To kill a candidate 0

While we were watching to see how that democracy thing was working out in Iraq, we came across a story that has gone almost totally unreported. Hushed up, in fact.

It’s about an assassination attempt on the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki , who escaped with his life but had to be hospitalized.

Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was injured in an attempt on his life last Thursday, March 11. His armored convoy came under an RPG-automatic fire attack after a bomb hit his car. US and Iraqi authorities have blacked out the incident, but our sources learn that Maliki is being treated for moderate-to-serious injuries at the American military hospital. One source says he was hit in the arm. His doctors apparently found his condition was too serious for him to face TV cameras and deliver a broadcast statement to the nation scheduled Sunday March 14, although members of his State of the Law party were beginning to ask questions about his disappearance.

As the counting of votes continues in Iraq’s general election, it confirms the Maliki party’s lead against its foremost rival, former prime minister Iyad Allawi’s secular al-Iraqiya bloc of liberal Shiites and Sunni Muslims.

Allawi’s is running an active campaign to prove widespread vote-rigging both in the balloting of the 19 million eligible voters in the country and the more one and a half-million ballots outside.

Maliki is running ahead in seven to nine provinces. Still, Allawi who appears to have carried five, hopes to unseat his rival and win a second term as prime minister.

The incumbent, a Shiite, is solidly backed from Washington as its best hope for a stable government that would allow the US military to pull out of Iraq on time in August, seven years after the invasion.

Saudi Arabia and Syria and some circles in the Obama administration promoted Allawi’s bid.

The attack on Malliki was obviously aimed at getting rid of the American candidate for Iraqi prime minister. His State of the Law party is very much a one-man show. Without its leader, it would probably break up into factions and its winning parliamentary members attach themselves to other groupings in the 325-member House.

Of course, if they could have pinned the assassination attempt on Mossad the media would have been all over it.

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Iraq, Islam, middle east, Muslims, News, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tagged with , ,

This post has 0 comments.

Permalink

The blood-dimmed tide 0

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

– W. B. Yeats

*

We were for the war and regime change in Iraq. We were glad Saddam Hussein was deposed and hanged. We would like to see all despots brought to the same end.

But we never believed in Iraq’s becoming a true democracy, however many Iraqis cast their votes in however many elections. Nor is it.

The ritual imitation of democratic procedures is now being performed again.

Here’s a graphic report (perhaps a little too strained for emotional effect) on election campaigning Iraqi-style:

The slaughter of the al-Kaabi family last week horrified Iraqis who had prayed that the parliamentary elections next Sunday would be free from political violence.

Eight-year-old Ahmed was found hanging from a ceiling fan, blood dripping from slashed wrists tied behind his back. Little Rafel, her throat cut, was still in the purple and pink T-shirt she had worn to bed. The killers had gunned down Hussein al-Kaabi, 46, the children’s father, when he opened the front door last Monday night. They then appear to have gone methodically through the house in the Al-Wehdah district in southern Baghdad, knifing his wife and six children, some of them as they slept.

Photographs from the scene are shocking. Pretty nine-year-old Rafel looks almost peaceful, with locks of her dark hair hiding the wound on her neck. Seven-year-old Mais has a scarf wrapped around her mouth, obscuring the bloody wound on her neck. Ahmed looks painfully young and fragile, his football shirt evidence of his obsession with the game. Their mother, Widad, 36, was pregnant when she was shot and butchered. Family members said she appeared to have been running to help her husband.

Relatives said the only crime committed by Hussein, a guard for a wealthy farmer, was to have been hanging posters for Entifadh Qanbar, a candidate standing for the Shi’ite Iraqi National Alliance (INA).

“It was a premeditated act of political terror,” said Abdullah al-Kaabi, 52, Hussein’s cousin. “The people who did this are trying to make people fearful of working for their candidates, or scared to vote.” …

Qanbar [the candidate] blamed members of Saddam Hussein’s [banned] Ba’ath party for the killings. …

Many Iraqis had hoped the vote would be an opportunity to move past the old divisions but the slaughter of the Kaabis suggest they are still raw.

Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, is running as head of a secular Shi’ite-led bloc … [His] support has waned as his claim to have brought security to Iraq was undermined, not only by the murder of the Kaabi family, but also by a series of spectacular bombings.

Last month suicide bombers mounted co-ordinated attacks just minutes apart on Baghdad hotels that had been expected to house foreign election observers, killing 36 people and injuring 71. Following in the wake of similar attacks in August, October and December, they wrecked what had been a fragile but growing sense of security in Baghdad.

Since last summer, army and interior ministry security forces have assumed sole responsibility for security after the withdrawal of American troops from patrolling Iraqi cities. Officials had already warned that violence would escalate in the run-up to the vote.

Survivors of the blasts blamed hardline Ba’athists, believed to be allied with Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown terrorist group linked to Osama bin Laden.

Maliki’s government, already under fire for a lack of tangible improvement in basic services, and allegations of corruption, is facing its toughest challenge from the INA, whose main partners are the pro-Iranian Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and Moqtada al-Sadr, the anti-US cleric whose strength comes from the mostly poor Shi’ite majority.