Saturday, June 02, 2012

al-Mutlaq calls Nouri a dictator again, the crisis continues

AFP files what's probably the best English language report about Iraq's ongoing political crisis.  Excerpt:

The protracted drama has seen Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s deputy revert to decrying him as a ‘dictator’ and the leader of the autonomous Kurdish region call for him to go on one side, while the premier insists he has sufficient backing to stay on the other. “The political crisis has reached its highest level since its beginning, but it is still running within the framework of the democratic game,” Iraqi political analyst Ihsan al-Shammari said.

“The country is paralysed on all levels; there is a clear political paralysis paralleled by governmental negligence and a failure of the legislative authority, while the people are disappointed and afraid of the security consequences,” Shammari said. The trouble began in earnest in mid-December, when the secular Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc began a boycott of parliament and the cabinet over what it said was Maliki’s centralisation of power.

And that's byline-less report was written by Mohamad Ali Harissi.  In it, we learn that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq has again called Nouri a dictator.  For those who have forgotten, when al-Mutlaq said that to CNN in December, Nouri responded by spending months in an a failed effort to have al-Mutlaq stripped of his post. A lot is happening, a lot very quickly, a great deal confusing and the American media is really not interested.  For example, Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq, gave a written resignation to KRG President Massoud Barzani, for Barzani to hold. As we noted May 25th, "What was Jalal Talabani handing his resignation to KRG President Massoud Barzani about?  It's amazing how little interest there is in the Kurds these days from the American press that was always so eager to report on 'the other Iraq'."  Rebwar Karim Wali (Rudaw) tries to make sense of that move:

PUK’s media outlets portrayed that event as a patriotic step by Talabani, but on both Iraqi and Kurdistan levels it was an unexpected event, to a degree that dragged Maliki and Talabani to a meeting on Friday that is a holiday in Iraq. Perhaps it was the same thing that made Talabani release a statement the next day and call for “brotherly and constructive” dialogue between all sides.
President Barzani’s efforts to remove Maliki, Talabani’s call for brotherly and constructive talks, the outcome of the Erbil and Najaf meetings do not go in line with each other.

There is a move towards a no-confidence vote in Nouri al-Maliki and his political slate is attempting everything to stop it.  Alsumaria reports that State of Law's Izzat Shabandar has declared that there are forged signatures on the call to withdraw confidence.


That's from their report on Iraqiya's response.  The woman is Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoon al-Damluji.  We've noted her many times and there's been a few curious e-mails over the last month so we're putting a face to the name.  I've noted she is the most heavily featured Iraqi woman in the news and she's heavily featured being the spokesperson for Iraqiya.  I've also shared that it was a very smart move to choose a woman because it goes to the message the political slate Iraqiya is attempting to convey: We are all Iraqis.  That's why they're not bound by one sect.  And it's that message that had people respond so strongly in the March 2010 elections that the brand new political slate, which is headed by Ayad Allawi, emerged the winner.  Saleh al-Mutlaq, mentioned above, is also a member of Iraqiya.  He's been repeatedly targeted by Nouri.  While Allawi is a Shi'ite, al-Mutlaq is a Sunni.  While Nouri repeatedly works out grudges against Sunnis in public, Allawi and al-Mutlaq (and others) attempt to build a party of unity that can translate to the nation.  That's the message of unity that Iraqiya tries to convey.  And al-Damluji denied reports of forged signatures.

If signatures were forged, I doubt they were, it's nothing for State of Law to worry about.  The vote would be what counts and if an MP's signature was forged on the call for the vote, certainly he or she would be so outraged that he or she might vote in favor of Nouri as a protest.  It's nothing for State of Law to worry about and so you're left with the impression that the purpose of airing the charge in public is that, yet again, State of Law has nothing to do but spread rumors about their political rivals.

That's not really a message of unity but unity's never been Nouri's thing.

Meanwhile Moqtada al-Sadr has issued a public pledge that there will be positions for State of Law in a new government if the no-confidence vote is taken and Nouri is ousted as a result.

In today's violence, Alsumaria notes a Baghdad roadside bombing injured one Iraqi solider and that a Falluja police raid resulted in one police officer being injured while in Diawaniya, police fired on a government group and injured an engineerAl Rafidayn adds that a farmer was shot dead outside his home to the northeast of Baquba (assailants used machine guns).

Ali Mussa Daqduq is a citizen of Lebanon currently held by Iraqi authorities.  He is alleged to have assisted the League of Righteous (an Iraqi group) in many actions including one that resulted in the deaths of 5 US service members.  In the summer of 2009, the US military still held the leader and high ranking members of the League of Righteous in US prisons in Iraq until Barack gave orders to release them.  let's drop back we'll drop back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot with the realization that some who looked the other way in real time will now be outraged:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

Barack never answered for it.  No reporters even put the question to him -- trained and neutered dogs know not to bark, after all.  As the White House pulled out most of the US forces from Iraq at the end of 2011, the issue was what to do with the Lebanese citizen they still held.  For months, US Senators had been raising concerns over turning him over to Iraqi authorities, insisting that Nouri's close ties to Iran would mean that Ali Mussa Daqduq.  Some argued he needed to be put into Guantanamo.  Some argued he needed to be kept in US military custody and brought to the US for a trial.  The White House insisted Nouri would ensure justice.  Dropping back to May 18th of this year:

We'll cover what Reuters is calling Nouri's "charm offensive" next week (Monday).  Right now, we'll note the shocked reaction of a widow whose husband died serving in Iraq and who can't believe that the man said to be responsible for the death of her husband and at least four other US soldiers will apparently walk away free.  Dropping back to earlier violence,  Christine Show (Daily Mail) reports, "The wife of a U.S. Army captain who was killed while deployed in Iraq is stunned that the person named responsible for his death will be freed.  Charlotte Freeman of Temecula, California expressed her dismay when she learned on Wednesday night that Ali Mussa Daqduq was cleared of all charges in the 2007 attack that killed Brian Freeman, 31, and four other U.S. soldiers."

On May 7th, Suadad-al Salhy, Patrick Markey and Andrew Heavens (Reuters) reported that Iraq's 'justice' system has cleared Ali Mussa Daqdug of all charges related to the "2007 kidnapping attack that killed five U.S. troops."  This was actually the second time that those said to be responsible for the five deaths.  Ali Mussa Daqduq is alleged to have been working with the League of Righteous (once known as "the Special Groups network") and the US had the leader and high ranking members in a US prison in Iraq.

Dar Addustour and Stars & Stripes carry brief items noting that Reuters reported Friday that the US has officially requested that Ali Mussa Daqduq be turned over to the US government.

The following community sites updated last night and today:

The e-mail address for this site is