Saturday, September 24, 2011

Iraqiya and the Kurds on the verge of being screwed over again

From yesterday's snapshot:

Meanwhile Aswat al-Iraq reports that protesters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square today to protest over the large amount of money being spent so Jalal Talabani can be in the US. Of the protest, the Great Iraqi Revolution reports, "Our correspondent in Tahrir Square:: A number of ambulances are seen near the Square. By every one of these ambulances stood four intelligence officers, curiously enough, the ambulances' engines were running and later it became apparent that they intended to abduct some of the activists and protestors." And ambulance 1038 was used in the abduction of Sanaa Aldulaimi overseen "by an intelligence officer called Abdullah Al Rikabi" -- Sanaa Aldulaimi was later released.

Today Al Mada reports that there are demands for answers from Iraqiya about the kidnapping of Sanaa al-Dulaimi and who authorized the kidnapping, the "severe beatings" and it's noted that not only were the actions unconstitutional, they also violated the most basic human values. Along with wanting answers, they also want the Erbil Agreement implemented and note that, if followed, it would integrate the security forces of the Ministries of Defense and Interior and prevent attempts to use them for oppression or cruelty or to set up a new dictator.

The Erbil Agreement was something political blocs agreed to in order to end Political Stalemate I (the governmental paralysis which followed the March 7, 2010 elections). It outlined many steps. The only one Nouri cared about was that he would be allowed to remain prime minister. With that accomplished, he promptly discarded the agreement.

Dar Addustour reports that, upon Jalal Talabani's return to Iraq, there are plans for a meet-up at his house, a meet-up among the political blocs. And guess who's mediating?

The US.

The Kurds and Ayad Allawi better stop suffering under the delusions that the US government wants them to be happy. The US government is abusing their long-standing relationship with the Kurds to force them to cave yet again to Nouri's demands. As for Allawi, that Samantha Power can crack "jokes" comparing Allawi to Al Gore and remain in a Democratic administration tells you just what the White House really thinks of Allawi (and how quick they are to stab high profile Dems in the back). The administration one and only goal is to keep Nouri happy.

And Nouri's conveyed he's not feeling loved or happy these days. Which is why the US is yet again planning to force concessions from Iraqiya and the Kurds.

They're idiots if they agree again.

Their position going in should be: We want what was promised in the Erbil Agreement AND we want . . .

At this late date, over nine months after the various deals in the Erbil Agreement were supposed to be implemented, just implementing everything in that agreement should not be good enough all this time later. If they were smart, their attitude would be that it's time for US pet Nouri al-Maliki to make concessions.

The US won't like that but the Kurds aren't supposed to be representing the US government interests nor is Iraqiya.

Reality, Iraqiya won the 2010 elections. That means Ayad Allawi should have had first crack at forming a government. When that didn't happen, Iraqiya gave up a lot, gave up more than they ever should have.

The fact that Nouri agreed to implement other things if he could have the prized prime minister post (continue in it) and that he then went back on his word means a lot more concessions need to be coming from him and State of Law.

The White House personally lobbied Ayad Allawi. That might have been personally flattering for Allawi but what did Iraqiya get out of it?

More importantly, what did the Iraqi people get out of it?

They went to the polls and they made their choice clear: They didn't want a sectarian government. That's why State of Law didn't come in first. (Didn't come in first even after Nouri pitched his fit and got the election commission to 'massage' his totals considerably.)

The US gvoernment doesn't give a damn about the Iraqi people. If Iraqi politicians aren't going to protect the Iraqi people, then no one is.

With the Kurds, Joe Biden has asked them to be the mature ones. Their response should be, "F**k maturity." They've been mature and put others ahead for years now. They are told this and promised that and it never comes to be.

The 2005 Constitution mandates that a census and referendum will be held to decide the dispute oil-rich region of Kirkuk. That was supposed to happen by the end of 2007. Nouri was prime minister. He refused to follow the Constitution. It is now 2011 and Nouri still won't follow Article 140 of the Constitution. There should be no more concessions from the Kurds at this point.

Article 140 is the Constitution. It's not open to debate. It's the law of the land and Nouri al-Maliki knows that and knows that the US will allow him to continue to ignore it.

Article 140 doesn't promise or guarantee the KRG gets Kirkuk. All it does is outline how the issue will be resolved and leave it up to the people of Kirkuk. That's not a big win for the Kurds. A big win would be Article 140 declaring that they get Kirkuk.

My point is, Nouri agreeing to follow the Constitution was no great win for the Kurds or Iraq. The fact that several meet ups were necessary before Nouri would even agree to follow the Constitution goes a long way towards the fact that everyone makes sacrifices for the good of the Iraqi people except for the US pet Nouri.

Nouri's currently telling the administration that he really wants to ram through the continuation of the US military on the ground in Iraq bu the Kurds and Allawi are creating all these other problems for him.

US officials are going into the meeting to please Nouri. Kurds, Iraqiya and all others involved should never for one minute forget that when discussions take place. The US is not an objective, uninterested party and its officials should not be treated as such. Nor should it be forgotten that the US officials also helped negotiate the Erbil Agreement and said nothing, raised no alarms, in the ten months that have followed (nine of which make up Political Stalemate II). They didn't give a damn.

They only give a damn now because Nouri's whining to them and saying it's holding up his efforts to make an agreement with the US to keep US troops in Iraq.

AP reports that the US has decided ("in principle") to provide the Turkish government drones. These are the drones that will be used to patrol and attack northern Iraq. Does that really sound like the behavior of a friend who's interested in the Kurds' outcome? Hell no.

Excuse me, but Iraq can't protect its own air space. Why isn't the US giving Iraq drones? Why is the US giving drones to one of Iraq's aggressive neighbors?

Reuters notes a press conference Turkey's Prime Minister held:

Erdogan, speaking to reporters in New York on Friday where he attended a UN General Assembly, said Turkey has offered to buy or lease the drones and that details are being worked out.

US troops are due to leave Iraq at the end of 2011. Turkish officials have expressed concern the PKK, which has bases in northern Iraq, might exploit any security vacuum left by the departure of the US military from Iraq.

Really? Do you believe that crap? The US military will leave -- scoff there, yes, but let's continue -- at the end off 2011 and that will create a security vacuum that the PKK will exploit?

The US military doesn't patrol the mountains of northern Iraq and never has. There have never been any US bases there. Like the US, the government of Turkey will now use drones non-stop. They're less costly and they don't have to risk the loss of Turkish military pilots. So the drone attacks will be greater then the current bombings. And the land of nothern Iraq will be torn up and scarred, rendered useless for farming and the residents will have long ago given up hopes of returning to their homes.

All of that got ignored by the US government -- reduced to "doesn't matter" -- when they agreed to supply the Turkish government with drones to attack nothern Iraq. It's past time the Kurdish officials in Iraq stopped thinking that, at any minute, their long standing friendship with the US government is finally going to pay off.

Azad Amin (Kurdish Globe) has an important essay which includes:

The ongoing crisis between Erbil and Baghdad radiates mainly around the issue of sovereignty and monopoly of power. The disputes between them are profound and there are no shortcuts for any proper solution. The tension is now even more complicated within the dramatic social and political changes that have been taking place in the Middle East. The regime changes in Yemen, Egypt and Libya, and the bloody conflict in Syria, with a serious possibility of regime change, as well a new turn in Israel-Palestinian conflict as Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas prepares to submit a proposal for independent Palestinian statehood at the U.N., which is combined with the growing conflict between Israel and Turkey, have and will have impact on politics in Iraq as well as the political standoff between Erbil and Baghdad.
The quarrel between Erbil and Baghdad over the disputed territories, over the Oil and Gas Law and on the perception of federalism, primarily related to the exercising sovereign rights and monopoly of power. Accustomed to be a dominant power and single source of authority, the Iraqi Arabs of all spectrums are not ready to recognize the Kurds as their equal partners and share sovereign rights and power. With few exceptions, the Iraqi political actors have a tendency to centralization and are not sincere in supporting the federal structure of Iraq. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki publicly and clearly stands against federalism and pushes for a centrally ruled Iraq. He is not ready and is doubtful whether he will ever be ready to share power with others in a decentralized Iraq.

Aswat al-Iraq notes that Jalal Talabani, Iraqi president, confirmed US troops would be staying in Iraq beyond 2011 as 'trainers.' They also note that a Falluja attack claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more wounded.

Why, e-mails keep insisting, aren't we covering Ron Paul's rise? He's now finally getting serious press attention and time in debates. Isn't it great?

No, it isn't. And he's turning himself into a joke.

When Ron Paul speaks, it needs to be about Ron Paul. He doesn't need to allow himself to be used by the media to take another GOP candidate. He's done that though and it's probably too late for him now. He's played the foil to Rick Perry.

Ron Paul has a legion of supporters and I'm sure for good reason. But I can tell you what's played out on the debate stage has done more to reduce Ron Paul in the eyes of many than all the silence the media might provide.

He's had the microphone, he's had the camera time. Instead of presenting solutions, he's gone to ha-has and funnys about Rick Perry. When Perry's out of the race or should the press decide they love Perry, there's no more role for Ron Paul.

He's now the gnat, the tag along, the sidekick, what have you. When he should have been using the time to say, "I am a serious candidate," he instead did the press' work for them allowing them to write even more articles about Rick Perry.

A candidate with common sense would have long ago said, "I don't want to talk about Rick Perry's ___, I want to talk about my plan for ___. And that's what I'm going to use my debate time tonight for."

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