WHILE MOST AMERICANS SPENT FRIDAY WITH THEIR SPECIAL OTHER, FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O WASN'T ABOUT TO SHARE WHATEVER ATTENTION HE HAS LEFT WITH HIS WIFE.
SO THE DAHLI BAMA HIT THE ROAD AND ENDED UP SPENDING VALENTINE'S DAY WITH THE KING OF JORDAN, KING ABDULLAH II.
REACHED FOR COMMENT BY THESE REPORTERS, BARRY O INSISTED HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING, "YOU THINK GRACE KELLY WOULD STILL BE REMEMBERED TODAY IF SHE WERE JUST AN ACTRESS? PUH-LEASE!!!! IT'S PRINCESS GRACE THAT MADE HER ETERNALLY FAMOUS. SO WHO'S TO SLAM ME FOR TRYING TO BREAK OFF A LITTLE OF THAT ROYALTY? GIVE ME MY CROWN!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
7:30, he said that he'd be here by six
It's looking dirty, I guess he's up to his old tricks
-- "Blue Limousine," written by Brenda Bennett, first appears on Apollonia 6's self-titled album
And it appears Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, is up to his old tricks.
All Iraq News reports:
The administration of Baghdad International Airport received several arrest warrants and travel ban issued against several members of the Iraqi Parliament.
A source of Baghdad International Airport reported to All Iraq News Agency (AIN) ''The list of MPs included Hayder al-Mullah, Salim al-Jabouri, Ashor Haky, Raad al-Dahlaki, Qayis Shather, Ahmed Suleiman and Hussein Dakan.''
''The former Minister of Finance, Raffia al-Essawi, was among the MPs banned of travel,'' the source added, noting that ''A copy of the names of banned MPs was delivered to the Airport security.''
Hayder al-Mullah is a prominent critic of Nouri al-Maliki. He is a member of Iraqiya, the political slate that beat Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law in the 2010 parliamentary elections. Qayis Shather, Salim al-Jabouri and Raad al-Dahlaki are also members of Iraqiya.
Yet again, Nouri is going after members of Iraqiya. Yet again, Nouri is going after Sunni politicians.
And where is the US government?
As always when it comes to their pride and joy, looking the other way.
Since December 21, 2012, protests have been ongoing in Iraq. Today was no different. Iraqi Spring MC reports protests continued in Samarra and Baiji. Alsumaria reports those protesting in Najaf called for the cancellation of the MPs pension program. Activist Ayed al-Kaabi tells the news outlet that they reject politicians joining their protests due to the hypocrisy factor. Another activist, Hussam al-Yas, tells All Iraq News, "The place of the demonstration at al-Sadrain square to be close to the religious authorities to that supported the public demands and rejected the privileges granted to MPs and key officials. We will continue in our efforts to end the injustice through session and seminar."
The assault on Anbar Province continues. Mustafa Habib (Niqash) is one of the few reporters who's been able to report from inside Falluja:
Six weeks have passed since the Iraqi government lost control of the city of Fallujah. The city is now surrounded by the Iraqi army and internally it appears to be under the control of Sunni Muslim and tribal militias, although it is hard to tell exactly who is in charge.
As you near the city you see what appear to be preparations for a long battle. Barriers made out of dirt effectively block all four sides of the city. Behind them there are hundreds of armed men, some with anti-helicopter weaponry, and armoured cars.
Although the winter weather is cold – as low as 3 degrees Celsius – the militias behind the barriers avoid making fires because they don’t want the Iraqi army to be able to see their exact whereabouts.
“When the government was threatening to invade a few weeks ago, the militants started planting improvised explosive devices around the four entrances to the city,” Saeed al-Jumaili, a resident of Fallujah, tells NIQASH.
“Houses on roads leading into the city have also been mined in order to stop any attempts to enter,” al-Jumaili says. “It’s a complicated network of mines that’s only known to a few of the militants.”
So who exactly are the militants in charge inside Fallujah? Currently what is best described as a rebel military council controls the city’s security. It is composed of various Sunni Muslim factions, most of which are armed or militant. This includes the Army of Al Murabiteen, the Asadullah al-Ghalib brigades, Hamas of Iraq and a number of other Sunni Muslim brigades. Also on the military council though are local Sunni Muslim men who once served in the Iraqi army. Apparently most of the latter do not consider themselves radical and they say they are not affiliated with extremists or Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda is also represented on the council though and its faction goes by the now-well-known name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS – locally known as Daash. The only group that doesn’t seem to be playing a role on the council are local security forces, like the police.
The armed factions that are not affiliated with Al Qaeda have many men at their disposal but they don’t have as many arms. And while ISIS only has several hundred men in the city, they are well armed, well trained and battle hardened. Daash also has several dozen suicide bombers in the city.
All up, the council has 15 members including community leaders, tribal elders and members of the various armed factions. It meets twice or more each week to discuss the security situation in Fallujah. It makes decisions by voting.
National Iraqi News Agency reports, "Head of the parliamentary bloc of Iraqiyah Slate MP, Salman Jumaili urged the government to stop military shelling Fallujah and other cities of Anbar province, warning the government of harm consequences in case of continuation of the random bombardment which causing a real humanitarian disaster." But that's never been a concern of chief thug and prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki. Which is why violence continues today in Iraq as Nouri's assault on Anbar Province leaves people dead and yet again targets hospitals and residential areas. NINA also notes, "MP, Ahmed al-Misari warned the secretary general of Homat al-Iraq Movement warned in a statment today of a humanitarian disaster because of the continued displacement of thousands of families from the cities of Anbar to neighboring provinces." But while this displacement is becoming a growing concern to the United Nations, it means nothing to Nouri al-Maliki.
AFP notes, "Iraqi forces fought on Friday to retake part of a northern town and nearby areas seized by gunmen, the latest instance of authorities losing ground to militants, an official said." This is success?
Yesterday, Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) observed, "militants took over a northern Iraq town in Salah ad Din province. Militants have tried to take over the town as recently as last year, but considering the events in Anbar, this attempt could be more serious. Far from Anbar province, militants have taken over Suleiman Bek, where they are still in control."
Nouri can boast and beat his puny chest all he wants, but that's not success. It is failure, it is exposed weaknesses, it is future targets should another round start up months from now.
What his assault on Anbar has demonstrated is how weak he is, how ineffective and how quickly Iraq could splinter at any given moment.
Brute force did not keep Iraq together but it may be the way to fragment the nation into a loosely held federation -- or to fragment it into a series of independent countries.
Nouri is a failure as prime minister and that was clear before his idiotic assault on Anbar but the assault has exposed just how weak he is and how his leadership has weakened the country, not strengthened it.
Yesterday, All Iraq News reported, the government banks in central Baghdad were closed and the employees evacuated by security forces. This is success?
There is no success in Iraq, there is no success under Nouri.
There is only violence -- continual violence.
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