Jane Arraf is also a Twitter feed must if you follow Iraq and we'll highlight her Tweets regarding James Jeffrey's comments to reporters today:
Jane Arraf reports for, among others, Al Jazeera, PRI's The World and the Christian Science Monitor. And for Tweets from Iraq that are rarely about Iraq, check out Tim Arango's Tweets (current obsession, The Daily Show). Tim on Twitter's like the guy you travel to France with who yawns at the Eiffel Tower but wants to rush back to the hotel because he heard there's a French-dubbed Walker Texas Ranger marathon on TF1. [And I'm pulling a remark before posting with the plan that we'll cover Twitter at Third for Sunday.]
For the New York Times, Arango reports on the US Special Forces in Iraq and how they're training the Iraqi Special Operations forces to bash in the doors of suspect's homes in the middle of the night ("the sound of glass shattering and screams pierced the nighttime stillness" really doesn't sound like freedom or democracy) and quotes Iraqi Maj Gen Fadhel al-Barwari stating, "The Americans need to stay because we don't have control over our borders."
Aswat al-Iraq reports that Kirkuk's Ahmed Hameed al-Obaidi announced today he doesn't support a Sunni region -- this despite the fact that Osama al-Nujaifi has stated he did not propose that in statements he made while in the US. (Aswat al-Iraq notes he said that in the future Sunnis might feel a need for it if things do not improve and that he made the statements to Al-Hurra TV.) Aswat al-Iraq reports that Iraqiya is pointing out the deliberate misrepresentation of al-Nujaifi's remarks were spread by State Of Law and Iraqiya's Ahmed al-Alwany declares, "The political blocs that criticized recent statements by Parliament's Speaker, Usama al-Nujeify, are better criticize the government's failure after the end of its 100-day period to evaluate the cabinet ministries [. . .] Usama al-Nujeify did not speak about secession, as much as he expressed the wish of some of the areas and provinces, including Anbar Province, to establish their own Region. This is due to the erroneous policies of the government, with regards to the distribution of the financial resources, the security dossier and appointments." The issue, ignored by the US media, resulted in what Al Mada terms a "brawl" in Parliament today -- between Osama al-Nujaifi and a State of Law MP.
Also not covered by the US press in recent weeks has been Nouri al-Maliki's continued war on the Electoral Commission. Many may remember that he has tried to declare that the independent commission is not independent and that it must answer to him. More recently, he's had a fit that they went to the KRG and ordered them to return. (They noted he did not have the power to order them.) Al Rafidayn notes that one of Nouri's State Of Law deputies in Parliament has announced his support for Nouri's plan to "withdraw confidence from the Electoral Commission" and that they have a petition signed by 114 deputies. Imagine how much easier it will be in four years for Nouri to steal the election if he can control the Electoral Commission.
In today's violence, Reuters notes a Mosul car bombing left eight people injured and an attack on a Mosul police checkpoint resulted in the death of 1 police officer while, Friday, two people were wounded in a Kirkuk shooting. Al Sabaah reports 5 people were kidnapped in Anbar Province today (including an Imam and his brother) and they note the Mosul car bombing but inform that 2 of the wounded, Iraqi soldiers, died, Muqdadiya an attack resulted in the death of 1 police officer and the death of 1 assailant with another injured and a Diyala Province shooting which left 1 person dead and two more injured. Fattah Mahmood Fattah and Muhaimen Najm (CNN) add, "Elsewhere, police are investigating the shooting deaths of four relatives in Diyala province, which stretches north and east of Baghdad. It is not known whether the motives involve warfare, sectarian hatreds or domestic issues."
On the Libyan War, we'll note this from William Blum's "Libya: Unedning American Hostility" (Foreign Policy Journal):
If I could publicly ask our beloved president one question, it would be this: "Mr. President, in your short time in office you've waged war against six countries -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. This makes me wonder something. With all due respect: What is wrong with you?"
The American media has done its best to dismiss or ignore Libyan charges that NATO/US missiles have been killing civilians (the people they’re supposedly protecting), at least up until the recent bombing “error” that was too blatant to be covered up. But who in the mainstream media has questioned the NATO/US charges that Libya was targeting and "massacring" Libyan civilians a few months ago, which, we’ve been told, is the reason for the Western powers attacks? Don't look to Al Jazeera for such questioning. The government of Qatar, which owns the station, has a deep-seated animosity toward Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and was itself a leading purveyor of the Libyan "massacre" stories, as well as playing a military role in the war against Tripoli. Al Jazeera's reporting on the subject has been so disgraceful I've stopped looking at the station.
Monday is the Fourth of July in the US. Where will you be? If you're in NYC, Joan Wile has the event for you. The founder of Grandmothers Against the War and author of
Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace, notes a Central Park event this Monday:
Legendary civil liberties attorney, Norman Siegel, will hold his fifth annual July 4 Reading and Discussion of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in Central Park's Strawberry Fields at noon on Monday, July 4.
Siegel and others will read aloud the Declaration and various articles and amendments in the Constitution and discuss how they are practiced and interpreted today. As in past years, there is bound to be criticism of governmental policies which do not adhere to the principles set forth in the founding documents.
The tradition began way back in 1969 when Siegel started reading the Constitution to himself faithfully every July 4 no matter where he was. Then, in 2007, he invited the Granny Peace Brigade to join him and make it a public event. Each year, the crowds attending the Festival have grown and grown, and, in addition to the Brigade, include Veterans for Peace, Grandmothers Against the War, Peace Action, Raging Grannies, and many other groups and individuals. Local political leaders participate, as well.
Comments Siegel: "Our July 4 event, with New Yorkers reading aloud sections of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence and embracing its provisions is a terrific way to celebrate this most important American holiday. Fireworks and picnics are fine, but it's also good to have an event which reflects in a substantive way the principles intended by our Founding Framers."
DATE: Monday, July 4
TIME: 12 Noon
PLACE: Strawberry Fields, -- enter at CPW and W. 72nd St. Follow sign approximately one block
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fattah mahmood fattah