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The Common Ills


Saturday, April 19, 2014
Nouri's Iraq: Abu Ghraib, mounting death toll, War Crimes, fleeing Christians

Nouri's Iraq: Abu Ghraib, mounting death toll, War Crimes, fleeing Christians

Tuesday, Iraq's notorious prison Abu Ghraib shut its door -- a torture chamber under Saddam Hussein, a torture chamber as run by the US occupation and a torture chamber when Nouri took over it.  Andrew J. Bacevich (Los Angeles Times) writes about the prison's meanings:

Now the prison's closing lays bare the full magnitude of the U.S. failure in Iraq. What moved authorities in Baghdad to act now was their fear that Sunni militants would seize Abu Ghraib. "Liberating" those held there would swell the ranks of the insurgency that is plunging Iraq back into civil war. The partial restabilization attributed to the so-called U.S. surge orchestrated in 2007-08 — subsequently styled as a "victory" — is today almost entirely undone.
The Iraqi government abandoned the prison because Iraq itself is unraveling. Of course, it is Iraqis rather than Americans who must deal with the consequences. Even so, those consequences ought to give pause to advocates of U.S. intervention in places such as Syria or Ukraine. To those who will listen, the lessons of Abu Ghraib are unmistakable.

Another lesson is that war doesn't bring peace.  It certainly brought no peace or security for Iraq's religious minorities.  That includes Iraq's Christian community -- some of which still live in the country but many more who have fled.  Tomorrow many Christians will celebrate Easter (the rebirth, when Jesus Christ rose from the dead).  Deutsche Welle reports that those in Iraq live in fear of being targeted with violence on their holy day.  The outlet also notes:

Before the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the country was home to around 1.5 million Christians. Today there are only around 400,000 left, and they are continuing to seek refuge in other countries. Nearly all Christian families in Iraq have at least one relative abroad who is determined to get the rest of their family out of Iraq. Youssef would also like to move. He has applied for an immigration visa to Canada, which so far has been keen to accept educated Christians from Iraq. Youssef is an engineer and believes his chances of moving overseas soon are good.



Iraq Body Count notes 575 violent deaths through Friday.  Today?  National Iraqi News Agency reports police officer Hussein al-Hazzimawi and his two children were kidnapped in Al-Ankur, a Mosul bombing targeted State of Law MP Mudreka Ahmed and claimed the life of 1 of her bodyguards (she was uninjured), an al-Qaem sticky bombing targeted Motahedoon Coalition candidate Ahmed Attia leaving him and his driver injured1 police member was injured in a Sulaymaniyah City shooting, a roadside bombing west of Mosul left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and another injured, an Auwaza roadside bombing killed 2 people, 1 police member was shot dead and another left injured "in Tamouz area west of Mosul," a family traveling in a car was attacked "near the city of Qalaat Suker" with both parents and 3 children being killed in the shooting and two more children being left injured, 2 Doura roadside bombings left 2 people dead and five more injured, 3 Dora bombings left five people injured, a Muqdadiyah roadside bombing left three Iraqi soldiers injured, a Mosul car bombing killed 2 people and left thirteen more people injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 1 suspect, security forces say they killed 21 suspects to the south of Ramadi, security forces say they killed 1 suspect in Diyala Province,  a "northwest of Baghdad" mortar attack left three civilians injured, and 1 corpse was discovered "northeast of Baquba."  The Belfast Telegraph notes, "Outside of Baghdad, police said a suicide bomber killed five soldiers and wounded eight at a checkpoint in Mishada, some 20 miles north of the capital. Also today, a roadside bomb killed two soldiers on patrol and wounded five people in Tarmiyah, 30 miles north of Baghdad. "

There's more.

Nouri continues killing and wounding civilians in and near Falluja as he targets residential neighborhoods.  NINA reports 1 person died and three more were injured in one bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods and  3 civilians were killed and eight left injured in a second shelling.  Fu Peng (Xinhua) reports, "In Anbar province, at least four people were killed and 15 wounded at dawn when Iraqi army pounded the town of Garma near the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a provincial police source said."  Anadolu Agency observes, "Many local Sunni tribes opposed to Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, meanwhile, have continued to voice anger over the operation's mounting civilian death toll."

This week saw a two-day conference in Brussells.  Dahr Jamail was present and reports on it for Truthout.  Excerpt:


"Now is a time for us to close the net on the war criminals," Dirk Adriaensens, a long-time Iraq activist who cofounded the conference, told Truthout. "If we don't do that, the fish will get away. But if this is only a legalistic thing, without the activism, it won't work because people won't know that it is happening."
Adriaensens is aiming to generate one massive lawsuit that condemns former (and current) members of the US and UK governments for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace for their roles in the Iraq invasion and occupation.
"The conclusions of such a court case would lead to reparations being paid to the state and people of Iraq," added Adriaensens, who is also a member of the executive committee of the Brussels Tribunal. The tribunal is an international network of intellectuals, artists and activists who denounce and organize against the logic of permanent war promoted by the US government that is currently targeting the Middle East. "We're here to condemn the original sin: the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and how we can bring the perpetrators to court."


The following community sites -- plus Pacifica Evening News and Tavis Smiley -- updated:






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    The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.



     









    Posted at 08:56 pm by thecommonills
     

    I Hate The War

    I Hate The War

    An e-mailer states he can't believe I "ignored Jimmy Carter this week!!!!"

    He means an article on Carter that ran nine days ago -- so that was actually the week before last.

    We don't have room for everything.  That's first and foremost.  I'm telling myself that as soon as the elections take place (April 30th), the snapshot's going to be about half the size it is now.

    Second, I really didn't care for it.  I didn't mind Carter's remarks but David Daley, the interviewer, was a real baiter who kept trying to get Carter to agree with partisan points that he didn't agree with.  And if you're at Salon, you really aren't in the place to pretend that you do anything for women.  They have repeatedly promoted men, repeatedly hired men and since Daley wanted to make it about White men, I think you'd be hard pressed to find an outlet like Salon that employs more White men.

    Daley wanted to finger point at others and project.

    The interview got no attention in the US media.  Maybe because people were put off by Daley?

    Pretty much all of the Iraqi news outlets noted his remark that "The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at America as the No. 1 warmonger."  We'll come back to that.

    Al Mada also noted Carter's remarks on MSNBC that he didn't support an attack on Iran.

    If there was a reason to bring up Carter now, it's to note he's the only living living US president -- present or former -- who attracts any kind of respect in the Arab world.  Barack doesn't have it -- due to his war mongering and mirroring of Bully Boy Bush's policies in that region.  Bill Clinton doesn't have it (he's hindered, in part, by his wife whose war raving tendencies have impacted Bill's standing).  Both Bushes lack it.  That just leaves Jimmy Carter. If you want, you can toss in all the living former vice presidents including Joe Biden.  None of them have Carter's stature.

    The Middle East is not composed of groupies for Carter.  I'm not saying that.  I am saying that when he makes statements, they are taken seriously.  He has a stature that the others lack and it's too bad that one administration after another has wasted him.  He turns 90 later this year and every administration -- Republican and Democrat -- have failed to utilize him.

    Possibly, that's due to the fact that their intentions were much less than honorable and so they couldn't trust Jimmy Carter with them?

     "The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at America as the No. 1 warmonger."

    That statement played very well outside the US.

    Because of the ongoing hypocrisy on the part of the US government, the statement played very well.

    For example, Al Mada runs an article emphasizing that the White House is demanding that Russia respect the Geneva Accord.   And that refers to a recent agreement (April 17th) but also conjures up the Geneva Conventions -- specifically the IV Convention which defines War Crimes.

    It defines War Crimes like collective punishment.

    That's where you think an enemy or a terrorist or whatever is in a civilian area so you take it out on that area, you target civilian populations.  You're not allowed to do that.

    But Nouri's been doing that in Anbar Province -- in Falluja especially where he has the residential neighborhoods bombed daily, leaving civilians injured and dead.

    Which brings us to Wednesday's snapshot.

    There were complaints on it and not just from visitors.

    Some community members were bothered by it and felt that we missed a great deal on Iraq by what I chose to emphasize.

    No, we really didn't miss anything out of Iraq.

    It was the middle of the week, not Friday.  Anything that happened that wasn't covered could wait.

    And did.

    And life went on.

    I'm sure some people -- caring people -- were bothered and that's fine.  I don't do greatest hits here.  What took place Wednesday in the snapshot needed to take place.  I don't regret it.

    I actually raised what we did a week prior with three activists -- one of whom is Iraqi.

    People are dying in these War Crimes and Nouri is using what the US provided him in terms of weapons and what the US provides him in terms of 'intell.'

    So it's not just Nouri killing these civilians, it's also the US government.

    As I shared in e-mails last week, I feel like a civilian or two or three killed this day and then four the next and then one . . . is allowing a lot of people to look the other way.

    So the point of Wednesday's snapshot was to present how these days of death add up.

    I was actually hoping someone else was going to grab that and run with it so I wouldn't have to.  That didn't happen.

    I dictate the snapshots.  I generally write a little at lunch and then dictate that around that at night.

    I didn't dictate Wednesday.

    I had to go through every snapshot since January 1st to get those numbers and quotes for each day.

    That snapshot took me three hours plus.

    Again, I was hoping someone else would do it.

    But it was done and if someone wants to pretend it's not that big of deal -- these War Crimes -- well that's there to dispute that lie.

    Every day this is taking place, Nouri is killing civilians -- and he's aided by the US government.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports on the civilian dead today.  For example, 1 person died and three more were injured in one bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods.  In another shelling of the residential neighborhoods today, 3 civilians were killed and eight left injured.

    Collective punishment is a War Crime.  The US government recognized that long ago.



    It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
    There's a war going on
    So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
    And I'm writing a song about war
    And it goes
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Oh oh oh oh
    -- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)


    The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

    The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.














    Posted at 08:51 pm by thecommonills
     

    War Is Good for Us, Dumb New Book Claims (David Swanson)

    War Is Good for Us, Dumb New Book Claims (David Swanson)

    This is from David Swanson's War Is A Crime:



    War Is Good for Us, Dumb New Book Claims

    By David Swanson



    Ian Morris has stuck his dog's ear in his mouth, snapped a selfie, and proclaimed "Man Bites Dog." His new book War: What Is It Good For? Conflict and Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots is intended to prove that war is good for children and other living things.  It actually proves that defenders of war are growing desperate for arguments.


    Morris maintains that the only way to make peace is to make large societies, and the only way to make large societies is through war. Ultimately, he believes, the only way to protect peace is through a single global policeman.  Once you've made peace, he believes, prosperity follows.  And from that prosperity flows happiness.  Therefore, war creates happiness.  But the one thing you must never stop engaging in if you hope to have peace, prosperity, and joy is -- you guessed it -- war.


    This thesis becomes an excuse for hundreds of pages of a sort of Monty Python history of the technologies of war, not to mention the evolution of chimpanzees, and various even less relevant excursions.  These pages are packed with bad history and guesswork, and I'm greatly tempted to get caught up in the details.  But none of it has much impact on the book's conclusions.  All of Morris's history, accurate and otherwise, is put to mythological use.  He's telling a simplistic story about where safety and happiness originated, and advocating highly destructive misery-inducing behavior as a result.


    When small, medium, and large societies have been and are peaceful, Morris ignores them.  There are lots of ways to define peaceful, but none of them put the leading war maker at the top, and none of them place at the top only nations that could be imagined to fall under a Pax Americana.


    When societies have been enlarged peacefully, as in the formation of the European Union, Morris applauds (he thinks the E.U. earned its peace prize, and no doubt all the more so for its extensive war making as deputy globocop) but he just skips over the fact that war wasn't used in the E.U.'s formation.  (He avoids the United Nations entirely.)


    When the globocop brings death and destruction and disorder to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Yemen, Morris sticks his fingers in his ears and hums.  "Interstate wars" he informs us (like most of his other claims, without any footnotes) have "almost disappeared."  Well isn't that great news?!  (Morris grotesquely minimizes Iraqi deaths from the recent [nonexistent?] war, and of course supplies no footnote.)


    In a culture that has long waged wars, it has been possible to say that wars bring courage, wars bring heroism, wars bring slaves, wars bring cultural exchange. One could have asserted at various points that wars were the only way to a great many ends, not just large societies that reduce small-scale murders. 

    Barely a century ago William James was worried there was no way to build character without war, and defenders of war were advertising it as good for its participants in a much more direct way than Morris has been reduced to.  Has war been the means of building empires and nations? Sure, but that neither means that empires are the only way to peace, nor that war was the only nation-building tool available, nor that we must keep waging wars in an age in which we aren't forming empires or nations any longer.  That ancient pyramids may have been built by slaves hardly makes slavery the best or only way to preserve the pyramids.


    Tying something good, such as ending slavery in the United States, to a war, such as the U.S. Civil War, doesn't make war the only way to end slavery.  In fact, most nations that ended slavery did so without a war.  Much less is continuing to wage wars the only possible way (or even a useful way at all) to hold off the restoration of slavery or to complete its eradication.  And, by the way, a great many societies that Morris credits with making progress through war also had slavery, monarchy, women-as-property, environmental destruction, and worship of religions now defunct.  Were those institutions also necessary for peace and prosperity, or are they irrelevant to it, or did we overcome some of them through peaceful means?  Morris, at one point, acknowledges that slavery (not just war) generated European wealth, later crediting the industrial revolution as well -- the godfather of which, in his mind, was no doubt peace created by war. 

    (What did you expect, the Spanish Inquisition?)


    The tools of nonviolence that have achieved so much in the past century are never encountered in Morris' book, so no comparison with war is offered.  Nonviolent revolutions have tended to dismember empires or alter the leadership of a nation that remains the same size, so Morris must not view them as useful tools, even when they produce more free and prosperous societies.  But it's not clear Morris can recognize those when he sees them.  Morris claims that in the past 30 years "we" (he seems to mean in the United States, but could mean the world, it's not totally clear) have become "safer and richer than ever."


    Morris brags about U.S. murder rates falling, and yet dozens of nations from every continent have lower murder rates than the U.S.  Nor do larger nations tend to have lower murder rates than smaller nations.  Morris holds up Denmark as a model, but never looks at Denmark's society, its distribution of wealth, its social supports.  Morris claims the whole world is growing more equal in wealth.


    Back here in reality, historians of the Middle Ages say that our age has the greater disparities -- disparities that are growing within the United States in particular, but globally as well.  Oxfam reports that the richest 85 people in the world have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion.  That is the peace that Morris swears is not a wasteland.  The United States ranks third in average wealth but 27th in median wealth.  Yet, somehow Morris believes the United States can lead the way to "Denmark" and that Denmark itself can only be Denmark because of how many people the United States kills in "productive wars" (even though they have "almost disappeared").  Morris writes these scraps of wisdom from Silicon Valley, where he says he sees nothing but wealth, yet where people with nowhere to sleep but in a car may soon be banned from doing so.


    We're also safer, Morris thinks, because he sees no climate emergency worth worrying about.  He's quite openly in favor of wars for oil, yet never notices oil's effects until the end of the book when he takes a moment to brush such concerns aside.


    We're also safer, Morris tells us, because there are no longer enough nukes in the world to kill us all.  Has he never heard of nuclear famine?  Does he not understand the growing risks of proliferating nuclear weapons and energy?  Two nations have thousands of nukes ready to launch in an instant, every one of them many times more powerful than the two nuclear bombs dropped thus far; and one of those nations is prodding the other one with a stick in Ukraine, resulting in more, not less, violence in the beneficiary of such expansionism.  Meanwhile the officials overseeing U.S. nukes keep getting caught cheating on tests or shipping nukes across the country unguarded, and generally view nuclear weapons oversight as the lowest most dead-end career track.  This makes us safer?


    Morris hypes lies about Iran pursuing nuclear weapons.  He opens the book with a tale of a near nuclear holocaust (one of many he could have chosen). And yet, somehow disarmament isn't on the agenda, at least not with the priority given to maintaining or increasing war spending.  Not to worry, he assures us, "missile defense" actually works, or might someday, so that'll protect us -- although he parenthetically admits it won't.  The point is it's warlike, and war is good, because war spreads peace.  That's the role the U.S. must play for the good of all: policeman of the world.  Morris, while clearly a huge fan of Barack Obama, believes that all recent U.S. presidents should have a Nobel Peace Prize.  Never does Morris comment on the fact that the rest of the world sees the United States as the greatest threat to world peace.


    Morris admits that the United States is encircling China with weapons, but he describes in sinister tones China's response of building weaponry that will only serve a function near China's own shores, not as defensive or unimperialistic, but at "asymmetrical" -- and we all know what that means: unfair!  China might make it hard for the globocop to wage war on and around China.  This Morris sees as the looming danger.  The solution, he thinks, is for the United States to keep its militaristic edge (never mind that its military makes China's look like a child's toy).  More drone killing is not only good but also (and this sort of nonsense always makes you wonder why its advocate bothers advocating) inevitable.  Of course, the United States won't start a war against China, says Morris, because launching wars hurts a nation's reputation so severely.  (You can see how badly the U.S. reputation has suffered in Morris' eyes following its latest string of wars.) 


    And yet, what lies on the horizon, almost inevitably, Morris contends, is World War III.


    There's nothing you can do about it.  Don't bother working for peace, Morris says.  But a solution may arrive nonetheless.  If we can go on dumping our money into wars for just one more century, or maybe more, proliferating weapons, destroying the environment, losing our liberties in the model land of the free, then -- if we're really lucky -- the computer programmers of Silicon Valley will save us, or some of us, or something, by . . . wait for it . . . hooking us up to computers so that our minds all meld together.


    Morris may be more confident than I that the result of this computerized rapture will be worldwide empathy rather than revulsion.  But then, he's had longer to get used to living with the way he thinks.


    --
    David Swanson's wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.  


    Sign up for occasional important activist alerts here http://davidswanson.org/signup


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    This email may be unlawfully collected, held, and read by the NSA which violates our freedoms using the justification of immoral, illegal wars absurdly described as being somehow for freedom.









    Posted at 08:37 pm by thecommonills
     

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, April 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's War Crimes continue (and are called out by a Sheikh), Tehran officials are told a third term for Nouri is unacceptable, Robert Beecroft is also informed of that, election campaigning heats up, KRB gets some bad news, Nouri's baby thug gets some media attention, and much more.

    We're not campaign central.  We will look at Hillary Clinton's run in terms of Iraq.  The former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady is a press favorite for a 2016 presidential run.  She herself hasn't made up her mind yet and protests and thrown shoes may be indicating a level of hostility to her again running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  I've already stated I have no intention of voting for her, I'm not campaigning for her. But let's look at her record.  Ann McFeatters (Gulf Today) explores it and offers:

    Hillary says she still has to figure out why she’d run. She has said nothing yet about what a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean for the country. Being first woman president would be cool but probably isn’t reason enough to elect her.
    She ran in 2008 defending the war in Iraq, a war that just about everyone except Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney agrees was a bad mistake. There’s a general consensus that capturing Saddam Hussein was not worth thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. 


    That's the real surprise that no one wants to talk about.  She ran in 2008, she failed to stake out ground on Iraq that would carry her to the nomination.  Even if you believe the nomination was stolen from her (I do believe that, that's part of the reason Nancy Pelosi stopped the floor vote -- it would have revealed how close Hillary and Barack were in delegates).  But she was part of a divisive primary season.

    How does that go away now?  Or are people at various left websites now confessing that their endless smears of Hillary as racist or wanting Barack Obama dead were lies -- lies they knew they were telling in real time?

    The reality is, it was a bitter primary.  How do you, eight years later, pretend that didn't happen?

    I have no idea but I have no idea why Hillary couldn't get over her pride and admit her Iraq War vote was wrong.  It was a 2008 mistake and it's six years after that run and she's still associated with the Iraq War. The only thing to her credit as a senator was opposing the surge but, as we now know from former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Hillary only opposed it for political reasons/posturing.  (The same is true of Barack, read Gates' book, but we're not talking about Barack running in 2016.)  (The 'surge' was when Bully Boy Bush sent more US troops into Iraq in 2007 to secure the country -- primarily Baghdad -- to allow Nouri to work on the White House benchmarks that he promised to implement but never, ever did.  Excuses were made in 2007 and outlets rushed to give him partial grades and pretend that in 2008 he'd achieve -- he didn't 2008, he didn't since.  It was more broken promises from Nouri.)

    While Hillary attempts to figure out whether or not to run and what her big achievement as Secretary of State was, Roger Aranoff (Western Journalism) notes Hillary travels with a bit more than carry-on luggage:


    But the legacy of Hillary Clinton is turning out to be one of incompetence, bungled efforts, chicanery, and outright scandal. Her most famous words have become, “What difference at this point does it make?” referring to how the four brave Americans died in Benghazi in September of 2012. And a number of other scandals have followed her, both from before and during her tenure as Secretary of State. The latest is about $6 billion in contract dollars that the State Department lost track of over the last six years.
    According to the Inspector General report:
    •   There was a lack of paperwork: of 115 contracts sampled from the U.S. Mission in Iraq, 33 could not be produced.
    •   There was missing documentation: the Bureau of African Affairs couldn’t provide complete files for any of the eight contracts requested.
    •   There were conflicts of interest: a $52 million contract was awarded to a “company owned by the spouse of a contractor employee performing as a Contract Specialist for the contract.”
    •   Payments were sent when they weren’t supposed to be: $792,782 was sent to a contractor, “even though the contract file did not contain documents to support the payment.”
    •   Contracts were even hidden: “The related contract file was not properly maintained and for a period of time was hidden…This contract was valued at $100 million.”
    All in all, this creates “conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file,” according to the IG report.


    In 12 days, parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.

    Where's the State Dept?

    They would say they are working (feedback they're receiving from the public says otherwise).  Whatever they're doing, they're not communicating with their ultimate boss: the US public.

    Iraq last held parliamentary elections in 2010, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. February 17, 2010, then-US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill delivered "Briefing On Upcoming Iraqi Elections and U.S.-Iraqi Relations" -- a bad briefing, Hill's an idiot, but it was a briefing.  It took place in DC.  It took place 18 days before the elections.  This go round, nothing from the State Dept and yet the elections are only 12 days away.

    Maybe if John Kerry stopped bullying other countries, the State Dept would have addressed the elections by now?

    And the day of the election and after the elections, Hillary issued multiple statements so someone better inform John Kerry that he needs to up his game because with regards to keeping Americans informed on key points with regards to the State Dept's mission in Iraq, Hillary did a better job than Kerry's doing.

    On the elections, Fareed Zakaria (Global Public Square, CNN) offers a list of readings, including Ned Parker's latest:

    “On the surface, the speed with which Iraq’s new political order has fallen apart is a puzzle. Although bombings never stopped, there had been relative stability since the spring of 2008, when Maliki, emboldened by the successful U.S.-backed Sunni revolt against al Qaeda, known as the Awakening, set out to disband the Shiite militias endangering law and order in Basra and Baghdad,” argues Ned Parker in the New York Review of Books.
    “The campaign, supported by the Americans, produced a surge of patriotism among both Shiites and Sunnis. By 2010, when the country was preparing to stage its second national elections for a four-year government, Iraq seemed poised to cast off its divisions. Maliki, running for reelection, had learned to present himself as both staunchly Shiite and a leader for all Iraqis. Resisting pressure from other Shiite religious parties and Iran, he ran his own list of candidates, including Sunni tribesmen and secular politicians…Yet Maliki and his Shiite Islamist supporters were unable to shed their deep mistrust of those they believed had fought them in the past. Rather than being integrated into the political system, several dozen leaders of the Awakening ended up dead or in jail, or forced into exile.”

    Alice Fordham has a report for NPR's Morning Edition (link is text and audio) that wants to insist Nouri's trying to bring the Sahwa into the military -- while ignoring what Ned Parker's outlined above and what's taken place for the entire second term of Nouri al-Maliki until right before these elections.

    She's providing a wrong impression to listeners.

    She's also wrong in the following, "But fighting still rages and it's been announced that national elections planned to the end of the month will not happen in Anbar. Alice Fordham, NPR News."  She got her name right.  You can dispute the "NPR News" label -- NPR doesn't really do much news anymore, it's all feature stories. But she's wrong about an announcement regarding Anbar.

    How did that make it on air?

    Well, like I said, NPR really doesn't do news anymore so there's no one to fact check.

    April 8th, the IHEC declared not all areas of Anbar would have polling stations.  Today Tasnim News Agency reports:

    “In Anbar Province, all necessary arrangements have been made to ensure the security of the election, which is to be held on April 30,” Faleh Al-Eisawi, the head of the council of the province said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
    [. . .]
    He also emphasized that the police forces in cooperation with Anbar Operations Command are to implement an extensive security plan to provide the security of the elections.


    Again, Alice Fordham's claim (""But fighting still rages and it's been announced that national elections planned to the end of the month will not happen in Anbar.") does not hold up.


    Iraq last held parliamentary elections in March of 2010.  In those elections, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.  Though Allawi should have been named prime minister-designate, loser Nouri threw an eight month long tantrum and the White House indulged him.  They did more than that, they also worked to find a way to let the loser have a second term as prime minister.  Since he lost the vote, they went to the leaders of the political blocs and pointed out Nouri could hold out for 8 more months (Parliament wasn't able to meet during Nouri's tantrum, he brought government to a standstill) and got them to sign a contract (The Erbil Agreement) which Nouri used to grab a second term.

    As Anthony H. Cordesman and Sam Khazai pointed out earlier this year in [PDF format warning] "Iraq in Crisis:"

    US officials applauded the 2010 Erbil agreement, and said they were hopeful that such cooperative arrangement would provide a political breakthrough among Iraq’s leadership, and allow them to address the country’s problems. They pointed to the influence the US had in pushing for the outcome, including the adoption of an American suggestion that Allawi head a new, “National Council for Security Policy”.

    And let's note  Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported in real time:

    Vice President Biden made numerous calls to senior Iraqi leaders over the past several months and U.S. officials directly participated in top-level negotiating sessions that lasted until just moments before the Iraqi parliament finally convened to approve a new power-sharing government Thursday, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. 



    The contract didn't just have the leaders say, "Second term for Nouri!"  In exchange for that second term, the contract outlined actions Nouri would have to take.  But then he refused to honor his promises.  It's among the reasons he's so loathed today.

    We've note many press whores over the years.  When there's a member of the press that tells the truth, we also try to note that.  On The Erbil Agreement, we're going to drop back to November 13, 2010 when one reporter had the guts to tell the truth.  Michael Jansen (Gulf Today) stated the obvious, "The deal making that produced last Thursday’s session of parliament is nothing to boast about." She then continued:

    It is not clear why Iraqiya thought Maliki -- a sectarian Shiite whose Dawa party was a bitter enemy of the Baath -- would implement this pledge. Maliki has also failed to carry out solemn promises to recruit into the security forces or find civil service jobs for fighters of the Sunni Awakening Councils -- or Sons of Iraq movement -- who helped US and government forces curb Al Qaeda in 2007-08. Maliki has shown himself to have absolutely no intention of sharing power with Sunnis and certainly not with secular politicians like Allawi who represents the "old Iraq" where politics was non-sectarian.
    In spite of Obama's declaration that an "inclusive" government formula had been found after months of wrangling, Maliki is not interested in including Sunnis, secularists, former Baathists and others who do not subscribe to the ethno-sectarian system imposed on Iraq by the previous Bush administration.


    She said that days after The Erbil Agreement was signed.  She had been proven correct by the events that followed.  Credit to Michael Jansen for offering reality and perspective when few others were able or willing to.   Salah Nasrawi (Al-Ahram Weekly) reports:



    With the vote only days away, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s prospects for re-election look dim, and the country’s Shia parties, which together are poised to win the most seats in parliament, have started looking for a challenger to the incumbent leader.
    Al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term in office, is in trouble as Iraq is teeming with problems. Many blame him for the country’s sectarian violence, political turmoil and economic deadlock and are eager to see a new prime minister in place.
    For the time being, there is no frontrunner in Iraq’s elections, scheduled for 30 April, as several Shia politicians have been vying for the powerful position which also includes the key post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces.


    Iraq Times reports the Independent High Electoral Commission announced Thursday that they have fined 61 political bodies and candidates so far for campaign violations.  The IHEC is a ruling body but the Iraqi people are the ultimate ruling body (unless the White House steps in as it did in 2006 when it installed Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister and as it did in 2010 when it demanded he be given a second term).  And the people are defining their own issues right now.  For example, Rekar Aziz and Alexander Whitcomb (Rudaw) report that, in the Kurdistan Region, where campaign posters, leaflets and other printed materials are made is becoming an issue with voters and local businesses since much of the campaign material is coming "from Turkey, Lebanon and as far away as China" harming the KRG's local economy.

    Let's stay with the Kurds for a moment, Ilnur Cevik (Daily Sabah) reports:

    Iraqi Kurdish leaders feel that if the current impasse in relations with the Iraqi central government continues after the April 30 elections they will have no other option but to gradually weaken their ties with Baghdad and eventually declare a separate state. Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was in Ankara to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Wednesday night to feel the pulse of Ankara if the Kurds eventually move away from Baghdad. A source close to Barzani told Daily Sabah on Thursday that Barzani returned home late Wednesday night "satisfied."
    The central government of Iraq led by Nouri el-Maliki has been at odds with the Kurds over an array of issues stemming from an oil and gas dispute. Baghdad has thus been slow in sending the KRG's share of Iraqi oil revenues and therefore pushed the Kurds into a financial bottleneck with serious delays in even the payment of civil servant salaries in the KRG.


    And Nouri continues to alienate the Kurds. Adnan Jassem (Anadolu Agency) notes, "Iraq's main Shiite bloc led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will endorse a 'moderate Sunni Arab' candidate to succeed incumbent President Jalal Talabani, who is Kurdish, a leading bloc member has said."


    On the election, All Iraq News reports:

    Ahrar bloc of Sadr Trend described granting a 3rd term for the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki, as "Dreams."
    MP, Hussien al-Shireifi, of Ahrar bloc stated to AIN "The majority of the political blocs object renewing a 3rd term for Maliki due to his policies that caused crises and problems for the country."

    In addition, Iraq Times quotes another Sadr bloc MP, Bahaa al-Araji stating that Nouri will not receive a third term as prime minister.  In another report, the outlet quotes al-Araji stating Nouri has no achievements to speak of, not when security has deteriorated and the economy is not improved and . . .  Dar Addustour reports that both cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr and Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq's Ammar al-Hakim went to Tehran to make clear that a third term for Nouri is unacceptable and that this follows KRG President Massoud Barzani told officials in Tehran that a third term for Nouri would cause the Kurds to secede.  As Ann noted last night, Ayad Allawi declared this week that Nouri shouldn't have a third term as prime minister.  Iraq Times reports the State Dept's Brett McGurk is advocating for a third term for Nouri and that Ahmed Chalabi is speaking with the White House about why this is not a good idea and spoke to US Ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft about this on Monday.


    Not all Iraqis who vote will be voting in Iraq.  There are many Iraqis who have had to flee the country due to violence.  NINA reports, "A leading member of Rafidain parliamentary bloc MP, Imad Youkhana called on Iraqi communities abroad to broad participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections."  All Iraq News reports:

    The member of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, Imad Yokhana, called the Iraqis abroad for wide participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
    He stated to AIN "The Iraqis abroad can determine the future of Iraq for the next 4 years via their participation in the elections."


    Two days before the election, Iraq's security forces will take part in early voting.  Mustafa Habib (Niqash) explores the military vote and we'll note this section:




    It is also possible that the situation they are facing in Anbar may be turning the Iraqi military against al-Maliki. When problems first started in Anbar, al-Maliki seemed to be very popular with the military, observers say. However over recent months this has changed.

    “Al-Maliki’s popularity is decreasing,” says one senior member of the military in Basra province, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions. “Because the army is having huge difficulties in Anbar.”

    According to this soldier, the Iraqi government has allegedly played down the number of military casualties it’s had in the fight against insurgents in Anbar. Videos being posted on YouTube and other social media indicate many more are being captured and killed.

    “Previously regiments in the south of the country were fairly safe on their bases,” the military source says. “Then al-Maliki decided to bring them to Anbar and it’s led to many deaths. This has increased ill will towards the government.”

    “The government has forced the Iraqi military into a battle it cannot win,” says Yassin al-Rubaie, a former member of the Iraqi army’s Seventh Division, which is currently deployed in Anbar. “We don’t have any experience fighting a guerrilla war on the streets and we don’t know the area at all. The militias fighting us know the area very well, they’re better coordinated than the army and they have had this kind of combat experience before,” he says.


    Nouri al-Maliki continues killing civilians in Anbar.  Alsumaria reports a military shelling of a residential neighborhood in Ramadi left 3 people dead "including a child."  Iraqi Spring MC notes Nouri's three murders here. Iraqi Spring MC also notes people demonstrated in Ramadi calling on Nouri to pulls his forces out of the city and the military 'responded' by firing randomly.  Meanwhile Nouri's forces continued their bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods.  Alsumaria reports 1 civilian was killed and ten more were injured in the latest assault from Nouri's military.  Suleiman al-Qubeisi (Anadolu Agency) also reports on the Falluja assault.   NINA quotes Sheikh Mohammed Fayyad stating, "Friday sermons in Fallujah focused on demands to stop the indiscriminate shelling of the city if the government rely want to develop a solution to the crisis , the abolition of the provincial government and members of the board because of their frustrated stands as they escaped to the northern provinces or out of Iraq and stealing by some of them aid, food and funds allocated by many local and international agencies for the displaced people of Anbar moreover of exploited the stolen funds and material to serve them in the propaganda of electoral campaign."  Kitabat notes the Sheikh called out the "genocide" taking place as Nouri attacks the civilians of Falluja and Ramadi.


    In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports security sources state they killed 3 suspects to the northeast of Baquba  an attack on a Ramadi checkpoint left 3 Sahwa dead and four more inured, 2 Tuz Khurmatu bombings left eight people injured, and a corpse was discovered in South al-Hay (the man had been "kidnapped a few days ago").  Alsumaria reports 1 person was shot dead in Kirkuk, west of Mosul a former Iraqi soldier was shot dead, and a southern Baghdad bombing left a police member and 2 of his kids deadMahmoud al-Jabouri (Anadolu Agency) reports, "Twelve people were killed on Friday in clashes between Sunni villagers and suspected Shiite militants in Iraq's northern Diyala province, a military official said."  Press TV notes, "A bomb explosion has ripped through a crowded shopping street in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, leaving three people dead and five others wounded."


    For the last few weeks, Nouri's been moving prisoners out of Abu Ghraib prison.  Iraq Times noted Tuesday that Baghdad Operations Command has repeatedly denied this was happening although the Ministry of Justice confirmed it on Tuesday when the prison was shut down.  From Tuesday's snapshot:

    World Bulletin notes that "the prison was also used as a torture facility by Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime."  AFP adds, "In 2004, then under control by U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a scandal over detainee abuse."   AP also offers a brief sentence about the Abu Ghraib War Crimes, "Under U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a 2004 scandal over detainee abuse."   The Saudi Gazette elaborates:
    From late 2003 to early 2004, during the Iraq War, military police personnel of the United States Army and the Central Intelligence Agency committed human rights violations against prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison. They physically and sexually abused, tortured, raped, sodomized, and killed prisoners. It came to public attention in early 2004, beginning with United States Department of Defense announcements.  As revealed in the Taguba Report (2004), an initial criminal investigation by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway, in which soldiers of the 320th Military Police Battalion had been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with prisoner abuse.
    In April 2004, articles describing the abuse, including pictures showing military personnel appearing to abuse prisoners, came to wide public attention when a 60 Minutes II news report (April 28) and an article by Seymour M. Hersh in The New Yorker magazine (posted online on April 30 and published days later in the May 10 issue) reported the story.  The United States Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery.


    This morning, only France24 could note, "Fresh abuse claims surfaced in 2013 after the facility became known as Baghdad Central Prison."  Ed Adamczyk (UPI) later noted the continuous history of abuse, "The prison has a long history of abuse, under Saddam Hussein, during the occupation of Iraq by U.S. troops, and, human rights advocates say, under the present leadership. Critics accuse Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki with filling prisons, including Abu Ghraib, with young Sunni men -- many, advocates claim, are innocent of insurgency."

    Today, on Morning Edition (NPR -- link is text and audio), Kelly McEvers discussed the closure with Reuter's Baghdad bureau chief Ned Parker.  Excerpt.

    MCEVERS: First, we know what American jailers did to Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. But give us an update - what kind of place was Abu Ghraib after American troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011?


    PARKER: For Sunni Iraqis, Abu Ghraib prison was a symbol of the Shiite-led government's discriminatory policies. They believed many of their relatives were being held unjustly inside Abu Ghraib Prison after being held and sometimes tried - other times not - on terrorism charges in cases where they felt abuses were committed by the security forces.

    So under the Americans Abu Ghraib was nefarious. Before that under Saddam it was nefarious and after the Americans it also remained sinister.


    Some day, Nouri's son may be sitting in an Iraqi prison, behind bars. Dropping back to November 1, 2013:

    Live Leak posted that video of the new Little Uday Hussein, Nouri's son Ahmed, zipping around London and the Ferrari.  They note:


    In this short video, Ahmed, the gangster son of one of the world's most corrupt leaders Nuri Al-Maliki, drives his Ferrari around central London, while he was on a �200 million property spending spree with Iraq's money.
    Ahmed was of course cleared of all charges in a huge corruption case involving Iraqi Government procurement of Russian arms in 2012. 
    Nuri Al-Maliki is known to own numerous several properties and a hotel in the UK, and has long been rumoured to be planning to live here when his time as the chief bribe taker in Iraq is over.
    He also owns the Seyedeh Zainab Ambassador hotel in Damascus.
    London is the natural home of blood soaked African warlords, Russian gangsters/Oligarchs, and of corrupt Middle Eastern despots, and their offspring.
    Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
    Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
    Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
    Iraq,Corruption,Bribery,,London,London,C­ity of,United Kingdom (UK/GB)



    [. . .]

    Here's a picture of mini-tyrant Ahmed al-Maliki.

    Posted Image



    As you can see, he gets his ugly from his father.  Here he is trying to look cleaned up.






    Here's CNN  on Ahmed last year:


    Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party’s official newspaper, Khebat, revealed that Nouri Maliki’s son has expensed over $150 million of the Iraqi people’s assets purchasing castles and hotels in foreign countries. The newspaper wrote quoting a source: After his father became Chairman of the Dawa Party, Ahmed Nouri al-Maliki purchased the Marry Anderson Castle in London for a price of £40 million. In addition, he purchased the Seyedeh Zainab Ambassador Hotel in Damascus at a price of $35 million, and is now purchasing the Ajmon Ambassador Hotel at a price of $75 million.
    The source added that Ahmed Nouri al-Maliki has purchased an 85 thousand square meter land in front of the Zainab Hotel for $52 million.
    Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party’s official newspaper, Khebat, added: Iraqis who live with power outages and no public services, and while a day doesn’t go by that a number of people don’t lose their lives as a result of explosions, ask the Maliki government: Where does Maliki’s son bring all this money from?




    Today, in "Is Maliki's son the new Uday?," Paul Crompton and Hind Mustafa explore Ahmed al-Maliki:

    Ahmed’s role as security chief enables him to control exactly who goes in and out of the Green Zone, by controlling the issuing of security badges needed to access the area.
    However, his activities in the Green Zone are a sideshow compared to Ahmed’s wider business interests in the county, said a former high-level official, who knew Ahmed personally and had worked with Nouri Al-Maliki for eight years.
    “Two years ahead, he will lead the corruption not only in the [prime minister’s office],” but in the military, the security, construction and investment, as well as the investment commission.”
    “Hamoudi” is also involved in military activities, including heading up a new force operating directly under the premier’s orders — separate from the command of the army or defense minister, the source said.




    Moving over to the US, Fatima Hansia (CorpWatch Blog) notes, "KBR and Halliburton – two major U.S. military contractors – can be sued for the health impacts of trash incineration on U.S. soldiers who served in the war in Iraq, according to a new court decision that allows a series of 57 lawsuits against the companies to go forward."

    In the April 10th snapshot, I stated the following:

    This is it at its most basic.  Everyone who can speak on a campus should.  Campuses should be a forum for free expression.  Because I speak on a campus doesn't mean everyone's required to attend.  If they oppose me, they're more than welcome to protest.  One of the scariest protests would be my arriving to find no one (or just a tiny handful) of people in the room waiting to hear me.
    To put this in terms of Condi Rice.  She has every right to speak on any campus.  And people have every right to attend or not to attend.  They have every right to protest.  They even have the right to heckle.  That's free speech.


    The University of Minnesota is an institution that values and utilizes free speech.  They proved it by allowing Condi Rice to speak.  They proved it by allowing those who take offense at the War Hawk to protest.  And students made their case and made it strongly.  Chris Getowicz (Fight Back News) reports:

    Hundreds of students and community members gathered outside of Northrop Auditorium at the University of Minnesota (U of M), on the evening of April 17, to protest an appearance by Bush White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Rice was speaking as an invited guest of the University’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
    The crowd of over 250 protesters, led by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), heard speakers including professors David Pellow and August Nimtz, AFSCME 3800 President Cherenne Horazuk, Welfare Rights Committee member Deb Howze, Anti-War Committee member Sabri Wazwaz and representatives from other student groups such as Whose Diversity and Students for Justice in Palestine.
    Speakers condemned Rice as a war criminal whose misconduct during the Bush administration included direct responsibility for the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’ This torture was systematically implemented by the CIA and used at Black Sites around the world as well as prisons like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.











    iraq


















    Posted at 09:28 pm by thecommonills
     

    Everything they (Arraf and the Christian Science Monitor) told us was wrong!

    Everything they (Arraf and the Christian Science Monitor) told us was wrong!

    Iraq is set to hold parliamentary elections April 30th.  They last held these elections in March of 2010.  In those elections, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.  Though Allawi should have been named prime minister-designate, loser Nouri threw an eight month long tantrum and the White House indulged him.  They did more than that, they also worked to find a way to let the loser have a second term as prime minister.  Since he lost the vote, they went to the leaders of the political blocs and pointed out Nouri could hold out for 8 more months (Parliament wasn't able to meet during Nouri's tantrum, he brought government to a standstill) and got them to sign a contract (The Erbil Agreement) which Nouri used to grab a second term.

    The contract didn't just have the leaders say, "Second term for Nouri!"  In exchange for that second term, the contract outlined actions Nouri would have to take.

    Nouri refused to honor the contract once he became prime minister (actually, once he became prime minister-designate).  It's among the reasons he's so loathed today.  Salah Nasrawi (Al-Ahram Weekly) reports:



    With the vote only days away, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s prospects for re-election look dim, and the country’s Shia parties, which together are poised to win the most seats in parliament, have started looking for a challenger to the incumbent leader.
    Al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term in office, is in trouble as Iraq is teeming with problems. Many blame him for the country’s sectarian violence, political turmoil and economic deadlock and are eager to see a new prime minister in place.
    For the time being, there is no frontrunner in Iraq’s elections, scheduled for 30 April, as several Shia politicians have been vying for the powerful position which also includes the key post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces.


    Nouri's prospects look dim?  Shi'ites resist him?

    B-b-b-but Jane Arraf's propaganda at the Christian Science Monitor this week had Nouri deeply popular and beloved!!!!

    That's what happens when a whore's paid for prose instead of sex.  And that's why we honored Jane with The Quil Lawrence Award.

    Hey, let's go regional for a moment.  Ilnur Cevik (Daily Sabah) reports:

    Iraqi Kurdish leaders feel that if the current impasse in relations with the Iraqi central government continues after the April 30 elections they will have no other option but to gradually weaken their ties with Baghdad and eventually declare a separate state. Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was in Ankara to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Wednesday night to feel the pulse of Ankara if the Kurds eventually move away from Baghdad. A source close to Barzani told Daily Sabah on Thursday that Barzani returned home late Wednesday night "satisfied."
    The central government of Iraq led by Nouri el-Maliki has been at odds with the Kurds over an array of issues stemming from an oil and gas dispute. Baghdad has thus been slow in sending the KRG's share of Iraqi oil revenues and therefore pushed the Kurds into a financial bottleneck with serious delays in even the payment of civil servant salaries in the KRG.

    Conflict with Nouri?  The Kurds in conflict with Nouri?

    B-b-b-but Jane Arraf had the Kurds ready to vote for Nouri!!!! This despite the fact that they didn't in 2010.  He had no coalition in 2005 (December 2005 parliamentary elections were held).  But in that 2005 election, the Kurds voted for their own -- as they always do.

    But Jane Arraf got to lie, didn't she?

    The Christian Science Monitor let her.

    It was the worst whoring of the week, possibly of the month.  In fact, it was so fact free that it may qualify as the worst whoring of the year.


    On the election, All Iraq News reports:

    Ahrar bloc of Sadr Trend described granting a 3rd term for the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki, as "Dreams."

    MP, Hussien al-Shireifi, of Ahrar bloc stated to AIN "The majority of the political blocs object renewing a 3rd term for Maliki due to his policies that caused crises and problems for the country."


    What!!!!

    B-b-b-but Jane told us Moqtada al-Sadr's followers would vote for Nouri!!!!!

    You mean Jane lied about everything?

    Pretty much.

    Toss coins at a whore and he or she will do anything.

    Again, Jane earned The Quil Lawrence Award this year.


    While Jane keeps lying for him, Nouri al-Maliki continues killing civilians in Anbar.  Alsumaria reports a military shelling of a residential neighborhood in Ramadi left 3 people dead "including a child."  Iraqi Spring MC notes Nouri's three murders here. Iraqi Spring MC also notes people demonstrated in Ramadi calling on Nouri to pulls his forces out of the city and the military 'responded' by firing randomly.  Meanwhile Nouri's forces continued their bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods.  Alsumaria reports 1 civilian was killed and ten more were injured in the latest assault from Nouri's military.  NINA quotes Sheikh Mohammed Fayyad stating, "Friday sermons in Fallujah focused on demands to stop the indiscriminate shelling of the city if the government rely want to develop a solution to the crisis , the abolition of the provincial government and members of the board because of their frustrated stands as they escaped to the northern provinces or out of Iraq and stealing by some of them aid, food and funds allocated by many local and international agencies for the displaced people of Anbar moreover of exploited the stolen funds and material to serve them in the propaganda of electoral campaign."


    In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports security sources state they killed 3 suspects to the northeast of Baquba and an attack on a Ramadi checkpoint left 3 Sahwa dead and four more inured.  Alsumaria reports 1 person was shot dead in Kirkuk, west of Mosul a former Iraqi soldier was shot dead, a southern Baghdad bombing left a police member and 2 of his kids dead,



    The following community sites -- plus the ACLU,  Tavis Smiley, Antiwar.com, Jake Tapper, Ms. magazine's blog, Pacifica Radio and Susan's On the Edge -- updated:




  • ,




  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.











    Posted at 08:32 am by thecommonills
     

    Ukraine Agreement: 'Propaganda' and Low Expectations? (Francis A. Boyle)

    Ukraine Agreement: 'Propaganda' and Low Expectations? (Francis A. Boyle)

    Francis A. Boyle is an attorney and a professor  at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include Foundations of World Order (Duke University Press: 1999) and Tackling America’s Toughest Questions (2009).   His most recent book is United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law.  These are his remarks in response to statements by US Secretary of State John Kerry.



    "Ukraine did not commit itself to constitutional reform and it was very cleverly and deviously drafted language. So no agreement upon this issue. It says nothing about Ukraine staying out of NATO; and it is not a good sign that this was not a joint [media] conference by Lavrov and Kerry.

        "Kerry’s allegations [about East Ukraine anti-Semitism] sound like propaganda to me given...all the anti-Semitic statements coming out of Kiev and the warning by the [Ukrainian Chabad Chief] Rabbi Reuven Azman of Kiev [for Jews to leave Ukraine].

        "So it does not sound to me as if Kerry is proceeding in good faith here, which is a bad sign.

        "Even if they have agreed upon what Lavrov said they agreed upon, how are they going to get the people on the ground on either side to comply?"











    Posted at 08:28 am by thecommonills
     

    Texas Hospital Discriminates Against Physicians Providing Abortion Services (CRR)

    Texas Hospital Discriminates Against Physicians Providing Abortion Services (CRR)

    The Center for Reproductive Rights issued the following:

    Texas Hospital Discriminates Against Physicians Providing Abortion Services

    Two high quality providers in Texas file new lawsuit after having admitting privileges revoked, forcing them to immediately stop providing abortion services


    (PRESS RELEASE) Two Texas physicians filed a lawsuit today against University General Hospital Dallas (UGHD) after their admitting privileges were arbitrarily and unexpectedly revoked—privileges they were forced to obtain due to HB2, the sweeping unconstitutional Texas state law currently being challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights and other advocates on behalf of women’s health care providers in the state.


    Both physicians—who are also part of the first legal challenge to HB2—were initially granted privileges at UGHD in late 2013 and early 2014 and have since been safely and legally providing abortion services at clinics within 30 miles of the hospital. A few weeks ago, both physicians received an identical letter revoking their privileges.


    The letter asserts that performing abortion services constitutes “disruptive behavior,” even though the physicians provide abortion care at facilities separate and unrelated to the hospital and have never even had to admit a patient to UGHD. The letter also states that providing privileges to physicians who provide abortion services “damages UGHD’s reputation within the community.” The physicians are suing under a Texas state law that prevents hospitals from discriminating against physicians because they provide abortion care and which allows for reinstatement of privileges that are wrongfully revoked.


    Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO with the Center for Reproductive Rights:

    “This case shows that Texas has put the constitutional rights of its women in the hands of biased hospital administrators. As a consequence, the list of high-quality abortion providers forced to turn away patients continues to grow, while reproductive health care options for Texas women continue to shrink.
    “It is the woman—not a hospital mired in political biases or politicians who presume to know better—who should decide the best reproductive health care choice for herself and her family.



    The two physicians are represented by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.



    The Center for Reproductive Rights is currently involved in two separate challenges to HB2:

    • The first—which was filed along with other reproductive health advocates and providers in September 2013—challenges the law’s unconstitutional restrictions on medication abortion as well as the requirement that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. The admitting privileges provision was initially struck down, but then took effect on October 31, 2013, after a decision by the Fifth Circuit to stay the lower court’s injunction. The results have been nothing short of devastating, leaving thousands of women without access to health care and several clinics closing their doors across the state. Just last month, the Fifth Circuit upheld both the admitting privileges requirement as applied to all clinics in the state and the restrictions on medication abortion.  The Center for Reproductive Rights has since requested the full Fifth Circuit review the constitutionality of the admitting privileges requirement.
    • The second—which was filed earlier this month—seeks a court order blocking the law’s admitting privileges requirement as it applies to Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen and Reproductive Health Services in El Paso—two clinics that are among the last, if not the only, reproductive health care providers offering safe, legal abortion care in their communities.  The second lawsuit also seeks to strike down HB2’s provision that every reproductive health care facility offering abortion services meet the same building requirements as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), a provision which would leave fewer than 10 clinics in Texas and force many women to endure a roundtrip of more than a thousand miles or cross state lines to access safe and legal abortion services.








    Posted at 08:20 am by thecommonills
     

    New Lawsuit Filed Against Hospital in Wake of Texas Abortion Law (ACLU)

    New Lawsuit Filed Against Hospital in Wake of Texas Abortion Law (ACLU)

    The ACLU issued the following:

    Admitting Privileges of Two Doctors Illegally Revoked Because They Provide Abortions
    April 17, 2014


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


    CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org


    AUSTIN—Today two doctors filed suit against University General Hospital in Dallas after the hospital revoked the doctors’ admitting privileges because they provide abortions on their own time, off site. This is a clear violation of the law, which prohibits hospitals from discriminating against doctors because they provide abortions.


    As a medical matter, doctors who provide abortions do not need admitting privileges because abortion is an extremely safe procedure and, in the extremely rare instance of an emergency, hospitals are already required to treat patients. But a new Texas law requires abortion providers – but no other type of doctor – to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Major medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians oppose admitting privileges because they do nothing to further patient safety. Rather, they harm women by cutting off access to safe, legal abortions.


    Similar laws in Alabama, Wisconsin and Mississippi have been blocked by the courts.


    "Discriminating against qualified doctors simply because they provide abortions not only violates the law, it also plays right into the hands of politicians who are laser focused on ending access to abortion," said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Major medical groups recognize that these laws don’t improve women’s safety. They’re designed to shut down clinics, plain and simple."
    The two physicians are represented by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in this action.








    Posted at 08:00 am by thecommonills
     

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Thursday, April 17, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's War Crimes continue, Iraq preps for parliamentary elections, the Ja'fari bill gets attention on KPFA, in the US an Iraqi man is convicted of killing his wife, and much more.


    Starting in the US where there's been a conviction.  City News Service reports the El Cajon murder trial reached a verdict today with the jury "finding Kassim Alhimidi, 49, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Shaima Alawadi, a mother of five."  As we noted April 1st, Shaima's murder was briefly important to gas bags in March 2012 when they thought she was murdered by someone who hated her because she was Muslim or because she was Iraqi or both.  When it turned out it was her husband?  They ran from her and never looked back.  Uprising Radio, US Socialist Worker, Democracy Now . . . all of them cared when it was a 'hate crime' by a stranger.  When Shaima's murder became another in a long line of women killed by 'loved ones' in the US, they didn't have any interest.

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    Victim's family says guilty verdict is the least that could have been done. say in Iraq if you kill someone, you should be killed

    Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Al-Himidi did not testify during the trial. He wept openly at times and followed the proceeding with the help of an Arabic translator. He screamed when the jury's verdict was read. He faces up to life in prison when sentenced." Kristina Davis and Dana Littlefield (San Diego Union-Tribune) offer, "Kassim Alhimidi shook his head and wagged his finger repeatedly when he heard the verdict: first-degree murder. He put his head down on the desk in front of him several times and appeared to be praying."  R. Stickney and Monica Garske (NBC San Diego -- link is text and video) note, "As the defendant cried out in Arabic 'not guilty,' his mother-in-law flailed her arms, screaming 'you killed my daughter,' while his two teenage sons chose opposing sides."  Kassim Alhimidi is scheduled to be sentenced next month.


    Moving to another topic popular on Twitter . . .


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    Child marriage law stokes fears of looming theocracy in Iraq

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    Breaking News: Iraq's leaders to vote on legalising . Tell them to vote "no" - via





  • Yesterday on KPFA's Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, the controversial bill which passed Iraq's Cabinet of Ministers and that chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki  has forwarded to the Parliament was discussed. 


    Shahram Aghamir: Last month the Iraqi Cabinet approved a new personal status legislation called the Ja'fari law which is named after the sixth Shi'ite Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq who established a school of jurisprudence in Medina in the 8th century.  This legislation has created an uproar among Iraqi women's rights and the civil rights community.  If approved, the Ja'fari law will abolish the current Personal Status Law 188 which is considered one of the most progressive in the Arab world.  The new law will roll back the rights of women in marriage, divorce and child custody as well as inheritance.  It will lower the age of marriage for girls from 18 to 9 and boys to 15.  Who has initially proposed the law and what are the implications of this law for Iraqi women?  Malihe spoke with Iraqi women's rights activist Basma al-Khateeb who volunteers with Iraq's 1st Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Shadow Report Coalition as an expert and a trainer.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  Actually, the Minister of Justice by the end of October declared that they have a committee -- expert committee -- and they have finished drafting the Ja'fari law.  It consists of 256 articles and he's going to present it to the Cabinet by the next session.  He says that they've been working on for the past two years.

    Malihe Razazan:  Back in 2004, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim who died in 2009, he was in exile in Iran for 20 years before the invasion, and after the occupation of Iraq, he worked very closely with the Americans.  His party worked to pass Decision 137 issue by interim governing council to abolish the Personal Status Law Number 188 which was passed  in 1959 --

    Basma al-Kahteeb:  That was actually the first thing that he -- that he issued, this Resolution 137 -- as if Iraq had no problems.  This was the only rule that he came up with.  And we had demonstrations and we managed to defeat that.  They withdrew it.

    Malihe Razazan:   Yeah, because there was a huge backlash against it.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  But this is historical.  His father, Muhsin al-Hakim, back in 1959, when the civil Personal Status Law was issued, the religious institutes led by Muhsin al-Hakim back then, his father, refused this Personal Status Law because it will take all the authority from the cleric.

    Malihe Razazan:  In matters regarding women's divorce, child custody, inheritance it will be left to civil courts.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  Yes.  And this is how our judicial system and lawyers and colleges and scholars all -- I mean, we're talking about sixty years that all our institutions -- judicial, court, everything -- is built on it.  This -- going back just to abolish all of this -- this law --the formal law, the Personal Status Law that's still active now. It doesn't go to clerics, only the judge rules.  This current law puts another council that is in control of judges of courts.  It just turns everything into chaos.  Every lawyer has to study all these religious and cleric institution and legal issues.  It doesn't mean that we have one court.  It means that we have more than 20 courts because each Ayatollah is different in examination with the other.  Havilah?  Even though they're Sh'itie, they're different from the Sadr group, they're different from Sistani interpretation which means multi courts.





    Raheem Salman, Ahmed Rasheed, Isabel Coles and Andrew Roche (Reuters) explore the topic and note:


    Proponents of the Ja'afari Law say many families marry off daughters underage anyway, particularly in the rural south, so the bill would protect young brides by codifying their status.
    "The law does not make the marriage of underage girls obligatory," said Shi'ite women's rights activist Thabat al-Unaibi, adding she would not let her own two daughters marry until they were old enough to have finished their studies.
    "Why all the fuss over this issue?"


    And supporters have been the winners.  Hajer Naili  (Women's eNews) notes:

    Haider Ala Hamoudi, a law professor at the University of Pittsburg who advised the 2009 Constitutional Review Committee of the Iraqi legislature on behalf of the United States Embassy in Baghdad, has analyzed the text.
    In a phone interview he called it sloppily drafted and poorly organized. "I just dismiss it as publicity to garner votes."

    In a in the Jurist, lays out the obstacles to transforming religious texts into actual laws and calls the text something of a "political stunt." In the article he quotes Ayatollah al- Bashir Najif, a leading Shiite, as criticizing the bill as "rife with flights of fancy in legal and juristic formulations that render it impossible that a jurist would find it acceptable."

    Really?  We're going to predict what's going to happen in an election when anything can happen?

    And if it's being used "to garner votes," might some push hard for it to pass the Parliament after the election?

    I have no idea what's going to happen with the bill.

    But it does have supporters and it is being sold.  It's being normalized.

    And this is happening not just with the bill and the attempt to kill off the Personal Status Law Number 188.  This is part of a larger war.  Dropping back to January 27, 2012 snapshot:

    We bring that up because Nouri did finally find a woman and named her to be Minister of the State for Women's Affairs. The woman is Dr. Ibtihal al-Zaidi. And Al Mada reports the lovely doesn't believe in equality stating equality "harms women" but she's happy to offer government dictates on what women should be wearing. No, she's not a minister. She's many things including words we won't use here but she's not friend to women and that's why Nouri picked her. A real woman fighting for other women? Nouri can't handle that. A simpering idiot who states that women should only act after their husband's consent? That gender traitor gets a ministry. She's currently at work devising a uniform for Iraqi women.

    Let's to back to Wednesday's broadcast of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  It lowers the marriage age for girls to  9 -- 

    Malihe Razazan:  From 18.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  -- 15 for boys, it's 18 for both [currently] marriage.  Only in  very, very special cases it's 15 with the consent of the judge under the current law.  But for this Ja'fari law it lowers the age to 9.  And wives must seek permission from their husbands before leaving the house.  If I am a doctor or a minister or a lawyer, I cannot go out without permission from my husband, go out of the house.  Muslim men would be prohibited from marrying non-Muslim women.  Granting husbands legal rights to have sex with their wives without their consent.  Granting custody to the father of any child over two-years-old in the case of divorce which is not the case that we have now with the current law.  


    Note the similarities between the law and the position, two years ago, of the Minister of Women's Affairs.

    Nouri picked that idiot for a reason.

    This is not happening by accident.

    Bit by bit, this gets pushed over and over.  And every time it does the appropriate response is world wide condemnation.  Short of that?  It's not just being normalized within Iraq, it's being normalized outside of Iraq via silence.


    Girls below the age of nine can be married with the consent of their

    "But it's still a danger because it's there, the draft is there."
    also them they're still lobbying to pass it


    As Mark Taliano (Troy Media) observes, "'Freedom' and 'democracy' are still cloaking, tacitly or overtly, mass murder and genocide in Iraq at this moment."  And that's certainly clear as Nouri terrorizes the citizens of Anbar.  His War Crimes are many but include the non-stop bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja.  Yesterday's snapshot noted how common these bombings were.  The military's bombing of the residential neighborhoods continues.  NINA reports, "A source at the Fallujah General Hospital told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / five people, including a woman, were killed and 11 others wounded, including two children, in the renewed shelling and mortar to most of Fallujah today."  Qatar News Agency covers the killing of civilians here.

    This is a War Crime.  Nouri's committing War Crimes with weapons the US government provides him with.

    Ann submitted a question to  Gwen Ifill's  live 'chat' (it's not) at PBS' The NewsHour today:


      Which, by the way, is what Ann's question to Gwen Ifill was about (see previous entry "Ann's question on Iraq just got 'answered'").






    12:34

    Comment From Ann  
    Good afternoon, Gwen. I'm bothered by the attack on Anbar Province in Iraq and the lack of western media coverage. Specifically, Nouri al-Maliki has been bombing the residential neighborhoods of Falluja every day since the start of the year. This is collective punishment and it is leaving many dead -- including many children. But we see nothing on the news about this in the US. Since we are the ones arming Maliki, this seems like a serious news issue in need of coverage to me. What does it take to get Iraq covered on The Newshour? Thank you.
    12:34

    Gwen Ifill: 
    I have to say, if you're going to see coverage of the ongoing situation in Iraq anywhere, it will be on the NewsHour.



    So Ann raises specific issues and gets an 'answer' where Gwen basically says, 'Watch The NewsHour!'


    It's a funny kind of chat with Gwen playing Amway salesperson.

    But credit to Ann for raising the issue during the 'chat.'




    Turning to other violence . . .

    Bombings?

    National Iraqi News Agency reports Joint Operations Command declared they killed 54 suspects in Falluja,  a Balad Ruz suicide bomber took his own life and the life of 1 Iraqi soldierNouri's military used helicopters to kill 4 suspects in Ramadi, a Jurf al-Sakar roadside bombing left four Iraqi soldiers injured, a Tikrit roadside bombing left three police members injured, a Baghdad car bombing left 5 people dead and nineteen injured, and, west of Mosul in Addayya Village, an attack on an Iraqi military base killed 12 soldiers and left ten more injured.


    In addition, Xinhua reports:

    Also in Salahudin province, gunmen blew up a crude oil pipeline in al-Fatha area in east of the city of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad, causing large quantity of oil spill into the nearby Tigris River, a provincial police source said.
    The pipeline carries crude oil produced from Ajil Oilfield in east of the provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, to the refinery in Baiji. A huge fire occurred at the scene, while the oil leak caused pollution in Tigris river that forces many water facilities to stop working in the cities to the south of the leak, the source added.


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  • Shootings?

    National Iraqi News Agency reports Joint Operations Command declared they killed 54 suspects in Falluja,  1 Shabak was shot dead in Mosul, another Shabak was shot dead in Mosul -- Hussein Badran who was the city's director of parks and forests,  a Raibia secondary school was stormed and its director shot dead, and, west of Mosul in Addayya Village, an attack on an Iraqi military base killed 12 soldiers and left ten more injured.

    Alsumaria notes two parents and their daughter were injured in a Dora shooting,



    Corpses?

    Alsumaria notes the corpses of 5 men and 1 women (all shot) were found dumped in the Euphrates River to the north of Babylon,


    Elections are supposed to take place April 30th, parliamentary elections.  Al-Shorfa reports, "Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) on Thursday (April 17th) said it has doubled the number of international observers who will monitor the next parliamentary elections."  Kirk Sowell (Gulf News) notes

      The other key Al Maliki rival are the Sadrists, most of whom are running under the name Ahrar Bloc (Freemen Bloc). Ahrar recently voted in a new governing board following Muqtada Al Sadr’s announcement that he was withdrawing from politics. It remains unclear as to what impact Sadr’s withdrawal will have.
    There are several third-tier coalitions which should get a handful of seats; some of them are entirely Shiite while others are cross-sectarian. They are about evenly divided between factions which are pro and anti-Al Maliki, and should only have an impact if Al Maliki’s margin of victory is relatively narrow.
    The primary Sunni Arab bloc is Speaker Nujaifi’s Mutahidun. It contains a majority of the Sunni factions in the 2010 opposition Iraqiya coalition nominally headed by former interim Prime Minister Eyad Allawi, plus the largest Sunni Turkoman group, the Iraqi Turkoman FrontIts political programme mainly consists of decentralisation, potentially forming new autonomous regions, and the defence of Sunni identity in the face of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

    While Mutahidun’s public rhetoric is focused on pillorying the Al Maliki government, Nujaifi is informally allied with the main Kurdish party, the Kurdistani Democratic Party (KDP), due to his pro-decentralisation stance, ties to Turkey and the need for Kurds, who are predominately Sunni, to balance the Shiites.


