Iraq, from 2003 war to 2014 ISIS


This video from the USA says about itself:

Journalists: U.S. Failures in Iraq Helped Fuel Current Sectarian Crisis

12 June 2014

http://www.democracynow.org -Iraq is on the brink of disintegration as Sunni militants seize more towns and now set their sights on the capital Baghdad. In the past few days Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have seized control of Mosul, Iraq‘s second largest city, as well as Tikrit and Dhuluiya. Meanwhile Iraqi Kurds have seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk. The Sunni militants now control a territory that stretches from the eastern edge of Aleppo, Syria, to Falluja in western Iraq and now the northern city of Mosul. Their advance has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, displacing some 500,000 people in Mosul alone. Mosul fell in part because U.S.-trained Iraqi forces abandoned their posts. …

We are joined by two guests: Ned Parker, Reuters Bureau Chief in Baghdad; and Mohammed al Dulaimy, an Iraqi journalist with McClatchy Newspapers who reported from Iraq for years and is now seeking U.S. asylum out of fear for his safety if he returns. This is Dulaimy’s first TV interview after years of maintaining a low-profile to protect his safety.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

The Iraq crisis: The lies of the media and political elite

Wednesday 20th August 2014

The Establishment is resolutely in denial about the truth over the rise of Isis, says IAN SINCLAIR

By authorising airstrikes against the Islamic State (Isis) President Barack Obama became the fourth US commander-in-chief since Ronald Reagan to initiate a bombing campaign on Iraq.

As always, the BBC quickly fell in line. Reporting on the announcement for the Today Programme, the BBC’s Tom Esslemont stated: “Doing nothing here was not an option.”

Like much BBC output it was unclear whether Esslemont was telling us the US government’s view or his own.

There was no confusion about his concluding remark.

“To critics it is too limited an operation that will do little to diminish the power of the Islamic State jihadists.”

BBC diplomatic editor Mark Urban was also far from objective and neutral when he tweeted: “France is considering joining humanitarian intervention in northern Iraq. (US Secretary of State John) Kerry is talking ab[ou]t ‘genocide.’ Time for Downing St to rethink?”

In addition, the Guardian has come out in support of the air strikes — “The Americans have a special responsibility here” — as has the Labour Party.

Often missing from the depressingly narrow debate in the media and political mainstream is expert opinion.

Noting that the rise of the Islamic State is a symptom of the failure of the Iraqi and Western political elites, Jane Kinninmont, deputy head of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, argues: “The air strikes could propagate rather than solve the problem.”

Institute for Policy Studies fellow Phyllis Bennis says: “It should be eminently clear that we cannot bomb Islamist extremists into submission or disappearance. Every bomb recruits more supporters.”

Robert Pape, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, agrees.

Writing in June, he argued: “Far from hurting the terrorists, re-engaging Iraq (and/or engaging Syria) would put us back on the path of a rising terrorist threat that has taken us over a decade to escape,” before concluding: “US military involvement can only hurt, not help.”

Even former Obama administration insiders have been critical of the bombing.

Writing for Foreign Affairs magazine, Steven Simon, who served as senior director for Middle Eastern and north African affairs at the White House from 2011-12, argues that US air strikes “will almost certainly unite Sunnis against other sects and boost support for Isis while fuelling disdain for the United States.”

So if US military attacks are not the solution, what is?

With the Islamic State feeding off the support given to it by significant sections of the Sunni community in Iraq, there is a broad consensus among Middle East observers that the answer lies in Baghdad.

In short, the threat from the Islamic State will only be solved when there is a broad-based, non-sectarian Iraqi government that Sunnis feel they have a stake in.

Nouri al-Maliki’s decision to step down as Iraq’s prime minister is therefore an important step towards this goal, although questions remain over whether his replacement, Haidar al-Abadi — from the same political party as Maliki — will make the changes that are necessary for national reconciliation.

Second, pressure needs to be applied to those, mainly in the Gulf, who support the Islamic State.

The recently announced United Nations resolution threatening sanctions against those who finance, recruit or supply weapons to the jihadist group is therefore welcome.

More broadly, rather than external states arming one side or another, all arms deliveries to the region need to be stopped.

It is common knowledge the Islamic State has captured large amounts of the US-supplied Iraqi army’s armoury.

Less well known is the fact the Islamic State has been seen using Croatian-made weapons — which the CIA helped to send in to Syria, according to the New York Times.

