Saturday, April 02, 2011

Iraqiya cries "coup," INA counters "genocide"

Violence continues in Iraq. Al Rafidayn reports 3 police officers and 3 soldiers were killed in Anbar province by "insurgents using small arms" (an unnamed Iraqi security source) and eight people were left injured. In addition, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldiers and left four people injured while, in Kirkuk, Sahwa member Nassif Mahmoud Kassem was killed in an assault on a checkpoint. Reuters adds a Baghdad sticky bombing left a worker from the prime minister's office injured. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports on the violence and also appears to have filed the only English language report on any of the genuine protests yesterday (as opposed to the faux action by Ahmed Chalabi intended to elevate himself and to stir up sectarian passions):

Nearly 1,500 Kurdish demonstrators had gathered in the central square of the Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya on Friday to continue their demands for political reforms and to protest corruption, a lack of basic services and unemployment, security officials said.
But the peaceful protest turned violence.
Security officials said angry protesters stormed shops, threw stones at Kurdish riot police and wielded sticks when police pushed back. At least 50 people were wounded, including 37 members of the riot police, police and health officials in Sulaimaniya said.

Al Mada reports on the protest in Baghdad yesterday with "security forces surrounded [Tahrir Square] and blocked citizens access to the square." Al Mada notes that many families were present carrying photos of their family members who had disappeared into the Iraqi 'justice system,' calling for the release of their loved ones. As protests took root in Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki began desperately spinning for time and came up with a "100 days reform" -- the political equivalent of hitting the snooze button. The 100 days come to a conclusion on June 7th. Today Nouri al-Maliki tells the Associated Press that it will not be any problem for he and his Cabinet to meet the deadline: "But Premier Nouri al-Maliki opened several escape clauses for his ministers should they fail to meet the June 7 deadline, which he set in an effort to appease protests by crowds demanding better public services and an end to corruption. He also dodged questions in an interview with The Associated Press about whether he would also step down if his government is deemed to have fallen short of demands for change that have resonated throughout Iraq over the last six weeks." Press TV calls Nouri's statements of Iraq's future "an optimistic picture."

Is there a scramble on to replace Nouri? May be. Various parties are now throwing accusations at one another when they were oh-so-close last November. Al Rafidayn reports the Iraqi National Alliance is calling for an investigation into "the crime" that took place in Falluja which the Iraqi National Alliance is calling a "genocide" -- Ayad Allawi was prime minister when US forces attacked Falluja -- and it is being compared to the Halbaja genocide when Saddam Hussein ordred a chemical attack on the city March 16, 1988 (the Iraqi Parliament declared the Halbaja assault a genocide in a vote on March 17th). New Sabah adds that Ayad Allawi's Iraqi is stating a "coup" has taken place because KRG President Massoud Barzani has not implemented the 19 terms he agreed to including the creation of the National Supreme Council which would have been headed by Ayad Allawi. This is in reference to the deal made in Erbil by State Of Law, the KRG, Iraqi, the National Alliance, the Sadr bloc and Joe Biden to 'end' the political stalemate and allow Nouri al-Maliki to continue as prime minister.

In other news, Al Mada reports Iraqi President Jalal Talabani congratulated the Iraqi Communist Party on their 77th year anniversary: "I congratulate you heartily on the seventy-seventh anniversary of the founding of your party [. . .] [which] worked hand in hand with the other political parties to fight for a free Iraq that would be free of social injustice and discrimination." No reports on Nouri congratulating them but he probably feels he did 'his part' by ordering the military to evict them from their Baghdad headquarters last month.

We'll again close with this from Michael Ratner's "To Hell with the Constitution: Obama Goes To War" (Just Left):

How is it that Congress isn’t screaming at President Obama for usurping its power to take this nation to war against Libya? (Even Bushes #41 and #43 had their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq authorized.) And if Congress isn’t screaming, then why aren’t we? We should be. The power to make war impacts us all: it kills, it costs our dwindling treasury, and it has serious consequences.

Those are just some of the reasons why the Constitution doesn’t allow the president to make the decision to go to war unilaterally — a fact that Obama, himself a former constitutional law professor, knows full well. If fact, when candidate Obama was asked if the president could bomb Iran without authority from Congress, he categorically responded: “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Candidate Obama’s letter perfect response reveals precisely how well he understands the framers’ fear of giving the power to initiate war to the president. As James Madison, principal author of the Constitution wrote, “The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war to the Legislature.” Consequently, Article 1, section 8, cl. 11 states that Congress and only Congress can authorize the use of military force against another country. It makes no difference whether it’s called war or a “military action” — Obama’s term for the attack on Libya.

Some have argued that it would have made little difference for Obama to have asked for authority — that Congress would have approved the war anyway. Whether or not that’s true, it’s not the point. Had Obama gone to Congress there would have been the kind of public debate that’s necessary in any country that calls itself a democracy.

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