Saturday, March 08, 2014

Nouri 'celebrates' International Women's Day

Today was International Women's Day and Iraq's prime minister and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki celebrated in multiple ways.

First up, Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) reports, "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.

Ban Ki-moon is the United Nations Secretary-General.  His Special Envoy in Iraq is Nickolay Mlandenov.  Mladenov Tweeted the following today:

  • Gov adoption of Jaafari Personal Status Bill risks constitutionally protected rights for and international commitments

  • 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.

    In addition, he wants to strip mothers of their custody rights.

    This is all so disgusting and all so predictable.

    Where the hell is the US State Dept which lied to Congress repeatedly about what it's role would be when it assumed control over the US mission in Iraq?

    I seem to recall all these generic statements -- and we can shame and name those who made them -- about all the money that was going to be spent on programs improving the status of women.

    But John Kerry, Secretary of State, never has time to oversee Iraq because he's always too busy screaming that the US needs to go to war with Syria or Russia.

    Kerry needs to explain how this little bill got out of Nouri's Cabinet and what the hell the US did to help Iraqi women?  See, that way he can hem-and-haw and stammer through his  first response and just sit in silence, catch his breath while he says nothing, in response to the second question.

    That wasn't the only way Nouri celebrated International Women's Day in Iraq.  No, 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.

    Of course the US government has not only failed to object to the civilian deaths in Anbar, they've also provided Nouri with the weapons being used to kill the people of Anbar.

    In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports an al-Qaherah car bombing left 2 people dead and nine more injured, a Ramadi bombing left five people injured, an al-Jeraishy battle left 4 Iraqi soldiers dead, an al-Hasowah battle left 3 Iraqi military personnel dead and four soldiers injured, a Ramadi suicide car bomber took his own lives and the lives of 3 Iraqi soldiers with seven more left injured, 1 Shabak was shot dead in Mosul, a roadside bombing north of Baquba left 1 "army regiment commander" dead and four of his bodyguards injured, a car bombing southwest of Ramadi left 3 police dead and four more injured, Joint Command Operations announced they killed 4 suspects in Falluja and Samarra, Mohammed Hussein Hamid ("candidate for the Alarabiya Slate in the province of Nineveh") was shot dead near Sharqat,  and 1 corpse was discovered in the streets of Almaqalii south of Mosul.

    Xinhua counts 31 dead and 49 injured in today's violence.

    Meanwhile, the award for least convincing performance goes to Hadi al-Ameri:

    Iraqi Transport Minister Hadi al-Ameri on Saturday stressed on the “historical and brotherly” ties between Lebanon and Iraq, assuring that recent events will not change these relations.

    "The bubble that happened lately will not change the historical and brotherly relations between Baghdad and Beirut,” al-Ameri said at Rafic Hariri International Airport upon his arrival in Beirut, adding that Iraq will “probe the incident and penalize all delinquents.”

    Naharnet reports the above.  For those late to the story, Thursday Mahdi al-Ameri missed his flight back to Baghdad.  When this was discovered, the plane was told it could not land in Baghdad and that it needed return to Lebanon.  Once it had and Mahdi, Hadi's son, boarded the plane, it took off and was allowed to land in Baghdad.  The Transportation Minister?  The plane was turned around to pick up his son.  It's corruption and what the Iraqi people suffer with as officials live off the hog in the Green Zone while the rest of Iraq lives with non-stop violence and a lack of jobs and public services.  As the editorial board of The National points out, "It is unclear what Mr Al Amiri gained from this exercise, except a chance to demonstrate to Iraqis the truth of their belief that relatives of government officials think they are above the law."

    Meanwhile Nouri's bad TV interview (to France's state TV) is attracting attention in Iraq due to Nouri's insults of cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.  All Iraq News notes Nouri's termed him "immature."

    The following community sites -- plus Dissident Voice, On the Wilder Side,, Susan's On the Edge, Out FM, the Pacifica Evening News and The Lead with Jake Tapper -- updated:


    The e-mail address for this site is




    I Hate The War

    The big discussion on Arabic social media about Iraq right now involves the idiotic Transportation Minister refusing to allow the Lebanon plane to land in Baghdad in order to force it to go back to Beirut and pick up his little prince son who missed the flight (see Thursday's snapshot and Friday's snapshot for more).

    The second biggest discussion revolves around Anbar and whether or not, if parliamentary elections are held April 30th, Anbar will be allowed to vote.

