Thursday, December 06, 2012

AP sucks off Nouri and swallows

Starting with violence, All Iraq News reports 1 corpse was discovered in a village to the south of Mosul, a Jurf Naddaf attack left 5 police officers dead and last night a Mosul car bombing left one police officer injured.

Meanwhile The Voice of Russia notes United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon went to Bagahdad from Kuwait today.  Why was he in Kuwait?  To talk about Iraq and Chapter VII.

Thursday his Special Envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler delivered a report on Iraq to the Security Council (see Thursday and Friday's snapshot).

Martin Kobler:  In addition to the hydrocarbons legislation, we are continuing to provide technical advice and assistance on the establishment of the Federation Council, the reform of the judicial system, and the adoption of laws on minority communities and political parties.  At the regional level, Iraq continues its re-emergence onto the international stage.  Earlier this year, Iraq demonstrated renewed commitment to meeting its remaining obligations under Chapter VII of the Charter and to improving its bilateral relations with Kuwait.  Progress will, however, depend upon the restoration of confidence between both sides.  Over the past few months, I stepped up my engagement with Iraq and Kuwait to see how the United Nations could best facilitate the resolution of outstanding issuse in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.  And, in this context, I recently held high-level meetings in Iraq and Kuwait in which I was encouraged by the strong commitment that both Prime Minister al-Maliki and the Amir of Kuwait expressed by normalizing relations between their two countries.  I very much hope that they will now be able to move quickly.  They can count on the UN in this regard.  I am happy to report to the Council today that I spoke to Foreign Minister [Hoshyard] Zaebari this morning.  He informed me that, first, his government had nominated the names for the technical team of the border maintenance project today and, second,  the government would start immediately to update the list of farmers entitled to compensation.  A meeting with the farmers will take place as soon as possible.  I welcome those steps and call on the Government of Iraq to initiate work on the border mainenance project without further delay.  I also appeal to the government of Iraq to continue to demonstrate the goodwill necessary to fulfil Iraq's other outstanding obligations, in particular with regard to missing persons and property.  The commitment of Iraq to fulfil those obliations will be conducive to the normalization of relations between the two countries.  And I equally call on the government of Kuwait to continue to act in a spirit of flexibility and reciprocity, as reflected earlier this year by the important reciprocal visits of the Amir in Baghdad and the Prime Minister in Kuwait.  On a different note, I remain fully committed to continue to work with both governments to resolve bilateral issues, at their request.  I am hopeful that the agreement between Kuwait and Iraq for the cancelation of pending lawsuits against Iraqi Airways and on navigational rights in the Khor Abdullah waterway will facilitate improved relations between the two neighbors. 

That was part of the reason for his visit.  AFP also notes, "The visit also comes at a time of high tensions between Iraq's federal government and the autonomous Kurdistan region, during which military reinforcements have been sent to disputed areas in the country's north.All Iraq News notes Nouri held a news conference with Ban Ki-moon today and he declared that there were proposals (plural) to resolve the current standoff between Baghdad and Erbil.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) has a 'breaking news' bulletin about Nouri announcing that a preliminaty agreement has been reached.  I don't think that's accurate.  I think AP is reporting on the press conference this morning.  If so, again, Nouri said "proposals."  Alsumaria reports Nouri said there were two proposals.  (The two proposals -- one is locals are in charge of security, two is a joint patrol by Nouri's Tigris forces and the Peshmerga.  The key on the second proposal would be whether or not the Peshmerga remains under Kurdish control.) Second, since when the hell did Massoud Barzani develop a case of the shys?  Meaning, if an agreement was reached, it stands to reason the the KRG President would be announcing it as well.

Also if it's all wrapped up, shouldn't Jalal Talabani know that?  He is the President of Iraq.  But All Iraq News reports he gave a speech today noting that the crisis is threatening the security and the peace.  Al Mada adds that Talabani declared that threatening language -- a reference to Nouri's speech on Saturday -- has no place in this discussion. 

I'm really getting tired of the US press on Iraq.

As I recall it, we have spent forever and a day hectoring here for the US press to cover this issue.  Days before it exploded, we were saying, "Pay attention!"

Now that the US press -- AP and others -- are forced to finally deal with what's been going (Tigris Operation Command) for months, they're rushing to wrap things up?

I'm getting sick of the lack of professionalism and, frankly, the whoring.

Ban Ki-moon is in Iraq which means the world watches today.

It's awful cute that with the world watching AP wants to tie a bow around the conflict and announce it over.

There is no indication that is over.  AP is distorting reality and there's no excuse for it.  No excuse.  I am so damn tired of the Western press repeatedly playing police arriving on the scene and attempting to disperse the crowd.

Start reporting, do your damn job.  Stop minimizing, stop justifying and stop repeating everything Nouri says as gospel.

On the standoff, David Romano (Rudaw) offers this take:

From my perch in the West, far outside the halls of power in Baghdad or Erbil, it’s hard for me to know how serious the threat of outright conflict between the Kurds and Maliki has become. As a political scientist, however, I know of too many historical cases where such tensions led to wars that none of the parties intended or really wanted. In other cases, some of those who chose or desired war expected a quick victory, only to become mired in terrible, grinding and long lasting fighting. The region remembers when Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1967 famously took provocative action after action, from threats and blockades against Israeli shipping to demanding the withdrawal of United Nations observer forces from the Sinai. Finally the Israelis attacked, and somehow took him by surprise and then proceeded to defeat the combined forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 6 days. Several years later, Saddam Hussein thought to launch a similar surprise attack on Iran, after its new religious leaders began inciting Iraqi shiites to revolt. Expecting quick victory similar to Israel’s lightning war of 1967, he instead condemned Iraq and Iraq to eight years of war, poverty and over a million war dead. The point is that when you overturn the cart, or even threaten to turn it over, no one really knows where its contents will fall. 
If serious armed conflict between Maliki and the Kurds does erupt, intentionally or not, the media war of interpretation will undoubtedly rage as well. How such conflict gets framed will likely play a crucial war in determining the winner, in fact. If Mr. Maliki manages to cast the issue as a war between Kurds and Arabs (or “an ethnic war,” as he recently referred to a possible conflict), the advantage will go to him. Given how seriously Arabs outnumber Kurds in Iraq, the medium and long-term consequences of such a framing of the conflict would prove extremely disadvantageous to Kurdistan. Mr. Maliki and his “State of Law” Party will tell Iraqis that Barzani is trying to expand Kurdistan’s borders at Arab expense. Under such circumstances, it would be hard even for Arabs who oppose Maliki not to rally to his cause of protecting Arabs against Kurdish maximalism. As long as leaders in Kurdistan insist that Article 140 be implemented and the disputed territories be given a chance to join Kurdistan, it will prove extremely difficult to oppose Maliki’s framing of the issue as one of “Arab vs. Kurd.”

Since I mentioned Kobler's speech above -- I haven't forgotten that there's a section still to do.  I was hoping to do it Monday, no time or space.  It will be done in either today or Friday's snapshot.

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