Monday, July 16, 2012

Violence is still around, are protests coming back?

Violence in Iraq continues today.  All Iraq News reports a Kazak roadside bombing has left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead.  Alsumaria notes that, northwest of Baquba, unknown assailants shot dead (with machine guns) a Sahwa who was leaving his home while southwest of Baquba a security checkpoint was bombed, a Tikrit car bombing left five people injured, a 21-year-old man was discovered drowned in Zab River and four of his friends have been arrested in the death, an attack in the Abu Ghraib section of Baghdad left 1 employee of the Ministry of Electricity dead and, Sunday night for the last two, 1 corpse was discovered (25-year-old man, strangleed) in Kirkuk, and 1 Sahwa was shot dead last night in Tarmmiyah near his home.  That's 7 deaths and five injured so far in today's news cycle.  (The Sunday night events were not reported on Sunday.)   Violence continued over the weekend as well. Xinhua reports of Sunday's violence: 1 person shot dead in Baquba, 1 "young girl" shot dead by her Muqdadiyah home, a bombing attack on the Baquba home of a Sawha leader which left fifteen injured and an al-Tahrir grenade attack that left one police officer injured.  AFP notes a Rashidiyah attack which left 9 security forces dead and two more injured and an attack in Hammam al-Alili attack which left four people injured.  Iraq Body Count tabulates178 deaths from violence so far this month.


Remember when Iraqis marched and protested for better security?  There's still no heads to the security ministries.  Nouri's failed to nominate them.  He was supposed to have done that by the end of 2010.  2012 is over half-way over and still no heads to the security ministries.  In the most recent development on that front, Al Mada notes whispers that Nouri's State of Law is stating that if members of Iraqiya want to be nominated to the security ministries then they need to withdraw from Iraqiya first. As violence has increased, Nouri's done nothing.

Last year, Iraqis took to the streets with a number of demands.  They wanted better security.  They also wanted their family and friends who were disappearing into the Iraqi 'legal' system to be treated fairly, to have their day in court and to be released when there was no reason to hold them. Al Mada reports that Iraqiya is calling on Nouri to follow the law with regards to prisoners, especially those facing execution, and noting that hundreds of innocent people remain in Iraqi prisons waiting years for trials that are repeatedly delayed.  They note that last September Amnesty International estimated there were at least 30,000 Iraqis in prisons still waiting for a trial.

The protesters had several demands.   They wanted the basic utilities fixed and improved -- potable water, dependable electricity.  That hasn't happened either.  As that demand continues to be ignored, Al Mada reports that women suffer more from the power outages than do men in Iraq and among the reasons they cite is that women are more often responsible for the household chores and those are chores that have to be done whether there's eletricity or not while Iraqi men can leave the home and, in addition to cleaning and laundry, women are also most often responsible for preparing meals and the power outages also effect the ability to store and keep food as well as the appliances themselves.  Meals during power outages, the paper notes, are often meals in which an electric oven, blender, other electrical appliane or refrigerator cannot be utilized. 

Last Thursday, Nouri met with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.  Bit by bit, details leak out.  Al Rafidayn reports that State of Law's Yasin Majid states that the two men did not discuss the proposed no-confidence vote on Nouri during their meeting, that they only discussed draft laws.   All Iraq News reports that yesterday the PUK began working with the KDP and Goran (PUK and KDP are the two major political parties in the KRG; KRG President Massoud Barazani belongs to the KDP and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani belongs to the PUK; Goran -- also known as "Change" -- is a struggling third party) to discuss the no-confidence vote.  Alsumaria notes that National Alliance leader Ibrahim al-Jaafari visited Nujaifi's today and they discussed the never-ending political crisis with both sides agreeing that any solution must be Constitutional.

None of the issues that led Iraqis to take to the street last year have been addressed -- despite Nouri swearing, as February ended, that if the Iraqi people would just give him 100 days, he would fix things.  He didn't fix a damn thing.  So is it any surprise that Alsumaria reports residents of Kirkuk took to the streets yesterday to protest?

The people were protesting the imprisonments that Baghdad oversees in most of Iraq and that Erbil oversees in the KRG.  For those who have forgotten -- not hard to do since the US press misreported it -- this was what sparked the protests in Iraq.  It had nothing to do with the Arab Spring in other countries. The US press ignored the Iraq protests until they could pretend it was 'sparked' by the Arab Spring.  So a new wave of protests could be coming to Iraq.

Al Rafidayn reports that Nouri met with US Central Command General James Mattis on Sunday.  Why?  To ask the US to speed upt he delivery of weapons.  All Iraq News also covers the meeting and includes a photo of the two.  AFP adds, "The Iraqi premier also pointedly said during a meeting with General James Mattis, the visiting head of US Central Command, that only the central government would decide which arms purchases would be made, in an apparent swipe at Kurdish complaints over the acquisition of F-16 warplanes."  Defense World adds, "Iraq has agreed to acquire American military equipment worth more than $10 billion, including 36 F-16 warplanes, tanks, artillery, helicopters and patrol boats which are not delivered for years to the Iraq." 

Let's see, to break up the ongoing protests last year, Nouri had his security arrest, abduct and torture and he had his goons beat up on protesters and threaten them in Iraq's Liberation Square.  What might he have done to the protesters if he had F-16s back then?  The world may soon find out.

Kazim Habib (Al Mada) surveys the political scene and notes how the Iraqi Communist Party rushed to prop up Nouri recently -- without waiting for any proof or evidence that Nouri had changed or was going to be welcoming ot others and now the two form a 'friendship,' ignoring that the Dawa Party has long wanted to eradicate the Communist Party, stressing it's opposition to secularism and modernity.

In other news, Al Mada reports allegations that some beggars in Baghdad are less than honest and offer an example of a woman who is alleged to have burned her 4-year-old grandson to increase the likelihood that people would provide money.

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