Saturday, March 30, 2013

He's such a busy little boy






Kitabat notes that protests took place in six provinces today -- with Saleh al-Mutlaq being called out throughout which well get to.  Kitabat notes that Falluja protesters say they are in it for the long haul, until the suffering Iraqi people ends.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

The protester's spokesman in Anbar, Sheikh Saeed Allafi highly praised the stand taken by Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrists movement towards demonstrators and protesters in a number of governorates of Iraq, denouncing in the same time what he called the opportunistic pragmatic attitudes by deputy PM, Saleh al-Mutlaq.
Lafi added in a statement to NINA: "Muqtada al-Sadr, chose to stand with the masses when he deduced that the government arbitrary robs the rights of the masses.
He said: "The protesters of Anbar condemn the shameful attitude of Mutlaq, who stripped from the Iraqiya Slate and went to support Maliki government at the expense of the oppressed people.

Al-Shorfa notes:

Protesters in Baghdad, Diyala, Salaheddine, Anbar, Kirkuk and Ninawa asked the Iraqi government to meet 13 demands they said were legitimate and constitutional.
"We hope this Friday will be the start of the end for the peaceful popular movement, by way of the government's response to our demands," said Sheikh Qusay Eddine al-Zein, spokesman for Anbar demonstrators.
"The demonstrators will not leave until the last demand has been met," he told Al-Shorfa. "Not as a favour from the government but as an enshrined right that must be restored to us under the new democratic system in Iraq."
"The government began discussing the demands and announced it would meet four of them," said Sheikh Abdullah al-Samarrae, Friday preacher in Samarra, Salaheddine province. "That is a good sign, but all demands must be met."

Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf Tweets:

  1. 's beautiful, brief protest art. 'I can see you' young artist tells politicians. His mural taken down tonight

Iraqi Spring MC has video of the Baghdad protests and other cities for protests include Samarra, Baiji, Kirkuk, Falluja, Muqdadiyah, and Tamiyah.  The last one is where Nouri sent his forces in to do searches and arrests.  In addition, Nouri's forces instituted a crackdown preventing anyone from entering or leaving TamiyahRaids also took place in Baiji. At Baghdad's Abu Hanifa, Nouri's forces surrounded the mosque and prevented worshipers from entering and at least one person was beat up by Nouri's forcesDar Addustour reports on the Ramadi and Falluja protests noting that the protesters feel betrayed by certain politicians such as Saleh al-Mutlaq and that they have declared that only protesters from a province can speak for the protesters of that province.  In Falluja, Sheikh Hussein Obeid said that the government's refusal to meet the protesters demands are provoking a crisis.

One topic of the protests was Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq.  Also getting attention was Mohammed Tamimi (Minster of Education) and Ahmed Karbouli (Minister of Industry) who joined al-Mutlaq at the Wednesday Cabinet meeting presuming to speak for the protesters -- they don't speak for the protesters and the protesters don't approve of what was said.  Iraqi Spring MC shows a huge poster carried with Saleh al-Mutlaq's face on it, a big red X across his face and the proclamation that he is a traitor to the Iraqi people.  Alsumaria has a photo of his face being carried on posters.    He was denounced in Babylonian for his "false assertions."  He was denounced at the Baiji protest as someone looking to increase their own stature by pretending to speak for the protesters.

NINA notes that Iraiqya is blaming the al-Mutlaq split on Hayder al-Mulla.  In Samarra, Iraqi Spring MC documents, a banner was raised at the sit-in noting the cry of "No on federalism, no on sectarianism, no on divisions. Yes to the glory and dignity of Iraq."

All Iraq News notes a Kirkuk car bombing today has "resulted in killing and injuring a number of citizens,"And at first, it appeared that was it.  Then it all started pouring in.  All Iraq News reports 5 Baghdad bombings which have claimed 14 lives and left twenty-five injured.  Alsumaria notes a Muqdadiya bombing has left 9 dead and ten injured and, on that Kirkuk bombing, they count 2 dead and thirty-five injured.  In addition, police shot dead 1 suspect in Mosul, and a Baquba bombing left three police members injured.  AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:

Car bombs kill 18 at Shiite mosques in Iraq, 3 others dead in separate shootings - 's wrap:

And AFP notes that the Kirkuk bombing death toll grew to 4 with seventy-two injured while 2 teachers were shot dead in Kut and the press received the usual treatment: "Security forces elsewhere in the capital threatened to detain AFP journalists for attempting to film and take photographs of the aftermath of the bombings."   On the topic of violence, Jane Arraf Tweets:

Sistani rep Muhsin al-Battat seriously wounded in car bombing of Shia mosque after delivering Friday sermon.

Very bad development - Sistani rep, voice of moderation in , critically wounded by car bomb after giving Friday sermon in .

Remember this:

With very few exceptions, an important event in Iraq went unnoticed in the U.S. media this month. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent a force that included helicopters to western Iraq to arrest Rafi al-Issawi, the former finance minister and a leading Sunni Arab opposition member. Al-Issawi, who was protected by armed members of the Abu Risha clan, one of post-2003 Iraq’s most powerful Sunni tribes, escaped capture.

This action came on the heels of al-Maliki’s telephone conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry and took Washington by surprise. Had a confrontation ensued, the results would have been calamitous. It could even have provided the spark for the beginning of a civil war. Still, al-Maliki’s actions represent another nail in the coffin for a unified Iraq. Al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, had previously accused Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a leading Sunni political figure, of terrorism, forcing him to flee Iraq in 2011. Al-Hashimi was subsequently tried in absentia and sentenced to death.

Al-Maliki’s policies have significantly raised tensions in the Sunni regions of Iraq. There are demonstrations in many of the Sunni provinces that seek to emulate those of the Arab Spring. They are one reason al-Maliki has targeted al-Issawi. He wants to contain the dissent before it spreads.

It's from Professor Henri J. Barkey's "Iraq's great divider: Prime Minister Maliki's actions may lead to the country's breakup, as the U.S. stands idly by" (Los Angeles Times).  We noted it this week when the Los Angeles Times published it, we noted it became huge on Arabic social media (also it was reported on by the Iraqi Times) and now Stars and Stripes is carrying the column.  It's an important column.  I wonder if Barkey had any idea of the reach it would have when he wrote it?

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