Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Has anyone seen Joe Biden's spine? Can we get an APB out on it?

Need some bad news?  Ewan Palmer (NEWSWEEK) reports:

Joe Biden is behind former President Donald Trump in seven 2024 swing states, with immigration the hot topic issue affecting the president's reelection hopes, according to a poll.
A Bloomberg/Morning Consult survey found that Biden is between three and 10 points behind the Republican front-runner in November's race in Arizona (47-43 percent), Georgia (49-41), Michigan (47-42), Nevada (48-40), North Carolina (49-39), Pennsylvania (48-45) and Wisconsin (49-44).
In total, Trump leads Biden across all states on average by 48-42 in the poll, which suggests Biden's hopes of winning the next election are looking precarious.

Joe needs to get his s**t together or  he needs to announce he's no longer seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Those are his choices right now.  Get your act together immediately or drop out.  Now.

And that means a cease-fire now.  POLITICO reports:

A facility where the International Rescue Committee’s emergency medical team was residing in Gaza was hit by an Israeli airstrike Jan. 18, the organization said Tuesday.

No one was killed, but the strike injured several staff members, damaged the building and forced IRC to move six other staffers from Gaza, the group said in a statement.

An independent United Nations assessment concluded “the damage was the result of an airstrike, most likely involving a GBU32 (MK83) missile package,” IRC said.

“The Israeli military is the only armed actor in Gaza with access to this weaponry,” the statement said. Members of Medical Aid for Palestinians, an organization providing medical services, such as surgeries, in Gaza were also residing in the facility.

This is outrageous.  They are attacking the Red Cross now.  They have no ethics at all and it is pitiful to watch various Americans try to justify these ongoing attacks.   Sana Noor Haq and Rosa Rahimi (CNN) report:

Hanadi Gamal Saed El Jamara, 38, says sleep is all that can distract her children from the aching hunger gnawing at their bellies.

These days, the mother-of-seven finds herself begging for food on the mud-caked streets of Rafah, in southern Gaza.

She tries to feed her kids at least once a day, she says, while tending to her husband, a cancer and diabetes patient.

“They are weak now, they always have diarrhea, their faces are yellow,” El Jamara, whose family was displaced from northern Gaza, told CNN on January 9. “My 17-year-old daughter tells me she feels dizziness, my husband is not eating.”

As Gaza spirals toward full-scale famine, displaced civilians and health workers told CNN they go hungry so their children can eat what little is available. If Palestinians find water, it is likely undrinkable. When relief trucks trickle into the strip, people clamber over each other to grab aid. Children living on the streets, after being forced from their homes by Israel’s bombardment, cry and fight over stale bread. Others reportedly walk for hours in the cold searching for food, risking exposure to Israeli strikes.

These are War Crimes.  It is so sad to watch as Joe Biden makes us all part of these War Crimes.  Anyway, please read Elaine's "Boo hoo -- have some self-respect, please."

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2024.  Students in Chicago demand a cease-fire, War Crimes continue to be committed, and much more.

Hundreds of high school students across Chicago walked out of their schools Tuesday to call for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The City Council is expected to debate a delayed resolution Wednesday that would call for a cease-fire after more than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks, and the release of hostages taken by the militant group Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 Israelis.

Participants in the student-led protest — which started at noon and convened at City Hall in the afternoon — said they want their local alderpersons to know that many high schoolers are opposed to continued U.S. funding of Israel’s war in Gaza.

Can WGN explain why the hell Ben Azulay is in the report?  He's not a student.  No pro-cease-fire parents is shown.  This wasn't balanced.  Balanced isn't here's actions by students and now here's a anti-case fire parent.  And no one should honestly give a damn about Ben and his stupid opinion because no one needs an adult's permission.  He seems like  a pathetic man who can't face the fact that his student days are over and he should probably shut his mouth.  But don't pretend that was a news organization trying to be balanced.  Including one parent and only one parent was not balance.  It was shameful.  On WGN and on Ben Azulay's part.  We all do get the dynamics WGN presented, right?  Silly kids versus learned adult..  Garbage was what that report turned into the minute Ben Azulay was put on camera as the adult (the de facto 'expert').  As bad as that was, we'll ignore ABC7CHICAGO's video report which was even worse.  

Instead, we'll note this from a written repor by ABC7CHICAGO's Stephanie Wade and Eric Horng:

At Lane Tech High School, school security was present the entire time, so, the district said, students could express their First Amendment rights safely.

Similar crowds of students also walked out of Curie Metro High School in Archer Heights, Westinghouse High School in Humboldt Park and Jones College Prep in the South Loop.