    Yes, the US government, the UN, Moqtada al-Sadr, Ayad Allawi and a host of others have noted there will be no legitimate elections if Anbar is not allowed to participate.

    And the concern is that Nouri is attempted to drag out his failure in Anbar long enough to use his assault as an excuse not to let them vote.

    The assault was supposed to be quick but it's never ending (it started at the end of December).

    The assault has exposed the weaknesses in Nouri's government, the defections in the military when they are forced to attack their own people, Nouri's willingness to kill civilians, Baghdad's lack of control over various cities and towns in the province, Nouri's fear of Falluja (his forces are too thinned out and he knows an outright assault on Falluja means more defections in the military) and so much more.

    If only to save face, Nouri should have shut this down long ago.

    He refuses to do so and this is why people are suspicious that this is part of a plan to deny Anbar the vote.

    France's state television (France 24) broadcast a silly interview with Nouri today.  Prashant Rao was promoting it yesterday.  No surprise, it was nonsense.  Nouri insists that the problems in Iraq are caused by Saudi Arabia and, of course, there was no pushback on that. RTE notes he also slammed Qatar as being behind the problems.

    He's always blaming someone but he's been prime minister since 2006 so he needs to cut himself a really big slice of that blame pie, he's earned it.

    It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
    There's a war going on
    So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
    And I'm writing a song about war
    And it goes
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Oh oh oh oh
    -- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

    The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

    The e-mail address for this site is

    WW salutes women in struggle!

    This is from Workers World:

    WW salutes women in struggle!

    By on March 8, 2014

    March 8 is International Working Women’s Day. This special day honors the struggles of women against inequality, oppression and war. It is also a time to promote true international solidarity, to embrace women of all continents.

    This year we see women fighting back against the ravages of corporate globalization on every continent.

    Whether they work in Indonesia’s factories, Bangladesh’s garment industry, Greece’s public sector, Haiti’s clothing plants or Brazil’s agricultural fields, women are demanding their rights.

    We see opposition to the endless U.S. interventions — which aim at installing and/or propping up pro-U.S. regimes in order to grab the resources that rightfully belong to their inhabitants. The economic crisis is propelling even more aggression abroad. Yet, this is not unopposed. From the Philippines to Pakistan, from Somalia to Honduras, women challenge U.S.-engineered coups, bases, troops and weapons.

    It is capitalism, a system based on the private ownership of property, that lies at the crux of women’s oppression and other forms of discrimination, inequality and bigotry. The super-rich capitalists gobble up the vast majority of the world’s wealth. They exploit workers’ labor, keeping the profits they make while paying them low wages.

    Financial and social inequality are inherent within this system. The rich are getting richer and the workers poorer. The income gap is widening on a world scale. During this so-called “recovery,” profits are skyrocketing and the multinational working class is falling behind. This severely impacts women.

    The global capitalists pay the lowest wages possible in the factories and sweatshops where millions of women work. Women and girls are 70 percent of the world’s poorest people. The economic crisis has worsened their conditions. Some 81 million are jobless. Millions have part-time and low-wage jobs. Millions have to migrate to find jobs, and then face bigotry and mistreatment.

    Even in the U.S., the “wealthiest” country in the world, women do not have pay equity; those who are African-American and Latina are among the lowest-paid workers. Women have two-thirds of the minimum-wage (or less) jobs. Yet women who toil in fast food and other underpaid jobs are walking out and fighting back, giving a boost to all workers and progressive forces.

    We cheer on all women struggling worldwide, from those opposing imperialist war and occupation to those challenging global corporations. We hail those marching against austerity imposed by European and U.S. financial institutions and by their own governments.

    We extend our solidarity to our sisters across the globe and workers here at home — organized and unorganized – who are demanding jobs, livable wages and humane working conditions.

    Women have always fought back against oppression and exploitation. That’s why International Women’s Day was founded in 1910 – to recognize their struggles, as well as build global solidarity. It was also intended by its socialist founders to promote the anti-capitalist struggle, to pave the way for a better world.

    Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

    American Unlimited Imperialism:Now Ukraine

    Francis A. Boyle is an attorney and a professor of international law.  He's also the author of many books including, most recently, United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law.   

    American Unlimited Imperialism: Now Ukraine

    Historically, this latest eruption of American militarism at the start of the 21st Century is akin to that of America opening the 20th Century by means of the U.S.-instigated Spanish-American War in 1898.  Then the Republican administration of President  William McKinley stole their colonial empire from Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; inflicted a near genocidal war against the Filipino people; while at the same time illegally annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the Native Hawaiian people (who call themselves the Kanaka Maoli) to near genocidal conditions.  Additionally, McKinley’s military and colonial expansion into the Pacific was also designed to secure America’s economic exploitation of China pursuant to the euphemistic rubric of the “open door” policy.   But over the next four decades America’s aggressive presence, policies, and practices in the “Pacific” would ineluctably pave the way for Japan’s attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 194l, and thus America’s precipitation into the ongoing Second World War. Today a century later the serial imperial aggressions launched and menaced by the Republican Bush Jr. administration and now the Democratic Obama administration  are  threatening to set off World War III.

    By shamelessly exploiting the terrible tragedy of 11 September 2001, the Bush Jr. administration set forth to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Muslim states and peoples living in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf and Africa  under the bogus pretexts of (1) fighting a war against international terrorism; and/or (2) eliminating weapons of mass destruction; and/or (3) the promotion of democracy; and/or (4) self-styled “humanitarian intervention”/responsibility to protect.  Only this time the geopolitical stakes are infinitely greater than they were a century ago:  control and domination of two-thirds of the world’s hydrocarbon resources and thus the very fundament and energizer of the global economic system – oil and gas.  The Bush Jr./ Obama  administrations  have  already targeted the remaining hydrocarbon reserves of Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia for further conquest or domination, together with the strategic choke-points at sea and on land required for their transportation.  In this regard, the Bush Jr. administration  announced the establishment of the U.S. Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) in order to better control, dominate, and exploit both the natural resources and the variegated peoples of the continent of Africa, the very cradle of our human species.  Libya and the Libyans became the first victims to succumb to AFRICOM under the Obama administration. They will not be the last.

    This current bout of U.S. imperialism is what my teacher, mentor and friend  Hans Morgenthau denominated “unlimited imperialism” in his seminal work Politics Among Nations (4th ed. 1968, at 52-53)

    “The outstanding historic examples of unlimited imperialism are the expansionist policies of Alexander the Great, Rome, the Arabs in the seventh and eighth centuries, Napoleon I, and Hitler. They all have in common an urge toward expansion which knows no rational limits, feeds on its own successes and, if not stopped by a superior force, will go on to the confines of the political world. This urge will not be satisfied so long as there remains anywhere a possible object of domination–a politically organized group of men which by its very independence challenges the conqueror’s lust for power. It is, as we shall see, exactly the lack of moderation, the aspiration to conquer all that lends itself to conquest, characteristic of unlimited imperialism, which in the past has been the undoing of the imperialistic policies of this kind… “

     It is the Unlimited Imperialists along the lines of Alexander, Rome, Napoleon and Hitler who are now in charge of conducting American foreign policy. The factual circumstances surrounding the outbreaks of both the First World War and the Second World War currently hover like twin  Swords of Damocles over the heads of all humanity.

    Francis A. Boyle
    Law Building
    504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
    Champaign, IL 61820 USA

    Friday, March 07, 2014

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, March 7, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue,  Nouri's assault on Anbar continues, he arrests a flunky for an offense that would warrant firing -- at the most -- anywhere else, the whistle gets blown on the so-called Center for American Progress, and much more.

    We've long called out the 'Center' for American Progress and the Podesta boys.  For example, let's drop back  to the March 28, 2007 snapshot:

    Interviewed by Bonnie Faulkner (KPFA's Guns and Butter) today, professor Francis Boyle discussed how a 2003 exploration of impeachment by the Democrats was cut short when John Podesta announced that there would be no introduction of bills of impeachment because it would harm Democrats chances in the  2004 election.  Speaking of the measures being applauded by much in the media, big and small, Boyle declared, "It's all baloney.  All they had to do was just do nothing and Bush would have run out of money. . . .  The DNC fully supports the war, that was made clear to Ramsey [Clark] and me on 13 March 2003 and nothing's changed."  John Podesta, former Clintonista, is with the Democratic talking point mill (that attempts to pass itself as a think tank) Center for American Progress -- with an emphasis on "Center" and not "Progress."  

