Friday, December 30, 2011

al-Nujaifi issues a list of denials

In the latest embarrassment for Nouri al-Maliki, Alsumaria TV reports that State of Law MP Adnan Mayahi, who serves on Parliament's Security and Defense Commission, has declared that the bulk of Iraq's security services have been infiltrated and that a great many working in prisons practice torture. Meanwhile it may be the day of denials from Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi. Ammar Karim (AFP) reports he is denying co-writing "How to Save Iraq From Civil War" (New York Times) with Rafie al-Issawi and Ayad Allawi but instead insists that his name was added to the byline without his knowledge. Why deny co-writing the column? Because some are saying the column was a letter to the White House asking it to intervene in Iraqi matters. Alsumaria TV reports that National Alliance MP Qasim al-Araji is among those declaring that the column is a plea to the Barack Obama administration to intervene in Iraqi affairs.

In addition, Al Mada reports al-Nujaifi is denying having made a deal with President Jalal Talabani to oust Nouri via a vote of no confidence. Al Rafidayn notes that he declared the meet-up with Talabani was to discuss a national conference to be held shortly to address issues (including the political crisis) and the need to resolve the Tareq al-Hashemi issue via the judiciary. On the first issue, Al Mada notes Talabani says the conference will be held within two weeks and, on thesecond issue, Al Mada adds that the political blocs are currently debating the proposal that al-Hashemi's case be transferred to the Kurdish judiciary.

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a member of Iraqiya, has been accused by Nouri al-Maliki of being a terrorist. If convicted of that charge, the punishment is life in prison or execution. Tareq al-Hashemi is currently in the KRG and a house guest of President Talabani. al-Hashemi is not the only member of Iraqiya that Nouri has targeted recently. He's also demanding that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his office. Were al-Mutlaq stripped of his office, he would lose immunity and Nouri could sue him for statements Nouri did not like. (Nouri is highly litigious. Along with suing other Iraqi politicians, he likes to sue news outlets such as the Guardian.) The targeting of the two members of Iraqiya comes as rumors swirl that others will be targeted (including supposed arrest charges for Financial Minister al-Issawi) and after the November arrests of over 500 alleged "Ba'athists." Calls for the charges against al-Hashemi to be heard by the KRG judiciary stem from the control over the Iraqi judiciary (Baghdad-based) that Nouri has as evidenced by numerous rulings.

This point is made in a report by an Iraqi journalist for McClatchy Newspapers

A politician in Maliki's own National Alliance told McClatchy yesterday that Maliki holds "complete" sway over the Supreme Court. It was the Supreme Court's "interpretation" of the constitution that enabled Maliki to retain his position as PM and form a government after the last elections, although Iraqiya bloc had the highest take. It was also through the Supreme Court that Maliki all but stopped the legislative powers of the parliament by its "interpreting" the constitution to say that legislation can only stem from the executive branch (cabinet and presidency) and that the parliament could only make "suggestions".

The report is called "Iraq At The Crossroads" and hopefully it will run in all McClatchy owned papers because it's an important piece. We're grabbing from it on the courts because that's what I need for this entry but the whole thing is a gripping read. McClatchy's Iraqi journalists have done top-notch work throughout the war. This latest report (at McClatchy's Inside Iraq) continues that tradition.

Back to al-Nujaifi denials, Alsumaria TV reports he is also denying accusations that his actions are being directed by the United States which, the rumor insists, seeks to overthrow Nouri.

Turning to the topic of Sahwa. They've been called "Awakenings" and "Sons Of Iraq." They are Iraqis (largely Sunni but some Shi'ites as well according to David Petreaus' April 2008 Congressional testimony -- Petraeus is now CIA Director but he was the top commander in Iraq back then). They were put on the US payroll to get them to stop attacking the US military. Al Mada reports that the Baghdad-based government has recorded 1498 Sahwas deaths since 2006nd that another 830 Sahwas have been left wounded. The government also estimates that over 100,000 people became Sahwas since the program's 2006 inception.

Okay. Community business. No "I Hate The War" last night. Did I stop hating it? (Yes, Samantha, I read your e-mail, it made me laugh.) No, but Krista was sick and couldn't work on the gina & krista round-robin so I told Gina I'd help which took us through the early morning hours. I had already told Ruth (on Wednesday) that I would read over something she was writing
and give her some feedback Friday morning. Since I was doing that for Ruth, Kat came over with her piece wanting input. So that's what I did after we got the round-robin done and sent out. (And Gina and Krista work so hard on that. It's been about three years since I've filled in for one of them -- I think it was Gina last time -- and it was work then but they've upped their round-robin so much that it's as much work now as a writing edition for Third Estate Sunday Review.)

The plan/hope is an Iraq snapshot today. But I have not been to bed yet. (Since Thursday morning.) I have a legal housekeeping issue (updating my will, that sort of thing) at eleven and a charity event this afternoon. And I have to work on something I have to write because it's that time of the year. Kat and Ruth are finishing up their year in review pieces. I'm supposed to call Martha and Shirley in a half-hour and they're going to read me their piece. (This is just to have another ear. They don't have to get approval from me for their pieces. If I could write my year in review at something other than the last minute, I'd be asking for input as well.)

Ann and Stan already kicked off the community year-in-review last night with their annual look at film:

As per usual, that will be reposted here on Saturday. For my piece, I have a title. I have a few ideas, that's it. And had I the time to panic, I would be in a panic over the piece. But I don't have that kind of time.

At some point today, I'm going to crash. I'm going to either go to bed telling myself it's a quick nap (but knowing better) or just close my eyes while sitting down and fall out. That's why I'm saying right now that the plan/hope is to have an Iraq snapshot later today. If, at 4:30 my time, I'm still up (cross your fingers) (I'm PST zone), I will be doing a snapshot. If I'm already alseep, even if I wake up at 6:00 pm, I'll just roll back over and go back to sleep, there won't be one.

Added right after this posted, seconds after, we'll probably kick things off here (year in review wise) with Martha & Shirley today. One more piece may run today. That'll depend on as things are finished by Kat and Ruth and also when they want there pieces to run. (Kat's generally the second to last piece and mine is the last. I think mine will run on the 31st but if I can't pull it together it could be the early morning of the 1st. Yes, I know we also have to work on Third Saturday night/Sunday morning which is why I would prefer to get the piece done today.)

The e-mail address for this site is