Monday, September 10, 2012
Tareq al-Hashemi speaks
Along with the violence that slammed Iraq yesterday came news that Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi (above) had been sentenced to hanging. Sam Dagher and Ali A. Nabhan (Wall Street Journal) report, "Many saw the verdict against Tariq al-Hashemi -- a prominent Sunni politician who has professed his innocence and has been sheltered by the Sunni Islamist-led government in Turkey since April -- coupled with Sunday's attacks as emboldening those among Iraq's Sunni minority who see violent confrontation rather than politics as the only way to regain powers lost to the Shiite majority after the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein's regime more than nine years ago."
And why would anyone assume that politics was a way to regain power when the March 2010 election results were overturned by the White House? We called that out in real time while many remained silent. It was not minor. If you say you used war to create a democracy -- an illegal reason for war -- and you then turn around and nullify the results of an election, then don't be surprised when people -- especially people new to democracy -- lose faith in the process.
The March 2010 elections saw Iraqiya come in first. Iraqiya is a political slate that welcomed all and was more concerned with a national identity than a sectarian one. Nouri refused to run with Dawa (his political party) and instead created the slate State of Law which was sectarian. The Iraqi people turned out in record numbers to vote and despite bribes from Nouri -- he bribed in the 2009 provincial elections as well -- and violence, they put Iraqiya in first place.
Which means Ayad Allawi should have had first crack at forming a government. That's what the Constitution says. Instead, Nouri dug his heels in because he wanted that second term and the White House backed him up. He would not have survived causing an 8 month political stalemate without the backing of his puppet masters. And it was the White House that brokered the Erbil Agreement in November 2010 which finally ended the political stalemate. The Erbil Agreement was supposed to see Nouri make various concessions to get a second term as prime minister -- but Nouri used the agreement to get that second term and then broke the contract and the US played oblivious -- this after swearing to the blocs that it was a binding contract and it had the US government's full support.
When the bulk of the US military left Iraq (the drawdown), Nouri amped up his targeting of Iraqiya and Sunnis. He screamed for Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq to be removed from office, he swore out an arrest warrant on Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, etc.
Nouri's refusal to honor the Erbil Agreement has created a second political stalemate that's over a year old. His actions starting in December 2011 have created a political crisis.
Today Tareq al-Hashemi has responded to the verdict against him with a press conference. Chelsea J. Carter and Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) report he stated, "The verdict is unjust, political and illegitimate and I will not acknowledge it. [. . .] To my dear people, I say, make sure that al-Maliki and those who stand behind him don't get what he wishes. Because they want sectarian strife." Reporting on the press conference in Turkey, Ahul Bayt News Agency states, "Mr Hashemi was the most pro U.S. politician in Iraq and his case has sparked a political crisis."
Euronews pretends to offer "reactions" to the sentence -- "Shia neighbourhood of Baghdad" are not the last word unless you're trying to say that Baghdad is all of Iraq and all of Iraq is Shia. You can see video of the press conference here. and here.
Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi: Yesterday Prime Minister Maliki and his politicized judiciary concluded the final phase of their theatrical campaign against me using a kangaroo court set up for this purpose. It was really a shamble. Therefore, while reconfirming my and my God's absolute [authority], I totally reject and will never recognize the unfair, the injust, the politically motivated verdict which was expected from the outset of the unfair trial. I consider verdict a medal on my chest and a fair cost that I have to pay in return of my absolute dedication in serving my country Iraq.
Not interested in Reuters not interested in Lara Jakes and Sinan Salaheddin. Why? Because you nail your facts down or you don't get believed.
Tareq al-Hashemi DID NOT flee Baghdad after an arrest warrant was issued. We have gone over this until I'm blue in the face and ready to scream. From the April 30th snapshot:
The political crisis was already well in effect when December 2011 rolled around. The press rarely gets that fact correct. When December 2011 rolls around you see Iraqiya announce a boycott of the council and the Parliament, that's in the December 16th snapshot and again in a December 17th entry . Tareq al-Hashemi is a member of Iraqiya but he's not in the news at that point. Later, we'll learn that Nouri -- just returned from DC where he met with Barack Obama -- has ordered tanks to surround the homes of high ranking members of Iraqiya. December 18th is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane. December 19th is when the arrest warrant is issued for Tareq al-Hashemi by Nouri al-Maliki who claims the vice president is a 'terrorist.' .
Use those links and then use the links in the snapshot if you don't believe me. But if you check, you will damn well see that Tareq left Baghdad -- with Saleh al-Mutlaq -- on Sunday December 18th and the warrant was issued Monday December 19th.
There is no excuse for outlets to continue to get this wrong. It is lying at this late date. And when you can't nail down your basics, don't expect people to believe the other things you report.
Attorney Muayad Obeid al-Ezzi headed al-Hashemi's defense team and he tells Al Jazeera, "This ruling has no legal value or effect. In-abstentia rulings cannot be considered final or enforced." Hurriyet Daily News notes:
“This is obviously a political decision. Sentencing the country’s vice president to death is an absurd situation,” a Turkish diplomatic source told the Daily News. Recalling that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said al-Hashemi could stay in Turkey for as long as he wants, the source said he was not anticipating a change in this position. The Turkish government had said it would not extradite al-Hashemi to Iraq, after Interpol issued a red bulletin against the fugitive Iraqi politician in May.
They raise 'em dumb in State of Law. When the politcal slate should be laying low, Alsumaria reports that State of Law's Haitham al-Jubouri is insisting Turkey must hand over Tareq and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand Turkey hand the vice president over. Al Mada reports that some believe Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will intervene in the crisis. Kitabat notes that al-Hashemi has repeated his call for an end to the executions in Iraq which are seen as politically motivated (and amnesty law is supposedly on the verge of being passed but in the meantime Nouri is ordering that Sunnis be executed -- this has led to two prisons have hunger strikes and a prison riot when Sunnis were taken out of the prison to Baghdad to be executed).
Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Tom Hayden Democrats" went up yesterday. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio, an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include Bradley Manning, Heidi speaks about the national security events at the political conventions and attorney Darius Charney speaks about the class actional lawsuit against NYC over Stop And Frisk.
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