Sunday, August 25, 2013

Editorial: Eyes everywhere but Iraq

Reuters reports this morning, "At least 22 people were killed across Iraq on Sunday, including five soldiers who were shot dead by gunmen who then burned their bodies, police and military sources said."  Yes, violence continues in Iraq with Iraq Body Count counting 630 violent deaths for the month thus far through Saturday.  As Lara Jakes (AP) observed August 16th, despite the ongoing violence, Iraq was disappearing in the news cycle.


And that disappearance certainly explains how Friday's protests in Baquba, Tikrit, Baji, Mosul, Falluja, Baghdad's AdhamiyaSamarra, Rawah, Jalawah, and Ramadi got ignored -- as did the fact that they were part of an ongoing wave of protests launched December 21st.

While violence and funerals took place, Nouri went to India.


[Nouri with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.]

He returned to Iraq today, All Iraq News reported.  Not that it matters.

He's had seven years to improve living conditions for Iraqis and he has failed repeatedly.

When the protests kicked off, he made a pretense of listening (when not calling the peaceful protesters "terrorists").  But, as he saw that the international press he feared was not paying attention, he stopped pretending he cared about the protests.

The international press' lack of attention, the same lack of attention Lara Jake noted, helped Nouri decide to attack the protesters on a massive scale.  Tuesday, April 23rd saw a massacre of the sit-in in Hawija by Nouri's federal forces.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.  UNICEF informed the world that 8 of the dead were children and twelve more children were left injured.

There was some minor press attention briefly.  By the time UNICEF had issued its finding, the press had already moved on which is why US outlets never mention the children killed in the assault.

What will Nouri do next?

One thing is visit the United States where he'll address 'security issues' with the White House and, apparently, ask for even more troops in Iraq.  This would be a formal request.  For weeks, Nouri and the White House are said to have been discussing this move.

Would such a request mean that the US press would suddenly remember Iraq again?

Probably not.

After all, for nearly a year, US news outlets have ignored  Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

It's amazing how few people are aware of that report.

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