Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nouri claims right to determine who can and can't participate

Today the US embassy offers its denial to an item in Wednesday's news cycle. Yesterday, we noted:

The big story in Iraqi newspapers today is on the US withdrawal or 'withdrawal.' Supposedly all US forces would leave Iraq at the end of December 2011. Al Rafidayn is one of the papers reporting that a meeting at the United Nations Mission in Baghdad a few days prior found the UN being informed by Iraqis and the US (James Jeffrey, US Ambassador to Iraq, is said to have represented the American side) that the US would pull soldiers due to leave Iraq because their tour of duty was up but that was it and it was a "formality" because, in fact, the US and Iraq had entered an agreement allowing US forces to remain in Iraq. This alleged agreement is a temporary one that would allow the US and Iraq more time to negotiate the details of a US presence beyond 2011. It would last six months. Dar Addustour also reports on this alleged temporary agreement that's been made.

Dar Addustour reports
that a denial was issued by the US Embassy in Baghdad's spokesperson Micahel McClellan who denies the existence of an agreement and notes that discussions are ongoing. As negotiations continue, the US government's backup plan is the weaponization of diplomacy, shoving any remaining soldiers and contractors (remaining and new) under the State Dept umbrella. Yesterday the Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group, Faiza Patel, declared that reliance on contracting security tasks puts human rights at risk:

The three countries present different aspects of the problem, with Iraq a major theatre of operations by private military and security companies; South Africa a major source of people with extensive military skills and experience unwilling or unable to find jobs since the end of apartheid in 1994; and Equatorial Guinea the scene of a 2004 coup attempt involving mercenaries.
The panel, whose full title is the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, noted in its report on Iraq that incidents involving private military and security companies there had dropped since the killing of 17 civilians and wounding of 20 others in Nissour Square in Baghdad by employees of the United States security company Blackwater in 2007.

The immunity issue (immunity granted) also continues to present problems. At Dar Addustour's home page currently there is a poll regarding US troops and immunity

Meanwhile Iraq continues to face serious problems regarding government -- not that you'd know it from listening to NPR which can condemn listeners for not knowing what's happening in Iraq but can't actually provide coverage from Iraq these days (see yesterday's snapshot). Al Mada reports on the continued tensions between Nouri al-Maliki and Ayad Allawi with Nouri going on Alsumaria TV to repeat his charge that Allawi is not fit to be part of the government process. State of Law then parrots their leader (Nouri) and asserts claims that Nouri, as commander of the armed forces (that's what they cite), can determine who and who is not fit to serve in the government. It's a bit like the purges in the name of de-Ba'athification done by the Justice and Accountability Commission on Nouri's behalf in 2010 to knock out Nouri's political opponents only this time Nouri's claiming (and State of Law's agreeing) that he has the right himself to ban whomever he wants.

Next up, he may start banning Kurds. Al Rafidayn reports that the Kurds continue to object to the oil and draft bill he's proposing and to the refusal to follow the Erbil Agreement. They've now declared that they won't even send a delegation to Baghdad for discussions until he indicates that they will be received well and participants in the Kurdish meeting state that the meeting was to send a message to Nouri about the need to implement the Erbil Agreement.

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