Saturday, January 25, 2014

Iraq, TV and beverages

First thing I want to note: What is taking place in Iraq right now, those are War Crimes.  Nouri al-Maliki can lie that this is about 'terrorism' all he wants.  When you bomb schools, when you attack hospitals, when you bomb residential areas, you are terrorizing the people.

Even if there was a terrorist menace in Iraq at the start of this month, Nouri al-Maliki has become the bigger terrorist.

C.I. had a great point recently about all the silence.

I'm tired and just woke up.  I'm going to be doing a chatty blog post.  But even with that, I can still note that Nouri al-Maliki is a War Criminal.

I can do it, so can everyone else.  Those who choose not to do so have made the choice to be silent.

Tonya e-mailed asking if I missed Smash?

Yes, I do.

Even the second season.

But the show really only worked season one.  Ellis was needed and when they got rid of him, they lost  a lot.  He was mocked by a number of 'critics' at outlets like Entertainment Weekly.  But Ellis made things happen.

The first season was also a more mature show.

Second season they had a new show runner (from Gossip Girl) and it all collapsed.  Debra Messing was great at playing Julia but they never knew what to do with her.  Three different romances in season two, I believe.  That wasn't I-want-to-save-my-marriage Julia.

Anjelica Huston had it even worse.  They didn't want to do anything with her character.

It became way too teeny-bopper in season two.

They should have stayed with the first show runner and had faith in the show.

Kelly e-mailed asking about drinks.

My assistant wrote "drinks" on the post-it.  I asked her, "Did he write more than that?"


Okay.  We had company last night so I did drink. I love a good, strong Bloody Mary.  I like a dirty martini and I can usually take a margarita.

Non-alcohol?  I'm pretty much an ice-tea woman.  I'll do hot tea if my throat's sore.  Otherwise, it's ice tea or water.

Although I am drinking Kool-Aid right now.

I just got up, as I noted.  My throat was dry.

I went to the fridge and all the tea had been finished off.  So tired were we that there's an empty pitcher in the fridge.  I won't blame Mike because I bet anything I had the last glass. So I'm probably the one that left it empty in the fridge.

All the orange juice was gone -- again, we had guests and they drank screwdrivers.

I'm not really a big milk fan -- not when I first get up.

So I grabbed the pitcher of I don't know what.

It's Kool-Aid.  Mike and my daughter became a fan of it recently.  A huge fan.

So we have it on hand -- which means we have those big plastic mix jugs filled with various flavors.

It was pink which would have led many to believe it was cherry Kool-Aid but Mike and our daughter have taken to creating flavors.

So what I'm drinking this morning as I write this is Kool-Aid lemonade with a dash of cherry.  They love their mixtures.  I just love that it's cold.

Kendall wondered if I watch Dracula (NBC TV show) as well?

Sometimes I watch it with Mike.  Our daughter actually loves it.  Her aunt (Mike's youngest sister) got her hooked on Twilight.  So she loves Vampires.

I'm more likely to watch Elementary (CBS) with Mike because that's on the TV.

We didn't watch Dracula last night since we had company.  Mike's on the treadmill right now and watching it on his iPad.  Elementary, he's usually watching on TV so I'll watch it along with him or see parts of it as I'm in and out of the room.

I did watch Nikita with him.  We'd either catch it on TV or on the laptop.

I don't watch Modern Family but that's a show he watches religiously.  He also watches it online.  He has never watched it on ABC -- and on TV he's only watched the syndicated episode.  But he goes to Hulu and watches it.

He's done that forever.

That's more than fine, I'm not much of a TV person.

I actually prefer a funny sitcom as my favorite type of program.

I don't think Modern Family is that funny.  The sappy nonsense at the end of every episode, the voice over?  I hate that.

I hate it, Parks and Recreation and any other TV show that's not smart enough to tell a story without pretending the characters are being taped. Christopher Guest's mockumentaries are wonderful.  These copycats are just b.s. in my opinion.

Happy Endings was a much, much better show.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, January 24, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri continues to terrorize Anbar, Iraqis continue to protest Nouri, Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has no "Red Notice" with INTERPOL (though the press 'forgot' to tell us that), and much more.

This month, Larry Everest (Revolution Newspaper) asked, "How is the U.S. imperialist media dealing with the ongoing carnage in Iraq?"

And he answered, "One example was the January 10 New York Times front-page story titled, “Fallujah’s Fall Stuns Marines Who Fought There.” This article is an exposure of the bankruptcy and illegitimacy of the U.S. imperialist media. People need to reject this drumbeat to think like Americans, and see the world through the lens of the American empire, and start thinking about humanity!"

And that is one answer.  But the reality is that you can count on a handful the number of outlets outside of Iraq treating Nouri's assault on Anbar Province with any reality.  Most either ignore what's taking place or else they carry the party line of 'bad terrorists are here and must be killed!'  Say the word "terrorist" and everyone loses their voice apparently.

That's why it's been so effective in killing liberties in the US, this so-called War on 'Terror.'  It's a mental stop sign in the same way "Communist" was for so many in the US at the middle of the 20th century. For some, the term terrifies them.  For others, they're just terrified someone will call them "terrorist."  But not many want to say,"Hold on a second, let's get serious."  So if you holler "terrorism!" or "terrorist!," you can usually dominate the conversation and the narrative.  No one asks you for proof, no one questions.

And that's how Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's chief thug and prime minister, has gotten away with a series of War Crimes over the last weeks.   The Geneva International Centre for Justice notes the continued assault on Anbar Province:

