Friday, August 12, 2011

Nouri breaks his word, just like a little liar

Nouri al-Maliki's greed was once only fabled and whispered of softly, today it's legendary. As he continues to fleece the Iraqi people, his greed may be the thing that destroys the US-propped up government.

Despite the March 7, 2010 election being seen as a rejection of Nouri -- whose slate came in second despite all of the predictions otherwise as well as Nouri's own abuse of office in an attempt to bring in the votes -- his greed would not allow for anyone else to be prime minister. As Nouri dug in his heels following the election, a few wondered what it would take to get Nouri out of the office he had just lost? Thanks to the US, he didn't have to worry and, after nine months of Political Stalemate I, he and the political blocs agreed to follow the Erbil Agreement. Among other things, the Erbil Agreement called for the creation of a national council on security which would be headed by Ayad Allawi (Allawi's Iraqiya came in first in the March 2010 elections). Then Nouri got named prime minister-designate and promptly trashed the agreement.

Via a series of summer house parties, Jalal Talabani brought together the political blocs and, as late as yesterday, there was praise for Jalal's efforts in the Iraqi press. Political Stalemate II was going to be ended. And before nine months! The political blocs -- including Nouri -- had agreed to return to the Erbil Agreement. Yesterday in Parliament, the most vocal opponents to the creation of the national council were from Nouri's State Of Law. Alsumaria TV reports today, "Iraq Premier Nouri Al Maliki reiterated that he is not convinced by the Higher National Strategic Policies Council as the country is heading towards Ministerial reduction and added that the Council is to be established in order to please some parties and doesn’t have any role in solving the problems of the political process. During an interview with Alsumaria TV Maliki said he is not convinced by establishing this council especially that the institutions of the Iraqi State are currently flaccid. Maliki stressed that the situation will deteriorate if politics interfered in security."

Though the body was supposed to be independent and have actual powers, Al Rafidayn quotes Nouri stating that its work would be purely advisory. Nouri's trashing this latest agreement much sooner than he did at the end of 2010. When State of Law carped and complained in Parliament yesterday following the reading of the draft law, many observers knew that they must do so with Nouri's blessing (Nouri is the head of State of Law). Now the surprise over that has been replaced with puzzlement over why Nouri is attacking the agreement he just signed off on? Since the only thing most are aware he got was for others to begin publicly speaking favorably of at least entertaining the thought of US forces remaining on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011, that would appear to be all he got from the summer House Parties -- spreading the blame for a continued US presence all around in the government.

In another interesting development, Al Mada reports that the Sadr bloc is calling for an investigation into the alleged fake contracts and alleged theft of funds in the Ministry of Electricity. Over the weekend, Nouri al-Maliki announced he was firing the Minister of Electricity due to fake contracts worh close to two million dollars. There were two main responses. First, many stated Nouri didn't have the power to do the firing, only Parliament did. Second, the Minister of Electricity floated that he had many stories to tell. It has since emerged that these contracts Nouri claims to be surprised and appalled by carry . . . Nouri's signature. Nouri and State Of Law's latest move is to note that this member of Nouri's Cabinet is also a member of Iraqiya. I'm not sure how that assists Nouri since, over the weekend, Iraqiya was the first to state that they supported the move Nouri made.

Last Friday, a prison in Hilla saw a riot and a break out. Among the details that were passed on to the media was that guns with silencers were stored in the prison -- by guards. Why do you need a silencer in a prison if you're a guard? That question was never answered. But Dar Addustour reports that the prison break will be addressed in Parliament today. Now might be a good time to note what's not addresssed: though there was a great deal of grandstanding when protests were taking place repeatedly throughout Iraq, no salaries were changed. That's the presidency and the vice presidency, that's the prime minister.

In the US, Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) gushes:

"There is no way to fund what we must do as a nation without bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The militarization of our foreign policy has proven to be a costly mistake. It is time to invest at home" - AFL-CIO Executive Council, Aug. 3, 2011

In a major victory for the progressive movement, the AFL-CIO has condemned the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as a "militarization of our foreign policy" and a "costly mistake." The statement, adopted August 3, is the most forthright in the history of a labor movement marked by pro-war allegiances for many decades. It reflects a deep sentiment among working families, estimated at 80 percent opposition by one longtime labor official in Washington D.C. Much credit goes to the patient bottom-up organizing by U.S. Labor Against the War and others, who solicited endorsements from hundreds of locals and mobilized labor contingents at countless rallies across the country.

I wish I shared Tom's enthusiasm. But the fact remains that The Nation's doing a "sports issue" not an issue on war and peace. The fact remains that the statement from the AFL-CIO is not a statement from various 'progressive' leaders -- the bulk of whom fell silent on the wars rather than criticize their beloved Barky Obama. Union members, led by US Labor Against the War, have something to be proud of; however, considering the demographics of the AFL-CIO and the tirades by 'progressives' in 2008, I think it's beyond dishonest and hypocritical for 'progressives' to now claim to stand with the very people they demonized three years ago. The AFL-CIO is largely the 'old coalition,' the one that Donna Brazile and so many others declared a thing of the past and no longer needed. (For those who missed it, Donna declared that older Americans, White Americans and Latinos were no longer needed in the Democratic Party, declared on CNN, because a new coalition had been created.) Of course, the 2010 elections demonstrated what any student of poli sci should have already noted, there was no new 'coalition' to replaced FDR Democrats. If Hayden wants to act jazzed by the union, he might first need to reconcile the attacks launched on FDR Democrats by numerous organizations he belongs to. He might also want to find his voice on the wars which requires more than checking in when someone else takes a stand. People are dying and silence is not an option.

We'll close with this from Lizzie Phelan's "Waging a Savage War on Libyan People" (ICH):

August 11, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- More bombs drop on Tripoli and across Libya tonight. Theses bombs dropped by the British government whose own youth are setting that country on fire in protest at their abandonment.
The Libyan government share with the British youth the experience of criminalisation by the British press and politicians, and tonight they extended their solidarity to them.
Libyan Foreign Minister chastised British Prime Minister David Cameron for “describing his own people as criminals” and echoed the sentiments of the youth by declaring him “unfit for the job”.
Recognising that the cause of these “riots” by black and working class youngsters were their ignored demands for better representation, better education and health services, better housing, jobs and more and equal opportunities, he added that, “instead of investing taxpayers money in areas underfunded, [Cameron] is spending it on waging a savage war on Libyan people.”
And on the day that NATO massacred 85 Libyan civilians, the images of Britain on fire can garner little sympathy amongst outraged Libyans. This is just the start of the “chickens [coming] home to roost.”
I watched their heartbroken and incensed loved ones bury the 33 children, 32 women and 20 men NATO claimed were likely to be part of the military or “mercenaries”. Most of the population of the Zlitan town Majer turned out for their burial chanting furiously against NATO.
As we captured on film and in history the aftermath of NATO’s crimes, person after person came to tell us how NATO was creating a generation of Libyans so filled with rage that they would see no recourse but to send themselves to martyrdom in revenge against the west.

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