Starting with extreme stupidity, GirlBye (DINAR DAILY) types this nonsense:
The country finally has – after elections that were held way back in May – a new parliament, president and prime minister. The full Monty. One might have thought that now might be the time to let government get to work for the people.
But no, Basra residents want their many problems solved immediately. While no one can underestimate the urgency of their demands, they also cannot but notice Basra residents’ troubled understanding of government, of democracy and of their role as citizens. Indeed, the problems in Basra is a microcosm of the tenuous state of democracy and good governance in Iraq and in the region.
It is understandable that when people are distressed by difficult conditions, they take to the streets. This is especially true in countries where the political system is not responsive to democratic signals. But in nations that hold free and fair elections, the system should be attuned to voter desires; unhappy citizens can effect change with their votes.
Remarkably – and who would have thought this in 2003 – Iraq has become one of those countries where elections are more or less free and their results refreshingly unpredictable.
Of all the crack pot insanity. That has to qualify as stupidity of the month if not year. It is stupid in so many ways.
First off, GirlBye does get that, per health officials, over 100,000 people have been in the emergency room since July for drinking the Basra water, right? She does grasp that potable water is one of the that they are protesting for? Safe drinking water?
Protests began in July. It is December, closer to January. All these months later, the people are just supposed to wait for the government to get around to addressing the water issue?
I don't have a lot of patience for people like her. People like that ensure that a caste system and a class system exist to begin with. Their stupidity (and lies) ensure the inequality takes root.
Iraq does not have free and fair elections. That was demonstrated in 2010 for the whole world to see when Barack Obama ensured that the loser (Nouri al-Maliki) get a second term after the voters rejected him.
There is no functioning government in the puppet class of Iraq. October 24th, the latest prime minister, Adil Abdel al-Mahdi, became prime minister. He did so illegally -- the Iraqi Constitution requires that the prime minister-designate assemble a Cabinet in 30 days to move from designate to actual prime minister. Even reducing the Cabinet down to 22 members, Adil was still not able to staff a full Cabinet. October 24th, the Cabinet had 14 members. Two months later, it's still missing eight members.
Every week, the world has been told, it will just be next week and then a full Cabinet will be in place, just next week. Next week becomes this week and nothing happens yet again.
Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) explains:
The new Iraqi government, headed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, was formed relatively hastily and it has quickly lapsed into quarrelling as major blocs in parliament began negotiating who would head the last eight ministries out of 22, including the powerful ministries of defence and the interior.
An uneasy alliance between the two largest blocs, one loyal to the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the other loyal to a senior figure in the Shiite Muslim militias, Hadi al-Ameri, is foundering on this issue.
At the same time, the two groups have differing foreign allegiances. The latter is close to Iran while the former demands Iraqi independence. And their political breakup comes at the same time as the Iraqi government is supposed to be distancing itself from Iran, a major trading partner, with strong political and security ties to Iraq, not to mention geographical proximity.
Trade volumes between Iran and Iraq sit at around US$12 billion per annum.
The main issue is electricity in Iraq. The Iraqi ministry of electricity estimates that around a third of power production in Iraq depends on Iranian gas imports. The US is pressuring Iraq to find alternatives and US company, General Electric, is offering to put in place several projects (for a price) to achieve better energy independence.
But it really isn’t that easy. Iraq can produce about 16,000 megawatts of electricity per day by itself, even though authorities readily admit that between a third and even up to half is often lost due to grid problems. The country realistically needs around 26,000 megawatts (for comparison’s sake, one megawatt is around enough to supply 2,000 average British homes for an hour).
“Around 30 percent of the electricity produced in Iraq comes from Iranian gas,” a senior government official, who wished to remain anonymous because they were not authorised t talk to the press, told NIQASH. “The US wants us to abandon Iranian gas without realizing the size of the crisis we would have if we did so,” the official complained.
AP covers US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry's trip to Iraq here. Salih Nasrawi (ABRAM ONLINE) offers this on the government:
Post-Saddam Iraq has felled four prime ministers: Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim Al-Jaafari were installed as temporary premiers by the US Occupying Authority, but they could not secure enough votes to stay in the post after elections; Nouri Al-Maliki and Haider Al-Abadi also failed to secure a third and a second term in office, respectively.
It could also soon bring down Adel Abdul-Mahdi's short career as Iraq’s prime minister, since he is being challenged by the post-Saddam political environment and acrimonious political rivalries. Fewer than two months into his premiership, speculation is already high that Abdul-Mahdi may not be able to continue.
Iraq’s hung parliament endorsed Shia politician Abdul-Mahdi on 2 October as the country’s next prime minister, authorising him to form a new government six months after the May elections that were marred by claims of irregularity and sharp divisions.
Three weeks later, Abdul-Mahdi was sworn in with only a partial cabinet after lawmakers failed to reach a consensus on key portfolios including the interior and defence.
Rivalry between the two main Shia blocs in the Iraqi parliament that have been jostling over ministerial positions was seen as the main obstacle to the formation of the cabinet.
Even though power struggles between Iraq’s ruling Shia groups could be blamed for the standoff, many Iraqis still believe that the problem lies with Abdul-Mahdi himself who was chosen as an independent prime minister after the parties failed to agree on a candidate of their own.
