Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oil and justice?

So earlier this month, did Iran or did it not enter Iraqi territory and seize an Iraqi oil well? There is still no concrete answer. However, Alsumaria reports today, "Iraqi Vice President Tarek Al Hashemi affirmed that Iran has transgressed the border and violated Iraq’s sovereignty on 96 different occasions. Iraq’s Parliamentary defense and security committee MP Abbas Al Bayati confirmed that Iranian troops have withdrawn from oil well no.4 in Al Fakka oil field." Iranian government officials have maintained no such violation of Iraq's territorial sovereignty took place and Iran's Press TV reported that Iran and Iraq are just fine, thank you very much. Certainly the two appear to still be prepping to enter into a national gas deal in the new year. Fatima Kamal (Azzaman) reports:

Iraq has set up a committee which is to draw up a road map on how to develop oil fields the country shares with neighboring Iran, Oil Ministry Undersecretary Abdulkarim al-Aibi said.
Aibi said the committee will soon travel to Tehran to meet with Iranian officials.
The committee's formation comes following border tension between the countries over Iran army's occupation of a producing oil field inside Iraqi territory.
Aibi made no comment on the Fakka oil field which Iran currently controls.
Fakka is not a joint field as it is situated within Iraqi territory.

Zawya notes, "Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mihman-Parast said on Tuesday that implementation of the 1975 accord signed by Iran and Iraq is the best way to remove any possible misunderstandings between the two neighboring states. Talking to reporters during his weekly press briefing, he added that the accord is an international one which can settle any possible border disputes between Iran and Iraq." Alsumaria also reports that Nouri al-Maliki is insisting that Iraq gives up no land to its neighbors but that he "denied that Al Fakka oil well crisis will affect oil and investment licenses rounds. Iranian violation should not have occurred because the oil well is suspended since 1979, Al Maliki said stressing the necessity to return back to the past situation."

In violence news, AFP reports 3 Iraqis have received the death sentence from a judge whose name cannot be published for 'security reasons' but in this 'open' society, it was determined (by unnamed people) that the three were responsible of a June bombing in northern Iraq. In the 'open' society of Iraq, the guilty or 'guilty' can be named while the judges remain hidden: Ali al-Juburi, Walid Mahmoud Mohammed al-Hamdani and Jawad Falah al-Hamdnai. From those sentenced to death to those imprisoned, Mohammad Ghazal (Jordan Times) reports on approximately 44 Jordanians imprisoned in Iraq:

Families of Jordanian prisoners in Iraq appealed to the government on Monday to place pressure on the Iraqi government to release their loved ones.
Several families began a hunger strike on Monday and said will appeal to Amman's governor on Tuesday through the Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) to erect a tent in front of the Iraqi embassy in Amman to call for the release of the prisoners.
At a press conference yesterday, the AOHR accused successive governments of not taking the issue of prisoners in Iraq "seriously" and failing to perform their duties "properly" in this regard.
"We take the issue of Jordanian prisoners abroad, including those in Iraq, very seriously and it tops the government's priorities and we hope to end this file with our brotherly Iraqis," Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Nabil Sharif told The Jordan Times on Monday.

Meanwhile Diana West offers "Victory? Really?" (The Dickinson Press):

I don't know how to candy-coat reality: Post-surge Iraq is a state of increasing repression, endemic corruption, religious and ethnic persecution and encroaching Sharia. Recent media reports flag just some of these glaring truths that American elites, civilian and military, seem to shy away from.
In October, from AsiaNews, came the latest news of, to quote the headline, “Sharia Slowly Advancing in Najaf and Basra, for Non-Muslims Too." Here, the Sharia (Islamic law) is invoked to ban alcohol sales and consumption by non-Muslims -- namely, Christians, given the eradication and dispersal of Iraq’s ancient Jewish population -- "on the grounds that Iraq’s constitution," as Ahmad al Sulaiti, deputy governor of Najaf, notes, "bans everything that violates the principles of Islam." More on that below.
In November, Reuters highlighted the government crackdown on the media via lawsuits against criticism, and laws enabling the government to close media outlets that "encourage terrorism, violence," and -- here's a handy catch-all -- "tensions." There are new rules to license satellite trucks, censor books and control Internet cafes. "The measures evoke memories of ... the laws used to muzzle (journalism) under Saddam Hussein," Reuters writes.
In December, the British paper The Observer reported that hundreds of Iraqi police and soldiers descended on Baghdad's 300 nightclubs where they “slapped owners’ faces, scattered their patrons and dancing girls, ripped down posters advertising upcoming acts and ordered alcohol removed from the shelves.” The official reason? No licenses. But, the paper reports, "the reality is that a year-long renaissance in Baghdad’s nightlife may be over as this increasingly conservative city takes on a hard-line religious identity." As one club owner said: "This is a political decision with a religious agenda. (Prime Minister Nouri al-) Maliki needs the votes of religious parties ... They (the government) supported us and gave us incentives to reopen the clubs, then when it suited them, they sold us and themselves out to the fundamentalists."

Paul McLeary (Aviation Week) reports on a new study by the US Marine Corps on the Sahwa:

In a departure from usual U.S. reviews, the USMC study - Al-Anbar Awakening: Iraqi Perspectives From Insurgency to Counterinsurgency in Iraq, 2004-2009 - is from the local perspective and it makes some blunt assessments of the insurgency, including who caused it and what fixed it. According to the USMC report: "In Iraq to a very large degree, we -- the U.S. military and civilians -- were the source of the insurgency. Honest men and women can argue the whys, what-ifs, and what-might-have-beens, but ultimately, it was mostly about unfulfilled promises and the heavy-handed military approach taken by some over the summer of 2003 that caused events to spiral out of control."
Moreover, there is what could be interpreted as the Corps' pushback against the celebrity of Army Gen. David Petraeus and the counterinsurgency field manual he championed. Marine Maj. Gen. John Kelly writes: "No single personality was the key in Anbar, no shiny new field manual the reason why, and no 'surge' or single unit made it happen. It was a combination of many factors, not the least of which -- perhaps the most important -- was the consistent command philosophy that drove operations in Anbar from March 2004 forward."

The "Awakenings" (Sahwa or "Sons Of Iraq") were paid by the US military so that they would stop attacking US military property and US service members (in their joint-testimonies before Congress in April 2008, then-US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Gen David Petraeus stressed military equipment first in their statements and responses). They were supposed to be absorbed by Nouri al-Maliki but that really hasn't happened and the Arab press repeatedly reports that Nouri intends to cut off Sahwa next month (cut off the payments to them). Also weighing in on the Sahwa is Jeff Huber (Antiwar):

Petraeus' personal stenographer, former journalist Thomas E. Ricks, admits that Petraeus misled Congress and the public into thinking he was trying to end the war when he was in fact laying "the groundwork for a much more prolonged engagement in Iraq."
Three years after the surge began, violence shows no signs of disappearing. Holiday attacks were especially brutal. Mosul Mayor Zuhair Muhsen al-Aaraji escaped an assassination attempt on Christmas Eve. (Mosul is the town Petraeus supposedly "tamed" during his first tour in Iraq. Within weeks after he left and the graft well ran dry, Mosul went up for grabs and has been a trouble spot ever since.)
Also on Dec. 24, as the Shi’ite religious festival of Ashura approached, five attacks killed at least 19 people and wounded over 100. The Iraqi government was quick to blame al-Qaeda in Iraq, but I’ll bet you a shiny new Ohio quarter that the Sunni-based Awakening movement that Petraeus armed and funded had more than a little something to do with the attacks.

At NPR, The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel wonders: "Are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan creating a domestic terrorist threat? The potential disaster of a Nigerian man attempting to blow up a US airliner on Christmas day forces us to confront the question." While Katrina remembers the war (been a long time she remembered the Iraq War), Johanna Neuman (Los Angeles Times) reports on CODESTINK's cowardly and craven behavior -- so you know there's lot of choice quotes from I Need Attention Benjamin. While Katrina appears to get that "New York Times, Early Edition" was part of Third's 2008 summer fiction read edition (done each summer), Medea appears eager to turn fiction into fact:

In Harlem, rescue workers came to the aid of Code Stink's Medea Benjamin who attempted to escape from an unruly mob by seeking shelter in Katrina vanden Heuvel's Harlem mansion; however, Ms. vanden Heuvel refused Ms. Benjamin admittance and the latter was repeatedly "pie-ed" -- the act of hurling a pie at a victim -- by angry citizens denouncing her as a "liar" and "war mongerer" due to her unconditional support for Mr. Obama while he ran for the presidency.
Reached for comment, Ms. Benjamin eagerly confirmed the "pie-ing" and repeatedly spelled her name ("It's really important you get it correctly") while offering to pose with her detached retinas for "any photographer you can get a hold of." When asked what she made of the protesters and their anger towards her, Ms. Benjamin reminded this reporter, "Look, Bub, I am the story. Don't you go off chasing down the wackos. This is about me. All about me!"
From the safety of her Harlem mansion, Ms. vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine, advised the press that, "Democratic wars are okay. Democrats only started needed wars. President Obama has stated he had his reasons and that is good enough for the left, if I can speak for the entire left in this country, and haven't I always presumed to do just that?"

It was intended as "fiction," Medea, not as "prediciton."

The font was to mimic the New York Times (and, for those using the link and not aware of the summer fiction editions -- a weekly edition each summer that's fiction except for the editorial and TV commentary -- Michael Gordon didn't write the piece, the byline's part of the fiction). And it's "Code Stink" and not "CODESTINK" because NYT always prints "Code Pink" and not CODEPINK.

Don't want to be a Medea Benjamin? Get active. March 20th there's a DC action being called by A.N.S.W.E.R. and others.


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