Friday, March 01, 2013

Nouri's Iraq: Protesters and journalists arrested, look who's resigning

Muhammad Yassine (translated by Nicolas Dagher for World Meets US) offers a look at Iraq's crises:

Prime Minister Maliki, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and primarily responsible for the security situation in the country, refuses to descend from the fragile throne he ascended to years ago through an open agreement between America and Iran. Nouri al-Maliki was put there as a cover for their mistakes. Citing the Constitution, which he says gives him all rights and authority, Maliki has refused to give up even a small measure of influence or administrative authority to his political partners. With his poor judgment, he has lost many of his partners and allies, particularly among the Kurds.
Maliki's gambit to remain in power by relying on the Americans and Iranians was misplaced. When he ignored the demands of anti-government demonstrators on February 25th, 2011, he laid the groundwork for a worsening of the crisis between the corrupt political class and the disenfranchised public. No one can deny the success Maliki has had cutting down to size his political partners, who obeyed his deranged demands to resign in return for personal favors and privileges. With privileges granted by marginalizing and excluding huge segments of the Iraqi people, these partners conspired against the voters and their constituents, hiding under the cloak of Maliki's dictatorial powers.

It's last Friday, in Mosul, where Nouri's forces began videotaping the protesters.

Because, you know, this is such a special moment for Nouri, he wants a keepsake that he can use to remember these special days, right?

Wrong, the videos are to help him further target the protesters as well as to attempt to intimidate them  -- his forces have already been following them home from protests to find out where they live. 

But still they protest, refusing to be silenced. 

There are reports of Sheikhs arrested today, of mosques targeted by Nouri's forces, of journalists prevented from covering the protests.  And still the Iraqi people protest, they refuse to back down or live in fear.


Iraqi Sping MC notes that protests took place today in Baquba,  in Jalawla (screen snap from the video posted above), in Samarra and in Duluiya (photo below).

From Duluiya من الضلوعية
In Mosul, Nouri's forces refused to allow journalists access to the protestNouri's forces also raided a mosque in Mosul to prevent morning prayers. Journalists trying to report on the morning prayers in Baghdad's Adhamiya section were arrested by Nouri's forces.

Alsumaria notes protests took place in Ramadi and a high profile guest attended:  Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issaqi.  Or rather, former Minister of Finance.  When he spoke at the rally, he announced his resignation. 

The violence never ends in Iraq. Probably because Nouri al-Maliki has been as much a failure at Iraqi security as he has been at Iraqi unity.   Today Alsumaria speaks with Diwaniya Poice Chief Brigadier Abdul Jalil al-Asadi who explains 2 car bombs went off in a livestock market (cattle and sheep) resulting in 5 deaths and forty people being left injured.  Imad al-Khuzaie, Suadad al-Salhy, Isabel Coles and Patrick Graham (Reuters) quote butcher Jassim Khalid stating, "I came to buy some calves and was checking them when the explosion happened, I threw myself on the ground, then the second explosion happened."  AFP reminds, "The blasts came a day after at least 26 people were killed and more than 60 wounded in a series of bomb attacks in the Baghdad area and shootings in northern Iraq."  Alsumaria notes a home invasion just to the south of Baquba (8 kilometers to the south) in which Ghalib Abdul Ali was shot dead by machine guns and his son was left wounded and a Mosul sticky bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiersAll Iraq News adds that Kaen Saleem, Commander of Salah-il-Din Emergency Regiment, was targeted with three Dijail bombings leaving him and one civilian injured and a Babel car bombing targeted a kindergarten (but there are no reported injuries).

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