First Covenant Church of Sacramento, which has helped resettle several hundred Muslim refugees, received a big thank you Wednesday night from the SALAM Islamic Center.
At its annual interfaith Iftar, the SALAM center gave First Covenant its Distinguished Award for Exceptional Interfaith and Community Service.
More than 200 guests, including local, state and federal officials, stood to applaud First Covenant Executive Pastor Mark Shetler for promoting friendships between Christians and Muslims and offering material and spiritual support to refugees fleeing violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.
ISIS — the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — is one of the least funny organizations on the planet. From child trafficking to attempted genocide, everything they touch turns into a big steaming pile of tragedy. Things seem to be going pretty well for them, too. The West’s new boogeymen captured the city of Ramadi, Iraq, last month, and they appear to be drawing in new recruits slightly faster than American airstrikes can kill them.
But, the truly scary thing is that they seem to have just popped into existence overnight. How many of you had never even heard the term “ISIS” before last year? How is such a spontaneous mass of organized terror even possible? We were wondering that, too, so we sat down with a few people who were on the ground in Iraq during ISIS’s real-life supervillain origin story. We learned that, if we’re not the father of ISIS, the United States is at least some sort of uncle.
While reading this, the only spoiler-free thought I had was “so, have the ends successfully justified the means? Apparently not.” At least the pseudonyms bring a touch of levity.
The Pentagon said Thursday it would expedite delivery of 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq to help security forces there combat the type of vehicle-borne suicide bombs that helped Islamic State fighters take control of Ramadi.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said that the AT4 shoulder-launched missiles are expected to arrive in Iraq as early as next week.
The number of weapons is double what was previewed just one day ago at the State Department, as the Obama administration scrambles to adjust its Iraq strategy in the wake of what it has characterized as a significant setback in efforts to push back the militants. A State Department official had said the weapons would be delivered next month.
President Obama, in an interview published Thursday, said that the United States has to”ramp up not just training, but also commitment” to Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribesmen in Anbar province, where Ramadi is the capital.
The Ramadi defeat, Obama told The Atlantic, “is indicative that the training of Iraqi security forces, the fortifications, the command-and-control systems are not happening fast enough in Anbar, in the Sunni parts of the country.” Anbar is Iraq’s largest province, occupying much of the western part of the country.
Oh great. Destroying an M-1 tank is no easy task. The only really sure way is to land a JDAM right on top of it. Air strikes will have to be diverted from other targets to take care of it. It’s a pretty good bet that we have now destroyed more of our M-1s than our enemies have. Thanks Bush.
WASHINGTON - Iraqi troops abandoned dozens of U.S military vehicles, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery pieces when they fled Islamic State fighters in Ramadi on Sunday, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, estimated that a half dozen tanks were abandoned, a similar number of artillery pieces, a larger number of armored personnel carriers and about 100 wheeled vehicles like Humvees. He said some of the vehicles were in working condition; others were not because they had not been moved for months.
This repeats a pattern in which defeated Iraq security forces have, over the past year, left behind U.S.-supplied military equipment, prompting the U.S. to destroy them in subsequent airstrikes against Islamic State forces.
Asked whether the Iraqis should have destroyed the vehicles before abandoning the city in order to keep them from enhancing IS’s army, Warren said, “Certainly preferable if they had been destroyed; in this case they were not.”
Update: Jubilant ISIS guy with recently donated M-1
ISIS is still showing the world that it is evil. This story by Nick Cumming-Bruce is about a week old, but unfortunately I didn’t hear about it, until just now.
Yazidis lined up for food at a refugee camp in Khanke, Iraq, in August. Credit Lynsey Addario for The New York Times
GENEVA — United Nations human rights investigators on Thursday leveled accusations of genocide and war crimes at the Islamic State, citing evidence that the extremist group’s fighters had sought to wipe out the Yazidi minority in Iraq.
The investigators reported that the pattern of attacks against the Yazidis, a religious minority living mostly in northern Iraq, pointed to the intention of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, “to destroy the Yazidi as a group.”
Although the report states cautiously that the extremists “may have committed” genocide, one of the most serious international crimes, Hanny Megally, a senior United Nations rights official, told reporters in Geneva that “all the information points in that direction.”
The other day we were speculating about B-52s being used against ISIS, the context being RWNJ demands that the heavy bombers be so employed. It turns out that the B-52’s heavy partner, the B-1 (aka “Bone) is being used against the terrorist movement, with over 100 sorties so far. The B-1 can potentially carry a heavier bombload than the ‘52 but normally operates with a smaller load of guided weapons, especially the JDAM..
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar — Carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1B Lancer is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force and is a key resource for strike operations throughout the Central Command Area of Responsibility.
As a unit, the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., replaced the 9th EBS just shy of a month ago and in that time they have flown just under 100 sorties.
“We continue to employ combat air power in support of the Combined Forces Air Component Commander’s objectives,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Kramer, 34th EBS commander. “We’ve dropped approximately 250 munitions on both deliberate targets, which are targets assigned prior to take off, and dynamic targets, which are targets passed to our Airmen while they are airborne.”
B-1s based here are capable of supporting operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, or anywhere else they are needed. In recent months, the bombers have played a major role in helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces hold or retake key territory in Iraq and Syria, as well as destroying facilities and assets used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The bomber’s range and payload let it conduct multiple strikes with a large number of precision-guided munitions, which would require multiple combat sorties from other aircraft.
“We have accomplished a lot here so far, and we’re definitely up for the challenge that supporting these missions require,” said Hobbs. “We are supporting multiple mission sets across two operations and those mission sets include close air support, armed overwatch and several deliberate targeting missions that are assigned via the air tasking order.”
Operations in Iraq and Syria have provided new mission challenges for veteran B-1 aircrews in the theater. For some, this is their first experience in a combat zone.
Four former Blackwater Worldwide security contractors were convicted Wednesday on charges stemming from a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq.
Federal court jurors found one defendant guilty of murder and three others of manslaughter and weapons charges, roundly asserting that the shooting was criminal. The defendants showed little emotion as the lengthy verdict was read.
So much for the common claim by Islamophobes that mainstream or moderate Muslims never protest the extremists. Here is yet another example of that occurring, which the anti Muslim wingnuts expects us to believe never occurs. David O’leary reports.
Refugees cross into Turkey from Syria to escape fighting in the border town of Kobani. Picture: Getty
SCOTTISH Muslims are to stage an anti-Islamic State protest rally in Edinburgh condemning the group’s “heinous activities”, with thousands expected to attend.
The demonstration will take place on 2 November at The Mound in Edinburgh and is organised by the city’s Muslim community, who say it will be “open to members of all communities” who wish to voice their opposition to the barbaric acts of IS and condemn the murders of David Haines and Alan Henning.
Organised by award- winning restaurateur Matin Khan, speakers confirmed for the day include Labour MPs Sheila Gilmore and David Hamilton, with more to be announced.
Khan is the owner of Itihaas restaurant in Dalkeith and the current Scottish Curry Chef of the Year, and says he was moved to organise the peace rally in an attempt to show that IS “do not in any way represent Islam”. He said: “The IS beheading of David Haines and Alan Henning and the posting of their actions on the internet is barbaric.
New York Times story
A doctor ordered treatment with painkillers, antibiotics, burn cream and cleaning of the blisters — a sensation, the former sergeant said, “like a having a wire dog brush being rubbed across your leg.”
Specialist Beasley’s medical record shows that blood and urine specimens confirmed the mustard agent exposure. But the patients were not admitted to a hospital.
Mr. Lampier, then the soldiers’ commander, said he argued that they should be evacuated to the United States. “They were raw meat trying to heal in the worst environment imaginable,” he said. “There was dust and ash and smoke from the burn pits, and they had these wounds that shouldn’t have been exposed to that.”
The soldiers remained outpatients at a clinic.
Secrecy prevailed. Victims said word of their exposure was purposefully squelched.
All the while secrecy prevailed. The military determined the soldiers had been burned by an M110 shell. Both victims said word of their exposure was purposefully squelched.
“We were absolutely told not to talk about it” by a colonel, the former sergeant said. The order, he added, included prohibitions against mentioning mustard agent when writing home.
The secrecy was so extensive that Dr. Lounsbury said he suspected officials hid the cases even from him and two other Army doctors assigned to prepare an official textbook on treating battlefield wounds.
Lacking time to assimilate this, all I can do is bring it up. But it’s more than scandalous.
I just have no words for this, so I’ll quote a few from Adam Weinstein at Gawker, following up on a report from the NYT:
In bunkers now held by ISIS militants, and sometimes in streets emptied by bomb threats, scores of American service members secretly helped find and dispose of Saddam Hussein’s aging chemical weapons. Now stateside, many troops are sick with mystery ailments the military has at times tried to conceal.
Those are the broad strokes of an exhaustive 8,500-word New York Times dispatch tonight by conflict reporter C.J. Chivers—a story that not only reveals the existence of far more chemical munitions in pre-invasion Iraq than anyone had previously acknowledged, but details the disheartening aftermath for U.S. service members who secured those munitions, often finding them in IEDs planted by insurgents after American troops flooded into the country in 2003
I’d encourage you to read the whole thing, and the NYT piece. Weinstein is a vet, served in Iraq and apparently came in contact with this stuff. I am incredibly saddened by this waste of life and health (and the waste of the entire war in general). I hope these soldiers can get the help they really need.
I don’t have any more to add, really. :(