Saturday, May 28, 2011

Withdrawal? Legislation?

In one of the most laughable claims of the week, officials with the Ministry of the Interior claim to Al Sabaah that the Ministry is ready to take over security for Iraq. If you don't get the hilarity in that claim, you may not be aware that there is no head of the Ministry. The Ministries of Interior, Defense and National Security remain leaderless. They should have had Minsters appointed to them before the end of December. That's because the Constitution states that once a prime minister-designate is named, he or she has 30 days to name a Cabinet -- this means nominating ministers and getting the Parliament's approval on each nominee. That is how a prime minister-designate becomes prime minister, by coming up with a Cabinet. Nouri never did. And the Constitution was ignored and he was moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister. (Per the Constitution, after 30 days, if he hadn't come up with a Cabinet, a new prime minister-designate should have been named and given 30 days to come up with a Cabinet.)

Iraq continues to debate whether or not to extend the SOFA and keep US troops on Iraqi soil past 2011. Aswat al-Iraq quotes Iraqiya MP Zuhair al-A'raji stating, "The extension of the U.S. forces' mandate cannot be made without a decision to be submitted by the government to parliament, where it would be debated and voted by its members." Aswat al-Iraq observes, "North Iraq’s Kurdish leaders, including Kurdistan Premier, Barham Saleh, have officially announced their wish that the U.S. troops would be extended till the settlement of the suspended political problems about the areas-in-conflict between the Kurdistan government and the Baghdad Federal government, along with necessity to boost the Iraqi troops potentials to protect the security of the country." Meanwhile Dar Addustour quotes US military spokesperson Gen Jeffrey Buchanan noting that US bases in Iraq are coming under increased attacks -- explosive devices and mortar fire.

Dar Addustour also reports that the Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi has stated Nouri's claim that Parliament can't write laws, that they have to take his suggestions or those of Jalal Talabani (President of Iraq). al-Nujaifi notes that Nouri's interpretation is not what the Constitution says and recommends that they follow the Constitution. Alsumaria TV adds, "Article 61 of the Iraqi constitution stipulates the following: The Council of Representatives shall be competent in the following: First: Enacting federal laws. Second: Monitoring the performance of the executive authority. Third: Electing the President of the Republic. Fourth: Regulating the ratification process of international treaties and agreements by a law, to be enacted by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council of Representatives. Fifth: Approving the appointment of the following: A. The President and members of the Federal Court of Cassation, the Chief Public Prosecutor, and the President of Judicial Oversight Commission by an absolute majority, based on a proposal from the Higher Juridical Council.
B. Ambassadors and those with special grades, based on a proposal from the Council of Ministers. C. The Iraqi Army Chief of Staff, his assistants, those of the rank of division commander and above, and the director of the intelligence service, based on a proposal from the Council of Ministers. Sixth: A. Questioning the President of the Republic, based on a petition with cause, by an absolute majority of the members of the Council of Representatives. B. Relieving the President of the Republic by an absolute majority of the Council of Representatives after being convicted by the Federal Supreme Court in one of the following cases of: Perjury of the constitutional oath, violating the Constitution or high treason."

Turning to violence, Reuters notes 1 suspect was shot dead in Ramadi and 1 corpse was discovered in Kirkuk. Aswat al-Iraq notes 2 corpses were discovered in Mosul and 1 police officer was shot dead by the Iraqi military in Ramadi.

In Karbala, the US carried out a military operation involving a helicopter as they attempted to raid a home for a man . . . who died four days ago. And the response in Karbala? Aswat al-Iraq reports:

The deputy chairman of Karbala's Provincial Council disclosed that a letter of denunciation shall be handed to the U.S. Embassy due to the U.S. Army's airborne landing north of Karbala, calling on the central government to exert pressures on the U.S. army to cease its violations.
Nisayif Al-Khatabi told Aswat al-Iraq that "the U.S. forces carried out an airborne landing on house to arrest a citizen without any coordination with the local government or security forces."

Liz Sly (Washington Post) examines the Kurdistan region here.

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