Sunday, May 04, 2014


Iraq's getting another hotel.  Crystal Chesters (Hotelier Middle East) reports a Sheraton will open in Dohuk in October and, later, one in Erbil.  That's the Kurdistan Region, for those who don't know.  As we've noted repeatedly for years, Iraq is getting hotels . . . in the KRG.  Nouri's awful reputation for breaking his word has done as much damage to building up Baghdad as has the nonstop violence.

Maybe Wednesday's elections will bring about actual change?

Rudaw reports:

Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani said that last week’s elections must bring real shift in Iraqi politics, otherwise the autonomous Kurds would have no interest in remaining part of Baghdad’s complicated problems. 
"If the elections do not cause change in Baghdad's politics and position, and the political and security crisis only deepens, Kurdistan will have no choice but to stay out of Iraq’s complicated problems," Barzani said in comments quoted on the presidential website. 
He said that the Kurds have been participants in Iraq as stipulated by the constitution, "but Baghdad has not abided by the constitution, and violated it."

Barzani is correct, Nouri's in violation of the Constitution.

There are many violations but let's just zoom in on one.

In the spring of 2006, Nouri was sworn in as prime minister and took an oath to uphold the country's Constitution.  That would include Article 140.

This is the process to determine whether oil-rich Kirkuk Province is part of the central government out of Baghdad or part of the KRG.

The Constitution Nouri swore to uphold demanded that Article 140 (a census and a referendum) be implemented by the end of 2007.

Nouri refused to.

In 2010, he lost the parliamentary elections but the US-brokered a contract known as The Erbil Agreement.  In exchange for the leaders of the political blocs giving loser Nouri a second term, Nouri promised -- in the contract -- to give them certain things.  To the Kurds, he promised he would finally implement The Erbil Agreement.

I wouldn't have trusted the liar but the Kurds did -- and as Kurdish MP points out in an e-mail, when I say they were foolish to trust Nouri, I leave out the fact that Nouri had announced a census in Kirkuk.

The MP is correct.  As The Erbil Agreement was being negotiated, a census was supposed to take place at the start of December in Kirkuk.  This would be the first of the two-steps Article 140 requires.

However, after The Erbil Agreement was signed, Nouri announced that he was cancelling the census.

Despite the Constitution -- which he took another oath to in November 2010 -- requiring a census and referendum on Kirkuk and despite promising he would finally implement that, promising in a legal contract, Nouri never did.

He's in violation of the Constitution in many more ways but that is the most basic and underscores what a failure he is, how his word means nothing and how is not upholding the country's Constitution.

The election was troubling to say the least.  See Iraq Surveys and Dirk Adriaensens "Fraudulent Elections In Iraq" (Brussells Tribunal) for more.  In addition, Aswat al-Iraq reports there are 675 registered complaints about the elections with 375 complains being about "the armed and police forces."  Jean Shaoul (WSWS) offers:

There have been numerous allegations of foul play in the electoral process. According to Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister and leader of the Iraqiya List, which won the most seats in parliament in 2010, 38 candidates from his political bloc were barred from running in the elections. The Electoral Commission claimed that it had disqualified 34 candidates from all parties.
All the political factions and cliques have played the sectarian card. Not one of them has addressed the dreadful economic and social conditions facing the vast majority of the population, even as oil production and revenues increase. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the draft Iraqi budget for 2014 “anticipates average exports of 3.4m barrels/day (b/d), up 1m b/d from the previous year."
The mounting poverty is the direct result of al-Maliki’s government, installed under the US occupation, which has promoted free market policies and introduced legislation outlawing the organisation of workers and unions to fight for higher wages and better conditions.

Serena Shim (Press TV -- link is video and text) reports that counting of the ballots continues and that the turnout was 60%.

As questionable as the election was a kidnapping in Miqdadiya today.  NINA reports merchant Mohammad Sami Ajaj was kidnapped by men "wearing military uniforms" who stormed his home.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports a Ramadi suicide car bomber took his own life and the life of 1 police member with four more left injured, a Jurf Al-Sakher roadside bombing injured ten Iraqi soldiers, a Mosul car bombing left nine people injured, an al-Husseiniya sticky bombing left 1 person dead, a Mosul roadside bombing left two people injured, 1 police member was shot dead in Hit and two more were left injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 4 suspects, Joint Operations Command announced that they killed 20 suspects in Falluja,  1 person was shot dead in Yusifiyah, security sources say they killed 2 suspects in Tash,  a Baghdad sticky bombing left 1 Sahwa dead,  police found 3 corpses dumped northwest of Baghdad,  police found 7 corpses (all from the same family) dumped south of Baghdad, and 2 corpses were discovered dumped in Mosul.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) counts 29 dead in Sunday's violence. AFP counts 30 dead.  Pakistan's The News notes 39 dead.  But they are counting the victims of Nouri al-Maliki's violence.  This means they're including 11 dead and four injured in Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- where Nouri is bombing despite international law outlawing the targeting of civilians or the use of collective punishment.

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.

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) the topics include for-profit medical care in prison (guest for the discussion is Dr. Robin Andersen) and lawsuits against prison health management systems (guest are attorneys Sarah Grady and Anand Swaiminathan) and the hosts discuss Secretary of State John Kerry and the Middle East as well as Palestine Solidarity Legal Support Project.

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