Saturday, May 05, 2012

Why Jeffrey wants out and the ongoing political crisis

Having bungled things in China, you might think the US State Dept was doing better elsewhere.  If  that were true, of course, the rumors wouldn't be so strong that James Jeffrey, US Ambassador to Iraq, is incredulous over his current task, attempting to stop a no-confidence vote on Nouri al-Maliki.  The White House, the heavily repeated and circulated rumor goes, is very worried that their pet and puppet' Nouri al-Maliki mmight lose his post.  So Jeffrey's been tasked with keeping a "tyrant" in office.  Jeffrey reportedly has been troubled by the US support for Nouri for some time and that's why he wants out of his post.  (Barack's nominated Nouri's best American buddy Brett McGurk to replace Jeffrey.)   The story goes James Jeffrey entered his current post believing that he would be attempting to help all sides in Iraq come together but once he got to Baghdad he quickly discovered that his task was to cajole and pressure the Kurds to back off Nouri, to isolate Ayad Allawi and to do everything but diplomacy.

Supposedly, this has been a nightmare assignment because as bad as Iraq watchers know Nouri is, those with access to US intel, such as Jeffrey, are given even more details -- including, apparently, the US government's knowledge of ongoing secret prisons in Iraq.

Not the many secret prisons Nouri's run that Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) has exposed over the years, but new ones, never before exposed.

Regardless, the political crisis continues.  And Jeffrey meets with the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Amar al-Hakeem and with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and many others.,  Reuters reports that Nouri's received a letter warning him to cease his "autocratic decision-making"  and that it is signed by al-Nujaifi, KRG President Massoud Barzani, Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi and Moqtada al-Sadr.

 Al Mada reports that Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai called Friday for the political blocs to hold the national conference soon stating that the problem cannot continue and must be resolved.  This is the second religious authority to make a public call about the crisis.  Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has also called for the conflict to be resolved and he's called for the Erbil Agreement to be publisehd.

In mid-December, western outlets began to focus on the poltiical crisis in Iraq.  That's not when it started though. 
Marina Ottaway and Danial Kaysi's [PDF format warning] "The State Of Iraq"  (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) notes the events since mid-December as well as what kicked off Political Stalemate II:

Within days of the official ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to indict Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges and sought to remove Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq from his position, triggering a major political crisis that fully revealed Iraq as an unstable, undemocractic country governed by raw competition for power and barely affected by institutional arrangements.  Large-scale violence immediately flared up again, with a series of terrorist attacks against mostly Shi'i targets reminiscent of the worst days of 2006.
But there is more to the crisis than an escalation of violence.  The tenuous political agreement among parties and factions reached at the end of 2010 has collapsed.  The government of national unity has stopped functioning, and provinces that want to become regions with autonomous power comparable to Kurdistan's are putting increasing pressure on the central government.  Unless a new political agreement is reached soon, Iraq may plunge into civil war or split apart.

The agreement referred to is the Erbil Agreement.  In November 2010, after over 8 months of gridlock (known as Political Stalemate I) following the March 7, 2010 elections, the political blocs met in Erbil.  Despite the fact that his State of Law political slate came in second, Nouri wanted another term as prime minister.  To get that second term, he made concessions to other political blocs.  These were written up and signed off on and that's the Erbil Agreement.

Nouri used the agreement to become prime minister and then refused to honor the promises he'd made to the political blocs in exchange for their concession allowing him a second p.m. term.

Al Mada reports there is a move to dissolve the Parliament and hold early elections.  The call is being place on the record by Hassan Sinead who is a State of Law MP.  Is it sincere?  Is it an attempt to nullify the Erbil Agreement and allow Nouri to rule unchecked?  For those who've forgotten, he had (and has) the US and Iranian backing and was very comfortable refusing to step down as prime minister.  He was very comfortable acting without a parliament for those 8 months.

The National Iraqi News Agency reports:

Kurdistan Region President, Masoud Barzani, discussed with the American Ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffery, recent developments in Iraq.

Website of the Kurdistan Patriotic Union (PUK) web site said “Barzani talked about, during the meeting, about the bilateral and trilateral and quintet meetings that recently held in Erbil,” stressing ‘the dictatorship is the only threat to Iraq’s unity.”

In Thursday's snapshot, we noted Collie Powell was pimping yet another 'book' he allegedly co-wrote and how disgusting that was.  Whistle blower and author of We Meant Well Peter Van Buren offers his take on Collie's latest round of I-was-the-victim!:

Right Colin you gutless turd, it was all someone else’s fault. And of course as soon as you found out the intel was not just flawed, but completely made up, you resigned from the Bush Administration in protest, right? You went to the media and told everyone that the Iraq War was started on false pretenses, that you knew there were no WMDs as soon as you found out the truth in 2003? 2004? 2005?
Right Colin, you did all those things before 4484 Americans died in Iraq?
Of course you did not Colin, because you have the manhood of a Kardashian.
Enjoy your time in Hell, Colin, roommates with Robert McNamara, and please spend every day you have left on this planet meditating on the souls of the people who died in Iraq because of your lie, and your utter lack of responsibility to speak up.

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