Saturday, December 24, 2011

Moqtada wades into the political crisis

Mustafa Habib (Al Mada) notes that Nouri al-Maliki's targeting Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with terrorism charges and calling for Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq have many noticing that both are members of Iraqiya and political opponents of Nouri and that while the political crisis has revealed a diminished role for the US it has underscored that the Kurds remain the heart of the country's political process. Dar Addustour reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi announced the postponement of the scheduled meeting yesterday of the political blocs while Nouri's spokesperson floated the notion that there are other charges waiting in the wings. Reportedly this includes charging the Minister of Finance, Rafie al-Issawi, with terrorism, specifically with killings in Falluja back in 2006. Like Tareq al-Hashemi and Saleh al-Mutlaq, Rafie al-Issawi is a member of Iraqiya. Dar Addustour also notes Hoshyar Zebari, Foreign Minister, issued a statement declaring the matter should have been resolved by the political blocs but has instead played out in the press. Al Mada adds that Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani and US Ambassador James Jeffrey spoke yesterday and are calling for a meeting among the political blocs and that State of Law was whining about the Friday meet-up, whining that Iraqiya is boycotting Parliament but they want to attend the meet-up. Aswat al-Iraq notes, "Iraqiya bloc leader Iyad Alawi described recent events in Iraq as 'liquidation of differences', warning an explosive era waiting Iraq in the coming days, according to an interview with Arabia TV late yesterday (Friday)." Sinan Salaheddin and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) report that Moqtada al-Sadr is proposing a "14-point 'peace code'" and attempting to present himself as a leader.

James Zogby (Huffington Post) offers his analysis of the current political crisis:

While American leaders may speak glowingly of Iraq's new democracy, all evidence points to serious problems on the road ahead. This can be discerned both from events on the ground and also from the results of our most recent poll of Iraqi public opinion.
In September 2011, in preparation for the Sir Bani Yas Forum, we surveyed Iraqis to measure their attitudes toward the impact of the war and their concerns about the future of their country in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal. We also polled Americans, Iranians, and Arabs from six countries on many of the same questions. From the data several observations can be made.
First and foremost are the divisions among Iraq's three major groupings: Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs and Kurds. In the United States, there is a deep partisan divide. And finally, there is a disconnect between the attitudes of Iraqis and their Arab neighbors.

And on the never-ending cycle of violence, Reuters notes a Hawija roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officer, a Kirkuk sticky bombing injured one person, and, dropping back to Friday for the following, a Balad sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi military officer and left his son and wife injured and a Kirkuk sticky bombing claimed 1 life. Aswat al-Iraq notes that today a Mosul sticky bombing claimed 1 life and left two police officers injured today.

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