Saturday, April 30, 2016

Panic Behind the T-Walls

The WaPo's Baghdad Bureau Chief, Loveday Morris, posted a link to this video showing "some of the panic in the Green Zone earlier [today] as politicians tried to flee the protesters." Quite dramatic, with SUVs pushing aside traffic barriers to clear a path for politicians fleeing the crowds of angry Sadrists, and police making half-hearted attempts to control the rioters. If they did a modern day remake of Doctor Zhivago, that is what the end of the first reel would look like.

Is that a white Suburban I see at around the midpoint of the video? Hmm. Maybe there's a Chevy dealership in Baghdad.

The protestors had a very good day, and at one point they came within about 500 meters of the U.S. Embassy. See the WaPo story here: State of emergency declared in Baghdad as protesters take Iraqi parliament:

Security forces declared a state of emergency in the Iraqi capital after demonstrators climbed over blast walls and broke through security cordons to enter Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, also home to ministries and the U.S. embassy. Many were followers of Iraq’s powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has been urging his supporters onto the streets.

Lawmakers fled the building in panic, with some berated and hit as they left. Others were trapped in the basement for hours, too afraid to face the crowds who complain that the country’s political class is racked by corruption.

-- Snip --

Entering the parliament building, which, like the rest of the Green Zone, has been off-limits to the public for the past 13 years, protesters reacted with jubilation. To many, the area has become a symbol of corruption, the place where Iraq’s political elite live walled off from the rest of the country.

-- Snip --

The [U.S.] embassy denied that it had begun evacuating staff or provided had safe haven for Iraqi politicians. Organizers urged protesters not to attack embassies or other properties in the area.

Still, members of parliament, many of whom live in the Green Zone, went into hiding, and some left the country.

-- Snip --

Many politicians said it marked a turning point.

“This is an end to the political system put in place after 2003,” said Dawoodi, speaking by phone after he fled the parliament building. “A big part of the blame for this is on America, which left Iraq without solving this crisis it created.”

Here's a thought: if the end of the post-Saddam political system comes before our election year is over, which candidate would that favor?


Anonymous said...

Great PostTSB !! Unfortunately, probably not the one who has been against it all along because he has been effectively blocked by the media.And since all the rest are solidly behind the bankers and,total security state and the defense establishment (except Trump) it won't help any of them. Hillary will win the same way she has been. (any way necessary).

This is a big step in the direction of Arab Unity though and that will happen despite all US efforts to stop it. I've been rooting for Al Sadr for a long time.
gwb It will be interesting to see what happens when the Iraqi parliament continues without a quorum. Might have to send Biden over to talk to (plead with) Moqtada? gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Juan Cole has a great historical description of the 'rentier state' constructed in Iraq by US from 2003-2011. I didn't realize that Iraq now has 2 Premiers. It looks like Al Sadr has plenty of company in wanting to scrap the whole thing and start over. gwb

James said...

Actually this is footage of Iraqi politicians reacting to the news of Biden's surprise visit.

TSB said...

Crazy Joe could clear a room, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

TSB: James; Crazy Joe was basking in the twilite at the Hilton in DC last night. Larry Wilmore told the Obama's it's going to be tough when they are out on their own without chefs, drivers, butlers, maids, laundry workers ..."Yep, you're going to miss Joe Biden!"

TSB said...

Former VPs get pretty much no official support after they leave office, unlike former Presidents. Not even Secret Service protection. Joe's last government bennie will get a free limo ride home after the inauguration ceremony next year. Personally, I will not miss him.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Seymour Hersh would have served this up on a platter for Bernie but now it's going to be Donald's main dish in the fall election season. The evidence is pretty strong that the Sarin attack didn't come from Assad's stockpile. This pretty well sews up the whole ratline/benghazi story. I'm thinking, was it the Republicans who stopped this planned bombing campaign from happening? gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: I'm starting to suspect Obama and Hillary are just tools of the carbon fuels industry. gwb

TSB said...

GWB: Those Zero Hedge guys make me curious. According to Bloomberg this week, there are just two guys - formerly three guys - who write their stuff, and the non-financial items are pure clickbait to raise ad revenue. What's up with all their references to Fight Club? I'm pretty sure fans of that movie are deeply depressed people who need to get outdoors more, or play a contact sport, or do something, to snap out of it. I wouldn't trust them for conspiracy theories.

Anonymous said...

TSB: There are three really interesting stories in non-traditional news. You probably know of more. The most interesting to me is 'Jenk' Cenk Uguer of the Young Turks (TYT). He was featured on the 4/30/16 C Span Washington Journal:

Cenk had the 6pm slot on MSNBC with 700,000 viewers but he was too anti-establishment so they wanted to move him to weekends and DOUBLE his salary in 2011. Instead, he formed his own company and went internet studio with a $10/month subscription. Last month he had 86,000,000 individual viewers! Their selling point is that they give the upside and the downside on all issues while still making their biases known. The way he handles critics and supporters alike is really great and educational. I didn't know the background until the C-Span interview because they never promote themselves on the show.

For example: Did you know R. Limbaugh gets an ungodly amount of $$ from the Heritage Foundation?

ZH pays all of it's contributor writers $$ and funds itself entirely from ads which I never see. They have no debt and no think tank contributors. Any subscriber can comment on any article. The idea being it is a completely open forum catering to it's readers. The 3rd one is Juan Cole.

Prediction: Bernie will win Indiana! gwb