    Yesterday, Ziad Jilani blew the whistle on his former employers at the 'Center' noting:

    Flash forward a couple years, and the Democratic Party’s lawmakers in Congress were in open revolt over the Afghanistan policy. Our writing at ThinkProgress had opened up a lot on the issue, and I was writing really critical stuff. I worked with our art and design team at CAP to put together a chart showing that Obama’s supposed “withdrawal” plan from Afghanistan would leave more troops in the country than when he began his presidency.
    The post was one of the most successful things I had ever written to that point. It was featured by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell and the Congressional Progressive Caucus used it in their briefings to criticize Obama’s plan. I felt great — like I was actually doing the right thing about Afghanistan for once at an institution that had remained quiet or supportive of Obama’s policy there, which in my view was accomplishing little but more bloodshed.
    But then phone calls from the White House started pouring in, berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy. Obama’s advisor Ben Rhodes — speaking of a staffer who follows policy set by others for his career path — even made a post on the White House blog more or less attacking my chart by fudging the numbers and including both the Iraq and Afghan troop levels in a single chart to make it seem as if the surge never happened (the marvels of things you can do in Excel!). 

    Soon afterwards all of us ThinkProgress national security bloggers were called into a meeting with CAP senior staff and basically berated for opposing the Afghan war and creating daylight between us and Obama. It confused me a lot because on the one hand, CAP was advertising to donors that it opposed the Afghan war — in our “Progressive Party,” the annual fundraising party we do with both Big Name Progressive Donors and corporate lobbyists (in the same room!) we even advertised that we wanted to end the war in Afghanistan.

    CAP was begging for money -- as it always does -- and claiming they were trying "to end the war in Afghanistan" but all the little whores were doing  was screaming at writers to stop blogging about the Afghanistan War because it was too much for little Barack and his pretty little feelings.

    You get how it really operates on the faux left.  Any asshole who didn't mention that Barack sent troops back into Iraq in fall 2012 should now be suspect to you.  They don't offer the truth, they merely repeat what the White House wants them to.  Here, we noted Tim Arango's September 25, 2012 report (in print September 26th):

    Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.

    Where were the whores of Panhandle Media?

    Those little bitches who pretend to care, really, really care, about informing you and insist that you give them your hard earned money so they can continue to not report, so they can continue to gas bag while doing the bidding of the White House?

    It doesn't matter that it's a Democratic White House.

    A kiss ass is just a kiss ass -- regardless of political party or identification.

    Yes, US corporate media walked from Iraq.

    That didn't mean Panhandle got an excuse to do nothing.  Listen to biggest whore of all Amy Goodman self-proclaiming her greatness of  going 'where the silences are.'  Not on Iraq.

    No, the dirty little whore had nothing for Iraq.  Nouri attacked protesters.  A week before he did, Goody Whore talked 'about' Iraq with a guest and neither was interested in the protesters.  This week, she briefly discussed Iraq.  But she wanted to focus not on the tragedy that is Anbar right now but what happened there in 2004 and as soon as Dahr Jamail said the words "Barack Obama," the Goody Whore was pissing herself as she rushed to wrap up her bad segment.

    This is what the whores have done and this is why you do not let Medea Benjmain get away with her whorish remarks that the peace movement just walked out on leaders like her.  No, it was Medea and the others who walked away from Iraq.

    And it may just be a topic to them, but to many of us, it's a humanitarian crisis -- ongoing -- created by the US government via an illegal war, continued by Barack Obama who refused to back the Iraqi voters when they went to the poll in March 2010 and voted Nouri out.

    Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal who started an illegal war.

    Also true, when he ceased his occupation of the White House in January 2009, Iraq was in a much better place than it is currently.

    Violence was lower, more women served in Nouri's Cabinet, there was an increase in hope via elections on the part of the Iraqi people, the judiciary was receiving assistance and training, the mass exodus of Iraqis from their country appeared to have slowed,  Iraq had two Vice Presidents in the country -- one who spoke out strongly on the human rights abuses, the other who made his key issue the issue of corruption.  Jalal Talabani was President.


    Start with violence.  It increased and increased until now when it's back to 2007 levels.  Nouri named a second cabinet which originally included no women and then found a token -- a woman who said women shouldn't have any rights in Iraq, that's the woman Nouri decided should be in charge of the Ministry of Women's Affairs.  (The insufferable Hoshyar Zarbani was holding this position before Nouri could find a gender-traitor.)  The Judiciary in Baghdad is a joke, all the western governments look at it in shock.  Though the fleeing has yet to reach 2006 levels it has been increasing and increasing -- though only BBC World Services has felt the need to report on this in the last 12 months.  Hope in the elections?  When the Iraqi people voted Iraqiya over Nouri's State of Law and saw the US insist that Nouri won anyway, they saw how little votes could actually matter.

    The Vice Presidents?  In 2010, they had three vice presidents -- one more than before.   In 2011, the one who'd focused on calling out corruption stepped down, resigned because Nouri failed to keep his Give-Me-100-Days-And-I-Will-End-The-Corruption promise.  That was spring of 2011.  A the end of 2011, the one who spoke out against human rights abuses, went to the KRG a day before Nouri issued an arrest warrant for him.  He remains Vice President but now spends his time in surrounding countries because Nouri's kangaroo courts have sentenced him to the death penalty -- multiple times.

    And President Jalal Talabani?

    The punchline to every joke in Iraq.

    December 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany. 

    When did Jalal return?

    February 2013?


    Not even by February 2014.

    Jalal remains in Germany, he's never returned.

    Yesterday, Hamza Mustafa (Asharq al-Awsat) reported

    As the countdown begins for Iraq’s parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on April 30, one of the questions on everyone’s lips is about what will be done to address the failure to appoint an acting president following Jalal Talabani’s stroke at the end of December 2012.
    Although the presidency in Iraq is largely ceremonial and divorced from day-to-day government, the president is considered the guardian of the constitution and has exclusive jurisdiction following the vote of 2005. The consensus-based nature of governance in Iraq also renders the role of the president indispensable as a mediator in a system of overlapping powers and authorities, in a country where offices of state are divided among ethnicities and sects.

    Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, prominent Kurdish leader Fuad Masum, head of the Kurdistan Alliance in the Iraqi Parliament and one of the founders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) along with Jalal Talabani in 1975, said Talabani’s absence from the scene left the Iraqi political system unbalanced.

    “Despite the fact that, according to the constitution, the vice-president is supposed to replace the president in his absence—and this is what is happening now—from a practical point of view there is a breach of the principle of consensus,” he said. “Talabani has not filled his position for more than a year and there have been no Sunni vice-presidents [since] Tareq Al-Hashemi, who was sentenced to death in absentia. There is now one vice-president, Khodair Al-Khozaei, who belongs to the Islamic Da’wa Party led by Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, but from a practical standpoint the position belongs to the Kurds.”

    Regarding Talabani’s health, Masum said: “What we know, whether we are leaders in the PUK or the Kurdish or Iraqi street, is what is relayed by those close to him. They are receiving information from his family and his personal physician, the Governor of Kirkuk, Dr. Najmiddin Kari . . . We receive assurances about his health even though his stay in Germany has been a long one. His treatment is proceeding slowly and requires time.”

    The PUK isn't very smart.  That's why Goran was able to seize second place (behind the KDP) in last fall's KRG provincial elections.  First off, Tareq is not an ex-Vice President.  Parliament can remove him from office.  No one else can.  Parliament has refused to remove him from office.  That means he's still Vice President (and any convictions were inappropriate because he has legal immunity).  Second, if I was the PUK and I had stomped my feet and insisted that  Jalal hold onto his job for over a year despite not peforming it?

    I think I'd down play things too.

    But the reality is, Iraq's in a very dangerous spot right now, worse than it's been since the initial invasion.

    Try to imagine 2010 without Jalal.

    Nouri lost.  He demanded a recount.  He still lost.  He refused to vacate the post.  He brought the government to a standstill (with the help of the White House) and this continued for 8 months.

    Without Jalal, what would have happened?

    For those who've forgotten, in the summer of 2010, in the midst of Nouri's tantrum, Tareq refused to do nothing and went on a diplomatic tour of the neighboring countries leading to outrage from Nouri and his followers who insisted Tareq was not a vice president, that the country had no vice president.  Now they didn't say that about prime minister but they did say it about the vice presidents.  And it took Jalal speaking up to shut them up.

    If Nouri loses this upcoming election and there's no Jalal, what the hell happens?

    Jalal was the only thing that held Nouri in semi-check.

    What the PUK can't admit, the KDP can.  Judit Neurink (Rudaw) quotes Fuad Hussein (KRG President Massoud Barzani's Cheif of Staff) declaring, "Iraq, maybe, has the last chance to build a democracy.

    This is failure and it has happened since Bully Boy Bush finally left the White House.  It can't be pinned on him.  Some War Hawks -- Republicans and some Dems in Congress, for example -- would like to pin it on Barack's refusal to keep a large number of US troops in Iraq.


