Friday, March 11, 2011

Protests throughout Iraq


As seen above, Iraqi forces rushed to the media to declare there would be no protests today. They were wrong. AFP estimates that 500 Iraqis gathered in Baghdad's Liberation Square (Tahrir Square before the protests began last month)and they speak to Layla Saleh Yaseen who explains why she is protesting, "I demand the rights of Iraqis -- more rations and an improvement in services like electricity. I have four children and have to care for a disabled brother by selling simple goods in the streets." And that's the type of person the Iraqi military was advancing on, that's the type of person that scares Nouri so that he orders military helicopters to patrol the air space above Liberation Square. Al Rafidayn reports that the number present in Baghdad was expected to rise and that, so far, a ban on vehicles had yet to be imposed. Dar Addustour notes that the protesters are calling on Nouri al-Maliki to listen to them. Aswat al-Iraq quotes activist Emad Karim stating, "Dozens of citizens went to streets on Friday billed as 'Friday of Truth', calling for better services and fighting corruption."

Dar Addustour reports
that protesters in Najaf carried flowers as they called for an end to corruption, improved basic services and ration card items. Aswat al-Iraq notes protesters in Nassiriya are criticizing the way security forces have treated protesters. In Falluja, Dar Addustour reports, protesters called for an end to random arrests. Aswat al-Iraq notes that Falluja saw a crackdown ahead of the protest with "a vehicle and bike ban around the protest region."

Mike Shuster went to Iraq for NPR exactly why? He's yet to get a story right. Today he files a text report about Nouri softening his approach. Did he not hear Nouri's speech yesterday? Does Mike Shuster do a damn thing beside repeat what the US Embassy tells him to? When you can't get your facts right on a satellite phone call-in, I'll cut you some slack and assume you were just really tired but, over and over, Mike Shuster keeps missing the story. Either he's incredibly ignorant or he's doing the bidding of the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Regardless, when NPR is so messed up right now that they may need all the listener donors they can get, they should be sporting their reporting, they should be going out of their way to demonstrate that they provide a real service. Shuster's reports are flacid, factually incorrect and boring as hell.

While Shuster laps at Nouri's crotch, Dar Addustour reports that the al-Sadr bloc heard the speech (the same one Shuster's praising) and have demand that Nouri apologize to Iraqis. They were offended by his labeling groups supporters of Saddam or Ba'athists. They note he had little to offer other than demonization. Other Arabic articles note the snide tone of the speech and generally emphasize Nouri's insistence that the government in Iraq will not be changed except by elections. It was a thuggish speech by a pompous ass who history needs to take down. But Mike Shuster loved it, loved it!

Al Mada notes that MP Sabah al-Saadi was not impressed by Nouri's song and dance yesterday and asserts that the measures Nouri has proposed do not get to the root of the problems, that instead of offering "frank talk," Nouri's plan proposes cover ups of the corruption.

Oh, and remember the other reason why Nouri was meeting with Parliament? Right that Cabinet he's never been able to fill. DPA reports, "Top appointments at Iraqi's key defence, interior and national security ministries have been pushed back a week due to disagreements among the country's political blocs, an Iraqi lawmaker said Friday."

The ongoing Iraq War has an anniversary coming up and there will be protests in the US.
A.N.S.W.E.R. and March Forward! and others will be taking part in this action:

March 19 is the 8th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Iraq today remains occupied by 50,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries.

The war in Afghanistan is raging. The U.S. is invading and bombing Pakistan. The U.S. is financing endless atrocities against the people of Palestine, relentlessly threatening Iran and bringing Korea to the brink of a new war.

While the United States will spend $1 trillion for war, occupation and weapons in 2011, 30 million people in the United States remain unemployed or severely underemployed, and cuts in education, housing and healthcare are imposing a huge toll on the people.

Actions of civil resistance are spreading.

On Dec. 16, 2010, a veterans-led civil resistance at the White House played an important role in bringing the anti-war movement from protest to resistance. Enduring hours of heavy snow, 131 veterans and other anti-war activists lined the White House fence and were arrested. Some of those arrested will be going to trial, which will be scheduled soon in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, March 19, 2011, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, will be an international day of action against the war machine.

Protest and resistance actions will take place in cities and towns across the United States. Scores of organizations are coming together. Demonstrations are scheduled for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and more.

The e-mail address for this site is