Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nepotism in hiring and US combat operations continue in Iraq

Dar Addustour reports on the way important, high-paying jobs are parceled out in Iraq: Nepotism. So being Moqtada al-Sadr's cousin, for example, translates into a job as an MP (Jaafar Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr has since resigned fromthe Parliament). Tareq al-Hashemi (Iraq's Sunni vice president) ensures that his nephew (Asad al-Hashemi) is employed. Nouri al-Maliki's relatives are sprinkled throughout Iraq's government system including on the Electoral Commission which, you may remember, found additional votes for him when he whined and complained in March of 2010. Ayad Allawi, Chalabi, all the names you recognize have ensured that their relatives are rewarded. Nouri, in fact, put it in writing demanding special treatement, after becoming prime minister in 2006, for his family and tribal members in the armed services. He celebrated becoming prime minister in 2010 by naming Ahmed Nouri al-Maliki (his son) as the head of his office. Those named to head Ministries staffed the ministries with their family.

So follow this if you can, the exiles were put in place by the US government after the start of the Iraq War. Once put in place by the US government, the exiles then ensure that their own relatives have jobs and no one can figure out why the 'government' is so unconcerned with unemployment (officially at 15%, actually far higher with some estimates currently at 32%). And they were all surprised that Iraqis would take to the streets demanding jobs.

The 'government' of Iraq is a system of graft and cronyism and that's what Nouri and the White House want the US military to continue to support in Iraq beyond 2011. Al Mada notes that the two-week deadline (imposed by Jalal Talabani) has passed. Two weeks ago, the president of Iraq threw his latest house party (a meet-up between various political blocs) and announced that day to the press that in two weeks there would be an answer as to whether or not Iraq wanted to ask the US military to stay. Some argue that there's too much conflict between the political blocs to work it out while the National Alliance's Abdul-Hussein Abtan notes that there are a host of issues that are also postponed such as basic services, apparently arguing that this is one of many decisions that the government needs to be making. Alsumaria TV carries the accusation by Izzat al Shabander (State of Law) that "certain political parties" (he's accusing Iraqiya) are responsible for the failure to reach a decision.

Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) notes that Parliament intends to explore the ministries. This would include a ne plan whereby any Minister who veers more than 75% from the budget would have to be accountable to the Parliament. That seems a careful way to acknowledge the vast monies disappearing from the ministries (and appearing in officials bank accounts). So the Parliament's laying down the law, apparently: You can embezzle 25% but no more.

Can you float the idea of withdrawing confidence in Nouri's government and holding new elections? Al Rafidayn's article suggests only if you are prepared for non-stop attacks. State of Law is having a fit over the possibility that their own Nouri al-Maliki might be unseated should Iraqiya (the political slate that actually won in the March 2010 elections) successfully lead a no-confidence vote and call for early elections. Aswat al-Iraq quotes Moqtada al-Sadr's Ameer al-Kinani insisting it would be "a new political crisis" if a vote of no-confidence went forward. No confidence could stem from the fact that violence continues to increase in Iraq and yet Nouri still hasn't named heads to the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of National Security. The security ministries, like all other ministries, were supposed to have been named within 30 days of Nouri al-Maliki being named prime minister-designate. Per the Constitution, failure to name the Cabinet heads (each ministry head is a member of Nouri's Cabinet) would result in someone else being named prime minister-designate and given 30 days to form a Cabinet (which means nominating and getting Parliament to confirm each individual). Aswat al-Iraq reports on Iraqiya's reaction to the still unnamed posts:

“The State of Law Coalition has not agreed on anything, neither the formation of the NCSP, nor the settlement of the Cabinet’s security ministries or the balancing of the security dossider,” Maysoun Damaloujy told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
She said that according to a previous accord, an agreement had been reached that the security cabinet posts be distributed among a minister by al-Iraqiya Coalition, another by the Kurdistan Coalition and a third by the State of Law Coalition; but the negotiator from the National Coaliltion, Hassan al-Sunaid had said that “the issue is to be decided by the Council of Ministers and that Dr. Ali al-Allaq, was the official in charge of the balancing; hence no agreement had been reached on those issues by the negotiating committees.”

