Saturday, December 29, 2012

Anbar and Nineveh have demands

Al Bawaba News notes, "Pressure is mounting on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down, after the largest scale protests so far saw tens of thousands of Iraqis gather on Friday to call for his removal."  All Iraq News reports that Minister of Defense Saadoun al-Dulaimi received a list of demands from members of the council of Anbar Province whose citizens passed on the demands: They want the detention of women stopped, they want detainees released and Article 4 of the Constitution reviewed.  The Defense Minister was visiting Anbar Province one day after a massive demonstration took place in Falluja (with a conservative estimate of the protesters being 60,000). Al Mada notes that Nouri pronounced yesterday's protests in Mosul and Ramadi "uncivilized."

Mosul is the capital of Nineveh Province.  All Iraq News reports that Council Members have informed the central government in Baghdad that their citizens demand the release of prisoners an end to Article 4 and an end to the Justice and Accountability Commission.  Article 4 is how Nouri dubs various Iraqi rivals 'terrorists.'  And the Justice and Accountability Commission is what Nouri uses to prevent people from running in elections.  They have no job, they have no real role.  Any Saddam Hussein loyalists would have long ago been captured.  But Nouri uses this Article 4 to destroy his political rivals.  Alsumaria adds that Nineveh Provincial Council announced today a general strike in solidarity with the protesters. It's a 72-hour strike (medical facilities will not be on strike).

Atheel (or Ethel) al-Nujaifi is the governor of the province.  He's also the brother of Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.  Alsumaria notes that the governor declared today that Nouri al-Maliki can end the current crisis within 24 hours just be returning the arrested to their provinces.  Al Mada explains that Nouri has repeatedly targeted Atheel al-Nujaifi.

In October, allegations of torture and rape of women held in Iraqi prisons and detention centers began to make the rounds.  In November, the allegations became a bit more.  By December, Members of Parliament on certain security committees were speaking publicly about the abuses.  This led to a fist fight in Parliament.  Then Nouri's State of Law stormed out.  Then Nouri declared that anyone talking about this topic was breaking the law. He continued on this tangent for weeks claiming this past week that he would strip MPs of their immunity.  (The Constitution doesn't allow for that.)  Also this past week, it was learned that at least four females were raped in a Baghdad prison.

The outrage here is part of what has fueled the protests.  Alsumaria notes the Ministry of Justice's latest spin: Only women guards are at these prisons!  Whether that's true or not (most likely it is not) world history demonstrates that when women are imprisoned it's very common for someone to get the 'bright idea' to sell access to these women.  Greed is a strong motivator.  Again, the very claim is doubtful but if there are no men on staff, that doesn't mean men have not been present in the prisons.

Nouri al-Maliki targeted the Minister of Finance Rafia al-Issawi most recently.  Which makes Dar Addustour report that Nouri's informed  at least six ministers that they need to report to their ministries and stay there.  Is he planning on targeting more of his political rivals?  Maybe.  Of equal interest, Dar Addustour reports that al-Issawi has told Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq that not only has Nouri tapped al-Issawi's phones, he's also tapped al-Mutlaq's.

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