In the wake of the 1st of January 2014, the 600.000 residents of Fallujah, one of the main cities in al-Anbar, found themselves encircled by the government forces. The residential areas were under the military attack. This time it was claimed that al-Qaeda and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) had taken over the city. Indeed some fighters wearing such signs were seen to have set police stations and government buildings on fire; however these people encountered strong resistance from the local residents.
Furthermore, the witnesses mentioned that these acclaimed terrorist fighters appeared as soon as the government’s army arrived and took positions in the surroundings of the city. Many of the contacts of GICJ in Fallujah and Baghdad therefore believe that disguised militia groups affiliated with the al-Maliki’s party were channelled into the city in order to provide the necessary pretext for an attack and gain the military support from the Western countries.
As of January 6, the main eastern, northern and southern checkpoints were closed and the army refuses to allow people, medicine or food items to enter or leave the city.  Even the Iraqi Red Crescent could not enter anymore. Families who wanted to flee could only leave under extreme difficulties. These sanctions were imposed even though the residents of Fallujah publicly affirmed numerous times that the city had not been taken over by any terrorist.
Al Maliki’s official portrayal of terrorists brought him the immediate support from the USA as well as from Iran. Also, Russia announced its support. Other voices however, such as the senior EU lawmaker Struan Stevenson, a member of the European parliament, warned in an open letter published on 7 January 2014 that “Iraq is plummeting rapidly towards civil war and genocide”. In a second letter published on 20 Januaray 2014 Stevenson’s further warned that claims by al-Maliki were “utter nonsense”. Still, he had “convinced his American allies that he is fighting a war on terror and they are pouring in rockets, drones and other military hardware which Maliki is using to bomb and kill civilian targets”.
Al-Maliki insists once again to demolish all demonstrations and to use force against all the cities that witness resistance against his policies. The continuing use of the army against densely populated cities can only lead to another huge humanitarian disaster. Many residents are fleeing, not in fear of terrorists but in fear of the government forces and over hundred people have already lost their lives during the attacks by tanks and by air that mainly targeted the residential areas in the outskirts of the city.

National Iraqi News Agency reports that the Iraqi military's mortar shelling last night left 4 people dead and 32 more injured "including women and children" and today's military shelling of Falluja left 5 people dead and 14 more injured -- "most of them women and children."   Collective punishment is what Nouri's pursuing.  If you doubt that:  Iraqi Spring MC notes that Nouri's army shelled Falluja General Hospital.

Attacking hospitals is an international no-no.  Nouri al-Maliki is a War Criminal and collective punishment is a War Crime.  Daoud Kuttab (Crimes Of War) explains:
Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 of the Fourth Convention states: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed,” and “collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” Israel, however, does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention or the Additional Protocols apply to the West Bank de jure, but says it abides by the humanitarian provisions without specifying what the humanitarian provisions are.
By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resxort to “intimidatory measures to terrorize the population” in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices “strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice.”
The law of armed conflict applies similar protections to an internal conflict. Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 requires fair trials for all individuals before punishments; and Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment.

This week UNAMI issued their [PDF format warning] latest human rights report on Iraq which included, "The deliberate or indiscriminate targeting of civilians constitutes a gross violation of international humanitarian and human rights law and of Iraqi law."

So why is the assault on Anbar allowed to take place -- let alone continue -- without a huge outcry from all over?

It's accomplished nothing.

All Iraq News reports 2 Tikrit bombings left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and four more injured, an armed clash in Ramadi left 13 fighters dead and that a home invasion late last night in Basra left 2 women dead (mother and daughter).  NINA also notes a Hamrin home bombing which left two police injured, Joint Special Operations Command declared they killed 2 suspects in Mosul, 1 Sahwa was shot dead outside of Kirkuk, and an armed clash in Falluja left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead and four more injured.  Through Thursday, Iraq Body Count counts 839 violent deaths this month.

 Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports it is thought 75% of the residents of Falluja have fled.  The United Nations Refugee Agency issued the following today:

GENEVA, January 24 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Friday reported that more than 65,000 people had over the past week fled the conflict in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in central Iraq's Anbar province. Since fighting broke out at the end of last year, more than 140,000 people have been made homeless by fighting according to Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration.
This is the largest displacement Iraq has witnessed since the sectarian violence of 2006-2008. This number comes on top of the 1.13 million people already internally displaced in Iraq and who are mostly residing in Baghdad, Diyala and Ninewa provinces.
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva that people in Anbar, including UNHCR staff, had reported that many civilians were unable to leave conflict-affected areas where food and fuel were now in short supply.
"Most of the recently displaced remain outside Fallujah city, accommodated by relatives or staying in schools, mosques and hospitals where resources are running low. Host families are having difficulties sustaining the burden of caring for the displaced," he said.
The spokesman added that UNHCR and its humanitarian aid partners had managed to distribute tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats, food, and hygiene supplies. On Thursday, UNHCR delivered 2,400 core relief kits. The Ministry of Displacement and Migration and the Iraqi parliament have also sent aid.
"Many of the displaced, nonetheless, are still in desperate need of food, medical care, and other aid. As the insecurity has spread, many families who fled several weeks ago have been displaced again," Edwards said.
The UN in Iraq has asked the government to facilitate the opening of a humanitarian corridor to reach displaced and stranded families in Anbar province. In recent weeks, several bridges leading into the conflict area and communities hosting displaced people have been destroyed, making access difficult. Currently, it is impossible to reach the area from Baghdad and relief agencies are using roads coming from northern Iraq.
Meanwhile, other areas of Iraq including Baghdad, Erbil, Kerbala, Salah-al-Din and Ninewa have witnessed the arrival of thousands of displaced people. People are reportedly without money for food and lack suitable clothing for the rainy conditions. Children are not in school and sanitary conditions, particularly for women, are inadequate.
"Establishing camps for the newly displaced is not our preferred option and may prolong displacement. But, if the government of Iraq opts to establish sites, UNHCR is ready to provide tents and core relief items as well as provide support to camp management," Edwards said in Geneva,
In northern Iraq, at the request of the Erbil government, UNHCR has refurbished the Baharka temporary site to host people arriving from Anbar. Tents, electricity and sanitation facilities have been installed and the facility is ready to accommodate up to 300 families should the government decide to open the site. In Suleymaniya, some sections of Arbat camp, originally built for Syrian refugees, have been made available to accommodate internally displaced Iraqis. There are some 300 displaced families in Suleymaniya.
Planning is under way to field additional mobile teams to strengthen capacity in Anbar and teams could also be dispatched to other provinces hosting the displaced.

F. Brinley Bruton (NBC News) quotes Peter Kessler, UNHCR spokesperson, stating, "“People are still fighting and mortars are still landing. People don’t have access to food."  Yang Yi (Xinhua) quotes UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards stating, "Most of the recently displaced remain outside Fallujah city, accommodated by relatives or staying in schools, mosques and hospitals where resources are running low. Host families are having difficulties sustaining the burden of caring for the displaced."  And on the topic of mosques,  Kitabat reports that 'acting defense minister'  Saadoun al-Dulaimi (he's not the Minister of Defense -- only Parliament can make someone that -- so he's something else, maybe Nouri's little sex toy?) declared that they (the Iraqi government) will bomb and target any home or mosque they think might contain a terrorist.  Any home or mosque.

