Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Water, airspace, radar: what's Nouri's problem today?

Al Rafidayn reports that 1 intelligence officer for the Ministry of the Interior was assassinated today in Baghdad by unknown assailantes suing guns with silencers.  In addition, All Iraq News notes that a police officer's home in Salahuddin Province was bombed -- the police officer was outside his home at the time and not wounded.   In other news of violence, Nouri continues the mass arrests.  If you are ever unclear on how people (inclucing innocents) can disappear into the maze that passes for the Iraqi 'legal' system, you just have to follow the mass arrests.  Alsumaria reports 32 arrested in Kirkuk today.  The suspects were arrested based on 'intelligence.'  But Nouri has no real intelligence capability and that's one of the things the State Dept was supposed to be helping him with but he spurned that.  We're not done.  Alsumaria also reports mass arrests in Babylon today: 60 arrests.  In related news, Khalid al-Alwani is a member of Iraqiya and serves on Parliament's Integrity Committee.  All Iraq News notes that he attended the funeral of Saddam Batawi who died in prison and that he's calling for the end of torture in Iraqi prisons and detention centers.

How bad is the security situation in Iraq?  Al Mada reports that correspondence between the Parliamentary committees reveals a plan to buy weapons for members of Parliament -- and they're expecting to spend five billion dinars (that's the equivalent of $4,291,839.35 in US currency).  With Parliament's sizeable salaries, you might think they could reach into their own pockets to purchase any guns they felt they needed instead of soaking the Iraqi people with the costs.  This is a lot like an earlier plan to provide armored cars for MPs while the people have to live with the violence the government is unable to address.  What the government purchases, they can't seem to keep track of.  Al Mada also notes that Parliament's Integrity Commitee is said to have discovered that forty vehicles with sonar (to detect bombs) have gone missing from the Ministry of Finance.  If these vehicles are missing, there's a chance that they were never bought and that orders were put in for them and money provided for them but then pocketed.  As the political crisis continues, Al Mada reports Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc has collected 100 signatures backing a proposed law to limit the three presidencies -- Prime Minister, President of Iraq, Speaker of Parliament -- to two terms. This is seen as an attempt to avoid Nouri al-Maliki having a third term as prime minister (following the emergence of protesters in Iraq calling for reform in early 2011, Nouri insisted he would not seek a third term -- he and his attorney quickly disowned that promise). 

Dropping back to yesterday's snapshot:

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." 

KUNA notes, "Baghdad Monday urged neighboring countries to respect sovereignty of Iraq and warned against violating its airspace.  Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, addressing a graduation ceremony of police officers, said the Iraqi airspace has been breached by aircraft of neighboring countries, which he did not name, on a daily basis."  Kitabat notes that Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh declared today that Turkey has breached Iraq's airspace with "warplanes" repeatedly and that they intended to complain to the United Nations Security Council. Reuters answers the immediate question -- breach? do they mean the raids on northern Iraq?  Yes, Reuters reveals, that's apparently what they mean.  That's strange that Baghdad's not previously said one word publicly, in all these years, that could qualify as a complaint about these bombs.  In fact, they've told the United Nations previously that they were cooperating with Turkey and cited this as an example of how they fight terrorism and insisted it was proof of the stability they were bringing to the region and reaon enough for the UN to remove the Chapter VII classification imposed on them as a result of the attack on Kuwait.

Oh, well, maybe the accusations will cover Nouri's latest embarrassment.  The Journal of Turkish Weekly was already reporting this morning that Iraq's radar system was down due to "the power cut in Iraq." 

Meanwhile, May 30th we noted Nouri was blaming Arab countries yet again while saying nothing about Iran and, when the issue is water, that's not realistic.  Today Al Mada and Kitabat both report on findings from London's International Centre for Development Studies predicts a 70% decrease in fresh water in Iraq as a result of Iran's actions with regards to the Tigris River.   While the Arab neighbors also have an impact, the report finds Iran a greater culprit (causing Al Mada to note Iran and the "environemental disaster" its caused in their headline). If the issue isn't addressed, Iraq's drinking water and agricultural sector will dwindle.

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