Tag Archives: Iraq

Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul, by Nicolas J.S. Davies

The US military has trouble counting how many people it kills, especially civilians. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

Iraqi Kurdish military intelligence reports have estimated that the nine-month-long U.S.-Iraqi siege and bombardment of Mosul to oust Islamic State forces killed 40,000 civilians. This is the most realistic estimate so far of the civilian death toll in Mosul.

But even this is likely to be an underestimate of the true number of civilians killed. No serious, objective study has been conducted to count the dead in Mosul, and studies in other war zones have invariably found numbers of dead that exceeded previous estimates by as much as 20 to one, as a United Nations-backed Truth Commission did in Guatemala after the end of its civil war. In Iraq, epidemiological studies in 2004 and 2006 revealed a post-invasion death toll that was about 12 times higher than previous estimates.

The bombardment of Mosul included tens of thousands of bombs and missiles dropped by U.S. and “coalition” warplanes, thousands of 220-pound HiMARS rockets fired by US Marines from their “Rocket City” base at Quayara, and tens or hundreds of thousands of 155-mm and 122-mm howitzer shells fired by US, French and Iraqi artillery.

This nine-month bombardment left much of Mosul in ruins (as seen here), so the scale of slaughter among the civilian population should not be a surprise to anybody. But the revelation of the Kurdish intelligence reports by former Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in an interview with Patrick Cockburn of the U.K.’s Independent newspaper makes it clear that allied intelligence agencies were well aware of the scale of civilian casualties throughout this brutal campaign.

The Kurdish intelligence reports raise serious questions about the US military’s own statements regarding civilian deaths in its bombing of Iraq and Syria since 2014. As recently as April 30, 2017, the US military publicly estimated the total number of civilian deaths caused by all of the 79,992 bombs and missiles it had dropped on Iraq and Syria since 2014 only as “at least 352.” On June 2, it only slightly revised its absurd estimate to “at least 484.”

To continue reading: Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul

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Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal, by Peter Korzun

Looks like Iraq is not going to be the Middle East’s shining star of democracy nor a reliable US satrapy. It’s lining up with Iran and Russia. From Peter Korzun at strategic-culture.org:

It was reported on July 20 that Russia and Iraq have struck a deal on supplying a large batch of T-90 tanks. Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian president’s aide for military technical cooperation, confirmed the agreement but declined to provide details, saying only «the number of tanks is substantial». Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the deal might cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion.

The T-90 is among the best-selling tanks in the world. Hundreds of vehicles have been sold to India, Algeria, Azerbaijan and other countries. A small number of tanks has been delivered to Syria to reinforce the military’s capabilities of combatting Islamic State (IS). Kuwait, Vietnam and Egypt are considering the option of purchasing T-90s.

Known for its firepower, enhanced protection and mobility, the T-90 features a smoothbore 2A46M 125mm main gun that can fire both armor-piercing shells and anti-tank missiles and the 1A45T fire-control system. Standard protective measures include sophisticated armor, ensuring all-round protection of the crew and critical systems, including Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor and active infrared jammers to defend the T-90 from inbound rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and other projectiles.

During the battle for Aleppo, Syria, a T-90 was hit by US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. The direct impact caused no damage

The agreement to purchase the tanks was also confirmed by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The T-90s will reinforce the Iraqi M1A1 Abrams fleet damaged in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants. The decision to buy the Russian tanks was prompted by the successful performance of T-90s in Syria. During the battle for Aleppo, Syria, a T-90 was hit by US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. The direct impact caused no damage. For comparison, in October last year, an M1 Abrams was hit by a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missile at the Qurayyah crossroads south of Mosul. The missile rammed into the turret from behind to make the ammunition compartment explode.

To continue reading: Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal

 

Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’, by Tim Arango

The US invasion of Iraq only succeeded in making Iraq safe for the Iranians. From there, Iran has extended its influence into Syria and Lebanon. From Tim Arango at nytimes.com, a long but excellent piece documenting Iran’s influence in Iraq:

BAGHDAD — Walk into almost any market in Iraq and the shelves are filled with goods from Iran — milk, yogurt, chicken. Turn on the television and channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran.

