those who have joined the Islamic State, as
regards U.S. policies and wars that have radically affected their lives and
well-being over the past three decades. It could be that many of the Iraqis
who are fighting with Islamic State forces lived through Saddam Hussein's
oppression when he received fierce and unconditional support from the U.S.
during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Many may be survivors of the U.S.
Desert Storm bombing in 1991, which destroyed every electrical facility
across Iraq. When the U.S. insisted on imposing crushing and murderous
economic sanctions on Iraq for the next 13 years, these sanctions directly
contributed to the deaths of one half million children under age five. The
children who died should have been teenagers now, --are some of the Islamic
State fighters the brothers or cousins of the children who were punished to
death by economic sanctions? Presumably many of these fighters lived through
the U.S.-led 2003 Shock and Awe invasion and bombing of Iraq and the chaos
the U.S. chose to create afterwards, using a war-shattered country as some
sort of free market experiment; they've endured the repressive corruption of
the regime the U.S. helped install in Saddam's place.
The United Nations should take over the response to the Islamic State, and
people should continue to pressure the U.S. and its allies to leave the
response not merely to the U.N. but to its most democratic constituent body,
the General Assembly.
But facing the bloody mess that has developed in Iraq and Syria, I think
Archbishop Romero's exhortation to the Salvadoran soldiers pertains directly
to U.S. people.
Suppose these words were slightly rewritten: I want to make a special appeal
to people of the United States. Each of you is one of us. The peoples you
kill are your own brothers and sisters. When you hear a person telling you
to kill, remember God's words, 'thou shalt not kill.' No soldier is obliged
to obey a law contrary to the law of God. In the name of God, in the name of
our tormented people, I beseech you, I implore you …I command you to stop
The war on the Islamic State will distract us from what the U.S. has done
and is doing to further create despair, in Iraq, and to enlist new recruits
for the Islamic State. The Islamic State is the echo of the last war the
U.S. waged in Iraq, the so-called "Shock and Awe" bombing and invasion. The
emergency is not the Islamic State but war.
We in the U.S. must give up our notions of exceptionalism, recognize the
economic and societal misery our country caused in Iraq, recognize that we
are a perpetually war-crazed nation, seek to make reparations, and find
dramatic, clear ways to insist that Romero's words be heard: Stop the
Amnesty International Confirms Current Iraqi
Government Openly Endorses War Crimes Agaist Sunnis
Shia militias in Iraq have abducted and killed Sunni
civilians with the support of the current government,
Amnesty International said Tuesday.
The Shia militiamen number in the tens of thousands
and wear military uniforms but operate outside any
legal framework and without any official oversight,
the London-based watchdog warned in its new report,
entitled "Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq." It
said the militiamen are never prosecuted for their
Shia militias are ruthlessly targeting Sunni civilians
on a sectarian basis under the guise of fighting
terrorism, in an apparent bid to punish Sunnis.
Amnesty said the fate of many Sunni abductees remains
unknown and that some captives have been killed even
after their families paid ransoms of $80,000 or more.
The accusations were based on compelling evidence
derived from interviews with families and survivors
who confirmed that members of four prominent Iraqi
Shia militias — Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the Badr Brigades,
the Mahdi Army, and Ketaeb Hizbollah — were behind the
abduction and killing of hundreds Sunnis.
The ex-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - in an attempt
to ignite the civil war to achieve his will to stay in
office for a third term - called on Shia militiamen as
volunteers to support the Iraqi army - despite
billions spent on building that army - leading several
powerful militias - all with links to neighbouring
Iran - to defend him not the country, as he was
repeatedly alleged .
The revival of the militias has deepened the sense of
alienation among the country's Sunnis - seen as a key
factor in stabilizing the country - and has raised
fears of a return to the sectarian conflict that
gripped the country in 2006 and 2007.
Iraq's new designated Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi,
from al-Maliki's Shia Islamist Dawa party, has pledged
to bring the Shia militiamen under control, but
Amnesty said the government has not only failed to
prosecute Shia militiamen but has openly condoned
"By granting its blessing to militias who routinely
commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is
giving official approval for war crimes and fuelling a
dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing
the country apart," said Donatella Rovera, a senior
adviser with Amnesty.
In a new crime committed by government forces, killing
15 civilians from one family in a rocket attack on
their house in the village (Albu To'ama) Saturday
morning north of the city of Tikrit, as well as a
complete destruction of their house and material
damage neighboring houses.
In Salahuddin province, as well, two people were
killed and five others were injured with various
injuries in a bombing Saturday morning nearby mosque
Al-Wahab amid district (Tuz), without knowledge who
the targeted by the blast.
Whereas, residents of the district (Dujail) south of
Tikrit; found the body of the citizen Abbas Mohammed
Saleh al-Naimi in a side channel of salt water, a few
days after been abducted at the hands of sectarian
militias, armed and backed by the current Iraqi
Two civilians were killed and five others injured
after a government mortar attack on Saturday, on
scattered areas of Fallujah, the largest city in Anbar
province, private sources reported; that heavy
bombarded today on the city of Fallujah, noting that
the rockets landed in different districts within the
city, wounding nine civilians, including a woman, as
well as the huge destruction to buildings and houses
In Baghdad, killed two people and wounded six others
with various injuries as a result of an improvised
explosive device on Saturday, the center of the
capital, according to a security source at the current
Ministry of the Interior.
In the same context, killed three people and wounded
17 others were injured by the explosion of two bombs
in the district (Madain) and area (Sha'ab) Saturday
afternoon south and north of the capital.
In a while, one person was killed and nine others were
injured; bomb explosion inside a popular cafe on
Saturday evening, amid district (Mahmudiyah) south of
the capital Baghdad, is likely to be members of
sectarian militias had put the bomb there.
To the south of Baghdad, militiamen of the so-called
"popular mobilization" who fighting alongside the
government army; were dead and wounded; as a result of
violent clashes broke out on Saturday evening in the
area of the Jurf Al Sakhar in northern Babil province.
Turks Tell Where They Plan To Establish
So-called 'Buffer Zone' In Syria
By Markaz Kavkaz
Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu told about
Ankara's plans to create a so-called "buffer zone" in
Syria, bordering Turkey.
"Buffer zone" should stretch from the Mediterranean to
Iraq. At the same time Mr. Davutoglu argues that it is
not about a war zone, but about a humanitarian zone
"under military protection".
In the opinion of Ankara, this area should be a safe
zone for civilians and involved the implementation of
a no-fly zone.
In an interview with Al Jazeera the Turkish PM
reported some of the details of these plans. "Buffer
zone", in his opinion, should extend from the Turkish
border and further to the north of Latakia, in some
areas in Hasaka, and should include Jarabulus, Ayn
al-Arab (aka Kobani), Tel Abyad, Idlib and Afrin "to
protect local people - Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen".
Mr. Davutoglu said that the so-called "depth of safe
zone" may vary depending more or less on "humanitarian
situation" in these areas. In this case, the Turkish
Prime Minister has confirmed that Turkey would not
accept any unilateral action without UN Security
Council decisions and support "of the international
He pointed to the importance of the introduction of a
no-fly zone, recalling that this practice had been
used in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
Turkish and Western media are reminded that Turkey has
been facing Western pressure and internal protests of
Kurds, because of its position of non-interference in
hostilities in Syria.
US and its allies urge Turkey to start a ground
operation against the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic
State (IS). Pressure increased after the IS units took
over most of the city of Ayn al-Arab with a
predominantly Kurdish population.
Kurds accuse Turkey of inactivity. Western countries
are pushing Turks for the invasion. Possible seizure
of Kobani has been touted as "a very dangerous
precedent with serious consequences".
Ankara responded to claims that it will not allow
itself to be drawn into a war in Syria. According to
the Turkish government, any military action ought to
be done together with NATO and other countries.
PM Davutoglu countered criticism of Turkey, saying:
"The fall of Ayn-al Arab could really sadden us, and
we will do everything to stop it, but where were they
when Raqqa fell? Where where they when Jarabulus,
Meanwhile, the fightings on the border with Turkey, in
the area of Kobani are continuing. US and its allies
continue to bombarding the IS positions. Warplanes of
Jordan and Saudi Arabia are also participating in the
It is known that the military junta of Egypt sent to
Jordan 27 of its pilots to participate in air raids on
Iraqis Opposes All Calls For Deployment Of
The Association of Muslim Scholars strongly condemned
the irresponsible statements of Vice Chairman of the
Anbar Provincial Council, Faleh al-Issawi, which
published at Alsumaria News site on the deployment of
international ground military forces in the province,
claiming that the elders and dignitaries of Anbar
support this tacky demand.
The Association emphasized in a press release issued
by the Section of Culture and Information that (Issawi)
represents himself only and the weak people around
him, but certainly the Anbar's people disapproves of
any foreign military presence on the territory of the
province, rejecting this idea totally, and they will
protest against that by all means; because they
realize the seriousness of the implications of this
presence over Iraq and its people.
It explained that this irresponsible request
detrimental to the history of the province known to
resist the brutal American occupation , as it
represented a pursue to a project of tearing Iraq and
the complexity of the scene in it, and it falls under
the dangerous marketing for reoccupation forces on the
ground after returning via air war under the pretext
of fighting (terrorism).
The Association of Muslim Scholars concluded at the
end of press release to say: "The people of Anbar, as
they well known of their pride, can not remain silent
concerning such shameful statements, stressing that
the invitation of occupation to return to Iraq can not
be spoken by any honest Iraqi citizen".
Meanwhile, in another sign of the sectarian militia
criminal activities; local residents in the area (Yathrib)
of the district Balad south of Tikrit, have found
bodies of 13 people, who have been kidnapped by the
government-backed militia earlier, dumped at a farm in
the area, the victims have been killed by shooting in
head and chest, after being handcuffed and
While, a government policeman was killed and 15 others
wounded, including civilians, after a bicycle bomb on
Monday in the district (Qadisiya) south of the city of
Kirkuk, the center of the province of Tamim.
In a related context,the killing of a militiaman of
the so-called "Popular Mobilization" and (12) others
injured, including members of the government police in
two separate attacks Monday morning on checkpoints of
those militia in the areas of (Owaynat) and the
neighborhood (Mutassim) of Samarra, south of Tikrit,
the center of the province of Salahuddin.
Meanwhile, an attack on a government military patrol,
killing two soldiers and four more wounded Monday in
two bombs, on the farms road in the district (El'ethaim)
north of the city of Baquba, capital of Diyala
In a similar attack, four people from the same family
were injured, including two children, when a bomb
exploded on Monday inside an orchard in the village of
(Abu Karma) of the district (Abe Syda) northeast of
the city of Baquba.
Died his wounds, the member at Qara Teppa Town Local
Council, Hussein Abdel-Hamid, where he was seriously
injured by the deadliest bombings yesterday amid the
town, that killed and wounded more than 156 people,
including another member of the town council, Qasim
Reza, also killed in the same attack.
In Baghdad, killing at least 22 people, including
members of the government police and more than 41
others wounded in a car bomb in Aden Square at the
area of ??Kazimiyah.
Whereas, the killing of (12) people and wounding 35
others in simultaneous explosions Monday evening in
Sadr City and Habibiya of Baghdad .
Moreover, at least one person was killed, and five
others wounded; following the explosion of an
improvised explosive device Monday evening in front of
a liquor store at Sadoun street in central Baghdad.
In another attack; a car bomb exploded in the center
of the city of Samarra, targeted a government
headquarters where militia of the so-called "Salam
Brigades" stationed there.
Iraqi Government Imposes Curfew In The
Provincial Capital Of Ramadi Friday, Fearing Militants
In another messy measures of the current government,
press sources at the city of Ramadi said Friday, the
government authorities there have imposed a curfew on
numerous districts of the city.
The sources pointed out that the government army
troops and the Awakening forces, as well as the
so-called "Anbar Provincial Council," announced in a
joint statement published in the local media; impose
the curfew starting one hour after midnight last night
until further notice, noting that this decision comes
because of fear of possible attack waged by insurgents
who control almost the Anbar province.
Meanwhile, as a confirmation of the international
occupation intention to deploy ground forces in Iraq,
the Italian government sent (280) soldiers and three
reconnaissance planes to Baghdad and Erbil, and in the
framework of the new war waged by the international
forces in Iraq and Syria, as press sources and news
agencies confirmed on Friday.
The sources pointed out, quoting Italian Secretary of
Defense (Roberta Pinotti) said in a press statement;
The Rome sent (200), who were described as "advisers"
to the province of Arbil northern Iraq, in addition to
three reconnaissance planes, adding that her country
intends also - in this context - to send (80) others
In continous air raids by the government warplanes,
was bombed on Friday morning civilian areas in
Salahuddin province, killing nine people and injuring
14 others, while they were performing Friday prayers;
in a mosque in the area (Albu-Ajeel) east of the city
of Tikrit, as well as damages and material losses.
As winter comes the suffering of the displaced
increases, where sources in Diyala province on Friday;
informed that the camps for the displaced in the
district (Khanaqin) north of the province; threatening
of a serious humanitarian disaster due to heavy rains
over the past few hours.
Members of sectarian militias supported by the
government security agencies have killed a farmer and
his wife on Friday evening, when they were working at
their field in a village of the district (Khalis)
north of the city of Baquba, capital of Diyala
In Diyala as well, Members of sectarian militias
wearing government army uniform; have carried out
abduction of five citizens from the province on Friday
in different parts of the city of Baquba, and took
them to an unknown destination.
The sources indicated that this kidnapping happened
while the security checkpoints of government agencies
not only were watching, but providing them information
about the areas and the people who they live there,
pointing out that these practices became a repeated
incidents , as well as most of the people who have
been kidnapped killed after being tortured.
A new wave of car bombings rocked parts of the
capital, where a car bomb exploded in the area (Baladyat)
east of the capital killed 15 people and wounded 33
others, whereas killed and wounded 21 people in a
similar blast in the area (Karrada) , while six people
were killed and 19 others wounded in a third car bomb
nearby a government police checkpoint in Sadr City,
moreover three civilians have been killed and 11
others injured in a bombing of another explosive-laden
car in the area (Suleikh) northeast of the capital.
Bomb Kills Anbar Police Chief, As The Militants Are
Just A "20-minute Drive" From The Capital Baghdad
The police chief of Anbar province, Major General
(Ahmed Saddag al-Dulaimi) has been killed in a
roadside bomb targeted his convoy Sunday morning in
the area Albo Richa northern the provincial capital of
After that, deadliest bombings struck town (Qara
Tappah), killing at least 22 people and wounded more
than 134 others, including leading figures in the
political parties and members of the security, the
result of three simultaneous bombings, a car bomb and
two explosive belts, on Sunday targeted government
departments and the police station, amid the town that
located northeast of the city of Baquba, Diyala
Meanwhile, two people were killed and injured five
others from the same family in a bomb explosion Sunday
morning in the area (Shiftah) the center of the city
In the capital, three people were killed, including a
government soldier and wounded ten others, including
four soldiers as a result of two bombs one in the area
Latifiya and the other in the district Sha'ab Sunday
morning south and north of Baghdad.
Unidentified gunmen have killed a government policeman
in an attack targeted him Sunday afternoon in the area
of ??Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, while two
bodies of men have also been found north of Baghdad.
The killing of a member of the so-called "Popular
Mobilization" and nine others were wounded, including
two government policemen in three bombs, one of them
an adhesive in the districts of Dujail and Samarra on
Sunday morning south of the city of Tikrit, the
province of Salahuddin.
In related context, two people were killed, a
government police sources said they were civilians,
and wounded three members of the militias called
"Popular Mobilization" on Sunday in a blast on the
road leading to the Bakr Air Base near the district (Balad)
and also during clashes in the Dujail area south of
the province of Salahuddin .
In Salahuddin province, as well, killing four people
from one family, including two children; due to the
fall of a mortar shell fired by the government army on
their home on Sunday evening in the area (Albu Ajil)
east of the city of Tikrit, while a car bomb exploded
at a government checkpoint in Samarra, leaving
material damage only.
Whereas, a civilian was killed and eight others
wounded wounded; result of renewed barrel bombs
dropping practiced by government forces and artillery
shelling on Sunday evening on the city of Fallujah,
the largest city in Anbar province.
Opposition Accuses Turkish Government Of
By Markaz Kavkaz
Turkey opposes the Assad regime and the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic
State (IS), said Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu,
reported Turkish media. According to him, the main
reason for all the problems in Syria is the Assad
He denied the words of the head of the opposition
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi/Republican People's Party (RPP)
Kemal Kilicdaroglu that Turkey's government supports
According to Davutoglu, if Kilicdaroglu has evidence
that the Turkish government "supports terrorists", he
must show it to the public.
The head of the opposition RPP said on the eve that
the government of Turkey supports the IS in Syria and
Earlier on Wednesday, Davutoglu said that Turkey is
"the only force that will be able to protect the
rights of residents of the Syrian city of Kobani".
Meanwhile, the fightings for Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab)
is continuing. Information reported from the place is
highly controversial. On Wednesday, the command of the
Kurds has acknowledged that the IS units captured 30%
of the city. On Thursday, they said, as a result of
air strikes, IS units retreated, retaining only a few
houses on the outskirts of Kobani.
However, on Friday a number of Arab media and the
"Syrian monitoring group" reported that the IS units
again moved to the center of the city and captured the
headquarters of the Kurdish group Yekineyen Parastina/People's
Protection Units (PPU). According to Al-Arabiya, the
IS controls up to 40% of Kobani.
Meanwhile in Turkey, the actions of Yazidi Kurds and
supporters of the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan/Kurdistan
Workers' Party (KWP) are continuing. KWP and Yazidis
demand from Ankara to send units to Syria to protect
Mass pogroms are taking place in the Turkish provinces
of Diyarbakir, Mardin, Siirt, Mus, Van and Batman.
Yazidi Kurds and supporters of the KWP attack the
Muslim Kurds, who in turn are organized into
Classes suspended in the schools of the Turkish
provinces of Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Van, Batman and
Tunceli. In addition, all flights to the province of
Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey of the aircraft
belonging to Turkish Airlines have been suspended due
to the worsening situation.
A statement on the situation in the regions where
there have been riots was made by Interior Minister of
Turkey Efkan Ala, reported the news agency Anadolu.
The victims of the riots in Turkey became 31 people,
221 injured. According to him, during the riots, were
killed two police officers and 139 were injured.
Completely destroyed or damaged: 1113 buildings - 212
schools, 67 police stations, 25 buildings
administrations, 29 offices parties, children's
shelters, blood donation centers of the Turk Kizilayi/Turkish
Red Crescent (TRC), 780 municipal and other
Private cars, vehicles belonging to administrative
bodies, ambulances and police cars have been also
burned down, a total of unusable cars reached 1177.
Khan Dhari Disapproves of Government-backed
Residents of the area (Khan Dhari) in the district
(Abu Ghraib) of Baghdad; began an open general strike
on Saturday; protest against the crimes that
committing by the sectarian government-backed militias
against civilians there, which was not the last, the
abduction of a muezzin - a person who call for prayer
- of a mosque in the area.
According to press sources from the district, the
militiamen of the so-called "Popular Mobilization"
proceeded to kidnap (Majid Hameed Mrair) the muezzin
"Al-Habib Al-Mustafa Mosque", within the framework of
the ongoing crimes committed against citizens there ..
noting that the militia insist on demanding a big sum
of money as a ransom for his release.
In a related development; reports from (Khan Dhari)
and its surrounding areas; confirmed that the militia
of "popular mobilization" committed another crimes by
stealing shops and private buildings, as well as the
theft of citizens' cars, in addition to crimes of
kidnappings and bargaining .
According to the reports; payment demanded after each
crime of kidnapping was no less than two hundred
thousand dollars, pointing out that the abducted
civilians this way - so far - exceeded (17) people.
Meanwhile, three car bombs have killed at least 43
people and injured 87 others; the explosions were
simultaneously on Saturday evening in the areas
Kazimiyah and Shu'la of the capital, Baghdad.
In central Baghdad, two people were killed and four
others wounded in an adhesive bomb was installed
inside a minibus type (Kia) exploded Saturday as it
passed in the area (Bab Sharqi) downtown the capital.
In a second incident of its kind in the capital today,
one person was killed and five others injured in a
bomb explosion on Saturday morning in the area (Adhamiya)
north of Baghdad.
In the same context, at least 7 people have been
killed and 27 others injured in an explosive belt on
Saturday, unknown person was worn, blew himself up
amid a popular market in village of (Mishahda) of the
district (TARMIYA) north of the capital Baghdad.
Two people were killed and two others wounded
critically in a bomb explosion on Saturday in the
Ummal neighborhood south of the city of Baquba,
capital of Diyala province.
In the framework of the continuous targeting of
journalists, the killing of the journalist (Ra'ad al-Azzawi)
and three of his brothers in an armed attack targeted
his house on Saturday in the area (Rwbaitha) east of
the city of Tikrit, the center of the province of
Furthermore, at least three militiamen of the
so-called "Popular Mobilization" have been kille , and
nine others injured, some of them in a critical
condition; by the explosion of a booby-trapped home on
Saturday in the area (Alzla'ah) south of the city of
Following a noisy altercation with weapons, four
people were killed and another wounded, was seriously
injured on Friday in the area (Albujasm) south of
Falluja, the largest city in Anbar province.
Moreover, two civilians were killed and three wounded,
seriously wounded by the continued governmental
shelling, which targeted residential areas in Fallujah
In Ramadi, killing two members of the government
police and seven others were injured, including two
members of the Awakening forces, in an armed attack by
unknown militants targeted a joint checkpoint Saturday
afternoon in the vicinity of the island (Albu Risha)
north of the city, the capital of Anbar province.
To the northern of Iraq, an officer of the Peshmerga
forces was killed and three other members of those
forces wounded following armed clashes with
unidentified gunmen on Friday night in the area (Mariam
Beck) south of the city of Kirkuk, the capital of the
province of Tamim.
And to the south of Iraq, medical sources at the
governorate of Basra announced on Saturday evening;
found of a body of a woman had been killed by
shooting, it has believed that members of sectarian
militia backed by the current government have
committed the crime of assassination.
US To Send 500 Troops To Iraq, For The First
Time Since The Withdrawal Of Military Personnel In
2011 :The Times
The Times newspaper of UK, said that the United States
has decided for the first time since the withdrawal of
its troops from the occupied Iraq three years ago,
sending 500 troops stationed at a military base there.
The newspaper said Wednesday that Washington's
decision came after a meeting held yesterday at the
base (Andrews) attended by the chiefs of staff of the
armies of 21 countries around the world, to discuss
the mechanism and ways to counter the insurgency in
Iraq and Syria.
The newspaper indicated that the President (Barack
Obama) attended the meeting, held talks with military
leaders of those countries, where announced his
intention to send 500 infantry soldiers from the first
Division to Iraq inorder to support the collapsed
government forces there.
Meanwhile, foreign minister in the current government
(Ibrahim al-Jaafari), yesterday, expressed his refusal
to deploy any foreign ground forces in Iraq ..
stressing that Iraq did not send a request to the
United Nations in this regard.
Continous raiding on Anbar cities, killed nine
civilians, including women and children, and wounded
16 others as a result of intense airstrikes carried
out by government aircraft and the International
Coalition Wednesday morning the center of Fallujah,
the largest city in Anbar province.
Witnesses in Fallujah: "The warplanes launched seven
raids on several locations near the old bridge
downtown, caused the deaths of nine people on the
spot, including four women and two children, and
wounding 16 others, as well as the burning and
destruction of five civilian cars .. pointing to
spread a state of fear and panic among citizens due to
heavy and continuous shelling; prompting a large
number of residents to flee the city again .
At the same time, eight members of the so-called
"popular mobilization" were injured as a result of
armed clashes in the area Alzlayah and the village of
Ouja Wednesday afternoon south of the city of Tikrit,
the center of the province of Salahuddin.
In Samarra, two members of the so-called "popular
crowd" have been killed and 15 others wounded as a
result of fierce clashes Wednesday evening.
Two civilians were killed as a result of two separate
armed attacks Wednesday evening in areas of Khachiyah
and Hay al-Damouk north and northeast of the city of
Kut, Wasit province, without knowing the reasons and
motives of the attacks.
Whereas, sectarian militias backed by the current
government assassinated Omar Abdullah Najim, aged (25)
years in front of his home on Wednesday in the village
(Elebat) amid spend (Khalis) north of the city of
Baquba, Diyala province.
In the capital, Baghdad, three people were killed and
14 others wounded in two bombs in the area of Sydea
and the area Al-Neairia subsidiary of New Baghdad
In addition, dozens of employees of Al Hussein
Teaching Hospital in the city of Nasiriyah, Dhi Qar
province on Wednesday morning, organized a sit-in in
front of the hospital to protest against a government
officer's assault on one of the employees of the
hospital on Tuesday.
News releases from the province said that the sit-in
participants demanding the officer to apology for whom
have been subjected to the unprovoked attack, and to
hold the aggressor and pledge not to repeat such
abhorrent acts, which has become hallmark of the
security services, which grew up under the brutal
Moreover, a person was killed and another suffered
condition of suffocation due to the outbreak of a fire
in a very large market (Al-Ashar) Tuesday evening
downtown Basra, governorate center.
In another evolution reflects the confusion of the
current government due to successive blows has had
recently, the Anbar provincial council confirmed the
dismiss of the commander of the so-called "Anbar
Operations Command," Major General Rashid Falaih, and
naming Lt. Gen. Tariq al-Azzawi to replace him, as it
was the appointment of Major General (Kazim Fahdawi)
chief of the provincial police, to take over the
position of Major General (Ahmed Saddag al-Dulaimi),
who was killed in an IED attack two days ago.
Citing (Ahmed Humaid Sharqi) the head of the so-called
security committee in the Anbar provincial council, as
saying in a statement published today: The Council
issued in coordination with the competent authorities
in Baghdad, a decision to dismiss Gen. (Rashid Flaih)
from his position, after his failure in the management
of the battles against the militants, and also the
Council decided to appoint Lt. Gen. (Tareq al-Azzawi)
instead of him. "
In Salahuddin province, the ongoing violence killed
four people, including two members of the so-called
popular mobilization in two separate incidents Tuesday
afternoon south of the northern city of Tikrit, where
a sniper open fire from a machine gun on the two
members in the area (Awainat ) south of Tikrit, which
resulted in death of both on site, while one civilian
and his daughter were killed after a mortar attack on
their home in the neighborhood of Baiji, north of
While, in vague circumstances a government security
force has found Tuesday afternoon (30) bodies of
unidentified people were killed by shooting north of
the city of Hilla, Babil province, a government
security source said that a security force has found
the bodies, dumped in a sewer of a military units in
the old Camp of Mahaweel north of Hilla. "
Meanwhile, at least 14 people have been killed and 29
others wounded in a car bomb was driven by an unknown
person near the Abdul Mohsen al-Kazimi Square in the
area Kazimiyah Tuesday afternoon north of the capital
Baghdad, it was among the dead (Ahmed al-Khafaji)
member of the current parliament for the Basra
province within a block of Badr of the State of Law,
it is noted that this is the second blast of its kind
the area within the last 24 hours, where the region
witnessed Saturday evening, the killing of nine people
and wounding 31 others, by a similar attack in the
Yard of Aden.
In Baghdad, as well, three people were killed and nine
others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded Tuesday
evening near a popular market in the neighborhood (A'mil)
southwest of the capital.
In a similar attack, two civilians were killed and
seven others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded
Tuesday evening near a popular cafe in the
neighborhood (Zahra) east of the capital Baghdad.
In a fourth incident of its kind today, a civilian was
killed and eight others wounded when a roadside bomb
on Tuesday evening in the area (Bab Mu'zam) in central
Furthermore, killing of a government soldier and 18
others wounded, including members of the so-called
"popular mobilization" by the clashes broke out
Tuesday evening in (Latifiyah) south of the capital.
How ISIS Is Using Enemies Iran And US
Ammunitions In A Flow Supplies
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden apologized to Saudi
Arabia on Wednesday over recent remarks he made
suggesting Gulf states had supported extremist groups
in the region. Saudi Arabia is the third state Biden
has apologized to over remarks he made at Harvard
University last week. He apologized to Turkey and the
United Arab Emirates last weekend for having said U.S.
allies in the region were partly to blame for the rise
of ISIS in Syria.
However since the Vice President's gaffe, many
commentators have noticed America's usual policies of
looking the order way during weakness and defeats,
pointing out that the ISIS do not need much help from
the neighbouring Muslim states. Ammunitions reach the
Mujahidun at ease. "Ending up arming the brave on the
battlefields and at friends' backyards is what happens
naturally when you chose to arm the cowardly," no
Where Does ISIS Get Its Ammunition? New
Report Finds Arms Manufactured in Over 20 Countries
Hanna Sender writes:
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are
firing American bullets. An investigation by the
European Union-funded Conflict Armament Research group
found the Sunni militant group, formerly known as the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS, primarily
used ammunition manufactured in the United States,
China and Russia.
Investigators recovered more than 1,700 small-caliber
munitions from the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq
and northern Syria from July 22 to Aug. 15 to
determine the origin of ISIS ammunition.
Of the 1,730 cartridges in the sample, 73 percent were
manufactured in China (445), the Soviet Union (338),
the United States (323) and the Russian Federation
(154). Cartridges dated from 1945 to 2014, with 10
percent manufactured after 2010.
The presence of recently manufactured Iranian
ammunition, if transferred deliberately, is an
indication Iran violated a 2006 U.N. Security Council
Resolution that prohibits Iran's export of ammunition.
Ten cartridges manufactured in Iran after 2010 were
recovered as part of the sample.
Nearly half of the recently manufactured ammunition
used by ISIS are 7.62 x 54R mm-caliber ammunition used
in PKM-pattern general-purpose machine guns and
rifles; 5.56 x 45 mm-caliber ammunition, a standard
NATO caliber used by Iraqi defense and security
forces, was the second-most-popular caliber recovered.
Despite its popularity, the 7.62 x 39 mm-caliber
ammunition used in Kalashnikovs made up only 5 percent
of the sample. Turkish 19 mm pistol ammunition,
however, comprised a sixth of the sample and was found
in both Iraq and Syria.
The Center for Public Integrity said between capturing
arms on the battlefield and using oil sales revenue to
purchase weapons, ISIS has had little trouble
procuring large quantities of ammunition. "The fact
that the armaments have such disparate sources -- some
were even made at a major U.S. munitions plant in
Missouri -- provides a cautionary note as Washington
prepares to undertake expanded shipments of military
supplies, including small arms, to rebel groups in
Syria and to a revived Iraqi Army force."
ISIS Guide Explains How To Shoot Down US
Just days after the United States began using Apache
helicopters against the Islamic State group in Iraq,
ISIS has responded by producing a guide to shooting
down the iconic aircraft. The guide, which has been
circulating on social media, explains in minute detail
how to use portable surface-to-air missiles, such as
the Russian-made SA-16 and SA-18 and the American
FIM-92 Stinger, against the attack helicopter.
The Stinger was heavily used during the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, when the
shoulder-fired missiles provided by the U.S. to
mujahideen fighters proved very effective at shooting
down Soviet helicopters. They also saw use against
Russian aircraft during the first and second Chechen
wars, which took place from 1994 to 1996 and 1999 to
2009, respectively. The guide will serve as a reminder
for the ISIS fighters who took part in those conflicts
before joining the ranks of the Sunni extremist group
in Iraq and Syria. For new recruits, the guide is a
detailed primer on how to target successfully the
Apaches by defeating their countermeasures.
The introduction of the Apaches in Iraq comes at a
time when ISIS is being buoyed by the major advances
it is making in Syria, where it is close to capturing
the strategically important town of Kobane, and Iraq's
capital Baghdad, where ISIS has come within shooting
distance of the city.
But perhaps what makes the use of the aircraft most
significant is that it represents a significant
escalation of the risk being taken by U.S. forces.
"Fixed-wing aircraft flying at 30,000 feet are
completely immune from the type of weapons that
Islamic State fighters have, but a helicopter is not,"
said Christopher Harmer, a former U.S. Navy aviator
who is now an analyst at the Institute for the Study
of War, a think tank. "When you're flying a helicopter
150 feet above the ground, that helicopter can be shot
with a rocket-propelled grenade or a heavy machine gun
… so yes, it is much more dangerous."
The Boeing-made aircraft, known as the AH-64, is
particularly accurate and adept at operating in enemy
territory at night, and has countermeasures to defeat
missiles that home in on the heat generated by its
exhaust. However, the guide points out each of the
Apache's weak spots in order to inflict the most
amount of damage on the aircraft and ensure that the
pilot and navigator are killed. At least 10 Apaches
have been shot down in Iraq since the U.S.-led
invasion in 2003, according to a tally from several
The guide, posted by an ISIS supporter using the name
Nasser Al-Sharia, says that the aircraft should be
ambushed at a distance of 1,500 meters or slightly
less than one mile, while the helicopter is in the
clear line of sight of the shooter. It then says that
a sniper should shoot the crew as they try to bail
from the aircraft.
Another aircraft vulnerable to small arms and
shoulder-fired missiles is the A-10, whose
introduction to Iraq may also be cause for concern;
the shooting down of one of the slow, low-flying jets
may result in U.S. pilots being taken hostage by ISIS.
International Business Times Christopher Harress
Revolutionaries Manage To Control Most Of
Anbar Territory Despite The Non-stop Mortar Shelling
By The Government Army On Civilian Areas
According to reports from Anbar province on Sunday;
citing of a high-level military source, saying, after
fierce fighting; the government troops forced to
retreat in front of the advance of the gunmen in the
city of Ramadi, the center of the province.
The source explained in remarks; that the government
army units that were deployed in a number of
neighborhoods of the city of Ramadi, withdrew from all
their positions, and were stationed at the
headquarters of the so-called "Anbar Operations
Command," which is located in the region of the
presidential palaces northern the city.
The source did not disclose the reasons for such
withdrawal; admitted that Ramadi now under the control
of armed men, while local sources confirmed that the
advance of the militants led members of the military
to escape, who have suffered losses in lives and
equipment, but did not know the details yet.
At the same time, the government army and its
pro-militias continued bombing of the cities of Anbar
province yesterday evening, by mortar and artillery,
as well as missiles, what caused the deaths and injury
of civilians is not yet known.
In this context, dozens of families forced to flee
their homes in the district Heat, western Anbar
province, within the last few hours; result of violent
aerial and artillery bombardment implemented by
government forces as well as the heated battles near
the district few days ago.
According to another reports; the government army
forces along with militias and the Awakening; suffered
a new defeat after clashed with gunmen seized control
of the center of the district of Heat earlier, what
made these forces take retaliatory action against
residents after its inability to withstand attacks by
In Tamim province, eight members of the forces "Peshmerga"
were wounded, some of them in serious condition; due
to the fall of a number of mortar shells at the
headquarters of gathering Sunday afternoon in the
village (Al-Abada) of the district (DAQUQ) south of
the city of Kirkuk.
As a government soldier was wounded when a roadside
bomb targeted a military patrol in Salahuddin
While, two civilians were killed including a child,
and wounded six others with various injuries; result
of a bomb explosion on Sunday near a popular park in
the (al-Jihad neighborhood) in which families gather
to celebrate Eid south west of the capital Baghdad, in
the fourth accident since yesterday.
As mortar shells landed on a checkpoint of the
Awakening forces on Sunday evening in the region (Arab
Jabour) of the area (Dora) south of the capital
Baghdad, killing and wounding four policemen, also
wounding four civilians who were near the place.
In continued to target the competencies, a university
professor was seriously wounded, and his son was
killed in an adhesive bomb in his car on a Sunday
evening in the area (Saydea) southwest of the capital
Baghdad, which is witnessing a new wave of bombings
that killed dozens.
One person was killed and eight others wounded as a
result of the non-stop mortar shelling by the
government army on civilian areas in Falluja, the
largest city in Anbar province, on Monday.
At the same time, 18 civilians were killed, including
three women and eight children as a result of
airstrikes by the fighter jets of the international
coalition that targeted three houses in the city
(Heat), Monday afternoon west of the city of Ramadi,
In related context, (11) members of the so-called
popular crowd were injured as a result of armed
clashes Sunday evening in the village (Hethera) of the
district (Balad) south of the city of Tikrit, the
center of the province of Salahuddin.
It also killed six government policemen and militiamen
of the so-called popular crowd and wounded nine others
following armed clashes on Monday evening in the area
(Aziz Balad) of the district (Balad) as well.
To the south of Baghdad, two government policemen were
injured after a roadside bomb targeted their patrol on
the main road in the district (Jurf Al-Sakhar) Monday
morning north of the city of Hilla, Babil province.
Furthermore, two government policemen were killed, and
three more wounded when a roadside bomb targeted their
patrol on Monday in the area (Radwaniyah) west of the
Whereas, two incidents led to the killing of two
members of the Awakening forces and one civilian and
wounded 13 others, including six members of the
government security agencies when an armed attack on a
joint checkpoint in the village (Mishahda) of the
district (TARMIYA) and an adhesive bomb was installed
in a (Kia bus) while passing in the area (Bayaa)
Monday afternoon north and south of the capital
While three people were killed, including an officer
with the rank of captain at the current Interior
Ministry and wounded ten others as a result of two
separate blasts Monday evening in the area (Adhamiya)
and the district (Madain) north and south of the
In the east of the capital, unidentified gunmen
assassinated an engineer works in the Ministry of
Science and Technology during an armed attack targeted
him Monday evening as he was passing in his car on the
high-way Mohammed Al-Qasim eastern Baghdad.
Bush Man Panetta Says '30-Year War' Against
ISIS While Biden Suggests Panetta Should Wait Until
Obama Leaves Office to Say That
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was harshly
critical of President Obama's handling of the new ISIS
war, saying the US could have sustained the 2011 Iraq
occupation and started arming Syrian rebels even
sooner than they did.
But perhaps the most eye-opening comment in has new
book tour was that he believes the conflict is a
"30-year war" that will extend across the world,
including campaigns in Nigeria, Somalia, and Libya,
among other places.
Panetta's new book, entitled Worthy Fights, argues
that the Obama Administration repeatedly erred by not
taking more hawkish positions, including says the US
should've invaded Syria outright in 2013 instead of
making the deal for Syria to scrap its chemical
He went on to argue that the 30-year world war he
envisions is a chance to "repair the damage" caused by
lot launching massive wars in the previous few years,
calling the lack of wars "missed opportunities."
Vice President Joe Biden was quick to criticize
Panetta, although not on the content of his hawkish
comments. Rather, Biden said it was "inappropriate"
for Panetta to criticize Obama at all, on anything,
until after 2016, and that he should "at least give
the guy a chance to get out of office."
It is unclear how far afield, however, Panetta's
assessment of a 30-year war actually is from the Obama
Administration's own vision of an open-ended conflict,
as officials have talked up the conflict lasting many
years, and Obama himself said the decisions of the war
were to be made by the next president "and probably
the one after that."
Iraq Clears Aussie Troops for ISIS
Ground War: PM Ruled Out Any Foreign Troops in Iraq
Only Last Week
Less than a week ago, Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder
Abadi insisted that no foreign ground troops would be
welcome in his nation, and that he was confident the
Iraqi military could defeat ISIS with Western air
Today, Australian officials confirmed they've been
given approval by the Abadi government for the
deployment of their special forces ground troops into
Iraq to fight against ISIS.
Australian officials familiar with the situation say
that the approximately 200 troops will be "bolstering
local forces on the ground," and that part of their
mission will be spotting for US airstrikes.
The terms of the agreement with Iraq were not made
public, but officials say that the troops were given
needed legal cover in case they end up killing Iraqi
civilians in the course of the conflict.
US Helicopter Strikes Against ISIS
Increase Shootdown Risk: Low-Flying Apache Helicopters
Could Be Easy Targets
On Sunday, the Pentagon had announced that its air war
against ISIS in Iraq was now including attacks by
AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, operating out of the
Baghdad airport and carrying Hellfire and other
Officials are presenting the helicopters as likely to
be more accurate than the warplanes flying 30,000 feet
overhead, in spite of a long line of civilian
casualties caused in helicopter attacks during the
last Iraq war.
The big difference, rather, is that the Apaches are
far more likely to be shot down by ISIS, flying at
much lower altitudes more readily reached by the
shoulder-fired missiles ISIS is awash in, provided to
target Syrian helicopters doing the exact same thing
The eventuality of such a shootdown is likely to mean
US ground troops sent on rescue missions to try to
recover the downed pilots. This could end up being the
pretext for launching a ground operation against ISIS,
and such an incident seems only a matter of time.
& Several News Outlets - Antiwar Jason Ditzo Contributed To This Report
US Airstrikes Kill
22 Civilians in Iraqi Market - Attack Hit Apartments
A Monday US airstrike against the ISIS-held town of
Hit has killed at least 22 Iraqi civilians, and
wounded many more, according to locals. The strikes
hit a marketplace, along with apartments alongside the
Locals say they believe the intended target was a
building containing ISIS fighters, just down the road,
but the indications are that that building wasn't hit,
with locals saying it was likely a "mistake."
Centcom's own statement on the matter simply mentions
an airstrike west of Ramadi hitting a "ISIS-held
building," but offered no details on casualties.
