United for Peace of Pierce County, WA - We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy.

BACKGROUND: NYT reveals 'secret history' of SEAL Team 6's 'relentless killing'

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SEAL Team Six, the supposedly secret but actually famous U.S. Special Forces unit, "has been transformed by more than a decade of combat into a global manhunting machine," the Sunday New York Times reported.[1]  --  In "America’s new way of war, . . . conflict is distinguished not by battlefield wins and losses, but by the relentless killing of suspected militants," Mark Mazzetti, Nicholas Kulish, Christopher Drew, Serge F. Kovaleski, Sean D. Naylor, and John Ismay said.  --  Joint Special Operations Command oversees SEAL Team 6 missions, which have raised "concerns about excessive killing and civilian deaths."  --  COMMENT:  This casts a shadow upon the decision to award the 2014 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize to Eric T. Olson, the U.S. Navy admiral who was JSOC's commander from 2007 to 2011.  --  As Mark Mazzetti and his colleagues say, "the bulwark of secrecy around Team 6 makes it impossible to fully assess its record and the consequences of its actions, including civilian casualties or the deep resentment inside the countries where its members operate.  --  The missions have become embedded in American combat with little public discussion or debate."  --  How could they be understood or debated, since they are conducted under cover of the utmost secrecy?  --  For this reason, the institutionalization and routinization of Seal Team 6 are incompatible with the form of representative government most Americans still imagine they are pledging allegiance to when they salute the flag....

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 06:57 Read more...
 

NEWS: No sign of assault on Ramadi as ISIS cuts water supply to downstream towns

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Almost three weeks have passed since Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, fell to the Islamic State, but USA Today reported Thursday that a counteroffensive has "bogged down" and that there has been "no effort to drive militants from the heart of the city."[1]  --  CNN, meanwhile, reported that "ISIS has closed off a dam to the north of the Iraqi city of Ramadi . . . cutting water supplies to pro-government towns downstream and making it easier for its fighters to attack forces loyal to Baghdad . . . They added that the level of water in the Euphrates was now low enough that the river could be walked across, making it easier for ISIS militants to cross and attack the pro-government towns of Husaybah and Khalidiyah as well as the large security forces base at Habbaniya."[2] ...

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 June 2015 07:15 Read more...
 

TRANSLATION: 'The Middle East is aflame' (Henry Laurens, Collège de France)

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Though rapid-moving events have rendered his remarks a bit out-of-date, the main points made by historian Henry Laurens of the prestigious Collège de France in his discussion of the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East are just as pertinent as they were six months ago.  --  Laurens's 5,400-word interview in a recent number of Le Débat is translated below in its entirety.[1]  --  Laurens does not offer much reason to be optimistic.  --  "I've always asked Raymond Aron's question:  'What would you do if you had to decide?'  --  At the present time, I'm glad I'm not in power.  --  We're caught between a pressure to close borders that for lack of a better word can be called 'democratic' that is being massively expressed by Western societies and a humanitarian disaster of the first rank that's overwhelming our humanitarian law.  --  That law was devised for a few handful of dissident intellectuals.  --  It's not adapted to hundreds of thousands of refugees.  --  What to do?  --  I don't have the answer." ...

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ANALYSIS: No Iraqi assault to retake Ramadi any time soon

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The London Telegraph reported Sunday that according to Hadi al-Ameri, the most powerful Iraqi military leader "since the collapse of the army," the idea that the Anbar capital will be counter-attacked soon is "laughable," despite repeated statements from Iraqi political leaders.[1]  --  He blamed the United States for insisting that Shiite militias not be involved in the defense of Ramadi, and said that he would not "waste the lives of his men on a swift attempt to retake it for political reasons," Richard Spencer said.  --  Instead, Ameri is pursuing a divide-and-conquer strategy that aims gradually to "isolate individual ISIL units."  --  Ameri has two objectives he gives higher priority than retaking Ramadi:  creating a buffer protecting Iraq’s main road north to places like Samarra, site of one of the most important Shiite shrines, and cutting off a road running west across the desert to the north of Baghdad and Fallujah.  --  Ameri "said he did not know when any attempt to retake Anbar would begin."  --  According to another military analysis, the difficulties encountered in retaking Tikrit, a much easier objective, shows that a reconquest of Ramadi is at present beyond the capacity of the Iraqi forces.[2]  --  These reports came as Iraqi politicians are offering varying assessments of the status of Iraqi forces near Ramadi.[3] ...

Last Updated on Monday, 01 June 2015 06:01 Read more...
 

BACKGROUND: The situation in Ramadi as assault on Anbar capital impends

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Reuters reported that a semblance of "normality" had returned to life in Ramadi since the May 17 ISIS conquest, but that residents there expected it to be short-lived and were apprehensive about what is in store for them at the hands of their liberators:  "Our main concern is that the security forces will accuse us of supporting Daesh because we stayed in the city," said Ramadi resident Abu Omar al-Obeidi.[1]  --  There was no talk of "normality" in the London Telegraph's report on the situation in Ramadi, but instead description of revenge killings (by shooting or hanging rather than beheading, since the victims were Sunnis and not Shiites) and house destructions aimed at those who resisted ISIS.[2]  --  On Friday a U.N. official said that about 85,000 people had fled Ramadi since mid-May, and that more than 180,000 had been displaced from the city and surrounding area since early April, AFP reported.[3] ...

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NEWS: Confusing reports on Iraqi campaign to retake Ramadi

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The lead in USA Today's Friday report on the situation in Ramadi contradicts itself:  "Iraqi armed forces and militias have surrounded the provincial capital of Ramadi and are close to cutting off the Islamic State's supply lines in preparation for a counteroffensive to reclaim the city from the extremists, military officials said Friday."[1]  --  If "armed forces and militias" have "surrounded" the capital, why is it they are only "close" to cutting off supply lines?  --  On Thursday Military Times reported that no U.S.-trained Iraqi troops are involved.[2] ... 

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TRANSLATION: Deepening Mideast chaos masterfully analyzed

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In France, Myriam Benraad has recently emerged as a most perspicacious analyst of the deepening chaos of the Middle East.  --  The 34-year-old Benraad holds a doctorate from Sciences-Po and has already published three books on Iraq and its history.  --  Last month, in a brief article published in Libération (Paris) and translated below, she masterfully set forth what she called "a few tendencies that can make the complicated situation more intelligible, though they do not suffice to explain it completely."[1]  --  Chief among them:  the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the spectacular, unanticipated rise of the Islamic State.  --  Read carefully, her April 8 article seems to foresee ISIS's recent successes.  --  But no one can predict what is ahead:  "Amid millennial or reinvented antagonists, shifting strategies, weak, opportunistic alliances, and the overlapping of interested and completely irrational acts, the truth is that few can predict where the Arab-Muslim world is headed.  --  Recognizing this inability is doubtless the wisest attitude, especially given the disasters brought on by the ideological approaches to the region that have been tried in the past." ...

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TRANSLATION: Can we control predictive algorithms before they learn to control us?

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France is beginning a public-private collaboration aimed at devising algorithms to predict criminality in real time using data from social networks, the independent French news website Mediapart revealed Monday in an article translated below.  --  Among those involved in these ominous plans is Morpho, a French company that used to have its North American headquarters in Tacoma; it is now in the process of relocating to California.  --  "Machine learning" is a benign-sounding term for self-teaching predictive algorithms, a form of artificial intelligence that raises a host of important concerns, though few are aware of them.[1] ...

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 05:52 Read more...
 

ANALYSIS: New 'tactical sophistication' key to recent Islamic State successes

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An analysis of Islamic State victories published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal emphasized the importance of the group's increasing "tactical sophistication."[1]  --  Margaret Cooker said that Iraqi forces in Ramadi had been "outwitted" thanks to "a complex battle plan."  --  It involved operational security demonstrating both discipline and a knowledge of their enemies' surveillance techniques as well as the improvisation of powerful new suicide weapons.  --  Meanwhile AP reported Tuesday that "Over the past year defeated Iraq security forces have repeatedly left U.S.-supplied military equipment on the battlefield, which the U.S. has targeted in subsequent airstrikes against Islamic State forces."[2]  --  "American intelligence officials have assessed for some time that Iraq is unlikely ever again to function as the multi-ethnic nation-state it once was . . . But the Obama administration has continued to pursue a 'one Iraq' policy, routing all assistance through Baghdad," Ken Dilanian said.  --  COMMENT:  Like a number of other policies adopted by the Obama administration, its Iraq strategy is dictated by American political considerations, not by the military situation in the Middle East.  --  The only plausible strategy for a successful military campaign against the Islamic State is a "diplomatic revolution" by the United States followed by military alliances against ISIS with both Iran and Syria.  --  It may come to this some day, but for the time being it would entail domestic political costs the Obama administration is unwilling to confront....

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BACKGROUND: ISIS's 'sexual jihad' takes violence against women to 'new level'

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The Islamic State has taken sexual atrocities against women "to a whole new level," Middle East Eye said Monday in presenting an interview with Zainab Bangura, a 55-year-old woman from Sierra Leone who is the United Nation Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.[1]  --  "Bangura has just returned from Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, where she gathered data on I.S. sex crimes, including those against captured Yazidi women."  --  She said that after ISIS takes a village, "I.S. splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over.  --  The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity, and examined for breast size and prettiness.  --  The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold.  --  There is a hierarchy:  --  sheikhs get first choice, then emirs, then fighters.  --  They often take three or four girls each and keep them for a month or so, until they grow tired of a girl, when she goes back to market."  --  She said the Islamic State is "institutionalizing sexual violence; the brutalisation of women and girls is central to their ideology.   --  They use sexual violence as a 'tactic of terrorism.'"  --  The Islamic State has "more than 40,000 fighters from more than 100 countries," she said.  --  It is using "the concept of jihad al-nikah, or sexual jihad -- whereby women’s bodies are used as part of supporting the I.S. campaign.  There are tens of thousands of men who expect that they will 'get' women to 'marry.'"  --  Bangura, a Muslim, has been in her post since 2012 and has worked in many countries, but said:  "I never saw anything like this.  --  I cannot understand such inhumanity."  --  Last month Human Rights Watch also called attention to "systematic rape and other sexual violence against Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq."[2]  --  "Human Rights Watch documented a system of organized rape and sexual assault, sexual slavery, and forced marriage by ISIS forces."  --  The victimized women suffer "unimaginable trauma," HRW said, noting that "In October 2014, ISIS acknowledged in its publication *Dabiq* that its fighters had given captured Yezidi women and girls to its fighters as 'spoils of war.'  --  ISIS has sought to justify sexual violence claiming that Islam permits sex with non-Muslim 'slaves,' including girls, as well as beating and selling them.  --  The statements are further evidence of a widespread practice and a systematic plan of action by ISIS, Human Rights Watch said." ...

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NEWS: Islamic State's first claim of responsibility for attack inside Saudi Arabia

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On Friday, for the first time, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack inside Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post reported.[1]  --  The New York Times said that "it was unclear whether the attack was planned by Islamic State leaders, initiated independently by a Saudi sympathizer, or merely claimed opportunistically after the fact."[2]  --  "Thousands of Saudis have traveled to join the Islamic State, which follows a puritanical school of Islam that scholars say is similar to that of Saudi Arabia," David Kirkpatrick said.  --  Some see a link with the fighting in Yemen, where a Sunni-Shiite conflict is raising tensions inside Saudi Arabia.  --  "Jafar al-Shayeb, head of the Qatif Municipal Council and a Shiite community leader, blamed the 'sectarian discourse' that has spread through Saudi Arabia since the start of the air campaign in Yemen.  --  "'People feel like this is a direct result of the atmosphere that is turning everybody against each other through speeches and media and social media,' he said.  'It will lead young people to sacrifice themselves and kill others in this region, and people are very angry about it.'" ...

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UFPPC statement: Portents of evil imminent

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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

PORTENTS OF EVIL IMMINENT

May 21, 2015

Last weekend Ramadi fell; yesterday, Palmyra.  What does the future hold for the Islamic State?  And what should the United States do?

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NEWS: Syrian forces withdraw as Palmyra falls to Islamic State in 'major setback'

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Islamic State fighters have "taken control" of Palmyra, Syria, Reuters reported Wednesday.[1]  --  It was "the first time the al Qaeda offshoot has taken control of a city directly from the Syrian army and allied forces," Sylvia Westall and Tom Perry said.  --  Historians and the director-general of UNESCO fear the Islamic State will ransack the World Heritage Site, the New York Times said.[2]  --  AP reported that Syrian state TV said its forces had withdrawn from what is "a stunning defeat for President Bashar Assad’s forces."[3]  --  Debka called the taking of Palmyra a "major setback" and also claimed to know that the Iranian embassy was blown up in Damascus Wednesday night, but this has not been reported elsewhere.[4] ...

