Monday, March 25, 2013

The continued crises in Iraq

Yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Iraq.   Alsumaria notes that he asked Prime Minister and Thug Nouri al-Maliki to reconsider his decision to postpone provincial voting in Anbar Province and Nineveh Province.  April 20th, provinicial elections are supposed to be held.  Nouri's said Anbar and Nineveh must wait six months due to violence.  Then it was due to fraud.  Who knows what the next excuse will be?  Paul Richter does.  He (Los Angeles Times) reports the newest reason given:   "Maliki said Sunni demonstrations made it unsafe for election workers."

  All Iraq News reports Nouri is denying rumors that he's changed his mind on the postponements. National Iraqi News Agency notes that following his meeting with Kerry yesterday, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi issued a statement declaring the postponement of Anbar and Nineveh to be unconstitutional and illegal.  Alsumaria notes that al-Nujaifi is meeting with the leaders of the various blocs in Parliament today to discuss the postponements.

Al-Manar notes of Kerry's visit, "The top US diplomat will also push for Iraq's government to better engage with the country’s minority, which has been protesting since December." Jay Newton-Small (Time magazine) is lost on many things (does he not know about the court on the three presidencies -- cleary he does not) but he gets this section sort-of correct:

Maliki, who represents the Shia majority in Iraq, has been fighting with his Sunni Finance Minister Rafi al-Issawi who resigned earlier this month in fear of his life after government forces tried to arrest him. Kerry also met with the Sunni Speaker of the Parliament Usama al-Nujayfi, who has been pushing Sunnis to boycott the Cabinet. Kerry urged him to work within the political process, not leave it. Sunni areas have been pushing for greater autonomy, like that enjoyed by the Kurdish province in the north. “The country is coming apart at the seems,” says Marwan al-Muasher, a Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former Jordanian foreign minister. “There is no stable Iraqi democracy. The Sunni/Shia divide is being played out every day in Iraq.”

Alsumaria notes a Diyala Province attack has left 1 Sahwa dead and three more injured.  National Iraqi News Agency notes a Tikrit sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 taxi driver, a Tikrit sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer, a Baghdad sticky bombing left one police captain injured1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead today in Mosul2 Baquba bombings claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers and five more were left injured,  and Col Wesam Abdullah al-Obeidi survived a Kirkuk bombing assassination attempt.

On the topic of assassinations, All Iraq News reports, "The Iraqiya Alliance headed by Ayad Allawi announced that the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki, ordered the security forces tasked to protect Allawi's house and offices to immediately withdraw."  The move follows the news of Iraqiy'as Salah al-Ubaidi being assassinated in southern Baghdad yesterday.

In other news, UPI reported Saturday, "The head of a Kurdish separatist group in Iraq declared a cease-fire in its long-running conflict with neighboring Turkey, starting Saturday."  Hurriyet added:

“We declare a cease-fire starting on March 23. If the [Turkish] Parliament and government do the legal groundwork for a commission, we could withdraw [from Turkey],” Karayılan is quoted as saying in the video broadcast by the Germany-based Kurdish TV channel Nuce TV and published on a website known to have close ties with the PKK. Karayılan also guaranteed that unless PKK militants were attacked, no assault would be launched, according to daily Hürriyet’s report.

Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." 

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