Wednesday, May 18, 2011

100 days ticks down

June 7th, the stalling tactic ends (or is supposed to). That's the deadline Nouri al-Maliki created to divert frustration against his 'leadership.' As protests became the norm in Iraq, Nouri proposed "100 Days" -- 'give me 100 days and corruption in government will be addressed.' 100 days is supposed to come to an end June 7th. New Sabah reports that Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has declared that when the 100 days is reached, the government will face a critical situation which will include not only the refusal to comply with the Erbil Agreement (an agreement hammered out to end the political stalemate that lasted over nine months) and but the inability for the National Alliance to come together on nominees for the security ministries. He notes Iraq has now been without heads of security ministries for five months (Minister of Interior, Minister of National Security and Minister of Defense).

In a comment on the continued inability to form a functioning government in Iraq, Chuck Larlham (Gather) includes the following:

The coalition Iraqi government began badly and deteriorated. Allawi demanded several ministerial seats, and embroiled parliament in electing as many as three "Deputy Presidents" as a way to partially fill the need for ministerial level slots. Nouri al-Maliki eventually threatened to dissolve Parliament in April. Then, on Monday, May 16, there was a rumor that al-Maliki had issued a warrant for the arrest of Ayad Allawi. All parties denied it, and it may have been based on a case filed against the former leader in Iraq's western Wasit province.

Meanwhile Dar Addustour reports that al-Hashemi is concerned about the increase in political assassinations and that he met with US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey Tuesday with the two discussing the Erbil Agreement and the failure to implement it as well as Jeffrey passing on congratulations to al-Hashemi from US President Barack Obama on al-Hashemi's re-election as vice president. (al-Hashemi is one of three vice presidents. The other two are Shi'ite, he is Sunni.)

While the outcome of the 100 days is seen as a reflection on Nouri al-Maliki, he and his supporters in State Of Law continue to attempt to spin the outcome. They've apparently dropped (at least for now) their assertion that a poor outcome will reflect badly on those who backed certain candidates (and not on Nouri) and now, al Sabaah reports, are insisting that 6 ministries have achieved and, big surprise, State Of Law can claim credit. (The six are the Ministries of Youth; Sports; Justice; Industry and Minerals; Health, Financial and Muncipalities; and Public Works.) As they crow, they also state they are ready to begin whittling down the staff for the ministries. With more on that last issue, Alsumaria TV notes:

"The State of Law Coalition is unsatisfied about the fact that there are three vice presidents, three deputy ministers and 44 ministers in addition to many positions", State of Law Coalition senior official Haidar Al Ibadi told Alsumarianews.
"The Prime Minister wants to reduce the government’s ministries, political parties however did not approve yet", Al Ibadi said.
"Following the vote on Vice Presidents, State of Law Coalition called to reduce the government’s ministries and cut off the number of ministers. The State of Law is ready to cede the ministries that are deemed unnecessary", he continued.

The Erbil Agreement allowed second place State Of Law to 'win' and Nouri to become prime minister-designate in exchange for certain positions for Iraqiya (and also for clearing the name of several Iraqiya members who were tarred and feathered by the so-called Justice and Accountability Commission to prevent them from running for public office). Nouri got what he wanted and immediately trashed the agreement. Hopes that the agreement by restored in some manner appear to be faint. Al Mada explains that no invitation has gone out from KRG President Massoud Barzani to Ayad Allawi (leader of Iraqiya). There was talk of a meet-up between Barzani, Allawi and al-Maliki. That seems less likely today. (Who knows about tomorrow.)

Meanwhile the White House issued the following yesterday:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 17, 2011 Message from the President regarding the continuation of the national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq

May 17, 2011

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent the enclosed notice to the Federal Register for publication continuing the national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq. This notice states that the national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13438 of July 17, 2007, is to continue in effect beyond May 22, 2011.

Obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Accordingly, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to this threat and maintain in force the measures taken to deal with that national emergency.

Recognizing positive developments in Iraq, the United Nations Security Council decided, in Resolution 1956 (2010), to terminate on June 30, 2011, arrangements concerning the Development Fund for Iraq established in Resolutions 1483 (2003) and 1546 (2004). The Security Council also called upon the Iraqi government to finalize the full and effective transition to a post‑Development Fund mechanism by June 30, 2011. My Administration will evaluate Iraq's ongoing efforts in this regard, as well as its progress in resolving outstanding debts and claims arising from actions of the previous regime, so that I may determine whether to continue beyond June 30, 2011, the prohibitions contained in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, as amended by Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004, on any attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process with respect to the Development Fund for Iraq, the accounts, assets, and property held by the Central Bank of Iraq, and Iraqi petroleum‑related products, which are in addition to the sovereign immunity accorded Iraq under otherwise applicable law.


The following community sites -- plus Jane Fonda -- updated last night:

Lastly, today the first of two major veterans hearings takes place. Senator Patty Murray's office notes:

(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray will question the Deputy Secretaries of both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on major problems confronting those agencies in caring for veterans with the visible and invisible wounds of war. Murray will focus on DoD and VA's joint disability evaluation process, military and veteran suicides, the lack of cooperation in certain areas between the two agencies, and care for amputees.

The hearing is the first of two that Chairman Murray has scheduled as part of her efforts to prevent service members and veterans from falling through the cracks of the VA/DoD system. The second hearing on these issues is scheduled for next Wednesday (5/25) and will feature first-hand accounts from veterans.

WHO: Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray

The Honorable W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs

The Honorable William J. Lynn III, Deputy Secretary of Defense

WHAT: Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Hearing on the State of VA/DoD Collaborations and the Challenges those Agencies Face in Caring for Veterans

WHEN: TOMORROW: Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

10:00 AM EST/7:00 AM PST

WHERE: Russell 418


The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends