Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ahmed hopes he's back

Iraq's National Coalition is a series of Shi'ite political parties that banded together. Al Rafidayn reports they have called on Nouri al-Maliki to name Ahmed Chalibi Minister of the Interior.

National Coalition member Abbas Amiri reveals that the choice was decided upon, where else, at the home of Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Chalabi is infamous for many things. Most recently, he helped Nouri out via the Justice and Accountability Commission. Chalabi and Ali al-Lami went around targeting Nouri's opponents as Baathists and refusing to allow them to run for office. Of course, his history is much longer than that. From the Institute for Policy Studies' page on Chalabi:

Ahmad Chalabi is a controversial Iraqi political figure who first rose to prominence in the year’s before the U.S. led invasion of Iraq because of his U.S.-backed exile group, the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which played an important role pushing the ouster of Saddam Hussein, including by passing allegedly false intelligence about Iraq’s weapons programs. Long a favorite of many neoconservative figures—including, most notably, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle—Chalabi fell out of official favor (if not that of the neocons) in 2004 when he was accused of spying for Iran. In early 2010, Chalabi again made headlines as a result of his continuing ties to Iran and his efforts to sideline Sunni politicians in Iraq (Chalabi is Shiite).

In late February 2010, the Washington Post reported that Chalabi was behind the disqualification of several hundred candidates during the run up to Iraqi elections in March 2010 because of having alleged ties to the Baath Party. The disqualifications were announced by Chalabi’s Justice and Accountability Commission, which according to critics targeted “candidates from Sunni-led and mixed secular coalitions. … Many of those ousted were rivals of Chalabi's bloc. A court impaneled to review the cases carried out a cursory review behind closed doors. Candidates were allowed to submit written appeals but were never told the specific nature of the allegations against them.”[1]

According to the Post, the disqualifications not only threatened to widen the sectarian divide in the country, they also were upsetting Iraq’s neighbors, who worried about the increasing influence of Iran. An unnamed U.S. military official said, “They will try to get rid of pro-U.S. generals, but more importantly, they are stacking the deck with pro-Iranian officers, which will damage U.S. long-term interests in the long run. This is why many neighboring Arab countries aren't so happy about us modernizing the Iraqi military with some of the latest equipment.”[2]

You can read the full profile for more. The illustration is from this article at Third. Apparently, Ahmed's getting paid off for all the work he did -- work he did, according to US military officials, on behalf of the Iranian government. If anyone thought the purges were bad in the lead up to the March 7th election, take a moment to wonder what he'd do as Minister of the Interior.

In other alarming news, Ayas Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports a concert hall in Baghdad which was being used by a family to celebrate a small child's birth was raided by the Baghdad police on the orders of the Baghdad Provincial Council. Supposedly the hall wasn't supposed to be opened, not even for private parties. Regardless of whether that's true or not, when you've got demonstrations all over Iraq, including in Baghdad, is really a good thing to alienate the people by sending the police in to bust a child's birthday party?

In other sadness, Jack Healy and Michael S. Schmidt. See that's the problem with imposing a narrative, boys, you can't report the truth once you've shaded it repeatedly to fit the narrative. The boys of the New York Times want you to know that Nouri's supported the protests (publicly). They forget -- because NYT has filed so damn little on Iraq this month -- that this 'support' followed clerics supporting it and, now, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani supporting the protesters. The two insist -- from Baghdad -- that the protests have been sparse and have "failed to gain much traction." I'm confused, which one of the two reported on the ground from any protest?

If you've followed Arab media, you've seen pictures of the huge turnouts, you've read stories on them. But the boys who still depend upon stringers to give them details that they then 'string' together and call a 'report' want to play experts on that which they know nothing of. They completely distort the elections from last March and the message from them. This is two little liars disgracing themselves and maybe it's a good thing that the New York Times has been ignoring Iraq this month. If this crap counts as their 'finest' work, they've done Iraq a favor by ignoring it. Was it yesterday they lied to us and pretended the protesters weren't mentioning Nouri in their protests? Today, they admit that "many Iraqis fault Mr. Maliki" and I guess that bit of truth is supposed to make up for the rest of their falsehoods.

All the two boys do really is ridicule Iraqis, make fun of them and their "patchwork" demands and pretend like they've done a damn thing. They're late to the party on the assault in Tahir Square and they miss most of the facts on that. But they weren't there to begin with and they're not present for most of the things they put their names to. They're so pathetic these days that they can't even report from the 'safety' of Parliament. They've not written about the issue of the three or four vice presidents or any of the other issues.

But they think that they can show up and mock Iraqi protesters. I guess if you sat around all day earning a pay check in villa for doing little more than occasionally taking the work of others and stringing it together and calling it your own, you'd be so consumed with self-hatred, you'd project it out on others as well. Healy and Schmidt seem determined to bring back the 'frat boy' atmosphere of NYT's early days of this illegal war. For those who've forgotten, that involved a lot of lying and a lot of whoring (Dexy Filkins is pictured in the illustration with Chalabi) and it also ended up involving the Guild when NYT thought they could fire a woman for (they say) informing Dexy's then-wife (like most smart women, she left him) and John F. Burns' wife just how the Go-Go Boys were rolling it in the Green Zone. It wasn't pretty. If Healy and Schmidt want to bring back an era, they might try for something along the lines of the work of Sabrina Tavernise, Damien Cave or Alissa J. Rubin.

As our Iraqi community member noted, Iraq is not Baghdad. (See Polly's Brew, if you missed his comments.) But just as western reporters made the mistake of treating Kabul as the measure of the entire country of Afghanistan, they've done the same in Iraq.

Sunday we noted the altercation in Parliament. Alsumaria TV provides news of an altercation which took place Monday, "Iraq’s Parliament session on Monday was subject to verbal altercations. The session was suspended for half an hour after Speaker Ousama Al Nujaifi intensely argued with members of Kurdish opposition change movement as they were banned to read their statement about Sulaimaniah incidents. Two members of Al Iraqiya List squabbled as well over the investigation committee report on closing Al Baghdadiya TV offices." Again, you might think if you had reporters on the ground in Iraq -- especially if they were confined to Baghdad -- that this would result in some Parliament coverage; however, that has not been the case. Repeatedly.

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