Saturday, November 20, 2021


ETERNALS is a hit at the movie theaters -- already having made $128 million in North America alone.  It's based on the comic book series -- MARVEL.

But, did you know, that you could read that comic book -- the entire 70s series -- for free if you're a member of AMAZON KINDLE UNLIMITED?



The magnifying glass feature is not available.  If you need to make the pages bigger, you'll have to hold down the "ctrl" button and hit the "+" button repeatedly until it's the size you want.

The pages have really strong color which, sadly, is not always the case with these reproductions of comic books. 

I enjoyed the comic book collection.  But I do like the movie better.  The movie more accurately reflects today.  That may seem odd when we're talking about a comic book based on ancient gods.  But the movie brings it in to today and the 70s comic book brought it into the 70s -- especially with those bad hairstyles on the men.

I think "The Celestials" is the strongest of the comic books (it's issue two) but all are worth reading. 

Issuie two also has very strong illustrations but I think, illustration wise, is issue eight ("The City of Toads" illustrated by Mike Royer and colored by Glynis Wein) and issue nine ("The Killing Machine" illustrated by Mike Royer and colored by Glynis Wein).

By the way, Glynis Wein is now Glynis Oliver.   I went to CRAPAPEDIA to find out more about her and was disappointed to see that her work on ETERNALS doesn't even get mentioned in her Bibliography.

And I need to note Stan on this post.  I wouldn't have seen the film without Stan.  The critics were savaging it and calling it a flop before it even came out.  Stan has done multiple posts on the film and on its success at the box office (unlike the media-hyped DUNE, ETERNALS is an actual hit).  So big thank you to Stan.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 19, 2021.  Prior restraint -- a trademark of the Biden era?, Joe continues to misuse the FBI to protect his daughter, Mosul remains scarred, the media works hard to let the officials in the KRG off scott free and much more.

Starting in the US, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press issued the following statement:

Today, a state court in New York entered a prior restraint at the request of Project Veritas against the New York Times ordering it to “refrain from further disseminating or publishing any of Project Veritas’ ‘privileged materials'” in its possession, pending a court hearing next week. The order also bars the Times from “further efforts to solicit or acquire” Project Veritas’ “attorney-client privileged materials.”

The following may be attributed to Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

“This is the first prior restraint entered against the New York Times since the Pentagon Papers, and it is an outrageous affront to the First Amendment.

“Prior restraints — which are orders not to publish — are among the most serious threats to press freedom. The trial court should have never entered this order. If it doesn’t immediately vacate the prior restraint, an appellate court must step in and do so.”

The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.

That is a huge overstep.   Prior restraint.   

It's getting a lot of attention.  IN fact, it's getting more attention than a related -- and much more important -- matter.  Joe Biden's misuse of the FBI.

Joe's abusing the power of the office and that is a high crime.  Who is he protecting by the way?  

His drug using daughter who apparently kept a sex diary and then, high and stoned, lost it.

Joe's using the FBI and the Justice Dept on this matter.

That's an abuse of power.  It's a misuse of the government.  Should, heaven forbid, the US suffer another 9/11 tomorrow, he would need to answer to the American people why he used government resources illegally to protect his daughter and how that harmed the safety of the nation since these misused resources should have been focused on issues pertaining to the safety of the American people.

That's not what the president does.  It's an abuse of power.

Your forty-year-old daughter's an adventurer (or slut, whatever you prefer) who documents her drugs use and extra-marital sex?  That's your personal problem.  Stop abusing government resources and misusing the taxypayers' money to try to protect your daughter.  Maybe buy her some condoms out of your own money (or whatever you've forced Hunter to grift for you) but stop misusing the US Justice Dept.

Your daughter's slutting around is not a national security matter.  It's an embarrassment but, sadly, your whole family's become that.  Your misuse of the power of the office is an abuse and does qualify as a high crime.  You should apologize immediately.  If the House flips, as history suggests it will and as polling predicts it will, in the mid-terms, your actions are begging the GOP to bring impeachment charges against you.

