Sunday, April 21, 2013


Friday's snapshot included,  "Iraqi Spring MC also reports that activists at the Hawija sit-in were targeted by Nouri's forces and three were injured.  National Iraqi News Agency adds that in addition to the three injured, 1 of the protestors was shot dead."  Nouri's forces are out of control in Hawija and people are appalled.  National Iraqi News Agency reports it is has been occupied by Nouri's forces since Friday.  As Nouri's forces harass and intimidate the protesters, there are rumors that KRG is thinking of sending the Peshmerga in.  The US State Dept hopes that doesn't happen because, a State Dept official tells me on the phone, "things are already raw enough and the two sides" Baghdad and Erbil "were supposed to be working on reconciliation."  Hawija is in Kirkuk, disputed province.  Nouri's forces should have left some time ago.  If the KRG sends in the Peshmerga to protect the people, it may not please the US government but it will be understandable.

All Iraq News quotes Iraqiya MP Wisal Saleem declaring, "The Government is adopting injustice and oppression as if we are in an occupied land rather than in a country that granted us the freedom of expression.  End the military siege imposed on Hawija and let the medial and food supply be brought inside the district.  This is the duty of the Government rather than a gift from it."  Alsumaria reports Nouri's forces are doing tent to tent searches and insisting they have 'only' arrested 8 people.  All Iraq News also quotes Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi calling for the military siege of Hawija to end and for the security forces to leave the people alone.

On yesterday's vote, Matt Bradley (Wall St. Journal) offers this hypothesis:

Only slightly more than 50% of eligible Iraqi voters participated in provincial elections on Saturday, a far cry from the 72% turnout for the latest such elections, in 2009, according to Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission. In Iraq's capital, turnout slipped to 33%, the commission said.
Preliminary results will be announced on Wednesday, officials said.
The lower participation rate reflects growing disillusionment with a political process that U.S.-led forces spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost thousands of lives to help establish, voters and analysts said.

We're going to leave it with that.  I had thought we'd go over the violence and any election commentary but we only finished at Third about 30 minutes ago and I had a friend at the State Dept who had called repeatedly, I didn't know, the cell phone was off.  He informed me that the US was "closely following" developments in Hawija and figured I was as well.  No, I'd been working on Third forever and a day.  I told him give me 15 minutes to search Arabic social media and I'd call him back with what was being said.  This will be big in Arabic social media but it's not yet.  Most are unaware of what's going on and -- as usual -- you can't count on the western press to tell you a damn thing.

Hawija is a hot spot right now.  And we're not going to distract from that with other things -- including the Falluja bombing that we can cover tomorrow.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest will go up by Wednesday morning, he says.  He didn't do a cartoon tonight, there was no time due to Third.   The e-mail address for this site is