Sunday, January 06, 2013


The various crises continue in Iraq. The National notes Shamlan Al Essa's Al Ittiahd column which includes, "Iraqi analysts say stability and harmony are highly unlikely in Iraq, and so is economic welfare. Some opine that the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri Al Maliki, will not succeed in introducing reform, facing corruption and establishing the rule of law, amid an environment fraught with mistrust and bickering."  Abdullah Al Shayji (Gulf News) states, "Iraq has descended by the end of 2012 and early 2013 into a dysfunctional, sectarian, divided society with a real fear of civil war rearing its ugly head again. "   The editorial board of Gulf News weighs in with:

The current government has been unable to bring about much-needed stability in Iraq. In addition, it has failed dramatically in bringing all the various groups together, thereby creating a national unity platform that envisions a stable future for the country.
The voices of protests against the Al Maliki government have been steadily getting louder as was witnessed recently and many parties have come together to highlight their dismay at the manner in which the country’s affairs are being run.

More and more, the consensus appears to be that Nouri is a liability and unable to heal rifts in Iraq or move the country forward.  The protests continue and Nouri al-Maliki decided what was needed was a speech from him.  Albawaba notes, "In his speech on Sunday Maliki warned Iraq’s neighbors against sowing unrest, praised the army and warned that foreign conspiracies were behind the demonstrations, much as Syria’s President Assad had said earlier on Sunday of militants fighting against his rule."

They are correct, it is a deja vu moment (they note the deja vu in their headline) but not just because he's echoing Bashar Assad.  Whenever there are objections to Nouri, he insists Ba'athists are behind it.  From December 25, 2011, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "I See Ba'athists"

I see Ba'athists

Joining Nouri in this is Jawad al-Bolani.  All Iraq News reports that al-Bolani insists that the protests so far have been democratic but that other countries could take control of them.  al-Bolani's opinions might carry more weight were he not the former Minister of the Interior.  He served in that post during the 'civil war' which was the ethnic cleansing and the forces he commanded were doing the bulk of the killing and threatening in Iraq.  Nouri probably would have been better off without al-Bolani coming to his aid.

And for those who might no be comfortable with that description or prefer to deflect it onto Bayan Jabr (who held the post until May 2006), remember that al-Bolani announced that the Eight Brigade of the Second National Police Division would be reformed -- he announced that in October 2006.  But there was never any follow up or even a year-end report on any accomplishments.  This was all noted in the US State Dept's ' Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007.  They also noted that (this is while al-Bolani is in charge) that the October 2006 slaughter of  "26 Sunni food factory workers in Baghdad" was carried out by al-Bolani's forces and "MOI vehicles were used in the kitdnapping, and most men involved wore police uniforms." Again, he probably would have been more help to Nouri if he'd stayed silent.

While Nouri grows further isolated, the bond between Iraqiya and Moqtada al-Sadr seems stronger.  Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) offers an analysis of  Moqtada's relationship with Arabs and he also offers,  "But when Sadr went to Iran after 2008 to study, his personality significantly changed. His close associates say that this resulted from his experience with the mistakes of Iran's ruling theory. In fact, when he returned to Iraq he adopted a different viewpoint regarding the relationship between the Shiite majority and the Sunni minority and described it as a 'tolerant relationship,' rather than a 'hostile' one. Moreover, he started saying that "Maliki's entire policy is offensive to the Shiites because it portrays them as a tyrannical majority in the eyes of the Kurds and the Sunnis."

Prashant Rao (AFP) reports on the continued call for early elections (parlimentary, not the provincial ones that are set for April).   Not noted in that article, Nouri's used that as a threat throughout 2012.  When Ayad Allawi called him on it last week, Nouri was caught off balance.  All Iraq News notes that State of Law is now saying that dissolving the government is something they will resort to only after exhuasting all other options.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest went up this morning, The World Today Just Nuts' "The Curse of Chuckie."  After this goes up, I'll change the time stamp on Isaiah's comic so that it'll be at the top of the page until tomorrow morning's entries.  The e-mail address for this site is