Tuesday, August 28, 2012

21 executed, Iraqiya disintegrating?

All Iraq News notes that the Ministry of Justice has announced the completion of 21 death sentences with three of those being women.  Alsumaria speaks with a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, Haidar al-Saadi, who explains all the executions were carried out under Article IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2005 and with the approval of the presidency.  Xinua also notes the Ministry of Justice stating "the death sentences were carried out after the Iraqi Presidency Council approved the penalty verdicts for all those 21 convicts."

Presidency Council.  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani refuses to sign off because he's 'opposed' to the death penalty.   So he lets the vice presidents sign off.  With Tareq al-Hashemi now residing in Tukrey, that just leaves Khodair al-Khozaei.  If Talabani were truly opposed, he would prevent the sentences from being carried out.  He can do that.  Any member of the presidency council can veto an action.  That's in the Constitution.  Tareq al-Hashemi utilized that power in the fall of 2009 with regard to the election law when he didn't feel the refugee population was being properly represented.  So Talabani, if he were really against the executions, could use his veto power and that would be it.  Only one member of the council needs to lodge the objection.

AGI adds, "The executions were carried out on Monday, raising the death sentences carried out in Iraq since the beginning of the year to 91, including the 14 carried out on the 7th of February and the 17 on the 31st of January."

Meanwhile Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports that there is a trial balloon for the new alleged alliance between Nouri's State of Law and some elements of Iraqiya.  In another article, Grace maintains the big loser in the new alliance will be Ayad Allawi.

Maybe in a 24-hour, cheap sort of who's hot, who's not Newsweek sense of things.

But if this is true, Ayad Allawi is actually a lot stronger.

Parliamentary elections are due in 2014.  (If they take place at all.)  If the new alliance is for real, Allawi actually goes in very strong.

Set aside that Nouri's never been able to please any partners -- that's been a given of both of his terms as prime minister.

What you're left with is that a Shi'ite, Allawi, extended strong efforts to form a coalition with Sunnis and others.

You're left with Ayad Allawi standing by people.

You really think Saleh al-Mutlaq looks good right now?

Saleh bitched, moaned and whined throughout early 2010, wailing about how unfair it was to him (when the Justice and Accountability Commission refused to allow him to run for office, stating he was a 'Ba'athist').  Who stood by him?  Ayad Allawi.

For months now, Saleh's been cozying up to Nouri and denying it in the press.  (Check the archives, we gave him the benefit of the doubt only briefly.  As soon as a friend in the State Dept said Saleh was selling Allawi out, we noted it.)  So Saleh -- already a professional cry baby -- is now a turncoat.

Add in that Allawi stood by Saleh from December 2011 through April of this year when Saleh was at risk of losing his post (Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq).

Remember that?

Saleh told CNN that Nouri was becoming a dictator and Nouri retaliated by demanding Saleh be stripped of his post?

That would have happened without Allawi.

So Allawi doesn't come off bad in this.  He's surrounded by turncoats and betrayers.  He's seen as someone who made an honest effort.

2014 was always going to find new alliances and new slates for the elections.  Barring a hiccup in the planned provincial elections next year, Iraqis will continue to send a message with their votes of wanting a national identity.  That desire is what Iraqiya rode to first place in the 2010 elections.  It's not as if Nouri's not planning on retooling to try to tap into that spirit.

So if the new alliance is for real and it does take, Allawi lost nothing.  He actually comes out more professional than he probably appeared up to 2009.

He managed a diverse group (Iraqiya) and was able to keep them focused until Judases emerged.  Whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not, I think we can all agree that no one familiar with the story faults Jesus for efforts made to Judas; however, everyone does see Judas as a turncoat and a betrayer.  Saleh al-Mutlaq -- and to a lesser degree, the public face of the betrayal  Osama al-Nujaifi -- are going to learn that.  When people vote, they tend to vote on character.   I would hate to be Saleh going into an election while seen as a Judas.  Think of how the Judas label was stuck to only one Democrat in 2008 and he didn't get a post in the administration.  (I'm not calling ___ a Judas.  I like ___.  I remain on good terms with him.  I'm referring to the fact that when James Carville made that accusation, it stuck to ___ and it has continued to stick to ___.  I didn't popularize it then and am not doing so now even though anyone alive in 2008 should know who "____" is.)

There are other things and we'll just carry those to the snapshot and make this an entry on the Iraqiya players.  But we'll note Al Mada carries an article proclaiming Isabel Allende the most world's most popular writer.  Her two most popular novels are City of Beasts and The House of Spirit.  She's won the National Literature Prize in her country -- Chile -- and many other prizes.  And Al Bawaba reports on Iraqi authors:

Iraq is on the verge of losing some of its most precious assets. Several giants of Iraqi literature are currently very ill, but there seems to be no chance of either the expenses of their medical treatment being covered or of their being sent abroad.
Meanwhile, Iraqi politicians are engrossed in their permanent crisis. Perhaps there is no one left who will care enough to heed the appeal put out by the General Union of Writers in Iraq, which recently called on the government to “intervene quickly to save the lives of a number of Iraqi writers who are in ill health.” This cry for help came after the well-known novelist, Fahd al-Asadi suffered his third stroke. He is now in the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Baghdad, having completely lost the ability to speak.

 Finally, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "Whenever I Got Out of School, It Was Straight to the Fields: The Story of Javier Mondar-Flores Lopez" (New American Media):

Three bills now making their way through Sacramento promise to dramatically improve conditions for California farmworkers, including one that requires overtime pay for shifts above eight hours. The overtime benefits bill is currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature. For Javier Mondar-Flores Lopez, an indigenous Mixtec farmworker in Southern California, the bills are welcome news. A recent high-school graduate, Lopez has worked in the fields since he was in elementary school. He lives in an apartment with his family in Santa Maria, California, but has become an activist and plans to go to Los Angeles. He told his story to David Bacon.

Thanks to Farmworker Justice for its support in documenting this story

SANTA MARIA, CA -- Growing up in a farmworking family -- well, it's everything I ever knew. Whenever I got out of school, it was straight to the fields to get a little bit of money and help the family out. That's pretty much the only job I ever knew. In general we would work on the weekends and in the summers. When I was younger it would be right after school, and then during vacations.

My sister Teresa slept in the living room and one night when I was doing my homework at the table, I could hear her crying because she had so much pain in her hands. My mother and my other sister complained about how much their backs hurt. My brother talked about his back pain as well. It's pretty sad. I always hear my family talk about how much they're in pain and how's it's impossible for me to help them.
I always moved. In my high school years, I moved six times. In junior high I moved three times and in elementary school I'm not sure. I went to six different elementary schools. For a while we went to Washington to work, but aside from that it's always been in Santa Maria. We'd move because the lease ended and we couldn't afford the rent, so we tried to look for a cheaper place.

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