By Kathy Kelly for Counterpunch. Before making their home in Damascus, Gabe Huck and Theresa Kubasak had regularly visited Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, where they developed lasting friendships and deepened cultural awareness. Iraq was steadily deteriorating under thirteen years of U.S./UN imposed economic sanctions. Despite iron clad determination by U.S. policy makers to isolate Iraq, Gabe and Theresa repeatedly challenged the economic sanctions by carrying medicines and medical relief supplies to Iraqi children, families and hospitals. They also helped organize opportunities for scores of other U.S. and U.K. people to visit Iraq as part of Voices in the Wilderness (VitW). Voices delegations politely but firmly notified U.S. authorities that they would break the economic sanctions by personally carrying duffel bags filled with children’s vitamins, antibiotics, medical textbooks, surgical kits, first aid material and medical relief supplies, all of which the economic sanctions prohibited.
By Staff of Popular Resistance – If Donald Trump’s recent threat of military action against Iran sounds familiar to you, then It should. Democrats in Congress already beat him to it before Trump’s tiny hands could even grace the bible at his swearing-in ceremony. How did they do this? By creating a resolution in January to threaten military action against Iran if they tried to obtain nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, what’s being touted as a move for U.S. safety and security is starting to sound eerily similar to the threat to invade a country to find deadly weapons that turned out to never exist (think Iraq). So what’s the REAL reason behind this threat of military action? All signs seem to point both underground and in America’s wallets.
By Micah Zenko for Reader Supported News. As President Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency, there will be ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which has focused on reducing U.S. ground combat troops (with the notable exception of the Afghanistan surge), supporting local security partners, and authorizing the expansive use of air power. Whether this strategy “works”—i.e. reduces the threat posed by extremists operating from those countries and improves overall security and governance on the ground—is highly contested. Yet, for better or worse, these are the central tenants of the Obama doctrine. In President Obama’s last year in office, the United States dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries.
By Steve Horn for Desmog – TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran. According to a summary of the investigation, TigerSwan “is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervises the overall security.”
By Crofton Black and Abigail Fielding-Smith for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism -The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda programme in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal. Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.
By Leo Shane III for Military Times – The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $5 trillion so far, and that total could rise even higher in the years to come, according to new calculations released by independent researchers late last week. That total includes not only the costs of equipment and personnel in those countries, but also State Department spending to help local populations, Department of Homeland Security spending linked to the wars and Department of Veterans Affairs services that expanded as troops returned home.
By Joshua Eaton for the Intercept. In February 2004, U.S. troops brought a man named Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and assigned him serial number US9IZ-157911CI. The prison was about to become international news, but the prisoner would remain largely unknown for the next decade. At the time the man was brought in, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba was finalizing his report on allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib’s Hard Site — a prison building used to house detainees singled out for their alleged violence or their perceived intelligence value. Just weeks later, the first pictures of detainee abuse were published on CBS News and in the New Yorker. Today, detainee US9IZ-157911CI is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. His presence at Abu Ghraib, a fact not previously made public, provides yet another possible key to the enigmatic leader’s biography and may shed new light on the role U.S. detention facilities played in the rise of the Islamic State.
By Haider Newmani for The Guardian – US and coalition military forces continue to attack Isis territories in Iraq, while Iraqi ground troops prepare to retake the city of Mosul from the grip of the terrorist group. As Isis loses ground in Iraq, it escalates its violent campaign against civilians. On Sunday, a suicide bomber attacked a security checkpoint in my home city, Baghdad, killing at least 14 people. It followed the attacks on 3 July in the same city – the city I fled to become an asylum seeker in America after losing multiple family members and friends.
By Samuel Oakford for The Intercept – THE LONG-ANTICIPATED Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War released Wednesday contains stinging indictments of Britain’s role in the U.S.-led invasion, detailing failures starting with the exaggerated threat posed by Saddam Hussein through the disastrous lack of post-invasion planning. An element conspicuously missing from the report, however, are allegations of systemic abuse by British soldiers — accusations that are currently being considered by a domestic investigative body as well as the International Criminal Court.
By Nafeez Ahmed for MEE – A new analysis by Middle East Eye finds that nearly 100 percent of the Labour MPs who have moved to oust Jeremy Corbyn voted against an investigation into the Iraq war. The analysis is based on a detailed examination of the voting records of all the MPs who chose not to support Corbyn’s leadership. Amongst the Labour MPs who had voted in 2003 on the Iraq war, an overwhelming majority who voted against Corbyn were in favour of the military invasion of the country
By Joe Glenton for International Business Times – All the evidence discouraged an attack on Iraq yet it looks like Tony Blair and his close allies lied to take Britain to war. It cost the lives of 179 soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. In the end the war also gave us Islamic State (Isis/Daesh) and so the horror slithers on. In recent and coming weeks the real issue – why we went, the deadly deception – will be blurred by references to peripheral issues about the conduct of the war. Let’s be clear. Bad equipment, for example, is secondary in the big scheme of things.
By Staff of ICN – Christian peace campaigners have welcomed the release of the Chilcot Report into the 2003 war on Iraq, which directly cause the deaths of many thousands of people and destabilised the region – leading to the deaths of millions and conflicts continuing today. The report states: ” We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.
By Ismaeel Dawood and Terry Kay Rockefeller for Iraq Civil Society. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens fill Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, demanding “An End to Sectarianism” and the establishment of a new, technocratic government. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi takes no responsibility for delays in installing new leaders. He blames Parliament, which failed to vote on his “white envelope government” and then bitterly split into opposing factions over the prospect of change. Baghdad went to sleep one night and woke the next day to two parliaments and three “governments”! Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdistan falters along with a one-man government and no parliament! Since June 31st, 2015, protests to force Iraqi politics in the direction of reform have taken place weekly. The Iraqis are denouncing the lack of vital services (electricity and water), high-level government corruption, and rampant sectarianism.