Saturday, March 10, 2018

Iraq with elections two months away

Violence never ends in Iraq.

ALSUMARIA reports 3 brothers were killed in a village south of Erbil, a Hawija bombing left 1 person dead and six more injured, a triple bombing outside Baquba left two farmers injured, and a west Baghdad bombing left three people injured.

In addition, Mewan Dolamari (KURDISTAN24) reports, "A Christian doctor and two members of his family were killed in a home invasion after being stabbed by unknown assailants in Baghdad on Friday, security sources said."

An Assyrian family was stabbed to death in Baghdad. It's the second attack on the disappearing Christian community in Iraq's capital in two weeks.

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ALL IRAQ NEWS notes that Friday's stabbing victims were one male and two women and that the male was a doctor.

Are things getting better in Iraq?  Doesn't appear so.

Are things getting worse?  It's certainly likely.  From Friday's snapshot:

REUTERS reports, "Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a decree on Thursday formalizing the inclusion of Shi’ite paramilitary groups in the country’s security forces."  The militias did not liberate any city, they terrorized citizens.  This has been documented at length by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.  These crimes did not lead to any punishment.  Pressed, Hayder would insist that there would be an investigation and then, when the media light moved elsewhere, the matter was dropped.  A woman whose 'crime' was being (or being accused of being) the sister of a member of ISIS has been sentenced to death.  But the Shi'ite militia groups who destroyed homes and terrorized people?  They aren't convicted of anything (nor are their sisters, brothers, etc).

Tom O'Connor (NEWSWEEK) notices the development and adds:

The Popular Mobilization Forces, which also included a large number of fighters from Iraq’s minority Sunni Muslim, Christian and other communities, were first officially recognized and placed under Abadi’s command in 2016, as momentum rapidly shifted against the ultraconservative Sunni Muslim ISIS. They have been accused of marginalizing and even targeting non-Shiite Muslims, especially Sunni Muslims, but have denied these charges.
Instead, they have focused on expelling the prolonged U.S. military mission in Iraq. The U.S. invaded the Middle Eastern power in 2003, accusing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of developing weapons of mass destruction. However, the allegations turned out to be false, and Hussein was ousted and ultimately executed by the U.S.-installed government that succeeded him. It was during this period that jihadi Sunni Muslim groups such as Al-Qaeda in Iraq became active and ultimately formed into ISIS.
With Abadi having declared ISIS dead following the militants’ defeat last summer in Iraq’s second city of Mosul, the Popular Mobilization Forces have threatened to attack U.S. forces if they did not withdraw. Last October, a spokesman for Popular Mobilization Forces group Kataib Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the State Department, warned the U.S. that his Iraqi paramilitary forces were “ready to fight more than ever before.”

Meanwhile, as the Iraq War is about to enter the 15th year, ALJAZEERA's UP FRONT asks, "Is it time for the US to apologize for invading Iraq?"

Iraq is scheduled to hold elections May 12th.  ALSUMARIA reports that State of Law is trying to kill rumors that Nouri al-Maliki is rejecting Hayder al-Abadi as prime minister.  Nouri is the former prime minister and forever thug.  Hayder replaced him as prime minister in late 2014.  Nouri has, to this day, refused to move out of the prime minister's home.  Nouri has been plotting to return as prime minister.  Last month, some outlets insisted that Nouri was not interested in another term as prime minister.  If he were to become prime minister, it would be his third term.  The ALSUMARIA report quotes a State of Law official stating that Nouri believes the people -- only the Iraqi people -- have the right to determine the prime minister.  That's laughable when you consider that Nouri lost in 2010 and that Barack had US officials negotiate The Erbil Agreement which gave Nouri his second term.  Nouri wants back in to the post and his minions are wasting everyone's time pretending otherwise.

Nouri's State of Law is also in a tizzy over the candidates.  In previous elections, Nouri's been able to use the Accountability and Justice Committee to weed out candidates he didn't want to run but ALL IRAQ NEWS reports State of Law is objecting to the list of candidates.

While Nouri and his minions sew dissension, Amar al-Hakim gets press for showing leadership.  As NINA has reported, Amar has encouraged voters to back candidates they feel have the best vision for the country and told young people that they will be responsible for building the Iraqi state.

Last week, the Iraqi Parliament voted on the federal budget.  The Kurds were not happy with the proposal and boycotted the vote.  Mohammed Sabah (AL MADA) reports that the KRG's Council of Ministers have deemed the budget to be violation of the principals of consent that created the post-invasion Iraq.

They are not the only ones objecting.  THE FINANCIAL TRIBUNE reports:

The International Monetary Fund, which controls Baghdad’s access to over $5 billion in international loans, has come out against Iraq’s recently-passed 2018 budget, in large part due to the decrease of the share allocated to the Kurdistan region.
“The budget is not satisfactory because we think it’s not enough to maintain macroeconomic stability in Kurdistan, which is an important region of Iraq,” Christian Josz, deputy division chief of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asian department, told Iraq Oil Report, Kurdistan24 reported.
Iraq’s adherence to regulations in the IMF’s Stand-By Arrangement acts to free up $5.34 billion in international loans. It also indirectly allows Iraq to access billions more, due to the positive effect on the confidence of investors and businesses that IMF partnership carries.
If Baghdad fails to reach specific economic and governance benchmarks laid out in the SBA, the IMF can cite non-compliance to put the agreement, and therefore billions of dollars for Iraq, on hold.

Two things there.  First, the budget is wrong.  Second, even if it were right, note that Iraq has little say.  That's why Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani repeatedly warned against Iraq taking money from the IMF.

We'll note this:

It's time that we have leaders who'll stand up and say enough is enough. We will not send our families to fight your meaningless wars for profit. -- Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:


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