Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nouri throws a lit match on oil soaked Iraq

All Iraq News reports that cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has offered his Najaf home for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani to meet for a working lunch to address the ongoing conflict.  Conflict?  Nouri's sent the Tigris Operation Command into the disputed territories.  The Kurds, noting he has refused to implement the Constitution's Article 140 (which outlines how disputed areas will be resolved) for six years, see this as Nouri's attempt to claim the areas for the Baghdad-based government and deny them to the KRG.  Friday shots were exchanged.  Liz Sly (Washington Post) quoted  Tuk Hurmatu's Mayor Shalal Abdul stating "everyone started shooting at everyone else."

Al Mada notes Moqtada's statement about the working lunch was read by Moqtada's spokesperson Salah al-Obeidi.  If you're trying to find out what's going on, skip Press TV.  It's Iranian-state TV and is has more than a vested interest.  And skip American jerks who don't know any better but treat Press TV as gospel.  I'm reading one such idiot right now. The inciting incident was Nouri sending the Tigris forces into the disputed areas.  This was done in the midst of a political crisis -- an already existing one -- that Nouri created by targeting Iraqiya.  If you're too stupid to know that -- as Digital Journal is -- then just don't cover the issue.  If you're as stupid as Digital Journal is, you're harming the dialogue, so excuse yourself from the table.

What's taking place isn't a surprise nor is the rising tensions.  This was what the RAND Corporation study predicted would happen back in 2011.  And it was predicted before too.  Yes, there were many idiots.  There was Chris Hill, for example.  Barack's first US Ambassador to Iraq told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that it was just a typical land dispute.  He had no idea.  (About so many things.)

Zanko Ahmad (niqash) offers:

Then in September 2012, the formation of a new military command post – the Tigris Operation Command - in Kirkuk, in the middle of the area of disputed territories, saw tensions escalate again. High ranking Kurdish officials called the new outpost a conspiracy by Baghdad to take control of Kurdish areas while Arab politicians saw the new Iraqi forces as a positive addition to local security in areas that are still some of Iraq’s most dangerous.

And ever since the formation of this military command, analysts have speculated that, if the matter was not handled slowly and carefully, there was potential for clashes between the two military forces present – the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, tasked with protecting the Iraqi Kurdish territory, and the Iraqi army sent in by al-Maliki’s office.

The events of the past week in the district of Tuz Khurmatu in the Salahaddin province have proven them right.

Last Friday there were clashes between forces made up of the Iraqi police and army and Iraqi Kurdish military with allegiance to one of the two major political parties running the semi-autonomous region, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK. Clashes between the two groups left one civilian dead and wounded two PUK military members, five Iraqi police and eight members of the Iraqi army.

The incident was extremely worrying with many fearing that it could be the spark that ignited a more heated military exchange. The first response by Barzani, who heads the PUK and who is also the President of the Iraqi Kurdish region, was to ask the people of Iraqi Kurdistan to be prepared for any unwanted eventualities. Of the heads of the two major political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, Barzani has been the most confrontational. 

Moqtada's not the only one offering assistance.  AFP reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met with KRG President Barzani yesterday, "The speaker's office said Osama al-Nujaifi met Kurdistan president Massud Barzani on the second day of an initiative aimed at reducing tensions between Iraqi Kurds and Baghdad, which he warned could lead to civil war."  All Iraq News reports al-Nujaifi returned to Baghdad today with plans to meet with Nouri.  Alsumaria notes that Barzani conveyed to al-Nujaifi that the Kurds would prefer to resolve the crisis with dialogue.

If you're an idiot -- like Digital Journal -- you look at what's happening and say, "Bad Kurds!"

This is not on the Kurds.  This is Nouri.  Nouri doesn't control the Peshmerga -- the KRG's elite fighting force.  He has refused to nominate a Minister of the Interior, a Minister of National Security or a Minister of Defense so that he can be in charge.  That's in violation of the Constitution.  In fact, he shouldn't even be prime minister because you have to form a Cabinet -- in full, not partial -- per the Constitution to become prime minister.  (Someone is named prime minister-designate.  From that moment, they have 30 days to name a Cabinet.  If they don't, the Constitution requires a new person be named prime minister-designate.)  Nouri got around that because the White House wanted the US puppet to remain in place so the US government brokered a contract called the Erbil Agreement which circumvented the Iraqi Constitution.

He controls all the non-Kurdish forces and does so illegally.  The most prized forces in Iraq?  The Peshmerga. They were not disbanded -- because they were not part of Saddam Hussein's government, they were part of the semi-autonomous KRG.  They protected the KRG throughout the 90s.  They did not training from the US.  They are the most capable military force in Iraq to this day.  And Nouri doesn't control them.  Earlier this year, he tried starving them, refusing to include them in the 2013 federal budget.  To be in the budget, they'd have to be under Nouri's control.  The KRG did not say, "Take our Peshmerga!"

So quit pretending Nouri's an innocent player because the Iranian government wants you to believe he is.

If you're not getting who is causing the problem, read this Al Mada report. Nouri's just announced that KRG officials may not leave Iraq without the permission of the federal government (his permission).  That is a serious move and one intended to further inflame tensions.  That's on Nouri and no one else.  He just threw a lit match on oil soaked Iraq.

So the likes of Digital Journal need to grasp that they can be a stooge for the Iranian government all they want, but grasp that they are lying.  And if you're being a stooge as some way to 'protest' a war on Iran, you're an even bigger idiot.  Lies start wars, they don't stop or prevent them.  Being a stooge for the Iranian government just means that if you are against US war on Iran, it looks like you're against it because you're a stooge and no one's going to take you seriously.  So you're not only spinning for the Iranian government to make despot Nouri look like the victim, you're ensuring that as the push continues for US war on Iran, no one needs to listen to you.  You also tar and feather the rest of us associated with No War On Iran as stooges. So get your act together or excuse from the table because we don't need you nullifying all of our voices.

Lastly, Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reports on Iraq's past royalty and the relation of the country to it today:

July 14, when King Faisel II and members of his family were killed in 1958, is celebrated as a national holiday here. Bridges and roads are named after that date.
But there are calls by some politicians to revoke those celebrations. The Iraqi post office, responding to popular demand, has issued stamps commemorating Iraq’s King Faisel and his son and grandson who later took the throne.
And at an unprecedented exhibit of photographs and royal memorabilia recently, hundreds of Iraqis came daily to marvel at a history some didn’t know they’d had, or reminisce about a more peaceful time.

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