Friday, September 28, 2012

The political impasse that is Iraq

Yesterday's violence included the assault on the Tirkit prison which left prisoners and guards dead and wounded.  Mohammed Lazim (CNN) notes, "The attackers wore police uniforms and used cars similar to those driven by police, a police source told the National Iraqi News Agency."  BBC offers, "The raid appeared to be well co-ordinated between the gunmen and some of the inmates, the BBC's Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad reports."  Not only did a number of prisoners escape but Alsumaria reports that they were smart enough to grab their own files and, as a result, there are no records on them.   Apparently Iraq is an oil-rich country that's not worried about going green or paperless since all files are apparently paper.   Alsumaria reports the spokesperson for the Sadr bloc in Parliament, Mushriq Naji, is pointing out that yesterday's assault and escape is what happens when corruption reigns and the institutions of reform fail and he specifically notes the faliure of the Parliament to pass the amnesty law.  All Iraq News adds that there is a demand to reform state institutions immediately.  The National Alliance line comes from one of their MPs who insists that political parlies helped with the prison break and this is an attempt to provide pressure to pass the amnesty law.

Al Mada notes Ahmed Chalabi is calling for MPs to propose amendments to the amnesty law to address whatever concerns they have.  This is most likely aimed at State of Law since they've been the biggest obstacle to the passage of an amnesty law.

The prison assault was part of yesterday's violence, it was not the only violence.  A number of Iraqi outlets are focusing on the assassination of former Basra Governor (2005 - 2009)  Hussein al-Asadi.  Alsumaria reports that MP Hussein al-Asadi, from Basra, states that the assassination is proof of how weak the security remains in Iraq.   He notes an increase in recent bombings and called on Nouri al-Maliki and the Ministry of the Interior to make changes immediately.  Dar Addustour covers the assassination hereAlsumaria notes the Ministry of the Interior has announced the formation of three committees to examine the assassination.  Prior to that announcement, the Islamic Virtue Party (political party) was calling for an investigation to be started.

Yesterday, Parliament was in session.  They were to vote on bills regarding a line of credit, infrastructure and amnesty.  Over infrastructure,  members of Iraqiya and the Kurdish Alliance walked out.  Deprived of a quorum, the session ended.  Al Mada notes that State of Law is now accusing Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi of blocking the infrastructure law.  While al-Nujaifi is a member of Iraqiya, he has not taken part in any of their walk-outs, including the first day of the current Parliament back in 2010.  Since he didn't walk out and since he's scheduled the infrastructure bill for a Monday vote, State of Law's latest attempt to uncork the crazy falls flat and then some.

 Violence continued today with All Iraq News reporting 1 police officer shot dead in Falluja.
since the first walk-out on the first day

Moving to the US,  Military Times runs a report about Iraq War veteran Mike Hanke who returned from a tour of duty in Iraq in 2010 only to find that the job he left was gone.  This is happening to too many and it is against the law.  What makes Hanke's story even worse -- yes, it is worse -- his job at UW-Stout in Menomonie was "as an ROTC cadre."  Meaning, he worked for the US Dept of Defense.  It is against the law and the law breaker in this case was DoD:

Hanke filed a complaint against his termination, arguing federal law prohibits soldiers from losing their jobs because they were activated into service. He was part of the 128th Infantry unit of the Wisconsin Army National Guard that went to Baghdad.
Earlier this month, Hanke reached a settlement with the DOD, which oversaw Hanke's job. Hanke declined to reveal the size of the settlement but said it is believed to be the second-largest of its kind.

Military Times does not attribute a writer.  But their credit (and copyright info) is wrong.  Knight-Ridder is no longer in business.  McClatchy took over it in 2006.  If I have time, I'll try to find out the writer and include it in the snapshot (as well as the outlet -- which I'm assuming is McClatchy but I could be wrong).

Iraq War veteran Brian Kinsella is among many who enjoy motorcycles (he rides a Harley Davidson Street Glide).  Today, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, he begins a two-week, 5,000 Ride For Life as part of the mission of Stop Soldier Suicide:

During the journey, Kinsella will talk with soldiers, veterans, and senior military leaders at 12 military installations while spreading a word about military suicide prevention and existing civilian sources of aid for US troops.

Here is a map of his route.

ride for life

 Click here to see the map at the Stop Solider Suicide website where you can click on the route.
Online, you can follow the journey via the Stop Soldier Suicide Twitter page and via the Stop Soldier Suicide Facebook page.

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