Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Moqtada caves, Iraqi Air Force says they need the US military

UPI reports that Moqtada al-Sar has issued a call for "resistance" over the US "temporarily closing" Baghdad International Airport and Iraq's air space August 30th. Maybe this 'brave' stand will cover up his latest cave. After much bellowing from his bloc and Moqtada himself, Reuters reports his big protest isn't even on, doesn't have a date and that he announced yesterday Nouri al-Maliki had one "last chance" to work on reforms it was supposed to have implemented long ago. Reuters reminds, "Earlier this year Sadr had given Maliki six months to accelerate reforms after protesters took to the streets across the country demanding more electricity and jobs and better government services."

Al Mada also reports on First Lady Moqtada's latest drama and notes there are conflicting views on the political feasibility of it. State of Law's Adnan al-Sarraj insists that the government does not currently have the resources to make the improvements necessary. Readers of the article leave blistering comments that might surprise the western press still so sure Moqtada is a beloved and important 'force' within Iraq. The first comment questions Moqtada's ethics and wants to know exactly what is "your salary? Has the electricity gone out in your home? Are your children sharing hell with us in Iraq or have they been scattered outside of Iraq?" The second comment starts with the premise that he and his bloc are the "scourge" in Iraq and expands from there. The third comment opens with sarcasm before pointing out that Moqtada himself is part of the government. He can take comfort that the fourth comment condemns all in government.

Dar Addustour notes that Moqtada's statement sent out yesterday is a refusal to topple Nouri's government and that Baghdad is demanding permits for any protests taking place (this Friday, the youth activists plan to return to Tahrir Square and protest).

Meanwhile Al Rafidayn reports the KRG is stating Nouri is becoming a dictator who disregards political agreements and they are calling for the withdrawal of the draft oil law his Cabinet announced they'd devised last week. The KRG states that the draft conflicts with the Constitution and other laws and they call for it to be withdrawn by the Cabinet or rejected by the Parliament. That outcry comes as Nouri is set to meet with the KRG's prime minister. Al Sabaah notes Barham Salih and Nouri have a previous scheduled meeting.

Lara Jakes (AP) reports on the mood of Iraqis and notes, "Security is a key indicator of Iraq's future — it drives business investment, government policy decisions and the psyche of the war-torn nation. In interviews across Baghdad, Iraqis cited the random daily bombings and shootings that continue to kill people here. At least under Saddam, they say, they knew they could avoid being targeted by violence by simply staying quiet." Violence, Al Rafidayn notes, most recently includes an attack in Anbar Province which claimed the lives of 8 Iraqi soldiers. Also today, Al Mada reports that Iraqi Gen Anwar Hamad Amin has released a statement stating that Iraq will need "years" to be able to secure their own air space and that, post-2011, they will continue to need US air support.

We'll close with this from Hannah Gurman's "The CIA's Selective Secrecy" (Antiwar.com):

During the Bush administration, critics of the CIA’s interrogation tactics, including John McCain, argued that any short-term “gains” produced by the torture of terrorism suspects would in the long run be far outweighed by the damage to America’s reputation, only benefiting organizations like al-Qaeda.

The same argument could and is being made about the current CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, where most studies show the local populace has an overwhelmingly negative perception of the campaign. The lawsuit of Pakistani journalist Kahrim Khan against the CIA for the deaths of his relatives in a drone attack is just the most visible example of the anti-American animus fueled by the drone campaign.

Some of the staunchest criticism of the official narrative comes from former members of the U.S. intelligence community who question the increasing obsession with killing al-Qaeda officials and with the drone campaigns used to do the job. In an Aug. 14 op-ed in The New York Times, former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair wrote, “Qaeda officials who are killed by drones will be replaced. The group’s structure will survive and it will still be able to inspire, finance, and train individuals and teams to kill Americans.” Meanwhile, “As the drone campaign wears on, hatred of America is increasing in Pakistan.”

Because such arguments do not disclose official secrets, but rather common sense, the CIA has no power to censor them. Thus, in a devastating piece in The National Interest, Michael Scheuer, who knows more about al-Qaeda than just about anyone in the West, rails against the Obama administration’s triumphalism over the death of bin Laden. “Al-Qaeda’s indispensable, long-term, and utterly reliable ally,” he writes, is “Washington’s interventionist foreign policy,” which “remains the group’s true center of gravity. It is a galvanizing force which cannot be harmed, let alone destroyed, until U.S. leaders in politics, the media, religion (especially evangelical Protestants), the military, and the academy begin to accept the truth; that is, the United States government is hated by most Muslims for what it does in the Islamic world, and not for how Americans think and behave at home.”

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