Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nouri's power-grab and Condi explains US silence

Tensions continue in Iraq and threaten to roll the region.  AFP quotes Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stating, "The [Baghdad] regime wants to lead this [country] into a civil war."  He's referring to the crisis Nouri's provoked by sending his forces (Tigris Operation Command) into disputed territories in the north. Trend News Agency sums up the comment and notes a skirmisk outside Tikrit that appears to be last Fridays -- but that claimed 1 or 2 lives depending upon the outlet (1 of Nouri's forces and some outlets also noted a civilian) whereas Trend News Agency is saying "12 Iraqi soldiers and one civilian" died in the skirmish.  Unless the wounded died -- which the Iraqi press hasn't covered, if TNA's covering Friday's incident, their fatality numbers are incorrect.  Jason Ditz ( observes, "The fight goes well beyond just Kirkuk, however. KRG officials have been predicting a fight for years, and earlier this month Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki demanded the KRG transfer the Peshmerga to his personal control. With Maliki also the nation’s Defense Minister, Interior Minister, Public Security Minister, etc, he currently directly every single force in Iraq except for the Peshmerga."

Remember when, at the start of 2011, Iraqiya said Nouri was staging a power-grab by refusing to nominate people to head the Ministry of the Defense, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of National Security?  And remember how the Western press scoffed, rolled their eyes and swore Nouri would nominate people to those posts in a matter of weeks?

Weeks?  We're six weeks away from the two year mark when they were promising Nouri would fill those spots.  And he never has.  That was a power grab.

It's a power grab today on Nouri's part -- sending troops into disputed territories.  Condi Rice pens a piece that tells you all you need to know about US policy in one sentence: "If Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cannot count on the Americans, he will take no risks with Tehran."  Condi is the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor during the Bully Boy Bush years.  Bully Boy Bush installed Nouri as prime minister.  Ibrahim al-Jafaari was the choice of the Iraqi Parliament (which -- on paper -- elects their prime minister).  Bully Boy Bush said no and wanted Nouri to get the job.  The US puppet went on to run secret prisons -- bravely and repeatedly exposed by Ned Parker and the Los Angeles Times -- and do other crimes against humanity.

But Barack Obama loves Nouri al-Maliki.  So much so that when Nouri's State of Law came in second in the 2010 elections and this meant that he didn't get a second term, Barack pulled out his penis and pissed on the Iraqi people, pissed on their votes, pissed on their Constitution and pissed on any thoughts of democracy.  Nouri would get a second term, Barack would ensure it, votes be damned.  So the White House backed Nouri as he refused to budge, refused to give up the post he no longer had.  For eight long months this political stalemate continued in Iraq.  Then the US government negotiated the Erbil Agreement, a contract that they swore was legal and that the US government would stand by.  The parties signing the contract?  All of the leaders of the political blocs.  Kurds wanted Article 140 of the Constitution implemented?  Okay, you let Nouri have his second term, he'll implement that.  That's how they got people to sign off.  What was Nouri willing to trade to have a second term?

Nouri used that contract to get the second term and then refused to honor it.

And Barack did nothing.  Gone were the promises of the US government standing by this contract.

Why?  Because, as Condi puts it, "If Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cannot count on the Americans, he will take no risks with Tehran."

The White House has put the interests of Iraqis behind -- far behind -- the desires of Nouri al-Maliki and they have done so repeatedly and done so because they doubt there would be a better puppet for the US government.    So they look the other way as he demonizes Iraqi youths -- starts a witch hunt on Emo and LGBTs.  That came from the Ministry of the Interior -- they sent out a letter, they went to schools encouraging the targeting, this was all Nouri.  He's refused to nominate anyone to head the Ministry of the Interior which makes him the head of it.  Add that to the secret prisons.  Add that to his possible involvement in murder (the former governor of Basra, journalists including Hadi al-Mahdi).  But it doesn't matter to the White House.  Like Condi Rice, they believe, "If Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cannot count on the Americans, he will take no risks with Tehran."  So they indulge the petty tyrant.  And dishonor the Iraqi people.

Ipek Yezdani (Hurriyet Daily News) speaks with the KRG's Dr. Molla Basher al-Hadad and Yezdani notes, "Authorities in Baghdad want to run the country like a dictatorship that recalls Saddam Hussein's rule by using anti-democratic and sectarian policies, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) top cleric."  That's a description that certainly seem apt.

Yesterday, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was in Erbil where he met with KRG President Massoud Barzani.  Al Mada reports that they were also meeting with the National Alliance.  That is a large Shi'ite political group headed by Ibrahim al-Jafaari.  Al Mada notes Talabani was surprised that Nouri was sending in the Tigris forces while he and Barzani were awaiting a delegation from the National Alliance.

In March 2010, Iraq held parliamentary elections.  The winner was Iraiqya which won the most seats.  Alsumaria reports Iraqiya's Haider Mulla is stating that mediation between Baghdad and Erbil is needed and that Iraqiya is more than willing to play the role of mediator. Representing approximately a half-million of Iraq's 31 million people, Amin Farhan Jeju spoke today.  All Iraq News reports that the Yazidi Movement for Reform and Progess head is saying Nouri is within his rights to send the Tigris forces into disputed area.  Probably a good idea to read the Constitution before commenting on it.  Just a thought.  Also carrying water for Nouri is Shaker Darraji.  All Iraq News notes that the State of Law MP is accusing the Kurds of upsetting the political process.

What political process.  The only reason people don't write about the political stalemate Iraq is in and has been in for two years now is because Nouri upgraded it to a political crisis last December.

Politcal process?  Parliament was supposed to be in session today.  First, they delayed the start for two hours because they didn't have enough present to meet a quorum.  After that?  They still didn't have enough so Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi sent everyone homeThey were supposed to hear from the Minister of Electricity and the Minister of Oil about the progress and projects being worked on and MP Susan Saad expected them to address the crisis related to new electricity stations.

For those who have trouble seeing a power grab in real time, those who need years and years of retrospect, they might right now ask themselves: Why did Nouri feel the need to send forces into these disputed areas?  He's been prime minister since 2006?  Never done it before, so why now?

It's a power grab plain and simple.

Tomorrow, in the US, is Thanksgiving.  There will be at least two entries going up here.  A snapshot?  Only if the news of the day warrants it.  If there is a snapshot, all who usually post on Thursdays will post at their websites.  If there is no snapshot, Mike and Marcia both plan to post at their sites tomorrow regardless.

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