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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Iraq parliament delays US security pact

Vote postponed until Thursday, legislators call for pact to be dependent on national referendum in 2009




Foreign Correspondent on Malaysia's dirty politics.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

US-Iraq: What's the deal?

There has been 2 EUPHEMISMS of late, regarding the original SOFA (Status  of  Forces Agreement) as it was originally called, now the American main stream media have been calling it a SECURITY PACK while the Iraqi main stream media call it a WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT. 

Michael Schwartz deconstructs the US-Iraq security pact:
In the first part of this series, professor Michael Schwartz, author of a recent new book on the Iraq war, examines the twists and turns of the Bush administrations' rush to have a security pact approved by the Iraqi Parliament before Bush leaves office.





Sunday, November 23, 2008

Barak Hussein Obama Jr. possible team of administrators

There are several names mentioned here.

It was reported that so far only Hillary Rodham Clinton had accepted her nomination as the Secretary of states.

Bill Richardson is said to be the next Commerce Secretary - official.

Timothy Geithner - Treasury Sec.

Lawrence Summers - Leader of the National Economic Council.

Eric Holder - Attorney General.

Tom Deschle - Sec. of health & human services.

Janet Napolitano - Homeland Security Sec.

General James Jones - likely to be the National Security Adviser.

source : AOL

Clinton Accepts US Secretary of State Post

22/11/2008 The New York Times quoted aides to New York Senator Hilary Clinton as saying that she has accepted President elect Barak Obama’s offer to become the top US diplomat. 'She's ready,' one of them said.

The New York Times said Clinton came to her decision after additional discussions with Obama about the nature of her role as the top US diplomat and his plans for foreign policy.

Democratic Party sources have said Clinton was on track to be nominated, with an official announcement expected after the Nov. 27 Thanksgiving holiday.

Clinton has been rumored for weeks to be the top candidate for the job and has been going through an extensive vetting process by the Obama transition team, along with her husband and former president Bill Clinton.

Once Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton met the president-elect last week in Chicago to first discuss the possibility of her taking on the role of the top US diplomat.

Policy analysts say her selection as secretary of state could mean a more hawkish US stance, noting that she has been more reluctant than Obama to commit to a firm timetable for withdrawing US troops from Iraq.

NBC news meanwhile also reported two other key Obama appointments: New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as commerce secretary. NBC said official announcements on the appointments were expected on Monday.

source : almanar


Iraqi parliament to vote on SOFA

22/11/2008 The Iraqi parliament will vote on Wednesday on a controversial pact negotiated with Washington that would see US occupation forces leave the war-torn country by the end of 2011, its speaker said on Saturday.

"The debate has finished and the vote will take place on Wednesday," Mahmud Mashhadani said after a seven-hour session of parliament during which about 40 MPs expressed their views.

If the three main blocs, Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, can agree a joint position, the vote could even take place before Wednesday, he added.

On Saturday, Kurds spoke out about differences they have with the government while other MPs appear divided amongst themselves on the proposed Status of Forces Agreement. "Errors were committed during the negotiations which were conducted without transparency and with neither parliament nor the people being kept informed," said a leader of the 53-member Kurdish Alliance parliamentary faction.

His comments appeared to put at risk the group's previous support for the agreement.

On Friday, thousands of Sadrists gathered in Baghdad to protest the security pact. The crowds swarmed into central Baghdad's Firdoos Square. The protestors hung an effigy of US President George W. Bush from the abstract statue that now stands in the center of the square.

Source : almanar

Someone must be held accountable for the war in Iraq

The Iraqi people’s human and civil rights were - and remain -swept aside by the occupation.

By Burhan Al-Chalabi.

The U.S. Presidential Election has sent a clear and unequivocal message to the world. The American people have rejected the foreign and domestic policies of President George W. Bush.

In Britain, the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, found his position unsustainable and resigned, leaving the invasion of Iraq and its awful consequences as his political legacy. The new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has talked about the need to be open and transparent in order to win the trust of the British public, but has so far shown no sign of addressing or redressing his predecessor’s failed policies in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. The military occupation of Iraq and the exploitation of its vast mineral wealth continue unabated.

To justify the invasion of and war against Iraq, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair cited two violations by the Iraqi regime: of human rights and of UN Security Council resolutions passed just before and after the first Gulf War of 1991. The purpose of the war, it was claimed, was to hold the Iraqi regime accountable under international law.

But by invading Iraq, the U.S. Administration and the British Government were themselves violating UN resolutions and international law, as stated in the Report by Lord Bingham, the Law Lord, and published in the Guardian on 18th November 2008. The Iraqi people’s human and civil rights were ---and remain---swept aside by the acts of war and the continuing fact of occupation. . . . . read more

Public Forum : “Iraq war was illegal. Get real and stop lying!”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Report: US Uses Aid to Promote Non-Humanitarian Goals

The Development Assistance Research Associates (DARA) Humanitarian Response Index 2008 measures how effectively the world's 23 largest donors deliver aid. The United States ranked 15th in overall effectiveness and only 13th in the level of generosity measured by the size of its economy.

But it ranked near the bottom, 22nd, when it came to adherence to principles and guidelines established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to ensure that political considerations don't exclude worthy recipients of aid.

DARA's findings reflect what it called the United States' use of humanitarian assistance to achieve military or political goals in eight crisis zones the group studied, including Afghanistan, Colombia and the Palestinian territories. . . read more

Iraq war and SOFA

Iraq war 'violated rule of law'
Lord Goldsmith
Former attorney general Lord Goldsmith defended his legal advice

Legal advice given to Tony Blair by the attorney general prior to the Iraq war was fundamentally "flawed," a former law lord has claimed.

Lord Bingham said Lord Goldsmith had given Mr Blair "no hard evidence" that Iraq had defied UN resolutions "in a manner justifying resort to force".

Therefore, the action by the UK and US was "a serious violation of international law," Lord Bingham added. . . read more

Iraqis protest against troop deal

Today is the day of Iraqi unity among Arabs, Kurds, all communities of Iraq, to reject the security pact

Hazim al-Araji ;
Aide to Moqtada Sadr

The BBC's Andrew North, who was at the protest, says people waved Iraqi flags, Shia banners and chanted anti-American slogans, and an effigy of US President George W Bush was attacked by the crowd.

Joint prayers were held with many Sunni Muslims at the demonstration, our correspondent said. . . . read more.

In pictures: Baghdad protests

BBC News


Iraq-US Security Pact (SOFA) : Bitter battles ahead?

Leila Fadel: Iraq deal will NOT allow residual forces, but opponents say too many loopholes



US says "Mad Dog" no more!

BBC news - Profile : Muammar Gaddafi .

As Libya seals its return to the international fold this week with a visit from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Muammar Gaddafi has marked the 39th anniversary of his rise to power with promises to overhaul the country's political system.

He laid out his political philosophy in the 1970s in his Green Book, which charted a home-grown alternative to both socialism and capitalism, combined with aspects of Islam.

The diplomatic community's rejection of Libya centred on Col Gaddafi's backing for a number of militant groups, including the Irish Republican Army and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Dissent has been ruthlessly crushed and the media remains under strict government control. Libya has a law forbidding group activity based on a political ideology opposed to Col Gaddafi's revolution. . . . read more

GADDAFI's TIMELINE
1942: Muammar Gaddafi born near Sirte, Libya
1969: Seizes power from King Idris in bloodless coup
1973: Declares "cultural revolution", with formation of "people's committees"
1977: Declares "people's revolution", creating the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah
1986: US soldiers targeted in Berlin disco attack, three killed; US bombs Tripoli and Benghazi, killing dozens
1988: 270 people killed in bombing of Pan Am jet over Lockerbie
1992: UN imposes sanctions to pressure Libya into handing over Lockerbie bombing suspects
1999: Lockerbie suspects handed over; UN sanctions suspended
2003: Libya takes responsibility for Lockerbie, renounces weapons of mass destruction
2008: Libya and US sign compensation deal for bombings by both sides

Libya paid $1.8bn (£1.2bn) in October into a fund to compensate victims of the 1988 bombing - which killed 270 people - and other attacks.

The payment has cleared the last hurdle to restoring full diplomatic relations between the US and Libya. . . . read more


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Iraqi cabinet approves US deal

Presstv
Sun, 16 Nov 2008 09:39:33 GMT

The Iraqi cabinet has endorsed a security agreement to be signed with the US amid speculations that the parliament will reject the deal.


The cabinet approved the long term security agreement with 27 ministers voting for it, one minister abstaining, and the remaining 10 skipping the meeting.

Lawmaker Ahmed al-Masoudi, a spokesman for the Sadr parliamentary bloc, however, said the government's endorsement of the pact "does not mean anything" as long as the deal requires the approval of a parliament which would reject it, the Voices of Iraq news agency reported on Sunday.

The agreement, which has been opposed by a majority of parliamentarians, would allow US troops to stay in Iraq for three more years after their UN mandate expires in December 2008.

Under the deal Iraqi courts would have no jurisdiction over US troops and contractors inside their bases and when on duty. Iraq would also be prohibited from meddling in operations carried out by US forces or limiting their authority.

The US would also be allowed to attack any country, which "represents a security threat to Iraq" from the country's soil.

Hazem al-Araji, a senior leader from Sadr bloc, also voiced his opposition to the approval, saying "We were surprised and shocked by the decision, which represents devotion to the occupation" through agreeing to "the occupiers' demand"


Parliament is scheduled to vote on the pact on November 24, with he first reading set for Monday, deputy speaker Khalid al-Attiya told AFP.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Iran Says - NO to USD

Iran discards crude for gold

MUMBAI : Crude reserves were considered the biggest hedge against any eventuality so far. For many oil rich countries, especially the Arab nation, crude was the trump card.

Not any more. Iran’s recent conversion of its financial reserves into gold proves that gold is a better hedge, especially that the prices of crude have fallen flat.

Local newspapers in Teheran reported that the office of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confirmed that action was to avoid problems in future especially with U.N. and U.S. sanctions over the alleged nuclear programmes.

Moreover the crude prices have tumbled and countries like are re-thinking on its strategy to depend its complete economy on crude.

Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil producer and before the fall of 60 percent from peak of $ 147 per barrel, Iran gained considerably. But the lowering crude prices will only aggravate the financial isolation.

Read report from guardian.co.uk

Commodityonline


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ogaden - the harsh reality of the forgotten war & Sufferings.

For those that don't know about Ogaden and the ONLF, let this gives you some insight.

The fight for the Ogaden region, populated mainly by ethnic Somalis, known as the Ogaden, has been going on for more than 19 years


The ONLF is a grassroots social and political movement founded in 1984 by the Somali people of Ogaden who could no longer bear the atrocities committed against them by successive Ethiopian regimes. Today, the ONLF as both an advocate for and defender of the people is dedicated to restoring the rights of Somalis in Ogaden to self-determination, peace, and development


Thursday, November 6, 2008

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

By RALPH NADER

3 Nov 2008


Dear Senator Obama:


In your nearly two-year presidential campaign, the words "hope and change," "change and hope" have been your trademark declarations. Yet there is an asymmetry between those objectives and your political character that succumbs to contrary centers of power that want not "hope and change" but the continuation of the power-entrenched status quo.


Far more than Senator McCain, you have received enormous, unprecedented contributions from corporate interests, Wall Street interests and, most interestingly, big corporate law firm attorneys. Never before has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this supremacy over his Republican counterpart. Why, apart from your unconditional vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, are these large corporate interests investing so much in Senator Obama? Could it be that in your state Senate record, your U.S. Senate record and your presidential campaign record (favoring nuclear power, coal plants, offshore oil drilling, corporate subsidies including the 1872 Mining Act and avoiding any comprehensive program to crack down on the corporate crime wave and the bloated, wasteful military budget, for example) you have shown that you are their man?