"It's an atrocity that so many innocent people are dying and being bombed and killed," said Lexa Land.

Good for the students for making themselves heard.  

Harvard University students filed a civil rights complaint against the school Monday, alleging it has not supported or protected students who have been harassed for being Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or supporters of Palestinian rights.

The complaint was filed by the Muslim Legal Fund of America with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

In a statement, the group says the complaint was filed on behalf of “more than a dozen students, demanding an immediate investigation into Harvard’s failure to protect these students from harassment, intimidation, threats and more based solely on them being Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and supporters of Palestinian rights.”

The students allege that “rampant harassment and racist attacks” have been commonplace at Harvard for those of Arab lineage or supporters of Palestine. The complaint says students have been doxxed, stalked and assaulted on campus.

“As a Palestinian student at Harvard, the racism and harassment I have faced is shocking, terrifying, and outrageous,” one of the students said in the statement.

“We have been chased, spat at, stalked, and hounded by doxxing trucks on campus, and even at our families’ homes. On top of worrying about my family’s safety in Palestine, I’m living in fear of being attacked while walking to class. No student should have to live like this.”

Over a dozen Palestinian and Muslim students at Harvard filed a federal civil rights complaint with the Department of Education, accusing Harvard of discrimination and failing to protect them from racism and harassment. The students, who are represented by the Muslim Legal Fund of America, say they have been repeatedly targeted for attacks, including doxxing, stalking and physical assaults, in some cases simply for wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh on campus.

This comes as the City Council of Cambridge, which is home to Harvard, passed a resolution Monday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of remaining hostages.

In related news, the University of Michigan Faculty Senate Assembly passed a resolution to demand the school divest from any company profiting from Israel’s war on Gaza.

For those who don't see the need for such a lawsuit, let's drop back to DEMOCRACY NOW! last week reporting on pro-cease-fire students being gassed -- gassed in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Students at Columbia University here in New York held an “emergency protest” Wednesday over the school’s response to an attack on members of Columbia University Apartheid Divest at a rally on campus last Friday. Police are now investigating how pro-Palestinian students were sprayed with a hazardous, foul-smelling chemical at Friday’s protest, including members of Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews for Ceasefire. Eight students were reportedly hospitalized or seeking medical attention. Organizers allege the attack was carried out by two students who are former members of the Israeli military, the IDF, using a chemical weapon known as “skunk” that soldiers also deploy on Palestinians.

A Palestinian American student named Layla described the attack she says has left her traumatized, in an interview with the podcast The Robust Opposition.

LAYLA: I remember smelling this smell in the air, and it is just — it was just atrocious. I was like, “Oh my gosh! Like, it smells like somebody died. Like, what is this smell?” And then, at first, I was like, “OK, maybe I stepped in some dog poop. Like, maybe I’m just tired.” I tried to, like, kind of ignore it for a little bit.

But then, after the protest, when the protest was done, I just noticed how bad I felt. I felt so sick. I felt fatigued. I was nauseous. I had a really bad headache. And I was like, “Something is going on here. I’m not sure what, but something is going on here.” And then I was getting texts and calls from my friends. And they were like, “Did you smell that smell?” Or my friend was like, “Oh my gosh! I threw up like three times. Like, I don’t know what is wrong with me.” …

So, when this is used on Palestinians in the West Bank, like, for example, it’s been used on peaceful protesters there. It’s been used on shopkeepers and merchants. So, like, if a merchant gets their produce sprayed with skunk, they have to throw it all out, just because of how bad it stinks. …

It felt like for a while like the university, like, didn’t believe us. Like, I told them about it, and it’s like my concerns weren’t really being taken seriously. And it wasn’t until students started posting photos of themselves being hospitalized, and tagging the university, being, like, at Columbia, like we are — like, they started taking it seriously.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Palestinian American Columbia University student Layla describing Friday’s attack on her, as well as other students who were part of a protest. No arrests have been made yet, but the school now says it’s banned the suspects from campus while law enforcement investigates.

For more, we’re joined by Mahmood Mamdani, professor of government at Columbia University who specializes in the study of colonialism. His books include Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities. His recent interview with The Nation is headlined “The Idea of the Nation-State Is Synonymous with Genocide.” And we’re joined by Katherine Franke, a Columbia Law School professor, member of the Center for Palestine Studies executive committee, on the board of Palestine Legal, helped write a new op-ed in the campus paper, the Columbia Spectator, headlined “Faculty and staff pledge to take back our University.”

