Friday, June 20, 2014

Will Nouri do what's best for Iraq?

Did you hear about the rag tage group of Communists and Socialists who claim to be "Against the War" but can't call out Barack for sending US troops back to Iraq?  We'll be really kind and not name the useless and depraved group of declawed and neutered tabbies. But they are the subject of much laughter this morning.

And, no, I'm not talking about the  'regrouped' United for Peace and Justice.

They're not a laugh, they're an embarrassment.  No statement on Iraq but, on their Facebook page, they can (and did!) repost a right-wing piece which includes a slam at "Kumbaya."

I've noted it before but let's note it one damn more time.

I think the attacks on "Kumbaya" are racist attacks.

The song that's being mocked was one of the songs of the Civil Rights Movement.

It's really strange how it's been turned into the butt of a joke.

Strange and, I'd argue, racist.  It's an attack on the Civil Rights Movement itself.  It's coded -- they wouldn't go after something as obvious as "We Shall Overcome" -- but it's an attack none the less.  And too many idiots repeat the attacks thinking they're being funny when they're only taking part (unknowingly) in a large scale racist attack.

Thomas Goldsmith (Raleigh News & Observer) noted in 2011:

But a University of North Carolina folklorist who has reluctantly become the go-to guy on "Kumbaya" says critics are missing out on the strengths of a decades-old song that has traveled from America to Africa and back, played a key role in the civil rights movement and survived decades of bad renditions to remain a staple of the African-American church.
"It's more than just a good song, it's an important song," said Glenn Hinson, an associate professor of folklore and anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Read more here:

While so many stay silent on Iraq, the country continues to suffer.

The Associated Press reports today that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani had issued a call for a new and "effective" government -- a "thinly veiled criticism that Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in office since 2006, was to blame for the nation’s crisis over the blitz by the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant."  This may (or may not) mean the US audience with al-Sistani was a success.  What is obvious is that the requests of Moqtada al-Sadr and Ayad Allawi did not fall on deaf ears.  The two lobbied Al-Sistani last month.

National Iraqi News Agency notes that Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogerena declared today, "What Iraq needs at this moment is to seek a path [which] guarantees the unity of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds." This may be the start of international prodding.  Yesterday, the calls for Nouri to step aside were noted on Morning Edition (NPR -- link is text and audio) when host Rneee Montagne spoke with reporter Leila Fadel:

MONTAGNE: Now, there has been, as I've just mentioned, a drumbeat of calls for Prime Minister Maliki to step down. What about where you are in the Kurdish region? What are people saying there? And what have you heard in your reporting?

FADEL: We spoke to the former minister of interior of Iraq, from 2004, Falah al-Naqib. And he said, you know, what I'm doing here is trying to reach out to former officers in the Iraq Army, under Suddam Hussein, and see what type of solution we can provide that will stop the fighting. And he's saying that first step has to be that Maliki goes. He's seen as a really corrupt and sectarian figure, that has marginalized so much of the Sunni population. And they're frustrated.

Dave Zweifel (Madison Cap Times) offers, "If al-Maliki can't reach -- or more likely, refuses to reach -- an agreement with other factions to share in Iraq's government, then we need to walk away."

Nouri has committed War Crimes, had journalists arrested and beaten, beaten and killed protesters and bred violence and division in the country.  However, Nicola Nasser (Dissident Voice) argues the straw that broke US government support for Nouri was the lack of an oil and gas law:

Anti-American armed resistance to the U.S. proxy ruling regime in Baghdad, especially the Baath-led backbone, is on record as seeking to return to the status quo ante with regard to the country’s strategic hydrocarbon assets; i.e., nationalization.
De-nationalization and privatization of the Iraqi oil and gas industry began with the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003. Al-Maliki, for eight years, could not pass a hydrocarbons law through the parliament. Popular opposition and a political system based on sectarian distribution of power and “federal” distribution of oil revenues blocked its adoption. Ruling by political majority instead by sectarian consensus was al-Maliki’s declared hope to enact the law.
Al-Maliki’s plans towards this end, together with his political ambitions for a third term, were cut short by the fall to armed opposition on June 10 of Mosul, the capital of the northern Ninawa governorate and second only to Baghdad as Iraq’s largest metropolitan area.

If that is the case, the planned US actions would be about little more than grabbing the oil.

Yesterday, US President Barack Obama announced his intent to send several hundred US troops to Iraq. William Deane (Our Missing News) explains, "Step-by-step: 300 combat advisors in route to Iraq, announced by President Obama at a news briefing this Thursday afternoon.   This on top of Monday's 275 troops, announced Monday to protect American Embassy personnel in Baghdad."  Amy Davidson (New Yorker) offers her critique here.  The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus offers this judgment, "The administration’s instinct to retreat and ignore festering problems has helped contribute to the cataclysmic result now playing out in Iraq. Yes, the original, far graver sin was the decision to invade. The responsibility of the incumbent president is to deal with the mistakes he inherits."

Lara Jakes (AP) offers an analysis of recent events.

The speech yesterday contained a lot of words -- 946 of them  -- but it failed to answer the most basic question, one the editorial board of the Salem Statesman Journal noted earlier this week:

But Americans also have a question, one that has lingered since Vietnam: "What are we fighting for?"
With each passing day in Afghanistan, and now again in Iraq, the answer seems murkier.

There has been no clarification on that -- none at all.  Worse, at a time when Nouri desperately wants US help, note that he's not changed a damn thing.  Barack's only real demand was that Nouri work on an inclusive government.  Not only has he note done that but he's getting complaints from Osama al-Nujaifi's Mottahidoon coalition (it's a Sunni coaltion led by Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi).  National Iraqi News Agency reports that the state-controlled channel Iraqiya is labeling various Sunni political leaders to be "terrorists and Dawish."

The following community sites -- plus the Guardian and, Foreign Policy, McClatchy Newspapers and The NewsHour -- updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is