Friday, April 26, 2013

Demonstrators remember the slaughtered in Hawija

دفن شهداء الحويجة

That's one of the photos from Iraqi Spring MC of Wednesday's funerals for the martyrs killed in Hawija for the 'crime' of conducting a sit-in.  On Tuesday, Nouri's forces took to the air in helicopters to shoot at them and rolled over them with military vehicles, shot at them, arrested them.  All for the 'crime' of taking part in a sit-in.  These are the dead that Arthur Bright has smeared.

As Kat's observed, Nouri al-Maliki is the new George Wallace.

At Anbar University today, protesters condemned the Hawija massacre. National Iraqi News Agency reports that sit-ins took place in Falluja and Ramadi.  Alsumaria reports thousands turned out in Ramadi (look at the picture even if you don't read Arabic -- the size of the crowd is impressive)  and they decried the killing of peaceful protesters in Hawija.   NINA reports, "Preachers in Diyala denounced storming arenas of sit-in Haweeja by the army and the killing of protesters, strongly condemning the government for what happened in Hawija of Kirkuk province."   They quote a coordinating member of the Anbar demonstrations stating "the Maliki government has lost its legitimacy when ordered army to open fire against unarmed people."   Alsumaria covers the protesters in Mosul (check out the picture) noting the demonstration expressed its solidarity with the people of Hawija and called for one Iraq of one people where the people are safe from Nouri's forces.

Iraqiya MP Liqaa Wardi speaks with NINA and states Nouri's reckless actions in Hawija have "created unprecedented reactions of anger." 

In this morning's New York Times, Tim Arango notes:

Sheik Abdul Malik al-Saadi, a leading Sunni cleric who wields enormous influence over Iraq’s Sunni population, has urged members of Iraq’s security forces to abandon their posts and join the opposition to the Shiite-led government, saying they should do so just as “their brothers did in Syria.”
In linking the raging civil war in Syria to the growing unrest here in Iraq, the declaration is one of the surest signs yet that the sectarian battles under way in both countries are regarded by Sunnis as two elements of a budding regional sectarian conflict. The civil war in Syria pits a Sunni-led rebellion against a government dominated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

 Along with yesterday's defections, Iraqi Spring MC notes 25 have defected today in Kirkuk.  The defections may or may not be connected to the remarks of al-Saadi. Anytime the Iraqi forces have been used by Nouri to attack Iraqis, there have been defections.  This was most noticeable when Nouri attacked Basra in 2008 (and why the US military command was so outraged -- see the April 2008 appearances of then-Gen David Petraeus and then-US Ambassador Ryan Crocker before the various committees in the US Congress --  that he jumped the gun on the planned invasion).

Mohammed Tawfeeq and Joe Sterling (CNN) maintain that the protests are over Sunnis feeling they are treated like second-class citizens.  When does CNN plan to note the rapes in prisons and detention centers that outraged the protesters?  Or is rape and torture of women just considered "second-class" and not crimes?  They note that 4 are dead and thirty-six are injured from the bombing of Baghdad's al-Qubeisi mosque.

AFP notes, "The gunmen pulled out of Sulaiman Bek under a deal worked out by tribal leaders and government."  AFP could be more specific but choose not to be.  "Government" isn't Nouri.  NINA explains Salahuddin Province Governor Ahmed Abdullah al-Jabouri announced yesterday that he had met "with security commanders and local tribal leaders reaching an agreement by which the crisis will be solved tomorrow, and the military force to withdraw, according to the request of tribes' leaders, to be replaced with local police force."  Kitabat also makes it clear that the the peace agreement was made by the provincial government.

Kitabat has an analysis of the provincial vote.  We'll wait for hard numbers before doing the same.  The IHEC still hasn't posted them.

What is known is that Nouri won 8 provinces.  It's a pity Iraq doesn't just have 8 provinces or even 12.  Then Nouri's pipe-dream of a majority government might be possible.  Iraq has six provinces that haven't voted.  Four that did didn't go for Nouri.  The six that haven't voted?  Five will absolutely not go for Nouri (Anbar, Nineveh and the KRG).  Kirkuk won't get to vote.  But that's 8 provinces for Nouri and 7 against.  That's not going to be a majority government when the parliamentary elections roll around.  Equally true, there's been a flip-flop on parliamentary and provincial with one group turning out for one and another for the other.  It's a see-saw effect that goes with voters disgust.  There is nothing in the results that speaks well for 2012 and, as we noted before, these reflections did not and would not reflect on Nouri's own power.  These are local elections.

I'm very curious about the results for Sadr.  Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr wants to be prime minister.  There are various reports on how his party did.  That's not the question though.  The question really comes down to: Is Moqtada a boxer?

If so, he may have done something very smart.  Parliamentary elections matter more than provincial.  So if you wanted to do a fake jab or feign weakness, this would be the one not to worry about getting supporters out for.  And Moqtada really didn't do a lot of urging, did he?

Those are things to consider about the elections.  We'll cover violence in the snapshot, it's all over Iraq.

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