But there were signs on Saturday that Iraqi unease with the security negotiations extends beyond Mr. Sadr's faction. Quietly, some parliamentary leaders suggested that they, too, were not comfortable with the agreement even though some of them had been involved in negotiating it.
At a Friday night meeting with the leaders of the political blocs in Parliament, there were no clear statements of support except from the Kurds, who strongly backed the pact.
This the treaty masquerading as a SOFA, the one that the Iraqi Parliament will have a say in but the White House plans to circumvent the US Senate and Constitution. Peter Graff and Mariam Karouny (Reuters) report that the first try failed today with only support from the Kurdish faction. One of the sticky points was over US immunity which the Shi'ites raised. That's not surprising. The way it allegedly works as proposed is US troops would be eligible for prosecution for certain crimes conducted in Iraq while they were off duty; however, who is making the decision of eligibility? The US or Iraq? It's these sort of details that appear 'solid' to al-Maliki and others that can hold the treaty up for some time. Graff and Karouny note, "The Shi'ite parties' call for amendments appears to contradict Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, who said on Saturday that Washington and Baghdad both consider the draft final and would be unlikely to reopen it." How serious is the upset? Gemma Daley (Bloomberg News) reports Nouri al-Maliki's planned and announced trip to Australia Tuesday has now been placed on hold. Left unstated in either report is that the ones objecting, the Shi'ites, are from al-Maliki's own governing council. That's an important detail and goes to the difficulties that the treaty may or may not face.
They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)
Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4,181. And tonight? 4185 is ICCC's count. Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,273,378 up from . . . Same number they gave last week. Turning to some reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 2 lives and left ten people wounded and 2 more Baghdad roadside bombings that left twelve people wounded. Reuters notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing which left 2 people injured, a Mosul roadside bombing which injured an Iraqi soldier McClatchy's Sahar Issa reported Saturday a Baghdad 'sticky' bombing claimed 1 life and left one person wounded and a Kirkuk roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 "Asayesh (Kurdish intelligence agency) member".
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 police officer died from a Mosul shooting, an "Awakening" Council leader shot dead in Baglad in a home invasion in which three other people ("two woemn and a child") were killed. Reuters notes 1 "civilian" shot dead in Mosul. McClatchy's Sahar Issa reported Saturday that 1 man was shot dead in Baqubua for the 'crime' of "returning to his home."
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad and 11 corpses were discovered in a Banat Al-Hassan.
Meanwhile Naharnet Newsdesk reports that Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Saniora expressed over the phone to Iraqi President Jalal Talabania, "The Lebanese people back all efforts exerted by the Iraqi government to safeguard the social fabric of the state of Iraq. Christians in Iraq, as in any other Arab state, are an integral component of the national fabric." Meanwhile AP notes a demonstration in support of Iraqi Christians in Kirkuk today that had a turnout of at least 200 demonstrators (carrying banners such as the one that read "Stop the genocide against Christians") and "was organized by Kurdish groups". AP puts the number of Iraqi Christians who have fled Mosul in the last two weeks at 10,000. Corey Flintoff (NPR's Weekend Edition -- text and audio) reported today on the refugees:
"These families came here with nothing but the clothes on their backs," says the head of St. George's cultural center. Like the displaced people he's caring for, he refused to give his name, fearful of retaliation. "Local people have been donating food and bedding, and some of the vital stuff they need to survive until more aid arrives."
The climate of fear is so pervasive that refugees insisted their faces not be shown in photographs, for fear that they might be identified by their persecutors in Mosul. "Mosul is a very dangerous city," says one young mother. "I can hardly describe the condition there."
The woman is staying in a small, curtained-off section of the cultural center with her husband and three children. She says the fear has infected her young son, who speaks often about Muslim fighters, the mujahedeen. "He is always afraid, even when he goes to school, he is very afraid."
She touches her throat, where she says she used to wear a gold necklace. "I sold this piece of gold and spent it on my children and family."
The church official takes us to a conference room, where 28 people have been sleeping on mats on the floor. A photo of Pope John Paul looks down on the scene where platters and dirty dishes are piled high in one corner.
A woman who identifies herself only by her nickname, Um Reyan, says the danger of her situation didn't really sink in until gunmen murdered a pharmacist and a 15-year-old boy in her neighborhood, and strange cars began prowling the streets.
"Then my neighbor came to tell me that she noticed a gray sedan with three young men inside, and that one of them was pointing at my house" says Um Reyan. "We felt so scared after hearing this, and my neighbor said, 'Are you waiting for your turn to come? Do you want to stay here until they come and kill your husband and children?' "
Missy Ryan's "Iraq's Christians 'sacrificial lambs' as attacks mount" (Reuters) explores many angles including responsibility:
U.S. commanders say Mosul is the last big city in Iraq that still has a large al Qaeda presence. U.S. intelligence describes at least 12 insurgent organizations believed to be active in the area, from ideological groups such as al Qaeda to neo-Baathists.
The attackers' goal is "to de-legitimize the government here", said Thomas. "The enemy we are fighting here is searching the social fabric here ... to cause that fabric to rupture."
But other U.S. officials are less certain whom to blame, and describe a host of potentially destabilizing forces at play in a tense region ruled by a weak, minority provincial government.
About 60 percent of the 2.8 million population of the province of which Mosul is the capital are Sunni Arabs, and about a quarter are Kurds. The army around Mosul is mainly Kurdish, which angers many of the city's Arabs.
Seats on the provincial governing council are now held mostly by Kurds after most Sunnis boycotted the last provincial polls in 2005. But the balance of power in Mosul is expected to change when provincial elections take place by late January.
Christians, who are believed to number around 250,000 to 300,000 in the province, could be a swing vote, targeted by one side or the other in a fight for power.
In the US presidential race, Colin "The Blot" Powell who lied to sell the illegal war has endorsed Barack Obama's run for the presidency. No word on whether or not other War Criminals, past or present, will come forward to make endorsements. Kendrick notes this from Team Nader:
Breaking Point: We're Not Alone
As a sociology professor drummed out of my teaching spot at Colorado State University in 2004 for my critique of Bush and his illegal war, I stand 100% with Mr. Nader as America’s Lifetime Patriot. His intelligent, passionate, and courageous positions DO reach Americans despite media disinterest and concern only with “the next cool thing.” I am especially disappointed in Amy Goodman’s suggestion (on the day of the first Presidential debate) that Mr. Nader encourage his followers to support Obama in battleground states. I live in one of those states (Colorado), and I know first-hand how media outlets can misrepresent or deny coverage to difficult and complex issues, when “the truth” could save lives, careers, and the environment.—Photo and sign above provided by Daniel and Kat Penisten of CA
Mr. Nader, thank you for being our voice in these decades of electoral corruption. Like you, we will never, ever, ever give up.
-Steven G. Helmericks
Send me your Breaking Point story to share at mailto:%email@example.com, so the growing numbers of independent voters can join our voices, and together, we can change the system.
Nader for President 2008
Vernon notes this from the McCain-Palin campaign:
Posted at 5:34 PM on 10/17/2008 by matt_lira
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and the war drags on
the new york times
the world today just nuts
the third estate sunday review