    The above has nothing to do with that.

    It does have to do with Nouri getting a second term he didn't win.  It does have to do with Barack having US officials broker The Erbil Agreement -- the contract that gave Nouri a second term if Nouri agreed to concessions and power-sharing.

    And he did.  For 24 hours.  He signed the contract along with the other leaders of the political blocs.  And he used it to be named prime minister-designate.  He then announced that he would implement the contract but couldn't right away.

    His second term is coming to an end in less than two months and he's still not implemented it.

    This has created the political crisis which led to the protests which morphed into a human rights crisis as well as a security crisis.

    None of that has to do with US troops on the ground.

    It does have to do with the White House -- with Barack -- screwing up everything so that things are now worse in Iraq than when he was first sworn in as US President.

    That's not even getting the assaults on the Ashraf community under Barack or the asaults on the LGBTs under Barack.

    Instead of putting the needs of the Iraqi people front and center, the faux left whored for Barack and never gave a damn about the people around the world -- certainly not the ones in Iraq.

    Yesterday, the US State Dept issued a travel warning on Iraq which included:

    The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous given the security situation.  This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated September 5, 2013, to update information on security incidents and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence.  The ability of the Embassy to respond to situations in which U.S. citizens face difficulty, including arrests, is extremely limited.

    U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence.  Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs; mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets; and shootings using various direct fire weapons.  These and other attacks frequently occur in public gathering places, such as cafes, markets and other public venues.  Numerous insurgent groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, remain active and terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country at levels unseen since 2007.  Iraqi forces are conducting military operations in Anbar Province and elsewhere against insurgent and terrorist organizations.  Baghdad International Airport has been struck by mortar rounds and rockets.  Due to the potential of political protests and demonstrations to become violent, U.S. citizens in Iraq are strongly urged to avoid protests and large gatherings.
    The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. government personnel in Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines.  All U.S. government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the Embassy.  State Department guidance to U.S. businesses in Iraq advises the use of protective security details.  Detailed security information is available at the U.S. Embassy website.

    It does continue but it leaves out the most important part for anyone considering traveling to Iraq:  Your plane may not land there.

    The world learned that yesterday.  From Thursday's snapshot:

    On top of all that, he [Nouri] can't explain why a flight didn't land in Baghdad.  What an idiot.  The basics, as explained by Kitabat, a plane took off in Lebanon headed for Baghdad.  Twenty minutes after take off, the decision was made by someone in Baghdad that the plane would not be allowed to land.  This was then conveyed to Beirut and the plane with the plane then turning around and heading back to Beirut.  Why?  Ghassan Hamid (Alsumaria), citing Nouri's spokesperson, reveals Nouri is claiming no one knows who gave the order.
    Nouri's government has created an international incident -- demonstrating yet again what a joke his leadership is.  Dana Khraiche (Daily Star) reports:

    MEA’s Public Relations Officer Rima Makkawi said the carrier was investigating why the plane was forced to return to Beirut, saying the earlier statement quoted rumors “and not the company’s reasoning.”
    “We want to investigate what happened,” Makkawi told The Daily Star.

    Right now, the best guess on what happened?  The plane waited six minutes after scheduled departure for Mahdi al-Amiri and a friend to be found and board.  They didn't.  The plane took off.  al-Amari's father threw a hissy fit -- yet another reason Nouri shouldn't appoint his friends and lackeys to positions of powe.  See Mahdi al-Amiri's father is Hadi al-Amiri is the Transportation Minister.  His son didn't make the flight.  The easiest explanation is that his father refused to allow it to land so it would turn around, go back to Beruit, where it would pick up little prince Mahdi.
    Leave out the motive and who gave the order and this is what Oliver Holmes and Jamal Said (Reuters) report happened, "A passenger plane flying from Lebanon to Iraq on Thursday turned back after the Iraqi transport minister's son missed the flight and phoned Baghdad to stop the aircraft from landing, Middle East Airlines (MEA) said."  It also fits with the original statement issued by Middle East Airlines -- one they only retracted when Nouri began blustering and declaring he was going to launch an investigation immediately.  And it's certainly more believable than the statement made by Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Kareem al-Nuri who denied that was even supposed to be on the plane and that the reason for the refusal was that they "were cleaning operations in the airport and specific measures were taken.  We asked all flights not to land in Baghdad airport after 9 am (0600 GMT) but this flight arrived after this time, so we asked it to turn back."

    CNN reports on the incident and notes it's become a Twitter topic with CitizenDeCat Tweeting, "You might consider getting . . . to the gate on time, Mahdi al-Amiri."  And that was a smart move by CNN, to note the Tweeter reaction.  Let's copy their move and notice how it's all over the world:

    1. Leia atentamente: Avião quase no destino volta atrás para buscar filho de ministro Por Redação Mahdi al-Amiri,...
    2. Ulah arogan seorang anak menteri diperlihatkan oleh Mahdi al-Amiri, yang merupakan putra dari seorang menteri...
    3. Iraqi Transport Ministers son al-Amiri misses his plane then phones ahead to have it denied landing, another Uday another dollar!
    4. You might consider getting your arse to the gate on time, Mahdi al-Amiri.
    5. Mahdi al Amiri fils du ministr d transport a fait revenir un avion qui étai parti dep8 21min parce kil étai en retard

    Isn't that something.  The corruption is noted everywhere.

    You know what else is something?  Nouri's 'answer.'

    AFP quotes Nouri's spokesperson Ali Mussawi declaring, "[Deputy Airport Head Samer] Kubba was arrested . . . because his action was wrong and harmful to the prestige of the Iraqi state."

    How stupid is Nouri that he thinks the world is that stupid?

    Does anyone in their right mind honestly believe that the deputy head of an airport gives a damn if some little spoiled prince misses a plane?


    The only reason he cares is because people above him -- including the little prince's daddy -- want the plane to turn around.

    As usual, Nouri al-Maliki has demonstrated how corrupt he is and how there is no justice in Iraq.

    First of all, guilt in this should result in dismissal, not an arrest.

    Second, it makes no sense on the face of it.  Everyone knows this was about the Minister of Transportation protecting his little baby boy.

    And it's outrageous and it stinks and it should be tied around Nouri's neck as yet another example of how he and his cronies live high on the hog and abuse their positions while the Iraqi people suffer.

    Targeting some low level flunky for the actions of one of Nouri's friends is corrupt beyond belief.

    Samer Kubba should be immediately released and he should receive an apology from both Nouri and the little spoiled prince's daddy.

    It's an international incident.  Anything Kubba did or didn't do resulted from orders issued by people up the chain above Kubba.

    All Iraq News notes,  "Dozens of citizens demonstrate in Baghdad and several other provinces on Friday calling to cancel the privileges to the key officials by the Pension Law."

    From Iraq's relations with Lebanon, let's move to Jordan.  Missy Ryan (Reuters) reports:

    The United States recently sent a small number of special forces soldiers to Jordan to train with counterparts from Iraq and Jordan, a new step in the Obama administration's effort to help Baghdad stamp out a resurgent al Qaeda threat, a U.S. defence official said on Friday.

    This is step one.  Is America ready for step two?  Probably not because there have been no honest discussions about step one.

    The assault on Anbar Province continues.  UNHCR issued the following today:

    GENEVA, March 7 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Friday said the continuing fighting in western Iraq's Anbar province has forced thousands more people to move to safety. Those affected are in various locations across the province, moving westwards from previously safe locations.
    "During the last week the number of displaced people in the town of Heet and surrounding areas which lies to the northwest of [the city of] Ramadi has increased by some 25,000-30,000 people," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva.
    Elsewhere in Anbar, an inter-agency mission this week by UNHCR, the World Food Programme and the UN Children's Fund assessed the living conditions and the needs of displaced people living in Al-Obaidy, some 450 kilometres northwest of Baghdad in the Al Qaim area.
    Due to the poor security situation, the mission was forced to postpone part of their assessment. Al Qaim district hosts some 5,000 Syrian refugees, some 2,000 of them are in camp Al Obaidy while others are in host communities. The team met with people displaced to temporary houses and two collective shelters in Al-Obaidy town.
    The team members identified many with specific needs, particularly female-headed households with large numbers of children. In one home, three female-headed families were cramped together in one small house with 13 children.
    While the local communities have generously assisted the displaced, people are still in need of food and health care. Families living in unfinished houses lack blankets, mattresses, cooking facilities and clothing. As an immediate step, UNHCR is distributing aid packs to 300 families the team visited.
    "The humanitarian needs of the displaced are growing rapidly. Prolonged displacement is putting pressure on both the displaced and host communities as they begin to exhaust their resources," Edwards said.
    UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies are receiving an increasing number of requests for humanitarian assistance and support. UNHCR and partners are continuing to conduct assessments of the humanitarian needs. At present the shortage of shelter remains one of the most pressing issues.
    Close to Baghdad, the city of Fallujah remains under siege, the roads remain closed and there are reports of shortages of fuel, food and other basic items. Armed clashes have been reported in the north, south and east of Fallujah, even during a 72-hour ceasefire initiated by the government of Iraq last week.
    The situation in Ramadi is also volatile. Shelling and clashes have continued in recent days in the city and in rural neighbourhoods. As the situation deteriorates in the Al-Malab, Al-Bothaib and 20th Street areas, small groups of residents have fled and headed to Heet. The local council in Heet is still welcoming those fleeing, despite the significant burden on the local infrastructure, lack of sufficient accommodation and overstretched services. The district already accommodates some 11,250 displaced families.
    To the north-east of Anbar, the first UN humanitarian assistance has in the past few days reached some 200 displaced families living in dire conditions in Sulayman Beg, Salah Al-Din governorate. They fled clashes last week in the north-east of the governorate.
    As of Thursday, the number of people displaced in Anbar and the other governorates of Iraq is approximately 380,000. This represents almost 64,000 families, some 42,000 of whom have been displaced in Anbar, the largest governorate in Iraq.
    On Wednesday, the Ministry of Migration and Displacement and the UN launched a strategic response plan to address the immediate humanitarian needs of people affected by the fighting in Anbar. The plan calls for US$103.7 million to cover the provision of assistance to 240,000 internally displaced people as well as host communities and those stranded in conflict-affected areas.
    UNHCR requires US$26.3 million to address humanitarian needs of people displaced by the crisis in Anbar over the next six months. These needs are 11 per cent funded.

    Nouri risks the lives of innocent civilians as he pursues collective punishment.  Collective punishment is legally defined as a War Crime.  The United States government recognizes that definition.  And yet the White House continues to arm the tyrant Nouri al-Maliki who then uses the weapons to attack the Iraqi people.

    Through yesterday, violence has killed 228 people in Iraq this month according to Iraq Body Count.  Today?


    National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 Khirbet Aziz Village roadside bombings left two Iraqi soldiers injured, an eastern Mosul roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and three more injured,  a suicide car bomber in Ramadi took his own life and the lives of 3 Iraqi soldiers with four more left injured, a Baquba roadside bombing left three people injured,  a Tahrir roadside bombing left 1 person dead and two more injured, an al-Musayyib roadside bombing left 1 person dead and another injured, a second Ramadi suicide car bomber took his own life and the lives of 7 police members, and, dropping back to late last night, a Musayyib home bombing left five family members injured.


    National Iraqi News Agency reports an Alakhsaf battle left 6 rebels deadJoint Special Operations Command announced they killed 10 suspects in Falluja,  Abdul Rahman al-Izzi and his brother Lt Gen Mahmoud al-Izzi were shot dead in al-Yarkon Village,  and, dropping back to late last night,  1 government official was shot dead in Khanaqin last night and a government employee left injured.


    All Iraq News notes 1 corpse was discovered dumped in Nasiriyah.

    Back to the US, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "STRIKES AND CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE PROTEST FIRINGS AND DEPORTATIONS" (Working, In These Times):


    For the last six months, community and labor activists-mostly young- have sat down in front of buses carrying people to detention centers for deportation. In Tucson, they obstructed and chained themselves to ICE vans. In San Francisco, a few days after blocking a bus carrying deportees to detention, "Dreamer" Ju Hong-a young immigrant whose deportation was deferred in the White House's executive action two years ago-challenged President Obama during a local speech. "You have the power to stop deportation," the protester told him.

    In response to these actions and others like them, the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have passed resolutions demanding a moratorium on deportations;  San Francisco is imposing a halt in immigration-related firings as well.

    And the pressure is only intensifying. Last week, unions and community organizations closed down an intersection in front of a Silicon Valley supermarket chain where hundreds were fired after an inspection by ICE of company personnel records (an I-9 audit), intended to identify undocumented workers for termination. The next day, immigrant recycling workers in one San Leandro, Calif. trash facility walked out of work when their employer and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency threatened their jobs in a similar audit.

    These protests are a direct response to the deportations and firing that have intensified as a result of the Obama administration's immigration enforcement policies.