Saturday, July 23, 2016

Jill Stein on foreign policy

At COUNTERPUNCH, Jill Stein offers her thoughts on the so-called war on terrorism and foreign policy:

What will a potential President Clinton or Trump do as the War on Terror continues to “come home” to San Bernardino, Beirut, Paris, Istanbul, and Nice? ISIS – a direct outgrowth of the Clinton-supported US invasion and occupation of Iraq – is a force that feeds on the outrage of people on the receiving end of our disastrous, belligerent approach to foreign policy and national security. Clinton’s destruction of Libya added to the chaos by unleashing vast stockpiles of Libyan weapons that then became available to ISIS.
Groups like ISIS cannot be stopped by more violence. On the other hand, they can be stopped by a weapons embargo, a freeze on the bank accounts of countries funding them, and by stopping the flow of jihadi recruits across Turkey’s border. We must ensure a pathway to dignity, self-respect and full inclusion in society that will undermine ISIS recruitment to the path of violence.
In my platform, I call for a new approach to foreign policy based on human rights and international law. We must lead by example by respecting human life and national sovereignty, just as we would like ours to be respected.
We must also put an end to the weapons profiteering that fans the flames of violence domestically and over seas. Whether by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman or the NRA, the promotion of brutality and violence for profit needs to be stopped. We need to disarm ISIS by enacting an arms embargo on the Middle East, rather than effectively arming all sides. Congress and the White House need to stand up to the enablers of terror at home and around the world.

Neither America nor the world can afford another four years of failed Obama-Clinton policies in the Middle East. We can make the world a safer, more peaceful place – but only if we stop investing in the destruction of other countries and reinvest in the future of our own. We should be using our vast resources not to spread death, but for the things we urgently need for life: education, health care, infrastructure, and solutions to the climate crisis that threatens us all.

It's the most substantial piece on her foreign policy thoughts I've read so far.

She's most likely the Green Party's presidential candidate.

We do have more choices than Donald or Hillary.

And Jill's making a lot of sense -- and certainly way more than Hillary or Donald.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Saturday, July 23, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, secret dealings on behalf of Hillary Clinton get exposed by WikiLeaks, questions arise about where the money for the Iraqi people will actually go, and much more.

Presumed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton -- or, as Mike bills her, the repulsive nominee -- is back in the news.

You'll see Hillary in the White House With My Vote—When Pigs Fly! Watch her pander to Blacks at the Convention.


No, not because the War Hawk chose Tim Kaine.

Her cult will look the other way and pretend like Tim Kaine's abortion stance doesn't matter the same way they ignore the way Hillary has chipped away at abortion rights since she first stepped onto the national stage.

No, no one's talking about Tim Kaine because no one -- probably not even his own mother -- has ever found Tim Kaine remotely interesting.

It's WikiLeaks:

RELEASE: 19,252 emails from the US Democratic National Committee


Gee, Bernie Sanders, are you carrying about these "damn e-mails"?

Because you really should.

Theodore Schleifer (CNN) reports:

Nearly 20,000 emails sent and received by Democratic National Committee staff members were released Friday by Wikileaks, with one message in particular raising questions about the committee's impartiality during the Democratic primary.
The revelation threatened to shatter the uneasy peace between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps and supporters days before the Democratic convention kicks off next week.
    The leaks, from January 2015 to May 2016, feature Democratic staffers debating everything from how to deal with challenging media requests to coordinating the committee's message with other powerful interests in Washington. 

    Michael Sainato (OBESERVER) points, out, "In its recent leak of 20,000 DNC emails from January 2015 to May 2016, DNC staff discuss how to deal with Bernie Sanders’ popularity as a challenge to Clinton’s candidacy. Instead of treating Sanders as a viable candidate for the Democratic ticket, the DNC worked against him and his campaign to ensure Clinton received the nomination."  Tom Hamburger and Karen Tumulty (WASHINGTON POST) add, "One potential complication is that Sanders’s supporters are crucial to Democratic hopes of retaining the White House in the fall. They bring to the contest both passion and a potentially vast donor base."

    And when not attempting to derail the Bernie Sanders campaign, the e-mails reveal attempts at subverting journalism.

    Queen Bee Debbie Wasserman Schultz, for example, cannot handle criticism anymore than she can handle bathing.

    She sees this item in a brief from an MSNBC newsletter (sent to all who sign up for them):

    >>> On Wednesday, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski called for DNC Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to “step down” over her handling of this year’s Democratic presidential primary. >>> After playing a clip of Wasserman Schultz, Brzezinski said, “This has been very poorly handled from the start. Ot has been unfair, and they haven’t taken him seriously, and it starts, quite frankly, with the person that we just heard speaking. It just does.” >>> Brzezinski added of Wasserman Schultz, “She should step down.” >>> Brzezinski’s co-host, former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough wondered why Sanders would “get in line” for the Democratic Party, given that they “rigged the entire thing,” and that if he was in Sanders’ position, “I’d say, ‘Go straight to hell, I’m running as an independent.'”

    Wasserman Shcultz then copies that item and fires an e-mail off to Chuck Todd:

    On May 18, 2016, at 9:19 AM, "" wrote: > >> Chuck, see below. I would like to discuss this with you today. Can you reach out to Luis to schedule a call? Thanks. >> DWS >> 

    She titles this e-mail "Chuck, this must stop."

    Todd is trying to spin this as just the normal thing that can happen when you do coverage.

    That's a lie.  There's nothing normal about him declaring this of Mika in an e-mail to Debbie's DNC staffer (Communications Director Luis Miranda):

         I don't know. She can do 180s after these calls. It can't get worse

    Who's paying Chuck Todd?

    I thought it was ComCast but it appears he believes he's being paid by the Democratic National Committee.

    In that e-mail, he's just a little bitch, isn't he?  "She can do 180s after these calls.  It can't get worse."

    So good to know Chuck's got the backs of the other NBC employees.

    He was contacted in his position as the Political Director of NBC News.

    If he's going to sell out employees, he better advise NBC News and ComCast of that decision.

    The media was entirely too close with Clinton and her campaign.  This is Marcia's "Fire Kenneth Vogel:"

    As this report details, POLITICO 'reporter' Kenneth Vogel made a deal with the DNC that they would see his article before he submittted it to his editors and, not only that, he also then asked for their thoughts.
    This is not reporting.
    And who knows how many other 'reporters' made similar deals?
    A pall is cast on all journalism and the only answer is to fire Kenneth Vogel for violating journalistic integrity and ethics.

    Hillary loves to claim the press is against her and her cult loves to make that claim as well.

    But Hillary's always used the press.  Ava and I'll probably address how she got what was coming to her in the 90s after what she did.  It seems history has been forgotten there.

    Turning to Iraq, Hannah Allam (MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS) surveys the scene:

     The news sounded just as good this week as it did in 2007: With U.S. backing, Iraqi forces have pushed savage extremists out of key territories in what seems to be a turning point in the campaign to rout the insurgency.
    The lesson of 2007, however, was that such victories can be fleeting. The jihadist movement that today is known as the Islamic State found fertile ground in areas the U.S. government thought had been pacified.
    Now, diplomats and analysts warn, the same toxic mix of a security vacuum and sectarian governance could threaten the gains against the Islamic State that the Obama administration touted this week at gatherings in Washington of officials from the anti-Islamic State coalition.

    Read more here:

    We've been noting the lack of attention given to a political solution for over two years now.

    The White House is all on board with sending more US troops into Iraq, more weapons there, more everything military.

    That's the only thing they've done.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Rocket artillery, attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL unmanned aerial vehicle, an ISIL mortar system, ISIL-used engineering equipment, an ISIL tunnel system, and two ISIL assembly areas and suppressed and ISIL rocket position.

    -- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Tuz, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Ar Rutbah, a strike struck an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb storage facility.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL weapons storage facility.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

    Dropping back to Thursday morning's snapshot;

    Sorry to interrupt the chorus of "We Are The World" but how will it be ensured that the money goes to those in need?

    Kerry's comments included, "The goal of our pledging conference is to raise money to help Iraqis in four priority areas: humanitarian aid, de-mining, immediate stabilization, and longer-term recovery."

    These would have been questions to pursue but Elise Labbot didn't.

    CNN's reporter got the first question -- when you're the State Dept's pet you get those sort of favors -- and immediately turned a briefing on Iraq into Turkey.

    No one was surprised.

    When everyone's whispering -- true or false, I don't know -- that you're sleeping with John Kerry, presumably, you're calling the shots.  He is after all married (to a very good friend of mine, so watch your back, Elise, if the rumors are true and say prayers of thanks that you don't live in China).  And if the rumors aren't true, stop pretending flirting is part of a reporter's arsenal.

    Iraq's attending this conference with government officials.  Presumably their hands are out.

    And Iraq is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and has been for over a decade -- see the rankings on Transparency Index.

    Great to meet university students - they're angry at Iraq's politicians for stealing their future.

    Yes, the students are angry, as are the people of Iraq.

    Iraq is an oil rich country raking in billions in oil revenues each year -- billions more than they have millions of people.  Yet government corruption is so great that this oil rich country now has to beg the International Money Fund for dollars.  You don't catch oil rich Saudi Arabia doing that.

    Where is the money going?

    That's an important question also in terms of who benefits.

    It is an important question.

    And it got asked in Friday's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau:

    QUESTION: It seems the State Department did a great job hosting all those international conferences on Iraq.

    MS TRUDEAU: Thank you. We appreciate it. It was a good team.

    QUESTION: No, terrific, and I was very pleased to see the Kurdish – KRG representative was there as well.

    MS TRUDEAU: She was.

    QUESTION: And that was terrific. And you even raised more money – somewhat more money.

    MS TRUDEAU: Over $2.1 billion for Iraq.

    QUESTION: And you said, if I recall correctly, 2 billion was the goal. So you raised more than your goal?

    MS TRUDEAU: That’s correct.

    QUESTION: So I have a question for the next phase.

    MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Because the Iraqi Government’s a – well, it ranks 161 out of 168 countries for corruption in Transparency International’s index, and it’s not known particularly for its honest government. What mechanisms are in place to make sure that this money is spent correctly, and since the Kurdistan region hosts two-thirds of the displaced persons and the refugees from the war with [the Islamic State], to ensure that the Kurdistan region gets its fair share of the – this humanitarian aid?

    MS TRUDEAU: Well, I’d start off by saying that the United States is grateful for each of the countries and organizations who were represented at the conference. As you know, this was a tremendous success, so thanks for recognizing that. These countries and organizations who participated are demonstrating important leadership, and they’re making it possible for Iraqi citizens displaced by [the Islamic State] to return – to choose to return – to their homes, to receive the services they need in order to rebuild their community.
    Speaking specifically about the money, because I do want to discuss that a little, pledges from these international donors will go to four critical need areas in Iraq: humanitarian assistance, de-mining, the UNDP Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization, and the Funding Facility for Expanded Stabilization. The latter, it’s my understanding, functions as a bridging effort between the Iraqi Government and the coalition in areas liberated by [the Islamic State].
    In terms of the Iraqi Government’s work on this, our partnership with the Iraqi Government is deep and it’s strong. This is something that we’ve spoken frequently about in our support of the government as they seek to reform their own efforts in doing this, so it’s something that we’re very closely invested in.
    In your question on what money is going where, the conference just wrapped up, so I’m not going to get ahead of that. What we will say, which we have always said, is that funding and the support will go through Baghdad, but we are very aware of the impact that certain areas of the country have experienced at the hands of [the Islamic State].

    QUESTION: And doubtless you have in mind measures to make sure that Baghdad spends the money appropriately and it doesn’t go into people’s pockets?

    MS TRUDEAU: So that’s one of the conversations that we continue to have with U.S. aid regardless of where it goes in the world.

    Did you notice Trudeau's long, long response which finally boiled down to "I'm not going to get ahead of that."

    She has no answer.

    They held a conference, raised money and are now handing it over with no checks or balances on it to ensure that the money goes where it's needed.

    This is the country Transparency Index ranked Iraq the 161st most corrupt country out of 167 countries.

    RUDAW reports:

    The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is concerned that, while it hosts nearly 2 million internally displaced Iraqis and is a key force on the frontlines in the war against the Islamic State, it will not get its share of the $2.1 billion pledged for Iraq at a conference in Washington this week.
    “We are talking to the international community to respect the great responsibility that the Kurdistan Region is facing regarding the ISIS war and the refugee crisis,” Falah Mustafa, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s foreign relations department, told Rudaw English. 

    In other news, XINHUA reports:

    Islamic State (IS) militants launched bomb attacks targeting civilians fleeing the militant-seized town of Shirqat in Iraq's Salahudin province on Saturday, killing 13 and injuring 19 others, a provincial security source said.
    In one attack, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest among a crowd of families in western Shirqat, some 280 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, after they left their homes to seek help from the security forces outside the besieged town, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
    The blast left 11 people dead and nine others wounded, most of them women and children, the source said.

        In another attack, a bomb planted on a road outside Shirqat went off near a group of fleeing families, killing two children and wounding 10, the source added.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

    Hillary just got more disgusting

    Why do they call Hillary Clinton "the presumptive nominee"?

    I don't mean, "I don't understand what those words mean."

    They mean she's the expected nominee.

    I get it.

    But I do think this is a more accurate description: "the repulsive nominee."

    And she just got more repulsive.

    She selected Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate.

    Tom Hall (WSWS) reports:

    Presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton selected Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate on Friday. The announcement, made in advance of next week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, was originally due to be made at a rally in Tampa, Florida but was instead delivered hours later over Twitter.
    In selecting Kaine, Clinton is making clear that she plans on running a right-wing, pro-war campaign targeted at winning over the military and sections of the Republican Party dissatisfied with Trump, and particularly with the Republican candidate’s attitude toward Russia. Clinton also wanted to repudiate any association with the issues of social inequality that motivated the widespread support for her main rival in the primaries, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
    Kaine is among the most hawkish figures among Senate Democrats. As governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, Kaine oversaw billions of dollars in cuts to the state budget. The state of Virginia is a major center for the military and defense industry, and is home to the Pentagon and the headquarters of the CIA.
    Between 2009 and 2011, Kaine served as the head of the Democratic National Committee, the leadership body of the Democratic Party. He is close to Wall Street, having recently backed measures to deregulate banks.
    As a Senator since 2013, Kaine has regularly called for increased US involvement in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He has consistently supported the Obama administration’s reckless brinkmanship against Russia and China, two nuclear-armed powers. He has repeatedly pushed for a Congressional resolution officially declaring war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to clear the way for stepped-up US intervention.

    Like Clinton, Kaine has also supported the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria, an action that would quickly provoke a confrontation with Russia.

    War Hawks of  feather suckle together.

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot II:"

    July 21, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, meet-ups to 'help' Iraqis continue, talk of five US bases being built in the KRG circulates, and much more.

    The never-ending Iraq War continues with the US Defense Dept announcing today:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Qaim, a strike produced inconclusive results.

    -- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL command-and-control node.

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL headquarters and an ISIL financial headquarters and destroyed seven ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL artillery piece.

    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL boats, an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL tunnel.

    -- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL recoilless rifle, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL weapons cache.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

    Wait, two strikes near Ramadi?

    Thought that was one of the 'liberated' cities.

    What happened?

    Don't wait for the press to ask.

    And none of these bombings helps the Iraqi people in need, does it?

    10,000,000 people in are in need of humanitarian aid — we must help them. -


    These kids now call this camp outside home. 1.5 million children need food, water & health care in .


    A must-watch video diary from a humanitarian worker in .


    At today's State Dept press briefing, spokesperson John Kirby declared, "Yesterday, also I think as you know, the Secretary [of State John Kerry] hosted the Pledging Conference for Iraq, which raised over $2.1 billion from the international community, to include $316 million from the United States – funds that will provide Iraq with critical stabilization and humanitarian support."

    What's he talking about?

    He was too busy playing Secretary of Defense to explain.

    But President Barack Obama's Special Envoy to Iraq, Brett McGurk, explained it July 19th in a press briefing:

    But very importantly, there’s much more than just the military campaign. We’re very focused on what comes after ISIL in these areas. So as a coalition we’ve established two stabilization funding facilities, one a funding facility for immediate stabilization. This is kind of to get the lights on, to get police trained, to get them back in the streets, to allow people to return to their homes. And this has actually been quite successful. We have about $100 million in the fund at any given time. And in the city of Tikrit, for example, nearly the entire population has returned to the city of Tikrit. And overall in Iraq, we’ve liberated about 50 percent of the territory from ISIL and more than 700,000 Iraqis have returned to their homes in areas that ISIL used to control.