A new building goes up? It is likely that the cement and bricks came from Iran. And when bored young Iraqi men take pills to get high, the illicit drugs are likely to have been smuggled across the porous Iranian border.

And that’s not even the half of it.

Across the country, Iranian-sponsored militias are hard at work establishing a corridor to move men and guns to proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon. And in the halls of power in Baghdad, even the most senior Iraqi cabinet officials have been blessed, or bounced out, by Iran’s leadership.

When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause.

From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look to World War I for analogies. If it succeeded, Iraq would never again pose a threat, and it could serve as a jumping-off point to spread Iranian influence around the region.

In that contest, Iran won, and the United States lost.

To continue reading: Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’

Bombing the Rubble, Empire of Destruction, by Tom Englehardt

In large part, the outcome of US policy in the Middle East and Northern Africa has been destruction and rubble, and nothing more. An excellent article from Tom Englehardt at antiwar.com:

You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and tracked human being just about anywhere on Earth; special operations raids so pinpoint-accurate that they would represent a triumph of modern military science.  Everything “networked.”  It was to be a glorious dream of limited destruction combined with unlimited power and success.  In reality, it would prove to be a nightmare of the first order.

If you want a single word to summarize American war-making in this last decade and a half, I would suggest rubble. It’s been a painfully apt term since September 11, 2001. In addition, to catch the essence of such war in this century, two new words might be useful: rubblize and rubblization. Let me explain what I mean.

In recent weeks, another major city in Iraq has officially been “liberated” (almost) from the militants of the Islamic State.  However, the results of the U.S.-backed Iraqi military campaign to retake Mosul, that country’s second largest city, don’t fit any ordinary definition of triumph or victory.  It began in October 2016 and, at nine months and counting, has been longer than the World War II battle of Stalingrad.  Week after week, in street to street fighting, with U.S. airstrikes repeatedly called in on neighborhoods still filled with terrified Mosulites, unknown but potentially staggering numbers of civilians have died.  More than a million people – yes, you read that figure correctly – were uprooted from their homes and major portions of the Western half of the city they fled, including its ancient historic sections, have been turned into rubble.

This should be the definition of victory as defeat, success as disaster.  It’s also a pattern.  It’s been the essential story of the American war on terror since, in the month after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush loosed American air power on Afghanistan.  That first air campaign began what has increasingly come to look like the full-scale rubblization of significant parts of the Greater Middle East.

By not simply going after the crew who committed those attacks but deciding to take down the Taliban, occupy Afghanistan, and in 2003, invade Iraq, Bush’s administration opened the proverbial can of worms in that vast region. An imperial urge to overthrow Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, who had once been Washington’s guy in the Middle East only to become its mortal enemy (and who had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11), proved one of the fatal miscalculations of the imperial era.

To continue reading: Bombing the Rubble, Empire of Destruction

A Mainstream Dose of Reality on Iraq, by Jacob Hornberger

Some of us predicted back in 2003 when the US invaded Iraq that it would end up making Iraq safe for the Iranians. We were right. From Jacob Hornberger at ronpaullibertyreport.com:

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​Ever since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, we have been hit with a multiplicity of bromides, myths, falsehoods, and deceptions by U.S. officials and the mainstream media. “Saddam was coming to get us with his WMDs.” “Mushroom clouds were going to start appearing over U.S. cities.” “The troops in Iraq are defending our freedoms.” The troops are bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq.” “Occupation Iraqi Freedom is going to produce a paradise of freedom and prosperity.”

And then every once in a while a small dose of reality about Iraq creeps into the mainstream media, which is what happened in the July 15, 2017, issue of the New York Times.

The Times’ article pointed out what we here at FFF have been saying about Iraq for the past 15 years: that the winner of the U.S-Iraq War in 2003 was … Iran! Yes, Iran, the country that the U.S. government ranks among the top of its official-enemies list.

The title of the article says it all: “Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. “Handed the Country Over.”

Of course, that title implies that if the U.S. government had not exited Iraq in 2011, Iran would not be “dominating in Iraq.” That’s ridiculous. Iran has been dominating in Iraq ever since the U.S. ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003.