    Sowell also points out that there are 142 political parties competing and twelve of those are part of Nouri's State of Law coalition (which lost in 2010 to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.   Harith Hasan (Al-Monitor) notes Iraqiya has fragmented since 2010:

    Five main coalitions will compete to win Sunni votes, but we cannot rule out surprise results that might be achieved by small or local parties. Three of these five coalitions, in fact, represent fragments of the Iraqiya List, which is no longer present in the elections. The Mutahidoun bloc, led by parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, is the first of these coalitions. It consists of 13 parties and is seeking to appear as the biggest Sunni force after the elections. The second coalition is the Arabiya led by Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, and includes nine parties. Third, there is the Nationalist Coalition, led by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister who was the leader of the Iraqiya List.
    The Nationalist is one of the rare blocs that includes Sunni and Shiite members. Moreover, it is participating in the elections in all Arabic-speaking provinces. However, this coalition has poor chances because of intense sectarian polarization and Allawi’s loss of a large part of his traditional constituency, partly due to the emergence of a new liberal list called the Civil Democratic Alliance.



     Al Mada notes Allawi stated today the US backed Nouri (gave him the post of prime minister for a second term) because the US just wanted out of Iraq and he notes their influence is very small in Iraq and in the Middle East -- he points to the failure of (John Kerry's) efforts with regard to Palestine, he points to the Taliban increasing in Afghanistan as the US prepares to leave, he points to Somalia and Sudan.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    The independent MP of the coalition of Kurdish blocs, Mahmoud Othman confirmed " the possibility of establishing a new alliance comprises Barzani , Allawi, al-Hakim, al-Sadr and al-Nujaifi to form the next government ," ruling out holding a session for the House of Representatives before the parliamentary elections ."


    Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Al-Monitor) notes the parties are offering no platforms or programs as they seek elected office:

    The Iraqi political forces competing in the elections justify the absence of real programs by asserting that Iraq remains in transition, so there are real differences over the basis of the political process — such as the constitution, government formation, the decision-making process and the relationship between the central government and the provinces and the regions. They claim that this reality forces them to take positions on these particular issues, rather than presenting political programs. For example, some campaigns are sloganeering on amending the constitution, while others' slogans invoke government formation by the political majority, decentralization and the war on terror.
    Being in a transitional phase and disagreeing over political fundamentals do not, however, justify lacking an economic or development program or taking positions on such issues as housing, health, education, human development

    Posted at 08:42 pm by thecommonills
     

    Nouri's Iraq: War Crimes, violence, child marriage

    Nouri's Iraq: War Crimes, violence, child marriage

    NINA reports, "A source at the Fallujah General Hospital told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / five people, including a woman, were killed and 11 others wounded, including two children, in the renewed shelling and mortar to most of Fallujah today."  Qatar News Agency covers the killing of civilians here.

    This is a War Crime.  Nouri's committing War Crimes with weapons the US government provides him with.  Which, by the way, is what Ann's question to Gwen Ifill was about (see previous entry "Ann's question on Iraq just got 'answered'").

    Ann's question went up in Gwen Ifill's NewsHour 'chat' taking place right now.



    12:34

    Comment From Ann  
    Good afternoon, Gwen. I'm bothered by the attack on Anbar Province in Iraq and the lack of western media coverage. Specifically, Nouri al-Maliki has been bombing the residential neighborhoods of Falluja every day since the start of the year. This is collective punishment and it is leaving many dead -- including many children. But we see nothing on the news about this in the US. Since we are the ones arming Maliki, this seems like a serious news issue in need of coverage to me. What does it take to get Iraq covered on The Newshour? Thank you. 



    Turning to other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports Joint Operations Command declared they killed 54 suspects in Falluja,  1 Shabak was shot dead in Mosul, a Balad Ruz suicide bomber took his own life and the life of 1 Iraqi soldierNouri's military used helicopters to kill 4 suspects in Ramadi, and, west of Mosul in Addayya Village, an attack on an Iraqi military base killed 12 soldiers and left ten more injured.



    Meanwhile, Ned Parker's "Iraq: The Road to Chaos" (The New York Review of Books) remains the must-read on Iraq this week.  Excerpt.



    In the early months of 2011, as popular uprisings raised hopes for democracy around the Middle East, Iraqis were inspired to make their own call for a more democratic government and for a time, it seemed possible that they might induce significant reforms. On February 25, 2011, when thousands of young Iraqis took to the streets in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and more than a dozen other cities, several local officials, including the governors of two Shiite provinces, were forced to resign. A few days later, Maliki, unnerved by the toppling of dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, announced a hundred-day deadline for the government to weed out corruption and improve the delivery of services. Maliki’s Sunni and Shiite critics seized upon the protests. Rather than come together to fix Iraq’s myriad problems, however, each political party saw the demonstrations as a way to pressure its rivals. It was a pattern that would repeat again and again over the next four years as politicians bullied and embarrassed one another at the country’s expense.

    That summer, the prime minister responded with authoritarian tactics. During the second Friday protest in Baghdad that June, Maliki supporters and plainclothes security agents descended upon the protesters and attacked them with clubs and knives. These roving bands of pro-Maliki men, who identified themselves as victims of terrorism, waved pictures of Allawi with a giant red X slashed across his face, while shouting “death to Baathists.” Iraqi soldiers stood by and officials from Maliki’s office toured the square in praise of their armed supporters, ignoring the violence.

    Maliki understood that the Americans were getting ready to leave and that the American-sponsored rules that had been imposed after 2003 were temporary. Vice President Biden, who traveled to Iraq four times between January 2010 and January 2011 to promote a successful democratic transition, had stopped coming as the American military prepared for its final withdrawal. And during the June crackdown, the US embassy—which is right across the river from Baghdad’s Tahrir Square—remained silent.

    By the fall, Maliki’s office was insinuating that his own Sunni-vice president, Tareq Hashimi, was running death squads, and stories were circulating that Hashimi and his fellow Sunni politicians, including finance minister Rafaa Issawi and Parliament speaker Usama Nujafi, were conspiring with Turkey and the Gulf states to bring down the new Shiite-led order. Upon his return from a triumphant visit to the White House that December to mark the formal US withdrawal, Maliki sent security forces to arrest Hashimi, who fled to Turkey, and to surround the homes of prominent Sunni officials inside the Green Zone. 


    We've been covering the issue of a proposed bill which would lower the marriage age for Iraqi girls to as young as eight, would strip mothers of their custodial rights, would allow for marital rape and many other things.  Hajer Naili covers it today in "Iraqi Girl-Marriage Bill Called Vote-Getting Ploy" (Women's eNews):

    A bill to roll back the rights of Shiite women and children in Iraq has generated shockwaves in the West, but analysts with knowledge of the country say odds are against its passage.
    Manal Omar describes the bill--which would allow some girls as young as 9 to legally marry--as political bait to bring conservatives out to vote in the April 30 legislative elections.
    "I think the primary message here is a way to invigorate the masses before the elections," says Omar, associate vice-president for programs in the Middle East and North Africa region at the United States Institute of Peace, based in Washington, D.C. "People who are not going to vote tend to be more from the tribal and conservative parts and more of the working class groups."

    Omar traveled last month to Baghdad where she spent March 8, International Women's Day, with women's rights activists who oppose the bill. "There is a very strong concern among Iraqi women's activists," Omar said in an April 16 phone interview. However when questioned on the likelihood to see the text passed she responds, "I would say it is less than 50 percent."


    Manal Omar is an American citizen who wrote a book about Iraq, did a book tour, appeared before the Congress weeks later and used her entire presentation to talk about . . . something other than Iraq.

    Though Iraq did fit in the topic of the hearing and one member of the Committee said to me after the hearing, "Don't pin it on me, we specifically invited her because she presents as an expert on Iraq."

    She does do that.

    We'll talk about her nonsense in the snapshot. (Nonsense refers to Manal.  I'm not slamming the writer or Women's eNews -- I'm glad they covered the issue.)   The Nonsense and the Damage Done -- to be Neil Young about it.


    Raheem Salman, Ahmed Rasheed, Isabel Coles and Andrew Roche (Reuters) explore the topic as well:

    Proponents of the Ja'afari Law say many families marry off daughters underage anyway, particularly in the rural south, so the bill would protect young brides by codifying their status.
    "The law does not make the marriage of underage girls obligatory," said Shi'ite women's rights activist Thabat al-Unaibi, adding she would not let her own two daughters marry until they were old enough to have finished their studies.

    "Why all the fuss over this issue?"

    Will the law pass or not?  It's already 'passed' in terms of its impact on Iraq's society.

    (Note: I've stated many times here that I don't support online petitions.  So the woman who keeps e-mailing me about her online petition is wasting her time and should consider herself fortunate that I'm not writing about the flaws in her intro to her petition which includes the false claim that the bill will be voted on April 30th.  April 30th is when parliamentary elections are supposed to take place.)


    The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com -- updated:





  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.












    Posted at 09:59 am by thecommonills
     


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