Wednesday, June 22, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's assault on Anbar continues, more families are displaced in Anbar, the use of collective punishment, we look at the silence on Anbar, we note how Alice Walker managed to leave the Cult of St. Barack and regain her voice, and more.
Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, continues his assault on Anbar Province. And where are the people around the world objecting? Falluja's electrical grid has been destroyed (by the Iraqi military), this week has seen a school bombed (by the Iraqi military), Iraq Times notes that Nouri's assault on Anbar has displaced over 22,000 families.
And this is treated as a misfortune and how sad but . . . No, not a misfortune. The Anbar residents are victims of War Crimes. Monday, Aswat al-Iraq quoted MP Mohammed Iqbal Omar (he's with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's Mutahidoun bloc) noting the military was responsible for the deaths, that the mission remains "vague" and he called for this "tragic" assualt to cease and for a political solution to be worked out.
Applause to him. But I'm not talking about Iraqis right now. I'm not talking about the cowardly and cowed press (I'm sorry AFP but when you had journalist arrested just months ago, you should have made a news report and not buried it -- you risk your own lives and everyone else's when you respond to Nouri's thuggery with silence). I'm not talking about the disappointing and lying US government.
I'm talking about the people of this world. This site started in November 2004. The second assault of Falluja began shortly after. We called it out. Like we call out this one.
But in 2004, we weren't the only ones calling out the terrorizing of the Iraqi people.
Where are those voices today?
Leslie Cagan, was United for Peace and Justice nothing but an ego trip for you? Noam Chosky, you know this is wrong and you've given one trivial and useless interview after another in recent weeks but never stopped to call out what's happening in Anbar. CODEPINK, I call you "CODESTINK" and you get mad and your itty bitty feelings are all hurt. You tell me repeatedly when Medea Benjamin embarrasses herself and your organization that I'm "not being helpful" when I note it here. I'm sorry, when are you helpful? My role is the role of the critic. It is clearly defined and I serve that purpose. Your role is supposedly advocating for peace. How do you do that when Medea rails against The Drone War but can't call out the person who oversees and continues it? (That would be US President Barack Obama.)
Without Iraq, CODEPINK would never have been a media event. They were a momentary joke with their FCC actions before the start of the illegal war. It was about self-interest for them, their little media stunts. That's how most people saw it, a bunch of bored people dressing in pink for attention. And CODEPINK realized that which is why they basically dropped domestic issues. (Illegal spying, et al, has to have an international aspect to appeal to CODEPINK today.) They'd be nothing today without Iraq. Protesting it gave them meaning, gave them stature, made them appear to be a serious organization.
Yet today they can't mention Iraq. They refused to note it when, in the fall of 2012, Tim Aragno (New York Times) reported that Barack had sent "a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers [. . .] to Iraq to advise on contuerterrorism and help with intelligence." That was shameful and disgusting but it was on the eve of the 2012 presidential elections and CODEPINK are Cult of St. Barack. That's why they never 'bird-dogged' then-Senator Barack Obama in their faux action. It's why co-founder Jodie Evans was a bundler for Barack's 2008 campaign -- a detail she should have made public by CODEPINK in 2007. They just finished two days of 'action' in Switzerland but couldn't stand up for the Iraqi people.
Cult of St. Barack is not fatal. You can shake it and re-emerge as someone committed to peace. March 9th of last year, Lyse Doucet (Newshour, BBC World Service) interviewed Alice Walker. Excerpt.
Alice Walker: And you know, he charmed me, he held out this wonderful vision of a different way. But we cannot have the different with with the same people and the same programs and the same destructiveness. It's impossible. So I smile at my naivete in a way but I love it too. I love that I have such a youthful hopefulness about the possibility of change.
Lyse Doucet: Well you wrote a letter to Obama when he came to power and you gave him some advice about how to work with the enemy. And, of course, it was about that time that he got his Nobel Peace Prize. Did he listen --
Alice Walker: No.
Lyse Doucet: -- to you advice?
Alice Walker: No. No. I don't think he listens, really, to people like me. I don't think he is the kind of person who pays that much attention to the masses actually. I say that because I have a friend who actually ended up as part of his team but was soon kicked out because he was probably too truthful and too radical. And one of the things he came back to tell us was that in the inner circle in the White House they don't think that they get into positions of power because people, you know, masses of people protest and demonstrate and, you know, vote. They think they get there because people pay a lot of money to get them there. And so that's who they listen to. So, I think we've been, you know, naive in our desperate desire to have leadership that will change things.
Lyse Doucet: But now he has several more years. Do you have any hope that in his second term he could pursue the kind of changes that you and others like you believe should happen?
Alice Walker: I don't think he's powerful enough. I don't think one person can do all of that and I also think that he's more like a CEO rather than like the person who actually has the power to make decisions that will change things very much.
Lyse Doucet: Do you see him as someone who came to change the system and then the system changed him?
