Friday, January 06, 2017

Idiot of the week and more

Niles Niemuth (WSWS) reports:

US department stores Macy’s and Sears announced thousands of layoffs and hundreds of store closures on Wednesday following dismal holiday sales and declining yearly revenues.
Macy’s said that it will eliminate more than 10,000 jobs and will move forward with the planned closure of 68 stores by the middle of this year. The closures are part of 100 announced in August, representing a loss of nearly 14 percent of the 730 stores operated by Macy’s in the US and its territories.
The company reported that it will seek to maintain profits by eliminating a number of management positions across the company, cutting 6,200 people from the workforce. On top of this, 3,900 Macy’s store employees will lose their jobs, though the company indicated that some could be reassigned to other stores.
Macy’s reported that its sales during the holiday months of November and December had fallen 2.1 percent from the previous year. Retailers rely on sales at the end of the year to pad out revenue and profits.

Sears Holdings also announced on Wednesday that it was planning to shutter 150 stores by April; 108 of its Kmart locations and 42 Sears stores. The closures represent 13.5 percent of the 801 Kmart locations remaining at the end of 2016 and 6 percent of the 676 remaining Sears locations.

Eight years Barack had to fix the economy.

Apparently, he didn't have time.

Beer summits, for example, take a lot of time.

Go, Sandernistas, Go!

ObamaCare needs to go.

So do several other things.  Including? John McCain.

McCain would declare war on a loaf of bread

In fact, John McCain can be idiot of the week.

I think he's having senior moments.

He craves a Cold War with Russia.

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

Friday, January 6, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, more bombs dropped by Barack Obama this year than last, more US troops are wounded in Iraq and Syria, we look at Amnesty's report again and we remind who the League of Righteous are and what deal Barack made with them in 2009.

Yesterday, human rights organization Amnesty International issued a report entitled [PDF format warning] "IRAQ: TURNING A BLIND EYE THE ARMING OF THE POPULAR MOBILIZATION UNITS."  REUTERS reported:

Militias fighting alongside Iraqi troops against Islamic State are committing war crimes using weapons provided to the Iraqi military by the United States, Europe, Russia and Iran, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
The rights group said that the predominantly Shi'ite Muslim militias, known collective as the Hashid Shaabi, were using weapons from Iraqi military stockpiles to commit war crimes including enforced disappearances, torture and summary killings.

Yesterday on AL JAZEERA's INSIDE STORY, host Jane Dutton explored the issue with Qatar University's Mahjoob Zwein, Exeter University's Tallha Abdulrazaq and "Former US army officer & Iraqi government adviser" Michael Pregent.


Michael Pregent: This should be something that the US intelligence community would agree with.  That US weapons, US supplies, US monies is falling into the hands of designated terrorist groups in Iraq and are falling into the hands of those Shia militias -- two of them which are designated terrorist groups Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq  [League of the Righteous] and Kata'ib Hizbullah [Hizbullah Brigades].  And they are falling into their hands because weapons are going through Baghdad and Baghdad is beholden to the Shia political parties so that they're making sure that US weapons and money gets to these militias --

Jane Dutton:  And I'm assuming that the US must know that this is happening?

Michael Pregent:  We know and we're trying to use the government to stop it.  But anyone who knows the Iraqi government, who's worked this issue for the last ten years, knows that the government is beholden to the Shia political parties and there's not a lot we can do without putting US forces in Iraq at risk from attacks by these very militias.

Jane Dutton: Mahjoob Zweiri, are you surprised, hearing this information?

Mahjoob Zweiri: To be honest with you, I'm surprised by the fact that all of these weapons went to Iraq and the United States and other European countries are aware of this and they have not stopped it.  That is surprising to everyone following the Iraq story.  However, if you look at the Iraqi situation post-2015, Iraq has been categorized as a conflict zone whereas you don't have a steady government, you don't have -- I would say -- a unified government and you have no economy, you have no military institution, you have a sectarian government running the country.  You have Iranian rule which basically tried to destabilize the situation in Iraq and benefit from that politically.  And you had basically the United States had washed its hands of Iraq and withdraw its troops under the Obama administration.  So basically all of this together had helped all of those players to send their weapons.  Let's not forget that this militia basically has been -- I would say -- given a sort of legitimacy by the religious authority [Grand Ayatollah Ali al-] Sistani in 2014 and based on his fatwah they were basically established.  And they have used the military, the military capability of the government, and the name of the government at a time when the military institution has been disabled of doing anything in Iraq since 2015 at least --

Jane Dutton: They really filled the role.

Mahjoob Zweiri: Absolutely. The only military institution -- or part of the institution -- working is actually the special forces trained by the Americans which are forced to attack those in the Islamic State and basically those 60,000 forces they lost those in battling Anbar and Mosul now. The other part of the military, basically, they are fragmented they aren't really provided with the needed equipment in time.  Most of them are out of date.  There are a lot of stories about, you know, about more fragmentation within the institution itself and also regarding leaders who are running the institution.  So basically you have an institution which falls apart with basically the government of all of that.

As noted in the excerpt above, The League of Rightous is an issue. The Amnesty report notes:

The PMU are comprised of large, well-established militia groups, such as Munathamat Badr (or Badr Brigades or Badr Organization), Saraya al-Salam ( Peace Brigades, formerly Mahdi army), Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) and Kata'ib Hizbullah (Hizbullah Brigades), that were either formed before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 or emerged in opposition to the US- led invasion and occupation of the country. Other groups emerged and grew as the fight against IS progressed. There are no official statistics available on the number of militias within the PMU . Media reports quote unspecified officials estimating that there are between 40 and 50 militias. The 2016 Federal Iraqi Budget indicated that there were 110,000 persons in the PMU. In December 2016, Ahmed al-Asadi, the spokesperson of the PMU, claimed that there were 141,000 fighters affiliated with the PMU.

And in the program on AL JAZEERA it was stated that the US was limited because the Shi'ite militias might attack American troops.  Why would anyone think that?

Because they have.

And Barack is now supplying them with weapons.  They killed American troops and the president of the United States is supplying them with weapons.

Of course, he's already made deals with them.  In fact, in 2009, if Ben Rhodes hadn't pulled in his marker with his brother who heads CBS NEWS, CBS was about to go all out on the story THE NEW YORK TIMES had published about the deal Barack made with this group of terrorists.  Ben may have killed some media attention but he did not kill the historical record which will not be kind to him or to Barack.  Dropping back to July 9, 2011:

Earlier we were mentioning the little scamp Ali al-Lami who was killed a few weeks back. A terrorist, in fact. The US military held him for awhile. They held others with the Shi'ite thug group the League of Righteous. They're responsible for the deaths of 5 American service members. Maybe more. But 5 they are known to have killed.

And Barack let their leader and some of his followers go in a deal in the summer of 2009 -- a deal that the families of the 5 fallen soldiers were not consulted on or even given a heads up to -- because Barack didn't want to be president of the United States. That was too small for Barry. He needed -- his ego needed -- a world stage. So when the British needed something to get their 5 citizens kidnapped by the League freed, Barry said, "Screw dead Americans who were killed doing a job their government ordered them to do, I'm going to free the League -- this rag-tag group of killers -- because I don't give a damn about the safety of Iraqis and because I want to get in good with England."

So Barry released them and, as usual from Princess Tiny Meat, his 'grand gesture' fell quickly. Because the addiction to the Kool-Aid was still so high in 2009, let's drop back we'll drop back to the
June 9, 2009 snapshot with the realization that some who looked the other way in real time will now be outraged:
This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

Agreed. Not only did Barry betray the fallen, he demonstrated yet again no one should trust him at the adult table by himself. His 'big' deal resulted in only one living British citizen released. Three corpses were released.

The fifth kidnapped victim?

Though Barry's 'big' deal was supposed to free all five, the League, years later, is now insisting they want a new deal (and figure Barry's just the pushover to give it to them?).
Al Mada reports they have issued a statement where they savage the US government for not honoring -- and quickly honoring -- the agreement made with them. As a result, they say Alan McMenemy will not be released.

Peter Moore, the only one released alive, was a computer tech working in Iraq. Four British bodyguards were protecting him. The bodyguards were McMenemy, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec MacLachlan and Jason Cresswell. The families of the four have continued to publicly request that Alan McMenemy be released.

They condemn the "procrastionation" of the US government after the deal was made and state that a promise was also broken when "US forces did not stop attacks" -- apparently Barack made very grand promises -- so now Alan McMenemy will not be released. The statement is credited to Akram al-Ka'bi.

What the statement really does is demonstrate what many condemned in 2009: The US government, the administration, entered into an agreement that did not benefit the US or Iraq. They freed known killers from prison. Killers of Iraqis, killers of American citizens. There was nothing to be gained by that act for Iraq or the US. At some point, history will ask how Barack Obama thought he was fulfilling his duties of commander in chief by making such an ignorant move?

Alan McMeney's corpse was eventually released.  In 2012, Colin Freeman (Telegraph of London) observed:


If a prisoner exchange was done, though, it was a high price to pay, particularly for the Americans, who believed that Khazali brothers's militant group, the League of the Righteous, was involved in the Kerbala attack. Not long after Moore and Qais al Khazali were released, I spoke to Vanessa Chism, the stepmother of one of the murdered soldiers, Specialist Johnathan Bryan Chism. While she didn't object to a prisoner swap in principle, she lamented the prospect of not getting justice for her stepson.

"We were informed that this was going to happen, and while personally we would like the people who did this to our child to be punished, they will have to live with what they did," she said. "But if some good came out of it, by the release of that British man, then I am fine with that."

It wasn't just Westerners, though, who lost their chance for a day in court. The League is also believed to have been behind the abduction of 30 Iraqi Red Crescent workers in Baghdad in 2006, most of whose fate remains unknown. When I was last in Baghdad, the family of one of the workers told me that they felt that they too should have been consulted over any prisoner swap. They argued that as part of any deal, the League should have been made to hand over some of its Iraqi hostages as well as Mr Moore – or at least say where the bodies lay.

But Barack made a deal with the terrorists.
And it wasn't even a good deal.
And the League got out and pursued their terrorist activities and now Barack's given up on even trying to prevent US weapons and monies from going to them.  What a legacy.
And then there's this.
People screaming about an imminent fascist reign of terror don't seem to care much about this.

Yes, the Iraq War continues.

And this morning, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted six strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an artillery system.

-- Near Huwayjah, two strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL-held building and a vehicle.

-- Near Mosul, three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units; destroyed three ISIL-held buildings, three supply caches, two mortar systems, a fighting position and a vehicle bomb; damaged 24 supply routes; and suppressed two mortar teams.

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.

The U.S. dropped more than 25,000 bombs, mostly in Syria and Iraq, last year |

Here for MCCLATCHY's report by Teresa Welch.

The Iraq War continues.

Andrew deGrandpre (MILITARY TIMES) reports:

At least 14 American military personnel have been wounded in combat since the start of October while battling Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, according to Defense Department data reviewed by Military Times. 

The sudden increase accounts for nearly half of the 30 wounded-in-action reports that the U.S. has publicly acknowledged since the ISIS campaign began in August 2014, and coincides with two ongoing offensives targeting the terror group's strongholds in both countries: Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, the Islamic State's self-declared capital.

Yes, the Iraq War continues.  Barack did not end it.

Now you can be a Debra Messing and put your head in the sand (and if you have a face like Debra's which appears to show signs of botched cosmetic surgery, you should put it in the sand) or you can face reality.

Fake news = the Iraq War ended.

It has not ended.

If we could all get on the same page regarding that reality, maybe we could end the Iraq War.

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

  • Thursday, January 05, 2017

    Barack let the Islamic State happen (Kerry confesses)

    No surprise, I agree with John Stauber.

