Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a Sunday statement: “Barrett was not only a great singer and piano player, but he, along with his writing partner Norman Whitfield, created an incredible body of work, primarily with the Temptations. Their hit songs were revolutionary in sound and captured the spirit of the times like “Cloud Nine” and the still relevant “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today).”
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:
Monday, January 30, 2023.
History is the life that has been lived and information is not static, we learn new things about the past all the time. Starting with news of discoveries in Iraq, Michele W. Berger (PENN TODAY) reports:
When Holly Pittman and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Pisa returned to Lagash in the fall of 2022 for a fourth season, they knew they’d find more than ceramic fragments and another kiln. With high-tech tools in hand, the team precisely located trenches to excavate a variety of features of a non-elite urban neighborhood from one of southwest Asia’s earliest cities.
What surprised the researchers most was the large “tavern” they uncovered, complete with benches, a type of clay refrigerator called a “zeer,” an oven, and the remains of storage vessels, many of which still contained food. “It’s a public eating space dating to somewhere around 2700 BCE,” says Pittman, a professor in Penn’s History of Art department, curator of the Penn Museum’s Near East Section, and the Lagash project director. “It’s partially open air, partially kitchen area.”
The find provides another glimpse into the lives of everyday people who dwelled some 5,000 years ago in this part of the world, an area Penn researchers have studied since the 1930s when the Penn Museum teamed up with Leonard Woolley and the British Museum to excavate the important archaeological site of Ur about 30 miles to the southwest. In 2019, the latest round of Lagash excavations began, and despite a short pandemic-necessitated pause, the project has real momentum, with four field seasons now complete.
To excavate most effectively, the researchers are employing cutting-edge methodologies, including drone photography and thermal imaging; magnetometry, which captures the magnetic intensity of buried features; and micro-stratigraphic sampling, a surgically precise type of excavation. To understand the city’s environmental context, they’ve also extracted sediment cores that reflect millennia of ecological development.
“At more than 450 hectares, Lagash was one of the largest sites in southern Iraq during the 3rd millennium,” Pittman says. “The site was of major political, economic, and religious importance. However, we also think that Lagash was a significant population center that had ready access to fertile land and people dedicated to intensive craft production. In that way the city might have been something like Trenton, as in ‘Trenton makes, the world takes,’ a capital city but also an important industrial one.”
The past expands our knowledge of the present -- unless you're an anti-LGBTQ+ lawmaker in Florida -- and helps us appreciate accomplishments of those who came before. Of the latest discovery, Mihai Andrei (ZME SCIENCE) adds:
Some 5,000 years ago, the city of Lagash was one of the best places you could be in the world. Close to the junction between the Tigris and the Euphrates, it evolved and developed in an area we now consider a cradle of civilization. But many of its mysteries are now covered by the shroud of time. Holly Pittman from the University of Pennsylvania is one of the researchers working to uncover that shroud.
Lagash is one of the largest archaeological sites in the region, measuring roughly 3.5 kilometers north to south and 1.5 kilometers east to west. Previous surveys found that Lagash was a bit like Venice — it developed on four marsh islands, some of which were gated. Subsequent archaeological digs have resulted in the discovery of urban neighborhoods, tens of thousands of pottery sherds, and much more.
[. . .]
But perhaps the most intriguing find was a large “tavern”. The building featured benches, an oven, and a type of clay refrigerator called a “zeer.” The zeer used an external clay layer lined with wet sand that contained an inner clay container within which the food or drinks were placed. The evaporation of the outer liquid draws heat from the inner pot and keeps the container cool while only requiring a source of water.
According to a 2022 article in Ancient Origins , the city of Lagash, known today as Tell al-Hiba, was located in ancient Mesopotamia, and is believed to have been established between 4,900 and 4,600 years ago and abandoned 3,600 years ago. This makes it one of southwest Asia’s earliest cities.
It has now been more than 40 years since excavations started in Lagash, a city of marsh islands . The latest round of excavations began in 2019, and despite pandemic-induced interruptions, has completed four intense seasons.
In other news, the PRESS TRUST of INDIA notes:
The dreaded terror outfit Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in South-East Asia (ISIL-SEA) has been designated as a global terrorist organisation by the United Nations Security Council.
The Security Council's 1267 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee added the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in South-East Asia to its list of designated entities last week, subjecting it to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
The outfit, also known as Islamic State East Asia Division and Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Mashriq, was, according to the UN website, formed in June 2016 “upon announcement by now-deceased Isnilon Hapilon” and is associated with Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, listed as Al-Qaida in Iraq. Hapilon was the leader of Abu Sayyaf, a group affiliated with ISIL, and was killed in 2017.
I guess we could have led into that topic by saying, "Staying with ancient history . . ." Seven years? It took seven years for them to make that designation? Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) notes that the UN has a new post in Iraq:
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, said that the Secretary-General of the United Nations decided to create a new position in Iraq, which is the advisor on climate change and security, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
The announcement of the new decision took place after the Iraqi President, Abdul Latif Rashid, received DiCarlo, in Baghdad, in the presence of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, according to a press statement issued by the Iraqi Presidency.
DiCarlo stressed that the United Nations is keen to help Iraq face the challenges of climate change, and emphasized the United Nations readiness to cooperate to reduce the risks of drought and water scarcity.
As climate change damages Iraq, Gaith Abdul-Ahad (GUARDIAN) reports:
Small gangs of buffaloes sat submerged in green and muddy waters. Their back ridges rose over the surface like a chain of black islets, spanning the Toos River, a tributary of the Tigris that flows into the Huwaiza marshes in southern Iraq.
With their melancholic eyes, they gazed with defiance at an approaching boat, refusing to budge. Only when the boatman shrieked “heyy, heyy, heyy” did one or two reluctantly raise their haunches. Towering over the boat, they moved a few steps away, giving the boatmen barely enough space to steer between a cluster of large, curved horns.
On the right bank of the river stood a cultural centre built in the traditional style of southern Iraq, with tall arches made of thick bundles of reed tied together. It catered to a large number of Iraqi tourists and a handful of foreigners who have flocked to visit the marshland region since it was named a Unesco world heritage site in 2016.
A couple of hundred metres past the cultural centre, however, the engine of the boat sputtered, and its bottom scrapped against the mud as the river dwindled into a shallow swamp, where small herons and grebes stood in water barely reaching halfway up their stick-like legs.
The foliage on the two banks also disappeared, revealing a devastating scene: what two years earlier was a great expanse of blue water, a lagoon teeming with wildlife, fish, and home to large herds of water buffaloes, had turned into a flat desert where a few thorny shrubs sprouted.
Under the scorching sun, the hot wind kicked tumbleweed across parched yellow earth, scarred with deep cracks and crumbling into thin dust under the feet. Rising above the ground were mounds of dead reed beds upon which the marsh dwellers had built their homes. A few relics of their former life lay scattered around: broken plastic buckets, some rusting metal pipe, and a kettle.
The Iraqi government is still refusing to seriously address climate change -- even as the impact is evident. Instead, they spend their time with nonsense like taking offense at criticism. For example, the Iraqi courts have always concerned themselves with the actions of others -- even when it meant violating the law. They're now violating the Constitution. RUDAW reports:
A court in Baghdad on Sunday issued a summons order for the second
deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Shakhawan Abdullah, following a
statement he made criticizing the decision from Iraq’s top court to not
pay the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements.
The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled against the payment of the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements by Baghdad, claiming it violates the 2021 Iraqi Budget Law.
The decision was criticized by top Kurdish officials, including Abdullah, who accused “a party within the Running the State coalition” of directing the Federal Court to issue the recent decision against the Kurdistan Region, ordering the court to deem the Region’s oil and gas law “unconstitutional” last year, and being responsible for the fluctuation of the Iraqi dinar’s exchange rate with foreign currencies in recent months.
“Rest assured that there will be an end to the overstepping by the Federal Court,” said Abdullah in his statement.
The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court on Sunday said that Abdullah was being summoned for his “infringement of the judiciary authority’s independence, and his interference in the work of the Federal Supreme Court, his transgression of it, and the violation of the sanctity of its decisions contrary to the constitution and the law.”
Oh, they don't like what a member of Parliament said about them. Boo hoo. They might try referring to the Iraqi Constitution, maybe start with Section 2, Article 36: "The state guarnees in a way that does not violate public order and morality: a) Freedom of expression, through all means. b) Freedom of press, printing advertising, media and publication. c) Freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration. This shall be regulated by law." They could also check out Section Two of Article 38 as well.
They're in violation.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani on Sunday appointed Nima
al-Yasiri as his advisor on constitutional affairs, in a step towards
amending constitutional articles that hindered the formation of a new
government in the country for over a year.
The newly appointed advisor will hold meetings with executive and legislative officials, in order to “chart the roadmap for making the required constitutional amendments,” according to a statement from Sudani’s office.
The statement from the premier added that the step is part of the new government’s ministerial program which was approved by the Iraqi parliament in October, in an effort to prevent the recurrence of political deadlocks, similar to the one that plagued the country following the 2021 parliamentary elections.
I don't understand. Why go to all the trouble? Why not just ignore the Constitution the way the Court does?
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