CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O HAS A BROUGHT OUT THE BIG GUNS OF TWEENDOM: KATY PERRY.
THE VISUALLY CHALLENGED PERRY, WHO'S MULTI-TRACKED VOICE ALMOST PASSES FOR A SINGING VOICE, IS EXPECTED TO RALLY HER MILLIONS OF 13 AND 14 YEAR OLD FANS TO THE POLLS TO . . .
TOO YOUNG TO VOTE, HER FANS HAVE NO SAY.
KATY PERRY MAY BE THE BIGGEST OF ALL BARRY O BOOBS.
SEE, THE LAST THING THE TWEENERS REALLY WANT TO DO IS BE REMINDED THEY'RE TOO YOUNG FOR SOMETHING.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
All Iraq News reports that US Ambassador to Iraq "Stephen Beecroft" (that's how he's billed -- maybe he's finally dropped the three names) is praising the Baghdad International Fair which just started. Al Mada notes the fair started Thursday and that the first Baghdad International Fair was in 1957 though it wasn't called that until 1964. Alsumaria notes this is the 39th Baghdad International Fair and that twenty countries are participating. Yang Lina (Xinhua) quotes Nouri al-Maliki declaring, "Iraq is now the investment opportunity in the region that everything here needs for reconstruction, particularly its infrastructure."
Everything you need here -- if what you need is no booze, if what you need is security forces who do not obey the law they're supposed to enforce. In fact, here's a YouTube video of Nouri's forces executing someone on the spot. Iraq, where there's so much corruption, you may not even notice the bombings. Baghdad, infamous for kidnapping and killing foreigners. Or maybe you'll be like Peter Moore and just suffer for years in captivity without being killed.
Nouri attended the opening ceremony and then split. If you were Nouri, you would too. That's a pathetic showing. And if you doubt it, consider the 8th Erbil International Fair was last month and had 23 countries participating. Poor, inept Nouri, always living in the shadow of the KRG. Hurriyet notes that, despite sharing a border with Iraq, "not many Turkish firms attended the event." It appears to be shaping up to be another Arab League Summit type event -- where people grade on the pity scale and say, "It's a success! Regardless of the fact that it accomplished litte or even nothing, it's a success!" Poor Nouri, between his threats against corporations and his authoritarian streak, there's little to attract international investors to Baghdad.
And it's going to be evident for a prolonged period because Dar Addustour notes it's a ten day event. The KRG where there's, by comparison, safety. Where religious zealots will not prevent your consumption of alcohol. Where you aren't confined to a pen named the "Green Zone." And the KRG already has a business image -- a strong one. Businesses don't fear they're going to be ripped off. Of course Nouri has given Baghdad a strong image as well -- as a contract-breaking center. And the only thing worth less than a written contract with the Baghdad government is Nouri's word.
Moving over to violence, Alsumaria reports a roadside bombing just south of Mosul claimed the life of 1 contractor who was killed "on the spot" according to source with the police. Alsumaria also reports that in Salahuddin Province a student was shot. All Iraq News notes that Turkish warplanes began bombing northern Iraq in the early morning hours today. Today's Zaman adds that there are reports "that four Turkish F-16 jets struck the PKK targets in the region." This is part of the ongoing struggle between the Turkish government and the PKK. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." Ofra Bengio (Minority-Opinion) offers this take today:
The signs are not hard to read. Most dramatically, the traditionally marginalized Kurds of Syria have found new energy in the cauldron of the Syrian uprising and are now demanding a federal system in which they would gain significant autonomy in a post-Assad Syria. The extremely restive Kurds of Turkey are pressing for what they call democratic autonomy. The Kurds of Iran, typically unremarked upon in the media, are stirring beneath their blanket of obscurity. But most important of all these are the Kurds of Iraq. Iraq was the epicenter of the Kurds' great leap forward in the early 1990s: the establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which is a euphemism for a de facto Kurdish state. It is to the KRG experience that Iranian, Syrian and Turkish Kurds increasingly look for lessons and guidance, and rightly so.
This is an ongoing struggle throughout the region. In Turkey, that gets resolved only by recognition and equality of the Kurds. The Kurds there have been denied inclusion and that's what's fueled the struggle. It's what's led to a hunger strike. Ivan Watson and Gul Tuysuz (CNN) report, "Turkey's government announced Friday that at least 682 inmates were participating in a hunger strike in at least 67 prisons across the country, but it insisted that no protesters were in critical condition." Daren Butler (Reuters) explains, "Jailed Kurdish militans on hunger strike in Turkey may start to die within the next 10 days, Turkey's main medical association warend on Thursday, saying the prime minister's dismissal of the protest as a 'show' risked hardening their resolve." Gareth Jenkins (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reports:
Up to 200 people from Kurdish and Turkish organisations protested outside the Turkish embassy today, Friday.
The protest marked the 52nd day since 63 Kurds in Turkish prisons started a hunger strike. They have been joined by 600 others.
Some may be near death. Thousands of Kurds around Europe have gone on solidarity hunger strikes.
Kurds make up roughly 30 per cent of the population in Turkey and have faced decades of repression. Thousands of Kurds, including MPs and mayors, are political prisoners.
Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish nationalist party, the PKK, has been held in prison since 1999.
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently dismissed the hunger strikes—but protests have broken the wall of silence.
Mehmet Aksoy from the Kurdish Federation told Socialist Worker, "We want freedom for Öcalan, for there to be meaningful negotiations. And we want an end to the ban on using Kurdish in the law courts and in schools.
"We want the cries of the hunger strikers to be heard. We are here today to call on the international community to pressure Turkey into meeting our demands as the only way to bring a just and honourable peace."
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The KRG (three provinces in Iraq) are the closest to a Kurdish homeland. As such, the government of Turkey has long been threatened by it, afraid that the KRG would result in (louder) cries among Turkey's Kurdish population for a section of Turkey to set up a homeland. UPI notes, "Turkey will not condone a separate autonomous Kurdish government in Syria, similar to the one in Iraq, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said." Hurriyet quotes Erdogan stating, "We cannot let playing of such a scenario [Kurdish autonomy] here [in Syria]. We told this to [KRG President Massoud] Barzani too. We wanted him to know this." Whether he heard it or not, Emirates News Agency reports, "His Highness General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces has received Masoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq who is on current visit to the UAE."
The statements by Turkish government officials will not be surprising to the KRG nor will they be all that important to the KRG either. There are a number of issues, however, that are important to the KRG. For example, the Kurdistan Regional Government notes Glen Campbell's BBC World Service News report:
Iraqi Kurds in Britain have begun a campaign for the mass murder of their people in Iraq in the late-1980s to be formally recognised as genocide.
At least 180,000 Kurds were killed by Saddam Hussein's forces.
The justice4genocide campaign says many more died in atrocities carried out by regimes from the 1960s onwards.
It is petitioning the UK government to declare the mass killing of Kurds as a genocide and press the European Union and United Nations to do the same.