Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Rania Khalek, Sarah Abdallah and Justin Raimondo

I hate Blogger/Blogspot.  I just lost my whole post and have to redo everything.  Their nonsense of automatic save is b.s.  Half the time, you're typing, the auot save kicks in while you're typing and it wipes out a paragraph or two.  I don't need autosave.  There should be feature that allows me to turn it off.  I did just fine before they ever started autosave.

Ed Hightower has a piece at WSWS on NETFLIX's awful special -- the one Ava and C.I. called out on July 8th, "MEDIA: Hannah Gadsby is the 21st century's Jimmy Swaggert."  I had a whole thing where I explained how important it was for people to do this and how I wish more would call out the hideous Hannah Gadsby -- she's not funny and she's full of hate. 

It's gone.  Sorry. 

I wrote about Justin Raimondo and how I was glad he was sharing news of his fight against cancer.

  1. I tweet about this in part to keep track of my symptoms, to make some record so I can relate them to my oncologist. I can see the pattern - and it's a story. This is after all a great experiment, an adventure. It's Keytruda -- the final frontier.
  2. A new Keytruda side-effect: stabbing joint pain. Other symptoms: looks like I'm entering a whole new phase of the battle. But I'm better off than I was last year.

Justin Raimondo is in my prayers.  I hope he wins his battle and I hope he knows how important ANTIWAR.COM and his work have been.

I have no sympathy for John McCain.

I can’t stay quiet while the entire political and media establishment whitewash John McCain’s warmongering. Please watch

I do not believe he deserves sympathy.  His victims do, but he doesn't.

John McCain championed the wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Bosnia, Kosovo, Ukraine and many more. Millions of innocents have been killed, maimed and displaced. But let’s just keep pretending he was all about “human rights” and “decency”.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, August 28, 2018.

AFP reports:

Iraq’s parliament will meet next week for its first session since May elections to choose a speaker and begin the process of forming a government, the outgoing president said Monday.

The inaugural session of the 329-seat chamber would be chaired by its oldest member, President Fuad Masum said in a decree calling for the sitting to take place on September 3.

Several thoughts.  First, this will be Labor Day in the United States.  If this was chosen because it will be a low level media day, they shouldn't have bothered.  The US media really doesn't pay attention to Iraq anymore.  But it is tradition for the Iraqi government to utilize US holidays to hide their actions (most infamously when the SOFA was signed on Thanksgiving Day in 2008 -- this was the SOFA Barack Obama had campaigned against and that the Democratic Party, at that time, was against.  By chance, just by mere chance, this controversial measure was carried out when most Americans were on holiday.)

Second, AFP goes on, in the article, telling people what will happen.  If you read the article, don't take it seriously.  AFP is basing that on the Iraqi Constitution.  However, the Iraqi Constitution has never been followed.

If the past is an indication, the September 3rd session will result in the naming of a Speaker of Parliament, a President of Iraq and a prime minister.  The latter is supposed to be a "prime minister-designate."  The press may bill it that way.  The Constitution says that's what the person is.  But the reality is that the Constitution is not followed.

Per the Iraqi Constitution, a person is named prime minister-designate and then has 30 days to form a Cabinet.  Failure to do so means that the Parliament names a new prime minister-designate.

That has never been followed.  And they've never named a Cabinet.

Naming a Cabinet means putting forward the nominees and getting Parliament to vote each into office.

That's a 30 day duty.  No one's ever done it and the Constitution has never been followed.

The point of the step is to prove that the prime minister-designate has leadership skills as in, "Look, s/he formed a Cabinet!  They can work with others!"

But the reality is that none of the past ones have been able to put together a Cabinet in 30 days and they instead put together a partial Cabinet which proves that they can't meet deadlines, they can't compromise and they can't work with others.

That's been apparent.

If this step were followed, as outlined by the Constitution, you might get real leaders.

For those who whine that it would mean "30 more days," uh, elections were held May 12th.  September 3rd the Parliament is meeting to begin forming a government.  Your concern over 30 more days seems a bit strange.

Again, do not be surprised if the September 3rd session, like all before it, names a Speaker, a president and also a prime minister ("prime minister-designate").  The behind the scenes horse trading irons these details out and the only time people have waited on a promised position was in 2010 and they got screwed.

I'm referring to Ayad Allawi.  Per the US-negotiated Erbil Agreement, a post was to be created for him that would be independent of Nouri al-Maliki.  Nouri agreed to it.  And then backed out on it.  It should have been announced on the day of the first session.  By not getting it announced and implemented at the first Parliament session (November 11, 2010), thug Nouri al-Maliki never had to honor it.  In fairness to Ayad Allawi, the US government negotiated The Erbil Agreement and then-US President Barack Obama personally assured him he would get the post.

