Tag Archives: Baghdad

Paging Code Pink: Army sending division HQ element to Iraq

obama
Stars and Stripes: The 1st Infantry Division headquarters will deploy to Iraq soon as the U.S. military steps up its campaign against Islamic State militants, the Pentagon said Thursday. It will be the first division headquarters assigned to Iraq since U.S. forces withdrew from the country at the end of 2011.
About 500 soldiers from the Fort Riley, Kan.-based division will be heading for the Middle East next month with about 200 of them going to Iraq, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
“They’re going to provide command and control of the ongoing advise-and-assist effort in support of Iraqi and peshmerga forces. And they’re going to continue to help us all degrade and destroy ISIL,” Kirby told reporters, referring to the Islamic State by one of its acronyms.
The new headquarters personnel will be working out of the joint operations centers in Baghdad and the Kurdish capital of Irbil, as well as the Iraqi defense ministry. An advance element of about 10 soldiers is already in Iraq preparing for the influx of the additional troops, Kirby said.
These soldiers will not embed with Iraqi units in the field, Kirby said. “The troops will advise and assist the Iraqi Security Forces to help them go on the offense against ISIL and conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights,” the division said in a statement on its website. “This will also increase the United States’ capacity to target ISIL and coordinate the activities of the U.S. military across Iraq.”
Rick Brennan, Jr., an analyst at the Rand Corporation and former Army officer, said sending elements of a division headquarters and the general officer who will come with it will make it easier to coordinate both with international allies as well as Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the campaign against the Islamic State, which overran about a third of Iraq in an offensive last summer.
Brennan said the decision also signals that there will be a significant U.S. military presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future. “I think there’s been recognition that what the United States is doing in Iraq is going to be long term,” he said.
Kirby acknowledged that the timeline for the headquarters element’s mission is uncertain. “I just don’t know for how long they’re going to be there or how and when they might be replaced,” he said. The 1st Division said the soldiers were preparing for a one-year assignment.
The 200 headquarters servicemembers who will be in Iraq are part of the increase of 475 troops that President Barack Obama authorized two weeks ago.  The U.S. has been sending teams of military advisers to assist the Iraqi security forces, many of which have performed poorly against the Islamic State.
The other 300 troops from the 1st Infantry will be supporting the command and control mission from outside of Iraq. Kirby did not identify the country where they will be stationed.
The deployment of the new headquarters element is just the latest step in an expanding U.S. role in Iraq. The process began three months ago after the Islamic State militant group overran much of the country.
On June 16, the Pentagon announced that 275 personnel were being sent to secure U.S. diplomatic facilities as Islamic State fighters marched towards Baghdad. Later that month, President Barack Obama announced that 300 troops would go the country to assess the capabilities of the troubled Iraqi security forces and set up joint operations centers near Baghdad and Irbil. About 200 additional security personnel were sent around that time.
On Aug. 8, the U.S. military commenced airstrikes and humanitarian air drops as terrorists threatened to massacre religious minorities near Mount Sinjar. The bombing campaign later expanded to support Iraqi ground forces and prevent the militants from damaging the Mosul and Haditha dams.
Two weeks ago, after a new Iraqi government was formed, Obama announced that another 475 troops would deploy to advise and assist Iraqi forces. As of Thursday, 1,268 of the 1,600 American troops authorized to be in Iraq were in country. The Pentagon has also carried out approximately 200 airstrikes there.
In early June, there were only about 200 American troops in Iraq manning the Office of Security Cooperation.
(Note they use the word American “troops” – this does not include any amount of American “contractors” that may be working in the country as well.)
See also “Selective opposition: Where are the peace protests over Syria bombing?
DCG

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The Nun and the Soldier.


A soldier ran up to a nun. Out of breath he asked, ‘Please,
may I hide under your skirt. I’ll explain later.’
The nun agreed. A moment later two Military Police ran up and asked, Sister, have you seen a soldier?’
The nun replied, ‘He went that way.’
After the MP’s ran off, the soldier crawled out from under her skirt and said, ‘I can’t thank you enough Sister You see, I don’t want to go to Iraq .’
The nun said, ‘I understand completely.’
The soldier added, ‘I hope I’m not rude, but you have a great pair of legs!’
The nun replied, ‘If you had looked a little higher, you would have seen a great pair of cujones …I don’t want to go to Iraq either !!
~Steve~                               H/T I-Man

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Corporate Fascism Rebuilt Iraq – Why They Hate Us

Remember breathlessly watching the “Shock and Awe” of the destruction of Baghdad in 2003?  After months of demonizing Saddam Hussein’s regime and his weapons of mass destruction in the media, George Bush preemptively struck a country with no known connection to Al Quaeda or the 9/11 attack. 

After spending billions on the strategic deliberate destruction of the capital city of a sovereign nation that was never a proven threat,  the next round of spending went to private corporations to rebuild 
Funds from the US-operated IRRF are largely disbursed through contracts to private firms. Several US companies have been particularly prominent in receiving Iraq reconstruction funds. Bechtel of San Francisco, USA has been awarded over $2.4 billion for infrastructure rehabilitation through USAID contracts. Flour AMEC, LLC, Greenville, South Carolina, USA has been awarded nearly $1 billion for water, sewer of solid waste management systems. Parsons Corporation of Pasadena, California has been awarded $1.3 billion for construction services. Washington Group International of Boise, Idaho, USA has received awards of $580 million for water resource reconstruction projects. Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton of Houston, Texas has received awards of $580 million. Another $1.2 billion has been distributed to Iraqi contractors. In 2005/2006 Symbion Power of the US were awarded $250 million of competitively bid new fixed price electrical infrastructure work throughout the country. Symbion Power is a privately owned engineering firm with an ownership structure that involves a security company Hart Security.The dollar figures provided here are as of July 2006.[12]

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investment_in_post-invasion_Iraq

LTG

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Obama finds taking pictures with U.S. soldiers annoying

He'd much rather be golfing....


There is a new book out, titled The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan. The book’s author is journalist Michael Hastings, whose article for Rolling Stone magazine on Gen. Stanley McChrystal precipitated the latter’s resignation.
The book is also generating buzz for another reason.
In it, Hastings describes a visit by Obama to our troops in Baghdad, Iraq. Here’s a quote from the book on BuzzFeed, Jan. 13, 2012:

After the talk, out of earshot from the soldiers and diplomats, he [Obama] starts to complain, …according to a U.S. embassy official who helped organize the trip in Baghdad.
He’s [Obama] asked to go out to take a few more pictures with soldiers and embassy staffers. He’s asked to sign copies of his book. “He didn’t want to take pictures with any more soldiers; he was complaining about it,” a State Department official tells me. “Look, I was excited to meet him. I wanted to like him. Let’s just say the scales fell from my eyes after I did. These are people over here who’ve been fighting the war, or working every day for the war effort, and he didn’t want to take fucking pictures with them?”

There you have it.
Our soldiers risk their lives every day in the hell holes of Iraq and Afghanistan, but their Commander In Chief finds it just too darn onerous to take pictures with them. But when four Marines pee on the insentient corpse of a Taliban insurgent, then all hell breaks loose with every Tom, Dick, and Harry crawling out of the woodwork demanding the Marines be court martialed.
That’s Amerika for you!
~Eowyn

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Are Americans “Pre-Revolutionary"?

I can't take it anymore


Mobs flooding the streets are becoming a standard scene in most of the northern hemisphere as the worlds’ living standards decline under greedy and painfully inept political management. Will that come to North America, about the only significant place so far mostly resistant?
The U.S. government seems to be worried; it has quietly reorganized the U.S. Army to maintain population control inside the country, a first.
Poll Finds Americans Pre Revolutionary has this to say:
Should violence plague American streets as a result of a deepening economic crisis, U.S. troops have already been prepared to deal with such a crisis. As we reported three years ago, U.S. troops returning from Iraq were being re-allocated to occupy America, running checkpoints and training to deal with “civil unrest and crowd control” under the auspices of a Northcom program that revolved around deploying 20,000 active duty troops inside America to “help” state and local officials during times of emergency.
The preparations have been reported elsewhere to include provisions for housing large numbers of people under secure conditions in several large scaled locations. That part of the report is persistent, but has not been verified.
Rest of story HERE!!
~Steve~           H/T Miss May & the Constitution Club

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Stratfor: Conditions in Baghdad

Retired CIA analysts have long said we went into Iraq, using the pretext of Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction; but, really to try to contain Iran’s influence in the Middle East.      I got this from Stratfor via email.~LTG

Raw Intelligence Report:  Conditions in Baghdad

June 13, 2011
Editor’s Note: What follows is raw insight from a STRATFOR source in Baghdad, Iraq. The following does not reflect STRATFOR’s view, but provides a perspective on the situation in Baghdad.

After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, the city was a nice place despite the lack of law enforcement and government. By February 2004, most businesses were operating, people were happy and stores were open until midnight. There was no shortage of fuel, and electricity was more reliable. The city was very clean, and the crime rate was low. There was also no fear of kidnapping or car bombs. It was a functioning city with law, even without law enforcement. There was even a lion in the Baghdad Zoo, though I heard it later died.

On March 2, 2004, explosions shook the Shiite Kazimiyah district, killing tens and wounding hundreds. These explosions were the start of more attacks and car bombings between the Shia and Sunnis that increased in later years. In 2003 and 2004, Baghdad was a city where I envisioned living permanently one day. That is not the case now.

The roads are in very poor condition, with lots of garbage everywhere — some of it dating back to 2003. Many streets are blocked with concrete walls. There are many checkpoints inside the city manned by soldiers and police, but they did not seem to be well trained or prepared for potential threats. I hardly saw them checking cars or asking people for identification. We drove 400 kilometers (250 miles) and encountered more than 26 checkpoints; none of them stopped us to ask for identification. The soldiers and police at the checkpoints do not seem to be loyal to the Iraqi state but are there to get their salaries and make a living. The taxi driver told me that since the government does not enforce the law, the soldiers do not want to ask for identification and hold people accountable because they fear reprisals later. Therefore, they let everyone go and avoid problems.

At every checkpoint, there are devices the soldiers hold that detect explosives and guns, making it difficult to carry guns or explosives in a car. This made me wonder how so many assassinations have been carried out with guns with suppressors. I was told that most of the assassinations are inside jobs; the officials do not like each other and try to have each other killed. The officials’ guards are allowed to have guns, and it is these permitted guns that are used in some of the assassinations.

Traffic is another problem in Baghdad. There are traffic police on the streets, and there are traffic lights to regulate the traffic, but no one cares about the police or whether the light is red or green.

Early one morning, we headed to the Green Zone, the “safe” area where foreign embassies are located. In fact, the Green Zone did not seem safe. There were many security clearances — two Iraqi checkpoints and a U.S. Embassy checkpoint manned by Africans (security companies hire many workers from Africa). The African workers board buses and ask for identification and check the badges of people in cars. After entering the Green Zone, there are other checkpoints where people need to show special badges. Cell phones are banned, as is water and other liquids. We were not allowed to take some of my daughter’s medicine with us. The speed limit is 5 miles per hour, and there are very hard road bumps inside the Green Zone that I believe could break the chains of tank treads.

There is no sign of life inside the Green Zone. It is fully militarized and seems more like a military camp than anything. I did not even see a store inside the parts of the Green Zone we drove through.

Electricity is yet another problem in Baghdad and other areas. During the hot summer, there are fewer than 10 hours of electricity per day. People are very angry about this and hold the government responsible. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised in February to improve services. The people said no improvements have happened since then — there are shortages of electricity and water, sewage services are lacking, and there is unemployment.

Watch this video on the history of the Sunni/Shiite divide

According to the people I spoke with, the city is fully under Shiite control. I don’t mean just the security establishment, but the stores and businesses, too. During the sectarian conflict, most Sunnis left their houses and stores, which were taken by Shiite families who are unwilling to return them. The Sunni districts of Baghdad have been surrounded by concrete walls (like those found in Israel), and there are only one or two gates to get in and out. This has made the Sunnis unhappy, and they see it as a tool to control them rather than to protect them.

Corruption has made many officers and government employees rich. You can get an Iraqi passport for $1,500. When you go to any government ministry, nothing is done for you unless you pay them. The taxi driver handling some government staff said, “You need to understand that especially in the passport department, the officer tells you that you can’t get a passport and then he gets up and goes to the toilet. You need to follow him and give him some money; toilets are where the bribes are given.” He added that this is true for every government establishment, not just for passports.  (So, if a woman wants a passport, she has to follow the guy to the toilet and give him a bribe?  Ewwwwwww!   – LTG)

More Stratfor Raw Intelligence Reports Here

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Andrew Klavan Reviews BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

The Battle for Los Angelesby Andrew Klavan · View Comments
in Culture
Crowds flocked to the new apocalyptic alien invasion funfest Battle:  Los Angeles probably for the same reason a lot of critics hated it:  it pays high tribute to the US Marines and, symbolically at least, their Bush-led victory in the Iraq war.

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