Iraq is supposed to hold parliamentary elections April 30th. These are the elections which determine who will represent various districts in Parliament and also they are supposed to determine who gets first crack at becoming prime minister. A person from the party, slate or coalition that gets the most votes is supposed to be named prime minister-designate by the President of Iraq. The named is then supposed to put together a Cabinet in 30 days.
This is the only thing the prime minister-designate has to do, per the Constitution, to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister. (See Article 76.)
The Constitution does not say "a partial Cabinet." Why would it?
This is the task that shows you have leadership skills and can work with others.
The prime minister-designate nominates people to head various ministries and then Parliament either votes the nominee into office or rejects the nominee.
This is the test and it is a wise test.
If you ever doubted the wisdom of the test, grasp that someone who is unable to form a Cabinet in 30 days is someone who will not be able to lead a functioning government.
Nouri al-Maliki proved that in 2010.
November 10, 2010 -- 8 months after the election, Jalal Talabani named Nouri prime minister-designate. Because Jalal Talabani has always been meek and weak, Jalal rushed in on November 25, 2010 and 'officially' named Nouri prime minister-designate.
Officially? The tenth of November 2010, Jalal made the announcement in front of the assembled Parliament. It doesn't get more official than that. The 25th of November 2010? Jalal made it all by himself, without Parliament.
What was really going on?
Jalal was trying to breast feed Nouri again.
Nouri's wet nurse saw 15 days pass with little effort on Nouri's part to put together a Cabinet.
So Jalal clutched Nouri to his breast, Nouri suckled on Jalal's nipple and Jalal reset the clock.
Allowing Nouri additional time. December 21, 2010, after Jalal burped Nouri, wiped his ass and put a fresh diaper on him, Nouri announced his Cabinet.
But, funny thing, even with the extra days, Nouri wasn't able to put together a full Cabinet.
Now the truth here is that Nouri, having lost the 2010 elections to Ayad Allawi, refused to step down after the March 2010 elections and brought the entire country to a standstill for 8 months. He was able to do that with the support of Barack who, apparently, didn't feel his moobs should be ignored and said, "Hey, Jalal, I've got nipples too! Pass him over!"
So putting on his stylish breast feeding blouse that had just arrived from Diapers.com, Barack cradled Nouri to his nipple and told US officials to move heaven and earth to work out a contract (The Erbil Agreement) which would circumvent the Iraqi Constitution, the Iraqi voters and every notion of democracy by giving the loser of the election the top office in the country.
Because the post of prime minister came not via votes, not as outlined in the Constitution, Nouri's spokesperson and party loyalists argued Nouri wasn't bound by the Constitution's Article 76 because The Erbil Agreement went around the Constitution.
That's why he didn't worry about the time passing in November while he made little effort to form a Cabinet.
Yes, I'm having fun with Jalal and Barack who didn't actually breast feed Nouri (though I'm sure both wanted to!). Leaving the breast feeding and the changing of the diaper out of it, the above is true. And as
John Barry's "'The Engame' Is A Well Researched, Highly Critical Look at U.S. Policy in Iraq" (Daily Beast) noted:
Washington has little political and no military influence
over these developments [in Iraq]. As Michael Gordon and Bernard
Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war, The Endgame,
Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in
2010 to insist that the results of Iraq's first proper election be
honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable
judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the
most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government,
it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might
have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."
The Erbil Agreement is why things are so bad in Iraq now. Barack Obama should never have urged it, he should not have allowed the US government to broker it. Having made promises to back it, the White House then failed to do so. In November 2010, Nouri didn't implement his promises. He instead said they'd have to wait, the Cabinet had to be formed first and . . .
And then people waited and waited and waited. And in the summer of 2011, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, the Kurds and Ayad Allawi (leader of Iraqiya) began demanding publicly that Nouri implement what they were told was a legally binding contract.
It was at this point that Nouri's spokesperson announced that Nouri didn't consider the contract legal. That it was in violation of the Iraqi Constitution so he was not bound by it.
He used it to become prime minister but then discarded it.
FYI, the little lying scum who made the announcement?
He's fled Iraq. Nouri turned on him during the notorius $4 billion weapons deal with Russia. When the original contracts were noted to be corrupt, when side deals began to be reported on -- in the Iraqi press, not the western press -- Nouri needed a fall guy -- in part because his son was said to be one of the ones getting a huge bribe out of the weapons deal.
Who did Nouri sacrifice?
His loyal flunky.
And seeing the writing on the wall as he was being accused of corruption and bribery, the spokesperson high tailed it to Qatar.
It's called karma and it will bite you in the ass.
Nouri didn't pass the test of Article 76. Nouri couldn't pass the test.
Back in July 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed,
"Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting
power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions,
including the ministers of defense, interior and national security,
while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."
His second (and many pray his final) term as prime minister is set to expire in mere months and he never, ever filled the post of Minister of Defense, Minister of Interior and Minister of National Security.
US taxpayers should be outraged by the post-drawdown money wasted on police training in Iraq. Yes, eventually some of it came back or was spent elsewhere. But training facilities were built, trainers hired, course work prepared, training scheduled and all for naught.
Why was that a surprise?
The police fall under the Ministry of the Interior and Nouri never nominated anyone to head it. Parliament can't vote you in (or refuse you) if you're never nominated.
So the idiocy of the State Dept and the White House was on full display as they wanted to coordinate training with a ministry that had no minister.
Nouri never nominated people to head those posts. It was a power grab (as Ayad Allawi immediately noted when the partial Cabinet was announced -- Allawi made the call while western, US 'news' outlets insisted that Nouri would name someone in two or three weeks -- they were wrong).
If you can't build a full Cabinet, you won't have a successful government.
The wisdom of Article 76 is backed up by the disaster that is Nouri's second term.
And now there is talk from his State of Law and the so-called Independent High Electoral Commission that elections can take place April 30th and don't need to include all provinces to be considered regular elections.
This week, as noted in Friday's snapshot, the House Foreign Affairs Committee heard this exchange between US House Rep Gerry Connolly and US State Dept's Deputy
Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk
US House Rep Gerry Connolly: Elections in April? Still on schedule?
Brett McGurk: Uh, we, our team at the Embassy, is talking every day
to the United Nations Assistance Mission-Mission in Iraq and the Iraqi
High Electoral Commission which are planning the elections and the
information I have received most recently is that we have tens of
thousands of displaced families from Anbar Province. We have been
assured by those planning the elections that displaced people will still
be able to vote and their vote will count as if they were in their home
province. So we are still confident the elections will be held on
April 30th. And our consistent position, our firm position, is that
those elections have to be held on April 30th. There should not be a
How un-independent has the IHEC become? Brett called it "the Iraqi High Electoral Commission." It's named is the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq. xxxxx
Brett avoided many issues about the election when testifying to Congress.
He didn't, for example, bring up the Justice and Accountability Commission.
Despite their bad influence on the 2010 elections.
This is the body that the US government inspired when, under Bwana Paul L. Bremer, they implement de-Ba'athification. It was supposed to expire after the 2005 elections and people thought it had. In 2007, Nouri agreed to the White House list of benchmarks which included a call for de-de-Ba'athifaction, for reconciliation.
(The Ba'ath Party was Saddam Hussein's political party.)
In 2010, the Justice and Accountability reared its ugly head surprising many -- including Saleh al-Mutlaq.
The body still exists.
Why is the US government giving Nouri a single dime today?
He agreed to meet those benchmarks in 2007. He never did.
In fact, the Justice and Accountability Act of 2008 created the body. After Nouri had sworn in 2007 to the White House de-Ba'athification was over.
The White House came up with those benchmarks because Congress was making noises about defunding the war and they wanted measurables to judge whether or not to continue funding the illegal war. (By mid-2008, no one in Congress even bothered to seriously ask about these benchmarks in public hearings except for US House Rep Lloyd Doggett out of Austin, Texas.)
Well the Justice and Accountability Commission is back.
Iraq Times reported Friday that they had banned 69 of the 379 candidates they had so far checked.
Apparently, the other 310 did not have criminal records, they had criminal MP3s which allowed them to be waived through.
Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) adds that many politicians are nervous such as Saleh al-Mutlaq.
Of course he's nervous. He may be Deputy Prime Minister today but in the lead up to the March 2010 elections, he was not allowed to run. The Justice and Accountabiitiy Commission declared him a "Ba'athist."
Back to Sabah who reports that the UNHCR has pointed out that, thus far, the JAC has not checked the names of prominent candidates. (That would most likely mean Saleh al-Mutlaq's name has not yet been checked which would explain why he's worried.)
By the way, I don't care for Saleh these days because I feel he's been less than genuine with the Iraqi protesters. But I also don't believe he is a scary 'Ba'athist' who should be prevented from running for office. That is nonsense and it is just how, in 2010, Nouri attempted to sideline many of his rivals.
Oh, another fun fact, the head weasel on the JAC in 2010, Ali al-Lama, can't participate this year. He was brutally murdered May 26, 2011. Again, it's called karma.
Sabah reveals they will be checking the names of 10,293 candidates in all.
He notes many observers fear the JAC is being used again as a net to remove the political rivals of Nouri.
It's a real shame that what Iraqis can read about in their press was not something Brett McGurk felt he should inform Congress of.
(Nouri nominated a friend to head the commission -- as we noted last Sunday. That was days before Brett testified. If he wasn't aware of that, he should have been.)
Looking at an early list -- small list of under 300 -- initially sent to JAC, you've got a list where the only thing that really stands out is the oldest candidate on that subset was born in 1940 and the youngest in 1982. And then if you apply a little logic, why is anyone born in 1982 someone requiring a 'Ba'athist' check. They were 20 years old in 2002. If their birthday was in April or later, how close could they be to Saddam Hussein?
But to try to apply logic to the issue is to pretend that the Justice and Accountability Commission even attempts to work freely.
And anyone thinking of e-mailing regarding the first ban by the JAC and how all of our links here on it go to Arabic language articles, e-mail Prashant Rao over AFP's Iraq coverage or others. It's not my fault they didn't cover the news.
Sunday's "Hejira" opened:
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
I don't know that the western media ever even covered that.
But the first list of banned candidates and the reactions are news and I have no idea why western, English language outlets have ignored it.
However, it really shouldn't be such a surprise that they're inaccurate and not telling people what they need to know about -- that has been their m.o. since the 2002 roll out that sold the illegal war. Maybe Prashant can work that into a Tweet?
It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.
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i hate the war