    John Stauber Retweeted The Nation
    Progressives hacks and flacks practicing politics of denial and magical thinking. owns D.C. now, , despite your mantras
    John Stauber added,

    THE NATION magazine/website is an embarrassment.

    They refused to stand up to Barack.

    They were like Marilyn Monroe trying to house break a puppy by 'hitting' it with a kleenex (true story, by the way).

    Only Barack wasn't a puppy.

    He was a world leader.

    And THE NATION is an outlet filled with whores.

    They are the worst.

    When I was in high school, I didn't think so.

    I thought, "They're so brave!!! They stand against the Iraq War!!!!"

    But then I went to college and got a little smarter.

    Then I went to law school and did the same.

    And I realize that they refused to support war resisters.

    And I noticed that in January of 2009, Iraq was no longer an issue that mattered to a magazine that once could not shut up about it.

    They're fake asses.

    Around 26:30 mark John Kerry tells Syrian opposition that US watched ISIS grow & let it, hoping it'd weaken Assad

    Wow.  So Barack let it happen.

    Barack let the Islamic State happen -- intentionally.

    Not one of his many mistakes, but on purpose.

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

    Thursday, January 5, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, Amnesty International releases an important report on Iraq's militias, THE NATION issues a fan club special edition on Barack, and much more.

    Where is the functioning press in the United States?

    Off inventing fake news?

    "There has been no greater privilege . . . than serving as the Commander in Chief of the greatest military in the history of the world."

    That's Barack Obama, US president, at the farewell military parade he staged for himself yesterday and it's a statement the White House elected to promote.

    No greater privilege?

    A functioning press would be questioning this just on the basis of the US is not supposed to be a junta.  They'd also be combing through his statements in his campaigns.  They might even note that this is just more sucking up from a liar who repeatedly changes his remarks to flatter whomever he speaks before.

    We don't have a functioning press.

    We have, instead, crap like this.

    That wouldn't qualify as news in a high school paper.

    It's an advertorial and NPR's running it.  Using tax payer dollars in one of the biggest cons of all time.  ('Most goes to member stations!' Yes, and NPR receives it back via fees for NPR programming the member stations pay NPR.)

    NPR won't put a reporter in Iraq but they will waste money running advertorials or last month's infamous one-sided report which featured 'diversity' via a sub-literate who doesn't grasp that you don't put two verbs together without at least an and whose 'news outlet' prints lies that, when exposed, are left uncorrected.  But, hey, you got your check on the diversity box so who cares if no other outlet would features that person as a trusted source.

    The nonsense never ends.

    Want to waste ten dollars?

    If so you can buy the special issue of THE NATION devoted to Barrack.

    Iraq is really not noted and then, when noted, it's with detachment.

    As though Barack didn't win the White House on his promise to end the Iraq War?

    As Obama leaves office, the U.S. is once again mired in a major ground war in Iraq. That should define his "legacy."

    Click here for Michael Tracey's piece on this topic at MEDIUM.

    But at THE NATION?

    Multiple people weigh in with 'essays' and Iraq isn't a main topic for anyone.

    While Chris Hayes does at least mention Iraq -- in passing and, shades of Judith Miller, deep in the column, Patrica J. Williamson does not.

    Why should Patricia J. Williamson write about Iraq?

    Well in 2008, she repeatedly stated that Barack Obama voted against the 2002 resolution on the Iraq War.

    That's also known as lying.

    And, no, it wasn't a mistake.  She was corrected -- at one point, she was even corrected on air.

    Dropping back to March 6, 2008:

    The clue should have been Professor Patti going on KPFA and maintaining that Bambi voted against the 2002 authorization and having an on-air meltdown when a caller pointed out that he didn't because he wasn't in the Senate and that he had voted non-stop for war funding since getting into the Senate.

    And what a meltdown it was.

    Could that be why she doesn't note Iraq?

    Because she's humiliated that she whored herself out and got caught?

    Caught repeatedly.


    One good thing about Donald Trump in the White House?

    THE NATION will yet again begin grandstanding on war.

    They'll go back to front page editorials (like the one on how the magazine would not support any candidate for office who had supported the Iraq War -- a promise they forgot in 2015 and 2016 as they cheered Hillary on).

    Katrina vanden Heuvel will suddenly remember war as a topic to write about.

    Hopefully, America will remember that after treating the Iraq War as one of the most serious world and domestic issues up until 2008, Katrina dropped the issue when Barack was sworn in.

    No, the Iraq War did not end.

    THE NATION's objection to it did.

    Because few people in the country have integrity.

    They will scream when someone they do not like carries out a war (or illegal spying) and then coo and self-soothe (and self-stroke) when their own personal hero does the same.

    It's hypocrisy and, more and more, it appears the two-party system breeds it.

    And certainly, the US press rewards it.

    Today, Amnesty International issues a new report -- and, provided there's no tech gadget to promote, NPR might end up covering it.

    The report is entitled [PDF format warning] "IRAQ: TURNING A BLIND EYE THE ARMING OF THE POPULAR MOBILIZATION UNITS."  The popular mobilization units are the militias -- the ones Iraq outlawed once Barack became president of the United States.  Give up your militias or you can't be a political party running in the 2010 elections (that were supposed to take place in 2009).

    The report notes:

    The PMU are comprised of large, well-established militia groups, such as Munathamat Badr (or Badr Brigades or Badr Organization), Saraya al-Salam ( Peace Brigades, formerly Mahdi army), Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) and Kata'ib Hizbullah (Hizbullah Brigades), that were either formed before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 or emerged in opposition to the US- led invasion and occupation of the country. Other groups emerged and grew as the fight against IS progressed. There are no official statistics available on the number of militias within the PMU . Media reports quote unspecified officials estimating that there are between 40 and 50 militias. The 2016 Federal Iraqi Budget indicated that there were 110,000 persons in the PMU. In December 2016, Ahmed al-Asadi, the spokesperson of the PMU, claimed that there were 141,000 fighters affiliated with the PMU.

    We will return to the topic of The League of the Righteous in the next snapshot.  They are an important topic all by themselves, I know.  We've covered them repeatedly and we will again tomorrow.

    The PMU's participation in the armed conflict to oust IS had been marred by war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, mostly against members of the Sunni Arab community, including extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, torture and deliberate destruction of civilian homes and other property . Militias subjected thousands of men and boys to enforced disappearance. Despite the well-documented patterns of PMU militia abuses since 2014, representatives of the PMU militias have tended to deny accusations. For instance, in July 2015 Qais al-Khazali, head of ' Asa'ib Ahl al - Haq told media:
    "Despite the media whirlwind and exaggeration, no media outlet has been able to accuse the Shi'ite Hashd al-Sha 'abi [Popular Mobilization] of one (act of) genocide or of killing one innocent citizen".
    In the run up to the military operation to retake Mosul, Qais al-Khazali was quoted in the media as stating that recapturing the city represents "revenge and vendetta" for the killing of Imam Hussein, one of the most revered figures by Shi'as in the seventh century. In the same statement, he claimed that revenge would be directed at the descendants of Imam Hussein's killers, 30 raising fears of revenge attacks against the Sunni community.

    The report then breaks down various documented abuses by region. But we're going to note this section about supplying weapons:

    Joint military operations and potential sharing or loaning of equipment means that tracking which specific unit is using specific types of equipment is complex. According to a heavily redacted Quarterly Progress Report from the US Department of Defense examining compliance under Section 1236 ( Iraqi Train and Equip Fund), released in April 2016, the US and coalition forces "do not accompany ISF units on operations", making it impossible for US authorities to document equipment use in conflict zones. However, visual evidence suggests US equipment is being deployed by a variety of PMU militias accused of serious human rights violations.
    While it is difficult to verify if armoured vehicles flying militia flags are under the control of any given group, footage of a Kata'ib Hizbullah military convoy shows a range of US - manufactured military vehicles including an M1 Abrams tank, M113 armoured personnel carriers, Humvees, and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP). Amnesty International has documented serious human rights violations committed by Kata’ib Hizbullah, including extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, in the context of the operation to retake Falluja from IS. The US Department of State designated Kata'ib Hizbullah as a foreign terrorist organisation on 2 July 2009.
    The Badr Organization, which has committed widespread violations across the Governorate of Diyala, has been photographed posing alongside a US M1 Abrams tank. Unverified footage released by the PMU also shows the deployment of a M1A1 Abrams tank during the assault on Ramadi in March 2016. According to one report, a US M1 A1 Abrams tank was delivered to a US service facility in Baghdad, repurposed with a Russian machine gun using Iranian ammunition, contrary to US end user agreements. Between 2010 and 2012, the US sold 140 refurbished M1A1 Abrams tanks to the Iraqi army.

    Why is a quarterly progress report being heavily redacted?

    There's little chance anything 'classified' is in it.

    There's a huge chance that the report documents the US government's supply of weapons to the militias which is against both international law and US law.

    Other US-made equipment in the hands of PMU militias includes artillery guns, small arms and light weapons. According to a photograph taken on 7 March 2015, on the outskirts of Ad-Dawr, north of Baghdad, US-supplied M198 howitzers are operating under the flag of Kata'ib Hizbullah. US equipment delivered to the Iraqi army post-2014, including M16-pattern rifles still bearing US government-applied inventory stickers, has been photographed in the hands of the Badr Organization and the Saraya al-Khorasani.
    Images assessed by ARES show US-made licensed Swedish Saab AT4 light unguided anti-tank weapons being deployed by Farqat al-Abbas since at least July 2015, possibly sourced from a reported delivery of 2,000 items announced in May 2015. 121 The US-made Mk 1 9 automatic grenade launcher also in use by Farqat al-Abbas may have been sourced from US transfers to Iraq of 1,000 launchers in 2015 or 144 in 2008. According to images assessed by ARES, Kata’ib Hizbullah operates four US-made 155 mm M198 howitzers; with Farqat al-Abbas operating two US M109A5 self-propelled howitzers. Both types were transferred by the US to the Iraqi army in 2011.
    Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, author of the Leahy Law (see below) has told the Washington Post that: "It increasingly seems like end-use monitoring is more of a goal than a reality... Not enough policy concern is being placed on the real likelihood that U.S. foreign military funds to the Iraqi government are enabling Iranian-backed militia forces".

    Since the US government loves to ignore international law, let's note the report on US law:

    In the USA , for instance, provisions in the Leahy Law, first introduced in 1997 and subsequently incorporated into the Foreign Assistance Act, halt assistance -- including weapons, funding and training -- to military units credibly linked with gross human rights violations. The law is, however, subject to a waiver when required "by extraordinary circumstances". One of the goals of The United States Conventional Arms Transfer Policy is to ensure "that arms transfers do not contribute to human rights violations or violations of international humanitarian law." Three of the criteria that must be taken into account are:

    • " The risk that significant change in the political or security situation of the recipient country could lead to inappropriate end-use or transfer of defense articles.

    • The human rights, democratization, counterterrorism, counterproliferation, and nonproliferation record of the recipient, and the potential for misuse of the export in question.

    • The likelihood that the recipient would use the arms to commit human rights abuses or serious violations of international humanitarian law, retransfer the arms to those who would commit human rights abuses or serious violations of international humanitarian law, or identify the United States with human rights abuses or serious violations of international humanitarian law."

    US law also prohibits sales of military equipment to governments whose armed forces or government-supported armed groups, including paramilitaries, militias, or civil defense forces, recruit and use child soldiers. Iraq is included in the 2016 Child Soldiers Prevention Act List, which is published by the US Department of State.

    The report's 40 pages (with two annexes that take it to 46 pages).

    This report is news.

    It's doubtful many US outlets will treat it as such.

    The following community sites updated: