Monday, November 05, 2012

Nouri's never-ending power grabs

All Iraq News reports a Baghdad car bombing near a mosque has resulted in 1 death and six people being left injured.  In an update, they note the death toll has risen to 3 with eight injured.  In addition, Alsumaria reports that Turkish war planes bombed erbil Sunday night  for approximately one hour, setting at least one section of a forest on fire.  Hurriyet Daily News adds that the latest attacks, beginning Saturday night, are taking place under the name "Panther Operation" and that Saturday's assault lasted two hours.  They are targeting the PKK.  Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."

The root of the conflict?  Dr. Aland Mizell explores it at Kurdish Aspect:

I am not arguing or asking Turkey to give the Kurds rights, but I am asking who gave Turkey or Islamists the right to deny Kurdish basic rights, such as birth rights to a right to life, a right to speak, a right to worship, and a right to a fair trial before a judge? If God has created the human race, skin color, languages, as well as tribes, and rights are natural, inalienable, God-given, and self evident, then why do Turkey and most Islamist countries deny the Kurds those rights? Today more than 40 million Kurds are denied basic rights not by Christians or Jews but by Muslim countries; yet, most Muslim countries consider Islam to be the only religion that administers true justice, tolerance, and peace on earth, and consider Christians, Jews, and devotees of other religions as unjust, intolerant, and cruel. But what about the more than 40 million Kurds who live in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria being denied their basic rights? Why are more than 683 Kurdish people participating in a hunger strike in Turkey and agreeing to die? They have been in a hunger strike for more than 53 days, and the days move them closer to death. Because they are like any other human being, demanding to live in dignity and because death for them is the last resort to voice their plight even though they cherish human life and liberty, but will the world listen as the Kurds show solidarity in their suffering? Will those who learn of their hunger strike pressure Turkey not to play the hypocrite when it comes to the Kurdish issue but to value human beings? Will they pressure Turkey to let the Kurds decide how to live and who to worship, and let the Kurds, not Turks, Arabs, or Persians, decide their destiny?

The conflict isn't surprising.  It's roots are in inequality.  As we've pointed out before, Nouri is doing the exact same thing in Iraq.  And years from now as the battle and struggle continues, grasp that the UN and the US and everyone else decided to look the other way when, early on, they could have stepped in and prevented it.

And that's not with troops.  Yes, they could send in troops and control the country.  That's not in dispute.  But the military isn't the only answer (unless you're the idiots in the White House).

These days puppets pull the strings

That's  Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "These days, puppets pull the strings" featuring Nouri and Hamid Karzai pulling Barack's strings.


Though the White House can't grasp it, there is soft power as well as military power.  Senator John Kerry understands that and was able to get the Iraqi government to do what the White House had spent months insisting the government do.  Did he do it by threatening to send in the Marines?

No, he publicly declared that maybe Congress needs to reconsider the vast amount of money the US government is handing to Iraq.

That's all it took.  Panic in Iraq.  Angry statements to the press from Nouri but damned if Iraq didn't suddenly start inspecting the planes to Syria from Iran.

That's only one example of soft power.

The UN and the US government could be leveraging Chapter VII right now to halt Nouri's authoritarian streak.  Instead, they do nothing.   So 20 years from now, when people scratch their heads at what's taking place in Iraq and wonder how it could have happened, it happened because no one wanted to be the grown up, no one wanted to tell the US-installed tyrant "No."

The political crisis continues in Iraq.  All Iraq News reports MP Mohammed Jaafar al-Sadr is calling  for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to accelerate the resolution attempts.  But what can be done?  Saturday Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reported that negotiations had stalled as a result of disagreements with the National Alliance -- specifcially within the 'Reform Commission.'  To avoid a National Conference, Nouri stalled and road blocked and then finally, in late spring, insisted what was needed was a Reform Commission. That turned out to be a paper.  And all this time, Nouri and company have led people to believe that there was a paper.  Turns out the paper has yet to be written but there are 'intentions' to write it, al-Tamimi notes.  Yesterday, Wael Grace (Al Mada) reported a Kurdistan Alliance MP was stating State of Law (Nouri al-Maliki's political slate) was attempting to prevent a National Conference to resolve the political crisis.  That seems plausible since Nouri's been attempting to do that since Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and Jalal Talabani first began calling for one nearly a year ago (December 21st).

The Tigris Operation continues with no US coverage.  This is seen as yet another power grab by Nouri.  Nouri is sending in military under his command to disputed Kirkuk.  This has long been protected by the Peshmerga (Kurdish forces).  Nouri has refused to implement Article 140 of the Constitution (hold a census and referendum) on Kirkuk to resolve the dispute and his decision to send in security forces is seen as laying the ground work for his ignoring the Constitution and just declaring Kirkuk to be part of the Baghdad-based government and not part of the Kurdistan Regional Government.  (Kirkuk is oil rich.)    Alsumaria reports that the Salahuddin Province's Student Council has called for Nouri to cancel the operation.  Al Mada reports that Kurdistan Alliance MP Chuan Mohammed Taha has called out the operation and states that Nouri has gone beyond any powers listed in the Constitution.

The power grabs never stop with Nouri.  Last month, he fired the Governor of the Central Bank (despite not having the authority to do that) and declared him a criminal (thereby running him out of the country).  This followed Nouri's attempts to sieze control of the Central Bank -- an independent institution.  Fear of the Arab Spring spreading into Iraq prevented Nouri from following up on that desire.  Now he's gone in the back door.  Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports Nouri is accused of attempting to stack the Central bank with Dawa personnel in order to control it.  (Dawa is Nouri's political party, State of Law is his political slate.)

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 events in Syria addressed with guest Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report), a speech on Palestinian issues by Phyllis Bennis and attorney Deborah LaBelle on sentencing children and locking them away in the 'justice' system.

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