Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mass arrests and the Free Iraq Army announces itself

Mass arrests and violence continue today in Iraq.  Alsumaria reports 22 people have been arrested today in Babil Province on 'terrorism' charges. All Iraq News reports that a Falluja roadside bombing has left three Iraqi soldiers injured.  Alsumaria reports Ayad Hussein Ahmad, an investigator with the Integrity Commission, was shot dead in Mosul this morning.  And they note an armed attack in Baghdad late last night that left 3 police officers dead while this morning in Mosul  killed an employee of Asia-Cell Telecom.  This is the second cell phone worker killed in Mosul in the last few days.  Sunday, Press TV noted a Mousl home invasion in which 1 Asiacell mobile phone company worker was killed.  Xinhua notes Monday's violence and yesterday's snapshot included the Baghdad home invasion, however, it didn't include 1 police officer shot dead outside Khalis or an al-Hadid bombing in an orchard which claimed the lives of 2 farmers.  Al Rafidayn notes that Iraqi police shot dead a 'militant' on the Iraqi-Syrian border yesterday (and arrested a person from Saudi Arabia).

Meanwhile Al Mada reports that on Twitter yesterday, it was announced that a new group is being created in Iraq, the Free Iraq Army and that they're similar to Syrian 'rebels' in the Free Syria group (a number of those rebels are Iraqis the US fought).   They announced that the first wave is already in Anbar Province and Mosul and will begin military strikes.  The announcement comes as Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha (an "Awakening" leader -- Sahwa, "Sons Of Iraq," "Daughters Of Iraq") tells Alsumaria that the Awakenings were successful on a national level a few years ago but the weakened support for them (assume he means from Nouri) has effected the situation and now young people are drawn to to Syria as fighters and as fighters in Iraq.

The political crisis continues.  All Iraq News notes State of Law MP Salman al-Moussawi released a statement declaring that the relationship between Baghdad and the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region would calm and tensions would decrease in the coming days.  No word on weather a northern front was moving in over the weekend.  State of Law is Nouri's political slate.  The KRG President is Massoud Barzani.  Nouri's latest tantrum was over the weekend as he stomped his feet and insisted that Turkey must speak to Baghdad on all matters and the KRG was part of Iraq.

Nouri loves to lash out at Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and many other neighbors.  He kisses Kuwait's ass because he wants to be out of the UN's Chapter VII.   Today Al Mada reports that the Foreign Relations Committee in Parliament is stating Gulf nations do not want Iraq out of Chapter VII because they fear Iraq's relationship with Iran.  Nouri's not called out Iran despite all the damage that's been done to the water flowing into Iraq (the saline issue) and from damns preventing the flow of more water into Iraq.  When it's Turkish damns or his apparent belief that Saudi Arabia's doing 'slant oil drilling' into Iraq's aquifers, he can't shut up.  But on Iran he always falls silent.  Adnan Hussein (Rudaw) reports:

After several years of blocking and releasing the Alwand River, Iranian authorities completely dammed the river from flowing into Iraq last week.
The Alwand River originates in western Iran and flows into eastern Iraq in the Khanaqin region. 40,000 acres of land, farms depend on this river for irrigation.
Muhanad Saadi, Iraq’s minister of water resources, told Rudaw, “Iran has not given us an explanation for this action even though we demanded one through Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” 
Iran and Iraq share around 30 rivers that run through both countries. Iran has been blocking these rivers from flowing into Iraq by diverting their paths and building dams.
Tahir Mahoomd, director of Khanaqin’s water department, told Rudaw, “In the past, during certain seasons, the river used to reach 50 feet in some areas.  However, since last month the river has completely dried up.”

In today's snapshot, we'll touch on the above and on how Talabani got reeled back in when he thought he was in charge. Ann's "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding" went up last night.  It's not showing on the links on the side.  She and Stan both reviewed Jane Fonda's new film Peace, Love & Misunderstanding in their posts last night (see Stan's "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding").   In yesterday's snapshot, we didn't have room for US House Rep Carolyn Maloney's full press release and I cut it right where "Background" started.  We'll note it in full this morning:

New York – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) applauded the announcement by the Commission on Presidential Debates that Candy Crowley, the widely respected political journalist and anchor of “State of the Union” on the Cable News Network (CNN), to serve as the moderator of the presidential debate taking place in Hempstead, New York on October 16, 2012. Crowley is the first woman reporter to moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson of ABC News in 1992. Today’s announcement followed a movement to urge the Commission to select a female moderator, which included an on-line petition drive organized by high school students in New Jersey and a joint letter from several Members of Congress to the Commission that was initiated by Congresswoman Maloney.
“Candy Crowley is an eminently qualified veteran reporter and interviewer, and I am thrilled that the Commission on Presidential Debates has selected her as a moderator. I think it’s entirely appropriate that she’ll be moderating the debate taking place in New York State, the birthplace of the movement for equality for American women,” said Congresswoman Maloney, a former Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues.
“I was proud to champion the grass-roots effort to refocus the spotlight on the glaring lack of female moderators in the last four elections, which was launched this year by three young women from Montclair, New Jersey – Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel, and Elena Tsemberis. Their grass roots efforts show how democracy can work if everyone uses their voice and their vote to make things better. Their drive and determination bring to mind the famous saying attributed to Margaret Mead: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,’” said Representative Maloney.
In their joint letter to the Commission, U.S. Representatives Maloney, Barbara Lee (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) wrote “to urge to the Commission on Presidential Debates to select at least one woman as moderator for the Presidential debates this year,” and that “it defies reason to believe that there has been no woman with the gravitas to moderate a Presidential debate in the last twenty years.”
The call for a woman moderator of a Presidential debate gained renewed momentum last month when three students at Montclair High School in New Jersey, Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel and Elena Tsemberis, collected 170,000 signatures in a petition urging the Commission on Presidential Debates to name a woman moderator for one of this year’s presidential showdowns. The signatures were collected through the website, Change.org, which serves as an on-line petition forum. The teenagers’ call was quickly embraced by Congresswoman Maloney and other leaders in Washington.

The three 2012 Presidential debates are scheduled to occur on October 3rd in Denver, Colorado; October 16th at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York; and on October 22nd in Boca Raton, Florida. Today, the Commission on Presidential Debates, co-chaired by Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., and Michael D. McCurry, announced that the October 16th debate on Long Island debate will be moderated by Candy Crowley of CNN. It will be staged as a “town-hall” event in which pre-selected audience members will ask questions of the candidates.
Candy Crowley is a veteran political journalist and anchor of CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” that airs every Sunday. She has been with CNN since 1987. Congresswoman Maloney appeared on “State of the Union” on April 15, 2012.
The last woman to moderate a Presidential debate was Carole Simpson of ABC News, who presided over a 1992 debate featuring Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ross Perot. Four years ago, Gwen Ifill of PBS moderated a Vice-Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

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