Wednesday, September 14, 2011

UN told the US and Iraq already signed an agreement?

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.

Meanwhile Al Mada reports that a meeting of Kurdistan officials and law makers yesterday resulted in what's being called "one last chance" for Nouri's government. The "last chance" is a delegation that's being sent to meet in Baghdad and raise the issues of the proposed oil and gas law, Article 140 of the Constitution (which guaranteed a census and referendum on Kirkuk by the end of 2007, Nouri is now four years in violation of the Constitution)and other issues. If they do not feel Baghdad is taking these issues seriously and taking steps to address them, the partnership is supposed to be dissolved (Kurds withdraw confidence in the government). Further embarrassing Nouri are the public threats Turkey began making yesterday of launching a ground invasion in northern Iraq. Al Mada notes that Nouri has been forced to issue a statement proclaiming Iraq's sovereignty and claiming Iraq can (and will?) defend its borders.

With all those problems going on it might seem as if Nouri would lay low and not invite further problems. But maybe he has huge faith in the I Love Nouri demonstration First Lady of Iraq Moqtada al-Sadr has planned for Friday? Al Rafidayn reports Nouri has staged a major tantrum
and declared that Ayad Allawi is not fit to take part in the government.


March 7, 2010, Iraq held elections. Nouri's political slate (State of Law) came in second. Iraqyia -- headed by Ayad Allawi -- came in first. Nouri refused to give up the post of prime minister. The White House backed him because he promised to keep US troops. Samantha Power was the fierce advocate to continue backing Nouri.

The Erbil Agreement ended Political Stalemate I and was hammered out by the US and various political blocs in Iraq. Nouri was allowed to stay on as prime minister, Ayad Allawi was promised he'd head a new, independent security council. Nouri took the prime minister post but trashed the rest of the agreement. (Kurds are demanding that the Erbil Agreement be followed and threatening to make it public in full.) He and Allawi are opponents, to put it mildly. He is most likely enraged (this time) by a just published interview. From yesterday's snapshot:

Asharq al-Awsat interviews Ayad Allawi (Iraiqya leader who's been meeting with the Kurdish leaders -- Iraqiya won the March 7, 2010 elections) and their first question for him is about his recent comments that there was a need for early elections and a need for a vote of no confidence on Nouri al-Maliki, has his opinion changed? He replies that nothing has changed and unless the Erbil Agreement is followed, as KRG President Barzani is insisting, then early elections need to be held. He states that they should be transparent and follow the election laws. (They put it is either/or. Allawi rejects that in his first answer and again near the end of the interview when he explains that first you do the vote of no-confidence in the current government and then you move to early elections.) Asked if he doesn't find it strange that 8 years after the end of Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraqi decisions are still spoken of in light of what the US wants or what Iran wants, Allawi replies that it is clear the government (Nouri) was negotiating with Iran on how to form a government -- down to the smallest details. He states that when he met with Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria [presumably in 2010], al-Assad stated he would be speaking with Iranian officials and what was the response to Adel Abdul al-Mahdi being prime minister. The point is to indicate that Iran was being catered to. (I'm sure the US was as well, however, Allawi focuses on Iran.) Adel Abdul al-Mahdi was, until recently, one of Iraq's two vice presidents. He's a member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. Big Oil supported him in 2006 for prime minister and they also wanted him in 2010. His announcement that he was resigning as vice president earlier this year may have been setting up another run for prime minister.
Allawi states that the Erbil Agreement needs to be implemented, that the meet-up in Erbil and the agreement itself took place in a spirit to work together for Iraq and build something sincere but now "the other party" [the unnamed is Nouri] repeatedly finds excuses not to implement. Asked if the problem is the agreement, Allawi clearly states that the problem is "the other party" and that the agreement is clear. He rejects the notion of one-party rule and specifically names Nouri when rejecting it, stating that this is a private scheme of "Maliki" and not something with wide support even within Dawa (Dawa is Nouri's political party, State of Law is the slate Nouri ran with).

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "Mexico's 'Indignados' have had it up to here" (TruthOut):

Last week Mexican President Felipe Calderon gave the fifth state of the nation speech since his (many say fraudulent) election in 2006. He didn't have an easy time finding a positive spin for the escalating toll exacted by his war on drug gangs -- 50,000 dead, mostly innocent civilians, in the last five years. Making his job even more difficult, just days earlier the war's bloody cost was highlighted when 52 people, mostly working women and retirees on their lunch hour, were burned to death in a fire set by the Zetas in a Monterrey casino. Since then Mexican newspapers have exposed a web of corruption linking businessmen, narcos and politicians from Calderon's own party in the enormous proliferation of gambling houses over the last several years.
Mexican casinos don't attract the wealthy, who congregate instead in Mexico City's rich neighborhoods, filled with glittering restaurants and shiny Hummers, patrolled by bodyguards to prevent the frequent kidnappings. Casinos are the refuge of Mexico's working poor, who hope a miracle of luck will pull them from the abyss of falling incomes and disappearing jobs.
That truth didn't make it into Calderon's improbably rosy assessment. But it did bring over fifty thousand Mexicans into the capital's main square, the zocalo, where they publicly ridiculed the gulf between his speech and their reality. Humberto Montes de Oca, international secretary of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), denounced Calderon for "trying to justify what he's done to the country. The people gathered here," he declared, "are the ones who've suffered under him. We know the way things really are. You can see the consequences of this terrible government in our lack of security and public safety, and our economy. The truth is that he's destroying our country."

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