Monday, April 11, 2011

Falluja bombings

Today Falluja is slammed with twin bombings. DPA reports after the first bomb exploded, police arrived and then the second bomb went off. Fadel al-Badrani, Jim Loney and David Stamp (Reuters) report the bombs went off near a busy market. Tang Danlu (Xinhua)adds that a police source tells the news agency 6 people are dead and twenty injured.

Meanwhile Alsumaria TV reports Nouri al-Maliki is stating that Iraqi forces are capable of standing on their own. Robert Burns (AP) notes, "The U.S. wants to keep perhaps several thousand troops in Iraq, not to engage in combat but to guard against an unraveling of a still-fragile peace. This was made clear during Defense Secretary Robert Gates' visit Thursday and Friday in which he and the top U.S. commander in Iraq talked up the prospect of an extended U.S. stay." Al Mada reports former US envoy (during the Bush administration) Zalmay Khalilzad is visiting Iraq. You can probably guess why. Note that sending in the big guns does not require utilizing Chris Hill -- his reputation in Iraq helps no one. Ayas Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) notes that the US pressure also includes pressure on Nouri al-Maliki to name the security ministers.

New Sabah reports that Parliamentary Speaker Osama al-Nujafi is stating that the US is pressuring the government to extend the SOFA but al-Nujafi is stating that will not happen. Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) feels the problems facing Iraq are rather obvious:

One of the current problems is the insistence of Al Dawa party (and the State of Law coalition) headed by Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, to hold the reins of power, despite the fact that the results of the election were not in its favour. The State of Law coalition, through guile, was able to use loopholes in the constitution, and struck complicated and fragile deals, and added foreign pressure, to remain on top. These actions also saw a clear split between the Iraqi masses and the elite. There was criticism from individuals and also mass demonstrations against government policies.
This year, the demonstrations widened and took the form of angry strikes which flared through many Iraqi cities and governorates, turning into protests against unemployment, and lack of basic amenities, such as electricity.
However, the demonstrations, some of which turned bloody, did not cause the government much concern, as it was able to contain them through false promises.

Jane Fonda notes the passing of Sidney Lumet. (Starting with Elizabeth Taylor last month, I'm not writing about death unless it's Iraq or Iraq War veterans. That has to be covered here. Other deaths don't have to be. I'm not good around death and I don't enjoy noting deaths and am not going to rip myself apart to do so each morning unless it's Iraq-related.) She also blogs about receiving the Anne Marie Stass Ally Award last night at the Stonewall Democratic Club (Los Angeles chapter) at the 2011 Stoney Awards. Congratulations to her on a well deserved award. When many public figures were too 'nervous' to speak out for LGBT rights, Jane was happy to do so and to speak and march. Her committment to the LGBT community is long standing and predates the AIDS epidemic which brought many others on board with the issue. Again, it was a well deserved award. Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Disappointment you can believe in!" went up last night. Today on Law and Disorder Radio (begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week), Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael S. Smith speak with Phil Weiss about The Goldstone Report and with the Coalition for the Homeless' Patrick Markee about rent laws.

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