Friday, November 04, 2011

Power grabs and new claims

Last week Salahuddin Province's council voted in favor of becoming semi-autonomous like the KRG. They notified the central government in Baghdad of their decision and it is now, per Article 119 of the Constitution, time to schedule a referendum to allow the citizens of the province to vote on whether or not to become semi-autonomous. Al Sabaah reports MP Mohammed Kayani is declaring that the final say will go to the Federal Court. For those who've forgotten or missed it, Nouri controls that court. Per the Constitution, the Federal Court has no say in the matter. If you don't have a Constitutional framework, you don't have a rule of law. If you've gone to the trouble of drafting a constitution and passing it and you then proceed to ignore it at every opportunity, you're not a democracy and you've wasted everyone's time on a Constitution that is meaningless.

To pull together a Constitution, the drafters had to recognize the rights of all. Now that Little Nouri is the New Saddam and has resorted to one power grab after another, any thoughts of sacrifice for the greater good or making concessions have left his and apparently his party's radar. It's all about grabbing more and more power. So a Constitution that recongized the rights of all Iraqis is no longer something that Nouri or Dawa feels vested in.

Al Sumaria TV reports that the tribal government in Kirkuk has declared it supports the right of self-determination for all provinces. Alsumaria TV also notes that Iraqiya is pointing out Nouri's lack of leadership on the issue and how his actions are only increasing divisions in the country. As if dying to prove how right Iraqiya is, Nouri opened his big mouth again. Al Mada reports that he was in Dhi Qar Province and made remarks about how 'some' political parties are actually havens for terrorism. He's never learned how to be stately but he can do the most bitter partisanship twenty-four seven.

And he's fueling divisions with his crackdown on political opponents as he cries "Ba'athist!" in his never-ending witch hunt. How does that play out to the Sunni population? We'll note this from Ayub Nuri's report for Rudaw:

Aseel al-Nujayfi, the Sunni governor of Nineveh and head of the Hadba bloc, came out in support of the arrested Baathists and warned that Iraq is returning to “sectarian violence.”
Nujayfi said, “We have to benefit from these people’s professions, to let them participate in civil and political life and use their expertise to rebuild the new Iraq.”
He added, “The Iraqi government is sticking to its promise to eradicate Baathism in Iraq.”

Nuri's article contains a claim that the allegation of a Ba'athist coup is correct and that the information actually came from Syria.

That doesn't play. The government of Iraq rather loudly and publicly just rebuked the government of Syria. Otherwise, it would be strange but possible. Syrian leadership being desperate, wanting to hold on, might pass on information to Baghdad and claim that they'd learned it from the Sunni exile population. However, there's the public rebuke, there's the attempt to hold on to power in Syria and there's the fact that the Sunni population in question in Syria isn't really 'refugee' in that they have money. (I'm not referring to those who left Iraq for Syria due to violence. I'm referring to the Sunnis with a great deal of money that saw the writing on the wall with the collapse of Saddam Hussein's government and went to Syria.) Could it happen? Anything could. But it doesn't play and if you read it in a book of fiction, you'd argue the author was risking credibility for a questionable plot device. Bashar al-Assad is trying to hang on as president of Syria and has a support issue. Is he really going to risk angering another segment in Syria right now? And wouldn't he know that passing on any information to Baghdad would lead to a crackdown which could leave him a suspect even if the officials in Baghdad managed to keep his name out of it? Again, it doesn't play.

Tim Arango (New York Times) speaks with some residents of Abu Ghraib to explore their feelings on some US troops leaving Iraq. For Tim Arango, it's a fine report. For the New York Times? Not so much.

What's the difference in grading? As a stand alone report or even as part of Arango's body of work, it's worthy of praise. But the New York Times has always given voice to supporters of the war, throughout the war. It's the other voices that have always been underrepresented. One thing he could work on -- and true of the paper's coverage throughout the war -- is finding Iraqi women. The country is not all male.

It took Sabrina Tavernise to put a face on Iraqis for the paper and there was a really strong period of 2007 through 2009 when it seemed like the diversity of the Iraqi population -- gender, ethnicity -- could be found in the paper's coverage.

The following community sites -- plus, World Can't Wait, Free Speech Radio News, the Guardian and Jane Fonda -- updated last night:

Plus Rebecca's "it really was all about oil," Ann's "4 Men" and Stan's "Barack, where are the jobs?" went up last night as well but Blogger/Blogspot's not reading it. At MakeThemAccountable, Caro highlights Brent Budowsky's "Hillary Wins Big in 2012."

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