Saturday, December 07, 2013

Killings, curfews, missing president, it's Iraq

Jamal Doumani (Arab News) observes, "We have become so complacent about news of daily sectarian violence in Iraq that now instead of expressing shock we stifle a yawn. The ghoulish mayhem, which includes execution-style killings, has already claimed, according to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, 659 lives, and almost 1,400 injured, in November alone. So far this year, 7,157 civilians and 952 security men have died."  It's correct.  You could also point out efforts to spin 600+ plus death totals as good news which, for the record, some western outlets attempted.

Violence continued in Iraq today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 police officer was shot dead in Ramadi and another was left injured, in another incident a sniper shot dead 1 police officer in Ramadi, 1 "of the elders of the (Jabour clan)" was shot dead "while he was returning to his home" in Baquba, a Falluja sticky bombing left two people injured, a Mosul roadside bombing left 2 people dead and eight more injured, and "The nephew of Chairman of Anbar Council Hameed al-Hayis, and one of his bodyguards killed on Saturday evening, Dec. 7, in an armed attack in downtown Ramadi."  On the Ramadi attack at the end, All Iraq News identifies the family member as Hameed al-Havis' son, not nephew.   Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports on Baghdad:

A total of 18 people were killed and 34 others wounded in violent attacks in Iraq on Saturday, police said.
Nine people were killed and six others injured in a shooting attack by unidentified gunmen on some alcohol shops in Waziriya district in central Baghdad on Saturday evening, a police source told Xinhua.

One civilian was killed and four others were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in a popular market in Dora district in southern Baghdad, he added.

Through Friday, Iraq Body Count notes 202 violent deaths in Iraq.  That's 202 deaths in the first six days of the month.

Did you see any western coverage noting that?


Most western outlets didn't even file on Friday's violence.

Of the attacks on the US-installed government, Sri Lanka's The Nation newspaper notes:

One British Army General has at least had the moral courage to admit he recognised the legitimacy of Iraq resistance to foreign military occupation. General Sir Michael Rose when asked recently if he would surrender to a foreign military occupation force said “I would never, never, never lay down my arms. The Iraqi insurgents feel exactly the same way. I don’t excuse them for some of the terrible things they do, but I do understand why they are resisting the Americans.” [and the British of course]
To refer to the Iraqi resistance to US and UK military as “insurgents” or “terrorists” is pure hypocrisy when the Iraqi people have a perfect legal right in International law to use force resist occupation. Chapter VII: Article 51 of the UN Charter states : “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations” – Iraq has been a member of the United Nations since 1945.

In the face of the violent objection to his illegitimate rule, Nouri al-Maliki has no new answers.  It's always the same nonsense.

So, for example, what has Nouri now done?

Do you need a hint?

O'er the distant hills comes Cromwell. Bessie sees him; and her brow,
Lately white with sickening horror, has no anxious traces now.
At his feet she tells her story, shows her hands, all bruised and torn;
And her sweet young face, still hagggard, with the anguish it had worn,
Touched his heart with sudden pity, lit his eyes with misty light.
"Go! your lover lives," said Cromwell. "Curfew shall not ring to-night!"

That's from Rose Hartwick Thorpe's "Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight."  It's the holiday season and one of the popular Christmas themed films this time of year is Desk Set starring Katharine Hepburn and Spency Tracy.  As Bunny Watson, Hepburn recites stanzas from "Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight" in the film.

Curfew?  It's Nouri's answer to everything.  Has been since the 2006 Friday when rebels almost breached the Green Zone.  So World Bulletin reports a curfew has been imposed on Falluja and NINA notes a curfew on Ramadi.

I don't know which is worse: that nearly  eight years later Nouri still has no new answers or that nearly eight years later his government still lacks leadership?

From yesterday's snapshot:

AFP reports Kawa Ahmed Germyani is the latest journalist to be killed in Iraq.  Last night, the editor or Rayal magazine and a reporter with Awene newspaper was shot dead "in front of his mother at his home in the town of Kalar."  Reporters Without Borders issued a statement which includes:

“We are appalled by Germyani’s murder and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“A professional journalist who covered corruption and nepotism in Iraqi Kurdistan, Germyani knew he was in danger and had told the region’s authorities about the threats he had received. His murder could have been avoided if they had taken the necessary measures to protect him.
“We are worried about the very dangerous climate for journalists both in Iraqi Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, and about the impunity enjoyed by their attackers and killers. We urge the regional and national authorities to take the appropriate measures so that journalists can work without fearing for their safety or their lives.”
Reporters Without Borders added: “Both the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan and the central government in Baghdad should be conducting thorough investigations into the murders of journalists and the groups that target them.”
According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, Germyani had been threatened for years in connection with his revelations about corruption within Kurdish institutions and had initiated several judicial proceedings against those responsible these threats.
Coincidentally, many Kurdish journalists and civil society representatives had gathered in Sulaymaniyah two days before his murder to press the regional and national authorities to adopt laws guaranteeing media freedom, as well as effective measures to protect journalists and combat impunity for those responsible for violence against them.

Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman Tweeted the following:

  • I strongly condemn the killing of Kawa Germeyani who was shot dead in Kelar, more should be done to protect journalists in

  • Others have decried the murder.  Not Jane Arraf or her pimp Nouri al-Maliki.  But Aswat al-Iraq notes, "The independent Uruk Media Organization denounced the assassination of journalist Kawa Kirmiyani today in Sulaimaniya province."  Commentary is a right-wing magazine (one that pimped the Iraq War) and, at their website, neocon Michael Rubin notes the death:

    On the evening of December 5, Kawar Germyani was gunned down outside his home in Kalar. Germyani was the editor-in-chief of Rayal, and a contributor to Awene (a journal for which, full disclosure, I occasionally contribute). He becomes the third journalist murdered in five years. Despite the Kurdish Regional Government’s rhetoric of security, none of the killers have been brought to justice. Germyani had previously sued Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) politburo member Mahmud Sangawy for threatening the writer’s life after a corruption expose. When Sangawy refused to obey the court summons, he suffered no consequences.
    The PUK’s targeting of journalists and its efforts to muzzle free speech are problematic for other reasons: The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani declares its political independence, but employees and students say they must be mindful of PUK sensitivities. That senior PUK officials involved in the university have yet to condemn the murder is more troubling still.

    The head of the PUK is Iraqi President Jalal Talabani . . . if he's still alive.  Jalal Talabani is the President of Iraq.  Or he's supposed to be.  The question continues to be: Can you be the president of a country you're not in?  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.  All efforts by members of the Iraqi government to see him in the last year have been rebuffed.

    We're nine days away from his leaving Iraq a year ago.

    He's the supposed president of the country but no one can see him.  He's the supposed president of the country but he's been out of it for a year.

    He's provided no leadership in this year.

    And if you're not getting how the 'government' of Iraq looks illegitimate, grasp that they've gone through all of 2013 without a president and the government's pretended like that's okay and refused to implement the Constitution's procedures for addressing the issue of an incapacitated president.

    Since yesterday's snapshot, the following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley, and Pacifica Evening News -- updated:

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