Thursday, June 10, 2010

'Savior' Nouri notches up another 'win' on the GPI

The current, sectarian-leaning government has failed to deliver such fundamentals as sustained security, improved basic services and better job prospects. Although democracy is, at its core, about the peaceful transfer of political authority, and despite his failure to get the electoral results overturned, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refuses to acknowledge his defeat or Iraqis' clear desire for change and national progress.
As the winner of the election, our political bloc should have the first opportunity to try to form a government through alliances with other parties. Yet Maliki continues seeking to appropriate that option for his party, defying constitutional convention and the will of the people. Because his bloc placed second, our slate wants to meet him, without preconditions, for face-to-face talks. We are determined to build a government based on competence and professionalism instead of ethnic or sectarian identities. Regrettably, Maliki has thus far declined to meet with us.

The above is from Ayad Allawi's "How Iraq can fortify its fragile democracy" (Washington Post). Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which, last March, won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance. Together, the two still lack four seats necessary (or so it is thought) to form the government. Yesterday, Little Nouri was insisting to Anthony Shadid (New York Times) that only he could save Iraq. The destroyer as savior? Burning the village to save it?

Poor Nouri, reality's never been kind to him. Today, for example. Paulina Reso (New York Daily News) reports on the Global Peace Index:

While peace and stability aren't easy to come by, this year the world fared slightly worse, partly due to the global recession, according to the fourth annual Global Peace Index.
The survey, which aims to objectively measure security and violence among nations while illustrating drivers of peace, ranked 149 countries this year.

The Japan Times explains, "Iraq -- for the fourth year in a row -- was the worst among 149 countries". Four years in a row. Wow, exactly where it was in 2006. Hey, April 2006, who became prime minister? Oh, yeah. Nouri. Heck of a job, Nouri.

Baha Mosua was an Iraqi whose 'crime' was going to work. The 26-year-old was arrested in a dragnet at the hotel -- arrested by British forces and he went on to die in their custody, sustaining 93 injuries in the process. The ongoing inquiry into Baha Mosua's death is taking place in England. Liam Creedon (PA) reports that Maj Gen Robin Brims testified today that, in 2003, he outlawed hooding of prisoners but somehow that word didn't get out. From Creedon's report:

Gerard Elias QC, counsel for the inquiry, asked Lt Gen Brims: "Did you know at the time of issuing that order that there were troops on the ground that believed it was a standard operating procedure to hood prisoners at the point of capture?"
The Lt Gen responded: "I didn't know at the time, I now know it, yes."
The Lt Gen insisted that he had not seen a standard operational procedure telling soldiers to use hoods at the point of capture.
But he said there was some confusion as to whether hooding prisoners was lawful or not.

Francis Elliott (Times of London) adds, "Hooding was banned during interrogations in 1972 after a legal challenge to techniques used by the Army in Northern Ireland. Mr Hoon will say it was deemed not illegal in other circumstances by Army lawyers. Nevertheless, hooding was twice made the subject of a total ban by British Army commanders in Iraq."

We'll close with this from the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Senator Debbie Stabenow is speaking on the Gulf Disaster.

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anthony shadid