Saturday, June 30, 2018

The never-ending Iraq elections

MIDDLE EAST EYE reports, "Iraq will begin a partial manual recount of votes on Tuesday 3 July of a May parliamentry election clouded by allegations of fraud, a step towards the formation of a new parliament and government."

May 12th, Iraq held national elections.  Ahead of the elections, there had been big hopes -- these hopes included a large turnout.   Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) noted, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW added, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explained that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.  THE SIASAT DAILY added, of the nearly 7,000 candidates, "According to the electoral commission, only 20 percent of the candidates are newcomers." Ali Abdul-Hassan and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reported, "Iraqi women account for 57 percent of Iraq’s population of over 37 million, according to the U.N. Development Program, and despite government efforts to address gender inequality, the situation for Iraqi women has declined steadily since 2003.  According to the UNDP, one in every 10 Iraqi households is headed by a widow. In recent years, Iraqi women suffered further economic, social and political marginalization due to decades of wars, conflict, violence and sanctions."   

The other big hope?  For the US government, the biggest hope was that Hayder al-Abadi's bloc would come in first so that he would have a second term as prime minister.  It was not to be.  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies the key issues as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption." 

As we noted the day of the election:

Corruption is a key issue and it was not a topic explored by candidates outside of Moqtada al-Sadr's coalition.  Empty lip service was offered.  Hayder al-Abadi, current prime minister, had been offering empty lip service for four years.  He did nothing.  Iraqis were supposed to think that, for example, Hayder's focus on ISIS in Mosul mattered.  All life was supposed to stop because of Mosul?  All expectations were to be ignored because of Mosul?

Arabic social media today and yesterday was full of comments about the lack of improvement in services.  It noted how the elections had not mattered before and, yes, how in 2010 the US government overturned the elections because they didn't like the outcome. 

So it was probably only surprising to the US government and their press hacks that Hayder wouldn't come in first.  But that was after the votes were counted.  On the day of the election, the big news was how so few were turning out to vote.  NPR reported, "With more than 90 percent of the votes in, Iraq's election commission announced voter turnout of 44.5 percent. The figure is down sharply from 60 percent of eligible voters who cast their ballots in the last elections in 2014." AP pointed out the obvious, "No election since 2003 saw turnout below 60 percent."  AFP broke it down even more clearly "More than half of the nearly 24.5 million voters did not show up at the ballot box in the parliamentary election, the highest abstention rate since the first multiparty elections in 2005 [. . .]."

Why should they vote?  The US government had repeatedly selected the prime minister -- 2006, 2010 and 2014.  Why should they vote?  The government was corrupt.  Why should they vote?  Safety?  Lip service was given to the claim that ISIS had been defeated but it hadn't.  In fact, Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) reported that 16 people were killed and nineteen wounded the day of the election.

Martin Chulov (GUARDIAN) captured the mood,  "But as voters trudged towards polling stations, there was none of the euphoria of previous polls – where purple ink-dipped fingers were happily displayed – and almost no energy surrounding the process. Iraqis had done it all before, and elections had delivered little."

Sunday the 13th, votes were counted and the first place winner?  Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

With over half the votes counted, powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has emerged as the leading contender in the Iraq elections


By Monday the 14th, Ayad Allawi was calling for a full recount.  While the US government was working behind the scenes to oveturn the results.  Simon Tisdall (GUARDIAN) explained, "The unexpectedly poor showing of Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, in parliamentary elections has dealt a blow to US influence in the country. [. . .] Put simply, Sadr believes Iraqis should run Iraqi affairs – not Washington, not Tehran and not their proxies."

The US State Dept was still reeling from the results:

QUESTION: I have two more on this, Heather. Do you have any comment on Moqtada al-Sadr, who emerged as the big winner in these elections?

MS NAUERT: Yes. Let me just remind folks that he wasn’t an actual candidate on any of the ballots, but yet his slate of people were candidates. Iraq is still finalizing its election results right now. They’re likely to have to form some sort of coalition government, so I don’t want to get ahead of the process and presume how things are going to look in the end. But I think the overarching theme right now is congratulations to Iraq for holding democratic and free elections.

QUESTION: And on the formation of the new government, Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s commander Qasem Soleimani is in Baghdad to discuss the formation of the new government. How do you view this Iranian role in the formation of the government?

MS NAUERT: We have a good relationship – bless you – with the Government of Iraq, and we believe that we will continue to do that. There have been many – in Iraq and in other countries as well – that have been concerned about Iran’s reach into many other countries. That is certainly always a concern of ours, but we have a great deal of trust and faith in the Iraqi people and whoever ends up governing, whatever the structure is, the governing of that country going forward. 

