Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Kirkuk slammed with three bombings

Today Kirkuk is in the spotlight with a series of bombings. Lu Hui (Xinhua) reports it was a triple car bombing with two aimed at "police patrols" and the third at a security base. AFP quotes the head of the health department, Sadiq Omar Rasul stating, "We have received eight dead bodies and 68 people have been wounded, they are being treated at Kirkuk General Hospital and Azadi hospital." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports on the bombings and also notes two Baghdad roadside bombings today which have left at least eight people injured. The Telegraph of London has video of one of the bombings. MSNBC offers two Reuters photos of the aftermath.

In other news, Alsumaria reports that Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and puppet of Iraq, insists that "the electricity crisis in Iraq will be resolved by next winter." However, AFP reports, "The electricity ministry needs almost a tenth of Iraq's annual budget for debts and new projects to bring the limping power sector back on its feet, a senior official told AFP on Wednesday. Adel Mahdi, advisor to the electricity minister, also said that between 2012 and 2030 the ministry would need 3.85 billion dollars a year to rebuild the sector and keep up with growing demand." Nouri's become very wealthy as prime minister while Iraqis continue to go without basic services. He also has a pattern of offering pretty (and empty) words. Remember in the provincial elections of 2009? Remember the lack of potable water and his claims that he was fixing the problem immediately but in the meantime enjoy this ice. And then came the day after the elections and the lack of potable water didn't go away. So Nouri could put 10% of the government's budget into addressing the electricity problem; however, it seems very unlikely, based on pattern, that he's going to. Al Rafidayn notes that when making his promise or 'promise' he also stated that Iraqi citizens have a right to protest over the lack of basic services -- which puts him on the same page as the clerics who declared that last Friday (and one who did so Monday). More following from Nouri but very little leadership.

If anything's going to force Nouri's hand, it will be continued protests. Al Rafidayn reports that "dozens" protested in Najaf yesterday over the lack of services and the ration card items and notes the various protests which have taken place across the country and how Diwaniyah was the first last Thursday. One problem with the ration cards (we noted some problems in yesterday's snapshot, this is another one) is that Iraq's implementing a higher tarrif next month on imports. That's going to mean higher prices on some goods. Imported goods? Monday Tony C. Dreibus (Bloomberg News) reported on Iraq's purchase of 300,000 tons of wheat from the United States and Australia.

Yesterday Amnesty International released [PDF format warning] their report "Broken Bodies, Tortured Minds." Alsumaria TV reports that the Ministry of Justice has issued a statement stating "the formation of joint work committees with the Supreme Judicial Council to follow up the pending cases of detainees." Al Mada emphasizes the secret prisons aspect of the report and notes Nouri's denial of any secret prison to AFP on Saturday. Dar Addustour also notes the secret prisons mentioned in the report. (If you haven't read the report, it includes great detail on the torture of prisoners.)

Meanwhile Hayder Najm (Niqash) observes:

It has been about six weeks since Iraq's new government was formed, but the top security posts are still vacant.
The different political parties cannot agree on the candidates for the defence, interior and national security ministries, and this vacuum has led to a new wave of violence in various parts of Iraq.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is managing these ministries himself, including that of intelligence chief. And despite the worsening security situation, he seems in no hurry to fill the posts.
"I don't have to accept candidates if they don't convince me that they are the right ones", he said in an interview on the official Iraqiya TV station.

Women remain targeted in Iraq and have seen their rights slashed in 'democratic' Iraq. John Leland and Duraid Adnan (New York Times) report:

Vendors around the Kadhimiya mosque in northern Baghdad sell all manner of women's clothing, from drape-like black abayas to racy evening wear. But on a recent afternoon, Hameed Ibrahim ushered his family toward a different kind of fashion display.
On a raised stage between two shops, four mannequins in Western dress, their blond hair peeking out under colored scarves, stood amid crepe-paper flames. To one side was a banner featuring lust-crazed male ghouls; behind the mannequins, images of eternal suffering.
And at the foot of the stage was a scripture from the mosque.
"Whoever fills his eyes with the forbidden, on judgment day God will fill them with fire."
For Mr. Ibrahim, it was a message that his wife and daughters -- and all Iraqi women -- sorely needed. "I brought them here so they can see this," he said. "Maybe everyone has forgotten about God, and they say that this is progress. Well, I call it depravity."

Strange, isn't it? How women always 'need' messages. Guess that happens when so many men think they know everything. That's the opening to the article. It's an important story, possibly the most important one filed from Iraq this week. There's not a great deal of Iraq coverage from US outlets. We've noted how strange it is that a new development is taking place and US outlets haven't really seemed interested. This Sunday it's supposed to become official, Al Mada reports. That's when Iraq (as decided in the Parliament yesterday) will learn if they've got their new vice presidents and that's when they move from two vice presidents to three.

Lastly, Iraq Veterans Against the War notes that Dahr Jamail's The Will To Resist is now out in paperback. It's a book well worth reading and certainly his Beyond The Green Zone: Dispatches From An Unembedded Journalist In Occupied Iraq should make the top 20 books on the Iraq War and would be number one when it comes to the truth about the assault on Falluja. (The list price is $16.00).

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