Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Iraqi government rushes to protect . . . who?

Protests have resumed in Basra.  ALSUMARIA runs a photo that's not of all the protesters but shows over 100 of them.  KURDISTAN24 notes:

Activist Ahmed al-Basri told Asharq Al-Awsat that protesters were calling for the resignation of the local government because they are “incapable or heedless of the people’s demands,” to improve the poor standard of living for the residents of Basra, where most of oil that funds the national budget originates.
Al-Basri added that they would return on Sunday and continue to demonstrate as long as their demands are not addressed.

On May 27, protesters gathered in front of the Basra Oil Company as they chanted national songs, waved the Iraqi flag, and shouted slogans condemning the parties governing their city.

Still on Basra, Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports:

The deputy governor of Basra province, Zahra al-Bijari, claimed June 6 that cancer rates have been growing dramatically in the province as a result of pollution, both from oil production and from depleted uranium dust that a doctor says is causing "another Hiroshima."
The province of Basra is registering 800 new cases of cancer per month, according to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights, which attributed the cause to “multiple reasons, including environmental pollutants, whether in the air such as emanating from oil combustion, in water and soil, and resulting from effects of war.”
Basra, in the far south of Iraq, is known for its ​​oil reserves. For more than a year now, the province has been plagued by a “health crisis” of illnesses and injuries associated with water, air and soil pollution, decades-old land mines and the rise of cancer cases.

The protests are back.  Iraq has an ineffectual prime minister.  He has done nothing to improve the lives of the Iraqi people.  The US installed him.  And now the US government wonders if they made a mistake.  Which is how you get Robert Fisk coming along a month ago to do a rollout on a possible return of Hayder al-Abadi.

In what world is Hayder a choice?

In the same world that considers Robert Fisk to be a journalist for the people.  He's just another tool.  

Hayder did nothing to help the Iraqi people.  The prime ministers that get installed aren't installed to help the Iraqi people, they're installed to help the US government.

In other news, REUTERS reported:

U.S. forces are preparing to evacuate hundreds of staff working for Lockheed Martin Corp and Sallyport Global from an Iraqi military base where they work as contractors, three Iraqi military sources said on Friday.
Nearly 400 contractors from the two firms were getting ready to leave Balad military base, which hosts U.S. forces some 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, over "potential security threats." Their departure was imminent, the sources said.

And then REUTERS reported:

Iraqi and U.S. military spokesmen denied on Saturday that U.S. forces were preparing to evacuate hundreds of staff of Lockheed Martin Corp and Sallyport Global from an Iraqi military base where they work as contractors.
Four separate military sources, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said on Friday the contractors from the two firms had been preparing to leave Balad military base, which hosts U.S. forces some 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, over "potential security threats", without saying what those threats might be.
One of the military sources and a fifth security source later said the evacuation had been called off early on Saturday after U.S. and Iraqi military personnel assured the companies that safety measures would be stepped up around the base.

They were going to get the contractors out but now they're not.  Because?  More security is being provided for the base.  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports, "Security measures have been increased at Balad Air Base in Iraq, which houses U.S. Air Force trainers and associated U.S. contractors, following a mortar attack last week, a top Iraqi air force commander said Saturday."  Remember, the Iraqi installed government is a puppet government which works for the US government.  They've demonstrated that yet again.  Some mortar attacks that result in no deaths results in beefed up security.  But when attacks result in the deaths of Iraqis?  The Iraqi government's not so concerned.

Case in point, XINHUA notes:

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Saturday condemned a bomb attack that occurred in eastern Baghdad of Iraq.
In a cable of condolences sent to Iraqi President Barham Salih and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, the emir expressed Kuwait's strong condemnation of the flagrant act that claimed lives of innocent people.

ALJAZEERA explains:

Several people have been killed in a blast at a Shia Muslim mosque in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, according to police and security sources.
The explosion hit the Imam Mahdi al-Muntadhar mosque in Baladiyat neighbourhood during Friday prayers, near the massive and densely-populated district of Sadr City.
The attacker was wearing an explosive-laden belt targetting the mosque, Police Captain Ahmed Khalaf told Anadolu Agency.

He said 10 people were killed and dozens wounded, while other news agencies' reports quoting unidentified security sources put the death toll to at least seven.

The mosque was attacked this week, the base was attacked this week.  In one case, US forces (and contractors) were at risk but not harmed.  In the other, Iraqi people were killed. 

The Iraqi government makes a decision to beef up the protection of . . . the base where the US fores are.

The following sites updated: