Monday, April 02, 2012

The political crisis and Nouri's tiny, ignorant mind

Let's start with today's chuckle. Nayla Razzouk (Bloomberg News) reports, "Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki invited all political parties to a 'national meeting' on April 5 to resolve disputes hindering the country's rebuilding." Did he? Did he really?

E = m c2

Did you see what I just did? I just invented a theory.

Now some might argue Albert Einstein developed that theory but I believe I'm the first one today to claim to have invented it so that makes it mine by the new rules of this "dying nation of moving paper fantasy" that allows Nouri al-Maliki to claim credit for what Iraqi President Jalal al-Talabni announced and scheduled before the start of the Arab League Summit. Al Mada reports that Dawa (Nouri's political party) is stating that they are in the best position in the lead up to the conference. That's interesting considering that State of Law is a political slate. Considering that Nouri created State of Law to run on when he made the decision not to run with his political party. Al Mada notes that this meeting was called by Talabani.

Before we go further, what's the national conference? Iraq is in the midst of a political stalemate. Political Stalemate I was when the government was faced with gridlock following the March 2010 elections. For eight months, Nouri refused to allow Ayad Allawi the right to try to form a government, refused to allow anyone to be named prime minister-designate. Per the Constitution, that should have been Allawi. Iraqiya, his political slate, came in first. He should have been given the chance to put together a coalition and then name a Cabinet. Were he unable to do so in 30 days, per the Constitution, someone else should be named prime minister-designate. With the backing of the White House, Nouri refused to budge.

After eight months, Political Stalemate I finally ended when Iraq's various political actors signed off on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement. Nouri would be prime minister, the agreement decreed, in exchange for that, he would have to make concessions including the creation of an independent, national security commission to be headed by Ayad Allawi and a vote on the disputed Kirkuk. Nouri was named prime minister-designate when the agreement resulted in the Parliament holding its first real session since the March 2010 vote. But most of Iraqiya walked out.

Why? Because Nouri was saying that the independent commission would have to wait until after he named his Cabinet and that they couldn't clear the various Iraqiya members of trumped up charges right away. He was already trashing the agreement he signed off on.

It would not get better. As December 2010 came to a close, he was moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister despite the fact that he had not named a Cabinet. There were posts unfilled and Iraqiya and other critics stated he would not fill three of the posts, the security posts (Minister of the Interior, Minister of Defense and Minister of National Security) because this was a power grab. By refusing to fill the spots, he controlled them. (Ministers are nominated by the prime minister-designate, they are confirmed by Parliament. Once confirmed, they can only be fired with the approval of Parliament.) Nonsense, said the US press, Nouri would be naming those posts in a matter of weeks.

It's April 2012. 16 months later. Who was right, who was wrong? Critics of Nouri were correct and the US press was wrong. Grossly wrong.

Once he was moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister, any pretense of following the Erbil Agreement was tossed aside. This is Political Stalemate II and Iraq's been in it for some time. Over the summer, the Kurds insisted that Nouri return to the Erbil Agreement. Iraqiya has echoed that call as had Moqtada al-Sadr and other elements of the National Alliance. This is Iraq's ongoing political crisis. Since December 21, 2011, Jalal Talabani and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi have been calling for a national conference to address the crisis.

Dar Addustour notes the Thursday meet-up is not a done deal and that Ibrahim al-Jaafari has called a meeting on Tuesday night to review certain aspects of the conference. They also note that State of Law is insisting (lying) that all aspects of the Erbil Agreement have been implemented except the naming of heads of the security ministries (Interior, Defense and National Security). Of course Kirkuk has not been resolved. Nouri al-Maliki has never wanted to resolve the issue. He became prime minister in the spring of 2006. The Iraqi Constitution mandated (Article 140) that a census and referendum be held on Kirkuk no later than the end of 2007. Nouri ignored the Constitution. Nouri violated the Constitution. The Iraqi Communist Party has reposted an Alsumaria report on the United Nations Mission in Iraq calling for Article 140 to be implemented, calling for that yesterday. And, again, that was also part of the 2010 Erbil Agreement.

In other Nouri news, the Communist Party's newspaper reports that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi stated on on Iraqi TV that Nouri spent a half million dollars bribing people not to reveal the security files detailing his (Nouri's) terrorist activities. This following the at least one billion dollars spent on the summit. Especially when Ahmed Hussein (Al Mada) is reporting that the number of Iraqis living at the poverty level or below is five and a half million persons. That's outrageous in any country but especially in Iraq which has somewhere between 25 to 30 million people (the population is an estimate, there has not been a census in decades). So basically, one-fifth of the country lives in poverty and yet Nouri wasted a billion dollars on the summit.

The big issue in the press today remains Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. AFP reports Deputy Prime Minister (OF WHAT?) Hussein al-Shahristani calls Qatar allowing him in "unacceptable." (He's the Deputy Prime Minister of Energy. Yeah, that "of energy" really takes the bloom off the rose, doesn't it?) As always, Iran's Press TV tries to fan the flames but only makes clear that they have no fashion sense. (Pink with a black robe? Really? There are Catholic nuns who dress with more flair.) Al Mada reports Nouri is stating he'll use INTERPOL. Al Sabaah quotes Nouri at a news conference claiming that being a founding member of the Arab League gives Iraq 'legal status' in this issue.

Poor, stupid Nouri.

In the previous entry, we were noting that the ringleader of the group that claimed credit for the murder of journalist Paul Moran was not in Australia. Not pursued by Australia. He's also not in Iraq. He's in Norway.

If you scroll through the ABC report, you'll find a cable at the end, leaked by WikiLeaks. The first sentence in the cable's summary reads: "In discussion December 7, our interlocutor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) legal section stated that Norway is not/not actively pursuing obtaining a guarantee of humane treatment for Ansar al-Islam figure Mullah Krekar (aka Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad) from the Government of Iraq. Absent this guarantee, the GON cannot legally act on the standing court deporation order that would send Krekar to Iraq, since Iraq practices capital punishment."

So that's if Tareq al-Hashemi decides to go to Europe. In terms of INTERPOL? Does Nouri know a damn thing? Hell no. He might try reading over the charter, the INTERPOL charter. He'll quickly discover that they are forbidden to act in cases that may be political. Nouri's charges against al-Hashemi come under Nouri's attacks on Iraqiya. He shouldn't have been calling for Saleh al-Mutlaq to be stripped of his post at the same time. Where there is a question, INTERPOL is supposed to step aside in order to maintain its position of political neutrality. Check the Charter.

While Nouri goes looking for An Idiot's Guide to the Law, he can take comfort in the fact that a lot of reporters need a copy as well. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen international reporters so clueless to the basics in my life.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Falling in (and out of) love with M. Ward" went up yesterday morning. PRI's The Takeaway has an article on autism:

The rate of diagnoses for autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger syndrome, is on the rise.

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children who have received a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder increased 23 percent from 2006 to 2008, and the rate has nearly doubled since national surveys were conducted in 2002.

Benedict Carey, science writer for The New York Times, said these numbers primarily show an increase in diagnoses, not necessarily an increase in prevalence.

"This was a study. The researchers didn't meet the kids, they were reviewing records and looking at what's been written in the records. A secondhand 'diagnosing at a distance,' so it's not clear exactly what's happening," Carey said.

Autism is an issue I donate money to and have for decades. When I think of the whiners (Thomas E. Ricks, Sy Hersh, etc) about boo-hoo, I go to talk and these 9-11 people want me to weigh in and blah blah blah, grow the hell up you little babies. Try being friends with people on both sides of the autism debate for decades. (The group that adamentally believes that immunizations are causing autism and the group that doesn't.) Try walking the line where you acknowledge and respect both opinions and after you've done that, big babies, then you can whine about how hard your little public appearances are. (As I've stated here many times, I've never had a problem with a so-called "truther" in the 9 years of speaking publicly on Iraq. If they've got something to say, I'm happy for them to participate and share. I've said my peace, let them say their peace. But some element of the thought police apparently can't stand for anyone else to speak.) (And if you're late to the party, we take no position on the 9-11 truth movement except to encourage them. I wasn't there, I don't know what happened. They are committed to something bigger and more important than reality TV which puts them far ahead of many other Americans. The JFK researches turned up important findings and the same will be true of the 9-11 truth movement. Good for them.)

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