Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Iraq's barely surviving Nouri's second term

Nussaibah Younis has an important column in the New York Times today "Time to Get Tough on Iraq:"

Even apart from the Syrian crisis, the United States should be getting tough on the Maliki regime to prevent Iraq’s descent into authoritarianism. Although Prime Minister Maliki’s first term had its successes, including the “Charge of the Knights” attack against Shiite militias in Basra in 2008, Prime Minister Maliki has become increasingly consumed by his own dictatorial ambitions. And a number of his actions have heightened sectarian tensions in Iraq. He cut a deal with the extremist Shiite party led by Moktada al-Sadr. He reneged on a promise to meaningfully include the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya list in government. He presided over what’s being seen as a witch hunt against leading Sunni politicians, culminating in the sentencing to death in absentia of Iraq’s vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi.
In addition, Mr. Maliki’s government is plagued by incompetence, corruption and a contempt for human rights; ordinary citizens are fast losing confidence in the power of the democratic system. Mr. Maliki has further undermined Iraq’s independent institutions, such as the electoral commission and the Iraqi central bank, by bringing them under his direct custodianship. And, most dangerously of all, he is concentrating power over Iraq’s entire security apparatus in his hands by refusing to appoint permanent ministers to lead the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of the Interior and National Security Council. 

 It is amazing how two administrations in a row -- Bully Boy Bush and Barack -- have coddled Nouri al-Maliki.  He's been a complete failure to the Iraqi people -- unable to provide them with basic services, jobs or security. Ruling like a mobster with a long history of grudges requiring one vendetta after another.  Acting insane on the public stage thereby scaring off foreign investment.  

The inability to provide security was seen during Eid al-Adha which ended yesterday.  Over sixty dead Saturday and Sunday alone. Meanwhile Alsumaria reports that Necmettin Omar Karim, the governor of Kirkuk, is applauding the efforts of their police and the Peshmerge (Kurdish forces) in preventing violences in Kirkuk over the four day holiday.  So in Kirkuk, they managed to do what Nouri couldn't do.  

Nouri caused the current political stalemate (and upped it to a political crisis).  To get the second term for Nouri, the White House negotiated a contract (the Erbil Agreement) among the political blocs.  They would make the concession to give Nouri a second term that he didn't earn in the 2010 elections in exchange for his concessions on a variety of issues.  Nouri used the contract to grab a second term and then trashed the contract.  He refused to honor a written contract he'd signed.  That caused the current stalemate.  Since the summer of 2011, Iraqiya, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Kurds have been calling for Nouri to implement the Erbil Agreement.  He has refused.  His political slate, State of Law, and his online fan club have taken to insisting that the Erbil Agreement is unconstitutional.  It's not unconstitutional.  It may be extra-constitutional. 

But if they want to make that argument, the correct response to it is that if the Erbil Agreement isn't valid, fine, let's go back, follow the Constitution and get a prime minister.  Nouri did not qualify for a second term in the vote and he didn't meet the 30 day deadline to form a Cabinet.  So if the Erbil Agreement is going to be invalidated, then President Jalal Talabani needs to name someone else prime minister-designate.

All Iraq News reports that State of Law MP Jabbar Kanani is declaring that the politicalc risis can only be resolved if people will make real reforms.


The issue was and remains the Erbil Agreement.  Until that contract is honored, there's no point in dicussing anything else.

Why would you trust Nouri on a new deal when he can't honor a contract he agreed to and signed?

These are issues that need to be addresed and addressed quickly because he is currently planning to go for a third term as prime minister.  Iraq's barely surviving a second term of Nouri.

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