To advance change and hope, the presidential persona requires character, courage, integrity-- not expediency, accommodation and short-range opportunism. Take, for example, your transformation from an articulate defender of Palestinian rights in Chicago before your run for the U.S. Senate to an acolyte, a dittoman for the hard-line AIPAC lobby, which bolsters the militaristic oppression, occupation, blockage, colonization and land-water seizures over the years of the Palestinian peoples and their shrunken territories in the West Bank and Gaza. Eric Alterman summarized numerous polls in a December 2007 issue of The Nation magazine showing that AIPAC policies are opposed by a majority of Jewish-Americans.


You know quite well that only when the U.S. Government supports the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements, that years ago worked out a detailed two-state solution (which is supported by a majority of Israelis and Palestinians), will there be a chance for a peaceful resolution of this 60-year plus conflict. Yet you align yourself with the hard-liners, so much so that in your infamous, demeaning speech to the AIPAC convention right after you gained the nomination of the Democratic Party, you supported an "undivided Jerusalem," and opposed negotiations with Hamas-- the elected government in Gaza. Once again, you ignored the will of the Israeli people who, in a March 1, 2008 poll by the respected newspaper Haaretz, showed that 64% of Israelis favored "direct negotiations with Hamas." Siding with the AIPAC hard-liners is what one of the many leading Palestinians advocating dialogue and peace with the Israeli people was describing when he wrote "Anti-semitism today is the persecution of Palestinian society by the Israeli state."


During your visit to Israel this summer, you scheduled a mere 45 minutes of your time for Palestinians with no news conference, and no visit to Palestinian refugee camps that would have focused the media on the brutalization of the Palestinians. Your trip supported the illegal, cruel blockade of Gaza in defiance of international law and the United Nations charter. You focused on southern Israeli casualties which during the past year have totaled one civilian casualty to every 400 Palestinian casualties on the Gaza side. Instead of a statesmanship that decried all violence and its replacement with acceptance of the Arab League's 2002 proposal to permit a viable Palestinian state within the 1967 borders in return for full economic and diplomatic relations between Arab countries and Israel, you played the role of a cheap politician, leaving the area and Palestinians with the feeling of much shock and little awe.


David Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator, described your trip succinctly: "There was almost a willful display of indifference to the fact that there are two narratives here. This could serve him well as a candidate, but not as a President."


Palestinian American commentator, Ali Abunimah, noted that Obama did not utter a single criticism of Israel, "of its relentless settlement and wall construction, of the closures that make life unlivable for millions of Palestinians. ...Even the Bush administration recently criticized Israeli's use of cluster bombs against Lebanese civilians see www.atfl.org for elaboration. But Obama defended Israeli's assault on Lebanon as an exercise of its 'legitimate right to defend itself.'"


In numerous columns Gideon Levy, writing in Haaretz, strongly criticized the Israeli government's assault on civilians in Gaza, including attacks on "the heart of a crowded refugee camp... with horrible bloodshed" in early 2008.


Israeli writer and peace advocate-- Uri Avnery-- described Obama's appearance before AIPAC as one that "broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning, adding that Obama "is prepared to sacrifice the most basic American interests. After all, the US has a vital interest in achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace that will allow it to find ways to the hearts of the Arab masses from Iraq to Morocco. Obama has harmed his image in the Muslim world and mortgaged his future-- if and when he is elected president.," he said, adding, "Of one thing I am certain: Obama's declarations at the AIPAC conference are very, very bad for peace. And what is bad for peace is bad for Israel, bad for the world and bad for the Palestinian people."


A further illustration of your deficiency of character is the way you turned your back on the Muslim-Americans in this country. You refused to send surrogates to speak to voters at their events. Having visited numerous churches and synagogues, you refused to visit a single Mosque in America. Even George W. Bush visited the Grand Mosque in Washington D.C. after 9/11 to express proper sentiments of tolerance before a frightened major religious group of innocents.


