Saturday, December 21, 2019

Violence continues in Iraq -- a topic Joe Biden owns but avoids discussing

In the US, Joe Biden continues to pursue the Democratic Party's presidential nomination despite all the harm he has done to Iraq.  This harm includes his family personally profiting from the war.  Jason Jones (WAR ROOM) explains:

Joe Biden’s track-record of wheeling and dealing is more than what journalists, congressional investigative bodies, and even President Trump have made of it.
How big is it?

Well, imagine if President Harry Truman, after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, used his political position to give his own family a multi-billion-dollar contract to rebuild cities in Japan.
Make no mistake: What Joe Biden did in 2011 is hardly less scandalous.
It was in June of that year that HillStone International, a relatively new homebuilding concern, landed a $1,500,000,000 contract to build homes in Iraq.

Vice President Biden’s brother, James Biden, had landed an executive position at HillStone just months earlier.

Iraq is in ruins.  Joe Biden is one reason why. 

Now that i have your attention Protests have been taking a place in Iraq since October the 1st. Over 600 peaceful demonstrators got killed in the most atrocious ways. (Thousands got serious injuries that affect their lives) Activists been getting kidnapped and murdered

Carlos Christian (NEW YORK TIMES via UNION JOURNAL) reports:

For 12 weeks, Iraqi protesters have massed within the streets of Baghdad and cities in southern Iraq to demand the ouster of the federal government, an finish to corruption and a halt to the overweening affect of Iran.
And for 12 weeks, the federal government has foundered in its response, alternating obscure guarantees of reform with brutal remedy of protesters by its safety forces. Greater than 500 protesters have been killed and 19,000 wounded, in line with the United Nations particular envoy to Iraq, however the violent response has solely deepened protesters’ resolve.
The prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, has resigned however has remained in a caretaker position, and Parliament has but to give you somebody to exchange him

XINHAU notes, "Unidentified gunmen assassinated on Friday a civil society activist in the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah southeast of the capital Baghdad, a local police source said.  The attack took place in the evening when two masked gunmen in a car opened fire on Ali al-Usaimi and killed him before they fled the scene, Ammar Khalil from Nasiriyah police told Xinhua."  MIDDLE EAST MONITOR ONLINE adds, "Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights called on Friday for the Interior Ministry to put an end to the assassination and kidnapping of activists protesting against the government and its politicians, Anadolu Agency reports."  KURDISTAN 24 points out, "After the Iraqi parliament missed Thursday’s constitutional deadline to nominate a replacement for Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, who resigned amid national anti-corruption demonstrations, Iraq’s top Shia cleric argued for an early election."  Nabil Ahmed (ARAB WEEKLY) focuses on the political aspect:

The protesters’ specifications for the next prime minister included not having held any ministerial post since 2003, not being over 55 years old or a dual citizen of another country in addition to pledging not to run in upcoming elections.
Faced with the ruling elite’s inability to nominate a candidate who meets the demonstrators’ specifications, protesters are not likely to stop calling for regime change.

A protester who identified himself as Ali told the Associated Press that he and his comrades had gone  too far to stop now. “This is a one-way street,” he said. “It’s either us or them. If they win this time, it’s over.”

Daniel L. Byman (Brookings Institution) offers:

The unrest involves a wide range of social groups and numerous parts of Iraq, suggesting the depth of popular anger at the government, resentment towards the heavy Iranian role, and dissatisfaction with difficult living conditions in Iraq.  Iraq is one of the world’s most corrupt countries, and protesters unsurprisingly rail against this. Many other problems, such as the government’s decision to transfer and snub Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, the popular counterterrorism service commander who led the fight against the Islamic State in Mosul, are often seen in that light, with protesters believing that the general was being punished for refusing to go along with corruption.
A high body count is adding to popular rage. Specifics are elusive, but Iraqi security forces and paramilitary groups, operating with support and direction from Iran, have killed at least 400 Iraqis and injured several thousand more. Important Iraqi figures, such as the popular Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have called for new leadership and a rejection of foreign influence. Many other leaders are publicly embracing at least some of the protesters’ agenda while at the same time worrying about their possible loss of power and looking for opportunities to ride this wave.

Regime responses

The Iraqi political system is dominated by various warlords and political power-brokers who form shifting and uneasy alliances that enable them to capture resources of the Iraqi state and channel them to their followers to preserve their influence. These elites use the courts, media, and other forms of state power to strengthen their grip on power. Such an elite-driven pact between rival factions, which is one part a power-sharing arrangement and one part a distribution of state resources among rival ethnic and religious factions, has helped Iraq avoid civil war. The protests call this whole system into question, and the Iraqi regime’s response is likely to mix repression, cooptation, and limited (and mostly cosmetic) reform. 

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Some Tweets from Cory Booker

Senator Cory Booker is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

  •  Pinned Tweet
    It's a shame that tonight's won't reflect the diversity of our party. I'm not going to be on the stage, but our pathway to victory is still very real. If you're with me, chip in now so we can keep spreading our message to voters:
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  • We don't always have to agree, but we must be there for each other. We must empower each other. We must find common ground and build bridges across our differences to pursue the common good.
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    We’re hitting the road for day 2 of the for America bus tour! We’ll be heading to Sioux Center, Spencer, and Mason City. Come hang out with us >>
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  •   Retweeted
    .: "Let the politics take care of itself. This is an American moment, not a partisan one. We should do our jobs, all of us to do our duty, even though this President seems to have betrayed his."
  • So excited to kick off this 4-day bus tour through Iowa! 🚌 900 miles 🚌 11 counties 🚌 12 events
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  • I may not have been on the debate stage last night, but our campaign is surging where it matters—on the ground with voters.
  •   Retweeted
  • From Iowa to Nevada, New Hampshire to South Carolina, and every place in between, volunteers are the heart of this campaign. Remember—if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. Thank you for spending your evening with me talking to voters!
  •   Retweeted
    Cory Booker is phone banking in Iowa tonight as other Democrats debate in Los Angeles. The first caller, Suzette, seemed to express frustration that Booker wasn’t onstage tonight, judging by his end of the conversation. He agreed, “it’s frustrating to me as well.”
  •   Retweeted
    Hello from Urbandale where is here with our amazing volunteers making calls to talk to caucus goers about why they should be in our corner on caucus night!
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    Who needs when you could be talking to voters?
  •   Retweeted
    There wasn’t enough room for us at HQ because it’s literally that full of volunteers, so we relocated to Panera down the street because we’ve got a bus tour to build for!
  •   Retweeted
    .⁦⁩ may not be on the debate stage, but he's on the world stage just the same. Here at his central Iowa HQ, there's national media, a huge crowd of supporters here to phone bank, and soon, Cory himself!
  •   Retweeted
    . won’t be on the Democratic debate stage tonight— instead he’ll be at his Urbandale field office tonight to phone bank. Volunteers have started gathering.
  •   Retweeted
    Meanwhile at a field office in Iowa...
  •   Retweeted
    Don’t know which sounds better - the excitement of first time phonebankers reaching out to their neighbors or the sound of folks to signing up to see in action on this week’s Cory Booker for America bus tour 🚎❤️πŸ’™πŸ–€
  • We can’t just beat Trump—we need to regain the Senate & send McConnell home. Our party’s candidate must be able to revive the Obama coalition & win diverse states from Arizona to North Carolina. That’s what I bring to this race & why my campaign is now seeing a surge in support.
  •   Retweeted
    We're proud to announce that North Las Vegas City Councilwoman is endorsing for president! Welcome to Team Cory!
  • This is big, team! Today we're airing our campaign's first TV ad. RT to help spread the news and chip in now to help us run more like it:
  • As this process heads to the Senate for trial, I'll uphold my sacred oath to protect & defend the Constitution. This trial demands an impartial & thorough review of the evidence. We must be presented with relevant witnesses & documents, and follow the evidence where it leads.
  • The three-month House impeachment process has uncovered alarming evidence that an American president used his official power for personal gain, put our national security at risk, and obstructed the investigation. Today is a sad moment for our country.
  • Mark your calendars—today we filed our paperwork to participate in the Nevada Caucus. Saturday, February 22 we bring home a win!
  • One year ago, our bill, the First Step Act, became law—a major bipartisan win to help end mass incarceration. When I got to DC, they said we couldn’t reform our broken justice system, but by building uncommon coalitions we got this done, saving lives.
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    In this exclusive op-ed for Shondaland, explains why he's the best candidate to bring the country together.
  • The first scene here is the elementary school Ruby Bridges integrated in 1960. The second is across the street from a Des Moines elementary school attended by a majority of students of color—today. The fight against racism continues.
  • Women of color have been on the front lines of movements—and in front of the line at the voting booth—in this country. Honored to know many of these trailblazers and grateful for the work they do fighting for our democracy. Congrats, well deserved!