Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Nouri tears up, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed tries to heal

Yesterday, a plane left Turkey enroute to the Erbil but it was prevented from landing in the Kurdistan Regional Government (three semi-autonomous provinces in northern Iraq) by the Baghdad Civil Aviation Authority.  The plane was carrying Turkey's Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz who was planning to attend an energy conference.   Barcin Ynanc (Hurriyet Daily News) reports today that the Turksih flight actually had approval for their flight . . . until a last minute change was imposed by Nouri's government:

However, the Iraqi central government issued a decree yesterday morning, just three hours before the minister’s plane was scheduled to take off, requiring all private planes destined for Arbil first to land in Baghdad. After learning of the new decree, the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad, Yunus Demirer, was barely able to reach the Foreign Ministry official on the plane, which was about to take off, in time to halt the departure. Turkish officials realized at the last minute that despite the diplomatic clearance they had obtained from Baghdad earlier, they did not have permission to fly into Iraqi airspace and go directly to Arbil. After consulting with the Foreign Ministry, the minister decided to land in Kayseri.

A functioning government that makes changes doesn't implement them in mere hours.  But Iraq doesn't have a functioning government, it has Nouri al-Maliki.  Mohammed Tawfeeq and Ivan Watson (CNN) quote KRG spokesperson Safeen Dizayee stating, "We hope it is only a technical issue and it will be resolved soon."

The flight actually got international press attention.  Press TV and others reported it for Iran.  AFP, Reuters and AP reported on it.  But leave it to the Iraqi-outlet Dar Addustour to tie this into a story that the international press has refused to report.  Dar Addustour reports that the refusal to allow the plane to land is like Nouri's other attempts to control comings and goings, specifically Nouri's discrimination of vehicles with Kurdistan license plates attempting to enter Baghdad.  Dropping back to November 24th, "Kitabat reports that Nouri issued a directive (in writing, dated November 22nd) that no vehicles with Kurdish registration plates may enter Baghdad."  Dar Addustour notes that the Ministry of the Interior (headed by Nouri) insists this is about public safety.  No doubt, public safety was also behind the attempt to derail the energy conference in the KRG by refusing to allow the Turkish plane to land.

Will the international press note the conference taking place today?  Iraq's sponsoring a conference in Cairo, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is presiding.  All Iraq News notes that Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi and Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud are also part of the Iraq delgeation that will be discussing constitutions in the Arab Spring region.

Also in the news today is Hero Ibrahim Ahmed.  Among other things, she is over the charity Kurdistan Save the Children.  Like many notable Iraqis, her family has a long history of involvement in Iraqi politics and in being persecuted.  Novelist Ibrahim Ahmad was her father.  He was also a judge and one of the first chairs of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (the first after it changed its name).  Moving up the political chain in Iraq has always meant creating enemies.  He would end up in Abu Ghraib prison for two years.  He would go on to become an editor of a newspaper and, more importantly to the political situation, the voice of the KDP following it's split into two parties -- the other, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, would be headed by Mustafa Barzani.    Today the PUK is headed by Massoud Barzani who is also the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government.  He is the son of the late Mustafa Barzani.  Mustafa's grandson is KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. 

And if those links and connections alone make Hero Ibrahim Ahmed's story one of the basic histories of Iraq, let's note that she's also the First Lady of Iraq, she's married to President Jalal Talabani.  She's also begun a new project aimed at celebrating the rich diversity in Iraq.   Al Mada reports that she initated yesterday Kirkuk for Social Awareness, a program to ensure that diversity and nationality is protected in Kirkuk.  One aspect of the program, she explained to government officials in Kirkuk yesterday, is the creation of a song that will bring in all the languages spoken by the people of Iraq and recognize the diversity.  She stressed that this would include the Mandaeans whose language, UNESCO has warned, is in danger of vanishing.   The Mandaeans numbered a little over 50,000 in Iraq prior to the start of the war in 2003.  Some estimates now put their number as low as 5,000.   Many fled to Jordan and Syria during the ethnic cleansing years of roughly 2006 through 2008.  They have a special issue regarding immigration in that it is a water-based religion (for baptisms) and they prefer natural bodies of water for their ceremonies.   In 2009, David Grant (AP) reported on a community in Detroit.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Jane Fonda, Dissident Voice, The Diane Rehm Show,, Adam Kokesh and the House Committee on Veteran Affairs --  updated last night and this morning:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "US - UK Genocide Against Iraq 1990-2012 Killed 3.3. Million" (OpEd News):

Approximately 3.3 million Iraqis, including
750,000 children, were “exterminated” by economic sanctions and/or illegal wars
conducted by the U.S. and Great Britain between 1990 and 2012, an eminent
international legal authority says.

slaughter fits the classic definition of Genocide Convention Article II of,
“Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” says Francis Boyle,
professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and who
in 1991 filed a class-action complaint with the UN against President George H.W.

U.S. and U.K. “obstinately insisted” that their sanctions remain in place until
after the “illegal” Gulf War II aggression perpetrated by President George W.
Bush and UK’s Tony Blair in March, 2003, “not with a view to easing the over
decade-long suffering of the Iraqi people and children” but “to better
facilitate the U.S./U.K. unsupervised looting and plundering of the Iraqi
economy and oil fields in violation of the international laws of war as well as
to the grave detriment of the Iraqi people,” Boyle said.

an address last Nov. 22 to The International Conference on War-affected Children
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Boyle tallied the death toll on Iraq by U.S.-U.K.
actions as follows:

The slaughter of 200,000 Iraqis by President Bush in his illegal 1991 Gulf War

The deaths of 1.4 million Iraqis as a result of the illegal 2003 war of
aggression ordered by President Bush Jr. and Prime Minister

The deaths of 1.7 million Iraqis “as a direct result” of the genocidal

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