Sunday, March 04, 2012

And the war drags on . . .

Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi remains in the KRG and Sunday saw Nouri demanding the KRG hand him over. That's a detail no one wanted to report -- it was Nouri -- but before we get to that, let's note that AP covers the story, AFP covers the story and Reuters covers the story. Who does so well, who does so poorly?

AP and AFP both have strong sections but I'd say AFP is the strongest over all. Reuters? All over the map with one mistake after another.

Reuters maintains that the arrest warrant for Tareq al-Hashemi "triggered a political crisis -- with Hashemi's Sunni-backed bloc announcing a boycott of parliament and the Shiite-led cabinet" which probably makes wonderful copy but, sadly, isn't backed up by the facts.

Check the archives. We note the announced boycott in the December 16th snapshot and again in a December 17th entry and December 18th is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane. December 19th is when the arrest warrant is issued.

Facts are facts. Don't try to create a timeline if you don't know them.

Reuters maintains, "The crisis has abated somewhat in recent weeks, with most members of Hashemi’s Iraqiya bloc agreeing to lift the boycott." That is true if you wrongly see the crisis as beginning December 21st. Kurds don't see that. Iraqiya doesn't see that -- right there you have over a third of the seats in Parliament.

The political crisis began in December 2010. That's when Nouri was moved to prime minister (and shouldn't have been since he failed to meet the Constitutional requirement of appointing a Cabinet) and disregarded the Erbil Agreement. Political Stalemate I is the eight months after the March 2010 elections when Nouri refuses to step aside as prime minister and the country is gripped by gridlock. The White House backs Nouri so he knows he can wait out his rivals. Then the US government brokers the Erbil Agreement which is supposed to allow Nouri to remain on as prime minister in exchange for other deals. Nouri takes what he wants and promptly discards the Erbil Agreement. People wait to see if this is the case -- the press keeps insisting it's not and covering for Nouri. By the summer, it's clear and that's when the Kurdistan group becomes the first to call for a return to the Erbil Agreement. They are followed by Iraqiya and others.

That is the political crisis.

What has allowed it to be less prominent? The work on the national conference.

Starting December 21st, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujfafi and President Jalal Talabani began calling for a national conference.

If one was going to be held it should have been held already. Now, supposedly, it will take place after the Arab Summit (March 29, 2012).

But Nouri lied to the Iraqi Youth who fell for it. "100 Days" he insisted and corruption would be no more. His 100 days was nonsense and a stalling technique. The refusal of the Iraqi Youth to call it out is part of the reason their movement is so small now (yes, they are right that they are threatened with violence but had they stood up to Nouri back then, he didn't yet have thugs-in-training to harass them in Tahrir Square, that really happens beginning in June). [For a good article on the protests, click here.]

Nouri doesn't want a national conference. He doesn't even want it called a national conference. What he's doing is attempting to wait out his rivals yet again. At some point when people so willfully delude themselves, it's hard to feel sorry for them.

All three outlets want to say someone issued the latest order to turn over Tareq al-Hashemi. The Ministry of the Interior gets credit. That's not a person. That's a building. A building can't issue a request. A building can't even speak.

So who issued it?

The Minister of the Interior?

What's her or his name?

Oh, that's right.

There is no Minister of the Interior.

Nouri refused to nominate people to head the three security ministries. This was a violation of the Constitution. Instead of noting that, outlets like the New York Times wanted to tell you in December of 2010 that Nouri would name those posts shortly, in a few weeks. Critics of Nouri -- whom other outlets quoted by the Times didn't -- said b.s. They said Nouri wouldn't appoint the posts and would keep them vacant as a power grab.

That's what he's done. (Those Nouri-apologists in this country insist are 'acting ministers' are no such thing. The Constitution does not recognize that category and without going through the nomination process and being approved by Parliament, they have no protection. They do what Nouri says or they are fired. Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq was approved by Parliament. That's why although Nouri made clear in December that he wanted to fire al-Mutlaq, al-Mutlaq thus far retains his position. Nouri can't fire him. Parliament approved him and only Parliament can fire him.)

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4487. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4487.

Monday's violence we'll cover when it's Monday here. Sunday, Xinhua reported 1 Ministry of National Security official was shot dead in Baghdad, a Baghdad sticky bombing left two people injured, a Mosul grenade attack claimed the life of 1 woman and left four other people injured, a Tikrit sticky bombing injured one person and, dropping back to Saturday, 1 person (brother of a police officer) was shot dead "in front of his [Balad] house."

New content at Third:

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Jim Moron" went up earlier but I'm going to change the time stamp so it remains at the top of this site until tomorrow morning's entries go up.
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