Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lamia and Walaa Sabih slain in Mosul

AP's Sinan Salaheddin notes that Staffan de Mistura, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Iraq, ""expressed his shock and outrage at the continued targeting and killing of religious minorities" today. He's speaking out against the murder of two Iraqi Christian women in Mosul yesterday. Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) notes, "On Wednesday, two Christian sisters were gunned down in Mosul and their mother was wounded. When police responded, unknown assailants detonated a roadside bomb, wounding three officers. The shooting underscores Christian fears in the city. Ten thousand or more Christians fled the city last month after a spate of about 15 killings of Christians in just two weeks." Sam Dagher (New York Times) explains that the older sister was Lamia Subaih Daoud, who worked for the municpal government and was the mother of three small children, was murdered first while waiting outside the family home on a bus and the assailants then stormed the house and shot dead the woman's twenty-three-year-old sister and wounded the women's mother. Dagher notes that Lamia's three children were asleep in the home "and survived the attack." The Melbourne Herald Sun supplies the name of the younger sister, "The intruders killed Lamia and Walaa Sabih and wounded their mother before booby-trapping the house. When police arrived a bomb went off, wounding two of them, an officer said on condition of anonymity."

Raheem Salman, Usama Redha and Tina Susman reflect on the latest violent trends in "In Iraq, a sudden spurt of violence" (Los Angeles Times):

Since Monday, according to police statistics, roadside bombs, car bombs and suicide bombers wearing explosive belts have killed 58 people in the capital. Deaths elsewhere included two Christian women who police said were killed by unidentified gunmen in the northern city of Mosul, where Christians say they have been caught in the middle of a war for power between Kurds and Arabs.
Several Iraqis who witnessed the violence noted the heavy presence of Iraqi security checkpoints near Saadoun Street, in the eastern part of the capital, and elsewhere and said it showed that nobody could be trusted to keep them safe. Some also said it was a sign that Iraqi forces were not ready to protect the city if U.S. troops withdrew.
U.S. military officials said that this week's violence, coming after a steady downward trend in attacks, does not mean insurgents are staging a comeback, and they disputed the casualty figures provided by Iraqi sources.
Baghdad and its environs continue to experience an average of four attacks a day on security forces and civilians, compared with more than 20 a day about a year ago, Army Brig. Gen. William Grimsley, deputy commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, said Monday after bombers killed 31 people in northeast Baghdad's Kasra district.

From yesterday's snapshot: "At the State Dept today Wood also noted that Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Turkey's Prime Minister, was in the US for an economic meet up with the White House and that Secretary of State Condi Rice will be meeting with him during the visit. Turkey and northern Iraq are in continous conflict and it is a rare day when the Turkish military's airplanes are not bombing northern Iraq. Whether that topic will figure into any talks or not is not being dicussed." This morning Hurriyet reports, "Turkey and the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq agreed on a strategic plan involving measures against the terror organization PKK, the organization's mouthpiece Firat News Agency reported on Thursday. According to the agreement, the administration in northern Iraq led by Massoud Barzani will cut the links between Europe and the PKK, which uses bases in northern Iraq as a springboard to launch cross-border attacks on neighboring Turkey."

Meanwhile Missy Ryan (Reuters) notes that accusations are flying in Mosul back and forth between Arabs and Kurds that reflect the conflict between the Kurdish government and the central government out of Baghdad:

Behind the quarrels is oil. Many of the disputed areas along the "green line" have promising reserves, especially Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed city that accounts for a quarter of Iraq's oil exports. Kurds consider Kirkuk their historic capital. Iraq's constitution provides for a referendum on control of the city. That vote has been postponed indefinitely, but Kurds think they would win it, undoing Saddam's "Arabisation" of one of Iraq's main oil-producing areas. The impasse affects not just Iraq's oil sector, but all investment, casting a shadow on the U.S. project in Iraq.

Not seeing anything on yesterday's joint-press conference in Syria. It did take place, see photos below.

Here's the press release from Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

His Excellency Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Mr. Walid Moallem, Syrian Foreign Minister held a joint press conference on Wednesday November 12, 2008.

The two sides discussed ways to develop and activate bilateral relations between the two countries and Minister Zebari reviewed the political, economic and security developments in Iraq, and stressed the importance of Syria's cooperation in improving the situation in Iraq, indicating that Iraq will soon nominate an ambassador in Damascus in a step that aims to develop and activate the relations between The two countries.

