From the article:
"We have no intention of sending any reinforcements to the site of the conflict on the border," said Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for the Kurdish peshmerga defense force, adding that this was "because force is not the answer."
AP reports that Turkey and Iran are stating they will work together on the issue of Kurdish rebels. Iran recently worked out some form of an understanding with PJAK, the Kurdish rebels that attack Iranian security targets. So whether this is a real partnership or just an effort to strengthen its relationship with Turkey by offering public statements of support remains to be seen. In related news, Alsumaria TV reports, "Iraq’s Ahrar bloc affiliated to Sadrist Movement criticized, on Tuesday, head of White Iraqiya Party Hassan Al Alawi's statements which called to unify the two main Kurdish parties in Kurdistan 'in preparation to declare the independent Kurdish state.' These statements reflect the failure of Alawi's overstated ambitions, Al Ahrar argued confirming that Kurds are an integral component of Iraq’s community."
Meanwhile negotiations continue regarding a US military presence in Iraq beyond 2011. Al Mada notes Nouri's statements to the press that the number of trainers will be no more than one thousand. In a separate report, Al Mada notes that US Vice President Joe Biden is due in Iraq shortly to discuss the issue of 'trainers' and immunity and that Biden will be citing US laws and the US Constitution as the need for immunity. In addition to meeting with Nouri, he will also meet with Massoud Barzani, KRG President and with Amar al-Hakim (Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq leader).
Meanwhile Dar Addustour reports the Iraqi government is spending $150 million to buy three deluxe planes -- one of which will be for the Iraqi president, another for the prime minister. Dar Addustour also notes that the Iraqi government is meeting with the United Nation's Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq regarding how to improve their water stability and security in the face of potential drought.
In other news, the Iraqi press has been full of articles this week (such as this one at Al Rafidayn) about calls for certain professors to lose their jobs or be demoted on charges that they are Ba'athists. Alsumaria TV notes, "Iraqi Minister of Higher Education Ali Al Adib accused on Wednesday his predecessor Abd Diab Al Ujaili of having run the ministry upon Baathist Party's directions. The 140 staff members that were sent away from the University of Tikrit were subject to the Justice and Accountability Law, Adib pointed up. The University’s president reported their names to the ministry, he added." Aswat al-Iraq reports, "Deputy Premier Saleh al-Mutlaq rejected what he called 'demotion' of a number of professors from Mosul and Tikrit universities, pointing out that these procedures are 'disappointing and depressive' to the coming political stability and uprising of scientific and economic situations. In a field visit done by Mutlaq to Salah al-Din province, he met the governor, university teachers and tribal sheikhs." Presumably crying "Ba'athist" every five seconds allows many to refuse to focus on real issues such as Dar Addustour's report on new data which finds that the number of Iraqi widows and orphans continues to rise.
Al Mada offers a lengthy report on the state of press freedoms in Iraq and notes the crackdown on journalists when "government agents" started arresting those who dared to cover the Friday protests, how their cameras and laptops were confiscated, how security teams beat demonstrators, used tear gas, water cannons and bullets on the protesters, how journalists were arrested, etc. Hadi al-Mahdi, the Iraqi journalist and activist, was arrested February 25th, the article notes, after covering the protest. He and two other journalists were eating lunch when Iraqi forces rushed up and began beating them with sticks and the butts of the rifles. The paper notes the assassination of Hadi al-Mahdi and how friends believe the murder was part of the government crackdown. That's just the first part of the article.
Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace. She is taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and this is her latest report on that:
POLICE BACK OFF AFTER THE GRANNY PEACE BRIGADE
by Joan Wile, author,
"Grandmothers Against the War; Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace" (Citadel Press)
Culture seekers streaming through Lincoln Center Tuesday evening, Oct. 18, were undoubtedly surprised to see a tableau not usually seen at the arts complex. Approximately 100 members of the Granny Peace Brigade and their followers formed a semi-circle around the fountain located in the midst of the plaza surrounded by the Koch Theatre (home of the Ballet); the Metropolitan Opera House, and Avery Fisher Hall.
The Granny Peace Brigade at Lincoln Center, Oct. 18, 2011 photo by Masahiro Hosoda
The mostly elderly women, interspersed with a few men, stood silently from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. wearing placards with messages such as "AGAINST WARS, INVASIONS, OCCUPATIONS" and "AGAINST U.S. MILITARFY BASES ABROAD." The main purpose of the action was to challenge the rules forbidding private public spaces being used to advance political agendas, in essence preventing freedom of speech. And, as always, the grannies meant to convey their anti-war, anti-militarization message. They chose the date to celebrate the six years since 18 of them were arrested and jailed on Oct. 18, 2005, when they tried to enlist to replacegrandchildren in harm's way in an illegal and immoral war in .
The grannies believe that because of the national and international crises currently prevailing, which sorely demand resolution, it is essential that there be opportunities to rally, to vigil, to demonstrate on behalf of peace and social justice wherever people congregate.
After about 20 minutes, an official from Lincoln Center came over to the group and said that they would have to disperse, and, if not, the police would be called. The peace people stood their ground. No police came, though they were at a nearby location ready to pounce. More time passed, and again the woman from Lincoln Center warned the grannies to leave the premises or the police would be called. The grannies continued standing silently, and again there was a notable absence of the men in blue to carry out the threat.
Promptly at 8 p.m., the grannies broke ranks and, as cameras flashed and the watching crowd burst into applause, spoke happily about their feelings of having accomplished their mission. They had, after all, held their vigil without interference.
One wondered why the police backed off from removing and presumably arresting the vigilers. Was it because they retain vestiges of their childhood respect and fear of their elders -- they were psychologically unable to clamp handcuffs on old women like their grannies?
Or was it because they've been getting a bad rap lately as stories have circulated about young women being pepper sprayed while peacefully marching with the Occupypeople, and for randomly brutally mistreating OWS persons on , in Citibank? If so, it was a wise decision. YouTube videos circulating throughout the world showing cops dragging white-haired old ladies into paddy wagons would not exactly enhance the reputation of New York's Finest!
So, have the grandmothers created a new precedent paving the way for future vigils and rallies to take place in public private spaces (or is it private public spaces)? Was this a unique event resulting from intimidated police confronted with their elders? Or if it's a younger assemblage next time, will the police revert to their old aggressive tactics?
Time will tell. One hopes, however, that a new chapter is beginning, allowing for more freedom to peaceably assemble in order to alert the public to the perilous circumstances confronting us all.
And we'll close with this from Justin Raimondo's "Moammar Gadhafi, R.I.P." (Antiwar.com):
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