Jalal Talabani is the President of Iraq. Or he's supposed to be. Can you be the president of a country you're not in? Last December, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered 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. For all nine months of 2013 so far, Jalal has been out of Iraq. He is the nominal head of the PUK. The PUK made the disastrous decision to put Jalal on all the campaign literature.
Why? To remind people that Jalal was out of the country for over nine months and apparently can't speak since he's released no audio message to the people in all of this time? The only thing they've received were staged photos in May 18th which only showed him from the right and he didn't appear engaged or aware in any of them.
Jalal's image was already one of weakness for many Kurds -- a detail the press repeatedly missed though they were all so sure Massoud Barzani must be unpopular.
Maybe next time, they'll stop judging by their wants and grasp that the Kurds have their own dreams and desires and the comments Barzani has made that have so often upset the international press have been the words Kurds wanted to hear.
They did not want to hear this nonsense: "The ideal of a united Kurdistan is just a dream written in poetry." That's Jalal from March 16, 2009. It's exactly that kind of crap that makes Jalal look weak.
He's an out of touch 'leader' who only fights for himself. (He sure fought the White House when they beseeched him, in 2010, to let Ayad Allawi be president of Iraq instead.) In 2012, he appeared to side with the will of the Iraqi people and teamed with Moqtada al-Sadr, Barzani, Allawi and others to demand that Nouri al-Maliki implement The Erbil Agreement (the US-brokered legal contract that circumvented the Iraqi Constitution and the will of the Iraqi people to give Nouri a second term as prime minister despite his State of Law having come in second in the 2010 elections). But when Nouri refused and the signatures were gathered to hold a vote in Parliament on ousting Nouri, Jalal yet again stabbed democracy and the Iraqi people in the back and refused to let it go forward.
He is beyond weak.
When Nouri targeted Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, Jalal said Tareq could stay with him, that he would protect him. That lasted only a few weeks before Jalal again buckled. The only reason Tareq was allowed to stay in the KRG after that point was because Massoud Barzani stepped up and didn't back down the way cowardly Jalal always does.
Jalal is a weakling on every level. He repeatedly wants credit for being anti-death penalty. No one in Iraq can be executed without the vice presidents and president signing off on it. (Now 'vice president' -- Iraq makes up its own rules.) Jalal could have nixed every execution. He didn't. He just abstained thereby allowing the executions to go forward. If you're against executions and want credit for being against them and you have the power to stop them in Iraq but you refuse to do so? You're just a weak coward.
Barzani somehow rubbed the world press the wrong way. They didn't like his strong remarks or the way he spoke.
Well guess what? The world press doesn't vote in the KRG.
The Kurds do. And Barzani has increased his world profile by projecting strength.
Jalal looked weak before he disappeared for over nine months. He looks even weaker today.
We could note violence and other things; however, when 12 provinces in Iraq voted last April, the world media gave us non-stop coverage. The KRG elections are important. We'll treat them as such here even if so-called news outlets can't (won't) make the time to do so.
UK Foreign Minister Alistair Burt issued the following statement today:
Speaking after peaceful regional elections in the Kurdish area of Iraq, Minister Burt said:
I congratulate all those involved in the parliamentary elections in Kurdistan on 21 September. The efficient and professional organisation was impressive, as was the high voter turnout, at 73 percent. In particular, the Kurdish government and the Iraqi High Electoral Committee are to be applauded for their work.
I encourage all those who were elected now to focus on the timely formation of a new government, in order to move smoothly in the new parliamentary term and to build on the significant achievements of the Kurdish Region.
These elections are a important milestone. I now look ahead to the Kurdish Region’s Governorate Council elections scheduled for 21 November, and Iraqi parliamentary elections in early 2014, which I hope will be similarly successful.
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We'll leave it at that. In the hopes that by this evening the US State Dept will have gotten off its lazy ass and issued a statement. On the KRG elections? Sure. And on the violence and on the missing seven Ashraf residents -- and all the other topics that the UN and the EU are issuing statements on today while the State Dept, head up its ass yet again, can't find Iraq.
I know the community sites aren't showing up on the right. I'll note them in the snapshot today. For now, we'll note these non-community sites:
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