Sunday, January 20, 2013


Protests continue in Iraq.  Sufyan Mashhadani, Ahmed Rasheed, Patrick Markey and Sophie Hares  (Reuters) report that a protester set fire to himself in Mosul today and quotes protest organizer Ghanim al-Abid stating, "We don't want people to hang themselves or burn themselves, this would be against Islam.  But he reached such a state of despair he set himself on fire."  AP identifies the person as Talal Ali Abbas and bases that on "police and hospital officials."  They reveal the 26-year-old man "suffered burns on about 20 percent of his body."  The Daily Star adds:

Self-immolations have had resonance in the Arab world since a Tunisian vegetable seller set himself on fire two years ago. His death in January 2011 triggered the wave of uprisings that toppled leaders across North Africa and the Middle East.
Sunday’s incident in Iraq shows the frustration among Sunnis that has not ebbed despite concessions from Maliki.

In 2011, the Arab Spring made Nouri nervous.  Today?

As the protests continue, you have people like KRG President Massoud Barzani talking of the need for a solution.  Al Mada reports on how he feels the protesters must be listened to and legitimate concerns addressed.  Aswat al-Iraq adds, "Ex-Kurdish premier Barham Saleh expressed his concern on the continuation of the crises in Iraq, pointing "if these are not confronted, the country will end into party or national catastrophe, which will affect not only Iraq but the region as a whole."  And Nouri's response?  Alsumaria reports it's to fly off the handle.

Since December 21st, protests have been taking place.  This Friday, they get kicked up another notch.  And Nouri refuses to address the demands of the protesters.   Alsumaria reports that Deputy Speaker Arif Tayfur has stated that Nouri's point-person on the protests, Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani is not negotiating with the protesters

The editorial board of Gulf News points out, "It is time for the political leaders to offer a more coherent way forward. In this, Maliki needs to re-start an active dialogue with Sunni and Kurdish leaders to re-establish the government’s credibility as a government for all Iraqis."

With over 200 violent deaths in the month so far, you'd expect that Nouri al-Maliki would at least try to offer leadership.  Instead, he demonstrates that a person can hold the office of prime minister for six years and learn nothing -- not even basic leadership skills.

Which is why the story of Iraq since the 2003 US invasion is a tragedy, an unchanging tragedy, day after day.  In 2010, Iraqis voted for a change, Barack Obama denied their vote, discarded their wishes and put the full weight of the US government behind Nouri al-Maliki.  As everyone can now see, that was a dangerous and deadly mistake. 

Today's violence, Alsumaria notes, includes an Iraqi soldier  injured in a Mosul bombing,

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

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Tomorrow?  Isaiah will have a comic up early in the day.  I'll do two entries.  If its needed, I'll do a snapshot.  That will depend on news out of Iraq.

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