Alsumaria TV notes that Kurdish MP Sami Shoresh was announced dead today and a funeral held for him. And after Iraqiya walked out of Parliament's session, Ben Lando, Sam Dagher and Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) report, "Amid the chaos that followed, bodyguards fanned out in the chamber as Mr. Allawi and most members of Iraqiya stormed out." Somewhere between the two, between death and detention, is the story of Iraq today.
And behind it all, the US government -- also the story of Iraq today.
The awful Chris Hill showed up on All Things Considered (NPR) today. If we were really going to evaluate, wouldn't Ryan Crocker have been the better choice? Ryan Crocker's term as US Ambassador to Iraq wasn't plagued by as many rumors as Chris' term (I'm being kind). Crocker served longer and saw more movement than Hill's approximately year in the job in which he mainly distingued himself in power napping each afternoon.
But there was Chris Hill offer "the US perspective," we were informed. The US government perspective would have been more accurate. Asked whether or not "US interests in Iraq" were satisified by today's actions, Hill responded at length with this key passage, "The problem with Allawi is he's a Shia and so as a Shia representing a party that's largely Sunnis it didn't really work for him to be in one of these three leadership positions."
Ayad Allawi has a problem in that he's Shia?
A problem with whom?
Allawi chose to run as part of a non-sectarian slate. (Nouri chose differently and wouldn't even run with his friends from 2006.)
How is his being a Shia a problem? And why would that shut him out of the presidency, the prime minister post or the Speaker post?
It wouldn't. As usual, Chris Hill came off like the eternal stoner, able to chat and chat but making little sense.
Such as when Hill insisted, "The way the system works in Iraq is the way the system works in many parliamenatry countries where he who wins the plurality of seats doesn't necessarily turn that plurality into a majority And ineed that was Allawi's problem because he won 91 seats for his party but you need 163 seats to be the majority in the Palirament so he and his party were not able to increase 91 to the majority whereas Maliki his party won 89 and he was able to cobble together a coalition with some other Shia parties and to reach 163."
But that's not how the system worked.
What took place was Nouri refused to compromise or budge -- while the US government insisted the Kurds and Iraqiya compromise non-stop -- and he did so from the illegal position of prime minister. His term expired. The Constitution is clear on that.
Allawi rightly asked for the UN to create a caretaker government to be put in place. The US shot down that idea. Refused it. (In part because Nouri's promised Joe Biden that, if he remains prime minister, he'll allow US troops to remain on Iraqi soil after 2011.)
Had Nouri been kicked out of the post -- his term had expired -- and a caretaker government set up, he couldn't have dug in his heels. The rest of the Shi'ites didn't want him -- and that includes Moqtada al-Sadr who was doing his usual embarrassing act -- We will never support Nouri!
Remember Moqtada and his big grand standing?
Maybe you remember that Moqtada wanted to paint himself as the picture of democracy?
How was his bloc going to determine whom to support?
They would hold an election (they did) and they would go with those results (they didn't).
Moqtada broke his word and did so because the Iranian government strong-armed him.
None of this goes to a democratic process.
Nouri should have been kicked out the second his term was up and the UN should have appointed a caretaker government. Realizing how badly a caretaker government was needed -- even after they shot it down -- the White House began pressing key reporters to start referring to what Nouri was doing -- illegally doing -- as "a caretaker government." They knew if they could get just a few to start doing that, others would follow. And sure enough they did.
Nouri could not be part of a caretaker government.
Not only because his term as prime minister had expired but also because he wanted to continue in that post.
By allowing him to stay in it during all of this, the US government gave him the power to say -- and he did -- that he would just continue on for months like he was doing. It wouldn't matter -- and didn't to him -- because he was getting to remain prime minister. In fact, he enjoyed even more because he (illegally) bypassed the Parliament repeatedly during his 'caretaking' role.
What happened was that Iraq had no strong adult.
A strong adult would have calle dthe wilfull and bratty child Nouri's bluff. Would have said, "You know what, you already broke the record for longest after an election without a new government being in place but now you want to go further. Okay, we'll do that. We'll all do that."
Instead, Nouri threw his tantrum and people made efforts to appease the angry child.
If the US had not insisted he remain in that post, Nouri couldn't have held out. At one point, the notion of new elections were floated. Nouri was actually keen for that. He felt that State Of Law would do even better in another attempt.
Nouri dug his heels in and because he was allowed -- by the US government -- to remain prime minister since March, he was able to threaten and bully. And the other parties, including the Shi'ites opposed to him, knew Nouri was prepared to dig in his heels for at least another year. (In September, he started declaring he could go another 18 months if he had to, 18 more months refusing to compromise.)
Chris Hill's an idiot which is why he was fired as US Ambassador to Iraq. There was nothing democratic about what happened. And it's rather telling that the US was willing to ignore Nouri's targeting of the LGBT community (those are his officers doing it), his looking the other way as various religious minorities were targeted, his lack of concern for Iraqi citizens as evidenced by the continual lack of public services, his corruption which has allowed him to grab his 'take' of Iraq's oil and aid money which is how the well off Nouri became incredibly wealthy after he became prime minister. At some point in the future -- maybe the immediate future -- Nouri will be out (maybe he'll be dead?) and Iraqis will start looking at the books and wondering where all the money went? First place to look would be at his four daughters' homes. But no one's supposed to ever talk about that either. It's considered bad form in the age of Obama.
It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)
Last week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4430. Tonight it is still [PDF format warning] 4430.
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i hate the war