Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Western Press Again Bungles Iraq

National Iraqi News Agency reports, "The head of al-Ahrar bloc in the province of Karbala, Jassim al-Fatlawi, was battered by the security force, affiliated to the coalition of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on his way to a polling station to cast his vote." And that is what real reporters would be leading with in their reports of today's elections.  They're part of  cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc.  Moqtada is a Shi'ite rival of Thug Nouri.  This is news.  Sadly, as you'll quickly see, western outlets are offering many things but news really isn't one of them.


Today, residents of 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces voted in provincial elections.  The elections were preceded by non-stop violence.  Iraq Body Count counts 307 violent deaths in the first 18 days of April.  March saw 407 deaths from violence.  (The UN count for violent deaths in Iraq last month was 456.)


Claims for the violence have not quickly followed the events.  It assumed -- rightly or wrongly -- that al Qaeda in Iraq is responsible for at least some of the violence and, of course, it is known that Nouri al-Maliki's security forces/thugs are responsible for some of the violence as well.  Yesterday, Nouri's forces killed at least 1 protester participating in a Hawija sit-in in and wounded several others.

I'm not in the mood for crap today or panning for gold.  Jean Shaoul lacks the knowledge base to write about Iraq and WSWS shouldn't have printed the bad article. WSWS shouldn't be supporting authoritarian governments and should be siding with the people.  Shaoul's article fails to challenge the corporate media narrative or to get the facts right.  We'll do one example: "Maliki has already used the security situation to postpone the elections for one month in two Sunni-dominated provinces, Anbar and Nineveh."

At least six months.  That's what he said.  Know your facts, stop insulting us by sharing your ignorance.

I cannot believe this garbage that WSWS printed.  We know Nouri runs secret jails, we know he runs torture chambers, we know the Interior Ministry distributed the guidelines for attacking Iraq's Emo youth and we know Nouri's in charge of that ministry.   We can down the list forever.  Shame on WSWS for refusing to stand up for the powerless.  Would they cover for Pinochet today?  That's what this article suggests.  It's bad enough we have so many whores in the mainstream who can't call out Nouri but when WSWS wants to whore as well?  I'm not in the damn mood.

WSWS can take comfort in the fact that RT is just as stupid and useless, "Due to security concerns, six of Iraq's 18 provinces are not participating in the polls, two of them because authorities say security cannot be ensured, and four because of various political disagreements, AP reported."  Show me that AP report.  It doesn't exist.  They claim earlier "terrorist attacks forced a third of provinces to refrain from participating in the polls due to security concerns."   Wouldn't it be great if lightening blots just struck the liars?  Wouldn't it really?

And wouldn't it be great if Nouri calling off two provinces from voting was called out?  He doesn't have that power as commander in chief.  And he didn't consult the Independent High Electoral Commission -- which does not report to him and is supposed to be the sole authority over elections.

Security isn't an issue with Kirkuk.  The failure to implement Article 140 -- Excuse me, Nouri's failure to do as the Constitution demanded and implement Article 140 allows Kirkuk to still be disputed territory all these years later and that's why it's not voting.  Nouri has given three reasons for why he called off voting in Anbar Province and Nineveh Province -- including that the thug claimed fraud was very likely.

That takes care of three of the six provinces that aren't voting.  From yesterday's snapshot:

The other three provinces not voting tomorrow?  They're in the semi-autonomous north where Nouri has no control.  The KRG's three provinces will vote September 21st. Those three provinces are Dohuk, Erbil and Suleimaniyah.  Had the Constitution been followed by the end of 2007 as it was supposed to be, the KRG might or might not include Kirkuk.  That's northern Iraq which shares a border with Turkey.

I'm sorry RT's so damn stupid. Or are they?  They're state TV, right?  And the Russian government desperately wants the 4 billion plus from the weapons deal.  So maybe RT kissing Nouri's ass to try to help that deal that fell apart get back together?

I have no idea.

But how stupid are you that you would say the KRG was not voting due to security issues?  (Especially at the same time the Guardian was offering, "On the piste in Iraqi Kurdistan: where skis are replacing bullets"?)

Not only does the KRG set their own elections (and did so and held them months after in 2009 -- which apparently you missed because facts don't matter to you) but the KRG is the safest region in Iraq.  How stupid do you have to be?

Oh, look, another idiot.

Amara Makhoul (France24) insists, "Sectarian tension has also resulted in the postponement of votes in the northern province of Kirkuk and the three provinces of Iraqi Kurdistan."

Here's Deutsche Welle rightly explaining the six provinces not voting:


Elections on Saturday will only partially reflect the political climate in the provinces. Six of the country's 18 provinces will not hold elections at this time. The central government postponed going to the polls for security reasons in the Sunni provinces of Anbar and Ninevah. But demonstrators there wanted the election, reported Martin Kobler, United Nations Special Representative for Iraq. "The security situation is surely not ideal, but it's also not ideal in the entire country," the former German ambassador to Iraq said. He advocated a quick follow-up date for those elections.
Elections are completely out of the question for Kirkuk, where Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens have been fighting for power for years in the oil-rich region. The three Kurdish provinces in northern Iraq normally vote at a later date anyway, with elections scheduled there for September. In the remaining 12 provinces, more than 8,000 candidates are vying for one of the total 378 provincial council seats. As per quota, about one-quarter of the mandates go to women.

Tim Arango, I didn't want to call you out.  But what the hell does this mean, "But the election could have far-reaching implications for Iraq’s political direction because it is a test of support at the grass-roots level for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and his Shiite Islamist party."

Define your terms, Tim?  The "party" is Dawa.  That's Nouri's party.  So if Dawa does well you're saying that indicates Nouri did well?  But Nouri doesn't run with Dawa, does he?  He runs with a political slate he created known as State of Law.  So which is it?  You threw it out there, define it and back it up.

The Wall St. Journal's Matt Bradley shows up with a ludicrous claim that State of Law and Dawa are partners.  They're not.  Dawa is historic and will not give up its historic legacy in Iraq.  That's your first damn clue.  Your second is visit their sites -- here for Dawa and here for State of Law -- and I made it real damn easy because so few western reporters ever bothered to learn a language other than English so I've linked to the English versions of both sites.

Again, the press needs to define their terms.  Other than that, Tim Arango's New York Times piece is one of the best from the western media.  The best? Ned Parker's piece for the Los Angeles Times.  We'll note this from it to help RT:

Maliki made a unilateral decision to delay elections in the Sunni Arab provinces of Anbar and Nineveh, which have been the site of protests against his government. Both provinces are scheduled to hold their elections in mid-May. Kirkuk, home to Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Turkmens, has not held an election for a local government since 2005 amid ethnic and religious tensions.

Best!  He said mid-May!  He didn't say Nouri said it.  The IHEC has stated this will happen.  Whether it will or not, I have no idea.  But Nouri has declared they will not vote for six months.  The IHEC says they will vote next month.  Had Ned Parker confused the IHEC with Nouri -- as others did (see above) -- it wouldn't be a strong piece.  But he didn't make that mistake, now did he?

Patrick Markey (Reuters) reports, "A dozen small bombs exploded and mortar rounds landed near polling centers in cities north and south of the capital. Three voters and a policeman were injured by mortars in Latifiya, south of Baghdad, police said."  Well NINA reports 1 Peshmerga officer was killed by a Kirkuk sticky bombing, two bombs exploded near a Tikrit polling centerthere was a mortar attack on a Tikrit polling stationstun grenades exploded at Diyala polling centers, 2 bombs went off in Baquba1 man was kidnapped in Falluja from his home (where the kidnappers grabbed cash and gold)one Iraqi soldier was injured when mortar shells landed near a polling center in Hilla2 bombs exploded in Samarra, and 2 brothers were killed in a Kirkuk bombingAl Rafidayn notes a Baghdad mortar attack.

All Iraq News notes Martin Kobler praised "the peaceful conduct."  Did he miss the violence?  Did he miss the fact that borders closed and holidays started on Wednesday and Thursday, that areas were closed to cars, peaceful?  Kolber is United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy to Iraq.

One of the biggest mistakes western outlets made was declaring that 13.5 million people voted or 13.8 did.

No.  That's how many were eligible to vote today -- 13,538,588 residents living in their provinces and 53,682 who were internally displaced.  That's in the fact sheet UNAMI provided.  Now if you gave a larger figure than that, you might want to explain where your 15.5 million is coming from.  And All Iraq News reports that the Independent High Electoral Commission announced that the participation rate was 51%.

 The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan,, Adam Kokesh, Ms. magazine's blog and the Guardian --  updated last night and today:

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