August 13, 2011
The Ministry of the Defense, Al Mada reports, is planning to buy air craft from multiple countries in a stated attempt to be prepared for a US withdrawal at the end of the year. But the issue isn't what you can store in a hanger, the issue is whether or not you can fly it. And the Baghdad government or 'government' waited way too long on this issue. Since 2007, it's been openly addressed, the training needs of the Iraqi air force. Nouri was prime minister then, he's on his second term now. Why didn't he do something then? More recently, there's been an offer made to welcome back certain members of Iraq's Air Force -- members who served when Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq. That didn't lead to a lot of people coming forward. But why would it? The de-Ba'athification process started by Paul Bremer reamins in place. Despite Nouri agreeing to work on reconciliation (to de-de-Ba'athify) as part of the benchmarks the White House proposed in 2007, nothing ever came of it. So now when the old air force may be needed, there's no rush to step forward because there's no trust. If Nouri had worked on rebuilding the trust back then, he might not have the problem he does today. It's also funny to hear from the Ministry of Defense about how they're going to try to prepare the Iraqi air force quickly -- the Ministry of Defense that still has no head. Nine months after Nouri became prime minister (December 2010; in November he was named prime minister-designate, at the end of December, he became prime minister), there is still no Minister of Defense, no Minister of Interior and no Minister of National Security.
Withdrawal may or may not happen (smart money wouldn't bet on US forces being off Iraqi soil at the start of 2012). On the issue, the Kurdish Globe translate an interview Nechirvan Barzani, Vice President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, recently gave:
"Leaders of the Kurdistan Region have already spoken about their stances, obviously, regarding the issue of the possible stay of the U.S. forces. for which Iraqis have sacrificed for many years," said Barzani.
He also said Kurdish leaders deal with this issue regarding the Region as a part of the federal Iraq. He said they had nothing to hide in regard to that issue.
Barzani firmly refuted rumors suggesting that the Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani had allegedly made a speech demanding U.S. forces to be stationed in Kurdistan Region. "In fact, no such speech has occurred," Barzani assured, adding, "The Kurdistan Region president"s attempts regarding this issue remain within the circle of negotiations currently going on among the Iraqi political powers. The President does not have a unilateral stance on this; but the issue will be resolved according to the negotiations among the Iraqi political components. The final decision will depend on the result of the talks among Iraq's political factions."
Nerchevan Barzani is also a former prime minister of the KRG (2006 through 2009). And, if you use your brain, you'll remember that the person who told Chinese TV that US forces would remain in the KRG wasn't Massoud Barzani or any other member of Nercheven's family or political party. It was the current President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani (who belongs to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan -- PUK -- not the Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party).
Still on non-wihdrawal, Jennifer Quinn (WPRI -- link has text and video) reports, "The Rhode Island National Guard has deployed two of it's units to Iraq for one year. A Company, 1st Battalion 126th Aviation and D Company 126th Aviation will provide aviation support to combat and reconstruction efforts. Approximately 20 Rhode Island soldiers will combine with troops from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other states for the length of their deployment."
Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) has an interesting feature article on Americans visiting 'Iraq' (visiting the KRG, the US military said no to elsewhere). But this sentence ruins the article for me: "Fearing that the U.S. government and the American people are giving up too soon on a country that still needs help, the women are making their own long-term commitment to the country and, in the process, coming to grips with why the United States came here in the first place." "Coming to grips with why the United States came here in the first place"? Why was that? There's been no Iraq Inquiry in the United States. So why is the US go into Iraq?
It wasn't for liberation or democracy as evidenced by the realities of the Iraq today. So why was it?
It's an interesting article but that statement mars it for me because I think the propaganda has cost enough blood and I'm just not willing for more blood to be spent in the promotion of lies.
Like O'Keefe, Dar Addustour pursues the human interest angle. They file on women driving in Iraq and note women driving even when there's a man in the car. Dar Addustour notes that some countries such as Saudi Arabia forbid women from driving. Lina Mohammed tells the paper that she can afford a car because of her job and that she needs one due to her various responsibilities and that women like her are overcoming oppression. (To be clear, women could drive when Saddam Hussein was president. It is only when the US impose exiles upon the Iraqis that women's rights take a nose dive in Iraq. Women were not liberated by the Iraq War, to the contrary, they have lost rights as a result. This is documented in one report after another from Amnesty International, the United Nations, etc.) Ammar Kasim stated that she believes in women's liberation and encourages all women to live without restrictions and notes that she sees nothing shameful in driving a car.
Meanwhile did a coup take place in the Maysan Province? Dar Addustour reports that the Iraqi military invaded ("stormed" is the term used) police headquarters and declared a new police chief. The provincial council has already had one emergency session in an attempt to deal with the "crisis" whcih they expect to cause turmoil and to which they insist Nouri's government is responsible for. Then there's Nineveh Province, the governor is Atheel al-Nujaifi, the brother of the Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi. Atheel al-Nujaifi has repeatedly had problems with Nouri al-Maliki this year. At one point, Nouri was demanding that al-Nujaifi step down as governor. Dar Addustour reports that Atheel states Nouri is attempting to take over the province via the military. Nouri is allegedly attempting to form the Knights of the State of Law which would be n charge of the Nineveh. Atheel points out that the provincial council has expressly forbidden such a formation.
To end Political Stalemate I (the period of political stagnancy following the March 7, 2010 elections), the Erbil Agreement was created by the political blocs. It allowed Nouri to be named prime minister-designate and it was to create a National Council to address security issues and to be headed by Ayad Allawi whose Iraqiya had come in first in the elections. That was November 2010. Nouri got what he wanted and then went back on the agreement creating Political Stalemate II. Supposedly the National Council is on the verge of being created (despite State of Law objecting to it this week when the first draft was read in Parliament?) and Al Mada reports that the National Alliance is stating it has the rights to half the seats on the Council prompting new objections from State of Law. Still on Parliament, Wael Grace and Ines Tariq (Al Mada) report on efforts in the Parliament to devise a draft law on electronic eavesdropping that will include protections
for citizens and not allow the technology to be used to suppress protests or to spy on people's personal lives. In other news, Al Mada reports Iraqis are concerned with the Japanese goods coming into the country, fearing that they will be contaminated due to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
In today's violence, Reuters notes a Mosul bombing which injured two people, a Mosul grenade attack which injured one police officer, a Baghdad drive-by shooting which killed Imam Adil Jaijan and, dropping back to Friday night, a Baghdad roadside bombing which claimed 2 lives and left ten people injured.
We'll close with this from Cindy Sheehan's "The People vs. The Machine" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox):
What I observe in the U.S. is the financial chickens coming home to roost after decadesĺ long foreign expansion and wars. I firmly believe that Barack Obama was (s)elected to put a minority face on this expansion to help quell rising protests against the aggressive wars abroad and the war against the poor here at home. Everything he has done during his disastrous first term in office has been done to shore up the economic defenses of the economic elite: expand wars, TARP, health care "reform" bill, bankster bailouts, and the recent debt ceiling debacle.
Still in Japan, I was recently in Hana-shi, Okinawa Prefecture in Southern Japan. While there, I visited a protest camp in Henoko, where activists have been protesting against the expansion of a U.S. Marine Corps base called Camp Schwab.
Fifteen years ago when this protest started, the "profound wisdom" of the mighty Empire was to build an island offshore with landfill which would spoil the natural beauty of the ocean, and further harm species of endangered manatee and sea tortoise.
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