Are we really so sick, twisted and fearful as a people that we're going to allow ourselves to be scared into silence by the calculated use of the term "terrorist"?

To me this looks a lot like genuine terrorism.

قوات المالكي تقوم باعدام مواطن في بعقوبة وتمثل بجثته. .

 Via Iraqi Spring MC, some of the dead in Baquba that Nouri's forces murdered.  Notice the Iraqi soldiers in the background.  No effort is made to remove the three dead people.  Or to cover them.  they're displayed.  Why?
Because they're "kills" and the Iraqi military is displaying their "kills" in order to frighten the nearby residents.
The attack isn't just the bullets, the mortars and the bombs.  Nouri's attack on Anbar is also psychological.  

Again from UNAMI  [PDF format warning] latest human rights report on Iraq:

The impact of violence on ordinary Iraqi women, men, boy and girls cannot be underestimated. Apart from the increasing risk of becoming a direct victim of violence, the fear of violence severely limits their ability to enjoy fundamental human rights and freedoms, including freedom of movement, as many people start to confie their activities outside their homes to essential tasks, which in turn impacts on their ability to access basic services, such as education and health care. Furthermore, there are an increasing number of civilians who are the secondary victims of violence -- particularly those whose family members have been killed or wounded . Besides the psychological and emotional suffering, the death or injury of family members sometimes deprives households of breadwinners or those who are contributing financially to their households. Families of injured and disabled people have to bear significant costs (both financial and physical ) involved in ensuring adequate medical care and support.

The attacks from Nouri's forces are acts of terrorism.

But if anyone confronted him, Nouri would probably blow them off.

Earlier this month, Felicity Arbuthnot (Morning Star) pointed out, "Fallujah, Ramadi and much of western Iraq has been demonstrating for a year against the vicious, sectarian, US-imposed puppet government of Nouri al-Maliki."  Since December 21, 2012, protests have been ongoing throughout Iraq over Nouri's corruption and criminality.  These protests continue.  Iraqi Spring MC notes protests continued in Anbar, Samarra, Rawa, Jalawla and Tikrit (pictured below) and also protests continued in Falluja, Baiji, and Baquba.

  1. الجمعة الموحدة في قضاء عنه بمحافظة الانبار: .
  2. الجمعة الموحدة في مدينة سامراء بمحافظة صلاح الدين: .
  3. الجمعة الموحدة في مدينة تكريت بمحافظة صلاح الدين: .

Nouri has repeatedly attempted to end the protests.  He's threatened them, he's labeled them terrorists, his forces have attacked them, have followed them from the protests to their homes, his forces have killed them, and so much more.  But of a year and a month, they've protested non-stop.  
Last week, Abdullah Salem (Niqash) reported:

All eyes have been on Anbar. But a series of assassinations of Sunni Muslim tribal heads and clerics who have been leading demonstrations in Ninawa leads to worrying conclusions. Extremists from both Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups have the common goal of getting rid of this society’s leaders and causing havoc here too.

Earlier this week, assailants broke into the home of the Sunni Muslim cleric Radwan al-Hadidi. Al-Hadidi was one of the leaders of the Sunni Muslim anti-government protests in the area and several days earlier he had made a speech criticising extremist Sunni elements. He told media that it was easier to talk with a wall than it was to talk to Al Qaeda. Yet at the same time al-Hadidi was also firmly opposed to the policies of the Shiite Muslim-led government in Baghdad and had demanded that it be dissolved and that the Iraqi Constitution be re-written.

The men who broke into al-Hadidi’s house murdered him.

This was not an isolated case. Several of the leaders of the demonstrations in this area have been assassinated over the past year. The murders started after demonstrators started to carry guns - and they started to carry guns after the Iraqi army broke up a demonstration in Hawija, near the city of Kirkuk, in late April. In doing so, they killed around 40 demonstrators and injured hundreds of others.
“Rumours started circulating that there were now Shiite Muslim militias killing the protest leaders,” says Abdul-Salam Raouf, a local journalist. “Allegedly they were supported by Iran and they included the likes of the League of Righteous led by Qais Khazali and Hezbollah in Iraq led by Wathiq al-Battat.”

One of the first protest leaders to be murdered was Haitham al-Abadi who was attacked on August 19, 2013. The attack on al-Abad also saw another tribal leader, Ahmad al-Ramawi injured.

Later that month gunmen targeted Barzan al-Badrani, a prominent tribal leader who took part in the protests. He was murdered using a pistol with a silencer in central Mosul.

Another protest leader, Tharwi al-Kourz al-Shammari, was also killed in Mosul, next to his house by unidentified gunmen. Yet another protest leader Thaer Hazem Abed was killed by gunmen in September. 
Then on October 11, cleric Ali al-Shamma was murdered after he finished his Friday sermon in Mosul.

Tuesday, Nouri's government announced the executions of 26 people.  Thursday, the announcement was 11 more people were hanged.  Tuesday, Human Rights Watch issued World Report 2014 which noted 2012 saw Nouri's government execute at least 129 people while 2013 saw the number increase to 151.  Today another human rights organization attempts raises the issue.  Amnesty International notes:

Saudi Arabian national Abdullah Al Qahtani is at imminent risk of execution in Iraq. He is one of six men who were reportedly tortured into “confessing” to being members of terrorist organization al-Qaeda.
Four of Abdullah's six co-defendants were already executed. Abdullah is next.
Thanks in part to the calls of Amnesty supporters, Abdullah’s execution had been temporarily delayed. However, Abdullah's time is once again running out.

Please help stop the imminent execution of Abdullah al-Qahtani.

If you use the link, they have a contact form you can use. Meanwhile Iraqi Spring MC reports Nouri's forces carried out a campaign of arrests in Adhamiya (Baghdad neighborhood that has been protesting Nouri for over a year) focusing on the youth -- the protesters have been predominately young adults.  NINA reports:

Army troops closed on Friday evening al- Adhamiya district and the roads leading to it and prevented citizens from entering or leaving it after the arrest of Sheikh Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz al-Ani, head of the Council of Scholars of Iraq , and Abdul Sattar Abdul-Jabbar Imam and preacher of al-Imam al-Aadham Mosque .Eyewitnesses in al- Adhamiya district said in a telephone contact with / NINA / that the security forces deployed their military vehicles in different districts in al-Adhamiya especially near its entrances and main streets as a proactive step on the invitations to hold a sit-in in front of Abu Hanifa mosque in protest at the arrest of the two sheikhs .
The eyewitnesses confirmed that the security forces have forced the owners of the shops and restaurants to close their shops for fear of the evolution of the situation.

Kitabat notes the rising calls for the two to be released.  Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi remains in Turkey.  May 8, 2012, INTERPOL stupidly issued a "Red Notice" for Tareq.


We noted then that they were breaking their own rules.  The lazy, western media loved it and repeated it -- not reported because they don't know enough to know the basic facts to report.

Guess who no longer has a "Red Notice"?  Did you guess Tareq?  If so, you're correct.

There are 41 people still wanted by Iraq with INTERPOL "Red Notices."  Tareq is no longer one of them.

The press that made such a big deal of it last year is no where to be found.  The idiots can always be counted on to scream, "FIRE!" They just can't be counted to ever actually report.

The Red Notice was cancelled last week.

Where has the press been?

Again, they couldn't shut up about the "Red Notice" -- in terms of being a parrot and repeating what they were told.  They couldn't offer any real facts and certainly no analysis.  As the saying goes, there's no app for critical thinking.

NINA notes that Iraq's Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met today with US General Ray Odierno and KRG President Massoud Barzani spoke with US Senator John McCain about the Iraq crisis while both were in Davos Switzerland today.  Yesterday's snapshot noted the speech Osama al-Nujaifi gave at the Brookings Institution in DC.  Today Brookings' Fred Dews blogs about the event and ends with  "Get the full event audio."  Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports, "Nujaifi, the most senior Sunni Arab in the Iraqi government, said Barack Obama and vice-president Joe Biden had agreed to send direct support to the Sunni tribes, whose leaders had led the Awakening movement that stabilised the province throughout 2007."

At today's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Marie Harf:


MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yeah. Yesterday --

MS. HARF: And then I think I’m a little tight on time, so we’ll do a few more and then – yeah.

QUESTION: Okay. Very quickly. Yesterday, the speaker of the house – the speaker of the Iraqi parliament Usama al-Nujayfi gave a speech at Brookings. He gave a very bleak picture of what’s going on in Iraq, and he said that we are at a turning point, at the fork of the road, so to speak, alluding to the next elections, suggesting that Maliki should not run for a third term. Would you advise the current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, that if he runs for a third term, that would be more decisive to the country?

MS. HARF: Again, Said, this is – got to your question on General al-Sisi – we don’t take a – well, don’t be frustrated. It’s our position. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Okay, I’m – okay, that is your position that --

MS. HARF: We don’t take a position on who should lead countries.


MS. HARF: I don’t have more details about our discussions with the prime minister about the upcoming elections. We’ve said that the upcoming elections are an important step in Iraq’s future – that we will work with whoever the leader is of Iraq.

QUESTION: But also, the U.S. was really instrumental and sort of crafting the constitution. And he specifically addressed Article 142, which remains to be a very decisive article among all Iraqis. Would the U.S. also provide technical and legal advice on how to amend that article?

MS. HARF: I don’t think we need to tell the Iraqis what to do with their own constitution. Obviously, we provide a range of diplomatic and political, military advice to the Iraqis, but I just don’t have anything more on that.

al-Nujaifi also touched on elections today.  Missy Ryan (Reuters) reports:

Usama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni, said in an interview during a visit to Washington that he feared attempts to discourage voting or "provoke the situation" in Sunni areas, or to sideline certain would-be candidates, were designed "to weaken Sunni representation in parliament."
He also warned that poor security could pose problems for the parliamentary polls, scheduled for April 30.
"If the security conditions worsen, the elections could be postponed (or) if they are held, they will take place under inappropriate conditions," he said.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Earlier this week, Stan wrote "Syria" about the US government's desire to go to war on Syria and Barack's lies.  Stan noted:

It really amazes me that Barack got away with lying about Syria and the 'killed their own people!' Yes, we pushed back and may have helped stop the attack but no one really notes those lies of Barack's today.
And remember that when Seymour Hersh wrote about the lies, his own magazine, "The New Yorker," refused to publish it as did the "Washington Post."  He had to go to "The London Review of Books" to get  "Whose Sarin?" published.

To Stan's strong post, we can add a strong column.

"The Obama Administration's Orwellian Subterfuge on Syria" (Amaju Baraka, CounterPunch):

There is one thing that the so-called peace conference on Syria is guaranteed to achieve and that is that when the last speech is made and the delegates leave the hall, the grotesque bloodletting and devastation will continue for the people of Syria. Why? Because for the Obama Administration, the diplomatic process was never intended to bring about a peaceful resolution to the war. Its main purpose was always to affect their main strategic objective – the removal of President Bashir al-Assad from power and the disappearance of Syria as an independent state.
Fidelity to this goal continues to drive U.S. policy. U.S. strategists care little about the fact that, in their quest to oust the Syrian President, they have created an unholy alliance between the U.S. and its Wahhabi allies from Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda as their “boots on the ground.” It is an alliance that ensures that, should the Al-Assad government fall, the Syrian people will either live under totalitarian fundamentalist Wahhabi rule or see their country disappear as a coherent state and into warring factions.
By juxtaposing U.S. rhetoric that expresses concerns for democracy, pluralism and the human rights of the Syrian people with actual U.S. decisions, we see a dramatic illustration of the astonishing hypocrisy of U.S. policies. The Obama Administration understood the scale of human suffering it would unleash in Syria by arming, funding, training and providing political support for the opposition—opposition that it moved from a non-violent protest movement to a violent insurgency, as part of its larger geo-strategic plan for the region.
That is why commitment to regime change, rather than to a peace based on Syrian realities and the needs of the Syrian people, is the price of admission to this week’s conference in Montreux, Switzerland. It is a conference that it would be more accurate to call a ‘war conference’ rather than a ‘peace conference’ due to U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s insistence on keeping the scope of the conference confined to the terms of the Geneva I communique, which calls for a political transition in Syria.

That is right.  The whole 'talks' are a joke and a pretense.  This is about getting rid of Bashar al-Assad and that's all it's ever been about.

People seem to forget that was the point in the Bully Boy Bush years as well.  They seem to forget all the accusations that flew and Bully Boy Bush closing down the US Embassy in Syria.

More and more, it becomes clear that the US government -- no matter who heads it -- has no interest in Syria or the Syrian people, no desire to improve anyone's lot in the Middle East.

US foreign policy in the Middle East remains to destroy it.

That is clear by the actions.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, June 22, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's assault on Anbar continues, more families are displaced in Anbar, the use of collective punishment, we look at the silence on Anbar, we note how Alice Walker managed to leave the Cult of St. Barack and regain her voice, and more.

Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, continues his assault on Anbar Province.  And where are the people around the world objecting?  Falluja's electrical grid has been destroyed (by the Iraqi military), this week has seen a school bombed (by the Iraqi military),  Iraq Times notes that Nouri's assault on Anbar has displaced over 22,000 families.

And this is treated as a misfortune and how sad but . . . No, not a misfortune.  The Anbar residents are victims of War Crimes.  Monday, Aswat al-Iraq quoted MP Mohammed Iqbal Omar (he's with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's Mutahidoun bloc) noting the military was responsible for the deaths, that the mission remains "vague" and he called for this "tragic" assualt to cease and for a political solution to be worked out.

Applause to him.  But I'm not talking about Iraqis right now.  I'm not talking about the cowardly and cowed press (I'm sorry AFP but when you had journalist arrested just months ago, you should have made a news report and not buried it -- you risk your own lives and everyone else's when you respond to Nouri's thuggery with silence). I'm not talking about the disappointing and lying US government.

I'm talking about the people of this world.  This site started in November 2004.  The second assault of Falluja began shortly after.  We called it out.  Like we call out this one.

But in 2004, we weren't the only ones calling out the terrorizing of the Iraqi people.

Where are those voices today?

Leslie Cagan, was United for Peace and Justice nothing but an ego trip for you?  Noam Chosky, you know this is wrong and you've given one trivial and useless interview after another in recent weeks but never stopped to call out what's happening in Anbar.  CODEPINK, I call you "CODESTINK" and you get mad and your itty bitty feelings are all hurt.  You tell me repeatedly when Medea Benjamin embarrasses herself and your organization that I'm "not being helpful" when I note it here.  I'm sorry, when are you helpful?  My role is the role of the critic.  It is clearly defined and I serve that purpose.  Your role is supposedly advocating for peace.  How do you do that when Medea rails against The Drone War but can't call out the person who oversees and continues it?  (That would be US President Barack Obama.)

Without Iraq, CODEPINK would never have been a media event.  They were a momentary joke with their FCC actions before the start of the illegal war.  It was about self-interest for them, their little media stunts.  That's how most people saw it, a bunch of bored people dressing in pink for attention.  And CODEPINK realized that which is why they basically dropped domestic issues.  (Illegal spying, et al, has to have an international aspect to appeal to CODEPINK today.)  They'd be nothing today without Iraq.  Protesting it gave them meaning, gave them stature, made them appear to be a serious organization.

Yet today they can't mention Iraq.  They refused to note it when, in the fall of 2012, Tim Aragno (New York Times) reported that Barack had sent "a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers [. . .] to Iraq to advise on contuerterrorism and help with intelligence." That was shameful and disgusting but it was on the eve of the 2012 presidential elections and CODEPINK are Cult of St. Barack.  That's why they never 'bird-dogged' then-Senator Barack Obama in their faux action.  It's why co-founder Jodie Evans was a bundler for Barack's 2008 campaign -- a detail she should have made public by CODEPINK in 2007.  They just finished two days of 'action' in Switzerland but couldn't stand up for the Iraqi people.

Cult of St. Barack is not fatal.  You can shake it and re-emerge as someone committed to peace.  March 9th of last year, Lyse Doucet (Newshour, BBC World Service) interviewed Alice Walker.  Excerpt.

Alice Walker: And you know, he charmed me, he held out this wonderful vision of a different way.  But we cannot have the different with with the same people and the same programs and the same destructiveness.  It's impossible. So I smile at my naivete in a way but I love it too.  I love that I have such a youthful hopefulness about the possibility of change. 

Lyse Doucet:  Well you wrote a letter to Obama when he came to power and you gave him some advice about how to work with the enemy.  And, of course, it was about that time that he got his Nobel Peace Prize.  Did he listen --

Alice Walker:  No.

Lyse Doucet:  -- to you advice?

Alice Walker:  No.  No.  I don't think he listens, really, to people like me.  I don't think he is the kind of person who pays that much attention to the masses actually.  I say that because I have a friend who actually ended up as part of his team but was soon kicked out because he was probably too truthful and too radical.  And one of the things he came back to tell us was that in the inner circle in the White House they don't think that they get into positions of power because people, you know, masses of people protest and demonstrate and, you know, vote.  They think they get there because people pay a lot of money to get them there. And so that's who they listen to. So, I think we've been, you know, naive in our desperate desire to have leadership that will change things.

Lyse Doucet:  But now he has several more years.  Do you have any hope that in his second term he could pursue the kind of changes that you and others like you believe should happen?

Alice Walker:  I don't think he's powerful enough.  I don't think one person can do all of that and I also think that he's more like a CEO rather than like the person who actually has the power to make decisions that will change things very much. 

Lyse Doucet:  Do you see him as someone who came to change the system and then the system changed him?

Alice Walker:  I don't know if he actually came into power to change the system.  He said he was going to make changes but I think he listens much more to bankers and to people that are not us, not the masses of the people and the poets.  And I must say, I think it's fatal not to listen to women, children and poets.  

Lyse Doucet:  He seems -- He says he listens to poets, poets like you, poets like Maya Angelou, he invites them to his great moments.

Alice Walker:  Well he invites them.  He doesn't invite me.  I have never been invited.  And I understand why he would think twice about doing that because I probably wouldn't go because I see the use of drone warfare as criminal and so I think it is a criminal act.  I think that the presidents before him were criminals.  And I think that they've made war on-on humanity and on the planet and they should be actually brought to justice for these things.

Lyse Doucet:  You may remember that ten years ago this week, you were arrested outside the White House where you were protesting against the war in Iraq.  And yet at that moment, you and Barack Obama, before he came to power, agreed more or less on the war in Iraq.

Alice Walker:  Well he said he was on our side but he didn't stop the war.  And even though they have withdrawn some troops, there are still tons of Americans there and their job now seems to be what the plan was all along which was to administer the oil fields.  And I came from people in the south who struggled very hard for decency and goodness and who believed in justice and who worked very hard to change an evil system of apartheid in the United States so there's no way that I can feel that this is good and what he, as the head of this country, seems to be about. 

Alice Walker survived the Cult of St. Barack and re-emerged with her own voice intact.  Others could do the same if they so desired.

In the interview, Alice notes, "We cannot sanction the destruction of people anywhere."

And she's right.  So why are so many today silent as Anbar is terrorized?

This is not about justice or even about terrorism.

The Boston Marathon Bombing took place April 15, 2013.  The US government didn't respond by shelling Cambridge and bombing Watertown.  Since when do you respond to act of crime by sending in the military to attack the people and their homes, schools, cities and towns?

You don't do that.

A good leader, as opposed despot like Nouri, does everything he or she can to ensure the safety of the people.  But Nouri is not a legitimate leader.  First the Bully Boy Bush administration insisted he be made prime minister in 2006 and then, despite the votes of the Iraqi people, the Barack Obama administration insisted that he have a second term in 2010.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Al-Monitor) speaks with Shi'ite politician Adil Abdul-Mahdi who was Vice President of Iraq.  In 2006, he and Tareq al-Hashemi were Iraq's two vice presidents; in 2010 he and al-Hashemi were again named Vice Presidents and, in 2011, Khondair al-Khozaei was named a third vice president, weeks later Abdul-Mahdi resigned his post in protest of the ongoing corruption and other issues.  He is a member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (led by Ammar al-Hakim) and he has often been mentioned as potential prime minister -- most often in 2005 and 2006.

Al-Monitor:  What is a decision taken by Maliki that you wished he had not taken or thought it wiser that he postponed taking?

Abdul-Mahdi:  His candidacy for a second term. I hoped that the principles of power rotation be better promoted, particularly considering that Mr. Maliki and the State of Law Coalition failed to receive the preponderance of votes and never had a parliamentary majority, even after they formed an alliance with the Supreme Council, the Sadrist movement and the remaining National Coalition forces that formed the National Alliance. He did not garner the majority of votes until after the Kurdistan Alliance and the Iraqiya bloc endorsed him following long months of complications and secret deals that were detrimental to him and the state during his second term, causing it to become more complex than it was during the first term. For, to rule during his second term, he had to disrupt the legislative and oversight role played by parliament. … And he reneged on the Erbil Agreement, leading to a period of complex conflicts that even reached the ranks of the National Alliance. The country then entered a period when it was ruled through a cult of personality, militarization, a system of quotas and the manufacture of new crises without solving older ones first. … The post and office cannot be of utmost importance. If each of us always claimed that others were wrong and we were always right, and never realized that right and wrong are subjective and not an objective reality, we would disrupt any possibility for change and the opportunity to discover the potential of others. This makes the battle for the premiership a complex one, akin to facing a military coup every time [elections are held]. … But in fact, it is a natural and simple process predicated on the majority that will be formed in parliament. In his capacity as a leader who gained his mandate and legitimacy through free and direct elections, I would have hoped that Mr. Maliki would have become a role model in this regard. Doing so would not have only benefited the country, it would have also been beneficial for his legacy, in accordance with the popular saying that states, “Look at the actions of others and realize how good mine are.” The halo of quarrelsome personalities and leaders would thus fade, to be replaced by agendas and actions, the goodness and usefulness of which could be clearly seen by the people, who would fight to maintain them through democratic means.

He's an artificial 'leader.'  He was never chosen by the people.  He remains an illegitimate leader and illegitimate leaders will always use violence against the people to maintain a hold on power.

A real leader would have listened.  A real leader would have honored power-sharing agreements (like The Erbil Agreement).  A real leader would have listened to the protesters in 2011 instead of lying that if they'd leave the streets, he'd end corruption in 100 days!  He didn't end it.  He doesn't even care about it anymore.  The protests started back up December 21, 2012 and they continue.

He doesn't want to meet the protesters demands.  He doesn't want to inspire or lead.  He just wants to destroy.

Abdulaziz al-Mahmoud (Peninsula) explains:

After about a year of peaceful protests in Al Anbar province, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri Al Maliki, has sent army troops to end the sit-in by force.
The troops, as always, were holding sectarian flags and shouting chants of revenge for Al Hussein ibn Ali’s death by Yazid bin Muawiya and his allies, so they killed, burned and captured a large number of people.
Consequently, as an already known spontaneous reaction, residents of Al Anbar wielded weapons to defend their lives, homes and dignity. As a result, Iran immediately declared that it supported Al Maliki in his war against terrorism and that it was ready to send him necessary support.
The US declared the same thing; it even rushed weapons Al Maliki had asked for. The United Nations Security Council, the UN Secretary-General and the Arab League adopted the same stance.
What is this nonsense?
Is it possible that all these parties do not know that Sunnis in Iraq are suffering under a savage and sectarian regime, which works its fingers to the bone to humiliate, marginalise, displace, impoverish and exclude them, using every villainous way created by a sadistic and ruthless mind? Has Iran begun reaping the fruits of its long stand-off with the US?

And the office of the European Union's Struan Stevenson issued the following:

“Iraq is plummeting rapidly towards civil war and genocide,” according to a senior EU lawmaker Struan Stevenson, a Conservative Euro MP from Scotland who chairs the European Parliament’s important Delegation for Relations with Iraq. Stevenson says that an onslaught against supposed Al Qaeda terrorists in 6 Iraqi Provinces is no more than a cover for the “annihilation of Sunnis opposed to the increasingly sectarian Shia policies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.”

Speaking from Scotland Struan Stevenson said:

“When I visited Iraq in November I met with many of the leading Sunnis who had organised protests and demonstrations against Maliki in Anbar and Kirkuk and other Sunni Provinces. I also met with the Grand Mufti, one of only 2 religious leaders of the Sunnis in Iraq. All of them told me in detail how they were under constant attack by Maliki’s forces and how often these forces would be infiltrated by highly-trained assassins from Iran, who could be identified easily because they spoke Farsi rather than Arabic. They told me how thousands of Sunnis have been killed in these attacks and how Sunni Imams and mosques were being ruthlessly targeted.
“Maliki’s determined efforts to eradicate all leading Sunnis from the Iraqi government, including trumped-up charges of terrorism against the leading humanitarian, Vice President of Iraq Tariq al-Hashemi, has led to an upsurge of protests which have continued for more almost two years. The last straw was the violent arrest of the senior Sunni MP and Chair of the Iraqi Parliament’s Economics committee – Dr Ahmad Alwani – on 28th December, when an assault force of 50 armoured vehicles, helicopter gunships and hundreds of heavily armed troops massacred 9 members of his family and arrested him and over 150 of his staff on baseless charges of terrorism. Dr Alwani has been a key critic of Maliki and of Iranian meddling in Iraq.
“Just as I was told in November, Maliki’s ploy, aided and abetted by the mullahs in Iran, is to label all of the Sunnis as terrorists, claiming that they are active members of Al Qaeda. In fact I have been assured that there are no foreigners involved in the uprisings in the 6 SunniProvinces. Although some Al Qaeda jihadists had infiltrated Ramadi in al-Anbar Province, near the Syrian border, they were quickly driven out by the locals. The people who have now taken up arms against Maliki’s forces are ordinary Iraqi citizens, forced to defend themselves against a ruthless dictator. Shamefully, the Obama administration has fallen for this ploy and supplied Maliki with, 75 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles which are now raining down on his own people in Ramadi and other Sunni cities. 10 reconnaissance drones are expected to follow in March, with a further 48 drones and the first of a batch of F-16 fighter jets later in the year.
“The Americans seem unable to accept the fact that their blundering intervention in Iraq has so far led to over 1 million Iraqi deaths, changed that oil-rich nation into a virtual basket-case and simply replaced the brutal Saddam Hussein with another corrupt and bloody dictator in Nouri al-Maliki. Providing him with US arms to wage outright war on the Sunni minority in Iraq, as the Iranian mullahs cheer from the side-lines, will solve nothing and will certainly lead to civil conflict. The only solution is to remove Maliki from office and replace him with a non-sectarian government of all the people, which respects freedom, democracy, human rights, women’s rights and the rule of law and stops the growing interference from Tehran. Even senior Shias whom I met in Iraq have voiced their concern over Maliki’s malign regime.
For the Americans to hide behind Maliki’s lies and fabrications that Al Qaeda terrorists have taken over Ramadi and Fallujah and other Sunni cities will pave the way to the genocide of Iraq’s Sunni population.”
On behalf of Mr Struan Stevenson MEP

Where are the Americans speaking out for the residents of Anbar?  

John Feffer writes another ridiculous piece (click here for Foreign Policy In Focus -- we're not linking to The Nation).  He never condemns the assault on Anbar.  This is a heavily populated province and Nouri's launching US-provided Hellfire missiles, it's bombing cities and towns, it's launching mortar attacks on cities and towns, it's prevented aid from reaching the province and so much more.  Feffer manages to mention Anbar -- but only in relation to 'al Qaeda.'

The reason that so many on the pathetic left could not call out the assault on Afghanistan was because toss out the words 'al Qaeda' and suddenly they lose their spine.  But the attack on Afghanistan destroyed lives -- and continues to do so.

If 10% of the population of Anbar was established to be al Qaead or al Qaeda linked, that still wouldn't justify the attacks.  There is no justification.  There is never a justification for collective punishment which is why it's classified as a War Crime.

The Latin American Herald Tribune reports, "Security forces killed more than 60 suspected terrorists in a 24-hour period, Iraqi authorities said Wednesday."  Suspected terrorists?  Well, the killers never tell the truth, do they?  Look at all of Barack Obama's claims that his Drone War only kills 'terrorists.'

Feffer writes another ignorant and ill-informed commentary.  At one point, he writes:

“From 2006 to 2008, tribesmen were able to beat Al Qaeda with the cooperation of American forces and the support of the Iraqi government,” Sunni politician Osama al-Nujaifi told The New York Times. “After gaining victory over Al Qaeda, those tribesmen were rewarded with the cutting of their salaries, with assassination and displacement.” Many Iraqis complain that the United States has not done enough to pressure the al-Maliki government to heal the rift with the country’s Sunni minority.

Do you see a problem?

In 2008, was Nancy Pelosi billed as "a Democrat politician" by the press?  No, she was billed with her title: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Today, she's billed as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Osama al-Nujaifi is a Sunni politician.  He's also Speaker of Parliament.  So if you're only going to reference him once in your article, you go with, "Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi."

Nouri's assault on Anbar continues with NINA noting military helicopters continue to bomb Falluja and Ramadi.  Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports that Anbar MPs say Nouri is attempting to extend the assault on Anbar up through the April 30th parliamentary elections.  MP Hamid al-Mutlaq notes a government acting wisely would have avoided a military campaign by listening to the cries of the protesters and granting concessions, would have avoided bombing cities by being in talks with the police and people of the city.  Nouri al-Ali al-Kilani (Kitbat) offers a column on how Nouri al-Maliki, and his double standards, endorse and breed sectarianism in Iraq.  He notes the thug and prime minister goes before the Iraqi people sullen and issues threats.

And the war's spreading to the airwaves and social media.  Al-Shorfa reports, "The local government in Iraq's Anbar province on Wednesday (January 22nd) announced the launch of a counter-terrorism radio station to raise awareness about threats posed by al-Qaeda and extremist groups."  And Omar al-Jaffal (Al-Monitor) reports:

The administrator of the Facebook page for Rayat Ahl al-Sunnah Fil-Iraq (Flag of the Sunnis in Iraq), which views the army as occupying Anbari cities to harass and oppress the population there, pleaded with the media to support the “battle of the people of Anbar against the army.” In an interview with Al-Monitor, he asserted, “The media has not dealt fairly with our cause. We established a page on Facebook so that we could tell the world what is happening in Anbar.”
The group's page has attracted a large number of supporters from among Sunni youths, who share the page’s view that Anbar's “cities are being brought to ruin by the army.”
On the other side of the online battle, the Facebook page for the Iraqi Electronic Army seeks to close down pages that call for fighting the army by informing Facebook administrators of abuses aimed at Iraqi national figures on them. The page administrator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al-Monitor, “Our page wages war against all the terrorist pages, from every sect and religion in Iraq.” He denied that his page had received “material support from any political faction in Iraq.” He said that it “communicates with all the soldiers of Anbar to relay word of what is happening on the ground there.”

And the signs of Nouri's leadership failure are all around.  Xinhua reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki on Wednesday said that the time has come to end al-Qaida presence in the city of Fallujah in the volatile province of Anbar, while four people were killed and nine wounded in violent attacks across the country.
"The time has come to settle this subject and end the presence of this gang in this city (Fallujah) to save its residents from their evil," Maliki said in his weekly televised speech to the nation.

"I ask the sons of this province, its tribes and notables and all who live there to be ready to take serious stands against those dirty people without casualties and without sacrifices," Maliki said without specifying a time for any action.

He didn't ask for his help when he started the assault, didn't even think about them.  But now that he's created yet another mess he can't clean up, he's dependent upon others to accomplish what he couldn't.

Again, Iraq Times notes that Nouri's assault on Anbar has displaced over 22,000 families.  Loveday Morris (Washington Post) reports from Karbala:

The plush accommodation halls on the outskirts of this southern Iraqi city, normally reserved for visiting Shiite pilgrims, now teem with displaced Sunnis fleeing violence in the Western province of Anbar.
There and elsewhere, sectarian tensions are brewing as Iraq spirals into the worst cycle of violence it has experienced in years. But here, in one of the holiest cities for Shiite Muslims, Sunni children play on brightly painted swings as families gather in the waning winter light beside clipped magnolia-lined lawns.

The refugees Nouri's assault has created should be seen as shocking and disgusting.  Iraq can't afford more displaced people and to ask the citizens of Anbar to live through Nouri's assault on the province is to ask a great deal of a province that's already suffered more than enough.  Hamza Mustafa (Ashraq Al-Awsat) reports:

The Anbar Provincial Council has formed a crisis unit ahead of a possible military raid on Fallujah in the hopes of resolving the conflict in the city peacefully.
Council head Sabah Karhout issued a statement Tuesday, saying: “Anbar has formed a crisis cell led by Governor Ahmad Al-Dulaimi,” adding: “The military solution will be the last resort if the ongoing negotiations between officials and tribal leaders fail.”

National Iraqi News Agency reports:

The Political Council in Kirkuk called on those who are described as the owners of the decision not to invade Fallujah to spare the blood of Iraqis and not to aggravate things.
Head of the Council , Sheikh Abdul Rahman Munshid al- Assi told / NINA / that "We appeal to the Prime Minister and the acting ministers of defense, interior and chief of staff , intelligence and the national security, that the responsibility is great in taking such decision to invade Fallujah and areas of the rest of Anbar .

Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 791 violent deaths for the month so far.  Today, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) notes, "Armed confrontations and roadside bombs made for a bloody day in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Wednesday, claiming the lives of at least 16 people -- including militants who died in a battle with the Iraqi army, police in Mosul said."  National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 fighters were shot dead in Tikrit, Nouri's federal police boasted they killed 10 suspects "in the area of Aljazeerah south of Mosul," indiscriminate military artillery shelling at Falluja left 1 person dead and two more injured, an Alaaskari bombing left three police officers injured, an Ein al-Jahesh Village roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and three more injured, a Mosul armed attack left 1 police officer dead and two more injured, a Baghdad shooting (Camp Sara area) left 1 person dead, a Baghdad shooting (Tarmiyah area) left one person injured, a southwest Baghdad mortar attack (Radwaniyah area) killed 1 person and left two people injured, 2 fighters were shot dead in Mousl, a Kirkuk shooting left SWAT officer Mohamed Kamel injured, and 1 corpse was discovered in Kirkuk (38-year-old male with "signs of torture and gunshot wounds"). All Iraq News notes 1 "Iraqi Army officer with a Major rank was kidnapped to the west of Ramadi city." 1  Alsumaria notes that late last night, 1 farmer was kidnapped in Tikrit with assailants then setting a house bomb which killed 1 woman and left five people injured.

We noted the death of Iraqi journalist Firas Mohammed Attiyah in Monday's snapshot.  Today the Guardian's Greenslade Blog noted the death and these details:

The bomb exploded as Attiyah accompanied a government patrol to a ceremony in the city of Khalidiya. Muayad Ibrahim, a journalist for Anbar TV, was also wounded in the incident.

They're wrong.  We were as well.  Despite early reports claiming the journalist was 'embedded' with the military at the time of his death, that is not correct.  Kitabat reports today that his news outlet has confirmed that Firas Mohammed Attiyah was not with the military when he died, he was enroute to Ramadi to meet with displaced families.

Yesterday, we noted the pretty spin AP put on Nouri's decision to carve up areas of Iraq (where he polls especially poorly and where the judiciary does not bend to his will) to create new provinces out of the city of Falluja, Tuz Khurmato and the Valley of Nineveh.

Alsumaria reports an emergency session was called today by Anbar's provincial council and that, yesterday, Kurdish MP Khalid Shwani called Nouri's efforts a flagrant violation of the Iraqi Constitution.  National Iraqi News Agency adds:

The head of the provincial council in Anbar, Sabah Karhut rhot confirmed that: "Fallujah is part of Anbar province, and cannot be a governorate at this time ."
He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / : "Anbar provincial council held an urgent meeting to discuss the government's decision to make the city of Fallujah a governorate without informing the local government officials in Anbar ."
He added : "The local government in Anbar have not contacted the central government to make Fallujah a province by itself, and this raised signs of surprise among officials in the province, in light of the security situation ."

Iraq Times also notes the surprise and quotes council member Suhaib al-Rawi stating that the proposal is strange and raises many questions. Strange that it raises so many questions and objections but AP missed all that and presented it as normal.

Not only is not normal, it's leading others to make requests.  NINA reports:

Hundreds of Khanaqin district of Diyala province , demanded the central government to transfer their district to a province in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
The head of the municipal council in Khanaqin said to NINA reporter ,that citizens believed that their demand is a legal and a constitutional entitlement.

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