Monday, February 18, 2019

Attempted coup

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Hello, Chaka, and hello, happiness" went up Sunday and so did Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS  "Early April Fool."

early april fool

'Jussie Smollett has been exposed as a fraud. 

Other frauds?  Andrew McCabe gave the interview to 60 MINUTES to promote his book -- money whore -- and, in doing so, confessed to a coup to overthrow a sitting president. 

The FBI Came Close to Staging a Coup

John Kiriakou (CONSORTIUM NEWS) explains:

Even worse, these same organizations—the FBI and the CIA—are the ones that have sought to undermine our democracy over the years.  Don’t forget programs like COINTELPRO, the FBI’s operation to force Martin Luther King Jr. to commit suicide; the infiltration of peace groups; the CIA’s efforts to control the media with Operation Mockingbird; the CIA’s illegal spying on American citizens; the CIA hacking into the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee; and the Agency’s extrajudicial assassination program; to name a few.
McCabe’s almost offhanded comments on “60 Minutes,” that the FBI actively considered deposing a sitting president should be cause for alarm.  Set partisan politics aside for a moment.  We’re talking about deposing a sitting president. We’re talking about wearing a wireto catch a sitting president saying something because you’re angry that he fired your boss.  Even the idea of it is unprecedented in American history.
The FBI is perfectly free to investigate collusion. That’s what they ought to be doing. But they ought not plot the overthrow of a president, no matter how quirky and offensive he may be.  That’s anti-democratic and illegal and it harkens back to the bad old days of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover and the CIA before the reforms of the Church Committee.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Monday, February 18, 2019.  A lot of discussions about Iraq -- most of which leave out really key details.

At THE NATIONAL INTEREST, Yusuf Erim and Tanya Goudsouzian ponder Turkey:

What is becoming increasingly clear, however, is that rather than abandoning coalition objectives, President Donald Trump’s move may signal a subcontracting of anti-terror operations to Turkey. And, additionally, an opportunity for Turkey to extend its influence further.
As the political representative for Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Dhiaa Al Asadi, tweeted : “Has the unaccomplished US Middle East Project been sub-contracted? Do we still keep the recorded history of the Ottomans and Safavids close at hand? We may need to revisit it soon.”

In other words, for many Middle East watchers, the arena has been left once again to two historical rivals. If in the past it was the Ottoman and Safavid empires vying for hegemony over the region, today it may be Ankara and Tehran competing. 
Calls for a more robust Turkish engagement in the region are not new. Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, these calls came mostly from neighboring Arab states fearful of Iran’s growing influence. The calls dissipated somewhat with the deterioration of relations between Turkey and Gulf Arab states, but there is a renewed interest of late for a larger Turkish role, particularly from marginalized Sunni communities in Iraq.

A larger Turkish role?

Iran and Iraq have many issues of disagreement -- not limited only to where the actual physical border should be drawn between the two.  They will get along and they will not get along.  That is the natural friction between the two.

The difference with Turkey?  Iran is not dropping bombs on Iraq.  Turkey is. The Baghdad-based government has repeatedly asked Turkey to stop.  They have also repeatedly asked Turkey to remove its troops from Iraqi soil.

The KRG has wink-wink allowed this behavior to continue.  This despite the outrage in northern Iraq over the deaths from these bombings -- bombings Turkey always claims target terrorists but bombings that leave villagers dead -- innocent civilians.

Whether or not Sunni communities are requesting it (only leading figures linked to Iraq's mafia have publicly made this call -- they're the gangsters who control the cement industry in Iraq), they are "marginalized."  They are not representative of Iraq nor do they control the Baghdad-based government (or the KRG government in northern Iraq).

Turkey's not going to be able to offer a stabilizing role while it continues bombing Iraq and launching raids into Iraq.

Ignoring all of these realities, Yusuf and Tanya argue:

Into this muddle, Turkey is well positioned to provide a helpful role by replacing an antagonistic United States by a less aggressive neighbor. According to high level sources in Ankara, part of the U.S.-Turkey agreement over Syria included an understanding that Turkey would try to moderate Tehran’s expansionist agenda in the region. Yet, a Turkish strategy of non-confrontational diplomatic cooperation and beneficial trade could achieve far more.

Turkey is not "a less aggressive neighbor" than the US.  The US-government installed the prime minister -- and all the ones that came before since 2003 -- and the Baghdad-based government depends on the presence of US forces to maintain their control.

The prime ministers have never wanted US forces to leave.  Nouri al-Maliki didn't want them to leave when he was prime minister.  While calling for their departure, he was meeting with US senators (including John McCain) and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (among others) explaining that what he wanted was more -- more! -- US troops.

They will posture and preen in public, but they are puppets and they are not elected by the Iraqi people so they fear being overthrown.

In other news . . .

Interesting analysis of infighting between pro-Iran and pro-Sadr Shiite militias in Iraq. While most attention has focused on the Shiite vs. Sunni divide in Iraq, research shows inter- and intra-group violence often intertwined.

