Saturday, April 30, 2011

Protests, calls for a vote of no-confidence

Dar Addustour reports "hundreds" turned out in Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) in Baghdad yesterday to protest and demand reforms and the end to the occupation. The demonstration, the paper notes, is a continuation of the protests which began February 15th. The protesters carried banners which they unfurled in Tahrir Square. The banners called for imporved services, the release of detainnees and more. The paper also reports that people turned out in Ramadi, including tribal elders, demanding that the US occupation end and that Iranian interference in internal affairs be blocked, detainees be released and expressing solidarity with the protesters in Mosul. Al Sabaah also reports on the Baghdad and Ramadi protests yesterday. They note the Baghdad protest also included a cry for investigations into the many Iraqis who have gone missing in the last years while also stressing Ramadi's solidarity with Nineveh Province residents. In Mosul, the Iraqi military has been dispatched by Nouri al-Maliki to attack the protesters. While protests take place calling for an end to the US occupation of Iraq, Al Sabaah reports that Kurdish leaders of Diayla Province and Kirkuk are calling for the US to remain in those regions due to disputes over who has rights to the areas.

Meanwhile Dar Addustour reports Iraqiya is floating the idea of dissolving the government stating that there can be no more delays in resolving the security ministries. If delays continue, the coalition is threatening to move for a vote of no-confidence. November 10th, the power-sharing deal was announced with great fan fair and Nouri was named prime minister designate (Jalal Talabani would fudge it by not declaring it official until weeks later in order to give Nouri more than 30 days to put together a Cabinet). Despite that taking place long, long ago, Nouri has still not found a Minister of National Security, a Minister of Defense or a Minister of the Interior. Now elections were held March 10, 2010. And this was all supposed to have been resolved quickly. But it wasn't and, over a year after the elections, the security ministries still have no heads -- at a time when violence steadily increases in Iraq. Al Mada reports on this as well and also notes that women's rights activist Yanar Mohammed took part in the announcement and she is calling for the anti-terrorims law to be dissolved because it is "a tool of the government" which is being used to intimidate citizens and, specifically, has been used to raid the meetings of the youth organizers of the Baghdad protests, and along with the raids, it's also been used to justify the detention and abuse of activists.

Nouri's Iraq can't even pull off an Arab Summit in Baghdad. It was supposed to take place in March. Had to postpone it until May. Now it's been shelved. Habib Toumi (Gulf News) reports that Iraq may nominate a candidate to head the Arab League. That doesn't necessarily mean that any summit could ever be held in Baghdad. And that 'Baghdad' summit? Al Mada notes it's looking like it will be scheduled for some time in 2012. In other political news, Al Mada reports Faleh Sari of the National Alliance is calling out plans to cut the ration card stating it would be harmful to at least one hundred thousand families.

And we'll close with this from World Can't Wait about a march in Chicago tomorrow (Sunday):

March - to stop wars & occupations for empire

March - to stop deportations and criminalization of millions driven to this country by the destruction of their homelands
March - with people around the world on May Day
For months, alleged leaker of the infamous WikiLeaks documents, Private Bradley Manning has been held in solitary confinement at Quantico military prison, allowed only one hour to walk with his legs shackled, and forced to sleep naked. A UN official was denied a private meeting with Manning to investigate his treatment.
To most human rights advocates and legal experts around the world, the treatment of Bradley Manning amounts to torture. To many of us, Manning is a hero if, as the government charges, he leaked these documents. Now the U.S. government has moved Bradley Manning to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas just last week.

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