Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Iraq proposes new budget . . . with a $15.3 billion deficit

Iraqi and international officials fear the upcoming parliamentary election could be delayed if lawmakers fail to pass a revised election law this week.
The vote is scheduled for January 16, and Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission said Tuesday that the schedule for planning the election is predicated on that date. But both the United States and the United Nations have raised concerns that there is no election law three months before the scheduled polls.

The above is from CNN's "In Iraq, disagreements over election law could delay poll" and Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal) has repeatedly reminded that the Parliament has until Thursday to pass the legislation (here and here for Chon's report). Now let's repeat, these elections were supposed to take place in December. US President Barack Obama has used these elections as his 'excuse' for breaking his campaign promise of US troops out of Iraq in ten months (sixteen on the campaign trail until Feb. 2008 when he dropped it down to ten). And there's no law passed. Dow Jones notes that Nouri's cabinet did ratify the 2010 budget -- $67.29 billion. Reuters explains that they came close to making the budget . . . sort of. Iraq's set the budget at $67.29 billion even though that means a $15.3 billion budget deficit. Remember that when the US Congress talks about loaning money to Iraq. (The US needs to make reparations for the Iraq War. Reparations do not need to be made to a puppet government that does nothing for the people.) The US Congress might give Iraq money but if they loan it, don't pretend like (a) Congress knows what they're doing or (b) there's any chance Iraq will ever repay their debt. (Ask Kuwait.)

NPR's Quil Lawrence (Morning Edition -- link has text and audio) reports that as Iraqi children return to school, "[m]any of Iraq's schools lack electricity and running water, but they will be getting something new this year: a history book that reflects the enormous changes the country has been through and includes historical events that were once forbidden topics." Quil leaves out what Xinhua and others have been reporting since school started: Overcrowding, lack of desks, lack of supplies, etc. A modern history book? How about a modern school?

Meanwhile Al Jazeera notes, "At least 85,000 people have been killed in Iraq by bombs, murders and fighting from 2004 until 2008, Iraq's human rights ministry says." Really? Because Betty noted Aadel Rashid's "Finding Husbands for Iraq's Widows: As Some Iraqis Embrace the Program, Others Say Efforts to Help Widows Remarry Is Exploitative" (ABC News) last night and, as Betty pointed out, "The article tells us that Women and Child Committee head Samira al Musawi states Iraq saw more than 1 million women become widows since 2005. " Widows. To be a widow, your spouse has to die. So that would mean 1 million men have died since 2005. Which ministry is telling the truth? Reuters notes the first count here.

Reuters reports a Baghdad sticky bombing which wounded three peole, a Baghdad market attack which claimed 8 lives (fourteen injured), a Baghdad car bombing which injured "a local imam" and a Mosul shooting in which a security guard was injured.

We'll close with this from World Can't Wait's "'The US Military is Out There Spreading Death Right Now':"

Death, rather than nation building -- that is what the US army has brought to Iraq and is bringing to Afghanistan according to former US army sergeant and anti-war activist Matthis Chiroux. He shared his views with RT.
For some, Matthis Chiroux is a hero. Others label him a US traitor. The 25-year-old is an army sergeant-turned-war-resistor, and one of roughly 8,000 US soldiers who have reportedly deserted the army since 2003.
He accuses the US military of having become a corrupt institution built upon spreading death as a response to nations' problems by means of conducting illegal wars.
"One hundred per cent, Afghanistan war is absolutely an illegal war under the same conventions that Iraq was an illegal war," Chiroux says.
"They are virtually the same thing," he continues. "They are both experiments in going in, smashing the country and trying to rebuild it in our own image as a trading partner. They are both about resources. They are both defined as illegal wars of aggression by the UN Charter – that's something people don’t understand.”
Speaking of President Obama's decision to deploy even more troops in Afghanistan, the activist has said that "more troops in an illegal war aren’t going to somehow make it inherently right or even winnable."

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