Friday, June 24, 2011

Thug Nouri and First Lady Moqtada


It's Friday and, as the screen snap from Iraqi Revolution demonstrates, protests continue in Baghdad. Meanwhile Tony Clarke is a member of the House of Lords in England (he's Labour Party, for those who wonder) and he's penned "Obama must tackle Iraq's new dictator" (Independent of London):

Few could have expected it. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, once the darling of bi-Partisan US administrations, today seems engulfed in domestic upheaval as the Arab Spring has shown no sign of abating in Iraq.
But rather than choosing to resign power respectfully like in Tunisia and Egypt, al-Maliki seems to have made up his mind to hold a firm grip on power using deadly force like fellow dictators in Libya and Syria.
No longer able to tolerate the weekly demonstrations by Iraqis in central Baghdad’s al-Tahrir Square, and with widespread arrests failing to subdue the population irate over corruption and lack of basic services, earlier this month al-Maliki sent his thugs under the disguise of ordinary government supporters to brutally attack protestors demanding the resignation of his government.
Iyad Allawi, a former Iraqi Prime Minister and the de-facto leader of the opposition movement, recently launched a stunning televised attack on al-Maliki accusing him of running a new dictatorship in Iraq and owing his Premiership to Iran’s theocratic rulers.

Will the cry for Barack to face reality get larger? Will Nouri continue to be the designated thug of the occupation?

Al Mada reports
that Nouri spent yesterday blaming others for his problems including insisting that politicians and the media worked together to malign his 100 Days and that the 100 Days program he implemented was a success. As per usual, Moqtada al-Sadr issues statements of support for Nouri. He did the same when protests were really taking hold last February. Moqtada al-Sadr has apparently cast himself in the role of First Lady of Iraq.

Al Mada also offers a profile of Ayad Allawi based on anonymous sourcing and it paints him as depressed, considering ending political participation, weighing whether to make London home, etc. He is said to be depressed over the continued upheaval in Iraq and Nouri's inability to lead. Al Rafidayn reports on another political player in the mix, Ammar al-Hakim. The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq president is calling for all participants to continue dialogue and he cautioned against reaching the "point of no return."

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "SOUTH OF SILICON VALLEY, HUNGER HAUNTS HOLLISTER" (New American Media):

Every year when the spring comes, families get in their big pickup trucks in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, or the Salt River Valley in Arizona, and head for Hollister. Generations of families have made the annual migration to get jobs in the San Benito Foods cannery, or in the local fields on the machines harvesting the tomatoes that get canned there.
This year, say Harley and Emillio Delgado, work has been really slow.
"Last week we were picking apricots. It's the weather - it's been raining a lot, and not really warm," according to Harley. The two live in the migrant worker camp, set up just south of town in the 1940s to house the field labor needed by local ranchers. Today part of the camp consists of trailers, and another part buildings built after the war.
Every Saturday, Israel Banuelos pulls his truck out of a parking lot on the other side of Hollister, behind the warehouse that houses the county food bank. The truck is filled with bags of food, and the camp is his first stop. The Delgado brothers are among the many that line up.
In one of the great contradictions of American poverty, people who spend their working lives producing the food consumed by millions in cities all over the country often don't have enough to eat themselves.

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