Saturday, April 12, 2014

Campaigning (and violence) continues in Iraq

Nouri al-Maliki is the chief thug and prime minister of Iraq.  He hides away in the Green Zone most days when he's in Iraq.  He wrongly thought he'd be popular in Basra so he went there to campaign for his State of Law coaltion.  Didn't work out the way he'd planned.  All Iraq News reports he was greeted by a large protest and quotes Baha al-Araji, of the Sadr bloc, stating, "What happened during Maliki's speech in Basra in evidence to the citizens' rejection to him."

In March of 2010, Iraq held parliamentary elections.  Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya beat Nouri's State of Law but the White House refused to let anyone except Nouri be prime minister so they brokered The Erbil Agreement which gave loser Nouri a second term.  Allawi held a press conference in Baghdad today.  Alsumaria reports he decried what happened in 2010 and called it a rape of the will and the power of the people.

Parliamentary elections are supposed to be held April 30th.  Campaign posters are going up all over Iraq.  And apparently coming down.  Ayad Allawi Tweeted the following this week:

In other election news, NINA reports,  "The religious authority, Sheikh Muhammad Ishaq al-Fayyadh stressed on Saturday on the need for national elections that should not be alienate, and changing the situation of the people is vested in good choice."  All Iraq News notes Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, publicly pledged today that those candidates with the Citizen bloc coalition will "reject the privileges of the officials" -- which appears to refer to the pension and other privileges that outraged Iraqis in 2013 but which Nouri's State of Law ended up supporting in the 2014 Parliament vote.

NINA notes that Allawi used the press conference today to call out Nouri al-Maliki's attack on Anbar Province and offered that some have "intentions to abort the elections and to monopolize power by prolonging military operations in those areas." Alsumaria adds that Allawi contrasted the current situation in Anbar today with last year when honorable demonstrators held protests and were verbally attacked throughout 2013 with the attacks on the protesters escalating and now, today, it is in a crisis situation with the people of Anbar being attacked.

In Nouri's ongoing assault on Anbar, more civilians are dead in Falluja as a result of the military's shelling of residential neighborhoods.  NINA reports 3 civilians were killed and nine ("including two women and a child") were left injured.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports a Baghdad roadside bombing has left four police members injured, a Hammam al-Alil roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and two more injured, an armed battle in Hawi left two people injured, Ninveh security states they killed 1 suspect east of Mosul, a Taza Village home bombing left 1 person dead, and a car bombing in Baquba's Jurf al-Meleh left 4 people dead and eighteen injured.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) explains, "Baquba is an ethnically mixed city about 60 kilometers, or about 37 miles, northeast of the capital." Alsumaria adds that a police officer and a professor with the Institute of Fine Arts were injured in a Mosul shooting attack, an armed battle outside Ramadi left 6 rebels dead and eight Iraqi soldiers injured, and an armed attack between Tikrit and Samarra left 4 police officers dead.  All Iraq News notes a Tikrit sticky bombing left 1 police officer dead.   All Iraq News also reports on an attempted assassination of a journalist.  Iraqiya Satellite Channel's Jumana Adnan was targeted with a sticky bombing in Salha il-Din. She survived the bombing.

AP has a brief article here.  We'll note the implications tomorrow -- either at Third or here in "Hejira."  I'm not worried anyone else will explore the implications first because everyone else got it wrong at the start of last year.  I doubt they've learned from their lesson.  Back to Anbar, RT reports:

Iraqi militants have captured a dam just south of the city of Fallujah, in order to strategically flood selected parts of the valley and stall the advance of security forces, which have been shelling the city since its seizure by insurgents last year.

One week ago, militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) flooded the area around the city with the waters of the Euphrates by closing all of the dam’s 10 gates to stop the government forces’ siege of Fallujah. 

The following community sites -- plus Susan's On the Edge, Jody Watley, the ACLU,, Z on TV, Pacifica Evening News, Jake Tapper, NPR music, War News Radio and Tavis Smiley -- updated:

  • Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration  is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press).  We'll close with this from Bacon's "Immigrant Labor, Immigrant Rights" (NACLA Report on the Americas):

    In the late 1970s, the U.S. Congress began to debate the bills that eventually resulted in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) - still the touchstone for ongoing battles over immigration policy. The long congressional debate set in place the basic dividing line in the modern immigrant rights movement.

    IRCA contained three elements. It reinstituted a guest worker program by setting up the H2-A visa category; it penalized employers who hired undocumented workers and required them to check the immigration status of every worker; and it set up a one-time amnesty process for undocumented workers who were in the country before 1982. Guest workers (i.e. workers whose immigrant status was tied to temporary, specific jobs), employer sanctions, and some form of legalization still occupy the main floor of the debate.

    The AFL-CIO supported sanctions, believing they would stop undocumented immigration (and therefore, presumably, job competition with citizen or legal resident workers). Employers wanted guest workers. The Catholic Church and a variety of Washington DC liberals supported amnesty and were willing to agree to guest workers and enforcement as a tradeoff. Organized immigrant communities and leftist immigrant rights advocates opposed the bill, as did local labor leaders and activists, but they were not strong enough to change organized labor's position nationally. The Washington-based coalition produced the votes in Congress, and on November 6, 1986, Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law.

    Once the bill had passed, many of the local organizations that had opposed it set up community-based coalitions to deal with the bill's impact. In Los Angeles, with the country's largest concentration of undocumented Mexican and Central American workers, pro-immigrant labor activists set up centers to help people apply for amnesty. That effort, together with earlier, mostly left-led campaigns to organize undocumented workers, built the base for the later upsurge of immigrant activism that changed the politics and labor movement of the city. Elsewhere, local immigrant advocates set up coalitions to look for ways to defend undocumented workers against the impact of employer sanctions. Grassroots coalitions then began helping workers set up centers for day laborers, garment workers, domestic workers, and other groups of immigrants generally ignored by established unions.

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