Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nouri blames Arabs again (not one word about Iran)

 Alsumaria reports Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi states he will return to Iraq soon and that the targeting of Baghdad provincial council member Laith al-Dulaimi (arrested on Nouri's orders by Nouri's forces who tortured him) confirms much of what al-Hashemi has stated about being targeted.  Specifically, al-Hashemi states it confirms what he has stated about human rights, about the lack of justice, about the judiciary being politicized and about torture being a key characteristic of Iraqi imprisonment.  In protest of the proceedings, al-Hashemi's attorneys walked out May 20th on the trial against him.  Like Laith al-Dulaimi, the Vice President is accused of terrorism.  Like Laith al-Dulaimi, the Vice President is a member of Iraqiya.

Iraqiya's big 'crime' appears to be coming in first in the March 7, 2010 elections.  For months before the election, Nouri al-Maliki attempted to demonize them, had them arrested, had them kicked out of the race and someone -- Nouri? -- was also having the assassinated in the lead-up to the elections.  Nouri 'promised' -- the  media swore to us -- that there would be no third term.  But as we have repeatedly noted, that line has been walked back and walked back.  And, no, we didn't fall for the claim when he made it.  We questioned it even then pointing out that in the original assertion, he'd left himself wiggle room.

Among the current issues that various blocs can agree upon is that Nouri should have no third term.  The one that can't agree with that is Nouri.

If you'll think back to the lead-up to the 2010 elections, you'll remember Nouri was convinced his State of Law would win overwhelmingly.  But the reality was they didn't even win by a hair.  It's possible that the attacks currently are part of his attempts for the next round of parlimentary elections (which are now supposed to take place in 2014) or even to influence the provincial elections (scheduled for next year currently).  Nouri does have problems with the provinces.  He's got a war going on with Ethyl al-Nujaifi who is the brother of Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.  Ehtyl is also the Governor of Nineveh Province and Nouri -- who is so shocked that people are calling for him to step down -- has twice called for al-Nujaifi to step down as governor.

Al Rafidayn notes the real purpose of Nouri's holding the Council of Ministers meeting in Mosul (as opposed to Baghdad) yesterday: He met with tribal leaders in Nineveh in an attempt to shore up support for him as moves are made to push for a no-confidence vote which would, if succeessful, remove him from the post of prime minister.  Nouri also again launched an attack on Osama al-Nujaifi.  Which really doesn't seem smart in the province that elected his brother governor.  But Nouri's not know for his wisdom.

To distract from the push for a no-confidence vote in him, Nouri and flunkies recently announced there was a push for a no-confidence vote in Osama al-Nujaifi.  However, the National Alliance (a Shi'ite grouping of political parties which includes Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc, Ibraham al-Jaafari's group, Nouri's State of Law and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq among others) publicly dismissed that.  They noted that the National Alliance was not calling for a move against al-Nujaifi.  They noted that State of Law had not even made a proposal to the National Alliance about such a move.  And the press kindly let the matter die instead of pointing out that Nouri had been caught in yet another lie. 

Let's leave the political crisis  to turn to another issue: Nouri and bad reporting.  Or to expand on both.  The BBC reports that Nouri has declared that the near future could bring a water war among the Arab states and because they're intent on becoming a joke (such as running a 2003 photo from Iraq and passing it off as weekend events in Syria), the BBC repeats and pretends they reported.  Water wars are predicted and have been for some time.  That's not exclusive to the Arab region.  But if we're going to stay with Iraq on that, who are the wars going to be with?  Presumably with Turkey because they've repeatedly complained about damns Turkey has built.

Facts can be a 'pesky' thing for bad reporting. Point being, Turkey's not an Arab state.  They are Turks.  There are many groupings within Tukrey but Turks control it and it is a Turkish state, not an Arab one.

I don't doubt that Nouri used the term "Arab states."  Nouri can't get along with them -- as the Arab League Summit demonstrated -- though didn't the press try to whore there too?  No leaders of major Arab states bothered to show.  Because they don't like Nouri and they don't trust him.

