Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Dancing around withdrawal

Dar Addustour notes US Adm Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Iraq and spoke with Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and thug of the occupation, about the US military remaining in Iraq, spoke "in detail" and al-Maliki assured Mullen that the political blocs would take up the issue today when they attended Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's meet-up. Meanwhile 2.5 million residents of Baghdad have signed a petition calling on US forces to leave Iraq at the end of this year. Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) adds, "Though many Iraqi leaders agree that U.S. forces should continue providing air defense and training for Iraqi military forces, they remain far apart on how to make the request and for how long American forces should stay — prolonging the process much longer than American officials expected." In addition, Aswat al-Iraq notes that Mullen spoke with Talabani on Monday about the status of US forces in Iraq. Jim Garamone (American Forces Press Service) notes, "Though U.S. forces in Iraq are planning to draw down to zero in December, they are preserving capabilities in the country should the Iraqis ask for continued help, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said here today. Speaking to reporters traveling with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III said Iraqi leaders are thinking about the way ahead and are trying to figure out the direction they want to go." Phil Stewart (Reuters) reports that Mullen stated today any agreement with Iraq to extend the US military presence beyond 2011 must include immunity for US troops. Aswat al-Iraq adds, "Legislature Khalid al-Assady of the State of Law Coalition, led by Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has expressed confidence that the meeting of Iraq’s Political Leaders, scheduled to take place at the residence of President Jalal Talabani on Tuesday 'would reach a national accord on the withdrawal of the American Forces from Iraq, by the end of the current year'."

Meanwhile Walter Pincus (Washington Post) observes, "American military leaders believe that long-standing differences between the Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq will lead to violence if all U.S. troops leave that area by Dec. 31, as planned, according to a new study by the Rand Corp." This is the RAND Corporation's report entitled "Managing Arab-Kurd Tensions in Northern Iraq After the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops" which we covered last week, see Tuesday's snapshot for an in-depth look at the report.

Al Mada reports on ProfessorFakhri Karim's concerns that the repeated violations of Iraq's Constitution are causing serious harm to the political process.

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "LOS ANGELES JANITORS FIGHT FOR THEIR JOBS" (TruthOut):

Over 1400 Los Angeles janitors, members of United Service Workers West SEIU, protest the firing of immigrant workers by Able Building Maintenence. The company fired workers whose immigration status the company questions, even though the workers have been cleaning the buildings where they work for many years. In protest, workers marched through downtown Los Angeles at lunch hour, stopping in front of buildings where Able has the cleaning contract, and finally sat down in an intersection, stopping traffic.
Firings because of immigration status do irreparable harm to workers and to their communities. At Able Building Maintenance and most other companies in this wave of firings, workers have steady, well-paying union jobs and support many other people in their families. Many have worked in their jobs for over a decade, and some for even longer. Marchers asked that Able Maintenance respect their time on the job.

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