It's June 30th, recounts are too start on July 3rd.  That will be about two months after the election took place.  Maybe then there will be a government?

Maybe not.  In 2010, it was over eight months after the election before Iraq formed a government.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

  • Support Ocasio-Cortez for Congress Now (David Swanson)

    By David Swanson

    Within 30 minutes of my publishing this complaint that peace had vanished from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s website, the following appeared on her website:

    A Peace Economy

    Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States has entangled itself in war and occupation throughout the Middle East and North Africa. As of 2018, we are currently involved in military action in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Hundreds of thousands of civilians in these countries have been killed either as collateral damage from American strikes or from the instability caused by U.S. interventions. Millions more have fled their broken countries, contributing to the global refugee crisis.
    This continued action damages America’s legitimacy as a force for good, creates new generations of potential terrorists, and erodes American prosperity. In times when we’re told that there’s not enough money, Republicans and corporate Democrats seem to find the cash to fund a $1.1 trillion fighter jet program or a $1.7 trillion-dollar nuclear weapon “modernization” program. The costs are extreme: the Pentagon’s budget for 2018 is $700 billion dollars: to continue fighting an endless War on Terror and refighting the Cold War with a new arms race that nobody can win.
    According to the Constitution, the right to declare war belongs to the legislative body, and yet many of these global acts of aggression have never once been voted on by Congress. In some cases, we’ve even acted unilaterally, without the backing of the United Nations.
    America should not be in the business of destabilizing countries. While we may see ourselves as liberators, the world increasingly views us as occupiers and aggressors. Alexandria believes that we must end the “forever war” by bringing our troops home, and ending the air strikes that perpetuate the cycle of terrorism throughout the world.
    By bringing our troops home, we can begin to heal the wounds we’re opening by continuing military engagement. We can begin to repair our image. We can reunite military families, separated by repeated deployments. We can become stronger by building stronger diplomatic and economic ties, and by saving our armed forces only for when they’re truly needed.
    This is a lengthened and improved version of what had previously been on the candidate’s website. Please tell her you support it.
    Please donate to her campaign.
    Please write a letter to the editor and call a radio show to tell them that you support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and why.
    David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
    Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
    Help support,, and by clicking here:

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    DRUM CORPS WORLD's July issue

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    Dear readers:

    The 2018 season has gotten off to a great start and this issue offers reports on six DCI competitions, two DCA events, a DCUK contest and an SDCA exhibition.  It also breaks a previous record for the number of pages, 132 in June 2018, by two, at 134 information-, photo- and feature-packed pages!

    I want to acknowledge and thank all the DCI and DCA show sponsors for their advertising support, as well as the year-around display advertising to the manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, uniforms, accessories and services offered to the marching arts.

    Three weekly editions are coming up, dated July 6, July 13 and July 20 (each uploaded to the Internet on Fridays), then a one-week break during which we will accumulate content for the full monthly August issue, scheduled to be released on Friday, August 3.  

    The publication next week is planned to have 12 show reviews from eight different staff writers, plus continuing displays of outstanding photography from our worldwide staff.

    We have sent two e-mails regarding the need for each reader to re-register that you would like to continue receiving Drum Corps World at no charge.  This is not only a formality, but it’s necessary to conform to new government requirements that we have digital proof that every e-mail address on the list has specifically asked to receive our 17-issue schedule.  

    If you haven’t responded yet, please use the button in the e-mail message to ensure that future editions will come your way.

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    Some Tweets from journalist Margaret Kimberley