Although the New York Times published a major article on June 24, 2008 titled "Muslim Voters Detect a Snub from Obama" (by Andrea Elliott), citing examples of your aversion to these Americans who come from all walks of life, who serve in the armed forces and who work to live the American dream. Three days earlier the International Herald Tribune published an article by Roger Cohen titled "Why Obama Should Visit a Mosque." None of these comments and reports change your political bigotry against Muslim-Americans-- even though your father was a Muslim from Kenya.


Perhaps nothing illustrated your utter lack of political courage or even the mildest version of this trait than your surrendering to demands of the hard-liners to prohibit former president Jimmy Carter from speaking at the Democratic National Convention. This is a tradition for former presidents and one accorded in prime time to Bill Clinton this year.


Here was a President who negotiated peace between Israel and Egypt, but his recent book pressing the dominant Israeli superpower to avoid Apartheid of the Palestinians and make peace was all that it took to sideline him. Instead of an important address to the nation by Jimmy Carter on this critical international problem, he was relegated to a stroll across the stage to "tumultuous applause," following a showing of a film about the Carter Center's post-Katrina work. Shame on you, Barack Obama!


But then your shameful behavior has extended to many other areas of American life. (See the factual analysis by my running mate, Matt Gonzalez, on www.votenader.org). You have turned your back on the 100-million poor Americans composed of poor whites, African-Americans, and Latinos. You always mention helping the "middle class" but you omit, repeatedly, mention of the "poor" in America.


Should you be elected President, it must be more than an unprecedented upward career move following a brilliantly unprincipled campaign that spoke "change" yet demonstrated actual obeisance to the concentration power of the "corporate supremacists." It must be about shifting the power from the few to the many. It must be a White House presided over by a black man who does not turn his back on the downtrodden here and abroad but challenges the forces of greed, dictatorial control of labor, consumers and taxpayers, and the militarization of foreign policy. It must be a White House that is transforming of American politics-- opening it up to the public funding of elections (through voluntary approaches)-- and allowing smaller candidates to have a chance to be heard on debates and in the fullness of their now restricted civil liberties. Call it a competitive democracy.


Your presidential campaign again and again has demonstrated cowardly stands. "Hope" some say springs eternal." But not when "reality" consumes it daily.


Sincerely,
Ralph Nader





Ralph Nader speaks on an Obama presidency:




Sunday, November 2, 2008

US torturing females in Afghan & Iraqi prisons.

British Muslim journalist Yvonne Maryam Ridley

British Muslim journalist Yvonne Ridley has sharply criticized the US for its inhumane treatment of female detainees in Afghanistan.

In a press conference with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Ins
af (PTI) chief Imran Khan last Tuesday, she also questioned the arrest of a Pakistani female doctor on charges of 'attacking' two US soldiers in Kabul.

The former Taliban hostage condemned the detention of neuroscientist Dr. A
afia Siddiqui, saying it was a scenario beyond even Hollywood scriptwriters.


"She has been continuously abused over the five-year period since she and her children were kidnapped," the Daily Times quoted Ridley as saying.


"There are many Muslim women held captive by American forces and if the public remained sile
nt, they would lose their sisters forever," she added.


Ridley also expressed doubt over the identity of Priso
ner No. 650, an unknown woman believed to have been raped and tortured in Bagram prison.


“I can tell you categorically Prisoner 650 is not Dr. Aafia,” continued Ridley.

US sources have claimed that Prisoner 650 was repatriated to her country of origin three years ag
o.


She said prisoners who fled the notorious Bagram prison have recounted the story of a female detainee who
was "brutally tortured" and "repeatedly raped."


"The cries of a helpless woman used to echo in the jail that prompted priso
ners to go on a hunger strike," she concluded.





Iraqi females suffer in US custody


Iraqi women in the US custody

Hundreds of Iraqi women are being held under humiliating conditions in the US custody in Iraq, without being charged, a report indicates.

According to released Iraqi prisoners, female detainees are being raped by US troops and forced into undressing in front of the guards, Wisam Al-Bayati, Press TV correspondent in Baghdad reported Sunday.


"What I have suffered inside American prisons is so terrible that I can't express in words" a former prisoner told Press TV. She explained that she was detained during a US raid on her house in Diyala.


