Wednesday, July 20, 2011

'Progress' in Iraq

Al Mada reports that Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq, authorized Tareq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's two vice presidents, to sign off on death sentences from the Iraqi judiciary and begin the process of waiting for the Ministry of Justice to issue a decree on the execution of five members of the previous regime in Iraq. Dar Addustour also reports Talabani authorized al-Hashemi to sign the death sentences.

If you're not getting why that's news -- you may actually read as opposed to skimming Newser and other superficial sites which repeatedly 'discover' Talabani's 'opposition' to the death penalty and applaud his 'brave' stance. His opposition isn't to the death penalty, it's to his signing off on it. So he orders others to sign the orders. And repeatedly -- check last November -- gets praised for his 'brave' stand by people who don't understand what the hell they're writing about. He's the President of Iraq. If he wanted to end the death penalty, he could refuse to sign off on the orders and he could insist that the vice presidents do as well. Instead, people have been put to death repeatedly throughout the two terms Jalal has been president. People were still executed but Jalal didn't have to get his hands dirty or fight for a supposed belief and so many ill informed and uninformed enabled him in that.

In other news, Al Sabaah reports that Parliament has formed a committee to investigate what some Iraqis are calling a US helicopter attack in Hilla on a plot of land planted with grain. The US did whatever it was doing -- still to be determined, hence the formation of the committee -- on Sunday and Monday and Monday evening is accused of opening fire on the agricultural area.

Meanwhile the United Nations Secretary General's Special Envoy to Iraq Ad Melkert sees 'gains' in Iraq. That's the same Ad Melkert, by the way, whom the Spanish court wants to testify about the April massacre at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The UN didn't protect the residents of Camp Ashraf. You have to wonder where the progess is that Melkert's seeing. Iraq has entered (political) Stalemate II -- it entered it months ago. But Melkert sees progress. Let's hope he's forced to take the stand and really sweat it out in Spain.

Iraqis who can't find their loved ones wouldn't argue 'progress' in Iraq. At the heart of the protests in Iraq has been the wives, mothers and daughers whose husbands, sons and fathers have disappeared into the Iraqi 'justice' system. Here are some of the women who have taken their cry for help to the Baghdad Friday protests.

liberation square 4

liberation square 4

liberation square 5

missing husband

Today NPR's Isra' al Rubei'i and Kelly McEvers (Morning Edition) report on the women who take part in the Baghdad protests. (And please note, the women can be found all over Iraq and have been protesting throughout Iraq since January.) They speak with Umm Haidar whose son Haider was taken away by US troops five years ago and she has searched for him ever since, "All I want to know is if my son is dead or alive."

McEvers notes the women say "we've searched the prisons and morgues" and that they come to Baghdad's Tahrir Square "as a last hope." Nouri did come up with a program to help these women back in February, but a soldier states that it was "simply a way to placate" and to defuse the protests. But false arrests are all the rage in Iraq now because you can milk family members out of so much money.

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