Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nouri says US military needs to stay as 'trainers'

Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) reports that the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart W. Bowen, has documented in his latest "quarterly report to Congress and the Obama administration" that Iraq is more dangerous today than it was a year ago. You may remember the non-stop false claims that Iraq was actually safer and that violence was going down. O'Keefe does as well:

The findings contrast with public statements by U.S. diplomatic and military officials in Iraq and come as Washington awaits a final decision by Iraqi leaders on whether they want U.S. troops to stay in the country beyond the expiration of a three-year security agreement in December. U.S. officials have said they are willing to extend the American military presence into 2012 only after receiving a formal request from Iraqi leaders.

Apparently so shocked by the news, Reuters falls silent on today's violence -- which is an improvement over the constant lies that violence is down. Aswat al-Iraq finds a great deal of violence in Iraq. The police report a shop keeper was kidnapped in Kirkuk, police state a Kirkuk rocket attack killed 1 person, and, dropping back to Friday night, a "joint U.S.-Iraqi air landing on al-Rifeiat tribe's village in Balad township of Salahal-Din Province" today resulted in the deaths of 4 Iraqi civilians (and six being injured), 3 Baghdad bombings have left 2 dead and five injured,

Still on the topic of violence, Spero News reports that a group of Iraqis held an even ttoday to call it out:

The Free Union of Women (Christian) of Bethnahrain (Mesopotamia) in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, today held a conference focusing on "violence against women" in the great hall of the Chaldean cathedral. The event was attended by more than 100 Christian and Muslim women, along with personalities from the government and civil society. Ahead of the event, the Union carried out a survey on a thousand women in the city of Kirkuk to understand the incidence of phenomena of violence suffered in the past. The vast majority of respondents (88% of the total) said they had suffered some form - more or less serious - of violence and the tendency of continuous growth clearly emerged.

Today Iraq's Parliament held a much anticipated session and Aswat al-Iraq reports that 222 MPs (out of 325) attended. Nouri al-Maliki appeared before Parliament to advocate for trimming his Cabinet. Dar Addustour reports his explaining, in a press conference after his appearance, that he's eliminating the ministries of state with the exception of the Ministry of Women, the Ministry of the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Provincial Affairs and that he plans to merge remaining ministries together in a plan that's yet to be made fully clear. The plan will cut the 46 ministries down to 29. [The Los Angeles Times states: "reducing the Cabinet from 44 to 33 ministries."] 46 was an excessive number but he needed to increase the size of the Cabinet during the nine month Political Stalemate I to create positions for all the people he told he'd give a job if they'd support him as prime minister.

Nouri told the press he also presented a report on the status of Iraqi forces and that it was necessary for the US to remain as "trainers." While he stated that the extensions was up to Parliament, Dar Addustour is clear that Nouri stated that the US needed to remain as "trainers" with no qualifiers. Al Mada also catches this claim that the US remaining or not is up to Parliament and political blocs, on the one hand, while Nouri then states that the US military must remain in Iraq as "trainers" on the other hand. Raheem Salman and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report Nouri made time today to announce that the purchase of "36 US fighter jets" was back on. This purchase would also require US troops to remain in Iraq. As with the helicopter contracts, the jet contract includes a training provision. They don't mention that part of the contract but it is in there. Dar Addustour notes he also made clear that despite his failure to win support Thursday on his plan to do away with the Electoral Commission, he plans to have his political slate (State of Law) bring it up again and he declared the Electoral Commission unconstitutional.

Out of all of that and more that took place in the Parliament, Reuters only notes the cutting of the ministries and screws that up: "The measure could stir tension in his cross-sectarian government, where critics accuse Maliki of seeking to consolidate his position by doing away with posts belonging to opposition parties such as the Sunni Muslim-backed Iraqiya."

The Sunni Muslim-backed Iraqiya?

The 2009 provincial elections demonstrated clearly that Iraqis were tired of sectarianism and sectarian politics. This was further established March 7, 2010 in the parliamentary elections. Iraqiya's success is not due to being "Sunni backed." Sunnis are outnumbered by Shi'ites in Iraq, is Reuters unaware of that or do they just smear and libel?

Iraqiya is a political slate which includes Sunnis, Shi'ites and others. Those voting for Iraqiya in the March 7th elections were also diverse.

Again, Iraqiya would not have ended up the winner in those elections (as it did) if it was "Sunni backed." Sunnis are in the minority.

Reuters gets more disgraceful every day. It's to the point that it really seems deliberate. Is no one in charge there? Oh, right, Girlie In The Green Zone. That's why they do nothing but make one serious mistake after another these days.

And if you're not getting how offensive this is, Iraqiya's win came about because Iraqis came together. But the lie Reuters keeps promoting is one that promotes divisions. It's not just dishonest, it's also divisive and someone needs to call it out.

It's amazing that a little wire service thinks they can piss on the Iraqi people. The Iraqis should be applauded for rejecting sectarianism. Instead, that action is stripped away in Reuters increasingly worthless reporting from Iraq.

Aswat al-Iraq reports on another issue raised in Parliament today:

Parliamentary Security and Defence Commission submitted today its report on US bombardments in Babil and Misan provinces, according to field visits made by commission members.
The report proposed not allowing US forces to conduct any military without the knowledge or approval of Iraqi forces and allocating a judge with every military division.
It added that it is permissible for the US forces to conduct a military operation only in case of self-defence, as stipulated by the security agreement, in coordination with Iraqi forces and knowledge of local government.

Meanwhile Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports on another development, the US military is contracting/outsourcing with a private company (undetermined at presented) to train Nouri and his thugs in electronic eavesdropping: "The proposed system would allow Iraqi officials to monitor and store voice calls, data transmissions and text messages and would be installed with the acquiescence of the three current cellular communications providers in Iraq, according to documents accompanying the solicitation."

The big meet-up that was repeatedly postponed is now back on according to Dar Addustour which reports that the political blocs are supposed to meet Monday. Maybe they can discuss Iraq's territorial integrity? Iran continues shelling and possibly crossing into Iraq. Aswat al-Iraq reports that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi (the Sunni vice president) has called out Iran's actions:

Hashimy said that Iraq’s foreign policy “does not allow using Iraqi territories to undermine the security and stability of neighboring states, being a constant position by Iraq, but it won’t allow neighboring states to do the same thing.”
The Iraqi Vice-President, meanwhile, “has called on Iran to allow the Wand River and other rivers, stemming from Iran, to flow into Iraq,” calling for the signing of a joint agreement to share the border rivers waters, in order to satisfy a suitable share for Iraq.

Finally, Simon Walters (Daily Mail) reports that the upcoming report from the Iraq Inquiry is said to be damning for War Hawk Tony Blair:

The Mail on Sunday has been told that the former Prime Minister will be held to account on four main failings:

* Bogus claims that were made about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
* Not telling the British public about his secret pledge with George Bush to go to war.

* Keeping the Cabinet in the dark by his ‘sofa government’ style.

*Failing to plan to avoid the post-war chaos in Iraq.

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