Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tuz Khurmatu

Clashes between the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Shia Hashd militias and volunteers (Popular Mobilization Units) have been going on in the contested Turkmen city of Tuz south of Kirkuk (mostly inhabited by Shia Turkmens). The Peshmerga which has been trying to retain control of the area, engaging in destruction and arson of Turkmen properties the last few days, have come under fire from their supposed Shia allies, even as they are purportedly both taking part in the military campaign against IS just a few dozen miles to the west, with the Iraqi Army and American military advisors (and while the Iraqi government is still in gridlock, facing popular demonstrations amidst the ongoing financial crisis). Meanwhile both sides in Tuz are gleefully resorting to blood sports with reports of IS-style torture and executions. 

Here is one graphic video (FB link) that surfaced yesterday of Shia Hashd militias torturing a blindfolded Peshmerga prisoner before they crack his skull (by taking turns stomping on his bloodied face and head) and shoot him execution-style.

Why even bother keeping Iraq together at this point? 

UPDATE: A relevant Newsweek article with a Kurdish official declaring that it's not in the KRG's interest to defeat IS because they consider the Shi'ite Hashd militias as a greater danger at this point (also a hint that Barzani may have supplied IS with advanced anti-tank weaponry -supplied to the Kurds by Bulgaria- to be used against the Iraqi Army in 2014.)


Friday, March 25, 2016

Marshes of Mesopotamia

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New ecological study on the marshes of southern Iraq:
For thousands of years, the marshes at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in modern day Iraq were an oasis of green in a dry landscape, hosting a wealth of wildlife. The culture of the Marsh Arab, or Ma'dan, people who live there is tightly interwoven with the ecosystem of the marshes. The once dense and ubiquitous common reed (Phragmites australis) served as raw material for homes, handicrafts, tools, and animal fodder for thousands of years. Distinctive mudhif communal houses, built entirely of bundled reeds, appear in Sumerian stonework from 5,000 years ago. Now that culture is drying up with the marshes.
The study somehow fails to mention the negative effects of large dams constructed on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Turkey and Syria over the last couple of decades, or the rerouting of the Karun river in Iran, on marsh restoration efforts and low water levels since 2003.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Protests in Baghdad (vid)

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Protesters just breached the Jumhuriya Bridge (FB video) after authorities had it closed with concrete blocks and barbed wire to prevent them from camping outside or 'storming' the Green Zone.  The crowd is chanting: 'With our blood and souls we will sacrifice ourselves for Iraq' (hmm.. where have I heard that before), and security forces look reluctant to stand in their way despite warnings yesterday from PM Abadi (and Maliki's bloc) to shut down the protest with violence if necessary. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Photo of the Day: Yemen

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A Yemeni couple pose amidst the rubble left by the Saudi-led aerial bombing campaign

Friday, January 15, 2016

IA executing Sunni farmers in Ramadi (graphic video)

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Video leaked of Sunni farmers near Ramadi executed by their Shia liberators. This is supposed to be the national army, not the militia volunteers who were entirely kept out of the operation (to prevent this exact 'revenge' scenario).

The old man begs for his life and tries to explain where he is from before the soldier empties his magazine in him, not forgetting to chant his Shia sectarian slogan 'O, Hussein'. There is a pile of maimed bodies nearby and apparently an army officer trying to intervene saying 'No. No. No..'. Then the soldier is heard saying, 'Excuse me for this, officer' while continuing to shoot.

This is why we can't have nice things in Iraq.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Iraqi Army 95th Anniversary

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January the 6th is the Iraqi Army day and its 95th anniversary

Friday, December 04, 2015

Baghdad at Night from the ISS

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By NASA astronaut Scott Kelly:
#GoodEvening #Baghdad, you seem brighter than the last time I saw you 5 yrs ago from space. #Iraq #YearInSpace

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ageless Iraq 1950-1959 reel

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An interesting introductory video to the landscape and culture of the fledgling Iraqi nation made in the early '50s for the Iraqi Petroleum Company (IPC), a consortium of global oil firms which held complete monopoly over Iraqi oil resources (until Saddam Hussein's nationalization of oil fields and infrastructure in 1972). Much potential for the young kingdom and its people that was wasted in the
following decades.


Monday, October 19, 2015


Iraqi brigadier general Sultan Hashim and former defense minister (currently incarcerated by the Iraqi gov.) at the Safwan 'tent' after the end of hostilities in Kuwait, 1991. The beginning of the end for the modern Iraqi state.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Pro-Merkel posters at Tahrir Square in Baghdad yesterday

Protesters at Tahrir Square in Baghdad addressed Iraqi politicians with this poster of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Caption reads: "She is more honorable than the most honorable of you". 

This sentiment has been echoing across the Arab world in conversations and social media with many equating Frau Merkel with Al-Najashi, the 7th century Christian emperor of Abyssinia (Ethiopea), who sheltered the earliest Arab Muslims fleeing the persecution of their pagan leaders back in Mecca, after crossing the scorching desert and sea to reach safer shores.

Interesting times indeed.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

A Day in Baghdad (video)

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Interesting video tour in HD through several districts of Baghdad (including my home district of Adhamiya near the end). Baghdad seems shockingly normal here. Of course the tour didn't include rundown and impoverished neighbourhoods, but still cool.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Ramadan in the ME

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Two videos of common brutality against people who dared to be 'different' in a region ruled by political, social and religious conformity, both in supposedly 'secular' Muslim countries.

The first video from Morocco from a few days ago, where a mob surround a taxi after they spot a homosexual man inside dressed in female clothing. Shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' as they surround the vehicle and drag the man out and beat him unconscious on the side of the road.

The second video from Pakistan, where policemen make an example of a group of men who were caught in public not observing the Ramadan fast. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Latest situation map in Iraq and Syria

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According to the Iraqi Army's official Facebook page. I added the color-coded map legend, in case it isn't clear.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Horrific lynching vid from Kadhimiya Hospital in Baghdad (graphic)

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No one agrees on who this unfortunate man was, but apparently the crowd of attackers, visitors, policeman and hospital staff among them, seem to know for sure. Some say he was a Sunni refugee from Tikrit or the town of Al-Bu Ajil who was snitched by one of the janitors at the hospital. Others say he was an IS member caught and brought to Kadhimiya by the 'Popular Crowd' Shi'ite paramilitary forces from north of Baghdad, while others say he was an Egyptian suicide bomber suspect brought by the police to the hospital for interrogation (kid you not). Some witnesses said he was already in a coma when he was brutally attacked and had his face and genitals barbarically smashed in with fire extinguishers, stools, chairs, sticks and iron pipes by the angry, bloodthirsty crowd chanting the religious sectarian slogans, 'Oh, Zahraa' and 'Oh, Ali'.

Nobody really knows. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Iraqi government militias burning corpses (graphic vid)

The Iraqi government's Iranian-led Shi'te militiamen continue to liberate Sunnis in Tikrit from #IS, by burning their corpses (?) (FB video). It's unclear who this man was or what he did, definitely not a mercenary pilot who's job is to kill and topple roofs over people's heads from high above in the sky, but what's clear is that the world will pretend not to notice these ongoing crimes against the Sunnis of Iraq or brand them 'evil' and 'satanic' because it hurts the current narrative of 'Liberation' from a supposedly far greater evil.

And the chess game continues..

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Shi'ite Militias burn Al-Bu Ajil town to the ground (video)

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As expected. (Facebook video link). The whole town and surrounding orchards and properties east of Tikrit 'liberated' by the Iraqi government's Iranian-backed militias by being burned to the ground in a scorched earth revenge policy. No pretenses about it. Another Sunni town of 40 thousand people in central Iraq wiped off the map.

 who's this guy?

Shi'ite politicians had accused the Al-Bu Ajil tribe of complicity in the killings of 1700 Shi'ite recruits at the Speicher military base near Tikrit last June. A slogan of the paramilitary operation around Tikrit was "Al-Bu Ajil, we are coming for revenge. Speicher is calling". And the militiaman filming the video, identifying himself as a member of the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haqq militia, shouts 'Ya Ali, Al-Bu Ajil is burning' throughout the video as he drives through what is left of the town.

And the cycle continues. 

Monday, March 02, 2015


The Iraqi state with today's military operation in Tikrit has openly sanctioned tribal and sectarian warfare rather than the usual pretext to 'liberate' and reestablish order in ISIS-controlled areas in the Salah ad-Din governorate north of Samarra. Two Shi'ite politicians appeared on state television, Hadi al-Amiri (leader of the Badr Brigade and 'Popular Mobilization' Shi'ite militias) was warning the Al-Bu Ajil tribe east of Tikrit of a 'severe punishment', while a spokesman for the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haqq militia (formed under PM Maliki) stated that his militiamen were preparing to enter Tikrit to 'avenge the victims of the Speicher massacre'. Despite the big deal and fanfare from the Iraqi government about the operation, it looks like the army and Sh'ite paramilitaries have not succeeded in breaching Tikrit's defences so far but heavy artillery bombardment has not stopped since early morning 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Peshmerga and Yazidi militias parade with mutilated bodies

Those cuddly Kurdish Peshmerga fighters the West loves, and, of course, the poor victimized peacock worshipping Yazidis, who unleashed a campaign of looting, rape, murder, and destruction of property at Arab villages surrounding Sinjar, which are, incidentally, inhabited by my ancestral tribe, the Jihaish. 

I'll wait patiently for the next round of payback, which will definitely come around.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Shia ISIS in Diyala

From Diyala governorate where a campaign of sectarian cleansing is still ongoing, Iraqi government sanctioned Shite militias (called the Popular Committees) make no secret of their (ISIS-y?) tendencies either

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Black and brown uniforms suggested some were affiliated with Shi'ite militias and government security forces; others appeared to be civilians. They dragged residents up to age 70 from their homes, beating and cursing them with sectarian slurs, Abu Omar told Reuters by phone. 

He said the fighters took the men's mobiles and ID cards, then bound their hands, tying Abu Omar to his 12-year-old mentally ill son with rope. They did the same with his two older sons and three brothers. 

The men were led a few hundred yards to a field where Abu Omar said more than a hundred others had been gathered. For about two hours, they were forced to kneel and stare at the ground as the fighters selected their targets and led them to a spot behind a mud wall. 

"They took them behind the wall. Less than a minute, then a gunshot," said Abu Omar. "All we could hear was the gunshots. We couldn't see."

Monday's alleged massacre happened in the presence of Iraqi security forces, compounding Sunni doubts about Baghdad's control over the militias, which took the lead in battling Islamic State after the Iraqi army nearly collapsed last summer. 

Abdullah al-Jubouri, a 23-year-old college graduate who fled to Barwanah from Sinsil a month ago, said the army let him go when they came to his house on Monday. Other witnesses told Reuters that soldiers stood by helplessly, some crying, as the militias executed civilians. 

Jubouri told Reuters he fled when he saw Humvees entering Barwanah and hid in a pile of garbage. He watched as a group of soldiers and militiamen near the school fired at a line of 13 men, some with their hands bound.

"I saw them falling like domino pieces," he said.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Middle East: 2014 Year in Review

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This was the year of the unthinkable.

American, Iranian and Syrian warplanes in the same airspace, bombing a common enemy — an enemy that used U.S.-supplied tanks and guns to overrun a Middle Eastern army and take a major city in a matter of days.

This was the year ISIS burst into life as the region's most feared killing machine and rubbed out borders that were drawn a century ago.

It was the year the Arab Spring finally died in the Middle East's most populous country. A year of turmoil, when Israel crushed Gaza and Iraq's national army was exposed as a corrupt shell.

Monday, December 22, 2014

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Monday, December 08, 2014

Shite Hizbullah Brigades in Diyala (graphic vid)

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Members of the Shite Hizbullah Brigades (Iraq branch) parading with decapitated heads of their Sunni victims in 'liberated' areas of Diyala, while joking and chanting sectarian slogans. These are the 'good guys' in Iraq, according to Uncle Sam, and his current bedfellows (we'll see how long that lasts). These are the criminals Uncle Sam wants to force the Sunnis of Iraq to accept to rule over them again. And this is why the Islamic State, or whatever name it chooses to call itself, is here to stay, even if you send over 40 more armies to try to force Sunnis to accept the rule of the Shite-Kurdo-Iranian gangsters you installed over the ruins of the country you destroyed.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Meanwhile, in Fallujah

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While the Shite-Iranian 'army' and its paramilitary goons are blowing up empty Sunni property in Diyala, Sunni rebels are using their own US-supplied equipment to mop up their remains in Fallujah after a failed offensive from three directions yesterday

US A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft in Anbar (video)

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US A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft bombing the vicinity of Rawa in Anbar, west of Baghdad.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Iraq-Iranian Shi'ite Army

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Formerly known as the Iraqi National Army, currently the Shi'ite Iraqi-Iranian Army, complete with Khamene'i and Khomeini posters. This is the legacy of the US-trained Iraqi Army since '03. And with the Iranian Air Force now also taking part in the global 'bomb-a-Sunni-Arab-village' campaign, as admitted by the US yesterday, in addition to their pilots flying Iraqi Air Force aircraft, things are much more clear now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Absolute impunity, Shite Militia Rule in Iraq (Amnesty International)

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In recent months, Shi’a militias have been abducting and killing Sunni civilian men in Baghdad and around the country. These militias, often armed and backed by the government of Iraq, continue to operate with varying degrees of cooperation from government forces – ranging from tacit consent to coordinated, or even joint, operations. Amnesty International holds the government of Iraq largely responsible for the serious human rights abuses, including war crimes, committed by these militias.

