Friday, June 22, 2012

The political crisis and Jalal's 'emergency' surgery

In Iraq, the political crisis continues and Nouri al-Maliki and his sycophants insist he's incredibly popular.  Alusmaria reports Moqtada al-Sadr's response:  Saddam Hussein used to claim 100% of Iraqis stood behind him.  Meanwhile Al Sabaah reports the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim, is stating that he's putting together a meeting between Nouri and Moqtada.  Not stated is that all this work doesn't endear him to the elders of ISCI who, like Ammar's late father, do not care for Nouri al-Maliki.  Ammar might want to consider that when you only got your position because your father died, when you never earned it yourself, you might want to be careful about cozying up to your father's enemies because if the elders feel you're not honoring your father, they will work to remove you. 

Iraqiya's Hadi al-Dalemi is dismissive of al-Hakim's efforts,  Raman Brusk (AK News) reports,  noting that his alleged 'ideas' were proposed by Iraqiya earlier but were blown off.  He states further that "the time for this step [dialog] is over and the political blocs are now trying to take the step of interrogating [the PM] . . . which is more serious and through which the differences can be settled."   As Lara Jakes (AP) reported yesterday, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi declared Nouri would be summoned before the Parliament shortly to answer questions and they are prepared to move towards a vote as to whether confidence remains in Nouri's ability to lead.  This is how Moqtada's explained it, Alsumaria notes.

What is unclear now is the Erbil Agreement.  That's what the blocs have been calling for: Nouri to return to it.  In April and May, it was regularly noted that Nouri could stop the process (the move towards a no-confidence vote) at any point by returning to the contract that everyone signed off on.  But that's not discussed today.  Doesn't mean it's not still possible.  But would it still be possible after questions from Parliament and when Parliament was moving towards taking a vote?  I kind of doubt it.  My guess is temperatures would be running way too high by that point.

Raman Brusk (AK News) reports that Nouri is attempting to derail the effort:

Yesterday Maliki called for the urgent session to discuss the violation and authorities of the executive and legislative bodies and the areas of overlap between the authorities of the two bodies.
The demand to convene an urgent session is only an effort "to gain more time and affect the efforts for withdrawing confidence from government" said Muayyad Tayyeb who leads the Kurdistan Blocs Coalition.

In other news, we have mocked Iraq's fugitive President Jalal Talabani.  I have made fun of him.  And Mr. Fatty has health issues.  (For those who think that "grossly obsese" means fifty or so pounds overweight, look at this photo where you would need two and half Massoud Barazani's to match the width of one Jalal.) Yesterday, we went over the long process of the shrinking Jalal and how he betrayed Moqtada, Ayad Allawi (Iraqiya head) and KRG President Massoud Barzani with his refusal to foward the no-confidence petition to al-Nujaifi.  We noted how, as the three went around him, Jalal felt the pressure and quickly fled from Iraq despite the Kurdistan Alliance making it clear that he should not leave the country during the political crisis.  We pointed out:

The waters were simmering and looked likely to boil.   Al Rafidayn noted so many were upset with Jalal that he's had to prepare a public letter for the PUK to distribute to its members.  But the big drama would wait for Saturday.  With less than 24 hours before a meet-up of Iraqiya's Allawi, KRG President Barzani and Moqtada al-Sadr, news emerged via Alsumaria that Jalal had resorted to a strongly worded letter  to Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi and KRG President Massoud Barazni in which he belittled Moqtada al-Sadr and in which he insisted he'd rather resign than change his opinion and forward the petition with 176 signatures to Parliament.  A strongly worded letter left him so weakened that he had to immediately flee Iraq and head to Germany.
From his hospital sick bed, Jalal's issued near daily thoughts and affirmations via the press.  Yesterday, he resorted to a spokesperson.  Dar Addustour reports that the spokesperson declared Jalal had surgery but would not disclose what type of surgery or even a general reason for the surgery.  There was time, however, to float a rumor that, as soon as he returned to Iraq, Jalal planned to announce his resignation as president.
If that was meant to lead to cries of "Heavens no!," poor Jalal, no one appears to care.

Well is my face red as we learn today that Jalal had to leave to deal with the 'pressing' medical issue of knee surgery.

Knee surgery.

He couldn't stay in the country, as basically ordered, because he had to have knee surgery.

He fled and took the opportunity to have elective surgery (that could have waited) in the hopes that his health problems of the past (he won't follow the doctor's diet and his arteries always clogged as a result) would built sympathy.  Now the world learns his 'emergency procedure' was knee surgery.

Maybe when he returns to Iraq, he'll carry a note from his Mommy?  "Please excuse Jalal from his duties . . . "

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