Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ibrahim is finally released, Little Nouri's popularity continues to falter

Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed is a Reuters journalist that the US military since September 1, 2008. He has finally been released. Reuters notes that, even now, the US military will not say why they held him and Ibrahim is quoted stating, "How can I describe my feelings? This is like being born again." While the US military held a journalist all this time, it should be noted they were ordered to release the ringleader of the group which claimed credit for the assault on a US base in Iraq which resulted in the deaths of 5 American service members. A journalist they hold, an apparent multiple felon they're ordered to release. But Little Nouri isn't friends with journalists and he is tight with the League of Righteous. While he's on his tear against alleged Ba'athists, it should not be forgotten that he's met with the League of Righteous and dispatched his spokesperson to meet with them, insisting that this organization responsible for the deaths of 5 Americans and for the deaths of 3 British citizens (possibly 4, one's status remains unknown) as well as the kidnapping of British citizen Peter Moore. These people must be brought in, Nouri insists.

December 1, 2008, he should have been free. There was no excuse to hold him because the Central Criminal Court of Iraq had found no evidence against him and had ruled that he be released. The US military ignored the ruling. No, Little Nouri didn't grandstand and scream. He didn't decry US interference. But Little Nouri's no friend of journalists, he's just a friend to criminals.

Meanwhile Alsumaria TV reports, "Iraq Minister of Oil Hussain Shahristani said that Iraq is about to establish a new fourth Public Oil Company in order to supervise developing oil fields and that after the Ministry finished from signing 10 contracts with foreign companies. The Ministry hopes that this way it would be able to raise the production rate to 12 million barrels per day." Reid Smith (The Daily Caller) sees the oil and the elections as intertwined noting:

Legal opinion in Iraq regarding the legality of these contracts is essentially split between allies and opponents of al-Maliki. The prime minister’s State of Law coalition, which surged in last January's provincial elections and remains a principal contender in the March ballot, will ensure the auctioned parcels if it maintains control of parliament. However, hydrocarbon laws governing Iraq’s oil wealth, the third largest in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Iran, have not been passed yet, and an influx of blacklisted candidates might have soured the existing deals.


NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (Morning Edition -- link has audio and text) reports on the response to the illegal war in Anbar Province: Saddam Hussein is missed:

The reason, residents say, is disillusionment with the current Shiite-led government and the local Sunni provincial council. Anbar suffered years of brutal war that pitted U.S. forces against al-Qaida and other insurgents. Now, it's less violent. But people like Zaid say life is still hard, with few services and no jobs.
"It is only now that we have discovered how valuable Saddam was to us," Zaid says. "People have compared the situation before to the situation now. And then was better."

This is not a surprising response for Anbar or any other region in Iraq. Saddam Hussein could be 100% evil and the US forces could be 100% angels. It wouldn't matter. Hussein is the past and just being the past, and now a closed chapter, gives it an ending point. There is no ending point for the daily struggle of life in Iraq today. And not only are the people suffering but they're suffering under exiles put into place by the US. They're not represented by Iraqis, they're represented by malcontents, little cowards who fled Iraq and returned only after the US forces invaded. They've never given a thing for Iraq and the people of Iraq are well aware of it.

You can't install leadership.

That's true anywhere. That's true in a work environment. If you have people already there and you repeatedly promote from outside, bring in from outside, you're asking for trouble.

The Saddam posters are not signs of a return of the Ba'ath Party -- or even the Ba'ath Party as it was. Little Nouri is correct to see it as a rejection of him but it's not an embrace of any form of Ba'athism. However, refusing to allow the banned candidates to run in the elections will help start an underground Ba'ath Party. That's not a 'prediction,' that's a basic reality and there's not anyone that's familiar with politics and revolution and rebellion that wouldn't see that as well. If Little Nouri wants to bring back the Ba'ath Party, he just needs to ensure that Iraqis see him refusing to allow candidates to run. By tarring the rejected/banned candidates with the Ba'ath label, he provides all the building blocks for resistance.

In Iraq, Reuters reports a Mosul sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officers (four more injured), a Mosul roadside bombing has injured three people and, dropping back to yesterday, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left six people injured.
The United Nations has a painting by British soldier Martin Webster entitled "The Ghosts of Iraq" which is part of an auction for the Collateral Repair Project. For more information and to see the painting, click here.

Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

This article should be read after: » Arms dealer BAE gets away with murder

How New Labour stopped investigations into BAE

Tony Blair cancelled an investigation into BAE providing £600 million in bribes for Saudi Arabia.

The massive Al Yamamah deals were signed in 1985 and 1988. They revolved around the sale of Tornado fighters and ground-attack aircraft, to be paid for in a convoluted oil barter arrangement.

The deals have continued over the intervening two decades. BAE says the package has netted the company over £40 billion.

At the heart of deal was Saudi Prince Bandar. He met Blair’s chief of staff Jonathan Powell at Downing Street in 2006, demanding an end to the corruption enquiry. Blair complied.

Robin Cook, Labour foreign secretary between 1997 and 2001, said, “I never knew Number 10 to come up with any decision that would be incommoding to BAE.”


Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn, has been BAE’s most consistent supporter. He escorted Condoleezza Rice around a BAE arms factory in north west England in 2006.

Straw’s links with BAE include Labour peer Lord Taylor of Blackburn, who admitted trying to change legislation for cash. He was a highly paid “consultant” to BAE for more than a decade.

BAE has immense lobbying power in Whitehall. The Ministry of Defence has given security passes to 38 BAE employees, giving them free access to come and go from ministry headquarters.

Last week it emerged that the UK Defence Forum – which represents BAE Systems, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin – held 22 events in the Houses of Parliament.

And there is a long list of peers and former ministers, both Labour and Tory, who have ended up on the boards of arms companies.

The following should be read alongside this article:
» Arms dealer BAE gets away with murder
» Arms cash

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TV notes. NOW on PBS begins airing Friday on most PBS stations (check local listings):
Even with the recent outpouring of support for earthquake victims in
Haiti, Americans' attention span for global crises is usually very
short. But is there a way to keep American audiences from tuning out
important global issues of violence, poverty, and catastrophe far beyond
their backyards? On Friday, February 12 at 8:30 pm (check local
listings), NOW talks with filmmaker Eric Metzgar about "Reporter," his
documentary about the international reporting trips of New York Times
columnist Nicholas Kristof. In the film, Metzgar provides fascinating
insight into how Kristof breaks through and gets us to think deeply
about people and issues half a world away.

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