Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Iraq is back. . .

. . .in the news, and Colin Powell's famous Pottery Barn Rule seems more prudent than ever although, quite obviously, we cannot undo the past.

It could just be timed counterargument to opening up a Benghazi investigation, but articles on Iraq are depicting the recent situation as quickly deteriorating. Novelist and professor Jay Parini contributes here, and in "Iraq, three years after U.S. Withdrawal" The Week portrays Iraq today as, by some criteria, just as bad or worse as it was during Saddam Hussein's rule. The situation for women is particularly bizarre, as they are guaranteed 25 percent of of the seats in parliament, but are seen as having fewer rights than women held during Saddam's time:

Are women at least better off?Their political situation has improved: Under Iraq's postwar constitution, women are guaranteed 25 percent of the seats in parliament. But as conservative Shiite forces have gained a foothold within the government, the average female Iraqi has found herself with fewer rights than under Saddam. More than a quarter of women over the age of 12 in Iraq are illiterate; only 14 percent are either working or actively seeking employment. Perhaps the greatest symbol of Iraqi women's plight today is the Jaafari Personal Status Law, draft legislation approved by Iraq's Council of Ministers in February that lowers the marriage age for girls to 9, forbids women from leaving their homes without their husbands' consent, and legalizes marital rape. "This law means humiliation for women and for Iraqis in general," said female legislator Safia al-Suhail. "It shows that we are going backwards."

In 2014, car bombings are in the news quite regularly, and 2013's death toll of almost 9,000 rivals the peak of sectarian violence in 2007 and 2008.

Meanwhile, the friendly neighbors in Iran are merely announcing that have copied a U.S. spy drone. Most of us, I'm sure, would prefer peace and Genoa salami over this assessment from General Salami:

"No nation welcomes other countries' spy drones in its territory, and no one sends back the spying equipment and its information back to the country of origin," Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran's military, said at the time, according to the semiofficial Fars News Agency.

It never ends.

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