Time for a memory jog, from the November 2nd snapshot:
All Iraq News reports that US Ambassador to Iraq "Stephen Beecroft" (that's how he's billed -- maybe he's finally dropped the three names) is praising the Baghdad International Fair which just started. Al Mada notes the fair started Thursday and that the first Baghdad International Fair was in 1957 though it wasn't called that until 1964. Alsumaria notes this is the 39th Baghdad International Fair and that twenty countries are participating. Yang Lina (Xinhua) quotes Nouri al-Maliki declaring, "Iraq is now the investment opportunity in the region that everything here needs for reconstruction, particularly its infrastructure."
Everything you need here -- if what you need is no booze, if what you need is security forces who do not obey the law they're supposed to enforce. In fact, here's a YouTube video of Nouri's forces executing someone on the spot. Iraq, where there's so much corruption, you may not even notice the bombings. Baghdad, infamous for kidnapping and killing foreigners. Or maybe you'll be like Peter Moore and just suffer for years in captivity without being killed.
Nouri attended the opening ceremony and then split. If you were Nouri, you would too. That's a pathetic showing. And if you doubt it, consider the 8th Erbil International Fair was last month and had 23 countries participating. Poor, inept Nouri, always living in the shadow of the KRG. Hurriyet notes that, despite sharing a border with Iraq, "not many Turkish firms attended the event." It appears to be shaping up to be another Arab League Summit type event -- where people grade on the pity scale and say, "It's a success! Regardless of the fact that it accomplished litte or even nothing, it's a success!" Poor Nouri, between his threats against corporations and his authoritarian streak, there's little to attract international investors to Baghdad.
It was a fraud, that was obvious. Did you know it was also a sham? The Iraq Times reported yesterday that the 'new look' Nouri gave the Expo didn't last long -- ceilings and walls are collapsing in the exhibition halls. At a cost of $140 billion dinars, you might think the construction would have held up -- at least for a few months. Possibly Nouri should just be grateful it managed to hold up while the attendees were present?
The expo is a lot like Nouri, all surface, and the facade is crumbling.
It was mere months after the Bush White House first installed Nouri as prime minister that rumors began flying of his skimming large sums. The Iraq Times reports that Nouri stands accused of stealing $20 billion from the government's general budget.
Today, Nouri gave a little speech. Alsumaria reports he decried the recent talk about voiolations of human rights in Iraqi prisons and said such talk was narrowing the concept of human rights. All Iraq News continues that Nouri lamented the lack of focus on the victims of terrorism. He then launched into his usual attack on the Ba'ath Party. Al Rafidayn has him also questioning publicly whether or not Moqtada al-Sadr is trustworthy.
Imagine that, Nouri wanting people to talk about something other than Iraqi prisons. He's got a long history of running secret prisons. Barack Obama ignored that public record when he backed Nouri for a second term. The Iraq Times reports that there are rumors of another secret prison as families of tens of thousands of Iraqis who've disappeared believe their loved ones are being held. Yes, Nouri would have a reason to distract from the reports that women are being tortured in Iraqi prisons.
Nouri has started many crises in Iraq. The latest crisis was ignited by his sending forces (Tigris Operation Command) into the disputed areas. A military stand-off between his forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga is ongoing. Al Rafidayn reports KRG President Massoud Barzani visited Kirkuk today to inspect the Peshmerga who are stationed around the province. This follows Nouri's attack on Barzani to the Kuwait press on Sunday. Nehro Muhammad (Rudaw) notes that Halgurd Hikmat, Peshmerga spokesperson, declared today that the KRG "will not give in to demands by Baghdad to withdraw its Peshmerga troops from all disputed territories." Dar Addustour adds Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is in discussions with Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi on how to best resolve the crisis. Al Mada notes that Talabani met with Communist Party officials in Baghdad yesterday. Why would he be there? It could be any number of reasons.
But if you were Nouri al-Maliki and your hold on power was said to be slipping, you'd look at Jalal's meeting with the Communist Party and conclude that Jalal's sounding out to see where everyone stands on a no-confidence vote to remove Nouri from office. Nouri's notoriously paranoid -- as well documented in the State Dept cables -- but you don't have to be paranoid to look at Jalal's meeting with the Communist Party in the midst of this Baghdad and Erbil crisis to realize the only thing of value the Communist Party can offer currently is their support for a no-confidence vote.
In today's violence, All Iraq News reports a Mosul attack left two police officers injured.
Isaiah has a new comic that'll go up this morning. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio, an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Hammond, guest Shawn Griffith joins for a discussion on the US prison population and International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle joints the host to discuss Palestinians.
We'll close with this from Boyle's address yesterday to the Puerto Rican Summit Conference on Human Rights at the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan (Global Research):
Historically this latest eruption of American militarism at the start of the 21st Century is akin to that of America opening the 20th Century by means of the U.S.-instigated Spanish-American War in 1898. Then the Republican administration of President William McKinley stole their colonial empire from Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; inflicted a near genocidal war against the Filipino people; while at the same time illegally annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the Native Hawaiian people (who call themselves the Kanaka Maoli) to near genocidal conditions. Additionally, McKinley’s military and colonial expansion into the Pacific was also designed to secure America’s economic exploitation of China pursuant to the euphemistic rubric of the “open door” policy. But over the next four decades America’s aggressive presence, policies, and practices in the so-called “Pacific” Ocean would ineluctably pave the way for Japan’s attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 194l, and thus America’s precipitation into the ongoing Second World War. Today a century later the serial imperial aggressions launched and menaced by the neoconservative Republican Bush Junior administration and the neoliberal Democratic Obama administration are now threatening to set off World War III.
By shamelessly exploiting the terrible tragedy of 11 September 2001, the Bush Junior administration set forth to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Muslim states and peoples living in Central Asia and the Middle East and Africa under the bogus pretexts of (1) fighting a war against “international terrorism” or “Islamic fundamentalism”; and/or (2) eliminating weapons of mass destruction; and/or (3) the promotion of democracy; and/or (4) self-styled humanitarian intervention/responsibility to protect (R2P). Only this time the geopolitical stakes are infinitely greater than they were a century ago: control and domination of the world’s hydrocarbon resources and thus the very fundaments and energizers of the global economic system – oil and gas. The Bush Junior/ Obama administrations have already targeted the remaining hydrocarbon reserves of Africa, Latin America (e.g., the Pentagon’s reactivization of the U.S. Fourth Fleet in 2008), and Southeast Asia for further conquest or domination, together with the strategic choke-points at sea and on land required for their transportation. Today the U.S. Fourth Fleet threatens Cuba, Venezuela, and Ecuador for sure.
Toward accomplishing that first objective, in 2007 the neoconservative Bush Junior administration announced the establishment of the U.S. Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) in order to better control, dominate, steal, and exploit both the natural resources and the variegated peoples of the continent of Africa, the very cradle of our human species. In 2011 Libya then proved to be the first victim of AFRICOM under the neoliberal Obama administration, thus demonstrating the truly bi-partisan and non-partisan nature of U.S. imperial foreign policy decision-making. Let us put aside as beyond the scope of this paper the American conquest, extermination, and ethnic cleansing of the Indians from off the face of the continent of North America. Since America’s instigation of the Spanish-American War in 1898, U.S. foreign policy decision-making has been alternatively conducted by reactionary imperialists, conservative imperialists, and liberal imperialists for the past 115 years and counting.
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