The move is as dumb as AOC.  And apparently that's what we're currently stuck with: Idiotic statements and moves from what passes for the Democratic Party. From MEDIAITE:

Ocasio-Cortez is a frequent target of outrage and derision by her GOP colleagues, but she gave as good as she’s gotten in this clip. She “complimented” the House Minority Leader for managing “to speak for over an hour with one of the lowest vocabularies I have ever seen, coming from a member of House Leadership.”

She did not give good.  She embarrassed herself yet again.  Seh's still the same corporatist airhead that I said she was before she was sworn in.  Seh's a fake ass and one of The Fraud Squad which most people now get.  But she's also an idiot.  Read the above and grasp that she crafted it with the help of three people and she still comes off as an idiot.  Referring to what someone said, what was spoken, she states it was "one of the lowest vocabularies I have ever seen."

She can't even do bitchy right, she's that stupid.  You don't see someone use a low vocabulary, you hear them use it.  What a stupid moron.  Instead of all the time she spends on her makeup -- far too much for someone in Congress -- she should try to work on her comprehension skills and on her word usage.  In fact, someone should gift her with a thesaurus.

And, no, Alexandria, that's not a sex toy.


Turning to Iraq, THE DAILY SABAH reports:

Turkish contractors and consultancy firms can be a part of projects involving infrastructure, hospitals, schools and public buildings in Iraq. This cooperation can be further facilitated by a reversal in discrimination regarding the conditions of fair competition as well as the easing of processes required to do business, a Turkish trade official said Friday.

Oh.  Now it makes sense.  The government of Turkey is terrorizing Iraqis in northern Iraq and dropping bombs and starting fires to create jobs?  Oh, that makes it alright then.  Let's stop calling them terrorists

No.  They're terrorists and it's past time that they were treated as such.

And people have fled from that region due to the violence.

Instead of defending the people, the KRG is blaming others.

That's beyond nonsense and it's shameful.  Various politicians are inventing lies to cover up for their failure to protect the citizens of the KRG from Turkey.

Liar Aydin Maruf is only one KRG official lying to the press.  

He insists that people are fleeing because of the PKK.  


How is that?

The PKK is not new to the KRG.  The PKK is a pro-Kurdish body -- extremely pro-Kurdish -- that took up arms in the 80s in what they saw a response to the never ending attacks -- physical attacks -- on Kurds in Turkey and elsewhere.  There have been many deahts since -- innocents as well as those two main groups engaged in the struggle PKK members and members of the Turkish military.

The PKK isn't burning down forests in the region, that's the Turkish military.  They claim that they have to burn things down -- it's that old 'to save the village, we had to burn the village' crap -- insisting that without burning things down, the PKK will be able to hide.

The region has various small villages and farmers.  They are the ones being harmed by the actions of the Turkish military.  A military, please note, that's not even supposed to legally be in Iraq.

Two days ago, AFN NEWS explained:

Soran Omer, who was elected MP in the Iraqi elections in October, released information on the Kurdistan Regional Government's attitude towards the Kurdish migrants who have been stranded at the Polish-Belarusian border.

In a post on his Facebook page, the Kurdish parliamentarian revealed that the regional government sent letters to the European countries on the matter.

According to Soran, the regional government designated the Kurdish migrants at the Polish-Belarusian border as terrorists and criminals and accused some of them of being human traffickers who abducted women and children.


In the meantime, the Kurdistan Communist Party held a demonstration in Hewlêr (Erbil) to express their concerns over the migration from the region.

A statement was read out by Raber Mexdîd, head of the youth wing of the party’s Hewler branch.

“The lives of migrants at the Polish-Belarusian border are in huge jeopardy because of the cold weather and hunger. We call on the United Nations and other international organizations to fulfil their responsibilities and address the precarious conditions of the migrants,” the statement said.

