Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Another suicide bombing in Iraq

For the third day in a row, Iraq sees a suicide bombing aimed at security forces.  Sunday, the attack was on police in Kirkuk.  Monday, the attack was on Sahwa in Taji.  Today?  Kareem Raheem (Reuters) explains it's Taji again but the Iraqi military was the focus as a suicide car bomber went after a military checkpoint.  AFP reports 6 people were killed, three of which were soldiers.  All Iraq News notes that sixteen people were also injured (ten of those are soldiers).

Alsumaria notes a Baquba armed attack has left one person injured, 1 corpse was discovered in his Baghdad home where he was apparently shot to death, a Baquba roadside bombing claimed 1 life and late last night 1 person was shot dead in MosulAll Iraq News notes a Mosul attack on a member of Nouri's State of Law and states the man is "seriously injured."

There's a lot of tensions "between baghdad and almost every other province," observes Jane Arraf on Morning Edition (NPR) today.  Renee Montagne speaks with the Al Jazeera and Christian Science Monitor (and PRI) correspondent.  We'll note it more in the snapshot today but right now let's note that Jane Arraf states Sunday's Kirkuk attack was by people "trying to free prisoners from one of the prisons" -- a detail I'm not remembering in the Sunday coverage.  I'm sure it's true.  But that changes the focus and scope of the attacks, especially when you consider that All Iraq News is reporting today that yesterday's Taji attack was an attempt to free prisoners (that's what the Ministry of Justice has announced today). We've made this point before, Nouri's refusal to allow an amnesty law to pass is creating a great deal of the violence in Iraq.

Today Iraq's Parliament convened.  Alsumaria notes that the federal budget was among topics discussed by the 250 MPs present.  Another issue was Nouri's crony Jassim Mohammed Jaafar who is the Minister of Youth and Sports -- a post around which rumors of corruption and theft of public money swirl.  The Parliament had attemtped to question him last month; however, he failed to show up. So, January 14th, they 'questioned' him in absentia.   Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) observes that the mood going into the session was that Parliament would vote to withdraw confidence in Jaafar which would strip him of his Cabinet post.  Alsumaria notes State of Law MP Abbas al-Bayati is gloating that the vote failed and that only 102 of those present voted to dismiss.  (This Alsumaria article quotes him stating 255 were present -- in quotes.  Alsumaria, as noted earlier, reports only 250 were present.  Five more may have showed up or al-Bayati may have his count wrong. All Iraq News also reports only 250 were present.)   The Iraq Times notes that 163 votes were needed to dismiss Jaafar.

Iraqiya refused to vote on the federal budget.  They announced ahead of time they would not vote for it.  Kitabat reports Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoun al-Damlouji explained that they feel too much money is allocated for the Cabinet and that they strongly object to the $2.5 million a day Nouri wants allocated for his office alone.  al-Damloujis explains that Iraqiya's position is that this money would be better spent on infrastructure repairs, on schools and providing basic services to the people.

The Iraq Times has a strong article charting Nouri's attacks on the press.  Time and space permitting, we'll cover that topic in the snapshot today. All Iraq News notes 10 deaths related to H1N1 -- Avian or Bird Flu -- despite, the Ministry of Health insisted, providing all the necessary medicines to treat it. Hou Qiang covers the deaths for Xinhua.

We'll close with this from Jameel Jaffer's "The Justice Department White Paper Details Rationale for Targeted Killing of Americans" (ACLU):

Michael Isikoff at NBC News has obtained a Justice Department white paper that purports to explain when it would be lawful for the government to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen believed to be affiliated with a terrorist organization. Many of the white paper's arguments are familiar because Attorney General Eric Holder set them out in a speech at Northwestern University in March of last year. But the white paper offers more detail, and in doing so it manages to underscore both the recklessness of the government's central claim and the deficiencies in the government's defense of it.

The 16-page white paper (read it here) is said to summarize a 50-odd page legal memo written in 2010 by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to justify the addition of U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi to the government's "kill lists." That legal memo is one of the documents the ACLU is seeking in an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Needless to say, the white paper is not a substitute for the legal memo. But it's a pretty remarkable document.

The paper's basic contention is that the government has the authority to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen if "an informed, high-level official" deems him to present a "continuing" threat to the country. This sweeping authority is said to exist even if the threat presented isn't imminent in any ordinary sense of that word, even if the target has never been charged with a crime or informed of the allegations against him, and even if the target is not located anywhere near an actual battlefield. The white paper purports to recognize some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are so vague and elastic that they will be easily manipulated.

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 jane arraf

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