Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Who will question Nouri?

In Iraq, the political crisis continues as efforts are pursued to question thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki before Parliament and, if answers do not reassure, move towards a vote to withdraw confidence in Nouri.  Because there is so much confusion in the press about what's required and what's allowed, we'll note the following from Article 58 of the Iraqi Constitution:

A. The Council of Representatives member may direct questions to the Prime Minister and the Ministers on any subject within their specialty and they may answer the members' questions. The Member who has asked the question solely has the right to comment on the answer.
B. At least twenty-five members of the Council of representatives may table a general issue for discussion to obtain clarity on the policy and the performance of the Cabinet or one of the Ministries. It must be submitted to the President of the Council of Representatives, and the Prime Minister or the Ministers shall specify a date to come before the Council of Representatives to discuss it.
C. A Council of Representatives member with the agreement of twenty-five members may direct a question to the Prime Minister or the Ministers to call them to account on the issues within their authority. The discussion on the question shall begin at least seven days after submitting the question.
A. The Council of Representatives may withdraw confidence from one of the Ministers by an absolute majority and he is considered resigned from the date of the decision of confidence withdrawal. The issue of no confidence in the Minister may be tabled only on that Minister's wish or on a signed request of fifty members after an inquiry discussion directed at him. The Council of Representatives shall not issue its decision regarding the request except after at least seven days of its submission.
1- The President of the Republic may submit a request to the Council of Representatives to withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister.
2- The Council of Representatives may withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister based on the request of one-fifth (1/5) of its members. This request may be submitted only after a question has been put to the Prime Minister and after at least seven days from submitting the request.
3- The Council of Representatives shall decide to withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister by an absolute majority of its members.
C. The Government is considered resigned in case of withdrawal of confidence from the Prime Minister.
D. In case of a vote of withdrawal of confidence in the Cabinet as a whole, the Prime Minister and the Ministers continue in their positions to run everyday business for a period not to exceed thirty days until a new cabinet is formed in accordance with the provisions of article 73 of this constitution.

As you can see from the above, there really wasn't a requirement for Jalal Talabani to 'vet' the petition he was given nor for X-number of signatures to be on it.  It had 176 but that wasn't good enough for President Jalal who stabbed his partners (Moqtada al-Sadr, KRG President Massoud Barzani, Iraqiya's Ayad Allawi, etc.) in the back.

Alsumaria reports that Moqtada does not plan to question Nouri himself.  That's not surprising.  Throughout this process, Moqtada has stated that if Nouri would agree to return to the Erbil Agreement (contract between the political blocs that the US government drew up with gave Nouri a second term as prime minister -- despite his State of Law coming in second in the 2010 elections -- in exchange for concessions from Nouri), they would drop the move to vote him out of office.  Moqtada has stated that over and over.  He's also stated that he plans to listen to the answers Nouri provides to the Parliament (Nouri's refusing to appear so he may not provide any answers) and then make up his mind on the vote. 

Who would question Nouri?  Alsumaria reports that the Kurdistan Alliance has five deputies prepared to question Nouri before Parliament and the Kurds state they will not be silent even in Nouri (appears before Parliament, faces questions) and manages to stay in power.  This is becoming a very big issue in the KRG and may become a position of honor.  Nouri became prime minister in 2006.  The Constitution -- Article 140 -- called for him to hold a referendum and census for Kirkuk by the end of 2007.  He refused.  He still refuses.  The Kurds feel Kirkuk is their province and this is only one of the many disputes between them and Nouri's Baghdad government.  You've also got the shrinking Jalal Talabani (his influence is on the wane at present) and his disregarding the Kurdish hope of an independent Kurdish homeland.    So there are a lot of details at play as a confrontation looms and a lot of tangled emotions can become vested in this move towards no-confidence. 

Dar Addustour reports the National Alliances Ibrahim al-Jaafari declared Nouri is not planning to face Parliament and that he is questioning the process.  (He should refer to the Constitution.)  Meanwhile Nouri's trying another stalling technique.  Al Rafidayn reports that he's calling for a national dialogue.  He only wants that when he's in trouble, then when it's 'about to happen' or even scheduled, he manages to subvert it as well.  Kitabat reports Nouri's threatening to dissolve the Parliament and call for early elections.  We'll go over that in the snapshot today.

Rudaw reports:

A delegation of 24 Kurdish tribal chiefs and notables met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to ask that a number of people in Iraqi prisons be released.
The head of the delegation, Sheikh Kamil Qadiri Chiwesa, said, “We went at the request of six families from Sulaimani … their sons had been imprisoned in Baghdad on terrorism charges.”
Chiwesa told Rudaw that the prime minister promised to release the prisoners within three days.
“We will bring them back with us, God willing,” he added.

The tribal chiefs have less and less power (as Nouri knows) due to the KRG development over the last two decades.  (The tribal chiefs most recently were unable in their attempt to force the KRG to hand over Tareq al-Hashemi to Baghdad.)  They are close to Nouri but read the full article and you should grasp that Rudaw has a misleading headline.

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