Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Jalal said to be better, Nouri's government a failure

 There's news this morning of the President of Iraq.  Saturday, AP noted that the office of Iraq President Jalal Talabani has finally issued a statement identifying the incident that led to Talabani's hospitalization: a stroke.  The incident took place late on December 17th (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.  Al Mada reports today that Fuad Masum of the Kurdistan Alliance states he visited with Jalal yesterday and that he is "steadily improving" that Jalal was able to shake hands, that he listened and spoke -- and spoke to those in the room in Kurdish, Arabic and English.  There has been speculation in the French press that Talabani was at death's door -- although that wasn't presented as speculation, it was presented as fact.  Jalal was said to have been comatose and his health dwindling.  We didn't note that, it wasn't sourced and there have been enough false rumors about Jalal's condition.  We're noting this and treating it as a legitimate report for a number of reasons including that it has a source on the record and that it's Al Mada

The Iraq Times has obtained a government document from the Ministry of Planning addressed to the Parliament which details the 'progress' of Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet in 2011.  The newspaper states it is a clear portrait of government failure in all areas.   Less than 30% of tasked goals were accomplished for that year.  The most succesful branch was the Endowment which had a completion rate of 97.86% -- that would be a praise worthy figure for a cabinet or department in any country's national government.  The next most successful would be the Christians Bureau Endowments which had an 82.42% success rate.  The Ministry of Displacement (79.83%), the Supreme Judicial Council (85.79%) and the Ministry of Human Rights (78.73%) were among the other successful departments.  But then there were the very unsuccessful ones.  The Ministry of Education -- so important to what and where Iraq will be 20 years from now -- only managed to meet 5.46% of their written tasks for the year.   (The Ministry of Higher Education did somewhat better with 31.65%).  If you're wondering how so many departments could fail -- and the bulk fail -- you need look no further than the completion rate for Nouri's office.  24.53% was the completion rate for the Prime Minister's Office.

Another distrubing report on the goverment comes via Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports that Parliament's Committee on Human Rights has discovered that 34 prisoners or detainees died in October, November and December 2012.  The last three months alone, saw 34 deaths.  That is an alarming number (the prisons, jails, et al are responsible for maintaining the health of the prisoners and for treating any illness or medical conditions).  In other news of government abuse and neglect, All Iraq News notes Iraqiya MP Muhammad Iqbal notes that human rights continue to be violated and that arrests continue to take place without arrest warrants.  He points out that human rights are linked to a stable and prosperous life and sees the high rate of unemployment and wide rates of illiteracy as alarming signals that human rights may be declining across the board in Iraq.  He specifically calls out the arrest -- the warrant-less arrests -- of Iraqi women because the authorities want the women's sons or husbands or fathers.

All Iraq News notes that today Parliament began the first reading of the bill on the term limits for the three presidencies which, the outlet notes, has to do with limiting Nouri to two terms.  They don't note it but he did make a pledge to limit himself to two terms back in early 2011.  The press ran with it and applauded him.  Here?  We noted it wasn't sincere.  Sure enough, his spokesperson retracted the pledge in a news cycle and ever since, Nouri's attorney repeatedly tells the press that Nouri can run for a third term.

We're going to wrap this up here.  It was started hours ago.  My apologies.  Congressional hearings should start soon so it'll be back in DC and back on the road and hopefully not like the last few weeks.  But I do have a friend staying with me who just lost her husband and I do put this on hold if she needs to talk.  I'm sorry if that puts anyone waiting to read out but I will continue to do that while I'm here at the house.

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