Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How much damage has JUSTICE LEAGUE done?

A month ago, Wonder Woman was unstoppable.  Her film was probably the biggest of 2017.  Real interest was building for the follow up.


Less so.

She's one of the characters in the bomb film JUSTICE LEAGUE.

How badly does that effect her?

Depends on the number of die hards.

Die hards made WONDER WOMAN a hit but those who came to see what the fuss was about or due to the good buzz made it a blockbuster.

After JUSTICE LEAGUE, it'll probably be harder to get the fuss/buzz crowd back immediately.  If it's a great film, the second Wonder Woman film, it will probably lure the fuss/buzz crowd back eventually.  But if it's just good or okay, it probably won't.

It's time to fire Ben Affleck as Batman.

I like him as Batman but a lot of fans of the Batman franchise do not like him.  That's impacted ticket buys as has his groping incident.

It's time to fire him.

Aquaman really suffers because excitement on this film could have helped.

And Aquaman is a s**tty comic book character.

Let's be honest.

There are tons of bits on FAMILY GUY mocking him and they're right.

Out of the water, he's really powerless.

I don't know that it impacts Flash one way or another -- I think most people's opinions of FLASH or more impacted by the years of comic book reading or by the TV series.

But Cyborg and Aquaman suffer because of this film. (Not from bad acting performances but from a lousy script and a depressing film.)

LBJ is the biggest flop of the season.

While JUSTICE LEAGUE might still (due to foreign box office) make back its budget, it's worse in that it dampens enthusiasm for a number of other films.

It should have been an entertaining film but it's not.

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017.  As many go on holiday in the US, school is still in session for the US State Dept (child soldiers) and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (reality) while the biggest story for Iraq is that the IMF now controls the country.

Currently, Iraq is planning to hold elections in May.  One factor that might influence voting?

Iraq's further loss of sovereignty.

The International Money Fund released the following yesterday:

 IMF Mission on Iraq

November 21, 2017
End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF's Executive Board for discussion and decision.
  • The Iraqi authorities and IMF staff continued discussions on the third review of the Standby Arrangement.
  • Good progress towards reaching agreement on a draft 2018 budget in line with the program.
The Iraqi authorities and the staff of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continued discussions in Amman from November 17 to 21, 2017 on the third review of Iraq’s 36-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The IMF Executive Board approved the SBA on July 7, 2016 (See Press Release No. 16/321), and completed the second review on August 1, 2017 (See Press Release No. 17/311).
At the end of the mission, Mr. Christian Josz, Mission Chief for Iraq, issued the following statement:
“The Iraqi authorities and IMF staff continued discussions on the third review of the SBA and made good progress towards reaching agreement on a draft 2018 budget in line with the SBA.
“During the discussions, the team met with Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), Dr. Ali Mohsen Ismail Al-Allaq, Acting Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Maher Johan, Deputy Minister of Planning, Dr. Qasim Enaya, Financial Adviser to the Prime Minister, Dr. Mudher Saleh, Chairman of the Board of Supreme Audit, and officials from the ministry of finance, CBI and the ministry of oil. The team would like to thank the Iraqi authorities for their cooperation and the open and productive discussions.”

IMF Communications Department
PRESS OFFICER: Randa Elnagar
Phone: +1 202 623-7100Email:

"In line with the program."

Iraq now has to discuss their budget -- get permission from the IMF -- and it has to be "in line with the program."

This is exactly what Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani warned about.

But Hayder al-Abadi knew better, or thought he did.

He's prime minister.

For now.

He's never been popular.

He's considered a lazy Nouri al-Maliki.

He hasn't ended corruption.

He persecutes the Sunnis.  He persecutes the Kurds.

He's riding a light wave of popularity because the US-led coalition has bombed and bussed -- yes, and bussed -- many of the Islamic State fighters out of Iraq.

Replying to 
We finished [ISIS] militarily in Iraq and liberated our towns and cities. This is an Iraqi victory, made by the Iraqi people. We thank all those who supported Iraq and stood by us during our battles of liberation

And already the wave of popularity is fading.

Now this.

