Thursday, September 08, 2011

Targeting doctors, staying beyond 2011, etc.

Dar Addustour reports that Haitham Jubouri, who serves on the Commission on Defense and Security, was among those receiving a withdrawal time table for US forces. It's not one thing, it's several options, the paper says, and that it was stressed there is no final decision as yet. It then notes US media reports on this issue in the last two days -- emphasizing the 3,000 to 4,000 US troops kept beyond 2011 option -- and that while the negotiations continue, there's a sense of urgency when it comes to the US supplying F-16s to Iraq. Al Mada also notes US media reports and adds that Nouri al-Maliki's media advisor Ali al-Moussawi has declared that the numbers are not ones Iraq has proposed or agreed to.

3,000 is only one of the proposals being considered. It was the proposal discussed yesterday on On The Record (Fox News -- link has text and video) by host Greta Van Susteren and Herman Cain who is running for the GOP's presidential nomination:

VAN SUSTEREN: So I'm not going to ask you about that, so let me ask you about foreign policy since it was a little bit short on foreign policy. The big issue is whether or not the president is going to draw down to 3,000 troops in Iraq. What do you think about that idea if indeed that is the president's plan?

CAIN: I believe that's a bad idea, Greta. Once again, this president did not listen to the expanders on the ground. The commanders on the ground do not agree with that, just like the commanders on the ground didn't agree with the drawdown in Afghanistan. That's very scary in terms of foreign policy and our position in the world. So I don't agree with it. Why? Because the commanders on the ground don't agree with it. They believe it is too much, too fast. And I believe it is going to leave the 3,000 there vulnerable.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's what I don't understand. It seems to me -- I really can't believe the president isn't listening to his commanders. I'm a little suspicious there are commanders telling him 3,000 is fine. Is there any reason why you think, if it is true, that he doesn't have any commanders support him, why would he go ahead and do this, just sort of freelancing without consulting commanders?

CAIN: Two reasons, in my opinion. One, to carry out a campaign programs, and secondly to create a distraction. This president has nothing to talk about in terms of his record on the economy, zero new jobs created. They are trying to get away from that. So if he -- if next year he can say we have pulled out all of the troops out of Iraq, then that will give him something to brag about, along with the taking out of Usama bin Laden. The American people are not that stupid.

Al Rafidayn reports on a doctor's funeral Monday in Kirkuk -- Dr. Yildirim Abbas Dmarja and his brother -- in a killing that is part of a wave of targeting doctors and other professionals in Iraq. This targeting also includes kidnappings. The Director General of Health in Kirkuk is leading a call for the government to provide protection for doctors. It is estimated that over a million and a half dollars (US equivalent) have been paid by families to kidnappers of doctors. There's a medical issue taking place in Iraq beyond this, by the way. A friend with WHO mentioned it to me last week. I've only found one article on it and we'll try to note it today in the snapshot. It's rather strange, but telling, that certain individuals would rather note a university (to sell the war) than note deaths (which don't sell the world so easy, do they?).

Meanwhile, northern Iraq is being bombed and shelled by the armies of two countries: Iran and Turkey. Iran is allegedly targeting the PJAK (Kurdish rebels fighting for independence with Iran) and Turkey is allegedly targeting the PKK (Kurdish rebels fighting for independence in Turkey). In the meantime, both are killing and wounding civilians and tearing up the region from which people are fleeing -- farmers and shepherds especially -- due to the non-stop bombings. Aswat al-Iraq reports that "hundreds" demonstrated in Erbil yesterday against the continued attacks from both countries and that "demonstrators raised the Kurdish flags and photos of the victims of Turkish-Iranian bombardments, that led to the killing of a complete family." Alsumaria TV reports, "Anti Iranian Kurdish party, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), said that the Iranian shelling has killed its deputy military leader and announced that its fighters killed 123 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards during clashes between the two parties this month." In protest of the bombings, Aswat al-Iraq reports, Iraq's Parliament today suspended their "session for half an hour" at the request of Parliament's Kurdish coalition.

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