Monday, December 15, 2014

Grading Haider al-Abadi

Reuters has a really bad report on Haider al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq which maintains he's "swept away the divisive legacy of his predecessor."

For examples, he offers the oil deal between Baghdad and Erbil.

Since 2010, check the archives, we've repeatedly noted here the obstacle to such a deal: The United States government.  The US government didn't want it.  The US government -- see especially remarks made by then-State Dept spokesperson Victoria Nuland -- repeatedly castigated the Kurdish government.  They also misled thug and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki into believing Barack Obama, as US president, controlled ExxonMobile.  The idea is laughable to any American but Iraq had state oil, the state controlled the facilities and the companies.

Secondly, the only functioning military in Iraq currently is the Peshmerga, a Kurdish force.  They're the ones, for example, credited with reclaiming Jalawa -- here for Paul Wood's BBC report.

The importance of the Kurds to Iraq was never greater and the Barzani family (which holds both the posts of president and prime minister in the KRG) did what the Talabani family was never able or willing to do, forced Baghdad into concessions.

So let's hold off on the parade for al-Abadi just yet -- at least not over the Kurdish issue.

So what else has he done?

Reuters notes:

He has dismissed dozens of top army and security officers appointed by former premier Nuri al-Maliki, announced a campaign against corruption in the military, ordered curbs on arrests without a judge's authorisation, and decreed the speeding up of the release of detainees when courts order them to be set free.

On the dismissals, Nouri went around the Parliament on actions like appointees in the military and did so because he was paranoid and feared a military coup.  So he put people in place who were grossly inept but hugely loyal to him.

Keeping those people on would do nothing to help Iraq's failing military and it would also make it easier for Nouri to stage a coup.

In other words, no great bravery by al-Abadi.

The other things the paragraph from Reuters tell us?

Aren't those basic expectations of any government?

And more importantly words aren't actions.

He can make all the statements he wants but they don't mean anything without action.

Is he planning to accelerate the release of prisoners the courts say should be free?


Because Nouri made that promise as well and a whorish press fell for a photo op and repeated it as truth for months.

But Nouri never really did what he promised, did he?

The article notes Sunnis in Anbar are skeptical.

But fails to really explain why that might be.

September 13th, Haider announced that the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods was no more.  Those War Crimes began under Nouri and, starting January of this year, the Iraqi military began bombing the homes of the civilians in Falluja.

September 13th appeared to be a great day.

It turned out to be a great day only for meaningless statements because the bombings never stopped and continue every day -- continue every day, all this time after Haider's big announcement.

It's a key detail and omitting says more about Reuters than the news agency may wish to be said.

The editorial board of the Post and Courier sings a copy-cat version of the same song Reuters whistles today.  See if you can spot the editorial board's key error.  We'll make it a puzzle and provide the answer in tonight's snapshot.

Human Rights Watch issued an alert on Saturday regarding Iraq:

Iraq’s prime minister should order stays of execution for one rival of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and an associate of another. The death sentences were handed down after trials in which both defendants alleged they had been subjected to torture and denied access to lawyers during interrogation, highlighting Iraq’s urgent need for judicial reform.

On October 22, 2014, Baghdad’s Central Criminal Court sentenced Rasha al-Husseini, a secretary to former Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, to death on terrorism charges. The court’s judgment appears to be based entirely on al-Husseini’s confession. Her lawyers allege that security forces psychologically and physically tortured her. On November 23, the same court sentenced Ahmed al-Alwani, a former parliament member, to death on murder charges. Family members told Human Rights Watch they saw torture marks on him before his trial.

“Iraq’s judiciary is still handing down convictions in politicized trials, fraught with legal irregularities,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “Despite promises of reform, the government is sitting idly by while Iraq’s terribly flawed justice system sentences people to death on little or no evidence.”

Security forces arrested al-Husseini and about a dozen other Hashimi staff members in late December 2011. In March 2012, Human Rights Watch reported evidence that several of them had been tortured. One, a bodyguard named Amir Sarbut Zaidan al-Batawi, died about three months after his arrest. His body displayed signs of torture, including in several sensitive areas. The government denied the torture allegations and did not investigate.

Neither Reuters nor the Post and Courier acknowledge the alert.

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