Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The ongoing political crisis

Independent Iraq MP Mahmoud Othman Tweeted the following today:

After the meetings in a date must be set for the general meeting in to try to settle the problems as per the constitution.

Over the weekend, there was a big meet-up in Erbil attended by many -- Nouri al-Maliki was not invited.  Attending the meeting was Moqtada al-Sadr.  Al Mada notes that he is denying that he was pressured in 2010 to throw his support behind Nouri al-Maliki.  There is some blame being tossed Moqtada's way for his support of Nouri and he was asked about this issue in his online column where he plays Dear Abby to his followers.  Again, he denied there was any pressure.  (He was pressured by Tehran.)   While US efforts (largely led by Vice President Joe Biden) and UN efforts (largely led by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy Martin Kobler), they haven't been the only ones.  There's Tehran, of course.  Other players also include England.  The Kurdish Globe reports:

Britain's Ambassador to Iraq on Friday concluded a one-week visit to the Kurdistan Region by meetingwith President Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. He visited all three of the Region's governorates, meeting students, officials and civil society representatives.

Ambassador Michael Aron met with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials and visited all three provinces of the Kurdistan Region to discuss the ongoing political crisis in Iraq as well as recent developments inthe Middle East as a whole. He also explored how to further develop the already strong links between the United Kingdom and the Kurdistan Region.

At Saturday's meet-up it was decided that the Erbil Agreement must be implemented (Nouri used the agreement to become prime minister and then trashed it).  In addition, Moqtada pushed his 18 point plan.  Al Mada reports that State of Law is insisting that the 18-point plan is an accordance with the National Alliance .  The Iraqi Communist Party's newspaper reports that the Erbil meeting found Moqtada completely rejecting the notion of withdrawing confidence from Nouri.  A no-confidence vote would mean a new prime minister could be voted on by the Parliament.  Meanwhile in what may be a minor effort at reconciliation, Al Mada reports Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law is saying they can resolve the issue of Saleh al-Mutlaq.

In the middle of December, Nouri al-Maliki met with US President Barack Obama in DC.  Upon returning home he began targeting polical rivals in Iraqiya.  (Iraqiya came in first in the 2010 Parliamentary elections besting Nouri's State of Law.)  Nouri demanded that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi be arrested on charges of terrorism and that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post.

State of Law is stating currently that the issue of al-Multaq can be resolved by the political blocs.  It's very minor in terms of reconciliation.  Very minor.  Inconsequential.

Nouri's been calling for al-Mutlaq to be stripped of his post since December.  Nouri can flap his wings and crow all he wants, the only one a Cabinet member can be removed from their post is a vote by the Parliament.  Nouri's stomped his feet for months now and al-Mutlaq's still Deputy Prime Minister.  The Constitution explains the issue is resolved by the Parliament.  So State of Law offers that political blocs can resolve this issue?  They're actually still refusing to follow the Constitution.

That needs to be pointed out.

You want to remove a member of the Cabinet?  The Iraqi Constitution explains how that's done.  If you can't get enough votes for that, the person remains a member of the Cabinet.  Nouri knows that.  It's why he refused to nominate ministers to head the security ministries.  If there was a Minister of Interior, Nouri might not be able to control the ministry because the minister wouldn't fear losing their job.  

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