Saturday, February 13, 2010

The thuggery of Nouri

To resolve a dispute with the Tikrit provincial council this week, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq did what any good autocrat would do: He sent in the army. The problem is, Mr. Maliki isn't supposed to be an autocrat. And the United States didn't train Iraq's Army so it could be used for political coercion.
This is just the most recent example of thuggery by Mr. Maliki, who is determined to do anything he can to win re-election next month. If he and his Shiite-led government continue this way, the vote will not be seen as legitimate and opposition groups may well return to violence. That would be a disaster for Iraqis and the United States, which is supposed to be on its way out of Iraq.

The above is from the New York Times editorial "Mr. Maliki's Dangerous Ambition" and the article they link to is Steven Lee Myers and Anthony Shadid (New York Times) report which went online Wednesday evening and was in print on Thursday. In the article, the reporters note, "In just the last week, Mr. Maliki's government has acted with, at best, disputed legal authority. In Diyala, a leading candidate from one of the main blocs challenging Mr. Maliki's party, known as State of Law, was arrested on Sunday night by special forces sent from Baghdad only days after participating in a recorded debate in which he criticized the security forces. Warrants are said to have been issued for five other members of that province's legislature on charges that remain unclear."

It was a very important article and it got very little attention. Nouri's way of 'dealing' with issues is to send in the military -- in that case, a province's council had displeased him and he sent in the military.

If you didn't read the article then, you should read it now. It is probably the most important article filed from Iraq this week. Read the editorial as well. I'm offering no other news links in this entry to underscore how important they both are.

The following community sites have updated since last night:

The e-mail address for this site is

anthony shadid
steven lee myers

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends