"We thought this government was for Shiites, but now they have become worse than Saddam Hussein's regime," said Naseer, 40. "We placed much faith in the Iraqi security forces, but they are taking advantage of us."
Seven months after intense clashes with U.S. and Iraqi government forces rocked Baghdad's Sadr City enclave, a sense of betrayal and frustration flows through its sprawling expanse. Iraqi army units, backed by U.S. forces, are launching pre-dawn raids and arresting dozens of suspected militiamen, despite a deal between Sadr and Iraq's government. Residents, once fearful of the Mahdi Army militia, have become informants, and senior Sadrist leaders have been assassinated.
So opens Sudarsan Raghavan's "In Sadr City, a Repressed but Growing Rage" (Washington Post) which details the increasingly shaky ground between the puppet government and the Sadr movement. No surprise this comes as provincial elections appear ready to take place early next year as well as while protests against the proposed treaty take place. Washington Post via Sydney Morning Herald, "Thousands of Iraqis loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrated in Baghdad against a proposed deal that would allow US troops to stay in Iraq after the end of the year. The protesters, waving Iraqi flags and banners criticising the US, marched from Sadr City in eastern Baghdad to a large square in the city's centre, where Sadrist leaders delivered fiery speeches." And on the rage, James Warden's "Soldiers step into a home in Sadr City to gauge Iraqis' challenges" (Stars and Stripes) misses it:
Karim Jaber opened his door Saturday to find a platoon of American soldiers waiting outside.
Staff Sgt. Cesar Serrano and other soldiers with Company C, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment were waiting on the doorstep. They explained that they just wanted to talk, find out how things were going.
The day had been chaotic. Tens of thousands of Iraqis had demonstrated against the Americans in Sadr City that morning, and some threw rocks when the soldiers’ vehicles passed by their march. That was in the past, though. Sadr City was quiet now.
Warden goes on to provide a transcript of a dialogue and anyone foolish enough to think "a platoon" on your doorstep (with press) is going to result in an honest exchange has greater problems than the awkwardly crafted third sentence in the excerpt above.
Alissa J. Rubin and Katherine Zoepf's "Russia Backs Keeping U.S. Force in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times notes that Russia is saying it would not use its veto power as a (permanent) member of the UN Security Council should Iraq seek to renew the mandate that expires December 31st. (The mandate provides the legal authority for foreign forces to be in Iraq.) The reporters also note that Ayatollah Kazim al-Hosseini al-Haeria has issued a fatwa against the treaty masquerading as a SOFA. Meanwhile al-Maliki's meet up with Iraqi Christian leaders yesterday gets a glossy treatment -- no point made that this is at least al-Maliki's fourth public statement 'reassuring' things are being taken care of and the reporters also avoid including the Vatican's recent remarks. Remember that? From yesterday's snapshot:
Philip Pullella (Reuters) explains that Reverend Federico Lombardi, spokesperson for Pope Benedict, states the Vatican is troubled, "We are extremely worried about what we are hearing from Iraq. The situation in Mosul is dramatic. The victims are Christians and many thousands of people are fleeing precisely because they are subjected not only to the fear of periodic sttacks but a systematic campaign of threats. This is extremely worrying and we ask ourselves if these people are sufficiently protected by the authorities or if the authorities are not able to protect them or if there is insufficient willingness to protect them."
The reporters conclude with this section (worthy of its own article):
In Diyala Province this week, Iraqi security forces raided the homes of Sunni Awakening movement leaders, and made several arrests. Sunni leaders in the area said that the warrants were based on false charges by officials in the local government, which is mainly Shiite.
A house belonging to Mullah Shihab al-Safi, an Awakening leader in Diyala, was raided, but he was not home at the time, he later told Reuters.
Mullah Safi told Reuters that he changed his location frequently to avoid capture. Laith Saleh al-Nadawi, another prominent Awakening member, was arrested at his home south of Baquba on Monday night with three others, said an Awakening member, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation from local security forces.
"We are facing two wars at the same time; one with Al Qaeda and the other with these vexatious arrests," the man said. "Removing us from the ground will mean new security breaches in areas that have been secured for months. This will give Al Qaeda a good opportunity to work more freely again."
Turning to the US presidential race. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate, Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Micah notes this from Team Nader:
Breaking Point: Nader Nation
“Goodbye Barack, Hello Ralph”Linda – Jackson, MO
I said goodbye to Barack today after his spineless statement about the pathetic “compromise” FISA legislation which the invertebrates in the U.S. House passed.
I left a message on Obama’s website informing them I was switching my allegiances to the candidate who has the courage of his convictions. Only one Presidential aspirant I know of meets those specifications.
“Real Hope, Real Change in Ralph”Nancy Hatfield - Boston, MA
You’ve got my vote, Ralph. It’s better to vote for someone whose record is real, than to vote for a “hope” of someone who is unsupported by his votes in Congress.
“Obama supporter no more”Guenter Monkowski
Enough is enough! We don’t need a young G. W. Obama in the White House. The Democratic Party must think that the US citizens don’t want change, but rather a continuation of wars and a ridiculous economic policy which will even harm those they support: the rich. I will support Mr. Nader and vote for him.
If you haven’t reached your breaking point, visit www.breakingpoint08.com.
Send me your Breaking Point story to share at 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
Meanwhile Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney is scheduled to appear Saturday October 25 on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. Rosa Clemente is Cynthia's running mate.
John McCain is the Republican presidential nominee, Sarah Palin is his running mate. Vernon notes this from McCain-Palin '08:
ICYMI: April Byrd From "Sweat Equity" Ad On Barack Obama's Tax Increases
"I think the key message is that you know, whether you are a small business owner currently or whether you are like Joe the Plumber and your goal is to own a small business one day, that we want to be encouraged for our hard work in pursuing the American dream and not necessarily penalized for it. And when Obama makes a comment like he wants to spread the wealth around, it causes small business owners and those would be small business owners to take pause because it goes against the grain of the American dream, which is work hard and benefit from the fruits of your labor in order to pass along something to the next generation." -- April Byrd
FOX News' "Your World"
October 22, 2008
FOX News' Neil Cavuto: "With us now, one of those small business owners in that ad. April Byrd operates a small construction company with her brother. It is called Solid as a Rock. April, obviously, you relate to Joe. But what do you think is the key message you are sending here?"
April Byrd: "I think the key message is that you know, whether you are a small business owner currently or whether you are like Joe the Plumber and your goal is to own a small business one day, that we want to be encouraged for our hard work in pursuing the American dream and not necessarily penalized for it. And when Obama makes a comment like he wants to spread the wealth around, it causes small business owners and those would be small business owners to take pause because it goes against the grain of the American dream, which is work hard and benefit from the fruits of your labor in order to pass along something to the next generation."
Cavuto: "Well let me ask you April, you are I guess among those successful business folks who are considered one of the fat cats, one of the rich targets. How'd you feel about that?"
Byrd: "I do not consider myself a fat cat at all. We, my family business is a construction company. It's very labor intensive. I come from a long line of blue- collar workers that work hard with their hands, they get dirty every day. I would not consider us fat cats at all. We live within our means, contribute to our community, get involved with our community, and for someone to consider us one of the top five percent elites, so to speak in this country, and want to penalize us with higher taxes in order to spread the wealth around, it just does not sit very well."
Cavuto: "April you do not sound very elitist to me. Thank you very much for stopping by."
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