Friday, May 18, 2018

Iraq snapshot

Friday, May 18, 2018.

The final results of the Iraq election, not formally confirmed yet: • Sa’iroon (Muqtada Sadr) 54 seats • Nasr (Haider Abadi) 52 seats • Fateh (PMFs) 49 seats • SOL (Maliki) 24 seats • Hikmah (Ammar al-Hakim) 22 seats (h/t , according to Sumaria TV)

The election was a topic in yesterday's US State Dept press briefing conducted by spokesperson Heather Nauert:

MS NAUERT: I will certainly see if I can find something for you on it.
Hi, Laurie.

QUESTION: Hi. There have been major complaints about fraud in the Iraqi voting, and the UN Mission there has called on Iraq’s Electoral Commission to investigate them, quote, “immediately and fully.” What is your position on this?

MS NAUERT: Yeah. So we spoke about this a little bit the other day. The vote tally is still underway at this time. We’re certainly aware that there have been some challenges with that. We agree with the UN special representative who – the individual has called on the Independent High Electoral Commission to immediately and fully investigate those complaints, the complaints that you’re referring to, concerning the overall electoral process in Iraq. We call for the release of final election results just as quickly as possible and just as quickly as they’re ready. We understand the concerns that some people have had about that, and that’s why we call on them to quickly do this and resolve it.

QUESTION: Okay, and a question on Turkey. The foreign minister has said that there was a preliminary agreement about Manbij that was reached under Secretary Tillerson. At that time, you said that there was no such agreement. Is it still your position that there’s no agreement between the U.S. and Turkey on Manbij?

MS NAUERT: That’s correct. The talks about Manbij are ongoing, and nothing has been concluded. This is something that we addressed at NATO when the Secretary had met with his counterpart in Brussels as well, and so we just don’t have any new updates for you on that.

QUESTION: On Iraq --

MS NAUERT: And I will also point out that we do have a new Secretary, and so he has the ability to have conversations with the Government of Turkey, and then they can decide a new way forward if they should want to.

QUESTION: Sorry, Heather, a quick question on the election in Iraq because --


QUESTION: Are you disappointed in the level of turnout because it was very low? I mean, I worked back during the civil war and the turnout was much, much bigger. Are you disappointed? Do you think that people have lost faith in the democratic process in Iraq?

MS NAUERT: I don’t see it as that at all. We have seen from time to time when we’ve had higher or lower election turnouts in the United States, and many other countries have experienced that as well. But what is significant here is that the Iraqis held this successful election. The election went off with very, very limited violence. That is a tremendous success. And if we just wind back the clock to where Iraq was just a few years ago, when ISIS had controlled large swaths of that country, and now here people are turning out to vote and the biggest complaint we can find is a low turnout? Well, I’d say congratulations to the Iraqi people for pulling off a successful election. 

Complaints or not, the process moves on.  Borzou Daragahi (FOREIGN POLICY) looks at the landscape and comes up with ten potential prime ministers.  We'll note three that are not heavily mentioned elsewhere:

Ali Dawai Lazem: The 53-year-old governor of southern Iraq’s impoverished Maysan province since 2009 is said to be the choice for prime minister of the Sadr list, which — with an estimated 54 seats — received the largest bloc in the May 12 election. “Having the backing of the winning list and Sadr is a big added advantage,” says another Iraqi scholar.
Lazem was the Sadrists’ nominee for prime minister in 2014, and he is seen as hardworking, honest, and a man of the people. Whereas most Iraqi politicians shuttle between barricaded compounds in armored cars, he is famous for donning coveralls, heading into the streets of Amara, the capital of Maysan province, and sweating alongside construction workers.
His accomplishments as governor have made him something of a national folk hero. Maysan now has electricity for more hours each day than Baghdad. Still some say he lacks substance and traditional credentials. According to a report in the New York Times, he grew up in Iraq’s southern marshlands, served time in jail under Saddam Hussein’s regime, and got a job working at a sugar factory despite having a university degree in Islamic studies. Still, he has his critics. “How does it make sense for a governor to spend his time sweeping streets?” wonders one Iraqi analyst. “If he was effective, he would be spending his time shaping policy and making sure that other people are picking up the trash.”
In the rough-and-tumble of Iraqi insider politics, his popularity and name recognition could also hurt him. “Either it’s the incumbent getting another term, or it’s a compromise candidate who everyone else sees as weak and obscure enough to be nonthreatening or manipulable,” says an Iraqi energy-sector analyst.

Tariq Najm: The 72-year-old Dhi Qar province native and Islamic scholar is another Dawa Party loyalist, and a potential dark horse candidate for the premiership. He served as Maliki’s chief of staff and was considered a potential replacement in 2014. He spent his exile years studying and teaching in the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt, and he maintains constructive ties with Washington, Tehran, and Ankara, as well as the senior Shiite clergy in Najaf. Crucially, he could unite Abadi and Maliki wings of the Dawa Party. “Najm — who is already secretary of the Dawa Party — may emerge as an acceptable candidate to both those men if it means keeping the party together,” says one analyst.

