Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Erbil Agreement and look who's coming over the border

Al Mada reports that MP Sabah al-Saadi called on Nouri al-Maliki to reveal his on stance regarding US military troops staying beyond 2011 and he called for Nouri to release an evaluation of Iraq's security system currently. Noting the "lack of readiness on the part of the security forces to maintain the country," al-Saadi wonders "what did the government do for the last three years?" It is implied that any faliures would fall at Nouri's footsteps because he was prime minister when the SOFA was signed and it would appear -- either through "negligence" or a desire to keep US forces -- Nouri has not been up for the job. Al Mada also reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani is attempting to return everyone to the Erbil Agreement (which ended the nine month plus political stalemate) and, most importantly, introduce a proposal calling for the security ministries being pulled from Nouri. On the topic of the Erbil Agreement, Aswat al-Iraq reports, "President Jalal Talabani and the head of al-Iraqiya Bloc Iyad Allawi have discussed the implementation of the Arbil agreement, a presidential statement noted." Alsumaria TV adds, "In a statement to Alsumarianews, Al Iraqiya spokeswoman Maysoun Al Damlouji accused Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki of aiming to take over the defense, interior and national security ministries and of refusing to engage Al Iraqiya in the ministries. Maliki’s statements over the strategic policy council are a proof of his denial to national partnership and his aim to establish a dictatorship, Al Damlouji argued."

Meanwhile Aswat al-Iraq reports, "A senior Kurdish border forces personnel said today that Iranian military vehicles penetrated into Iraqi territory in the Kurdistan region at a distance of three kilometers inside the region." Yes, it was just last month that Jalal Talabani, Kurd and president of Iraq, showed up in Tehran for a safety meeting and gave a speech decrying the residents of Camp Ashraf as terrorists and promising Iraq was addressing the issue. In his speech, he never said one word about the PKK which occupies northern Iraq and launches attacks on Turkey or the PJAK which are Kurds who launch attacks on Iran. Reza (Kurdish Aspect) weighs in:

Despite repetitive cautions by both Kurdish Regional Government and Baghdad, Iran has not only not dissuaded from resuming its illegitimate aerial strikes, but also dispatched ten thousands members of its Armed Revolutionary Guards deep into Kurdish territory in North of Iraq, according to a report aired by the Iraqi al-Rafedain Television.
Iranian terrorist regime recently hurled baseless allegations against Kurdish Government President Massood Barzani, stating that his administration has granted 300,000 hectares of land to the members of PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), a Kurdish political party struggling for Kurdish Human Rights, Freedom and Democracy in Iran, without the knowledge of the central government in Baghdad.
Having been authorized to operate in Kurdistan for years, by now Iranian consulate agents must have collected sufficient intelligence realizing that for any purchase, sale or resale of real state, proper verified Iraqi documentations must be presented to the court to register such properties. Therefore, such groundless accusations are mere pretexts to distort the facts. The fact is Iranian military is conducting recon and maneuvering operations in Iraqi Kurdistan, something that can destabilize Iraq and imperil the lives of US troops.

Turning to some of today's violence, Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing left five Iraqi soldiers injured, 1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Mosul and, later in the day, another Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Mousl, Mosul assailants shot and wounded a bystander, a Mosul roadside bombing injured one Iraqi solider, a Baghdad car bombing claimed 2 lives and left nine people injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing injured two people, a Kerbala sticky bombing claimed 3 lives, a Bahgdad sticky bombing left two people injured and 3 people were injured in a Baghdad shooting. Aswat al-Iraq adds, "The number of victims from the three explosions that took place in Karbala Province over the past 24 hours have reached 113 killed or injured." (13 are said to be dead, 100 wounded), a Baghdad bombing injured 6 people and "Eight rockets were targeted today, Saturday, against Btaira military airport to the northwest of Amara, security sources in Missan province announced here."

And we'll close with this from Gareth Porter's "What Is Sadr's Game on Future US Troop Presence" (IPS via Dissident Voice):

The big question looming over U.S.-Iraqi negotiations on a U.S. military presence after 2011 is what game Shi’a leader Moqtada al-Sadr is playing on the issue.

U.S. officials regard Sadr as still resisting the U.S. military presence illegally and are demanding that Sadr call off his Promised Day Brigades completely.

But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s main point of contact with Sadr says Sadr is playing a double game and does not intend to obstruct the negotiations on a deal for the stationing of 10,000 or more U.S. troops from 2012 onward.

Sadr made a crucial move over the weekend toward accepting such an agreement between the Barack Obama administration and the Maliki government, according to a senior Iraqi intelligence official in the International Liaison Office (ILO). The ILO is an arm of Iraqi military intelligence that is run by a former East German intelligence official who was Sadr’s political adviser during the height of the U.S. war against the Sadrists in 2007-08.

Sadr agreed in an unpublicised direct exchange of views with Maliki that he would not exploit a request by Maliki to President Obama to station U.S. troops in Iraq beyond this year by attacking Maliki politically or threatening his government, the senior Iraqi intelligence official told IPS.

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