Friday, July 29, 2011

Another crackdown on the protests in Iraq

At a roadside station here, where buses bound for Syria leave dozens of times a week, the space between two troubled nations is measured by notions of prosperity and security.
"Here it is very hot and Ramadan is coming," said Majid Shamis, a middle-aged Iraqi who was headed with his wife and two children, ages 4 and 5, for a two-month summer vacation in Syria. "Electricity is better there. Even the security situation is better."

That's from Tim Arango's strongly written "Despite Its Turmoil, Syria Still Looks Like an Oasis to Iraqis" (New York Times) and we open with it because it's well written and as I just said on the phone to a friend at the paper, "It's so nice not to kick Snoopy." NPR, among other outlets, has been in "It's coming, this wave is coming, it's almost hear" 'reporting' on the huge wave of Iraqi refugees returning from Syria that just hasn't emerged.


It's Friday which means protests in Iraq. Today is dubbed Rehabilitation of Iraq's Dignity Friday and you can click here for more photos like the one above from the Great Iraqi Revolution. Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf has Tweeted on the protest in Baghdad noting:

jane arraf
jane arraf
jane arraf

In other news, Ahmad al-Rubaye (AFP) reports the cancellation of Saturday's meet-up at Jalal Talabani's of the political blocs to discuss a variety of topics including continuing the US military presence in Iraq. (Jane Arraf noted yesterday that people were saying the meeting wouldn't take place.) al-Rubaye explains Ali Mussawi delivered the news that the meeting was off: "He said the talks were postponed because President Jalal Talabani, who was to lead them, had to visit the northern city of Arbil to attend condolence ceremonies for the mother of Massud Barzani, president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. She died on Wednesday."

Al Mada has an interesting story
on a statement released by Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi. In the statement, Allawi's stating that the problems (Political Stalemate II) are not between Iraqiya and Nouri's State of Law but "our real problem" results from agreeing to a move that left them in a lesser position (Iraqiya won the March 2010 elections) and accepting tokens instead of real partnership. He notes the Erbil Agreement was not implemented. (He is correct. The Erbil Agreement ended Political Stalemate I -- the nine months after the March 2010 elections -- and when Nouri trashed the agreement, Political Stalemate II began.) Al Mada also reports that six deputies withdrew from Iraqiya yesterday for a number of reasons but chief among them the fact that they did not support Salman Jumaili as president of Iraqiya's bloc in Parliament. The paper also reveals that yesterday's efforts by State of Law to attack the Electoral Commission with a no-confidence vote found only 94 of the 245 MPs present voting in favor of the proposal.

Finally, who did the young, attractive man below grow up to be?


US House Rep Bob Filner. Arrested below as a participant in the Freedom Rider movement which took place 50 years ago. For more on that effort to end segretation, you can visit this page for PBS' American Experience on their Freedom Rider which features not only the documentary that aired in May but also many online bonus features.

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