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NEWS & BACKGROUND: New act opens in 'continuing tragedy of Iraq’s Sunnis'

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An article in Wednesday's New York Times focused on the plight of Sunnis now that Baghdad's strategy for enlisting them in the fight against ISIS, or the Islamic State, has fallen with the city of Ramadi.[1]  --  "Nearly three million Iraqis are now displaced, according to the United Nations, a level not seen since the height of Iraq’s sectarian civil war in 2006 and 2007.  --  Then, many Iraqis fled to Syria.  --  But with Syria convulsed by its own civil war, Iraqis on the run from the Islamic State have few safe places to go.  --  Nearly 85 percent of the displaced are Sunnis, according to a United Nations official," Tim Arango said.  --  On Monday the BBC quoted a "well-placed Sunni politician" who said:  "The Sunnis are getting to the point where they think that Islamic State is a lesser evil than the Shia militias."[2]  --  COMMENT:  Iraqi Sunnis are not merely being invaded by the Islamic State, they are also participating in a historic creation of one of their own.  --  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim as he is known to followers, is an Iraqi Sunni born in 1971 sixty miles away from Ramadi, near Samarra.  --  A product of Iraqi Sunni culture, he has degrees (including a Ph.D.) from Islamic University in Baghdad.  --  According to an account by Ruth Sherlock published by the London Telegraph in November 2014, al-Baghdadi was a quiet-living type who "didn't show any hostility to Americans" when they invaded in 2003.  --  Rather, "it was a . . . prison stint in an American jail which cemented Baghdadi as the jihadist he is today." ...

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TRANSLATION: On the significance of the January 11 "Je suis Charlie" demonstrations

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With the publication of Qui est Charlie? (May 2015), Emmanuel Todd, 64, a well-known French sociologist, challenged the widespread view that "the spirit of January 11" was a reassuring demonstration of support for freedom of expression and tolerance in the framework of the French Republic.  --  According to Todd's analysis, these views were only a misleading surface phenomenon, a mask disguising a dangerous swerve of French opinion toward intolerance, Islamophobia and even anti-Semitism.  --  Reactions to Todd have been intense, and have included an Op-Ed in Le Monde by Prime Minister Manuel Valls denouncing the book and its author.  --  On Tuesday, two sociologists who have devoted their careers to the study of social movements published their refutation of Todd's analysis, also in Le Monde.  --  Their article is translated below in its entirety.[1]  --  NOTE:  The authors (or their editors) confuse a living sociologist, William I. Robinson, with William S. Robinson (1913-1996), the veritable originator, in 1950, of the concept of the "ecological fallacy." ...

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COMMENTARY: Ramadi 'disaster' heralds 'the break-up of Iraq'

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Though not always reliable, Debka, the Israeli website with links to Mossad, at least presents a plausible perspective on events, which is more than on can say for Iraqi officials or Pentagon sources of late.  --  On Monday Debka noted that "In the last two days, the remnants of the Iraqi army have gone to pieces"; most Western mainstream sources, though, have scrupulously avoided commenting on the Iraqi army's performance.[1]  --  As for announced plans to send Shiite militias to Anbar to fight back against ISIS, Debka considers this "no more than an attempt to boost morale."  --  Baghdad's only real succor on the ground in this crisis is Iran, another fact that U.S. media in particular is unwilling to acknowledge openly.  --  But Debka observed that "Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan . . . arrived precipitately in Baghdad Monday, shortly after Ramadi’s fall . . . Our military sources expect him to focus on a desperate effort to deploy Shiite militias as an obstacle in ISIS’s path to Baghdad, now that the road is clear of defenders all the way from Ramadi."  --  Debka also reported that Jordan's King Abdullah fears that the Obama administration's strategy is undermining the stability of Jordan.  --  "ISIS would at present have no difficulty in invading southern Jordan, where the army is thin on the ground, and seizing local towns and villages whose inhabitants are already sympathetic to the extremist group."  --  More reliable than Debka is Patrick Cockburn, the most insightful Westerner reporting from the Middle East.  --  He noted Tuesday in the London Independent that "ISIS fighters defeated élite units of the Iraqi armed forces."[2]  --  "Armored vehicles belonging to the Iraqi army’s so-called 'Golden Division,' considered its best unit, could be seen streaming out of Ramadi in a retreat that looked, at times, as if it had turned into a rout.  --  Heavy equipment, including armored Humvees and artillery, was abandoned."  --  Cockburn said that "The fall of Ramadi may turn out to be a decisive event, changing the political and military landscape of Iraq and Syria.  --  In some respects, it is a worst defeat for the Iraqi government than the capture of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in a surprise Isis attack last year."  --  Whereas Mosul was a surprise, the attack on Ramadi was fully expected and should have been repelled.  --  U.S. strategy against the Islamic State, Cockburn said, is "in ruins."  --  As for the future of Iraq, "The defeat at Ramadi is likely to prove an important staging post in the break-up of Iraq because the Shia majority may decide they are getting very little from the Kurds or the anti-ISIS Sunni politicians." ...

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TRANSLATION: ISIS sees Palmyra & Ramadi as mediagenic targets

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On Sunday the French newspaper Libération offered an analysis of the latest targets of the Islamic State, translated below.  --  Palmyra, in particular, is a particularly attractive target for ISIS because UNESCO has designated it a World Heritage Site, according to Luc Mathieu.  --  "If they were to seize the historic city, its fate is certain, since the jihadists have consistently destroyed and pillaged the pre-Islamic ruins of Iraqi archeological sites in Hatra, Nimrod, and Mosul," he said.[1]  --  For the moment, Syrian armed forces have been successful in keeping ISIS out of Palmyra....

Last Updated on Monday, 18 May 2015 06:26 Read more...
 

NEWS: ISIS takes Ramadi as Iraqi military flees 'the collapse of Anbar'

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After minimizing for several days reports of the fall of Ramadi, U.S. mainstream media are finally acknowledging the fall of Ramadi, which to all effects and purposes happened two days ago.  --  True, their accounts are still laced with expressions like "purportedly," "with militants saying," "on condition of anonymity," "could not be independently verified," etc., as in Sameer Yacoub's report for AP.  --  In general, Western journalists are more concerned with scrupulously reporting flimsy denials of reality by Iraqi and American officials -- on Friday the Pentagon said that ISIS was "on the defensive throughout Iraq and Syria" and on Sunday was still asserting the situation was "fluid and contested" and that it was too early to make "definitive statements" -- than with trying to describe what is happening.  --  Still, there is no disguising the scale of this event.  -  "The retreat recalled the collapse of Iraqi police and military forces last summer, when the Islamic State group’s initial blitz into Iraq saw it capture about a third of the country," Yacoub said.[1]  --  "Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi . . apparently fear[s] the extremists could capture the entirety of the vast Sunni province . . . It also calls into questions American officials' hopes of relying solely on airstrikes to support the Iraqi forces in expelling the extremists."  --  USA Today noted that the ISIS victory came despite "165 U.S.-led airstrikes . . . conducted on Ramadi to assist Iraqi troops battling the Islamic State."[2]  --  The Wall Street Journal said ISIS had killed "hundreds of government forces and deal[t] a crushing setback to U.S.-backed efforts to halt the spread of the extremist group."[3]  --  The BBC called the Iraqi military retreat "chaotic" and marveled that "the U.S. refused to confirm the capture" of the city.[4]  --   The New York Times spoke of "the collapse of Anbar" and said Ramadi had fallen "completely."[5]  --  Tim Arango noted that Anbar Province is the place where nearly 1,300 soldiers and marines died after the American invasion of 2003."  --  Indeed, in the Iraq war, more Americans died in Anbar than in any other province.  --  Baghdad's plan is now to send Shiite militias into Anbar.  --  If this plan is carried out, atrocities on both sides are certain to mount in spectacular fashion.  --  BACKGROUND:  It was only six and a half years ago that President George W. Bush proclaimed, as the U.S. military handed over control of Anbar province to Iraqi military forces, "Today, Anbar is no longer lost to al-Qa'ida, it is al-Qa'ida that lost Anbar" (Independent [London], Sept. 2, 2008)....

Last Updated on Monday, 18 May 2015 07:01 Read more...
 

NEWS & ANALYSIS: Fall of Ramadi part of multi-pronged ISIS offensive

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The Islamic State is wrapping up its first seizure of a major urban center in Iraq in nearly a year.  --  Forces defending Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, are in a state of "total collapse," Reuters reported Sunday.[1]  --  Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post mocked the Obama administration for characterizing the fall of the capital of Anbar province as just a "bad day," and for pretending to be unable to confirm reports on the dire situation in Ramadi.[2]  --  Al Arabiya reported Sunday that "The western Iraqi city of Ramadi on Sunday fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) . . . after the Iraqi army deserted the city."[3]  --  Al Arabiya also reported that the government in Baghdad has "ordered Shiite militias to be prepared to go into Anbar province," which is predominantly Sunni.  --  Meanwhile Debka, the website associated with Israeli intelligence, had already reported unambiguously on Friday that "Ramadi, the provincial capital of western Iraqi Anbar, fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Friday, May 15, after its inhabitants were put to mass flight.  --  The town, 110 km west of Baghdad, controls the traffic on the Euphrates River.  --  Small pockets of Iraqi troops are still stranded there after taking hundreds of casualties."[4]  --  Debka said the attack on Ramadi is part of a "multi-pronged offensive" that has also led to the capture of Jubba, "next door to Iraq’s biggest air base at Al-Ansar.  --  There, hundreds of U.S. officers and soldiers are training Iraqi troops to fight ISIS and helping the Iraqi army manage the fighting in the province."  --  And in "the oil-producing town of Baiji . . . a small Iraqi army force of no more than a few hundred soldiers is surrounded by the jihadists, with slim chances of holding out much longer before they are wiped out or forced to surrender."  --  Debka reported that "Muslims from West Europe" were involved in suicide bomb cars used in the offensive to take the center of Ramadi.  --  Debka described the tactics used by the Islamic State:  "[F]ighters first seize control of its environs.  --  That way, they can block off in advance any incoming and outgoing movements of Iraqi troops -- whether in retreat or for bringing up reinforcements.  --  Next, their fighters storm into the core of the targeted location.  --  Fleeing Iraqi soldiers and their local allies and civilians are summarily put to death."  --  Debka concluded:  "This new ISIS impetus in Iraq has wiped out the military advantages the Iran-backed Shiite militias and U.S. Air Force gained from the capture of the central Iraqi town of Tikrit in late March and early April.  --  When the Shiite mlitias turned on the local Sunni populace for murder, burning, and looting, the Obama administration turned to Tehran and Baghdad and demanded those militias be removed from the city.  --  Since the Iraqi army is incapable of recovering control and holding Tikrit after the Islamists were driven out, the town has sunk into anarchy with innumerable armed gangs battling each other for control of its quarters, some of them ISIS loyalists.  --  In the current situation prevailing in western Iraq, the Americans and Iraqis might as well forget about their plans for retaking Iraq’s second city, Mosul, from ISIS control, this year."  --  COMMENT:  Western mainstream reporting continues to refer reassuringly to "Iraq," but in reality there is no longer a national entity going by that name.  --  There is nothing new about this.  --  Eight years ago UFPPC entitled one of its statements "Iraq Is Collapsing, But U.S. Media Decline to Report the Fact." ...

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NEWS: Fall of Ramadi to ISIS a 'serious blow' to government in Baghdad

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The novelty of an American raid targeting ISIS inside Syria is getting the headlines, but it is more significant that in Iraq on May 15 Islamic State fighters stormed Ramadi, a city of 900,000 and the capital of Anbar province, and a day later proclaimed victory by taking control of the building that had lodged provincial headquarters, where they raised the Islamic State flag.  --  American media are unwilling to acknowledge what seems to be taking place because Pentagon spokesmen are downplaying its importance, but British media are being more forthright.  --  "The fall of Ramadi, one of the few remaining government strongholds in Anbar province covering a third of Iraq, shows that hopes of the Iraqi army and Shia militia forces reversing ISIS’s gains of last year were premature and may never be realized," the London Independent said.[1]  --  On Saturday the Economist called "[t]he loss of Ramadi" a "serious blow to the government in Baghdad."[2] ...

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ANALYSIS: Bin Laden is about myth, so Hersh is a heretic

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On Friday, Trevor Timm came to the defense of Seymour Hersh in an analytical piece published by the Columbia Review of Journalism.[1]  --  Providing many links, Timm reviewed the character assassination campaign that has been directed at Hersh during the week following the posting on May 10 of a 10,000-word article on the killing of Osama bin Laden.  --  But Timm's points won't gain much traction in the world of mainstream media.  --  In the mediasphere, the attacks on Hersh for daring to publish charges of extensive lying by the the president, his administration, the military, and the national security apparatus about the events surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden have been a spectacular confirmation of what UFPPC asserted in a statement posted a few days after bin Laden's death was announced:  --  "[W]hen we discuss the death of bin Laden, we are also dealing in myth. . . . [I]n the society of the spectacle that the modern world has become, myths are the picturesque, authoritative expressions of ideas and doctrines mass media inculcate in the public mind. . . . It is in this context that we should understand the government's use of secrecy to shroud events. . . . Factual truth is not what matters in the domain of myth."  --  From this perspective, Hersh is less a journalist than a heretic, and he is being treated as such....

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Meeting schedule

United for Peace of Pierce County meets 7:00-8:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month at First United Methodist Church in Tacoma (621 Tacoma Avenue South).

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