Friday, December 14, 2012

Another protest against Nouri

Late yesterday, a Baghdad bombing took place.  Details on the numbers weren't in when we did the snapshot.  All Iraq News reports that it was 2 bombs and that 1 person died and five more were injured. And violence today?  All Iraq News reports 1 corpse was discovered in Babylon (shot to death), and a Falluja car bombing claimed 3 lives. Alsumaria notes a Samarra car bombing has claimed the life of 1 woman with sixteen injured.  The Iraq Times notes that journalist Saifi Qaisi remains missing.  Yesterday's snapshot noted, "The Journalistic Freedom Observatory also notes that Saifi Qaisi, editori-in-chief of Safir newspaper, disappeared Sunday when he left a management and editorial meeting to return home by cab but never made it home.  The fifty-year-old has a wife and three children and has been a journalist since the 1980s."  The paper notes that all the hospitals in Baghdad were contacted and that police were given information on Sunday and that he was targeted for assassination in July 2008 but survived the bombing with injuries to his head and back.  The paper also notes the murder of journalist Samir Sheikh a few weeks ago.  He was shot dead November 17th while driving his car in Baghdad.

Some believe there's a little breathing space in Iraq at the moment because the crisis of the military stand-off is over.  With Nouri, wait and see.  He has a pattern of making deals he refuses to honor.  Nouri won nothing in the recent battle which is another reason to watch him closely.  But, more importantly, no one else did.  The deal Iraqi President Jalal Talabani outlined basically just turns the clock back to a time right before Nouri sent the Tigris Operation Command forces into the disputed areas.  There is no concession won that Nouri will now suddenly follow the Constitution and implement Article 140 as he's required to do -- as he was supposed to some time ago.  Fakhri Karim (Al Mada) observes in a column today that Jalal has wasted too much time appeasing and has refused to use his powers as president to hold Nouri in check.  He notes Nouri's blatant violation of the Constituion and how, despite this increasing, Jalal just ignores it and works on repairing dialogue when he should be using his role as president to protect the Constitution.

Kitabat reports hundreds turned out in Nasiriyah yesterday to protest the verbal attack Nouri launched Monday on Moqtada al-Sadr and that some of the signs carried call for an Iraqi Spring -- similar to 2011's Arab Spring.  As Kitabat has previously reported, there are already plans by Iraqi youth to take to the streets in January  Protesters in Nasiriyah said Nouri was guilty of covering up corruptions and protecting thieves of the public money.  They burned photos of Nouri al-Maliki and chanted that this was the final warning.

Yesterday, State of Law suspended MP Sabah al-Saadi.  Al Mada reports that al-Saadi states he will bring a defamation lawsuit and he blames Nouri for what is going on.  Dropping back to the September 22, 2011 snapshot:

Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports on Moqtada al-Sadr's criticism of Nouri al-Maliki swearing out an arrest warrant for Sabah al-Saadi claiming that criticizing Nouri is a threat to national security (see yesterday's snapshot). al-Sadr has called out the move and compared it to a new dictatorship and issued a call for the government to work on inclusion and not exclusion. Another Al Mada report notes Sadr declaring that Nouri needs to drop this issue and focus on the needed political work. It's noted that the Sadr bloc waited until Moqtada issued a statement to weigh in and that the Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barazni declared that the Kurdish bloc would not support a vote to strip al-Saadi of his immunity. As a member of Parliament, Sabah al-Saadi should be immune to Nouri's arrest warrant for the 'crime' of speech. Currently, the warrant exists but cannot be executed due to the immunity members of Parliament have. So in addition to filing charges against al-Saadi, Nouri and State of Law (his political slate) are also attempting to strip a member of Parliament of his immunity.
But that's not all. Nouri has a back up plan. Should the Parliament not agree to strip al-Saadi of his immunity, the warrant will stand through 2014 when al-Saadi's term expires (al-Saadi's decided not to run again or Nouri's made that decision and intends to utilize the Justice and Accountability Commission to keep him from running?) at which point all-Saadi would be a citizen (without immunity) and then the warrant can and will be executed. In addition, Al Mada notes the claim that immunity can be stripped of a member of Parliament if half-plus-one of those in attendance vote in favor of the motion.
For those wondering how an insult, any insult, rises to the level of criminal, this AFP report (in French) explains that Nouri's complaint utilizes a law from the reign of General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Article 226 of the 1969 Criminal Code which made it a crime for anyone to insult a member of Parliament, the government, the courts, armed forces, etc.

Moving over to oil, as noted in yesterday's snapshot, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided at their Wednesday meeting in Vienna to keep a ceiling on production and to extend the current secretary-general Abdalla Salem el-Badri's term by a year because they couldn't decide on a new secretary-general in part because Iran is strongly opposed to Iraq or Saudi Arabia getting the post.  Press TV reports, "Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has rejected reports that the Islamic Republic has withdrawn its candidacy for the position of secretary general" and this was announced in a press conference Qasemi held yesterday.  Look for the US to play up that position for the next year since they are eager to pit the governments of Iraq and Iran against each other.

In the US, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office notes:

Friday, December 14th, 2012 (202) 224-2834
TODAY: Murray at American Lake VAMC for Child Care Center, Women’s Health Clinic Ribbon Cuttings
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Friday, December 14th, 2012, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray will participate in two ribbon cutting ceremonies at the new American Lake on-site Child Care Center and the newly remodeled Women’s Health Clinic, followed by tours of the facilities. Senator Murray included a provision in recent veterans legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program providing child care services to qualified veterans seeking health care services. A VA survey found that nearly a third of veterans were interested in child care services and more than 10 percent had to cancel or reschedule VA appointments due to lack of child care.
As the number of women on active duty and entering the service continues to increase, the number of women veterans eligible for health care at VA is expected to grow. The American Lake VA Medical Center’s Women’s Health Clinic currently provides primary care to more than 2,700 women veterans. The new 8,000 square foot clinic should allow for an expected growth of up to 3,400 veterans. The facility has nine new exam rooms including a child play area, onsite mental health and other services such as gynecology and reproductive health.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
John E. Patrick, Interim Director of Puget Sound Health Care System.
Patricia Hayes, PhD, Chief Consultant, VA Women’s Health Services.
Sharon M. Gill, MD, Director, Women’s Health Program for VA Puget Sound.
Amanda Bieber-Mayberry, MSW LICSW, Child Care Pilot Project.
Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20 Executive Staff
Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs Women Veterans Advisory Committee
WHAT: Senator Patty Murray will participate in two ribbon cutting ceremonies at American Lake VAMC
WHEN: TODAY: Friday, December 14th, 2012
10:00AM PT
WHERE: Child Care Center at American Lake
9600 Veterans Drive SW
Lakewood, WA 98498
Meghan Roh
Deputy Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray


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