United for Peace of Pierce County, WA - We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy.

TRANSLATION: 'The Valls government is leading France to economic failure and social disaster'

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On Friday, Jean-Luc Mélenchon discussed the upcoming budget vote in the French National Assembly, the Front de Gauche's relations with France's environmental party, EELV, and the sale of Alstom to General Electric.  --  A complete translation of his remarks is posted below.[1] ...

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NEWS: Political pressure on Maliki intensifies

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American diplomats said Friday that in a three-and-a-half-hour meeting in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah promised to help lobby Sunnis so as to help Iraq form "a multisect government" on the understanding "that Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki would not be given a third term," the New York Times reported.[1]  --  Meanwhile Grand Ayatollah Sistani, "urged the country’s divided political factions to select a prime minister by early next week in a public call for a political solution that increases the pressure on the embattled prime minister," the paper said in a separate article.[2]  --  A Western diplomat told Reuters "It is generally understood [the next prime minister] will not be Maliki.  Security was his big thing, and he failed."[3]  --  But the Associated Press said that "the probability that Iraq's deeply divided political class can mend its differences in the span of days is unlikely."[4]  --  The U.S. military "has started flying armed Predator drones over Baghdad to protect U.S. interests in the Iraqi capital, a Pentagon official said Friday, Ryan Lucas and Sameer Yacoub said." ...

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NEWS & COMMENT: Moqtada al-Sadr calls for more inclusive national emergency government in Iraq

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Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a new, more inclusive government in Iraq, "a day after Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, rejected any attempts to challenge his rule," Al Jazeera reported Monday.[1]  --  Sadr said that a new government "must fulfill the legitimate demands of the moderate Sunnis and stop excluding them because they have been marginalized."  --  COMMENT: This is not the first time that Moqtada, a Shiite who has accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of "building a new dictatorship," has spoken up for oppressed Sunnis.  --  Years ago UFPPC identified Moqtada as a genuine voice of Iraqi nationalism who might one day lead the country; at the time he was a bête noire of American occupiers, who tended to regard him as low-class anti-American riffraff.  --  He may now be the only leader who can save Iraq.  --  In 2008, Nir Rosen called his Mahdi Army "the only genuine mass movement in Iraq." ...

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 July 2014 07:06 Read more...
 

NEWS: Syrian aircraft attack targets inside Iraq as CNN questions Baghdad's defenses

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On Wednesday, Israel bombed Syria, Syria bombed Iraqi territory held by ISIS, and ISIS took at least partial control of Iraq's most important oil refinery, the Washington Post reported.[1]  --  It was another indication that the post-Versailles boundaries Western imperialist powers created in the Middle East are becoming increasingly meaningless.  --  As for the fight for the Baiji refinery, this conflict has raged for a week amid shifting, confusing, and contradictory news of its outcome.  --  Apparently fighters from the al-Kaisi tribe have joined with ISIS militants in the assault and have gained the upper hand.  --  CNN reported that "on the outskirts of Baghdad, the eerie emptiness of a major highway raises questions about whether the capital would be prepared for a militant invasion."[2]  --  Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, far from reaching out to Sunnis, instead "accused Sunnis of collaborating with militants and slammed the call to have a national salvation government that would remove him from power," Mohammed Tawfeeq, Holly Yan, and Chelsea J. Carter said....

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COMMENTARY: 'Iraq is in its last throes' (Juan Cole)

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"[T]he whole country of Iraq . . . is in its last throes," Juan Cole said Wednesday on his Informed Comment blog.[1]  --  Kerry's diplomatic mission to Baghdad and Irbal has produced nothing.  --  Nouri al-Maliki seems to have indicated that he has no intention of stepping aside just because Washington wants him to, and "sources in Erbil are saying that Barzani told Kerry that he planned to secede from Iraq and that the U.S. would have to accept it."  --  COMMENT:  Over the past decade, no one, perhaps, has done more, on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis, to explain Iraq to the American people than Juan Cole, a professor of history at the Univ. of Michigan.  --  His engagement has been important, because our mainstream media's servile subservience to U.S. national security interests makes them unwilling to explore or express realities that are unwelcome to those interests.  --  Thus the fact that Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani said the other day that "it's obvious that a federal or central government [of Iraq] has lost control over everything" has not to have been reported by any mainstream media source in the U.S., if a Google News search is to be believed.  --  Prof. Cole, however, has been a fearless truth-teller....

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 05:29 Read more...
 

INTERVIEW: With expert analyses like this one, who needs experts?

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In an interview conducted on Jun. 20 with Mohamad Bazzi of NYU as an Iraq "expert," Bazzi's crystal ball proved to be cloudy to the point of opacity.  --  Bazzi said that "it’s too early to tell whether the events of the past weeks will ultimately lead to a long-term partition of Iraq, since we haven’t seen what level of counterattack the Iraqi government is going to carry out.  --  We also haven’t seen whether the U.S. is going to carry out air strikes to help the Iraqi government.  --  I also think it’s going to be difficult for ISIS and its allies to take and hold territory further south."[1]  --  But he doesn't rule any of those things out.  --  Bazzi holds out little hope of a successful pluralistic government in Iraq.  --  But then again, the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds may learn to be "more open to working with each other."  --  Iran is standing with Maliki.  --  But that may change, too.  --  COMMENT:  In a word, Bazzi hasn't a clue what will happen next.  --  But whatever happens, he'll have an explanation for it....

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ANALYSIS: Barack Obama is 'the world's most important spectator' (LRB)

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In a piece posted Friday on the website of the London Review of Books, Yale prof David Bromwich identified a problematic modality of Barack Obama's presidency:  the American leader's preferred relation to the world is that of concerned, sympathetic spectator.  --  "Obama is adept at conveying benevolent feelings that his listeners want to share, feelings that could lead to benevolent actions," said Bromwich.[1]  --   But they rarely do, because Obama merely "watches the world as its most important spectator."  --  His underlings have got the message:  "Obama doesn’t particularly want to know things."  --  As a result, he often seems as behind the curve.  --  When he does act, Obama prefers executive action to the give-and-take of politics.  --  As a result, he fails to engage in the preliminary work of consensus-building needed to mobilize support for new policies.  --  But more is at stake than a mere matter of style, Bromwich argues.  --  Obama's approach is having a profound, perhaps historic effect on American institutions.  --  "A perilous and unspoken accord in American politics has grown up while no one was looking, which unites the liberal left and the authoritarian right.  --  They agree in their unquestioning support of a government without checks or oversight; and it is the Obama presidency that has cemented the agreement."  --  Barack Obama seems to have few core convictions: all his statements defining his philosophy are deeply ambiguous.  --  So it's natural that he "has a propensity, which no walk of reason could justify, to pledge to do a thing that looks strong, then call it off, then halfway do it anyway."  --  When speaking, Obama is a master of ambiguity, and "the most shifting word of all is the all-purpose excuse for action, security."  --  "[A] sentence that is echt Obama:  'International opinion matters, but America should never ask permission to protect our people, our homeland, or our way of life.'  --  In short, we try to respect international opinion, by getting it to go along with us, but ultimately we do as we please." ...

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NEWS: 'Little indication' Iraqi leaders responding to Kerry's advice

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The Financial Times of London reported Tuesday that a "high-ranking Western . . . diplomat" told reporters "that there was little indication that Iraq’s leadership was responding to pressure by foreign leaders and the threat of a raging Sunni insurgency to resolve the country’s political deadlock."[1]  --  Meanwhile, in his Tuesday interviews U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to pull back a bit from statements in Baghdad Monday that amounted to an American declaration of war against ISIL, independently of the formation of a government in Iraq.  --  In Kurdistan on Tuesday, however, asked whether there would be "no military airstrikes before a government formation," he said:  "[B]arring some exigent emergency or something that predicates that the president makes a decision which he always has available to him with respect to any country or any crisis in the world . . . there must be a government here so that there can be a strategy going forward, because just a strike alone is not going to change the outcome."[2]  --  Thus Kerry's view is that the American president "always has available to him with respect to any country or any crisis in the world" the right to make "a decision" to unleash "military airstrikes." ...

