Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nouri's Iraq: Women not represented, inmates dying in prison

The violence does not end in Iraq.  Kitabat reports that a tribal Sheikh and two of his bodygruads were assassinated last night with two more people left injured.  The paper explains this had been the third assassination attempt on the Sheikh this year and that this one resulted in over seventy rounds of bullets being fired into his car.  Also late yesterday, Al Mada reports, a bombing went off outside Kirkuk's Church of the Sacred Heart doing damage to the church but not wounding or killing anyone.  Last night, Hazhar Rashid (AKnews) reports, 3 people died and one person was injured when unknown assailants fired on their car in Kirkuk and "a university instructor was killed by gunmen in central Kirkuk."   All Iraq News reports that Professor Khader Hussein with the University of Kirkuk was injured in an armed attaack today.  Hazhar Rashid (AKnews) notes  Alsumaria reports a Baghdad sticky bombing has claimed the life of 1 employee of the Ministry of the Interior.  In addition, Alsumaria reports a Turkish drone has crashed in Dohuk province. 

Not noted in the report, the US supplies Turkey with drones.  Under Bully Boy Bush, this was done via an agreement signed in 2007.  Under Barack, the supply has continued but mainly due to the fact that Turkey gave land in 2011 to the US to be used for a CIA station.  The drones are used in part to locate suspected PKK (PKK is a Kurdish rebel group which is largely in the moutains of nothern Iraq) but they're also used to spy on Iraq and that goes back to the still in effect agreement Bush and Turkey signed which provided drones with the understanding that Turkey would share the footage being transmitted.   The footage is apparently important enough to the US for them to risk exposure of the program since a drone was spotted flying over Baghdad not all that long ago (Al Mada and other Iraqi publications reported it while the US press ignored it). 

All Iraq News notes Iraqi President Jalal Talabani arrived late yesterday evening in Sulaimaniya via private jet from Berlin where he was "completing his treatment."  (He had knee surgery.  He fled at the start of June to Germany.)  Kitabat notes he went to his residence and his return comes as there are expectations that he can help resolve the ongoing political crisis -- expectations that exist, the apper notes, at the same time there are indications that there is not the will to resolve the crisis.   In the photos, it appears Jalal's lost a little weight and might be down to 420 pounds.  Don't expect Jalal to easily give up the presidency.  Yes, in June he threatened (yet again) to resign.  Yes, he's indicated he won't seek a third term.  But he previously declared he wouldn't seek a second term.  The reality is a grossly obsese man like Jalal needs the health care that the presidency can provide.  All Iraq News notes that he's scheduled to meet with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan today (that's his political party).

Meanwhile Alsumaria reports that Iraqiya's Nahida Daini is leading a call for an investigation into the death of two people being held in a security detentnion center in Diyala Province.  The two did yesterday .  Bryar Mohammed (AKnews) reports that Khales Mayor Oday Khidran states only one, not two, have died: "The inmate was arrested together with six more people yesterday under 'terrorism' charges.  He was diabethic and died of his condition, according to Khidran."  Might this finally get the non-Iraqi press to focus on the mass arrests that have been taking place?

It's interesting that a mayor -- not identified as a doctor -- is able to determine cause of death before an autopsy has been performed.  It's also interesting that an elected official would be as stupid as Khidran to claim that a diabetic dying on Monday, also arrested on Monday, was dying "of his condition."  Meaning?

You can't just arrest people.  Iraq has signed onto various treaties.  If the man was a diabetic and he was arrested, it was incumbent upon the authorities to ensure that the man had medication.  That means if he was brought to the prison without insulin (which may be the case), it was the prison's responsibility to supply him with insulin.  Not a few days after he was brought to the prison but immediately.  Health care isn't a right just for the fat Jalal.  Prisoners are supposed to have health care.  If it turns out that the man did die as a result of his diabetes, that means he wasn't getting proper medical supervison and that's on the prison, the prison system, all the way up to Nouri.

Yesterday came news that 8 people had been voted onto the Independent High Electoral Commission.  A vote on the 9th member was blocked by Christian MPs who felt they were not being represented.  Alaa Sabbagh (Kitabat) wonders if this commission is going to promote democracy or embrace a dictatorship in Iraq?   All Iraq News reports that the Sadr bloc has announced they support a Christian member for the Commission and declare that they are a "respectable part of the country."  Kitabat notes that the 8 voted on do not represent minorities.  This includes women.  Not one woman was voted onto the commission yesterday.  Martin Kobler is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative in Iraq.    July 19th, Kobler appeared before the UN Security Council and stated:

As we speak, my political deputy, Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, is engaged in facilitation efforts to bring about the formation of a new, Independent High Election Commission which is representative of the main components of Iraq -- including women and children and minorities.  The urgent selection of the commissioners is essential for ensuring that the provincial council elections due to take place in March 2013 can be conducted on time. I'm concerned that the ongoing political stalemate is hindering the process however.  In recent days, I have discussed with political leaders -- including Prime Minister al-Maliki -- the need for a swfit conclusion of this political process and the need for an adequate representation of women and minorities in the commission. Today, I would like to re-iterate my appeal to all political blocs to expedite the selection of professional commissioners.  UNAMI stands here ready to actively assist. 

The need for an adequate representation of women and minorities in the commission?  8 of the 9 members are now voted on.  There's not a woman among the eight.  Wafaa Zangana (AK News) reports Christian MP Yonadam Yousef Kanna is calling for the number of seats on the commission to be increased since there is now "only one seat for minorities, while the women, Turkmen and Christians were not represented [in the new commission].  The law of the Federal Court stresses the need to represent all parties in the electoral commission, but the presidency of the Council of Representatives violated this law."  In related news, an Iraqiya MP tells All Iraq News that there is a conpiracy taking place to ensure that women will not be members of the next Parliament (parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in 2014) and she is calling for a woman to be appointed to the electoral commission so that women's rights will be protected.  She notes women make up 65% of the Iraqi population but are barely represented in the Parliament and, at present, not even on the new IHEC.

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley, Jane Fonda, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Susan's On the Edge, Antiwar.com, C-SPAN, ACLU, NYT's At War, Cindy Sheehan, Adam Kokesh and Jody Watley -- updated yesterday and today (Jody actually over the weekend):

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.