Saturday, July 05, 2014

Nouri is said to be "playing with fire"

After failing to move forward on forming a government last Tuesday, the Iraqi Parliament plans/hopes to meet this coming week and start the formation of a government.

Up for grabs?  The three presidencies.

This is the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the President.

Jalal Talabani has had two terms as president and, even if he was healthy enough, can't seek a third term per the Constitution.  So Iraq should have a new president at some point.  They should also have a new Speaker of Parliament (as we'll discuss in a second).  Which leaves the post of prime minister.

Despot Nouri al-Maliki wants a third term.

Alsumaria reports that State of Law MP Khalid al-Asadi declared today that they are willing to accept anyone as Speaker of Parliament except Osama al-Nujaifi. State of Law's always a little slower on the pick up than any other political coalition in Iraq.  A little slower, a little more dense.   Thursday, Osama announced he would not be seeking a second term as Speaker of Parliament.  He repeated this on Friday.  NINA notes US Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft and UK Ambassador to Iraq Simon Collis "have praised the brave stance" Osama al-Nujaifi has taken.

While having demands that others don't seek additional terms, State of Law is more than happy to demand that their own leader and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki get a third term as prime minister.  State of Law MP Abdul Salam al-Maliki declared today that it was Nouri or no one else and that that was a read line State of Law was drawing.   Meanwhile the National Alliance is expressing dismay at Nouri's claim that he has the most seats in Parliament because the National Alliance -- which includes Nouri's State of Law -- has the most seats in Parliament.  And Ibrahim al-Jafarri's bloc believes Nouri's "playing with fire" by attempting to forma government outside of the National Alliance.  NINA notes rumors that al-Nujaifi's bloc and Ayad Allawi's are, after a series of meetings, forming an alliance.

Nouri's failed in so many ways in the last 8 years as prime minister.

This includes failing with regards to security.  With cities falling to rebels, violence soaring, it can be argued that Iraq's currently at its most unstable since 2003.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports:

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the man purported to be the top leader of the self-claimed "Islamic State, " made his first public appearance at a mosque in Iraq's northern city of Mosul, according to a video clip posted on the Internet on Saturday.
The video appearance came a few days after the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaida breakaway group, proclaimed the establishment of a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq, crowned its leader Baghdadi as the "caliph," and changed its name into the "Islamic State(IS)."

Reuters also reports on the video and notes that "the Iraqi government denied the authenticity of the 21-minute video, which carried Friday's date."  Khalid Al-Ansary and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) observe:

There were conflicting reports about the identity of the man in the video. An appearance by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, would signal a brazen challenge to Iraq's government as it intensifies its offensive against the Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

As cities began falling to rebels in Iraq, there were a group of foreign nurses trapped in the country.

Alsumaria reports over 40 boarded a plane to India.  Belfast Telegraph adds, "The 46 nurses had been holed up for more than a week in Tikrit, where fighters of the Islamic State group have taken over."  Indian Express notes, "Nearly 600 more Indian nationals will return home from the conflict-hit Iraq over the next two days, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Saturday. It said 200 of them will return by an Iraqi Airways special chartered flight from Najaf to Delhi late Saturday night itself."  They also note "there are about 7,500 Indians in non-conflict zones left" in Iraq.  The Times of India speaks with 25-year-old nurse P Lesima Jerose Monisha who went to work in Iraq in hopes of paying off her student loans:

Though the insurgents assured them they would not be harmed, there was always a fear that a bomb would land on the hospital, she said.
She said the scariest moment was when the militants gave them just two hours to get ready and leave the hospital on July 2. "Indian embassy officials told us over phone to follow the gunmen's instructions for our own safety." Monisha said they were taken in a bus to Mosul where they were detained in a jail-like building. Finally on Friday they were onceagain told to pack up their belongings and board a bus. "Only then we realized we are being released. The insurgents released us on the outskirts of Mosul from where Indian embassy officials took care of us," she said.

Along with failing to provide security, Nouri's also launched repeated attacks on Iraqis.  Nouri continues  bombing residential areas in Falluja (legally defined as a War Crime).  Alsumaria reports Falluja General Hospital received five men and four women who were injured in one of Nouri's bombings. NINA notes a second Falluja bombing left 6 civilians dead and seven more injured.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports Ramadi attacks left 3 police members dead and four Sahwa injured, an al-Mansuriyya battle left 3 rebels dead, an eastern Baghdad roadside bombing left three people injured, a Sadr City bombing left four people injured, Tigris Operation Command states they killed 38 suspects in Diyala Proinvce, Joint Operations Command states they killed 27 suspects in Anbar Province and injured thirteen more, and a mortar attack late last night on a police station in Jurf al-Sakar left 4 people dead and nineteen injured.  All Iraq News adds 1 Peshmerga officer was shot dead in Baquba and a Baquba mortar attack left 2 people dead and four more injured. Alsumaria notes a second eastern Baghdad roadside bombing and this one left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead, a roadside bombing in Kirkuk province left three people injured,   2 Basra car bombings left 2 people dead and six more injured. and 3 corpses were discovered in Anbar Province -- 1 Ministry of Finance employee and two bodyguards.

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caroline alexander
bloomberg news