Wednesday, January 22, 2014

791 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month

Nouri's assault on Anbar continues with NINA noting military helicopters continue to bomb Falluja and Ramadi.  Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports that Anbar MPs say Nouri is attempting to extend the assault on Anbar up through the April 30th parliamentary elections.  MP Hamid al-Mutlaq notes a government acting wisely would have avoided a military campaign by listening to the cries of the protesters and granting concessions, would have avoided bombing cities by being in talks with the police and people of the city.  Nouri al-Ali al-Kilani (Kitbat) offers a column on how Nouri al-Maliki, and his double standards, endorse and breed sectarianism in Iraq.  He notes the thug and prime minister goes before the Iraqi people sullen and issues threats.  Iraq Times notes that Nouri's assault on Anbar has displaced over 22,000 families.  Loveday Morris (Washington Post) reports from Karbala:

The plush accommodation halls on the outskirts of this southern Iraqi city, normally reserved for visiting Shiite pilgrims, now teem with displaced Sunnis fleeing violence in the Western province of Anbar.
There and elsewhere, sectarian tensions are brewing as Iraq spirals into the worst cycle of violence it has experienced in years. But here, in one of the holiest cities for Shiite Muslims, Sunni children play on brightly painted swings as families gather in the waning winter light beside clipped magnolia-lined lawns.

The refugees Nouri's assault has created should be seen as shocking and disgusting.  Iraq can't afford more displaced people and to ask the citizens of Anbar to live through Nouri's assault on the province is to ask a great deal of a province that's already suffered more than enough.  Hamza Mustafa (Ashraq Al-Awsat) reports:

The Anbar Provincial Council has formed a crisis unit ahead of a possible military raid on Fallujah in the hopes of resolving the conflict in the city peacefully.
Council head Sabah Karhout issued a statement Tuesday, saying: “Anbar has formed a crisis cell led by Governor Ahmad Al-Dulaimi,” adding: “The military solution will be the last resort if the ongoing negotiations between officials and tribal leaders fail.”

Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 791 violent deaths for the month so far.  Today, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) notes, "Armed confrontations and roadside bombs made for a bloody day in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Wednesday, claiming the lives of at least 16 people -- including militants who died in a battle with the Iraqi army, police in Mosul said."  National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 fighters were shot dead in Tikrit, Nouri's federal police boasted they killed 10 suspects "in the area of Aljazeerah south of Mosul," indiscriminate military artillery shelling at Falluja left 1 person dead and two more injured, an Alaaskari bombing left three police officers injured, a Mosul armed attack left 1 police officer dead and two more injured, a Baghdad shooting (Camp Sara area) left 1 person dead, a Baghdad shooting (Tarmiyah area) left one person injured, a southwest Baghdad mortar attack (Radwaniyah area) killed 1 person and left two people injured, a Kirkuk shooting left SWAT officer Mohamed Kamel injured, and 1 corpse was discovered in Kirkuk (38-year-old male with "signs of torture and gunshot wounds"). All Iraq News notes 1 "Iraqi Army officer with a Major rank was kidnapped to the west of Ramadi city." 1  Alsumaria notes that late last night, 1 farmer was kidnapped in Tikrit with assailants then setting a house bomb which killed 1 woman and left five people injured.

We noted the death of Iraqi journalist Firas Mohammed Attiyah in Monday's snapshot.  Today the Guardian's Greenslade Blog notes the death and these details:

The bomb exploded as Attiyah accompanied a government patrol to a ceremony in the city of Khalidiya. Muayad Ibrahim, a journalist for Anbar TV, was also wounded in the incident.

They're wrong.  We were as well.  Despite early reports claiming the journalist was 'embedded' with the military at the time of his death, that is not correct.  Kitabat reports today that his news outlet has confirmed that Firas Mohammed Attiyah was not with the military when he died, he was enroute to Ramadi to meet with displaced families.

Yesterday, we noted the pretty spin AP put on Nouri's decision to carve up areas of Iraq (where he polls especially poorly and where the judiciary does not bend to his will) to create new provinces out of the city of Falluja, Tuz Khurmato and the Valley of Nineveh.

Alsumaria reports an emergency session was called today by Anbar's provincial council and that, yesterday, Kurdish MP Khalid Shwani called Nouri's efforts a flagrant violation of the Iraqi Constitution.  National Iraqi News Agency adds:

The head of the provincial council in Anbar, Sabah Karhut rhot confirmed that: "Fallujah is part of Anbar province, and cannot be a governorate at this time ."
He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / : "Anbar provincial council held an urgent meeting to discuss the government's decision to make the city of Fallujah a governorate without informing the local government officials in Anbar ."
He added : "The local government in Anbar have not contacted the central government to make Fallujah a province by itself, and this raised signs of surprise among officials in the province, in light of the security situation ."

Iraq Times also notes the surprise and quotes council member Suhaib al-Rawi stating that the proposal is strange and raises many questions. Strange that it raises so many questions and objections but AP missed all that and presented it as normal.

Not only is not normal, it's leading others to make requests.  NINA reports:

Hundreds of Khanaqin district of Diyala province , demanded the central government to transfer their district to a province in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
The head of the municipal council in Khanaqin said to NINA reporter ,that citizens believed that their demand is a legal and a constitutional entitlement.

The following community sites -- plus Dissident Voice, Cindy Sheehan, Tavis Smiley, Pacifica Evening News, Jake Tapper, Susan's On the Edge and -- updated last night and this morning:

  • We'll close with this from Robert Scheer's "We're All Suspects In Barack Obama's America" (Huffington Post):

    Barack Obama's speech Friday on surveillance was his worst performance, not as a matter of theatrical skill, though he clearly did not embrace his lines, but in its stark betrayal of his oft proclaimed respect for constitutional safeguards and civil liberty.
    His unbridled defense of the surveillance state opened the door to the new McCarthyism of Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein, the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees, who on Sunday talk shows were branding Edward Snowden as a possible Russian spy.
    Instead of crediting Snowden for forcing what the president concedes is a much-needed debate, Obama bizarrely cited the example of Paul Revere and the other early American rebels in the Sons of Liberty to denounce their modern equivalent. But the "secret surveillance committee" Obama referenced that Revere and his fellow underground conspirators established was intended to subvert rather than celebrate the crimes of the British controlled government in power.

    Somewhere in law school, Obama must have learned that the whole point of our Bill of Rights, inspired by American revolutionaries like Sam Adams, a Sons of Liberty co-conspirator, was to curtail government power as the main threat to freedom. Thus was Adams' insistence on the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth Amendment, banning the warrantless searches that Obama now seeks to justify.  

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