This morning, WORLD BULLETIN reports:
A total of 374 would-be candidates will be excluded from Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary polls due to previous associations with the now-defunct Baath Party, according to Iraq’s Justice and Accountability Commission.
In a Monday statement, the commission said it had finished vetting the names of 7,367 potential candidates, 374 of whom had been found to have links with the outlawed party, which ruled Iraq under deposed President Saddam Hussein.
The Justice and Accountability Commission was supposed to have been sent packing long ago. In fact, ending de-Ba'athification and moving to national reconciliation was one of the benchmarks the Iraqi government was supposed to meet in order to continue receiving US financial and military support. But that was when Bully Boy Bush was in the White House. These days, they don't even pretend. And, let's be clear, the benchmarks were a pretense. The only one who took them seriously in the US Congress was US House Rep Lloyd Doggett. He expected them to be met or support to be cut off. Others in Congress didn't even pretend to care.
May 12th is when Iraq is supposed to hold the latest round of elections.
Dropping back to last Friday's CSIS podcast, where Anthony Cordesman and pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher discussed Iraq's upcoming elections. Using the data pool of those who intend to vote (likely voters), Dagher predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats. The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats).
These are predictions and the election's over a month out (May 12th). Even if the predictions are accurate, many things could change by the time elections roll around. In 2010, many pollsters were predicting a big victory for Nouri al-Maliki. Not only did he not have a big victory at the polls, he did not even have a victory. Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya won in 2010.
If Dagher's current predictions should prove to be accurate, no single party will win enough seats to form a government and will have to enter arrangements with other parties.
That's where it always gets confusing. There's the law and then there's the Iraqi courts. The party with the most seats in Parliament is supposed to get first crack at forming a government. After the 2010 March election, Nouri pulled out a court verdict that none of the other parties knew about and presented it as law.
If the laws and rules are followed this go round and if Dagher's predictions ended up accurate, Hayder al-Abadi would have first crack at forming a government. He would need to enter alliances with other groups. You need 163 seats in the Parliament to govern.
And for 2018, what's expected? Per Dagher, forming the government after the election will not come quickly, "It will take a long time. It will take quiet a long time." He did not reference 2010 but he did say he was basing this on the 2014 post-election process. 2010, of course, took eight months following the election for a government to be formed.
Corruption and jobs are the two biggest issues potential voters cite for how they will determine whom to vote for. That explains Hayder's low turnout. (Low? In 2010, Ayad Allawi's group won 91 seats.) Hayder has not reduced -- let alone ended -- corruption and job creation has not been present in Iraq. Of course, many who do have jobs in Iraq have a different problem: getting paid for their work.
Ferhad Dolemeri (RUDAW) reports, "Kurdish farmers filed a complaint at Iraq's administrative court in Baghdad against the trade minister as part of their continued demands for not providing full compensation for their last four years of crops sold to Baghdad."
Dagher is not the only one making predictions about the upcoming elections.
There is a lot of energy vested in the US State Dept -- therefore also in the US press -- for this round of elections to be seen as a success and a confirmation of something. But the spin suffered a blow this week when Mohamed Haidar resigned as Vice Chair of the Elections Committee.
Let's move over to Kurdistan.
Turkey is destroying what little infrastructure we have here in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with almost daily air strikes
Turkey is not offering repayment for their bombings. That the Iraqi government is not speaking out about the destruction of northern Iraq goes to a lack of will and a lack of support. RUDAW reports:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Baghdad that Ankara will not wait for permission to extend its war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) into Iraqi territory.
Erdogan, speaking at the opening ceremony for a number of new schools and gymnasiums in Istanbul on Monday, said PKK fighters may flee across international borders, but they cannot hide from the Turkish armed forces.
What is he talking about? He's stating he will not coordinate with the Iraqi government and, specifically, he is rebuffing the US government.
At last Thursday's US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert voiced the position of the US government:
QUESTION: Could you clarify the situation in Sinjar? The PKK says it’s left. Turkey is still making threats. What’s the situation there, as far as you know?
MS NAUERT: Right. We’ve certainly seen reports that there are those groups in Sinjar. And many of us will remember Sinjar from the Yezidis, the Yezidis who were there who then had to be rescued, some of them, and some of them were brutally murdered by ISIS. We’ve seen the reports of those groups in Sinjar. We understand that Turkey has expressed some of its concern over the presence of them in northern Iraq. Sinjar and the United States expect that any operations in Iraq would be done with the approval of the Iraqi Government. So if Turkey is coming into Sinjar, they need to coordinate that with the Government of Iraq.
Let's move to a different topic.
The entire Republican Party operationalized against the Dixie Chicks when they spoke against Bush and the Iraq War. Suddenly, the GOP wants to cry “censorship” because advertisers in the free market don’t want to pay Laura Ingraham to bully a teenage mass shooting survivor.
No wonder Hillary lost. She had idiots like Kaivan working for her.
Do they really think they can say whatever s**t they want and get away with it?
I was at the hearing where John McCain -- a Republican -- called out the silencing of the Dixie Chicks. Do not say "the entire Republican Party." Nor do I believe that the reluctant voter for the Iraq War Olympia Snowe was part of an attack on the Dixie Chicks.
I'm really tired of the lies from the Hillary crowd. They don't care about Iraq, they never have. And now they think they can say whatever they want and facts don't matter.
Is this really to be Hillary's legacy? This crop of liars? Since they identify themselves as workers on her campaign, you would think they would work twice as hard to be accurate.
On the topic of dishonesty, let's note this:
Barack Obama was president for two terms. During those two terms, he visited Iraq once and only once.
He was not propelled to the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination by his words on Afghanistan, he was propelled by his words on Iraq and his promise -- which Samantha Power explained wasn't really a promise -- to end the Iraq War.
He visited Iraq only once as president.
The lying woman who Tweeted knew she was lying and tried to conflate the two.
Iraq? If Trump gets two terms and doesn't visit Iraq, she can complain. Until then, there's not really any point in comparing the two.
I love how these trashy people who never try to stop the Iraq War love to jump on it when they think they can use it as political football.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, BLACK AGENDA REPORT and LATINO USA -- updated: