Thursday, September 19, 2013

Iraq: Sectarian violence, displacement and a faux peace conference

National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 Mosul shop owner was shot dead in his store, a roadside bombing near Tikrit claimed 1 life and left another person injured. and an Iraqi army officer was shot dead outside Rashad.  All Iraq News adds that the corpses of 10 young adults (ages "17 to 25") were discovered in Baghdad (all were shot dead).  EFE adds the ten were all men.  AFP provides this context, "Summary executions were commonplace at the height of the Sunni-Shiite conflict when many thousands of people were killed in cold blood. But this was the first time in several years that such a large number of bodies had been found in one place."

That's not the only sign of returning sectarianism violence.  Yesterday, UNAMI issued the following:

Baghdad, 18 September 2013 - The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, expressed extreme concern about sectarian based displacement after recent worrying reports about forcible expulsion of Al Saadoun tribal communities from Dhi-Qar and Shabak communities from Ninewa, along with killings of members of Sunni community in Basra. كوردی
"The use of violence and intimidation against communities by illegal armed groups forcing them to flee their homes is unacceptable and a clear violation of basic human rights," DSRSG Busztin said, stressing that this worrying trend may pose grave risks for Iraq's social cohesion and may be disruptive to the ongoing efforts for national reconciliation.

The UN Envoy called on the Iraqi authorities to protect communities from attack, ensuring their safety, security, and right to a peaceful life free of intimidation.
Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count puts the number of violent deaths in the country so far this month at 651.

As the toll continues to rise and as it appears the sectarian violence may be on the verge of returning in full force, a peace conference is held in Baghdad.  All Iraq News notes Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi did not attend the Social Peace Conference.  Good.  He shouldn't.  He also announced he wasn't attending yesterday.  It's not a peace conference.  It's a US-event and Allawi shouldn't give it credence.  We'll go into greater detail in today's snapshot.  It appears right now that, unlike Nouri, Allawi can learn from mistakes.

NINA quotes Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi speaking at the conference:

What is going in the region of coups and sudden political transformations, is calling everyone to behave as wise as possible in order to avoied our people the major disasters.  The initiative put forward by Vice President Khudair Alkhozai is one of the opportunities that we should stand with unreacted attitude.

Is he really that stupid?  Or, as Arabic media ponders, did that suddenly new friendship with Nouri al-Maliki influence his remarks?  If so, posters wonder if Osama was bought off or if he was blackmailed (possibly with the arrest warrant for his brother)?

A possibility not being raised: Maybe he just doesn't want to get blamed for not attending if the violence continues.  That would explain his speech which, All Iraq News notes, also criticized Nouri:


He assured in his speech during the conference "The government failed in setting plans to protect churches and the mosques." 
"It also failed in reducing the organized displacing process for the Shabak community in northern Iraq and al-Sadoun tribe in the south in addition to neglecting the demonstrators' demands," he concluded. 

Alsumaria notes that various leaders signed a sort of peace pact -- non-binding.  KRG President Massoud Barzani signed the agreement but stated temporary agreements would only lead to more violence and that the Iraqi protesters must be listened to and their demands met.

Photos of the event are revealing.  They're group photos.  Not crowd photos.  That allows the US helpers to hide (but they were present and spotted entering the meeting as Arabic social media notes).  More to the point, if Ayad Allawi hadn't announced he wouldn't be attending and if his political foes weren't making a to-do about that, would anyone have noticed?

No one appears to have noticed that Moqtada al-Sadr was not present.

While not attending the meet-up, Allawi did Tweet:

  1. بعد التغيير بموروثه السياسي، وتعدديته الإجتماعية بحاجة لإرادة تنبثق عنها شراكة وطنية حقيقية لبناء المؤسسات
  2. With its vibrant society, needs real national power-sharing based on institution building.

To a topic in the e-mails: What about the community sites?

A) For those thinking I'm boycotting the community sites, no, I'm not.

B) Yesterday morning, Blogger/Blogspot wasn't reading the sites' latest posts so I couldn't copy from the links to the right.  Today?  They have most of the Tuesday night posts -- but no Wednesday night posts.

C) Most?  In the last four hours, Blogger/Blogpost has recognized two posts of Rebecca's from one and two weeks ago.

D) It takes too long to go site to site and grab each link.  Fortunately, Wally and Cedric do that.

E)  Their joint-post this morning is up.

And from that and their posts the day before, these are the community posts in the last 48 hours:

"Was it worth it?"
"War and spying"
"the 3 old biddies of women's media center"
"How senile has Gloria Steinem gotten?"
"Melinda Hughes' video"
"Barack plummets"
"The paper of war"
"Barack's disconnect"
"Barack tentatively agrees to bomb White House"
"Ugliest actor alive"
"Food stamps on the chopping block?"
"syria related things"
"The Graduate on the radio"
"Janis Ian"
"Stupid White Girl"
"More fall out for Barack"
"He's got Reagan and Nixon speaking to him!"

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