Tuesday, May 22, 2012

They say they have a quorum, they say they have over 163 votes

In big news out of Iraq this morning, Al Mada reports the pooitical blocs are stating that they have the needed quorum to call for a no-confidence vote in Nouri al-Maliki.  This wasn't how the day was supposed to go.  The White House moved heaven and earth buttering up and, yes, bribing Ammar al-Hakim (leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) to ensure his support for Nouri and he was supposed to be an opinion leader who would model behaivor for others.  That really hasn't happened -- and how much US work time and money has been devoted to saving Nouri's ass?  Time and money that could have and should have been spent elsewhere.

Perhaps the saddest thing for the White House was realizing that it you want bi-partisanship, don't piss off Republicans.  Specifically, don't piss off on Republican on the issue of Iraq.  (Think about it, you'll quickly guess which US Senator I mean.)  Not only did he rally opposition to keep the International Republican Institute from being used to rubber stamp numbers that were going to be called results for a poll, he's gone away making sure many know that an upcoming National Democratic Institute for International Affairs  'poll' was nothing but propaganda on behalf of the White House.  The poll will insist -- abusrdly -- that Nouri al-Maliki's popularity is on the rise.

 It would have been unbelievable coming from a reputable polling organization.  It would have been laughable coming from the NDI (a notorious tool to oppress and suppress freedom around the world -- as is its Republican counterpart) but with the senator telling anyone who will listen how the White House shopped it first as a joint-poll and the had no interest in it, the White House looks like its in the business of non-stop lying.  But maybe that's every administration's business?  Regardless, it's not a good time for the administration.

If you're late to the party on NDI, you can read Lisa Ashkenaz Croke and Brian Dominick's "Controversial U.S. Groups Operate Behind Scenes on Iraq Vote" (New Standard) and please grasp how much trash has infested the left -- SourceWatch used to link to that article in their entry on NDI.  It was removed sometime ago as a "silly link."  Whores have taken over SourceWatch (shame, shame on the Center for Media and Demcoracy), no surprise.  And only an idiot would believe that a group headed by Mad Maddie Albright was ever going to do something to help the Iraqi people.

In more bad news for the White House, Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports that the political blocs are stating that they already have 163 votes against Nouri.  (That should require the US State Dept spending a small fortune quickly on bribes and pet projects.  Smart Iraqi politicians will hold out for top dollar.)

As the US government rushes to throw more US taxpayer dollars into the sinkhole that is Nouri's Iraq, it's worth remembering how this point arrived.

In 2006, the choice for prime minister was Ibrahim al-Jaafari.  The White House refused.  No puppets were going to have free will on Bully Boy Bush's watch.  So Bush's choice of Nouri al-Maliki was installed.  Nouri did an awful job.  al-Jaafari and Ayad Allawi had both held the post of prime minister since the 2003 US-invasion.  Nouri's incompetence and criminality ensured that any criticism against them would become muted.

Nouri's first term was notable for its attacks on the press, its attacks on humanr rights, it's inability to get get anything done, etc.  As the refugee crisis reached its height and millions fled Iraq while millions within the country moved out of previously mixed neighborhoods into segregated ones and as the US government implemented the 'surge' while also paying off tribal sheiks to create the Sahwa (Sons of Iraq, Awakenings, etc.), the security situation got 'stable' enough to allow what always happens after ground zero, people are no longer satisified with safety claims (also true, in Iraq, the violence became -- and continues to be -- the norm, leading to further adaptation of the human spirit) and they began to press governments on freedoms and rights.  This is a historical pattern.  In the 2009 provincial elections, you see this take hold.  It took the 2010 elections to demonstrate this wasn't an anomoly but a pattern.

Iraqis were rejecting the sectarianism that the US had imposed and encouraged.  They were moving towards a national identiy.  A national identity would not cure all of Iraq's problems nor would it solve historic grievances but it would go a long way towards allowing officials to work together.  Iraq had a national identity (as well as a tribal one) prior to the start of the Iraq War.

In March 2010, the Iraqi people did something truly historic.  While Nouri was attempting to scare the population with talk of how only he could steer Iraq through the violence and while he smeared Sunnis as Ba'athists and prevented many from running for election, the Iraqi people saw this and refused to give him the huge sweeping victory he was predicting (and some in the press were treating as 'factual polling').  Instead, they voted for the newly created Iraqiya -- a part of Shi'ites, Sunnis and others.  A mixture not unlike Iraq.  It was the Iraqi people asking for a national identity again.

"But, if there's one law of the west, it's that bastards have brothers." (Joan Wilder in Romancing The Stone, screenplay written by Diane Thomas. )

And Bush had one in Barack.  Which is how a supposed change in the Oval Office found hopey-changey Barack Obama supporting Nouri al-Maliki.

The Iraqi people risked violence and hassles to vote (many showed up and were informed they need to be, for example, on the other side of Baghdad -- not an easy task when road blocs and checkpoints are set up).  And they didn't vote Nouri the winner.  His State of Law came in second to Iraqiya.

So he shouldn't have had a second term as prime minister.

But he wanted it and the US backed him (as did Tehran).  So he dug his heels in and refused to allow the process to move forward creating eight months of gridlock -- Political Stalemate I.  It only ended whent he US-brokered the Erbil Agreement.  If Nouri would concede this to the Kurds, that to other Shi'ite blocs, something to Iraqiya . . . Then they would allow him to be prime minister for a second term.  All political blocs signed off on that agreement and Nouri used it to become prime minsiter.  However, Nouri tossed it aside once he got what he wanted.

He has refused to honor it and offered one excuse after another as to why a November 2010 agreement has still not been implemented.  Over the summer of 2011 -- in the midst of Political Stalemate II -- the Kurds began publicly demanding the Erbil Agreement be implemented.  Iraqiya and Moqtada al-Sadr took up that call as well.  Nouri's refused to do so.

December 21st, President Jalal Talabani and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi began calling for a national conference to address the ongoing crisis.  Nouri stalled and stalled.  Finally, Talabani announced it would be held April 5th.  Nouri quickly began echoning that public while working to kill the conference.  The conference died less than 24 hours before it was to be held.

April 28th, another Erbil meet-up was held.  Nouri wasn't invited.  KRG President Massoud Barzani, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi, Moqtada al-Sadr and others met and agreed that the Erbil Agreement had to be implemented and that Moqtada's 18-point plan had to as well.

Nouri was given a time limit (it's bascially this coming Sunday) to implement the agreements.  If not, he could face a no-confidence vote.  Nouri's made a lot of speeches about wanting to talk and, gosh, that Erbil Agreement is good, but he's just wasting time the way he always does.  He's always been able to wait out his opponents -- due to being the puppet of the White House -- and maybe he will this time as well.

But there's a great deal going on in Iraq and, no, it's not getting reported in the bulk of the western media.

Changing topics . . .


Tomorrow night on ABC, last hour of prime time, Revenge airs its season finale.  What will happen to Emily and Nolan?  (Pictured above chained to the wall.)  This is the last episode until next fall when it moves to Sunday nights.  Ann and Rebecca are noting it and are asking others to as well.  (I'll note it tomorrow also.)  Also the two of them and Dona and Ty did a roundtable on the show Sunday, "Revenge thoughts in the lead up to the finale." Be sure to check that out.

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