Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nouri name calls and more

 In Iraq, the political crisis continues.  Kitabat reports that Ibrahim al-Jaafair hosted a meeting at his home last night and that various factions of the National Alliance met in what is seen as an effort to save Nouri al-Maliki.  Whether the Sadr bloc supports the effort or not, Bahaa al-Araji did attend.  Alsumaria reports that Nouri is insisting that a no-confidence vote is over and that it's either a dialogue or early elections.

 Nouri wasn't the one calling for a no-confidence vote in himself so he's really not the one with the power to decide when such an effort is over.  Dar Addustour notes the Kurdish Alliance sees Nouri's threat of early elections as his effort to avoid being questioned by the Parliament.  Alsumaria reports Nouri is stating today that a campaign to sew confusion is being waged in Iraq and, while that would make a good confession from Nouri, he is yet again pointing the finger at others.  Al Rafidayn quotes Nouri stating that the answer to the problems is not rushing to the Constitution.  Well he would say that. When has he ever respected the Iraqi Constitution?  Just one example, he's been prime minister since 2006.  The Iraqi Constitituion's Article 140 insists a referendum and census on Kirkuk will be held.  It insists it is not to take place any later than the end of 2007.  Despite taking an oath to uphold the Constitution, Nouri has repeatedly refused to implement Article 140 and offered one excuse after another of why it's not a good time.  Nouri has no respect for the Constitution and, over Article 140 alone, should be impeached and removed from office.  Despite his inability to follow his oath, Nouri managed to insist that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi is not netural and is not professional

Kitabat notes the call remains for Nouri to appear before Parliament for questioning.  One thing they might question him on is the topic Dar Addustour's reporting: Parliament's Human Rights Commission has found proof of torture in Iraq prisons -- something Nouri has repeatedly denied takes place.  While ignoring that finding, Nouri has insisted today that there are no journalists in prison.  Which probably means there are many.

 On the topic of journalism, this nonsense should embarrass AP.  When we noted the plan to close 44 outlets was on hold, we noted it was on hold.  AP needs to grasp verbs and meanings.  Today, AFP reports, "Baghdad: Iraq’s interior ministry has given dozens of media outlets 45 days to comply with Communications and Media Commission (CMC) regulations over licences, or they will face 'legal procedures'."  Reporters Without Borders issues a statement which includes:

Tension between authorities and media have peaked this month with a decision by the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) – still pending implementation – to close 47 radio and TV stations on the grounds they lack official permits, and with demonstrations by journalists calling for the repeal of the Law on Journalists’ Rights, which parliament adopted in August 2011 and which is widely regarded as violating the rights it claims to defend.

Disturbing decision by panel of questionable independence

Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by the CMC’s decision, which triggered such an outcry that the interior ministry has given the radio and TV stations concerned 45 days from 25 June to comply with regulations.
The CMC took its decision more than a month ago but it was only revealed on 23 June by the Journalism Freedoms Observatory (JFO), which obtained documentary evidence of the plan. It concerns both local and foreign TV stations such as the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Monte Carlo, Radio Sawa, Al-Baghdadia TV and Al-Sharqiya News.
Many journalists and some politicians have criticized the decision as an attempt to gag the media, pointing out that the head of the CMC is appointed by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and that many of the targeted media are noted either for the non-partisan nature of their Iraqi coverage or, in some cases such as Al-Baghdadia and Al-Sharqiya, for their frequent criticism of the Iraqi government.
Iraq is currently experiencing a major political crisis with the prime minister facing mounting opposition. He is often accused of authoritarianism, nepotism and corruption.

Al Rafidayn reports that Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for the release of Ali Mussa Daqduq.  Whether he's guilty or innocent of the crimes he's accused of (my guess? he's guilty of killing the 5 US soldiers), Moqtada is correct that he needs to walk.  That's how the legal system goes.  If you're found innocent, you walk.  The US should apply pressure to have him extradicted, they should not apply pressure to have him held in an Iraqi prison after he's been cleared of charges.  That sends the wrong message and the US government has already screwed up Iraq enough.

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