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NEWS: Obama administration changes Iraq policy, will 'focus now on ISIL' & act alone 'if necessary'

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CNN reported that John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state, "met Iraqi leaders Monday" and said that "'[o]ur support will be intense, sustained,' and will be effective if Iraqi leaders unite to face the militant threat."[1]  --  Examination of a transcript of Kerry's remarks posted on the website of the U.S. Department of State shows, however, that Kerry's remarks are more militant than CNN reports.  --  Kerry said, in effect, that the U.S. is now at war with ISIS.  --  He asserted, moreover, that the president needs no further authority to wage such a war:  "the President has moved the assets into place and has been gaining each day the assurances he needs with respect to potential targeting, and he has reserved the right to himself, as he should, to make a decision at any point in time if he deems it necessary strategically," Kerry said.[2]  --  "President Obama has stated repeatedly that he will do what is necessary and what is in our national interest to confront ISIL and the threat that it poses to the security of the region and to our security in the long run," said the secretary of state.  --  Actually, the president has stated repeatedly something very different:  (text) (video) "The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they're prepared to work together."  --  That line is now abandoned, and the administration is elevating fighting ISIS to the level of a strategic priority, evoking various justifications.  --  Thus Kerry said on Monday in Baghdad:  "The President understands very clearly that supporting Iraq in the struggle at this time is part of meeting our most important responsibility:  The security of the American people, fighting terrorism, and standing by our allies."  --  This is not what the president communicated ten days ago, when he said:  "We're not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back."  --  That is precisely what he is doing: allowing himself to be dragged back.  --  The tone of the administration's line on Iraq has utterly changed since Jun. 13, when he only promised to "monitor the situation" and said his administration's "top priority" was "being vigilant against any threats to our personnel serving overseas."  --  Today, Kerry announced:  "[I]t is important to focus now on ISIL, and that’s why again I reiterate the President will not be hampered if he deems it necessary if the formation [of the new Iraqi government] is not complete." ...

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IDEAS: Disruption craze 'well outside anything resembling plausible historical analysis'

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If you listen to the business-school types who have the ear of management today, technological change has now accelerated to the point that "the time has come to panic as you’ve never panicked before," says Jill Lepore in "The Disruption Machine," posted Monday on the website of the New Yorker.  --  "Disruptive innovation is competitive strategy for an age seized by terror."  --  But take a deep breath and stay calm.  --  Lepore, professor at Harvard as well as staff writer at the weekly famous for publishing many respected writers, elegantly eviscerates Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School prof whose 1997 volume, The Innovator’s Dilemma, has made him a one-man industry promoting "disruptive change."  --  But disruptive change is an idea of which we have every reason to be suspicious, Lepore writes.  --  "The idea of innovation is the idea of progress stripped of the aspirations of the Enlightenment, scrubbed clean of the horrors of the twentieth century, and relieved of its critics.  --  Disruptive innovation goes further, holding out the hope of salvation against the very damnation it describes:  disrupt, and you will be saved."[1]  --  Disruption is one more half-baked idea sold for profit by the high priests of our money-mad, anxiety-ridden society:  "Innovation and disruption are ideas that originated in the arena of business but which have since been applied to arenas whose values and goals are remote from the values and goals of business.  --  People aren’t disk drives.  --  Public schools, colleges and universities, churches, museums, and many hospitals, all of which have been subjected to disruptive innovation, have revenues and expenses and infrastructures, but they aren’t industries in the same way that manufacturers of hard-disk drives or truck engines or drygoods are industries.  --  Journalism isn’t an industry in that sense, either."  --  The difference, O surprise, is moral:  "Doctors have obligations to their patients, teachers to their students, pastors to their congregations, curators to the public, and journalists to their readers -- obligations that lie outside the realm of earnings, and are fundamentally different from the obligations that a business executive has to employees, partners, and investors. . . . Charging for admission, membership, subscriptions, and, for some, earning profits are similarities these institutions have with businesses.  Still, that doesn’t make them industries, which turn things into commodities and sell them for gain." ...

