Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Iraq and the press' double standards

The assault on Anbar continues.  Kareem Fahim and Yasir Ghazi (New York Times) report, "Thousands of residents have fled Falluja in recent days, fearing worsening violence after the failure of negotiations between local leaders and jihadist militants to end a standoff that has lasted weeks, leaders from the city said Monday."  They then add that fighters "briefly kidnapped tribal sheikhs and a local imam" involved in negotiations.  You were reporting on Falluja and kidnappings and you don't include the two high profile kidnappings of this month?   World News Bulletin  preported, "Last week Falluja community leaders nominated a new police chief and mayor. The militants responded by blowing up the police chief's house on Tuesday and briefly kidnapping the mayor. Both men have since fled north to Iraqi Kurdistan."  NINA notes today that the fighters rejected today "the return of the local police and Mayor to the city of Fallujah."

The Times' journalists also maintain that "persuaded the government not to shell the city while they tried to negotiate with the militants" and notes talks continued on Sunday.

Then when did the government stop shelling?  Saturday comes before Sunday.  Sunday, the paper says, the negotiators were cautioning the fighters about how the shelling could resume.

That's not a fact, no matter how the paper presents it.

Reality,  Cheng Yang (Xinhua) reported on Saturday, "The Iraqi security forces stationed around Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, carried out artillery and mortar attacks against positions allegedly for militants linked to al-Qaida in several neighborhoods in the southern and eastern parts of the city, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity."  It took place Sunday as well despite the New York Times claiming otherwise.  National Iraqi News Agency reported Sunday:

A number of neighborhoods south and east of the city of Fallujah were subjected to mortar shells on Sunday morning 19, Jan
A security source in Anbar told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / "The army artillery and mortar shelling continued on Nazzal, Shuhada'a, Askari and Jbel south and east of the city of Fallujah. 

So when did it ever stop?

Answer: It never did.

The paper runs with a quote that they can back up or verify.  That's really disgusting when you consider how the residents of Falluja suffer as a result of Nouri's bombings destroying the power grid.

Is it too much to expect the paper to verify the claims it presents as fact?

Apparently it is.

And hasn't that always been the pattern when it comes to the Times' coverage of Iraq?

NINA reports today:

Security source announced on Tuesday the continuation of the displacement of hundreds of families in several neighborhoods of Fallujah as a result of the shelling of the city by the army.
A security source in Anbar, told / NINA / that hundreds of families fled the city of Fallujah, because of the artillery intense shelling that led to the killing and wounding of many civilians. 

And they note that among the Falluja shelling targets today was a school.  Steve Inskeep (NPR's Morning Edition -- link is audio and text) spoke with AFP's Prashant Rao this morning about the violence.

RAO: In terms of how the government is responding though, it varies depending on the area. In Baghdad, they have locked out a lot of areas. They've sort of increased checkpoints and they've sort of tighten those checkpoints. But in Anbar, the response have been a combination of the deploying of U.S.- supplied Hellfire missiles and also clashes in some towns in between Ramadi and Fallujah, where the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, allied tribal fighters are all looking to take back territory that the government lost about three weeks ago.

INSKEEP: Let's remember here Anbar. Of course, that's the Sunni-dominated province west of Baghdad. You're saying that's where some of the heaviest fighting is taking place. So is this sectarian violence Sunni versus Shia?

RAO: Well, it might be slightly over-generalizing it to say it's sectarian. But there is a perception of sectarianism, in that the Iraqis security forces are perceived in Sunni areas to be a Shia force, especially some of the more elite fighting units. And, of course, Anbar, as you say, is a predominantly Sunni province - so it takes on that color. That is certainly part of the perception.

Some of today's violence?   National Iraqi News Agency reports security forces killed 6 fighters in Ramadi,  3 police members were shot dead in Mosul, Sheikh Ismail Brayse ("director of Information of the Sunni Endomen in the province of Diyala" and "Iman of Abuk Bakr mosque") was shot dead in Diyala Province,  a southeast Baghdad (Diyala Bridge area) sticky bombing left 1 person dead and another injured,  1 person was shot dead and another left injured in a southwest Baghdad (Bayaa area) attack, a Mosul attack left "a member of Nineveh intelligence" dead and two more injured, a central Baghdad car bombing (Alnahdhah area) left eleven people injured, 2 police officers were shot dead at a Mosul wedding ceremony, and Mahmoud al-Issawi ("adviser of Anbar governor for security affairs") was kidnapped to the "east of Fallujah today."

Who's carving up Iraq?

Nouri's trying to.  All Iraq News reports:

The Council of Ministers approved the proposal to announce Fallujah and the Valley of Nineveh areas as provinces.The Council of the Ministers reported in a statement received by AIN ''The Cabinet proved principally to announce Tuz, Fallujah and the Valley of Nineveh areas as provinces but this proposal to be submitted to the Cabinet after accomplishing all required procedures.''

AP's Sameer N. Yacoub offers ridiculous spin on this development, they really are whoring for Nouri these days, aren't they?

Falluja is not contested.  As for Tuz and the Valley of Nineveh?  AP presents that as bowing to the demands of the Turkmen.  That's a bold face lie.

The demands of the Turkmen or any other group don't matter one damn bit.

The supreme law of the land is the Constitution.  That's what you follow, not whining.

Kirkuk, per the Constitution, is supposed to be decided -- will it belong to the central government out of Baghdad or the Kurdistan Regional Government in the north -- per Article 140.  Nouri was supposed to implement that, per the Constitution, by the end of 2007 but didn't.  The White House brokered The Erbil Agreement in the fall of 2010 to give Nouri a second term after his State of Law lost to Iraqiya.  One of the conditions written into The Erbil Agreement was that Nouri would finally implement Article 140.

He didn't.

Kirkuk cannot legally be carved up until the issue is resolved per the existing law and Nouri's contractual promise of 2010.

That's reality.  It escapes AP.  As does the fact that this was not done by 'the Council.'  After Nouri's assault on the home of Sunni and Iraqiya member Ahmed al-Alwani in which six people (including al-Alwani's brother) were killed December 28th.  You saw Iraqiya walk out on the Parliament over that.  Iraqiya had already withdrawn from the Cabinet with the exception of Saleh al-Mutlaq.

So this was not a 'Cabinet' move.  Sunnis aren't represented on the Cabinet.

AP really needs to quit whoring.

And outlets need to look at 'developments' with regard to the law or else stop trying to shame Sunni fighters for standing up.

Why the hell should any Sunni in Iraq right now who is carrying arms and fighting drop those arms?  If Nouri's not following the law, why the hell should anyone in Iraq have to?

The press has so many double standards and they're all on display today.

Western outlets continue to shape the stories to sell Nouri al-Maliki.  He's a thug.  The fact that the Times even wants to publish an article about so-called negotiations between Nouri and Anbar chiefs without noting that Nouri has never, ever followed any conditions agreed to in negotiations goes to just how much whoring the press is willing to serve up as "truth."

The following community sites -- plus Susan's On the Edge, Out FM, Black Agenda Report, Jake Tapper, Antiwar.com, Iraq Inquiry Digest and Cindy Sheehan -- updated last night and today:

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