Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nouri's words last week set the stage for yesterday's slaughter

The best English article on Iraq today is Tim Arango's  article.  If you have the print version of the paper, you've got a strong version but I think the one online is better. The headline betrays objectivity but he didn't write the headline: "Dozens Killed in Battles Across Iraq as Sunnis Escalate Protests Against Government."  I think the more honest headline is "Sunnis Escalate Protests Against Government as Dozens Killed in Battles Across Iraq."  It covers yesterday's slaughter of the sit-in in Hawija. 

One thing's missing in the coverage of Hawija -- western or Arabic.  The protesters were attacked and slaughter yesterday.  Yes, that happened.  But what happened last week?  Or is no going to make the connection?  Yes, Friday, Nouri's forces killed 1 protester and wounded three others.  I'm not talk about that.  I'm talking about last week when Nouri rushed back to Baghdad in the middle of campaigning for State of Law candidates because he was publicly denounced as a "Liar" in the midst of a speech he gave attacking the protesters?

From Thursday's snapshot:

  Kitabat reports that tribal leaders in Dhi Qar have signed a letter apologizing to activists.  For what?  For Nouri's "abusive verbal attack" on them.  Nouri gave a little speech where he called the peaceful activists lawless rebels and threatened to use force against them.  Peaceful protests have been going on across Iraq, peaceful protests against Nouri, since December.
They aren't the only ones condemning Nouri for those remarks.  NINA notes that Osama al-Nujaifi's party has condemned the remarks and called for Nouri to stop verbally attacking demonstrators and return to Baghdad to oversea security issues.  Osama al-Nujaifi is part of the Iraqiya political slate but this was his Motahedoon Coalition issuing the condemnation.  Iraqiya also condemned the remarks.  Maysoun al-Damlouji, Iraqiya spokesperson, is quoted by NINA stating, "Describing our honorable people who peacefully demonstrate across Iraq demanding their legitimate rights as conspirators is the ugliest words you can use against the oppressed people." Iraqiya MP Ahmed al-Alwani added that Nouri's attacks on demonstrators "incite sectarian strife."

Even Nouri's new bride Saleh al-Mutlaq is calling out the remarks leading Kitabat to wonder if the honeymoon is over for Nouri and Saleh or if this is just more propaganda from Saleh in an attempt to boost the votes for the National Dialogue Front?

Nouri has returned to Baghdad. Kitabat explains that he rushed back to Baghdad after his speech in Nasiriyah was interrupted with cries of "Liar!" when he began verbally attacking the protesters.

Mike noted Jason Ditz ( explaining the problems with Nouri's claims that those attacked were terrorists and Ba'athists:

Iraqi troops raided the camp early in the day, and the Defense Ministry claimed that they found rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles among the protesters. Mysteriously, none of these weapons appear to have been used by the protesters to protect themselves during the raid, and protest leaders say some of the slain were just run over by military vehicles during the advance on the camp.

What Nouri's presenting now, these charges?  It's what he's smeared protesters as and it what got him denounced as a liar.

There is talk of, and calls for, calm and careful dialogue from 'both sides.'  Then how about Nouri apologizes for his verbal attacks on protesters?  Those attacks give the go-ahead to his forces to treat the protesters as if they're something less than human.

Equally true, any real investigation into what happened will have to factor in Nouri's public remarks from last week.

Kitabat notes that the Association of Muslim Scholars note that the government continues its assault on protesters only if its seeking to tear Iraq apart and the scholars are calling for this Friday's protests to be around the theme of national unity.  Alsumaria adds that the Arab League also expressed their concerns about what is happening in Iraq, called for a full investigation into what happened in Hawija and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

Already Nouri's State of Law thugs are trying to spin the slaughter.  Alsumaria reports State of Law is whispering that the Kurds benefit from the events in Hawija.  I'm sure they do.  I'm sure everyone who is not crazy Nouri al-Maliki benefits from the slaughter.  Everyone looks more mature, more like a leader, more everything. 

We didn't note a rumor in yesterday's snapshot because it was so stupid. But that's when State of Law started their whispers. And they tried to say the Peshmerga was in the square.  They weren't.  But that's what State of Law's trying to do now.

If there's anything more disgusting than slaughtering innocent civilians, it's then trying to pin that slaughter on your political opponents.  Nouri is responsible.  And all the whispers and rumors -- which is all the catty, backbiting bitches of State of Law have ever had to offer -- will not change the fact that Nouri's forces killed those people.  Nothing will change that, not all the bad gossip in the world.

Alsumaria notes Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk) has announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in yesterday's assault.  Kitabat reports thousands have turned out today for the funerals of yesterday's victims -- they count at least 34 funerals -- and that mourners chanted slogans.  Sami al-Assi, a mourner, tells Kitbat that they don't want a commission or a committee or financial compensation, they want the killers punished.

The vote will becoming out soon, the totals.  Things to watch for?  There are rumors Ali al-Dabbagh is a contender.  I'm not interested in the horse racing aspect.  But for the last two weeks, he's been denounced (by State of Law largely) for a satellite TV interview he did with a member of Saddam Hussein's administration.   al-Dabbagh was Nouri's spokesperson until he suddenly quit announcing, basically, that not only was he not involved in the corrupt Russian arms deal, but also that he wasn't taking the fall for it. 

No results are known currently.  But this is news: Adil Abdul Mahdi is meeting with other Shi'ites and stating that there should be no partnership among winning Shi'ites -- he says, "We should distribute the ten southern provinces on the winning political blocs" and not via coalitions formed after the elections.  Adil Abdul Mahdi is a two-term Vice President of Iraq.  He resigned in the summer of 2011 over government corruption and Nouri's inability, after promising he'd address it in 100 days, to address it.  He is a political rival of Nouri's.  He is also someone who wanted to be prime minister (and may still).  Big Oil was Mahdi's biggest supporter when it came to him being prime minister.  He also had comments on the voting -- click here for Kitabat if you're interested in that.  Again, we're waiting on the release of the numbers by the IHEC.

Isaiah latest will go up after this (if I've figured out the Flickr problem).

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.  Her office notes:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Tuesday, April 23, 2013                                                                   (202) 224-2834

Senator Murray’s Statement on Women Veterans Call Center
New hotline follows call from Murray for VA improvements on women veterans outreach

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced a hotline dedicated to the needs of women veterans:

“As more and more women return from the battlefield, the VA system must be equipped for the unique challenges women veterans face as they step back into their lives as mothers, wives, and citizens. When I reintroduced the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act this Congress, I called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to make improvements to their women veterans contact center and I was pleased to see them take steps to do just that with the launch of the Women Veterans Call Center today. This is a critical resource in order to make sure
women veterans can get the information they need in order to access the VA health care and benefits they have earned.”

The Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2013 builds upon VA’s programs for women veterans and families of veterans by enhancing VA’s fertility treatment services, along with other programs. Late last year, Senator Murray was able to pass the bill through the U.S. Senate after delivering an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that described the challenges veterans and their families face in accessing health care services.

Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636)


Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

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