Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nouri sings and dances before Parliament

Reuters quotes Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq stating, "If [Nouri al-] Maliki cannot administer his government in these three months in a way to meet the ambitions of people, I believe he himself should resign. These protests are not against this current government. They are against the accumulation of financial and administrative corruption and against building the country in an inappropriate way for the last eight years." This as the editorial board of the National Newspaper observes, "As The National reported yesterday, Nouri al Maliki, the incumbent prime minister, continues to dither on promised power-sharing deals, and points fingers instead. He's given his cabinet 100 days to reform or face unspecified 'changes'. He has also accused al Qa'eda and Baathists of encouraging street demonstrations. Both moves are ill-conceived attempts to divert blame from his own leadership. Mr al Maliki must recognise that it is not only his future on the line, but Iraq's. Both will lose out if he fails to address the grievances of its people." Al Rafidayn notes al-Mutlaq is a member of Iraqiya and states he is trying to limit any anti-government fallout from Nouri's inaction attaching to him (al-Mutlaq). As Alsumaria TV notes, Parliament hosted Nouri today -- "hosted"? He's now claimed the 'right' to write proposed legislation and states that it must all come through him and cannot be started or done by MPs.

Meanwhile New Sabah reports that Kut saw protests yesterday in response to an attempt to move the commander of their rapid response regiment to Baghdad and that there was a walk out, that it was peaceful and that the demands are to keep the commander in Kut. So there's now a split in Kut. There are those who are outraged by the treatment of the protesters last month -- with at least one killed and close to fifty injured -- and there are those who want the man seen as responsible for the violence to remain in Kut. Dar Addustour reports a Baghdad protest by workers with the State Company of Heavy Equipment for the oil industry, numbering around 500, protested in Firdaus Square against corruption and unfair wages. They are threatening a hunge strike. In Dhi Qar, Iraqis with special needs marched outside the province's council offices calling for funding that would increase the quality of their lives and noting that they suffer because they are not able to work.

Al Mada reports that Moqtada al-Sadr has concluded his meetings with various officials and office holders in his party. In related news, KRG President Massoud Barzani is in Baghdad. Dar Addustour reports he is preesent in an attempt to resolve the issue of the National Council. And no doubt, he's present in an attempt to hold together the fragile power-sharing agreement -- especially after calls from the White House.

Emad Kamel (Al Mada) reports on the threats to Iraq's food security and agriculture as a result of water concerns and notes that experts are predicting future wars will revolve around water resources. Related, Al Mada reports that Iraq's Minister of Agriculture is requesting that the Iranian government clarify their plans on building dams effecting the bodies of water the two countries share.

Dar Addustour notes that Nouri is set to make a series of proposals, allegedly in response to the demands of protesters, and also to make his nominations for the Cabinet positions he still has not filled all this time later. Al Mada notes that the Commission on Parliamentary Srvices has declared that it will be very difficult for the demands to be met.

We'll close with this on Bradley Manning, from Sherwood Ross' "Pentagon Torture of Manning Recalls Stalin Abuse" (OpEdNews):

The United States of America is in the process of slowly and deliberately destroying a human being before the eyes of the world. All of President Obama's posturing about the conduct of dictator Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya will not expunge his own calculated cruelty in allowing his Pentagon to continue the degrading and dehumanizing punishments being inflicted on PFC Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old Army intelligence specialist accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of files to WikiLeaks. AP reports Manning has now been charged with “aiding the enemy,” a crime that can bring the death penalty or life in prison.
Whatever Manning has done, if anything, the Pentagon has no right to reduce him to a vegetative state. Yet that is what it is doing, using methods similar to those for punishing dissidents under Stalin. As military commander-in-chief, Obama could put the kibosh on the Pentagon's sadism, which Manning has endured these past seven months locked in maximum security solitary in the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Va. Yet Obama shows no inclination to honor the Constitution's 8th Amendment that forbids “cruel and unusual punishments.” And “bizarre” is the only word for the latest Pentagon humiliation that requires Manning to stand to attention for inspection outside his 6 by 12-ft. cell each morning stark naked.
“Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib?” Rep. Dennis Kucinich(D.-Ohio) asked rhetorically in a statement quoted by CBS News. “Officials have confirmed the ‘non-punitive’ stripping of an American soldier who has not been found guilty of any crime. This ‘non-punitive’ action would be considered a violation of the Army Field Manual if used in an interrogation overseas. The justification for and purpose of this action certainly raises questions of ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ and could constitute a potential violation of international law,” Kucinich said.

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