A dispute erupted Wednesday between Iraqi officials over the fate of dozens of captives abducted from a government building, undermining an effort by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to project an image of authority during the crisis.
A spokesman for Abed Dhiab al-Ajeeli, the minister of higher education, said nearly 100 of about 150 captives were still being held a day after the kidnapping, at the ministry's compound. But the government's chief spokesman, Ali Dabbagh, contended that only 39 people had been kidnapped and that all but 2 had been released. Both men angrily dismissed the other’s comments as false.
Late Wednesday, Mr. Dhiab, one of the few Sunni Arabs in Mr. Maliki's Shiite-dominated cabinet, announced that he was stepping down from his post until all the captives had been rescued. In a written statement, apparently directed at the Maliki administration, he said that any effort to make the kidnapping "a political issue" would be "unacceptable behavior."
The above is from Kirk Semple's "Kidnappings Stir Political Dispute in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times and it's all we'll note from the paper. I'm not in the mood for Michael R. Gordon's war porn and we noted in yesterday's snapshot that he'd be sobbing today. (He also attempts to spin it around. Well a war pornagrapher has to get his jollies somehow.)
Instead, we will stay with reality.
Today, the US military announced: "A Multi-National Corps-Iraq Soldier was killed by small arms fire Tuesday while conducting combat operations in Baghdad." And they announced: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, were killed Wednesday and two others were injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle they were traveling in while conducting combat operations in Diyala province."
And they announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed in action Wednesday by small arms fire while conducting combat operations in Diyala province."
Yesterday, they announced six deaths. Today it's four. For the month, it's 44 so far.
Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that some of those abducted in Tuesday's mass kidnapping in Baghdad may have been tortured:
The incident reverberated throughout Iraq because it was a sign that scientific research and the education system as a whole isn't immune to the daily sectarian and insurgent violence coursing through the society.
The incident had consequences for police. The Interior Ministry ordered the arrests and interrogations of several high-ranking police officers over their handling of security in the area.
After the incident, al-Ajili announced the closure of universities until security improves, saying he was "not ready to see more professors get killed."
Later, al-Ajili rescinded that move, and universities have opened their doors across Baghdad, even though some students didn't show up for classes Wednesday.
Support for education
Al-Maliki's message in his crisis-torn country was "enough crises."
"Let's beware of God's punishment about what we do in this country," he said.
Thus spake the puppet of the occupation. Attempting to couch an argument for peace on the back of "God's punishment." (For any holy rollers passing through, he's not referring to Jesus.) Well when Zalmay, representing the US, can't make a simple announcement (passing as a speech) without referring to God, why should al-Maliki be any different?
Will al-Maliki next call himself the supreme ruler who speaks to God? Remember all that administration bragging about how Iraq would have a wall between church and state in their 'liberated' government?
Well on Tuesday he was making noises about ordering that the kidnappers be brought to justice (kidnapping being a crime, no one should have to order that criminals be brought to justice). Today he's making an appeal for peace by trying to scare the people with the 'wrath.' Both are signs that the puppet has no power -- even backed by the US, he remains ineffectual. Today he uses God the way some modern-day-June-Cleaver might use Ward -- "Wally, Beaver, wait until your father gets home!" He has no power, he has no authority. He has to beg for justice and threaten with "God's punishment." These were the desperation measures. In coming weeks, it will only get uglier.
You can't put a smile on an illegal war and a propped up puppet will always be a puppet.
When Gordo grasps that, look for him to pen some scalding pieces in the New York Times. (Though, at this rate, they may come only after "the fall" of Baghdad.)
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