Saturday, October 10, 2009

Protests in Baghdad and Basra

In Iraq today, people took to the streets in the hundreds. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) says it was for open elections and to demand better government services while adding this is "a growing discontent . . . that is overshadowing concerns" regarding can Iraq secure its own borders and country side once US troops leave (are they leaving? not this year, not next . . ."). Yacoub insists that the low price per barrel of oil has just hurt the Iraqi government. Left out is that the summer of 2008 sent the world reeling as oil prices soared and where's that money? Huh? Nothing got done either. It's past time news outlets stopped playing so damn dumb. Every one knows that the thugs in charge are going beyond skimming of the money. Every one knows it's being salted away. If you don't have the guts to say so at least don't insult people's intelligence by pretending that a 'low' in oil prices (it's not low, there's been lower) is the reason for the poor infrastructure.

Yacoub quotes chanters in Baghdad exclaiming, "No water, no electricity in the country of oil and the two rivers!" Yes, and that was true in 2008, in 2007 and in 2006. It goes back further but Nouri al-Maliki was installed -- he was not the choice of the Iraqi people or even of Iraqi politicians -- while making the claim that he would improve services. He would restore them. And he never did. In the January 2009 provincial elections (14 of Iraq's 18 provinces), he went around making similar claims and also (briefly) providing (shipped in) potable water.

Iran's Press TV tells you that the people took to the streets to support "a call by top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseinie al-Sistani" for people to elect candidates and not political parties.
Funniest sign? "Closed Lists Strengthen Sectarianism and Racism." Not only has al-Sistani driven and benefitted from secteranism, he's also the Grand Homophobe. That sign was clearly intended to sway foreign eyes.

An estimated 200 in Baghdad and 500 in Basra.

AP's Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Brian Murphy have an article we're not going to quote. Prisoners interviewed under the watchful eyes of the 'law' -- which provided them to begin with -- aren't generally reliable. The reporters are upfront about how the interview came to be and about the limitations of the story (it can't be verified) so we will provide a link to it but, again, no quotes from it. The outlet's Sharon Cohen and Lisa Orkin Emmanuel offer an in-depth look at Iraqi refugees who make it to the US:

Many Iraqis have discovered that advanced degrees and gold-plated resumes have opened few doors in a nation reeling from its worst economic decline since the Depression. Stories abound of Iraqi professionals doing menial jobs -- a doctor flipping burgers, a pharmacist washing dishes.
Iraqis also have struggled to navigate a confusing bureaucracy and an overburdened social service system that has sometimes run of out money to help provide refugees' basic needs.

There's little reporting coming out of Iraq. No one, for example, has filed on Saturday's violence.

In the US, Sherwood Ross offers "Obama’s Fictional Nobel Prize Statement " (Grant Lawrence):

Can President Obama be serious when he says he accepts the Nobel Peace Prize as "an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people of all nations"?
Among "all nations" does he include the people of Iraq? Polls show Iraqis overwhelmingly want the U.S. to get out. Apparently, they didn't enjoy their dose of "American leadership." Does Obama's "all nations" include Okinawa, which the U.S. has occupied for 64 years and refuses to leave?
Does "all nations" include Diego Garcia, whose inhabitants the U.S. forced from their island homes in the Indian Ocean, (as Time magazine has reported,) and whose dogs we gassed for good measure? (President Bush later used that base to attack Afghanistan, the better to dominate the oil-rich Middle East.)
Since he's been in office only a short time, when Obama speaks of "an affirmation of American leadership" is he referring to the eight years of warmongering by his predecessor George W. Bush, who tore up every international treaty he could lay his hands on? In fact, global public opinion polls identified Bush as one of the most feared public figures on the planet. What kind of "leadership" is it when one UN member invades another based on lies and kills a million of its people, steals it blind, and shatters its economy? Calling that "leadership" is a bit wide of the mark.

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sherwood ross