Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nouri's Iraq: IHEC wants to resign, Anbar assaulted, reporters targeted

Yesterday brought the news that the entire board of the Independent High Electoral Commission was submitting their resignations -- 35 days prior to expected parliamentary elections April 30th:

Jason Ditz ( provides context,  "IHEC’s complaints roughly mirror those of the last election, that the Maliki government is trying to use the electoral law’s ban on candidates of “ill repute” to ban potential rivals en masse." 

All Iraq News notes the al-Ahra bloc's Mushriq Naji accused Nouri and his State of Law of having interfered with the work of the IHEC.  Alsumaria reports that, in his weekly speech today, Nouri al-Maliki blamed the Parliament.  He stated Parliament overstepped its bound and said the UNHCR did as well.  He declared the board's resignation should be immediately accepted.  By contrast, Nihad Qais (Alsumaria) reports Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi is calling for the commissioners to reconsider their resignations. Iraq Times notes he conveyed this message today in a meeting with the IHEC board chair.

So where do things stand currently?  No one knows.  All Iraq News notes that the planned press conference the IHEC was supposed to hold today was postponed.

Since Saturday, Nouri al-Maliki has been posing as a friend to journalist (as has the White House).  Laughable.  Reporters Without Borders issues a release today which opens:

Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned about the growing hostility that the Iraqi authorities are displaying towards critical journalists.
One of latest violations of freedom of information is a warrant for the arrest of Awn Al-Khashlok, the head of Baghdadia TV, and Anwar Al-Hamdani, the host of the station’s “Ninth Studio” programme, on charges of disturbing public order and inciting chaos and inter-communal violence. Both live in Egypt and have not been arrested.
Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki filed a complaint against Khashlok, Hamdani and the TV station after one of the guests on Hamdani’s show, former parliamentarian Mithal Al-Alussi, was very critical of Maliki, calling him “corrupt” and “sectarian.”
Although Hamdani had urged his guest to tone down his comments, the Baghdad special court for press and publications issued a warrant for the arrest of Hamdani and Khashlok on 4 March under special court provisions that were inherited from the old regime and are still in force.
“We firmly condemn this flagrant attack on freedom of information, which violates article 38 of the Iraqi constitution, and the international undertakings that have been signed and ratified by the country’s authorities,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We urge the authorities to stop using defamation complaints in an attempt to get the judicial apparatus to gag critics. The judicial proceedings that have been initiated against these journalists must be abandoned.”

But how Nouri has used the shooting death of Mohammed Bidaiwi in an attempt to demonize the Kurds.  All Iraq News notes Iraqiya MP Mohammed Eqbal declared today that the death of Bidaiwi "should not be used or exploited for the electoral propaganda."

Nouri's assault on Anbar Province continues.  He's had a little new 'success' with regards to targeting civilians.  NINA reports the military's shelling targeting Falluja not only left five people injured but also set afire a power plant -- burning over 50% of the plant.

In other violence,  National Iraqi News Agency reports Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 2 suspects,  then Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 6 more suspects1 person was shot dead in south Baghdad (Mada'in), former Brigadier General Fa'iz Abdu al-Rahman was shot dead in Baghdad,  3 grenades thrown in Mosul left thirty people injured, a Mosul battle left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead,  and 1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad ("riddled with bullet holes in his head").  Alsumaria notes a Tikrit car bombing left 3 people dead and six injured, and 1 elderly man was shot dead in Mosul.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley,, Pacifica Evening News, Jake Tapper, Susan's On the Edge and the Guardian -- updated last night and today:

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