The Times essentially acknowledges that central point:

When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause.

From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look to World War I for analogies.

In that contest, Iran won, and the United States lost.

This is what most Americans have avoided confronting ever since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ever since then, Americans from all walks of life have blindly thanked the troops for their “service” in Iraq, without giving any thought to exactly what such “service” consisted of.

The Media Says the US Just Liberated Mosul: Here’s What Really Happened, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

A glorious victory at Mosul may be celebrated. Why that glorious victory was necessary is already down the memory hole. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at lewrockwell.com:

The mainstream media appears to be celebrating ISIS’ recent defeat in Mosul, albeit with some reservations. The media is largely using the word “liberation,” which indicates the people of Mosul have been freed from a monstrous force by a friendly, benevolent one.

In reality, the “liberation” of Mosul paints a dark, horrifying picture of America’s foreign policy when one realizes how ISIS took hold of Mosul in the first place. As Anti-Media in summarized in September of last year, the U.S. allowed ISIS to gain control of Mosul quite deliberately:

“In June 2014, ISIS crossed the Syrian border into Iraq, effortlessly taking the strategic oil-rich cities of Mosul and Baiji and almost making it as far as Baghdad. Amid the terror group’s frightening victory, they uploaded images and footage of drive-by-shootings, large-scale death marches, and mass graves (following the mass executions of Iraqi soldiers).

“ISIS militants claimed massive quantities of American military equipment, including entire truckloads of humvees, helicopters, tanks, and artillery as their own. This was no secret to Washington, or even the world, as the militants photographed and recorded themselves and publicly flaunted their activity on social media.”

Was there a good reason the American military sat on its hands despite knowing full well that this was going on? As Anti-Media explained further:

“What did the U.S. do in response? Nothing. In spite of all the American bases in Iraq and the government’s ability to perform all manner of illicit activity — including assassinating Muammar Gaddafi in Libya using a drone that was flown out of Sicily by a pilot who operated the vehicle from a naval base in Nevada‚ the U.S. couldn’t do anything to stop ISIS rapid advancements. Was there a problem preventing the U.S. military from conducting air strikes? Clearly not, as the U.S. had been launching drone strikes in Pakistan at around the same time ISIS advanced.”

To continue reading: The Media Says the US Just Liberated Mosul: Here’s What Really Happened

 

Speaking of overthrowing governments and getting away with it… by the Ron Paul Liberty Report Staff

The only issue with John McCain is whether he’s an evil moronic idiot, or an evil idiotic moron. From the Liberty Report Staff at ronpaullibertyreport.com:

No one should be surprised that neocons are unhappy with a ceasefire in Syria.

America working with Russia is a cardinal sin according to the neocon bible.

Senator John McCain is very unhappy that Putin is “getting away” with this:

CBS reports: 

“If you were Vladimir Putin, who I’ve gotten to know over the years, you’re sitting there and you got away with literally trying to change the outcome not just of our election. French election. Tried to overthrow the government of Montenegro, a beautiful little country,” McCain said.

“And there has been no penalty whatsoever,”

Speaking of getting away with things, and overthrowing governments, we know for sure that the U.S. overthrew the government of Iraq.

Was John McCain trying to stand in the way of what would become one of the biggest (if not the biggest) disgrace in American history?

​Or was John McCain saying stuff like this:

– “I am very certain that this military engagement will not be very difficult.” [Link]

– “I remain confident that we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” [Link]

“I think most Iraqis would greet the removal of Saddam Hussein with relief and pleasure.” [Link]

-“There’s no doubt in my mind that we will prevail and there’s no doubt in my mind, once these people are gone, that we will be welcomed as liberators.” [Link]

– “I think the victory will be rapid, within about three weeks.” [Link]

 “…the major conflict is over, the regime change has been accomplished, and it’s very appropriate. [Link]

That’s just Iraq.

We can move around the world, from one U.S. military debacle to another, and reflect on all of McCain’s war-hungry prognostications.

The “penalty” for McCain?

He’s still Senator from Arizona 14 years later, and is regularly sought out by the American mainstream media for his opinions.