The choice of Abdul-Mahdi was met with scepticism because it came amid an intense power struggle among Iraqi factions that have been wrestling with a lingering political crisis.
His nomination also came amid ongoing US-Iranian interference in Iraq’s affairs, with both Tehran and Washington robustly pushing their own candidates for the post.
Back to Basra.
The Basra protesters have a pretty strong grasp on politics and governance, it's ByeGirl who needs some education on the topics.
Phoebe Sleet (FUTURE DIRECTIONS) offers the sort of analytical overview that ByeGirl could never grasp, let alone type:
Fuelling the protests is the feeling that Basra has been ignored by Baghdad. The Basra region, in particular, has sought Kurdistan-style autonomy from the capital for a number of years. The democratic model the US-led coalition attempted to install after the Baathist regime was toppled, included provisions allowing regional autonomy in a federalised system. Under Article 119 of the Iraqi constitution, new federal regions may be formed after a referendum in the intended region.
Despite these legal mechanisms allowing for devolution, Basra’s requests have been denied by authorities in Baghdad on a number of occasions. Basra has consistently lobbiedfor federal autonomy and has routinely been ignored, stoking frustrations with the government. Nouri al-Maliki, who was Prime Minister from 2006-2014, refused to allow any form of decentralisation. Then, Haider al-Abadi seemed to promote decentralisation, but such promises never materialised. Feelings of marginalisation have continued since Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraq’s new Prime Minister, failed to appoint any parliamentarians from Basra to the new government.
Basra’s calls for decentralisation have been largely peaceful and have taken place within existing legal frameworks. While this is a rare positive indicator for Iraqi politics, the proliferation of militias (especially the Shia militias, known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMFs)) in the region may pose a future security risk. Due to the weakness of the Iraqi Government, the popularity of the PMFs among Shia communities and the endorsement (and therefore legitimacy) of the PMFs given by popular religious figures, such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have made it difficult for the Iraqi Government to control these groups. The threat from IS in the north of the country, triggered a large number of youths from southern Iraq to join the PMFs to fight IS. As the group now poses less of a threat (it still controls a few rural areas) to the Iraqi state, many PMF fighters are returning to Basra and other parts of the south. This leaves the problem of what will happen to the significant number of well-trained, armed and battle-hardened fighters who have returned to poverty and a government unresponsive to their needs.
The PMFs are not a monolithic entity and several groups maintain links to figures such as al-Sistani, or the populist politician Muqtada al-Sadr. The most powerful of the PMFs, however, are those with strong links to Tehran. These pro-Khamenei groups receive funding and arms in return for pledging allegiance to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. In practice, these factions are in place to promote Iranian interests in Iraq, Syria and in Iranian border areas. Similarly, the Dawa Party, which was in power until after the recent elections, has strong ties with Iran. Iran’s influence in Iraq is inescapable, dominating its trade ties and maintaining a strong influence over Iraqi political processes. This Iranian influence in Iraq has been a particular source of ire for Basra’s protesters. In some cases, demonstrators have chanted anti-Iran slogans and on one occasion, set fire to the Iranian consulate.
While Basra has led on the protests in Iraq, they have not been the only site for demonstrations. Protests have taken place in Baghdad, among other cities.
After a “yellow vest” protest in Basra against contaminated water and poor city services under the NATO-backed neo-colonial regime, protesters in Baghdad also wore yellow vests to marches on December 7 to show their solidarity with the Basra protests.'
Protests are expected in Baghdad today.
Sadrist Movement in Iraq: today’s gathering in Baghdad’s Tahiir Square is not a protest; it is a celebration. http://mobp.as/M3rXn
In Iraq, security forces in Baghdad close roads leading to Tahriir Square in expectation of protests. http://mobp.as/z7sXn
In other news, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS reports:
The Turkish Armed Forces on Dec. 13 conducted airstrikes in northern Iraq’s Sinjar and Mount Karacak regions, a statement said.
According to the statement by the Turkish Defense Ministry, the air operation was conducted to “neutralize PKK/KCK/PYD/YPG and other terrorist elements."
Ankara considers the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the U.S.
Context, Aaron Hess (INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."
Are the people being killed in the Turkish bombings PKK?
They are Kurds, maybe they're also PKK, maybe they're not.
As the Turkish government demonstrates repeatedly, it attacks Kurds within Turkey -- the citizens of Turkey who are Kurds. How lucky for them that they're able to attack Kurds in other countries with little to no objection from the world.
These bombings have killed innocent civilians -- that is known -- destroyed homes, killed animals and they continue. From time to time, the Iraqi government makes noise about wanting the bombings to stop but they never stand up for their own national integrity -- in part because they are a puppet government and not a real one. AA reports:
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said his country’s anti-terror operations in northern Iraq will continue.
Turkey wasted enough time to intervene with the terror swamp the east of the Euphrates River, Erdogan said at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) member/observer states judicial conference in Istanbul.
“We will no longer tolerate a single day of delay,” Erdogan added. “We are determined to bring peace and security to the areas east of the Euphrates.”
So Erdogan gets his way again. For now.
The following community sites -- plus DISSIDENT VOICE, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and NPR music -- updated:
Janet and Stevie:
6 hours ago
Again on TIME
7 hours ago
11 hours ago
11 hours ago