For those who weren't paying attention in real time, this is from the November 11, 2010 snapshot:

Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports one hiccup in the process today involved Ayad Allawi who US President Barack Obama phoned asking/pleading that he accept the deal because "his rejection of post would be a vote of no confidence". Ben Lando, Sam Dagher and Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) confirm the phone call via two sources and state Allawi will take the post -- newly created -- of chair of the National Council On Higher Policy: "Mr. Obama, in his phone call to Mr. Allawi on Thursday, promised to throw U.S. weight behind the process and guarantee that the council would retain meaningful and legal power, according to the two officials with knowledge of the phone call."  

Barack said he'd throw the US weight behind the process?

Barack must throw like a toddler.  Because the post was never created.

What is not paid attention to by Americans is followed by Iraqi politicians and most have learned that you get what you want at that first Parliament session to form the government or you never get it.

If the session were held today, the Speaker would be Mohamed Rikan al-Halbusi.  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

The coalition [of Iraqi Forces]’s nominee to lead lawmakers in Baghdad, Halbusi, is a 36-year-old engineer from the predominantly Sunni province of Anbar in western Iraq.
He will be the youngest person in Iraq’s history to become speaker if he is elected during the first session of parliament which has to be held before Sep. 03, 15 days after the Supreme Court’s ratification of the final results of the May 12 election.

Halbusi is the incumbent governor of Anbar Province and a member of the al-Hal block, led by businessman Jamal Karbouli.

Today, he is the intended.  That may be true on September 3rd as well but in Iraqi politics, surprises sometimes pop up.

Again, a great deal of horse trading has taken place and is taking place.  The smart ones won't worry about getting it in writing (getting The Erbil Agreement in writing helped no one) but will instead demand immediate announcements.  It appears the Kurdish politicians never learn.

MENAFN reports that they have agreed to the government formation deal with a condition:

The condition has been unveiled by Jamal Kojar, a leading member of the alliance and a member of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, during an interview with Anadolu Agency.

Kojar added that the alliance also demands "constitutional entitlements related to article 140, oil, border crossings and salaries of the [Kurdish] Peshmerga forces."

Article 140?  The same article Nouri agreed to implement in 2010 in order to get their backing for his second term as prime minister?  The same article that he then hedged his bets on saying he needed a little more time (after being named prime minister-designate) before completely trashing?

You have to marvel over Kurdish politicians who repeatedly think a promise is a promise when their entire history has been having their trust betrayed and no promises honored.

Despite what they think has been agreed to this go round, RUDAW reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday his Nasr (Victory) Alliance will not discuss the subject of Kirkuk with Kurdish political parties “in return for joining the four-party alliance to form the largest bloc,” according to Iraqi media.

His comments contradict earlier remarks from a senior member of Abadi’s party suggesting possible concessions on Kirkuk – particularly the return of Peshmerga to the disputed city.

As RUDAW noted last spring:

Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution calls for the normalization of areas it refers to as disputed, to be followed by a referendum on whether or not those regions want to be part of the Kurdistan Region.

According to the constitution, the article should have been implemented by the end of 2007, yet so far no referendum has been conducted regarding this issue.

Do you grasp what's happening?  The Kurds are asking for the Iraqi Constitution to be followed.  It's already in there, in writing.  It was supposed to have been implemented no later than December 2007.  Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister then and refused to implement.  That was during his first term.  He promised he would implement it in his second term (to get the Kurds to sign off on The Erbil Agreement) but then broke that promise.  They had to get him to promise to follow the Constitution he took an oath to follow.  Do you get how absurd this is?

Or how the Kurds have been far too trusting?

The article has still not been implemented.

One of the biggest hold ups has been objections from the US government.  The strategy has been kick-the-can.  When overseeing the writing of the Iraqi Constitution, the US government thought that Iraq would have a stable government supported by its people shortly and then could implement the article.  All these years later, the article is not implemented because it could split the still tentative puppet government.

The opening up of Iraq’s enormous verified oil reserves to foreign expertise in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein was hailed as the means to kickstart its economy and potentially transform the south into an economic stronghold. Instead, ordinary Iraqis have seen little or no benefit from the proceeds of the country’s multibillion-dollar oil industry, much of which has been siphoned off by corrupt politicians. Across the south in recent months, simmering anger over corruption and unemployment has been fuelled by the dire state of public services, regular power cuts and water shortages.
Once there was a time when the Bani-Mansour land, not far from where the Tigris and Euphrates meet, had water and more than 300,000 palm trees, villagers said. Large numbers of buffaloes and cows cooled themselves in the green muddy waters of its canals.
But drought and the intrusion of saltwater from the Gulf have wiped out most of the palm groves, the cattle have been sold, local rivers have dried up and the canals have stagnated, clogged with rubbish. Corruption and mismanagement on the part of local and central government, both dominated by a kleptocracy of religious parties that have ruled Iraq for more than a decade, has exacerbated a slow-motion environmental disaster.
The oil companies, which are supposed to train and hire a workforce from local populations and invest back into development projects, are forced to hire those with connections to powerful tribal sheikhs and the Islamist parties. Funds for those populations rarely materialise and almost none of the oil revenuestrickle down to the population. Meanwhile, local militias with links to clans and political parties have formed their own companies, which land lucrative security contracts with subsidiaries of foreign oil firms.
In the eyes of the local villagers, the heavy traffic rumbling along the narrow road has become a daily reminder of the contrast between the boundless wealth lying underneath their homes and the abject poverty above ground.

The corruption.  It allows officials and politicians to steal the Iraqi money.  It means few jobs for the Iraqi people.  It means lousy public services.  Especially in Basra, it means lousy public services.

I call on Sheikh Mohammed Al-Kasnazan and the people of Iraq to join the humble water aid initiatives in and to help the people of . When governments divide, humanity unites.
In response to and statements, downplaying the toxic water situation and poison cases in by stating that it was “only 1,500” poison cases, Iraqi artists made a video to show the value of life in .
A call for journalists and those interested in Iraq: protesters invite you to join them on September 9th for their largest demonstration, which will include the annual service processions of Muharram and Safar months.

Iraq's water ministry reported that the percentage of dissolved salts had recently reached 7,500 tds (total dissolved solids) in Shatt al-Arab waterway, Basra’s main source of drinking water. According to the WHO, drinking water should not exceed 1,200 tds
Facebook status from : "Basra gave blood and now wants water."
Basra is one of the beautiful cities in South of Iraq. It is the economical capital of Iraq because it is rich in oil. Their people are suffering bcz of the Intoxication in water supply
Reports shows that more than 14,000 people are poisoned in province in due to contaminated water in the city. Photo source unknown
  • I remember well a trip to Basra in 2013, interviewing a range of local officials about potable water issues, and plans for addressing what even then was obviously a growing problem. Lack of coordination and any sort of strategic tackling of the problem was striking then.
    Activists: The chemical and biological contamination have increased in the water in Basra , at very serious rates, amid warnings of widespread cases of poisoning and skin diseases among people due to the lack of potable water which is suitable for human consumption.
    A powerful video illustrating the story of , its wealth, living conditions, corruption, protests, government violence, toxic water, poison cases...and the talent of the Iraqi youth (I am proud of you Ahmad Alsaad).
    Despite repeated warnings problems with clean water,electricity & sanitation are simply due to bad governance & miss rule.

    Basra is facing what looks like a health epidemic due to unsanitary water, International aid organizations should look into the hospitals in ,Iraq and assist in any shape possible. Thousands have had variation of stomach illness in the past few days, please help
    The Commission for Human Rights in Iraq:Thousands of poisoning cases have been recorded due to water pollution in Basra,which is witnessing serious conditions as a result of salinity &pollution in the water;without any government action equivalent to the the disaster.
    Providing Clean Water for Basra Who’s Responsibility?
    Appeal from all civilians living in Basra city: Up to date, more than 6000 civilians are poisoned with the polluted water in Basra. In addition to the horrifying conditions of daily life and...
    No water 💦 cleaning 2500 peoples are posing by dirty water


     Protesters poured into the streets and picketed oil fields in southern Iraq amid growing discontent over the government’s failure to combat unemployment, provide drinkable water or guarantee a steady electricity supply to power the air conditioning needed to survive the country’s grueling August heat.
    Having largely eliminated the threat of Islamic State and cooled — for now — separatist pressures in the Kurdish enclave in the north, the central government ironically finds the greatest challenge to its authority from the Shiite-dominated south, where the failure to provide basic services, infrastructure and economic development have many fuming.
    “We closed the main roads leading to the [al-Qurna] gas field as a way to put pressure on the government because the provincial council did not keep their promise to negotiate with us after the police killed a student here,” said Ali Taha, 25, a trainee at Petroleum Institute in the southern port city of Basra.

    The following sites updated: