Reporters Without Borders notes today:
Reporters Without Borders is saddened to learn that two employees of state-owned Al-Iraqiya TV, Muthanna Abdel Hussein and Khaled Abdel Thamer, were killed in a suicide bomb attack on a police checkpoint at Hala, 70 km south of Baghdad, yesterday morning.
“We offer our condolences to the friends and families of these two media workers and we condemn this attack with the utmost energy,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“[. . .] We have repeatedly drawn the government’s attention to the dangers that journalists face and we have asked in vain for adequate measures to protect them.”
In Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq, pretty much everyone has a target drawn on their backs. It's not just reporters, it's all groupings. For example, Nouri's now targeting female children like the pedophile that he is.
Saturday, Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) reported, "About two dozen Iraqi women demonstrated today in Baghdad against a draft law approved by the Iraqi cabinet that would permit the marriage of nine-year-old girls and automatically give child custody to fathers." The offensive, disgusting and illegal bill was proposed by Nouri's Minister of Justice Hassan al-Shimaria. Nouri and his Cabinet signed off on it February 25th. There's a photo of some of the protesters here.
Jonathan Wolfe (Opposing Views) adds:
Iraq’s current laws grant women extensive rights regarding marriage, inheritance, and child custody. Together, the current statutes have been hailed as some of the most progressive in the Middle East.
The proposed law would change all of this. Among other things, the bill claims girls reach puberty at age nine and can be married off accordingly. It grants fathers complete custody of children at age two, and legally allows men to demand sex from their wives at any time.
The current laws include and are based on the personal status law 188 which went into effect in 1959. The US government didn't give a damn about Iraqi women and the women had to the streets to protest in 2005 to ensure their rights were not written away as planned. Of the personal status law, People's World notes:
It established at least partial equality between women and men in a number of areas, restricted polygamy, created a judicial procedure for divorce and required marriage to be performed only in state-run courts. The law, which was later amended several times, also set an 18-year minimum age for marriage. A later amendment allowed marriage for persons over the age of 15 but under that of 18 in very strict cases and only by authorization of a state judge.
Ban Ki-moon is the United Nations Secretary-General. His Special Envoy in Iraq is Nickolay Mlandenov. Mladenov Tweeted the following Saturday:
Nine-year-olds getting married, that's what sicko Nouri wants, he wants to nail some nine-year-old girl because he's a disgusting piece of filth who's not fit for public office. As sick as he is, let's take a look at the ultimate in sick, the US administration. Here's Secretary of State John Kerry stringing words together to make some of verbal necklace that holds up neither as jewelry nor as honesty:
International Women’s Day is a moment to pause and reflect on the contributions of women to the world and to reaffirm our commitment to continued progress on gender equality. It’s also a powerful reminder that women are advancing peace and prosperity around the world in really remarkable ways.
I see it every day as Secretary of State.
I see it in Ukraine, where women are working on the frontlines as volunteers for the Maidan Medical Service. They are raising their voices for freedom and dignity, and we must all step up and answer their call.
I see it in Afghanistan, where women are starting companies, serving as members of parliament, teaching in schools, and working as doctors and nurses. They are the foundation on which Afghanistan’s future is being built.
I see it in Syria, where women are getting restrictions on humanitarian access lifted by offering food to regime soldiers at the checkpoints.
I see it in Mali, where women are risking their lives as advocates for women’s and children’s rights.
Do you see it in Iraq, John?
John Kerry: Everywhere I travel, in every meeting, I can see firsthand the promise of a world where women are empowered as equal partners in peace and prosperity. But here’s what’s most important: all of the fights and all of the progress we’ve seen in recent years haven’t come easily or without struggle. And we still have work to do.
Oh, that's right, you don't travel to Iraq. The US State Dept (and USAID) has a billion US tax dollars to spend each year on Iraq (it is a billion, there was a move, at the end of 2013 to call it $800 million but that was using 'creative math' in an attempt to lie to the American people yet again).
A billion US tax dollars a year? And the State Dept -- which Kerry heads -- is also supposed to be over the US mission in Iraq.
Who's running the show?
Nouri's the US-installed puppet, he barks and strains at his leash, now he starting to foam at the mouth so who's going to make the call to animal control?
John Kerry continued his speech about International Women's Day by insisting:
Our work is not done when one out of every three women is subjected to some form of violence in her lifetime.
We cannot rest knowing that girls younger than 15 are forced to marry and that they are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their twenties.
No, your work -- that your paid to perform by the US taxpayer -- is not done. It is so far from done. And you know what else?
Nine is younger than fifteen.
So you're expressed horror at child-brides at the age of 15 looks hollow and fake when you can't say one damn word about Nouri's attempt to force nine-year-old girls into marriage.
AFP reports, "Saudi Arabia yesterday slammed as 'aggressive and irresponsible' accusations by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that the kingdom was supporting global terrorism."
France 24's Mark Perelman interviewed (link is text and video) Nouri for a half hour broadcast which aired Saturday. In the interview, Nouri's well noted paranoia was on full display as he repeatedly declared, in the very first two minutes, his alleged 'victory' over those attempting to turn Iraq and Syria into one country ("there are goals to create a one state," "create a state -- one part in Syria and one part in Iraq"). What's that?
You never heard about the efforts to convert two countries -- Iraq and Syria -- into one?
That's because no one had. The only ones talking about this 'plan' have been the voices in Nouri's head that only he hears.
Mark Perelman: Aren't you concerned about a new possible -- the possibility of a new civil war in Iraq?
Nouri al-Maliki: No. Because the situation is clear now between the al Qaeda organizations and the Iraqi population which is opposed to al Qaeda.
Nouri has been enabled by the US government to lie to the world. Since 2011, he has called peaceful protesters "terrorists." And the White House, which demanded loser Nouri get a second term (one the voers said "no" to), disgraces itself by providing him with cover. This fig leaf will be ripped off by history in less than 20 years -- Barack needs to worry about his legacy -- and Arabs around the world will call out the genocide Barack is enabling.
Mark Perelman: So you deny representing an anti-Sunni government, a pro-Shi'ite authority? Those who say that are basically lying?
Nouri al-Maliki: Absolutely. Absolutely. They know it perfectly. When I opposed myself to the Shi'ite militias that were murdering Sunnis, they said, "Luckily, the government opposed the militias."
Perelman's not a good interviewer. There's no push back on that claim. Is he stupid? Or is he just worthless?
Nouri's referring to 2008 when he attacked -- at the urging of the US government and with the help of the US military -- Basra and then Sadr City in Baghdad.
For Nouri to talk about militias right now? Shi'ite ones? Perelman did a lousy interview. For example, Tim Arango (New York Times) broke the militia story last September:
In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.
He' paying them, he's arming them and they have targeted Sunnis. For Perelman not to call Nouri on this? He's worthless as a journalist, completely worthless.
Not noted in the coverage, Nouri didn't just claim Saudia Arabia and Qatar were "inciting and encouraging the terrorism movements. I accues them of supporting them p olitically and in the media."
He also claimed Europe was providing both weapons and "European fighters." He stated weapons had poured into Iraq: "French weapons, American weapons, Russian weapons" -- and he wasn't speaking of all the weapons his good friend Barack Obama's supplying him with, he was saying weapons being supplied to 'terrorists.' Among Europe, he also singled out Belgium. "First and foremost," he accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia but he blamed everyone including "some European countries"
But apparently the US government loves to be spat on -- probably Barack's attempting to figure out how to send even more weapons to Nouri.
While the US government is too scared to call out Nouri, not everyone's a coward.
Al Arabiya News notes a Saudi Arabia government source:
The source said Maliki’s statements were meant to cover his domestic failures and his policies, which “placed Iraq in the service of regional actors.”
In an interview on France 24 TV Saturday evening, Maliki accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of openly funding the Sunni Muslim insurgents his troops are battling in western Anbar province, in his strongest such statement since fighting started there early this year.