The Pentagon further claimed the incident of civilian
deaths was "false" and that they had seen no evidence
of any civilians killed, the same blanket statement
they've made for every other airstrike in Iraq and
Syria, even after they've been confirmed to kill
The lack of decent intelligence on what the US is
actually hitting in airstrikes is likely to give way
to more such incidents in the weeks, months, and years
to come, as officials continue to ratchet up the air
Syrian Kurds: Airstrikes
Against ISIS Aren't Working: Strikes Focus on Ayn
al-Arab, But Aren't Stopping ISIS Advance
Since the US began its air war
against ISIS in Syria last week, the majority of the
strikes have centered around the Kurdish town of
Kobani, trying to stop ISIS from taking the key town
along the Syria-Turkey border.
The Kurdish forces still trying to defend the town,
however, warn that the airstrikes aren't working, and
that ISIS is simply evading the strikes and continuing
its advance against Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic).
The Kurdish fighters on the ground tried to spin this
as proof that they need ground troops and heavy
weapons to fight ISIS, adding to a chorus from
Congressional hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC)
demanding an immediate ground war in Syria.
The reality, though, is that this is just one more
sign that the ISIS war in general was ill-conceived
and not going to work, and while some factions on the
ground might squeeze near-term benefits out of a
dramatic further escalation, the war itself seems to
be continuing on in spite of its own failing nature,
with a momentum all its own.
& Several News Outlets - Antiwar Jason Ditzo Contributed To This Report
180 Islamic State
Fighters Released By Turkey In Prisoner Swap For 46
Turkish Workers - That's A Nice ISIS Bargain
Turkey released 120 Islamic State militants in
exchange for 46 Turkish consular workers and their
families kidnapped by the Islamic State in Mosul in
Officials in the British Defence Department have
confirmed that two British jihadists were released in
a prisoner exchange between Turkey and the Islamic
State group, the BBC reported Monday.
According to the BBC report, the officials named the
two British jihadists that were released as a part of
a group of 180 Islamic State militants released by
Turkey in exchange for 46 Turkish consular workers and
their families kidnapped by the Islamic State in Mosul
The British newspaper The Times reported, based on
documents it has obtained, that among the jihadists
released were three Frenchmen, two Macedonians, two
Swedes, a Swiss national, and a Belgian. According to
the report the jihadists were either held in Turkish
hospitals and prisons, or were held by moderate Syrian
The details of the prisoner swap, which took place
last month, had gone unreported until now. Two weeks
ago, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was
asked about the prisoner swap, he did not confirm the
swap took place, but didn't deny that it took place
Iraqi City, Residents Fear US Airstrikes – And
Mosul is the largest city in northern Iraq and its
capture in June by Islamic State was a major blow to
Baghdad. Some Sunni residents welcomed their new
rulers, but tensions are rising over a future assault
by US-backed troops.
By Dominique Soguel, The
Christian Science Monitor
Four months after a band of Sunni jihadists captured
their city with shocking ease, residents of Mosul are
bracing for possible US-led airstrikes. As the US and
its allies have stepped up a bombing campaign in Iraq
against the Islamic State, Sunni residents of Mosul
say militants have lowered their profile and switched
For these residents, some of whom cheered the retreat
of Iraq's unpopular Shiite-led military, the risk of a
bombing campaign – and the limits of its effectiveness
– is playing on their nerves, along with lingering
fears of what could happen to them if the same
Shiite-led forces recapture their city.
"In the past 10 days, the presence of the Islamic
State has changed in the streets. The Arabs who came
in the beginning are back in more numbers, moving in
normal cars rather than four-wheel drives to escape
aerial detection," says a Mosul-based journalist.
Yet the US envoy coordinating the anti-IS coalition
said Friday that a full-bore offensive to retake Mosul
could be up to a year away. Gen. (ret.) John Allen, a
former Marine, told reporters in Baghdad that it would
be a protracted task. "It's not a single battle. It's
a campaign," he said.
Foreign fighters made up the striking force that swept
into Mosul in June. But after taking the city, and
looting US-supplied military hardware from abandoned
bases, many of them pushed on towards Baghdad. Others
returned to Syria, where IS also controls large chunks
of territory. Iraqis loyal to the group, which has its
roots in an al-Qaeda resistance to the US occupation,
were left in charge to run everyday affairs.
"Nobody forced us to join the Islamic State but many
people joined voluntarily," says Sheikh Abu
Abdelrahman, a tribal leader living in the city. "We
have more freedom now – no curfew, no more checkpoints
and no more anti-blast walls. The hospitals run all
day. They relaxed things. Mosul looks as it did under
Saddam Hussein's time. We're free."
Many other Mosul tribal leaders have sworn loyalty to
Islamic State. Refusing to do so is a risky move, as
the group has been ruthless in silencing dissent, even
within its own sectarian base.
An Imam was allegedly executed on Sept. 9 in western
Mosul for failing to swear allegiance to IS. The group
has also targeted former policemen and army officers
to preempt potential threats, the United Nations said
last week in a report.
This month alone, the group executed sixty men in
Mosul, all sentenced to death by their self-appointed
Islamic court. On Sept. 5, three Sunni women were
executed, allegedly for refusing to treat IS fighters,
and two more were summarily killed on Sept. 9,
according to the UN report.
City spared by airstrikes
Airstrikes by Iraqi Security Forces and the US-led
coalition have hit areas in the outskirts of Mosul but
so far spared the city itself. Sunni militants there
are still taking precautions. Mosul residents say they
now move on bicycles to blend in with civilians.
Internet connections were cut after President Barack
Obama's Sept. 24 speech at the UN General Assembly
where he pressed world leaders to join America in the
fight against IS. He said "it is time for the world –
especially Muslim communities – to explicitly,
forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of
Al-Qaeda and [IS]."
The effectiveness of US-led airstrikes in Iraq is
still up for debate. While Iraqi security forces and
Shiite and Kurdish militia have made gains on some
fronts, militants have also captured towns close to
Baghdad. And the Iraqi Army hasn't made any push on
cities like Mosul, the largest in northern Iraq with a
population of up to 3 million, of which some half
million are estimated to have fled since June.
A former Iraqi intelligence officer aligned with Sunni
insurgents downplays the impact an air campaign could
have on IS in the long term. "They know this strategy,
it was used against them in Iraq and Chechnya. It is
very easy for them to adapt to air strikes. They just
stop using network connections and cell phones. It is
easy to avoid them."
When IS forces entered Mosul, sending the
Shiite-commanded Iraqi Army fleeing without a fight,
there was talk of a Sunni revolution in the
predominantly Sunni city. There was also relief as
military checkpoints were abandoned. The deal made
with former officers of the Saddam Hussein regime and
other militants in the city was that IS would leave
locals in charge.
Militants ruled by night
Sunni tribal leader Mohammed Faris Al-Duleimi says it
was easy for the group to take Mosul because its
sympathizers were already there. "Daash (IS), which
was then called Al-Qaeda, has been present in Mosul
since 2005. The government ruled by the day and Al-Qaeda
ruled by the night," he says.
The ex-intelligence officer in Baghdad says sleeper
cells were ready to move months before the June
offensive. He claims his warnings to the government in
Baghdad – that Mosul would fall unless Sunni demands
were met – went unheeded.
Yet the intolerant ideology of IS, particularly its
ruthless treatment of religious and ethnic minorities
has also stirred dissent in Mosul, especially among
educated professionals. They say IS is another
occupying force, one that has imposed stifling
religious rule on the city and destroyed ancient
shrines of Christians, Yazidis, as well as Shiite
mosques and the shrine of the Muslim Prophet Younes
"The people of Mosul refuse to be put in the same
category as IS," says a doctor there. "The media
claims there is cooperation between Mosul citizens and
the IS and this is simply not true. The problem is
that they are occupied. They can't go to battle
against IS when soldiers run away and left the city to
Fuel and power shortages
For most residents, daily life continues largely as
normal. Their main complaints concern the quality and
price of fuel, as well as shortages in electricity and
water. The best quality fuel from the Baiji refinery
is only available to IS. Residents can only buy petrol
from Syria, which is lower quality. As a result, they
pay at least two times more than Baghdad residents to
fill their cars.
Others are struggling to survive. Some government
employees no longer draw salaries. Women, especially
health workers, are under pressure to observe
draconian rules of Islamic decorum. IS has banned
smoking and ordered all women to wear hijabs.
Children as young as 12 are receiving military
training in Mosul City, according to the UN Assistance
Mission for Iraq, cited in the same report released
The Mosul-based doctor says many residents initially
hoped that the US air strikes in August heralded the
"beginning of the end" for the militant occupation of
Mosul. But now they are just concerned that civilian
areas will be hit, and that militias from Baghdad will
eventually roll in and kill without discrimination.
A lawyer from the city, who recently fled to Erbil,
echoes this worry. "Most people are afraid that if the
Islamic State is defeated it will be replaced by
Shiite militias or the Iraqi army which already has a
very bad reputation among the locals. The people of
Mosul are stuck between two hells: the Islamic State
and the air strikes," he says.
The Christian Science Monitor
Heavy Toll In Iraq's
Fallujah have been reduced to bombed-out wrecks with
hospitals, homes, schools and mosques having been
Nine months of shelling, airstrikes and street battles
have taken a heavy toll on Iraq's "forgotten" province
of Anbar, the first to be overrun by militants from
the group now calling itself the Islamic State (IS).
The cities of Ramadi and Fallujah have been reduced to
bombed-out wrecks: hospitals, homes, schools and
mosques have been destroyed; bridges blown up; and
bullet-pocked residential streets deserted, residents
and aid workers told IRIN.
The UN estimates that as many as 500,000 Anbaris have
been displaced from their homes since fighting began
between IS and Iraqi security forces in late December.
More than two-thirds of those families are displaced
within the governorate and, due to security issues,
receiving little to no humanitarian support. Last
week, IS advanced into the city of Heet, which is
hosting close to 100,000 internally displaced persons
Sabah Karhut, chairman of Anbar Provincial Council,
told IRIN he believed the province had been
"The international community has done nothing in Anbar.
We want them to be more involved and help our people.
There are so many displaced people... We need
Death from the skies
The start of the US-led bombing campaign in western
Iraq last month has yet to ease the humanitarian
crisis in the region. As IS militants have claimed
huge swathes of territory in recent months, their
brutal methods have forced mass displacement.
According to the latest Humanitarian Needs Overview
published on 25 September by the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are
360,803 IDPs in Anbar as well as 115,000 people in
areas under the control of armed groups. In total 63
percent of the 1.6 million in the region are
classified as "in need", the highest ratio of any
province. Across Anbar, 98 percent of IDPs reported
having insufficient access to food.
Some of the displaced are staying with relatives or
host communities, but many are sleeping in schools,
mosques, unfinished buildings or open-air settlements
with limited access to water, food and health care.
Since January, the Iraqi government has been using
airstrikes to try to quell the IS advance. Groups such
as Human Rights Watch have alleged that the government
has also used barrel bombs - crude improvised
explosive devices dropped from planes packed with
material that spreads on detonation causing
significant damage and injury. There has been
widespread condemnation of the apparently
indiscriminate nature of the Iraqi government's air
campaign inside Anbar.
Samir Allawi, 43, has first-hand experience of the
strikes. He told IRIN how he and his family left the
city of Fallujah in eastern Anbar in July after days
of bombardment of their neighbourhood.
"I lost 14 members of my family in one of these random
bombs," he said. "I can't forget that horrifying
scene. Their bodies were all over the place."
"There were no militants near their house. I don't
understand why innocents become the victims rather
than militants who [have] never been damaged much by
The father of three, now in Sulaymaniyah in the
semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq's north, said
he wanted to return but "it's still too risky and I
don't want to lose any more of my family."
"The situation here is getting worse and worse every
day," a senior doctor from the university hospital in
Ramadi, who did not want to give his name for security
reasons, told IRIN.
"Recently we have seen a lot more casualties from the
airstrikes. Last week, just in my small neighbourhood,
[within] one day, two people I know - an engineer and
a student - were killed and 12 other people were badly
injured in fighting. And then this week my neighbour
was shot dead by a sniper."
IS still advancing
Across Anbar the front lines between the government
and IS fighters shift almost daily, with conflicting
reports about who commands each area. Yet the
militants appear to be gaining ground.
In late September, IS attacked Saqlawiyah, a
government military base north of Fallujah, reportedly
killing more than 300 Iraqi soldiers and later posting
photographs of the attack online.
And despite media claims from local government
officials that the threat of airstrikes was pushing IS
members to retreat, on 2 October the group overran the
town of Heet to the northwest of Ramadi and on 4
October seized the town of Kubaisa, posing a threat to
Ain al-Asad military base, used by Iraqi forces to
send troops and supplies to defend the province's
Heet, in the Euphrates river valley, is a significant
take for IS, according to Washington-based think tank
the Institute for the Study of War, whose experts
believe it is part of a longer-term play to move into
the Baghdad belt.
According to the International Organization for
Migration, more than 100,000 IDPs are staying in Heet,
many of whom had already been displaced three of four
times. The town was one of the few parts of the
province to where humanitarian aid has been delivered
in recent months.
An aid worker in Heet told IRIN that it seemed IS had
been operating in parts of the city carrying out
suicide attacks for some time, but on 2 October
"stormed various parts of the town and took it",
adding that soon afterwards shelling and airstrikes
In September, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
reported figures from the Anbar Directorate of Health
showing 268 civilians were killed and 796 injured in
the governorate during the first eight months of the
Some, however, say the number is far higher. Karhut,
of the Provincial Council, said he believed as many as
1,000 civilians had been killed, and blamed the Iraqi
military for indiscriminate attacks.
In September, following the bombing of a hospital in
Fallujah, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for an
end to all airstrikes in civilian areas.
