Monday, October 24, 2011

National alliance calls Barack's speech smoke & mirrors

As we noted Saturday, Moqtada al-Sadr was calling for an emergency session of Parliament. Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports he got his wish and the special session is taking place today. A statement from Speaker of Parliament Osama Najaifi's office notes that the session is at the request of the al-Sadr bloc but avoids other details. The National Alliance's Rafie Abdul-Jabbar states that the issues will include Barack Obama's speech on withdrawal (al-Sadr doesn't see it as withdrawal, which is why he called for the session), the drop in the price of oil, oil revenues being allocated for the people and the bombing of Iraq by Turkey.

Al Rafidayn reports that the National Alliance shares Moqtada's concerns regarding 'withdrawal.' They also are aware that "withdrawing troops" does not mean the end to negotiations for so-called "trainers" (in the article, trainers is in parenthesis). An unnamed senior National Alliance official states that the speech Barack Obama gave was to manage US public opinion and that he was delivering what he had promised his followers (what I'm translating as "followers" in the article might actually be better translated as "fans" but we'll go with "followers"). National Alliance officials are clear that they have no idea what the outcome of the negotiations will be but that the negotiations for trainers are still ongoing.

Poor Ned Parker, debuting at the Council on Foreign Relations with an article wrongly claiming negotiations ended and ALL US troops are coming home. He can take comfort in the fact that the article features a nice photo of him but in the future, crop better at the bottom or wear a lighter colored shirt. When selecting a photo you examine it both for how it will look to careful eyes and at a quick glance. Men need to either remove a dark collar from photographs or else include enough in the photo to make it clear that it's a collar. (And not an expanding ponytail.)

Staying in the US, Katherine Shaver (Washington Post) reports "hundreds of Iranian Americans" took to DC on Saturday to demonstrate and register their concerns over the residents of Camp Ashraf. Camp Ashraf residents are Iranian dissidents welcomed into Iraq decades ago by Saddam Hussein. Nouri al-Maliki is very close to the Iranian government which wants the residents expelled (actually, the government of Iran wants the residents sent back to Iran). After the start of the Iraq War, they were in talks with the US and they disarmed. They also became protected persons under the Geneva Conventions. Shaver notes:

Supporters from the Washington area and across the country said Iraqi forces are not allowing medicine into the 10-square-mile Ashraf compound and have twice attacked its unarmed residents since July 2009, killing about 45 people and injuring hundreds. Many protesters said they fear a massacre there after U.S. troops leave Iraq.

Some are put off by the MEK, the group the residents hail from. Denis G. Campbell (UK Progressive) offers:

We're not talking Eagle Scouts on any side of this discussion. Everyone has their horse in this race but there is one agenda missing from the discussion. That of those without a voice, the real 99%, the people of Camp Ashraf. So the clock ticks down to zero. The NCRI warn of a Srebrenica-style massacre if the world does nothing but wag its jaws.
This is a collective failure of will.
The Syrian people did not get help and protection from the sadistic Basheer. Now the worry is 3,400 people in the Iraqi desert will also be let down because no matter how hard they try, their voices are constantly lost in a sea of “more important” news.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Lovable?" went up last night. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) -- topics explored include Occupy Wall Street with activist Tim Weldon and with attorney Magaret Ratner Kunstler. Michael Ratner and Margaret Ratner Kunstler are the authors of the new book Hell No, Your Right To Dissent and, as with last week, her segment is about knowing your rights and how to legally protect yourself while engaging in activism.

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