Thursday, May 31, 2012

At least Nouri will always have Ammar

Iraq's two day auction ended today.  Yesterday brought one successful bidW.G. Dunlop and Salam Faraj (AFP) explain, "Iraq on Thursday closed a landmark auction of energy exploration blocks with just three contracts awarded out of a potential 12, dampening hopes the sale would cement its role as a key global supplier."  The offerings weren't seen as desirable and the deals offered even less so.  But big business began sending signals this auction would not go well over two months ago.  (And we've noted that at least three times in previous months.)  That's due to the instability in Iraq caused by Nouri -- and it is seen as caused by Nouri in the oil sector because he is the prime minister, he did pick a fight with Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, he did order Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi arrested.  All the instability in recent months have not helped.  His attacks on ExxonMobil and their deal with the KRG has not helped.  Nouri al-Maliki is bad for business.  If Iraq had the arrangement they did under Saddam Hussein, Nouri could get away with that.  But he's going to have to grasp real soon that state oil isn't what it was under Hussein.  The economic model (imposed by the US) is mixed.  And if Iraqis hadn't fought back, it would be strictly privatized.  Nouri's not yet learned that his actions impact Iraq's business.  (And, in fairness to Nouri, this is a new thing for Iraq.  Saddam Hussein could do anything and it wasn't an issue unless the super powers decided it was.  But, again, it's a mixed model now.  Nouri might need to bring in some economic advisors from out of the country.)

Of today's Baghdad bombings, Al Rafidayn points out that they take place during a shapr increase in the political crisis.  The Irish Times observes, "Some argue that the ongoing political impasse has opened the door to violence. The unity government headed by Mr al-Maliki, a Shia muslim, has been largely paralysed since the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq late last year.  There is mounting criticism of Mr al-Maliki within the ruling coalition, amid complaints that he is shutting out Iraq's two main minorities -- Kurds and Sunni Muslims -- in decision-making."

A group participated in decion making yesterday in Sulaymaniyah Province (KRG).  Al Rafidayn reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Speaker of Iraq's Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, Moqtada al-Sadr, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq (who represents the National Dialogue which is a part of the Iraqiya political slate), Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi  and others and it was decided that a no-confidence vote would be taken on Nouri if 164 MPs would sign on.  Kitabat notes Moqtada is stating he can get the signatures.

Deeply alarmed is Ammar al-Hakim who insists to Alsumaria that he was not part of the meet-up.

one on one summit

I don't believe anyone would expect him to be part of it.  That's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "One-on-One Summit" featuring Supreme Islamic Leader of Iraq Ammar al-Hakim in the tub with Nouri.  Again, I don't believe anyone expects Ammar to ever turn on Nouri.  No one.  Ammar's tossing around terms like "sin" and "unforgiveable."  Save a little something for your diary, Ammar.

Dar Addustour reports that al-Nujaifi is said to be ready to call an emergency session of Parliament to vote on the issue of Nouri.  They also note US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffries continues to try to shore up support for Nouri among the National Alliance and that he met with Ibrahim al-Jaafari.  It's hard to see al-Jaafari standing firmly with Nouri but who knows how much the US is offering?  (al-Jaafari would have been prime minister in 2006, had the US government not insisted upon Nouri -- al-Jaafari was the choice of
Iraqi MPs but the Iraqi Constitution 'forgot' to write down: The US government will have final say in all decisions.  In addition, when he started his party, the National Reform Trend, Nouri had him kicked out of the Dawa political party.  Nouri heads Dawa.)   Ethyl al-Nujaifi, brother of Osama al-Nujaifi, tells Alsumaria that they already have enough signatures for a guorum, in fact they've exceeded that required number. 

As Al Sabaah notes, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi's trial is supposed to start today.  Alsumaria reports the judge has refused the defense's request for testimony from President Jalal Talabani.  In related news, the targeting of Iraqiya's Laith al-Dulaimi continues and Kitabat reports Iraqi human rights activists joining Talabani's call for al-Dulaimi to be released.  al-Dulaimi was arrested days ago on Nouri's order.  He is a member of the Baghdad provincial council.  Nouri began airing al-Dulaimi's 'confession.'  al-Dulaimi -- still in prison -- has declared he was tortured, that the 'confession' was forced and false.  Realizing he had another p.r. disaster on his hands, Nouri recently began calling for an investigation into these torture allegations.  Abdul-Jabbbar al-Jubouri (Kitabat) reports that the 'confession' has now aired on Iraqi TV.  That's in violation of the law.  al-Jubouri terms it not only a political scandal but an ethical one as well.  Kitabat also doesn't take seriously Nouri's 'investigation,' noting it was his forces acting on his orders that tortured Laith al-Dulaimi and now he's going to investigate himself?

While Nouri flounders, Alsumaria reports the Russian government has extended an invitation to KRG President Massoud Barzani to visit Moscow so that Russia and the KRG can strengthen their ties with one another.  In other bad news for Nouri, he's signed a multi-million dollar contract -- valued at a quarter of a million dollars.  Al Rafidayn reports that this is to build 100,000 housing units.  The bad news?  While Iraq suffers record unemployment, Nouri's farming this job out to South Korea.

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