Saturday, June 04, 2011

Does the end of 100 Days mean trouble for Nouri?

Aswat al-Iraq reports Iraqi youth activists met up in Istanbul today with Ayad Al-Zamili, who heads the conference's organizing committee, stating this "is the first of its kind since the outburst of popular protest in Iraq last February." He further stated that the meet-up was not held in Iraq "due to the security deterioration and governmental arrests for a number of activists during the past period, we had to meet in Turkey. We do not have the intention to establish a party of political organization, but only to unify efforts on a road map for their movement, to be added to that of the Iraqi people, after the end of the 100 Days set by Maliki, that ends on 7 of this month to achieve the promised reforms demanded by the Iraqi people." June 7th ends the 100 Days. Dar Addustour quotes al-Zamili stating the conference is about imporving cooperationg between the groups and the youth activists and the media as well addressing oragnization techniques and messaging. He notes that the security conditions in Baghdad have only worsened and that they are hoping to develop a road map for future actions via the conference. At the meet-up, Aswat al-Iraq also reports, the activists explored "Suing Premier Nouri al-Maliki's government at the International Criminal Court in the Hague for violating human rights, freedom of expression, peaceful demonstrations and the Geneva Convention."

David Ali (Al Mada) notes that the activists are considering filing a complaint with the ICC specifically about the arrest of four activists in Baghdad two Fridays ago and calling for their release. The activists state that charges against them (fake i.d.s) are fraudulent and that the activists should be immediately freed. Meanwhile Nouri has issued an order that there will be no protests next Friday in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.

With the 100 days coming to an end June 7th, Nouri doesn't want the world to see just what a failure he is and just how unpopular he is. Fortunately, so very much of the foreign press in Iraq (that includes the US) have been happy to ignore the ongoing months of protest in order to assist Nouri -- the US Embassy prevails over a free press apparently.

Among the things Nouri was supposed to be addressing in the 100 Days (called in an attempt to defocus attention on the protests and to buy time for Nouri) was the lack of jobs. Al Mada notes that while the official unemployment rates is 15% (a high number itself), the actual unemployment number is probably 30%. Mohammed Tawfeeq and Chelsea J. Carter (CNN) report on the impending end of the 100 Days and note what's taking place as the end arrives:

But activists and a leading human rights group accused al-Maliki's government of a campaign of intimidation against protest organizers ahead of the deadline, even as an Iraqi government spokesman announced a news conference to showcase improvements.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered Friday in Baghdad's Tahrir Square to demand the release of four protest organizers -- Jihad Jalil, Ali al-Jaf, Mouyed Faisal and Ahmed Al-Baghdadi -- who were detained during a protest at the same location a week earlier.
Carrying banners that featured pictures of the four organizers, demonstrators chanted: "Oh Maliki, don't muzzle the voice of the people/oh Maliki, release the four immediately."

The 100 Days were also supposed to see an improvement in the security situation. That didn't take place either. Alsumaria TV reports, "Iraqi Parliament Speaker Ousama Al Nujaifi believes that the recurrence of bombings in Iraq without control is a clear sign on the failure to manage security in the country and an indicator on the major downfall in the performance of security forces." Reuters notes that today's violence included a Falluja roadside bombing and the Baghdad assassination of Lt Col Mohammed Karim.

Meanwhile Nouri insists, Dar Addustour reports, that any failures are the responsibility of everyone and not just his -- but who is prime minister and who dug in his heels and violated the Constitution to remain that? Al Sabaah reports on a protest in Basra that began after dark and in response to the continued deterioration in the electricity services.

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