Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Iraq's number one!

Democracy and liberation still haven't taken hold. But Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq can boast of one 'accomplishment' under his six years of leadership: Number one on the Committee to Protect Journalists' Impunity Index. Rachel McAthy (CPJ) explains:

Iraq remains at the top of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Impunity Index for the fifth year in a row, with the press freedom group reporting that the cases of 93 journalists killed in the past 10 years remain unsolved.
The latest index, published annually by the group, lists the 12 countries that have seen at least five reporters killed with no resulting convictions from 2002 to 2011.
The CPJ reports that Iraq's rating for impunity "dwarfs that of every other nation" with a rating of 2.906 unsolved cases per million inhabitants.

Nouri was first named prime minister-designate April 22, 2006. It's been six years of stalling ever since. And it took a lot of stalling to ensure that 93 murders would go unsolved. That's the sort of 'leadership' Nouri's provided. What a proud day for him.

Alsumaria reports the Kurdish Alliance is calling out Nouri's attempts to split them and rebuking his claim that they are dissatisfied with KRG President Massoud Barzani. (See yesterday's "Continued violence and chaos and Nouri gets catty.") As Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) observed yesterday of the ongoing political crisis, "The disagreements between the Al Iraqiya List and the State of Law Coalition has taken a back seat lately. The escalating differences between the central government and Arbil signal a breakdown of the biggest strategic alliance that was built outside Iraq prior to 2003, and one that worked on toppling Saddam Hussain's regime and has led the political process in the country ever since. The tension surrounding the Iraqi political process indicates it could be pushed towards the point of no return."

Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports Iraqiya MP Falah al-Naqeeb reports he escaped an assassination attempt last night in Taji. Xinhua counts 13 dead in yesterday's violence and nine injured. Iraqiya is headed by Ayad Allawi and is the political slate that came in first in the March 7, 2010 parliamentary elections. Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law came in second. Since December, Nouri's been demanding Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post and that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi be arrested for 'terrorism.' Both al-Mutlaq and al-Hashemi are members of Iraqiya and Sunni. Nouri stomped his feet over the 2010 election results and demanded a recount and then wasn't happy with the recount. Thursday he had the Independent High Electoral Commission's chair Farah al-Haidari and commission member Karim al-Tamimi arrested (they were released Sunday). Aswat al-Iraq reports:

A political analyst described the arrest of head of Election Commission Faraj al-Haidari as "a price for objecting the desires of Premier Nouri al-Maliki to control it".
Sarmad al-Ta'I told Aswat al-Iraq that "the arrest is a matter of vendetta and accounts settlements".
He added that "the case is grave with greater sensitivity due to the nearness of provincial elections that Maliki hopes to get a majority".
Ta'I added that Haidari was one of three who objected Maliki's policies.
The other two were the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq Sinan al-Shibibi and ex-Chairman of Integrity Commission Raheem Ikaili.

Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports plans to vote for the Electoral Commission to continue their work. But there appears to be some confusion over whether or not Faraj al-Haidari and Karim al-Tamimi could continue serving according to MP Mahmoud Hassan. Parliament needs to look at the files agains them to determine that issue and Hassan is calling for the formation of a parliamentary committee to examine the files and reach a conclusion so that the matter can be resolved quickly. If that seems helpful, remember it's a State of Law MP that brought the charges against the two men and remember that Hassan is State of Law.

Likely related, Al Rafidayn reports that the Ministry of the Interior (which still has no legal minister to run it so Nouri runs it -- and wants to, that's why he's refused to nominate a head for it all this time) is stating the cause of continued violence ("terrorism") in Iraq is due to the duplication of security -- there are too many security forces!

Yes, that is illogical. But carry it out, as Nouri no doubt will, and you've got Nouri eliminating or restricting all forces he doesn't control throughout Iraq. Throughout -- even in the three provinces that make up the KRG.

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