Sunday, July 19, 2015

Editorial: The vanishing Iraq

After the rush when you come back down
You're always disappointed
Nothing seems to keep you high
Drive your bargains
Push your papers
Win your medals
F**k your strangers
Don't it leave you on the empty side
-- "Woman of Heart and Mind," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her For The Roses

And last week certainly began with a rush for the press.

All in a frenzy over an assault on Anbar Province by the Iraqi military.

A few were less likely to join the frenzy and some even offered cautionary notes.

For example, Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) reported:

Iraqi officials have been candid that the brunt of the fighting about to engulf the city will be borne by an umbrella group of Shiite militia groups formed under the supervision of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the elite of Shiite Iran. That’s raised dire concerns from American advisers that these sectarian groups – overtly hostile to both Americans and Sunni Muslims – will break the already deeply frayed relationship between the Shiite government in Baghdad and the Sunni tribes that dominate the large swaths of Iraq currently under the Islamic State’s control.
The government claims that Sunni tribal fighters and local policemen from Anbar will join the militia-led assault. But many remain skeptical that Sunnis have joined in sufficient numbers to avoid the impression of a Shiite pogrom against Sunnis in Fallujah.

But mainly, it was rah-rah-rah.

Then Iraq sort of vanished.

Just disappeared.

Partly due to the Iran deal Barack Obama announced.


The heavily made up president did influence the news cycle . . . to talk about Bill Cosby.

But the press wasn't interested in Iraq.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made two separate visits to Anbar last week and that didn't generate press.

Nothing did.

As the week ended, the silence began to clarify with David S. Cloud and WJ Hennigan (Los Angeles Times) reportin:

A U.S.-backed military offensive against Islamic State fighters faltered in its first week as several hundred militants entrenched in the provincial capital of Ramadi withstood punishing airstrikes and held off a far-larger force of Iraqi ground troops, senior U.S. and coalition commanders said Saturday. 

With nothing to pimp, so many 'independent' news outlets had nothing to offer.

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