Karhut acknowledged there have not been any airstrikes
in civilian areas since then, but he said rockets
launched by Iraqi army ground forces had recently
fallen in residential areas after offensives by IS.
A desperate reality
In Anbar people continue as best they can. The doctor
said his area in Ramadi was still under government
control but he feared IS would take it soon. "This
city is on fire," he said. "The situation is very bad.
My own house is covered in bullet holes."
Describing desperate conditions at the hospital due to
a lack of drugs, surgical equipment and staff, many of
whom have fled, he said: "The hospital has had no
mains electricity for four months and we depend
totally on generators, but it is hard to get fuel and
Food was also in short supply, the doctor said,
explaining that basic items were now between 30 and
100 percent more expensive than this time last year.
The situation has been compounded by the fact that few
people are still working and receiving salaries.
"Another big problem is medical supplies for chronic
conditions like diabetes and basic drugs for
respiratory conditions," he said.
"Winter is coming and this is a real problem for the
children and the elderly because we will not be able
to supply them with drugs to cure simple conditions
from the cold. I am already seeing patients in my
clinic who need surgery because basic infections were
not treated because the people cannot afford drugs or
to access a doctor."
Due to the security concerns, only a handful of aid
organizations, such the International Committee for
the Red Cross (ICRC), the Iraqi Red Crescent Society
and some local groups, have been able to deliver
supplies to people in Anbar.
Last month, the World Food Programme (WFP) re-started
its distributions around Heet after a five-month
suspension, and more than 3,000 IDPs received core
relief kits made up of food, hygiene supplies and
other items, which the Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
distributed in Ramadi with help from community
volunteers and the local authorities.
But access is still very limited. In a report
published on 4 October, OCHA acknowledged: "In Anbar
Governorate alone there are 400,000 IDPs to which
humanitarian actors enjoy only very limited access.
While the UN and NGO partners are intensifying their
efforts to reach those in need, assistance falls far
short of what is required."
This is not the first time Anbar has been caught up in
violence. In 2006-2007, the majority Sunni province,
which shares a long border with Syria, was the scene
of vicious fighting between IS predecessor al-Qaeda in
Iraq and US forces who mobilized with local tribal
leaders to push the militants out.
Although Jihadist cells remained in Anbar, IS returned
in force to Anbar in late December, seizing control of
parts of Fallujah and Ramadi. It was out of Anbar that
they then moved north to take Mosul and Tikrit in June
and declare their so-called Caliphate.
Many analysts have accused Iraq's former Prime
Minister Nouri al Maliki, a Shia Muslim, of alienating
Sunnis and allowing jihadists to gain a foothold in
places like Anbar.
"There are people who joined IS just to revenge the
government policy and they were tempted by IS under
jihad and paradise slogans," said Karhut, chairman of
Anbar Provincial Council.
He said the Council backed the US airstrikes in Iraq
against IS, but added: "The government must also
respond to the constitutional demands of Anbar's
people and [fix] the mistakes adopted by the previous
prime minister, so that the Sunnis feel justice and
that they are part of Iraq."
Confronting Barbarism: ISIS, The United States
And the Consequences Of Torture
By Michael Meurer
In a televised address on August 7, President Obama
announced that he had ordered "targeted" US airstrikes
in northern Iraq against the self-described Islamic
State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on the pretext of a
humanitarian intervention to help stranded Kurds and
US diplomatic staff in Erbil. In his address, Obama
said, "I will not allow the United States to be
dragged into fighting another war in Iraq." Just 47
days later, on September 23, a new phase in the war on
terror had been declared, and US bombing was expanded
There is ample reason to believe that Obama's August
"humanitarian bombing" of ISIS targets in northern
Iraq was equally about the protection of ExxonMobil
and Chevron oil and gas production facilities in Erbil.
It was a costly action. On August 19, US journalist
James Foley was beheaded by ISIS in retaliation. On
September 2, Steve Sotoloff, another US journalist,
was beheaded by ISIS in a further act of retaliation.
Both murders were accompanied by highly publicized
beheading videos, with Foley and Sotoloff forced by
ISIS to wear symbolic orange jumpsuits. A beheading
video of British aid worker David Haines followed on
September 13, with Haines also mockingly clad by his
ISIS captors in an orange jumpsuit. President Obama's
new war in Syria began 10 days later with full
Congressional backing. British Prime Minister David
Cameron quickly endorsed US bombing and received
parliamentary approval for Britain to join the US
campaign in Iraq.
The New Yorker's John Cassidy has labeled this Obama's
"YouTube war." The carefully choreographed ISIS
beheading videos, with their mocking use of orange
jumpsuits, were a major factor driving both public
opinion and Obama's decision-making. The actions of
ISIS jihadists are barbaric, but they represent
something worse than publicized incidents of terrorist
inhumanity. Yasser Munif, co-founder of the Global
Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution,
believes the moral taunting on the beheading videos
was designed to lure the United States into wider war
in the Islamic world, thereby elevating ISIS as the
primary anti-American force in the region. It is as if
the moral compass of the universe has gone tilt as the
world descends into barbarism. The vertiginous sense
of suspended morality is heightened by tens of
millions of TV viewers and YouTube site visitors
worldwide witnessing ISIS's open and brutal mockery of
the United States and United Kingdom on supposedly
moral grounds as they commit murder for the camera.
During September, with the ISIS beheadings and United
States drive to war as background, the Department of
Defense (DOD) and the Obama administration have also
been forced into a debate over how to respond to an
August 27, District Court decision in New York
ordering the release of 2,000 previously unpublished
photos of US torture, brutality and death at the
infamous Abu Ghraib prison and five other US detention
facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) has been seeking release of the
photos since 2004 in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
lawsuit. Obama and the DOD were opposed to the release
of these photos, years before ISIS emerged, on the
grounds that the images are so grisly, they would
inflame anti-US sentiment in the Islamic world.
However, with the ACLU's litigation on the verge of
success, the photos and the war against ISIS have
clearly become interrelated.
There is already a huge element of the absurd in the
Obama administration's new war scenario that should
provoke further debate about overall US policy in
Central Asia. There are questions about the role that
US and European actions played in incubating and
arming ISIS in Syria, as well as clear evidence that
Sunni distrust of the US-backed Shiite government in
Baghdad has driven Iraqi Sunnis reluctantly into the
hands of ISIS jihadists. There are open divisions and
disagreements among national security experts in both
parties and within Obama's military team about threat
assessment, tactics, timing and the need for ground
troops. Many activists on the ground in Syria question
the motivation and potential efficacy of US bombing in
In spite of these lingering uncertainties, Obama
seemed to be responding primarily to the ISIS
beheading videos in his September 24 speech to the UN
General Assembly, when he described ISIS as a "network
of death" and noted that their brutality "forces us to
look into the heart of darkness." The clear
implication is that war policy is being hurriedly
thrown together without sober reflection because of a
visceral reaction to globally publicized ISIS videos.
With the pending court order to release the previously
unpublished Abu Ghraib photos, the need for such
reflection cannot be easily dismissed.
Should the photos be released? Should the United
States openly look into its own "heart of darkness"
while confronting ISIS? The timing of this decision
follows more than a decade of official denial and
obfuscation about the images. An estimated 108
captives died in US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan,
including as many as 26 that the DOD has classified as
homicides. Obama and Cameron are right to point out
that ISIS jihadists are evil and lawless killers. Yet
these photos are not about ISIS except to the extent
they have tried to co-opt the symbolic imagery of
orange US prison jumpsuits to rationalize their
barbarity. Before Obama's new war escalates out of
control or drags on for months or years with an
inevitable need for ground troops, it seems advisable
for the United States to finally confront its own
barbaric actions and failed strategic decisions in the
13-year-old war on terror - not because of ISIS, but
in spite of ISIS.
Orange Jumpsuits and the Alternative
Reality of Torture
Nearly every news report explains that ISIS is making
their victims wear orange jumpsuits as a mocking
reference to the orange jumpsuits worn by prisoners at
the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It
is seldom mentioned that captives in the entire web of
US prisons from Bagram in Afghanistan to Abu Ghraib in
Iraq, were also made to wear orange jumpsuits.
Further, the photos of torture, humiliation and death
that have made it into the public domain from Abu
Ghraib are even worse than Guantánamo, making it a
more potent symbol of US human rights violations.
While the prison at Guantánamo is universally known,
the public was unaware that the secretive prison at
Abu Ghraib existed - housed in a torture facility used
by Saddam Hussein before the US invasion - until a
compact disc of digital photos taken by guards was
accidentally discovered and reported in 2003. These
images depicting widespread torture and violent abuse
of prisoners by US troops were subsequently featured
in investigative reports by The New Yorker and 60
Minutes II in 2004. When the story finally broke, Bush
administration officials, from then Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld to Bush himself, declared the
atrocities at Abu Ghraib to be the work of "a few bad
A total of 11 low-level enlisted Army soldiers were
eventually convicted on charges varying from
dereliction of duty to human rights abuses. A colonel
was relieved of duty and a lieutenant colonel received
a reprimand. Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the
commanding officer at the prison, was cited for
"dereliction of duty and shoplifting." In essence, no
one was held responsible except a few low-level
The abuses at Abu Ghraib did not happen in a vacuum.
It quickly became clear that Abu Ghraib was the end
point in a causal chain that led all the way back to
the Bush White House and Justice Department, where top
administration officials were rewriting US laws
defining torture. Following recommendations to
President Bush from then White House Counsel Alberto
Gonzales, the United States effectively opted out of
the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions on the rights
to humane treatment for both prisoners of war and
civilians. The Third Geneva Convention "bars torture,
cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, as well as
outrages against the human dignity of prisoners of
war, or POWs."
The Unintended Consequences of Torture
Writing in Foreign Policy, Steven R. Ratner, an expert
on international law who has worked as an advisor to
both the UN and the US State Department, makes it
clear that torture does not work as advertised:
Seasoned interrogators consistently say that
straightforward questioning is far more successful for
getting at the truth. So, by mangling the [Geneva]
conventions, the United States has joined the company
of a host of unsavory regimes that make regular use of
torture. It has abandoned a system that protects U.S.
military personnel from terrible treatment for one in
which the rules are made on the fly.
In losing sight of the crucial protections of the
conventions, the United States invites a world of wars
in which laws disappear. And the horrors of such wars
would far surpass anything the war on terror could
The Bush administration also tried unsuccessfully to
block the adoption of the UN Convention Against
Torture in the General Assembly after more than 10
years of deliberation by UN member states. In spite of
this failure at the UN, the United States continued to
opt out of the Geneva Convention against torture. This
was done by rewriting domestic laws on human rights
and defining captured prisoners as "unlawful enemy
combatants" who had no legal standing as prisoners of
war, a decision that Obama continued to support until
after his reelection in 2008. The Washington Post
described the new regime of officially sanctioned
torture in 2004:
In fact, every aspect of this new universe - including
maintenance of covert airlines to fly prisoners from
place to place, interrogation rules and the legal
justification for holding foreigners without due
process afforded most U.S. citizens - has been
developed by military or CIA lawyers, vetted by
Justice Department's office of legal counsel and,
depending on the particular issue, approved by White
House general counsel's office or the president
In addition to the fabricated rationale for the
invasion of Iraq and the invention of concepts such as
"pre-emptive war" and "unlawful enemy combatants," the
entire world has become aware of US practices such as
extraordinary rendition (sending prisoners to
countries outside the United States for torture and
interrogation), enhanced interrogation techniques
(e.g., water boarding and other forms of torture) and
the continued operation of a string of prisons in
Afghanistan and Iraq that have been repeatedly
investigated for fundamental human rights violations.
Yet in August 2014, a 6,000 page, $40 million report
produced by a months long investigation into US
torture techniques by the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence was shelved after being heavily redacted
by the CIA. Bowing to the CIA and pressure from the
Obama administration, committee chairperson Sen.
Dianne Feinstein (D-California) issued a statement
that the report is being "held for declassification at
a later time."
The Long Road Back
War truly is hell. It always will be. Human rights
violations occur in every war. What is new since the
dawn of the ill-defined and never ending war on terror
in 2001 is that the world's most economically powerful
and heavily armed superpower has begun to untether
itself from its foundational democratic moorings by
making such violations a matter of de facto state
policy - unapologetically. When moral outrage was
expressed by some US senators during May 2004 hearings
on the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Sen. James Inhofe
(R-Oklahoma) commented that he was "more outraged by
the outrage" than by the overwhelming evidence of
abuse, torture and violation of internationally
sanctioned human rights.
Recent history in Central Asia makes it abundantly
clear that the abandonment of democratic ideals and
values by powerful nations such as the United States
and Britain does nothing to stop terrorism and runs
counter to the self-interests of democracies. The long
road back from the past decade of state-sanctioned
torture and systematic human rights violations begins
with democratic openness.
The ACLU lawsuit is a timely case in point. The US
Army still has more than 2,000 unreleased photos that
document 400 cases of alleged abuse between 2001 and
2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other US prisons. Senators
who have seen these images say that many of the photos
are worse than the images that have been leaked from
Abu Ghraib to date.
The ACLU won a FOIA suit in federal District Court on
August 27, 2014, in which Judge Alvin Hellerstein
ordered the Department of Defense (DOD) to hand over
the photos unless they can conclusively prove that
their release would endanger American lives. If the
judge maintains his ruling against the DOD, they will
almost certainly be encouraged by the administration
to appeal the decision. Obama has said that, "The most
direct consequence of releasing them . . . would be to
inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our
troops in greater danger."
