Friday, September 14, 2012

Continued violence, continued protests

As the second week of the month comes to a close, Iraq Body Count counts 175 killed in violence through yesterday.  Today, Alsumaria reports a Samarra car bombing has left fifteen people injured outside a police station, that a corpse was pulled out of the Tigris River and a Sharqat home was bombed (no one was in the house at the time, it belonged to a Sahwa member).  Mass arrests continue with 11 people arrested for 'terrorism' in Babil and the Imam of a mosque was also arrested in Babil for 'terrorism.'

Meanwhile the video/movie online that has recently led many to be enraged is still in the news.  Al Mada has a story on the Sadr bloc and they look very ridiculous in it.  One member of the Sadr bloc claims that the video/movie (they call it a film) has lowered or devalued Islam.  If you're a believer of Islam, I don't see how you believe that anything could lower or devalue your religion.  Insult?  Sure, I can see that.  But if you think a video devalued your core beliefs, aren't you saying your core wasn't that strong to begin with?  And then there is the call for Nouri to order the US Ambassador to Iraq to leave the country.


Who does the Sadr bloc think Nouri's going to order out?  James Jeffrey?

Even Nouri could pull that off because James Jeffrey is already gone.  He's also the former Ambassador to Iraq, the most recent one.  Currently, the US has no Ambassador to Iraq.

Consider me picky if you want, but when you come up with demands, it's generally a good idea to stick to realistic ones and put the fantasies in a letter to Santa.

The Iraq Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the article notes, is not pleased with the movie/video/film either and they have also condemned the attack on the Benghazi consulate in the US.

Let's drop back to yesterday's snapshot:

Al Mada notes that a group of Iraqi scientists led by Khalid al-Mulla stated that the US needed to use all means necessary to stop the film and others like it.  The group lumps the US into abuse by "Zionists" globally -- while wanting tolerance for their own religious beliefs.  All Iraq News notes the Iraqi Parliament is calling for the US Congress to stop the film.  Freedom of speech has obviously not been explained well.   Alsumaria reports hundreds turned out in Kut today to protest the film.  All Iraq News notes Sadrists in Karbala launched a protest as well.  For the record, there were no protests reported objecting to the murders of four Americans.  For the record, the scientists and the Parliament was not reported to have made any comments condemning the four deaths.  AGI reports, " Hundreds of people took to the streets in Baghdad, in the suburb district of Sadr City, burning US flags. Protests jointly staged by Sunni and Shia Muslims were also reported in Iraq's southern city of Basra."  You can briefly see the Baghdad protest in Danielle Nottingham's CBS report (link is video).

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN -- link is text and video) reports on yesterday's Baghdad protest:

Angry protesters in the Sadr City district of northeast Baghdad carried banners, Iraqi flags and images of radical Shiite and anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as they railed against what they see as an insult to their faith.
"America is the enemy of the people," the demonstrators shouted Thursday morning. They also yelled out, "Yes, yes to Islam. Yes, yes to Iraq. Yes, yes to Quran" -- the latter referring to the Muslim holy book.

All Iraq News reports a protest was held today in Samarra following morning prayers and that protests also took place today in Wasit, Najaf, Missan and Basra.  All Iraq News notes that the Najaf protest saw the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (Ammar al-Hakim's political group) read out a statement denouncing the video and insisting it did serious harm to Muhammed.  Again, if your deity is all powerful, a video/film/movie can't harm them.  You can be insulted, your beliefs can be offended, but no serious harm is done.  I'm not in the mood for it today, sorry.  I don't insult relgions here, I don't tell jokes about religions here -- any religions.  And I do that be welcoming of all.  By the same token, don't distort  language.  If you believe that Banana created the world and Banana will give you eternal salvation and whatever else and a film comes out mocking Banana, it's insulted Banana and it may have offended you, but the film hasn't done serious harm to Banana if you believe Banana is a god.  Gods can't be harmed or did we all miss the powers of gods?  You're worshipping someone because you believe they're all powerful.  Where's the confusion as to the meaning of all powerful?

As Diana Ross sings in The Wiz:

If you believe
Within your heart you'll know
That no one can change
The path that you must go
Believe what you feel
And know you're right because
The time will come around
When you say its yours
-- "Believe In Yourself," written by Charlie Smalls

Logically, it makes no sense that any deity can be harmed by a film.  Equally true, you're giving away your power (and your belief system) when you claim that your religion was harmed by something of this world.

I told a friend at the State Dept I'd note Hillary's remarks regarding freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  I'm not noting them because I can't find them.  Call me or e-mail them to me and we'll include them in the snapshot.  They were not "right there" on the main page of the State Dept as stated and I can't find them in the list of her remarks. But what I did find was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton identifying the other two Americans who were killed in the Tuesday attack in Libya.  I know State wasn't identifying them in yesterday's press briefing and though there were news reports I made the decision we'd wait until they were identified by the Department.  Turns out Hillary announced them yesterday so we'll include her remarks on that:

The attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday claimed the lives of four Americans. Yesterday, I spoke about two: Ambassador Chris Stevens and Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Today, we also recognize the two security personnel who died helping protect their colleagues. Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were both decorated military veterans who served our country with honor and distinction. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest gratitude are with their families and friends. Our embassies could not carry on our critical work around the world without the service and sacrifice of brave people like Tyrone and Glen.
Tyrone’s friends and colleagues called him “Rone,” and they relied on his courage and skill, honed over two decades as a Navy SEAL. In uniform, he served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2010, he protected American diplomatic personnel in dangerous posts from Central America to the Middle East. He had the hands of a healer as well as the arm of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic. All our hearts go out to Tyrone’s wife Dorothy and his three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter, and Kai, who was born just a few months ago.
We also grieve for Glen Doherty, called Bub, and his family: his father Bernard, his mother Barbara, his brother Gregory, and his sister Kathleen. Glen was also a former Navy SEAL and an experienced paramedic. And he put his life on the line many times, protecting Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hotspots. In the end, he died the way he lived – with selfless honor and unstinting valor.
We condemn the attack that took the lives of these heroes in the strongest terms, and we are taking additional steps to safeguard American embassies, consulates, and citizens around the world. This violence should shock the conscience of people of all faiths and traditions. We appreciate the statements of support that have poured in from across the region and beyond. People of conscience and goodwill everywhere must stand together in these difficult days against violence, hate, and division.
I am enormously proud of the men and women who risk their lives every day in the service of our country and our values. They help make the United States the greatest force for peace, progress, and human dignity that the world has ever known. We honor the memory of our fallen colleagues by continuing their work and carrying on the best traditions of a bold and generous nation.

Again, I'm sorry for not including the remarks on freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the US, I can't find those remarks.  Call me or e-mail them to me and they'll go in the snapshot.  I'll also include the above remarks in the snapshot because we noted the remarks on the deaths of Chris Stevens and Sean Smith in a snapshot this week.

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