Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Iraq: Hope comes with a fader

Raheem Salman and Maggice Fickl (Reuters) report, "Iraqi forces have withdrawn from the militant-held city of Tikrit after their new offensive met heavy resistance, in a blow to the government effort to push back Sunni insurgents controlling large parts of the country."  That was yesterday at "sunset," the reporters note.

And yesterday is what any hope in Iraq is becoming -- a thing of the past.

We argued weeks before the April 30th parliamentary elections that a new prime minister -- someone other than thug Nouri al-Maliki (and someone not seen as Nouri's stooge) -- could provide a reset.

Violence would not vanish but the level of violence might decrease.

A new prime minister could restore -- even briefly -- hope that things might change.

That's not open-ended.

And that's been demonstrated.  As the press kept calling Nouri the next prime minister after the elections -- despite his not winning enough seats to justify that call, violence in Iraq increased.

As hard as that was for some to picture happening in March when things were already bad in terms of violence, things have gotten even worse.

There's not a lot of time for a reset to work.

Equally true, the more weeks it takes, the more 'anyone' doesn't fill the blank.

The more weeks it takes, the more it will insist that someone like Ammar al-Hakim, Moqtada al-Sadr, Ayad Allawi, Ibrahim al-Jaafari or someone of that stature whose seen as seeing Iraq as a cohesive country made up of Iraqis -- not a loose confederation of sects -- will be needed as prime minister.

Time is running out.

The US government needs to strongly convey that and maybe they need to stop helping Nouri with his targeting of this group for a bombing and that group.  (I think they should for War Crimes reasons but I'm saying it's also helping to prop him up.)

All Iraq News notes KRG President Massoud Barazni informed Ibrahim al-Jaafari that the Kurds continue to reject Nouri as prime minister for a third term.

People, including the US government, better be listening.  While every other Iraqi leader (I'm not including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani) has suffered some form of setback in the last 12 months, Barzani hasn't.  He's actually increased his popularity -- and not just among Sunnis (and the USAID poll that the State Dept's silent on right now bears that out).

Nouri gets named prime minister, Iraq -- already on fire -- blazes even brighter.

And this can't keep up, you can't expect people to keep hoping and hoping and hoping.

It's time for the Iraqi Parliament to get a president and name a prime minister-designate.

Refusal to do is just going to increase the violence.

It's obvious that Nouri's refusing to go quietly.  The tension is mounting along with the fear over a third term of Nouri.

As bad as violence is right now -- and Margaret Griffis ( counts  235 dead and 185 injured yesterday -- it's going to get a lot worse if the Parliament doesn't move quickly.

Early reports of violence today?  National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 police member was shot dead in Abu Ghraib, a Hujayer battle left four police members injured and 2 rebels dead, and a Mosul air raid left at least 14 suspects dead. All Iraq News adds a Heet car bombing left 5 people dead and nine more injured, and the toll from two Sadr City car bombings rose to 8 dead and fifty-one injured.

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