[pjw] INFO: Iraq moving government out of "Green Zone" and other news

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Mon Nov 19 17:43:20 EST 2018

Hey Iraq Affinity Group supporters
Below is an article from the Associated Press from October 25 reporting 
that the newly elected Prime Minister of Iraq wants to get their 
government out of the heavily (US-) fortified "Green Zone" and closer to 
the people. This is a good sign that the occupation may be crumbling after 
15.5 years.

This was one of many articles flagged for discussion at our meeting last 
week. Here are some other sample headlines with context:

--Former Guantanamo prisoners were chosen to help in bargaining peace in 

  Taliban assign ex-Guantanamo inmates as future peace brokers
   (Reuters 10/31)

--An Army study critical of the US invasion/occupation has been held up 
due to its portrayal of some top brass; unfortunately the content is 
mostly about how they did not send enough troops or use enough violence.

  Army's detailed Iraq war study remains unpublished years after
     completion (Army Times 10/25)

--A Saudi-American held in Iraq by the US was freed but released to the 
UAE in a settlement agreement. Great for him... but the legal question of
his detention was not solved as a result.

*US forces free alleged 'foreign fighter' after one year (AFP 10/29)

--The US and its allies continue to undercount how many civilians they 
kill in Syria.

  None of 104 September civilian casualties in Syria credible, coalition
     says (Air Force Times 10/26)

--... but a Brown University Study also undercounts the dead in Iraq,
Pakistan and Afghanistan at just 500,000.

  US Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Killed 500,000 People
   (Antiwar.com 11/8)

--Self explanatory headline here:

  America sold $55.6 billion in weapons abroad in FY18 - a 33% jump
    (Defense News 10/9)

--...perhaps not surprisingly, Saudi Arabi is the #1 buyer of the weapons

  Saudi Arabia is America's No. 1 weapons customer - CBS 10/12

--...and one of my favorite headlines of the month. To be fair (?) the 
coffee cups in question are specially built to be in fighter jets and the 
military is now repairing them using 3-D printers to save money.

  US Air Force still can't explain why it spent $1,280 on a coffee cup
    (Business Insider 11/3)

OK, here's the article about the Green Zone.

As always, I hope these digests are helpful.
dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group


Iraq's new PM moving government outside Baghdad Green Zone
   By PHILIP ISSA | October 25, 2018 at 4:58 PM CDT

     BAGHDAD (AP) ? Iraq's new prime minister began moving his offices out
     of Baghdad's highly secure Green Zone on the first day of his term
     Thursday, saying he wanted to bring his government closer to the

     Adel Abdul-Mahdi held his first news conference in a rehabilitated
     government compound opposite Baghdad's iconic central railway station,
     near the city center.

     He said he wanted to provide security, water and electricity for all
     Iraqis during his term.

    "We want to consider all of Iraq a Green Zone," said Abdul-Mahdi.

     The U.S. established the Green Zone in 2003 to secure its embassy and
     Iraqi government institutions. But the zone has become a symbol of the
     country's aggressive inequality and fueled the perception among Iraqis
     that their government is out of touch.

     The new location, approximately 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the Green
     Zone, used to contain the offices of Parliament under the late dictator
     Saddam Hussein. Access is tightly controlled by security forces, who
     guard the main gate with armored vehicles

     Abdul-Mahdi begins his tenure facing a raft of challenges including
     high unemployment, widespread corruption, dilapidated public services
     and poor security.

     Frustration over chronic power cuts and water pollution sparked riots
     in Iraq's southern provinces in the summer.

     A former oil and finance minister and an ex-vice president, the
     76-year-old Abdul-Mahdi is seen as a political independent and is
     Iraq's first prime minister from outside the Dawa party in 12 years.
     But he begins his term with a hobbled government after lawmakers in an
     unruly session of Parliament on Wednesday night refused to vote on
     eight of his Cabinet nominees.

     Abdul-Mahdi was left without ministers for key ministries including
     Defense, Justice and the Interior.

     One of his first challenges will be to develop a coherent Iraqi
     position on tight U.S. sanctions on neighboring Iran, which will go
     into effect Nov. 2. The sanctions prohibit any businesses from doing
     commerce with both the U.S. and Iran.

     Abdul-Mahdi's predecessor, Haidar al-Abadi, sought a waiver from the
     U.S. government to exempt Iraqi companies from the rules.

     Abdul-Mahdi said he would balance Iraq's own interests and independence
     against the tugs of the economic war between Washington and Tehran.

     "Iraq is not part of the sanctions system," he said. "We want to secure
     Iraq from any interference in (its) issues and affairs."

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