    So we've used Brett McGurk to rescue floundering John Kerry's Wednesday remarks.

    Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke about the military aspects:

    As I said earlier today, our coalition's military campaign plan has three objectives.  First, to destroy the ISIL parent tumor in Iraq and Syria.  That's necessary, but it's not sufficient.  As recent attacks remind us, ISIL safe havens threaten not only the lives of Iraqi and Syrian people, but also the security of our own citizens.

    And the sooner we defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, the safer our countries will be.

    So our second objective is to combat ISIL's metastasizes everywhere they emerge around the world.  And third, and most important, to help protect our homelands.

    In January this year, we updated our comprehensive coalition military campaign plan to accomplish the military aspects of these three objectives.  And we've pursued a number of deliberate decisions and actions to accelerate this plan and hasten ISIL's lasting defeat.

    And since then, in play after play, town after town, from every direction and in every domain, our campaign has accelerated further, squeezing ISIL and rolling it back towards Raqqah and Mosul.  By isolating these two cities, we're effectively setting the stage to collapse ISIL's control over them.

    Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of our local partners and our service members, and more contributions from the nations that met here today, we seized opportunities, reinforced success, and taken the fight to the enemy.

    But we're not going to rest.  Today, we reviewed and agreed on the next plays in our campaign, which of course we won't discuss publicly yet, but let me be clear, they culminate in the collapse of ISIL's control over the cities of Mosul and Raqqah.

    Now, before I continue, I want to say that we're aware of reports of civilian casualties that may be related to recent coalition airstrikes near Manbij city in Syria, which is one of the last junctions connecting Raqqah to the outside world.  We'll investigate these reports and continue to do all we can to protect civilians from harm.

    Being scrupulously careful to avoid civilian casualties and being transparent about this issue is a reflection of the civilized nature of this coalition.

    Getting back to the future campaign and the next plays, after detailing those next plays, we identified the capabilities and the support required to execute those plays.  Since our first full defense ministerial in Brussels in February, our nations, including the United States, have provided even more support to accelerate the campaign, as our local partners have made advances.

    But we're all going to need to do more.  For the United States' part, President Obama decided to deploy an additional 560 troops to support the Iraqi security forces in their offensive to retake Mosul.  And on my visit to Iraq last week, where I met with Prime Minister Abadi and Defense Minister Obaidi, who by the way is here today and I was pleased to speak with him and he spoke to the other ministers several times -- I offered to share some of our hard-earned expertise in countering improvised explosive devices with the Iraqi security forces.

    In fact, the director of our joint improvised threat defeat agency, Lieutenant General Mike Shields, is in Baghdad today meeting with Iraqi officials to discuss this topic, a pledge I made to Prime Minister Abadi last week.

    Meanwhile, away from the meet-ups, a document the US government signed is in the news. Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports:

    The military protocol agreement signed July 12 between the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government and the United States might create controversy in Iraq’s public and political circles, especially those that do not have good relations with the United States and are preparing to fight US forces if they step on Iraqi soil. According to officials in Kurdistan, the agreement states that five US bases should be built in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region areas of Erbil, Atrush, Harir, Dahuk and Sinjar. Moreover, the United States vowed to pay the salaries of the Kurdish peshmerga for 10 years, although this has not been confirmed by any US party.
    Perhaps this agreement will give the peshmerga more autonomy and international legitimacy, but at the same time it might create problems with its counterparts in Iraq such as the predominately Shiite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Sunni tribal forces. The agreement will allow the peshmerga to equal the Iraqi army in strength and might provide it with more arms and develop it further in the future. During the liberation of Iraqi areas, clashes broke out between the peshmerga and forces from the Iraqi army and the PMU, the last of which was in April in Tuz Khormato.
    The PMU that are close to Iran have increased in number and become better equipped, and they are almost on par with the Iraqi army. They enjoy huge influence in Iraq that might be greater than that of the Iraqi army. However, the tribal forces that constitute the Sunni version of the PMU do not have the same impact.

    ALSUMARIA reports that US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones told the network today that Baghdad is fully aware of the agreement the US signed with the KRG.  ALL IRAQ NEWS notes that Jones has stated that the US has "no intention to set up bases" in the KRG.  NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS explains that the party of Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to nominate ministers to Parliament.

