‘No Complete Strategy’ in Iraq, But Embassies Getting Complete Movie Channel Packages

June 12, 2015

While President Obama admits there is "no complete strategy" in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq, U.S. embassies there will have access to a complete package of movie channels.

The State Department issued a solicitation on Thursday to purchase satellite television subscriptions for all its embassies in the embattled country, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

"The purpose of this firm fixed price Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract is to obtain High Definition (HD) satellite television channel packages to be received at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Iraq that includes the U.S. Embassy Baghdad, the U.S. Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center (BDSC), the U.S. Consulate General Basrah, and the U.S. Consulate General Erbil," the solicitation said.

The State Department is looking for a contractor to provide 30 English satellite channels, the majority of which are movie channels distributed by OSN, a television provider in the Middle East.

A channel list provided in the contract’s statement of work includes: OSN Movies, OSN Movies 2, OSN Movies Premiere, OSN Movies Premiere 2, OSN Movies Action, OSN Movies Festival, OSN Movies Comedy, OSN Movies Drama, OSN First Comedy, Turner Classic Movies, MGM, Sundance, and Star.

OSN Movies recently showed Guardians of the Galaxy, Judge Dredd—a 1995 Sylvester Stallone sci-fi flick—and Shaft.

U.S. embassies in Iraq will also have access to E! Entertainment, the Food Network, TLC, VH-1, OSN Sports, Discovery channel, several Nat Geo channels, the History channel, and Animal Planet.

The only news channels listed are CNBC Europe and Fox News.

President Obama said Monday at the G-7 conference in Germany that there is not a complete strategy to fight the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq.

"We don’t yet have a complete strategy because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well about how recruitment takes place, how that training takes place," he said. "So the details of that are not yet worked out."

His remarks came 10 months after the administration said it did not have a strategy last August, after the beheadings of U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

Since his comments Monday, Obama has ordered an additional 450 U.S. troops to Iraq that will not engage in combat or near the front lines, and has signaled that he is open to adding outposts for training of Iraqi troops. However, White House officials anticipate there will be "no decision in the next few weeks."

The State Department did not return request for comment prior to publication of this story.