Sunday, August 02, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

Waleed Ibrahim, Tim Cocks and Yara Bayoumy (Reuters) report that Tariq Aziz has been sentenced to seven years in prison. This isn't his first sentencing in post-war Iraq and whether he's guilty of what he's been found guilty of I'll leave for others to decide because we don't promote the myth here that Iraq has justice or a functioning judicial system. (It is strange how three weeks ago their press had to meet with the judiciary to devise ways to protect press freedom and how none of the reporters for US outlets were interested in covering that story.) So Tariq Aziz was found guilty and maybe he is and maybe he isn't. But the charge itself, the crime that took place (whomever was responsible)?

It was "the forced displacement of Kurds from oil-prosperous northeastern Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule."

And the boundaries are unclear why?

Because of the forced displacement. As the US government has signaled its readiness to sell out the Kurds in recent months, many outlets have begun leaving out pesky things such as facts when writing of the dispute between the KRG and the cetnral government in Baghdad. Now it's really amazing that while Sam Dagher repeatedly gets the facts wrong and is repeatedly waived into print by the New York Times with those inaccurate articles, Leo Shane III, writing for Stars and Stripes -- a periodical that is seen as having far less journalistic freedom (S&S will take offense at that, I said "seen as far less," please don't e-mail, they maintain they are independent and a free press) -- can get the facts right, can set up exactly what the dispute is about without taking one side or the other. He can lay it out as it is.

The forced displacement is at the heart of the disputes over the boundaries.

Today thug puppet Nouri al-Maliki visited the KRG and met with their leaders. Jamal Hashim (Xinhua) observes, "Maliki's talks with Kurdish leaders came amid U.S. pressure on the central government and the Kurdish authorities to compromise the deep differences between Arabs and Kurds before the U.S. troops complete withdrawal from Iraq in 2011."

Nouri's thug power suffered a setback this weekend as the world learned just what sort of people his government hires: Armed robbers who kill innocent people.

Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports last week's bank robbery in which 8 guards were killed and $4.8 million was stolen was not the work of Sunnis -- Nouri's favorite blame target. No, they were Shi'ites and, not just any Shi'ites, they "were in fact Iraqi army officers attached to the elite unit guarding Shiite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi." Oliver August (Times of London) adds:

They killed eight bank staff last week and used dynamite to blast open the vault of the Rafidain Bank in the wealthy district of Karrada, making off with £4.3 million. On the run, the men passed through five official checkpoints and defied a night-time curfew in southern Baghdad without being challenged.
No wonder -- their day job was to protect the Vice-President, Adel Abdul Mehdi, the highest-ranking Shia official in the country after the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. No street cop dared to stop them. The men later stashed their loot in offices belonging to Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the second-largest Shia party, ISCI, and a close ally of the Vice-President.

Turns out that before they could arrest the bank robbers, they had to get Nouri's permission. Thug Justice: Nouri Style. Apparently not everything was given clearance. Sam Dagher (New York Times) explains, "One of Iraq's two vice presidents, Adel Abdul Mahdi, admonished the Interior Ministry on Sunday for revealing that the robbery last Tuesday had been masterminded by two senior officers of the guard assigned to protect him."

And that's what US service members on the ground are forced to defend.

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 4328 and tonight? 4328. Still violence continued in Iraq today.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadisde bombing which damaged an alcohol store and a Ramadi car bombing which resulted in 8 deaths and twenty being wounded. Xinhua reports, "The powerful blast destroyed several nearby stalls and shops and caused damages to several nearby houses and civilian cars, the source said. The attack came two days after a series of bombing targeted Shiite mosques in Baghdad, killing 30 people and wounding 136 others."

Last week Thug Nouri launched an assault on Camp Ashraf. It's a War Crime. Mark Mazzetti and Mark Landler's "Iranian Dissidents’ Fate in Iraq Shows Limits of U.S. Sway" (New York Times) turn in a major piece on the scramble following Nouri's decision to launch an assault on Camp Ashraf:

The International Committee of the Red Cross has also weighed in with Iraqi officials about their obligation to respect the desires of the dissidents not to be returned to Iran against their will.
But a senior State Department official said there was some skepticism that the Iraqis were taking these concerns seriously.
"The Iraqis will tell you what you want to hear," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter. "That's why we're going to continue to watch the situation very closely."
The concern that the Iranian dissident group could become a bargaining chip in Iraqi relations with Tehran created a rift in the Bush administration about whether to remove the group from the terrorism list.
The People's Mujahedeen has been on the State Department list because of decades of terrorist activities, mostly against Iranian targets, it carried out beginning in the 1970s. It has been several years since the group has carried out an attack.
In the Bush administration's final days, the State Department's top counterterrorism official, Dell L. Dailey, pushed to have the People's Mujahedeen removed from the list, which would have allowed members of the group to leave Iraq and resettle elsewhere in the Middle East or Europe. Without lifting the terrorist designation, it was unlikely any other country would accept them.

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statement of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: 2008 Lessons for the peace movement
TV: The SchmoozeHour
Blaming the veteran
Single-Payer to get a vote
Reconsidering Carole King's 'failed' albums
Coming up

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes "Support anti-war soldier Joe Glenton" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

The court martial of Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who has refused to return to fight in the unjust war in Afghanistan, is set to begin next week. He is winning wide support for his stance.
Since he spoke out about his case in Socialist Worker two weeks ago, Joe has been interviewed by the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, ITV and BBC News, and Radio 5.
He also spoke at a Stop the War Coalition meeting in London on Thursday of last week, alongside Afghan MP Malalai Joya, where he received a standing ovation.
Joe said, “I went out to Afghanistan to do something positive but I came back disillusioned. I went Awol for two years and now have a court martial pending.
“These are dark days for me. I am afraid for my colleagues and friends out in Afghanistan. They’re being betrayed.
“I was feeling alone until the meeting,” he added. “But the response to my speech made me feel that I wasn’t alone—especially from former servicemen and Stop the War.”
The first hearing of Joe’s court martial is set to take place on Monday of next week.
Anti-war activists should urgently build support for Joe.
Email messages of support to
© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.
Share this story on:
Delicious Digg reddit Facebook StumbleUpon
If you found this article useful please help us maintain SW by »
making a donation.
» comment on article » email article » printable version

The e-mail address for this site is

stars and stripes

mcclatchy newspapers