Thursday, January 03, 2013

Protests continue and more solidarity is expressed with the protesters

Alsumaria reports Nineveh Province Governor Ethel al-Nujaifi (also spelled Atheel) noted today that the protests against Nouri al-Maliki and his oppressive government continue.  He states that the demonstrations will continue until the protesters demands are met.  The Governor is the brother of Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and yesterday their family suffered a loss when the son of their cousin Abdul-Rahman Khalid al-Nujaifi was shot dead in Mosul. Nineveh Province is only one area where the protests are taking place.  UPI notes, "Sunni communities in Anbar set up a tent city near the provincial capital of Ramadi to protest Maliki's government, the BBC reports. A protest banner on a tent warns "the sectarian government" against dragging the country into war."  Alsumaria observes that banners and slogans in Anbar are calling for harmony and unity and they demand that Nouri's government correct itself from the path its on.

As the protests continue, they gather additional support.  The Iraq Times reports that Baqir Jabr al-Zubeidi has declared this political party is in solidarity with the protesters.  al-Zubeidi is a high ranking member in the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (led by Ameer al-Hakim).  al-Zubeidi was the Iraq Minister of Finance during Nouri al-Maliki's first term as prime minister. Kitabat notes the statement's significance is due to the "broad popular support" the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (a Shi'ite group) enjoys in Iraq and within the government.   The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq's endoresement of the protesters follows cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's earlier endorsement this weekMichael Jansen (Irish Times) covers the endorsement and offers this compare and contrast between Nouri and Moqtada:

For a majority of Iraqis, Mr Maliki represents the Iran-nurtured Shia fundamentalists who returned to Iraq under US auspices after its invasion and occupation of the country.
By contrast, Mr Sadr (39) was born and raised in Iraq during the last years of the regime of Saddam Hussein and has projected himself as an independent Iraqi nationalist. A middle-ranking cleric, he is the son and son-in-law of grand ayatollahs Mohamed Sadeq al-Sadr and Mohamed Baqr al-Sadr, both revered religious figures assassinated by the ousted regime.
Discord between Mr Maliki and the populace has intensified due to his inability to deliver electricity, water, jobs and security since 2006 when he first became prime minister. According to Iraq Body Count’s conservative estimates, last year’s death toll from bombings and shootings reached more than 5,000, topping the 4,136 of 2011.

Al-Monitor translates an Al-Hayat article by Mushreq Abbas on the protests which includes:

Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has stepped up his campaign against Maliki and warned him of an “Iraqi Spring.” On the other hand, Maliki has threatened to disperse demonstrations by force.
With the return of prominent cleric Abdul-Malik al-Saadi to Iraq and his immediate joining of the demonstrations that are gaining ground in Sunni cities, sources confirm that it will not be long before Sadr’s supporters do the same in Shiite cities.
Since his return, Saadi has changed the inclination of demonstrators in Anbar and other cities. He sought to eliminate sectarian slogans and flags from the former regime and give the demonstrations a national impetus. He also called on prominent Shiite figures to give the demonstrations their blessing.

MP Jawad Alshahyla is with Sadr's bloc in Parliament and he tells Alsumaria that if Nouri dares to use force against the protesters, it will immediately trigger an Arab Spring across Iraq.  Iraqiya has also voiced its support for the protesters and Alsumaria reports that the Ayad Allawi led political slate today called for an end to corruption, an end to the targeting on large segments of Iraqis and an ended to attempts to marginalize various groups of Iraqis.  This refers to Nouri's targeting of various groups including Sunnis and Kurds.  Xinhua notes that Nouri allowed in a statement yesterday that the protesters might have some point and the outlet explains:

For more than a week, thousands of Sunnis have been taking to the streets to hold anti-government demonstrations in several Sunni-dominated provinces protesting against marginalization by the Shiite-led government as well as targeting the Sunni community by arresting hundreds of their sons.
The demonstrators also accused the Shiite-dominated security forces of arresting women instead of the wanted male of their family members.

Christine Hauser (New York Times) has a brief write-up on Nouri's speech yesterday.  Ted Galen Carpenter (National Interest) notes the "American news media" lacks interest in Iraq and he presents a number of issues that raise concern such as:

The Maliki regime’s political practices grow ever more worrisome. Not only is corruption on the rise, but there is a steady erosion of political freedoms. Journalists who dare to be critical of the prime minister and his allies increasingly complain of harassment and sometimes outright censorship. Maliki’s security bureaucracy has detained hundreds of former officials, accusing them of supporting a return to Ba’athist Party dictatorial rule. Although some of those allegations may be true, the government has cast a very wide and indiscriminate net.
An especially ominous development occurred when the Maliki administration charged Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with treason -- specifically with running anti-government death squads. Hashemi, one of Iraq’s leading Sunni Arab politicians and a leader of the Iraqiya political bloc, vehemently maintained his innocence and fled the country.
A report by the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War concluded that Maliki seems to be conducting a concerted campaign to stifle dissent and political opposition. “He has made it more difficult for his Shi’ite rivals to dissent,” the report stated, “while simultaneously confining his Sunni opponents in a position suitable for exerting pressure and exploiting divisions within their ranks.”

Nouri's nonsense and lies know no bounds. We're dropping back to yesterday's snapshot:

Raheem Salman, Ahmed Rasheed, Isabel Coles and Kevin Liffey (Reuters) report that Sunni cleric Khaled al-Mullah is representing the protesters in talks with Nouri and that Nouri states he will declare a special pardon which would allow approximately 700 female prisoners to be released out of 920.  That may or may not address one of the issues.  May or may not?  Nouri's not real good about following up on verbal promises or written ones. And if that doesn't sound fair, you're not only missing his past record, you're missing the rest of the story.  Ammar Karim (AFP) reports the women aren't going anywhere just yet.  What's being reported isn't what Nouri's promised.  What Nouri promised?  That he would "write to the president to issue a special amnesty to release them." That would be President Jalal Talabani.  Nouri's not releasing anyone.  And he's writing to Jalal who left Iraq for Germany in a medical transport from an illness/condition that no one with his office or his family has identified.  (Nouri's office stated Jalal had a stroke.)  

The 700 most likely will never be released.  Just like his lie of "give me 100 days and I'll stop the corrpution."  He lies to defuse the anger.  100 days passed and he had no plan and didn't do a damn thing.  Today Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports "Iraqi authorities" are going to release 11.  No, not really.  If the 11 families -- in poverty striken Iraq -- can raise the money for a fee (they're calling it "bail"), then the women -- who have no charges against them -- can finally come home.  Those 11.  This is ridiculous and offensive and, please note, it's ignored by the piece of trash spokesperson for the US State Dept Victoria Nuland.  Now her ass actually should be in prison because she is War Criminal for her actions with Dick Cheney in plotting the illegal war.  But she struts around free --  in those tacky outfits that look like they came from some Beltway K-Mart that carries the Karen Hughes Collection -- and innocent Iraqi women remain behind bars. 

In other news, All Iraq News reports that there is no deal between Baghdad and Erbil and the military stand-off in the disputed areas continues.  The KRG Ministry of Peshmerga says of their Erbil meeting with a delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense yesterday did not result in an agreement and that differences on several key points remain.

The e-mail address for this site is


iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq