Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nouri's Cabinet's 'confused' as his leadership

Does Nouri tell himself each morning, "Every day, in every way, I'm becoming a worse and worse leader"?  Like in Whit Stillman's Barcelona when Chris Eigeman's Fred tells himself, "Every day, in every way, I'm becoming a better and better lieutenant junior grade."  He really should because every day reveals Nouri al-Maliki to be even more incompetent than anyone could have ever guessed.

Let's drop back to the issue of provinces.  From yesterday:

Yesterday, we noted the pretty spin AP put on Nouri's decision to carve up areas of Iraq (where he polls especially poorly and where the judiciary does not bend to his will) to create new provinces out of the city of Falluja, Tuz Khurmato and the Valley of Nineveh.

Alsumaria reports an emergency session was called today by Anbar's provincial council and that, yesterday, Kurdish MP Khalid Shwani called Nouri's efforts a flagrant violation of the Iraqi Constitution.  National Iraqi News Agency adds:

The head of the provincial council in Anbar, Sabah Karhut rhot confirmed that: "Fallujah is part of Anbar province, and cannot be a governorate at this time ."
He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / : "Anbar provincial council held an urgent meeting to discuss the government's decision to make the city of Fallujah a governorate without informing the local government officials in Anbar ."
He added : "The local government in Anbar have not contacted the central government to make Fallujah a province by itself, and this raised signs of surprise among officials in the province, in light of the security situation ."

Iraq Times also notes the surprise and quotes council member Suhaib al-Rawi stating that the proposal is strange and raises many questions. Strange that it raises so many questions and objections but AP missed all that and presented it as normal.

Not only is not normal, it's leading others to make requests.  NINA reports:

Hundreds of Khanaqin district of Diyala province , demanded the central government to transfer their district to a province in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
The head of the municipal council in Khanaqin said to NINA reporter ,that citizens believed that their demand is a legal and a constitutional entitlement.

Nevzat Hmedin (Al Mada) reports people are now starting to point out the negative effects such a move would make -- economically and security wise -- on Nineveh Province.  Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi notes any changes made must take care within legal framework and questions the legal grounds for the move.  Journalist Adel Abdul Razzaq notes that splitting up Nineveh in this manner would rob what is now Ninveh of its oil resources.

And Nouri's move only gets more ludicrous.  Al Rafidayn reports that Mahmoud Hassan spoke today about the issue.  He's an MP from Nouri's State of Law coalition.  Like Nouri, his political slate can never seem to pull it together.  Today continued the trend.  Hassan declared that there was a misunderstanding.  He insists that the Cabinet did not decide to split Falluja into its own province or even to break off Tuz Khurmato off from Saladin Din Province.  Hassan says the Council only approved the stripping of Tal Afar from Nineveh.  Alsumaria also reports on Hassan's public remarks.

Let's assume he's trying to back pedal for a State of Law over reach.

If we're not all idiots working for the Associated Press, Nouri's move just got even more interesting.  It can now be read as an attack on the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Tal Afar does what currently.  It's the 'outpost' for the central government.  It borders the KRG -- northern Iraq's 3 semi-autonomous region.  There's no real conflict between Nineveh and the KRG.  So why's Nouri trying to break it off?  Because there's no real conflict there.  But, most likely, carving out that region into its own province would create huge conflict.  You've got a group willing to do anything to have control of the area -- they can't have control of Nineveh, they don't have the numbers -- and if Nouri will only hand a newly created sliver province over to them, the Turkmen, they will grudge f**k the KRG forever and then some.

It's really past time that people started paying attention to what Nouri al-Maliki's doing and how every action only creates more tension and stress and chaos.

Kitabat reports on Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's remarks -- we're ignoring them.  He's in DC and his remarks were made before State of Law's latest pronouncement.   We're not ignoring al-Nujaifi.  I was at the Brookings event this morning and we'll cover that in the snapshot tonight (al-Nujaifi spoke about Iraq at the event -- including what's going on in Anbar).  Duraid Salman and Ammar al-Ani (Alsumaria) reports the Speaker met with US President Barack Obama and gave him two letters -- one on the current state of things in Iraq and the other on the status of Iraqi Christians.

Back in Iraq,  Dar Addustour notes the Ministry of the Interior -- which still has no one to head it, Nouri's failed, since 2010, to nominate anyone to head it -- announced it will accept volunteers (to act as police).  This comes as Kitbat reports Nouri's SWAT forces are being deployed to Baghdad because events in Anbar have Baghdad Operations Command nervous.

On security, National Iraqi News Agency reports a Qabri-Laabid home invasion left 1 police member and 2 other people dead, 1 corpse was discovered dumped in Basra (gun shot wounds), an armed attack in Alsinaiyah left two Iraqi soldiers injured, an Aini-Lbeidhah roadside bombing left 1 soldier dead and four more injured, a Hit city roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police member and left three more injured, the Iraqi military's shelling of Falluja left 2 civilians dead and ten more injured ("including women and children"), an Abu Ghraib armed clash left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and three more injured,  and 1 contractor shot dead in Badush, a Muqdadiyah bombing left two Iraqi soldiers injured.  All Iraq News adds, "Two terrorists of what is so called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria were killed nearby the Iraqi-Syrian borders."  Alsumaria reports an eastern Baghdad attack by assailants on motorcycles who shot dead 1 shop owner and left a worker injured, and the corpse of 1 child was discovered hanging in a Zammar market.

The following community sites -- plus Jake Tapper, Ms. magazine blog, Susan's On the Edge,, the Pacifica Evening News and Iraq Inquiry Digest --  updated last night and today:

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