Saturday, June 18, 2011

Monday Talabani's scheduled to host a big meet-up

Al Sabaah reports members of Parliament are stating that Jalal Talabani and Moqtada al-Sadr have arranged a meet-up at Talabani's home on Monday. Also scheduled to be present are Nouri al-Maliki, thug of the occupation and prime minister, and the National Alliance's Ibrahim Jaafari. In addition, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met with Talabani on Thursday. Dar Addustour adds that Ayad Allawi is also scheduled to be present as are Massoud Barzani (KRG President) and Ammar al-Hakim. Al Mada notes that Barzani has tentative plans to be in Baghdad on Sunday for pre-liminary meetings and that Monday's agenda includes discussion of the Erbil Agreement and security ministries.

The security ministries are the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Defense. All are without a permanent head. The Erbil Agreement was the deal various political players (and the US government) made to end the nine month plus political stalemate in Iraq which followed the March 10, 2010 elections. The Erbil Agreement promised many things. A security council was supposed to be created -- an independent body -- and it would be headed by Ayad Allawi whose political slate Iraqiya received the most votes in the March elections. Nouri's slate came in second. But, per the Erbil Agreement, he would be named prime minister-designate and given the 30 days to nominate a cabinet and have it approved by Parliament.

As always, Nouri got what he wanted and then began screwing everyone else over. There is no security council, for example. He also called of the referendum on Kirkuk. He never managed to come up with a full Cabinet -- which means he shouldn't have been moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister (per the Constitution). Nouri named himself 'temporary' head of the three security ministries. (Some saw it as a power grab on Nouri's part.)

Aswat al-Iraq runs a statement by the office of Osama al-Nujaifi. The statement includes, "Nujeify has expressed, in a meeting with Talabani on Thursday, support for the steps that had been taken to put an end for the current political crisis and tension, and to ease out the circumstances, to serve the interests of the country." Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) shares his opinions on the Iraqi political scene:

Others who had spent a long time outside the country returned with revenge on their mind. They continued feeding the bad feelings against the former regime, when they should have brought down the curtain and started a new chapter in Iraq's history. The elements who agreed with the US before Iraq's invasion, had set the foundations of the new regime according to the Lebanese model, despite its flaws.
And that is how the first governing council was established, along sectarian rather than national lines, where the sectarian divide instead of democracy was enhanced.
This is the situation in Iraq today: Iraqis live in poor condition despite the country's wealth, the country is controlled by people who had either lived under excruciating and long economic sanctions or others who came from abroad but failed to bring with them the positive aspects of democracy. The Iraqi government's crisis continues 15 months after the March 2010 elections, and the three security ministries are still without ministers.
Hence, with the existing situation, it is only natural for the people's protests to increase, and to be put down by the government apparatus.

Violence continued in Iraq. Reuters notes 1 Iraqi military officer was shot dead in Baghdad, 1 "municipality employee" was shot dead in Baghdad, one police officer was injured in a Baghdad shooting, 1 Sahwa was shot dead in Kirkuk and a Baquba roadside bombing injured three police officers.

We'll close with the Center for Constitutional Rights' "CCR Refutes Administration Claim of Authority to Continue Attacks on Libya Wihtout Congressional Authority:"

Obama Administration in Violation of War Powers Resolution


The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is deeply dismayed at the Obama Administration’s claim that it can continue military attacks on Libya without Congressional approval as constitutionally required and in violation of the War Powers Resolution. CCR has litigated numerous war powers cases, including the first suit under the War Powers Resolution, Crockett v. Reagan, challenging U.S. military involvement in El Salvador, Conyers v. Reagan, challenging the U.S. invasion of Grenada, and Sanchez v. Reagan, challenging U.S. actions regarding Nicaragua. Jules Lobel, the Center’s Vice-President, issued the following points in response to the Administration’s position:
1. The United States is clearly engaged in warfare against the Libyan government. Both the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution require Congressional authorization for the Libyan conflict, which the Obama Administration has not obtained. Since 60 days have passed since the U.S. first initiated these military operations, the War Powers Resolution requires that the President terminate the operations unless he obtains explicit Congressional authorization.
2. The Obama Administration's June 15 letter to Speaker of the House Boehner nonetheless argues that Congressional authorization is not necessary under the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution because of the limited nature, scope and duration of the U.S. military operations in Libya. It claims that the U.S. military operations against Libya "are distinct from the kind of 'hostilities' contemplated by the Resolution's 60 day termination provision". "U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors".
This argument simply ignores the language of the War Powers Resolution and would permit the U.S. to engage in wars against other nation through the use of predator drones or long range bombing without Congressional authorization, so long as there are no troops on the ground.
3. The War Powers Resolution covers the introduction of U.S. troops into hostilities or into situations where the imminent involvement in hostilities is likely. Thus, the contemplation was that the Resolution would cover U.S. "involvement" in hostilities, and not simply situations where U.S. soldiers are engaged in "sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces", or are suffering casualties. The Obama Administration's letter would permit the U.S. to engage in high altitude bombing of a foreign nation, or predator drone attacks (and the Administration admits that such drone attacks are occurring against Libya) so long as there was no active exchange of fire or substantial risk of U.S. casualties.
4. The War Powers Resolution's language definitively rejects the Administration's contorted definition of hostilities. Section 8 of the Resolution, entitled Interpretation of Joint Resolution, states that,
"For purposes of this joint resolution, the term ‘introduction of United States Armed Forces’ includes
the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or
accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country of government when such military forces are engaged. . . in hostilities."
Certainly, United States military actions in support of the NATO forces directly engaged in hostilities fall within this provision. Indeed, here the United States was not and is not simply a passive participant or accompanier of foreign forces, but was one of the key instigators of this military action and played a key role in the early military strikes against Libya.
5. It is particularly unfortunate that President Obama's high level legal advisors have chosen to take such an inappropriate and narrow view of hostilities, which would allow the President to bypass the Constitution's and War Powers Resolution’s restrictions on unilateral Executive war making by either coordinating efforts with NATO or the United Nations, or engaging in high tech warfare to overthrow another government. Where, as here, the United States has directly engaged in warfare against another government (for whatever purposes, either purportedly noble and high-minded or not), is currently engaged in what the Administration terms are "surgical strikes" against the military forces of another nation (perhaps killing civilians as a "collateral" consequence), is actively involved in the command, coordination and participation of NATO forces attacking Libya, and has expended one billion dollars in this ongoing military operation, it is pure legal sophistry to claim that we are not involved in hostilities.
CCR calls on the Administration to comply with the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution and make its case before Congress regarding the continued need for military action in Libya. Failing that, Congress should refuse to relinquish its authority for oversight and authorization.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

The e-mail address for this site is