Friday, February 01, 2013

Protests across Iraq

Protests continue in Iraq today.  Alsumaria reports Falluja saw tens of thousands turn out today and they took to the international highway (that connects Baghdad to Jordan).  Kitabat notes today's protests are a tribute to the Falluja martyrs who were killed last week.

Friday, January 25th, Nouri al-Maliki's armed thugs in Falluja fired on protesters killing at least seven (Alsumaria reported Saturday that another of the victims has died from wounds raising the death toll from six to seven)  and sixty more were left injured. Today Kitabat reports four more victims of last Friday's violence have died bringing the death toll to 11.  Protesters in Falluja were marching and taking part in a sit-in when the military opened fire on them.  Anbar Province has sworn out arrest warrents for the soldiers.

All Iraq News notes that demonstrations also took place in Kirkuk with the protesters demanding the release of prisoners.  This has been a constant of the recent wave of protests and was also a part of the 2011 protests.  Iraqis disappear into the 'legal system' and their families can't find them.   Article IV allows the security forces to arrest relatives of suspects.  Relatives who are not charged with anything languish in detention centers and prisons.  The Sunni population feels they are especially targeted by Nouri -- both with regards to arrests and with regards to being put to death.

Dropping back to the November 12th snapshot:
Staying with violence, as noted in the October 15th snapshot, Iraq had already executed 119 people in 2012.  Time to add more to that total.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reported last night that 10 more people were executed on Sunday ("nine Iraqis and one Egyptian").  Tawfeeq notes the Ministry of Justice's statement on the executions includes, "The Iraqi Justice Ministry carried out the executions by hanging 10 inmates after it was approved by the presidential council."  And, not noted in the report, that number's only going to climb.  A number of Saudi prisoners have been moved into Baghdad over the last weeks in anticipation of the prisoners being executed.  Hou Qiang (Xinhua) observes, "Increasing executions in Iraq sparked calls by the UN mission in the country, the European Union and human rights groups on Baghdad to abolish the capital punishment, criticizing the lack of transparency in the proceedings of the country's courts."

AFP reported yesterday that already this year Iraq has executed 91 people -- yes, we're still at the start of 2013 -- 88 men and 3 women.  The United Nations Secretary-General has personally called on Iraq to put in place a moratorium on executions but Nouri al-Maliki has rejected that.  Iraq's recent prison breaks have often been tied to executions.  Most press outlets (non-Iraqi) simply report that some death row prisoners escaped. But often, the escape follows the news that prisoners will be moved to Baghdad (to be executed).   On the prison issue,  Human Rights Watch's "Iraq: A Broken Justice System" was released yesterday and noted:

Most recently, in November, federal police invaded 11 homes in the town of al-Tajji, north of Baghdad, and detained 41 people, including 29 children, overnight in their homes. Sources close to the detainees, who requested anonymity, said police took 12 women and girls ages 11 to 60 to 6th Brigade headquarters and held them there for four days without charge. The sources said the police beat the women and tortured them with electric shocks and plastic bags placed over their heads until they began to suffocate.
Despite widespread outcry over abuse and rape of women in pre-trial detention, the government has not investigated or held the abusers accountable. In response to mass protests over the treatment of female detainees, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a pardon for 11 detainees. However, hundreds more women remain in detention, many of whom allege they have been tortured and have not had access to a proper defense.

 Dar Addustour notes that Nouri met for six hours mid-week with armed forces commanders to discuss/anticipate today's protests.  Kitabat notes that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis took part in protests today throughout Anbar Province, Kirkuk Province, Nineveh Province, Diyala Province and Salahuddin following morning prayers. Al Jazeera reports:

Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Fallujah, said many had walked for hours to attend Friday's protest and had turned the highway into a mosque for the weekly prayers.
"Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is under increasing pressure to listen to their demands," she said, adding that a lot of the protesters, mostly young men, were unemployed and that a lot of them have been in jail.
"They feel they've been neglected by the Shia government," she said.

All Iraq News adds that Nouri al-Maliki gave an interview where he insisted that all legitimate demands of the protesters will be listened to if they show patience.   World Bulletin observes, "The protests are evolving in the most serious test yet for Maliki and his fragile government that splits posts among Shi'ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurds, who were already deadlocked over how to share power for more than a year."

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani remains in Germany following his stroke in December.  AP quotes former US Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith stating, "One of the biggest problems with him being ill is that there is no check on al-Maliki.  Simply, al-Maliki respected him.  He felt he couldn't be quite as dictatorial in the presence of Talabani."

This note is appearing in both posts this morning. There are certain things we've helped with in the past.  "We" is Martha, Shirley, Eli, Beth, KeShawn, Jess, Dona, Jim, Kat, Ruth, Isaiah, Ava and myself.  For example, every election cycle -- since the reporting on Congressional hearings became a part of the Iraq snapshots -- results in e-mails from campaigns about when did ___ say that?  And that's fairly obvious -- or should be -- but we respond.  Sometimes even after being presented with the date and the fact that the hearing is streamable at whatever page it's archived at, we'll have another e-mail asking but when in the hearing?  So I'll get very quiet and try to think (if it's not obvious in the snapshot) was this the first round or second round of questioning?  And we'll reply to that.  If -- and this does happen -- an e-mail comes in after that asking, "No, at what time into the hearing is it said?" we just blow that e-mail off.  You need to be responsible enough to stream a hearing.  We're not here to spoonfeed you.  But because it is an election issue, we do answer prior to that point -- and have answered for the campaigns of Democratic, Republican, Green and Constitutional Party candidates.  And would for any other party.

Last night, as I worked through returning calls, I spoke to Shirley who was having a real headache with an e-mail.  A week ago at the site a link to an article didn't work.  That happens.  Sometimes a mistake is made, sometimes a link goes out.  But the person gave a date and Shirley went through all of that day's entries trying to find where the link was.  She shouldn't have had to do that and no one will in the future.  She found it and then attempted to answer the e-mail's request for a real link but it's an Arabic article and I'm the only one working the e-mails that reads Arabic. That's where she hit a wall.

This is the only answer "catbird" will get, by the way.  I told Shirley I appreciated the time she was taking but that this was wasting her time and I'd be explaining that in the morning.  It is not this site -- or any site's -- responsibility to track down a link for you.   In addition to a mistake being made by me or someone I'm dictating too, links can change.  We stopped using "Yahoo News" for several years after we learned that they ditched a report within 3 months.  If we were responsible for providing alternate links, there's a period of about fourteen months that we'd have to be responding on every day.  (We link to Yahoo columnists now but we still avoid linking to a Yahoo repost of an article from another outlet due to the past ;vanishing'.)

If you see a broken link in a 24-hour period -- within 24 hours of something going up here -- you can e-mail.  If it was that morning and I'm mentioning it in the snapshot later that day and your e-mail's red prior to that, the link will be changed.  But, no, we're not your link hunters and I'm not too bothered by the fact that, in something written a week ago, you can't use the link.

That's on any topic at all.  But catbird was writing about avian flu.  I typed "avian flu" and "Karbala" into a basic Google search and the death turned up on several results including one from the United Nations.  Why didn't someone who grasps how to e-mail think to do that?

 We are not Net For Dummies.  Repeating, we are not here to spoonfeed.  The public account has enough problems currently -- too many e-mails and last week's hacking.  We all have limited time.  Beth, for example, had a request from an author about a book review she'd done that was mentioned in the year-end-review on books.  He emailed wanting to know if she could get him a copy.  The e-mail was passed on to her by whomever saw it that day.  Beth hoped to find time to type up her review.  She found it in the gina & krista round-robin (they are PDF files), she kept hoping she'd have time.  Instead, she had her own birthday, she had the death of a co-worker and she had the death of a family member.  When we were on the phone Sunday, she said Sunday that she just wasn't going to be able to do it.  I said if she wanted my thoughts, I understood and just to forget about it but that if she was asking my permission she didn't need to bother.  I had nothing to do with the review and did not write the year-end look at books and was just glad the e-mail hadn't been sent to me or I would have felt like I had to make the time to type it up and send it. So I understand the guilt Beth felt.  But it's also true that Beth reviewed the book for the gina & krista round-robin -- a private conversation in a less-public sphere.  (Gina coined the tagline that, here at The Common Ills, this is a private converstaion in a public sphere.)  The newsletters are for members only and that allows me to bring in friends to participate in the roundtables and for the friends to know they can speak freely because it is private.  So a newsletter can't be forwarded to the book author either and Beth has no time to type it up.  Oh well.  That's life.  Her duty or obligation was to review it, she did that.  If she could do other things, fine.  If she can't, that's fine too.  Everyone has a busy life -- on both ends of this computer or cell phone or tablet screen.  When something can be done, we're happy to do so but no one answering the public e-mails is going to do research.  If one phone call -- to me or whomever -- can provide the information, that's one thing.  But people answering the public e-mail are not your research assistants. 

 The e-mail address for this site is

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq