From June 28, 2009, that's "Barry & Bully." That's when Barack decided to buy in publicly on indefinite detention. He looks in the mirror and sees Bully Boy Bush looking back. They are two of the same.
And that only became more true as his first term progressed.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
In Hilla, AFP notes, "Iraqi security forces cordoned off the area of the blasts and set up checkpoints in the city to search cars, an AFP correspondent said, adding that shops near the site were shuttered after the attack." Ali al-Rubaie (Reuters) quotes teacher Ihsan al-Khalidi explaining, "We started to stop civilian cars asking them to take the wounded to hospital since there were not enough ambulances to transfer them." Sinan Salaheddin (AP) provides these details on the Hilla aftermath, "Twisted and charred remains of vehicles were seen outside damaged shops as shop owners collected their strewn merchandise from the bloodstained pavement, littered with debris." On the Karbala attack, Al Jazeera explains, "In the shrine city of Karbala, a car bomb killed four and left another 16 people wounded. The bomber parked the vehicle near the entrance of the Imam Abbas shrine. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghad, said the holy site made for a 'very daring' attack in Karbala." Xinhua adds, "Iraqi security forces blocked the roads to central Karbala which leads to the shrine of Imam Hussein, one of the 12 most Shiite revered Imams." Al Bawaba notes that Shi'ites were the targets in the attacks on those two cities while other bombs today were targeting security forces.
The above is getting most of the focus from the western media; however, those are not the only attacks carried out in Iraq today. All Iraq News notes a Falluja suicide car bombing targeting a checkpoint which left 2 security forces dead (five more injured and two civilians injured as well). Xinhua has the attacker on foot in an explosive vest. Alsumaria adds that a double bombing in Kirkuk's Hawija left one Iraqi soldier injured and 1 person was shot dead outside his Baghdad home (machine gun). All Iraq News notes a bombing just outside Baghdad targeting a Sahwa restaurant which left 2 people dead and eleven injured. Among the other violence Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) notes is, "Gunmen blew up two homes in Kirkuk. One belonged to a doctor, the other to a businessman."
In addition, the Voice of Russia notes that Turkish warplanes bombed northern Iraq: "A fleet of F-16 bombers with Turkey's Second Tactical Air Force based in southeastern Diyarbakir province raided Iraq's Avashin, Zap, Haftanin and Metina regions, Dogan news agency reports." The war planes were targeting the PKK. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." Trend News Agency adds, "The conflict between Turkey and the PKK has lasted for over 25 years."
All Iraq News reports an "altercation" took place in Parliament today between several deputies and led Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi to immediately adjourn the session and postpone the next session until Saturday. Thrown fists have not been uncommon in the Iraqi Parliament in the last seven years but it has been some time since there were any reports of physical violence among MPs. Whatever happened, All Iraq News notes it took place in the hallway. Alsumaria also terms it an "altercation" and notes that prior to that, the Parliament had read six bills and was discussing the allegations of torture in Iraqi prisons and detention centers. Though no one has yet to take responsibility for the altercation, you can be sure State of Law will insist it was caused by 'Ba'athists' who've been hiding out in Syria (since that is the group they tend to blame for everything).
The Ministry of the Interior (headed by Nouri since he never nominated anyone to be Minister of Interior -- in violation of the Constitution) issued a statement today. Dar Addustour reports that statement strongly denies that any women are being held illegally or tortured in detention centers. That is the wording of the statement. I point that out because the accusation is women are being tortured in detention centers and prisons and the statement issued only covers detention centers. Kitabat notes that before the altercation, the Parliament was discussing the denial by the Ministry of the Interior. Lending credence to the belief that the altercation was about women prisoners being tortured, Alsumaria reports that the National Alliance is up in arms and saying that what happened today is Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's fault as a result of his 'bias' by allowing this issue to be addressed.
Nouri had hoped for a different image to be projected today. All Iraq News notes that the prime minister visited the International Book Fair in Baghdad today and posed for photos. Not only did the bombings and shootings and whatever happened in the hallways of Parliament overwhelm that photo op, the Russian arms deal just will not go away.
October 9th, with much fanfare, Nouri signed a $4.2 billion dollar weapons deal with Russia. After taking his bows on the world stage and with Parliament and others raising objections, Nouri quickly announced the deal was off. It's not going away.
The deal has been rife with rumors of corruption from the moment that it was announced. Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh has twice had to publicly issue statements insisting he was not involved in the deal. In addition, there are allegations that Nouri's son received a kickback from the deal.
Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) notes that al-Dabbagh has left Baghdad and arrived in the UAE and that someone is whispering Russian President Vladimir Putin personally provided Nouri with proof that al-Dabbagh was involved in backroom deals to benefit from the contract. If the point of that rumor is to create sympathy for Nouri, it doesn't. It just makes him look incompetent if it's true. True or not, it's very hard to believe that Putin (or any leader) would provide evidence of corruption knowing it would tank a multi-billion dollar deal.
Al Rafidayn notes that Parliament's Integrity Commission is said to have the names of 14 officials who were to profit from the corrupt deal. Kitabat explains one of the names is Ali al-Dabbagh and the Parliament was attempting to call on him to appear before them. That's now in doubt since he's fled to the UAE. Kitabat notes the other names are said to be those who accompanied Nouri to Russia.
Adding to the view of Nouri as an incompetent on the world stage are the issues emerging over another big contract. Dar Addustour reports that Rotana Arabia, a cell phone company, signed a contract with Iraq woth as much as $30 million. The contract was brokered by Saadoun al-Dulaimi who is the Minister of Culture. Nouri's calling for the contract to be cancelled, citing corruption. He wants the Ministry to cancel the contract. Not the Minister. He can't ask Minister of Culture Saadoun al-Dulaimi to do anything because no one can find him and he's reportedly fled the country.
In the US, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Yesterday her office issued the following: