Thursday, August 23, 2012

Claims that fighter jets flew over Iraq into Syria

High temperatures continue across Iraq and All Iraq News reports that they are expected to continue for the next four days.  Today Baghdad's supposed to be 43 degrees Celsius (109.4 Fahrenheit), Basra's supposed to be 45 (113 degrees Fahrenheit) and Mosul 42 (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit).  They also note it's almost time to begin planting the wheat crops.  MP Sami Al Askari ("Adviser to Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki) speaks with Zawya about water scarcity in Iraq:

Question: The dryness of river basins water is a problem facing Iraq in the future. No matter how our oil resources grow, there is no substitute for water, which the UN safeguarded for us through protocols of good neighbourliness. But the problem becomes compounded when neighbours do not care about Iraq’s suffering in this respect. Did the parliament set a plan for dealing with this problem?

A: The problem of water scarcity is one of the serious problems facing the Arab region. Iraq comes first on the list of countries that suffer from this problem for many reasons. One of the main reasons is the policy of the riparian countries sharing with Iraq the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates, which originate from the territories of these countries or pass through their territories. The policy of building dams in Turkey, Syria and Iran without regard to Iraq’s interests poses a serious threat to Iraq, especially in light of Turkey’s refusal to sign binding agreements ensuring Iraq’s right to a fair share of water from the two rivers. Iraq needs a diplomatic effort, and a clear policy in its relations with these countries to ensure a fair share of water should be the heart of any economic, security or political agreements with these countries. The international community, through the United Nations, is required to force Iraq’s neighbouring countries to conclude agreements to regulate the distribution of water because the problem of water could in the future become one of the factors of instability in this vital region of the world.

Two years ago, Schuyler Null (New Security Beat) observed:

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of Iraq’s current water and electricity shortfall is the outlook for the future: the country is set to double in population by 2050. According to the Population Reference Bureau, Iraq along with Yemen and the Palestinian Territories, are the clear outliers in Middle Eastern demographics. In each, youth represents greater than 40 percent of the population, average total fertility rate is higher than four, and total population is expected to more than double over the next 40 years.

Today, MP Hamid al-Mutlaq states that Iraq is unable to protect its waters or airspace.   His statement comes as Alsumaria reports that the Basra port security has arrested 17 Iranians and stated they were illegally fishing in Iraq waters.  Today Alsumaria also reports that Iraqiya MP Hamid al-Mutlaq states that military aircraft breached Iraqi airspace to fly into Syria and drop bombs.  Alsumaria also notes that Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Moussawi is already denying that any warplane entered Iraqi air space to bomb Syria.  This is breaking news in Iraq and will only become bigger since it follows Dempsey's visit and, if true or believed, will be seen as having been approved by Nouri in the Thursday meeting.

Meanwhile as the political crisis continues, AKnews notes, "Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) Bloc at the Iraqi Council of Representatives has called on Kurdistan's President Massoud Barzani to gather all political leaders of Iraq in Erbil for negotiations to overcome the political crisis in the country."

Lastly, Conor Friedersdorf (The Atlantic) points out some basics regarding Barack's time as president:

Barack Obama did win in 2008 running on a platform more liberal than the one he has pursued in the interim. Perhaps he couldn't move any farther left on immigration or health care and stay viable. But on national security, executive power, and civil-liberties issues, he campaigned and won handily repudiating Bush-era policies, only to govern to the "right" of the Bush Administration.
There wasn't a political imperative to do so. And I'm tired of that truth being obscured.
If liberals are going express horror at the GOP agenda as they enthusiastically support Obama's reelection, it's time for them to own his policies and stop trying to blame them on George W. Bush, or intransigent Republicans, or the financial crisis, or corporate campaign donations, or the desire to compromise, or an electorate that wasn't ready for the allegedly "knighted" Obama.
Barack Obama wasn't pressured to be executioner-in-chief. He asserted himself as arbiter of which human beings to kill without trial, at times far from any battlefield, sometimes without even knowing their identities. He decided to limit congressional oversight and totally exclude the judiciary.
House Speaker John Boehner didn't define militants as all men of military age that American drones kill. The Obama Administration did that.
Voters didn't clamor for an unprecedented war on whistleblowers. The Obama Administration decided to wage it.
An intransigent Congress didn't force the Obama Administration to make frequent use of the state-secrets privilege, or to keep Bradley Manning in solitary confinement, or to keep secret the legal memo that outlines the theory behind his extrajudicial assassination of American citizens.
No one made Obama violate the War Powers Resolution in Libya.

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