Friday, July 08, 2011

Nouri uncorks a whole case of crazy

Nouri al-Maliki is at it again. State of Law creates an 'issue' and then he flogs it forever in his attempt to look like a leader. It's amazing, when you consider that he's been prime minister since spring 2006, how much work is required for Nouri to look like a leader -- or at least almost like one. Xinhua quotes Mini Fraud declaring yesterday, "Today, nobody is marginalized in Iraq, I confidently say the government treats all Iraqis, provinces, political blocs and parties equally." Well, yes, the average Iraqi is pretty much treated with disdain and disgust by the so-called government the US installed in Baghdad; however, that's not what Nouri was referring to.

Osama al-Nujaifi is the Speaker of Parliament. Last week, he visited the US and, among other things, raised the issue of the missing billions in the oil-for-food fund. State Of Law is accused of using his absence to fuel a rumor that he called for Sunnis to break off from Iraq and form their own region. Once back in Iraq, al-Nujaifi issued a statement and his comments (original comments about Sunnis in Iraq) were noted in full and that should have been the end of it. However, Nouri can't let it go and continues to distort the remarks in an attempt to inflame Shi'ites against Sunnis -- please grasp this is being done not by 'firebrand' Moqtada al-Sadr but by the prime minister of the country. Salah Nasrawi (al-Ahram Weekly) notes:

During a visit to Washington last month, Osama Al-Nujaifi, a key leader of the Sunni-backed Al-Iraqiya List and holder of the post of speaker of the Iraqi parliament, told the US government-owned Al-Hurra television channel that Iraq's Sunni minority was "frustrated" and might declare "a region" of its own in the country.
"As a matter of fact they [the Sunnis] have strong feelings of frustration. They feel they are second-rate citizens and are not partners in the government," Al-Nujaifi said in an interview. "If this is not solved quickly and in a prudent way before things get worse, they might think about separation or taking measures to ensure their rights," he said.
Al-Nujaifi's unusually blunt remarks prompted criticism from Shia leaders, who accused him of sectarianism and separatism. Some 75 Iraqi Shia MPs asked for a debate in parliament and demanded an apology from Al-Nujaifi.
However, so far Al-Nujaifi has remained defiant, and upon returning from Washington he told a press conference that "the formation of such regions is a constitutional right", referring to the Iraqi constitution written after the US-led invasion, which declared Iraq to be a federal country and gave its different groups the right to form autonomous regions.

Al Rafidayn reports Nouri spoke at length yesterday and, reading the article, you may be struck by all the words Nouri used while never noting the issue al-Nujaifi actually raised: rising Sunni discontent. That was what al-Nujaifi was speaking of. He wasn't proposing a division, he was offering a warning. Instead, State of Law and Nouri have distorted it into "Iraqiya wants to break up Iraq!" Iraqiya isn't Sunni. It is a Sunni - Shi'ite alliance.

When not distorting facts to make Iraqiya the 'evil doer,' State of Law focuses on the West. Al-Rafidayn reports State of Law has concocted a convoluted plot -- it would require Miss Marple to decipher -- in which the West is using Kuwait to destroy Iraq's economy. It's another attempt by an increasingly unpopular faction to play us-against-them in the hopes of shoring up support.

Because the crazy never ends, we're still on Nouri. Al Mada reports that he also declared yesterday that Iraq is immune to change sweeping the region. File that under "famous last words."

In this toxic climate, Jalal Talabani prepares to host a second house party. Al Sabaah reports that the president of Iraq intends to host various political factions at his home tomorrow. Along with addressing outstanding issues or 'old business' like the Erbil Agreement and the failure to appoint heads to the security ministries, Talabani also intends to discuss his recents meet-ups with officials in Iran and Greece. New Sabah notes that Talabani has been doing many one-on-one meetings (including with Nouri) ahead of the big meet-up. Al Mada reports that Moqtada is raging about US Vice President Joe Biden's upcoming visit -- the worst keep secret in Baghdad after Nouri's poor comb-over. And if you need another reason Jay Carney needs to stop lying through his teeth, the article quotes him at length (his denial of discussions to extend the US military occupation) -- providing much amusement for Iraqis, no doubt, while also further cheapening the US image in Iraq (and who would've thought that was possible).

Yesterday, reminder, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "9th Circuit Shows Leadership" went up and we'll close with this from Ted Rall's "Libya and War Powers" (Information Clearing House):

"Much rumbling has emanated from the US Congress on Libya - centered around technicalities around the War Powers Act [sic]," writes Pepe Escobar in the Asia Times. "As the semantic contortions involved in the Libya tragedy have already gone way beyond Newspeak, this means in practice US drones will keep joining NATO fighter jets in bombing civilians in Tripoli."
Which is, of course, the big capital-P Point. The people of Libya, like those of Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and Yemen and so on, are suffering privation and mutilation and death at the hands of NATO, which is nothing more than an American sock puppet. To the victims, the carnage is what matters. We cannot lose sight of that - and most of the world will not. It is only the Americans, as always oblivious about the places they are wrecking and the people they are killing, who can't find Libya on a map, much less worry about it.
Albeit secondarily, the struggle over war powers in Washington matters. It goes to the core of the nature of the American nation-state, the most heavily-armed country on the planet and thus the greatest cause of fear.
War is the riskiest endeavor a nation can undertake. It can lead to catastrophe (Germany in 1945). A war can end in not-defeat (the USSR in Afghanistan during the 1980s) yet lead to collapse. It can wreck the economy (beginning with Vietnam, the US in every war). A war widely viewed as an unjustifiable act of aggression (the US in Iraq) can create new enemies and corrode a nation's moral standing internationally.
Moreover, popular support is essential to victory. Thus, for political leaders there are two principal reasons to make sure their populations support them: first, popular wars inspire sacrifice and recruits; second, if and when there is a reversal of fortune it is easier to ask for sustained effort.
Beyond practical considerations, any act as inherently monumental as sending troops and bombs to attack a foreign power must involve the majority of the citizenry, certainly all elected representatives. Otherwise it cannot claim even the window-dressing of democracy.

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