Friday, January 04, 2013

Allawi calls for early elections

Proving that he paid attention in 2010, Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi isssued a call today.  Alsumaria notes he's calling for early elections -- this is parliamentary elections, not provincial elections which are scheduled to take place in a few months.  Allawi's not just calling for early elections, he's calling for an interim government to be set up.


France and the United Nations were behind the idea in 2010.  It never got beyond talking because the US nixed it and did so loudly (Susan Rice was the hatchet person).  If an interim government had been put in place in 2010, Nouri would not be prime minister today.

Yes, he had the White House's backing.  But the eight months plus that he dug his feet in (and wore down his rivals) went a long, long way towards his getting a second term.  The US government counseled the Kurds in October 2010 that Nouri was prepared to continue the political stalemate, to continue to refuse to allow a government to be named.  That's one of the reasons the Kurds went along with the Erbil Agreement (the US brokered contract that gave Nouri a second term; he did not win a second term, his State of Law came in second to Iraqiya).

Had an interim government been set up, Nouri would have had no edge, no place from which to toss a tantrum and bring the country to a standstill.

All Iraq News quotes Allawi stating he supports Nouri's call for early elections and that Nouri can offer his resignation to allow the process to begin and the Parliament can work with the UN to create an interim government to be temporarily in place.

It will be interesting to see what Nouri's response is.

A bombing yesterday in Musayyib targeted pilgrims taking part in the Arbaeen rituals.  Today Yasir Ghazi and Christine Hauser (New York Times) report the death toll rose to at least 32 (injured is at twenty-eight).  They also note a Thursday Baghdad roadside bombing which left 4 dead and fifteen injured.  They note the supposed release of 11 women prisoners as well.  Supposed?  Released if their families can pay a fee.

Iraqi females -- women and girls -- in prisons and detention centers have been the focus for months in Iraq now as rumors leaked out of rape and torture.  The rumors were confirmed by Parliament.  When they were confirmed by Parliament, Nouri al-Maliki hit the roof and began threatening to punish members of Parliament who were speaking on the topic.  This is one of the issues fueling the protests currently taking place in Iraq.

All Iraq News notes that, following today's morning prayers, Arabs in Kirkuk took to the streets to protest and demand the release of the prisoners and the abolition of Article 4 which is seen as being used for political purposes against Sunnis.  October 31, 2010*, Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad was assaulted.  Today, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr visited the Church to show solidarity with Iraqi Christians and underscore that the dream is one Iraq that is welcoming and home to all Iraqis regardless of faith.  Alsumaria notes he spoke of sending delegates to speak to the protesters in Anbar Province for that reason.  He repeated his statements from earlier this week noting that the protesters had a legitimate right to express their grievances.   All Iraq News notes that he stressed the importance of the Christian community to Iraq.  Alsumaria adds that Moqtada then went to Kilani Mosque in central Baghdad for morning prayers.

[*Date corrected.  My apologies.]

While Moqtada was talking inclusion and one Iraq, Nouri continues his attempts to divide the country.  Al Mada reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi has called out Nouri's attack on him (saying al-Nujaifi was unfit because he supported the protesters).  al-Nujaifi has responded that the right of protest is guaranteed in the Constitution and that the citizens have the right to exercise their freedoms and to reject tyranny and injustice.

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