Minister Zebari explained the positive results of his visit and his meetings with President Bashar al-Assad, and delivered the letter of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to president Asaad regarding the Iraqi government’s stance on the US-Iraqi security agreement and stages of negotiation. Foreign Minister Zebari also stressed the Iraqi government’s refusal to use Iraqi territory as a platform to launch military operations against Syria or any of the neighboring countries and expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Syrian people.

On his part Mr. Walid Moallem welcomed the visit of Minister Hoshyar Zebari and his accompanying delegation stating that Syria is keen to maintain the security and stability of Iraq.

Mr. Walid Moallem bid farewell Minister Hoshyar Zebari and his accompanying delegation in Damascus International Airport; the farewell ceremony was attended by the Iraqi Charge d'Affaires in Syria and a number of Iraqi embassy staff.

On the US homefront, Jessica Martin's "Domestic violence risk a growing problem for veterans" (Washington University Record) notes:

With the increased risk of domestic violence in veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), collaboration is needed to deal with both problems effectively, a University expert in veteran mental health said.
"The increasing number of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder raises the risk of domestic violence and its consequences on families and children in communities across the United States," said Monica Matthieu, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work.
"Treatments for domestic violence are very different than those for PTSD. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has mental health services and treatments for PTSD, yet these services need to be combined with the specialized domestic violence intervention programs offered by community agencies for those veterans engaging in battering behavior against intimate partners and families," she said.
Matthieu and Peter Hovmand, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work, are merging their research interests and are working together to design community prevention strategies to address this emerging public health problem.
"The increasing prevalence of traumatic brain injury and substance use disorders along with PTSD among veterans poses some unique challenges to existing community responses to domestic violence," Hovmand said.

Paul Street is the author of Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics and we'll again note his "Barack Obama: The Empire's New Clothes" (Black Agenda Report):

Since his election to the U.S. Senate and through the presidential campaign, the "deeply conservative" (according to New Yorker writer Larissa MacFarquhar) Obama has done nothing to undermine his "palatability" to concentrated economic and political power. He has made his safety to the power elite evident on matters both domestic and global, from his support for bailing out parasitic Wall Street financial firms with hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars (while claiming to be "a free market guy" and proclaiming "love" for "capitalism") to his refusal to question the morality of U.S. colonial wars and his strident support for maintaining a globally unmatched "defense" (empire) budget that accounts for nearly half the world's military spending. As Edward S. Herman and David Peterson note in an important recent article, "in 2007-08, Obama has placated establishment circles on virtually every front imaginable, the candidate of ‘change we can believe in' has visited interest group after interest group to promise them that they needn't fear any change in the way they're familiar with doing business" [5].
It's all very consistent with Obama's history stretching back to his days as the Republican-pleasing editor of the Harvard Law Review and his climb up the corporate-friendly politics of Chicago. As Ryan Lizza noted in The New Yorker last July, "Perhaps the greatest misconception about Barack Obama is that he is some sort of anti-establishment revolutionary. Rather, every stage of his political career has been marked by an eagerness to accommodate himself to existing institutions rather than tear them down or replace them" [6].
Obama's business-friendly centrism helped him garner an astonishing, record-setting stash of corporate cash. He received more than $33 million from "FIRE," the finance-real-estate and insurance sector. His winnings include $824,202 from the leading global investment firm Goldman Sachs [7]. He has been consistently backed by the biggest and most powerful Wall Street firms.
At the same time and by more than mere coincidence, Obama enjoyed a remarkable windfall of favorable corporate media coverage. That media treatment was the key to Obama's success in winning support and donations from the middle-class and from non-affluent people like Deddrick Battle.

We noted Street in yesterday's snapshot and we also noted a Real News Network report which we'll embed below.

Stan's post last night was "Dan Savage" and from his site, here are the ways the community sites show up:

Three e-mails on that from yesterday. (1) What's Trina's post? It wasn't a post proper. She was playing around and practicing links. (2) It wasn't included yesterday for that reason (I haven't included this site in the above links, FYI). (3) Could I go down all the way to include Betty as well? Yes, absolutely.

The e-mail address for this site is

leila fadel
mcclatchy newspapers

 the los angeles times

 tina susman

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends