Tuesday, March 04, 2008

So, Kate ... how's that "handover" going? Uh oh ...

Gosh, it seems like just yesterday that Canada's most pathologically dishonest blogger was creaming herself over all that delightful progress in Iraq:

ARBIL, Iraq (AFP) - In a blaze of pomp showcasing Kurdish military muscle, US forces handed over responsibility for security in Iraq's three northern provinces to the Kurdish regional government on Wednesday [...]

The handover was followed by a parade of Kurdish soldiers, including an all-female martial arts display.

So, things in the Kurdish provinces are all hunky-dory and we can move on and concentrate on the rest of Iraq, right? Right? Um ... hang on:

Turkey Launches Incursion In N. Iraq

Supported by air power, Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq on Friday in their first major ground incursion against Kurdish rebel bases in nearly a decade. But Turkey sought to avoid confrontation with U.S.-backed Iraq, saying the guerrillas were its only target.

The offensive, which started late Thursday after aircraft and artillery blasted suspected rebel targets, marked a dramatic escalation in Turkey's fight with the PKK rebel group even though Turkish officials described the operation as limited.

Whoops, that doesn't sound like progress, does it, Kate? But the rest of Iraq, Kate, how's that going? Oh, dear (emphasis added):

Iraq's western province of Anbar, hotbed of the Sunni Arab insurgency for the first four years of the war, will be returned to Iraqi control in March, a senior U.S. general said Thursday.

In a telephone interview from Iraq, Marine Maj. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin, commander of the roughly 35,000 Marine and Army forces in Anbar, said levels of violence have dropped so significantly—coupled with the growth and development of Iraqi security forces in the province—that Anbar is ready to be handed back to the Iraqis.

Thus far, nine of 18 Iraqi provinces have reverted to Iraqi control, most recently the southern province of Basra in December. The process has gone substantially slower than the Bush administration once hoped, mainly because of obstacles to developing sufficient Iraqi police and army forces. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that he expects the process to continue.

But we have a handle on things, right, Kate? Kate? Oh, crap.

The Blogging Tories' Kate McMillan: Because someone has to be wrong about absolutely everything absolutely all of the time. Why not Kate?

, to truly appreciate Kate's level of appalling dishonesty, recall from above how excited she was about the "handover" of the three Kurdish provinces, then read this:

July 18, 2007 | On May 30, the Coalition held a ceremony in the Kurdistan town of Erbil to mark its handover of security in Iraq's three Kurdish provinces from the Coalition to the Iraqi government. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, the U.S. commander for northern Iraq, praised the Iraqi government for overseeing all aspects of the handover. And he drew attention to the "benchmark" now achieved: With the handover, he said, Iraqis now controlled security in seven of Iraq's 18 provinces.

In fact, nothing was handed over. The only Coalition force in Kurdistan is the peshmerga, a disciplined army that fought alongside the Americans in the 2003 campaign to oust Saddam Hussein; it is loyal to the Kurdistan government in Erbil. The peshmerga provided security in the three Kurdish provinces before the handover and after. The Iraqi army has not been on Kurdistan's territory since 1996 and is effectively prohibited from being there. Nor did the Iraqi flag fly at the ceremony. It is banned in Kurdistan.

Although the Erbil handover was a sham that Prince Potemkin might have admired, it was not easily arranged. The Bush administration had wanted the handover to take place before the U.S. congressional elections in November. But it also wanted an Iraqi flag flown at the ceremony and some acknowledgment that Iraq, not Kurdistan, was in charge. The Kurds were prepared to include a reference to Iraq in the ceremony, but they were adamant that there be no Iraqi flags. It took months to work out a compromise ceremony with no flags at all. Thus the ceremony was followed by a military parade without a single flag -- an event so unusual that one observer thought it might merit mention in "Ripley's Believe it or Not."

Tune in tomorrow when we document Kate lying outrageously about something else.

BONUS TRACK: It's almost cruel to point out the sheer depth of Kate McMillan's delusional optimism but, what the hell, that's what I'm here for.

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