The statement added that the erosion of freedoms and lack of justice, basic services and job opportunities are the reasons for migration.

Let's stay with reality.  Mosul has not been rebuilt all this time later.  That shouldn't be a controversial observation.  Yet whenever we make it there are people (Americans) who just know that they know better. One e-mailer insists, "Everything's fine, people are fine, it's all rebuilt and everyone has gotten on with their lives.  There are no scars and no healing necessary.  You spend too much time watching MSNBC."

MSNBC doesn't cover Iraq.  Why would I watch that channel?  RT covers Iraq.  Regularly.  At any rate, the scars remain and the healing is not complted.  Let's note Doctors Without Borders:

“I still remember the exact moment I understood what it means to be neutral and impartial,” says Abdulrahman Dhannoon Khaleel, MSF Project Coordinator Support in West Mosul, Iraq. “This was 2017; I had only been with MSF for a short time then. We were working in a makeshift hospital in the Nablus neighbourhood, in West Mosul, close to the front line. And injured people were arriving at our hospital every hour.” 

Between the fronts

Between 2016 and 2017, the Iraqi Security Forces, supported by a US-led international coalition, launched a military offensive to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group, who had been occupying the city for three and a half years.  

“The situation was chaotic,” Dhannoon recalls. “One day, we received a wounded child in the MSF makeshift hospital. The six-year-old was being interrogated on the suspicion that his father was a member of the Islamic State group. We put ourselves in front of the boy and protected him. The only thing that mattered to us was that he needed medical help.”

Abdulrahman Dhannoon Khaleel, MSF Project Coordinator Support in West Mosul, Iraq “One day, we received a wounded child in the MSF makeshift hospital. The six-year-old was being interrogated on the suspicion that his father was a member of the Islamic State group. We put ourselves in front of the boy and protected him.”

“In the end, it turned out that he and his parents were civilians,” continues Dhannoon. “They tried to flee the city but did not manage to escape the fighting. They were swept away by the battle and got stuck in the old city - a maze of small streets and historic houses, until the neighbourhood was liberated. In the chaos, the young boy was separated from his parents.”

Now, more than four years later, the devastating effects of the war are not only still visible, but also still strongly felt in Ninewa governorate, northwest Iraq, and in its main city, Mosul. Many people are still displaced; people’s psychological trauma remains largely untreated, and many of the damaged health facilities are not yet fully functional again. 

Hope for the future

“I was here when the Islamic State group took the city in 2014 up until the end of the war. It is impossible to explain what that was like,” Dhannoon remembers. “There are simply no words for it... It was like being tortured from the inside. There was no future... nothing.”
“The things we have experienced put a heavy burden on us. Nobody talks about that though,” says Dhannoon. “Yes, the war is over, yes, the city is safer, but you can still see a lot of anger and pain in people’s eyes wherever you go.” 

Yes, the war is over, yes, the city is safer, but you can still see a lot of anger and pain in people’s eyes wherever you go. Abdulrahman Dhannoon Khaleel, MSF Project Coordinator Support in West Mosul, Iraq 

“People here want to look forward,” Dhannoon continues. “Many would say that they are happy, but in reality, we have seen a lot of misery, really a lot of misery.” 

Just like its people, Mosul is fighting to get back on its feet. The traces of the war still shape the cityscape, but reconstruction efforts are progressing. 

MSF teams are trying to heal both the physical and psychological scars of the war by providing access to much needed healthcare for the heavily affected people of Mosul. We run a hospital offering free neonatal, maternity, and paediatric services in the Nablus neighbourhood, on the west bank of the Tigris River.  

Further east, in Al-Nahrawan, one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Mosul, another similar project is run by our teams. At both locations, an average of up to 1,000 children are born and cared for each month. In eastern Mosul, MSF also offers reconstructive surgery and comprehensive post-operative care at the Al-Wahda Hospital. There, our teams provide much-needed care for people injured by accidental or violent trauma. 

From January to October 2021, we provided 1,029 surgical interventions, 4,494 and 1,351 inpatient and outpatient consultations respectively. Psychological support and health counselling services are also available at all three locations.


A recovering health system

“People tend to think that when a battle is over, things naturally go back to normal,” explains Esther van der Woerdt, Head of Mission for MSF in Iraq. “But the truth is that recovery takes years – not to say decades.” 

“Many of the basic infrastructure were destroyed or damaged during the battles and many of them still need to be rebuilt or rehabilitated,” says van der Woerdt. “Public healthcare structures in Mosul are struggling to cover the needs, and some people still cannot afford healthcare, either because they have lost everything in the conflict and/or are hardly making ends meet after they lost their livelihood. In that sense, the free healthcare services that we offer are quite essential for the people.”

“People tend to think that when a battle is over, things naturally go back to normal. But the truth is that recovery takes years – not to say decades.”  Esther van der Woerdt, Head of Mission for MSF in Iraq 

Besides providing healthcare services, we are also helping the city’s health system to get back on its feet and are providing the required support to ensure it can cope with new emergencies. In 2019, MSF rebuilt a hospital dedicated to the treatment of infectious diseases in the east of Mosul, to improve access to health services for the local community. 

And between March and December 2020, we supported Mosul’s health system in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, by temporarily transforming our 62-bed post-operative care centre (known today as Al-Wahda Orthopaedic Hospital), in the east of the city, into a COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

From the time MSF transformed the hospital into a COVID-19 facility until returning to our regular activities, our teams cared for 975 COVID-19 patients. To further extend the support to the COVID-19 response in the Ninewa governorate, MSF also ran a 16-bed intensive care unit between November 2020 and April 2021 to offer advanced care for severely and critically ill COVID-19 patients, where 14 patients were cared for.

“Our activities in the city are evolving with the context,” says van der Woerdt. “And we’re trying to adapt to the best of our ability to people’s medical needs, guided solely by our medical ethics and neutral and impartial principles.” 


No matter who you are – we are here for you

Peter Bräunig 

The following sites updated:

  • Read on ...

    Saturday, November 6, 2021

    Diana Ross has a new album

    Let's celebrate on of the real legends, Diana Ross.

    Her new album is THANK YOU and it was released Friday.

    Kat's "Kat's Korner: No, Diana Ross, Thank You" is a rave review of the album. 

    And if you stream any of the videos that I have posted here, I think you'll be blown away.

    There's only one Diana Ross and she's not just entertained us, she's changed our world.

    Here's C.I.'s ""Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

    Friday, November 5, 2021.  Still not final results in the Iraq election as protesters take to Baghdad over the vote, the climate crisis is already impacting Iraq and much more.

    It happened.  Diana Ross' THANK YOU was released this morning and, like I said last week, we'd have Diana's first studio album in 15 years before we had the final official results in Iraq's October 10th election.

    Turn it up and go give love a chance
    Go out and take somebody by the hand
    Put on your shoes and find out where you stand
    Go take the lead and teach the world to dance
    Don't look back, don't take a second glance
    While life is busy making other plans
    Jump off the edge and find out where you land
    Go take the lead and teach the world to dance
    So much better if the world just danced (we'd be better)
    So much better if the world just danced (we'd be better)
    So much better if the world just danced (we'd be better)
    Yeah, we'd be better if the world just danced (we'd be better)
    -- "If The World Just Danced," written by Diana Ross, Aliandro Prawl, Andre Pinckney, Scott M. Carter, Wadge, Vanessa Wood and Jaquetta Singleton, first appears on Diana's THANK YOU

    Kat's bothered by a review THE GUARDIAN gave Diana's album and, as Kat demonstrates, the pompous and overpraised critic didn't even get Diana's post-1986 chart history in his own country correct  More to the point, Diana's often gotten bad reviews upon release.  The Brit priss Kat calls out calls out the lyrics.  Truth for those who don't know, if you're presented with a new album and you're being paid to review it, the quickest way to do the review is to focus on the lyrics.  You can read them on the sheet and don't have to actually experience the album.  That's for all artists.

    Diana?  She's like Bob Dylan at this point.  Everyone's invested in her that listens to her and they all know the album she should make.  They just know it.  And when she releases a new album (or he when Bob releases one), they're listening with one ear towards what's been released and one ear towards what they wished she'd record.

    But the specific point I want to make here is the Brit priss doesn't like the lyrics and laments that they're not the same quality as the ones on 1980's diana.  When that album came out?  There were reviews savaging it for . . . the lyrics.  In fact, Nile and Bernard were never praised for their lyrics in real time -- not for their work with Diana ("Upside Down," "I'm Coming Out," "My Old Piano," etc), not for their work in their band Chic, not for their work with Debbie Harry, not for their work with Sister Sledge, not for . . . 

    No one wishes Diana would go into the studio with Valerie Simpson again more than me (Valerie and her late husband Nick Ashford produced many great albums with Diana and their work together is among the best of Diana's career -- including the hits "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "The Boss," "No One Gets The Prize," "Surrender," "Remember Me," "Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)," "It's My House," "Ain't Nothing But A Maybe," etc.  But that's not where Diana is right now.  She's produced an album during the pandemic that's attempting to get your dancing and smiling and to highlight some of the pleasures that we can find at a very crazy time in this world.  

    It's a great album.  Elaine and I are on treadmills working out as I dictate the snapshot and Diana's THANK YOU is what we've got blasting right now.

    And, as noted, there is still no final tally for Iraq's elections.  I've said it repeatedly, no one asked the electoral commission to promise when the results would be final so the commission's decision to announce, ahead of the election, that all votes would be tabulated within 24 hours was a huge, huge mistake.  

    There was already an element of distrust going into the elections, making empty promises only made things worse.

    Al Sharq Strategic Research did a webinar on the election.  They will be posting it to their YOUTUBE channel shortly.    In the meantime, we'll note these Tweets: 

    'In the region, we have regional actors & context actors. For good & bad, Iraq was an actor. However it has become a context country for power rivalries amongst other players since the invasion. This isn't changing anytime soon.' Says #SharqEvents
    'In the aftermath of #Baghdad Summit, it's important for the international community to support the establishment of structures that would ensure the continuation regional dialogue, regardless of whether #Kadhimi will serve for a second term as a PM.' #SharqEvents
    Our webinar has ended & will be published soon. We extend our thanks to the panelists , , , & our moderator for the fruitful discussion on the impact of #iraqelections on regional politics. #SharqEvents

    On the elections, we'll also note this Tweet:

    #Iraq media: Violent clashes between protesters against the election results and security in Baghdad ++++++++++++ رسانه های عراقی: درگیری شدید بین معترضان به نتایج انتخابات و نیروهای امنیتی در بغداد

    And this one from AL SURA:

    #BREAKING - Riot police outside of #Baghdad’s Green Zone fire live ammunition at protesters demanding manual election recount. #Iraq
    That's happening right now.

    Several big stories came out of Iraq’s sixth election since the 2003 US-led invasion. The first is low voter turnout which officially at 36 per cent of eligible voters is the lowest recorded in the country’s post-2003 electoral history. is the lowest recorded in the country’s post-2003 electoral history. With many Iraqis disillusioned with a political system which entrenches a corrupt political elite at their expense, this was expected, reflecting a trajectory of fewer Iraqis voting in each election.

    More surprising is the relative success of Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement, which increased its seat tally from 54 in 2018 to 73 according to preliminary results while its main rival from the previous election Fateh – which represents the Popular Mobilization Forces – saw a decrease from 48 to only 16.

    This result suggests Sadrists have increased in popularity while Fateh’s support has declined, but the vote total reveals a different story. While the Sadrists outperformed their rival in seat count, the two sides received a similar number of votes. In fact, according to preliminary numbers, Fateh and allies received more votes than the Sadrists but secured less seats, with Fateh receiving an estimated 670,000 votes while the Sadrists received 650,000.

    This discrepancy highlights a key aspect of the new 2019 electoral law. As a recent Chatham House Iraq Initiative paper highlights, the newly adopted single non-transferable vote (SNTV) – a first-past-the-post (FPTP) system conducted within multi-seat constituencies – was intended to create a more transparent electoral process by removing the need for complex seat allocation algorithms and forging a closer link between voters and the elected.

    Four years ago, the stream running through Iraq’s al-Hamra village dried up. Now, “all the trees have died”, said Abdullah Kamel who used to farm citrus fruit in the village in Saladin governorate north of Baghdad.

    The farmers subsequently tried digging wells but found the groundwater was too salty and not suitable for farming. “It killed the trees and all our crops,” said Kamel.

    Pulling a pomegranate from a nearby tree, he cracked it open on the dusty earth. Pale, crumbly seeds fell out. “The seeds are not edible,” he said.

    The lands around al-Hamra, which used to be fields and orchards, have become like a desert within the space of a few years, said Kamel, with the streambed reduced to a dry ditch.

    “I had to leave farming,” he added. “I started looking for another job and it’s all because [of] the lack of water.”

    US intelligence agencies, last month, noted Iraq was one the ten countries that would be most effected by climate change.  Yesterday, on NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, Ruth Sherlock filed a report:


    In Iraq, a prolonged drought has dried up lakes and brought rivers to such low levels that the Iraqi government says the country can farm just about half the land it normally would. The United Nations Environmental Program says Iraq is the fifth-most vulnerable country in the world to the effects of climate change. NPR's Ruth Sherlock traveled to a rural province there to hear how farming communities are surviving.

    RUTH SHERLOCK, BYLINE: In Iraq's Diyala province, an hour northeast of the capital, Baghdad, much of the farmland looks abandoned.


    SHERLOCK: We walk over dry grass to meet a group of farmers that stand beside a cultivated patch of ground near a home-dug well.

    HAMEED ALI MATAR: (Speaking Arabic).

    SHERLOCK: Before, this land was known as the food basket of Baghdad. Farmer Hameed Ali Matar says now it's like a desert. I ask him what he would normally grow at this time of year.

    MATAR: (Speaking Arabic).

    SHERLOCK: NPR's translator, Awadh Altae, interprets.

    MATAR: (Through interpreter) Normally, in the previous years when you came here, you can see it's all green - different kinds of corn and cucumbers - everything is green here. Well, this year is totally different.

    SHERLOCK: He says what he grows now isn't even enough to feed his family of 10.

    MATAR: (Through interpreter) We never buy anything. We have everything, like milk, yogurt, bread. But now, we buy 90%.

    SHERLOCK: Matar is one of thousands of Iraqi farmers struggling to cope in a prolonged drought. There's been less rainfall for several years now. But this year, they say, is the worst they can remember. In a call with NPR, Hamid al-Nayif, the spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, lays out the scale of the problem.

    HAMID AL-NAYIF: (Speaking Arabic).

    SHERLOCK: He says, last year, the country cultivated 16 million dunams - or 160,000 hectares - of land. This year, they expect to grow on only a third of that land, maybe half if there's rain.

    AL-NAYIF: (Speaking Arabic).

    SHERLOCK: The lack of rainfall is the big problem. It's led Turkey and Iran to draw more from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and that means there's less water when these rivers flow into Iraq. There are local reasons for the water shortages, too, like inefficient irrigation systems and cracked pipes. But the Agriculture Ministry and climate experts working with them all tell NPR, climate change is exacerbating the crisis, with Iraq experiencing longer, drier and hotter summers and less annual rainfall. In Diyala province, in mid-October, the temperature is still almost a hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

    We're here on what's a relatively cool day in Iraq, but it is still so hot. The air is thick with the heat. The sun is beating down. The air is dusty. Farmers say this is the first time they can remember that the lake that they rely on to water these fields is dry.

    If you tap the ground, it's hard as rocks.

    Iraq’s President Barham Salih in a video address to the United Nations Twenty-Sixth Global Climate Summit in Glasgow on Wednesday called on the international community to work with Iraq to face the threats the country faces from climate change and other environmental challenges.

    “Over the past 40 years, Iraq has been swept by wars and conflicts so it is classified as one of the most vulnerable nations in the world because of climate change,” Salih said. “Desertification affects 39% of our country and 54% of our agricultural lands are degraded because of salination caused by reducing water flow of the Tigris and Euphrates. Seven million Iraqis have already been affected by drought, climate change and the risk of displacement.”

    The president’s virtual remarks come after he canceled his trip to Glasgow last minute. An informed source said the president's decision to stay in Iraq is a result of the tensions and ongoing negotiations to form a new government following last month's elections.

    We'll note two videos on the topic.

    Flying over southern Iraq at night, the sky burns orange. Heaven and earth are illuminated by dozens of flaming towers in the oilfields scattered across the desert. The towers – known as flare stacks – burn off gases released during the production of crude oil, the black gold that provides more than 90 per cent of the Iraqi state’s revenues. 

    Iraq is the world’s second-worst offender when it comes to gas flaring, according to a recent World Bank report, after Russia. Every year, the country’s flare stacks emit billions of cubic metres of carbon dioxide, polluting the local environment and making life miserable for people who live and work near the oilfields. 

    The scale of the gas flaring falls in line with Iraq’s significant crude oil output. The country is the second-largest producer in the Opec group, pumping 4.34 million barrels a day, according to an independent analysis by Iraq Oil Report.

    For decades Iraq has relied on oil to fund a bloated public sector at the expense of economic diversification. But as Iraq’s delegation, headed by President Barham Salih, arrives in Glasgow for Cop26, the country faces enormous challenges in combating the effects of climate change. A combination of years of conflict, poor governance and a lack of awareness leaves it ill-equipped to implement the needed reform. A rapidly growing population – the number of Iraqis is expected to double to 80 million by 2050 – adds even more pressure.

    “I can count on one hand the number of leaders that are even aware of the urgency of the situation,” said Azzam Alwash, a member of Iraq’s Cop26 delegation and founder of Nature Iraq, a non-governmental organisation. “That is how bad the situation is, politically speaking.”

    Gas flaring is just one factor contributing to the climate crisis. A crippled electricity grid forces Iraqis to rely on power generators that belch diesel fumes into the air. Low rainfall and damming on rivers upstream in Turkey and Iran have caused water levels to plummet. Plastic and sewage fill waterways because waste management systems don’t work. This year, there have been widespread crop failures, drought-induced migration and an increasing sense of panic among people who rely on the land to survive. 

    “We see more migration towards the cities that are already struggling with poor water and power infrastructure,” said Maha Yassin, a researcher at the Planetary Security Initiative of the Netherlands-based Clingendael Institute. “This is creating social tensions, and maybe more internal conflicts.”

    Iraq is making some efforts to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. The country has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions by 2 per cent in the public sector and 15 per cent in the private sector by 2030. The pledge is made with a condition, though – that there is “stability and financial support”, said Alwash. Despite the territorial defeat of the Islamic State (IS), security in Iraq is still unstable: there are frequent deadly attacks by IS insurgents and armed disputes between tribes.

    Leila Harris Tweets:

    some heart wrenching and beautiful imagery of the devastation from rising temperatures, drought, and associated water and food insecurity in southern Iraq. Climate change effects being experienced now--leading to food and water insecurity, migration....

    Monday, THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweeted:

    Ahead of COP26, UNICEF says that Iraq’s children and young people will bear brunt of country’s burgeoning climate crisis. “It represents an absolute injustice to the next generation.”

    The following sites updated:

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