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Professor Franke, can you explain what happened, the skunking of the students, sprayed with this chemical? Do you know, does the university know, who these students were, where they came from? And have they been dealt with?

KATHERINE FRANKE: Well, good morning, Amy.

So, the students were protesting in the main quad of the university last Friday. And we’ve had a series of protests. Our students are outraged at what’s going on, in our name and with our tax dollars, in Gaza. And while they were protesting — and, I will say, peacefully — last Friday, as your recording of Layla’s recounting of what happened, they all of the sudden smelled this horrible stench. And I’ve smelled skunk water when I’ve been in the West Bank at protests. It is horrible.

And what the students were able to do is examine video from that protest and identify, I think, three older students. We have a — Columbia has a program. It’s a graduate relationship with older students from other countries, including Israel. And it’s something that many of us were concerned about, because so many of those Israeli students, who then come to the Columbia campus, are coming right out of their military service. And they’ve been known to harass Palestinian and other students on our campus. And it’s something the university has not taken seriously in the past. But we’ve never seen anything like this. And the students were able to identify three of these exchange students, basically, from Israel, who had just come out of military service, who were spraying the pro-Palestinian students with this skunk water. And they were disguised in keffiyehs so that they could mix in with the students who were demanding that the university divest from companies that are supporting the occupation and the war, and were protesting and demanding a ceasefire. So we know who they were.

The university waited three or four days to actually even say anything about it. They have not reached out to the students who were sick, as you noted, some of whom are still in the hospital. I spoke to one student last night in the hopes that we could get one of them on your show this morning, and he was so mentally and physically disabled from this attack that he said, “I haven’t left my dorm room in a week.” So, our students are in terrible distress about this, both those who were sprayed and those who weren’t. There was another protest yesterday, and the students were actually quite afraid to come back onto the campus.

AMY GOODMAN: Is it true that you’ve seen these students, the former IDF students, on campus? And what is the administration saying about that since the attack?

KATHERINE FRANKE: Well, the university says that they have banned the three identified students from the campus. But I was told that one of them was there yesterday. Other students saw him. I don’t know that for sure, but several students said they saw one of them. You know, we have a fairly porous campus. To ban them from campus is something that they’d have to volunteer to comply with, except when there is a demonstration, when they lock — they’ve started locking the campus down in the last several months with gates, and you have to have your ID to get scanned to enter the campus. And then there’s a wall of NYPD. When I went to class yesterday, there were hundreds of NYPD officers, in uniform, lining our campus.

So, the university’s response has not been compassion, support for the students who were attacked. Instead, it’s been a militarization of our own campus and a further restraint on our students’ ability to protest peacefully, now turning to the excuse of this attack from those who support the Israeli government and the violence that’s being meted out towards Gazans as a kind of pretext to clamp down even further on peaceful protest by our other students.

AMY GOODMAN: Mahmood Mamdani, you have written about the situation in Gaza. You’ve spoken about it. There are now over 25,000 Palestinians who have been killed, over 11,000 of them children. The issue of hunger in Gaza is a very serious issue, raised by the U.N. and medical groups. You have that situation there and the solidarity expressed with the people in Palestine on college campuses. Can you talk about what’s happening at Columbia, and both staff, professors’, students’ feelings about whether they can express their views without being doxxed or attacked?

MAHMOOD MAMDANI: Thank you, Amy.

The situation at Columbia has been developing. It’s monitored by an administration which seem to have very little idea about what to do. At the same time, it had certain assumptions. The assumption was that the main problem at Columbia is antisemitism, and the administration should do everything to keep it in check and then to eradicate it.

When incidents like this, the chemical spraying, emerged, the administration’s first response was kind of disbelief. “Give us the facts.” Overall, it’s been a very clumsy handling. Different parts of the administration have different and sometimes conflicting initiatives. At the same time, they have a coherence. And the coherence is basically to shut things down and only to have an opening from the top, so no question of freedom of expression from below. That’s where we are now. Meanwhile, the community is convinced that the shots are being called by those who give the money.

AMY GOODMAN: So, how are you organizing, as a professor, with other professors, with students?

MAHMOOD MAMDANI: I think the number of concerned professors is growing. We’re all convinced that the initiative must remain with the students. They are in the frontline. But also we’re convinced that we should offer whatever guidance we can offer. We meet and discuss. I personally have not been involved in face-to-face meetings much because of health issues. But I have been involved in meetings which are remote meetings. And it’s changing every day, and it’s developing.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Franke, last semester Columbia University, the new president at Columbia, suspended both SJP, Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as Jewish Voice for Peace for holding a so-called unauthorized event, a walkout and art display in support of a ceasefire in Gaza. So, what are these groups’ status right now? And also, you yourself have long been involved with issues around Palestine. In fact, Israel deported you. And explain why. This was before October 7th.

KATHERINE FRANKE: Well, my circumstances are much less acute than the circumstances of our students right now. You know, I’ve been part of the Barnard and Columbia community since the late '70s. I went to Barnard as an undergrad. And I've been at Columbia now as a professor for 25 years. Columbia’s campus has always been a place where students have engaged the most critical issues of the day. When I was there in the late '70s, it was issues around feminism and pornography and sexual rights. And later, there were things around the Iraq War and the invitation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the campus. You know, students, faculty have used the campus as a palette for learning about difficult issues — that's what we do at universities — for protesting or showing up for communities that are persecuted around the world.

And what we’ve seen this administration do since October 8th is kind of go to war against our students. I have never seen the university disband student groups for peaceful protest. We have scores, 30, 40, 50 complaints that the university has filed against students for violations of the disciplinary code or for organizing protests, based on their changing of the rules around how to have an event the night before the event, so that the students don’t even know that they’re violating some new event rule. The university said that SJP and JVP had to be suspended because they engaged in intimidating and threatening and antisemitic rhetoric. And then, in private meetings with them, they said, actually they didn’t, but they won’t retract that. So, that defamation of our students remains in the public and in the media and in the eyes and ears of our alums and of other students, but they won’t repudiate it.

And so, the students feel like they have nothing left that they can do, except protest against the university at this point. But Professor Mamdani and I and other faculty have been spending an enormous amount of time protecting our students from the university itself. Barnard students are being prosecuted for their social media posts and for hanging Palestinian flags outside of their dorm rooms, when New York City law specifically protects the hanging of flags outside of a dormitory. So, it feels like we’re under a kind of siege, too, at Columbia and at Barnard.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Mamdani, before you were a professor at Columbia, you were a professor and director of the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Tomorrow, the decision will come out of the International Court of Justice, an emergency decision on South Africa’s case, genocide case, against Israel. Your final comments?

MAHMOOD MAMDANI: Well, for those who read the South African application, it must be clear that its strong point was the content, the argument, the substance. The empirical material relied, drew totally from U.N. sources and from no other source, really. So it was unimpeachable.

The Israeli side, the Israeli lawyers did not say anything, did not present any defense on whether a genocide is unfolding. What they did defend was that, procedurally, South Africa should not be the party making an application.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Mahmood Mamdani, we’re going to continue this discussion and post it online at Mahmood Mamdani, professor of government at Columbia University, and Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School professor. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.

I'm sorry where is the Congressional probe?  Anti-cease-fire zealots in Congress can bully universities but let's not pretend they're protecting students.  This attack has resulted din nothing from Congress.  The people who did the gassing need to be publicly identified.  They need to face jail time.  After that, if they are not US citizens, they need to be immediately thrown out of the country and barred from ever returning.  This was terrorism.  And there is no excuse for it.

In other news on the education front, Julia Conley (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

The result of "significant" input from rank-and-file members of the American Federation of Teachers from across the United States, the 1.72 million-strong union's executive council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The resolution calls for a "negotiated bilateral cease-fire" that would be guaranteed by the international community, including the U.S. and other countries that are supporting Israel's bombardment of Gaza.

"A cease-fire agreement must include the immediate provision of desperately needed food, water, medical care, clothing, emergency shelter, and other humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the release of all hostages abducted by Hamas from Israel on October 7," reads the statement.

The resolution also reaffirms "the AFT's support for a two-state solution," condemns antisemitism and Islamophobia, and demands that all people should be "safe to express dissent" in the United States.

"The conflict should not be used as an excuse to wage political attacks on American colleges and universities, or as a pretext to undermine necessary efforts to increase diversity, promote equity, and advance inclusion," reads the union's statement. 

Gaza remains under assault. Day 118 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE GUARDIAN notes, "At least 26,900 Palestinians have been killed and 65,949 injured by Israeli military action in Gaza since 7 October, the health ministry in Gaza said in a statement on Wednesday."   AP has noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."   

This morning, THE GUARDIAN reports, "Dr Mohammed Salha at al-Awda hospital in the northern Gaza Strip has told Al Jazeera that the hospital has been shelled by Israeli forces for the second time in 48 hours."  War Crime.  We've already noted this week the cowardly attack -- cowardly and illegal -- by Israeli forces  on a hospital in Gaza -- where they disguised themselves and shot dead 3 people in the hospital.  THE NATIONAL offers more details on that:

Thomas Helm reports from Jenin:

It was early on Tuesday morning at Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, when a bearded man rang the bell of a rehabilitation ward for severely injured patients.

He was buzzed in by a woman in her early 20s, who sat alone at the reception desk.

The receptionist asked who he had come to see.

But rather than answer, the man struck the young woman on the head with the butt of a gun before she could even scream, another staff member told The National.

More armed people then flooded into the room, disguised as medical staff, patients and family members.

Some kept guard. Others moved a few metres to the left.

Muffled shots were then heard as three Palestinian men, including a patient, were killed.

Read more

No proud moments for thugs, just embarrassment and shame.  CNN's Abeer Salman and Christian Edwards note:

Experts have warned that the IDF may have violated international law by the means it used to infiltrate the hospital during a raid on Tuesday.

During the raid, Israeli special forces, dressed as civilians and medical staff infiltrated the Ibn Sina hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin and killed three Palestinian men, both Israeli and Palestinian officials said. Israel said one of the men was a Hamas fighter, while the other two brothers who were killed were linked to Islamic Jihad.

In disguising themselves as civilians and medical staff, both of whom have protected status, Israeli troops may have resorted to perfidy, or deception.

“The Israeli forces involved in the operation were dressed in civilian clothing and at least some were dressed as medical personnel, who enjoy protection under the law of armed conflict,” Aurel Sari, a law professor at the University of Exeter in the UK, told CNN. As part of a single attack it "violates the prohibition of resort to perfidy," he added.

International humanitarian law also prohibits the killing of the wounded and sick who, like medical staff and civilians, enjoy protected status. “Provided they abstained from any acts of hostilities, killing them was a violation of the law of armed conflict,” Sari added.

Asked whether planning an attack against Israel constituted an act of hostility, Sari said if the three men were members of organized armed groups, they were “liable to status-based targeting.” But Israel’s disguising of its soldiers and killing of a reportedly wounded person means the attack could nonetheless have violated international law.

In news of other War Crimes, ALJAZEERA reports:

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called for the formation of an international investigation team to look into accusations that Israeli forces executed prisoners.

“According to testimonies of Palestinian citizens, more than 30 decomposing bodies of Palestinian martyrs were discovered buried in the northern Gaza Strip,” the ministry said in a statement. “They were killed while blindfolded and with their hands tied, as clear evidence that they were executed… in the most horrific forms.”

“The Ministry believes that the discovery of this mass grave in this brutal form reflects the scale of the tragedy to which Palestinian civilians are exposed, the mass massacres and executions of even detainees, in flagrant and gross violation of all relevant international norms and laws.”

Iran-aligned Iraqi armed group Kataib Hezbollah will suspend its military and security operations against U.S. forces, the group’s secretary general, Abu Hussein al-Hamidawi, said in a statement Tuesday.

“We hereby announce the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces,” his statement said, adding that the decision was made to “prevent embarrassment” to the Iraqi government.

Analysts have argued that the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria has dramatically increased the likelihood of a broader regional war. The Intercept's Ken Klippenstein reported Tuesday that U.S. military personnel in Iraq received a memo this month instructing them to be "on standby to forward deploy to support troops in the case of on-ground U.S. involvement in the Israel-Hamas war."

Hisham al-Rikabi, an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, toldCNN on Tuesday that Kata'ib Hezbollah's vow to suspend its attacks on U.S. forces "is the result of efforts made by" Iraq's government to "ensure the smoothness of the negotiation process and in order to complete the withdrawal [of U.S. troops] from Iraq."

The New York Timesreported Tuesday that Kata'ib Hezbollah had previously ignored the Iraqi government's requests to stop attacking U.S. forces, "but once the attack in Jordan on Sunday took American lives, Mr. Sudani demanded a complete halt from Kata'ib Hezbollah."

"Mr. Sudani reached out directly to Iran, according to a military strategist for the Revolutionary Guards who works closely with the Axis groups in Iraq," the Times added.

It wasn't hard for Mohammed Shia al-Sudant to 'reach out.'  Not only does he command the militias -- they were legally folded into the Iraqi military seven years ago -- as commander in chief of the Iraqi military but his pre-prime minister days found him a part of these militias -- even before they were folded into the Iraqi army.  Well at least, as far as we know, the US government didn't have to pay off the militias to stop the attacks, the way they pathetically did back in the days of General Betrayus and Ryan Crocker.  They basically forked over the lunch money to be safe on the playground.

For a continuation of yesterday's news on Robbie Kennedy Junior's latest desperate move, see Ruth's "Junior gives himself a bare ass spanking."

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