Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pensacola, we have a problem

The Pensacola News Journal's editorial board asks today, "What Have We Gained?" Here's a thought -- and it's one more than the editorial board had -- if you're going to advocate and weigh in on either side, it probably helps to know what the hell you're talking about.

Violence in Iraq, the editorial board tells, isn't "the concern" because (unnamed) "officials" say it's "trending downward." An official told you that or your Magic 8 Ball did?

Whoever told you that lied. Violence has been trending upwards and you have to be pretty lazy and pretty uninformed to be an editorial board that's unaware of the last eight days violence which has included -- but is not limited to -- 24 people slaughtered in an attack on Sahwa, three embassises targeted in bombings that claimed multiple lives, apartment complexes used as staging platforms for bombing attacks resulting in massive deaths. You have to be real idiot not to know those things and be on an editorial board. You have to be an even bigger idiot to falsely believe you know enough to write about the topic.

And the ignorance of the editorial board never stops shining through. For your entertainment pleasure, note this from the editorial:

No, more worrisome is the growing political turmoil, which last year's elections exacerbated by splintering power among a variety of secular and sectarian political factions. The elections dealt a blow to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the closest thing the United States has to a political ally (and who might be friendlier to Iran than to America).

Don't they get enough sun in Pensacola? Do we need to airlift some Vitamin D to the editorial board?

Last year's elections?

Those elections took place March 7th -- barely last month! Last year?

Now there were elecitons, in fairness, last year in Iraq. They were provincial elections. The editorial board shouldn't be talking about those because the press (repeatedly) told us that Nouri was the winner in those. So last year's elections (the provincial elections) could not have "dealt a blow to" Nouri.

How do you get the job of writing for the editorial board? And what kind of a board -- knowing full well their names are publicly known -- allows that crap into print?

In tomorrow's Washington Post, David Ignatius' latest column appears, on his Thursday interview with US Vice President Joe Biden:

As for Iran's bid for influence, Biden was emphatic in arguing that it had failed. He disclosed that Tehran had spent up to $100 million to back the Shiite religious parties and subvert the Iraqiya bloc, a secular Sunni-Shiite alliance headed by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister. Bolstered by a strong Sunni turnout, Iraqiya ended up winning the largest number of seats.
"It was a real stick in the eye of the Iranians," Biden said of Tehran's unsuccessful campaign to steer the election outcome. What's more, he said, Tehran's post-election effort to pressure Iraqi leaders who visited Tehran "has turned out to backfire." Iraqi politicians had discovered "there's a real price to be paid . . . if it looks like you are seeking the approval or following the direction of the Iranians or any neighbor."
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and some other Shiite politicians had initially indicated that they would challenge the election results. But Biden noted that according to a new U.S. poll, 80 percent of Iraqis thought the voting was fair. Those opposing a recount now include two key Shiite leaders, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, known as ISCI.

Incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has successfully appealed to the Supreme Court to disqualify more than 50 candidates on the opposition list, accusing them of being former members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party.

Leaders from Maliki's group declined to talk to IPS, saying they were busy with meetings to form alliances for the next government.

Not serving in the administration, Abdu Rahman and Dahr Jamail (IPS) see things a bit differently and can speak what they see:

Members of former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi's list of the Iraqiya Party, that won 91 parliamentary seats to 89 for Maliki's State of Law party, were more forthcoming.
"We have a national project to reform the political process, including the starting point for reform of the Iraqi situation, and we will work to promote the reality of Iraq for the better," Khalil Ismail al-Qubaisi from the Allawi list told IPS at his office in Baghdad.
"We believe that the Iraqiya List having these goals was the real reason for our success in the elections, and will bring us success in the formation of coalitions with the rest of the lists.
"The Iraqi List is a list of Iraqi nationals and is a move away from sectarianism, and its candidates include all Iraqis," Qubaisi told IPS. "We contain Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, and Christians from all denominations, and our goals are political reform, including repair of the security situation, and improving the living conditions of Iraqi citizens who have suffered from a lack of security and services, and the most basic requirements of life."

Meanwhile Rod Nordland (New York Times) reports Iran is now publicly indicating that they want Sunnis in the new government. They should have let Nordland do a news analysis which would have allowed him to offer the opinion that Iran is making those noises now because Iraqis are not keen on Iran pushing their country around and Iran's heavy-handed and highly visible gestures have not helped any politicians in Iraq since the election.

In some of today's violence, Reuters notes a Mosul bombing which claimed the lives of 1 Iraqi soldier and 1 child, a Qaiyara bombing which claimed the lives of 2 police officers and 1 Iraqi solider and two Falluja bombings targeting "the house of a former police officer" claimed the life of 1 woman and left four members of the family wounded.

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