Sunday, February 09, 2014

Nouri's Iraq: Corruption, War Crimes, human rights abuses

He may have cancelled his trip to DC -- over the mistreatment of the Kurds by the White House -- but KRG President Massoud Barzani did make it to Germany last week and is pictured above with Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.  (Here for KRG press release on the meet-up.)  Alexandra Di Stefano Pironit (Rudaw) reports:

Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani has been continuing talks with major players in Europe, and during a visit to Germany he discussed the political and security challenges facing Iraq. 
"“The real solution is for Iraq to be committed to a federal system, which is a basic principle in the Iraqi constitution," Barzani told German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin, according to a statement Wednesday by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) presidential office. 
 Referring to the security crisis in Anbar, Iraq’s largest Sunni province where Iraqi government forces and hardcore Islamic militants are fighting for control, Barzani noted that Kurds enjoy peace and prosperity compared to the rest of the country.

And now we're back to Nouri's assault on Anbar Province.

Except for racking up a lengthy list of War Crimes, Nouri's accomplished damn little.  Already, the assault has led to a stop in the export of oil to Jordan.  Reuters now reports, "Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS) plans gradually to reduce its stake in Iraq’s Akkas gas field, which lies in Anbar near the Syrian border, as violence rises in the province."  The KRG enjoys peace and prosperity.  The rest of Iraq suffers under Nouri.

If you're not getting what a failure he is, check out Courtney Trenwith's article today for Arabian Business.   Sansar Capital's Sanjay Motwani tells Trenwith, "For companies in Baghdad . . . violence is never one of their top three concerns. What are their concerns? Corruption, difficulty in securing credit, particularly for SMEs [small to medium enterprises], electricity supply and difficulty procuring real estate."

Corruption?  In their 2013 report, Transparency International ranked 177 countries and territories with the most transparent country being ranked one and the least being ranked 177.

Where did Nouri's Iraq come in on the list?

At 171.  170 countries and territories were judged to be more transparent than Iraq.

He's been prime minister since 2006 but hasn't addressed corruption.  Of course, addressing corruption would mean his son losing his generous 'allowance' and Iraqi money going to the Iraqi people.  He's been prime minister since 2006 and he still can't provide reliable electricity.

Stephen Manual (All Voices) notes the low opinion members of the US Congress have of Nouri and includes this:

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce criticized al-Maliki for slow pace of political reconciliation. He said that al-Qaida is successfully exploiting the sectarian rift in Iraq; therefore, the prime minister should come forward and expedite the political reconciliation to restore peace and stability in his country. Royce sounded the alarm when he said that al-Qaida linked militants have now been carrying out at least 40 terrorist attacks across the country each month. 

Al-Manar notes, "The governor of Iraq’s Anbar Province has given militants controlling the city of Fallujah one week to surrender as government troops are making headways against al-Qaeda-linked forces in the area."  That's actually incorrect.  Governor Ahmad al-Dulaimi didn't sole author it.  He's merely adopted it.  Hamza Mustafa (Asharq al-Awsat) explains that this was the initiative of "a group of Anbar [tribal] sheikhs," the Anbar provincial council and the governor of Anbar and that the proposal was backed by Nouri.  The article makes clear the primary authors were the tribal sheikhs of Ramadi. Aswat al-Iraq notes that when Nouri spoke of the initiative, he declared "that the central government will positively respond to 'legitimate' demands of the people."

Yeah, he's repeatedly warbled that tired song since February 2011 (the Arab Spring frightened Nouri).

In the time after the current wave of protests kicked off December 21, 2012, Nouri's usually smeared the protesters as "terrorists" while still insisting that he would address "legitimate demands."

Before the protests kicked off, two months before, we noted here that they were coming.  That's because complaints were surfacing of Iraqi women and girls being raped and tortured in Iraqi prisons and detention centers.  We noted this is an underpinning, a cause that leads people to say enough and kicks off a protest.

While Nouri has repeatedly denied (lied) that women and girls were mistreated in his prisons and detention centers, Parliament's investigation found the charges true.  The call for these women to be released is one of the core calls of the current protest movement and has been since it started.

Somehow Nouri doesn't see that as a "legitimate" demand.

But then he continues to lie that it's not taking place.

Though outlets like AFP did tiny one-offs on the major report released by Human Rights Watch this week, it's caused a big ripple among the Iraqi people because it confirms the charges are true and that the results from the Parliament's investigation were accurate.  The report is entitled (PDF format warning) "'NO ONE IS SAFE: Abuses of Women in Iraq's Criminal Justice System."  The Arab American News covers the report noting:

Many women were detained for months or even years without charge before seeing a judge, HRW said, and security forces often questioned them about their male relatives' activities rather than crimes in which they themselves were implicated.
In custody, women described being kicked, slapped, hung upside-down and beaten on the soles of their feet, given electric shocks, threatened with sexual assault by security forces during interrogation, and even raped in front of their relatives and children.

Fatimah Waseem (McClatchy Newspapers) offers:

Prisoner abuses are “at the heart of the current crisis in Iraq,” fueling deep-seated anger and lack of trust between the country’s diverse communities and security forces, said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW. “All Iraqis are paying the price,” he said.
Nearly a year after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki promised to reform the justice system, there are almost no signs of overall improvement, said Yanar Mohammed, an Iraqi activist who advocates for imprisoned Iraqi women.
“The justice system is a tool that is in the hands of the few in power,” said Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, an advocacy group. “We’re hearing more and more cases of abuse in detention centers, in police cars, and on the street.”

Rudaw's Alexandra Di Stefano Pironti's report includes:

In January 2013, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised to reform the criminal justice system, beginning with releasing detained women who had judicial orders of release. 
 A year later, the brutal tactics of security forces remain essentially the same and hundreds of women remain in detention illegally, the New York-based watchdog said.

When that for-show release took place, we called it out while others repeated propaganda.  We noted the release was a tiny number, we noted the families of these women wanted to know where they were because their 'release' didn't result all of them making home, we noted that Nouri's government refused to release a list of the women allegedly released.  In the early days, they said they were working on a list.

They weren't.  As 2013 turned to summer, Sunni governors were demanding these lists because their constituents wanted to know where their female family members were.

John Kerry's State Dept never publicly rebuked Nouri over this issue.

The silence continues to this day.

The Voice of Russia speaks to Human Rights Watch's Erin Evers.  Excerpt.

[Voice of Russia:] Last year Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised to reform the criminal justice system. However, some say that things have not improved since then. What can be done to protect the rights of women in Iraq?

[Erin Evers:]  I think the Government needs to make good on the promises that it made over a year ago. That is really the only solution. That is the only solution both to protect women’s rights and to protect the security of Iraqis at large. Back in January 2013, when the issue of illegal detentions of women and abuses of women in detention first gained publicity, Maliki responded in a great way by forming committees through which he promised that women who are illegally detained will be released and that there will be investigations into the allegations of torture and abuse, and perpetrators will be held accountable.
We haven’t found any evidence that any of that has taken place. And again in the current situation we are seeing the results of that right now. I saw a video just last week of an Al Qaeda or ISIS operative (now it is kind of unclear which is which) entering Ramadi and saying to people in Ramadi – how can we just stand by while our women’s screams in prisons go unheard, how can we stand by while our women and children are being imprisoned. And to me this is really heartbreaking, because you basically have militant groups exploiting the abuse that the Government has exposed the population to in order to strengthen themselves. Whilst had the Government met on its promises of over a year ago and actually carried out reforms, I think we wouldn’t be seeing this serious security deterioration that we are seeing now.

Nouri's refused to address the issue.  He refuses a lot.  He's been told by many -- even the US government -- that there is no military solution to what's taking place in Anbar. He's clearly not listening and the latest proof of this is that All Iraq News quotes MP Hasan al-Sineid declaring, "Only the military solution can settle the Anbar crisis since any other political initiative will relief the embargo on Qaeda Organization."

Yes, the man's an idiot.  He's also a high ranking member of Nouri's State of Law political coalition.  Why are they all so stupid in State of Law and so ugly?  al-Sineid looks like a rabid Azawakh.

And on the violence?  National Iraqi News Agency reports a Tuz Khurmato roadside bombing left 4 people dead and seven injured, an armed attack on a Shirqat police station left 3 police members dead, a decapitated corpse was discovered dumped in the streets of Shirqat, an armed attack on an Arraseef village left two police members injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they shot dead 3 suspects, 1 Iraqi army captain was shot dead in Alfarisiya, an Alfarisiyah roadside bombing left five Iraqi soldiers injured, an explosion in the village of Marii left three people injured, a Ganaos Village home invasion left 1 police member dead, a Kanaos Village home invasion left 1 police member dead, 2 Tuz Khurmato bombings left 1 person dead and ten more injured, 1 civilian was shot dead in Muqdadiya and another was left injured and shelling of security checkpoint in Abu Qarma Village left one police member injured.  Alsumaria reports a bombing north of Babel Province left 1 Iraqi military officer dead and thirty-one more soldiers injured .

The following community sites -- plus Dissident Voice, Cindy Sheehan, Susan's On the Edge, David Z, Pacifica Evening News, Liberal Oasis and Ms. magazine's blog -- have updated.

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