Sunday, May 1, 2022

Why, TCM, why?

For some reason, TCM has decided to put SMOKEY & THE BANDIT into theaters.  It is not a classic film or even a good film.  It was popular in the 70s.  Did not realize that was the mark for TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES putting forward a re-release.

On top of that, there are the issues between the two stars: Sally Field and Burt Reynolds.

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

Friday, April 29, 2022.  Turkey contines its acts of war against Iraq, the political stalemate continues in Iraq, is Joe Biden already a lame duck president (can't seem to get an ambassador nominee approved), and more.

Iraq remains targeted by the government of Turkey who, this week, upped their attacks by using a drone to attack the Iraqi military.  Turkey claims that they are in Iraq to 'clean up' the PKK -- a Kuridsh group that arose after years and years of systematic persecution of the Kurds in Turkey and surrounding areas.  Gone are the days of ceasefires or attempts to address very real grievances.  Instead, Turkey has invaded Kurdistan and set up military bases.  They drop bombs on civilians, they destroy forests (terrorist sould be playing hide and seek in them according to Turkey) ad create more and more hardships for the people of Kurdistan.

All of his is a violation of Iraq's national sovereignty.  All of these are legally defined as Acts of War.  But the world looks away.  If only the Kurds were blue-eyed people that some Americans news personality thought looked "just like us" right?

Instead the suffering continues.  Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Turkey has eyes on certain Iraqi territories which it aims to regain control of through its military operations conducted in the mountains of the Kurdistan Region, a top Iraqi politician said on Thursday, while also highlighting Ankara’s role in Iraq’s political setback.

In a television interview with al-Ahad TV Channel, former Iraqi prime minister and leader of the State of Law Coalition Nouri al-Maliki said Turkey is “eyeing” Iraq and the Region as it continues to “search for excuses” to target the area.

Widely seen as a step to regain power over areas previously controlled by the Ottoman Empire, Ankara launched a fresh military operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kurdish mountainous area of Duhok province on April 18.

“They [Turkey] have said that in 2023 the parts looted from Turkey will be taken back, and that is Mosul. Mosul includes all of Kurdistan,” Maliki stated referring to the Treaty of Lausanne that set boundaries for modern Turkey 99 years ago, which has been widely criticized by the Turkish President. 

Last year, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is determined to enter 2023 as a “stronger, more independent, and more prosperous country economically, militarily, politically, and diplomatically.”

ANHA notes:

Since 17 of April the current annihilation attacks and an eradication campaign is launched by the Turkish occupation army with participation of Kurdistan Democratic Party, the PDK, against medya defense zones in Southern Kurdistan in a clear target of the Kurdish culture and identity embodied in the Kurdistan Freedom Movement.

Iraqi politicians and men of religion and notable figures expressed their rejection of the attacks of the Turkish army in Southern Kurdistan.

Head priest and the spiritual leader of the Sabaean-Mandeans in Iraq and the world, Satar Jabar Helo made a statement to ANHA.

Satar Jabar Helo confirmed that the ''attacks by Turkish troops on the Iraqi soil are unacceptable,'' saying: ''at a time where we reject the Turkish military operations on the Iraqi soil that is unacceptable, we lay much stress on the necessity of consolidating positive tries with Turkey based on the mutual interest of both countries, and solving the security related issues via cooperation and joint coordination, the sovereignty of Iraq should be respected''.  

Satar Jabar Helo confirmed that Turkish occupation forces in Iraq should withdraw from Iraqi territories, '' Turkey should withdraw its forces proper from Iraqi soil in a way that shows respect to the Iraqi sovereignty. Hostile acts will not create any sound ground for any sustainable solutions or complementarity in the face of security challenges that necessitates among other priorities increasing the security cooperation between the two sides as a successful way to meet all sought interests and stand up to challenges''. 

In Iraq, the political stalemate continues.  Remember, as May looms, that Iraq held elections October 10th.  Though they did manage to swear in members of Parliament and they did manage to name a Speaker of parliament, they have still not named a president or a prime minister designate.  Over six months after the elections, the political stalemate continues.  MIDDLE EAST EYE maintains:

Iran has begun piling pressure on Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and the speaker of Iraq’s parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi, hoping to convince them to abandon Muqtada al-Sadr’s political project and save Tehran’s Iraqi allies.

Six months on from Iraq’s October elections, and neither Sadr’s Save the Homeland alliance nor the Iran-backed Shia Coordination Framework, led by former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, have been able to form a government.

Sadr is currently taking a political timeout. The influential Shia cleric had sought to exclude his rivals by forming a majority government alongside Barzani’s KDP and the Sunni Sovereignty bloc, led by Halbousi. 

But abstaining Coordination Framework MPs have choked all progress in parliament, prompting Sadr on 30 March to withdraw from politics for 40 days and set his rivals a deadline to form a coalition of their own.

