Sunday, November 16, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

Iraq's political leaders held a high-level meeting on Saturday to gauge support for a security agreement that will determine the future role and presence of American forces in Iraq before crucial votes in the cabinet and Parliament.
But the most powerful Shiite bloc in Parliament, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, did not attend, and the meeting ended without any clear public resolution.

The above is from Katherine Zoepf and Atheer Kakan's "Shiite Bloc Fails to Attend Meeting on Iraq - U.S. Pact" in this morning's New York Times and they note that the decision of the council would be "a good indicator of whether the agreement will pass" in Parliament. Whether that call is correct or not, the agreement has passed the council. Adam Ashton and Leila Fadel's "Iraqi cabinet approves accord setting U.S. troop withdrawal" (McClatchy Newspapers) opens with:

Iraq's cabinet on Sunday approved a security pact that sets a timetable for the nearly complete withdrawal of American forces within three years, but the agreement faces an uncertain outlook in Iraq's parliament.
The largest Sunni party in Iraq, the Iraqi Islamic Party, wants the agreement to go to a nationwide referendum. Its affiliated parties complain that their efforts to amend the plan to require the release of detainees and to provide compensation for war victims were ignored by lawmakers who shaped the pact.
Followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al Sadr, meanwhile, view the agreement as an affirmation of the American occupation and oppose it outright.
Their dissent colors broad political momentum Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki built through the weekend after he reportedly gained new concessions from the American government. It won support from 27 of the 28 cabinet members. Nine members did not vote because they were traveling, a cabinet minister said.

Gordon Johndroe, White House flack, declared, "While the process is not yet complete, we remain hopeful and confident we'll soon have an agreement that serves both the people of Iraq and the United States well and sends a signal to the region and the world that both our governments are committed to a stable, secure and democratic Iraq."

As funny as that is, this is hilarious, Anne Penketh's "All US troops out of Iraq 'in three years'" (Independent of London):

The Iraqi cabinet has finally approved a hard-fought security pact with the US under which all American troops are to withdraw from Iraq in three years, putting an end to the US-led occupation of Iraq that has defined America's relations with the rest of the world since the 2003 invasion.
However, the security arrangement, which was negotiated for months, must still be ratified by the fractured Iraqi parliament today, and only then will it clear its final hurdle. The deal with the US raises expectations that Britain is on the point of agreeing a similar pact on the withdrawal of its 4,100 troops from southern Iraq.
"The total withdrawal will be completed by 31 December 2011. This is not governed by circumstances on the ground. This date is specific and final," said Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi cabinet spokesman, after the meeting at which nine cabinet members failed to turn up.

Oh, is that what it says? No, that's not what it says. That's what some Iraqis believe (others bought off and intimdated by the State Dept don't give a damn) but then they thought the original version gave them 'rights' over US service members who committed crimes, now didn't they? The US really isn't that good at wars but the government has always excelled in treaties that lulled the other party into believing they were getting a good deal. It never works out that way, now does it? Not for the Native Americans, not for Panama, go down the list. But an updated treaty (only recently translated out of English) is wonderful, it's marvelous, it's . . . George W. Bush is not about to end the Iraq War. Get real. Equally true is that an actual withdrawal would make the document a treaty. Now possibly US arrogance is seen in the oh-let-the-Iraqi-Parliament-approve-it attitude, whereas there's fear of what the US Senate might uncover were they brought into the process.

It takes a lot of stupid to set aside US history and assume this treaty with an occupied nation is (for the first time ever) a fair and beneficial (to the Iraqis) treaty. Penketh needs to explain when she read the treaty and whom she showed it to with a background in deciphering (she's not qualified to make those determinations about a document). It's one thing to repeat what one side or the other believes and attribute it that way but reporting does not allow Penketh to report things she does not know and things she cannot determine. Again, just laugh, it's easier. In the real world, over 50 Iraqi deaths were reported yesterday and today and the US military announced the deaths of more US service members.

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 4,193. And tonight? 4201 is ICCC's count. Yes, the 4200 mark was past today. The Christ-child was elected and no the world did not change. But wasn't fun and groovy to defocus from reality and turning into a screaming Beatles mob? No? You're right, it was disgusting and shameful and not at all behavior suited to so-called adults. Saturday the US military announced, "MOSUL – Two Coalition forces Soldiers were killed after an aircraft accident in East Mosul in Ninewah province Nov. 15. The incident appears to be combat-unrelated and there was no enemy contact in the area." Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,284,105 the same as last Sunday and the Sunday before. Once upon a time the counter updated regularly. Those days appear long gone.

In some of the weekend's violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 3 lives and left seven injured (two dead and five wounded are "Awakening" Council members), another Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded three police officers, and a Jalwlaa car bombing that killed the driver and 15 more people with twenty others injured. McClatchy's Laith Hammoudi reported Saturday on a Baghdad sticky bombing that injured three people, another Baghdad roadside bombing that left four injured, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 3 lives and left twenty-three injured, and a Nineveh car bombing that claimed 11 lives and left thirty people injured.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Diyala Province that resulted in 9 deaths (two by bombings), five 'suspects' killed in Beijat village and 1 'suspect' killed in Khalis.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad. Saturday Laith Hammoudi reported 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad

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