Saturday, September 29, 2012

Odds and Ends of Iraq

It's pretty sad that Nouri's Iraq can't even provide food security.  This week it's been one story after another of food issues, food that someone paid for but was spoiled or bad.

On top of that, there is the issue Al Mada reported Thursday, the poultry sector in Iraq is suffering from lack of funds, lack of vaccines, lack of everything.  If you could eat oil, this wouldn't be a problem, but you can't eat oil.  All Iraq News notes 25 tons of rottem meet has been seized in Anbar -- this meat will at least be returned and not sold to the Iraqi people.

And September winds down and October gears up which means what in Iraq?  The yearly cholera outbreak.  Alsumaria reports 15 recorded cases in the last few days.  You probably haven't seen any US reports on that either.

It's as though US news consumers get a completely different view of Iraq.

Goodwill's not being built up currently in/for Iraq.  Not because some don't try.  For example,  AKnews notes Miss Kurdistan Shene Aziz Ako took place in the World Tourism Day.  World Touris Day is a UN sponsored event and the theme this year (the event was Thursday) was "Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Developement." However, that sort of goodwill ambassador gesture falls apart in a country where the leader would snub their northern neighbor.   Thursday AKnews reported Nouri al-Malik had refused the invitation from Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Turkey.  Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports that State of Law MP Yassin Mahjeed is stating Nouri refused the invite because Turkey's granted asylum to Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.  (Nouri heads the State of Law political slate).

It's really amazing to grasp that these things are covered by the Iraqi press but ignored by the American press when Iraqis face so much difficulty and danger in reporting.  For example,  Sunday Al Rafidayn reported two Diyala TV journalists finally released after they had been imprisoned by Nouri's federal police. 

This is an odds & ends entry.  Two more entries are planned but there was a ton of stuff in the public e-mail account that I have tried to work in (including the earlier entries today).   (And there will be a long break between this entry and the next two -- I'm at a charity function right now -- non-political -- and am about to speak.)  Finally, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award.We'll close with this from Bacon's "The Bloody Price of Colombia's Free Trade Agreement" (Truthout):

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has restarted talks with the country's main guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), for which he's received laudatory press outside of the country, and a more cautious response inside it. The government and FARC representatives hold their first meeting October 8 in Oslo. London's Financial Times called Santos "a strategic thinker with canny political antennas"' and praised him for establishing "business friendly policies" leading to economic growth fueled by rising foreign investment.
Colombia's key business friendly policy has been the negotiation of a free trade agreement with the United States, begun by Santos' predecessor, Alvaro Uribe. In May, U.S. President Barack Obama gave Colombia a clean bill of health, and allowed the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement to go into effect. Opening Colombia to foreign corporations and investment, however, has had a bloody price, paid by its union leaders, farmers and social movement activists. Uribe and Santos promised the treaty signalled an end to the killings, but attacks on movement leaders continue nonetheless.
Before it was signed, businesses operating in Colombia (including such U.S. corporations as Exxon and Drummond Coal) already had duty-free access to the U.S. market for most goods. When the agreement went into effect, U.S. exporters of manufactured goods and agricultural products gained duty-free access to the market in Colombia. U.S. miners lost jobs when Drummond Coal began supplying the generating stations of Alabama Power with Colombian coal. Now Colombian farmers and workers are suffering the same displacing fate as U.S. exports flood Colombia. In addition to opening the Colombian market, the agreement also facilitates investment in large mines and other mega projects, leading to the uprooting of rural communities, and the privatization of public services.
The consequences of these neoliberal policies have been devastating for many sections of Colombian society, from AfroColombian communities to trade unionists. In January three Afro-Colombian organizations joined with the Washington Office on Latin America to write to the U.S. Congress, outlining the dangers their communities face in the province of Cauca.

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