Monday, November 22, 2010

Everyone sacrifices for the exiles installed in Iraq

Lara Jakes (AP) continues to report on the claim that Iraq can no longer pay the benefits to widows and the poor because, according to Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujafi -- they don't have the money. Jakes points out that MPs have each received over "$100,000 so far this year in salaries and stipends" even though they've only held four sessions all year.

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 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.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. 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 -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. November 10th a power sharing deal resulted in the Parliament meeting for the second time and voting in a Speaker. And then Iraqiya felt double crossed on the deal and the bulk of their members stormed out of the Parliament. David Ignatius (Washington Post) explains, "The fragility of the coalition was dramatically obvious Thursday as members of the Iraqiya party, which represents Sunnis, walked out of Parliament, claiming that they were already being double-crossed by Maliki. Iraqi politics is always an exercise in brinkmanship, and the compromises unfortunately remain of the save-your-neck variety, rather than reflecting a deeper accord. " After that, Jalal Talabani was voted President of Iraq. Talabani then named Nouri as the prime minister-delegate. If Nouri can meet the conditions outlined in Article 76 of the Constitution (basically nominate ministers for each council and have Parliament vote to approve each one with a minimum of 163 votes each time and to vote for his council program) within thirty days, he becomes the prime minister. If not, Talabani must name another prime minister-delegate. . In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister-delegate. It took eight months and two days to name Nouri as prime minister-delegate. His first go-round, on April 22, 2006, his thirty day limit kicked in. May 20, 2006, he announced his cabinet -- sort of. Sort of because he didn't nominate a Minister of Defense, a Minister of Interior and a Minister of a Natioanl Security. This was accomplished, John F. Burns wrote in "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" (New York Times), only with "muscular" assistance from the Bush White House. Nouri declared he would be the Interior Ministry temporarily. Temporarily lasted until June 8, 2006. This was when the US was able to strong-arm, when they'd knocked out the other choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) to install puppet Nouri and when they had over 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Nouri had no competition. That's very different from today. The Constitution is very clear and it is doubtful his opponents -- including within his own alliance -- will look the other way if he can't fill all the posts in 30 days. As Leila Fadel (Washington Post) observes, "With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) points out, "Maliki now has 30 days to decide on cabinet posts - some of which will likely go to Iraqiya - and put together a full government. His governing coalition owes part of its existence to followers of hard-line cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leading Sunnis and others to believe that his government will be indebted to Iran." The stalemate ends when the country has a prime minister. It is now eight months, fifteen days and counting.

They're playing games and the people are suffering -- and another US soldier died yesterday in Iraq. Whatever happened to the notion that someone was going to hold these exiles accountable? Whatever happened to the grandstanding Baraba Boxer with all her claims of benchmarks must be met and Iraq must stand up for itself and blah, blah, blah. We can repeat it all, we can quote her word for word if necessary. She's been strangely silent, hasn't she, on Iraq for 2010. Not a damn word from Barbara. Another US soldier gave their life, was sacrificed so Nouri and company can play games and jerk everyone around.

Where's the outrage?

Jason Ditz ( observes
, "
Constitutionally, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is supposed to announce a cabinet within 30 days of coming to power, but officials argue that President Jalal Talabani hasn’t officially appointed Maliki as prime minister yet, so the clock hasn’t yet started on this deadline."

Meanwhile KWQC reports Iowa Army National Guard is heading to Fort Hood in Texas before deploying to Iraq in the new year. Eight months and no government and the US government is sending more forces into Iraq to prop up the puppet Nouri? Human lives are worth so little to the US government?

The puppet government refuses to protect the people of Iraq. And more US forces are sent to prop up this 'government'? Iraqi Christians have been targeted since the start of the illegal war. The latest wave started on October 31st when assailants attacked Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad and at least 70 people died with at least another seventy wounded. Iraqis covered in the press -- in the foreign press, little coverage on this comes from the domestic press -- would state in that immediate aftermath that they were thinking of moving to Mosul but a relative or friend warned them that it wasn't safe there. Mosul was the focus of a 2008 wave of assaults on Iraqi Christians and, since the siege of the Church in Baghdad, Mosul's again become a place where Iraqi Christians are targeted.

Randa Habib (AFP) reports the latest wave has resulted in many Iraqi Christians seeking safety in Jordan:

On Sundays families gather at the Syriac Orthodox church in Jordan's capital Amman to pray, socialise and mull over the best ways of securing a visa to enable them emigrate to the United States, Canada, Australia or Europe.
There are always new faces in the crowd, like Suzanne Jilliani, her husband Hani Daniel and their year-old baby who fled after the October 31 attack on Baghdad's Syriac Catholic cathedral that left 46 worshippers dead.
The couple, who now live in a furnished flat provided by the Syriac church in Jordan, dream of joining Jilliani's family in the United States.

Catholic News Agency reports, "Pope Benedict XVI prayed for Christians suffering from persecution and discrimination throughout the world, especially those in Iraq, during the Angelus on Nov. 21. The Italian bishops invited the faithful to a day of prayer for the persecuted and for their persecutors after the Oct. 31 massacre of dozens of Iraqi Christians celebrating Mass in a Baghdad cathedral. Violence continues to be directed against the country's Christian minorities. The day of prayer was promoted as a sign of closeness and solidarity to Iraqi Christians and all those persecuted for their faith."

The latest Law and Disorder Radio begins airing this week (on WBAI this morning at 9:00 am EST and on various stations throughout the week) and Heidi Boghosian, Michael Ratner (click here for an ISR interview with Michael) and Michael S. Smith cover a number of important issues including questioning by government agents (Heidi and the NLG have prepared a new pamphlet). Thank you to Tori who e-mailed to ask, "What graphs?" in reference to "TV: To Know, Know, Know Her Is To Avoid Her" at Third. Ava and I wrote, we didn't type it up. Everyone was exhausted and they must have forgotten. I uploaded the graphs to Flickr this morning after reading Tori's e-mail and then put them in the piece. I then published it again . . . without putting in a note. Fine, I'll just pull it back up. Wrong, I can't get back in this morning and am tired of trying. I'll do a note this evening if one's not been done by someone else before then. Thank you, Tori, for catching that. And we'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "Pushing Back the Date to Exit Afghanistan" (Scoop):

The disclosure by McClatchy News Service Nov. 9th that President Barack Obama is “walking away” from his pledge to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan in July, 2011, comes as no surprise. The Pentagon's tactics seem hardly designed to put a prompt end to the struggle but instead to inspire rebellion---prolonging the war. If those tactics were not chosen to achieve that end, they have certainly backfired! The bombings that have killed so many civilians, like the midnight raids on private homes, are only inflaming Afghan resistance. But their impact will be to brace record Pentagon spending, generate further billions in windfall profits for military-industrial arms dealers and outsourcing firms, and push oil prices ever higher.

Please don't take my word for the claim that the Pentagon's strategy is all wrong. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, America's good friend, told The Washington Post November 13th the U.S. “must reduce the visibility and intensity of its military operations, especially night raids that fuel anti-American sentiment and could embolden Taliban insurgents,” according to a summary of the Post's story by the Associated Press. “The time has come to reduce military reduce the presence in reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life.” Karzai further told the Post that the nine-year-old war has taken too high a toll on the people of Afghanistan. He said the Taliban leaders also feel “the same as we do here---that too many people are suffering for no reason.” Karzai wants U.S. troops off the roads and out of Afghan homes: “I don't like it in any manner and the Afghan people don't like these raids in any manner.” He also said, “the long-term presence of so many foreign soldiers will only make the war worse.”

Let's remember the U.S. has no right to war on Afghans in the first place. In an interview with the Sri Lanka Guardian on Feb. 11, 2009, activist philosopher Noam Chomsky termed the invasion “a major crime.” It came after the U.S. demanded the Afghans hand over Osama Bin Laden---or else. When Kabul asked for evidence of Obama's involvement in 9/11, the Bush regime couldn't provide any and the FBI later conceded there just wasn't any. President Bush attacked anyway. “I think Obama looks more aggressive and violent than Bush,” Chomsky said. “The first acts to occur under his administration were attacks on Afghanistan and in Pakistan, both of which killed many civilians and are building up support for the Taliban and terror.” In short, the Pentagon's bruising assaults only make a horrific situation worse. As The Nation magazine editorialized Nov. 15th, “The offensive creates more enemies than it kills. And despite the tripling Of US forces since 2009, it's clearer than ever that the war can't be won militarily. In fact, Taliban control over vast areas of Afghanistan has increased since Obama ordered the escalation.” The liberal magazine urged President Obama “to declare a cease-fire on US and NATO combat operations, halt the night raids by US Special Forces and stop the drone-fired missile attacks throughout the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater.”

The e-mail address for this site is