Now the Iraqi people have to see that Hayder al-Abadi sold out the country's future.  And they know the Grand Ayatollah publicly warned about a deal with the IMF.  They know that he warned about it repeatedly, over and over.

But Hayder went through with it.

And now Iraq has to bow before the IMF, Hayder has turned the country into debt slaves.

That's going to be hard to run on.

Nouri still wants to be prime minister.  That's just the sort of thing Nouri can exploit to thin out Hayder's Shi'ite support (at present, Hayder has no support except for Shi'ites and Turkmen).  Even Nouri didn't do that, even he didn't sell out Iraq's rights and future.

This is big news that will become bigger news.

It attacks the reality of Iraq and the image of the Iraqis.  It's a major blow to belief, to pride, to nationality.

Let's go to yesterday's US State Dept press briefing with spokesperson Heather Naurert:

QUESTION: Thank you. The head of Kurdish foreign relations has asked the U.S. to appoint a special envoy to mediate between Baghdad and Erbil. What’s your response to that request?

MS NAUERT: Yeah. So we certainly heard about that idea to appoint a special envoy. We believe at this point that this is an issue that can be worked out internally, that it can be worked out between Baghdad and Erbil and don’t feel that it’s necessary to appoint some sort of United States envoy in some sort of new position to handle this. We have close relationships with the Kurds and with the central Iraqis. We will continue to try to facilitate conversations but we just don’t feel that an envoy is necessary to have – to appoint.

QUESTION: Well, I’m sure the Kurds do, otherwise they wouldn’t have asked, and a point in fact for example --

MS NAUERT: I’m – Laurie, I’m not aware of a formal request to appoint an envoy. I’ve heard of this report. I’m not aware of a formal request. But look, I mean, every nation, every dispute around the world could ask us to appoint an envoy. We think that countries can work out some issues on their own. There’s a very long history here. These folks have lived together, have fought together, have raised families together; we think that they can probably work it out on their own as well.

QUESTION: And one party has committed genocide against the other not so long ago. But yesterday, the Kurdistan government called on the international community to press Baghdad to lift the punitive measures that it has imposed on the Kurds, like the closure, for example, of the Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports. So what have you done in that regard to facilitate the opening of those airports, which is a necessity?

MS NAUERT: Sure. We have lots of conversations to try to facilitate some sort of an agreement on the part of Baghdad and Erbil. Brett McGurk was just there; I believe it was late last week. He met with both Barzani and also with the prime minister, Abadi, both in Baghdad and in Erbil last week. He made calls over the weekend. Secretary Tillerson was on the phone over the weekend. He spoke with both Mr. Barzani and Abadi over the weekend. So, I mean, that’s a very high level of support that we have trying to help facilitate things – for things to improve in Iraq. I don’t know that there’s that much more that we can do. But we call on the governments to sit down and have a conversation together and work this out.

QUESTION: As a result of all that talking, has Baghdad made any commitment on when those airports will be reopened?

MS NAUERT: The last thing that I have on that is just we’re going to work to continue to press for the opening of any remaining airports that are closed.


Great -- and when will they address the blockade Baghad's imposed that prevents medicine from going into the KRG?  Or the attempts to arrest those who supported a peaceful referendum?

Staying with the State Dept, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in the news.  At issue?  Iraq, Burma and Afghanistan getting a pass on using children as soldiers.

The State Department is defending Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's decision to leave three countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq, and BurmA -- off a list of those using child soldiers


The issue was raised at yesterday's State Dept press briefing.

QUESTION: When the Secretary made a decision on whether to designate Iraq, Burma, and Afghanistan as not employing child soldiers, did he do so on a technical basis or on a political one?

