Sunday, September 08, 2013


Today in Iraq, there were at least 17 people killed and seventeen people left injured,  Hoshyar Zebari sneered at the Ashraf community and, most important in terms of Iraq's many current crises, rumors emerged of an arrest warrant.

The increasingly disgusting Hoshyar Zebari probably thought he'd be the big news in Iraq today.  The Kurd who became Nouri's flunky suddenly wanted to remember his roots when Iraqi President Jalal Talabani took ill.  When it was made clear to Zebari, by his own political party, that they wouldn't back him for the presidency, he returned to being Nouri's good little boy.  Alsumaria reports he was that again today  as he stood side-by-side in Baghdad with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Jabad Zarif and Zebari announced that the Ashraf community has no place in Iraq.

Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.  As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."  Those weren't the last attacks.  They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked Sunday.   That was the second attack this year alone.   February 9th of this year, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."

Last Sunday, they were again attacked -- the 100 or so residents still in Ashraf -- with at least 52 killed.

With the White House focusing all their time on Syria, there's no one to ensure that the US protects the Ashraf community despite the US government's legal obligation to do so.

Today, Zebari poured gasoline onto a burning fire and scored points with Iran off the back of the Ashraf community.

Even so, even with all that toadying, he's still not the biggest news out of Iraq today.

Yesterday Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni and member of Iraqiya, met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite and the head of State of Law (an alliance) and Dawa (a political party).  The meeting was news since Nouri has repeatedly demonized Sunni leaders and Iraqiya members after Iraqiya beat Nouri's State of Law in the 2010 elections. (Actually, before that he attempted to have many disqualified from holding office -- including Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq -- insisting they were Ba'athist -- a ruling the Justice and Accountability Commission was always happy to render.)

As the Americans completed the drawdown of 2011, Nouri immediately went after Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.  al-Hashemi went to the Kurdistan Regional Government (Iraq's semi-autonomous northern region) and then onto Turkey where he remains.  Nouri's tried him in absentia and Tareq's been repeatedly sentenced to death.  Tareq is Sunni and a member of Iraqiya (Shi'ite Ayad Allawi heads the Iraqiya slate).

In December of 2012, Nouri went after Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi.  The following day, December 21st, a new wave of protests was kicked off.  Those protests are ongoing and hit the nine month mark in two weeks.  al-Issawi was -- you know this already -- Sunni and a member of Iraqiya.

So the meet-up with Nouri and Osama al-Nujaifi was important.  They released a joint-statement announcing they'd found agreement and common ground on a topic: Syria.  Both agreed a military strike would help no one and called for a peaceful solution to the conflict. It was also news because State of Law MPs regularly trash al-Nujaifi and because one of Nouri's biggest foes in Osama al-Nujaifi's brother.

Alsumaria reports that brother, Nineveh Province Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi (also sometimes spelled Ethyl al-Nujaifi) who just won a second term as governor this summer, has an arrest warrant out for him for 'integrity' crimes.  If the warrant does exist and Nouri executes it (if it exists, he's the one who initiated it), expect the various crises in Iraq -- especially the political crisis -- to intensify even more.

If a warrant is executed against the immensely popular Governor of Nineveh (again, just re-elected to a second term this summer), look for the protests to intensify, look for rebels to feel Sunnis are being further attacked (therefore the rebels will up their attacks) and look for the already inflamed tensions to soar ever higher.

It's a shame the State Dept -- which grabbed so many US tax dollars for Iraq 'work' in the last yearly budgets -- is unable/unwilling to work on Iraq.  Clearly, the know how to take money, they know how to waste money, they just don't know how to do their jobs.

In the past, when everything else fell apart, the US could count on Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

That's because Jalal would back stab the Iraqi people.  Let's be honest.  Nouri would steal power or a position and the others would be up in arms -- other leaders of political blocs.  Jalal would insist he was outraged as well.  But when push came to shove, Jalal would declare Nouri had a right to whatever he had stolen and the issue was considered dead after that (for any number of reasons).  Jalal could humor Nouri -- he had to give everything up to do, but he could humor him.

Last December,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17th (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.  Early Sunday, All Iraq News reports, Osama al-Nujaifi declared he attempted to meet with the hospitalized Jalal five months ago  (that would have been around April) but was rebuffed.  He states he has again asked for another meeting.  He further states if Jalal is unable to resume his tasks shortly, a new president needs to be named.

On Syria, All Iraq News reports Ayad Allawi says that before any government orders an attack on Syria, they have an obligation to build or create a refuge area for those who will immediately begin fleeing Syria.

Let's look at today's violence.  NINA notes a Baghdad bombing left three of Nouri's federal forces injured, a Basra home invasion left 6 family members dead, a Baiji sticky bombing injured one person, an armed attack in Falluja left four people injured, and a suicide bomber targeted the Directorate's Building in Jalawla killing 2 other people and injuring eightAll Iraq News adds a Mosul bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer. Alsumaria reports a Yahtrib attack (Salahuddin Province, south of Tikrit) resulted in the deaths of 4 Sahwa and a fifth was left injured, and a Samarra attack (also in Salahuddin Province) left 3 Sawha dead.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

The latest from Third went up earlier tonight:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this.  The e-mail address for this site is