Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Necon Kagans, UNICEF, electriticy

Today, Press TV notes  how being Iraq War boosters resulted in access in Afghanistan:

Former CIA director and top US commander in Iraq and Afghanistan David Petraeus granted two right-wing military analysts tied to defense contractors top security access to his Kabul headquarters, relying on their advice to run US-led wars, a report reveals. 
Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, “a husband-and-wife team of hawkish military analysts,” left their jobs at major conservative and militaristic think tanks in Washington to serve the commander of US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan as top advisers for nearly a year without even getting paid for it, US-based daily The Washington Post reveals in a report on Wednesday. 
 Given top-level security clearances, desks and email accounts in US military headquarters in Kabul, the Kagans “pored through classified intelligence reports, participated in senior-level strategy sessions and probed the assessments of field officers in order to advise Petraeus about how to fight the war differently,” the report says. For weeks now, the torture and rape of women in prisons in Iraq has dominated the news cycle.  Al Mada reports Iraqiya's Medhat al-Mahmoud states that a prosecutors report has been submitted to Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council.  

The article Press TV  is referring to is "Civilians analysts gained Petraeus's ear while he was commander in Afghanistan" and the reporter is Rajiv Chandrasekarn who notes in his article:

The pro-bono relationship, which is now being scrutinized by military lawyers, yielded valuable benefits for the general and the couple. The Kagans’ proximity to Petraeus, the country’s most-famous living general, provided an incentive for defense contractors to contribute to Kim Kagan’s think tank. For Petraeus, embracing two respected national security analysts in GOP circles helped to shore up support for the war among Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.

Kim and Fred Kagan are the sister-in-law and brother-in-law of the State Dept spokesperson Victoria Nuland.  Nuland herself was an illegal war supporter.  Back during the Bully Boy Bush years, as the Iraq War was being sold and started, Nuland was the Deputy National Security Advisor to Dick Cheney.

Back in the early days of the war, after the US bombing had destroyed (further destroyed) Iraq's infrastructure, there were promises about how it would be fixed and fixed quickly.  Iraqis still lack basic public services today.  Alsumaria reports that  the electriticy crisis has become the puzzle with no solution and that Iraq continues to depend upon Iran for importing electricity.  Meanwhile the Iraq Time reports that despite claims that next year will see a marked improvement in electricity, officials are saying the reality is that the power grid is in danger of collapsing and that the Dawa political party (Nouri's political party) is decieving the people about the coming problems.  The Gulf News observes, "Yet, despite being a country with large oil reserves wealthy enough to guarantee a steady income for its people, Iraq has failed to utilise this resource efficiently. As a matter of fact, the political changes in the country have only brought about an increase in corruption and an alarming misuse of public funds."

Through Monday, Iraq Body Count counts 186 people killed by violence in Iraq so far this month.  IBC's count for this (ongoing) month is already greater than the official count by the Iraqi government ministries for November's death toll.  Violence continued today. Alsumaria reports 1 Peshmerga and 1 civilian were killed in a Kirkuk attack, 1 employee of the Ministry of Industry was shot dead outside of Baghdad, and that, in  Anbar Province, assailants who kidnapped 1 contractor and six oil workers got into a clash with Iraqi soldiers leaving two soldiers injured.

As noted before, this time of year, some people consider making donations.  If you are one of those people and can afford to, you might want to consider UNICEF which works with children around the world.  This is the start page for donations online (you can also donate via regular mail).  And UNICEF issued the following today:

GENEVA, 19 December 2012 – The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and its partners today appealed to international donors for US$1 billion to support refugees fleeing Syria to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.
The new Regional Response Plan for Syrian Refugees sets out the funding needs of 55 humanitarian organizations in providing vital protection and assistance for civilians fleeing Syria during the first six months of 2013.
“This massive humanitarian crisis requires urgent support from governments, businesses and private individuals, said Panos Moumtzis, UNHCR's Regional Coordinator for Syrian Refugees. “Unless these funds come quickly we will not be able to fully respond to the lifesaving needs of civilians who flee Syria every hour of the day – many in a truly desperate condition.”
The new US$1 billion appeal is based on planning estimates that up to 1 million Syrian refugees will need help during the first half of 2013.
Currently in the countries immediately surrounding Syria 525,000 Syrians have either registered as refugees or are being assisted. This is a seven-fold increase since May when just 70,000 Syrians had registered for help. Many more Syrians are in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, but have not yet registered.
“We are constantly shocked by the horrific stories refugees tell us,” said Mr. Moumtzis.  “Their lives are in turmoil. They have lost their homes and family members. By the time they reach the borders, they are exhausted, traumatised and with little or no resources to rely on.”
The 2013 plan aims at redoubling efforts to protect vulnerable refugees, with a big emphasis on community outreach to refugees living in urban environments.  Much of this work is conducted by the 43 national and international NGOs included in the appeal.
Specific activities focusing on children, women, the elderly and survivors of sexual and gender based violence are planned for.
"Children make up roughly half of the refugees crowded into camps and host communities across five countries, and their numbers rise inexorably," said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  "The evolving situation on the ground has outpaced our efforts to raise the necessary funds. Today, a further response to the desperate plight of Syrian children is once more urgently required."
Since July Syrian refugees have fled the conflict for neighbouring countries at a rate of 2-3,000 a day.  The 2013 plan prioritizes support for new arrivals, assistance to hosting communities and plans for construction of new camps.
As the crisis continues to deteriorate inside Syria, there is significant attention given to emergency preparedness in the plan, with regional warehouses being restocked with tents, blankets and basic household items.
This plan includes Egypt for the first time. To date 10,474 Syrians are registered by UNHCR. According to government figures tens of thousands more are in the country.  Another new development in the plan is support for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) activities for Palestinians who have fled Syria for Lebanon.
This appeal is the fourth update of the Syria Regional Response Plan, first launched in March 2012. The 2012 Regional Response Plan for Syrian refugees received 70 per cent of the US$487 million appealed for.

LEBANON (17 December)
Number of Syrians registered and pending registration with UNHCR: 159,277

JORDAN (17 December)Number of Syrians registered and pending registration with UNHCR: 148,592
TURKEY (Government of Turkey figures dated 16 December)                      
Number of Syrians registered in camps: 141,240

IRAQ (16 December)Number of Syrians registered with UNHCR: 66,048
EGYPT (16 December)Number of Syrians registered with UNHCR: 10,474
Total number of Syrians registered and pending registration: 525,631
LinksUpdated statistics and the Syria Regional Response Plan can be found at:
About UNICEFUNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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