The ISIS beheadings give the Obama administration a
seemingly urgent rationale for continued secrecy in
their refusal to release inflammatory photos of US war
crimes committed in Islamic countries. This argument
overlooks the fact that it is not possible to stop a
descent into barbarism by consciously ignoring
More than 100,000 prisoners have been run through the
US complex of prisons in Iraq since the US invasion in
2003. Ignoring this reality is no longer an option.
Releasing the photos and openly debating the actions
and policies that led to their existence would be a
more courageous projection of democratic values at
this crucial juncture, sending a powerful signal that
the United States stands by its core democratic values
even when it is least convenient. It would also
provide an opportunity for a much-needed reexamination
of the premises for Obama's proposed bombing adventure
in Syria, and by extension, of the longer-term war on
terror. With Obama harking back to George W. Bush's
initial Iraq war authorization in 2002 to rationalize
his actions, it is a reexamination that is long
Sentiment Divided At
Haj Pilgrimage Over Role Of Islamist Militants
Former Egyptian army officer Suliman Ouda minced no
words as he climbed Mount Arafat, denouncing Islamist
militants in Syria and Iraq as terrorists.
But Syrian engineer Ahmed Orabi, standing nearby on
the hill where Muslims on their haj pilgrimage beg
God's forgiveness, disagreed.
"Islam is about peace and kindness, not murder and
violence, and I don't consider these fighters in Iraq
and Syria to be Muslims," Ouda told Reuters as he
joined the mass of pilgrims early on Friday. "They
bring shame to the word Islam."
Orabi, in his 40s, served time in Syrian prisons for
criticising the government of Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad
before fleeing to Turkey. One of his sons was still in
"If the Islamic state, or Nusra, or any other group
can fight the government, I'm in full support of
them," he said in a hushed voice.
"Bashar is the terrorist here, Iran is the enemy. And
although I can't raise my voice today and say that,
I'm crying out to God in my heart to give victory to
those brave Islamic fighters."
The haj, a hectic journey that brings millions from
around the world to Mecca and Mount Arafat, is tinged
this year with concerns over the threat posed by
Islamist militants who threaten to target allies of
the United States, including Saudi Arabia.
In past years, Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims airing
political views were the main threat for security
forces keen to keep the haj free from politics. But
the rise of political Islam since the Arab Spring
protests of 2011 has focused attention on Islamist
Sunni groups as a new potential source of friction.
While a systematic poll of pilgrims' views at the haj
would be impossible, a random sampling indicated
sentiment is divided over Islamic State, who have
dominated the news since they captured Mosul, Iraq's
second largest city, in July.
Abdel-Rahman al-Gahtani, a Saudi haj organiser, said
the militants, known in Arabic as Daesh, gave Islam a
"Our sheikhs told us that Daesh are terrorists and we
believe they are. Those who kill in cold blood and
make threats to kill innocent people are not Muslims
like us," Gahtani, who works at food and water
distribution, told Reuters.
The sermon given by the preacher in the local Namira
mosque on Friday included a reference to the Islamic
State and the pledge that "Islam is innocent of their
actions", pilgrims who attended said.
But Mohammed Askar, a Syrian teacher, said militants
fired by religious zeal may be the only way to topple
"I know America and the Gulf countries see the Islamic
state as terrorists, but they should not think that
way," Askar said.
"These are the people who can fight to get rid of
Bashar, and after Bashar is gone I swear to you no one
will want Islamic State. We are just using them."
Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has
funneled cash and arms to rebels fighting against
tyrant Assad in a conflict which has raged for three
years and killed nearly 200,000 people. But it has
also consistently opposed Islamist militants within
the insurgency. Last week, Saudi air force planes
pounded targets in Syria in U.S.-led air strikes.
Security appeared much tighter than usual at this
year's haj, with more men in uniform deployed in holy
sites and frequent vehicle checkpoints.
"I came to haj two years ago and I don't remember
seeing so many special forces as there are today,"
said Amr Abdallah, an Egyptian engineer on his way to
the summit of Mount Arafat. "They must be worried
about the threat of Daesh."
Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki
said the kingdom has allocated more security personnel
and National Guardsmen along its borders with Iraq.
"We have enforced our security readiness at all the
border of Saudi Arabia, the northern border and the
southern border," he told Reuters on the sidelines of
a news conference.
The authorities continue to warn pilgrims against any
political protests. Last week Interior Minister Prince
Mohammed bin Nayef told the Saudi state agency (SPA)
that Saudi Arabia will have a zero tolerance policy.
"Authorities will deal with all propaganda,
intellectual and political slogans because the purpose
of haj is worship alone," Prince Nayef said in a
The haj has attracted some 3 million people this year,
including 1.4 million from outside the kingdom. To the
casual observer there appears to be fewer Iraqi and
Syrian pilgrims than last year, and many more visitors
Saudi authorities have said that no restrictions have
been placed on visas to Syrians or Iraqi for political
"There are over 10,000 pilgrims from Syria this year
and I'm not aware of any restrictions placed on Iraqis
or Syrians, every country has a quota and we follow
that system," said Major General Turki.
Reuters Reporting by Amena Bakr; editing by Sami
Aboudi and Sonya Hepinstall
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh'
Urges On Arafat Defeat Of Forces Sowing Chaos
Muslim leaders must strike the enemies of Islam with
"an iron hand," Saudi Arabia's top cleric said during
Friday prayers, in apparent condemnation of the
Islamic State jihadist group.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh's comments
came after Saudi Arabia and four other Arab nations
joined the United States in aerial bombardment of the
ISIS militants in Syria.
Speaking to Muslims from around the world in an
address during the annual hajj pilgrimage, the mufti
called on fellow Islamic leaders to "hit with an iron
hand the enemies of Islam."
The ISIS group has declared a "caliphate" straddling
Syria and Iraq where they have committed a spate of
atrocities including crucifixions and beheadings.
"Your religion is threatened. Your security is
threatened," he thundered, according to the official
Saudi Press Agency.
"These criminals carry out rapes, bloodshed and
looting," he said, adding that "these vile crimes can
be considered terrorism" and their perpetrators have
nothing to do with Islam.
"They are tyrants," he said, warning of "their deviant
The mufti spoke from Nimrah Mosque at Mount Arafat in
western Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites.
Close to two million Muslims from around the world
were gathered at Mount Arafat for a day of prayer at
the peak of the annual hajj.
The comments were the mufti's latest criticism of the
In August, he urged Muslim youth not to be influenced
by "calls for jihad ... on perverted principles," and
he described al-Qaeda and ISIS jihadists as "enemy
number one" of Islam.
The kingdom is seeking to deter youths from becoming
jihadists after Syria's conflict attracted hundreds of
King Abdullah decreed in February jail terms of up to
20 years for citizens who travel to fight abroad.
Fightings in Iraq - Bombardments, Bombings,
By Markaz Kavkaz
A series of powerful explosions rocked Baghdad,
Karbala, Babylon and Basra, where 1,500 Iranian
soldiers have been recently sent, on Tuesday. Details
are not known, but according to preliminary data,
dozens of Rafidites were killed or injured.
Meanwhile, aircraft of western alliance with together
Arab satellites continue to inflict bomb and missile
strikes on Iraq. On Tuesday, French planes attacked
positions of Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS)
near the Yarubiya north of the city of Mosul. IS units
previously captured 11 villages there.
Since August, American-Nato aircraft have carried out
more than 4,000 attacks on Iraq and Syria.
Fightings near the city of Ramada continue. Shiite
troops suffered losses in battles with the IS. A
Shiite military convoy has been neutralized. Shiites
began a large-scale assault on Ramada on September 26,
but after 3 days, they were forced to retreat, losing
control over three quarters of the city.
A powerful explosion occurred on Tuesday on the
outskirts of Tikrit against positions held by the
troops of the Baghdad regime. A car bomb was set off
near the headquarters of Shiite troops. Raafidites
suffered heavy fatalities and casualties but exact
figures are not known.
Meanwhile, the press office of the IS released a new
video with a British prisoner named Cantlie.
Reuters claims that Kurdish gangs Peshmerga with
American support were able to drive out IS units from
the strategically important border crossing Rabia on
the border with Syria, which is the main highway
linking Syria to Mosul.
The western alliance also claim that a local Sunni
tribe of Shammar, which entered into alliance with
Peshmerga after three months of negotiations, is
fighting against the IS along with the Kurds. One of
the leaders of the tribe, Shammar Abdullah Yawar,
allegedly confirmed in an interview with Reuters an
alliance with the Kurds against the IS.
It also claaimed that the gangs of Kurdish Peshmerga
recaptured from the IS two settlements 40 km from
Kirkuk. Kurds said they had been helped by American
The Americans claimed they had carried out 11 aerial
attacks in Iraq, and the same number of air strikes in
Syria over the past 24 hours. Local sources reported
on an air attack on positions of the IS south of
Baghdad. The Fadil district have been subjected to the
most fierce bombardments.
Meanwhile, sources of the IS report on fightings in
Anbar province, where the IS used heavy artillery
against Shiite troops. It also reported about the
routing out of a convoy of the Baghdad regime in Albu.
Report Of First US
Military Death in War Against ISIS Released From From
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public
U.S. forces in the North Arabian Gulf concluded a
search and rescue operation for a missing U.S. Marine
Corps aircrew member today at 3:00 p.m. (GMT), after
efforts to locate him were unsuccessful. The Marine is
presumed lost at sea.
The Marine aircrew member went into the water
yesterday when the aircraft he was aboard lost power
shortly after takeoff from USS Makin Island (LHD 8).
Another air crewman also exited the aircraft at the
same time and was safely recovered. He is in stable
condition aboard Makin Island.
The pilot of the aircraft, a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B
Osprey, was eventually able to regain control and
safely land back aboard Makin Island. There were four
personnel aboard the aircraft when it took off, two
pilots and two enlisted aircrew. The lost Marine was
one of the two enlisted aircrew who exited the
aircraft when it appeared the Osprey might crash into
U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel
conducted an extensive search of the area using all
available assets, which continued throughout the night
and the next day.
The Osprey's crew was participating in flight
operations in support of its current mission at the
time of the mishap.
The Navy and Marine Corps will investigate the cause
of the incident. In accordance with U.S. Department of
Defense policy, the name of the Marine will be
withheld until 24 hours after family member
USS Makin Island, with embarked elements of the 11th
Marine Expeditionary Unit, is currently on a scheduled
deployment to the U.S. Central Command Area of
Responsibility where it is supporting operations in
Iraq and Syria, and throughout the region.
From America's Commander, U.S. Naval
Forces Central Command Public Affairs' Website
ISIS War a Financial Windfall for US Arms
Makers: Companies Surge in Anticipation of Spending
An open-ended war in Iraq and Syria isn't good for
many people. Not the American public, which is paying
for it, and certainly not for the Iraqis and Syrians.
Arms dealers are salivating at the profits they are
likely to make as the war continues to escalate.
The big winner early in the war is Raytheon, who
netted a big new Tomahawk cruise missile contract
because of all of the missiles the US has been firing
into Iraq and Syria.
In the long run, the people who benefit most from the
war may not be the ones making the missiles the US
fired, however, but rather the companies that made the
vehicles the US is trying to destroy.
ISIS' vehicles are mostly US-made vehicles looted from
Iraq, and companies that made them, like Lockheed
Martin and Northrop Grumman, are eventually going to
be paid to buy the Iraqi military a whole new
collection of gear to replace what they lost and was
With expectations for a return to runaway military
spending, all of the major military contractors are
trading near all-time highs on the stock market, with
their prices escalating as the war does.
For Pentagon, ISIS War Funding Likely to Bypass
Sequestration: Expects Congress to Put it On 'War
Congress had mostly been ignoring sequestration at any
rate when it comes to military spending, but Pentagon
officials say they expect Congress to bankroll the
entire new ISIS campaign in the Overseas Contingency
Operations (OCO), which is explicitly treated as
separate from the defense budget.
The OCO, which some call a "war credit card," was
supposed to be on the way out as the White House
Office of Budget Management sought to fold it back
into the Pentagon's official budget.
Instead, the OCO now seems likely to grow from its
$58.6 billion in FY2015 to a dramatic new second
military budget designed just to bankroll the
open-ended war in Iraq and Syria.
The administration's use of the OCO as a way to fund
operations Congress never approved would normally make
it a controversial move to grow it so dramatically,
but with so many Congressional hawks champing at the
bit to ditch sequestration and fund the military at
even higher levels, it seems likely they'll embrace
this as a simple way to get around the budget
Earlier this week, it was estimated that the ISIS war
had already cost $1 billion. With the war escalating
seemingly every week, the costs are going to continue
to surge in the months and years to come.
Fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
(ISIS) are changing their tactics and hiding among
civilians, making it "more difficult" for the U.S. and
allies to target them with airstrikes, a Pentagon
official said Thursday.
"We are seeing them change their posture. We're seeing
them change their communications. We're seeing them
disperse more, to hide more," Pentagon press secretary
Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Fox News.
"Certainly, it makes targeting a little bit more
difficult. No question about that."
Kirby stressed that the military campaign against ISIS
"isn't necessarily about … killing individual
terrorists" but rather focused on eliminating the
terror group's capabilities.
"We are trying to take away from them the ways that
they sustain, train and equip themselves," he said.
"We're doing a lot more dynamic targeting, which is
going after trucks, convoys, armored personnel
carriers, artillery positions, trying to take away
their ability to wreak havoc and continue violence."
On Monday Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Air Force
assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans
and requirements, told reporters that ISIS forces were
adjusting to the U.S. airstrikes.
The terror group, which controls large swaths of Syria
and Iraq, still poses a danger to Baghdad, according
"They still threaten Baghdad. They have been
threatening Baghdad. But they haven't made any great
strides in that regard," he said.
Kirby also hailed Thursday's vote by the Turkish
parliament to authorize its military to join the
international coalition battling ISIS, calling the
outcome a "very positive development."
"We're in consultation with the Turks right now about
the details on that, what it is actually going to
mean," he said.
Antiwar Coalition Jason Ditz contributed to this article
One Cost Of War:
U.S. Blowing Up Its Own Humvees
CNN - The United States is spending millions of
dollars to destroy U.S. equipment in Iraq and Syria —
gear the U.S. gave the Iraqi military that was later
captured by ISIS forces.
