Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thug Nouri claims another life

30-year-old Palestinian Emad Abdulsalam died last week. Ahlul Bayt News Agency reports the man was arrested in Doura three days ago and was tortured non-stop by Iraqi forces which notes the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq "said that Palestinians have been the target of 'Death squads and militias' over the past six years under the very eyes of the government." The International Middle East Media Center gives his name as Imad Abdul-Salaam Abu Rabee and notes that Iraqi police grabbed him after he left work and was heading home. Imad's family sought out a forensic center in Baghdad which determined "that their son was killed under interrogation." The International Middle East Media Center notes:

It is worth mentioning that Abu Rabee' is married and a father of two children. His brother was killed by insurgents in Baghdad last year. He was born and raised in Iraq; his family is from the Al Boreij refugee camp, in the Gaza Strip.
Sa'ad voiced an appeal to the Palestinian Authority to act on resolving the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Iraq as soon as possible as they are being attacked and murdered by the Iraqi Police and by several militias in the country.

The world looks the other way as Little Saddam, Tyrant Nouri, begins building up his death toll. In 30 years, we'll have the New York Times pulling an Eason Jordan and publicly saying, "We covered things up for access." In the meantime, the death toll mounts and does so under yet another US-installed puppet. William Fisher (The Public Record) notes:

Human Rights Watch is charging that, despite U.S. government assurances that it helped create a stable democracy, the reality is that it left behind a "budding police state" -- cracking down harshly during 2011 on freedom of expression and assembly by intimidating, beating, and detaining activists, demonstrators, and journalists.
The organization's Middle East and North Africa director, Sarah Leah Whitson, warns that "Iraq is quickly slipping back into authoritarianism as its security forces abuse protesters, harass journalists, and torture detainees."

Meanwhile AFP offers an examination of the protests in Iraq, a year later, where protesters fear for their lives, and pro-government forces show up to drown them out. (Nouri pays those pro-government forces. We've noted that since they first appeared.) It's an article voicing the dismay of the real protesters over what happened to their movement.

They are targeted.

They have also shot themselves in the foot. There are tactical decisions they made that were wrong and stripped them over power well before June 2011. In addition, they have repeatedly shot themselves in the foot. They have been their own worst enemy.

When some provinces called for self-autonomy, some factions of the genuine movement took to slamming that call and insisting that only a unified Iraq was possible. If you're protesting for Iraqis to have a voice, you don't turn and slam other Iraqis who want self-determination. You can disagree with the stance (though that make you undemocratic) and not attack them verbally. But that's not what happened.

In addition, there was too much Jew-baiting. Too much hatred of Jewish people being expressed. I exchanged e-mails on that subject with various members of the real movement. Slam the US? Not upsetting on the world stage. The US invaded Iraq. Slam Jewish people and/or Israel in your social media posts? You're not the Palestinians. And all you're doing is boring some people and alarming others. You're not expanding your movement. When the flag of Israel was burned at a genuine protest in Baghdad one Friday, I wrote a 13K e-mail saying that was a huge mistake and it would cut off media opportunities because you weren't looking as though you were interested in imprisoned Iraqis or in basic services or jobs. It looked instead as if you were part of some Israeli-Arab split that really seems to fuel the Middle East but really pisses off the rest of the world. Yes, some on the left and some on the right will gladly rush to take sides. But a larger portion of the population is just damn sick of it. And to pretend that Iraqis suffering from unemployment and lack of basic services are making an important statement by burning the flag of Israel is preposterous. And I'm being really kind and leaving it at the flag. In my 13K e-mail, I also called out two speeches [posted on the protesters main Facebook page] that denounced Israel in xenophobic terms that had nothing to do with goverenance but everything to do with hatred and false stereotypes.

The protests in 2011 started before February 25th and before the college students got involved. The protests really started in southern Iraq and that's where they got their deeper meaning and the heart that made them more than a "provide for me" protest. (The original heart of the movement was the protests by family members of the 'disappeared.') A group of people then saw what was taking place in other countries in the region and they decided they'd be part of something similar. They disregarded the protesters who had come before. That was a big mistake. And turning it into a 'youth movement' was another because it was the fathers and mothers asking for their (often adult) children who had been disappeared that carried the real weight. When it became 'I want jobs! I want my services!' it became a lot less. When people make demands for themselves also began attacking Israel, they really shot themselves in the foot and fed into an image of self-involved and interested in continuing a centuries old and never-ending war.

I'm the first to call out Nouri and we probably were the first US site to do so on the issue of his being a thug. We noted his attacks on the press in 2006. Back when the US press was praising him for his 'big plan' on security councils, we're the only ones who went over what those plans were and that they included and attack on journalism. I think Nouri al-Maliki is a thug and will always prevent Iraq from moving forward.

But if the movment is going to regroup or self-examine, it better do so honestly. That includes grasping how they removed themselves from the world stage. That might have been a trade off and even a wise one (Al Jazeera Arabic, for example, loved broadcasting any attacks on Israel the movement offered). But if the goal was to reach out to the world watching, to reach beyond the immediate region, they made mistakes that left them isolated.

None of which is to minimize the attacks the movement was and remains under. Nouri has targeted them from day one. But they needed the world watching and they needed the world rooting for them. If you're dispensing, "I hate ___ and I hate them because their greed is instilled in their DNA and they are evil and . . .," if that's what you're doing, you'll quickly discover the world moves on and looks for someone else to root for.

The attacks from Nouri were always going to come. That's what a thug does to protect himself. To fail to realize that they will come and that you need to shore up goodwill around the world before the attacks come is to be unrealistic about what you're facing.

When the movement regroups -- if it does -- it needs to figure out its demands and its message. If its demands are jobs and basic services, they'd be wise to focus on Iraq and avoid burning flags of other nations. If you're instead going to offer some world critique, that's fine, but don't pretend the two are the same. (And regardless, be careful of aiming hatred at any group of people.)

The following community sites -- plus Watching America, Adam Kokesh, Michael Ratner and Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:

Elaine's "No, silence isn't the answer" went up last night and isn't showing up on the permalinks.
This is from Sherwood Ross' "NEW AMERICAN DREAM SCRIPT FOR FEBRUARY 2, 2012 ANOTHER WAR FOR OIL WITH IRAN?" (CounterCurrents):

Over and over again in the Middle East, we see the same pattern
repeating itself:
An oil-rich country takes control of its own oil fields and cuts out
the Western oil companies.
What follows as the night the day, the western countries overthrow the
offending government and reinstall their favorite oil companies.
This has happened in both Iran and Iraq.
Right now, the U.S. is threatening Iran with war on grounds that it is
making a nuclear weapons.
To begin with, Iran is a peaceful country. It hasn’t started a war in
hundreds of years. It only fought when Iraq invaded it in 1980.
In that war, Iraq used chemical weapons that it got from the United
States---so here we have an example of an American attack by proxy on
Iran without any provocation.
But the United States attacked Iran on its own without using
intermediaries in 1953 and overthrew the legitimate government.
Most Americans don’t know about that overthrow. It was engineered by
the Central Intelligence Agency.

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