Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July more deadly for Iraqis than June

Reporters Without Borders notes today that 6 countries have seen more than one reporter killed in 2012 so far while 7 -- including Iraq -- have seen at least one killed.  Iraq just moved up to the other category, the more than one.  Bushra Juhi (AP) reports police announced today that last night in Mosul, Ghazwan Anas was shot dead in an attack which left his wife and mother injured. Al Rafidayn reports that unknown assailants stormed Anas' home and shot him dead while leaving his wife injured.  Xinhua adds that it was his wife and their 4-month-old child that were injured in the attack and, "The Iraqi Union of Journalists condemned in a statement the assassination of Anas and called on Nineveh's Operations Command, responsible for the security of the province, to exert every effort to bring the killers to justice. The Union said that more than 280 of its members and media workers have been killed since the start of the US-led war in March 2003." In addition, Bahrain News Agency reports an al-Ramadi roadside bombing has claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more injured. Basil El-Dabh (Daily News Egypt) observes, "An escalation of violence in Iraq comes with a renewed effort by Iraqi Al-Qaeda forces to energize its presence in the Anbar province. "

On the topic of violence, Iraq Body Count counts 403 deaths from violence through yesterday.

That means that July has seen more deaths than June.  (The UN counted 401 deaths from violence for June.)  IBC's number does not include the journalist killed lat Monday.

Along with the violence, the political crisis continues.  In better days, we ignored the International Crisis Group.  But in better days, Iraq wasn't the forgotten topic.  (One example:  When I think of Refugees International and the dreams of its founder versus the sorry ass way it ignores Iraq and Iraqis today, I'm appalled.) There were many reasons for ignoring ICG which reached out to us via the public e-mail account repeatedly in the first years of this site.  Then they wanted to be included.  Now they are just because the pool to choose from is so small.  "Iraq's Secular Opposition: The Rise and Decline of Al-Iraqiya" opens:

A key player in the political crisis currently unfolding in Baghdad is the Al-Iraqiya Alliance, a cross-confessional, predominantly Sunni, mostly secular coalition of parties that came together almost three years ago in an effort to replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the March 2010 elections. It failed then, and its flailing efforts now, along with those of other parties, to unseat Maliki through a parliamentary no-confidence vote highlight Iraqiya’s waning power as a force that could limit the prime minister’s authority. They also show that what remains of the country’s secular middle class lacks an influential standard bearer to protect its interests and project a middle ground in the face of ongoing sectarian tensions that Syria’s civil war risks escalating. Finally, they underline the marginalisation of Sunni Arabs and Sunni Turkomans by the Shiite-led government, further increasing the potential for violence.
It did not have to be this way. As recently as two years ago, when election results became known, Iraqiya showed promise as a secular alternative in an environment defined by ethno-sectarian politics. It was the only political alliance to attract both Shiite and especially Sunni voters. It campaigned on an expressly non-sectarian platform (arguing, for example, against the notion of federal Sunni and Shiite regions) as the representative of liberals and moderates. It won the largest number of seats, 91, against the 89 mustered by its main rival, Maliki’s State of Law list. Alone among major political alliances, Iraqiya claimed support throughout the country, having obtained twelve of its seats in Shiite-majority areas, when Maliki’s did not win a single one in predominantly Sunni governorates.
But Iraqiya overreached. In negotiations over government formation, its leader, Iyad Allawi, insisted on holding the prime minister’s position by virtue of heading the winning list. In response, Shiite parties that had fallen out with Maliki grew fearful that former Baathists would return to power and once again coalesced around him. Joining forces with Maliki, they managed to form the largest parliamentary bloc; the outgoing prime minister, who also gained support from both Iran and the U.S., held on to his position. In a striking reversal of fortune, Iraqiya lost its leverage. Some of its leaders rushed to accept senior positions in the new Maliki government even before other key planks of the power-sharing accord between Maliki, Allawi and Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region, known as the Erbil agreement, could be implemented.

Though not the exclusive (or even main) reason we avoided ICG, the third paragraph goes to one of ICG's biggest problems: Forever airbrushing the United States government out of incriminating photos.

Iraqiya did not overreach.  Nouri al-Maliki refused to follow the Constitution and was able to create the 8 month political stalemate -- funny how they vanish 8 months at ICG -- because he had the White House's backing.   Equally true, Ayad Allawi is a Shi'ite.  That's a fact that would undercut the third paragraph's white washing for the US government so it doesn't get included.  And failing to acknowledge how Barack Obama backed Nouri in 2010 -- despite the will of the Iraqi people -- goes a long way towards explaining ICG's muddled and blurry picture of life on the ground in Iraq today.  

The takeaway?  Professional apologists rarely make good analysts. 

Dropping back to yesterday:

Meanwhile AFP reports on the latest round of rumors Nouri and his cronies are spreading about others: KRG President Massoud Barzani has been caught attempting to buy weapons from "an unnamed foreign country."  Doesn't it all just reek of "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."?  Starting to understand why Bully Boy bush chose Nouri in the first place? 
Could it be true?  It could be.  Would it matter if it was?  The KRG can arm themselves.  That was established when Saddam Hussein was still the president of Iraq.  Nouri al-Maliki may not like it, but they've got that right and they established that right long before Baghdad fell in 2003 to foreign forces.  In other words, unlike Nouri and his chicken s**t exiles, the Kurds actually participated in their own liberation (1991).  Nouri and the other hens in his squawk party just bitched and moaned to get other countries to do what they were to chicken to do themselves and only returned to Iraq after Baghdad fell.  What a bunch of losers.  And now, on top of that, they're a bunch of backbiting gossips?
Naturally Iran's Press TV jumps all over the unsourced story and doesn't bother to weigh the veracity of the claims.  Press TV is almost as pathetic as the Chicken Hawk Exiles who now rule Iraq.

Alsumaria notes that State of Law MP Hassan al-Awadi is publicly accusing the KRG of trying to get weapons.  His proof?  He's State of Law.  They never have proof.  They're lucky to have a functioning brain.  Alsumaria notes that Kurdistan Alliance MP Chaun Mohammed Taha is denying the charge.

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Nouri and his lackeys are also insiting that KRG President Massoud Barzani is going to be questioned by the Iraqi Parliament.  However, today Alsumaria notes that the Parliament has received no such request to question Barzani.  On the topic of Barzani, the major speech he gave Saturday has been translated into English by the Kurdish Globe.  We'll note a section of it in today's snapshot.

Nouri's lies may end up being the least of his problem.  We noted yesterday that the Minister of Finance was claiming that there was no surplus oil money to distrubte among the people:

Al Mada notes a new study the BBC reported on which finds that 23% of Iraqis are living below the poverty line. And that finding comes as Iraqis get some bad news. Al Mada reports the Minister of Finance Fadhil Nabi issued a statement declaring that the vast sums of money obtained through oil revenue is inadequate for distribution to the Iraqi people. Do you believe that? Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc doesn't. They've been raising serious questions about the surplus for some time.

Today Al Mada reports the Sadr bloc is calling out that claim and declaring that the Cabinet did not discuss this decision with anyone.  Moqtada's bloc has issued a statement declaring that they will not stop demaning a fair distribution of the oil revenue surplus.  And that's a position that most Iraqis will be back.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.