Friday, January 06, 2012




On this week's. Black Agenda Radio, hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, (airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network), Iraq was noted. Excerpt.

Nellie Bailey: But first, the US and its allies were on a military offensive in 2011 except in Iraq where the Americans were forced to withdraw almost all of their uniformed forces. But that doesn't mean the Americans are gone. We spoke with Tony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Tony Monteiro: Don't forget the bulk of the troops might be out of Iraq but they're not out of the region. When you look at the Obama administration's policy, it is a continuation of the neo-conservative policy of the Bush administration and those policies were defined by the objective of regime change and bringing democracy -- so-called -- to the Middle East. And Iraq was supposed to be the first domino and the most important domino to fall in this respect. Now the other side of that is while they're allegedly moving out of Iraq, of course the troops are in Kuwait and other parts of the Persian Gulf. But the US is ramping up its war talk against Iran. Iran is a neighbor of Iraq. In fact, Iran sits between Iraq and Afghanistan. So, it is my opinion that this thing is not over. That the US, and this is of course Vice President Biden's point of view, the United States should reserve the option of going back into Iraq. And certainly with the Maliki government under increasing stress and opposition, that government is not beond -- in the not too distant future -- calling for the American troops to come back. And I guess the third thing I would say is that a lot of this has to do with the 2012 election. After the election, all best are off, we have a new set of options. And we can not forget that the largest US Embassy in the world is in Baghdad, Iraq -- over 17,000 so-called diplomats but mainly CIA, military intelligence. So Iraq is not over by a long shot.
Glen Ford: The US had a long list of nations marked for regime change. There has been regime change in Libya and it appears that the United States and the Europeans are intent on making regime change in Syria.
Tony Monteiro: And you know, even if they do not bring about complete regime change, they want to make these states -- such as Libya, such as Syria, such as Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq -- failed states, states that in order to even exist or to function must rely on the United States and NATO. So you have this attempt on the part of the United States and NATO to manage a political, social and economic chaos in the Middle East.
Political, social and economic chaos pretty much describes the Iraq rocked today by bombings. An Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers shares (at Inside Iraq), "As an Iraqi citizen, I wouldn't really care about our politicians and their fight because I never felt for a moment that any of them represents me or any regular people but the only thing that pushes me to care is the fuel of this fight. Since the political fight ignited between the Iraqi politicians, poor Iraqis were always the fuel that inflames it. Hundreds of thousands were killed or missed since 2003 and God knows when the bath of blood would stop in my bleeding country. Prayers of mothers, fathers and sons couldn't stop the blood shedding because their political brothers always pray for more blood for political gains since fuel is always available and cheap as they believe."
Baghdad was again slammed with explosions. Early on Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) explained, "A series of bombings in Baghdad left 24 dead and dozens wounded Thursday, intensifying fears of an increase in sectarian violence in the midst of a political crisis." BBC News (link has text and video) adds, "The ministry told the BBC that at least 66 people were wounded in the blasts, which occurred in the capital's Sadr City and Kadhimiya neighbourhoods." Lee Moran (Daily Mail) notes things kicked off with a motorcycle bombing, then a roadside bombing followed by two more bombings.

Adrian Blomfield (Telegraph of London) observes, "For the second time in a fortnight, the Iraqi capital echoed to the wail of ambulance sirens as the fragility of the country's threadbare confessional consensus was exposed once again." Blomfield's noting the December 22nd Baghdad bombings: "Dan Morse and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) count 17 bombings, 65 dead and 207 injured while Kareem Raheem (Reuters) notes the death toll has risen to 72." With attacks elsewhere in Iraq, the final death toll passed that.
In addition to the Baghdad bombings, southern Iraq was also targeted. Early on,
AP counted 30 dead in a southern Iraq bombing. AFP stated it was a Nasiriyah roadside boombing. In addition to the 30 dead, Adrian Blomfield (Telegraph of London) reported the Nasiriyah bombing has left seventy-two injured. Reuters noted government officials said it wasn't a roadside bombing, it was a suicide bombing. Jamal Hashim (Xinhua) would report later in the day that the bomber wore a suicide vest and note that the pilgrims killed were making a pilgrimage to Karbala "to commemorate the Arbaeen religious ritual, the climax of which will be on Jan. 13. Arbaeen is the end of 40 days of mourning for the Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammed's grandson who was killed at the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D." Reuters notes 29 dead from Baghdad bombings (68 injured) and 44 dead in the Nassiriya bombing (81 injured) for a total of 73 dead (74 if the suicide bomber is counted). In addition, Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 child (five women were injured) and 1 man was shot dead in Mosul (with another man, his brother, left injured).
As the violence continues, so does the political crisis. Raheem Salman and Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) quote Iraqi political analyst Dhiya Shikerchi stating, "Definitely . . . there is a relationship between these explosions and the political crisis, but it doesn't mean necessarily that one of the sides in the crisis is directly responsible. Maybe there is a third side that is exploiting this crisis to fulfill its agenda to return Iraq to sectarian strife." Ibrahim Kalin (Today's Zayman via Ikhwanweb) reminds:
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Shiites of Iraq and the Kurds saw a historic opportunity to have equal representation. This is fair enough. But it is a grave mistake to depict the Saddam era as "Sunni" and to seek the building o a new Shiite identity based on animosity towards the Sunnis. Luckily, this is not the position of the vast majority of Shiites of Iraq. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for instance, has resisted such temptations and played a key role in lowering tensions between Shiite and Sunni Iraqis.
Reporting from Baghdad, Dahr Jamail (Al Jazeera -- link is video) declared, "These latest attacks highlight just how serious the political deadlock in Iraq has become and only days after the last US forces left the country. Once again, it's the Iraqis who have been killed and injured. The victims of a dispute that only Iraq's politicians, whether Sunni or Shia, can resolve." It wasn't supposed to be this way. It was only December 12th that Nouri al-Maliki and US President Barack Obama were at the White House and Barack was singing the praises of the US-backed thug.
US President Barack Obama: Today, I'm proud to welcome Prime Minister Maliki -- the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq. We're here to mark the end of this war; to honor the sacrifices of all those who made this day possible; and to turn the page -- begin a new chapter in the history between our countries -- a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect. Iraq faces great challenges, but today reflects the impressive progress that Iraqis have made. Millions have cast their ballots -- some risking or giving their lives -- to vote in free elections. The Prime Minister leads Iraq's most inclusive government yet. Iraqis are working to build institutions that are efficient and independent and transparent.
Except for "today," pretty much everything Barack said was a lie. Now yesterday Barack found a way to appoint yet another man to a position. When the left wanted Elizabeth Warren in that position, Barack didn't know how to appoint her. But then he really doesn't appoint many women to positions of power. Which is how he could lie that, "The Prime Minister leads Iraq's most inclusive government yet." Barack's overweight flunky Jay Carney mentioned Warren in the White House press briefing today, "Richard Cordray is, as she herself has said, the right man for the job -- the right person for the job -- and enormously qualified." No, Warren never called him "the right man for the job." But how telling of this White House, so known for its sexism (see Ron Suskind's Confidence Men), that their spokesperson would have to correct himself in front of the press corps and how telling on the press corps that most will never report his telling (Freudian?) slip.
So it's no surprise that Barack would be praising the "diversity" when even women in President Jalal Talabani's family are publicly calling out Nouri's Cabinet (which, when originally named, didn't have one woman in it).
A "democratic" Iraq? If "democratic" means following the rule of law or the Constitution, forget it. (See yesterday's snapshot on Nouri's latest efforts to break the Constitution.) If "democratic" means a country that values free speech, forget it. Nouri's attacked activists, had then kidnapped and tortured throughout 2011 and the same for journalists. How sad that Barack cheapened the White House by inviting that thug into it.
"Millions have cast their ballots," declared Barack, "some risking or giving their lives -- to vote in free elections."
Yes, they did. And in those March 2010 elections they clearly made Iraqiya their first choice. Ayad Allawi's slate came in first. Not a "Sunni" slate or a "Shia" slate, a mixed slate that was not about sectarianism. Some, like Allawi, were Shia. Some, like Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, were Sunni. And in choosing Iraqiya, Iraqis were saying they wanted a national identity, they were done with sectarianism. Which is why Nouri al-Maliki's political slate came in second. But the White House wouldn't abide by the will of the Iraqi people or by the Iraqi constitution. Instead the White House demanded that Nouri stay on as prime minister. So maybe Barack Obama should quit lying about "free elections"?
Now, he wants you to know, Iraq's working on being efificent, independent and transparent. It shouldn't be too hard for them to improve on that last one. In December Transparency International their latest rankings of 182 nation-states. Number one would be most transparent, number 182 would be least. Where did Iraq come in? Number 175. There aren't a lot of spots it can drop down too. This was at the start of December (December 3rd) and yet there was Barack on December 12th, lying yet again.