Monday, June 01, 2009

Sahwa, Margaret Hassan

Attacks against US forces are once again on the rise in places like Baghdad and Fallujah, where the Iraqi resistance was fiercest before so many of them joined the Sahwa (Sons of Iraq, also referred to as Awakening Councils), and began taking payments from the US military in exchange for halting attacks against the occupiers and agreeing to join the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq. In early April I wrote a column for this website that illustrated how ongoing Iraqi government and US military attacks against the Sahwa, coupled with broken promises of the Sahwa being incorporated into the government security apparatus or given civilian jobs, would likely lead to an exodus from the Sahwa and a return to the resistance.
Slowly, but surely, we are seeing that occur. While US liaison Col. Jeffrey Kulmayer has called this idea, along with the ongoing controversy from the Iraqi government - led by US-pawn Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - not paying most of the Sahwa members, while continuing government arrests of and attacks on Sahwa members "overblown," this does not change reality. Let us recall the telling words of the reporter Caud Cockburn, father of journalist Patrick Cockburn, "Never believe anything until it's officially denied."
Not surprisingly, in direct contradiction to Kulmayer's comment, the Sahwa have warned the Iraqi government not to disregard its commitments to the fighters as far as providing them jobs and payment. On May 28, the independent Saudi-owned United Kingdom-based newspaper, al-Hayat, reported:
"A number of the leaders of the awakening councils called on the Iraqi government to honor its commitments towards the members of the awakening councils by paying their salaries which are three months late. They warned that their fighters might rebel against the government if their demands for their financial rights continue to be disregarded which might have an adverse effect on the security situation. Sheikh Masari al-Dulaymi, one of the leaders of the council in Falahat al-Taji to the north of Baghdad, announced that the committee supervising the national reconciliation process warned the leaders of the councils in and around Baghdad that their salaries would be paid and that a form of cooperation will be agreed upon with the tribes to preserve the security in Baghdad."

The above is from Dahr Jamail's "The Return of the Resistance" (Pacific Free Press). Dahr's book The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan will be published July 1st by Haymarket Books.

Margaret Hassan was with the NGO CARE International and worked in Iraq (where she held citizenship) for years before the start of the illegal war. She was kidnapped October 19, 2004 in Baghdad. She was brutally murdered. We last noted her death in the December 24, 2008 snapshot. That was when alleged kidnappers Ali Lutfi Jassar al-Rawi and Manif Slih were supposed to stand trial and the family waited to see what happened while issuing a statement:

Since Margaret's death we have spent the last four years trying to find her remains. We have sought justice and truth, and have never given up. We want to bring her home and give her a Christian burial with the respect she deserves. This was a promise made to her by her husband (Tahseen Ali Hassan), and together with our family, he has never given up hope of fulfiling that promise.
[. . .]
One of these men was trying to blackmail the British Government and our family in exchange for the return of Margaret's remains.
He demanded money from us, and a safe haven from the British Government in the UK for his family.
[. . .]
We have begged them to send an Embassy official to the trial to represent our sister Margaret. They feel unable to do so because of the security situation. We do not understand this.
[. . .]
Mr Brown said just this week that the British Government has achieved all its goals and the security situation in Iraq is much improved.

That trial quickly adjourned. Sam Marsden (PA via Independent of London) reported yesterday that Jassar will supposedly stand trial Tuesday:

The aid worker's sister, Deirdre Fitzsimons, said she understood he was now denying all knowledge, but she is clinging to the hope that he will reveal the truth if he is convicted.
"If he's put in prison, if he knows he's got a life sentence, maybe he will decide to tell us where her remains are," she said. "I don't believe we are ever going to get justice for my sister. But we would like her to be buried here because my family has suffered over the past four-and-a-half years. We have spent all our time trying to find her remains. We want some peace in our lives."

Reuters reports a Mosul grenade attack on US service members which claimed the life of 1 child and left fifteen people injured, a Baghdad market bombing which claimed 4 lives nad left thirteen people injured and 1 bomber shot dead in Jalawla whose bomb claimed the life of 1 person and left six more injured.

Reuters released a story yesterday that's garbage and we were going to ignore it but it's being picked up elsewhere (Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc. -- and the Wall St. Journal has written their own unsigned 'report'). It asserts -- and remember this came out yesterday -- that civilian deaths in Iraq -- that undefined 'civilian' term -- fell to an all time low. They made that assertion before May was over, of course. They made that assertion while they were, in fact, reporting on Saturday deaths in a story posted after the lowest-deaths-ever! In other words, they published the story before May was over.

They also didn't use their own figures. They used the Health Ministry's figures. Figures which have repeatedly turned out to be wrong -- so much so that those choosing to cite their figures today seem intent to take part in a lie. Once upon a time, when Nancy A. Youssef was in Iraq, McClatchy kept track of civilian deaths (the ones they were able to) and published a monthly number a few months after a month ended. Once upon a time. McClatchy hasn't publised an Iraq story in six days. But once upon a time, once upon a time, it used to.

BBC reports on US service members's deaths in the month of May. The total currently stands at 24 -- whether that number will climb or not is unknown. While today is June 1st, M-NF has a long, long history of letting end of the month deaths trickle out slowly. As it stands currently, that death toll is the highest since September 2008.

The Sheboygan Press reports flags were at half-staff Saturday in Wisconsin to remember Sgt Brian Naseman. 36-year-old Naseman was killed in Taji and "The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation." WJACTV reports "a makeshift memorial took shape in" for Spc Chad Edmundson in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh's WTAE notes he "is the 34th soldier of the Pennsylvania National Guard killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the second soldier lost in the 56th Stryker Brigade." 20-year-old Chad A. Edmundson "died May 27 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit while on a dismounted patrol."

On the front page of the New York Times this morning, Joe Stumpe and Monica Davey's "Abortion Doctor Slain By Gunman In Kansas Church" about the assassination of Dr. George Tiller and notes:

Mr. Obama issued a statement after Dr. Tiller's killing, saying, "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence."

To which any self-respecting abortion rights supporter should respond: Bullf**kings**t.

The changeling is the problem. Barry O is the problem. He's the problem because he stands for nothing. He betrays the left and gets away with it. Proposition 8 WOULD NOT have passed in California without his support. He refused to call out the robocalls using his words, his own voice. Now a doctor's been assassinated and Barry wants to offer Pie In The Sky. How dare that Barry O state "however profound our differences . . ." It was a crime. It was murder. He's yet again watered down reality and, make no mistake, that is why the Republicans (including Arianna) flocked to him. They don't want to be Democrats. It's not socially acceptable to be Republicans. Barry O was the watered down, in name only, Democrat. The man who stood for nothing his entire life and played changeling throughout college and throughout his time in Chicago.

The changeling's ascension coincides with one poll that finds Barry O's given people cover to walk away from abortion rights. I don't expect the Cult of St. Barack to wake up to reality until it's far too late. But we'll go on record right now noting that Barry's response is outrageous and shameful and the only thing more outrageous and shameful is the silence on the left.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Fair Play For Old Men" went up yesterday.

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dahr jamail