Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Latest news (with an update)

In the course of an interview with AlHayat printed yesterday, (Monday May 12) the head of the security and defence committee of parliament, who is also the head of the Badr Organization, Hadi al-Amiri said this:
With respect to the Awakening Councils, which have been formed and continue to be formed by the American army, Al-Amiri disclosed that "there is an agreement that the members of the Awakening Councils will not exceed 60,000, and that only 20,000 of them will be taken up by the organizations of the army and the police as individual members, and not as sects, and distributed according to the organization of the army and the police".

And he said that the American army's continued creation of Awakening Councils is a matter private to themselves, the Iraqi government bears no responsibility for the consequences [tabaat: the same word has the sense of "responsibility for consequences"] either material or moral from that, except for the creation of employment opportunities for them.
(If anyone is in a position to wake up any of the Democratic party policy-groupies, please let him or her know that the Badr Corp chief says Petraeus has a free hand and is continuing to form and deputize new armed groups, contrary to the idea that America is extricating itself from this process. You could also refer them to the series of posts here on what's happening in Diyala prefecture in particular).


On the same theme of promotion of domestic discord, this morning's Azzaman leads its top story as follows:
Head of the Iraqi government Nuri al-Maliki has gone back on his promise to the people of the city of Mosul, second-biggest city in Iraq, not to target its people in the military campaign. The forces executing these operations, and associated with the leadership, have arrested 150 Iraqi officers, many of them medical and engineering and administrative officers who had been in the former Iraqi army, in an operation that was described by the Council of Ninawa Tribes, in a special meeting last evening, as an operation of revenge against those who participated in actions that their duty and their country required during the war between Iraq and Iran.
The tribal council went on to say that the former military people in Mosul were expecting to rejoin the service so as to do their part in fending off the scourge of AlQaeda, but instead have been surprised by this wave of arrests of the elite, which they described as state terror.

(UPDATE:The Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) describes the arrests as follows:
On the third day of the operation being undertaken by the joint forces of the occupation and the government and the militias of the parties that belong to the government, along with the forces of the Kurdish Peshmerga and what are called the Awakening Councils, these forces arrested over 120 officers of the former Iraqi army, including those who were in military manufacturing in the former government, most of them living in the Arab section of Mosul. And likewise these forces arrested a number of university professors and students in an arbitrary fashion in various areas of Mosul.

The arrest of this elite group, with the participation of militias and forces answering to political trends and sects, in the second-biggest city in Iraq, constitutes a clear demonstration showing that this military campaign has a dimension beyond what has been announced and that its objective is to wipe out those citizens of the governate who reject what the occupation has brought with it, and its backers, and it targets military and civilian expertise...)
Earlier reports have described the Arabs of Mosul as primarily concerned about Peshmerga participants exploiting the campaign to help extend Kurdish influence. Instead the first complaints we hear since the declaration of the campaign's start on Saturday (May 10) is that the campaign is being used by the Iranian trained Badr organization to settle accounts dating from the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 (Azzaman) and a more general accusation from AMSI to the effect the campaign is targeting anti-occupation and national-expertise groups as a whole.

(RTI notes that there was a report several months ago to the effect one of the campaign leaders was approaching the local Baath party trying to arrange cooperation, something that has obviously turned out to be a campaign of arrests instead).

On the other side of the coin, there are efforts, less-publicized because non-violent, to reaffirm pan-Iraqi solidarity and unity. Today, for instance, Aswat al Iraq reports on a visit by 144 tribal leaders from the provinces of Salahaddin and Diyala (both north of Baghdad) to a major shrine in Karbala, a visit with an entirely symbolic purpose. The article concludes:
One of the Diyala sheikhs, Rashid al-Hamid al-Maraha, said "There are a number of tribal sheikhs who wished to visit Karbala to announce that Iraq is one. With this visit to the doorstep of the Husseiniya, on behalf of the people of Diyala, Shia and Sunni, we announce to the whole world our unity. Among us are leaders of the tribes of Dulaim, and of the Abeed, and the Bani Tamim, and the Izzat, none of them representing any party or sect, but only representing Iraqi unity."
How do these two worlds relate, that of the arming of new sectarian groups by Petraeus and the settling of accounts by the Badr and so on, on the one side, and the dream of Iraqi unity on the other? If you can get a pulse in any of the Democratic-party policy experts, tell them this is the issue, that in involves the US ending its harmful involvement in this, and they had better come to grips with it soon, lest they and their party end up as partners and successors in the shame and the disgrace of what has been done so far.


Blogger NonArab-Arab said...

A bit of historical background you may already be aware of but just in case you weren't: the army comments have special resonance in Mosul as it has long been an "Army town". A lot of officers retired and had their home base there. A demographic that remains significant to this day to the best of my knowledge and which your quote/translation certainly would seem to back up.

3:01 AM  

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