Monday, February 27, 2012

Moqtada vs. Nouri

Last week, Parliament voted to spend over %50 million dollar buying 350 vehicles -- armored vehicles -- for themselves. There was an immediate uproar among many Iraqis over this move. The uproar has not yet died down (and may not). Kitabat reports that cleric Moqtada al Sadr (who controls approximately 40 seats in the Parliament and whose bloc is part of the ruling National Alliance) decried the move and has branded it a "disgrace." He states the money should instead be going to the Iraqi poor who are without water, food, home, security and safety. He stated anyone who rides in them is betraying the Iraqi people. Al Rafidyan has al-Sadr calling it a stain and those riding in them are traitors to the Iraqi people, to Iraq and disobeying Allah.

Over the weekend, the big news from the Sadr camp was Moqtada al-Sadr likening Nouri to a dictator (and glory hog). Aswat al-Iraq reports that two State of Law stooges are insisting that relations are just fine, thank you very much, between Nouri and Moqtada and they doubt Moqtada even said what he's quoted as saying. They're like two children seeing Mommy and Daddy fight. Meanwhile Al Mada reports that Ibrahim al-Jaafari is attempting to heal the rift between Dawa (Dawa is Nouri's political party; State of Law is his political slate) and the Sadrists. The former prime minister (al-Jaafari) is attempting to smooth over the differences which erupted after Moqtada declared Iraq had a new dictatorship. Some feel the statements are part of a negotiation strategy on the part of the al-Sadr bloc regarding the upcoming Amnesty Law which could allow many members of Moqtada's militia that were arrested nearly three years ago to be released.

Nouri really can't afford to have many more rifts these days. He already has the Kurdish Alliance, Iraqiya and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq calling for him to return to the Erbil Agreement which ended Political Stalemate I. Nouri started Political Stalemate II (the current crisis) when he discarded the Erbil Agreement. He's also demanded the Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post and that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi be arrested on terrorism -- al-Mutlaq and al-Hashemi are both members of Iraqiya which came in first in the March 2010 elections (his State of Law came in second). Dar Addustour notes Nouri's again huffing that the Baghdad judiciary must be listened to (Nouri controls the Baghdad judiciary, they are not independent). In another report, they note that Nouri's insisting (via surrogates) that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi is trying to inflame tensions between Nouri and Saudi Arabia by declaring that Nouri is targeting Tareq al-Hashemi because he is a Sunni. The government of Saudi Arabia is well aware that Tareq al-Hashemi and Saleh al-Mutlaq are Sunnis. They're also well aware of the fact that Nouri is Shi'ite. They don't trust Nouri because they see him as too close with the Tehran government (which is also Shi'ite). Ayad Allawi tends to stress the Iraqiya issue and not the Sunni aspect. (Allawi is Shi'ite.) And, as leader of Iraqiya, it would make sense for him to stress the Iraqiya aspect first and foremost.

Al Mada also notes Nouri's remarks and these come when various parties in Parliament thought they would be addressing the al-Hashemi issue and members of the prep committee for the national conference to resolve the political crisis thought the three presidencies (President Jalal Talabani, Nouri and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi) would be resolving it.

Nouri's paranoid. We've noted his intense paranoia since 2006. US State Dept cables note it beginning in 2008. There's really no denying it. Iraq's set to finally host the Arab Summit. It was postponed twice in 2011. (And may get postponed this year due to Iraqi violence.) Right now it looks like a go. But Nouri's paranoia swells and travels. So instead of encouraging the Arab Summit and talking it up, Alsumaria TV reports Nouri declared today that Iraq is stillt argeted and that all sorts of external actors are trying to destroy it. Al Mada notes the paranoid whispers that Qatar is plotting to take over the Arab Summit, to steal it from Baghdad.

Many fled from Baghdad starting in 2006 due to the violence, at least 300,000 according to the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy Martin Kobler. Aswat al-Iraq notes that he declared in a Green Zone press conference yesterday that 1.3 million Iraqis remain internally displaced. The Boston Globe notes UN diplomat Claire Bourgeois states that the Baghdad government has not done enough to assist the homeless in Iraq. The United Nations News Center quotes Kobler stating:

Our collective responsibility is to ensure that the displaced are adequately cared for as long as they live in displacement, while measures are being taken to plan for their sustainable return, resettlement and local integration, the three key pillars of a durable solutions strategy. No durable solution can be achieved without the express consent of those on whose behalf it [the strategy] is being implemented.
By ensuring that those who fled the cruelty of violence that befell this country in the past years can safely return to their homes -- or, where return is not possible, that they are given a free choice of resettling or integrating in a place of their choosing -- we help restore their rights. We recognize them as citizens of this country, who are entitled to a life in dignity, like all other Iraqis.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Palin" went up last night. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- may begin airing this morning on WBAI -- I think they're still fundraising at WBAI and I'm told it is, you've got two hours on WBAI 10 to noon EST with Law and Disorder hosts talking about various issues -- live -- and fundraising for WBAI -- and airs around the country throughout the week, attorneys and hosts Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) discuss Camp Delta, the 75th anniversary of the National Lawyers Guild, provide an update on the Immokalee Workers, speak with prfoessor Paul Sullivan about the NDI and IRI and with human rights activist Sally Sami. We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "RON PAUL ONLY CANDIDATE TO WARN OF A FASCIST TAKEOVER IN AMERICA" (UK Progressive):

Republican Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate of either party to tell the truth that America is “slipping into a fascist system.”
That is unquestionably the critical issue of the hour for the United States of America and one that Paul’s Republican fellow candidates and their Democratic opponent President Obama choose to ignore.
Hand in hand with this existential crisis is that a nation that goes fascist at home invariably becomes a tyrant abroad. Thus, the Congressman from Galveston is right on the mark when he calls for the predatory U.S. to pull its troops out of the Middle East and Africa and close down its foreign bases. The U.S., indisputably, with its 1,000 military bases at home and a thousand more abroad, is now the most awesome military power ever.
“We’ve slipped away from a true Republic,” Paul told a cheering crowd of followers at a Feb. 18th rally in Kansas City, Mo. “Now we’re slipping into a fascist system where it’s a combination of government and big business and authoritarian rule and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen.”
According to the Associated Press reporter who covered his speech, “Paul repeatedly denounced President Barack Obama’s recent enactment of a law requiring military custody of anyone suspected to be associated with al-Qaida and involved in planning an attack on the U.S.” (Note: Paul is a consistent defender of individual rights. He also opposed that previous horrific piece of totalitarian legislation mislabeled as the Patriot Act.)
When Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA) into law last New Year’s Eve he pledged he would not subject citizens to indefinite military detention without trial. Yet if Mr. Obama should change his mind, who lives free and who is shackled behind bars is up to him, not to any legal system. The rights guaranteed in the Constitution are worth zero to a person who can be imprisoned indefinitely on Mr. Obama’s say-so.

ADDED VIA DICTATION: No offense to Military Families Speak Out but they're being ditched from the permalinks. From time to time, various browsers say "Malware" and block this site because of some site we link too. Usually in a day or two, the warning is gone. For six days now Firefox browser users have gotten that message and been told it's due to "MFSO." That's Military Families Speak Out. I support the group. They haven't done a thing online in over 8 months. It's not worth it to me to keep hearing people complain about a site we're linking to when the site hasn't done anything in 8 months. We'll continue to note it if they have any news but it's being pulled from the permalinks to end the "Malware" warning. I didn't ignore the complaints this weekend. I tried to pull it on Friday and Saturday. It would not pull. I asked a friend to play with it and do whatever he could. He told me he'd had to delete all the permalinks to get rid of MFSO. He's going to put the others back up but if he misses one, please e-mail me and let me know. I am not trying to ditch any one's website. But one might get overlooked in the rebuild.

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