Thursday, July 21, 2011

The smoke & mirror game called 'progress'

Al Sabaah reports that Iraq's Museum will be opening in the next three months. And there's a nice little picture of the museum. We do love it when the museum's 'opening' is in the news. Remember February 24, 2009:

"As for when the rest of Iraq will be able to see the museum, that's unclear. Iraqi guards Monday afternoon told journalists it would be a couple of months," notes the Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond (credited that way here and in the snapshot yesterday because no writer is named in the blog post). That's really the heart of the story. Yesterday, you had a limited, for-show opening. Sudarsan Raghavan and K.I. Ibrahim's "Six Years After Its Pillage, Iraqi Museum to Reopen" (Washington Post) reports puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki insists the 'opening' indicates an "embrace of democracy" -- embrace by who and of what by whom? Democracy for invited guests only?

It was an opening of sorts, a one-day opening. It's all smoke and mirrors to establish 'progress' in Iraq. If we all agree to be stupid or lie, we can be Ad Melkert and claim progress in Iraq (see yesterday's snapshot). Jalal Talabani wants to claim 'progress.' Al Rafidayn reports the Iraqi president gave an interview to China Central Television in which he explained that the Kurdistan region is planning to keep US forces. But outside the Kurdistan region? In the rest of Iraq? Well there are a few problems, Jalal explained. See Iraqi has trouble protecting itslef. It can't, he declared, protect its own air space, the land or the sea. I'm confused, what does that leave? By air, land or sea. What else is there?

He hid behind "trainers." That's the lie that the Iraqi government currently thinks it can trick the Iraqi people with. The US will remain in "a limited number" as "trainers." Strange. I don't see how "trainers" can protect your air space, or your waters, or your land. Again, if you're willing to lie or play dumb, you can be the next Special Envoy to Iraq for the UN Secretary-General. Al Sabaah also notes Talabani's non-stop use of "trainers."

Dar Addustour reports Jalal's got another house party planned. And that they will again discuss implementing the Erbil Agreement but that Iraqiya is making warning noises about what might happen if the agreement is not implemented (this agreement was signed off on in November and ended Political Stalemate I). Al Mada adds that Iraqiya is floating the prospect of a vote of no confidence in the current government. hil Stewart (Reuters) notes, "Legal safeguards for U.S. troops could become a major stumbling block to any potential deal with Iraq to keep some American forces in the country beyond a year-end withdrawal deadline."

The following community sites -- plus the Guardian, Cindy Sheehan, -- updated last night and this morning:

We'll close with more reality on Iraq, via Reidar Visser (Carnegie Endowment):

When Iraqi politicians finally formed a new government in December 2010, nine months after the parliamentary elections, many voices in the international community were congratulatory. Observers emphasized that the Iraqis had managed to create an “inclusive government” in which all the different ethno-sectarian groups in the country were represented. Critics of the deal that led to the formation of the second government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pointed out that it simply papered over persisting conflicts among Iraqi politicians. It also produced an oversized, ineffective, and unstable government with lots of unnecessary, bogus ministries (including such portfolios as civil society and the southern marshlands), whereas ministries that were truly needed, especially relating to national security, remained unfilled.

Eight months on, it seems the critics got it right: the government remains incomplete and lacks key ministers for the interior and defense, whereas the strategic policy council (celebrated by the United States as a key power-sharing instrument of the government-formation deal) has yet to even be formed. Much of 2011 has been spent agreeing on three unnecessary deputies for the ceremonial presidential office (one of whom has already resigned), while progress on the debate between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad over oil exports has been limited to a pragmatic agreement to export from two fields—and the pending parliamentary agreement on oil and gas laws still seems a long way off.

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oh boy it never ends