These are medium and long-term solutions. However, contrary to the media’s framing of the crisis, the US is not the only global actor who is able to respond quickly to an immediate crisis.

As Diane Abbott MP noted on BBC Newsnight, if there is to be external intervention in Iraq, it should be conducted by the United Nations — exactly what it was set up to do.

“We’ve forgotten the role of international institutions,” she noted.

Media commentators unable to comprehend anyone but the US acting should take note.

They would do well to also take note of the recent New York Times report about the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: “At every turn, Mr Baghdadi’s rise has been shaped by the United States’s involvement in Iraq.”

Quoting the research of Iraqi scholar Hisham al-Hashimi, the article noted that Baghdadi had spent five years in a US prison “where, like many Isis fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalised.”

As Abbott sardonically noted on Newsnight about the West’s violent relationship with Iraq, the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Ian Sinclair is the author of The March that Shook Blair: An Oral History of 15 February 2003, published by Peace News Press.

ISIS, Iraq, Syria, David Cameron and hypocrisy


This video says about itself:

I’ll never forgive Tony BlairBianca Jagger on Iraq, human rights and gender equality

17 Febuary 2014

Bianca Jagger, Founder of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, speaks to the host of Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi, about the war in Iraq, 11 years on. She says she will never forgive Tony Blair for taking the country to war, and people are still suffering from his poor choices. She explains why she campaigned against the war right from the start, and talks about the fact-finding mission she made to Iraq before the war started. Also, she wants to keep fighting to ensure women everywhere have the same rights as men, and the challenges people campaigning for gender equality still must overcome.

By Ben Chacko in Britain:

Tuesday 19th August 2014

DAVID CAMERON insisted yesterday he had a “fully worked through” strategy to deal with Islamic State (Isis) extremists as he prepared for his second holiday this month.

The Labour Party and senior Church of England figures have branded as “incoherent” the Prime Minister’s approach to the terrorist group, which has taken over vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

But he did not respond to calls from Anglican canon Andrew White of St George’s Church in Baghdad for the British government to offer asylum to up to 30,000 persecuted Iraqi Christians.

Mr Cameron failed to answer accusations of hypocrisy for having backed the insurgency in Syria which put Isis on the map.

The terror group’s equipment and funds come disproportionately from Western powers and regional allies such as Saudi Arabia.

Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths said the government’s “top priority should be to enforce the UN security council resolution preventing the flow of arms to Isis and its allies.

“It is a tragedy that US, British and Nato support for Syrian rebels has led to this catastrophe.”

TOP brass rounded on holidaying PM David Cameron yesterday, adding their voices to the clamour for clarity on his Iraq policy. General Sir Richard Dannatt said “the nation would expect” Parliament to be recalled for a full debate if there was a risk of British forces getting involved in the battle between Islamic State (Isis) militants and Iraqi and Kurdish troops: here.

UK joins US military offensive in Iraq: here.

Germany expands its intervention in Iraq: here.

Meanwhile, the number of anti-aircraft missiles in the hands of Syrian rebels poses a serious threat to commercial aircraft. [AP]

Anti-Iraq war protests, new film


This video from Britain is called We Are Many: the day the world said no to Iraq war.

By Marienna Pope-Weidemann:

‘If only they listened’ — world’s largest anti-war protest captured in doco

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We Are Many
Directed by Amir Amirani
June 2014

February 15, 2003. We know it was the biggest protest in world history. We know that millions of people who’d never before felt like they could make their voices heard by taking action, marched in the streets of 800 cities to say “Not In Our Name”; that they dared hope for peace, but were committed by their governments to a bloody and illegal war.

As it became apparent that public opposition to the Iraq War just wasn’t enough, the hollow nature of our political democracy unveiled itself for the nation.

The one solution was escalation. If all those people had kept coming back, if mass civil disobedience and strike action had followed, who knows what might have become possible.

But instead of an explosion in political consciousness, as the body count kept rising and the lies kept coming, defeatism settled like snow over many, for whom the movement born in the shadow of 9/11, died in March 2003.

Amir Amirani’s We Are Many tells the other story — of those who believed, as Damon Albarn puts it, that “if you keep coming back, you will make the change”.

February 2003 anti-Iraq war demonstration in McMurdo, Antarctica

From the scientists fired for protesting in Antarctica and the guys who painted “NO WAR” on the Sydney Opera House, to the eruption of the Egyptian revolution and what was almost our war on Syria, this film — a ground-breaking documentary with the feel of an epic saga — joins the dots beautifully.

