Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Awakening" and Iraq Christians

"Sheik Jassim," as his tribesmen call Sweidawi, is among a new generation of tribal leaders asserting influence across Sunni areas. They have won their respect by fighting Sunni insurgents of the al-Qaeda in Iraq group. With American money and support, they have brought a fragile order to Anbar province, once Iraq's most violent theater, accomplishing in months what the U.S. military could not do in years.
But the rise of these sheiks, collectively called the Awakening, is already touching off new conflicts that could deepen without U.S. military backing for the movement. They have stripped traditional tribal leaders of influence. They have carved up Sunni areas into fiefdoms, imposing their views on law and society and weakening the authority of the Shiite-led central government. Divisions are emerging among the new breed of tribal leaders, even as they are challenging established Sunni religious parties for political dominance.
Their ascent reflects how the struggle for local and regional centers of power is increasingly shaping Iraq's future. And their growing clout ensures that large segments of Iraq will remain influenced by tribal codes, rather than modern laws, posing an obstacle to the democratic foundations that many would like to see built here.
"No one can remove us," Sweidawi said. Today, he claims to control much of his Albusoda tribe, numbering about 30,000.

The above is from Surdarsan Raghavan's "A New Breed Grabs Reins in Anbar" (Washington Post) which runs on the paper's front page. The New York Times has nothing filed from Iraq. "Awakening" members -- long praised by Gen David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker (check the April Congressional testimony of both) are moving towards control of the centralized government in Baghdad. The US is still picking up the tab -- which no one's supposed to notice -- and Nouri al-Maliki still hates, despises and fears the thugs the US put on the payroll (as opposed to the thugs al-Maliki put on his own payroll).

The "Awakening" member are aware of al-Maliki's feelings and have made public that they can resort to violence if need be. "Need" may be coming up sooner than most planned. Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reported yesterday, "Police arrested three Sahwa members in Mustafa neighborhood in Baquba, according to arrest warrants." (Sahwa and Sons Of Iraq are other names for "Awakening" members.)

Raghavan informs that a little over fifty-thousand "Awakeing" members (approximately half) were turned over to Baghdad's control this month.

Turning to the topic of Iraqi Christians, Niraj Warikoo "Iraqi Christians to rally in Southfield today" (Detroit Free Press) covers today's rally in support of Iraqi Christians "held by the Network of Iraqi-American Organizations and the Michigan Christians of Mosul Relief Committee. After the rally, some are to travel to Washington D.C. to express their concerns to U.S. government officials, members of Congress, and the Iraqi embassy." Assyrian International News Agency explains this evening's rally will be "at the Mother of God Chaldean Church Hall, 25585 Berg Road, Southfield, MI 48033. The rally will start at 5:30 PM."
Gregg Krupa's "Metro Chaldeans meet to mount relief efforts for harried Iraq Christians" (Detroit Free Press) notes the ties to the Detroit area:

"How can all of these families be forced to leave and no one does anything?" said Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle, a jurisdiction of the Chaldean Catholic Church, based in Southfield. "It really is an organized crime against humanity."
Chaldeans, who live in Metro Detroit in larger numbers than anywhere outside Iraq, have set an organizational meeting for tonight in Southfield to mount relief efforts.
"We are talking about the survival of Christianity in Iraq, the original Christian community in the world," said Dave Nona, a member of the board of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and the Chaldean Assyrian Council of America.
"The persecution in Baghdad started three or four years ago, with the bombing of a church, the kidnapping and killing of priests; ransoms were paid -- lots of ransoms," Nona said. "Within the past year or so, when al-Qaida was driven out of Anbar Province, a lot of them moved to the north, to Mosul, and a lot of these elements and a contingent of fundamentalist Sunni elements in Mosul started this latest round of persecutions."
In the past month, more than 9,000 were driven out in what Chaldeans in Metro Detroit say is an effort at ethnic cleansing.
"There is fear and panic because this has become like the genocide of Christians in that area," said Joseph Kassab, executive director of the Chaldean Federation of America, in Farmington Hills.

Turning to news in the US presidential race. Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney will appear Wednesday October 22nd on NPR's Talk of the Nation and Saturday October 25 on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday.

Meanwhile independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader was on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams yesterday.

Team Nader notes (this is yesterday):

Nader on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Tonight


Nader on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Tonight .

Ralph Nader is at 5 percent in The Show Me State — Missouri.

And he’s moving on up.

That’s according to the most recent CNN/Time Missouri poll.

The poll shows Nader at 5 percent last week, up from 3 percent at the end of September.

We believe that this shows that with just a little bit of visibility — we have an active Nader/Gonzalez group in Missouri — Ralph will move up in the polls.

That’s why we’re encouraging all of our supporters in Missouri and around the country to buy and wear — during the last days of the campaign — our hot selling heavy duty 100 percent cotton Nader ‘08 Buffalo T-Shirts (men’s or women’s).

(Pictured here — Nader/Gonzalez road warrior Matt Zawisky and the Obama Girl, both wearing Nader 08 Buffalo T-Shirts in front of our favorite mascot in downtown DC last month.)

We sold out of our first stash of 600 in less than 24 hours this weekend.

So we ordered another 1,000.

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There are only 750 left.

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And wear it with pride.

At $30 a shirt (men’s or women’s), it’s a deal.

If you have one already, buy one for a friend, relative or colleague (man or woman).

In case you haven’t heard yet, Ralph will be profiled on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight.

Hope you get a chance to watch.

And just for fun, check out our spooky Nader/Gonzalez Halloween video.

We’re firing on all cylinders.

Mainstream media.

On the ground get out the vote drive.

Nader/Gonzalez videos.

And Nader Buffalo T-Shirt drive.

It’s a sprint to the finish line.

Onward to November.

The Nader Team

PS: If you donate $100 more now, we will ship to you our corporate crime package. The package includes two books and a DVD: Gangster Capitalism by Michael Woodiwiss, The Cheating of America by Charles Lewis, Bill Allison and the Center for Public Integrity, and a DVD of our Wall Street rally. (This offer ends October 24, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.)


Steven noted that. John McCain is the GOP presidential candidate and Vernon notes this posted by Ben Olson to the McCain-Palin campaign blog:

Enthusiasm on the Road

The Wall Street Journal has a web video compilation from Governor Palin events that helps capture the excitement our campaign is seeing on the road.

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