Alice Walker: I don't know if he actually came into power to change the system. He said he was going to make changes but I think he listens much more to bankers and to people that are not us, not the masses of the people and the poets. And I must say, I think it's fatal not to listen to women, children and poets.
Lyse Doucet: He seems -- He says he listens to poets, poets like you, poets like Maya Angelou, he invites them to his great moments.
Alice Walker: Well he invites them. He doesn't invite me. I have never been invited. And I understand why he would think twice about doing that because I probably wouldn't go because I see the use of drone warfare as criminal and so I think it is a criminal act. I think that the presidents before him were criminals. And I think that they've made war on-on humanity and on the planet and they should be actually brought to justice for these things.
Lyse Doucet: You may remember that ten years ago this week, you were arrested outside the White House where you were protesting against the war in Iraq. And yet at that moment, you and Barack Obama, before he came to power, agreed more or less on the war in Iraq.
Alice Walker: Well he said he was on our side but he didn't stop the war. And even though they have withdrawn some troops, there are still tons of Americans there and their job now seems to be what the plan was all along which was to administer the oil fields. And I came from people in the south who struggled very hard for decency and goodness and who believed in justice and who worked very hard to change an evil system of apartheid in the United States so there's no way that I can feel that this is good and what he, as the head of this country, seems to be about.
Alice Walker survived the Cult of St. Barack and re-emerged with her own voice intact. Others could do the same if they so desired.
In the interview, Alice notes, "We cannot sanction the destruction of people anywhere."
And she's right. So why are so many today silent as Anbar is terrorized?
This is not about justice or even about terrorism.
The Boston Marathon Bombing took place April 15, 2013. The US government didn't respond by shelling Cambridge and bombing Watertown. Since when do you respond to act of crime by sending in the military to attack the people and their homes, schools, cities and towns?
You don't do that.
A good leader, as opposed despot like Nouri, does everything he or she can to ensure the safety of the people. But Nouri is not a legitimate leader. First the Bully Boy Bush administration insisted he be made prime minister in 2006 and then, despite the votes of the Iraqi people, the Barack Obama administration insisted that he have a second term in 2010.
Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Al-Monitor) speaks with Shi'ite politician Adil Abdul-Mahdi who was Vice President of Iraq. In 2006, he and Tareq al-Hashemi were Iraq's two vice presidents; in 2010 he and al-Hashemi were again named Vice Presidents and, in 2011, Khondair al-Khozaei was named a third vice president, weeks later Abdul-Mahdi resigned his post in protest of the ongoing corruption and other issues. He is a member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (led by Ammar al-Hakim) and he has often been mentioned as potential prime minister -- most often in 2005 and 2006.
Al-Monitor: What is a decision taken by Maliki that you wished he had not taken or thought it wiser that he postponed taking?
Abdul-Mahdi: His candidacy for a second term. I
hoped that the principles of power rotation be better promoted,
particularly considering that Mr. Maliki and the State of Law Coalition
failed to receive the preponderance of votes and never had a
parliamentary majority, even after they formed an alliance with the
Supreme Council, the Sadrist movement and the remaining National
Coalition forces that formed the National Alliance. He did not garner
the majority of votes until after the Kurdistan Alliance and the Iraqiya
bloc endorsed him following long months of complications and secret
deals that were detrimental to him and the state during his second
term, causing it to become more complex than it was during the first
term. For, to rule during his second term, he had to disrupt the
legislative and oversight role played by parliament. … And he reneged on
the Erbil Agreement, leading to a period of complex conflicts that even
reached the ranks of the National Alliance. The country then entered a
period when it was ruled through a cult of personality, militarization, a
system of quotas and the manufacture of new crises without solving
older ones first. … The post and office cannot be of utmost importance.
If each of us always claimed that others were wrong and we were always
right, and never realized that right and wrong are subjective and not an
objective reality, we would disrupt any possibility for change and the
opportunity to discover the potential of others. This makes the battle
for the premiership a complex one, akin to facing a military coup every
time [elections are held]. … But in fact, it is a natural and simple
process predicated on the majority that will be formed in parliament. In
his capacity as a leader who gained his mandate and legitimacy through
free and direct elections, I would have hoped that Mr. Maliki would have
become a role model in this regard. Doing so would not have only
benefited the country, it would have also been beneficial for his
legacy, in accordance with the popular saying that states, “Look at the
actions of others and realize how good mine are.” The halo of
quarrelsome personalities and leaders would thus fade, to be replaced by
agendas and actions, the goodness and usefulness of which could be
clearly seen by the people, who would fight to maintain them through
He's an artificial 'leader.' He was never chosen by the people. He remains an illegitimate leader and illegitimate leaders will always use violence against the people to maintain a hold on power.
A real leader would have listened. A real leader would have honored power-sharing agreements (like The Erbil Agreement). A real leader would have listened to the protesters in 2011 instead of lying that if they'd leave the streets, he'd end corruption in 100 days! He didn't end it. He doesn't even care about it anymore. The protests started back up December 21, 2012 and they continue.
He doesn't want to meet the protesters demands. He doesn't want to inspire or lead. He just wants to destroy.
Abdulaziz al-Mahmoud (Peninsula) explains:
After about a year of peaceful protests in Al Anbar province, the Prime
Minister of Iraq, Nouri Al Maliki, has sent army troops to end the
sit-in by force.
The troops, as always, were holding sectarian flags and shouting chants
of revenge for Al Hussein ibn Ali’s death by Yazid bin Muawiya and his
allies, so they killed, burned and captured a large number of people.
Consequently, as an already known spontaneous reaction, residents of Al
Anbar wielded weapons to defend their lives, homes and dignity. As a
result, Iran immediately declared that it supported Al Maliki in his war
against terrorism and that it was ready to send him necessary support.
The US declared the same thing; it even rushed weapons Al Maliki had
asked for. The United Nations Security Council, the UN Secretary-General
and the Arab League adopted the same stance.
What is this nonsense?
Is it possible that all these parties do not know that Sunnis in Iraq
are suffering under a savage and sectarian regime, which works its
fingers to the bone to humiliate, marginalise, displace, impoverish and
exclude them, using every villainous way created by a sadistic and
ruthless mind? Has Iran begun reaping the fruits of its long stand-off
with the US?
And the office of the European Union's Struan Stevenson issued the following:
Security forces killed more than 60 suspected terrorists in a 24-hour period, Iraqi authorities said Wednesday." Suspected terrorists? Well, the killers never tell the truth, do they? Look at all of Barack Obama's claims that his Drone War only kills 'terrorists.'
“From 2006 to 2008, tribesmen were able to beat Al Qaeda with the
cooperation of American forces and the support of the Iraqi government,”
Sunni politician Osama al-Nujaifi told The New York Times.
“After gaining victory over Al Qaeda, those tribesmen were rewarded
with the cutting of their salaries, with assassination and
displacement.” Many Iraqis complain
that the United States has not done enough to pressure the al-Maliki
government to heal the rift with the country’s Sunni minority.
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.
And the war's spreading to the airwaves and social media. Al-Shorfa reports, "The local government in Iraq's Anbar province on Wednesday (January
22nd) announced the launch of a counter-terrorism radio station to raise
awareness about threats posed by al-Qaeda and extremist groups." And Omar al-Jaffal (Al-Monitor) reports:
The administrator of the Facebook page for Rayat Ahl al-Sunnah Fil-Iraq (Flag
of the Sunnis in Iraq), which views the army as occupying Anbari cities
to harass and oppress the population there, pleaded with the media to
support the “battle of the people of Anbar against the army.” In an
interview with Al-Monitor, he asserted, “The media has not
dealt fairly with our cause. We established a page on Facebook so that
we could tell the world what is happening in Anbar.”
The group's page has attracted a large number of supporters from
among Sunni youths, who share the page’s view that Anbar's “cities are
being brought to ruin by the army.”
On the other side of the online battle, the Facebook page for the Iraqi Electronic Army seeks
to close down pages that call for fighting the army by informing
Facebook administrators of abuses aimed at Iraqi national figures on
them. The page administrator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al-Monitor, “Our
page wages war against all the terrorist pages, from every sect and
religion in Iraq.” He denied that his page had received “material
support from any political faction in Iraq.” He said that it
“communicates with all the soldiers of Anbar to relay word of what is
happening on the ground there.”
And the signs of Nouri's leadership failure are all around. Xinhua reports:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki on Wednesday
said that the time has come to end al-Qaida presence in the city of
Fallujah in the volatile province of Anbar, while four people were
killed and nine wounded in violent attacks across the country.
"The time has come to settle this subject and end the presence of
this gang in this city (Fallujah) to save its residents from their
evil," Maliki said in his weekly televised speech to the nation.
"I ask the sons of this province, its tribes and notables and all who
live there to be ready to take serious stands against those dirty
people without casualties and without sacrifices," Maliki said without
specifying a time for any action.
He didn't ask for his help when he started the assault, didn't even think about them. But now that he's created yet another mess he can't clean up, he's dependent upon others to accomplish what he couldn't.
Again, 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.”
National Iraqi News Agency reports:
The Political Council in Kirkuk called on those who are described as the
owners of the decision not to invade Fallujah to spare the blood of
Iraqis and not to aggravate things.
Head of the Council , Sheikh
Abdul Rahman Munshid al- Assi told / NINA / that "We appeal to the Prime
Minister and the acting ministers of defense, interior and chief of
staff , intelligence and the national security, that the responsibility
is great in taking such decision to invade Fallujah and areas of the
rest of Anbar .
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, an Ein al-Jahesh Village roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and three more 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, 2 fighters were shot dead in Mousl, 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
We noted the death of Iraqi journalist Firas Mohammed Attiyah in Monday's snapshot. Today the Guardian's Greenslade Blog noted 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.
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.
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
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,
the new york times
all iraq news
national iraq news agency
nouri al-ali al-kilani
the washington post
the latin american herald tribune