Friday, November 15, 2013

Forget prime minister, who will be the next president of Iraq?

National Iraqi News Agency reports a Shweich roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left two more injured, and a Mosul roadside bombing left 1 woman dead and six more people injured.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 334 violent deaths so far this month.

On violence, Prashant Rao (AFP) reports that the head of UNAMI, Nickolay Mladenov, declared today that Iraqi security forces are in need of "re-training."  He told journalists in Baghdad:

There is a culture within the security forces, and the way they do things, which needs to change.  One that is more respectful of human rights. If you want to talk about the immediate security response to the crisis, the police, the army, etc. need massive amounts of re-training... in relation to human rights, and how they respect international standards of human rights, how they undertake operations.

Yes, they do need something more than what they have.  But the person over them is Nouri al-Maliki and that's also part of the problem.  He may be commander in chief per the Constitution but he only presides over the police due to a power grab.  (The police are under the Ministry of the Interior.  He has refused to nominate anyone to head the ministry so that he can control the ministry.)

Until Nouri gets replaced -- if that ever happens -- don't expect those under him to possess traits he neither cultivates nor values.

Respect international standards of human rights?

He did nothing as Camp Ashraf was attacked September 1st -- an action that the State Dept's Brett McGurk called the situation surrounding the Ashraf community  "an international humanitarian crisis." And certainly, the US Congress has taken it more seriously than the press.

US House Rep Ted Poe:  So what do we tell these folks?  Freedom loving folks in a place where they don't want to be.  We won't take them.  We can't get other countries to take them.  And you want to know what they're waiting for? The next attack if we don't hold Maliki accountable. I just want to make this comment.  I don't know if you've seen this letter or not but 44 of us -- 22 Democrats and 22 Republicans-- have sent a letter to the President of the United States saying, 'No more money to Iraq until there's accountability for the murders in Camp Ashraf.'  Have you seen that letter?

Brett McGurk:  I have seen that letter. 

That exchange took place at Wednesday's  House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa hearing.  Wednesday we covered the Jewish archives from that hearing, Thursday we covered Camp Ashraf and religious minorities.  We'll continue the coverage today.

But right now what if a a presidency kicked a prime minister of a region into a higher position?

Is anyone paying attention?

The KDP is coming off a huge victory and KRG President Massoud Barazani is looking for the next post to tackle.  What if that post is the Iraqi presidency?  Which would see him resign as the KRG President and possibly upgrade his nephew, the current prime minister of the KRG, into the post of presidency?

A major meet-up is taking place this weekend.  Turkey's Hurriyet notes political implications -- for one person, in Turkey:

Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün ruled out assumptions that Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani’s upcoming meeting with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Diyarbakır was the ruling party’s ploy to get more votes in the local elections.

AFP adds, "Ankara: Turkey’s prime minister will hold talks on Saturday with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani aimed at restarting a stalled peace process, with decades-old divisions between Ankara and the Kurds far from over.  The talks -- branded 'historic' by Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- come at a sensitive time for the Turkish government after a peace deal with Kurdish rebels stalled in September."

I'm not saying Barazni's angling for the presidency of Iraq but it's very likely.

Current President Jalal Talabani has been out of the country for eleven months.  Couldn't run for re-election from a hospital bed in Germany.  (The Iraqi Constitution bans Talabani from a third term but when is the Constitution followed in Iraq?)

Barzani's got two years tacked on to his presidency of the KRG.  That's 2014 and 2015.  Then what?

He can't have a third term (the two years tacked on was consolation for the fact that, during his first term, the law was passed limiting the office to two terms).  He has an international presence.

Hoshyar Zebari's a joke.  Even his own party, PUK, is now lukewarm on him and that's before he attempted to stab the Talabani family in the back.

A Kurd as prime minister of Iraq?  Not happening in 2014.  So that leaves the presidency or Speaker of Parliament and, of the two, the presidency has more prestige.

And the Kurds consider it their position.  Talabani  insisted to US Vice President Joe Biden (in the fall of 2010) that the presidency belonged to the Kurds.  (Talabani was being asked to step aside and let Ayad Allawi take the post since his Iraqiya got the most votes and since the US government would not allow Allawi to be prime minister because they were backing Nouri.)

If it's a Kurdish position, Barzani would be the most likely choice to fill it.

Wally's "THIS JUST IN! NO 1 IN THE ADMINSTRATION WORKS!" isn't showing up yet.  I don't have time to wait, the battery's going dead on this tablet.  Along with Wally, the following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan --  updated

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