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TRANSLATION: 'Iraq is entering its fourth war in thirty years' (Le Monde)

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The Paris newspaper Le Monde is treating the fighting in Iraq as the beginning of Iraq's fourth war in a space of only thirty years.  --  The titles of eight articles recently published the paper, as well as a brief introduction, are translated below.[1]  --  COMMENT: Le Monde, once France's most presitigious newspaper and anchored well to the left, is now mostly the voice of the interest it once criticized.  --  Eric Fottorino, a former director, said in 2012 that "Le Monde has joined the cohort of famous titles that are now linked to capital and the goodwill of the captains of industry and finance."  --  This is why Anglophone voices like Ken Weinstein (who is ready to support air strikes in Iraq conditioned on political adjustments) and Tony Blair (who washes his hands of responsibility of the catastrophe and wants to reform education in the Islamic world) can make themselves heard in its columns about Iraq.  --  In other articles, Fabrice Balanche thinks that developments show that an urgent priority should be a negotiated settlement in Syria that recognizes that "the petro-monarchies have failed to overthrow Bashar Al-Assad," Dominique de Villepin thinks there is still one "last chance" to avoid an all-out sectarian civil war, Denis Bauchard agrees that an international effort may avoid a civil war, and Dominique Lagrange waxes nostalgic for the day when French diplomacy in the region mattered.  --  But those who are best informed are not indulging in such wishful thinking.  --  Romain Caillet argues that intervention in the war will make it worse by radicalizing those fighting still further, and Loulouwa Al-Rachid, interestingly, thinks ISIS may offer the possibility of "a model of political and economic integration possessing a modicum of historical coherence in a region where the nation-state remains a fortuitous creation." ...

Last Updated on Monday, 23 June 2014 00:14 Read more...
 

NEWS & COMMENT: News from Iraq depends on anonymous sources as collapse continues

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Although the loss of the border town of Qaim was reported on Friday by the New York Times, on Sunday CNN reported that the town fell on Saturday.[1]  --  It's all a question of which dubious, anonymous source these media rely on, since they're flying blind in this crisis.  --  The New York Times said its report was based on "police and government officials reached in Qaim," while CNN seemed to base its entire report, according to which ISIS also now controls the towns of Rutba and Haditha, and "at least 70 per cent" of Anbar province, on "two security officials in Anbar, speaking on condition of anonymity." --  Bloomberg News, citing Hameed Ahmed Hashim, a member of the Anbar provincial council, said that "all the border crossings with Jordan and Syria" have been taken by ISIS fighters.[2]  --  COMMENT:  It does not take much reading between the lines to realize that the collapse of the U.S.-fostered institutions of the Iraqi state is proceeding at an astonishing pace.  --  Meanwhile, U.S. diplomats talk about the desirability of a government "prepared to represent all of the people of Iraq" (John Kerry on Sunday in Cairo).  --  They seem to be, as during the Ukraine crisis in February, March, and April, living in a fantasy world of their own creation.  --  Iraqi officials, meanwhile, -- and we've seen this before -- are stating what they wish were true rather than facts on the ground, which are doubtless as unknown to them as they are to the news media.  --  Thus Iraqi officials have again and again denied losing control of the vital Baiji oil refinery, but sources report that "Iraqi troops battling for control of the vital Baiji oil refinery are outnumbered, surrounded, and trapped inside the facility."  --  The battle for the refinery was in its fourth day on Friday, although fighters for the radical Islamic militia ISIS have apparently taken control of much of the facility and are willing to keep the government forces isolated until they run out of food and ammunition, sources" told ABC News.[3]  --  A senior OPEC official who was involved in building the Baiji refinery described its importance for Gulf News.[4]  --  He held out little hope for Baiji and feared that the fighting "may destroy" it altogether....