Dia Asadi: The 49-year-old Basra lawmaker is a forceful and eloquent advocate of Moqtada al-Sadr. Fluent in English, he serves as a bridge between the movement’s urban underclass and diplomats and international media. “He would be out of his depth as a prime minister,” says one Iraq expert. “But so would all the others.”

He also notes that Iraq has a pattern of getting surprise prime ministers.  Nouri wasn't expected, Hayder wasn't expected . . .

Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is known for his long history of calling for all foreign troops (including US troops) to leave Iraq.

It's a detail that escapes some low information cultists.  Yes, we're talking about the Hillary Clinton obsessed crowd known as The Flatulence.  Yes, where Hillary goes, there is always The Flatulence.

Hillary Clinton was never President but she was blamed for the Iraq war and Bengahzi, she took full ownership, testified twice for over 16 hours and most importantly apologized more than she should have personally but the men, President, was both re-elected. Now that's sexism.

Republicans are scammers. Obama inherited recession. Took stock market from 7,000 to 20,000. Unemployment from 8.3% to 4.6%. Consumer confidence from 25.3 to 107.1. Ended IRAQ war. Crippled ISIS and MS-13. They just “noticed” and Trump is trying to take credit

Leave aside sentence construction, one says Hillary was blame for Iraq and she took full ownership.  No, she did not.  She wouldn't even apologize for the longest -- not even a weak apology.  Here's Jeff Gerth (PRO PUBLICA) from June 2014 reviewing Hillary's HARD CHOICES:

Having co-authored a 2007 biography of Hillary Clinton, I know that Iraq is not one of her favorite subjects. But with the bloodshed and sectarian division now crippling Iraq, I wondered what her new memoir, "Hard Choices," had to say about a country that's long been a political minefield for her.
The answer is not a lot. There is no chapter on its own for Iraq, like there is for Gaza, or Burma or Haiti. The discussion of Iraq is scattered throughout the 632-page book, and it is mostly about old battles. Clinton does not delve into the challenges she faced as secretary of state in 2011 as her department inherited responsibility for Iraq's security assistance when American troops withdrew.
Instead, the book has made headlines for her admission, for the first time in 12 years, that she made a "mistake" when voting to authorize the Iraq war when she was still a senator in 2002.
A closer look at what Clinton wrote—and didn't write—about that vote, about her views on the Iraq troop surge and about the country's ongoing sectarian strife is revealing. Clinton continues to misstate parts of her record on Iraq, while failing to address some of the tough choices she took as America's chief diplomat.

Continue reading Gerth for more on Hillary's real record on Iraq.  By 2016, she was now insisting that her 'mistake' was to trust that Bully Boy Bush would send enough troops to Iraq.  That's ownership?  And grasp what she's arguing for -- this woman who opposed the 'surge' -- she's arguing that even more US troops should have been sent to Iraq.

We could spend all day with lying politicians and the fools that are sexually attracted to them but let's move to the second Tweet.  Barack ended the Iraq War?


Helene Cooper and Gardiner Harris (NEW YORK TIMES) report:

Over the past four years, American military planning in Iraq has counted on working with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a moderate Shiite Muslim who has managed to rebuild the country’s army, restore sovereignty and partner with both the United States and Iran to defeat the Islamic State.
But the results of the weekend’s national elections in Iraq have torn the American assumptions asunder.
[. . .]
Mr. Trump has already expressed his desire to bring American troops home soon from Syria; officials said the president has given the Defense Department six months to wrap up its mission there. Military officials had hoped that an American troop presence in Iraq could keep in contact with allied forces across the border in Syria.
And what would Mr. Trump do if Mr. Sadr again demands an American troop withdrawal from Iraq?
“The Pentagon is already on the clock to get out of Syria,” said Derek Chollet, a former senior Defense Department official in the Obama administration. “Who’s to say what happens in Iraq after?”

Again, Barack didn't end the Iraq War.

BREAKING: Denmark to withdraw its troops from Iraq

Will the US be next?

Among the people mentioned as a future prime minister of Iraq is former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Mohamed Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports Nouri met up with Brett McGurk this week:

A statement by his office said Maliki received Thursday Brett Mcgurk, envoy of the United States president to the international coalition against Islamic State.
“During the meeting, both discussed the political and security situation in Iraq and the region, and means to reinforce bilateral ties between the two friendly countries,” the statement read.

Maliki “stressed that the post-election period shall be that of reconstruction and upgrade of services, especially at regions affected by the war against  terrorism”, highlighting “the necessity of joint cooperation between Baghdad and Washington in all fields.

Nouri tortured and secretly imprisoned, he misused the Iraqi military by sending it to circle the homes of Sunni politicians in an attempt to intimidate them, he attacked journalists, he bombed residential areas . . .  He did so many vile and criminal things and his actions resulted in the rise of ISIS.  That he can even be mentioned as a possible prime minister this year goes to how little accountability there is in the world.

The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: