Today Alsumaria reports a Baghdad sticky bombing has claimed 1 life. It has been a very violent month in Iraq.
With only a few days remaining in the month, Iraq Body Count notes that at least 376 people have been killed from violence in Iraq through yesterday. On the violence, Deutsche Welle observes:
Intelligence sources say the Islamic State of Iraq terror network is
in dire financial straits and that attacks are increasingly become
contract killings. "Terror in Iraq is politically motivated," says
Yonadam Kanna, one of the few Christian members of the Iraqi parliament.
The government has been in a perpetual state of crisis since the US
withdrew its troops at the end of 2011.
In vain, the opposition has for months tried to enforce a vote of
no-confidence against Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. They accuse
him of assuming too much power while trying to keep Sunni Muslims at
bay. Maliki's State of Law party is the second-strongest party in
parliament; the bloc headed by his opponent Iyad Allawi has one seat
more but failed to form a governing majority.
Two years ago, Maliki signed a coalition treaty for a "government of
national unity" with various Shiite parties and Kurds. The agreement
promised key ministries to Allawi, who was also to head a new security
and surveillance agency. But none of the above ever materialized. Maliki
is acting head of the interior and defense ministries and talk of a new
security agency has ceased. Like Maliki, Allawi is a Shiite, but he
enjoys the support of most Sunni parties. Tensions between the two
politicians have for months paralyzed development in Iraq - everything
but the oil sector has ground to a halt. The country has reached an
economic and political standstill spelling disaster for the population.
On the political stalemate, Al Mada reports on Ayad Allawi's statements yesterday. Allawi is the head of Iraqiya (the political slate that came in first in the elections, Nouri's State of Law came in second). Allawi notes that there is no need for a Reform Committee or for people to think up or adopt new reforms. The answer is to return to the Erbil Agreement which was already agreed upon.
Following the March 2010 elections, Political Stalemate I lasted for a little over eight months and this was the period where Nouri refused to allow things to move forward because he wanted a second term as prime minister; however, State of Law's showing didn't allow him -- per the law -- to be made prime minister-designate and given 30 days to assmble a Cabinet. So he pouted and threw his tantrum and the White House nursed him and refused to pull him off Barack's nipple. With the White House backing, Nouri was able to bring things in Iraq to a complete standstill. The White House then brokered the Erbil Agreement which was the way around the Constitution (it was extra-Constitutional, not unconstitutional) for Nouri to get his way.
That's not how the US government presented it. The political blocs were told to figure out what they wanted and this items were written into the agreement with the understanding that, in exchange for those, Nouri would get a second term. The agreement is a binding contract and was signed off on by all parties. Plus the US government assured the political blocs that the US was backing this agreement. That was November 2010. The next day, Parliament finally held a real session and Nouri was named prime minister-designate. When he became prime minister, he trashed the agreement and, since summer 2011, Moqtada al-Sadr, the Kurds and Iraqiya have been calling for him to return to the Erbil Agreement.
He has refused.
That's what the current political stalemate is about. He is not only doing a power-grab, he is refusing to honor the contract he signed onto and used to get a second term as prime minister. He has further alarmed rival politicians by going back on his 'pledge' not to seek a third term.
So Allawi is calling for a return to the Erbil Agreement. He sees Nouri's silly Reform Commission as a waste of time -- which it is. Why do they need weeks of meetings to figure out what to do?
Have we forgotten the months of meetings for the national conference that then fell apart as Nouri wanted it to? Before that fell apart in April, there had been months of meetings about this issue. So the Reform Commission shouldn't need a ton of meetings to figure out what to do.
But the reality is it exists solely to buy more time for Nouri. This is what he always does, stall, stall and stall. And hope people either get tired of waiting or just forget.
Due to backing from the Bush White House and then the Barack White House, this strategy has been highly effective for Nouri personally.
It's helped tear the country of Iraq further apart but, for Nouri, it's all about what Nouri al-Maliki wants.
Al Mada reports that the National Alliance is warning that the Reform Committee lacks "a magic wand." No one expected them to have a magic wand. People are more upset that they (a) have no teeth, (b) have no power and (c) are a for show group.
That's Dania Hussein above. She's competing in the Summer Olympics in London in the 100 meter race. This is her second Olympics. In 2008, she was the only Iraqi competing. This year, she is one of 8. Al Mada notes she was to carry the Iraqi flag today at the opening ceremony.
My apologies for the long delay. The problem with speaking in the morning to groups is that the exchange can go on longer than you plan. I'd thought I'd have a solid 30 minutes between the two groups but that didn't happen. Again, my apologies for the long delay.
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