Saturday, October 01, 2011

Nouri wants 'unity'

Violence continues in Iraq. Reuters notes a Buhriz home invasion in which 1 woman (a Sahwa's wife) was killed, a Mosul sticky bombing which claimed the life of 1 Iraqi military officer, 2 police officers shot dead in Baquba and, dropping back to Friday for both of the last two, 1 person shot dead in Baquba and 1 person shot dead in Udham. Aswat al-Iraq notes that it wasn't a Sahwa's wife that was killed, it was his mother and his sister was kidnapped and two police officers were injured when they reported to the scene as the kidnappers were leaving and a Baghdad bombing injured three people. On the home invasion, which account is correct? Who knows? Alsumaria TV offers a third version: "Unknown gunmen broke into the house of Al Sahwa official in Abu Fayyad region, Ammar Al Majmai, and opened fire with machine guns on Saturday morning, a security source told Alsumarianews. The attack that took place in Bahraz district southern Baaquba led to the death of Mjmai's sister and brother while a relative was injured, the source added. Gunmen left a bomb behind, which blew up targeting police patrols who rushed to the incident site. A policeman was killed and four others were seriously wounded, a security source told Alsumarianews."

Turning to historical violence in the region, Dar Addustour reports that 41 Kurdish political officials and NGOs have sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister and the President calling for Iraq to join the International criminal Court. Having just arrived back in Iraq, Jalal Talabani should have time to read the letter.

The Kurdish Globe reports:

While the last national census in Iraq was conduced 14 years ago, another national census is planned for 2012, to be conducted by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning. The Iraqi Ministry of Planning made the decision to conduct a census in 2007, but it has not yet made the necessary preparations to hold the census.
Sirwan Mohammed, chairman of the Statistics Bureau of the Kurdistan Regional Government, said in an interview with The Kurdish Globe that due to political conditions and lack of time to prepare, the census will not be conducted this year.
Conflicts among the Iraqi political groups, have added the census issue to the other pending issues in the country's political process. Since 2007 several time lines were announced to hold a census, but all of them were canceled and postponed by the Ministry of Planning.

While that might explain 2007 to some, the article notes that the 2009 and 2010 postponements "are seen to be mainly associated with olitical stances of the Arab groups in the disputed areas" -- such as Kirkuk which is supposed to be resolved by Article 140 of the Constitution. Resolved by 2007 though Nouri ignored it and continues to do so. Al Sabaah reports that Nouri al-Maliki met with Anbar Province tribes and insisted that what the people need is a unified Iraqi state.

Of course, when Nouri talks "unity," he usually means: Everybody shut up and do what I say. Al Mada reports that after two attempts to introduce his oil & gas bill in the Parliament have failed, he has demanded it be introduced a third time. Kurdish MP Yassin Majid says there needs to be a compromise or, barring that, the Parliament should write a new draft law. The tension between Nouri and the Kurds continue. Aswat al-Iraq reports, "A Kurdish Alliance MP disclosed today that the Kurdish delegation heading to Baghdad will comprise of all senior parties' officials, pointing out that the delegation will conduct meetings with all political entities to solve pending disputes between Baghdad and Arbil. MP Firyad Rawandouzi told Aswat al-Iraq that the delegation will visit Baghdad within the coming few days, butt it shall be a party delegation, not governmental."

Again we'll close with this from Notre Dame Law professor Mary Ellen O'Connell's "Killing Awlaki was illegal, immoral and dangerous" (CNN):

Every American adult knows what an armed conflict is. The U.S. is engaged in armed conflict in Afghanistan and Libya. It engaged in combat in Iraq from 2003-2011. Thus, every American knows that the U.S. is not engaged in an armed conflict in Yemen - not a real armed conflict. Nevertheless, President Obama placed an American citizen in Yemen on a kill list. Anwar al-Awlaki and several other people were killed on September 20 by a “barrage” of missiles launched from drones operated by the CIA.

The president and his officials know that it is unlawful to kill persons in this way outside of armed conflict hostilities. So they have been asserting the U.S. is in a worldwide “armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces.” This assertion defies common sense. So officials also assert we have a right to kill persons who pose an “imminent” threat under the law of self-defense. In fact, the law of self-defense, found in the U.N. Charter, permits force in self-defense on the territory of a state if the state is responsible for a significant armed attack. Yemen is not responsible for any significant armed attacks.

So are we seeing a repeat of the famous “torture memo” strategy? Arguments are being asserted that are just plausible enough to keep Congress, the courts and U.S. allies at bay so targeted killing can continue. Where we once debated the legality, morality and effectiveness of “harsh interrogation methods”, we now discuss the legality of intentionally killing of suspected terrorists far from any actual armed conflict hostilities. In other words, the end justifies the means, especially with a plausible-sounding legal cover story.

Extrajudicial killing of terrorists suspects, however, is no more efficacious, lawful or moral than torture.

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