Iraqis get to vote in two sets of elections: Provincial elections and parliamentary elections. The provincial elections determine the governance of the provinces. The parliamentary elections determine who sits in Parliament and are supposed to determine who gets first crack at being prime minister-designate. Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports that the Electoral Commission is stating provincial elections will be postponed until April 2013 and that this is due to both an amendment to a law being needed and also due to budget concerns. Elections were supposed to be held January 31, 2013. Budget concerns? Iraq brought in over six billion in oil revenues last month alone -- and last month was the worst month for oil revenues in Iraq since February 2011. All Iraqi News reported yesterday on the lack of an election law and quoted the Independent High Electoral Commission's Chair Faraj al-Haidari stating that the elections would not be held on time. Today All Iraqi News reports that Arshad al-Salehi, Chair of the Turkman Front, met with the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler and stressed that all segments of the Iraqi people need to be represented in the elections.
Nouri can't deliver safety, can't deliver timely elections, can't deliver on anything. Except torture. He can run those secret jails and he can torture. And he can target Iraqi youth. And all of this was known long ago. It's a real shame that Iraqis took the time and made the effort to vote in the 2010 elections only to have the US government nullify their votes because the White House wanted Nouri to have a second term. He accomplished nothing in his first term -- never met those White House benchmarks, remember -- and he's accomplished nothing in his second term. Again, the provincial elections have been postponed.
This does not effect the Kurdistan Regional Government which holds their own provincial election. They are currently working on a law regarding the Christian minority because, as the law reads currently, Christians must vote for other Christians. Three provinces currently make up the KRG -- Duhok, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. If Article 140 of the Constitution is ever implemented (Nouri was supposed to implement it by the end of 2007, per the Constitution), Kirkuk might also become part of the KRG.
Someone wants to visist the KRG. Al Mada reports the National Alliance wants to send a delegation -- with Ibrahim al-Jaafari mentioned as the possible head -- to the KRG. This would be an effort to smooth things over for Nouri. Not a smart effort considering the long standing issues between the Kurds and al-Jaafari. Haitham Jubouri, attorney for State of Law, states that the withdrawal of confidence in Nouri is no longer possible.
A lot of people seem to believe Moqtada al-Sadr has changed his position. There's nothing he's said that's changed his position. He appears to be taken the issue of questioning very seriously. And would appear to be presenting himself as impartial and reluctant. That's been his position all along. Is Nouri going to appear before Parliament for questioning? If he follows the Constitution, yes. There's not X number needed for questioning. He has been asked to appear.
Whether he does or not, per the Constitution, he has to. If he does, per Moqtada's statements, an opinion will be formed based on Nouri's answers. If the answers are not satisifactory, Moqtada -- with a heavy heart and great reluctantce -- would have his bloc vote for no-confidence if the others got their required votes. As Al Mada reports today, the vote is currently postponed because, among other reasons, Jalal Talabani remains out of the country (that reason comes from the Sadr bloc).
I know Nouri's lackeys in the US -- non-governmental -- insist this is a change of position but this has been Moqtada's position since April 28th. I guess not reading Arabic leaves them left out -- and makes them offer ridiculous comments like the first All Iraqi News article we linked to? No lawyer for Nouri speaks or is quoted or is referenced in that article. No matter what an idiot who worships Nouri and is 'buds' with Jane and Prashant Tweeted. In fact, if Jane Arraf and Prashant Rao had any sense, they would have Tweeted back, "Uh, learn Arabic, that's not what the article says." But that's not how a circle-jerk works, is it? [And here's a helping hand for the idiot -- this is an All iraqi News article where Nouri's attorney speaks. This is. The one you Tweeted yesterday wasn't. And this article was published today. Not published when you Tweeted so don't try to pretend you meant to Tweet something else, you dumb ass.]
And, Jane, there's something very, very sad about a woman joining a circle jerk with a group of men. Come on. But then there's something very sad about you disregarding Ned Parker's informed opinion of Nouri to jerk off some little ass in America to begin with. In other words, grow up or accept the hits your reputation is taking. And in the US, among journalists, Jane, your reputation is suffering. While filling in for Kat and Elaine last night, I returned calls going back several weeks and one newsperson after another asked: What the hell is wrong with Jane Arraf these days? And I told them: "She's listening to the Nouri lackeys in America to try to become some sort of Queen of Social Media. It may help her 'net popularity' but it's destroying her journalistic credentials." And from CNN on down, everyone agreed. Everyone. Someone's overdue for a self-inventory.
Nouri may not appear before Parliament. Alsumaria has Moqtada al-Sadr already attempting to set guidelines for the Reform Commission. Yesterday al-Jaafari announced that the Reform Commission had held two hearings so far. All Iraqi News reports the third meeting was held at al-Jaafari's home last night. There will be a meeting Saturday in Baghdad.
What's the Reform Commission? Nouri's attempt to avoid a national conference.
Tomorrow there will probably not be an Iraq snapshot (there will be one today). Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. I will do two entries here. Kat will have a music piece going up and Isaiah will do a comic. If I do a snapshot tomorrow, everyone that usually posts on Wednesday will post. Otherwise, the only people who will be posting tomorrow is Mike and Marcia.
We'll again note Sherwood Ross' "U.S. Favorite al-Maliki Persecuting His Enemies" (OpEd News):
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's "harassment and persecution of anyone deemed a threat to himself or his party has dramatically reduced freedom throughout Iraq," a noted journalist reports.
What's more, al-Maliki is presiding over a system "rife with corruption and brutality, in which political leaders use security forces and militias to repress enemies and intimidate the general population."
So writes former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Ned Parker in the March/April issue of "Foreign Affairs" magazine. His is a rather grim assessment of life in "The Iraq We Left Behind" or "Welcome to the World's Next Failed State."
Now Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Parker writes that al-Maliki, America's favorite, "will keep striving for absolute power, using fear, intimidation, and cronyism." And he adds that by turning a blind eye to Maliki's encroaching authoritarianism, "U.S. officials allowed Iraq's political culture to disintegrate."
Whereas some Iraqi officials wonder if the next elections will be free and fair, Parker writes, "several former U.S. military officers wonder if the elections will happen at all."
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