Thursday, August 09, 2012

Nouri and the willfully ignorant

In ongoing violence, Alsumaria reports that 1 Sahwa ("Awakening," "Sons of Iraq") was killed in his home this morning when unknown assailants stormed the house and began shooting.  In addition, they note that Iraqiya's Salman Jumaili survived an attempted assassination via a roadside bombing -- three bodyguards were injured.   Margaret Griffis ( counts 24 dead and over 50 injured in Wednesday's violence.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count notes at least 113 deaths so far this month due to violence.

Like the violence, the political crisis continues in Iraq. The current hold on the push for a no-confidence vote against Nouri has not resolved anything.  Al Mada notes that some believe dialogue may be about to start.

Anyone believing that is being foolish.  At this late date and with Nouri's long pattern, you have to be willfully ignorant to believe that.  Currently, Nouri has gotten what he wants.  He's stalled and stalled and refused to honor the Constitution and now other sides are backing down (as noted yesterday, reportedly due to recordings on them obtained via illegal spying).  What makes you think Nouri changes after that?

Where in his six years as prime minister do you see actions that you can use to support your argument?

You can't.  You won't.

Already, as noted in yesterday's snapshot, he's broken an agreement with the KRG that the US just brokered this week.  The agreement was agreed upon on Monday.  By Wednesday, Nouri had broken it.

But keep kidding yourself that the kindler, gentler Nouri's about to emerge and that this one honors agreements and plays fair.

Nouri dug in his heels for 8 months in 2010 blackmailing the political blocs into giving him a second term as prime minister.  He agreed to the US-brokered Erbil Agreement in November 2010 because it gave him a second term but he blew off all the other promises in the contract.  In early 2011, as the 'Arab Spring' was sweeping the region and as Iraqis were turning out every Friday to protest, Nouri begged the Iraqi people for patience saying (a) given him 100 days and he'd address the issues and (b) he wouldn't run for a third term.  Within days, that no-third-term was walked back.  At the end of 100 days, he'd addressed no issues and had no plans to.

That's what Nouri does.  He stalls and stalls and hopes to wear out your patience.

He did the same with the calls for National Conference.  When a no-confidence vote seemed likely, he suddenly created the do-nothing Reform Commission.

Do you really think Nouri gives a damn?

He's stalled like he always does.  He runs out the clock.  2012 is about to be over.  Iraqi politicians will then focus on 2013 provincial elections.  Nouri probably thinks that'll be a breeze for him like 2009 was (when provincial elections were last held).  And that takes him right into 2014 which is an election year.

There is no kinder, gentler Nouri.  That was obvious in his first term and it's too damn bad that not only did Barack Obama not want to support the Iraqi people but that the powerful Shi'ite politicians were too cowed and cowardly to stand up and get behind someone else -- anyone else.  They knew what four more years of Nouri meant.  This is as much their fault as it is Barack Obama's.  The National Alliance could have rallied behind any number of people instead of Nouri -- that includes but is not limited to Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Ammar al-Hakim and Adil Abudl-Mahdi.  All were part of the National Alliance, all had demonstrated far more talent at working with others than had Nouri.

Al Rafidayn reports Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh states that the political blocs met with Nouri yesterday but there was no agreement reached.   al-Dabbagh also attempted to justify to the press Iraq's lousy treatment of the Syrian refugees (the refugees are apparently treated well in the KRG -- the UN has visited those camps and reported to the Security Council on those camps, I'm not referring to the KRG treatment, I'm referring to Baghad housing the refugees in abandoned buildings and refusing to allow them mobility).  And he yet again denied that there were any secret prisons in Iraq.

Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports that the election law is still bottled up in Parliament with no forward movement.  State of Law Mp Abbas al-Bayati states that they are a long way off from resolving various issues about the proposed law.  AKnews notes Martin Kobler, UN Secertary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy to Iraq, expressed dismay at the start of the week over this delay that he dubbed a "threat to democracy."

July 19th, Kobler appeared before the UN Security Council and stated:

As we speak, my political deputy, Mr. [Gyorgy Busztin], is engaged in facilitation efforts to bring about the formation of a new, Independent High Election Commission which is representative of the main components of Iraq -- including women and children and minorities.  The urgent selection of the commissioners is essential for ensuring that the provincial council elections due to take place in March 2013 can be conducted on time. I'm concerned that the ongoing political stalemate is hindering the process however.  In recent days, I have discussed with political leaders -- including Prime Minister al-Maliki -- the need for a swfit conclusion of this political process and the need for an adequate representation of women and minorities in the commission. Today, I would like to re-iterate my appeal to all political blocs to expedite the selection of professional commissioners.  UNAMI stands here ready to actively assist.  

Tuesday came news that Parliament thought they'd arrived at a stop-gap measure: they'd tack on 35 days to the current Electoral Commission.  AK News quotes the Chair of the Electoral Commission Faraj al-Haidari stating, "A new board of commissioners was supposed to be formed because the delay creates confusion.  The required period to complete the commission's procedures after the ratification of the election law and the budget according to international standards is six months.  Until now the law is not published in the official newspaper and the budget hasn't yet arrived."

Tuesday also saw Nouri declare an end to terrorism.  So why are mass arrests still taking place?  Alsumaria reports police rounded up and arrested over 100 people in Nineveh Province for 'terrorism.'  Again, you have to be willfully ignorant to believe Nouri changes.

Iraq Veterans Against the War's Aaron Hughes puts a spotlight on Rodney Watson:

Please send letters to Rodney Watson a Ft Hood Iraq war vet/ resister who is seeking sanctuary in Canada. We can't forget about those that resisted the Iraq war and are still resisting and fighting for their conscience today despite continuing to face harsh consequences. 
Please read the article for more on Rodney's story.
Let's let him know we stand with him and have not forgotten about him.
Rodney Watson Jr.
c/o First United Church
320 East Hastings Street 
Vancouver BC V6A 1P4
Join and Share Rodney's facebook page:
War Resister in Sanctuary

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