Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shh, There's A Cabbie Listening

Xinhua reports that Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr visited Syria and, following a meeting with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Al-Assad declared "his country's full support to the formation of the Iraqi national unity government as soon as possible". As soon as possible?

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. It's four months and five days and, in 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. Today makes it four months and ten days without any government being established.

Meanwhile Nizar Latif (UAE's National Newspaper) notes that Baghdad security is branching out into new areas in order to spy:

Now, it appears, the country's intelligence services have realised how much information can be gathered just by sitting in the driving seat of a cab – with the result, according to Baghdad's cabbies, that undercover security agents have gone into the minicab trade and are stealing away all their customers.
"There’s no doubt it's the secret police," said Amer al Husseini, a 29 year-old driver working in the Kadhimiyah neighbourhood. "All of a sudden you'll see lots of new taxis in Kadhimiyah and none of us know any of the drivers. That's how you can be sure it's the security looking for information about some terrorist group.
"They go around, picking up passengers and trying to find out what's going on. It's might be good for the secret police but it's bad for us real taxi drivers because they take all the business."

Accountability is the topic Ian Cobain (Guardian) reports on, noting that the British judicial system granted approval for an evaluation as to whether or not a public inquiry of Iraqi abuse at the hands of the British military.

Turning to violence today, Reuters reports 1 intelligence officer shot dead in Mosul, 1 person kidnapped in Mosul, 1 corpse (17-year-old female) discovered in Mosul, a Tuz Khurmato car bombing which claimed 2 lives and left one person injured and, dropping back to Friday, a Mosul roadside bombing which wounded three people and another which injured one Iraqi soldier.

We'll close with the following from A.N.S.W.E.R.:

Petraeus promotes civil war in Afghanistan

Statement from Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition

Badly losing the war in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus has decided to promote a violent civil war in Afghan villages.

That is the true intent of the new so-called Local Defense Initiatives that Petraeus forced down the throat of Afghanistan’s puppet president Hamid Karzai. The new plan is a variant of the Community Defense Initiative that Gen. Stanley McChrystal tried to impose on Afghanistan after Obama selected him to lead the expanded war effort in 2009.

The Petraeus strategy calls for putting 10,000 job-hungry Afghan villagers on the Pentagon payroll. They will be given money and guns so that they can form militias and shoot and kill other members of their village who are asserted to be either pro-Taliban or opposed to the U.S./NATO occupation.

The new strategy further underscores the criminal role of the Pentagon generals. Petraeus is consciously fomenting civil war and ethnic rivalry just as he did in Iraq. Gen. James Mattis, Petraeus’ new boss at Central Command, when speaking to a crowd in San Diego in 2005 about his experience in Afghanistan, said “it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot 'em."

President Obama and his military team recognize that it is less damaging at home, where there is almost no support for this endless occupation, to foment civil war in Afghanistan and pay desperate Afghans to slaughter each other as a means of reducing U.S. casualties.

U.S. taxpayers who are experiencing devastating cuts in state and local budgets, layoffs of municipal workers, soaring tuition hikes in public colleges—all because of budget shortfalls—will see billions of their tax dollars go to fund the occupation of Afghanistan and pay the salaries of poor Afghans so that they can shoot other poor Afghans. This is a classic divide-and-conquer tactic used historically by all colonial powers to break up a united resistance by the people whose lands they occupy.

The Obama administration and its generals are borrowing a page from Nixon and Kissinger’s murderous “Vietnamization” plan, which became the announced policy in 1969. Since there was a rising tide of anti-war sentiment at home, Nixon and the Pentagon wanted the Vietnamese to kill each other in greater numbers as a way of diminishing U.S. war dead.

Millions of Vietnamese died during the war, as did 58,000 U.S. service members. The U.S. strategy succeeded in creating an ocean of human suffering, but it failed to alter the outcome. The Vietnamese, like the Afghan people, were unwilling to live under foreign occupation.

ANSWER Coalition organizers and volunteers have in recent months been working around the country to support the growing numbers of soldiers, marines, veterans and military families who are speaking out against the war in Afghanistan. We are reaching more and more active duty service members and recently returned veterans who know that this colonial-type war is based on lies by the politicians and the Pentagon Brass. The ANSWER Coalition affiliate March Forward! is reaching out to soldiers, marines and veterans.

We urge you to support this work by checking out March Forward’s Ten point program and signing up for email updates at

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