Monday, January 07, 2019

Iraq snapshot

Monday, January 7, 2019.  Those who sell war are yet again trying to portray a "turned corner."

This morning, THE GUARDIAN is offering a piece entitled "Baghdad At play: normal life returns to Iraq's capital -- in pictures."  ALJAZEERA's pimping "Women in Iraq reclaiming roles in society."

Have you ever heard the sound of disappointment?
It tangles your head like a winter rose.
Comes up eager and shining
And it likes to leave a scar before it goes.
Here comes that sinking feeling
Can't keep it to myself
-- "Here Comes That Sinking Feeling," written by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, first appears on Eurythmics' BE YOURSELF TONIGHT

Donald Trump's talk of pulling US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan has frightened me.  A lot of us aren't frightened and feel more needs to be done.

The US has been fighting wars in Iraq & Afghanistan for 18 years & Syria for many more, spent trillions of $ that could have been spent on Americans who need it. Thousands of men & women have died. Nevertheless, there is outrage when POTUS says it's time to come home. Incredible

For example, Scott Taylor (Halifax's THE CHRONICLE HERALD) offers:

Now that the unifier has been eliminated, Canada should follow Trump’s lead and get our troops out of there. We have no skin in the game and we will definitely not have a seat at the big boy table when an eventual resolution is drawn up.
Our policy makers have already illustrated their ignorance of this complex conflict in authorizing our soldiers to wear the Kurdistan flag.

Thank goodness we did not actually compound that error by pouring in another $10 million of weaponry to add to the endless killing. Simply put, if you don’t know the players, you have no place being in the game. Bring our troops home.

What if other people begin echoing Scott Taylor?  Horrified at the thought that peace might break out, a number rush forward to portray Iraq as a 'turned corner.'  Yet again. 

Sean Smith aims the camera for THE GUARDIAN piece -- aims it just where The Rockefeller Foundation tells him too -- they are the ones signing the check, after all.  And who wouldn't trust a Rockefeller?  That was sarcasm.

And despite the happy title given to the Qatar funded ALJAZEERA's report, even the report doesn't match the headline.

Life is so great and it's advancing!  Screams the headline, right?  But the reality is that women activists in Iraq aren't seeing that.  In fact, Nabil Salah (at the George Soros funded OPEN SOCIETY) notes that women aren't even in stadiums at sports events these days:

 Late last month in Iraq, Al-Shorta SC faced Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in week 9 of the Iraqi Premier League. The Al-Shaab Stadium -the venue where FC Schalke had suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Iraqi national team in a world cup preparation match in 1986- was already almost packed over an hour before kick-off. It was a crucial match for both teams' race to climb to the top of the IPL table.
In a packed 34,200-seater, I was searching for any female presence among the attendance, to no avail.
Unlike what pictures from the so-called ‘golden-era’ of Iraq often posted by Iraqi pages on social media show, the presence of women on the terraces today remains a rare sight; almost non-existent.
When asked about the absence of female football fans from Iraq's stadiums, Naba Shakir Iraqi women's national team and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya defender says, "In my opinion, harassment on the terraces or at the gates is just one of many reasons that makes us reluctant to attend football matches in Iraq. The main reason is the uncivilized behavior of many. With all due respect to those who create a beautiful atmosphere, but many others have caused several problems in football stadiums during the recent years."
Unfortunate incidents have frequently overshadowed Iraq's football scene in recent years, such as pitch invasions, vandalizing and physical assault against players and referees.
However, there were times when football stadiums weren't only occupied by men, and when women would normally attend a football match.

Iraqi football writer Hassanin Mubarak explains that "women did attend football matches but usually the big events, like the 1966 Arab Cup and the 1979 Gulf Cup. The Iraqi footballer and national team captain Husham Atta Ajaj remembered one game which was played in the morning during the 1966 Arab Cup between Iraq and Bahrain and he stated there were no empty seats because they were occupied by female students who had come to watch the game. It was the same at the 1979 Gulf Cup."

To talk about women in Iraq honestly is not a happy story.  That may be why so many choose instead to lie.

A fight that caused a fire at a women's shelter in Baghdad on Friday killed nine people and wounded 22 others, police said.

Women's shelter?  Really Randa?

From Saturday:

ALJAZEERA typed the following:

A fire at a women's shelter in Iraq's capital has killed several lodgers, according to police, who gave conflicting accounts of the tragedy.
Mohammed Jihad, Baghdad's police lieutenant colonel, called the incident a "group suicide" caused by women rioting in the shelter on Friday.

Why are women in a shelter rioting?

Apparently, they weren't in a shelter, they were in a women's prison. Whether they rioted or not is not clear.  But MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:

In a statement to Anadolu Agency, Police Captain Ahmed Khalaf said that the prison – which was specifically for homeless female prisoners – experienced riots, though he did not elaborate on the cause of the disturbance. The riots then seem to have sparked a fire, causing an unspecified number of inmates to suffocate.
[. . .]
Iraqi security forces take all displaced or homeless people from the streets and places them in a prison, which is run by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

In addition, this prison also imprisoned women who had children but were not married.  How the hell do prisons like that exist in Iraq?

Hey, let's put Randa in a prison!  We'll call it a "shelter" and she'll just love it!

What a deeply stupid woman Randa is.  And if you're not getting just how stupid it was to call that little torture center a "shelter," check out this.

A phone call from a member of the government forces reveals the involvement of officers in these forces in cases of rape and sexual extortion in the women's prisons, emphasizing the absence of human rights in Iraq.
Iraqi Spring Media Center
1 hr
اتصال من أحد أفراد #القوات_الحكومية يكشف عن تورط ضباط في هذه القوات بقضايا #الاغتصاب والابتزاز الجنسي في#السجون النسائية، في تأكيد منه على غياب #حقوق_الإنسان في #العراق بشكل كامل.
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Big surprise, the same actions that took place under former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki continue today.  Big surprise, the US government did nothing to save the Iraqi women and girls from these secret prisons and jails when Barack Obama was president and they're still not doing anything to help Iraqi girls and women.

It's all a farce to pretend otherwise.

Replying to  
No. But then don’t pretend that you care or have “values” and get your troops the hell out of Afghanistan, Iraq and other places where stated goals include the protection of women from extremists. We laugh at that lie.

There was never any real intent to improve the lives of Iraqi women or of any Iraqi citizens.  As THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS noted in April of 2005:

Iraq was to be made an example: it would provide the stage for a new attempt at the radical denationalisation of oil. By creating an ‘emerging market’ from a decrepit state-owned petroleum industry, the war would lay the foundations for something dear to the hearts of the Washington cabal: an end to (other people’s) economic nationalism and producer cartels. In this ideological universe, oil figured centrally, since oil had remained one of the Third World’s most effective bulwarks against the neo-liberal attack. The appointment of the former Shell executive Philip Carroll to run the Baghdad energy ministry was logical, given Paul Bremer’s belief that the Iraqi Governing Council’s attachment to oil nationalisation ‘had to be changed’. Bremer’s first act as proconsul, after all, had been directed at the 190 state-owned companies and their 650,000 employees: he fired half a million of them. What followed was not simply a state liquidation sale but a raft of laws – lowering corporate tax rates, permitting wholly owned foreign subsidiaries, welcoming foreign banks – even more radical than those introduced in Eastern Europe in the 1990s (‘getting Iraq ready for Wal-Mart’ as the former Bush-Cheney campaign manager put it; notably, all of Saddam’s laws concerning labour rights, or the lack of them, were left intact).
The occupation, everyone agrees, has not gone as planned. Doling out the spoils of war amid the chaos of a radical insurgency has turned out to be almost impossible – of 2390 projects planned for the period between 2004 and 2008, only 164 are underway. But who is to say that Bremer and Exxon are not slowly but surely getting what they came for? Twenty per cent of all congressional aid to Iraq has been devoted to oil infrastructure: in effect, a $1.6 billion subsidy to the oil industry. On 22 May 2003 the Bush administration tried to accelerate corporate investment in the Iraqi oil sector by means of Executive Order 13303, which granted non-Iraqi companies blanket immunity from criminal or civil prosecution in relation to any action – however corrupt, illegal, abusive or costly to the environment – undertaken with a view to oil exploration, production or sale.

Markets, money, greed -- that's what these wars are about.  On this week's CINDY SHEEHAN SOAPBOX, sociologist Peter Phillips spells it out.

Dr. Peter Phillips:  One of the policies that western governments has implemented is austerity.  That means they spend less money on people and humanitarian concerns and allow greater investment by private interests into public resources.  So rather it's water rights or freeway systems, they allow the privatization of literally everything -- patent rights, I mean, just anything that can offer a return is privatized.  And we're seeing that very, very massively.  We're also seeing the privatization of war and war's another way that capital can be used to guarantee a return to these investment companies.  So the US has bases,you know -- 800 bases worldwide, in cooperation with NATO it's working in Africa, we've got troops and training troops and military actions going on in 140 nations worldwide.  That's not to protect the United States from terrorists or the people here.  That's to protect global capitalism penetration anywhere in the world And there's to be no resistance.  So if the government is resisting capitalization and profit making, it's time for a regime change.  And the US is getting very good at that.  So Qaddafi was taken out primarily because he was trying to sell his oil -- get other nations to sell their oil in gold. And that created a conflict in Europe and the US, so they took him out.  They created a resistance movement and funded it and then went in and did what they called humanitarian intervention and now Libya's in chaos.  So -- but that is war on behalf of global capital.  And I think what we can really look at going back to 9/11 and the justification for the invasion of Afghanistan, and then Iraq and the wars in Middle East have all been about, you know, revenge and protecting us from al Qaeda and terrorism but terrorism is primarily people who are resisting capital penetration and military control in their own homes, in their own communities. So, you know, people resist, we call them terrorists.  So that's an ongoing problem with concentrated wealth in the world today is that is maintained in a big part of that is through war.   And so we have permanent war and people are dying everywhere and mass inequality occurs and so that now we have the top 20% owning 95% of all the wealth but it's the top 1% that own half the wealth in the world and the bottom 80% of the people live on ten dollars a day or less, most of the people live on three dollars a day in the world, and a quarter live on $1.50.  So those people, those billions of people, 30,000 of them die every day of malnutrition and starvation.  So there's this massive inequality and massacre of people daily from lack of nutrition when there's more than enough food in the world to feed all of them.  You know, a third of the food in the world is thrown away because it's not deemed profitable to sell it. So we have really become a non-humanitarian society and capitalism is making that worse.

To put that into a concrete example, Basra brings in tons of money but there are no jobs for the bulk of the residents.  That's one of the reasons that they have been protesting since July (another reason: the drinking water is not safe and has sent over 150,000 citizens to the emergency room).

  1. so they had to focus in their efforts on the regions who were actually paying for their services. This was a large driving force in the Basra protests as people thought Iran was cutting their power.
  2. Protests continue in Basra City, Iraq, against lack of basic government services, lack of jobs and unfulfilled government promises.
  3. Protests continue in Basra City, Iraq, against lack of basic government services, lack of jobs and unfulfilled government promises.
  4. Protests continue in Basra City, Iraq, against lack of basic government services, lack of jobs & unfulfilled government promises.
  5. Video: Basra youth adopt new tactic for peaceful protest

Back to the topic of the reality for Iraqi women, another example of how little women are valued in the US-created Iraqi government?  The puppet government has 22 slots on the Cabinet.  Right now, the latest puppet is still in back-and-forth mode on whether or not to accept the resignation of the Minister of Education.  Yes, she is the sister of a member of ISIS who made propaganda videos for the terrorist organization while they occupied Mosul but she's also the only woman in Iraq he could find to sit on the Cabinet.

In a land of widows and orphans, he can only find one woman.

How telling.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Self-Appointed Queen Has Spoken" went up yesterday.   New content at THIRD: