Friday, February 03, 2012

Turkey's bombing, State of Law's making secret deals, a gender tratior may have to explain herself

There is no oil & gas law passed (and they're now saying it will be the end of 2012 -- which is probably a good thing for Iraqi oil, keeping the last of the vultures from picking the bones for a few months more) but the Parliament isn't just twiddling their thumbs, they did manage to address something. What? Smoking. No smoking in government buildings and public places, Al Mada reports. Considering all the chemicals the US and British military used in Iraq -- chemicals now in the soil and water -- which have resulted in the high rate of birth defects post-invasion, you might think there were a few more important things the government could take up besides the dangers of second hand smoke in a toxic ward. Maybe it's just another sign that the political crisis continues? Alsumaria TV (which has a new visual look) reports additional details including that the law forbids the promotion of smoking (directly or indirectly) by the media and cultural institutions and bans the importing of tobacco products. Of course, even movement on this minor issue (Iraq is a toxic dump thanks to other countries, the cigarette smoke is a minor issue) isn't resolved. Dar Addustour reports State of Law is insisting the law has elements that are unconstitutional and that they're taking the issue to the courts.

On the political crisis, it continues. Nouri al-Maliki has been on a power-grab since his first term. It continues. Over a year after he assumed his second term as prime minister, he's still refused to name heads to the security ministries (Defense, Interior and National Security). By refusing to name heads (nominate them, have Parliament vote on them), he controls the portfolios. He continues to target his political rivals (Iraqiya -- which beat him in the March 2010 elections). His political slate was State of Law. His political party is Dawa. Al Mada reports that Dawa is (loudly) insisting that they don't know why Ayad Allawi met with Iran's Ambassador to Iraq for three hours this week. Dawa's Walid al-Hilli went on TV to declare that Dawa has no idea why the meeting took place. In upcoming news, Dawa announces on TV that they have no idea whether Oswald acted alone.

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is among the Iraqiya members Nouri is targeting. Aswat al-Iraq reports that alleged legal 'expert' Hatif al-Mussawi is stating the charges of terrorism Nouri has brought against al-Hashemi cannot be transferred to an international body. That's incorrect. There is nothing barring that in the Iraqi Constitution. That's the supreme law of the land (or is supposed to be) and trumps some provincial law (if al-Mussawi even has that on his side -- like most faux 'experts,' he's unable to cite a passage that backs him up). It's becoming an international incident. They could easily transfer it to an international body. That could be the UN. Equally true, the 'expert' might want to check out the written arrangement the government of Iraq signed with NATO. (For the Nouri apologists, Tareq al-Hashemi is actually very lucky. Nouri is charging terrorism from several years back. When Iraq was legally recognized as occupied. That occupied status has bearing on who can and cannot hear charges. It's a bit more complicated than supposed 'experts' would have you believe.) You might also want to check the numerous international pacts Iraq has signed off on, look at the huge rate of people being executed by the state of Iraq and grasp that what al-Hashemi is charged with can result in the death penalty if convicted. It's not as simple as the 'expert' would like it to be. al-Hashemi told AFP this week that it was "my right to go to the international judiciary."

Another prominent Iraqiya member being targeted is Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq whom Nouri is demanding be stripped of his post.

Dar Addustour reports that Nouri's State of Law has made a deal with some elements in the National Alliance (a Shi'ite alliance that State of Law became part of after the elections but that Nouri refused to run with ahead of and during the elections) which agrees that they will not allow Saleh al-Mutlaq to return to his post (which he retains -- Parliament has not voted to strip him of it -- unless and until they do, al-Mutlaq remains Deputy Prime Minister). Not only will they not allow him to return, the deal supposedly is that they will not replace him with anyone and that they will also not replace Tareq al-Hashemi with anyone. That would leave only one vice president -- a Shi'ite. Iraq is supposed to have two vice presidents per the Constitution. Following the end of Political Stalemate I, Iraq ended up with three vice presidents. One resigned leaving two. (Adel Abdul Mehdi and Tareq al-Hashemi were Iraq's vice president during Nouri's first term. Both were renamed to the posts in the second term -- by President Jalal Talabani. Adel Abudl Mehdi quit the government over the corruption and dysfunction. He was a political rival of Nouri's and hoped/hopes to be prime minister himself. Khudayer al-Khuzaie is the third vice president and he's from Dawa). If State of Law has its way, there will only be one vice president.

Al Mada notes State of Law not only continues to attack the Turkish government (and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by name) but attempts to tie Turkey around Ayad Allawi's neck stating that Turkey is interfering in Iraq's affairs and that Allawi is perfect okay with that. That's a highly charged statement, especially on a day when Alsumaria TV is reporting that Turkish war planes have again bombed northern Iraq. Those bombings, don't forget, are okayed by Nouri and State of Law might want to remember that before painting others are too close to Turkey.

Al Mada notes the Parliament Commission on Human Rights has echoed the recent Human Rights Report and states that human rights and freedoms are declining in Iraq.

Last month, the corpse of a 26-year-old woman was discovered hanging in a Hilla school. That was in the middle of the month. No one has been charged with the crime and there's been no real investigation indicating yet again the lack of respect the Iraqi government has for women. Nouri appointed his stooge, Ibtihal al-Zaidi, to be Minister of the State for Women's Affairs. Actually, he originally appointed a man and when outcry forced him to find some women to appoint to his all male (second) Cabinet, he eventually went with stooge and gender traitor Ibtihal al-Zaidi. She's gotten herself in trouble in the last weeks in Iraq. She's declared that she doesn't believe in equality, that Iraqi women need their husband's permission before doing anything (presumably their son's or father's permission if they're widowed, divorced or unmarried) and has come up with a little dress code for Iraqi women employed by the government. Al Mada reports MP Safia al-Suhail is calling the gender traitor out and asking that al-Zaidi appear before Parliament to explain this dress code (which bans certain skirts, t-shirts and sneakers among other items -- but only for women) and al-Suhail points out that al-Zaidi's remarks are troubling and run contrary to the oath the Minister of Women's Affairs took when assuming her office.

The e-mail address for this site is