Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The fallen and Nouri's latest attempted power grab

Last week, six US soldiers were killed in Iraq. Pfc Michael Olivieri was one of them. Thursday is the Homer Glen native's funeral (Homer Glen is a suburb of Chicago). The service will take place at Modell Funeral Homes which carries this obituary at their website:

PFC. Michael C. "Mikey" Olivieri U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, KS, passed away as a result of insurgent fire in Iraq on June 6, 2011. Cherished husband of Sharon Olivieri. Loving son of Michael A. and Jody Olivieri. Devoted brother of Abby (fiance Adam Brook), Ashley and Joe. Dearest grandson of Joseph J. and Adelaide Olivieri, Dorothy and the late Rolland Riegel. Son-in-law of Nyman and Theresa Beckman. Visitation Wed. 2 p.m. until time of evening service 7:30 p.m. at Modell Funeral Home, 12641 W. 143rd St., Homer Glen, where funeral services will be held on Thursday June 16th at 10 a.m. Interment Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Homer Township Public Library in Michael's name to support a silent reading room appreciated. Michael enjoyed music, playing and singing in the band called the Moops. He was an avid Cubs and Bears fan. His sense of humor could bring laughter to all. 708-301-3595 or

The Chicago Sun-Times notes, "Visitation will be from 2 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Modell Funeral Home, 12641 W. 143rd St. Funeral services will be held there at 10 a.m. Thursday. Interment will be at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery." And Michelle Mulins (Southtown Star) reports, "The Homer Glen Village Board on Tuesday night urged residents to turn out in large numbers and wave flags Thursday during the funeral procession for Army Pfc. Michael Olivieri, a resident who was killed last week in Iraq." Not in Illinois, you understand, but in some states, there are state-wide and national politicians who make a point to attend the funeral of any of the state's fallen. Again, not in Illinois. In Illinois, apparently, state-wide and national office holders are too busy forever working on their own re-elections which is also why, by the way, you've had no announcements from those lazy bums recognizing Olivieri's passing.

Moving over to the topic of Iraqi lawmakers, Dar Addustour reports the Parliament ended their session yesterday with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi presiding over a little over half of the people elected to Parliament. Today they're set to discuss the issue of mobile phone companies in Iraq and why so many Iraqis are suffering from bad phone service. (Though some might see that as a minor issue, this is a big issue for many Iraqis. If basic services were sufficient in the country -- electricity, potable water, etc. -- cell phone problems would probably be the highest ranked personal issue for many after lack of jobs.)

Meanwhile the tensions between Iraqiya (political slate headed by Ayad Allawi) and Nouri's State of Law slate continues. The Erbil Agreement was an agreement devised in Erbil (in the KRG) by various political actors in Iraq plus the US. Elections had taken place March 10, 2010. For nine months after the election, there was no progress. So in November 2010, a list of recommendations were agreed upon with the hopes that it would move the process forward. Nouri would get to be prime minister and a National Council for Strategic Polices would be created and Allawi would be named to head it.

Nouri got what he wanted. And then double-crossed everyone.

Allawi has stated that he will not take the post if the council is ever created. It was supposed to be created last November but Nouri didn't keep his word. Nouri also failed to propose a full Cabinet. Currently the security posts are empty: Minister of the Interior, Minister of National Security and Minister of Defense. Nouri is saying he's the temporary head but many are noting this has now lasted for over six months and it appears to be part of Nouri's power grab and an attempt for the Little Saddam to claim even more powers.

Fitting in with that theory is a new report from Aswat al-Iraq which informs that Hassan al-Sunaid ("an official close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki") declared yesterday that Allawi wasn't fit for the position and that it could go to . . . Jalal Talabani (President of Iraq) or . . . maybe . . . Nouri. For those who missed it, this council was supposed to be independent and to provide a check on the prime minister. Now Nouri's goons are arguing that Nouri can head it.

Nouri's leadership has been a very sick joke. In February, as protests in Iraq were starting to really get going, Nouri declared he needed 100 Days. Give him 100 Days and Iraq would see results. Joining him the stay-off-the-streets-don't-protest was Moqtada al-Sadr. June 7th, the 100 Days came to an end. A new poll by Aswat al-Iraq finds that 70% of their "readers believe that the 100-day time table did not achieve tangible progress in the services fields." Meanwhile New Sabah reports that the Sadrist bloc is insisting Nouri can't dare sideline them because he needs them too much. The article notes the meetings that have been taking place between Nouri, the Supreme Islamic Council and two major political parties in the KRG as well as Jalal Talabani's talks with Moqtada al-Sadr.

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