With two weeks to go, Iran believes Sadr's "tactical" retreat has given its allies an "irreplaceable" opportunity to dismantle his alliance, Iraqi politicians and observers told MEE.

If you're counting on US diplomatic effors to help with the process, forget it.  Matthew Tueller is on his way out as US Ambassador to Iraq. 

Back in December, US President joe Biden nominated Alina L. Romanowski to be the ambassador to Iraq.   Is he a sitting duck president?  He's a Democrat.  The Senate is controlled by Democrats.  The confirmation hearing was some time ago.  This will be the first ambassador he's named to Iraq as president and he was sworn in at the start of 2021.  

Is there a reason he can't get his nominee approved when his own party control the Senate?

Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reports:

No agreements have been reached and no meetings have been held with the rival pro-Iran Coordination framework, the Sadrist bloc said on Thursday, insisting on a national majority government yet again.

Almost seven months after Iraq held snap elections, the country is yet to form a new government amid disagreements between the two largest Shiite blocs.

“There have been no political understandings or meetings between us and the Coordination Framework, and we still insist on a national majority government,” read a statement from the Sadrist bloc, which won the most parliamentary seats in the October elections.

The remarks from the bloc comes after late last month, its leader Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said that he would temporarily step back from the government formation process, giving his rival Coordination Framework a chance to form a government without him. 

However, Sadr’s time off is coming to an end, and former parliamentary sessions attempting to form a new government have proven that the Coordination Framework would not be able to achieve the quorum required to elect a president, who in turn will task a new prime minister to form a cabinet.

As Iraq continues to scramble to put together a government, the country suffers.  THE WEATHER CHANNEL notes:

Iraq's Lake Sawa is no longer.

The lake, which was located west of Samawa in Iraq's Muthana Province, has disappeared due to climate change-induced drought and groundwater harvesting for agricultural and industrial purposes.

Lake Sawa existed in a closed basin, meaning it wasn't fed by any river or stream, which helped to make a rise in salt concentration and encroaching sandstorms detrimental to the lake's existence. Once home to at least 31 bird species and a hub for fishing and recreation, now all that is left cracked, dry soil with a small pond in the middle. Abandoned hotels and tourist facilities speckle the shoreline.

“In previous years, the water area had decreased during the dry seasons. But this year, for the first time, the lake has completely disappeared," environmental activist Husam Subhi said. "This is a clear indication of the impact of climate change on the region.”


According to Aoun Dhiab, a senior advisor at Iraq's water resources ministry, rainfall in the region has dropped dramatically. The dramatic decline in precipitation in the region has depressed the already low subsurface water table.

Meanwhile, officials have prohibited the construction of new wells and are attempting to shut down all unlawful wells.

Dhiab, who has spent the last decade working to improve environmental consciousness, recalls going to Lake Sawa on school excursions or holidays with his family.

"The lake would not have evaporated at this rate if the government had taken an interest; it is amazing," Dhiab remarked in an interview with AFP. "I'm 60 years old, and I grew up next to the lake; I assumed I'd outlive it, but it tragically outlived me."

THE NATIONAL offers a picture slide show on the lake.

We'll wind down with this from Disabled American Veterans:

August 6-9, 2022 | Hyatt Regency Orlando

This year, the DAV national convention returns to sunny Orlando, Florida. A city known for its attractions and entertainment, the City Beautiful ensures visitors of all ages have an experience they’ll never forget.

The convention is an opportunity to advocate for ill and injured veterans, to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow DAV members, and to take ownership of this organization and its yearly agenda—while allowing for a hearty dose of fun in this premier vacation destination.

Orlando offers something for everyone: family-friendly attractions; world-class dining and entertainment; top-notch golf courses and other recreational activities; and, of course, beautiful weather.

After spending time working alongside fellow veterans to help shape DAV’s future, an array of one-of-a-kind experiences awaits you. Convention-goers can experience the magic of Walt Disney World, the sights and sounds of Universal Orlando, the wonders of the marine life at SeaWorld, the world-class shopping at Pointe Orlando or the breathtaking views atop the 400-foot Wheel at ICON Park, just to name a few. Florida’s world-famous beaches and Kennedy Space Center are also only an hour away.

Attendees enjoy a special room rate at the Hyatt Regency Orlando of $149 per single or double. Additional hotel reservation information is available at or by calling 1-800-233-1234. Be sure to tell them you are reserving under the Disabled American Veterans room block if making reservations by phone.

To learn more, visit



The Transportation Security Administration can facilitate the screening of injured or wounded veterans. After making flight reservations, veterans or their care coordinators should contact a TSA Cares representative by calling toll-free 855-787-2227 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. A representative will either provide screening information relevant to the veteran’s disability or refer the veteran to experts at TSA for help through the screening process.

The following sites updated: