Monday, January 14, 2013

Iranian media works overtime to prop up Nouri

Iran's state media is working overtime.   They have so much pretending to do.  They have to pretend, for example, that there is huge support in Iraq for Nouri al-Maliki.  So you get Press TV pretending that 'hundreds' turning out for Nouri is something (and ignoring that they were paid and they were bused into Baghdad on Saturday in a 'spontaneous' protest) and you get the Tehran Times reprinting Press TV's 'report.'  'Hundreds.'  AFP on Friday, "Thousands of people took to the streets of Baghdad and other parts of Iraq on Friday to decry the alleged targeting of their minority, in rallies hardening opposition to the country’s leader."  Press TV and Tehran Times want to pretend a staged demonstration of  hundreds is the same as thousands of Iraqis turning out and risking being attacked to do so.

Fars News Agency does a little better via disgrunteld MPs -- whom they refuse to label as such or even note their affiliation.  Aliya Nassif and Jamal al-Batikh are always thought to be one short step away from joining State of Law.  The two belonged to Iraiqya.  Their egos couldn't fit in a big tent so they went off and created a splinter group known as White Iraqiya.  It's a small group but, for a little bit in 2011, they managed to fool the press with breathless announcements of supposed defections that were going to follow.  Who was going to defect?

If you're going to sell out, you're usually smart enough to sell out for something of value and tiny White Iraqiya has nothing to offer.  Having failed at stealing members away from Iraqiya or any other political bloc, they now spend their time trying to stir up dissension.

So we get MP Aliya Nassif and MP Jamal al-Batikh claiming that it's time for the Iraqi government to file lawsuits against Riyahd (Saudi Arabia), Doha (Qatar) and Ankara (Turkey). Why? Because, the MPs maintain, those three countries are responsible for unrest in Iraq.

 They're insincere and dishonest. They know damn well that the protests in Iraq are about Nouri's actions. They've always been about Nouri's actions. He never should have gotten a second term as prime minister.

 The Iraqi people didn't give him the votes necessary for a second term. But Barack Obama spat on the Iraqi people, the Iraqi Constituion and what some called a fledging democracy. He said ignore the vote, we want Nouri to have a second term. So the Constitution and the votes were set aside and the US government brokered a contract, the Erbil Agreement, that gave Nouri a second term as prime minister. The leaders of the political blocs signed off (after Nouri had refused to step down as prime minister for over eight months after the election bringing Iraqi government to a standstill) on the contract but written into the contract were certain guaranetees.  The Kurds agree to a second term, Nouri agrees to implement Article 140 of the Constitution; Iraqiya agrees to a second term for Nouri, Nouri agrees to create an independent national security council headed by a member of Iraqiya, etc.

Nouri didn't deserve a second term, he didn't earn it.  But a contract gave it to him.  And he was too stupid and too dishonest to honor the contract.   He used the contract to get his second term and then refused to honor his part of the bargain.    That's what's behind all the turmoil to this day.

Yes, this claim does fit in with the Iranian goverment's own plans (see this Trend News Agency article) and that may bother some.  It may bother some that it's a lie.  It should bother many that this is an effort to sew suspicion and distrust between Iraq and Arab neighbors.

Iran may like company in territorial isolation but it does no good for Iraq to be estranged from its regional neighbors.   White Iraqiya has been a joke from day one.  Now it's worse than a joke, it's a threat to Iraq's future.

The US government's future?  Forever entangled with war Gary Younge (Guardian) argues noting Barack Obama's latest picks (nominating Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State, Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and John Brennan for CIA Director):

But since he's attained the highest office he has repeatedly elevated those dumb, rash or unprincipled enough to support that war to key foreign policy positions. His vice president, Joe Biden, was one of the Democrats' principle cheerleaders for the war. He kept Bush's defence secretary, Bob Gates, on in the same post, named Hillary Clinton – who considered her support for the war her greatest vulnerability during the Democratic primary – as secretary of state. Now comes Hagel, Kerry and John Brennan – his pick for CIA chief – who was heavily implicated in Bush-era torture programmes and responsible for drone attacks.
As such, Obama's presidency continues to mark not a new narrative to Bush's post-9/11 agenda so much as a more tonally sensitive sequel to it. When, during the presidential campaign, he accused Mitt Romney of wanting to "do the same things we do, but say them louder", he spoke a sad truth. His uncritical evocation of Kerry and Hagel's service in Vietnam as their qualification for serving him now speaks volumes for the nation's inadequacies in processing the fallout of military conflict.

On Law and Disorder Radio this week, a bunch of men sit around talking to a bunch of men.  Forgive me for failing to be excited by that.

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