    The agreement was signed 10 days after the KRG became the target of threats.

    Strongly condemn the aggressive declarations of some leaders against the region & their own population.

    July 2nd, Adil Alsalmi and Dalshad Abdullah (ASHARQ AL-AWSAT) reported:

    Tension prevailed at the Kurdish frontier between Iran and Kurdistan following the threat of General Hossein Salami, deputy chief of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, to launch an attack on a wide scale.
    Salami explicitly said that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) will not hesitate to strike and destroy any region that threatens the Iranian regime and hosts rebels.
    Salami addressed top officials at Iraqi Kurdistan saying that Kurdistan should abide by its pledges or else the military response will be decisive. The General accused some of the countries in the region of supporting Kurdish opposition parties and playing with fire.

    Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran official Khalid Wanawsha told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the purpose of these threats is to exert pressure on Iraqi Kurdistan but this will not falter the party’s strive to gain the legitimate rights they are demanding.

    Massoud Barzani is the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

    Today in Erbil, the signing of a military MoU between the Kurdistan Region and the United States of America

    That is what he Tweeted.  Here is what was posted on his official website regarding the agreement:

    Salahadin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, ( President Masoud Barzani received a United States military delegation headed by Ms. Elissa Slotkin, the acting assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. This meeting was followed after a telephone conversation between President Barzani and Mr. Ashton Carter, the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

    President Barzani and Ms. Slotkin discussed the liberation of Mosul and the status of the preparations and readiness from the U.S., Iraqi and Kurdistan Region perspectives. President Barzani focused on the importance and urgency of the liberation of Mosul and used the opportunity to reiterated his position of the extreme importance of planning for post liberation Mosul.

    Ms. Slotkin stated that the Peshmerga forces will play an essential role in the Mosul operation just as they have played similar roles in other operations against the terrorists of the Islamic State.

    President Barzani expressed his gratitude to the people and government of the United States for their support to the Kurdistan Region and for leading the collective effort to exterminate the terrorists of the Islamic State.

    The meeting was attended by a number of military officials from both the United States and the Kurdistan Region and a memorandum of understanding on the military coordination between the Kurdistan Region and the United States was signed. The acting Minister of Peshmerga Affairs, Mr. Karim Sinjari and the the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense of International Security Affairs were the two signatories of the MoU.

    The memorandum makes references to military and financial support to the Peshmerga forces and also to some of the details of the Mosul operation.

    That makes no mention of bases -- which doesn't mean they're not in the agreement.

    Nor does Jones' denial mean that the bases aren't in the agreement.

    Meanwhile, WORLD BULLETIN reports:

    Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Thursday welcomed this week’s resignation of seven government ministers, urging remaining cabinet members to follow suit.
    On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi accepted the resignation of six members of his government, including the ministers of interior, industry, petroleum, transportation, housing and construction and water resources.
    The following day, Hussein al-Shahristani, minister of higher education and scientific research, also resigned, leaving a total of seven ministerial portfolios vacant.

    In the United States, the Republican Party wrapped up their political convention tonight with the party's nominee Donald Trump delivering a speech -- a speech Stephen Collinson (CNN) notes lasted "one hour and 15 minutes."

    Gary Johnson is the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party and this is from his Twitter feed:

    “Amid Donald Trumps RNC Gary Johnson Makes His Pitch to Disenchanted Republicans” via
    "Gary Johnson offers a Libertarian alternative to Clinton and Trump" via
    Live: Libertarian presidential candidate discusses goals for America

    Hillary Clinton is the presumed presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.  Jill Stein Tweets:

    Meanwhile, Hillary supports voodoo foreign policy where airstrikes & drones create peace for the US arms industry & trickles down to us all.

    Jill Stein is the presumed presidential nominee of the Green Party.

    Hillary Clinton understands if you can't vote for a warmongering corporatist like her.


    So Hillary is . Now Donald is apparently . I'm with anyone who is going to address 9ft sea level rise by 2050.

    anyone who wants to address institutional racism, pending climate catastrophe, corporate oligarchy, a war industry...

    people that want open debates, a constitutional right to vote, proportional representation, popular vote, accessible polling places.