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Turning to Iraq's elections . . . May 12th was supposed to be the day for national (parliamentary) elections and for provincial elections. Supposed to be. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, "There are claims floating around Arabic social media that provincial elections are being sidelined (until December) but that the parliamentary elections will take place May 12th."
The Iraqi government on Tuesday decided to postpone the provincial elections to Dec. 22, 2018, months after the parliament elections.
The provincial elections were initially set to be held simultaneously with the parliament elections slated for May 12.
Saad al-Hadithi, spokesman of the Iraqi government, said the postponed date was decided at a regular meeting of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the state-run Iraqiya channel reported.
And the government of Iraq explained it this way:
The Cabinet holds its weekly meeting in Baghdad, sets date for provincial elections, and discusses several draft laws
Hayder al-Abadi has stated that parliamentary elections must be held May 12th. He is firm on that because he is up for election and wants to remain prime minister.
He has no record of accomplishment. The only claim he has to run on is that he defeated ISIS but each day makes it more and more clear that ISIS remains active in Iraq. So each day makes it more and more clear how hollow his claims is.
If he could have held the elections January 1st, things would have been a lot easier for him.
But each passing day exposes his lie.
And with the realization that everything done to 'defeat' ISIS -- by Hayder, by the US government, by everyone -- has accomplished very little -- if anything at all -- the cost paid seems more and more outrageous.
There's the physical cost. All those innocent civilians killed by the US-led bombings, for example. MIDDLE EAST EYE notes:
Estimates for the number of civilian deaths in the bombing campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq could be more than seven times higher than that given by the US-led anti-IS coalition, according to a monitoring group.
Investigations carried out by Airwars suggest that since August 2014 - when the campaign against IS was launched - until mid-February 2018, the coalition was responsible for between at least 6,137 and 9,444 civilian deaths.
So far, the coalition has admitted to only 841 "unintentional" civilian deaths, a figure Airwars attributes to the group's failure to investigate more than half of 2,400 "events" referenced in relation to civilian casualties.
"One significant reason for the gulf in numbers is that half of all allegations…have yet to be assessed by the coalition," said Chris Woods, the head of Airwars, to Euronews.
Will the increased numbers finally allow Americans to express outrage? Or will we continue to treat it as something 'over there' and not at all important to our lives 'here'?
The 15 year mark for this never-ending war is next month.
Maybe it's time we tried to care about what our government has done and is doing in Iraq.
Hayder also has to deal with the fact that he's increased tensions. RUDAW, for example, notes:
The Iraqi government tends to make promises with regard to outstanding issues with the Kurdistan Region, but only to later not honor them — including the “political” Iraqi-imposed ban on international flights, Masrour Barzani told Rudaw.
The head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council is on a visit to Washington, D.C., where he has held meetings with his US counterpart H.R. McMaster, and State Department officials.
Barzani described the relations between Erbil and Washington as "very good" despite their differences over the Kurdish vote on independence held on September 25.
The Iraqi government on Monday extended the ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region until May 31, a decision described as "political" in nature by Barzani.
"It is true that there are talks between the Kurdistan Region — between us and Baghdad. In Munich ... we talked and I can say that we even reached an agreement on how to open the airports, but every day they find another excuse. It is clear now that the motive is political, not technical. There are no remaining excuses to close the airports for any longer," Barzani said.
It wouldn't appear to be a smart campaign strategy for Hayder but he's going with it.
It is difficult to shake the notion that Baghdad is playing with Erbil as the cat tortures a mouse. It is a sad indictment of Iraqi politics that this is seen as a bonus in the current Iraqi elections.
So few fall for Hayder's act:
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