Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The battle of Kirkuk?

The front page of this morning's New York Times features Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Kurdish Control of City Creates Political Powderkeg in North Iraq" which, along with Stephen Farrell's "As Iraqis Vie for Kirkuk's Oil, Refugee Kurds Becomes Pawns" (December 9, 2007) stands as the best domestic coverage of Kirkuk by any US outlet. Oppel sketches out how Kirkuk's fate already appears determined and how that took place because the central government (puppet) in Baghdad didn't do anything. Oppel writes, "Kurdish authority is visible everywhere in the city. In addition to the provincial government and command of the police, the Kurds control the Asaish, the feared undercover security service that works with the American military and, according to Asaish commanders, United States intelligence agencies." Oppel doesn't pursue that aspect which is a shame because the puppet government was controlled by the White House so the stand-down on Kirkuk was no acident. And US Col David Paschal can brag about how he made the call last month (as Turkmen and Kurds battled) not to send in the Iraqi forces but that call came from higher up. Mohammed Khalil ("leader of the Arab bloc on the provincial council") explains, "There is much fear. The Asaish are saying they will annex Kirkuk by force and that is terrifying people."

Leila Fadel's "He Paid the Price" (Bagdad Observer, McClatchy Newspapers) covers the death of "Awakening" Council member Farouk Abd al Sattar al Obeidi who died in Sunday's Baghdad bombing:

I could see that Al Obeidi was proud of the small office the group rented in a strip mall in Adhamiyah. He sat behind a large desk and pulled out the pictures of the men they had helped catch. He helped pay for the uniforms his men wore, military uniforms although they were not in the army. On the floor green and red lights danced from a light projector attached to the wall to jazz up the drab room.
But he also lamented that the government was sectarian and would not take in the young men who fought for the neighborhood into their forces. They had no respect for the movement, he said. This was a movement that brought down violence in Iraq when U.S. forces and the Iraqi government could not, he said.
"We are an oppressed people," he said. "Our leaders are oppressors."
Personally he had no interest in joining the security forces. He rolled up his pant leg to show me why. He had a scarred pink whole in his leg. It was a reminder of the day he'd survived a grenade attack, he said. He'd helped a Shiite man leave the neighborhood of Adhamiyah after he was threatened by Sunni extremists in the once insurgent-dominated neighborhood.
He took the man out of Sunni Adhamiyah and returned home, he knew what it was to be displaced. He'd been displaced by Shiite militants.

AP has an article all over the place (here at Los Angeles Times, here at Washington Post, etc.) just rah-rah-rah about the US taking in Iraqi refugees and how the State Dept might meet their announced quota ("for the first time" is left unstated by Samantha Henry). Now go to Inside Iraq (McClatchy Newspapers) where you'll find an Iraqi journalist, "For the second time now in one month Iraqi newspapers have published articles stating the U.S will not accept any more Iraqi refugees." And before some idiot says, "Well it's the 2008 quota and it's been met!" Fiscal year. Which ends September 30th. Meaning October 1st starts the next (fiscal) year.

Amanda notes this from Team Nader:

Busting it in Denver, Shooting for November


Busting it in Denver, Shooting for November .

Thousands of you have already donated very generously to Nader/Gonzalez.

Thank you.

But tens of thousands of you have not.

So, today is your day.

Our Nader/Gonzalez team in Denver (pictured here) needs your help.

If you haven't given to Nader/Gonzalez yet, please donate $5 now.

We are a grassroots campaign in need of some serious grassroots support.

And we are busting it in Denver preparing for our first Super Rally -- August 27 at the Magness Arena at the University of Denver.

We have a lineup of national figures on board to stand with us and demand open debates during the DNC in Denver (watch for speaker/performer announcement this week).

This will be a powerful start to our Open the Debates campaign and will mark the end of our drive for ballot access.

After spending over 90 days and 90 nights on the road collecting signatures to get Ralph on the ballot in New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and California, a dedicated road tripper, Junue Millan, is in Colorado helping prepare for Ralph's first Super Rally of the season.

He worked with a road trip team that collected more than 30,000 signatures in 10 states, and after doing a couple of back of the napkin calculations, we figure that means our team has spoken with over 300,000 people about Ralph Nader and his candidacy.

Multiply those by the number of dedicated road tripping teams across the country, and our supporters have spoken to nearly 3 million people across the country.

Talk about a grassroots campaign!

Without the help of those of you who can’t be on the road but who are in a position to provide us with much needed resources, this would have been impossible.

Thank you so much for your support during the last five months.

Although we have talked to our first three million people, we still have 297 million people to still reach before the election on November 4th.

We all know that mainstream media isn't helping our cause, so we have decided to take matters into our own hands.

We have printed 7,000 tickets, 100,000 flyers, secured an office, have a strong volunteer movement, and we are ready to appeal directly to people really ready for some change.

Many dedicated volunteers are putting in 70 hour weeks to make this event an awesome kick-off to the campaign season.

But we need you!

Any contribution helps!

We need to print more fliers to get the word out from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs, from Denver to Boulder, and all over Colorado.

We need tape for the posters, we need office supplies to keep things running smoothly, gas money to get around Colorado. We need lighting equipment, sound equipment, and so much more to get this Super Rally together.

We have amazing volunteers dedicating every hour of their weekend spreading the word.

We just finished handing out fliers at the New West Fest in Ft. Collins and at the Farmer's Markets in Boulder and Littleton.

We'll put in the hours and the miles - but we need your contributions to help fuel this rally effort.

Thank you for your generous support.

Onward to November.

Emily and Ben, and the whole Colorado Nader Team



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