Sunday, May 08, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

Raheem Salman and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report on a prison break today by a suspect, Huthaifa Batawi, in the October 31st assault on Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church. The death toll is 11 prisoners and six police officers: "The prisoners Sunday overpowered guards and killed a senior counter-terrorism general and five others before they were detained or shot dead. It was unclear how many detainees participated in the mayhem that lasted several hours." Jack Healy (New York Times) explains, "The melee inside the Baghdad prison began around 10 p.m. on Saturday when the man believed to have masterminded the church attack, Huthaifa al-Batawi, seized a police lieutenant's pistol, shot him in the head and led other inmates on a rampage, the officials said. It was unclear exactly where Mr. Batawi was when he grabbed the gun, but the authorities said that he and the other inmates had not been handcuffed, making it easier for them to overpower their captors, break out of a holding area and overrun the jail." Philip Caufield (New York Daily News) adds, "After killing his captors, al-Batawi freed nearly a dozen members of his crew, who snatched a cache of weapons -- including guns and grenades -- and attempted to overrun the prison, officials said." Today's prison incident is only the most recent one. On Friday, there was a prison strike, for example. In fact, the prisoners going on strike (at various prisons throughout Iraq) is not a new or novel development but a regular feature of Iraqi life. Even sadder, that's a country where Nouri al-Maliki is forever running secret prisons in 'democratic' Iraq.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4453. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD still lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4455.

Reuters notes a driver with Ministry of Industry and Minerals was shot dead, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 2 lives, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and three people injured, during a Hawija police raid resulted in the deaths of 2 police officers who were part of the team carrying out the raid and a Mosul roadside bombing left two police officers injured.

Yesterday's news was Nancy Pelosi Tweeting about her Saturday in Iraq, today it's John McCain:

John McCain
@ & I met with one of the great Kurdish leaders PM Barham Salah in Erbil
John McCain
Just landed in Baghdad & ran into Marshall Tucker Band. Thanks 4 coming over 2 support our troops!


Friday, protests took place across Iraq. The Great Iraqi Revolution reports the following on the Baghdad protest, "Hundreds gathered in Tahrir Square, Baghdad despite all the suppressive measures Haliki's security forces took. They Movement of Free Youth stated that despite the fact that they had received permission from The Minsitry of Interior to hold their demonstration today in Tahrir, a great number of their members had been arrested. Also, a lot of young girls who had lost their fathers to the occupation as well as to the successive quizzling governments attended Tahrir as well as mothers and sisters of the detained and disappeared as well as workers. Music and songs was played all the time ridiculing Haliki and his gang as well as the members of parliament and beautiful lampoons and charicatures of Maliki and the ruling gang in Baghdad were displayed all over Thariri. The demonstrators were there in Tahrir for the 4th Friday running despite the prohibition the government had imposed. All demanded the immeidate departure of the odducpation and its forces as well as the departure of the "government" and the release of all detainees. Speeches were made about political, administrative and financial corruption as well as about the destruction of the Iraqi economyh and industry." Baghdad, the seat of the puppet government. And be sure to click here and enjoy this song about Nouri al-Maliki, "Nouri, You Liar."

Of Nouri, The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "Ms. Sana'a Al Dulaimi who was arrested by Maliki's security forces early Sunday morning, 8.5.2011. Maliki and his henchmen claim that they do not arrest and detain people who protest. Well, this is one activist - a woman - whom they have arrested other than systematically shooting at peaceful protestors carrying bunches of flowers and olive branches. He is a liar, a thief and a murderer. I wonder what he is going to do when his hundred days are up!!!!!" Protests continue in Ramadi despite efforts by Iraqi forces to prevent many protesters from reaching Ramadi. Here's video of some prevented from entering who then burn a US flag in protest. And The Great Iraqi Revolution asks of Nouri the question the press should be asking: "Well, he has tried to end the Anbar SIT-IN on its 15th day - I wonder what he is going to do when his 100 days are up!!!!!"

New content at Third:

Kat's "Kat's Korner: The vision and authenticity of Stevie Nicks" went up this morning, Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

This article should be read after: West's leaders are bloody hypocrites

A bloody war in Afghanistan, thousands of lives lost, what have we gained?

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The war in Afghanistan is in its tenth year. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have died, and 2,375 foreign troops have been killed, including 1,509 US and 360 British soldiers.

Last year was the bloodiest of this long war and saw the highest number of military deaths—711.

After 9/11, US president George Bush, Tony Blair, and other Western leaders, claimed the Taliban in Afghanistan were giving Al Qaida a safe haven and so must be attacked.

The Taliban, previously US allies, became the enemy.

The Taliban’s treatment of women was spun as another reason we were at war. Laura Bush, George Bush’s wife, and Cherie Blair took to wearing a piece of fabric torn from a burka to symbolise the fight for women’s freedom in Afghanistan.

But the liberation of women was never the aim of this war.

After ten years, 140,000 Nato troops, the vast majority of them from the US, are still in occupation.

Different commanders-in-chief and imperialist strategies—from troops surge to counter-insurgency—have come and gone.

The puppet regime led by President Hamid Karzai is widely acknowledged to be deeply corrupt—and the Taliban now controls more of the country than it did five years ago.

The stability of neighbouring Pakistan has been undermined by the desperation of the US to dominate the region.

The much-vaunted aim of women’s liberation is rarely mentioned today. Violence against women is rife—20 girls’ schools were firebombed or destroyed in just six months last year.

Karzai attempted to push through laws in 2009 to legalise rape in marriage and would have meant women could not leave their homes without their husband’s permission.

So many lives lost, billions of pounds spent on death and destruction, and for what?

The only achievement is the destruction of one of the poorest countries in the world because it has the misfortune to find itself on a strategic faultline of imperialism.

Today the US and its Western allies no longer pretend to care about democracy for the Afghan people. Most have made it clear that they want to get out.

Barack Obama has said US troops will start leaving this summer.

The US ruling class now has only one concern. After the fiasco of Iraq they do not want to appear to be defeated.

They hope that killing off Bin Laden will provide cover for the fact that people are still dying in a war that has reached a bloody stalemate and has long been unwinnable.

The following should be read alongside this article:

West's leaders are bloody hypocrites

Terrorism cannot rid the world of oppression and injustice

Bin Laden—from friend to foe of US imperialism

Pakistan: Poor pay price for West’s agenda

Obama’s Afghan exit strategy

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