Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bad news for Nouri in survey of Iraqi citizens

Starting with the continuing violence, AP reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officers with two more left injured, a Baghdad market bombing claimed 2 lives and left seven injured and yet anoteher Baghdad market bombing claimed 1 life and left six people injured,   Alsumaria adds that an Abu Saida bombing (Diyala Province) claimed the life of 1 farmer and an Abu Sir bombing (also Diyala Province) left one Iraqi solider injuredAll Iraq News notes that, just north of Mosul, a police officer and his son were attacked leaving the police officer dead and his son injured.  In addition, Alsumaria reports Turkish warplanes bombed Dohuk Province last night for approximately two hours.  Citing the office of the PUK (Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's political party) as its source, All Iraq News notes that the bombings began at approximately one this morning (Iraq time).

The latest bombing raids follow the objection to the bombings by some in Nouri's Baghdad-based government and the one-year renewal of the bombing authorization by the Turkish Parlament.  Such a vote grants legal authorization only within Turkey.  The legal justification for the raids outside is the existing agreement that Iraq and Turkey signed a few years back giving authorization to these raids.  This agreement has not been rescidned even though Nouri has been critizing the raids in recent weeks.  Trend News Agency notes that MP Iskander "Witwit said that the Iraqi parliament is considering the issue of cancelling the agreement about the presence of Turkish troops in Iraq signed earlier between Turkey and Iraq."   Vestnik informs that Baghdad wants "forces to the Turkish border" in the belief that this will stop the aerial bombings. 

Meanwhile a new poll can be seen as an indictment of Nouri al-Maliki's six years as prime minister.  Al Mada reports a survey of Iraqis has found that they have little faith in their government.  Whether it's the 55% that does not have faith in the security forces, or the 61% who believe that equal rights (regardless of religious beliefs -- this isn't about gender equality) are very low in Iraq or 60% who believe the government doesn't treat citizens fairly, or the 50% who believe they will be harmed if they criticize the government, or the 54% who think the judiciary lacks independence, these results read like an indictment of the last six years (the US made Nouri prime minister in April of 2006, after they rejected Iraqi MPs' choice of Ibrahim al-Jaafari). The disastification comes as All Iraq News reports a protest in Najaf today over the reduction in hours of electricity.

Yesterday, Sinan al-Shabibi, the governor of Iraq's Central Bank, was ousted and replaced with the Nouri-friendly Abdul-Baset Turki.  This follows Nouri's 2011 attempt to insist that he had control over the Central Bank (he doesn't).  AP notes, "The governor, Sinan al-Shabibi, is seen as a politically independent economist who has led the bank since shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.Al Mada notes criticism from Moqtada al-Sadr and Iraqiya over the move and that some fear -- since other members of the Central Bank's board are being investigated -- this is part of a move by Nouri to take control by appointing State of Law-ers to all the posts (State of Law is Nouri's political slate).  MP Naajiba Najib serves on Parliament's Finance Committee and tells All Iraq News that the alleged irregularities did not rise to the leve of firing and that the move damages Iraq's reputation on the international stage.  Iraqiya MP Qusay al-Abadi tells All Iraq News that the move was premature and damaging.

Not a good news cycle for Nouri.  From yesterday's snapshot, "Staying with the political, Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports the other political blocs are accusing Nouri's State of Law of preventing progress on proposed legislation due to a walk out State of Law staged.  Iraqiya says State of Law's goal Monday was to disable the Parliament with their walk out. "  Today Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports that Parliament's Services Committee is accusing State of Law of blocking a vote on the Telecommunications and Information Law.

While Nouri's reputation diminishes further, All Iraq News reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani, Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi met to discuss the political crisis and propose solutions with all agreeing the Erbil Agreement needs to be implemented.

The following community sites -- plus Ms. magazine's blog, IPS, C-SPAN, Susan's On the Edge, On The Wilder Side, Adam Kokesh, The NewsHour (PBS), and The Diane Rehm Show  --  updated last night and this morning:

Finally, David Bacon's most recent 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 "Mexico's Labor Law Reform Sparks Massive Protests" (In These Times):

MEXICO CITY-As the Mexican Senate tried to convene last week, unionists, youth protesters from the #YoSoy132 movement and social activists of every stripe blocked the chamber's doors, trying to prevent legislators from meeting to consider the reforma laboral. On October 2, tens of thousands marched from the Tlatelolco (Plaza of Three Cultures), where hundreds of students were shot down by Mexican Army troops on the same date in 1968, to the Zocalo at the city center. Reverberating chants signaled an equally massive rejection of this deeply unpopular proposal.
The Mexican Senate has begun its 30-day consideration of a proposed reform of the country's labor laws. Its provisions will have a profound effect on Mexico's workers, changing the way they are hired, their rights at work, and their wages. Benedicto Martinez Orozco, co-president of one of the country's most democratic unions, the Authentic Labor Front (FAT), calls it "a monstrous law."
The basic thrust of the reforma laboral is greater flexibility for employers. It would replace pay per day with pay by the hour. At Mexico's current minimum wage of about 60 pesos per day, this would produce an hourly wage of 7.5 pesos, less than 60 cents. Employers would gain the legal right to hire workers indirectly through labor contractors. If workers are fired for protesting or organizing against the new regime, or for any other illegitimate reason, employers' liability for back pay would end after a year.
In the ears of U.S. workers, the wages may sound low, but the kind of flexibility the reform envisions has been the norm in workplaces north of the border for decades. Not so in Mexico, however. In the wake of the Mexican Revolution, and then in the radical upsurge that followed in the '30s and '40s, Mexican workers won a broad set of rights and protections. On paper, the rights of Mexican workers are far more extensive than those of their U.S. counterparts.
In the Federal Labor Law, which the reform would amend, the workday was officially set at 8 hours, and workers could only be hired by the day, not by the hour. Minimum wages were set as well. Employers had to give workers permanent employment status quickly, and hiring through contractors was prohibited. If workers were fired unjustly, they could collect back pay for the time they were out of work. If they were laid off, their employer had to pay severance based on their length of service. Companies had to declare their profits, and share them according to a set schedule.
Employers have never liked these laws, but the political offensive to change them grew much stronger as Mexico opened its economy to foreign investors.

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