Monday, November 14, 2011

Nouri tries to end standoff with 'You go first'

Dar Addustour reports Nouri's met with the provincial government in Salahuddin Province -- or with elements of it. For those who've forgotten, the council and the people want the province to become semi-autonomous. The initial response was for Nouri to issue a bunch of lies. And wasn't it cute to watch the usual US megaphones repeat the lies from Nouri as fact. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) didn't take part in the megaphone and noted that Article 119 of the Constitution outlines the process. Lot of big name outlets in the US can't claim to have gotten it right or showed any independence from puppet Nouri. Laith Hammoudi can claim to have done the job of a journalist.

Amin Aziz Jawad insists the meeting with Nouri was hearts-and-flowers and that he assured Nouri that the provincial council didn't speak for anyone. (20 of the 28 members voted -- that's a greater representation than the executive government Aziz Jawad serves in.) And Nouri gave them some airy promises about how, once Salahuddin agrees not to seek independence, he'll meet some of their demands. When has that ever worked?

When has "drop your demands first" ever brought about change? The province's governor, Ahmed Abdullah al-Jubouri, stresses that no agreement was made with Nouri that the move to semi-autonomy would be dropped. Al Mada quotes Suhad Obeidi stating that Nouri says he's willing to discuss the exclusion issues and the arbitrary arrests. Not willing to stop either, mind you, but to discuss them. Aswat al-Iraq adds, "The Chairmen of Iraqi Provinces' Govenorates have demanded Monday the Three Iraqi Presidencies (President, Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker) to achieve a number of decisions, in order to accomplish the principle of 'decentralization,' included in the Iraqi Constitution, according to a statement issued by the Chairmen of the Governorates."

Analyst Reidar Visser contributes a piece to The National Newspaper arguing that the move by Salahuddin Province (a move also floated by some in Anbar Province) is part of increased sectarian conflict in Iraq. From his analysis:

Today, finally, Sunni interest in federalism exists in Iraq. In fact, it exists in several forms. Since 2010, pro-federal movements have been noted in both Anbar and Nineveh governorates. But most substantially, there is now a formal request from the governorate council in Salahaddin, the home province of Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein, for a referendum to be held on a federal status for the governorate.
If successful, the referendum would put Salahaddin on par with the Kurdistan Regional Government, which is the only existing federal region in Iraq as of today. In theory, the request for a referendum should be honoured automatically and immediately by the central government, but similar requests from two Shiite-majority governorates (Basra and Wasit) have been ignored by Iraq's Shiite prime minister, Nouri Al Maliki.
The Sunni discovery of federalism in Iraq has taken place not as the result of a sudden realisation of the beauty of local government, but rather as response to a process of increased marginalisation and even humiliation at the level of the central government.

Ignore the analysis offered by Sami Moubayed (Asia Times) and instead use it as a historical resource in the section in which he reviews the timeline of events:

In response to the alleged plot, Maliki later that month ordered the arrest of over 600 Ba'athists - all Sunnis. He also purged former Ba'athists in higher education, firing 145 employees of Salahuddin University in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Saddam's hometown and a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency that raged from 2003 to 2008.
Reacting to the arrests and academic purge, the provincial council in Salahuddin on October 27 symbolically declared the province an autonomous region, with local politicians claiming Maliki's government was dominated by religiously-driven, Iran-backed officials.
Maliki has reacted furiously to Salahuddin's demands for autonomy, warning it will not become "a safehouse for Ba'athists".
Last week, Maliki also called on members of the disbanded Ba'ath party to publicly renounce it in writing, threatening persecution if they fail to comply. Only then could they be welcomed back into Iraqi society and become eligible for government office, he said.

And the rest is ignored because? Saudi Arabia may or may not do this or that or support this or that. But if you're an offering an "analysis," you need to have more proof than "I said so." He may have proof. He offers none. As a general rule, I'm uncomfortable when someone repeatedly demonizes one group or region. I also think that Moubayed's remarks (not in the excerpt) infantalize Iraqis and portrays them as stupid idiots unable to act on their own and the unknowing puppets of another government. Really? That's the Iraqi people? Or even just the Sunnis? Really? That's not a sweeping charge to make against a large group of people? Seriously?

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Occupy" went up last night.
On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) -- topics explored include Occupy Wall Street, Gaza with Felice Gelman and hosts Michael Smith and Michael Ratner discuss their upcoming book Who Killed Che?

We'll close with this from the BRussells Tribunal:

Ayse Berktay, one of the founding members of the World Tribunal on Iraq (and therefore a partner of the BRussells Tribunal), a devoted peace activist and person of great integrity, is arrested and imprisoned in Turkey. Please read and sign the petition.

Ayse Berktay, stichtend lid van het "World Tribunal on Iraq" (en dus ook partner van het BRussells Tribunal), een toegewijde vredesactiviste en een zeer integer persoon, is gearresteerd en gevangen gezet in Turkije. Please lees en onderteken de petitie.

Ayse Berktay, uno de los miembros fundadores del Tribunal Internacional sobre Iraq (y además miembro del Tribunal BRussells), comprometido militante pacifista y una persona íntegra, ha sido detenido y encarcelado en Turkia. Por favor, leed y firmad la petición por su liberación.

عائشة بيركتي هي أحد الأعضاء المؤسسين للمحكمة الدولية حول العراق (وهي بذلك شريك في محكمة بروكسيل)، وهي ناشطة مخلصة لشؤون السلام وشخصية ذات نزاهة كبيرة قد أختطفت وأودعدت السجن في تركيا. يرجى قراءة وتوقيع العريضة

Ayse Berktay, une des membres fondateurs du "World Tribunal on Iraq" (et donc un partenaire du BRussells Tribunal), une activiste de la paix et une personne de grande intégrité, est arrêté et emprisonné en Turquie. S'il vous plait: lisez et signez la pétition.

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