Saturday, July 28, 2012

More violence, more stand-offs between the KRG and Baghdad

Violence continues in Iraq.  AFP reports, "Gunmen shot dead a women, her three daughters and her daughter-in-law in the Iraqi city of Samarra on Saturday evening, security and medical officials said."
Alsumaria adds that a Kirkuk roadside bombing injured five Iraqi soldiers, 2 Kirkuk roadside bombings left two police officers injured, the corpse of 1 woman and her brother were discovered in Dohuk Province in the Tigris and a Baghdad armed attack left 2 people dead.

Meanwhile conflict continues regarding the Syrian borders.  Xinhua reports, "Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki criticized authorities of the country's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan for preventing Iraqi army soldiers sent by Baghdad from reaching a border point with Syria located at a disputed area controlled by Kurdish forces."  Al Mada notes that Jabbar Yawar, Secretary-General of the Peshmerga, states these are areas that the Peshmerga naturally patrols.  Al Mada notes that the Kurdistan Alliance states Nouri is not able to move forces into the KRG without the consent of the Kurdish Regional Government.

Besides the usual turf wars universal to different security forces around the world, there may also be the fear that Nouri would use the issue of the border crossings in an attempt to install the Iraqi forces permanently in these areas.  Considering other power grabs that he's made, it wouldn't be a stretch.  Alsumaria notes that today KRG President Massoud Barzanai spoke today about people who believe they're not bound by the Constitution and try to grab powers that their offices do not come with.  He said while he has no personal disagreement with Nouri al-Maliki, he does have concerns for Nouri's mental health, as he would have concerns over the mental health of anyone who resorts to force instead of dialogue.  He stated the Kurdistan region is built on opportunity and reason and they have problems with anyone who resorts to force.

Baghdad and the KRG are also in conflict over the contracts the KRG has signed with ExxonMobil and Chevron.  Rudaw reports:

An Iraqi parliamentary team visited Erbil last week to investigate Kurdistan’s oil deals with foreign oil companies, the lack of an oil and gas law in Baghdad, and Baghdad’s stoppage of Kurdistan’s share of refined oil products.
[. . .]  Awad al-Awadi, a member of the parliamentary team from the Sadrist Movement, told Rudaw, “Mr. Hawrami told us the contracts had been signed based on the Kurdistan Region’s oil law and he gave us a copy of the contracts for the first time.”
Awadi blamed both the Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional governments for acting based on their own interests in the absence of an oil and gas law.

In addition to the above conflicts, Al Jazeera (link is text and video) adds, "The president of Iraq's Kurdish region has warned that he would view as a 'declaration of war' if the federal government cuts funding to the region in a dispute over oil sales to Turkey. In an interview with Al Jazeera this week, Massoud Barzani also said his region would take measures to counter any military threat from the Iraqi government."

In other news, Parliament held a hearing today.  210 members were present besides Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.  And the issue of the electoral commission was disccused.  MP Ammar Tohme tells Al Mada that movement forward on this issue continues to be hampered with the biggest obstacles being the number of people serving on the commission and one possible solution being expanding the number of commissioners from 13 to 15.  Alsumaria notes that Monday Parliament is expected to address 8 bills and that the Mayor of Baghdad is scheduled to appear before the legislative body to answer questions regarding  the drop in the amount of potable water.

In other news, Alsumaria reports that the Telegraph of London has declared that Algeria and Iraq have the worst national anthems.  The unsigned article in the Telegraph of London, ranks what they call the ten worst anthems -- Iraq comes in at number seven:

Iraq's national song, "My Homeland," comes from a poem written by Ibrahim Touquan, a Palestinian poet, in 1934.  Reinstated in 2004 after a previous anthem reminded residents too much of Saddam Hussein's regime, the lyrics are rousing but the uanty melody underplays the seriousness of the message. 

In other Olympic news, AFP reports Noor Amer Jassim, competing in the shooting competition for Iraq, was prevented from taking her equpiment on the flight from Baghdad to Dubai, "Emirati authorities later gave the green light for the pistol to be transported to Dubai by plane on Wednesday, and pledged that it would arrive safely in London."  Noor Amer Jassim is one of eight Iraqi athletes competing in the Summer Olympics.

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