Monday, June 04, 2012

Iraq the police state gets closer to Tehran

In Iraq, the political crisis continues.  The Journal of Turkish Weekly quotes Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi stating that the reforms have not come to Iraq, "From my point of view, there are two phases for a country's transformation.  The first one is to erase the dictatorial regime, and the second one is to make reforms.  But Iraq now seems to be a police state."

The story also mentions Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Hairi.  Who?  Exactly.  An e-mail provides a link to's  report on him and the e-mailer is all excited over how this will impact Iraq!!!!!!

It doesn't mean a damn thing.  If this were Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani?  Yeah, it would mean something.  And we'd all have to stop and figure what that was.  But al-Hairi?

He's a coward, he wants to be a 'moral' leader from Iran.  The coward has been in Iran since before the start of the Iraq War.  He has remained in Iran.  He is not of the Iraqi people.  Some will try to argue that he has historical ties but Iraq has young population (as a result of wars and sanctions).  He's nothing and that was well established in the body of literature on Iraq -- I'm referring to the volumes of books (though, in fairness, I only read left and center and skipped the right wing's output) by 2006.  I'm not referring to one book, I'm referring to tons.  And not just the mainstream but the independent writers.  al-Hari doesn't mean a damn thing to anyone.

He's made his life in Iran, he's carrying out the orders of Iran.

If it were Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, we'd all have to stop and ask: What does this mean?

But Iraqis are not going to take orders from a coward in Iran.  He has no arrest warrant against him (the way Moqtada did).  He has no real ties to Iraq.  He's someone who has made a life in Iran and not even the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was enough to make him want to return to Iraq.

I question the motives involved in 'reporting' that.  I'm not referring to which was just attempting to have Iraq content to post.  I'm referring to the AP which did more than any other outlet on Saturday and Sunday to popularize that story.  The same AP that repeatedly ignores major events in the political crisis.

Margaret Griffis ( insists of the exiled Ayatollah, "The order could force many Sadrists, who are one of the main groups opposed to Maliki, to opt-out of the vote altogether. Sadr is also based in Iran."  (A) Moqtada's been in Iraq a great deal of late, including holding meetings in his Najaf home.  (B) Most importantly, Moqtada broke with that Ayatollah over 8 years ago.  When Moqtada broke with him, Moqtada's movement broke with him.  That is how it works.  This is not new or just emerging, this is public record and if you're going to write about some phantom who appears after years of silence, you might try knowing who he is and what his relations are.  He has no power base in the country anymore.  He is not the spiritual leader of any major group.

He issued a lame announcement that is meaningless.

For it to matter, if would have had to have come from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and while Margaret Griffis doesn't read Arabic (I'm guessing based on the sources she relies on when doing her Iraq reports for, AP has stringers in the country who read it and speak it.  And it's really puzzling to me that all of al-Sistani's remarks have been ignored repeatedly by AP but they rush to tell you what some faded glory in Iran said?

al-Sistani has been very clear in his public remarks that a political solution needs to be found and that he will not take sides on the issue except to side with the people who are suffering.

And we're supposed to care what some minor has-been in Iran said?

Get a damn grip.  (Again, that's to AP.  I don't believe Griffis reads Arabic, I don't believe she has any idea what the Arabic media in Iraq has been reporting for months.  AP does know better and it's interesting that they have repeatedly ignored Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.)

And if I'd seen it coming
I would have said you were right on time
Even if I hadn't been so blind
-- "Born To Break My Heart," written by Carly Simon, first appears on her Letters Never Sent

The continued political crisis is impacing Iraqi life on all levels.  And that oil law that Nouri agreed to pass back in 2007?  (It was a White House benchmark -- remember those? -- and Nouri agreed to them.)  Never passed.  Good in that it helped prevent the theft of Iraqi oil, bad in that everything's still up in the air because no alternative ever got passed.  Iraq's economy is completely dependent upon oil at this point.  Nouri's failure -- in two terms now -- to get oil legislation passed is telling of what extreme failure he is.  Jen Alic ( sums up last week's big news on Iraqi oil and gas, "Iraq’s latest energy auction was a flop, and while major international companies balked at everything from unattractive contract terms to security concerns, the failure of the auction highlights how the struggle for power between north and south is shaping the future of energy in the region and beyond. " Prashant Rao (AFP) adds:

Iraq's oil ministry painted the bid round as a success, with one official arguing that a success rate of 25 percent was a "good result."
Analysts, however, disagreed.
"It was not a success," said Ruba Husari, editor of "It was not a success because the main aim of Bid Round Four was to find gas and develop it."

On the topic of oil, Press TV reports:

Elaborating on his tour of Iraq upon his return to Tehran Sunday afternoon, Rostam Qasemi described his separate talks with top Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Oil Minister Abdulkareem Liaybi and Vice President Hossain al-Shahrestani, as satisfactory and said discussions went well and produced agreements on expanding oil and gas trade and collaborations, Shana reported on Monday.

A little better than that, according to Bloomberg News, "Iraq and Iran said they will take a common position on Opec's production policy when the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets this month."  With legal charges of price fixing have been filed in DC last month by the right-wing Freedom Watch, I'm not really sure it's a good time for OPEC members to be bragging about their work to determine things outside of meetings.

Sunday Bloomberg reported Iraq got Iran's support in their campaign to grab the OPEC secretary-general position.   And it apparently only cost Iraq $117 million in US dollars -- that's the amount Nayla Razzouk (Bloomberg News) reports Nouri's agreed to pay Iran "to reconstruct the sewage system in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk."

As the political crisis continues in Iraq, Kitabat characterizes the reactions as Iraqis waiting with caution while meetings take place in secret among the various political blocs.  Nouri sents his people out in Khalis where, Alsumaria reports,  they protested in support of Nouri.  Isn't it interesting how Iraqis who demanded jobs and basic services were beaten and arrested by Nouri's thugs but you can stage a pro-Nouri rally and encounter no trouble at all.  Iraqiya is calling for the National Alliance to name an alternative to Nouri.  And there is trouble for the Electoral Commission -- which we'll go into later today in the snapshot.

Bonnie points out Isaiah had two comics this weekend, Saturday's "The Jobs Report" and Sunday's "The Shooting Range."  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 Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, Ruth Conniff drops by to discuss Wisconsin, the ACLU's Zachary Heiden discusses how various states may be in violation of Title IX as they gender segregate classrooms and Amnesty International Canada's Beatric Vaugrante discusses legislation that has resulted in Canadian students taking to the streets for three months now.

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