Monday, September 26, 2011

Political Stalemate II continues

Aswat al-Iraq reports Parliament went into session today with "205 out of its 325 members" present. No, 205 out of 325 isn't a good number but Iraq's got plenty of other governance problems.

That would include Political Stalemate II and the failure of Nouri to honor the Erbil Agreement. Following the March 2010 elections, gridlock and paralysis set in in Baghdad. Nouri al-Maliki wasn't happy with the results (his State of Law came in second) and dug his heels in refusing to allow anything to move forward. In Novemeber 2010, the Erbil Agreement was reached with all the political blocs (except State of Law) giving up something. Nouri wanted to remain prime minister and was allowed to. The Kurds were supposed to get Article 140 of the Constitution implemented, Iraqiay was supposed to get a new commission on national security which would be independent and headed by Ayad Allawi. Those are the broad strokes. Nouri got re-appointed prime minister and promptly trashed the agreement creating Political Stalemate II. Yesterday Aswat al-Iraq reported, "The Chairman of al-Iraqiya Coalition, Iyad Allawi, has discussed the political developments in Iraq with Iraqi Kurdistan’s Premier, Barham Saleh, in a meeting they held in Arbil, in which both sides have confirmed necessity to implement the Constitution and the Agreements, concluded among different Iraqi parties to form the government of national-partnership." Iraqiya has been clear on their position repeatedly. Saturday Alsumaria TV noted, "Iraqiya advisor Hani Ashour affirmed that Al Iraqiya List believes that there is no need for any meeting if Arbil agreements are not followed as a consensus political reference that would help put an end to the country’s crisis and achieve effective national partnership." Each day, the rift appears to grow deeper between Nouri on one side and Iraqiya and the Kurds on the other. Dar Addustour notes Massoud Barzani, KRG President, met with Kurdish officials on Saturday to discuss their issues with Nouri al-Maliki's governance. Aswat al-Iraq notes that Barzani and Allawi met today and the following statement was issued: "Barzani and Allawi have discussed the implementation of agreements, concluded among Iraq's political parties and commitment to the Constitution, as well as finding practical means and solutions for the problems inside the political process, its development and progress." Al Sabaah adds that a Kurdish delegation may meet with Nouri al-Maliki this week to present their demands -- they're due to arrive Tuesday and the delegation is supposed to be led by KRG Prime Minister Barham Ahmed Saleh.

The Kurds and Iraqiya are among the most vocal about Nouri's refusal to follow the Erbil Agreement; however, they are not the only ones raising concerns. Ahmed Alaa (Al Mada) reports that members of the National Alliance (alligned with State of Law) are expressing doubts about Nouri's heavy-handed approach and refusal to consult with others or create a politcal dialogue. The largest objection within the National Alliance is said to come from Iraq's Supreme Islamic Council.

Among Nouri's heavy handed moves has been firing another Chair of the Integrity Commission. He did this during his first term as prime minister as well. This second go round, there was a much louder objection from Parliament and the political blocs. Aswat al-Iraq notes Nouri has appointed Judge Ala'a Jawad Hamid as the new Chair.

In an apparent effort to distract from Nouri's endless power grabs, State of Law is insisting that members of Iraq's security forces are joining or re-joining the Ba'athist Party (the Ba'athist Party was the dominant party in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and prior to his ruling the country, the Ba'ath Party, regionally, is part of a Pan-Arab movement).

Bonnie reminds that Kat's "Kat's Korner: Tori's nocturnal prowl" went up yesterday as did Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Princess Is Flying The Plane!" On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings on WBAI and around the country throughout the week and is hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), topics explored include FBI informants (addressed with reporter Trevor Aaronson) and "Fear Inc, The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America" (discussed with attorney Wajahat Ali). We'll close with this from Jacob G. Hornberger's "Losing Liberty for Security with the Padilla Case" (Information Clearing House):

The Jose Padilla case is back in the news. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the 17-year sentence handed down by the presiding district judge was too lenient. The court has ordered the case remanded to the judge with instructions to consider a much higher sentence.
Although it might be little-known among the American people, the Jose Padilla case is quite possibly the most important legal case in our lifetime in terms of the freedom that Americans lost on 9/11.
The greatest power that any dictator can have is the power to seize a person, cart him away to a prison, concentration camp, or dungeon and keep him there for as long as the dictator wants and to torture, abuse, humiliate, or even execute him, perhaps after some sort of kangaroo trial. Of course, this is not to suggest that the dictator does these things himself. He has a powerful military, an intelligence force, or national police who loyally carry out his orders to do these things.
That’s the power that Middle East dictators have had for decades, justifying them under emergencies dealing with drugs and terrorists. In fact, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, a longtime friend and ally of the U.S. government and whose military and the U.S. military worked closely together, wielded this emergency power for some 30 years, given that drugs and terrorism continued threatening the national security of Egypt during that period of time. It was that emergency power, among others, that the Egyptian protestors wanted eliminated. Even after Mubarak’s fall, the military regime in Egypt refuses to relinquish this extraordinary dictatorial power over the citizenry. .
That is the power that the president of the United States now wields — the same power that the U.S.-supported dictator Hosni Mubarak wielded — the same power that dictators have wielded throughout history. President Obama, like President Bush before him, now wields the emergency, post-9/11 power to use U.S. military forces to take any American into custody, hold him indefinitely, and torture and abuse him.
Are there any conditions on the exercise of such power? One — that the person be labeled a terrorist by the military, the CIA, or the president. Once that label is affixed onto the person, the dictatorial power is unleashed.
How did such extraordinary dictatorial power come to be acquired by the president of the United States in what purports to be a free country? No, not through legislative enactment, as Mubarak did it. And no, not through constitutional amendment, as our system requires. Bush simply decreed after 9/11 that he now wielded such power as a military commander in chief waging war — the “war on terrorism.” In such a war, the entire world is the battlefield and the enemy can consist of anyone, including American citizens, U.S. officials said.

The e-mail address for this site is