Saturday, June 22, 2013

35 dead, 59 injured

Violence slammed Iraq today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports a Qai'm car bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers and left three more injured, a Baghdad suicide bomber attacked a mosque killing 11 people and injuring thirty more, an armed Tikrit attack using grenades left 4 truck drivers dead and four more injured, an east Tikrit attack involving grenades claimed the life of 1 truck driver and 1 porter and left three people injured, a Tirkit bombings claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more injuredNouri's forces killed 5 people in Diyala Province as they went about executing mass arrests (55 were arrested), a Tikrit armed attack left 4 police officers dead from gunfire,  a Mosul suicide car bomber claimed the life of 1 police officer and 3 civilians, and, late last night, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and left sixteen people injured.  That's 35 reported deaths (more if you count suicide bombers) and 59 injured. 

Last Saturday (June 15th), Camp Ashraf refugees now at Camp Liberty were attacked.   Today, the United Nations announced:

22 June 2013 – The top United Nations official in Iraq today welcomed the relocation to Albania of 27 residents from an exile camp near western Baghdad.
“A total of 71 men and women now have safely arrived in Albania and have benefited from the Government of Albania's offer to accept 210 of the Camp's residents,” said the UN Special Representative for the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Martin Kobler.
Some 3,000 residents, most of them members of a group known as the People's Mojahedeen of Iran, are temporarily housed in a transit facility called Camp Liberty – also know as Camp Hurriya – while the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) carries out a process to determine their refugee status.
Mr. Kobler said in addition to Albania, Germany has offered to relocate some 100 residents. The departure of the group from Iraq is in accordance with the memorandum of understanding of 25 December 2011, which foresees the relocation of the residents to third countries.

Kobler is preparing to leave Iraq.  He did meet with Nouri earlier this week and Nouri did repeat that he wanted the Ashraf refugees out of Iraq.

Kimberly Kagan is a right-wing, neocon academic.  We've noted her from time to time -- usually to disagree -- and she has a column that has some insight near the end.  Via AINA, here's Kagan's suggestions for how the US government could be using influence:

There are, however, ways that the United States could use its leverage to influence the behavior of the Maliki government, although not to arrest the violence entirely. First and foremost, the United States needs to condition the provision of arms, equipment, and training to the Iraqi Security Forces on Maliki's respect for the representative political system, humanitarian treaties Iraq has signed, and inclusive political solutions. These include dropping his legal charges against the cabinet members and protest leaders, meeting the reasonable demands of the protesters for transparency and de-Baathification measures, and implementing the promised terms of the 2010 Erbil Agreement by which he achieved the premiership. It is also vital that Maliki not tolerate Shia militant groups.
Second, the United States can block the United Nations from lifting Iraq's onerous Chapter VII status, even though Kuwait has at long last agreed to support the change, until Maliki makes those concessions. Those who argue that conditioning aid is difficult must note that our failure to condition our aid has empowered Maliki disproportionately. His deliberate disenfranchisement of the Sunni population is the main accelerant to insurgency in Iraq.

I'm not insulting Kagan by saying this, but it should go without mentioning that all weapons the US supplies various rulers with should only be provided if the ruler promises not to use them against their own people.   I agree with Kagan on that 100%.  And she's not saying it because she's nuts.  She's saying it because apparently the US government doesn't grasp something that basic. 

On Chapter VII, see you can write about Chapter VII and survive.  I don't know what the aversion has been on the part of the western press -- especially the US -- about discussing Chapter VII.  I don't know on that.  It seems like the ship has sailed.  Not only has Kobler declared it's happening but US Secretary of State John Kerry has publicly embraced the notion.

I don't think it's smart.  I don't know what's left in the diplomatic toolbox after you do away with Chapter VII.

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