Renad Mansour (WASHINGTON POST) offers:

Earlier this month, Iraq’s paramilitary group raided the home of and arrested one of its own — a prominent and longtime paramilitary leader, Aws al-Khafaji. The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) — an umbrella organization of about 50 predominantly Shiite paramilitary groups — has initiated a crackdown on groups.
The purging reveals an emerging reality in Iraq: The paramilitary groups that fought together against the Islamic State are competing against each other for power, legitimacy and resources. In this process, the PMU is further institutionalizing by centralizing power and the disparate groups that fall within its umbrella. This competition has profound implications for stability in post-Islamic State Iraq — and for how we should understand its emerging state.

First off, it's not surprising that in a power vacuum rivals will emerge and compete with one another.  Second off, and this is surprising, how do you write Aws al-Khafaji without explaining what happened to him?  No raiding his home and arresting him do not cover it.  Why did that happen?

Dropping back to the February 8th snapshot:

In Iraq, a death continues to garner attention.

So sad, so tragic. The well-known and award-winning Iraqi novelist Alaa Mashthob Abboud was shot dead on 2 February. We strongly condemn this henious assasination.

: Writer and novelist Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud assassinated

activist and novelist, Alaa Mashthob, assassinated in Karbala

Writer and novelist Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud assassinated: Gulf Centre for Human Rights | More w/ RSS:

CIVICUS is saddened by the death of writer Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud, assassinated in last week. This is a violation on the rights to Freedom of Expression in . We call for greater protections for those who speak boldly for freedoms in Iraq.

Along with , PEN SA strongly condemns the murder of Prominent Iraqi Writer, Alaa Mashthob Abboud. Read the full statement here:

This morning, MIDDLE EAST MONITOR notes:

Leader of the Abu Al-Fadl Al-Abbas Forces of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, Aws al-Khafaji said on Wednesday that Iraqi renowned novelist Alaa Mashthob was assassinated because he had criticised Iran.
“My cousin, Alaa Mashthob wrote an article against Iran. Some men came and killed him in love of Iran,” he said, calling to reject all foreign presence and Iranian interventions in Iraq.

The remarks were too much and, apparently, had to be silenced.  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

 Iraq’s Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militia on Thursday arrested the leader of the Abu al-Fadhl al-Abbas Brigade, Aws al-Khafaji, after he repeatedly criticized policies of neighboring Iran in his country.
A group of Hashd al-Shaabi fighters, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), stormed the headquarters of the Abu al-Fadhl al-Abbas Brigade in Baghdad’s Karrada district and arrested Khafaji.

Khafaji has long criticized Iran’s policies in Iraq and has repeatedly expressed disapproval of local clerics and leaders “exaggerating” in their defense of Iran. He has also been vocal about Iraq’s sovereignty needing to be “preserved and respected.”

It was Barack's puppet Hayder al-Abadi that took these militias and made them part of the Iraqi military forces.  Even bowing to them repeatedly, however, could not garner their support in the 2018 election.

So, according to him, militias linked to Iran killed his cousin, the famous novelist.  He states that and then they storm his home and arrest him.  That's a huge thing to ignore.

The PMU is not an organic being.  It was always factions.  They do not get along and they did not get along when they were fighting ISIS in Mosul.  It's silly to have ever pretended otherwise -- and we didn't here, check the archives.  You know who did pretend they were cohesive and all one?  That hideous Rukmini Callimachi.  Yes, she was hanging with them and dining with them and visiting their families and portraying them in THE NEW YORK TIMES as woodland creatures in an animated DISNEY film.  So cuddly and so cute.

Sunday on NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, Michel Martin and Jane Arraf discussed Iraq:

MARTIN: So what happens to the U.S. forces there now?

ARRAF: So President Trump declared that he was pulling the forces out of Syria. But so far, there hasn't been a big draw-down. There has been a movement of equipment, and that equipment is coming across the border into a big base in Iraq in the western Al Anbar - in the middle of the desert, basically. But it's also the base where there would be, as is expected, a kind of ramped up effort to still fight ISIS but from Iraq, using that base in Iraq across the border.
And the Iraqis are doing a lot of this as well. They've coordinated with the Syrian government. And they now have the permission, approval and ability to launch strikes across the border into Syria. So Syrian withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria is expected to go on, but it's not going on in a big, dramatic way at the moment.

MARTIN: President Trump tweeted that countries have to take back the foreign fighters. Now, what's behind that?

ARRAF: So the issue with these foreign fighters is that the forces that are backed by the U.S. that are now faced with the U.S. withdrawing - and they've been fighting ISIS in Syria. They're mostly Syrian-Kurdish forces. They're saying basically that they can't hold these people. They have about 800 foreign fighters. And these fighters have come from, you know, any number of 120 countries when they flooded into the caliphate when it was still going strong.
So they're saying that they can't really deal with them and that countries should take them back. A lot of countries are reluctant to take them back because once you get these people back, if you get them back, how do you actually prove that they've committed the crimes they're accused of committing? So they're essentially in limbo.

New content at THIRD:

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Hello, Chaka, and hello, happiness" went up earlier tonight as did Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Thank God for Jussie" and "Early April Fool."  And the following sites updated: