Sunday, February 02, 2014


Today brought a little bit of news out of Iraq that will have a huge impact.  All Iraq News reveals Nouri al-Maliki has nominated Basim al-Badri to head the Justice and Accountability Commission.

Why does this matter?

For starters because this illegal commission -- their work was wrapped in 2005 and they were not supposed to continue -- popped up in 2010 and eliminated many candidates.  They eliminated Saleh al-Mutlaq, for example -- the current Deputy Prime Minister.  A few token Shi'ites were eliminated from running -- most of which were steadfast and vocal opponents of Nouri.  However, the bulk of the disqualified were Sunni politicians.

Nouri is a Shi'ite who has run the government as if Iraq were a Shi'ite nation with no minorities present.  

So this matters for the reason that the commission will determine who can run. In 2010, the commission barred 511 candidates from running.

It also matters because this person, Basim al-Badri, will run it.


A member of Nouri's Dawa party. 

A personal friend of Nouri's.  Someone Nouri tried to install in this post in 2013.

This commission was not only supposed to have ended in 2005, Nouri gave the US government his promise that it would in 2007 -- the end of de-Ba'athification was part of the 2007 White House benchmarks that Nouri signed off on.

Instead, he will use this commission to (again) ban candidates he doesn't want to run.

Nouri will once again try to buy the election, he will once again offer bribes and he will once again use his position to ban candidates who are his rivals. 

Will he succeed?

What's success? 

Winning an election?

If winning an election is a success, Nouri's a failure.  In 2010, his State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.

Both times he's been named prime minister it resulted from the US government demanding it.

But will he succeed at this nomination?

The Parliament and Nouri have been engaged in a now-two year battle over the Justice and Accountability Commission -- specifically who has power over it, specifically who determines the head of it?

Parliament could block this nomination.  They could refuse to vote on it.  The elections are in 57 days.  That's not a long time away.  And the ballots need to go to the printers in 24 days.  So the Parliament could just stall.

And that might be the smartest thing to do.

Or it may not be.

When Nouri tried to take over the body in early 2013, he did so by announcing that al-Badri was the new head of the JAC and that he was making that decision and doing so because Parliament had failed to act.

The announcement is news and whatever follows will impact -- in one way or another -- probably in many ways -- the expected April 30th elections.

The assault on Anbar Province continues.  It has accomplished nothing thus far except for War Crimes on the part of Nouri.  Iraq Body Count released their total for violent deaths in the month of January: 1076.  That count does not take into account the many deaths in Anbar at the hands of Nouri's forces.  Equally true, most of those deaths aren't even reported. Middle East Monitor (via BRussells Tribunal) explains:

A member of the parliament's Security Committee, Shwan Mohamed Taha from the Kurdish Alliance coalition, accused Al-Maliki of blocking news about the number of causalities in Al-Anbar, suggesting that the prime minister is trying to hide his crimes there.
In addition, a member of parliament from Al-Anbar, Hamed Al-Motlaq, said that the Iraqi army's strikes against Fallujah continue, resulting in more deaths every day.

Nouri's got nothing to show for it.

All the assault accomplished was death -- a lot of them innocents even by Nouri's 'standards' -- and to display how inept and weak Nouri is.  Baghdad International hadn't been hit before the assault started, two ministries were attacked in one day, Ramadi and Falluja and other areas were overtaken and taken out of Baghdad's control.

Tomorrow, the whole thing could end but it would still have demonstrated how wrong Nouri is as a leader.

Today?  National Iraqi News Agency reports the Ministry of Interior declared "the killing of the so-called Amir Daash organization in Sulaiman Bek, and four of his assistants," a Baquba sticky bombing left one military officer and one police member injured, 1 security officer was assassinated in Mosul, a Baladruz sticky bombing left one person injured, a Hawija attack left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and one injured, a Huzayran home bombing killed 1 man and left his wife wounded, 2 people in Granada were left wounded when assailants shot them, 1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul, the Ministry of Defense announced they killed 50 terrorists in the "Mal'ab area of Ramadi" Saturday night and today, 1 Ministry of Science employee was shot dead in Baghdad, and a Taji roadside bombing left three police members injuredAll Iraq News notes security forces say they killed 16 suspects "in Buhayrat area of northern Babel province."

