Monday, June 30, 2008

Nothing to see here (with an update on the expectation of rose-petals and ecstatic dancing in the streets)

AlArabiya this morning says "the American forces postponed the turnover of the responsibilities of the security file in the governate of Diwaniya to the Iraqis", adding that the last that has been heard from the governor of the province was his announcement yesterday (Sunday June 29) of a curfew in order to provide better security for the transfer ceremony that was to take place today (Monday June 30). Diwaniya is south of Baghdad. The report notes that there are now nine provinces where security has been transferred to the Iraqis, namely the three in the Kurdish region in the north, and six in the South and Center (including of course Karbala, where American special forces, predawn Friday, without consultation with the Iraqi authorities, raided prime minister Maliki's homestead, killed a relative of his, and arrested another man).

The postponement of the turnover in Diwaniya follows on the heels of the indefinite postponement of the security turnover in Anbar, which was scheduled for Saturday June 28. So AlArabiya says Diwaniya was now expected to be the tenth, just as Anbar had been expected to be the tenth. In the Anbar case the Americans blamed sandstorms.

Nahrainnet also focuses on the Diwaniya case this morning, in a piece that starts like this:
There was a surprise announcement in Diwaniya this morning (the morning of Monday June 30) about the postponement of the security turnover in the province from to the government forces from the Americans. The local authorities started lifting the curfew at nine this morning--a curfew that they had imposed yesterday with the aim of providing better security conditions for the turnover ceremony! The announcement stressed the expression "postponement of the turnover until further notice", without mentioning any specific date!
The announcement didn't offer any justification for the postponement, but the reporter says the one being mentioned is bad weather, which he notes is a little hard to believe, considering the fact that (1) bad weather wasn't a surprise, but has been there for several days and (2) in any event, American occupation helicopters have been circling over the city Sunday evening and this morning.


AlSabaah, the newspaper that speaks for the dominant GreenZone parties, thought up until its Sunday-night deadline that this turnover ceremony was in fact going to take place. Here's the page one headline for the story in their Monday morning edition:
Iraqis receive today the security file for Diwaniya. Amid rejoicing and the official and popular welcome of Diwaniya--AlSabaah
And here's how the story begins:
Local authorities in Diwaniya imposed a curfew yesterday evening at six o'clock to get ready for the official ceremony, which it is expected that prime minister Nuri alMaliki will attend today, for the turnover of the security file for Diwaniya, from the multinational forces.
Perhaps there is a hint here. Maliki was expected to attend in person, and this would have involved in effect shaking hands with the American military authorities who presumably are responsible for the killing of Maliki's relative and the raiding of his homestead three days earlier (predawn Friday June 27). The point being that the statements of Iraqi authorities, so far uncontradicted from the American side, describe this has having been blatantly illegal--an extra-judicial killing, in other words. So it is possible that the "rejoicing" that AlSabaah referred turned out to be perhaps lacking.


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