Thursday, February 06, 2014

Violence again slams Iraq as White House secret begins to get press attention

How much worse are things in Iraq?

Baghdad Operations Command today urged all residents to inspect their cars before getting into them. They're worried about sticky bombings.

That's not good.  And there are more problems including one for the administration which has worked so hard to kill a story -- they had to lobby the US press after all and what could be more menial and dull than that?

Let's all stay awake for some of today's violence.

National Iraqi News Agency reports a Baghdad sticky bombing (Tayran square) left two people injured,  a Baghdad sticky bombing (Shaab district) left three people injured, a Baghdad car bombing (Karrada district) left five people injured, a Baghdad car bombing (Camp Sara area) left four people injured, 2 Baghdad car bombings (Hurriah area and Battol area) left thirteen people injured, a Baghdad car bombing (Jamelah neighborhood) left 1 person dead and seven more injured,  a Baghdad car bombing (Jkok area -- NINA notes this was the 7th Baghdad car bombing) left six people injured,  an attack on a Rifaii checkpoint left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and another injured, a Baquba car bombing claimed 1 life and left nine people injured,  security forces in Jurf al-Sakhar state they killed 3 al Qaeda in Iraq members, 2 Shabaks were shot dead in Mosul, a grenade attack on a central Mosul checkpoint left three police members and four civilians injured, 1 police member was shot dead at a Muqdadiya checkpoint, Dr. Jalil Ibrahim al-Obeidi was kidnapped from his Baquba private clinic (he is also the Director of Baquba Hospital), two oil tanker drivers were kidnapped and their tankers bombed "on the road linking between Salahuddin and Mosul," security forces shot dead 1 suspect in Tikrit, the Ministry of the Interior killed 1 "gunmen" entering Iraq from Syria,  and Joint Operations Command shot dead 2 suspects in Mosul.

All Iraq News adds that a father and son were shot dead in a sheep market in western Mosul and that an attack on Badush prison in Mosul left 1 guard dead, three more injured, 3 prisoners dead and five more injured.

We've repeatedly noted here the many back stabs from the White House to the Kurdish leadership.  This was tolerated -- embraced -- when the top Kurd was Iraqi President Jalal Talbani.  He's not been heard from in over a year and the rumors of his death or impending death never cease.

Yes, Senator Joe Biden had a good relationship with the Kurds.

Vice President Joe Biden, however, thought that good earlier relationship meant he could screw them over.  Let's put this as simply as possible.  Nouri al-Maliki is a spoiled rotten brat who throw one tantrum after another.  Joe Biden spends far too much humoring Nouri (who never keeps a promise) and expecting the Kurds to wait patiently until Nouri's calmed down and Biden can speak with adults.

But Nouri never calms down.

And the Kurds get screwed over and over.

The US worked hard to keep the Barzani family in the shadow of the Talabanis.

Those days are gone.  By 2011, when Jalal was still in good health, KRG President Massoud Barzani was emerging on the world stage as the Kurdish leader.

The Kurds have been disrespected -- as they have been historically by the US government.

And Barzani's not Talabani.  He's not going to be so easily bribed.

We've gone over this repeatedly here.  The US press never seems to catch on but I can't post a thing on the Kurds here without three State Dept friends calling and asking what I'm basing the analysis on?  And then slowly starting to agree that the US is losing the Kurds.  Too slowly.

Friday, we noted the latest insult.  And I was told by all three State Dept official referred to in the previous paragraph that I was interpreting it wrongly.  To which I said, "Maybe so, but I don't think so.  We'll just have to wait and see."  From Monday's snapshot:

Friday's snapshot noted US Vice President Joe Biden's phone call to KRG President Massoud Barzani, carried the White House statement and I pointed out, "It's a shame that they [the White House] have more concern over pleasing Nouri than they do over the safety of the Iraqi citizens."  Today Rudaw reports:

Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani has postponed a planned visit to Washington this week because of other commitments, said his chief of staff, Fuad Hussein.
“President Barzani told Joe Biden (the US vice president) that because of some other commitments he couldn’t visit Washington at this time,” Hussein told Rudaw. “That is why the visit was postponed.”

That's only surprising if you weren't paying attention.  In 2012, Barazni made clear his opposition to the US giving Nouri F-16s.  And today?  Not only are those going to be handed over, helicopters and Hellfire missiles are being provided to Nouri.  And on top of all of that, Joe Biden wants to hold Nouri's hand and reassure him while telling Barzani that concessions (to Nouri) need to be made.

President Massoud Barzani is a much admired figure in the KRG and he's a leader on the world stage but Biden wants to treat like an errand boy and hand him a grocery list?

Of course, Barazni's insulted.  And that's before you get to the White House's historic betrayal of Baraniz on the 2010 US-brokered Erbil Agreement that they used Barazni's name and reputation to sell and then refused, after everyone signed the contract, to stand by it.  Yeah, it's about time Barzani put some distance between himself and the US government.

Maybe even a brief spell will force the White House to take Barzani a little more seriously?

Again, the three told me I was wrong.  Even faced with the truth, they can't admit it.  They each did make a plea that went something like: 'For the good of everyone, please stop writing about this.'

The good of who?

The Kurds?

They're not helped by the silence.

Only Nouri is helped by the silence.

And I also pointed out that I don't work for the US government and I don't take orders from this administration.

Now apparently the US press does because it was one thing to ignore the growing tensions for months and months but when the visit got killed?  Everyone knew what was going on.

But it's left to Ayub Nuri and Rudaw to address the topic the US press shies from:

Many people were baffled this week by the sudden news that Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani was not going to Washington. Barzani’s supporters said it was the Kurdish president who had cancelled the visit. Others laughed and said, “Who could cancel on the president of the most powerful country in the world?” From the US there was no explanation, and out of Kurdistan only came conflicting reports.
But who snubbed who isn’t really the issue. The real question is: How do the Kurds see America today.
Ten years ago the Kurds saw America as an ally, and America regarded them as friends. The Kurds joined America’s war and contributed to Saddam Hussein’s downfall. Kurdish Peshmarga and security forces offered the Americans intelligence, advice and guidance. Kurdish politicians and ministers went to Baghdad and put into service their two decades of experience to rebuild the Iraqi government.
What did they expect in return? A democratic Iraq that America had promised everyone. But ten years on, not only have the Kurds not seen a democratic country that respects their rights, they in fact feel it is often America -- not Baghdad -- that is acting against them.

What kind of 'learning curve' is the White House on because they're on year six and they still don't know what they're doing.

ADDED:  The following community sites -- plus Susan's On the Edge, Cindy Sheehan, Ms. magazine's blog, the ACLU, Jane Fonda, The Bat Segundo Show, the Center for Constitutional Rights,, Pacifica Evening News, the House Veterans Affairs Commitee and Black Agenda Report -- updated:

  • In addition, Mike posted "The NSA illegally spies on Congress too" last night (and "Arrow and the sad, sad Dylan Farrow" today).

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