Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The non-progress in Iraq

Dar Addustour reports that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted yesterday that the last two months have seen at least 23 Iraqis killed as they protested for basic services, unemployment and against corruption. He stated 11 people have been injured in Baghdad, Erbil and Basra and that security forces had prevented Iraqis in Baghdad from access to the protests. Joe Sterling (CNN) quotes Ban Kimoon stating, "Unless there is quick and concerted action by the Government of Iraq to address these concerns, the political and security gains that Iraq has made in recent years could be undermined." Alsumaria TV adds, "Presenting a report at the U.N. Security Council Ban Ki-moon said that his organization is concerned about the situation in Kirkuk and the deployment of five thousand Peshmargas in the past two months."

But there is 'success' in Iraq. Al Rafidayn notes the municipal government of Baghdad is trumpeting the re-opening of 121 streets in the city. And Dar Addustour explains that there are now four candidates for Minister of the Defense. That would be good news if this were April 2010 and not April 2011. But a year after the elections, this is yet another sign of how indecisive and ineffective Nouri al-Maliki truly is. There's also Grant Smith (Bloomberg News) reporting that Adnan al-Janabi, Chair of the country's Oil andd Energy Parliamentary Committee announced yesterday that Iraq will not be able to pass the oil law "by this summer." For those paying attention, this has been an issue for some time. The White House put it in their benchmarks for success back at the start of 2007 -- and both the US Congress and Nouri al-Maliki signed off on the benchmarks. If the benchmarks were not achieved, the US funds were supposed to be cut off. And the assumption was that, by 2008, the benchmarks would be accomplished. Instead, four years later and nothing on the benchmarks including the theft of Iraqi oil. Some observers believe the US military will not leave Iraq until the theft of Iraqi oil legsilation is passed. In other Uh-oh-look-out-here-it-comes developments, Alsumaria TV reports that Mahmoud Othman, Kurdish MP, is stating he expects Nouri al-Maliki's (incomplete) Cabinet will "collapse."

Remember those benchmarks? One of them was reconciliation. Meaning to take Paul Bremer's de-Ba'athification program - outlawing Ba'athists from participation in the new government -- and making it a de-de-Ba'athification process. As part of that effort, a 2008 law was passed. However, as many noted in real time (including US House Rep Lloyd Doggett), it was not implemented and just sat there. Haider Ibrahim (AKnews) reports that Nouri's State of Law slate is now objecting to the law and, despite Parliament stating it needs to be enacted, Nouri's slate is saying it must not be.

Last week, as many as 65 people were killed in Tikrit in an assault on the provincial government headquarters. Tim Arango (New York Times) notes the still reeling community:

“We were expecting something to happen, but not this big,” said Noor al-Samari, a member of Parliament from Salahuddin Province, which includes Tikrit. “The security forces are very weak.”
An interview with Mr. Samari on Sunday was cut short after he received a call summoning him and local security officials to Baghdad to appear before a parliamentary committee investigating the attack.
Echoing several local leaders, he was highly critical of American forces for not being directly involved in the fight. “They were close by but didn’t do anything,” he said.

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