Thursday, April 29, 2010

Post-election madness continues

March 7th, Iraq held elections. When the votes were tallied, the political slate receiving the most seats in Parliament was Ayad Allawi's bloc. AINA reports al-Iraqiah issued the following statement earlier this week:

1. To send a letter to the Head of the Supreme Judicial Council stressing the urgency of his intervention to protect the Judiciary from political influence, as this may have serious ramifications on the stability of the country.
2. To hold to account those responsible of distorting the election results by the appropriation of the electorates' votes through malicious disqualifications and arrests affecting the candidates and supporters of Al-Iraqiah Bloc.
3. Al-Iraqiah Bloc will reject any tampering with the election results, and therefore proposes the following:
1. That since Iraq is governed under Chapter VII, Al-Iraqiah has examined the option of resorting to the international community, including the members of the Security Council, European Union, Organisation of the Islamic conference, the states of the Arab League, to exercise their moral and legal right over the protection of the political process from any injustices, and to form a caretaker government and repeat the elections in an environment free of any political manipulation.
2. To send a request to the Presidential council, as the protector of the Constitution, to call upon the House of the Representatives to continue their duties until the certification of the election results, and to form a new House of Representatives for the purpose of monitoring the executive branch, that operates without authority, as to prevent any violations of the political process and the Constitution.

Meanwhile Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports on Allawi's call for an interim government to ensure no election theft takes place, "Former prime minister Ayad Allawi, the leader of Iraqiya, also proposed extending the mandate of the outgoing parliament until a new one is in place, "for the purpose of monitoring the executive branch." Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) adds, "Allawi, a secular Shiite, urged the United Nations and other international organizations to back him in his demand for a caretaker government and a new vote, if matters continue on the current path." Asia News quotes Allawi stating, "Certainly what is going on is a theft of the Iraqi will and democracy, jeopardising the safety of the country."

Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc won 40 seats in the Parliament. Sami Moubayed (Asia Times) offers this take on where things stand for al-Sadr:

Muqtada has been working hard for two years to transform the Mahdi Army into another Hezbollah, personally inspired by Hassan Nasrallah. That is why he froze all activities of the Mahdi Army, so he can take a long hard look at membership and filter out the undisciplined, the reckless and the corrupt (of which there were plenty in 2003-2007).
That is why he went back to the seminary, so he could elevate his academic credentials and rise from the rank of sayyed to that of an ayatollah (which enables him to issue fatwas) and grants him greater authority within the Shi'ite community at large. And that explains why, against all odds, he has insisted on refraining from any sectarian rhetoric, copying the Nasrallah model in Lebanon, who always speaks of Lebanon, not of Shi'ites.
Muqtada also copied Hezbollah's massive charity network, monopolizing education, hospitals and fund-raising within the Shi'ite districts of Iraq to make sure that no family goes to bed hungry and all receive a monthly stipend from the Mahdi Army. Much like a modern Robin Hood, Muqtada is suiting himself to become spokesmen, defender and leader for the poor of Iraq.
Now is the time to unveil the new Mahdi Army. It will look, sound and act like Hezbollah. No more street violence or sectarian tension triggered by the Sadrists. On the contrary, the Mahdi Army - this time with strong Iranian support - will replace the failed state of Maliki. It will extend an arm to the Sunnis and Kurds willing to work with it, making sure that no prime minister is brought to power, without full consent of Muqtada.

Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured six people and a Kirkuk sticky bombing which claimed 1 life. Meanwhile Today's Zaman reports, "Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has officially invited Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani to Ankara, a move underscoring a rapprochement between Ankara and the Iraqi Kurds after years of tension over the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq." Hurriyet quotes Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stating, "He will visit Turkey at the appropriate time." In other news of Iraq's relations with other countries, Nafez Kawas (Lebanon's Daily Star) reports that Lebanon's Premier Saad Hariri spoke with Nouri al-Maliki this week regarding the arrest and detention of approximately 120 Lebanese truck drivers in Iraq.

And we'll close with Michael Applegate's "Stop Outsourcing Security Act HR 4650" (Iraq Veterans Against the War):

Rep Jan Schakowsky and 24 cosponsors are introducing a bill to phase out private military contractors.
A similar bill is being introduced to the Senate by Sen Bernie Sanders I(VT) S 3023

Contact your reps to urge them to support this bill.
Latest Major Action: 2/23/2010 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, and Intelligence (Permanent Select),

Currently there are 24 cosponsors:
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 2/23/2010
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 2/25/2010
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 3/10/2010
Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25] - 4/21/2010
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 2/23/2010
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 2/23/2010
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 4/21/2010
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] - 2/23/2010
Rep Grayson, Alan [FL-8] - 3/10/2010
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 2/23/2010
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 2/23/2010
Rep Hall, John J. [NY-19] - 2/23/2010
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 2/23/2010
Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] - 2/23/2010
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 4/21/2010
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 2/23/2010
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 2/23/2010
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 2/23/2010
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 2/23/2010
Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] - 2/23/2010
Rep Shea-Porter, Carol [NH-1] - 2/23/2010
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] - 2/23/2010
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 2/23/2010
Rep Wu, David [OR-1] - 4/21/2010

Please become a citizen cosponsor by going to:

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