"They took me to get information about my husband and they kept me for one year and a half without being charged," she added.


The report said most of the female detainees are being held only for being married to Iraqi 'wanted fighters'. The occupiers use the arrest to put the Iraqi fighters under pressure.


Human rights activists in Iraq have urged the world community to bring to trial the violators of human rights in the country, but no step has been taken so far.


presstv-Iran



US Iraq troop deal "crushing defeat" for Bush


Iraq, SOFA and Mideast godfathers.

Sat, 25 Oct 2008 17:41:13 GMT - By Arash Parsa, Press TV, Tehran

A US helicopter patrols over Baghdad.
The United States has been pushing for a security agreement with Iraq which would virtually put the war-torn country under Washington's tutelage.

At first, the US sought to grasp the opportunity provided by a news blackout on the issue and hastily sign the pact. However, the White House found itself in an awkward predicament after some independent media outlets began to disclose information about the agreement. The circle of neocon hawks in Washington then was caught in a dilemma: they had to lower their expectations or risk the public uproar and a face-off with influential religious and political figures like Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

The rules of the game had changed and the US had no other option but a tactical approach to get in through the back door. The new approach included altering the wording of the so-called Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to leave the door open for the interpretation of the agreement's provisions in a manner that would enable Washington to attain its ambitious goals. For example, according to the new draft agreement, only US forces and not all US citizens would be granted immunity from legal prosecution but the agreement defines "the American forces" as all US military personnel and civilians as well as their property and equipment inside Iraq. Also, the legal immunity would apply to all US forces inside their bases and when on duty. This provision would allow US criminals inside Iraq to evade justice since the US could easily claim that they were on duty when the crime was committed.

US troops massacred 24 civilians, including women and children in Haditha Iraq in November 2005.
Surely, no patriotic Iraqi can accept these humiliating provisions, regardless of being an Arab, Kurd, Shia or Sunni.

Iraqi groups have reacted to the security pact in different ways. For example, certain ultranationalist Kurdish leaders have welcomed SOFA and the US military presence, in line with their traditional policy, just because they believe that it might lay the groundwork for realizing their dream of an “independent Kurdish country”.

However, Iraqi Sunni groups which mainly rely on an Arab nationalist ideology, see the US military presence in their country as a serious infringement on Iraq's sovereignty, hence they are reluctant to get too close to the Americans.

Shia groups have also a clear picture of the situation in their mind; after the Shia clergy adopted an uncompromising stance against the pact, every Shia politician is aware that he or she must pay a heavy price for supporting such a humiliating pact. Of course, that is, if there were any Shia politicians who are ready to sacrifice their country's sovereignty for short-term interests.
SOFA envisages immunity for US contractors. The picture shows one of the victims of US firm Blackwater's massacre in Baghdad.

However, it is important to know whose side the main players of the region are fighting on amid this dispute.
Although Arab nationalism is supposed to be the ideology, some regional powers have been promoting as part of a scenario which casts them as a sort of a godfather in the Middle East and the Islamic world, when it comes to their sectarian interests (and in fact Washington's interests) in a dramatic U-turn, these godfathers portray SOFA as Iraq's only way out of the spiral of violence.

These regional "key players" seemingly forget that it was the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 that opened Pandora's Box and brought about this catastrophic situation.

In the middle of all this, the Saudi-funded satellite channel al-Arabiya seems to be more Catholic than the Pope in pursuing the policies of Washington in Iraq. In an article titled "the Security Pact, Iraqi groups and Iran's Policy" by Hassan Hashemian that was published on the Persian section of al-Arabiya's web site, the TV channel tries to prove that Iraq has never enjoyed sovereignty throughout its history. In other words, when Iraq has never experienced sovereignty, one can draw the conclusion that SOFA's infringement of the country's sovereignty is trivial! It is interesting to know that during the 1980s Iraq-Iran war, Saudi Arabia supported the same Iraq which according to al-Arabiya had not been a sovereign country but started a war on Iran under the pretext that the Islamic Republic represented a threat to Iraq's sovereignty! At that time, Iraq, under the Saddam regime, of course, was a brotherly and friendly sovereign country and remained so until it invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein shows a rifle to the then Saudi King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz. Saudi Arabia supported Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war.


The author of the article also suggests that the speculations that Barack Obama might win the US presidential election and rectify Washington's Iraq policy (which would prove to be in favor of Iran) have prompted Iraqi cleric Abdul Aziz Hakim's party to oppose the security agreement. (Mr. Hashemian, with the force of divine inspiration, concludes that Hakim has changed the name of his party from "The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq" to "The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council" to distance himself from Iran. But Mr. Hashemian's over reliance on "inspiration" has prevented him from using his logical reasoning to realize that after the fall of "Bro Saddam", there is no point in talking about a revolution.)

The smart author of al-Arabiya's article even goes farther and claims that all main players in Iraq's political arena are under Iran's control!!! Maybe Mr. Hashemian means that in the Saddam era, which according to the author himself, the country was ruled by Al Bu Nasir and a few other tribes from Saddam's birthplace, Tikrit, the government was democratic and independent and the fall of Saddam paved the way for "Iran's damned friends" to come to power in a democratic election. (Through these remarks, Mr. Hashemian apparently hints that the Iraqi people are mere puppets of Iran. Doesn't the notion bring to mind the Saddam era's propaganda?)

However, in the next few paragraphs, Al-Arabiya's writer shifts his position and claims that the same Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who acts under Iran's influence, would like to sign the agreement but he is scared of Iran!!! (I am perplexed! Is Maliki Iran's puppet? Or is he willing to fulfill the US's demand and sign SOFA?) If there had been something like a Nobel Reasoning Prize, Mr. Hashemian would have been a good candidate.
An Iraqi woman weeps as US troops raid her house in Baghdad's Radwaniya, October 2007.
Maliki has certainly concerns, but he is not afraid of Iran.

He knows that he might be seen as a traitor by the Iraqi nation if he gave in to the pressure and signed the agreement.
There is, certainly, an Iraqi group, which according to the Al-Arabiya article has adopted "a stable and reasonable stance" toward the agreement since the beginning: the Awakening Councils. Sheikh Ahmad Abu Risha, one of the leaders of the group, has declared that he supports SOFA to tell the US that he will back any coup against "ungrateful Shias"! (Note: "Ungrateful Shias" constitute the majority of the population of a country, in which an anti-terrorist hero called Sheikh Abu-Risha lives!)

It is noteworthy that the Awakening Councils comprise of ex-militants the US has bribed to fight on the Americans' side. In other words, they are hired ex-terrorists. (For more explanations, see the entry for Mercenary in your dictionary!) What Mr Hashemian has written may be considered as "a journalistic Freudian slip", which sheds light on the phenomenon of terrorism in Iraq and its sponsors. Those who fund terrorists in Iraq are the same as those who fund other Takfiri militants across the world.

Justify Full Al-Arabiya also interprets Iran's support for the Iraqi nation's legitimate demand and their refusal to allow their country to become a de facto US colony as the Islamic Republic's concerns about a US military attack. But it fails to explain that if the US intended to launch an attack on Iran and could go on with its plans, wouldn't it have enough bases inside Iraq? What is the connection between the issue of legal immunity for Americans--which is opposed by Tehran-- and an attack on Iran? Mr. Hashemian also paints an imaginary scenario: If the US and Iraq fail to sign SOFA, Iran will manage to unite Iraqi Shia groups; as a result the Sunnis and Kurds will unite against the Shia groups and a civil war will be in the offing. Shall we consider these words as a threat by the Saudis that they would unleash terrorists inside Iraq if Baghdad refused to sign SOFA?

Or is it simply a psychological tactic to coerce the Iraqis into accepting Washington's humiliating conditions?
But one thing is clear, those words, without a doubt, mean that if a country refuses to go under another country's tutelage, it will have to pay a heavy price. Maybe it is a kind of Saudi-style Arab nationalism, who knows, but Mr. Hashemian has not clarified whether patriotic Sunnis like Parliament Speaker Mahmud al-Mashhadani, who are opposed to the agreement, should be considered as Shias who are following Iran's orders.

It seems certain, that if we take the stance adopted by satellite channels like al-Arabiya into account, we will easily be able to conclude that for the Middle East godfathers, Arab nationalism is only a tool to incite hatred among the region's nations. Am I wrong in saying that behind- the-scene policy-makers of al-Arabiya, the princes of shadows, are ready to sacrifice the sovereignty of another Muslim nation when it comes to their sectarian goals? They, at best, suffer from "Shiaphobia", which may easily play into the hands of Muslims' common enemies. However, the signs indicate that they suffer from the refractory form of "opportunism and hatred syndrome".

posted by enqilab


ANTI SOFA PROTEST GAINING MORE MOMENTUM

Iraq parliament & people protests over SOFA

Sun, 26 Oct 2008 08:36:14 GMT

Iraqi lawmakers gather in front of the Baghdad parliament building in a third day of protests at a controversial US-sought security deal.

Members of parliament loyal to the anti-occupation Sadr bloc gathered in front of the Iraqi parliament on Saturday after vowing to continue their condemnation

of the US-proposed agreement. The lawmakers have vowed to continue protests until

the deal is completely annulled. The parliament representatives also criticized the US, saying Washington pressures Iraqi officials to sign the deal as part of a psychological warfare' campaign.

A similar demonstration has been staged in Basra

against a controversial security pact which the US is trying to convince Iraq to sign.

"The Seyyed al-Shohadaa (Master of Martyrs) Movement, a Shia group, organized the rally on Saturday in the central Basra neighborhood of al-Ishar to demand considering Iraq's sovereignty in the security pact," the Voices of Iraq news agency reported.

The protestors called on the government not to allow US troops to be granted the permission to act outside the framework of the country's law, a demonstrator said. Baghdad has been under US intense pressure to sign the long term security agreement, which would provide a legal basis for the presence of US forces in the war-ravaged country after their UN mandate expires in December 31. Washington seeks to finalize a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq before its UN mandate in the oil-rich country expires on December 31. The deal is contentious as it grants immunity from legal prosecution in Iraqi courts to all US forces and citizens who commit crimes in facilities and areas owned by the government of Iraq but used by US forces on January 1, 2009. Iraqi judicial law will only be implemented in case an American, who is off-duty, commits a serious and deliberate felony outside his/her military base. According to the latest version of the draft Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) all US troops would be outside Iraq's jurisdiction if they committed crimes inside their

bases and when on duty. Despite Washington's warnings and threats, the Iraqi government has insisted that the deal should consider the country's sovereignty and national interests.

Report: Maliki won't sign divisive SOFA Sat, 25 Oct 2008 18:40:21 GMT

Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki 'will not sign' the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) over fears that it might create division in the country.

A lawmaker from the United Iraqi Alliance, Iraq's most powerful parliamentary bloc, made the announcement, adding that a "national consensus" is required before any move, the McClatchy Newspaper reported on Saturday.

MP Sheikh Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer, who is also the deputy head of Iraq's Supreme Islamic Council, added that the country's political leaders are thinking about alternative options, including an extension of the UN mandate for the presence of US troops inside the country.

According to the report, Russia has assured Baghdad that it would not veto any motion at the UN Security Council to extend the mandate of US troops inside Iraq. If the agreement is shelved, the Bush Administration, which has been seeking to provide a legal basis for the presence of US troops in Iraq, will suffer a major setback in the twilight months of George W. Bush in office.

The report comes while Ali al-Adeeb, the chief of staff of al-Maliki's Dawa party announced Wednesday that the Iraqi parliament "cannot approve this pact in its current form."

SOFA would also grant a form of immunity from legal prosecution to US citizens inside the country and it would allow the US to set up permanent military bases in Iraq. Many Iraqi political and religious leaders consider SOFA as a humiliating agreement which would turn Iraq into a de facto US colony.


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