[. . .]
Maliki's remarks play to Iraqi fears of the Sunni Arab states as he tries to burnish his standing as a defender of the mainly Shi'ite country before elections at the end of April.
Arab News adds this on the unofficial response from the government of Saudi Arabia, "The Al-Maliki government was acting against certain sections of its people with the 'blessing' of some members of its own government, the statement said. The statement said it was 'obvious that the objective of these statements is to falsify the facts and blame others for the failings of the Iraqi prime minister'."
The issue was raised in today's State Dept press briefing by State Dept spokesperson Jen Psaki (though no one apparently watched the interview, they just read the text coverage).
QUESTION: I wanted to ask very quickly on Iraq.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki issued a statement bluntly accusing two of your allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, of being behind the sectarian war that is taking place in Iraq. I wonder if you have any comments on that.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Well – sorry, Said. Can you repeat your question one more time just to make sure I’m addressing the right one here?
QUESTION: My question was that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accused overtly both the countries of the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar of being behind --
MS. PSAKI: Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
QUESTION: -- the escalation of the sectarian violence that is taking place.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Iraq has made significant progress in improving relations with some countries in the region, such as Kuwait and Jordan, but progress with others has been limited. We continue to encourage improved ties between Iraq and its Arab neighbors, particularly the GCC. The situation in Syria has certainly fueled tensions in the region and foreign fighters are making their way into Iraq from Syria. We are particularly concerned, of course, about this. We share Iraq’s concern over the levels of violence, and we are working with the Iraqis to implement a holistic strategy. I would, of course, refer you otherwise to the Government of Iraq.
QUESTION: Do you agree – or, I mean – does your intelligence – I don’t know if – what they see, or the Embassy in Baghdad, that is a very large Embassy. Do they also see or do they detect activities by the Saudis and the Qataris that are actually exacerbating the sectarian violence there?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to speak to that, Said. We, of course, broadly speaking – broadly speaking – we have been concerned, of course, about the influx of foreign fighters in Iraq in recent months. That has certainly exacerbated the security situation. That said, of course we continue to advise and assist Iraq in developing strategies with understanding – with the understanding of their own security operations and capabilities, and we’re in close touch with them about that.
On Nouri's assault on Anbar Province, Sunil Patel has a strong piece at Fair Observer which includes:
As violence in Fallujah escalates to near-unprecedented levels, the entire narrative of the fighting seems to evade a number of key points. Namely, this fighting was not precipitated by the capture of Sunni strongholds by al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
The precursor to the fighting between Iraqi government forces and Sunni tribesmen of Anbar was a result of a ruthless policy of repression, aimed at nationwide protest camps opposing government measures on public services, counterterrorism, illegal house raids and a perpetuation of sectarian violence, as well as a number of other policies that continue to marginalize Sunni communities.
The Ramadi protest camps in al-Anbar have been at the center of demonstrations for the past year. It was on December 30 — a week after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had threatened to "burn down" the camps — that special forces (SWAT) and the army descended upon the Ezz and Karama Square to crush protests, which had gained momentum after the arrest of Sunni MP Ahmed al-Alwani and the murder of his brother and five of his security guards.
Two witnesses reported to Human Rights Watch that SWAT and the army had arrived in a procession of military Humvees, pick-up trucks, and armored vehicles to clear the squares. All this just seven hours after Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi had negotiated the release of Alwani on the condition that the camps were to be cleared within 48 hours.
This is not the first attempt by government forces to clear protest camps. In April 2013, SWAT and the army opened fire on more than a thousand protestors in Hawija, south of Kirkut, killing 50 people and leaving 110 injured. The event passed without as much as a whimper in the press, let alone widespread condemnation.
Nouri is targeting civilians in Anbar. Sunday, his indiscriminate shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods left 6 people dead and seventeen injured. Saturday, he had his military again shell residential areas in Falluja leading to the death of 1 woman and 1 child with six more people ("including two young girls") being left injured.
When not targeting the people with collective punishment -- a defined War Crime, Nouri likes to target hospitals -- specific favorites include Falluja General Hospital and Falluja Educational Hospital. Targeting hospitals is also a War Crime.
World Bulletin notes a criminal has come forward to defend Nouri: Sahwa leader (part of the Iraqi mafia long before the Sahwa were created) Ahmed Abu Risha has declared the hospital needed to be targeted . . . for 'terrorists.' When he says things like that, you start to understand why US intelligence sincerely believed that Ahmed Abu Risha ordered his own brother, Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, killed to take over as leader.
Oops! Did I let that slip out? See, the Bully Boy Bush administration was willing to bury the evidence they said they had on Ahmed killing his own brother in exchange for Ahmed joining the 'Awakenings' and dancing for them like a puppet on a string. As a result, that secret was never, ever supposed to come out. My bad.
World Bulletin quotes Falluja General Hospital spokesperson Wissam al-Essawi responding to Ahmed's charges, "Only the staff of the hospital and Fallujah residents who come to visit relatives injured in army shelling of their homes are present in the hospital."
In the interview with Nouri, France24 raised the issue of cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr. All Iraq News notes Nouri's termed him "immature." Actually, it was more interesting than that. First, Nouri insisted he wasn't going to talk about Moqtada, then gossip gal Nouri wanted to dish and that's when he insulted Moqtada.
The reaction to the insults were visible today. All Iraq News reports Moqtada's supporters were out in full force, protesting in Ammara against Nouri (who called Moqtada "immature" in his France24 interview). All Iraq News notes that they also flooded the streets of Nassiriya protesting against Nouri.
While they called for Nouri's resignation today, Al Mada reports Ayad Allawi called for Nouri's resignation yesterday. Allawi wants a caretaker government set up now, ahead of the elections. This was proposed last go round.
Through Sunday, Iraq Body Count counts 346 violent deaths -- 346 in the first nine days of the month.
National Iraqi News Agency reports an Abu Ghraib roadside bombing left three people injured, a second Abu Ghraib bombing left two people injured, a Haditha roadside bombing left intelligence official Sabah Jubair al-Dulaimi dead and three Iraqi military personnel were left injured, a Malia roadside bombing left two Iraqi soldiers injured, 2 Baqbua bombings left 2 people dead and four more injured, and 2 bombings "between Amiriyat al-Fallujah and Babylon" left eleven Iraqi soldiers injured,.
National Iraqi News Agency reports Joint Operations Command announced they killed 6 suspects in Falluja, Sheikh Adowan al-Zuhairi was shot dead in Muqdadiyah, a shooting inside a Mosul mosque left an Imam and a security guard injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 1 suspect, and 2 police members were shot dead in Baquba.
National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 corpses were discovered in Taji ("gunshot wounds").
In other news, Nouri continues to try to bully the Kurdistan Regional Government into abiding by his oil wishes -- wishes because Pedophile Nouri never got the oil and gas bill passed despite prominsing to do so in 2007. He continues his was on the KRG despite the potential harm this can do to Iraq.
Friday, Aswat al-Iraq noted that, "MP Alia Nsaif called the federal government to prevent the Kurdish region from cutting off waters from other Iraqi provinces, pointing that water policies are the domain of the central government only. In a statement today, copy received by Aswat ala-Iraq, she stated that the Kurdish region cut off the water from Kirkuk agricultural lands for two days, and re-opened the water vents by 50%, which stirred public anxiety and anger."
How pressing and real of a concern is this? Reuters explains of the water issue:
Varying degrees of drought are hitting almost two thirds of the limited arable land across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq.
"Going back to the last 100 years, I don't think you can get a five-year span that's been as dry," said Mohammad Raafi Hossain, a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) environmental economist.
Wow. So the KRG has access (control of) a great deal of water. Water is in short supply in Iraq. And Nouri has decided to pick another fight with the KRG over oil?
Well of course. It's not like there's a shortage of water in the Green Zone and, if there is, those living high on the hog will just have it flown in from out of Iraq for their use -- for only their use in the Green Zone.
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