For good reason.

Nouri launched yet another attack against them -- probably in attempt to soothe feelings over the issue of the 8 year war with Iran.  Though Nouri would prefer otherwise, the recent remains exchange only flared up tensions and that's to be expected. It's not as if remains are handed over and people say, "Oh, that's too bad.  How did these Iraqis die?"  The families know how they died -- from battle with people in Iran.

So Nouri launches his ridiculous attack on the Arab states.  It'll be only a matter of time before he's glassy eyed again and floating crazy rumors about Saudi Arabia.  (Think about, is it any wonder the Arab League state leaders avoided his ridiculous and ostentatious summit?) Maybe he'll accuse Saudi Arabia next of draining the Um er Radhuma aquifer?  (Of course, someone would probably have to explain what an aquifer was to him first.)

Basra, which is now threatening to go semi-autonomous, if you missed that, is waterfront property.  The province opens up on the Persian Gulf.  However, that's salty water.  You can't drink it.  (A fact the residents are very aware of and why a number evacuated back in August of 2009 when the level of the Euphrates River continued to drop and many in the south found themselves without drinking water.)

Iraq is provided with drinking water by rainfall  and snow which fills marshes and lakes and underwater aquifers.  But it is also provided with drinking water  by two rivers.  The Tigris is the one.  When Turkey's accused of building damns to prevent the flow of water to Iraq, that's the Tigris river that's being spoken of.  It runs from Turkey to northern Iraq all the way down south.

The other river is the Eurphrates it comes in from Syria and runs down to the south of the country as well.  Syria is an Arab state.

But outside of periods of drought (such as 2009) what's been the biggest threat to Iraq's water?  There's the potability issues, yes, but set that aside and pretend for a moment that at some point during the six years of his being prime minister, Nouri had taken the time to fix the water infrastructure so that all Iraqis had water flowing to their homes and that they could drink it right out of the faucet.

If that were true, what would still be left as the threat to the water?

The problem is Iraq's eastern neighbor: Iran.  As Waheed Ghanim (Niqash) reported in March 2011:

Large expanses of land across southeast Iraq are being contaminated by saline waste coming across the border from Iran.

The water has formed lakes extending along a zigzag line of more than 60 km through Basra and Missan provinces, covering an area of over 150 square km.

Alaa al-Badran, is an engineer and the official reporter on water salinity in the Shatt al-Arab river. He has described the water in the lakes as highly toxic and a grave threat to the environment.

“The salinity of flowing water has reached serious levels and is higher than the salinity of sea water,” he said.

“So far, the military wall that was built between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s war, has prevented the contaminated water from spreading”, he says. “But for how long?”

The commander of the fourth region in Basra province has warned that the border police station in Shalamjah is at risk of being flooded, if the water level rises above the wall.

Iran is not an Arab state.  Iran is a Persian state.  Iran has polluted Iraq's water.  And what's taking place here can destroy the water.  This is worse than bickering over a damn.

And anyone who doubts that need only refer to Lake Urmu in Iran.  The salinity is out of control and it is drying up, wildlife is disappearing and some believe that the lake itself could vanish in this decade. The Iranian government has really refused to seriously address that issue.  And you've got Iraq's waters now being put at risk by the salinity flowing over from Iran?  That's something needs to be addressed and it won't happen because the government in Tehran wakes up tomorrow and is suddenly concerned with drinking water.  Nouri can rage all he wants about the "Arab states" and try to feed into some Shia vs. Sunni hatred, but the reality is Iran is the biggest threat to Iraq's drinking water and Nouri's refused to address that out of fear of angering Tehran.

It's really amazing that the BBC 'reported' on Iraq and its water issues but failed to address any of the above. 

(I'm stopping here.  As longterm community members know, I can talk water issues forever and a day and spent the first half of the last decade researching and exploring oceanic law and water treaties.)

The e-mail address for this site is