MS NAUERT: Yeah, yeah. No, on a technical basis really. He made the decision after considering – let me back up for a second. When these designations are made there’s a lot information that comes in. It’s information that comes in from NGOs, sometimes from post, sometimes from the Intelligence Community, a lot of different – sometimes open source material. A lot of information flows in and we take a look at it all and try to make sure it’s all accurate and credible.
I want to be clear about the importance of using the Child Soldier Prevention Act. And we announced our list earlier this year, in the summer. We all know why it’s in the news. It’s in the news because there was a dissent memo. That’s why it’s in the news today. But essentially this is an incentive – the act is itself – for governments to prevent the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers. No one in the United States Government likes the idea of the use of child soldiers. It is abhorrent, okay? We will not designate to – we will not hesitate to designate any country as ineligible for assistance if a statutory standard for listing would be met in the future. Okay.
In June, the Secretary determined that there were eight countries that met the statutory requirement to be identified under the Child Soldier Prevention Act, and let me list those countries, if I may: Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen. That’s both South Sudan and Sudan. So those countries all were put on that list because we know that they use child soldiers. When it came to looking at Burma and also Iraq and also Afghanistan, the Secretary made the decision to not have those countries on the list because he considered the credibility of all the information that was available to him from all of those multiple sources. He reviewed all the facts and he felt that he made the decision to not have those countries on the list as justified pursuant to law.

QUESTION: Now, as you know – well, maybe I shouldn’t ask this one since it was yours. Did you want to ask this one?

MS NAUERT: Go ahead and follow up before --

QUESTION: Well, just a quick question on the credibility thing.


QUESTION: Both the human rights report issued by the State Department and the trafficking report, I believe, argued that they do use and recruit child soldiers. So why did the Secretary not find his own institution’s reports lacking credibility in this regard?

MS NAUERT: I think part of it has to do with the numbers in the reports, and I’m not going to be able to say much beyond that. There are countries that use lots and lots of children. There are countries where, just as a general matter, where you may have heard from one source, among the many sources that I mentioned, where maybe one source might say that they heard a child had been a border guard. I’m just making that up, but something of that sort. And if we can’t corroborate that information and it is a child who’s listed under a certain government, that government wouldn't necessarily make the list. If we can’t back up that information, if it is a report that only lists one or two, the belief was on the Secretary’s part to not put those types of countries on this list.

QUESTION: Isn’t one too many?

MS NAUERT: It’s a good question. That’s a fair question. Look, I can tell you that he took a technical look at that and that’s the decision he made.

QUESTION: The reason that I asked --

QUESTION: He’s recently visited the three capitals concerned.

MS NAUERT: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: He’s recently visited three capitals concerned, Kabul, Baghdad, and Naypyidaw.


QUESTION: Did he bring up this issue with the leaders of those countries?

MS NAUERT: I think – I’m not sure what – I don’t have the entire readout of the meetings in Afghanistan and also in Iraq. As you well know, I was not there. In the meetings in Burma, there are huge issues to be discussed. Not that this is not important, okay, but some of the things that they have to do is talk about the biggest issues at hand, and that is the more than 600,000 Rohingya who have been forced to flee that country because they’ve been pushed out, because women have been raped, because children have been killed, and all of that. You know the story. Perhaps he did bring it up in some of the conversations; I can’t get into the details of all the diplomatic conversations. But these are the types of things that come up regularly in our diplomatic conversations with various countries around the world.

QUESTION: Just one follow-up, if I may. I asked a question about isn’t one too many not just rhetorically, but according to the memo which we have, which my colleagues obtained and published --

MS NAUERT: Which memo?

QUESTION: The memo unanimously from the State Department staff, including all the clearances on it, said that the statutory standard was that – was met by even one child soldier, and therefore I don’t – if you doubt your own reports, I can’t argue with that, but if you have sufficient credibility in your reports to publish them and to find that there are, in these cases, at least one, and if the statutory requirement, according to your own internal memo, says one is too many and triggers the requirement, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t go ahead and do it, partly because you also have the ability to issue waivers afterwards to spare countries the consequences of it.

MS NAUERT: That’s the President’s decision, waivers are.


MS NAUERT: I don’t have the statutory language in front of me, so I don’t want to quote from that or read that back to you, because I just don’t have it.

QUESTION: But you said that it was a technical decision. So --

MS NAUERT: Yeah, and that was the decision that the Secretary made. Okay.

QUESTION: The question of --

MS NAUERT: Look, I’m not an expert on this matter. Admittedly, I am not an expert on child soldiers, and nor am I a lawyer. I can do the best to give you the information that I have.

QUESTION: The question on this also is that he disregarded the recommendation, I mean, as Arshad said, by essentially all of the bureaus that would have sort of equity in this; they all recommended that these countries be on the list, and he disregarded their recommendations. So what was it that he felt made it worthwhile for him to disregard the recommendations of all the bureaus?

MS NAUERT: Well, I think getting more to the point is that when people disagree here in this building, there is a channel for that, and that is the dissent cable memo. Four or five of them, to my understanding, are issued every year when – and that is where people in the building who have a different point of view than the Secretary can write up, and that information goes into his office, and he can review that and decide to take that into consideration, he can go along with it and agree with it, or he can decide to go his own – or he can decide to make his own decision. The Secretary did that. He made his own decision on this, but it was not without reviewing the information that came from all the various bureaus and individuals. Okay.

QUESTION: Heather, can I just clarify? Are you saying that they were left off the list because they have a smaller number or --

MS NAUERT: I’m not – I’m not saying that. I’m just saying --

QUESTION: -- or is it because they’re making improvements, which was noted --

MS NAUERT: Well, and that’s another thing where improvements can be made. For example, we have a close working relationship with Prime Minister Abadi in Iraq. We were just talking about that. Prime Minister Abadi has taken great strides in not only making the military more and more professional, holding people to account, and trying to ensure or ensuring that there aren’t child soldiers serving in their various militias and militaries. So we look to those governments as taking – as they take better steps in the right direction.

QUESTION: But in the law, it doesn’t say if they’re taking those steps that they can left off the list.

MS NAUERT: Again, I don’t – I’m sorry, I don’t have the law in front of me. I should have it in front of me, and unfortunately I don’t. So -- 

Jason Szep and Matt Spetalneck (REUTERS) report:

 A confidential State Department “dissent” memo, which Reuters was first to report on, said Tillerson breached the Child Soldiers Prevention Act when he decided in June to exclude Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan from a U.S. list of offenders in the use of child soldiers. This was despite the department publicly acknowledging that children were being conscripted in those countries. []
Keeping the countries off the annual list makes it easier to provide them with U.S. military assistance. Iraq and Afghanistan are close allies in the fight against Islamist militants, while Myanmar is an emerging ally to offset China’s influence in Southeast Asia.

One is too many.

But the State Dept is not the only one getting schooled.  US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, also learns that school is still in session.

No, Nikki. The Christian exodus from Iraq had nothing to do with ISIS. By the time ISIS came into being, your neocon allies and their 2003 invasion of Iraq had decimated Christianity in Iraq. You are responsible. Don't pretend to be a savior!

Exactly.  The targeting of Christians in Iraq began long ago and the same militias now roaming Iraq are the same ones who attacked the Christians.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, BLACK AGENDA REPORT, the ACLU, DISSIDENT VOICE, THE GUARDIAN,  LATINO USA and NPR -- updated:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Biggest flop of the season?

I think it would have to be LBJ.

This film stars Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, C. Thomas Howell, etc.

In 17 days, it's made nearly $2.5 million.

It's a bomb.


Well LBJ isn't a ticket buying prompter the way JFK is.

That's true.

Equally true, the country's sick of the director -- Rob Reiner.

If I were a studio, I wouldn't waste money green lighting a Reiner film.

He's rude and nasty.

That's not how you sell tickets.

I'd go for Blake Ordinary over Reiner even if Blake Ordianary was a mediocre director.

Blake's not going to piss off the potential audience.

They're not going to see her/him on TV and think, "Oh, I'm not going to see that movie now."

LBJ is a flop and it's really Reiner's fault.

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

Monday, December 20, 2017.  The push to lower the age of marriage for girls in Iraq to nine continues, few Americans seem aware of how many Americans have died in Iraq in the last seven or so weeks, Hayder's getting praised for doing less than Nouri, and much more.


Link to headline article

Last night, Diana Ross was awarded The American Music Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award.

As Kat noted last night in "Kat's Korner: Diana Ross -- a lifetime of great music (DIAMOND DIANA: THE LEGACY COLLECTION)," Diana has had 87 different songs in the top 40 of BILLBOARD's various US charts -- pop, soul, adult contemporary and soul.

Her latest album is DIAMOND DIANA: THE LEGACY COLLECTION (link takes you to purchasing options) and it was released last Friday -- it will be out on CD in January.

