Monday, February 09, 2015

Saleh al-Mutlaq frets over the safety of his own ass

AP reports Saleh al-Mutlaq states the US is not doing enough for Iraq and must provide more military aid.



Saleh is a Sunni who serves as Deputy Prime Minister today and served in that post during thug Nouri al-Maliki's second administration (2010 to 2014) as well.

Saleh showed a tiny bit of spunk, the spunk he'd demonstrated on Al Jazeera prior to April 2010 when he'd talk about how non-inclusive the government was (Nouri's first term, 2006 to 2010) and talk about the need to abolish the Justice and Accountability Commission and other things.

But then he gave the interview to CNN where he compared Nouri to Iraq's former ruler Saddam Hussein.  And Saleh found himself targeted along with Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.   Both men were Sunnis.

Both men were stopped as they attempted to fly from Baghdad to the Kurdistan Regional Government.  They were both pulled off the plane by Nouri's forces, held for about an hour and then released.  They flew to the KRG.  The next day, Nouri had an arrest warrant for Tareq issued.

That was against the law, both men were members of Parliament and Parliament needed to strip them of their office before Nouri could go around issuing arrest warrants.

While Tareq stood firm against Nouri, Saleh dropped to his knees and nuzzled thug Nouri's leg.

Eventually, Nouri would drop his efforts to have Saleh stripped of his post and the two would rub noses in peace for the remainder of Nouri's term.

Saleh al-Sell Out.

December 30, 2012, Saleh decided to (finally) visit one of the protests in Iraq and went to the largely Sunni-based city of Ramadi.  To the western press' shock, he was greeted with a few thrown rocks and bottles.  They just couldn't understand why Sweet Ass Saleh wouldn't be embraced.

And, of course, Saleh attempted to portray the bottles and rocks hurled as 'an assassination attempt.'  A lie many western outlets ran with.

But as we noted that day:

The statement al-Mutlaq's office issued can be seen as an attempt by the politician to cover [up] what happened.  Why he was stupid enough to go to a protest is beyond me.  Yes, he is Sunni and, yes, he is in the Iraqiya slate.  But Saleh al-Mutlaq is not popular.  He and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi (also Sunni and Iraqiya) were both targeted by Nouri in December of 2011.  While Tareq ended up having to leave the country and being convicted of 'terrorism,' Saleh sailed right through.  In May, Nouri dropped his efforts to strip Saleh of his office.
By that point, there had been months of speculation in the Iraqi press that Saleh al-Mutlaq had cut a deal to save his own ass, that he was now in partnership with Nouri al-Maliki.  This seemed to be even more true when Saleh was seen as undermining efforts to get a no-confidence vote against Nouri as spring was winding down.
Saleh al-Mutlaq is seen -- rightly or wrongly -- by Sunni Iraqis as someone who protects himself and does nothing for other Sunnis (whether they're politicians or average citizens).
He went to a Sunni area, Ramadi, where protests had long been taking place and was immediately greeted with a demand that he resign from the Cabinet.  (That would not have taken him out of his MP status.  He just would no longer be a Cabinet member.)  He was appalled by the idea and rejected it outright.
Nouri's first term was notorious for one Cabinet walk out after another.
But Saleh wouldn't even entertain the idea?
You've got provincial councils going on strike but Saleh can't even do a walk out?
Of course they threw rocks and bottles at him.  He was already seen as a sell-out.  And people want to believe that's not the case but then he appears before them and acts like that?  He destroys his own image.
He never should have gone and it's a sign of just how out of touch with Sunni public opinion he is that he did show up.

This led to a friend covering Iraq at the time calling me from Iraq to say that I wasn't there (no, I wasn't) and that I didn't know what I was talking about.

I frequently don't know what I'm talking about, I'm sure.

But as I told him over the phone, I'm dead right about Saleh and, while I'm not in Iraq, it's also true I'm not hiding out in the Green Zone nor am I accepting a Shi'ite view of Iraq as the one true understanding of the country.

We agreed to disagree.

We never mentioned the topic again.

Although, March 29th, I did e-mail him this photo:

From Karkuk من كركوك

That's Saleh.

And it's being displayed in Kirkuk.  (It was also displayed that day in Ramadi.)  No to Saleh al-Mutlaq.

Yeah, Saleh's not real popular.

And in fact, it was only a few months ago that the Parliament was saying they were going to launch an investigation on Saleh with a focus on corruption.  That investigation may or may not get started and the results may or may not get buried.

But the point here is, he can speak for the tiny district that elected him (largely due to his family) but he really can't speak for Sunnis at large -- most of whom detest him.

When you're a politician as hated as he is, maybe you don't push for political solutions.  Certainly, the state of Iraq has never been his big issue.  He's never really cared about the Iraqi people.

He's always cared about making sure his end was set up.

So it's no surprise that, as Iraq continues to struggle, all Saleh can think about is getting foreign fighters into the country to protect his own ass.

That desire for protection probably only increased this morning when, as Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports, violence in Baghdad has left "at least 22 people [dead] and wounded dozens. Deutsche Welle points out, "On Saturday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had lifted a midnight-5 a.m. curfew in place in Baghdad in various forms since 2004, when Iraq fell into violent chaos following the US-led invasion the year before. On Saturday, multiple bombings in the capital killed 35 people."

Remember, it's the safety of the Green Zone that motivated the White House.  They feared the Islamic State was attempting to take over Baghdad.  The Yazidi issue -- trapped on Mount Sinjar -- was only an excuse to launch military action (the hollowness of the effort was demonstrated by the administration -- especially Susan Rice on NBC's Meet The Press -- declaring the action a 'success' and the Yazidis freed despite the fact that it would take months before that actually happened).

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