Monday, December 08, 2014

Iraq: What immunity agreement for US troops?

Aso Fishagi (Rudaw) reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is going to disband the Justice and Accountability Commission and quotes the current head of the committee, Bakhtiar Amin, declaring, "We submitted a new draft to the government for a special law regarding accountability and justice in which we have asked to soften the legal measures against the former Baathists."

I guess this is where we're all supposed to applaud and scream, "Progress!"

A few quick things before we start tossing streamers in the air . . .

This committee is based on the process started by the Bully Boy Bush administration and is known as "de-Ba'athification."  It was singled out in the British Iraq Inquiry (which has yet to publish their findings) as one of the key events that resulted in the hardening of sectarian division within Iraq.  It's seen as one of the most destructive factors.  Witness after witness -- military witness, diplomatic witness -- testified to that.

In 2007, the Bully Boy Bush administration, fearing Congress would cut off funding for the never-ending war, proposed a series of benchmarks that Nouri al-Maliki's government would meet -- Nouri signed off on these benchmarks.  This would show, the White House insisted, progress in Iraq, these would be measurements that would demonstrate success.

The US press, whores that they are, zeroed in on one and only one benchmark: the passage of an oil and gas law.  That never happened.

But another benchmark was de-de-Ba'athification -ending the purging of former Ba'ath members from the government and security forces.

Like all the quickly forgotten benchmarks, nothing ever happened.

The Justice and Accountability Commission, however, was supposed to automatically term out.

And the Iraqi Parliament thought it had.

But then, on the eve of the 2010 elections, Nouri began using the forgotten committee to purge political rivals.  The commission declared this person and that person unfit to run.  Saleh al-Mutlaq, the current Deputy Prime Minister, was one of those barred from running by the Committee.  Most barred were Sunni.  A few were Shi'ites.  What all barred shared in common was being a political rival or Nouri al-Maliki's.

In the 2014 elections, the Committee raised its head again.

So it would be really great if the Committee was killed once and for all; however, it's supposedly been dead before only to come back to life at the last minute.

Equally true, announcements aren't actions.

Is the new prime minister Haider al-Abadi announcing he's ending the Committee?

Well didn't he also announce September 13th that the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- War Crimes -- by the Iraqi military was over?  And don't those bombings continue every day despite his announcement?

Announcements are not actions.

Sometimes they aren't even announcements.

Last week we noted the Associated Press reporting:

The US has reached an agreement with Iraq on privileges and immunities for the growing number of troops based in the country, helping in the fight against the Islamic State (Isis) militant group, the new US ambassador said on Thursday.
Stuart Jones said prime minister Haider al-Abadi has given assurances that US troops will receive immunity from prosecution.
They were one of many reporting that.  ABC News had an interview with US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones saying the immunity agreement had taken place.

That struck me strange for many reasons (including the December 2012 agreement no one wants to talk about) but it's even stranger today.

NINA reports:

Prime Minister Dr. Haidar al-Abadi media office of Dr. Haider Abadi denied news which recently claimed that the Iraqi government would be granted immunity to US troops describing such a news as fabricated .
The office said in a statement today that the statements attributed to the US ambassador are baseless and exciting surprise .

I believe it was Tag Team who once said, "Whoomp! There it is!"

Again, announcements aren't actions and sometimes they aren't even really announcements.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Aging" went up last night.

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