Monday, July 18, 2011

Iraqis feel their country is headed in the wrong direction

Al Mada reports on a poll of Iraqi conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in partnership (supervision?) of the National Democratic Institute. 42% of Iraqis said the country was headed in the wrong direction which is down 3% from July 2010. Southern Iraq appears to be more likely to see the country on the wrong track. The younger you were and the harder your economic condition, the more likely that you were to rank the country as headed in the wrong direction. The elderly had the most positive view of Iraq. Asked what situation was improving, top choices were education and security and power (electricity) and corruption were seen as the least improved. (The figures Al Mada gives add up to double 100% so we're not including the actual numbers on this item). The most important task the respondents felt the government needed to address? Jobs. Iraqis registered a positive attitude towards democracy in the abstract. Asked about their own government and whether or not it was democratic, 39% responded "no" and 42% responded "yes." Adam Youssef and Suha Sheikhly (Al Mada) report that Iraq is said to need 4 million tons of wheat and barley to feed Iraq's population and 2 million tons is what's estimated Iraq will produce this year. Among the problems farmers cite in the article is the heavy price of commercial fertilizer and what they are calling seeds from "testing laboratories" which sounds like genetically modified seeds. It would be very interesting to see if genetically modified crops are being forced off on Iraq.

The other big problem farmers list is the rising saline factor in the water. This has previously been blamed on Iran which has admitted to being responsible. On the topic of conflicts between Iraq and Iran, Eli Lake (Washington Times) reports, "Fighting erupted Sunday between Iranian Kurdish insurgents and the Islamic republic's military forces near Iran's border with Kurdish Iraq. At least two Iranian Kurdish rebels and one member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed during clashes along the border with Iraq, according to reports from Iraqi Kurdistan, citing officials on both sides." Kurdish rebels targeting Turkey are the PKK. Those involved in conflict with Iran are the PJAK. Kurds are said to be one of the largest ethnic groups in the world without an official and autonomous homeland. The KRG -- Kurdistan Regional Government -- in Iraq is the closest to such a land. CNN notes, "The Kurdish region is a contiguous area that spreads across Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey and the Kurdish rebels in those regions are fighting for an independent Kurdish state." Turkey fears that should the KRG become anymore independent, it will fuel the desires of the PKK for their own homeland within Turkey. On the clash this weekend, Al Jazeera reports:

Jabbar Yawar, the highest official in the Iraqi Kurdish ministry responsible for the region's security forces, earlier confirmed Iranian shelling of PJAK bases, but said he received no reports of clashes and had no death toll.
The shelling came despite a warning on July 3 by the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, over the cross-border operations.
Earlier this month, a senior Iranian military official accused Barzani of "giving 300,000 hectares of land to the PJAK terrorist group without the knowledge of the central government in Baghdad", Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said.

AGI quotes Iranian Col Delavar Ranjbarzadeh stating, "All 3 camps on Iraqi land that supported the terrorist organization are now under our control." In other news, Al Rafidayn notes that a doctor was released Saturday after three weeks of being held hostage and after a half a million dollars was paid as ransom.

Meanwhile, Nouri al-Maliki held everyone hostage during the nine months-plus political stalemate in Iraq following parliamentary elections March 7, 2010. In order to remain prime minister, he made many promises and over-promised on positions which is how the Cabinet was left with way too many ministers and deputy ministers. Having gotten what he wanted -- continuing as prime minister -- Nouri's now ready to break promises and has announced that he will cut the number of ministries from 43 to 29. Aswat al-Iraq reports that the Parliament is expected to go along with his plan.

Law and Disorder Radio begins airing this morning WBAI at 9:00 am and all around the country throughout the week. Attorneys and hosts Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) discuss secret sites, the passing of Heidi's neighbor Monica Shay, Human Rights Watch's call for a torture investigation, and more at the top of the show and then speak with Albert Ruben about his new book dcoumenting the history of the Center for Constituional Rights, The People's Lawyer: The Center for Constitutional Rights and the Fight for Social Justice, From Civil Rights to Guantanamo and they also speak with Adam Hochschild about his new book To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion 1914-1918. Bonnie notes that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "War Whore" went up last night. Information Clearing House posts Boiling Frogs audio interview with James Bamford about NSA whistle blower Thomas Drake and the administration's war on whistle blowers.

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