Monday, June 25, 2012

Even the PUK's tired of Jalal

Moqtada al-Sadr held what  AP notes was "a rare and wide-ranging news conference" in Najaf yesterday.  Mohamad Ali Harissi (AFP) reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki needs to be removed for reforms to take place, powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Sunday, adding that his MPs would back a no-confidence vote if needed.
 "Reforms are the main goal, and withdrawing confidence precedes these reforms," Sadr told reporters in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, likening the situation to the need to wash before prayers.

Kitabat reports that he denied any influence or pressure from Iran and he repeated the promise he's made since April: If the other blocs deliver 124 votes for a withdrawal of confidence from Nouri, Moqtada will deliver all 40 of the votes of his bloc.  Meanwhile Jalal Talabani remains in Germany but no one misses the Iraqi president.  Kitabat notes the KRG President Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Talbani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan are in agreement that the efforts to withdraw confidence from Nouri need to continue.  Yes, Jalal is opposed to them.  Yes, Jalal's threatened to resign if the push continues.  But, yes, we've told you all last week Jalal's stock has shrunk.  He didn't just betray Barzani, Ayad Allawi and Moqtada, he didn't just betray a large number of Iraqis, he betrayed the Kurds.  And the PUK, the party he 'leads,' now sees him as a huge liability in next year's provincial elections.  We noted Thursday that in yet another bid for sympathy or even relevance Jalal floated that he was going to resign as president as soon as he returned to Iraq (he's in Germany for 'emergency' surgery -- knee surgery, he fled the country to avoid the political fallout over his refusal to forward the 176 signatures to Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi).  No one cared.  Other than the Iraqi press, no one's even bothered to note it.

What else did we note last week?

Well June 19th's "Nouri won't let Joe Biden visit Iraq?" noted the report that the long discussed (in the Iraqi press) visit of Joe Biden to attempt to smooth over the political crisis was nixed by Nouri al-Maliki  due to the US Vice President's plans to also visit with KRG President Massoud Barzani.   So I'm kind of puzzled by Jen Alic (OilPrice) claiming it was due to the oil deals.  Even more surprised by this:

The White House will attempt to downplay the snub, but sources from the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told reporters on Tuesday (19 June) that they had cancelled Biden’s visit, which was to take place in the coming days, as Baghdad was not “ready” for him.

Biden was purportedly Iraq-bound largely to diffuse tensions between some aggressive big oil deals that have culminated in a game-changing standoff between the central authority in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil, in northern Iraq. 

The linked "snub" goes to a June 20th blog post.  And worse, it doesn't support the summary Alic's saying it does.  That's not me saying Alic's summary of what Nouri conveyed is wrong.  (It's right and it's what we noted here on June 19th -- but it's not in the blog post from June 20th that she's linking to.)  Worse for Alic is crap like this:

While oil and gas are the underlying causes of the Biden snubbing, the standoff between the KRG’s Barzani and Baghdad has been broiling for months and involves a number of simultaneous political crises, not the least of which is the KRG’s refusal to hand over fugitive Iraqi vice-president Tariq al-Hashemi to Baghdad to stand trial for heading death squads that targeted Shi’ites. In December 2011, Hashemi fled Baghdad to seek shelter in northern Iraq. This situation is causing very serious sectarian tensions in Iraq and combined with other political crises of a sectarian nature, could help bring down the government. At the same time, Barzani is attempting to weaken the government by withdrawing support from Maliki and aligning himself with the Iraqi List and the Sadrists. 

Maybe you should stick to oil because you don't understand anything else by the above.  Among other things, al-Hashemi didn't flee to the KRG.  He went to the KRG and did so before the arrest warrant was issued.  Is Jen Alic aware that when al-Hashemi left Baghdad he (and Saleh al-Mutlaq) were stopped by the police and the waived on?  There's nothing in her summary that suggests she knows that or anything else.  Including the KRG.

It's a political crisis that the KRG won't hand over Tareq al-Hashemi?  He left the KRG for Turkey sometime ago and he was in Saudi Arabia last week.  Unless he's just returned to the KRG, you're going back weeks.  Is Jen Alic aware of that?

Barzani's attempting to weaken the government by withdrawing support from Maliki?

I think that gets rated: LIE.

I wish it were true.  Nouri's slate came in second in the 2010 elections and his second term as prime minister is illegitimate.  I'd love it if everyone were fighting for the Iraqi people and trying to oust Nouri.  But that's not what's going on and again is Jen Alic unaware of how the process gets stopped?

It's not by fat ass Jalal.

The process gets stopped if Nouri agrees to return to the Erbil Agreement.  That's been stated over and over by Moqtada.  And if that's what Barzani and the others are fighting for, then Jen Alic's entire analysis is wrong.

Where in her 'analysis' is the Erbil Agreement?  No where to be found.  But that is what ended Political Stalemate I (eight months following the March 2010 elections) and Nouri's decision to trash the contract after it allowed him a second term as prime minister is what started the ongoing Political Stalemate II.

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. 

It shouldn't be so confusing.  But it does require paying attention.  Last week, Fang Yang (Xinhua) reported on the political crisis and managed to do what the US press repeatedly refuses to do: Explain what the political crisis stems from: Nouri's failure to honor the Erbil Agreement.  Yang:

They also accused the prime minister of evading his commitments to implementing the terms of a power-sharing deal that he signed with rival political parties.
The deal, also known as the Arbil agreement, was signed in November 2010 in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. It paved the way for Maliki's fragile partnership government after Iraq's political rivals ended their differences that lasted eight months following the parliamentary elections in March 2010.

Good for Yang.  Now explain why so many others continue to struggle?  I have no idea but you can only pin it on ignorance for so long before you start to wonder about bias.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Yes, Us Worry" went up last night.  On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include Occupy Chicago, Julian Assange, Eric Poulos joins the hosts to explore what's taking place in Greece and  Bill Talen joins the hosts to discuss the Spectra Pipeline Protest July 1st.

We'll close with this from Senator Patty Murray's office about new mental health legislation which will be discussed today:

Monday, June 25, 2012
Contact: Murray Press Office
(202) 22402834

TODAY: VETERANS: Senator Murray to Discuss New Mental Health Legislation
The Mental Health ACCESS Act of 2012 addresses mental and behavioral health conditions confronting record numbers of service members and veterans
(Washington, D.C.) – As it becomes increasingly clear that the Pentagon and VA are losing the battle on mental and behavioral health conditions that are confronting a lot of our service members, Senator Murray will give a speech on the Senate floor today to introduce her new servicemembers and veterans mental health legislation, the Mental Health ACCESS Act of 2012. Her speech comes as the Pentagon begins a comprehensive military-wide review, Senator Murray urged Secretary Panetta to conduct, on diagnoses for the invisible wounds of war dating back to 2001. The misdiagnosis of behavioral health conditions has been a constant problem for soldiers at Madigan Army Medical Center, where to date over 100 soldiers and counting have had their correct PTSD diagnosis restored following reevaluation.
Specifically, the Mental Health ACCESS Act of 2012 requires DOD to create a comprehensive, standardized suicide prevention program, expands eligibility for a variety of VA mental health services to family members, improves training and education for our health care providers, creates more peer to peer counseling opportunities, and requires VA to establish accurate and reliable measures for mental health services.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
WHAT: Senate Floor Speech on Senator Murray’s Mental Health ACCESS Act of 2012
WHEN: TODAY: MONDAY, June 25, 2012
6:00 PM EST/3:00 PM PST
WHERE: U.S. Senate Floor

Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct

The e-mail address for this site is


law and disorder radio
michael s. smith
heidi boghosian
michael ratner