Through a patchwork of interviews with campaigners from Britain, the US, Europe and Egypt, it gives voice to the enduring hope and outrage that still today finds no expression in establishment politics.

Punctuated with breathtaking shots of some of the most momentous mass demonstrations of the past decade, these interweaving narratives never shrink from reflecting the anguish and despair of 2003, which makes for an honest and deeply moving film.

But they build on each other like an orchestral performance guaranteed to blast the cobwebs off anyone’s political will. Amirani’s uncompromising honesty is matched only by his unbridled appreciation for what he describes as that “mass, heroic act”.

Made real by 30 million people in 57 countries — numbers sufficient to inspire even without the artistic cinematography — we hear how this unprecedented outburst of public opposition “followed the sun” that day: starting in the South Pacific, then in north Asia, then south, onwards through India, Russia, down into Africa, across Europe and then, finally, America.

For Amirani the beauty of that historic moment remains untouched by the destruction that followed.

We Are Many speaks with particular power, I think, to my own generation, many of whom were radicalised in part by the Iraq War.

I was 12 when I watched February 15 march on TV. It felt for a moment like anything was possible and was the first time, really, that I felt conscious of a great mass of likeminded people in society who were actively trying to change the world.

After that, mine was the first generation to grow up as an audience to televised warfare. We understood war in a new way because we saw its the harrowing consequences played out on our screens; and while the outrage was immediate, so too was the disaffection — I could never understand why my grandmother kept writing her eloquent anti-war letters to No. 10 when it seemed so self-evident that they would never listen.

But while the government may not have been listening, there were plenty of others who were and while the world wasn’t watching, they never stopped mobilising. February 15 played a catalysing role for the Egyptian movement, to name one example.

In the film, Egyptian activists chart their course from 2003 right to the 2011 uprising in Tahrir Square. More than anything, and certainly when viewed in the context of all that’s happened since, We Are Many is a testament to their daily refusal to give up and go home.

Those who know the story well will see much that is missing from the subsequent struggles of the anti-war movement, but that is to be expected from a film of this length.

These unavoidable editorial decisions were taken with intelligence, and give the latter part of the film the space to highlight what happened here in Britain: the sustaining of Stop the War Coalition throughout those years, right into the build up to war against Syria.

The film creates a powerful sense of what it had taken to promote a counter-narrative about British foreign policy throughout the years of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bombings elsewhere and a “war on terror” at home.

Despite the rhetoric of politicians and the corporate media, and despite historic disaffection with politics generally, it brought the true cost and futility of these wars into the light of day.

As the footage shows, the strength of public opposition and the memory of being “duped” over Iraq surfaced time and again during the parliamentary debate on Syria. But as we all know, politicians have short memories of their crimes unless there is a relentless collective effort outside the halls of power not to let them forget.

On the night of its screening at the Soho Hotel in London, several audience members who have withdrawn from activism since 2003 spoke afterwards of how their memory of February 15 had been completely coloured by watching this film.

They felt a decade of despondency being dispelled. That is the greatest testament to the film, a reflection of its purpose and an illustration of why hosting screenings should be an organisational priority for local activist groups.

Today, with Iraq in flames, Gaza under attack and growing instability throughout Africa and the Middle East, we need this movement to keep growing into something stronger, for which no demonstration is ever the end-game and every defeat is a renewed call for action.

Telling this story is essential to making that case because power will never confess that its arm has been bent by the people; if we as a movement don’t preserve and celebrate our history, they will happily erase it.

What I was left with after the screening was an overwhelming sense of pride, conviction and a renewed respect for everyone I know who helped build the biggest protest in world history, sustained that movement for a decade and ultimately made a decisive contribution to world history by giving people the awareness and the confidence they needed to give a resounding “no” over Syria.

This cost British Prime Minister David Cameron a parliamentary vote for war for the first time in 200 years.

For Amirani, We Are Many is an attempt to “give something back” to the anti-war movement and it really is a remarkable gift.

It reunites all those who participated in the making of that day and connects all their contributions to, as the late Tony Benn famously put it on the day, “starting something really big”.

The film is a powerful reminder that it was bigger than many of them realised. I have no doubt that next time we come together, we’ll see faces in the crowd not seen for eleven years because of it.

[Reprinted from the British Stop the War Coalition. We Are Many is also working to re-build this global network by creating an online community and digital archive where you can connect, share your February 15 story and help raise money for the project.]

Turkish government helped ISIS terrorists


This video is about ISIS killing truck drivers for religious sectarian reasons.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

August 12 2014

REYHANLI, Turkey — Before their blitz into Iraq earned them the title of the Middle East’s most feared insurgency, the jihadists of the Islamic State treated this Turkish town near the Syrian border as their own personal shopping mall.

And eager to aid any and all enemies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey rolled out the red carpet.

In dusty market stalls, among the baklava shops and kebab stands, locals talk of Islamist fighters openly stocking up on uniforms and the latest Samsung smartphones. Wounded jihadists from the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front — an al-Qaeda offshoot also fighting the Syrian government — were treated at Turkish hospitals. Most important, the Turks winked as Reyhanli and other Turkish towns became way stations for moving foreign fighters and arms across the border.

“Turkey welcomed anyone against Assad, and now they are killing, spreading their disease, and we are all paying the price,” said Tamer Apis, a politician in Reyhanli, where two massive car bombs killed 52 people last year.

See also here.

Dutch nazis want bigger bloodbath in Iraq


This video is called Anti Racism Demonstration – Amsterdam 22 March 2014.

In the USA, the extreme Right protestant religious America Family Association, like the violent extreme Sunni jihadis of ISIS, considers the persecuted Yazidis in Iraq ‘devil worshipers’.

Another far Right Christian in the USA, televangelist Pat Robertson, wants to use ISIS as a pretext for a big international escalation of violence in Iraq.

On the Facebook page of the Dutch nazis of the Nederlandse Volksunie (no, I won’t link to them), the party again advocates a NATO military attack in Iraq (like they already did earlier).

Dutch neo-fascists discuss that issue there (translated):

Marvin Smits The 14 words of hitler is spoken by the truth [in English in original; the rest translated from Dutch] The Aryan will survive and overcome. They just need to wake up !!! Stand up and fight

August 8 at 15:22

The infamous ‘14 words‘ about white supremacy play a big role among neo-nazis. Marvin Smits does not seem to know the words are not by Hitler, but by a much later nazi, David Lane (1938-2007), from the USA (basing himself on a longer sentence from Hitler’s Mein Kampf).

Also in that discussion on Iraq on the NVU Facebook page (in English, no need to translate):

Fabrizio Aert Death to Islam 14/88

August 8 at 13:53

’14’ stands for the already mentioned racist ’14 words’. ’88’, two times the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet, stands for ‘HH’=Heil Hitler.

Another neo-fascist contribution (translated):

Mike Dorn Lupercal We need a crusade, a PURE crusade, let them slaughter everyone. For people and fatherland!

August 9 at 3:57

Mike Dorn Lupercal last words ‘For people and fatherland!’ are in Dutch ‘Voor volk en vaderland’. Volk en Vaderland was the name of the weekly of the Dutch nazi party NSB of the 1930s and 1940s, with Anton Mussert as its leader.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is increasingly disturbed by the serious and deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Iraq. We reiterate our previous unequivocal condemnation of the violence perpetrated by ISIS (here) with the “depth and scale of barbarity attributed to ISIS” being “particularly unconscionable”: here.

US combat troops return to Iraq: here.

Dutch fundamentalist religious politician wants Iraq war re-start


This video from the USA is called Robert Greenwald Discusses 7th Anniversary of Iraq War and Rethink Afghanistan War on The Ed Show.

As we have seen on this blog, Bryan Fischer, the spokesman of the fundamentalist Protestant Christian American Families Association in the USA supports the violence of the Sunni Islamic ISIS fundamentalists in Iraq against the Yazidi minority, agreeing with ISIS that Yazidis are supposedly “devil worshipers.”

In the Netherlands, the fundamentalist Protestant political party SGP has quite opposite views than their US American counterparts.

NOS TV in the Netherlands reports that SGP member of parliament Bisschop wants Dutch F-16 warplanes to join the United States bombing of northern Iraq. The Dutch government would supposedly be ‘cowards’ if they don’t start bombing.

Mr Bisschop has not learned the bloody lessons of the United States war in Iraq; and of the Dutch military involvement in that.

By David Edwards in the USA:

Televangelist Pat Robertson on Monday invited retired General Paul Vallely to discuss why President Barack Obama and his entire national security staff needed to be removed from the U.S. government.

According to Vallely, the United States would suffer “cataclysmic events” if the president continued to refuse to go to war against the militant group ISIS in Iraq.