Friday, January 20, 2012

Thug Nouri and Idiot Chris Hill

As the political crisis continues, Roy Gutman, Sahar Issa and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) report:

Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's security services have locked up more than 1,000 members of other political parties over the past several months, detaining many of them in secret locations with no access to legal counsel and using "brutal torture" to extract confessions, his chief political rival has charged.
Ayad Allawi, the secular Shiite Muslim leader of the mainly Sunni Muslim Iraqiya bloc in parliament, who served as prime minister of the first Iraqi government after the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein, has laid out his allegations in written submissions to Iraq's supreme judicial council.

The reporters call the above "the second major broadside this week" and note: "London's Guardian newspaper reported Monday on an extortion racket involving Iraqi state security officials who systematically arrest people on trumped-up charges, torture them and then extort bribes from their families for their release." From the Guardian article by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad:

"Look," he added, "the system now is just like under Saddam: walk by the wall, don't go near politics and you can walk with your head high and not fear anything. But if you come close to the throne then the wrath of Allah will fall on you and we have eyes everywhere."
He described the arrest of the Sunni vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi's bodyguards who, it was claimed by the Shia-dominated government, had been paid by Hashimi to assassinate Shia officials. (Hashimi was on a plane heading to Kurdistan when government forces took over the airport, preventing him from leaving. After a standoff, he was allowed to fly but his men where detained.)
"Look what happened to the poor bodyguards of Hashimi, they were tortured for a week. They took them directly to our unit and they were interrogated severely. Even an old general was hanging from the ceiling. Do you know what I mean by hanging?"
In the constricted space of the car he pulled his arms up behind his back.
"They hang him like this. Sometimes they beat them with cables and sticks and sometimes they just leave them hanging from a metal fence for three days. They are torturing them trying to get them to confess to the bombing of the parliament."

Al Mada reported, yes, another secret prison run by Nouri. The Human Rights Committee in Parliament declared Wednesday that another secret prison ("Briagde 56") exists and it is run by Nouri (as were the others). They do not yet know the location of the prison.

And as if Iraq's not suffering enough, guess who's back?

The Pig-Pen Ambassador

That's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Pig-Pen Ambassador" from April 5, 2009 and, yes, Chris Hill is back. Cue Jimi Hendrix' "Manic Depression."

I swear he surfaces (today at the Straits Times) just to make people appreciate that the US now has an adult in Baghdad (Ambassador James Jeffrey). He's so stupid. Reading his column is like sitting through his confirmation hearings all over again. And what's really sad is he's this stupid after being in Iraq for almost a year -- after representing the US in Iraq.

As with his confirmation hearings, he's weighing in on the state of Iraq . . . while ignoring the Kurds. He had no understanding of the Kurds and did more to harm the US relationship with the Kurds than we'll ever be known. Basically, he met with Nouri (when not napping or on a manic jag) and said, "Keep it up" -- to whatever Nouri was doing.

He is right that the US troop departure (of those that left) did not cause the political crisis. We already noted that weeks ago. But he does get that right.

He is wrong, no, excuse me. He is lying when he says it's not the US' fault. He's lying. There he's not wrong, he's flat out lying because he was part of the push to keep Nouri as prime minister. That is why the political crisis exists currently -- though Chris Hill continues to let Nouri skate away without blame. Chris Hill was a pathetic ambassador, he really was. Which is why he was replaced so quickly.

The US hardened the sect divide. He can't own up to that but he's not good at owning problems. He can lie. He's a world class liar. Here he is lying: "In preparation for the 2010 elections, the Sunnis set aside their internal differences and united under a single political party called Iraqiyya (the Iraqi National Movement). Of course, its organisers are loath to describe it as a Sunni party. Rather, it is described as a national party that invites people of all orientations to participate."

Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya. Ayad Allawi is not Sunni. Chris Hill is a stupid liar who really needs to close his mouth. The next time he weighs in on Iraq, someone needs to ask him, "Gee, Hill, you were replaced faster than any other ambassador in the Obama administration. Why was that?" Because the US needed a functioning adult in Iraq.

He then wants you to know that Iraqiya won only two more seats than Nouri's State Of Law. And?

That's not two more votes. That's two more districts, that's a ton of votes. Each district voted for MPs.

Then he lies, "But Iraqiyya was unable to forge a government coalition; indeed, it failed to attract a single additional MP, let alone the 72 that would be necessary to control a 163-seat majority in the 325-seat legislature. Meanwhile, Maliki, with 89 seats, was able to reach out to other Shia parties and the Kurds, eventually assembling a 'national unity' government to gain a second term as prime minister."

Chris Hill is a damn liar. Iraqiya played by the rules. When Iraqiya was ready to form a government, they were hit by a ruling from Iraq's Supreme Court -- a ruling that caught everyone (but Nouri) by surprise because no one knew anything had been filed. Nouri had the Supreme Court (which he controls) 're-interpret' the Constitution allowing him first crack at forming a government.

Chris Hill's stupid so he could just be so stupid that he can't remember (one State Dept staffer who worked with him described Hill to me as having the flat affect of a stoner) but I think he remembers and he just wants to lie.

He did the US no good in Iraq. He destroyed everything Ryan Crocker had achieved. He failed to apply himself and, many days when he made it into work, the staff was confused as to why he bothered because he basically hid out in his office playing on the computer. James Jeffrey had a monumental task and I try to remember that when critiquing his performance. He wasn't taking a hand off from Crocker, he had to instead rebuild all that Hill had allowed to decay and wither.

I have no idea why anyone thinks Chris Hill is competent to discuss Iraq.

Were he compentent, he'd still be in the postion of US Ambassador to Iraq.

From April 20, 2009 to August 2010 -- one year and four months -- he was ambassador. He was replaced. There's a reason for his short term in the post. He was awful at it, he never understood the issues, he made a fool of himself in front of Congress (so much so that two senior Senators told the administration he was making a fool of the administration and that's when the White House finally moved to get Hill out of his post). But he gets to weigh in with his lies and be considered a reliable source? Heaven help us all.

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