Full report  

Saturday, November 29, 2014


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Rebel tanks cleaning up the remnants of PKK and Peshmerga from Ain al-'Arab

US Aircraft over Mosul

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A US F-18 flying at low altitude over Mosul, from yesterday.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sisi's Army

The (once professional) Egyptian army under the reign of pharaoh Sisi boy demonstrating their battlefield skills. 

Expect a swift crumbling of this Arab army too not so far in the future.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sunni vs. Shi’ite: Why the U.S. plan to save Iraq is doomed to fail

A kool blog post from some former US State Department official in #Iraq, detailing Uncle Sammy's pipe dreams.

Some empires never learn their lessons, I guess.

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Present Iraq strategy delays, at great cost — in every definition of that word — the necessary long-term tristate solution. It is time to hasten it. The United States must use its influence with the Shi’ites to have their forces, along with the Iranians, withdraw to Baghdad. America would create a buffer zone, encompassing the strategically critical international airport as a “peacekeeping base.” Using air power, America would seal the Iraq-Syria border in western Anbar, at least against any medium-to-large scale Islamic State resupply effort. Arm the Sunni tribes if they will push Islamic State out of their towns. Support goes to those tribes who hold territory, a measurable, ground-truth based policy, not an ideological one. Implementing the plan in northwest Iraq can also succeed, but will be complicated by Kurd ambitions, greater ethnic diversity among the Iraqis and a stronger Islamic State tactical hold on cities like Mosul. There’ll be another tough challenge, the sharing of oil revenues between the new Sunni and Shi’ite states, so this plan is by no means a slam-dunk.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Those 'moderate' Syrian rebels. LeL.

Keep those airstrikes coming, Uncle Sammy.

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Fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamic military groups are joining forces with Isis, which has gained control of swaths of Syria and Iraq and has beheaded six western hostages in the past few months. 

Some brigades have transferred their allegiance to Isis, while others are forming tactical alliances or truces. Support among civilians also appears to be growing in some areas as a result of resentment over US-led military action. 

“Isis now is like a magnet that attracts large numbers of Muslims,” said Abu Talha, who defected from the FSA a few months ago, and is now in negotiations with other fighters from Islamic groups such as the al-Nusra Front to follow suit. 

Another fighter from a 600-strong dissident FSA brigade near Homs, Assam Murad, said: “There’s no way we would fight Isis after the US military campaign against them.” 

A third man, Abu Zeid, the commander of an FSA brigade near Idlib and a defector from the regime’s army, said: “All the locals here wonder why the US coalition never came to rescue them from [Syrian president Bashar] Assad’s machine guns, but run to fight Isis when it took a few pieces of land. We were in a robust fight against Isis for confiscating our liberated areas – but now, if we are not in an alliance, we are in a truce with them.”

Crooks and war pigs on both sides of the ocean rubbing their hands gleefully at the prospect of fresh arms deals to line up their pockets. One day you'll be forced to choke yourself on all that blood money, when it's worthless.

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Congress has approved several batches of arms sales to Iraq. The U.S. delivered the first batch of 140 refurbished Abrams tanks in 2012 in a deal valued at about $860 million, and the first of 36 F-16 jets -- valued at about $3.6 billion -- was delivered in July this year, according to the Congressional Research Service.

As many as 70 of the first batch of 140 Abrams tanks were destroyed or fell into disrepair as the Iraqi Army fought the Islamic State in Anbar province this summer, former Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader Obeidi said in an interview with Foreign Policy. Militants may have also captured a few, he said.

Today, Iraq has only about 40 usable tanks in its inventory, said Obeidi, who served as the defense minister from 2006 to 2010 and later as military advisor to Maliki until 2012. Obeidi is doubtful that the U.S. plan to mount an offensive against the Islamic State early next year and retake Nineveh province and the city of Mosul is a realistic one. It may take U.S. forces a year to retrain Iraqi troops, Obeidi said.