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MENA Mashup: Conspiracies, Daesh, Iraq, and Syria

Here’s Col. Wilkerson on TRNN

In tallying up the clusterf*ck that is the MENA, we need to delve into the ‘spin’ we’re being spun by the MSM…!

As Glenn Greenwald pointed out today…

NYT Trumpets US Restraint Against ISIS, Ignores Hundreds of Civilian Deaths

The New York Times this morning has an extraordinary article claiming that the U.S. is being hampered in its war against ISIS because of its extreme — even excessive — concern for civilians. “American officials say they are not striking significant — and obvious — Islamic State targets out of fear that the attacks will accidentally kill civilians,” reporter Eric Schmitt says.

The newspaper gives voice to numerous, mostly anonymous officials to complain that the U.S. cares too deeply about protecting civilians to do what it should do against ISIS. We learn that “many Iraqi commanders, and even some American officers, argue that exercising such prudence is harming the coalition’s larger effort to destroy” ISIS. And “a persistent complaint of Iraqi officials and security officers is that the United States has been too cautious in its air campaign, frequently allowing columns of Islamic State fighters essentially free movement on the battlefield.”

The article claims that “the campaign has killed an estimated 12,500 fighters” and “has achieved several successes in conducting about 4,200 strikes that have dropped about 14,000 bombs and other weapons.” But an anonymous American pilot nonetheless complains that “we have not taken the fight to these guys,” and says he “cannot get authority” to drone-bomb targets without excessive proof that no civilians will be endangered. Despite the criticisms, Schmitt writes, “administration officials stand by their overriding objective to prevent civilian casualties.

But there’s one rather glaring omission in this article: the many hundreds of civilian deaths likely caused by the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. Yet the only reference to civilian deaths are two, ones which the U.S. government last week admitted: “the military’s Central Command on Thursday announced the results of an inquiry into the deaths of two children in Syria in November, saying they were most likely killed by an American airstrike,” adding that “a handful of other attacks are under investigation.”

Completely absent is the abundant evidence from independent monitoring groups documenting hundreds of civilian deaths. Writing in Global Post last month, Richard Hall noted that while “in areas of Syria and Iraq held by the Islamic State, verifying civilian casualties is difficult,” there is “strong evidence [that] suggests civilians are dying in the coalition’s airstrikes.

Over at Moon of Alabama, b goes further…

Lack Of U.S. Air Support In Ramadi Points To Disguised Darker Aim

Why were there so few U.S. air attacks on the Islamic State attackers when they took Ramadi?

The first excuse put out by the U.S. military was “a sandstorm ate my lunch”. That excuse was placed as news in the NYT:

Islamic State fighters used a sandstorm to help seize a critical military advantage in the early hours of the terrorist group’s attack on the provincial Iraqi capital of Ramadi last week, helping to set in motion an assault that forced Iraqi security forces to flee, current and former American officials said Monday.

The stenographer writing the piece did not bother to ask eyewitnesses or to check with some weather service. The myth of the “sandstorm” was thus born and repeated again and again. But people looking at the videos and pictures from the fighting could only see a bright blue sky. The military, though not the NYT, had to retract:

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today that last weekend’s sandstorm had not affected the coalition’s ability to launch airstrikes in Ramadi, though “weather was a factor on the ground early on.”

Now the U.S. military needs a new excuse to explain why it does not really bother to attack the Islamic State troops. Again it is the NYT that is willing to stenograph:

American officials say they are not striking significant — and obvious — Islamic State targets out of fear that the attacks will accidentally kill civilians. Killing such innocents could hand the militants a major propaganda coup and alienate both the local Sunni tribesmen, whose support is critical to ousting the militants, and Sunni Arab countries that are part of the American-led coalition.

The alleged restraint in fear of killing civilians is bonkers. The few U.S. airstrikes on Islamic State targets, though not admitted, have already killed hundreds of civilians.

This excuse for not helping the defenders of Ramadi is also nonsense as many occasions for potential attacks, like the Islamic State parade in this picture, are in areas with no or few civilians around. Why are Islamic State fighters free to travel the roads between Syria and Iraq in mass?

Neither the “sandstorm” excuse nor the “fear” of accidentally killing civilians seem to be an explanation for the decision to not support the Iraqi troops against the Islamic State attacks. A sound explanation can be found in the 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency assessment, recently revealed, that says that the U.S. and the Gulf monarchies do want an Islamic State covering east Syria and west Iraq:

“… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

In a recent Sunday show the neocon and former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton put it on the record:

I think our objective should be a new Sunni state out of the western part of Iraq, the eastern part of Syria run by moderates or at least authoritarians who are not radical Islamists. What’s left of the state of Iraq, as of right now, is simply a satellite of the Ayatollahs in Tehran. It’s not anything we should try to aid.

The U.S. military in the Middle East is not helping the legitimate state of Iraq against the illegitimate Islamic State. It is shaping the environment so that it will allow for a delimited “Salafist Principality” in Syria and Iraq, mostly independent Kurdish areas and a rump state of Shia Iraq. {…}

The only sound explanation for the very, very limited air support the U.S. is giving to Iraq is its aim of dismembering the Iraqi state and creating a new Sunni state entity under its tutelage. The Iraqi government should finally recognize this and should stay away from U.S. advice and dependency.

Earlier, as Eric Draitser wrote for New Eastern Outlook…

The Western media has been consumed in recent days with the news that Islamic State militants have captured the strategically critical city of Ramadi in Iraq. The narrative is one of incompetence on the part of Iraqi military forces who, the corporate media tells us, are simply either ineffectual or hopelessly corrupt. Some analysts and pundits, especially those on the right who oppose Obama for various reasons, have used the fall of Ramadi to legitimize their claims that Obama’s “weakness” on the ISIS issue brought events to this point.

While there is truth to the assertion that Iraqi military forces are riddled with severe problems, from sectarianism in the command hierarchy, to poor training and, at times, organizational disarray, none of these issues is singularly responsible for the loss of Ramadi. Nor is it entirely accurate to say that Obama’s alleged weakness is really the cause.

Rather the primary reason, the one which the media carefully avoids including in their reportage, is the political and military sabotage of Iraq perpetrated by the United States in pursuit of its long-term agenda…

In wrapping up, James Corbett delved ever deeper…

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CTuttle

CTuttle

  • dubinsky

    ” Moon of Alabama, b goes further” …..indeed

    https://newgenesisres.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/falling-off-the-edge.png

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    Another childish response, dub…! Cognitive dissonance much…?

  • jane24

    Guess the last paragraph sums it up. Thanks for posting, CT.

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    You’re most welcome, jane…! 😉

  • dubinsky

    nothing childish about my response, chico.

    perhaps you weren’t able to grasp the rather simple point of it.

    http://cdn.meme.am/instances/48550518.jpg

    of course, if you did understand that I was referencing the abuse of logic that “b” is engaged in by trying to draw the conclusion “reached” merely by assuming that the absence of action must be caused by only one set of motivations…. and wish to discuss that….in your own deeply-informed and adult manner…… I’ll try real, real hard to keep up.

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    Interesting to see Lawrence O’Donnell hosting Glennzilla tonite on Snowden’s revelations…!

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    Mac, give it a rest already, eh…? Your condescending ways are truly pathetic…! 8-(

  • dubinsky

    yes, I expected that you would ignore the substance of the criticism of the MoA thingee and instead continue to do not a damn thing beyond continue on a personal level.

    and that’s…… OK.

    I’m sure that you’re putting a great deal of effort into helping fdl…but I certainly wish that someone authoring posts would take the time to consider criticism of content and respond to the substance.

  • Bluedot

    Great post there, CT.
    I am not sure how I feel about it all at the moment, but it seems odd that it is OK for ISIS to kill all they want, as the 700 reported in Ramadi and ,many more in other places. If we wanted an Islamic state, one would think it easier to do. I recall Biden saying we should divide Iraq in three. This suggests we are faking a war only to assuage the Iranians, while simultaneously sharpening the knives. I suppose we think them fools. So does all this tell us about the next war. What a cluster##k way to run a foreign policy.

  • mulp

    Let’s see, according to ctuttle, not bombing because that would kill innocents is totally bogus because all vehicles carry isis and not innocent people except the trucks carrying innocent people fleeing isis, but the us can easily tell the difference between trucks carrying isis and trucks carrying innocents because us pilots can read minds or see through metal….

    I do find it interesting that ctuttle has zero objections to isis killing innocent people and posting the killings on the internet including American aid workers and reporters in order to recruit people to join isis in killing innocent people.

    I will happily debate the US standing by and watching millions of innocent people being killed as the people in the arab region, africa, and a few other places kill each other. I’m old enough to have seen conflicts smolder under occupation and then flare into violence, ie Ireland, vietnam, and then after decades of killing innocent people, the populations say “enough” and then “bygones”. The Americans it seems did not go on killing each other long enough from 1850 to 1960 or so and the violence still smolders ready to burst into killing. Millennials seem to have said “bygones” and as they take over in July, they will remove that conflict I think.

    But let’s be clear, the killing in the arab region is not caused by the US or some global conspiracy, but by long standing grievances that empires suppressed, and not Western empires, but the Persian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Roman Empire, and others.

    Post WWI, the fall of the Ottoman empire led to Europe dividing its empire up, but not to run, except when oil was found in part of it, and it turned out easier to let one faction run each part of the region and suppress the conflict. Saudis suppress the shia to force no killing, and then directed the salafis to promote killing outside Saudi Arabia in exchange for salafis no killing inside,

    In Africa the conflict is really between the nomads and the farmers with both harmed by climate change caused by the US burning fossil fuels for a century. That the nomads are typically muslim and farmers christian is pretty much irrelevant.

    But let’s consider rwanda which was christian killing christian. Should the christian west simply watched as we did??

    I’d like to see ctuttle argue that clinton is wrong to argue his inaction was wrong and that he was morally correct to sit back and watch the slaughter, perhaps engaging in some illicit sex. No one in the west or the 1% cared a bit about rwanda then or now because it has no resources to pillage and plunder.

  • Screwtape

    I sense something analogous here with targeting rules during Vietnam. There, the death toll over the long term was of little consequence in the PTB’s psyche, it was just a continuous grind where individual victims lost their identity and became statistics. It was normal.

    OTOH it was absolutely prohibited to change the strategy in order to stop the war quickly, which would have required bombing the North’s dikes. The consequences would have caused the North to collapse by way of a nearly instantaneous catastrophe. The loss of life would have been mind boggling for a single event, but arguably far less than the continued course through that war as it was.

    The NV leaders were very worried about that prospect as an imminent threat, which is why they talked about it often and noisily to tap world opinion before such an attack could occurr. They unwisely (at the time) installed anti aircraft guns and surface to air missiles nearby, some even on top of the dikes, making the dikes close by military rather than civilian assets, hence potential targets.

    However true, this was a false dilemma nonetheless, since we should not have intervened in SE Asia in the first place. Hence, there was nothing to debate. The war was not our “property” to protect and win. I think the same applies to the ME nowadays and most imminently with ISIS. So arguments over military strategy versus impact on civilians there may be a distraction from the real task — pressuring our PTB to get out and stay out, period.