Events taking place in in Iraq since June 12th have moved with such speed it’s been a real struggle just to keep the blog front page current. For 3-4 critical days between June 10th and June 14th American news media outlets were either on vacation, or operating under a directive NOT to report news out of Iraq, an unheard of calamity in American news reporting.
By the time the US media began to report what was taking place in Iraq, much of it had already happened and been consolidated. It’s been a rapid downhill slide in that country ever since. The material below has been compiled since June 12th. I’m updating the front page about every 48 hours to reflect new developments.
At this pace there will no longer be an “Iraq” as we knew it by the end of the summer. What will exist in it’s place will be a slow motion Mideast bloodbath and a fertile new incubating ground for a fresh round of terror attacks plotted against the West. Who’s to blame? Tune into any one of 6-7 news media outlets and observe the chattering of the talking heads to see where the darts are landing from hour to hour. If it weren’t so darkly comical it would be truly sad. I share my outrage over the debacle of Iraq with millions of other Americans who had family members killed or maimed trying to defend the country since 2003. This will go down in history as one of the greatest military catastrophes of the modern era for the United States, worse than Vietnam. It must be named as what it is – a foreign policy and military disaster on an epic scale.
Dismal tense scene in Baghdad, as Kerry attempts to convince Maliki to form a new government which will include a Sunni majority and quell simmering Sunni outrage over being left out of the existing government. Maliki’s own governing decisions to exclude the Sunni majority in Iraq left the door wide open for the ISIS insurgency to flower.
Map showing cities in Iraq which are currently under ISIS control
Iraq Update 6.24.2014
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Iraq yesterday under heavy security, commencing urgent national security talks with Iraqi leaders as ISIS seized control of more cities and more territory in the north, and took control of two more border crossings in Syria and Jordan. A map of ISIS controlled regions is now beginning to look like a large noose being drawn around Baghdad, closing ever tighter.
“In Baghdad on Monday, embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised Kerry he would form a new government by July 1, following recent elections that preceded the current crisis, as militants reportedly captured the Baiji refinery, the country’s largest.”
In a huge strategic military blunder, President Obama and the US military lost precious time in the days since June 12th pontificating about various prospects and pursuing near futile attempts to rouse the government ofIraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malik into reasonable rapid action. The tragic facts must be faced: the existing government of Iraq has neither the competence nor the will to defend it’s own existence and protect the Iraqi people from fast approaching final chaos.
“The failure of the Iraqi government in including the Sunnis and giving them positions in the government and so on and so forth has [had] a direct effect” on the ISIS’s strategic success…”
Had rapid fire US military strike drones been deployed immediately upon the seize of Mosul, much of the subsequent gains achieved by ISIS could have at least been slowed. That didn’t happen. The day Mosul fell Barack Obama got on a jet and traveled to Palm Springs California to play golf.
The blitzkrieg style attacks being launched every few days by ISIS are being met with no military response to speak of and no opposing force. If this continues for even one more week, the borders of Jordan and Turkey will be threatened and all painfully gained stability in the Mideast could collapse entirely. I have just as much distaste for renewed war in the Mideast as the next war weary American, but doing nothing in the next 14 days will embolden ISIS movements and recruiting efforts to a possible tipping point. I am imploring our military leaders in the US to begin deploying military attack drones immediately to halt the advance of the fanatical terror group ISIS, before Jordan is breached.
How ISIS stormed Iraq: a chronology of the militant offensive
Iraq Update 6.20.2014
BREAKING: Top Shiite Cleric Calls for a New Government in Iraq
The situation in Iraq seems to be both deteriorating and escalating wildly at the same time, as US lawmakers fiddle with the legal technicalities of various ideas and approaches as to how exactly to proceed. It appears that no one wants to be the specified final decision maker regarding immediate military actions, as they might bear the brunt of any public lashback, so they bat prospects back and forth as a dismayed American citizenry watches helplessly while Iraq burns. Obama states he doesn’t need congressional approval to make military decisions about Iraq, then proceeds to doodle dawdle over which exact decision he will actually finally make, changing his official verbiage on the matter about every 24 hours. “300 Special Forces” aka troops have now become “300 military advisors”, not to be confused with “boots on the ground” and so on.
I’m of the mind that these 300 special-forces-aka-military-advisors will most likely float slightly above the ground via convenient anti-gravity devices in Iraq so that they won’t technically qualify as “boots on the ground”.
Congress is just as tragically comical: squirming around, as all possible military options appear to be too little, too late, or too terrible to consider. We seem to be officially paralyzed in the present by our military past in Iraq. All eyes are watching the horrible fiasco unfurl like a slow motion train wreck, and little or nothing is being done.
To underscore former General Petraeus’ recent comments, lightening hot drone strikes were needed in rapid fire succession north of Baghdad LAST WEEK on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which would have slowed or possibly halted the advance of the emboldened ISIS maniacs. I am not a military strategist, but this was instantly apparent. There are certain decisions which must be made with the lightening speed commeasurate to the pace of unfolding events. There are no other options when faced with a fast moving deranged terrorist force but to immediately dismantle it using drone power before it garners enough force to penetrate Baghdad. This is what should have been done within 12 hours of learning of the fall of Mosul. And as I love to say, it was NOT rocket science.
Instead President Obama jetted off to Palm Springs to play golf. This sent a disastrous message to the American people, to watching world leaders, to ISIS and to the Iraqi people. During certain historic moments etched into the Akasha for all time and space, you do not get a karmic “do-over” Mr. Obama. The images of you putting on the golf course as 10 years of cash, blood, sweat, tears and agony poured out by US servicemen and their families in Iraq was swept away in one week is one we will not soon forget. Here are today’s early headlines:
BAGHDAD – Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a statement on Friday calling on Iraq’s diverse political parties to move quickly to form a government.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is hoping to recruit
Muslims from across the globe with the aid of YouTube appeals from English-speaking jihadists. UK, Australian nationals are among the ISIS militants calling to support the insurgency in Iraq.
Iraqi men line up for physical examinations at the main army recruiting center to volunteer for military service in Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, June 20, 2014.
In the fast moving melee which Iraq has become in the last 10 days, it was unclear what, if any, military actions the US would take to avert a collapse of the teetering Mideast state. Obama has continued to insist that “support and advisory” troops will not act as “boots on the ground” – but instead will form joint centers of military strategy and planned actions to thwart and roll back the ISIS insurgency, acting from within Baghdad to protect the city. It was reported yesterday that Obama had stated he will not need the support of Congress for any actions in Iraq he might choose to pursue. John Kerry will travel to Baghdad to pursue solutions which will end the sectarian strife between Shia and Sunni Islam within Iraq, which is in essence the core reason for recent events. Those animosities are both deep and ancient, and the prospects for a brokered deal to mend the breach between the two factions inside of Iraq are bleak at best. Below are today’s headlines out of Iraq:
WASHINGTON – President Obama said Thursday he is planning to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help retrain Iraqi security forces as they battle an insurgent invasion.
U.S. prepared for ‘targeted’ action in Iraq, Obama says:
But Obama reiterated that American troops will not be returning to combat in Iraq
Cited: “Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) — As Islamic militants continue their murderous advance across Iraq, they have a new target in their sights: the city of Baquba, less than 40 miles north of Baghdad.
Gun battles erupted in the city, only a 45-minute drive from the capital, on Tuesday as fighters and Iraqi government forces clashed.
Civilians are fleeing violence there and elsewhere in Iraq even as the United States bolsters its manpower in the region while it mulls what action to take.
According to a Baquba police official and an official in the Baquba governor’s office, militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, have “made a great advance on Baquba” and are pushing very hard to take it, but the city has not fallen.”
At London’s Daily Mail, “The boy jihadis: Sickening new images reveal gun-toting children as young as eight watching ISIS execution as Shia prison guards ‘slaughter 44 Sunni inmates north of Baghdad’.”
Cited on 6.14.2014
“Leading Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on Iraqis to take up arms against Sunni extremists as thousands volunteered to bolster the capital’s defences.
“Citizens who are able to bear arms and fight terrorists, defending their country and their people and their holy places, should volunteer and join the security forces to achieve this holy purpose,” Mr Sistani’s representative announced on his behalf during the main weekly prayers in the Shi’ite shrine city of Karbala.
“He who sacrifices for the cause of defending his country and his family and his honour will be a martyr.’’
The deteriorating situation in the key global oil supplier reverberated through financial markets yesterday, sending oil prices sharply higher, pushing US stocks lower and igniting the latest rally in safe-haven bonds.
On the ground, US-armed and trained Iraqi security forces put up almost no fight throughout the militants’ rout as they captured major cities, witnesses said.
Iraq’s government girded to protect the capital from advancing insurgents, as Iranian security officials said their forces had joined the battle on Baghdad’s side and the US weighed military assistance, including air strikes.”
6.12.204: Boehner: “Obama ‘taking a nap’ on Iraq”
A writer for the Huffington Post is as riddled with questions about all of this as I am:
“First things first: the Blitzkrieg advance of the jihadist ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is astonishing. Why was such an invasion, which required extensive planning and gathering of fighters, not scoped out by the intelligence services of several highly equipped countries, including the U.S.? How is it possible that ISIS has taken over several major Iraqi cities with so few fighters, estimated at between three and five thousand? Mosul alone has a population of 1.8 million. How could so few invaders take it so easily, then take Tikrit, threaten Kirkuk and head toward Baghdad? How is it that a major Iraqi defense force collapsed and deserted in the face of a few hundred ISIS attackers?” See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronald-tiersky/isis-what-does-it-mean-fo_b_5489756.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics
On 6.12.2014 I came out of “news blogging retirement” and launched the following tirade below against the incompetent useless tripe manufacturing industry that we are forced to endure in the United States which is referred to comically as “the news media.” About 5-6 hours later, one by one, the major news networks began to reluctantly begin reporting what was taking place in Iraq. The reader might not believe me, but I think there is a cause and effect relationship going on there.
Earlier I wrote on 6.12.2014:
“Iraq is Falling to ISIS Jihadi Terrorists and the American TV News Media Doesn’t Care”
Finally around 2 pm pacific time on 6.12.2014, the US based news media people seemed to finally grasp the gravity of what was taking place, and periodic “light” reports began to be broadcast. I still find it unnerving that it took American news orgs fully 3 days to get their heads around this story and set aside their filler content to begin to actually report ACTUALITY as it was taking place in Iraq.
What’s wrong with American news reporting organizations? Is the script so concrete that they are literally not allowed to deviate from it until “cleared” to do so? It was inexcusable that I had to wait for 3 long days – 72 hours – for US news media outlets to begin reporting what was being broadcast all over the internet about the crisis in Iraq.
Were it not for the hard work of the BBC I would not have learned of this urgent world event for 3 long days after it began to unfold. It took the American news media fully 3 days to STOP talking about OJ Simpson and get on board that there was a news event breaking out of the Mideast which could alter the history of the world and re-draw the borders of nations there.
THANK GOD some news org out there is awake at the wheel, because it certainly is not the American news reporting community, which is either collectively on vacation, or has been instructed in their news scripts to ‘IGNORE Iraq events’.
“How do wildfires begin to burn out of control? We all know they begin with smaller fires, which then are whipped by high winds and begin spreading faster than firefighters can arrive to quench the smaller scattered flames. That is the easiest way to describe what is happening right now in the Mideast. A series of small fires ignited by ISIS is building toward a wildfire of renewed war and violence which will be impossible to put out in just a few more months. It’s not rocket science and I am not a military woman, but I’m not blind. What we have here is a growing conflagration, and it must be extinguished NOW, before it spreads into to Israel and every other important city of the Mideast which values the attributes of civilized living over chaos and sudden violent death.” – author, Screenshots news blog on 6.12.2014
During the events of the past three days in Iraq, [ 6.9.14 through 6.12.2014 ] I have repeatedly scoured every TV news outlet I can find, looking for ANY in-depth reporting which would attempt to explain to the American people how the bitter war in Iraq – including military aid work rendered over 13 years, the terrible cost of 1+ trillion dollars spent, 4,500 American lives lost, 12,000+ US soldiers maimed, and nearly 200,000 Iraqis lost – could suddenly come crashing down down to the ground and be washed away in three short days, as ISIS Jihadi terrorists swept down into Iraq and took city after city, virtually unopposed.
ISIS Marching Toward Baghdad
Cities Under Siege in Iraq
“The jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has seized the Iraqi city of Mosul and looted $450 million from it’s banks, becoming the world’s richest terror group.” – IBT News
In the video below watch the street scenes closely and you will see several BRAND NEW US military vehicles sitting in ruins in the streets, burning. Many others are being hauled off to Syria to be used to fight Jihad in that “ruinous heap” against the tyrant Assad. Those burning tanks are your tax dollars. That is your kids’ debt to the FED that they will be paying on for the rest of their natural lives, now stolen from the crumbling Iraqi military and being ported away to be used to wage Jihad in the Mideast. I don’t doubt that many of those expensive US armaments, including missiles, tanks, rifles, etc will end up being used to attack Israel at some point very soon. The American people had better pay attention right here, right now, to what is happening in Iraq. You paid for all this, and your children will continue to pay for it for decades to come. You better sit up and take notice.
The preposterously inadequate news report below RE: Iraq aired at 3 am in the dead of night from ABC News and lasted exactly 15 seconds. Are you kidding? Do you believe NOW that scripted TV news operates to “blacklist” certain news stories, no matter how urgent or important they are? These reporters spent more time chuckling about a man in Florida who was feeding alligators, than they spent reporting the most important news story in the Mideast in more than 60 years. THAT’S PSYCHOTIC. That’s “denial” of actuality on a scale that makes me shiver. That’s the kind of “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” news reporting that lead directly to 9-11, when all the signs were there, and no one was paying attention.
How could this happen? And why has the American news media chosen to stand aside and virtually refuse to report the story?
I reported on 6.12.2014: “It is my understanding from what little I have been able to glean off of alt news sites, that between 30,000 and 90,000 Iraqi troops, all of whom had been meticulously trained and armed by the US military over the past 8 years, for the most part simply laid down their arms, disrobed, changed into civilian clothes, left their military uniforms lying in the dust, and fled, as a mere 800 ISIS insurgents stormed into Mosul and took the city with virtually no opposition. Many deserting soldiers reported that their own commanders had ordered them to stand down and leave. It’s believed by some that Iraqi military commanders had cut a secret deal with ISIS prior to their attacks on Iraqi cities. It was also reported that Iraqi military commanders were the first to flee the coming confrontation, leaving thousands of their own enlisted men with no commanders to lead them. Most of the abandoned Iraqi soldiers then followed suit, and in the biggest act of collective cowardice observed in the modern era, they too removed their uniforms, left their rifles lying in the street, and fled to their homes, where they gathered their families and left the city. By several hours later highways were clogged with tens of thousands of vehicles trying to get out of Mosul, most heading for the northern border of Iraq that leads into Kurdistan. THAT unbelievable report, is what I am finding on the few US based sites and newscasts which have made an effort to report the gist of the story on how Mosul fell in 12 short hours. On 6.11.2014 while all of this was taking place, nearly every news outlet in the United States was re-telling the OJ Simpson story instead of reporting any news out of Iraq.”
Outrage does not begin to describe my own personal emotional reactions to what is taking place. As if the events themselves were not catastrophic enough to rivet the sudden attention of the entire free world – back toward the heart of the Mideast – our own news organizations in the US have utterly failed to even begin to address the magnitude of these events or to adequately report them to the American people. We need the astute reporting of alternative news media now as never before.
All I can do is to urgently call upon all alternative news media people, journalists, bloggers, videographers who might be close to, or in the region of the mayhem, to post and report as much as you can about actual conditions on the ground, as our own news media here in the US is failing the American people on a scale I have never seen, as they insist on ignoring the biggest news story out of the Mideast since 1947.
At what point do the American people besiege their news media to URGENTLY begin reporting the actual news, and to cease and desist wasting our time with trifles, if this is NOT that moment?
“Ultimately, ISIS seeks to create an Islamic state from where they would launch a global holy war. Perhaps that war is now beginning as Baghdadi’s ISIS eclipses Zawahiri’s al-Qaeda.”