Friday, December 21, 2012

Nouri uncorks The Crazy again

Prime Minister and chief thug of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki uncorked The Crazy and let it breathe yet again.  Yes, it's December, time to accuse a political rival yet again of criminal activity and order mass arrests.  That happened late yesterday.  Of greater interest this morning is the response to it.

After morning prayers, Kitabat reports, protesters gathered in Falluja to protest the arrests and Nouri al-Maliki.  They chanted down with Nouri's brutality and, in a move that won't change their minds, found themselves descended upon by Nouri's forces who violently ended the protest.  The Iraq Times reports that demonstrations also took place in Tikrit, Samarra, Ramdia and just outside Falluja with persons from various tribes choosing to block the road connecting Anbar Province (Falluja is the capitol of Anbar) with Baghdad.  Across Iraq, there were calls for Nouri to release the bodyguards of Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi.  Alsumaria notes demonstrators in Samarra accused Nouri of attempting to start a sectarian war.

So what happened yesterday?  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports:

Iraq's Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi said Thursday that "a militia force" raided his house, headquarters and ministry in Baghdad and kidnapped 150 people, and he holds the nation's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, responsible for their safety.
 Members of the al-Essawi's staff and guards were among those kidnapped from the ministry Thursday, the finance minister said. He also said that his computers and documents were searched at his house and headquarters. He said the head of security was arrested Wednesday at a Baghdad checkpoint for unknown reasons and that now the compound has no security.

In another report, Tawfeeq quotes al-Essawi stating, "My message to the prime minister: You are a man who does not respect partnership at all, a man who does not respect the law and the constitution, and I personally hold you fully responsible for the safety of the kidnapped people."

Rafei al-Essawi is a Sunni.  He is also a member of Iraqiya, the political slate that came in first in the March 2010 parliamentary elections.  Nouri's State of Law came in second.  Per the Constitution, Iraiqya should have had first crack at forming a government and one of their members named prime minister-designate.  However, Barack Obama decided -- the will of the Iraqi voters, democracy and the Iraqi Constitution be damned -- he wanted Nouri to have a second term instead.   From John Barry's "'The Engame' Is A Well Researched, Highly Critical Look at U.S. Policy in Iraq" (Daily Beast):

Washington has little political and no military influence over these developments [in Iraq]. As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war, The Endgame, Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in 2010 to insist that the results of Iraq’s first proper election be honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government, it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."

 If you're thinking, "He's trying to arrest a member of Iraqiya in December," and you're thinking, "This seems so familiar," you are correct.  It was this time last year that he tried to oust one Iraqiya member from his Cabinet and to have the Vice President arrested.  And, for those who've forgotten, al-Issawi was being mentioned even then as being on the targeted list.  Dropping back to December 24th:

Mustafa Habib (Al Mada) notes that Nouri al-Maliki's targeting Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with terrorism charges and calling for Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq have many noticing that both are members of Iraqiya and political opponents of Nouri and that while the political crisis has revealed a diminished role for the US it has underscored that the Kurds remain the heart of the country's political process. Dar Addustour reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi announced the postponement of the scheduled meeting yesterday of the political blocs while Nouri's spokesperson floated the notion that there are other charges waiting in the wings. Reportedly this includes charging the Minister of Finance, Rafie al-Issawi, with terrorism, specifically with killings in Falluja back in 2006. Like Tareq al-Hashemi and Saleh al-Mutlaq, Rafie al-Issawi is a member of Iraqiya. Dar Addustour also notes Hoshyar Zebari, Foreign Minister, issued a statement declaring the matter should have been resolved by the political blocs but has instead played out in the press. Al Mada adds that Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani and US Ambassador James Jeffrey spoke yesterday and are calling for a meeting among the political blocs and that State of Law was whining about the Friday meet-up, whining that Iraqiya is boycotting Parliament but they want to attend the meet-up. Aswat al-Iraq notes, "Iraqiya bloc leader Iyad Alawi described recent events in Iraq as 'liquidation of differences', warning an explosive era waiting Iraq in the coming days, according to an interview with Arabia TV late yesterday (Friday)." Sinan Salaheddin and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) report that Moqtada al-Sadr is proposing a "14-point 'peace code'" and attempting to present himself as a leader.

Last December, he waited until the bulk of US troops had left the country to uncork The Crazy.  This December, he waited until Jalal Talabani had a stroke and was out of the country.  Nouri is paranoid.  When we made that point in 2006 and 2007 and 2008, you could ignore it.  You could ignore it when I'd say, "State Dept friends say . . ."  But thanks to WikiLeaks release of the US State Dept cables, there is now proof that the State Dept found him paranoid, called him paranoid in one cable after another and at what point does the US government stop stroking the crazy and start demanding justice for the Iraqi people?

Alsumaria notes that Saleh al-Mutlaq is calling for  Iraqiya to withdraw from Parliament, the government and the political process if there is not an immediate investigation into what was done and Rafie al-Issawi is not protected.  al-Mutlaq says it's a question of sovereignty and the law.  (Nouri's attempt to oust al-Mutlaq were abandoned by last May due to the fact that Nouri could not get the votes in Parliament needed to oust the Deputy Prime Minister).  Patrick Mareky and Rasheem Salman (Reuters) note:

Finance Minister Rafie al-Esawi, a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, said late on Thursday that more than 100 bodyguards and staff were snatched illegally by militias, and blamed Maliki for orchestrating the raids to target opponents.
Maliki's office said only six bodyguards were arrested under counter terrorism laws.

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi remains Vice President -- Nouri didn't have the votes to oust him either.  Nouri does control the kanagaroo court in Baghdad -- which declared Tareq guilty in a February press conference, months before the trial even began.  But according to the law, the conviction and the five death sentences Tareq received were really not received.  Tareq would have to first be stripped of his office to be tried.  Due to the targeting, Tareq left Baghdad and then the KRG and now resides in Turkey.  All Iraq News reports Tareq states today that Nouri's actions aren't surprising (they aren't) and that this is futher targeting of political rivals because Nouri does not want to share power.   He also notes that what's happening was completely expected.

And he's correct there as well.  So the question is, how much longer is the US going to support the tryant Nouri who they know has repeatedly run secret prisons in which Iraqis have been tortured?  He's run these secret prisons since first being installed by the US as prime minister in 2006?

Secret prisons, broken contracts, targeting of political rivals, corruption and so much more. 

And in the US, there has been a Republican occupant of the Oval Office (Bully Boy Bush) and now an elected President (Barack Obama) from the Democratic Party and both men have supported and backed thug Nouri -- a thug so sick and disgusting that he spent the start of this year demonizing and targeting Iraqi youths -- Emo and LGBT and those suspected of being either.  He had his Ministry of Interior draw up warnings about these groups, he had them to go to school and demonize these people and the deaths followed and only international attention stopped it.

This is what two different US administrations have embraced.  It's disgusting and it needs to stop. 

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