Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nouri's Iraq: Prisons bombed, prisoners tortured

Through Monday, Iraq Body Count counts 56 people killed by violence in Iraq so far this month. All Iraq News reports 1 National Intelligence Service (Muntasir Abdul Razzaq) officer was shot dead in Baghdad. an Abu Ghraib bombing claimed the lives of 2 soldiers and left a third injured, and 1 person was shot dead in Mosul.  But the news 'big enough' to interest news outlets outside of Iraq?  Alsumaria reports a bombing in cell number nine of Baghdad's Tasfirat Rusafa prison which has claimed the lives of 1 guard and 1 prisoner and left four guards and two prisoners injured.  Citing an unnamed security source, All Iraq News reports that the bomb was an explosive belt that had been brought into the prison in parts by a prisoner who later assembled the belt.  AP covers it here.  The Iraq Times reports 1 prisoner has died today in a Taji prison from torture.  Still on prisons, Alsumaria reports that the National Alliance's Jaafar al-Moussawi has demanded the arrest of Minister of Justice Hassan Shammari and is calling for reform of the women's prisons.  And on bombs, the Iraq Times reports that contractors for the British embassy were caught entering the country with bombs hidden in Korans (even if you don't read Arabic, check out the photo of the bomb in the Koran).

In other dangers to the lives of the Iraqi people, All Iraq News explains that Babylon's Department of Health has shut down work on the water plant due to the fact that that toxins from too much cholrine are making the people sick.  I'm not doing links but we'll note it.  Whispers abound that 'terrorists' ('Ba'athists') met up in Anakara to plot assassinations in Baghdad and they met with Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.  It's the sort of thing you expect from the whisper mill especially when there's a move towards a retrial of Tareq (which he is entitled to by law -- of course, if they're going to follow the law, the verdict against him should be tossed aside for several reasons including he can't be tried while he's in office).  Again, it's the sort of whispers State of Law excells in and I'm not in the mood to treat it as news.  They're trying to distract from a potential move for a retrial.

Let's turn to the political crises.  We'll deal with the most recent first.  For six years, Nouri's refused to abide by the Constitution and implement Article 140 to resolve disputed areas (Article 140 calls for a census and referendum).  Having refused to follow the Constitution he took an oath to, a few months ago, he decided to send his newly created Tigris Operation Command (in violation of the Constitution, Parliament did not approve of the commander of these forces) into disputed areas.  The Kurds see this as an effort on Nouri's part to illegally grab the disputed lands -- and, yes, it would be illegal.  Anything other than following Article 140 would be illegal.  Nouri's actions have led to a military stand-off -- one that continues despite the lies of AP last week hailing it as over.  Al Mada reports today that the Peshmerga spokesperson Jabbar Yawar states the Peshmera (Kurdish elite forces) remain in position and are not withdrawing until an agreement can be worked out between Erbil (capital of the KRG) and Baghdad.  The Kurdistan Regional Government is a semi-autonomous region.  Part of the problem currently is that Nouri al-Maliki has illegal seized control of the various military forces in Iraq.  The only forces he doesn't control are the Kurdish military.  The crown jewel of Iraq's forces is the Peshmerga. At one point, Nouri was 'offering' that the problem could be solved by his taking control of the Peshmerga.

Yesterday, KRG President Massoud Barzani visited the Peshmerga stationed around Kirkuk.  Rudaw reports on the visit:

"War is not a nice thing. Throughout history the Kurdish nation has never liked war, but they were always ready to protect their land and dignity. They would rather die than live under oppression," Barzani said, accompanied by the Peshmarga minister. 
"I say again that I hope for this issue to be resolved through dialogue," Barzani said, visiting oil-rich Kirkuk, which is part of the disputed areas, for the first time since the tensions began. "However, if we have to face war you have a just cause, because it is not you who went to occupy others and kill them,"  Barzani added, speaking to the troops as it rained.

Nouri's State of Law's getting desperate.  Your first clue is the bluster boys are falling silent and they're sending out women to speak for them.  All Iraq News notes State of Law MP Fatima Hamid is thundering that Barzani's visit yesterday creates the conditions for "sedition."
Alsumaria reports that a splinter bloc from Iraqiya is proposing that the crisis be resolved in the federal courts.  This would be a mistake because it would set another precedent where the Constitution states what has to be done and the Constitution is again ignored.  If the Constitution is going to mean anything, it has to be followed.  Article 140 could give Kirkuk, for example, to the KRG or it could give it to Baghdad.  If people are unhappy about Article 140, the time to object was when the Constitution was written.  One of the people who sat in on the writing was, in fact, Nouri al-Maliki.  If the Constitution means anything, it is followed.  If it's a worthless piece of paper, by all means, ignore it and push for a new way to address the problem.

At a time when Nouri's Iraq is falling apart, more bad news for him comes via Alsumaria which reports Sahwa (also known as "Awakening" and "Sons Of Iraq" and "Daughters Of Iraq") has announced Nouri has one month to address the salary issue or they're hitting the streets.  Payment for Sahwa was never a problem in the first years -- that's because the US taxpayer footed the bill.  When Senator Barbara Boxer rightly pointed out that oil rich Iraq should mean that Nouri was paying Sahwa, Ryan Crocker and David Petraeus agreed to 'take a look at it.'  Nouri's never paid on time when he has paid them.  If he thinks things are bad now, let the last of the Sahwa walk and watch it get worse.

Safe in my garden
(Could it be we were hot-wired; late one night while very tired)
An ancient flower blooms
(They stole our minds and thought we'd never know it)
And the scent from its nature
(With a bottle in each hand; too late to try to understand)
Slowly squares my room
(We don't care where it lands; we just throw it)
(Somebody takes us away, somebody take us away)
And it's perfume being such 
That it's causing me to swoon
When you go out in the street
So many hassles with the heat
No one there can fill your desire
Cops out with the megaphones
Telling people stay inside their homes
Man, can't they see the world's on fire?
-- "Safe In My Garden,"  written by John Phillips, first recorded by The Mamas and the Papas and first appears on their album The Papas & The Mamas.

Finally, good-bye.  It's been nice knowing the world.  If you're confused, All Iraq News notes today is 12-12-2012, the day many believe the world will end with some citing the Mayans (meaning the Mayan calendar).  Thus far, the world keeps on turning.  I'm sure the media will keep us updated -- well, not the American media (see previous entry).  (For those who aren't sure, I am being sarcastic.  I do not believe the world is ending today.  But I could be wrong and often am.)

When you go out in the street
So many hassles with the heat
No one there can fill your desire.
Cops out with the megaphones
Telling people stay inside their homes
Man, can't they see the world's on fire?

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