Saturday, February 19, 2011

Iraqis wonder if Nouri's government will be toppled

It's a non-scientific online poll; however, it has more merit than the 'polling' Quil Lawrence claimed March 8th on NPR's Morning Edition, the day after the election, when he had Nouri al-Maliki's State Of Law winning a landslide. Kissing the ruler's ass means never having to say you're sorry, apparently. (State Of Law didn't win by a landslide, they didn't win at all.) Al Mannarah has asked its reader whether they think Nouri's 'government' will remain in place until the next scheduled election? 52,83% currently state no (3.77% say they don't know and 43.40% say it will remain in place until the next scheduled election.) Maybe Nouri's following that online poll?

Dar Addustour reports that he declared today that the young people of Iraq need to be aware and prepared to stand up to any attempt to rebel. He claimed his enemies are for dictatorship and against democracy. No word on whether these enemies he 'sees' are seen in a mirror. Alsumaria TV reports that Jalal Talabani, Iraq's President, also warned against violence while the Speaker of Parliament, Ousama Al Nujafi, publicly called for the government to address the problems of the Iraqi people. Today's remarks by Nouri attempted to sell fear after yesterday's attempt at spin fell flat. Al Rafidayn reports he declared yesterday that 2011 would be a harsh year for the country; however, after that, things were going to change and turn around. Al Rafidayn reports that protests calling for better services (electricity, water, food) are increasingly protests that decry directly Nouri al-Maliki.

Protests continued throughout Iraq today. Al Rafidayn reports that, in Baghdad, widows and orphans hit the streets in protest against living conditions and demanding legislation that would ensure their needs. Activist Omar al-Mashhadani stated that the widows and orphans were the victims of the violence in Iraq since the invasion. Widow Sawsan Ismail is responsible for raising five children. Her husband was kidnapped and killed in 2007. She depends upon humanitarian assistance from NGOs and a stipend from the library -- together they total 265,000 dinars a month (212 US dollars) while her monthly rent for the families' apartment is $300,000 dinars (250 US dollars). She wants someone to ask the government how she is supposed to be able to feed her children? Another woman also raising several children by herself declares, "I ask, God, how a family of four people can live on this?"

Al Mada notes that protests went on in Baghdad and Kut today. Political Science professor Abdul Jabbar Ahmed advised that the best way to end the protests is to provide the improved services the protesters are demanding. In Kut, the sit-in that started Thursday disbanded today when the protesters were informed that their demands would be met. Those demands were supposed to include the release of all arrested in the protests. Whether this was more than empty words remains to be seen and it's difficult to picture the governor of the province stepping down (another one of the demands). While the sit-in has ended (and so has the city's curfew), Alsumaria TV reports the protests will continue.

Dar Addustour reports
that people protested in Al calling for the country's Constitution to be applied to everyone. Al Rafidayn covers the Sulaymaniyah protest in which fifteen people were injured today when protesters demanded an end to corruption and reform and some demonstraters began hurling stones at the police (who had clashed with protesters Thursday). Mohammed Tawfeeq and Shirko Abdullah (CNN) report, "Witnesses said police used water cannons and fired weapons over the heads of rock-throwing demonstrators in Sulaimaniya, who had taken to the streets to protest the violent response of security forces that killed one demonstrator and injured 57 after they attacked the local offices of ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party." Shwan Mohammed (AFP) adds, "The rally, along with another in the same Kurdish city and others in Baghdad, came after two protests in as many days earlier this week left three people dead and more than 100 wounded." Thursday's protests targeted the KDP headquarters, KRG President Massoud Barzani's political party. Today's protests included many signs and banners decrying Barzani.

Murtaza Hamid (Nasiriyah) reports that there are plans for a march in Dhi Qar today and to call for the governor to step down and protest only having electricity for four hours each day. That article was actually e-mailed by an Iraqi community member who wants to register his offense that the works and sweat of Iraq are ignored by the media. He wants it noted that the western media has repeatedly ignored the protests in that area of Iraq and that they're too scared to come cover that area of Iraq. If you go back to an entry from June 21st of last year, you will find a number of photos of protests taking place that day -- little reported on outside of Arab media -- including the photo below.

protests in nasiriyah 2

We've noted here that Iraqis have repeatedly stated that they were not trying to copy or ape Egypt. The only segment that keeps citing Egypt thus far is the college age segment of Iraq. With his permission, I'll translate his entire e-mail and it will run in Polly's Brew tomorrow.

Iraq's college-age youth is calling for a huge protest this coming Friday and primarily in Baghdad. Alsumaria TV observes, "It seems that Iraqi leaders are starting to yield to people's pressure. Heads of Iraqi parliamentary parties met with Parliament Speaker Ousama Al Nujafi to settle Iraq's 2011 budget." Meanwhile Dar Addustour and Al Mada both cite National Council sources for their story that Ayad Allawi has rejected the post for a council that would have overseen security. The reasons being given are that Nouri is by-passing Parliament and Allawi objects to that. Why would he object? If he objected, he might have done so because it's not what was agreed to and having Nouri 'create' it gives Nouri the option of 'uncreating' it. Whereas, if it goes through Parliament, Nouri can't gut it in a month or two -- Parliament creating it would mean only they could dissolve it.

The e-mail address for this site is