Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Did the Iranian military enter Iraq?

The small bomb exploded inside the courtyard of the motherhouse just moments after Sister Maria Hanna received an anonymous phone call warning her to get her nuns out of the area.
The recent attack on the Immaculate Virgin convent was nothing new. By Hanna's count, it was the 20th time the convent in the nearby northern city of Mosul had come under attack since the start of the war.
"One time it was an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade)," said Hanna, ticking off the litany of attacks against the convent that has been her home for 52 years. "One time a car bomb exploded just outside the motherhouse. One time they set fire to a propane can and left it in front of our gate."

The above is from Aamer Madhani's "For Christians in Iraq, the threats persist" (USA Today) and, for fun, in 20 years, think back and ask yourself what outlets covered the persecution of Iraqi Christians. It's helped fuel the largest refugee crisis in the world but notice who stayed silent. NPR wasn't silent. USA Today wasn't silent. Who was consistently silent? You know the answer and remember that 20 years from now -- or even today when they pretend to be appalled by the destruction of human lives. They're only appalled with the destruction of some human lives. And it's really hilarious to watch the same group that has attacked Turkey (not just the government, the entire country) now insist that Turkey is the most noble, most pure, most . . . When you have no real ethics or any real focus, you're constantly jumping around from topic to topic, flipping 'friends' and 'enemies.' There's something very juvenile about this need to reduce everyone to cartoon heroes and villains. It's the immaturity that cripples the left over and over again and we really need to reject it or we're never going to get anywhere in this country and the right wing will always win because, if nothing else, they are fairly consistent. (For the record, IPS has covered the persecution. One of the few left outlets that has.)

Yesterday, assertions were made and denied that the Iran had entered Iraq. Xinhua reports, "The Iranian troops entered the Iraqi semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan on Tuesday, Dubai-based Arabiyah Pan Arab news television reported. The Iranian troops have entered 5 km inside the Iraqi territories, the channel said without giving further details about where exactly the incursion took place." Aysor Armenian News adds, "Iranian troops were operating three kilometers inside Iraqi territory following a series of clashes in recent days between Iranian forces and rebels of Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iraqi official said, requesting anonymity." The Kuwait Times runs an AFP report making the same assertion; however, Iran's Fars News Agency quotes KRG Minister of State for Peshmerga Affairs Jafar Mustafa stating, "Infiltration of the Iranian forces into the soil of Iraq's Kurdistan region is a baseless and false claim. We have not witnessed anything like this."

Meanwhile Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports, "But the Green Zone now is American no longer. On Tuesday, Iraq took full control of the 4-square-mile enclave in the heart of Baghdad that, to many Iraqis, symbolized so much of what went wrong with the U.S. military presence in Iraq. At a brief ceremony held beside a bomb-damaged palace, the battalion of U.S. military police that had been advising Iraqis at Green Zone checkpoints cased their colors and prepared to redeploy to a base near the Baghdad airport, and is to depart this summer." Let's translate, having conquered (killed off the natives and run off those they couldn't kill) the West, the fort was turned over to sympathizers who will continue to run it as an outpost. In Sly's report, is all of world's history for any paying attention, repeating yet again and, as always, sold as a breakthrough, an advance, and done so via silencing the dissenting voices. The Green Zone belongs to Nouri now and all that might have had other claims will be shut out. Those against the US occupation will not be heard from. Those suffering under the government the US military propped up will not be asked for an opinion. Today Obama meets with General Cust -- General Ray Odierno.

Turning to business news, yesterday in Shanghai, Iraq took part in the Shanghai World Expo. Xinhua quotes Iraqi diplomat Rahman L. Muhsin stating, "Iraq has overcome many difficulties in participating in the Shanghai World Expo and opening the pavilion at last." Rebecca Santanna (AP) quoted Iraq's Minister of Oil Hussain al-Shahristani declaring of the price of oil per barrel, "On the one hand it is sufficiently high to encourage investment, to develop marginal fields, mostly outside of OPEC countries. [. . .] On the other hand it is not too high to adversely affect the recovery of the world economy. I think we are at the right balancing point." The price of oil per barrel as this is being written is a little over US$72.

Now back to the topic they won't shut up about. When Crazy Ass Marjorie Cohn starts screaming "MURDERER!" you know the villagers were all handed torches. Yesterday, Margaret Warner (NewsHour, PBS) interviewed Ahmed Davutoglu who is the Turkish Foreign Minister. If you click here, you get an extended interview. Thank goodness, because that crap that aired last night . . . Oh, wait. It's still crap.

Could PBS explain why they interview someone from another country? I mistakenly thought it was to illuminate other countries, to inform us. Sort of an EZ Bake archaeology. But the entire interview was about Israel. Even the "extended interview."

Yesterday, we were noting that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's Prime Minister, would be holding a terrorism summit today and addressing the issue of the PKK. Guess PBS didn't think that was important. Guess PBS didn't feel that Americans might benefit from any discussion of that -- or any information on it. AFP reports KRG President Minister Massud Barzani is in Turkey today, "making his first visit to Ankara as regional president". AFP also reports:

A soldier and two outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, members died in the latest clash in Turkey's Southeast near the Iraqi border, local officials said Wednesday.
The clash erupted late Tuesday near the Cukurca town in Hakkari province, when a group of PKK members fired on a group of soldiers on patrol duty, the provincial Governor's Office said in a statement.

Seems like Margaret Warner should have asked about the PKK, doesn't it? Seems like the American people would have benefited from a dialogue on this issue. But they didn't get it. Israel's the 'hot' topic but, for the Turkish government, the PKK is the most pressing internal and external issue. And has been for some time. Some people may support the PKK, some people may not. But no one will never know where they stand or might stand when issues are not addressed. Warner spoke at length to Turkey's Foreign Minister. The day before Turkey holds a terrorism summit to address the PKK. When Barzani is in the country and represents northern Iraq where the PKK has set up another base. And the violence continues. But there wasn't time to address any of that on The NewsHour? No, there was time for it, it just wasn't judged 'hot.' When PBS chases after the 'hot' topic, we're all in trouble. (Both because they can't do water cooler and only embarrass themselves when they try and also because they're the last broadcast chance for most Americans.)

While no one's watching, pressure is being put on NPR and PBS to soften the coverage of BP -- which is why listeners were subjected to the 'scientific talk' on Morning Edition today. The Gulf Disaster is being dropped by the beggars of Panhandle Media as they rush through the village, waving their torches and screaming "ISRAEL!" Hope that feels good. Probably won't accomplish a damn thing (rarely does) but hope it at least feels good because we are all going to be paying for years for the Gulf Disaster and for the focus Israel is now taking off it. Hope it works out real good for you. The Gulf Disaster continues.


But Panhandle Media's bored. And besides, staying on this topic might require calling out Barack Obama. It's just our oceans, they don't really matter, right? And who cares about fish, right? And our eco-system? Let's all scream and run through the streets behind Crazy Ass Majorie Cohn. That'll accomplish nothing but it'll make us feel so superior.

Big Oil's not taking a break. They're working their angles to pressure news outlets to stop carrying the story of the Gulf Disaster and to soften what coverage they are offering.

Repeating, do not bother me with any of your crap on Israel. I'm not interested. That topic does not need amplification. That topic is eating up all the oxygen in the room. Quit wasting my time.

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