Maliki attacks the protesters as unconstitutional and illegal. They demand change and exercise their Constitutional rights, he sticks his military on them and says they are a threat or Ba'athists or terrorists or paid off by foreign agents or some other lunatic from his paranoid mind.

Since December 21st, mass protests have been taking place. And Maliki refuses to address the demands of the protesters.

One of the best blogs worldwide on Iraq is We publish relevant extracts from recent posts about the Iraqi Thawra (revolution). Very informative material, mostly compiled of press reports and comments from the author.


Maliki attacks the protesters as unconstitutional and illegal. They demand change and exercise their Constitutional rights, he sticks his military on them and says they are a threat or Ba'athists or terrorists or paid off by foreign agents or some other lunatic from his paranoid mind.

Al Mada reports that, to protect his dainty and petite male followers, Maliki closed down Tahrir Square for them, he would allow no traffic -- not even bikes. The dainty men carried for photos of their cursh and paraded around in circles.

While Maliki basically shut down downtown Baghdad so that his devoted groupies could march around, Alsumaria reports that State of Law (Maliki's political party) was again attempting to demonize the protesters by insisting that they are behaving in an unconstitutional manner.  By contrast, Alsumaria reports that Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani stated that the Baghdad government is undermining the legitimate rights of the people and failing to listen to the demonstrators.  Barzani states that the legitimate protesters have the full support of the KRG.  All Iraq News reports Barzani states this is a serious crisis the country is facing and for the political process to work the protesters must be listened to.


Repeating versus reporting. AFP repeats that 400 prisoners and detainees have been released. That 'report' is based on what Nouri Al Maliki's government says. Missing from the AFP repeat is the fact that provincial governors are stating the Ministry of Justice refuses to hand over a list of the names of people allegedly released. The Voice of Russia repeats the claim made today in Baghdad by Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani that 888 prisoners have now been released.  No one wants to talk about -- or repeat? -- the reality that provincial governors have asked the Ministry of Justice for a list of those released but have been denied such a list.  When departments are unable to document their actions, the appropriate response is skepticism. Need another reason to be skeptical?  Azzaman reports "that the female prisoners claimed to have been released by the Iraqi authorities at a ceremony attended by Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Shahristani did not return to their parents."  Where are those women?

In addition, All Iraq News notes that Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc is calling Maliki's release of 355 prisoners this week as proof that innocent people are populating Iraqi prisons and detention centers.  This has been the assertion of many protesters.  Over 400 women are imprisoned due to the 'crime' of being related to some man the government wants to arrest but can't find. Al-Shahristani may be seen as a trusted source by AFP and The Voice of Russia but not everyone sees him as so honest.  Alsumaria reports that Deputy Speaker Arif Tayfur has stated that Maliki's point-person on the protests, Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani is not negotiating with the protesters.

Equally true, the prison-system needs to be cleared up immediately.  What's going on is not only illegal and inhumane, it's hurting Iraq's reputation.  Al Arabiya reported Saturday, "Twenty Saudi detainees in Iraqi prisons were tortured after the Iraqi national team lost the Gulf Cup football tournament to the UAE in a match supervised by a Saudi referee, according to Thamer Balheed, head of the Saudi detainees in Iraq."  True or false, that story was all over Arabic social media this weekend

In what may end up being the most controversial violence of the day, a kidnap victim was killed by police. Alsumaria reports that police launched an attack outside Samarra on two kidnappers, killing both as well as the person being kidnapped. Saad, the kidnap victim, is the cousin of Iraqiya MP Shaalan Karim. When the police kill a kidnap victim, it's news. When the police kill a Sunni kidnap victim, it's bigger news. When the police under Nouri al-Maliki's control kill a man whose cousin is an MP of a rival political slate, it's really big news. In terms of perspective and/or analysis, AFP offers, "The violence and political troubles come with barely three months to go before provincial elections, Iraq's first polls in three years and a key barometer to gauge the popularity of Maliki and his rivals." Provincial elections are supposed to take place in April. Others emphasize the protests. Deutsche Welle notes, "It comes following four weeks of anti-government protests in areas with a Sunni majority and just days after several attacks claimed more than 80 lives last week."

Kareem Raheem, Ahmeed Rasheed and Patrick Markey (Reuters) observe, "Shi'ite premier Maliki's government is trying to ease mass Sunni protests that erupted a month ago and his central government is also locked in a dispute with the country's autonomous Kurdistan region over control of oilfields." The protests continue. In a new development, protesters are being visited by United Nations representatives. Alsumaria reports a UN delegation arrived in Ramadi to speak with demonstrators. All Iraq News notes that they met with college students in Anbar Province yesterday. 

Over the weekend, what may have stood out most about the protests was Talal Ali Abbas.  Sufyan Mashhadani, Ahmed Rasheed, Patrick Markey and Sophie Hares  (Reuters) reported Sunday that a protester set fire to himself in Mosul and quoted protest organizer Ghanim al-Abid stating, "We don't want people to hang themselves or burn themselves, this would be against Islam.  But he reached such a state of despair he set himself on fire."  AP identified the person as Talal Ali Abbas and bases that on "police and hospital officials."  They reveal the 26-year-old man "suffered burns on about 20 percent of his body."  The Daily Star adds: “Self-immolations have had resonance in the Arab world since a Tunisian vegetable seller set himself on fire two years ago. His death in January 2024 triggered the wave of uprisings that toppled leaders across North Africa and the Middle East.

Sunday's incident in Iraq shows the frustration among Sunnis that has not ebbed despite concessions from Maliki.

As the protests continue, you have people like KRG President Massoud Barzani talking of the need for a solution. Al Mada reports on how he feels the protesters must be listened to and legitimate concerns addressed. Aswat al-Iraq adds, "Ex-Kurdish premier Barham Saleh expressed his concern on the continuation of the crises in Iraq, pointing "if these are not confronted, the country will end into party or national catastrophe, which will affect not only Iraq but the region as a whole." 

Since December 21st, protests have been taking place. This Friday, they get kicked up another notch. And Maliki refuses to address the demands of the protesters. Alsumaria reports that Deputy Speaker Arif Tayfur has stated that Maliki's point-person on the protests, Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani is not negotiating with the protesters.

The editorial board of Gulf News points out, "It is time for the political leaders to offer a more coherent way forward. In this, Maliki needs to re-start an active dialogue with Sunni and Kurdish leaders to re-establish the government's credibility as a government for all Iraqis."

With over 200 violent deaths in the month so far, you'd expect that Nouri al-Maliki would at least try to offer leadership. Instead, he demonstrates that a person can hold the office of prime minister for six years and learn nothing -- not even basic leadership skills.


One protest organizer, Mohammed Mustafa Hadi Jumail, was assassinated in Falluja.

The western media ignore the prison issues except for repeating exactly what Nouri Al-Maliki and his cronies say.  Friday should be a surprise to many who have not been paying attention because the media has misled them.  The prison issue, the western media told us last week, was all resolved.  Unlike the Iraqi media, they've had no concerns that the Ministry of Justice cannot provide a list of names of people allegedly released.  Unlike the Iraqi media, they've had no concerns why women who were allegedly released did not return to their families.

Nouri's crony stated that the ones being released first had to, in effect, post bail. (This week they are calling it just that. Last week, they didn't call it bail.) Who posted bail?  Nouri's crony explained last week that the families did.

So you're an Iraqi woman tossed in a prison and your family posts bail.  Where do you go when you leave? If your family posts bail, you might assume that you could go back home.  So why didn't you?

And if you didn't go home -- and you truly were released -- where are you?

Real reporters would be asking those questions -- and Iraqi reporters are.

Real reporters would realize that a woman getting out of prison with nothing to her name (the prisoners -- male or female -- weren't bailing themselves out) would have a really difficult time seeking shelter, let alone be transported to shelter.  Where are these women?

And if these women were tortured while in prison and they've now disappeared, most would assume possibilities included: (A) the women weren't really released or (B) they were targeted by those who tortured them.

Where are these women?

If the western press really gave a damn about something other than attempting to fix each news day for Nouri al-Maliki, they would be asking these questions.

Remember that after -- only after -- the Iraq War started, Former CNN journalist Eason Jordan took to the op-ed pages of the New York Times to confess to the fact that, for years, CNN had repeatedly covered up news from Iraq, refused to report it, for various reasons that all can be honestly conveyed as, "If we told the truth, Saddam would have kicked us out."  And so they do it again today -- all of them, not just CNN (and CNN actually has stronger reports today than most outlets). 

Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is now decrying the treatment in Iraqi prisons.  For years, the person who led on this topic was Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- and you wonder why Nouri al-Maliki targeted Tareq?

Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports today that Nouri's allies are insisting only 20% of the prison population are people accused of terrorism. (The law, Article IV, as it reads now, means those people included the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of men Nouri Al Maliki suspects but couldn't capture so he went after their innocent family members.)  Moqtada's bloc in Parliament is calling for significant changes to that and they support an amnesty law, but they again note, State of Law (Maliki's political party) continues to block that. It needs to be pointed out that 'terrorists' who are Shi'ite have long been released from prison. In fact, the White House got wery upset over the release of one such terrorist, Ali Musa Daqduq.  But the Sunnis don't get released. 2012 saw Iraq become one of the leading death penalty countries.  It may have had the most executions. We'll find out when Amnesty International finishes calculating all the countries. But United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeatedly called for Iraq to implement a temporary moratorium on the death penalty and Nouri refused. The feeling -- right or wrong -- expressed by people in Iraqi news reports and on Iraqi social media -- was that Nouri wasn't going to agree to any moratorium because he was too busy executing as many Sunnis as he could.  Equally true, many of the prison breaks and revolts have been triggered by the announcement that a group of prisoners are going to be transported to Baghdad for executions.

Dar Addustour reports that Human Rights Commission of the Basra Governorate Council has been refused access to the Basra prison by the federal government. They also note that Iraqiya MP Hamid al-Mutlaq is calling for the Baghdad Operations Command to be dissolved because of the continued use of secret prisons.

Refusing to report these realities strips the ongoing protests of their major thrust -- maybe that's intentional?  Alsumaria notes that MP Bahaa al-Araji (with Moqtada's bloc) declared yesterday that the failure to meet the demands of the protesters is aggravating the political crisis in Iraq. The UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq is Martin Kobler. The United Nations this week began meeting with the protesters.  Alsumaira notes that Kobler held a press conference in Kirkuk yesterday where he stated that the government needs to meet the demands of the protesters and that the UN doesn't see a resolve on the part of the Iraqi government currently to meet the protesters' demands.  Kobler called for serious dialogue.











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