Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

morningfog

morningfog's Journal
morningfog's Journal
July 1, 2014

Iraqi Kurds to Vote on Independence

President of Iraq's Kurdish region, already largely autonomous, says the country is already partitioned

The partition of Iraq lurched closer to reality on Tuesday when the head of the country’s already quasi-autonomous Kurdish region publicly declared he would schedule a referendum on independence. Polls and previous votes indicate that the measure is certain to pass, leading, in all likelihood, to an independent Kurdistan on the northern and northeastern borders of Iraq.

“From now on, we won’t hide that that’s our goal,” Massoud Barzani, president of the Regional Kurdistan Government, told the BBC in an interview. “Iraq is effectively partitioned now. Are we supposed to stay in this tragic situation the country’s living? It’s not me who will decide on independence. It’s the people.”

The referendum will come in “a matter of months,” Barzani said. He said the Kurdistan parliament must first establish an independent electoral authority, then establish the date for the referendum that Barzani made clear will end with the creation of a state.

http://time.com/2945035/iraqi-kurds-to-vote-on-independence/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20time/topstories%20%28TIME:%20Top%20Stories%29

I wonder how this will affect the US position that a "unity government" in Iraq must precede strikes. Will unity be redefined as just sunni and shia? Does this doom any possible sunni shia unity government, even?

July 1, 2014

Obama sends up to 200 more troops to Iraq (up to 775 for those scoring at home, plus heliocopters)

President Obama told Congress on Monday that he is deploying about 200 more troops to Iraq to bolster security at the U.S. Embassy and airport in Baghdad.

These and previously announced forces are being sent "for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and (are) equipped for combat," Obama said in a letter to Congress required under the U.S. War Powers Resolution.

Earlier this month, Obama announced the deployment of 275 troops to protect the embassy.

In addition to security, these troops will provide "intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support," Obama said.

The president is also in the process of sending up to 300 military advisers to assist Iraq as it battles an invading army of jihadists that has taken over major cities and threatens the capital in Baghdad.

Obama said forces "will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."

The U.S. is also sending helicopters and drones that can "bolster airfield and travel route security," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/06/30/obama-iraq-isil-us-war-powers-resolution/11801855/
June 29, 2014

Fight Them Over There, Redux: Obama: European jihadists threaten US

Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama warned that "battle-hardened" Europeans who embrace jihad in Syria and Iraq threaten the United States because their passports mean they can enter the country without a visa.

Nearly 800 French citizens have spent time fighting in Syria's civil war, according to latest estimates, and Belgium says 200 of its people have done the same. Britain puts its number at 400.

Those holding French, Belgian and British passports -- along with a host of other European countries -- do not need visas to visit the United States, meaning they can potentially avoid scrutiny.

"We have seen Europeans sympathetic to their (militants') cause traveling into Syria and may now travel into Iraq, getting battle-hardened. Then they come back," Obama warned in an interview that aired Sunday on the US broadcaster ABC.

These combatants "have a European passport. They don't need visas to get into the United States," he told "This Week."

"Now, we are spending a lot of time, and we have been for years, making sure we are improving intelligence to respond to that.

"We have to improve our surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence there. Special forces are going to have a role. And there are going to be times where we take strikes against organizations that could do us harm."

http://news.yahoo.com/obama-european-jihadists-threaten-us-172036736.html

Obama continuing the Bush-Lite Doctrine.

June 28, 2014

US plans to curb land mines, join global treaty

WASHINGTON (AP)—The United States on Friday announced its intention to join an international treaty banning land mines, without setting a time frame while working through possible complications on the Korean Peninsula.

Human rights advocates applauded the progress, but said the Obama administration should immediately commit to a ban and begin destroying its stockpile, while Republicans accused the president of disregarding military leaders who wanted to maintain land mines in the U.S. arsenal.

The 15-year-old Ottawa Convention includes 161 nations that have signed on to prohibit the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines. President Bill Clinton had a goal of joining the treaty, but the Bush administration pulled back amid objections from military leaders. Obama ordered up a review of the U.S. policy when he came to office five years ago, and a U.S. delegation announced the change in position Friday to a land mine conference in Maputo, Mozambique.

“We’re signaling our clear aspiration to eventually accede to the Ottawa Convention,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters travelling with the president Friday.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the United States has no land mines currently deployed around the globe but maintains an active stockpile of just over 3 million. “They are all in inventory and that’s where they will stay,” Kirby said. He added that the stockpile will begin to expire in about 10 years and be completely unusable in about 20 years.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001388245

June 27, 2014

Hosts rarely lock GD threads, juries sometimes hide due to SoP violation

leading to posters being temporarily suspended.

This has been an issue that has bugged me for awhile, including a few ATA posts. Since Hosts are reluctant to enforce the clear terms of the SoP, alerters often site a violation of the Sop when they alert. The result is that an OP may be hidden by a jury rather than a locked by a Host.

I think, in fairness, something needs to change. Either, Hosts actually enforce the SoP. Or jury hides of OPs for violations of SoP should not count as a strike. Or Hosts should enforce the SoP and the lock counts as a hide.

June 27, 2014

U.S. Expediting (800) Hellfire-Missile (used on US drones) Shipments to Iraq

WASHINGTON—The U.S. is speeding up shipments of 800 Hellfire missiles to Iraq to help the embattled Baghdad government beat back the threat posed by Sunni militants, the Pentagon said Friday.

In response to the expanding militant attacks in Iraq, the U.S. is planning to deliver 200 Hellfire missiles in the coming weeks and 600 more by the end of July, said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

The expedited plans would give a significant boost to Iraq's missile stockpile. The U.S. has sent about 300 Hellfire missiles to Iraq this year.

Confronting militants threatening to take Baghdad, the Iraqi government has also asked the U.S. for several hundred additional Hellfire missiles, along with extra ammunition, grenades, small arms and flares, said Adm. Kirby.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-expediting-hellfire-missile-shipments-to-iraq-1403898884?tesla=y&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304557404579650734180644804.html

June 27, 2014

Armed U.S. Drones Flying Over Baghdad

Primary mission is to defend Americans on the ground

Armed U.S. drones are flying over the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, an American official said Friday, primed to defend U.S. troops and diplomats on the ground—or to attack insurgents challenging the Iraqi government if President Barack Obama orders such strikes.

“We have the necessary forces not only to protect our own forces, but to be prepared should the President make a decision to do something more,” a senior Pentagon official said Friday. “We’ve got both manned and unmanned over Iraq, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody that some of our drones have armaments.”

The drone flights don’t necessarily portend a change in policy from Obama, who has sent military advisers to help the struggling Iraqi army fight Sunni militants taking control of swaths of the country but has said they’ll only be involved in training, not combat.

“This doesn’t mean necessarily that were going to use them—the President hasn’t made a decision to use any sort of direct action—but could the armed ones be used for protection of our advisers on the ground, of course they could be,” the military official said of the drones. “They’re also there looking for targets of opportunities. If the President decides they merit striking, sure, they’re there for that, too, but the President hasn’t made any of those decisions.”

* * *

MQ-1 Predators, outfitted with Hellfire missiles, have begun flying missions over Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq from an airbase in Kuwait, a military official said.

http://time.com/2933508/iraq-drones-isis-obama/
June 27, 2014

Obama asks Congress for $500 million to train Syria rebels (Not the Onion)

President Obama on Thursday asked Congress for the first time to approve direct U.S. military training for Syrian rebels, but he remains deeply ambivalent about intervening in a deadly conflict that has spilled over into neighboring Iraq, U.S. officials said.

Obama asked for $500 million to "train and equip" opposition fighters in Syria who will be vetted by the U.S. to ensure they have no ties to militant Islamists who now control wide swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.

But two senior U.S. officials said that the program will not begin until basic questions are resolved, such as whether the Pentagon has legal authority to train Syrian rebels, what types of weapons and other assistance they would receive and who would get the training. Those decisions could take months, the officials said.

"All that is yet to be worked out, assuming Congress passes it," said one of the officials, who asked not to be identified while discussing internal deliberations.

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-obama-syria-20140627-story.html
June 26, 2014

More U.S. forces arrive in Baghdad, two-star general leads effort

WASHINGTON, June 26 (Reuters) - Another 50 U.S. special operations forces have arrived in Baghdad under the newly appointed command of a two-star general as the U.S. military steadily ramps up an advisory mission aimed at helping Iraq battle back Sunni militants, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The Pentagon said the first of two planned Joint Operations Centers in Iraq had also become activated, bolstering its ability to oversee U.S. teams and gather information about the situation on the ground, including about Iraq's security forces.

"It will of course serve as a fusion center where information that's coming in from the various teams can be consolidated and it can be analyzed," said Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

* * *

Information they provide will be complemented by information gleamed by regular manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Iraq - about 30 to 35 per day according to the Pentagon.

Obama has not ruled out additional action in Iraq, including air strikes.

The Iraq advise-and-assist mission was put under the command of Major General Dana Pittard, who is leading the newly named "Joint Forces Land Component Command, Iraq," the Pentagon said.

http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL2N0P717J20140626

June 26, 2014

Use of Drones for Killings Risks a War Without End, Panel Concludes in Report

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a “slippery slope” into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials.

The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits. The report urges the administration to conduct such an analysis and to give a public accounting of both militants and civilians killed in drone strikes.

The findings amount to a sort of report card — one that delivers middling grades — a year after President Obama gave a speech promising new guidelines for drone strikes and greater transparency about the killing operations. The report is especially critical of the secrecy that continues to envelop drone operations and questions whether they might be creating terrorists even as they are killing them.

“There is no indication that a U.S. strategy to destroy Al Qaeda has curbed the rise of Sunni Islamic extremism, deterred the establishment of Shia Islamic extremist groups or advanced long-term U.S. security interests,” the report concludes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/world/use-of-drones-for-killings-risks-a-war-without-end-panel-concludes-in-report.html?_r=0

I hope the next president rejects the Obama Doctrine.

Profile Information

Member since: Thu Jan 12, 2012, 03:24 PM
Number of posts: 18,115

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»morningfog's Journal