Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nouri proclaimed victory but events beg to differ

Nouri al-Maliki is the chief thug and prime minister of Iraq.

Yesterday, he had his Bully Boy Bush moment as he declared victory in his assault on Anbar Province.  It's a a shame he didn't have the banner BBB stood under in 2003, the one proclaimed "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."

Victory claims were a bit premature.

ABC News Radio observes, "There were more signs of Iraq's security deterioration Wednesday as the United Nations reported that upwards of 300,000 people have been dislodged from their homes in the volatile western province of Anbar." And that's not the only thing preventing Nouri al-Maliki's victory march.

Al Bawaba reports rebels "seized part of Sulaiman Bek town and nearby villages in northern Iraq on Thursday, Agence France Presse reported local officials as saying.  This is considered to be the latest instance of authorities losing ground to militants, who have held all of the city of Fallujah and parts of provincial capital Ramadi for weeks."  Anadolu Agency adds, "Clashes are still going on and ISIL militants have not been repelled yet according to reports which claim that the militants gained control of Kirkuk-Baghdad route. A curfew has been established in Sulayman Beg. Eye-witnesses say that they cannot go out and they can hear the sounds of bullets and bombs."  IANS offers, "The security forces could not stand long in front of a large number of gunmen who spread out on the streets of the town, Mustafa said, adding that in the morning the gunmen took control of several suburbs and villages around the town."

Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 348 violent deaths for the month thus far.

Today's violence?  National Iraqi News Agency reports a Qarma air strike left 2 people dead, a Hawija home invasion left 1 soldier and 1 Sahwa dead and two more people injured, an armed confrontation in Riyadh left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and another injured, security forces shot dead 1 person in Qaim, an armed battle in Ramadi left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and four more injured, 1 police officer was shot dead on Baghdad Street in Mosul, 1 civilian was shot dead outside his Mosul home, 2 Shorja bombings set a building on fire leaving 1 person dead and nine more injured (an update notes sixteen were injured), an armed confrontation in Mosul left 3 rebels dead, 2 Abbarah bombings left 2 people dead and eight more injured, Joint Operations Command shot dead 1 suspect in Mosul, 2 brothers were shot dead near their Aziziya home, a Kirkuk roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi military officer dead and six more military personnel injured, and the corpse of a woman in her thirties (strangled, bruised from beatings) was discovered dumped "in Husseiniya area northeast of Baghdad."  Reuters adds, "Twin bombs went off inside a building comprising perfume stores in Baghdad's largest shopping district of al-Shourja on Thursday, killing at least six civilians and wounding 16 others, police sources said."  Xinhua notes, "Furthermore, two people were wounded when a roadside bomb detonated in Doura district in southern Baghdad, the source added."

As oil-rich Kirkuk continues to suffer violence, All Iraq News notes, "The Governor of Kirkuk, Najim il-Din Karim, met with the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki, the head of the Iraqi National Alliance, Ibrahim al-Jaafary, and the leader within the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, Adel Abdulmahdi, over the security and political situations in Kirkuk."  As with most such meetings, nothing will come of it.

Kirkuk's violence is a bit different from elsewhere in Iraq.  The oil-rich province is in a state of constant dispute.  The Kurdistan Regional Government claims it as does the central government of Baghdad.  The way to determine which claim is valid is outlined in Article 140 of the Constitution: hold a census and referendum in Kirkuk.

Nouri became prime minister in 2006 and the Constitution called for the census and referendum to be held no later than the end of 2007.  Nouri refused to comply with the Contitution -- continues to do so.  He's breaking the law as well as his oath to uphold the Constitution.

His stalling only increases violence in Kirkuk.  That's because the battle for Kirkuk is not just external -- Baghdad and the KRG -- it's also internal.

The New York Times reported early in the Iraq War about efforts to ship people into the province and efforts to force people out -- in anticipation of the census and referendum.

Two of the better pieces were Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Kurdish Control of City Creates Political Powderkeg in North Iraq" (August 19, 2008) and Stephen Farrell's "As Iraqis Vie for Kirkuk's Oil, Refugee Kurds Becomes Pawns" (December 9, 2007).

Various groups in Kirkuk resort to violence in an attempt to improve their group's chances.

Stalling on implementing Article 140 only increases violence.

Another meaningless meeting that will accomplish nothing because Nouri al-Maliki refuses to comply with the law -- the highest law, since it's the Constitution.

National Iraqi News Agency notes that the Kirkuk Governor also met with the US Ambassador to Iraq today to discuss "the importance of local elections in Kirkuk."

In news of other meet-ups, All Iraq News reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met with the United Nations Charge d'Affaires in Iraq, Gerorge Boston and they discussed various issues including, quoting a statement from al-Nujaifi's office, that a "political solution is the best way to solve all the problems and his call for the politcal blocs' leaders to hold an expanded meeting to achieve this goal."

Meanwhile, Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, met with US Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft.  National Iraqi News Agency reports that their discussion revolved around "the latest developments on the Iraqi political arena, especially the current situation in Anbar provinces, and the elections next year."  All Iraq News adds, "The meeting touched on promoting the bilateral relations between Iraq and USA as well as political developments on regional and international arena."

David Bacon's  new book, The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. We'll close with this from Bacon's "MEXICANS MARCH AGAINST NAFTA AND TO DEFEND THEIR OIL - Part 1" (Truthout Photo essay):

On Friday, January 31, two huge marches took place in Mexico City to oppose the corporate reforms of Mexico's economy and politics, on the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Marchers opposed especially the most recent reforms -- the privatization of the oil and electrical industry, the introduction of U.S.-style standardized testing and attacks on teachers, and the labor law reform that will weaken unions and give employers the right to hire temporary and contingent workers.

Teachers in the National Coordinadora of Education Workers (CNTE) and members of the Mexican Electrical Workers (SME) marched in the morning.  The unions of the National Union of Workers (UNT) and their allies marched in the afternoon.  The morning march included about 2000 participants, including hundreds of teachers from Oaxaca, who have been camping out since the beginning of the school year in a planton in the Plaza de la Republica.  The afternoon march included tens of thousands of people.

The division reflected the participation in the afternoon march of large contingents of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, the most left of Mexico's three major parties.  The UNT invited Cuauhtemoc Cardenas to be the march and rally's sole speaker.  Cardenas is the son of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexican President in the 1930s who expropriated the property of U.S. oil companies and nationalized the industry.  Cuauhtemoc Cardenas ran for president twice, and was denied victory by massive fraud in 1988.  He then helped organize the Party of the Democratic Revolution, which he formally leads. 

The following community sites -- plus Jake Tapper, Dissident Voice, Susan's On the Edge, The Bat Segundo Show, Jody Watley,  the Guardian, Chocolate City and Iraq Inquiry Digest -- updated last night and today:

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