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SPECULATION: Escobar embraces theory that sees US using ISIS to divide and rule Iraq

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Pepe Escobar sees the ISIS jihadists are "the bastard children of (disgraced) Bandar Bush's credit-card largesse."[1]  --  On Friday in his Asia Times Online column Escobar concluded that the agenda of ISIS and that of the United States have too much in common to be explained by chance.  --  After all, don't both want to "get rid of Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki (not by accident the new meme in U.S. corporate media); curb Iran's political/economic influence over Iraq; fundamentally erase Sykes-Picot; and promote the 'birth pangs' (remember Condi?) of vast wastelands bypassing centralized power and run by hardcore tribal Sunnis"?  --  Escobar suggests Barack Obama may be a victim, as opposed to the perpetrator, of a diabolical scheme: a divide-and-rule strategy to destroy Nouri al-Maliki's anti-American Shia-oriented Iraq and break up the Iraqi state.  -- The aims of this alleged plot are as follows:  (1) contain Iran, (2) produce oil-rich entities (Sunnistan, Kurdistan), which can be influenced more easily than Maliki), and (3) maintain the bogeyman of a world-wide jihadist threat to ensure support for the massive government spending required to maintain U.S. militarism.  --  ISIS is the "perfect ski mask-clad tool to keep the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in Enduring Freedom Forever mode."  --  According to Escobar, "the whole drama, as usual, is mostly about 'containment' of Iran."  --  COMMENT:  Too bad that Escobar, usually an astute observer, has in this case uncritically adopted a canard devised to pander to right-wing Obamaphobia.  --  Thus Escobar embraces the claim that because the U.S. trained Syrian rebels at a secret base in the Jordanian desert, ISIS must be the result of U.S. training.  --  He is willing to believe that because Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was detained in Camp Bucca for several years, he must secretly be in cahoots with the U.S.  --  These far-fetched ideas are being purveyed on dozens of fringe websites like World Net Daily, Global Research, etc., where everything that happens happens because of shadowy Bilderbergian decisions and a New World Order is the leading bête noire.  --  This is Richard Hofstadter's paranoid style in American politics, only writ large, on a global scale.  --  One final note, for what it's worth:  according to Escobar, ISIS "will NOT invade Baghdad." ...

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 07:17 Read more...
 

NEWS: Sunni militants overwhelm resistance in Iraq-Syria border town

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The revolt against the government in Baghdad took control of Qaim, "one of the last government-held crossings on the Syrian border on Friday after a fierce battle that left at least 34 Iraqi soldiers dead," the New York Times reported.[1]  --  Fighting for "the crucial Baiji refinery" continued, Alissa J. Rubin and Duraid Adnan said.  --  COMMENT: Of the scores of articles on Iraq generated by U.S. mainstream media in the last 24 hours, this is one of the very few that addresses, however unsatisfactorily, the question: what, precisely, is happening there?  --  Not that it answers it.  --  Journalists are unwilling or unable to get near the areas they are writing about, and are apparently merely relating what they hear in conversational exchanges....

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 June 2014 06:40 Read more...
 

ANALYSIS: If ISIS attacks Baghdad, energy prices will spike

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Barack Obama did not mention oil in his statement and press conference on Iraq on Thursday, except in the guise of those well-worn euphemisms, "U.S. interests," "American interests," "vital interests," "the national security interests of the United States," "strategic interests," and "our interests."  --  He did mention "energy," though:  "obviously issues like energy and global energy markets continues [sic] to be important."  --  On Friday, the *Economist* said that although Iraqi oil exports had been "expected to go on rising, providing lots of low-cost oil at a time when the depletion of mature fields elsewhere is beginning to bite into supplies," the success of the ISIS/Sunni campaign in northern Iraq means that the "chances of restarting exports from northern Iraq (via a pipeline crippled by sabotage in March), and of investment and modernization in the country’s south, are looking slimmer by the day."[1]  --  The Financial Times reported Friday that so far events in Iraq have not affected oil prices much, but "if Baghdad falls to the insurgents the picture could quickly look different."[2]  --  And oil majors are already withdrawing staff from Iraq, Russia Today reported Thursday.  --  "BP has shipped out all non-essential employees from the Rumaila field in the south and Exxon has been evacuating staff from the West Qurna 1, also in the south.  --  Royal Dutch Shell, which has played a large role in revamping the country’s oil industry, announced it hasn’t evacuated any employees yet, but has a plan if need be, according to the chairman Hans Nijkamp.  Shell has invested billions in the Majnoon oil field, which is just east of West Qurna 1 and II."[3]  --  China is also making preparations to withdraw thousands of workers from southern oil fields "if insurgents begin to attack Baghdad," a CNOOC employee said...

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NEWS & COMMENT: Obama makes tragic mistake, sends hundreds of US special forces 'advisers' to Iraq

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Although President Barack Obama continues to claim that "American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again," actions speak louder than words.  --  On Thursday he announced the dispatch to Iraq of "additional American military advisers -- up to 300," CNN reported.[1]  --  The Pentagon is "sending Green Berets, Army Rangers, and Navy SEALs to Iraq as military advisers and to collect intelligence," Barbara Starr and Tom Cohen said.  --  "CNN military analyst Rick Francona said the decision amounts to U.S 'boots on the ground' in Iraq, no matter how the administration characterizes it."  --  According to the Washington Post, Obama is setting preconditions to U.S. strikes inside Iraq:  either "a direct threat to U.S. personnel or a more inclusive and capable Iraqi government."[2]  --  But that strikes are coming is as predictable as Northrop Grumman's profits.  --  The New York Times said Obama's decision to send advisers "opened a risky new chapter in the president’s reluctant engagement with Iraq."[3]  --  "The first few dozen of the 300 special operations forces are already on their way from bases in the region, officials said, and are expected to arrive in the next day or two," Mark Landler and Michael R. Gordon said.  --  Who can miss the irony?  --  "Having captured the presidency in part because of his opposition to the Iraq war and his promise to wind it down, Mr. Obama is now returning American soldiers to an unresolved conflict."  --  Obama has repeated again and again the mantra "I said I'd end the war in Iraq; I ended it," and said "we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq."  --  No wonder the Times found him "grim-faced" as he made his announcement on Thursday.  --  COMMENT: Obama is making a tragic mistake.  --  He believes that "right now is a moment where the fate of Iraq hangs in the balance,” as he said Thursday.  --  But that moment is long past.  --  Iraq has been falling apart for years.  --  This futile decision will weigh on Obama's legacy.  --  It will prove to be tragic and fateful, deepening the U.S.'s involvement in a regional war that it started, criminally, but from which it had been trying to extricate itself.  --  Deeper U.S. involvement in the conflict in Syria will follow inexorably:  "A senior official said Mr. Obama would not hesitate to strike militant targets on the Syrian side of the Iraq-Syria border," the Times noted....

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NEWS: As Obama mulls response to ISIS campaign, Feinstein says Maliki 'has to go'

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President Barack Obama does not feel he needs congressional approval to take military action in Iraq, CNN reported.[1]  --  The president has not decided what to do and the military is having trouble specifying plausible targets for air strikes.  --  The U.S., however, has begun "manned reconnaissance flights over Iraq to collect up-to-the-minute intelligence on ISIS movements and positions," Barbara Starr said.  --  "Unmanned reconnaissance flights have been going on for several days."  --  "But White House officials and Democratic aides said Mr. Obama did not rule out the possibility of coming to Congress for a vote to back his actions, depending on what he decides to do," the New York Times reported.[2]  --  (As readers of The Audacity of Hope will recall, the president's view of the United States Constitution is that it is a "framework for conversation.")  --  In Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki offered an "upbeat assessment" of the situation "as the military said government forces had repelled repeated attacks by the militants on the country's largest oil refinery [Beiji] and retaken parts of the strategic city of Tal Afar, near the Syrian border," AP said.[3]  --  But the U.S. "is signaling that it wants a new government in Iraq without Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki," the Wall Street Journal reported.[4] ...

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TRANSLATION: 'A deep wave is rejecting everything relating to politics' (J.-L. Mélenchon)

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After a silence of ten days, Jean-Luc Mélenchon returned on Wednesday to his commentary on the French political scene, explaining what is at stake in the transport strike that has been roiling the country and describing his views on the reorganization of left politics that has been underway for some time now because of the collapse in popularity of the Hollande-Valls government.[1] ...

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 06:12 Read more...
 

NEWS: Faced with stunning attack, Maliki faces 'desperate choice' between US & Iran

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The lightning offensive in Iraq led by ISIS, increasingly viewed as both "stunning" and gruesomely and criminally brutal, has so far seized "two major airports, three airstrips, and 30 military bases, including four that American forces once used," the Washington Post said Tuesday, quoting a Kurdish official.[1]  --  According to the Daily Beast, citing "U.S. and senior Iraqi officials," "Iran is now offering the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki its army, its spies, and highly trained irregular units from its revolutionary guard corps to root out the Sunni insurgency that now threatens Baghdad."[2]  --  The Iranian offer is said to be unconditional.  --  The U.S., Eli Lake explained, can offer Iraq effective air support and aviation, but Iran can offer boots on the ground.  --  COMMENT:  Talk of military cooperation between Iran and U.S. is now in the air, but given American attitudes toward Iran this seems unlikely to go far.  --  In addition, given Maliki's demonstrably deep suspicions of and animosity toward Sunnis, cooperation with Iran would come more naturally to the Iraqi leader.  --  On the other hand, given his modus operandi there can be no doubt that Maliki will be willing to use the threat of a total embrace of Iran to pressure Americans to act, even as he plays one supporter off against the other....

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NEWS & COMMENT: Iraqi gov't forces lose control of another major city

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Iraqi government forces lost control of the northern city of Tal Afar on Monday as the Pentagon moved equipment into place that could be used to remove U.S. personnel from the American embassy in Baghdad, the Wall Street Journal reported.[1]  --  A member of Iran's elite Quds Force was killed in Iraq Monday fighting Sunni militants, Iranian media said.  --  Noting Iran's intervention, Dexter Filkins said on the website of the New Yorker that "It is not difficult to imagine a multinational war, fought along a five-hundred-mile front, and along sectarian lines, waged ultimately for regional supremacy."[2]  --  Filkins recommended resignation and some philosophy:  "In Iraq, as in Syria, the choices are almost all bad, and the potential for American influence is limited. . . . . The 'divine conquest' of Mosul by a group of Islamic extremists is a bitter consequence of the American invasion.  --  For now, there seems to be very little we can do about it." ...

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DOCUMENT: Back to Iraq -- Obama's letter announcing '275 US Armed Forces personnel are deploying to Iraq'

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In a letter dated Jun. 16, 2014, President Barack Obama officially informed House and Senate leaders that "up to approximately 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. . . . This force . . . is equipped for combat.  This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."[1]  --  Blogger Zack Beauchamp speculated that its true purpose is "to assist in the evacuation of some American personnel from the embassy in Baghdad." ...

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:54 Read more...
 
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Meeting schedule

United for Peace of Pierce County meets 7:00-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of every month at First United Methodist Church in Tacoma (621 Tacoma Avenue South).

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