Saturday, November 06, 2010

Stalemate continues, topic of Baghdad play

Ammar Karim (AFP) reports the Iraqi Civil Initiative to Protect the Constitution staged a play in central Baghdad today in which politicians were skewered for their greed and "costly lifestyle [. . .] despite the hard times ordinary Iraqis still face in a country battered by war and sectarian strife"

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 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. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and thirty days and still counting.

Reminder, two anniversaries for the stalemate are coming up. Right now, different players continue to sound out one another attempting to figure out who offers the best deal. The Kurds are insisting they will be the king makers and meeting with reps from State of Law and from Iraqiya. Goran Sabah (Rudaw) offers a think piece on what Kurds could or could not get:

The Kurds have two ways to get Kirkuk back. The first is through the article, whose time is over and would not be implemented. Secondly is through a war. The first is a dream, which would never come true, and the second will destroy Kurdistan. Therefore, Kurdistan is better without a war over Kirkuk as it will not win it. The war cannot be made by the Kurds as Turkey, Iran and Iraq would be in one front all against Kurds. And the American forces will not meddle in that war and will not protect the Kurds who think of the US their savior.
So the plan B for Barzani is to give up the claim about Kirkuk. The survival of Kurdistan is better than Kirkuk. There is no way for Barzani to repeat the same scenario of his father in 1974 to destroy everything on Kirkuk. The wisest act for Kurds now is to have a third of Kirkuk. The Kurdish leadership can give up that claim with some conditions and get a part of that big cake.
To announce giving up Kirkuk would be negatively reflecting on Barzani. The local oppositions, Gorran movement, Kurdistan Islamic Union and Kurdistan Islamic Group, will exploit that and weaken his position. But a decision to maintain the survival of Kurdistan within Iraq is better and much greater than the blames of the oppositions whose fight is only for power and money not for the greater good of the Kurdish nation. Barzani should fight for the survival of Kurdistan rather than for Kirkuk that might end Kurdistan at the end of the day. Having 30 percent of Kirkuk is much better than losing everything. Being pig-headed on Kirkuk will lead Kurds to lose the main goal which is announcing independence in the next 15 years. The biggest stateless nation will have their own state by such a decision not being persistent on Kirkuk which is in the mouth of several wolves, would not be taken back by a deer (the Kurds).

The oil-rich Kirkuk, wanted by all sides. Xinhua reports that Kurdish officials were targeted in Kirkuk car bombings today which left at least twenty people injured. Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing which injured two people, a Mosul sticky bombing which injured one police officer, a Baghdad rocket attack on the Green Zone which wounded two by-standers, two Baghdad bombings ("near a liquor store") which injured seven people, a Baghdad sticky bombing which injured one person and 1 corpse was discovered in Mosul on Friday and another today.

Azzam Alwash: My memory of those boat trips is that we're passing through these passage ways that are surrounded with reeds that -- to my mind's eye -- extended to the sky, these were towering reeds. I remember leaning over the outside of the boat and looking into this clear water and seeing fish and I remember heat. And every now and then, we'd go out of these meandering rivers to these wide lakes and suddenly there's this breeze that comes into you that cools you down. What I remember is a sense of serentiy, a sense of warmth, a sense of love, a sense of being with my father enjoying a uniqure place.

We noted that in Wednesday's snapshot. Like his father, Azzam Alwash is an engineer. The family left Iraq during Saddam Hussein's reign and Azzam returned after the US invasion and was saddened to see the state of the marshes. The story is told on PBS' Nature in the "Braving Iraq" episode. Last week Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reported on Moutn Permagrone in the Kurdistan Regional Government. The mountain "is home to one-sixth of the roughly 3,300 plant varieties intended to be collected and preserved in a new national herbarium -- a catalog of the country's plant specimens that was looted and destroyed in Baghdad after Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003." In the article, Azzam Alwash stressed, "Those who want the marshes restored understand that there is an intrinsic connection between the mountains of Kurdistan and the marshes of Iraq. If I want the marshes restored and managed properly, I have to not only protect the marshes but protect the integrity of the environment in Kurdistan because it's all one habitat." Robert Lloyd (Los Angeles Times) notes today:

"Braving Iraq," which comes from the PBS series "Nature" and airs Sunday on KCET, is a story mostly of people, water, reeds and birds (but also of frogs, water buffalo and bugs) in which the people, as they are wont to, play both villain and hero. The chief villain is Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi dictator, who turned to desert 90% of one of the world's great wetlands, the 6,000-square-mile Mesopotamian Marshes. The representative hero is Azzam Alwash, an Iraqi native who left for the United States in 1978 and returned after the 2003 invasion to help get the water flowing again.

Sometimes identified as the "historical" Garden of Eden, the marshes were a system of reedy waterways twice the size of the Everglades, a permanent home or migratory layover for kingfishers, pelicans, flamingos, cormorants, stilts, teals and warblers. It was home also to the people known as the Marsh Arabs, who lived in ingenious harmony on the water and among the reeds, which provided them with fuel, feed and building material.

Community note: The backup site has been moved to Word Press. Click here. The backup site will be for this site as the former Blogdrive mirror site was. Cedric and Rebecca had Blodrive mirror sites -- Cedric's was deleted -- and they will now use The Common Ills Backup site as their mirror site. Anyone in the community who wants to cross-post one of their post there can. I do not have time to even superficially master Word Press at this moment. I did not know until Friday night that I would be moving the mirror site. Problems will emerge as they did when this site started on Blogger/Blogspot and I will attempt to learn as I go along but that is not a secondary task on my list or even really on my list. It's the last thing on my mind.

Sometime after midnight (PST) tonight, Isaiah's latest comic will go up. Usually his latest goes up Sunday night. Why so early? He's doing illustrations for Third, samples that we might be able to use -- if we end up with a publishable article on that topic. He just did one that's perfect. But all it needed was a caption -- a direct quote on TV from the person he'd drawn -- and "The World Today Just Nuts" to be one of his comics. So I insisted that it was. It'll most likely still run at Third but it will count as his comic. He already does comics for all the community newsletters and a comic on Sunday for this site. I do not want him being maxed out and exhausted. So it will go up at Third, however, it his Sunday comic and will go here first.

Lastly ZED Books has a new slate of releases:

Iran, The Green Movement and the USA
The Fox and the Paradox
Hamid Dabashi

'Steeped in Iran's history and culture, Hamid Dabashi offers an insider's view of a rapidly changing country. His insight into Iran's culture and national psyche allows him to see the vibrant democratic society that is emerging there, beneath the veneer of religious rule. This book combines passion with academic rigor to show an Iran that is not fated to America's enemy forever, and that could in fact become its partner. Americans need to hear this message.' - Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah's Men and Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future

Paperback ISBN: 9781848138162 £14.99

The Persistence of Caste
The Khairlanji Murders and India's Hidden Apartheid
Anand Teltumbde

'Anand Teltumbde's analysis of the public, ritualist massacre of a dalit family in 21st centruy India exposes the gangrenous head of Indian society. This is not a book about the last days of relic feudalism, but a book about what modernity means in India.' - Arundhati Roy

'Every foreigner, who does not see how odious the caste system is, must read this.' - Samir Amin

Paperback ISBN: 9781848134492 £18.99

Concepts, Intersections, Identities
Edited by Kim Knott and Sean McLoughlin

'As scholarly approaches to Diasporas develop a global profile and span a variety of disciplines, this book provides an incisive account of the state of the art. Its illuminating emphasis on the evolution of theme and concept is enriched by an attention to specific historical events and cultural conditions that makes this work an indispensable companion to global studies.' - Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University

'Simultaneously panoramic and precise, this volume offers authoritative, inclusive, yet blessedly focused articles on the terms, concepts, and perspectives that collectively define the field of diaspora studies.' - Professor Khachig Tölölyan, Editor, 'Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies'

Paperback ISBN: 9781842779484 £22.99

Population and Development
Tim Dyson

'This is a bold and original book which places population change at the centre of human development over the past 250 years. Written in a highly accessible style, this book should be read by everyone interested in the fundamental forces that have shaped the modern world.' - John Cleland, Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

'What a systematic exposition of the linkages between population and development! Dyson, through his life-long experience with strong statistical evidences argues that no other force has greater consequences for development than demographic transition as it influences population aging, international migration and climate change.' - Dr S Irudaya Rajan, Chair Professor, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs Research Unit on International Migration, Centre for Development Studies, Kerala, India

Paperback ISBN: 9781842779606 £16.99

European Multiculturalism Revisited
Edited by Alessandro Silj

'Many believe that multiculturalism is dead (and good riddance!). Yet the issues raised by multiculturalism are still with us: equality, inclusion, sense of belonging and the remaking of national polities with spaces for individuals and groups defined by difference. It is then good to find a book which is not taken in by a false political rhetoric but is willing to adapt and defend multiculturalism across Europe. This book is to be recommended to students and specialists alike.' - Tariq Modood, University of Bristol

Paperback ISBN: 9781848135604 £19.99

Gender and Migration
Feminist Interventions
Edited by Ingrid Palmary, Erica Burman, Khatidja Chantler and Peace Kiguwa

'This original collection brings a feminist, intersectional and interdisciplinary lens to question the seemingly innocuous ?and? in discussions of gender and migration. Organised around themes of visibility, vulnerability, violence and credibility, the book represents an important conceptual and political engagement that should be required reading for everyone interested in contemporary power and injustice. Highly recommended.' - Professor Rosalind Gill, King?s College, London

Paperback ISBN: 9781848135840 £16.99

Feminism is Queer
The intimate connection between queer and feminist theory
Mimi Marinucci

'Mimi Marinucci handily synthesizes new and classic theories regarding cultural and scientific definitions of sex, gender, and sexuality in a comprehensive text that is both lucid and erudite ... Feminism Is Queer is well-organized and conveniently cross-referenced throughout, allowing chapters and sections to be read independently or as a whole ... This book will surely become required reading in many courses in Women's and Gender Studies and in Sexuality Studies.' - Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, Eastern Washington University

''Marinucci?s impressive interdisciplinary depth and breadth combine with a readily accessible writing style to make Feminism is Queer a lucid and intelligent treatment of an essentially complex and controversial concept ... an excellent text for a wide range of introductory level feminist/gender/women?s studies courses, grounded in any number of disciplines.' - Nancy Slonneger Hancock, Northern Kentucky University

'My students are going to love this book!' - Marjorie Jolles, Women's and Gender Studies Program, Roosevelt University

Paperback ISBN: 9781848134751 £16.99

Biofuels and the Globalization of Risk
The Biggest Change in North-South Relationships Since Colonialism?
James Smith

'This is a revolutionary body of work that analyses the allure of biofuels from a global, historical and political perspective. Nuances of why the global debate on biofuels, climate change, and sustainable development have lost resonance with the livelihoods and local perspective are explored. The question of whether the biofuel system offers emerging economies, and local communities the opportunity of being exigent from the colonial paradigm is probed.' - Professor Judi Wakhungu, Director of the African Centre of Technology Studies

Paperback ISBN: 9781848135727 £17.99

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