Various community websites have noted their favorite Diana Ross songs and e-mails have asked me to weigh in.  I couldn't do a top fifty, let alone pick one favorite song.  What I will do as we wrap up our coverage of Diana and her well deserved honor is recommend one song to listen to.

Some of Diana's best work was with Ashford & Simpson and that includes "The Boss."  But I'm recommending the above for Diana's vocals which were highlighted and pushed to the front in this remix from 1994's DIANA EXTENDED: THE REMIXES.

We've covered Diana throughout this month.  We've also covered one story in Iraq throughout this month, the push to lower the age of marriage to nine-years-old -- for girls only.  This is slavery and don't pretend it isn't.

Dropping back to last Thursday's snapshot:

For the earlier attempt, please refer to the April 17, 2014 snapshot.

We first noted the new push for the measure in the  November 3rd  snapshot.  Last week,  Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reported on it, Chris Harris (EURONEWS) has reported on the issue and Karen McVeigh (GUARDIAN) has covered it.

THE WASHINGTON POST becomes the first US news outlet to give the issue serious attention with Zahra Ali's report today:

The amendments apply to Iraq’s personal status code, which is a legal framework addressing family law that gathers most of women’s legal rights in matters of marriage, divorce, child custody, alimony or inheritance. One of the proposed amendments could allow child marriages of girls at age nine.
If approved, the amendments will affect marriage inside the civil court that provides legal protection for women from polygamy and different forms of abuse. It also weakens the power of the state appointed judge in granting power to sectarian religious authorities instead of a cross-sectarian reading of the law that decides whether cross-sectarian marriages are possible.

Iraqi women’s rights and civil society activists consider this proposal to fundamentally question the basis of women’s legal rights in Iraq along conservative and sectarian lines. Activists from different platforms, like the Iraqi Women Network, Iraqi Women Journalist’s Forum and Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, have pushed for progressive reforms of the personal status code rather than its questioning along regressive lines. An international campaign — launched by academics, activists and individuals (including this author) — started a petition demanding the parliament speaker and Iraqi MPs reject these changes.

Will Zahra's report be the start of many more from US outlets or will the others continue to remain silent?

Repeating, around the world, a global community has embraced the women and men in the US who have stepped forward in the last weeks to detail the assaults and abuse they experienced.  That needs to work both ways.  We, in the US, need to be supportive of those outside the US who need international support to avoid being abused.

Right now, girls in Iraq could use some support.

In other news, Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Militia leaders will be banned from running in Iraq’s parliamentary and provincial elections next year, prime minister Haider Al Abadi said.
His comments come as Iran-backed Shiite armed groups have been emboldened by their role in defeating ISIL and as fears grow of Tehran’s increasing influence in the country.
“There must be a clear separation between political and armed groups,” Mr Al Abadi said during a visit to a voter registration centre in Baghdad on Saturday.

The prime minister also confirmed the election would be held on May 15. He urged all Iraqis to cast their votes, vowing that Baghdad’s central government would provide a safe environment for the elections.

That's neither progress nor news worth applauding.  We'll get to it.  The NEW ARAB notes:

"There must be a clear separation between political and armed groups," the prime minister warned on the weekend.

"It's vital that people choose the politicians that they want... The government's anti-corruption campaign requires unity of all Iraqis in order to combat this issue, just like our defeat against IS."

Abadi came to power in 2014, promising to rein in the rampant corruption that thrived under his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki.

With little progress made in stamping out graft, Iraqis took to the streets to protest against frequent power cuts.

Anybody getting the problem yet?

Iraq's already been through this.

Under Nouri.

But he didn't just say that militia leaders couldn't run for office, he made the parties divest themselves of their militias.

Have we forgotten that?

Are we so desperate to delude ourselves about 'success' in Iraq that we refuse to remember even the most recent of events?

Recent events we delude ourselves on?

Let's also include the number of US troops that have died in Iraq since October 1st.  It's up to three:
Alex Missildine of Tyler, Texas; Lee M. Smith of Arlington, Texas; and Hughton Brown of Brooklyn, New York.

New content at THIRD:

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq

Friday, November 17, 2017



Justice would be a full refund for the cost of the tickets.

I can't stand this movie.

I knew it was getting bad word of mouth but I was hoping it was wrong.


This is awful.

The 'league' is rarely all together.

When members are together (paired with another or with all but Superman), it's as though all they can do is squabble.

There's no plot here.

There's no script.

And I'm sick of this one woman with multiple men.

Wonder Woman's the only female superhero?

They couldn't have Black Canary or Hawkgirl?

The Flash (Ezra Miller)?

He's good but has nothing to do.  He grins a lot.

I'm glad Superman's back.

But the movie is a waste of time.

I feel bad for Wonder Woman fans because she's not in this as much as she should be.

This isn't a good film.

I liked LOGAN and the new Spider-Man this year.  But I really, really hated JUSTICE LEAGUE.

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

Friday, November 17, 2017.

"Love Hangover" is one of the 19 number one pop songs (BILLBOARD US singles chart) that Diana Ross has sang on (and it's the theme to her hist film MAHOGANY).   November 19th, she'll be on the live broadcast (ABC) of The American Music Awards to perform and to receive the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement.  Motown Classic is issuing DIAMOND DIANA: THE LEGACY COLLECTION November 17th (today!)  to note this monumental achievement.  That's this Sunday and her daughter Tracee Ellis Ross (BLACKISH, GIRLFRIENDS) will be hosting the broadcast.

Turning to Iraq . . .

THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE this coming Sunday will feature a cover story by Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal "The Uncounted:"

   Around midnight, Basim heard a thump from the second floor. He peeked out of his office and saw a sliver of light under the door to the bedroom of his daughter, Tuqa. He called out for her to go to bed. At 21, Tuqa would often stay up late, and though Basim knew that he wasn’t a good example himself and that the current conditions afforded little reason to be up early, he believed in the calming power of an early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine. He waited at the foot of the stairs, called out again, and the sliver went dark.
It was 1 a.m. when Basim finally shut down the computer and headed upstairs to bed. He settled in next to Mayada, who was fast asleep.
Some time later, he snapped awake. His shirt was drenched, and there was a strange taste — blood? — on his tongue. The air was thick and acrid. He looked up. He was in the bedroom, but the roof was nearly gone. He could see the night sky, the stars over Mosul. Basim reached out and found his legs pressed just inches from his face by what remained of his bed. He began to panic. He turned to his left, and there was a heap of rubble. “Mayada!” he screamed. “Mayada!” It was then that he noticed the silence. “Mayada!” he shouted. “Tuqa!” The bedroom walls were missing, leaving only the bare supports. He could see the dark outlines of treetops. He began to hear the faraway, unmistakable sound of a woman’s voice. He cried out, and the voice shouted back, “Where are you?” It was Azza, his sister-in-law, somewhere outside.
“Mayada’s gone!” he shouted.
“No, no, I’ll find her!”

“No, no, no, she’s gone,” he cried back. “They’re all gone!” 

Not only did the strike target his house and his brother's house, the US military posted a video of the strike insisting it was targeting an ISIS facility.

There are no precision strikes.  It's as big a lie as smart bombs.

But where has the left been since the fall of 2014 when Barack Obama began ordering daily strikes?  Strikes that have continued under Donald Trump?

Is the only true sign of a 'woke' person really just bad morning breath?

We certainly haven't seen one damn effort to stop the Iraq War and our 'Social Justice Warriors' can't be bothered with Iraq.

Nor can THE NATION or THE PROGRESSIVE or any of our so-called 'independent' outlets.

They've had nothing to say or do for over three years now as Iraq has endured daily bombings -- not by terrorists but by a US-led coalition.