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] 4489.

Iraqi novelist and activist Haifa Zangana delivered a presentation before the European Parliament last Thursday.  BRussells Tribunal carries the presentation in full and we'll note the opening here:

National Iraqi News Agency reported on Fri 24th January that the Iraqi military's mortar shelling the night before left 4 people dead and 32 more injured "including women and children" and Saturday’s military shelling of Falluja left 5 people dead and 14 more injured -- "most of them women and children." Falluja General Hospital was shelled as well.
Iraqi’s government assault on Anbar continues.  Maliki’s Collective punishment is called “Revenge for the martyr Mohamed” which was preceded by a campaign with the title: “Revenge for martyrs”.
And the attacks have been indiscriminate leading many civilians to flee.  – The UN refugee agency on Friday reported[1] that more than 65,000 people had over the past week fled the conflict in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in central Iraq's Anbar province. Since fighting broke out at the end of last year, more than 140,000 people have been made homeless by fighting according to Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration.
This number comes on top of the 1.13 million people already internally displaced in Iraq and who are mostly residing in Baghdad, Diyala and Ninewa provinces.
"Many of the displaced, nonetheless, are still in desperate need of food, medical care, and other aid. As the insecurity has spread, many families who fled several weeks ago have been displaced again," according to UN.
The UN in Iraq has asked the government to facilitate the opening of a humanitarian corridor to reach displaced and stranded families in Anbar province. Currently, it is impossible to reach the area from Baghdad and relief agencies are using roads coming from northern Iraq.
Why am I talking about this and not about workshops for women’s empowerment and gender equality and political participation?  Because In order to fully address women’s issues and come with helpful policy suggestions we need to address women not as separate from the rest of society, but as a part of it  together with men.
.. and allow me to read the rest of the report :
“Other areas of Iraq including Baghdad, Erbil, Kerbala, Salah-al-Din and Ninewa have witnessed the arrival of thousands of displaced people. People are reportedly without money for food and lack suitable clothing for the rainy conditions. Children are not in school and sanitary conditions, particularly for women, are inadequate.”
The suffering of the displaced is far beyond the sheer loss of a house, it is the loss of neighborhood, community; schools and health service, the feeling of safety associated with familiarities and on the long run the submission to the newly manufactured identity   . The lack of one of these or the combination of all leads to extreme levels of trauma, fear, depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder[2].
The regression in women’s situation is so devastating that she has reached the bottom of human needs. Just to survive.
I will focus on violence in the public sphere and how it became so prominent that women have been forced to give up hard earned rights, such as employment, freedom of movement, abolition of polygamy, and the right for education and health service, seeking instead, protection for themselves and their families.

New content at Third?  We finished -- I thought -- and then Jess, Ava and I skipped out to go the movies   We saw two, one of which was very boring which was good because I needed some sleep and one of which was excellent.  We got back a little while ago and weren't surprised things weren't posted -- we knew the others were going to watch the Superbowl.  But Jim actually thought it was a very weak edition.  I agree.  Ava and I hated what we wrote and even talked about that at the movies and how we'd redo it if we were just starting to write it.

So Jim wanted to know if everyone was up for a quick attempt at rewriting.  While I was tired, Jim's feeling was he rushed through the edition in an attempt to ensure it was done before the Superbowl started.  Others may have felt the same, I don't know.   Dona had two short pieces ideas and that seemed like a good idea so I said let me start and finish at The Common Ills and then I'll join in on a later edition.  They're also calling Elaine and Mike to see if they want to participate.  (It's not as late in Hawaii.)  So give us at least 90 minutes and then hopefully content will be up there.

Saturday and Sunday, the following community sites posted:

And we'll note these non-community sites updated during that time as well:

On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics  addressed include Michael Ratner weighing in on the illegal spying and Barack's NSA speech and they speak with Professor Rick Wolff and Dr. Harriet Fraad about their essays in Imagine: Living In A Socialist USA -- about possiblities, not the lie that Barack's given us Socialism because he certainly hasn't -- a book edited by Michael S. Smith and Debby Smith and Frances Golden.  (And Rick Wolff is Harriet Fraad's husband.  Harriet's always an interesting guest on programs so she should be the highlight of this broadcast.)

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