Wednesday, August 01, 2012

July's death toll 436

It's the first of the month, death tolls and 'death tolls' will be noted.  Iraq Body Count tabulates 436 people were killed from violence in Iraq for the month of July.


From the July 2nd snapshot:

July 1st was Sunday.  The June death tolls were covered or 'covered' depending upon how easy of grader you are.  As noted in Third's "Editorial: 472 killed in June from violence in Iraq," "Reuters claims 237 deaths.  AFP goes a wee bit higher with 282."  Iraq Body Count -- which neither of the outlets bothered to mention -- counted 472 deaths.  The United Nations counted 401 deaths.  But the wire services went with the much, much smaller number.  

AFP notes the 'official' count from Nouri's ministries is 325 people dead and 697 injured and they then note their own count is 278 killed which indicates AFP slept a great deal on the job.   Must have been the summer heat.  Alsumaria notes the government's 325 toll would make July the deadliest month since August 2010. 

In other news Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports the provincial law election (the UN wants elections held March 2013) is stalled due to a lack of agreement between State of Law and Iraqiya.  Disagreements last week had been over the issues of quotas and representation.  This seems to be different and the draft law isn't even being read aloud due to the disagreement.  Citing non-specified differences between the political blocs, Alsumaria reports that a vote on a judicial bill has been postponed to tomorrow.   Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) explores the political crisis noting:

After the central stage struggle and differences between Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and Ayad Alawi, Chairman of the Al Iraqiya List since the elections of 2010, the importance of this struggle dropped to second place in a more profound clash that is threatening the future and unity of the country.
Today, the axis of conflict between Al Maliki and Masoud Barzani, the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, has become more important. However, the clashes and differences are not between the Kurdish Alliance and the Iraqi National Alliance, as all the counterparts of both these alliances are fragmented and in a certain degree of disagreement amongst themselves over this issue or that.
The conflict interfaces are numerous, such as Al Maliki’s dictatorship inclinations, the oil and gas law, the Constitution’s item 140, the disputed lands, arming the Iraqi forces, arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, the region’s budget, and the region’s right to export oil to Turkey, to mention only a few as the list extends further.
The hawks of this conflict are many especially in the media; however the two prominent and central figures are Al Maliki and Barzani themselves. Moreover, both men are no longer keen on hiding their sentiments towards one another in a diplomatic manner.

Yesterday Total entered into a deal with the KRG -- as had Chevron and ExxonMobil previously.  The Baghdad-based government was furious.  Trade Arabia notes, "Total, which is following US rivals into the area, was warned by Baghdad on Tuesday it faced "severe" consequences for buying the stakes in the Harir and Safen blocks from US peer Marathon Oil without the government's consent." Al Rafidayn notes the Ministry of Oil's Director of Contracts and Licenses Abdul-Mehdi al-Amidi is stating that they are looking into repealing the deal.

And you know Nouri's really pissed because Al Mada reports State of Law's whispering that they're going to call Hoshyar Zebari before Parliament for questioning.  Foreign Minister Zebari is one of the highest ranking Kurds in the government. He has been Foreign Minister since 2006 and has an international reputation.  That reputation might be why he's being targeted.  The Kurds have become very vocal in asking/suggesting that the US government attempt to broker a resolution to the ongoing political crisis. 

In the US, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office notes:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834

Senator Murray’s Statement on the Army’s Announcement that they will End the Use of Forensic Psychiatry for Disability Evaluations
In the wake of major Army investigation, Army decides to end controversial practice that caused inconsistencies in behavioral health diagnoses and resulted in over 100 soldiers having their PTSD diagnoses reinstated after an independent re-evaluation

(Washington D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray released the following statement in reaction to the Army’s findings in an investigation into the medical command at Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state. The Army announced that the investigation has led them to end the use of forensic psychiatry for disability evaluations. The Army also announced that they would reinstate Colonel Dallas Homas as commander at Madigan after he was temporarily removed during the Army’s review.  

“I’m pleased the Army has put an end to the use of forensic psychiatry and the practices that were at the core of the misdiagnosis of hundreds of soldiers. It’s a clear message that soldiers should be given accurate diagnoses based on the best medical practices. I also hope that it encourages more servicemembers to come forward and seek help, knowing they won’t be treated unfairly or accused of lying about their symptoms. The Army’s process of coming to grips with the full scale of the task they face in caring for the mental wounds of war is ongoing, but this is a good step forward. “I look forward to working with General Austin and Colonel Homas, who has now been reinstated after the completion of this investigation, on ensuring that the Army continues to move forward in addressing the behavioral health needs of soldiers. The most important thing is that the Army continues to move away from business as usual and works to change the attitude about the mental wounds of war and increase the level of transparency around the disability system. Anything that compromises this system and soldiers’ faith in its integrity, such as the unfair practices of the forensic psychiatry team, cannot be allowed.”
Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct

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