Friday, April 01, 2011

Suicide bombing in Falluja, protest in Baghdad

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports a Falluja suicide bombing has claimed the life of the bomber plus that of "at least three Iraqi soldiers" today. Bushra Juhi (AP) reports that at least six people were injured (and identifies one of the dead as "a passer-by" as well as 2 Iraqi soldiers) and that the suicide bomber passed for "a street cleaner". Reuters states all 3 dead are Iraqi military and notes one man was shot dead in Mosul and a Mosul grenade attack injured two people.

It's Friday which means protests in Baghdad.


The Great Iraq Revolution reports Iraqi security forces attempted to disperse protesters. As usual and, as usual, barbed wire is roped around to stop mobility and hinder access and the press are being harassed. And they report protests took place in Falluja and in Sulaymaniya.

At the Los Angeles Times, the Carnegie Endwoment for International Peace's scholar Maria Fantappie weighs in on Iraq noting:

While the protests in Iraq may not threaten an entire leadership, they could shift the balance of power within the ruling coalition. With both promises and targeted public policies in southern Iraq, the Sadrists could infiltrate Maliki’s strongholds -- especially Basra and Baghdad -- consolidate their popular support there, and increase their pull within the new government, most likely at the expense of Maliki’s State of Law coalition. As a result, the Sadrists could regain politically what they lost militarily in the 2007 Battle of Basra to Maliki-affiliated armed forces and emerge as a key player in the government.
During the protests, the Sadrists lobbied for the resignation of several State of Law governors and high-ranking officials in Baghdad and Basra, accusing Maliki’s administration of being lax in combating corruption. This move may turn the Sadrists from an indispensable ally for Maliki’s reelection into his chief competition. Maliki already seems to be avoiding alienating the Kurds over the issue of Kirkuk, possibly to secure them as an alternative ally.
The winners of this period of social unrest will be those who heed the call of the Iraqi street, and hold the potential to respond at the local level. The Sadrists have a golden opportunity to overshadow their past as a sectarian militia and recast themselves as populist policy makers who are receptive to the people’s demands. Whether they do so remains to be seen.

Meanwhile Al Mada reports rumors that Nouri al-Maliki si planning to alter the political scene in Iraq and create "a majority government." What is public is that Sabi al-Issawi attempted to resign as the Secretary of Baghdad but Nouri al-Maliki refused to allow it, Al Mada reports. Al Rafidayn adds this was the second time al-Issawi has attempted to resign.

We'll 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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