Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nouri's Iraq: Oil and torture

Biggest idiot in Iraq today after Nouri al-Maliki?  Susan Saad.  Alsumaria reports the female MP with the National Alliance delivered a denuciation of calls for investiations into the prison abuse scandal and calls for accountability.  Saad sputtered in public with great indignation over the fact that these charges of abuse were not coming from the Ministry of Justice but from women who had been imprisoned!

Imagine that.

Let's break it down so we all get how stupid Susan Saad was today.  Prisoner abuse is only real if the complaint comes from the officials who would be doing the abusing (I believe that would be known as "confessions") and it is not believable when it comes from former female prisoners -- wome who can document the scars from torture.

Susan Saad is on the wrong side on this issue and its a testament to how screwed up Iraqi politics are that any MP would stand before the press making such idiotic comments.

In the real world, All Iraq News reports Iraqiya MP Faiza al-Obeidi is calling for the Minister of Justice to face questions about the violations in the prisons.  She noted that despite repeated assertions of violations, the Minister does not appear to have taken any steps to address the issue.  The article also notes that women's rights groups are calling for a full investigation into the allegations.  Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports that Parliament's Security and Defense Committee's preliminary investiation has found no cases of rape but they have found cases where women were threatened with rape.  The report covers fourteen female inmates, the youngest of which was eleven-years-old.  Alsumaria adds that Hassan Shammari, Minister of Justice, is stating that this is not a topic for speculation.  Or for investigation judging by the Ministry's refusal to address the allegations that have been made publicly for some time now.

In news that will have Victoria Nuland panting, Alsumaria reports that OPEC is going to keep a ceiling on production; however, Iraq is saying it won't cut production.  OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, met yesterday in Vienna, Austria.  Abdul-Kareem Luaibi Bahedh is the Minister of Oil in Iraq and he was president of the conference.  Addressing the assembled, he noted:

I should like to extend a special welcome to His Excellency Dr Abdel Bari Ali Al-Arousi, the Minister of Oil and Gas of Libya, who is attending the Conference for the first time as Head of his Country's Delegation. Let me also thank his predecessor, His Excellency Eng Abdurahman Benyezza, for his contributions to the Conference during his time in office.

As we approach the end of the year, we are faced with a period of continuing uncertainty about the oil market outlook. To a great extent, this reflects the lack of a clear vision on the economic front. The global economy has experienced a persistent deceleration since the beginning of the year. The combination of an austerity-driven Euro-zone, the weakening recovery in Japan and clear signs of a slowdown in major emerging economies has provided the main factors behind this development. In the light of this, world oil demand growth forecasts for this year have been revised down frequently. At the same time, non-OPEC supply and OPEC natural gas liquid output have continued to perform well, outpacing demand growth. This trend is not expected to change in the coming year, with the market continuing to see high volumes of crude supply and increasing production capacity.

Turning to oil prices, while these have strengthened in the six months since the Conference last met, there have been continuing fluctuations. In June, at around the time of the Conference, prices were at their lowest daily levels for the year, with the Reference Basket price below US $100 a barrel throughout the month. It even fell below $90/b for three days. However, the Basket price then rallied strongly past $110/b in the middle of August. But after that, for most of the time since mid-September, it has been several dollars a barrel beneath this mark. This drop has reflected mounting concern about the global economic slowdown, the pessimistic future demand outlook and significant stockbuilds of crude in the United States of America. Such downward pressures have outweighed supply concern arising from geopolitical factors.

For its part, OPEC continues to do what it can to achieve and maintain a stable oil market. A key aspect of this is to ensure that the market remains well supplied with crude at all times, with fair and reasonable prices. For this to happen, there must be clear planning for the future, with sound investment strategies ensuring the necessary levels of production capacity in the years ahead. But the drawing-up of such strategies is impeded by uncertainties on both the demand and the supply fronts, as well as by high levels of price volatility. Clearly there are many doubts about the market outlook today. Without market stability - that is, sustainable market stability - all parties will suffer, producers and consumers alike.

At today's meeting, therefore, we shall be examining the market outlook for next year and further into the future. Our focus will be on enhancing market stability in the interests of all parties, as well as in support of steady world economic growth. However, this is not the responsibility of OPEC alone. If we all wish to benefit from a more orderly oil market, then we should all be prepared to contribute to it. This includes consumers, non-OPEC producers, oil companies and investors, in the true spirit of dialogue and cooperation.

Summer Said, Benot Faucon and Hassan Hafidh (Wall St. Journal) note that they did not choose a new secretary-general and instead extended the term of Abdalla Salem el-Badri for another year.
The Iranian government, as Trend News Agency reported,  made clear earlier this week that they were opposed to Iraq or Saudi Arabia getting the post of secretary-general.  Of the meeting, Amena Bakr and Emma Farge Vienna  (IOL) report:

At yesterday’s meeting of Opec the opening salvos were fired in the struggle over who takes responsibility for cutting output if oil prices, now at a comfortable $108 (R937) a barrel, start falling.
After 20 years of war, sanctions and civil strife that left its oil industry in disarray, Iraq is in no mood to consider curtailing output just as it starts to take off.
“Iraq will never cut output,” Iraq’s Opec governor, Falah Alamri, said. “Countries that have increased their production in the last two years – they should do so. This is a sovereign issue, not an Opec issue.”
That was a clear reference to Saudi Arabia, which earlier this year lifted output to a 30-year high above 10 million barrels a day to prevent oil prices ballooning after Western sanctions on Iran halved its production.

Today's violence, All Iraq News notes, includes a Harhiya sticky bombing which injured a taxi driver.

Lynn Woolsey did not seek re-election to the House of Representatives.  Her term is ending.  She was a leader on many issues in the House -- including a leader, with Maxine Waters of the Out of Iraq Caucus.  She and Maxine were strong voices ahead of the war and during the war and that includes after 2009 when so many of the peers became embarrassments.  Lynn will be missed.  Yesterday, she spoke about peace and war on the floor the House.  We'll note her remarks in full in the snapshot today but this morning we'll just include the video.

Along with peers in Congress, a lot of 'left' blowhards should be embarrassed as well.  Charles Davis writes a blistering and dead-on piece for Al Jazeera in which he calls out the ass-kissers like Kevin Drum, Clara Jeffery, Crazy Rebecca Solnit and many more.  From Davis' column:

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, "The same person who attacked my home has gotten re-elected," one Debra Downer told the Reuters news agency, among thousands of victims of the president's drone wars. Since Obama's victory, "the pressure on my brain has increased," the victim said. "I remember all of the pain again."
One wonders, where is the American progressive to sooth the conscience? Who better to explain that it's nobody's fault - it's nobody's fault, okay - and that if you really think about, maybe we shouldn't ever dwell on this little massacre ever again because would it be better if Mitt Romney killed your family? Ignore the pain away, friend. And let's be honest: They weren't the world's greatest kids.
Not confronted with the stench of rotting bodies, the wail of fathers who lost their children, the cry of children who lost their mothers, the silence when whole families are shredded and burned by our freedom, the American liberal is free to imagine Barack Obama as both a grand leader and something of a friend. Thanks to an award-winning ad campaign, Obama the product - not the man, because who knows that? - is smart, hip and sophisticated, or everything George W Bush was not. He's nerdy but cool and what if he secretly follows you on Tumblr?
But here's the thing with that, friend. Barack Obama is the US President, which is to say: A bad person. A murderer. Since taking office in 2009, Obama has authorised attacks that have killed hundreds if not thousands of innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.

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