Sunday, May 12, 2013


While would-be politicians who didn’t get enough votes, complain about ill health and debts, it turns out there’s one specific group of Iraqi business owners who may be the biggest losers of all, post-elections.

In the recent Iraqi provincial elections, there were 8,138 candidates competing for around 400 positions of power on various provincial councils and state bodies. That’s the highest rate of nominees ever in Iraq. Of course, those numbers also mean that there had to be a lot of losers when Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission or IHEC, the body responsible for conducting the elections, announced election results recently.

One of the candidates who lost, Abbas Naji, told NIQASH that he felt that, in a democracy, everyone should respect the results no matter whether they won or lost.

“A loss is an incentive to prepare for the next elections,” Naji declared. “That’s exactly what I am going to do.”

Another election loser, Nisreen Jabbar, did not necessarily agree. “To lose in elections run by a truly independent electoral commission is not a big deal,” she explained. “But to lose because of fraud and manipulation is something to complain about.”

Jabbar thought there had been fraud because she noted that there were dozens of candidates who ran but who didn’t even get one vote. Didn’t they or their families even vote?, she wondered.

That's from Mustafa Habib's "After elections: what becomes of the lonely losers?" (Niqash) and I'm noting it at the top because I am so glad we have Niqash.  After January with no new weekly reports and then February with the same, I was starting to fear that Niqash was one of the many outlets lost for good (see Alive In Baghdad and others).  So I am really glad they're back to publishing.  They publish on Thursdays.  I always get in one thing on Thursday or Friday and plan to note some more the following week but always get distracted so I'm including it now.

They are covering the elections (and Hawija) with their latest edition.  Along with Habib's piece, new content includes "results are in: post -election battles will be fiercer than the campaigns," "after hawija: iraqi and kurdish forces face off again, increasing tensions" and "ninawa pre-election: fake parties, frauds, intimidation and other strong-arm tactics."

The elections being covered took place in 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces.  The elections were in April.  Not at the start of April.  At the start of April was the Minister of Electricity lying (yet again) to allow people to think Nouri had finally accomplished something.  Karim al-Jmaili was insisting that, come November 1, 2013, the electricity problems would be no more and 24 hour power would be available to everyone.  It was a lie.  Dropping back to the April 11th snapshot:

This week Omar al-Shaher (Al-Monitor) reported on the promise by Minister of Electricity Karim al-Jumaili that, by November 1st, the electricity problems would be over in Iraq and 24 hours of power would be available to all:

However, the US Energy Information Administration, a body providing statistics and economic analysis, mentioned in a detailed report about the electricity situation in Iraq that “for most of the postwar period from 2003-2012, Iraq has struggled to meet its power needs.”
The recent report noted that “daily outages lasting 16 hours per day have not been uncommon, even though $45 billion was spent on this sector.” The report ruled out the possibility of providing 24-hour electricity as promised by the prime minister and the minister of electricity.

All Iraq News adds that MP Hassan Wahab, who sits on the Oil and Energy Committee, states that promies being made to the Iraqi people about the electricity are "exaggerated" and "fake." Wahab is with Ammar al-Hakim's Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.  More importantly, as late as 2010, he was the adviser to the Ministry of Electricity.  As late as then, he was explaining how, if certain measures were taken, Iraq could fix the electrical problems in three years.  Those measures were never taken.  The museum, the electricity, there's never in progress in Nouri's Iraq.  And yet he wants a third term as prime minister.  With so very little to show for it.

Last Tuesday, Al Mada reported Nouri's government had admitted that it wouldn't be happening.  The new 'promise' is that in 2014, right after the scheduled parliamentary elections, the electricity will flow as easily and consistently in Iraq as the oil does.

With Nouri, nothing ever changes.  Endless promises about electricity that never end.  Or take his endless attacks on the protesters.

Yes, Nouri's attacking the protesters again.  Iraqi Spring MC's Facebook page reports that since 5 a.m. Iraq time, forces have been circling Baaja village in Baji, that SWAT forces and the military have been backed by aircraft as they have conducted raids, searches and arrests.  Of course that wasn't the only violence today.  Xinhua reports, "In northern Iraq, the police found five bodies in execution- style near the town of Hamam al-Alil in southern Mosul city, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.  The five victims were handcuffed and blindfolded with bullet holes in different parts of their bodies, the source said."  The Oman Daily Observer adds that 4 "women were killed in a house in the Karrad area of central Baghdad."  National Iraq News Agency also notes a Mosul roadside bombing left 2 Iraqi soldiers injured, 3 men were shot dead in Mishahda,  a Ministry of Electricity Director General (Juma'a Yousef Mahmoud) was injured in a shooting on a highway outside Shula'a, and a Baquba bombing left three people injured.  That's not all.  Alsumaria notes that former Basra Province Council Member Ali Hassan was shot dead today by at least 3 assailants as he was leaving a mosque.

The failed security isn't helped by Nouri's ordering security forces to use those magic wands that are, sadly, not magical and that do not attack bombs. 
Dropping back to Friday's snapshot:

Alsumaria reports that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr declared his sympathy for the Iraqis who've lost family members as a result of the purchase and use by Nouri's government of 'magic' wands -- which have been known not to work since 2009.  Moqtada urged the families who lost loved ones and those who were injured as a result to sue the person who purchased the items. (That would be Nouri.)  April 23rd (see the  April 24, 2013 snapshot), James McCormick, the man who made and sold the wands, who was on trial for those wands, was pronounced guilty on three counts of fraud.  And still Nouri has allowed -- no, insisted that the wands be used.   May 2nd, McCormick was sentenced to a maxium of 10 years.  Jake Ryan (Sun) quoted Judge Richard Hone stating, "The device was useless, the profit outrageous and your culpability as a fraudster has to be placed in the highest category.  Your profits were obscene.  You have neither insight, shame or any sense of remorse." And yet last Friday, Ammar Karim (AFP) reported that the 'magic'  wands to 'detect' bombs (and drugs and, no doubt, spirits from the other world) are still being used in Iraq.  He spoke with a police officer in Baghdad who admits that everyone knows that they don't work but that the police are under orders to use the wands.

Last Saturday,   NINA reported,  "Leader of the Sadrist Trend, Muqtada al-Sadr, demanded Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to apologize and stand before Parliament to answer about the deal of the explosives detection instruments."  Moqtada suspects some Iraqis were bribed in this deal and wants names he also demands that the 'magic' wands stop being used immediately stating that they are "an insult to the Iraqis' intelligence."  Moqtada and Iraqiya have called for Nouri to appear before Parliament and explain why the wands were purchased, who profited from them and the various details of the deal that was made for them.

Al Mada reports that the Ministry of the Interior claimed today that they would recover all the money spent on the magic wands.  Ministry of the Interior Inspector General Aqeel Turaihi states that they have known and acknowledged since October 2010 that the magic wands do not work.

Regardless of whether money is recovered for the purchase, as Moqtada al-Sadr points out, lives have been lost and people have been injured.

And actually, it was known the wands didn't work before 2010.    Alsumaria reported yesterday that the new documents from the Ministry of Interior (reproduced with the article) demonstrate that a Ministry committee said the wands were not working and, in 2009, recommended that they not be purchased anymore.  There are calls for Nouri to appear before Parliament to answer questions.  He needs to.  But he has refused all calls so far -- despite the Constitution on this issue.  He continues to violate and ignore the Constitution.

 Alsumaria reports today saw an important meeting about these wands.  Parliament's Integrity Committee held a hearing to determine the details surrounding the purchase and Committee Chair Bahaa al-Araji states that the Integrity Commission appeared before the Committee and offered names of "top officials" involved.  Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports that even after Nouri was personally warned by a British commander "Colonel Powell" that the devices did not work, an order was still place and Al Mada reproduces that order -- it came from Nouri's office.

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 goes up shortly.  Shortly?  I liked the new photo sharing that we were using.  Complaints mean that we're trying a different one tonight.  Thank yous to Ann for helping Isaiah and I go through different photo sharing options.  Hopefully, the one we've selected mere minutes ago will be more pleasing.  Remember, Kat's "Kat's Korner: Natalie Maines releases a mother of an album" went up this morning.

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