Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Violence slams Iraq

Violence slams Iraq today.  KUNA reports "two booby-trapped cars in the northern cities of Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmato" leaving ten dead and over one hundred injured.  The Voice of Russia notes that the Kirkuk bombing was a suicide car bombing "outside the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party" -- the KDP is the political party of KRG President Massoud Barzani.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports that police sources state 27 people have died in the Kirkuk bombing with another one hundred injured but health officials are saying the death toll is 50.  Mustafa Mahmoud (Reuters) quotes Police Brigadier Sarhat Qadir stating, "A suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives detonated the vehicles outside the KDP headquarters. It's a crowded area, dozens were killed and wounded."   BBC News offers this perspective:

The BBC's Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad says Wednesday's attack seems to send a political message.
Kirkuk is rich not just in oil, but in symbolic importance, and seen by Kurdish nationalists as a crucial part of any future Kurdish state, he says.
As always, the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown, and so too will any political aims behind the attack, leaving the doors wide open to speculation, our correspondent adds

In southern Kirkuk (Zab), Alsumaria notes, 1 police officer died attempting to defuse a bomb placed on the side of the road. On the Tuk Khourmatu bombing, The Voice of Russia notes a bombing "outside the branch of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan" -- the PUK is the political party of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.  Fars News Agency counts 2 dead and twenty injured in the Tuz Khurmato bombing.  Alsumaria states it targeted the Peshmerga and that 2 are dead and thirty more injured according to a source who was present when ambulances began arriving but before the police cordoned off the area.  Dar Addustour reports a so-called 'honor' killing in Iraq.  A pregnant woman and her husband were murdered by two of the young women's brothers because the family did not agree ot the marriage.  According to what the brothers told police, the husband would not have been killed if he had 'stayed out of it,' that their plan was just to kill their sister.

In addition, Press TV reports, "Elsewhere, a series of bomb attacks in the cities of Baiji and Tikrit, north of the capital, left two people killed and six others injured.Alsumaria notes a Mosul roadside bombing left two Iraqi soldiers injured.  All Iraq News adds that a Baghdad bombing left five police officers injured.  The outlet also notes a Falluja roadside bombing targeted the funeral of Aifan al-Issawi left one person injured.  From yesterday's snapshot:

Alsumaria also reports that Iraqiya MP Aifan al-Issawi was killed by a suicide bomber in Falluja.
A year ago, Aifan al-Issawi was describing the situation in Iraq to Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal, January 16, 2012) as, "We are preoccupied with how we can finish each other off."  Today he is dead.  Along with being an MP for Iraqiya, al-Issawi was also a tribal chief and one of the founding members of the Sahwa.  The Sahwa are Iraqis (largely Sunni -- but not just Sunni according to then-Gen David Petraeus' testimony to Congress in April 2008) who were paid to stop attacking the US military and their equipment.  April 8, 2008, Senator Barbara Boxer noted they were being paid $182 million a year by US tax payersAll Iraq News notes the attack took place today on 40th Street in central Falluja. Kamal Maama (Independent Online) adds, "Posing as a worker, the attacker hugged Efan al-Esawi before detonating an explosive vest to kill the politician, who once campaigned against al Qaeda after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, police and local officials said."  

Today Sam Dagher and Ali A. Nabhan (Wall St. Journal) report:

Mr. Issawi and other tribal leaders in Anbar rallied their followers starting in 2006 to join the U.S. campaign against al Qaeda that later became known as the Sahwa, or Awakening. Mr. Issawi's Albu-Issa clan had been among the Sunni tribes that welcomed and sheltered foreign jihadists who flocked to Iraq starting in 2003 to fight what was largely seen by Sunnis as an occupation by infidel Americans.
Sentiments shifted when many of the Iraqi tribesmen saw the fighters' brutal tactics firsthand. In interviews, Mr. Issawi had said his mother and several members of his extended family were killed in March 2007 when al Qaeda insurgents detonated a dump truck packed with explosives and chlorine gas canisters.
Men including Mr. Issawi received arms and cash from the U.S. military to join the battle against al Qaeda in Iraq. He forged ties with the Americans, eventually hosting U.S. military commanders and diplomats for poolside barbecues at his farm house near Fallujah. In one living room at the house, Mr. Issawi—who U.S. troops nicknamed "Dark" for his skin tone—exhibited accolades from the U.S. military and photographs showing him with U.S. officials, including a photo taken with then-President George W. Bush during his 2007 visit to Anbar.

In other violence, AFP notes that Turkish war planes bombed over "50 PKK targets in northern Iraq" late Tuesday.  All Iraq News notes at least seven homes were destroyed in Tuesday's bombings.  Xinhua adds that Turkish war planes also bombed northern Iraq's Qandil mountains on Monday. 

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley, The Diane Rehm Show, Adam Kokesh, Pacifica Evening News,,  and the House Veterans Affairs Committee -- updated last night and this morning:

We'll close with this from Leslie Combemale's "Zero Dark Thirty -- Bigelow's Controversial Film Worth Seeing" (Patch):

Bigelow said while accepting Best Director honors at the New York Film Critics Circle ceremony: "I thankfully want to say that I'm standing in a room of people who understand that depiction is not endorsement, and if it was, no artist could ever portray inhumane practices."
It should not be a question of whether Oscar voters, or moviegoers for that matter, agree with her willingness to denounce or promote torture. The fact, whether as a woman or not, this director is able to confront such moral ambiguities unflinchingly and with such a clear aesthetic vision while finding a way to keep audiences in thrall, should be rewarded at the highest level.
It is an unintended irony that the movie is centered on a tenacious woman rising to the top in the man's world of the CIA and Bigelow, who brings the story to us all, is being ignored and excluded in the man's world that is the Academy. Is it too much to ask that members of the Academy see the error of their ways?
If you, lovers of great film, support "Zero Dark Thirty" by going to see the film and spending your movie-going dollars, Bigelow will no doubt find some consolation. We will all have hope Chastain and Boal win Oscars for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay, prompting Oscar voters to mend their sexist attitude.

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