Tuesday, July 30, 2013

He loves campaigning, hates working






Iraq is bleeding.  Nathan Morely (Vatican Radio) notes, "A relentless campaign of bombings and shootings has killed nearly 4,000 people in Iraq since the start of this year -- that's according to the violence monitoring group Iraq Body Count.  The violence has raised fears of a return to full-blown conflict in the country where Kurds, Shia and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable way of sharing power."   Salam Faraj and Ahmed al-Rubaye (AFP) note, "More than 800 people have now been killed in violence so far this month, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources - an average of upwards of 27 a day."   Iraq Body Count counts  831 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month through Sunday and  violence continues to slam Iraq.  Today's violence led acting head of UNAMI Gyorgy Busztin to declare, "I am deeply concerned about the heightened level of violence which carries the danger that the country falls back into sectarian strife.  Iraq is bleeding from randmo violence, which sadly reached record heights during the Holy month of Ramadan."

 This morning,  Duraid Adnan (New York Times) counted 15 car bombings throughout the country with a death toll of 46 and over a hundred left wounded.. Kareem Raheem (Reuters) reports the death toll from the car bombings has already reached 60. Sofia News Agency offers, "The Baghdad bombs, hidden in parked cars, hit markets and car parks in several areas of the city, police say. The deadliest was said to have hit the eastern Shia district of Sadr City."  The car bombings in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kut, Samawa and elsewhere were not the only acts of violence in Iraq today -- nor were they the only acts of violence that resulted in loss of life.  For example, the National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 person was shot dead in Baquba.  As if often the case when Iraqi violence gets significant press attention, the press tends to focus on areas with a high volume of deaths.  That's why 28 deaths spread out around the country with 2 here, 3 there, etc -- especially with the bulk outside of Baghdad -- rarely results in intense press coverage and why the rising death toll tends to creep up on (and surprise) many press outlets.

Yang Yi (Xinhua) notes, "Monday's bombing spree came after 14 people were killed in attacks across the country on Sunday.  Last week, dozens of gunmen stormed Taji and Abu Ghraib prisons, respectively north and west of Baghdad, in an attempt to free prisoners."  For the BBC, Rami Rhuayem addressed the violence today (link is video).  Excerpt.

Rami Ruhayem:  It's been going on for a long time but, as you said, this is a marked increase in violence.  And this time it appears it might be on the verge of causing political problems.  You might think it should have caused political problems a long time ago, but actually the government has been able -- with a very complex range of tactics -- to deflect blame and to escape the kind of public anger directed against it  which such violence would cause in other places.  However, now -- and after the prison break just over a week ago in which hundreds of prisoners -- high value, dangerous prisoners -- escaped -- there were cracks within the government and people were asking "Why?"  Which is your question and which I cannot answer but which the government is now under increasing pressure to answer: Why can you not stop all these car bombs from entering Baghdad when you know that people are trying to do this?   How come you cannot guard high-value prisons when you know that people are trying to get the prisoners out? 

Deutsche Welle observes that tensions have been mounting for some time in Iraq as evidenced by the ongoing protests, "Protests broke out in Sunni-majority areas at the end of 2012 and are still ongoing. Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority has argued that the Shiite-led government was failing to address its concerns, instead marginalizing and targeting their community with unwarranted arrests and terrorism charges."   Arthur Bright (Christian Science Monitor) points out:

The string of car bombs is just the latest event in Iraq's ongoing sectarian conflict, which has flared in recent months. The BBC reports that April, May, and June of this year each saw more than 700 people, mostly civilians, killed in Iraq, with a high of some 1,045 dead in May, according to United Nations figures. July has already surpassed the 700-dead mark, with Reuters putting the tally at 810 so far. Iraq Body Count, an independent watchdog tallying the conflict's death toll, put July's total at 831 before today's attacks.

A statement issued today by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon observed, "Iraq is at another crossroads.  Its political leaders have a clear responsibility to bring the country back from the brink, and to leave no space to those who seek to exploit the political stalemate through violence and terror."

All Iraqi News notes the Sunni Endowment has condemned the attacks as has the European UnionKUNA notes that the United Kingdom also condemned today's attacks.  And credit to US Ambassador Robert Beecroft and the US Embassy in Iraq for immediately releasing a statement condemning the violence:

The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal terrorist attacks that killed and injured dozens of innocent Iraqis across the nation today. We deplore the senseless loss of life caused by these attacks and offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and hope for the quick recovery of those injured. The United States stands firmly with Iraq in its fight against terrorism.

Not long ago, a self-righteous prig in the media was mocking the statements such as the above.  'What good do they do?' huffed the idiot.  Well they don't do you much good, but they're not aimed at you.  They acknowledge an attack, they express condemnation and this is aimed at the Iraqi people the same way, for example, statements immediately following 9-11 were aimed at the American people to let them know that they were not alone.  The statements do matter.  They especially matter when there are repeat attacks and people, such as the Iraqis, see France and England repeatedly condemn the attacks while the US is silent.  That has been the case for some time.   It sends a message to the Iraqi people and its a message in conflict with the 'aid' (military and diplomatic) that the US continues to send supposedly to improve Iraq.

This morning, we asked: Will Iraq come up in the State Dept press briefing today?  And we noted: It generally does not.  When it does, the press tends to be asking about Iran or Syria.  Despite the huge death tolls in Iraq of the last months, Iraq really hasn't been seen as a topic to explore in the briefings -- despite the billions of US tax dollars the State Dept is now given each year to spend in Iraq.

The State Dept has had its press briefing today.  Neither spokesperson Jen Psaki nor the reporters present bothered to raise the issue of Iraq.  How very telling. Iraq was also ignored at the White House press briefing by Josh Earnest today.  Please note, Ernest felt the need to touch on such 'pressing issues' as "some grilled chicken, some pasta jambalaya" and other nonsense but neither he nor the reporters present felt the need to mention Iraq.  Not everyone was silent on Iraq today.  One journalist had a conversation with himself on the topic.    Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) played Socrates as he provided answers to a series of questions he asked himself:  We'll note this one.

Q: What are the political implications of the attacks for Iraq?

Maliki doesn't even lead a unified Shiite bloc in government. The political movement of the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr frequently opposes Maliki's initiatives, and Maliki appeared to blame the Sadrists for assisting the Al Qaeda jailbreak in a television address. He said the guards who collaborated with the attackers were directed to do so by a militia linked to Mr. Sadr.
That claim is evidence of deep political tensions inside Iraq that have been threatening to boil over for months.

 While Dan Murphy aims high with the Socratic method, Alexander Besant takes Global Post into the gutter by seeking out the 'thoughts' of "Middle East analyst' Jared Levy. Levy's showboated stupidity can be seen in the following exchange:

What was the protest encampment in Hawija about and why did the government crack down so hard?

JL: I think the government made the decision to clear the protest camp for two reasons. First, it was a response to a recent incident of individuals connected to the protest movement in Hawija attacking security forces in the area. Second, at that phase of the protest movement, I think the central government wanted to take a stand that they weren’t going to allow sustained financially disruptive activity, such as permanent encampments, or protracted blocking of major highways.

 It should be noted that Besant is a big dumb ass for reprinting that garbage.  First off, Liar Levy (or maybe just stupid, he does seem to think that recent bachelor degree made him an expert on something) is referring to the April 23rd massacre  --  when Nouri's federal forces stormed a sit-in and killed adults and children.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault. UNICEF informed the world that 8 of the dead were children and twelve more children were left injured.  The world largely shrugged.

Let's deal with his claims and I'm not in the mood to spoon feed today.  He claims the massacre was a response to "individuals connected to the protest movement in Hawija attacking security forces in the area."  That is a claim.  It's not a convincing one.  The Friday before the Tuesday massacre, there was violence in Hawija.  Check that day's snapshot if you're late to the party.  One protester was killed.  By security forces.  Away from the protests, a figure seen darting through the street, would attack security forces (killing one).  That took place after the fact and away from the protest area.  The claim that it was a protester has never been established.

Second, Hawija, April 23rd, had to be stopped so Nouri could say they "weren't going to allow sustained financially disruptive activity, such as permanent encampments, or protected blockings of major highways"?  But they had already allowed just that.  Is Levy so ignorant that he's unware of that?  Has he never heard of Anbar Province?  Has he missed the blocking of the international highway in the seven months of protests?  A blocking that started months before the April 23rd massacre?

Nothing Levy says makes sense because he doesn't know the facts.  It's embarrassing.  It's also outrages that Global Post allows a massacre of a sit-in to be talked about in such terms.  Shame on them.  They have blood on their hands -- including the blood of children.  They allow idiot Levy to pontificate on how Sadr might respond -- "" -- which is only more problematic since Sadr called for protests against Nouri's handling of the security situation (mishandling) Sunday, July 21st -- not Sunday yesterday, two Sundays ago:

 All Iraq News notes cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for the people to protest the government's lack of response to the violence and sttes, "The silence of the people concerning the terrorist bombings, the people of other countries would revolt and call for toppling the government if their countries witnessed such bombings.  We witness strange silence over these bombings and we cannot grant the government another chance to improve the situation."

 The next day, World Bulletin interpreted Moqtada's statements as calling for the overthrow of Nouri al-Maliki.  A week later, 'expert' Levy shows up to tell the world that the worsening security situation might lead Moqtada to criticize Nouri.  What an idiot.  'Predicting' the past for too many years to count, Jared Levy.

As he provides cover for Nouri al-Maliki, Levy becomes an increasingly sidelined observer.  Today, the editorial board of the Guardian points out:

 But the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has proved to be a disastrous leader, subverting the constitution to concentrate power in his own hands, to exclude the Sunni minority and potentially to threaten the so far peaceful Kurdish north. The resulting Sunni backlash, exploited by al-Qaeda, is the background to the latest violence. The situation has been made worse by recent breakouts from the Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons, which returned veteran extremists to the fray and which suggest that the government may be as incompetent as it is dictatorial. Security, after all, is supposed to be Maliki's forte.

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