Sunday, May 16, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

Anthony Shadid (New York Times) reports that the results of the Baghdad recount (of the March 7th elections) have been released and there was no evidence of fraud, nor did the outcome change. Ayad Allawi's political slate remains 91 seats in the Parliament to Nouri al-Maliki's 89. al-Maliki's spokesperson declared no objections further indicating that the recount was always intended to be a stalling technique to question the legitimacy of Iraqiya's win allowing the raised doubts (and fears that al-Maliki would get his way) to sideline any attempts by Iraqiya to form a coalition-sharing alliance. Meanwhile Alsumaria TV informs, "Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki told Alsumaria that the State of Law Coalition has no other candidate than him for Premiership."

Nouri played it very well. He knew Chris Hill, US Ambassador to Iraq, was both inept and a living failure. He knew he could make threats and bully and not even worry about Hill calling for a face-to-face talk over any of it. He knew that while Allawi, Iraq's Foreign Ministers and others called for US and UK involvement to ensure the post-election period was fair, the idiot Hill would continue to issue his 'everything is fine on the ground' reports to DC. He knew he could rob the store and burn it down and Hill would tell DC the 'real news' was that the store would be reopening.

Nouri didn't just steal the election by chance. He was aided. Chris Hill's gross incompetence was his accessory.

If you still haven't grasped what happened, try to do so now. Despite Nouri having all the power of the office, despite him tossing around bribes and election year promises, despite the press covering for him, despite the press insisting he (they should have said his party) was a shoe in and that it would win 100s of seats, the Iraqi people rejected him.

Many Shi'ites rejected him by not voting. Others joined Sunni voters in voting for Iraqiya. Still others voted for the National Alliance. The big winner whom the press told you would dominate the elections barely came in second.

The Iraqi people spoke. They wanted something different, they wanted something new. They were willing to risk an unknown in Iraqiya just because they knew they didn't want more of what Nouri had to offer.

They did their part. They voted (or stayed home to register their objection). The election observers did their job. And yet despite that stunning upset, despite that huge rejection, thanks to Chris Hill, it now appears Nouri will remain in power. Something the majority of Iraqis did not want.

Chris Hill is a failure and I'm not sure Iraq can suffer him for two more months. He needs to be extracted because the Iraqi people can not take any more damage stemming from his gross incompetence.

Reuters offers a breakdown on the basics once the results are certified. Reuters also notes, "After the last parliamentary election in 2005, violence erupted when politicians took more than five months to negotiate a new government." Elizabeth Palmer (CBS News) ponders whether a civil war is on the verge of breaking out.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4397. Tonight? It remains 4397.

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
a Saturday Mosul grenade attack which wounded a child and that "the muezzin of al Rawi Mosue" was shot dead Saturday evening.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes "Labour Must Feel Heat From Unions" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Gordon Brown’s notice of resignation was a last-ditch attempt to enable the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition with Labour and keep his party in government. It presents many questions to trade union leaders.

Many of them spent the election campaign pouring money into Labour’s coffers.

Some threw their weight into campaigning for Labour.

The Unite union ran a huge operation, organising phone banks for its activists to ring other members and argue with them to vote for the Labour Party.

Many union leaders say that electing Labour is the way to defend workers’ interests and that the unions still have influence over the party.

So how will they use this influence now? Are they going to fight for a left wing leader of the Labour Party? Or will they fall in behind yet another neoliberal candidate because, somehow, they’re “better than the Tories”?

Union leaders should not throw their members’ money at Labour and get nothing back. They should only back Labour candidates who stand up for workers.

Unions should oppose any candidate who wants to keep the anti-union laws, refuses to bring the troops out of Afghanistan, and wants privatisation and cuts in public services.

As the economic crisis deepens, the key question for union leaders should be increasing the level of resistance.

But they should not be allowed to duck the question of who runs the party that they claim represents them.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

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