Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nouri's on the road but that doesn't stop efforts to oust him

Henry Allen (Washington Post) speaks with an Iraqi who made it into the US in 2010 and asks him, "Is Iraq now going to get as bad as I think?"  The response is, "Much worse."  This as Nouri al-Maliki treats the Council of Ministers as though it were The McLaughlin Group and takes it on the road.  Dar Addustour notes that they're meeting in Nineveh Province -- where Ethyl al-Nujaifi is Governor -- and that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq will not be taking part.  He says he will not take part in meetings until political reforms are implemented.

Nineveh's capitol of Mosul isn't the only place meetings are being held.  Alsumaria reports Iraqi President Jalal Talabani arrived in Sulaimaniya earlier today to take part in the meeting scheduled to address the political crisis.  Another meet-up is scheduled later this week in Erbil.

What are all these meet-ups about?

Attempting to get Nouri al-Maliki to honor his word.

In March 2010, parliamentary elections were held.  Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law came in second to Iraiqya (led by Ayad Allawi).  That should have meant Allawi had first crack at attempting to form a coalition government.  But Nouri didn't want anyone else to be prime minister and because he had the US government's backing as well as the Iranian government's, he was able to bring the country to a standstill.  Political Stalemate I is the eight months that followed the March 2010 elections where Nouri refused to allow any governance to take place.

In November 2010, the US government brokers an agreement.  Because they're in charge of the agreement, the US ensures that Nouri al-Maliki will have a second term as prime minister.  To get the other political blocs to sign off on it concessions were made such as an independent national security commission would be created and Allawi would head that.  All of the blocs got various promises -- in writing -- to get them to sign off on the agreement.  Nouri signed it, everyone signed it.  And Nouri used the Erbil Agreement to get his second term as prime minister.  But once he had that, he trashed the agreement.  He refused to honor it.

And because there is no honor among thiefs and liars, the White House pretended they hadn't spent the summer of 2010 coming up with an agreement and as if they hadn't made promises to Iraq's political blocs.  In Iraq, the White House's name is mud because they are known liars who deceived intentionally and went back on their word.

Last summer, the Kurds began publicly demanding that Nouri implement the Erbil Agreement.  Iraqiya and Moqtada al-Sadr quickly joined the call.  Political Stalemate II is the ongoing political crisis.

Throughout, Nouri has targeted Iraqiya.  Most recently, he ordered the arrest of Baghdad Provincial Council member Laith al-Dulaimi and quickly declared al-Dulaimi a "terrorist," swore it was true because al-Dulaimi 'confessed' and began playing video of the 'confession.'  al-Dualaimi remainsi n custody and he has stated he was tortured into making that 'confession.'  President Talabani is calling for al-Dulaimi's release.  The Ministry of the Interior claims they'll have an independent investigation into the actions of their own forces and the pressure is so intense that Alsumaria reports even Nouri is now saying that there needs to be an investigation into the way al-Dulaimi was treated and also into the charges against him.  Kitabat predicted Sunday that this would turn into a major scandal and they were correct.  Kitabat notes that human rights activists are decrying the treatment of al-Dulaimi.

al-Dulaimi is the third Iraqiya official that Nouri has targeted in the last six months (the other two are Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq). 

Alsumaria notes that the move towards a no-confidence vote in Nouri continues to be a strong possibility and that Moqtada al-Sadr denies he is angling for the spot of prime minister.

Marcia's "Barack doesn't win the vet vote" and Mike's "Memorial Day" went up last night. 
Kat's "Kat's Korner: There's nothing cheap about being ripped off" and Ruth's "Ruth's Report" and   Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "One-on-One Summit" went up here yesterday.   New content at Third Estate went up laste Sunday (Monday in EST and Central time zones):

We'll close with this from Revolution's "Drones, Deportations, and Drugs -- The '3 Ds' of why Obama has been Worse than Bush" (World Can't Wait):

Obama has overseen a huge leap in the use of pilotless drones by the U.S. military and CIA to kill people in a growing number of countries. When Obama took office, the war by drones was confined to Pakistan, where Bush had authorized 44 strikes over the previous five years. Under Obama, there have been 260 drone strikes in Pakistan alone as of early 2012—almost six times the number ordered by Bush. Obama has expanded the drone war, including to Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, and Iran. The drones are deployed from dozens of secret facilities in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia—with the operational hubs within the U.S., thousands of miles away from where the drones actually kill people.
While the whole drone program is veiled in secrecy, Obama defended it by saying that the drone attacks are “precision strikes against al Qaeda and their affiliates” and that “drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.” This is either an outright lie, or a cold-blooded expression of utter disregard for human lives, especially in a Third World country. According to a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in England this February, “since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children. A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners.”
Obama is now expanding the war in Yemen with loosened-up rules on drone strikes. According to the Washington Post, the “new authority approved by President Obama ... allows the CIA and the military to fire even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known....” This can only mean more civilians murdered in what Obama calls “precision strikes.”

Deportations—the War on Immigrants

The Gestapo-like targeting of immigrants within the U.S. and the intense militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border started before Obama—but he has escalated this offensive to new levels. Statistics released last October revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had deported almost 400,000 people in fiscal year 2011—the highest number of deportations in a single year since ICE was formed 10 years ago. More than a million people—mostly Latinos—have been forced out of the U.S. since Obama became president.
A key part of Obama’s anti-immigrant offensive is a federal program called Secure Communities, under which local police send the fingerprints of every person they arrest to the Department of Homeland Security. Secure Communities has expanded to about 1,600 local police forces, and Obama plans to spread it to all local jurisdictions by 2013.
Those suspected of being undocumented are sent to ICE detention centers. There is a network of 250 such detention centers around the country. Exposés about these ICE prisons have revealed widespread brutality, sexual abuse, and racist treatment against vulnerable detainees who have no access to lawyers or other help.

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