Monday, October 01, 2007

Iraqis reject Biden plan, Pentagon humps Blackwater

Many Iraqi politicians have reacted angrily to the proposal, suggesting that at the very least they find it presumptuous. Opposition to it has even found currency on the street, where Iraqis have volunteered their opinion to American reporters they encountered. Said one, "So you are going to divide our country?"
At a joint news conference on Sunday, six diverse political parties that are discussing the removal of the current government objected to a divided Iraq.
"We think this would complicate the security problem and Iraq would undertake a long-term war and a civil war more than we have witnessed already," said Basim Shareef, a member of the Fadhila Party, told reporters.
The Kurdish parties and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, led by the Shiite cleric Abdul Aziz Hakim, however, strongly support an arrangement in which much of the central government’s power is devolved to the regions. The Kurds already run a semiautonomous state in the north, and the Supreme Council hopes to see the nine majority Shiite provinces in the south band together to form a Shiite region.

The above is from Alissa J. Rubin's "In Iraq, Repeated Support for a Unified State" in this morning's New York Times. The Biden amendment (supported by 75 US senators) is a disaster on the public relations front. It's such an outrage to Iraqis that even the sheltered, Green Zone bound reporters for the New York Times are hearing about the outrage.

My husband distanced himself from me for a month after I was kidnapped and my mother still blames me for ruining the family. I open my eyes. I see the gun by my bed. My husband and I no longer talk, nor do we laugh together. We worry someone will attack us. I used to watch out of the window and feel alive. Now I make sure my face is hidden by the curtain. I look with longing at the street that was alive once upon a time.

That's what one Iraqi woman wrote to accompany her photos for an exhibit. You can see some of the photos and others by other women at "Shuttered lives: Iraq through the eyes of its women" (Independent of London).

In news of more shattered lives coming Ali Gharib's "Pentagon gives Blackwater new contract" (Asia Times):

A United States-based private security firm received a contract worth up to US$92 million from the Department of Defense amid hard questions about its involvement in two separate violent incidents in Iraq. "Blackwater [USA] has been a contractor in the past with the department and could certainly be in the future," said the US's top-ranking military officer, General Peter Pace, last week.
The future arrived just two hours later when the Pentagon released a new list of contracts - Presidential Airways, the aviation unit of parent Blackwater, was awarded the contract to fly Department of Defense passengers and cargo around Central Asia.

As Joni Mitchell sings

Money, money, money . . .
Money makes the trees come down
It makes mountains into moehills,
Big money kicks the wide wide world around

-- "This Place," written by Joni Mitchell, from the new CD Shine.

Kat's review of Shine goes up this morning after this entry and the next one. It's her second in two days (and there's one more for tomorrow). Sunday morning she reviewed Ben Harper's latest in "Kat's Korner: Grab the lifeline." And also Ruth's Report went up Saturday and Isaiah's "Bloody War Hawks" went up yesterday morning. Thank you to Bonnie for e-mailing me a reminder on that. Members who can only check in during the work week, that's your heads up.

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