Sunday, April 11, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

The four major players in the formation of the new government are the four coalitions with the largest number of votes (Iraqiya 91 seats, State of Law 89, Iraqi National Alliance 70, and the Kurdish Alliance 43) It is quite possible that these alliances will break up in the process of forming a government and that new ones will emerge.
There is a distinct possibility that neither Nouri al-Maliki nor Iyad Allawi will form the next government, although they head the two coalitions with the largest number of seats.
Possible Contenders
Maliki and Allawi remain in the running, but former prime minister Ibrahim Jafaari is again being mentioned, as is vice president Adel Abdul Mahdi. Jaafar Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr, a cousin of Moqtada al-Sadr who was elected on the State of Law Coalition, is the latest and most interesting addition to the list of rumored possible prime ministers. Another frequently mentioned but less likely candidate is Minister of Finance Bayan Badr Solagh, supported above all by ISCI.

The above is from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Marina Ottaway and Daniel Kays' "A Look At Contenders For Prime Minister Of Iraq" (Gov Monitor). The government affiliated CEIP does what the press doesn't. Last week,Scott Horton (Antiwar Radio) interviewed Dahr Jamail and we'll again note this exchange:

Scott Horton: But as far as the narrative of: "Look an election! Isn't that great! The democratic process! Better than Saddam Hussein! He used to re-elect himself with 99%!" And, you know, here in this case, it looks like the current prime minister didn't even try or wasn't able to rig the election for himself effectively and all that. But at the same time, it seems like, the neocons are counting on the ignorance of the American people and because Chris Matthews only talks about what Republicans and Democrats say on Capitol Hill to each other, all day, for about two and a half hours, twice a day, or whatever, the American people don't really know anything about Iraq -- who's in power there, which different factions are doing this, that or the other thing. There might be a little bit of a mention of something but never any real context and so I remember back in 2005 when they did the election, that really -- with the El Salvador option -- helped precipitate the civil war by turning the whole country over to the Supreme Islamic Council and Moqtada al-Sadr basically and the Iraqi National Alliance. Even Jon Stewart was going, "Wow! Maybe George W. Bush was right. Look at this woman with purple ink on her finger. Maybe Iraq is a democracy now." Well, then another few 100,000 people got killed after that. Now we have another one of these. And it turns out Moqtada al-Sadr is the kingmaker and he's sitting in Tehran right now trying to figure out whether he wants to throw his weigh towards CIA agent-murderer [Ayad] Allawi or Revolutionary Guard Agent-murderer [Nouri al-] Maliki. And this is what the neocons and Newsweek are telling the American people, "Look! They've got ink on their fingers!" You don't have a narrative, you don't know who's who, you don't know who's winning or if one group takes power over this group what's that like, what consequences that's likely to have. None of this context is provided. "But, look, a woman with purple ink. We're actually, we're doing okay here, folks." That's why it works. Because the rest of the time they won't tell us about Iraq at all. Then when they say anything, they go, "Hey, look, a still shot. Make up your own 10,000 words.

Dahr Jamail: Well that's exactly right, Scott. And I think that's a really good description and analysis of how this has been perpetuated from the beginning where we have a corporate media that relies on the ignorance and-and a US government that relies on the ignorance of the American public. And, of course, the corporate media has been instrumental in ensuring that ignorance. I mean, we can go back to before the invasion took place and basically what people got on TV was a graphic of Saddam Hussein's head with a bulls eye on it. Or cross hairs. This kind of thing. You know: "This is all you need to know. You don't need to know that the CIA backed him in a coup that put him in a position of power in 1968. You don't need to know the US government supported him through his worst atrocities. You don't need to know that the US supported both Iraq and Iran during that brutal eight-year war that killed over a million people. You don't need to know these things. You don't need to know that we supported the twelve-and-a-half years of genocidal sanctions, that, oh yeah, according to Madeline Albright and the UN, killed over half-a-million Iraqi children. You don't need to know these things. You just need to know this is the bad guy and we're going to kill him and you're going to be safe and you can go shopping in that safety and rest assured that everything is just fine." And it's the same with these elections. You don't need to know that Maliki, even before the election results were released, when it became clear to him that he was not going to get the plurality, that he basically went to the Supreme Court in Iraq -- this is going to sound a little familiar to folks -- so he goes to the Supreme Court and basically has them change the rules of the game so that instead of whoever gets the plurality during the election can start forming their own government, instead he now has until June when the Parliament reconvenes to basically take out as many of Allawi's elected ministers of Parliament as possible. Because, basically, the last man standing in June when Parliament reconvenes, whoever has the most MPs, that is who is going to get to form the new cabinet. So conveniently Maliki's basically given himself two months to go out and hit as many of Allawi's people as possible. And that's exactly what he's done. So far, he's taken two of them into custody, charging them with terrorism. You know, everything's terrorism now, so he's charging them with terrorism. And one person is where abouts unknown. And then another MP in Allawi's list is in hiding. So already, he's at least made it even Steven and probably already taken the lead. And, of course, we have the Sadr wildcard which is a bit of another story but you described it well and all that I just described is-is against the backdrop of the context that both of these guys are US stooges and perhaps this is why Newsweek declares it a resounding success -- aside from just the propaganda value. But, "Hey, it's a resounding success because we have Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as the two leading candidates in this election and, oh, guess what? The US created both these guys, put both these guys in the positions of power that they're in and they wouldn't exist without the US occupation in that country. And guess what? One of them's going to win, so the US is going to win either way." And maybe that's why Newsweek was so triumphant about their "Mission Accomplished" cover? And, oh yeah, it took a little longer because we didn't have that kind of a rigged deck in the last election but in this one, by golly, we do." But then, of course, things are a bit more complicated now because, as you said, we have Sadr who has had this -- I think it was a quite astute political move. He had a referendum vote, sort of an informal, unofficial vote among his followers and actually the vast majority of the people didn't choose Allawi or Malilki. They chose Ibrahim al-Jaafari who is the guy who was actually chosen as the first prime minister in Iraq in the wake of the 2005 elections --

Scott Horton: Now he's also a Dawa Party guy -- like Maliki -- but a different faction of Dawa they say, right?

Dahr Jamail: That's true and he is much less affiliated with the Americans and he's anti-occuption and that's exactly why the US decided to give him the boot and replace him with Maliki back in April of 2006. And so this is an interesting thing to see how this is going to play out. And, at the end of the day, shelve everything I just said for a moment, and think about the fact that, as usual as we've gone through this occupation, it's the Iraqi people paying the price for all of this nonsense, all of this US meddling, all of this US orchestrating, all of this propaganda. What is consistently lost in the mix is that even today, another day of 50 more Iraqis killed in a series of massive bombings across the capital city and that's just Baghdad. What I'm talking about? The rest of the country. We are back up to levels of violence and death on a daily basis starting about a week ago in Iraq that are comprable to the blood letting of 2006, 2007.

How many millions of US tax dollars went into that illegal war? How many people died during it? And the press that sold the illegal war now loses interest? NOW?

Who becomes prime minister is of interest. The US government doesn't have to meddle (though it is meddling) for the press to be interested. But apparently there's so very, very much else of importance to cover. Another bad book written by a 'reporter' sniffing and lapping at Barack's crotch? More psuedo news stories? A 'scandal' that doesn't effect the country or the world? Time for all of that. Or as Tim King (Salem-News) notes as he covers some of the recent deaths, "One soldier died in Kenya; he was from Puerto Rico, an American territory that has been supplying forces for the wars all along. Little is covered with regard to the U.S. role in Africa, as it is greatly overshadowed by the war in Afghanistan, and the fact that mainstream media is preoccupied with reporting entertainment news."

But what's going on in Iraq? The press walked away. They staged a withdrawal. They lost interest. They only wanted the fresh blood, they only wanted to see millions die and when their blood lust was finally satiated they walked on to different stories.

The illegal war didn't end. Just any press interest in it.

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 4387. Tonight? 4390. Three US service members died in Iraq last week. Yesterday, DoD released the following:

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died April 7 in Mosul, Iraq, when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. The Soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Stewart, Ga..

Killed were:

1st Lt. Robert W. Collins, 24, of Tyrone, Ga., and .

Pfc. William A. Blount, 21, of Petal, Miss.

For more information media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at (912) 767-2479 or 912-767-8666.

They were killed on Wednesday. Last Sunday Sgt Kurt Kruize was killed. Mark Sommerhauser (St Cloud Times) reports on his visitation service today:

The scene at Kruize's visitation Sunday underscored the shock of his untimely death. Stone-faced flag-bearers lined the sidewalks outside Williams Dingmann Funeral Home, and a throng of grieving well-wishers stretched out of the chapel.
During the visitation, Kruize's loved ones spoke of a man devoted to country and family. Photos of Kruize depicted a tough, laconic soldier who could also be goofy and loving.
Picture after picture showed Kruize doting on one of his four children, ages 2-13. In one photo he grins wryly while wearing a silly hat; in another, he cradles a baby in his arms.

His funeral services will take place at St. Mary's Cathedral beginning at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

In rare news reported from Iraq, Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing injured one person, a Udhaim roadside bombing claimed the lives of 3 Sahwa members and 1 Kurdish soldier was shot dead in Kirkuk. The Argus reports a Diyala Province roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 3 children and injured a fourth.

Back to the elections, Timothy Williams and Duraid Adnan (New York Times) report that Nouri al-Maliki is freshening up his charges of fraud, adding a claim that over 700,000 votes were miscounted. Press TV quotes Nouri's spokesperson Hachim al-Hasani stating, "We believe the amount of manipulation in the votes in these five provinces could reach 750,000 votes ... this is a huge number and possibly could change enormously the elections results. This is why we presented this appeal and we hope that the judicial appeal panel will do its duty ... and look into it seriously."

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes "Leaked video tells brutal Iraq truth" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

The video is graphic and disturbing and we weren’t meant to see it.

On 12 July 2007, as a group of men stroll down a Baghdad street, two US army helicopters open fire, repeatedly shooting at the men and gunning one down as he tries to flee.

They killed 12 people, including two journalists who worked for the Reuters news agency. Two children were wounded.

One shooter says, “Ha, ha, ha—I hit ‘em.” Another comments, “Look at those dead bastards.”

“Nice,” another responds.

The video has been released on the internet by the website

Later a van comes past and Iraqis stop to try to help one the wounded.

The helicopter opens fire again. Two children inside the van were wounded, and their father was killed.

When US ground troops arrive they discover the children. “Well it’s their fault,” one of the crew says, “for bringing kids into a battle.”

It is just one incident among countless others in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The army claimed the dead were all insurgents and that they had been killed in a battle.

A supposed rocket-propelled grenade was in reality a camera lens. The AK47 was in fact a camera.

Like much else in the “war on terror” it was bloody, brutal and based on a series of lies that the politicians and the military would like us to forget.

We shouldn’t, either during or after the election campaign.

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