Monday, March 12, 2012

At least 12 dead as violence continues to flare in Iraq

Like the ongoing occupation, violence has never ceased in Iraq. It continues today. CNN reports armed assailants invaded the Mayor of al-Dhuloiya's office today and killed 5 of his guards while, in Baghdad, assailants "robbed a pair of jewelry stores" and had "a shootout with police." AFP adds that the Ministry of the Interior says both owners of the jewelry store were killed, 2 police officers and 2 bystanders were killed and ten people were left injured -- that adds up to six dead; however, the hospital states that 7 died and fourteen were attacked (go with the hospital figures), the Tarmiyah municipal headquarters were attacked early this morning leaving 3 police officers dead and a police patrol came across the assailants nearby resulting in 2 police officers shot dead. Zee News notes Tarmiyah mayor Jassim Mohammed Saleh's home was attacked yesterday resulting in the death of 1 bodyguard and four of the mayor's female relatives. Xinhua identifies the four women as the mayor's "wife, sister and two daughters."

Maybe if Nouri al-Maliki had appointed heads of the security ministries back in December 2010, violence would have decreased? Instead, he's left the positions of Minister of the Interior, Minister of Defense and Minister of National Security vacant for 15 months and counting. He's in charge of them in the meantime -- and doing a lousy job.

Al Mada reports that the fifth planning and prep meeting for the national conference is supposed to take place today. Since December 21st, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and President Jalal Talabani have been calling for a national conference to address the nation's political crisis. Nouri's latest stalling tactic is to insist that the national conference must wait until after the Arab Summit which is scheduled to be held in Baghdad on March 29th. If it takes place, Nouri is supposed to represent Iraq the way others will represent other countries. Presiding over the summit is supposed to be Jalal Talabani. Over the weekend, Kitabat reported that Talabani's latest trip to the Mayo Clinic in the US makes many believe he won't be back in Iraq in time for the summit and won't be able to preside over it. (Past trips to the Mayo Clinic usually require Jalal to spend a week to a week and a half in the US. If this trip is like previous ones, he should be able to make it back to Iraq in time for the summit.) It's been a period of bad news for Talabani which kicked off with last month's killing of American teacher Jeremiah Small in the KRG. The killer then took his own life. The killer was Beyar Talabani, Jalal's great-nephew.

In today's New York Times, Jack Healy reports on the targeting of Iraqi youth and notes the image problems as the Arab Summit looms, "Many details of what Iraqi newspapers have called the 'emo killings' are murky, but the uproar comes at an awkward moment for Iraq. The country has been preparing to showcase itself to the world as host of a high-profile meeting of Arab leaders in late March, the first major diplomatic event here since American forces withdrew in December. But the news that young men in tight T-shirts and skinny jeans are being beaten to death with cement blocks and dumped in the streets has threatened to overshadow the new palm trees and fresh paint."

In political news, Al Rafidayn reports that Ammar al-Hakim and Hadi al-Amiri's organizations (the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the Badr Organization) issued a statement on Sunday announcing that they were two separate entities. The Badr Organization was previously the Badr Brigade, the armed militia of ISCI. Last November, Al Rafidayn reported on the unofficial split between the two and quoted Ammar al-Hakim declaring that, in the 2010 elections and others since 2005, ISCI was weighed down by the Badr Organization.

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 included a squatters museum, AIPAC, Michael Smith's book tour for Who Killed Che? (written by Michael Smith and Michael Ratner), attorney Wolfgang Kaleck on the Columbian Trade Unionist murder and Cyrus McGoldrick on police surveillance of American Muslims.

The e-mail address for this site is