The U.S has hit 41 Humvees since attacks began in
August, according to data from United States Central
The U.S. is sending $30,000-bombs to eliminate these
armored vehicles, which cost about a quarter of a
million dollars each depending what it is equipped
with, according to Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at
the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
The U.S. Defense Department confirmed the targets to
CNN. "In some cases, we have seen instances of ISIL
capturing and employing U.S.-made equipment," said a
spokesperson. "When we've seen these terrorists
employing this equipment, we've sought to eliminate
Once the U.S. destroys the equipment, it might have to
re-supply the Iraqi military.
"If we want them [the Iraqi military] to be able to
secure their own borders in the long run, we're going
to have to re-equip them," said Harrison. "So we'll be
buying another Humvee and sending it back to the Iraqi
This loop is only one small example of the
complexities that drive current expenses and how the
U.S. may be paying for them in the future.
The overall cost of U.S. operations in Iraq and Syria
rose this week with the U.S.'s first strikes inside
Syria. That campaign began on Monday evening with the
blunt force of 47 Tomahawk missiles, which cost about
$1.5 million each.
The U.S. led coalition sent 48 strike-ready aircraft.
Those formations included the first combat mission for
the F-22 Raptor, which costs about $62,000 an hour to
fly, making it the most expensive manned aircraft to
Those aircraft were likely carrying bombs that range
in cost from $20,000 to $30,000.
The Tomahawk, which is launched from a ship, is more
expensive because it's essentially a disposable plane.
"It is launched out of a tube, its wings deploy, and
it has a jet engine that flies it up to 1,000 miles to
its intended target," said Harrison. ''The whole thing
blows up when it reaches its target, so it only gets
In total, the U.S. has conducted 20 strikes in Syria
and 198 in Iraq from August 8 through September 23.
Many of those operations weren't included in the
Pentagon's daily average spending figure of $7.5
million at the end of last month.
CNN Cristina Alesci and Kate Trafecante contributed
to this article
Fightings In Anbar
Province Ensure Shiite Troops Suffer Losses - French
By Markaz Kavkaz
The Washington Post reported that a few hundred
soldiers of the Baghdad regime "disappeared" during
the fightings in the Anbar province. Meanwhile, social
networks publish information about the capture by the
IS units of about 400 Shiite soldiers. All of them
were then executed.
It is also reported on the defeat of the Baghdad
regime army's 8th division and capture of bases in the
area of Saqlawiyah.
"The situation is very bad," said Lt. Col. Abdulwahab
al-Saidi, head of counterterrorism operations for
Meanwhile, French air force carried out air strikes in
Iraq. It is reported that French aircraft mistakenly
bombed its allies - the Kurds from Peshmerga. In the
raid, at least 75 Kurds were killed.
Fierce fightings between Shiite troops and fighters of
the IS and local Sunni tribes moved to the west of the
city of Ramada.
The fightings continued in the area of Kurdish
settlements of Zummar, Sinjar, Jalawla, despite air
strikes by America.
Red Cross Says US Strikes Add to Humanitarian
Crisis in Iraq, Syria: US Strikes Boost ISIS
Recruitment in Syria's Aleppo
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
has warned that the US-led airstrikes against ISIS in
Iraq and Syria have "compounded the humanitarian
consequences of the conflicts in both countries."
Even though the US couched the initial attacks in Iraq
as a "humanitarian intervention," their focus has
since expanded to a full scale war to "destroy" ISIS,
in which officials have promised to keep civilian
casualties to a minimum, but didn't appear overly
concerned about the deaths in the strikes so far.
The Red Cross warns that the situation is continuing
to worsen, and warned that all the combatant factions
must refrain from harming civilians and must allow
humanitarian workers to bring help.
As US strikes have increased, ISIS has moved most of
its forces to less conspicuous targets that are less
convenient to hit. This has made the US more likely to
go after difficult targets, particularly those in
populated areas, which means the humanitarian woes of
the conflict are likely to grow as the war continues.
Boost ISIS Recruitment in Syria's Aleppo: Over 200
Joined Since Obama Announced Attacks
Syrian rebels say that the US airstrikes on ISIS
inside Syria haven't helped them. If you're wondering
who is benefiting, the answer could well be ISIS.
Since President Obama announced his intention to
strike Syria on September 10, ISIS has gained more
than 200 new fighters in Aleppo Province alone. That's
likely a drop in the bucket compared to what it did
for recruitment in provinces where they have a larger
The US couldn't be following the ISIS map more closely
if they planned it, as the group is building itself up
into a larger and more influential faction primarily
on the credibility it gets from being a top US enemy
right now, moreso than the territory it gained in the
The administration's answer to ISIS growing
increasingly influential has been to hype them even
further, and present them as a new, global enemy that
needs to be wiped out through force of arms.
Unsurprisingly, that has made many of the people in
the line of fire of America's newest war stand up and
take notice, and is bringing a lot of them to ISIS,
where they can resist the incoming US attacks on their
Antiwar Coalition Jason Ditz contributed to this
Iraqi Air Force Bombings Killing Civilians, Watchdog
"Indiscriminate" Iraqi air
force attacks meant to wipe out Islamic State forces
have killed dozens of civilians, including 24 refugee
children housed at a school near Tikrit at the start
of this month, according to an international rights
"This is not an isolated incident. We have documented
a pattern of indiscriminate attacks from the air in
which civilians have died," Fred Abrahams, special
advisor at New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW),
told Rudaw in a phone interview.
"The death toll is high from these cases. At least 75
civilians have been killed and hundreds of others have
been wounded in 17 airstrikes," he said.
HRW has called on the Iraqi government to promptly
probe a September 1 airstrike it says hit a school
near Tikrit housing refugees. At least 31 civilians,
including 24 children, were killed in the raid, which
also wounded 41 others, according to the rights group.
The al-Alam Vocational High School was housing
displaced people who fled Tikrit after the Islamic
State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants took control of
the city in mid-June, HRW says.
"The death toll is high from these cases, at least 75
civilians have been killed and hundreds of others have
been wounded in 17 airstrikes," according to Abrahams.
HRW called for a probe a day after Iraq's Shiite Prime
Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the army to stop
shelling militant-held populated areas to minimize
"Unlawful" attacks, Abrahams said, have been reported
within IS-controlled areas in Fallujah, Beiji, Mosul,
Tikrit, and al-Sherqat, with Sunni Iraqis the primary
"The government is trying to fight ISIS but it is
going to create more enemies among the Sunni
population if it is not more careful and is only
targeting compounds," Abrahams said.
Abadi issued on order on September 11 to halt Iraqi
air forces strikes on neighborhoods with civilian
populations. But the bombings have continued in Anbar
province, where a hospital was hit.
Iraqi officials have given "a very weak explanation"
for the questioned air attacks, Abrahams said. He
added that, while subsequent airstrikes have not been
investigated yet, they are "definitely concerning."
Iraq's government has told HRW that the explosion that
hit the school was from a vehicle nearby that was
transporting militants. The strike on the vehicle
caused an explosion that was "far larger than normal,"
the government said, because of the explosives the car
was apparently carrying.
"All of the witnesses we've interviewed, people in the
school and in the neighborhood, nobody spoke about a
car and actually the witnesses said the missile hit in
the middle of the courtyard, not on the outside where
there was any car," Abrahams said.
The civilian casualties by the Iraqi air strikes
reveal "a level of unprofessionalism that puts
civilians in danger," Abrahams said. He added that
orders to shoot, when it was unclear whether the
targets were military or civilian, was "unacceptable."
HRW has called on all governments supporting the
campaign against IS to pressure the Iraqi government
to follow the rules of war.
"We have unconfirmed reports of some civilian
casualties in Syria, from US airstrikes," Abrahams
said, adding that those are being investigated.
American strikes in Iraq over the past month
successfully targeted individual IS targets, patrol
boats and trucks. On Tuesday, the United States and
its allies launched the first rounds of airstrikes
against Sunni militants in Syria. Several allies have
signed up to the US-led air raids.
With Focus on Syria,
US Escalation in Iraq Continues Apace: Over 200 More
Troops Headed to Iraq From Fort Riley
With all of the attention this week on the US
expansion of its ISIS war into Syria, one might expect
that the war in Iraq is on the back-burners, simply
treading water for the time being. That's not the
The Syria strikes indeed put coverage of Iraq on the
back-burners, but the escalations of that war have
continued, with Fort Riley today announcing over 200
troops from the 1st Infantry Division will be heading
to Iraq, operating out of both Baghdad and Arbil.
The new deployments are above and beyond the 1,600 US
ground already in Iraq, and will only add to
speculation that the administration is slowly but
surely building up to the ground war that they have
repeatedly promised isn't being considered.
The US has been adding troops to its force in Iraq on
a weekly basis, though it seems to be less public
about that fact this time, leaving it up to the fort
to announce the planned deployments.
The Campaign Against ISIL Could Cost $1.5B a
By Emerson Brooking
On September 22, the air campaign against ISIS
expanded into Syria in a coordinated attack that
included 47 Tomahawk missiles and nearly 50 coalition
aircraft. This action had been all but inevitable
since the commencement of overflight reconnaissance in
Syria on August 26. Significantly, these strikes also
included targets of the Khorasan Group, an al-Qaeda
affiliate unrelated to ISIS. Also significantly, five
Arab militaries—Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates, Jordan, and Qatar—participated in the
operation. At this stage, there are three important
questions to address: the targeting of the strikes,
the implications of this action, and potential
challenges that might await the operation moving
What was hit?
The primary targets of the initial bombing in Syria
were ISIS training bases, military vehicles,
headquarters, and resupply facilities. These were
clustered in the Islamic State's de facto capital of
Raqqa. Although the Pentagon is in the midst of a
battle damage assessment (BDA), officials have stated
that initial reports suggest a high strike
effectiveness. Preliminary estimates place the number
of ISIS fighter casualties at a minimum of 70—and
likely more. 95 percent of expended munitions were
precision-guided, suggesting a clear awareness of the
strategic peril of unconstrained bombardment and
collateral damage. This also marked the first combat
deployment of the F-22 Raptor
It is important to distinguish the "hard target"
strikes against ISIS from the targeting of high-value
individuals that has often characterized the global
war on terror. Unlike most "traditional" terror
networks, ISIS has amassed significant amounts of
conventional military equipment, including U.S. made
equipment abandoned by the Iraqi army that they have
been putting to good use. Destroying these stationary
targets, along with training sites, supply and
munitions depots, etc, will significantly degrade
ISIS's ability to conduct lethal military operations.
For many Americans, this will be their first time
hearing of the Khorasan Group, a small group of
roughly 50 "seasoned al-Qaeda veterans" who had based
themselves amid the chaos of the wider Syrian Civil
War in order to plot attacks beyond the region. The
decision to include strikes against Khorasan with the
wider anti-ISIS effort was based on intelligence about
an "imminent," spectacular attack, to take place in
either the United States or Europe. Eight Khorasan
targets were destroyed in the bombardment.
What are the
Most immediately, the enlargement of the anti-ISIS
campaign's zone of operations demonstrates an
understanding that ISIS has long been twisting
international boundaries to its own advantage. As one
senior White House official stated in a September 23
media call, "We're fighting an organization that
operates irrespective of borders—we have to look at it
that way." It is a worthwhile question, however, if a
quicker expansion into Syria might have been more
The conduct of these strikes also shows a keen
awareness of the optics of the whole anti-ISIS effort.
Even a 26-nation coalition will be insufficiently
compelling if it remains constrained to paper. The
Pentagon was careful about not revealing exactly which
regional nation conducted what parts of the military
operation, saying that it will be up to each partner
nation to make such announcements. Regional partners
should be as open as possible about their support and
contributions in order to refute the perceptions that
this is an American-only effort. The visibility and
active participation of these nations will be critical
in stemming and rolling back the ISIS threat.
Domestically, there is now broad-based American public
support for strikes against ISIS, likely prompted by
the resonating impact of the James Foley and Steven
Sotloff execution videos. 79 percent of Americans
reported in a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted
September 12-15 that they viewed ISIS as either a
major or minor threat. 71 percent favored air strikes
against ISIS in Iraq; 69 percent supported expansion
of air strikes into Syria.
What are the
questions to ask moving forward?
The effort against ISIS has now expanded enough to
have a substantial effect on ongoing debate over the
FY15 National Defense Authorization Act and the
Overseas Contingency Operations account (the means
through which ongoing operations are funded). Although
anti-ISIS air strikes had cost an average of $7.5
million per day through August, recent events suggest
a considerable escalation. Consider, for example, that
the fully burdened cost of a new Tomahawk cruise
missile is roughly $1.6 million. Gordon Adams,
professor of U.S. Foreign Policy at American
University and a specialist in defense budgeting, has
suggested the costs of anti-ISIS operations could
climb as high as $1.5 billion monthly.
If the anti-ISIS coalition's mission enlarges further,
it will also become increasingly necessary to consider
the laws by which this use of force has been
authorized. On September 22, the White House sent two
War Powers reports to Congress: one for actions
against ISIS, the other for actions against the
Khorasan Group. The U.S. military is currently
operating against ISIS under the powers granted by the
2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)
that authorized operations against the original Al-Qaeda
network and affiliates.
Finally, it must be asked how the anti-ISIS coalition
can transition from simply stopping the Islamic
State's momentum to ultimately destroying it. In order
to achieve this broader objective, there must be
locally-designed and implemented economic and
political initiatives that accommodate the myriad
interests and drivers of conflict in the region.
These efforts must be actively led by the leaders in
the region. The United States may be able to support
and coordinate the fight against ISIS—but it cannot
unilaterally, nor through purely military means,
defeat the terrorist group or bring lasting stability
to the region.
Emerson Brooking is a research associate for defense
policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
US Airstrikes in Syria Don't Slow ISIS
Offensive: ISIS Continues to Press Into Kurdish Area
US and coalition airstrikes continue to pound ISIS in
Syria, with the latest attacks focusing on ISIS
fighters advancing into the Kurdish area around Ayn
al-Arab in northern Syria.
Despite that area being the new focus of the
airstrikes, the attacks do not appear to be slowing
ISIS even a little, as the group continues to press
ahead into more Kurdish villages, and civilians
continue to flee into neighboring Turkey.
"Those air strikes are not important," noted one of
the refugees, who called for US troops on the ground
to retake the villages for the Kurdish factions there.
The ISIS battles with Syrian Kurds seem to be a major
source of pressure for US involvement in Syria, with
influential Kurdish factions trying to paint Ayn
al-Arab with the same false narrative of humanitarian
calamity as Mount Sinjar, which was the initial
pretext for the US attacks in Iraq.
In Iraq, the US airstrikes are being done nominally to
aid Kurdish fighters on the ground, and that's had
little success either. Officials continue to insist
the US isn't considering ground operations, though
they continue to escalate the war in ways that are
adding to pressure to commit boots on the ground,
pointing to a lack of planning or an intention to
eventually renege on the promise of no ground troops.
Surrounds Another Iraqi Army Camp in Anbar: 200
Trapped - Troops Cornered Just South of Ramadi
Despite the addition of US airstrikes complicating
their operations, ISIS continues to have the advantage
on the ground in Iraq, and for the second time in less
than a week has cornered a large camp full of Iraqi
Over the weekend, ISIS overran the Saqlawiya base,
near Fallujah, killing 40 soldiers and capturing 70
others in an offensive that led over 100 trapped
soldiers to flee into the countryside. This time, the
troops are trapped at a base just south of Ramadi.
"There was an army group in front of us whom ISIS
destroyed completely six days ago," reported one
soldier from inside the camp. ISIS has surrounded the
site and mined the roads to prevent more Iraqi forces
from reaching them.
This was the same strategy in Saqlawiya where, after
wearing out the out-of-supply soldiers, they launched
a suicide attack that sparked a panic and picked off
the troops along the roads, capturing large numbers.
200 soldiers are believed to be in the Albu Etha camp,
and they report that they have begun to run low on
food and ammunition. Despite Iraq's claims of progress
against ISIS since the US strikes began, the losses
seem to be mounting.
Pentagon: ISIS Will Rebound from US Airstrikes: Monday
Night Attacks 'Only the Beginning'
Pentagon officials downplayed the chances of last
night's airstrikes against Raqqa, the ISIS capital if
Syria, having a serious impact on the group's
day-to-day operations, with Lt. Gen. William Mayville
Jr. saying ISIS will quickly adapt to the air war and
rebound from any losses suffered overnight.
"We have seen evidence that they have already done
that," Mayville confirmed. The strikes were the first
on ISIS in Syria, after six weeks of airstrikes
against the group in Iraq which have, similarly,
yielded very little.
Reports on the strikes in Raqqa suggest a handful of
buildings were hit, and around 70 ISIS fighters were
among the slain. Civilian casualties are unclear.
Indeed, last night's strikes seem to just be the
administration going through the motions, with no real
expectation for a meaningful change on the ground, and
the "rebels" this is supposed to be supporting a year
away from being trained and ready.
If anything, officials seem to be doing what they can
to add to the hawks' call for boots on the ground,
while continuing to deny that they are even
considering that, at least not yet.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby insisted
that despite the estimates that they would quickly
recover, last night's attacks on ISIS were "very
successful," and were "only the beginning" of a long,
drawn out conflict.
That seems to be the one thing everyone agrees on,
whatever their opinions on the chances for success.
The war is not only open-ended, but seems likely to
span many, many years. What happens in the next two
months before the mid-term election doesn't seem to be
of particular concern, and unpopular escalations can
be launched thereafter with less political fear of
Seven years ago, US Senator Chuck Hagel, now Obama's
defence secretary, said of the occupation of Iraq,
"People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we
are. They talk about America's national interest. What
the hell do you think they're talking about? We're not
there for figs."
President Barack Obama and Hagel's talk of going after
the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which its
regional allies have financed as a proxy force to
topple the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad,
is a cover for their plans to overthrow Assad. But an
additional issue at stake is the control of Iraq's
vast energy resources and the supply routes through
Iraq has the fifth largest proven oil reserves in the
world and Washington and its allies have no intention
of surrendering the oil contracts now controlled by
Western companies. The US is seeking to preserve its
unimpeded access to oil and gas, while determining how
much of these vital energy resources are available to
other countries—especially to its rivals China and
ISIS has taken control of vast swathes of eastern
Syria and north-western Iraq, including Iraq's second
city Mosul, and their oil infrastructure. It now
threatens Erbil, the capital of the autonomous
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), whose reserves,
were it a separate country, would position it tenth in
the world, and the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
The ISIS advance into western Iraq and the Sunni
Triangle means that it controls parts of two main
pipelines. The first, the 500-mile Kirkuk-to-Banyas (a
port in Syria), was largely destroyed by US airstrikes
during the 2003 war, although the stretch between Ain
Zalah and Suweidiva is operational. The second
pipeline runs from Kirkuk to Ceyhan, Turkey. While
ISIS has stopped the flow through to Syria, it has
allowed the flow to Turkey to continue.
US air strikes on ISIS and its Sunni tribal allies,
alongside the KRG's Peshmerga forces and Kurdish
fighters from Syria and Turkey on the ground,
prevented ISIS from taking control of one of Iraq's
largest oil fields in Kirkuk, which the KRG had
earlier seized from the Iraqi forces. The Iraqi Army
drove ISIS out of Baiji, home to Iraq's largest oil
refinery and power plant. The US also provided air
cover to enable Iraqi security forces to regain
control of the K3 Refinery in Haditha, northwest of
Ramadi in Anbar province, and the site of a key dam
downstream of the recently recaptured Mosul dam.
Energy companies such as Genel, the British-Turkish
company run by former BP CEO Tony Hayward, and Oryx
Petroleum, a Canadian firm, said that their Taq Taq,
Tawke and Hawler oilfields were now secure, and it was
safe for staff to return.
As yet, the giant oilfields in southern Iraq, a
largely Shiite area, controlled by BP, Exxon-Mobil,
Shell, the Russian Lukoil, Angola's Sonangol, Italy's
ENI and the Norwegian Statoil, as well as other
smaller companies, have not been affected by fighting,
although there have been attacks on pipelines. This
has led a number of the firms and their contractors to
sell at least part of their stakes, while others have
turned their attention to the KRG's oilfields.
Following the defeat of the regime of Saddam Hussein
in the 2003 war, US oil bosses moved in to run Iraq's
oil industry. While they were unable to ensure the
passage of the hydrocarbon law that would have given
them complete control of Iraq's oil, they were able to
open up Iraq's oil to Western companies, after an
absence of three decades, on very favourable terms.
These have included long-term concessions and large
ownership stakes. There are no restrictions on the
export of oil or the remittance of profits overseas
and no requirements that the companies hire a majority
of Iraqi workers or invest in the local economy.
The industry is now run by international corporations
such as BP, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Chevron, the French
company Total as well as Russian, Chinese and
Malaysian and a raft of smaller companies.
Earlier this year, Russian oil giant Lukoil started
production at the giant oil field of West Qurna-2,
south of Basra, which is possibly the world's largest
untapped field, with oil reserves believed to be about
20 billion barrels. While initial production is
120,000 bpd, this is set to rise to 400,000 bpd next
year and possibly 1.2 million bpd in a few years'
Exploitation of the oil field, discovered by the
Russians in the 1980s, was blocked first by US
sanctions in the 1990s and later by the occupying
forces, despite a 2004 agreement in exchange for
Russia's forgiving Iraq's $13 billion debt. After the
Iraqi government, under pressure from Washington, was
forced to cancel the original deal, Lukoil beat BP for
development rights in 2007. Lukoil's CEO Vagit
Alekperov, who is close to President Vladimir Putin,
has so far escaped US sanctions over Ukraine.
In the Kurdish autonomous region, the oil fields that
were largely neglected before 2003 have come into
play. The corrupt regional government--dominated by
the rival Barzani and Talabani families who in turn
control the two main Kurdish parties--has awarded
contracts that permit it to sell up to 25 percent of
its stake in the oil projects to private companies in
defiance of the federal government. As well as Genel
and Oryx Petroleum, four big oil companies–Chevron,
Exxon-Mobil, Hess and Total–and 30 smaller companies
have signed deals with the KRG. Production in KRG,
which is set to rise further, accounts for 10 percent
of Iraqi oil.
The KRG has sought to use a newly opened pipeline
within KRG territory to link to the pre-existing
pipeline to Ceyhan and export oil directly. This is
deemed illegal by Baghdad. As a result, Kurdish oil is
used in Turkey and not sold on the world markets for
fear of lawsuits brought by the Iraqi government. The
KRG has also allowed Genel to send 700 tanker trucks a
day to Turkey, thereby avoiding the pipeline whose
throughput is monitored at Mosul. The US is opposed to
the KRG's sale of oil independently of Baghdad, but it
is using the KRG as a pawn to bully the federal
government into acceding to its dictates.
The oil industry has now largely recovered from the
2003 war and the deliberate destruction carried out
during the US occupation. Oil production has reached
about 3.3 million bpd, just below the 3.5 million bpd
under the state-owned enterprises in 1979, making Iraq
the world's seventh largest producer.
About half of all Iraqi oil is exported to China,
which recently became the world's largest oil
importer. Last year, PetroChina, one of China's four
state-owned energy corporations, bought a stake from
Exxon in the southern Iraqi oil field West Qurna and
bought into three other large fields. Sinopec and
CNOOC also have concessions in Iraq. The Chinese
typically partner with the major Western oil companies
or take low-margin contracts. China has built its own
airport in the south near the border with Iran to
transport 10,000 workers to the oil fields.
The Iraqi people have seen little benefit from the oil
boom. The oil and gas industry employs less than 2
percent of the employed workforce, because the
international companies bring in their own staff.
Eighty percent of the oil (2.7 million bpd) is
exported, leaving little for the domestic market. Fuel
shortages and power shutoffs are rife. According to
the World Bank, poverty is on the rise, with 28
percent of families--more than 9.5 million
Iraqis--living below the poverty line. Thousands of
families look for food in the garbage and live in
landfills and slums.
The government has failed to pass social security
legislation to provide unemployment benefits, despite
revenues rising from $50 billion in 2010 to more than
$100 billion in 2013. The $50 billion increase, if
used for the benefit of the Iraqi people, could have
provided benefits and services worth $10,000 for each
of the 5 million families. Such infrastructure and
service improvements that did take place were in
Shiite not Sunni areas. This was one of the factors
driving Sunni militants who have, since December 2012,
targeted the local Shiite and oil facilities in the
Sunni areas, in order to gain control of some of
Iraq's oil proceeds.
Sunnis In Iraq And Syria Lead To Chaos
Turkey warned the
international community that the former Iraq
government's exclusion of Sunni's would lead to
problems in the region, said Turkey's Prime Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu Monday evening in an interview
broadcast by private channels, NTV and Star.
Davutoglu stressed that neither Syrian president
Bashar al-Assad , nor former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri
Al Maliki "listened to us while we pleaded for nine
months" and that the "current chaotic situation" could
have been avoided had the international community also
listened to Turkey's warnings.
Sunni politicians were sidelined one by one Davutoglu
said, "[former Iraqi Vice President] Tariq Hashimi,
Rafi Isavi, Nujaifi... there was no Sunni politician
left, Where does a non-political formation go? It
tends to this kind of actions to protect itself."
In several diplomatic attempts Turkey pleaded with
Maliki to include Sunnis and all other groups in his
government, however, consistent dissociation of Sunnis
from the political process, resulted in a strong
insurgency in the form of Islamic State (IS)
"I am telling it to international community: Turkey
does not have to prove anything. Turkey has always
displayed a determined approach around the facts it
believes in," said Davutoglu.
"If some people have to prove anything to move
international community, the United Nations should
prove it before these oppressed people (of Syria and
Iraq), 350 thousand people have been killed, there are
4 million refugees, if anyone has to prove something,
international community should prove its existence
Syria's civil war has resulted in the deaths of an
estimated 191,400 people since it began three years
ago, and displaced roughly half of the country
population, according to the UN.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said
in a statement that the figures had doubled in the
past year but "tragically it is probably an
underestimate of the real total number of people
According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, more
than 158,000 civilians have been killed in Syria.
It said that, in the operations carried out by Assad
forces, 124,752 men, 17,139 children and 15,278 women
had been killed.
A total of 831 men, 137 children and 81 women died in
attacks carried out by IS militants in the country.
It added that 5,644 people had been exposed to torture
under the Assad government, and 13 had been tortured
by IS militants.
Syria's war began in March 2011 as a peaceful protest
movement demanding Assad's ouster, but morphed into a
brutal war after pro-Assad forces unleashed a massive
crackdown against dissent.
Fightings In Anbar
Province As Shiite Troops Suffer Losses While French
The Washington Post reported that a
few hundred soldiers of the Baghdad regime
"disappeared" during the fightings in the Anbar
province. Meanwhile, social networks publish
information about the capture by the IS units of about
400 Shiite soldiers. All of them were then executed.
It is also reported on the defeat of the Baghdad
regime army's 8th division and capture of bases in the
area of Saqlawiyah.
"The situation is very bad," said Lt. Col. Abdulwahab
al-Saidi, head of counterterrorism operations for
Meanwhile, French air force carried out air strikes in
Iraq. It is reported that French aircraft mistakenly
bombed its allies - the Kurds from Peshmerga. In the
raid, at least 75 Kurds were killed.
Fierce fightings between Shiite troops and fighters of
the IS and local Sunni tribes moved to the west of the
city of Ramada.
The fightings continued in the area of Kurdish
settlements of Zummar, Sinjar, Jalawla, despite air
strikes by America.