THESE REPORTERS TRAVELED TO DALLAS MONDAY TO REPORT ON CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O'S VISIT TO A STATE WHERE HE WAS DEEMED SECOND BEST IN THE 2008 POLL.
THERE WE ENCOUNTERED A SMALL NUMBER OF CRAZED MEMBERS OF THE CULT OF ST. BARACK. LIKE THE WOMAN WHO MISSED BARRY O AT THE AIRPORT SO SHE SCURRIED OVER TO THE HOME OF RUSS BUDD IN PRICEY HIGHLAND PARK -- HIGHLAND PARK IS WHERE THE BULLY BOY AND LAURA BUSH BOUGHT A TACKY HOME -- WELL THE WOMAN SCURRIED OVER TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOME SINCE SHE DIDN'T HAVE THE BIG MONEY TO ACTUALLY GET INSIDE FOR THE DONOR'S EVENT.
SHE BABBLED AWAY TO THESE REPORTERS, IN 102 DEGREE HEAT, ABOUT HOW BARRY O WAS DOING A GREAT JOB AND HOW SO MANY PEOPLE "NEED HEALTH CARE AND HE GAVE IT TO THEM." NO, HE BACKED A LAW REQUIRING THEM TO BUY HEALTH CARE. THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE. BUT THE HUMIDITY WAS GETTING TO HER SO WE LET IT PASS AND WENT OVER TO TALK TO THE STUDENT DEMONSTRATORS.
ABOUT 14 COLLEGE STUDENTS, LED BY A STUDENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS IN DENTON CHANTED ABOUT HOW BARRY O NEEDED TO SPEND MORE MONEY ON EDUCATION AND STOP FUNDING WARS.
THE LEADER EXPLAINED TO US THAT HE VOTED FOR BARRY O BUT ALL HE'D GOTTEN WAS "A LOT OF BROKEN PROMISES ON IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Atul Aneja (The Hindu) dubbed it the "weekend of violence" and indeed it was. By midnight US time last night, Saturday and Sunday's reported tolls were at least 77 Iraqis killed and at least 303 injured. It was just Monday that Barry Obama was happy talking violence in Iraq -- two days after the US military was attacking official Iraqi ministry figures on the July death toll. How long ago it now seems. Basra was rocked by bombings Saturday with a death toll that rose to 43. That would be Basra in the south. The south. Where US military brass have told reporters for three weeks now that there are no problems. Any violence remaining, the brass has insisted, is in the north. But, fact, Basra is in the south. And apparently so shocking that many attempted to spin it by insisting to the press it was a generator exploding and not a bombing. Appearing Sunday on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour, Gen Ray Odierno, top US commander in Iraq, was one of the few who didn't attempt to spin.
Christiane Amanpour: Well, let me ask you about the violence. This weekend alone in Basra in the south there has been a big explosion that's caused dozens of deaths. What is it? Do you know what it is, in fact, was it a terrorist attack?
Gen Ray Odierno: Well, I think it probably was. We're still sorting through that, because there was conflicting reports, but my guess is it was probably some sort of an improvised explosive device that went off.
Odierno's guess was correct. Arwa Damon and Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) report today, "Basra's police chief had said over the weekend that the explosions were caused by a power generator. But the U.S. Forces-Iraq's deputy commanding general for operations, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, told reporters Monday that the explosions were caused by two car bombs and two roadside bombs. They left 43 people dead and 103 wounded." So many deaths, so many wounded. What's the US military brass to do? Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports, "Though weakened by the deaths of top leaders and a drop-off in foreign funding, al-Qaeda in Iraq's 'cellular structure' remains 'pretty much intact,' Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Higgins said in his first interview since taking command in Baghdad last fall." So it's time to trot out al Qaeda in Iraq again. The homegrown, illegal war created group that the US military was swearing was waning and that the 'capture' and killing of various alleged high-ranking leaders had thrown into disarray. Interestingly, Michael Jansen (Irish Times) appears to be the only one offering anything other than that, "The rise in violence is attributed to two factors. First, analysts say al-Qaeda, which has claimed a number of recent attacks, is reviving because it is recruiting former members of so-called 'awakening councils', made up of Sunni militiamen who joined the US in the 2007-2008 war against al-Qaeda and its allies." Jansen goes on to note how Nouri never did supply the jobs the Sahwa needed. But possibly noting that explanation would underscore just how much the violence is Nouri's fault?
Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reports that US Lt Gen Robert W. Cone stated they expected to see violence continue to increase "as the holy month of Ramadan begins this week". This follows Wang Fengfeng, Ran Wei and Xiong Tong (Xinhua) Saturday report that, "With the United States scheduled to withdraw all its combat troops from Iraq by the end of this month amid political stalemate and rising violence in that country, worries are mounting in Washington and elsewhere about the situation in Iraq after the drawdown."
The violence didn't stop today. Salam Faraj (AFP) reports a Baghdad bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi traffic police officer and 1 civilian while injuring ten other people and Faraj notes, "Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, fighting to keep his job after narrowly losing the election, insisted the security situation was not getting worse, 'but some gaps have opened up, here and there, from time to time'." Nouri the comic. Reuters notes an Abu Ghraib medical complex bombing which claimed 2 lives and left seven people injured, a Mosul roadside bombing left two people wounded, a second Mosul roadside bombing left six people injured, 1 man was shot dead in Kirkuk and, dropping back to Sunday for other violence, notes Sinan al-Shibibi's bodyguard was injured in a Baghdad shooting and 1 "official" was shot dead in Kirkuk and two of his bodyguards were injured.
Over the weekend, another US service member died in Iraq. DoD issued a statement today noting "the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Spc. Faith R. Hinkley, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died Aug. 7 in Baghdad, of wounds suffered when inusrgents attacked her unit in Iskandariya, Iraq. She was assigned to the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash."
On last Monday's speech by Barack, we'll highlight this from Bill Van Auken's analysis for WSWS last Tuesday:
One would never know from this lyrical description that the US had waged a criminal war of aggression that has cost the lives of over a million Iraqi men, women and children and left an entire country in ruins.
Nor, for that matter, would one guess from his words that the speaker was a candidate who won the Democratic nomination less than two years ago by proclaiming that the Iraq war "should never have been authorized and never been waged." One could be excused for thinking instead that it was George W. Bush.
Also weighing in on the speech, Eric S. Marolis (Gulf Times) observes, "Has America's goodbye to Iraq really begun? One suspects it's more a question of re-branding than retreat. The 50,000 US troops left in Iraq will supposedly 'advise and assist' and perform 'anti-terrorism' missions, and training. To this old war correspondent, that sounds a lot like white officers leading native troops." Sunday Saad N. Jawad (Lebanon's Daily Star) observed, "The former US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, recently described the Iraqi elections and their aftermath as 'high drama and low comedy.' It is the perfect description, yet he should have added that this was a natural outcome of the occupation, Iraq's vague and divisive Constitution, Washington's insistence on standing by the corrupt and failing people who came in with American forces after the invasion, and the sectarian-quota policy." March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's now 5 months and 2 days.
Al Jazeera notes many of the problems facing Nouri al-Maliki's desire for a second term as prime minister. Press TV reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani -- strangely they give him no title (not so strange, they don't recognize the KRG) -- stated, "Maliki's visit to Kurdistan is not aimed at the formation of a new alliance, but is to reinforce an old alliance and a start to put an end to all the problems Iraq is suffering from." Again, the meeting will lead to rumors that Nouri's willing to give away Kirkuk. Liz Sly and Riyadh Mohammed (Los Angeles Times) shared their belief that Nouri "received a boost" by a non-endorsement from KRG President Massoud Barzani whom he met with today. That would be difficult for that to translate into a boost. The KRG does not have enough votes to put him over the top and any embrace by the KRG of Nouri will be interpreted by Shi'ites as an under the table deal being made on Kirkuk which has long been a tug-of-war point between Shi'ites and Kurds. Just meeting with Barzani leads to those accusations, cries of "Nouri's giving the Kurds Kirkuk!" Which should make it hard for Nouri to pull off support from the Iraqi National Alliance (which is his only hope short of making some deal with Iraqiya). Meanwhile Alsumaria TV reports Iraq's Shi'ite Vice President and member of the Iraqi National Alliance Adel Abdul Mehdi is calling out Nouri for Nouri's statements blaming everyone "but himself" which Mehdi finds contradictory and beneath the position of prime minister. Pakistan's The News International speculates on the sort of deals Nouri could make to continue as prime minister:Maliki becomes prime minister, a Sunni member of Iraqiya gets the speaker's post, and Allawi becomes head of the National Security Council with broad authority.
Maliki becomes prime minister, and Allawi president. This is hard to imagine. Sunnis say they would regard Allawi as an honorary Sunni as prime minister, but not if he is president. Kurds would likely object to this scenario as well.Maliki becomes prime minister, and Iraqiya picks half the government. This scenario is possible, but it hinges on Sunni leaders within Iraqiya sacrificing Allawi or on Allawi sacrificing himself for the benefit of Iraqiya.Iraqiya combined with Maliki's State of Law would have 180seats in the 325-seat parliament.
An Iraqiya deal with INA, including ISCI and the Sadrists, would give the combined bloc 161.
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