    1.   Retweeted
      Replying to  
      This embrace from conservative punditry is highly suspect, and probably the opposite of good faith. The divide between progressive/DS and centrist/establishment Dems is vast and it makes sense for the GOP to further fray the tenuous ties that bind.
    2.   Retweeted
      Replying to  
      Alexandria Please don’t give Glenn the attention he’s wanting. This is your time. You owe him nothing. Focus. Prioritize. Don’t waste your valuable time. Honestly.
    3. No more tweets from you . Leave that to someone experienced who believes in your platform. Do you really need validation from the likes of Glenn Beck? Is this just inexperience or a real political problem?
    4.   Retweeted
      More evidence that if you don't challenge the missteps of iconic progressives you'll never get them to change. Credit to and and good for Ocasio listening and acting...
    5.   Retweeted
      The take from some implying that questioning the removal was purist paranoia is a bad one. Antiwar has disappeared from Democratic Party rhetoric almost completely in recent years, when it should be a first principle of a real progressivism.
    6.   Retweeted
      Great! Corporate Dems will put a lot of pressure on her to sell out, just as they do to elected Greens.
    7.   Retweeted
      Nancy Pelosi: This party will not succumb to Socialism. Millennials & Gen Z:
    8.   Retweeted
      Now if she'll cool it with the Russiagate nonsense...
    9. Thanks to and everyone who asked about the disappearance of the Peace Economy platform from her website. It is back and I'm betting that it is because she was asked about it.
    10. Peace Economy platform is back on the website.
    11. “The notion that someone will secretly plan to work for peace while going silent or pretending to favor war until they are elected has very few examples to support it and thousands going against it.”
    12.   Retweeted
      If the UK had a free and independent media, then the British people would be willing the Syrian Army on in its current campaign to liberate south-west Syria from the yoke of Islamist barbarism. The British and Syrian peoples have a common foe: Islamism.
    13.   Retweeted
      MOD database lists 342 cases of alleged violations of int'l humanitarian law by its coalition bombing Yemen. Which it allows to be investigated by Saudis themselves. Such involvement in war crimes is unthinkable in a democracy but not in authoritarian UK.
    14. Cruel because racist.
    15.   Retweeted
      NY Times reverting to the 19th century voice of ultra-imperialism explains the danger of the summit with Putin: "Trump has signaled his desire to withdraw American troops from Syria, a move that would leave the country more firmly in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad"
    16.   Retweeted
      : The Army’s International Mine Action center conducted four unique, large-scale and complex: two of them in the architectural and historical complex and the urban part of , as well as in and Deir ez-Zor.
    17. Why do I love social media? Because I had never heard of until about 15 minutes ago. Now I can laugh at her clueless white privilege. And I congratulate the person who sent the clap back of clap backs.
    18.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      Jennifer, Hon...please take a seat on the couch.
    19.   Retweeted
      So now we see the latest move against the Green Party and our campaign. First loop us in as part of some grand Russia conspiracy and now suggest that it was our run that was responsible for Trump - a slick move by democrats. Reality is democrats & corporate media created Trump.
    20.   Retweeted
      I will never apologize for giving the people a democrat choice outside of the two capitalist war parties. The problem with the U.S. is that it is not a democracy. The fight is for real democracy and people(s)-centered human rights. I am proud of role I played in 2016 election.
    21.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      I mean, this is from 2006: "The Bush Administration has been quietly nurturing individuals and parties opposed to the Syrian government in an effort to undermine the regime of President Bashar Assad."
    22. I guess Shane Bauer missed the whole “Assad must go” craze started by Obama.
      This Tweet is unavailable.
    23.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      I'm sticking before anyone else, can't trust Dems no more! 😳✌️😊
    24.   Retweeted
      The "intelligence community" concluded no such thing. A few agents, hand selected by Clapper, wrote up suggestions but provided zero evidence.
    25.   Retweeted
      Makes me think the term “killjoy” came from someone who found- joy in killing. Being political mature is essential & thank you
    26.   Retweeted
      Saudi Arabia bombed a bus full of innocents fleeing the war-torn port of Hodeidah in Yemen, killing at least 9 civilians and wounding 11 more. If this had been done by Assad or Putin, it’d be plastered across every single outlet of the mainstream media.
    27. now has the right to assign blame for chemical attacks. UK pushed for it. Pretext for attack on Syria in 3 2 1 ...
    28.   Retweeted
      After a 82-24 vote at the the people who certified Iraq's 'WMDs' will now be able to have their accusations over chemical weapons rubber stamped; just as the UK-US funded plan another false flag CW event in .
    29. . How do you allow this flight attendant to kick 4 people off of a plane and leave them stranded? What are going to do about this? WATCH: ‘Irrational’ Flight Attendant ‘Unfairly’ Kicks 4 People Off Plane via
    30.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      I don't know who is. But he is obviously not bright.
    31. Manafort's indictment has nothing to do with Russian government. But what do I know. I'm not on MSDNC.
    32.   Retweeted
      Reality Winner bravely and ridiculously leaking nonsense non-evidence of nothing, and the reporter immediately accidentally blowing her cover is all exemplary of a stagger level of incompetence holding back actual resistance to fascism.
    33.   Retweeted
      It's revealing that MoveOn, et al. are not escalating their demand to amnesty, or even to a moratorium on detention & deportation, after a "federal judge ruled against Trump's policy."