On the no-confidence vote, a few things to remember. If Nouri hasn't already made an agreement with the US (some reports exist he has an he's merely waiting to unveil it), a no-confidence vote could cause US troops to leave Iraq. It took nine months for Political Stalemate I to end, nine months after the election. Since the Constitution wasn't followed by Nouri, another prime minister-designate could ignore the 30 day deadline (to name a full Cabinet and have all posts voted on by Parliament). Iraq could even struggle on for several months without a prime minister. (If that happened again, many believe the UN would be forced to do its job and set up a caretaker government. During Political Stalemate I, the UN shirked their responsibilities and allowed to Nouri to remain in office even though his term had expired.) A no-confidence vote could toss the entire stay-or-go up in the air because, for the appearance of legitimacy, a would-be prime minister might not want to go against the Iraqi people (who overwhelmingly favor all US troops out of Iraq now).

Meanwhile Prashant Rao (AFP) reports US Col Michael Bowers has announced that, on August 1st, the US military will no longer be patrolling in northern Iraq with the Kurdish forces and forces controlled by Baghdad. For those who have forgotten,the two were at each other's throats not all that long ago. I guess that was "trainers" in action, huh? It wasn't combat, right? Patrolling couldn't be combat because Barack Obama declared an end to all combat operations August 31st. They don't do anything in Iraq, they just sit around now, right? Aswat al-Iraq reports:

“The U.S. Air Force had carried out a landing early Saturday in Fudeiliya village, 15 km to the east of Nassirya, the center of Thi-Qar Province. The force detained 7 persons, charged with having carried out attacks against American forces in the area,” the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
The security source said that the detainees were “a municipality employee in Fudeiliya village and three of his sons, along with a member of the Province’s Emergency Battalion, who were all moved outside the Province.”

And in more combat operations that aren't supposed to be happening, Alsumaria TV reports, "US Forces increased military patrols in the regions surrounding its military bases in Babel, Diwaniya and Waset, the US military said. These measures aim to protect US military bases in these regions and around Iraq against attacks by Iran-supported groups, the US military noted." Securing the perimeter? Some might argue that sounds like a combat operation. Still in related news:

Southern Iraq Missan Province’s Governor, Ali Dawai, has said on Friday that a special parliamentary committee was formed to “investigate violations by the American troops in Amara, the center of Missan Province last Monday and Tuesday.
“A special committee was formed to investigate the U.S. air raids on Amara city by live ammunition,” Missan Governor Ali Dawai said, adding that the committee would arrive in Missan in few days to carry out its investigation.

If it's really true that Barack's penis loses an inch every time he lies, his must be an 'inny' by now.

We'll close with this from Thomas C. Mountain's "Libya War Lies Worse Than Iraq" (CounterCurrents):

The lies used to justify the NATO war against Libya have surpassed those created to justify the invasion of Iraq. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both had honest observers on the ground for months following the rebellion in eastern Libya and both have repudiated every major charge used to justify the NATO war on Libya.

According to the Amnesty observer, who is fluent in Arabic, there is not one confirmed instance of rape by the pro-Gadaffi fighters, not even a doctor who knew of one. All the Viagra mass rape stories were fabrications.

Amnesty could not verify a single “African mercenary” fighting for Gaddafi story, and the highly charged international satellite television accounts of African mercenaries raping women that were used to panic much of the eastern Libyan population into fleeing their homes were fabrications.

There were no confirmed accounts of helicopter gun ships attacking civilians and no jet fighters bombing people which completely invalidates any justification for the No-Fly Zone inSecurity Council resolution used as an excuse for NATO to launch its attacks on Libya.

After three months on the ground in rebel controlled territory, the Amnesty investigator could only confirm 110 deaths in Benghazi which included Gadaffi supporters.

Only 110 dead in Benghazi? Wait a minute, we were told thousands had died there, ten thousand even. No, only 110 lost their lives including pro-government people.

No rapes, no African mercenaries, no helicopter gun ships or bombers, and only 110 ten deaths prior to the launch of the NATO bombing campaign, every reason was based on a lie.

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