Kahn and Gopal note:

Our own reporting, conducted over 18 months, shows that the air war has been significantly less precise than the coalition claims. Between April 2016 and June 2017, we visited the sites of nearly 150 airstrikes across northern Iraq, not long after ISIS was evicted from them. We toured the wreckage; we interviewed hundreds of witnesses, survivors, family members, intelligence informants and local officials; we photographed bomb fragments, scoured local news sources, identified ISIS targets in the vicinity and mapped the destruction through satellite imagery. We also visited the American air base in Qatar where the coalition directs the air campaign. There, we were given access to the main operations floor and interviewed senior commanders, intelligence officials, legal advisers and civilian-casualty assessment experts. We provided their analysts with the coordinates and date ranges of every airstrike — 103 in all — in three ISIS-controlled areas and examined their responses. The result is the first systematic, ground-based sample of airstrikes in Iraq since this latest military action began in 2014.

We found that one in five of the coalition strikes we identified resulted in civilian death, a rate more than 31 times that acknowledged by the coalition. It is at such a distance from official claims that, in terms of civilian deaths, this may be the least transparent war in recent American history. Our reporting, moreover, revealed a consistent failure by the coalition to investigate claims properly or to keep records that make it possible to investigate the claims at all. While some of the civilian deaths we documented were a result of proximity to a legitimate ISIS target, many others appear to be the result simply of flawed or outdated intelligence that conflated civilians with combatants. In this system, Iraqis are considered guilty until proved innocent. Those who survive the strikes, people like Basim Razzo, remain marked as possible ISIS sympathizers, with no discernible path to clear their names. 

This is Rawa, the lone survivor of an airstrike that killed her parents and siblings in Qaiyara, Iraq last year. The U.S. told us the coalition carried out an airstrike "10 meters away against a known ISIS weapons cache."

Murray Brewster (CBC) reports on one aspect of the US-led coalition:

Canada is sending 20 combat engineers to train Iraqi troops to dismantle roadside bombs and booby traps left behind by retreating ISIS fighters, the Canadian military announced Friday.

The undertaking unfolded this week even as the overall advise and assist mission involving 200 elite Canadian special forces troops, remains on hold because of tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the independence-minded Kurdish region.

The tensions are long standing.  ISIS provided a common enemy that briefly set various problems aside.  These problems include the lack of funding from the Baghdad-based government to the KRG.
They also include issues of oil and issues of territory.

September 25th a non-binding referendum was held in the KRG and over 92% of those voting expressed the wish for the semi-independent Kurdistan to become fully independent.

Today's Nervous Nancies and Terrified Terrances of the press trembled at the thought and did not report what was taking place but instead presented spin from the Baghdad-based government.

The notion of splitting Iraq into three areas under a system of federalism is not a new one.

And when Senator Joe Biden proposed it, it was treated as normal and rational.

In fact, we were among the few to oppose that.

Our reason for opposing it?

If the Iraqi people want to do it, let them do it.  But it should not be imposed upon them by a foreign government.

We got a lot of flack for that position.

And yet a few years later, when a section of the Iraqi people want to explore it, the press treats it as how-dare-they! and acts as if the notion is something that has never been raised before and certainly not by any right-thinking-person.

It was a non-binding referendum.

The press and various foreign leaders treated it as though the KRG had announced they were building nukes.

This allowed Iraq's latest prime minister and thug Hayder al-Abadi to start persecuting the Kurds.

The latest move?

RUDAW reports:

Kurdish members of the Iraqi parliament left Thursday’s session, causing the legislature to postpone a vote on punishing Kurdish MPs for participating in the independence referendum.

Parliament has sought to have Kurdish MPs stripped of their parliamentary immunity and put on trial in retaliation for voting for Kurdistan independence in the September 25 referendum.

The Iraqi parliament was to discuss the matter on Thursday, but most of the Kurdish MP’s left the legislature when the subject came up. Their absence meant quorum for the session was not met and the meeting had to be delayed.

An MP with the State of Law Coalition condemned the Kurdish lawmakers’ action.

“The parliament brought yet another failure on the people of Iraq. It was meant to punish wrongdoers. Voting on a parliamentary committee formed to punish separatist MPs was on the parliament agenda. These MPs were part of a big plot to undermine the security and stability of Iraq,” said Kazim Sayadi.

Again, this is awful for the Kurds at present but it will ensure that they are resolved in leaving Baghdad behind.   Hayder doesn't know how to foster unity.

The following community sites -- plus THE GUARDIAN, DISSIDENT VOICE, LATINO USA, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and GORILLA RADIO -- updated: