Tuesday, May 26, 2009

al-Sudani out of office

Abed Falah al-Sudani

Above is Abed Falah al-Sudani who was the Trade Minister in Iraq. Was? Timothy Williams and Abeer Mohammed's "Trade Official Quits as Iraq Continues Investigations" (New York Times) report the Nouri al-Maliki appointed al-Sudani, who is also a member of Nouri's political party, resigned his post:

The Trade Ministry's duties include the oversight of various imports, including food staples, automobiles and construction materials. The ministry also operates the program that provides monthly food rations for Iraqis, offering items like sugar, rice, milk, tea, cooking oil and soap at heavily subsidized prices.
During Mr. Sudani's tenure, however, there were frequent shortages, and some of the goods were distributed long after their expiration dates, arousing widespread public anger.

The resignation was not surprising. Last week Jack Dolan and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reported he was expected to be out of office shortly:

All of Baghdad seemed to watch last weekend when Sudany appeared on state TV to answer questions about his two brothers allegedly skimming millions from a national food program as ordinary Iraqis went without staples such as rice, wheat and cooking oil.
Sudany also struggled to answer charges that when government investigators arrived at the Trade Ministry, his guards had fired into the air, allowing his brothers to escape out a back door, and about why an inspector general was transferred to Beijing after he asked about shipments of spoiled food.
Some Iraqis saw the public interrogation as a hopeful sign for their country's nascent democracy, a rare case of the powerful being held accountable to voters. Others considered it parliamentary propaganda, convinced that politicians had found a scapegoat for the sake of appearance.

Meanwhile Ned Parker's explosive "U.S. prepares to withdraw, Iraqi resistance prepares for battle" (Los Angeles Times) has an explosive opening:

"If we hear from the Americans they are not capable of supporting us . . . within six hours we are going to establish our groups to fight against the corrupt government," says the commander, a portly man with gold rings and lemon-colored robes who, perhaps understandably, spoke on condition of anonymity. "There will be a war in Baghdad."

Alsumaria reports, "As Parliamentarian and presidential elections are looming in Iraq Kurdistan, the IHEC announced that submitting candidacies for presidential elections has ended on Monday while current President Massoud Barazani and five other candidates are on the list." The elections are scheduled for July 25th. The KRG did not participate in the January 31st elections. Nor did Kirkuk. Massoud Barzani is the current president of the KRG and his political party is the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). Jalal Talabani is the current president of Iraq and his political party is the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The elections will follow Kurdistan history and be a face off between the two parties.

We'll note this from the KRG:

Prime Minister states support for independent judiciary at inauguration of Judicial Council headquarters

Erbil, Kurdistan -- Iraq (KRG.org) -- Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani reiterated the Kurdistan Regional Government's commitment to strengthening the judiciary and supporting its independence at the inauguration of the new headquarters of the Kurdistan Region's Judicial Council in Erbil this week.

The judiciary was previously under the authority of the KRG Ministry of Justice, but was made independent and is now run by the Judicial Council under the leadership of the Chief Justice of the highest court. Prime Minister Barzani inaugurated the Judicial Council’s new offices in the Region’s capital on Thursday.

In his speech at the ceremony, the Prime Minister said, "Today this facility is a symbol of our attention and commitment to the principles of the rule of law, and an indicator of our efforts towards a better legal system." He continued, "We in the KRG face many challenges ahead of us. But in my opinion, no challenge is more important than strengthening the authority and independence of our judicial system."

The Chief of the Judicial Council, Judge Ahmed Abdullah Zubeir, underlined the impact of an independent judicial authority and said that history would remember this moment. Judges must implement laws impartially and in this way citizens and officials will begin to have full confidence in the competence and impartiality of the judicial system, he said.

Prime Minister Barzani also pointed to steps that have already been taken, including the financial independence of the judicial system, the establishment of the Court of Cassation as the highest court of the Region, and the development of training courses and improved technology for legal experts and staff. He called for court procedures and verdicts to be made available to the public more quickly and in written form, and called on the media and education professionals to help raise awareness of the judicial system.

The KRG has supported a number of initiatives to strengthen the rule of law and ensure an atmosphere of stability and peaceful coexistence throughout the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani has repeatedly emphasized the importance of an independent, professional, and transparent judicial system. He urged the judicial authorities to approach difficult decisions with courage. "Judges should bravely tackle the challenges they face in upholding justice and the independence of courts -- through proper court proceedings," he said.

Marcia posted "Memorial Day" yesterday and Kat did two album reviews over the weekend: "Kat's Korner: David Saw, Why Didn't You Hear?" and "Kat's Korner: Tori Amos, the friend you fear for". Isaiah's latest goes up after this. In addition to a New York Times article linked in the caption to his comic, you should probably read Peter Baker's NYT article in today's paper.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

timothy williams
the new york times