Thursday, April 24, 2014

Another broken promise

BULLY BOY PRESS &   CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

FADED CELEBRITY AND TOKYO PARTY GIRL BARRY O MAY BE OVERSEAS BUT HIS CORRUPTION CONTINUES IN THE U.S.

DESPITE INSISTING IN 2007 THAT HE SUPPORTED NET NEUTRALITY, HIS NEW F.C.C. CHAIR IS PREPARING TO GUT THE CONCEPT.

"I AM A STRONG SUPPORTER OF NET NEUTRALITY," HE INSISTED IN 2007.  ADD IT TO HIS LONG LIST OF LIES INCLUDING "IF YOU LIKE YOUR PLAN, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR PLAN."


FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Seven days from now, Iraq is supposed to hold parliamentary elections.  NINA notes that today US Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft declared that elections would be taking place April 30th.   Osama al-Khafaji and Ghassan Hamid (Alsumaria) have noted that there are 9032 candidates competing for 328 seats.  Reidar Visser (Gulf Analysis) examines the candidates who aren't running because they were disqualified:

Firstly there are lists of those excluded, around 400 names, which appeared in four separate batches released by the de-Baathification committee in early February . Second, there is a list of those excluded with reference to criminal charges (the first three batches along with the criminal  charges list is here; the separate fourth list is here). Thirdly, there is a list of those who were reinstated from the first two batches of de-Baathification subsequent to the appeals process (in some sources this has erroneously been described as a fifth exclusion batch). Importantly, the lists of those subject to de-Baathification give candidate names only, not list affiliation. It is therefore very difficult to pin down their party affiliation, especially so since many of them are not very prominent figures. Advanced name searches on them on Google in Arabic will rarely return any hits at all, even if a liberal number of name combinations is attempted. However, there remains a key to establishing some links between individual candidates and lists for at least a part of the material. This relates to the 52 reinstated candidates, who appear in the final list of election candidates and can therefore be identified by party affiliation.  Also, although no list of those reinstated in cases not relating to de-Baathification has been published, for the smaller number of reinstated candidates who were initially excluded with reference to the “good reputation” requirement it is possible to search through the final candidate list with the names of everyone who had been reported as excluded. It is noteworthy though, that in both categories – de-Baathification and “good reputation” – a large number of reinstated candidates appear to have opted to remain off the list, despite having regained the right to stand as candidates. One possible explanation, especially for candidate far down on the list, is that their lists may have deemed them to be more of a burden than an asset following the suspicions unleashed by their initial disqualifications.

As has been the case with every provincial election and every parliamentary election since the illegal war allegedly 'liberated' Iraq, campaign season means politicians get targeted.  Today? Alsumaria reports four homes were blown up in Sulaiman Bek, including one belonging to a candidate with Ayad Allawi's coaltion.   All Iraq News notes an attack on "some cars carrying leaflets [. . .] for Deputy Premier, Salih al-Mutleq" in Tikrit.

While violence has become an expected occurrence at election time, this year's elections will see a new development.  This election, Iraq is debuting electronic voter cards and not the ration cards that they used in past elections.  Monday Duraid Salman and Tarek Ammar (Alsumaria) reported that the Independent High Electoral Commission notes that 85% of the new electronic cards that will be required for voting have been distributed.  The elections are next Wednesday and they still haven't distributed all the cards?  You can't vote without the card this go-round.

US Ambassador Beecroft met today with Sarbast Rashid Mustafa who chairs the Independent High Electoral Commission.  The US Embassy in Baghdad released the following:



Ambassador Beecroft Praises IHEC’s Efforts in Preparation for National Elections

April 23, 2014
U.S. Ambassador Stephen Beecroft and U.S. Embassy staff met on Tuesday April 22 with Mr. Sarbast Rashid Mustafa, the Chairman of the Independent Higher Electoral Commission (IHEC) and Mr. Muqdad Alsharify, the Chief Electoral Officer of IHEC.
Chairman Mustafa and CEO Alsharify outlined for the Ambassador the extensive plan that IHEC has in place for the national election on April 30.  The Ambassador emphasized his appreciation for the professionalism and thoroughness of IHEC's work under often very difficult circumstances and offered his condolences for IHEC employees who have been killed or injured as a result of this essential work.
The Ambassador expressed the expectation of the United States that the electoral process would reflect the will of the Iraqi people and that the Government of Iraq would take every measure to ensure that Iraqi citizens would be able to exercise their right to vote in a secure and fair environment.  He relayed that he is confident that IHEC would succeed in its mission of achieving a result that would be credible and represent the democratic decision of the Iraqi people.
The United States has consistently emphasized with Iraqi officials from across the political spectrum of the importance for the election to take place on time and has fully supported the independence of IHEC as defined in the Iraqi constitution. 

Chairman Mustafa extended his appreciation for the technical support provided by the U.S. Government for conducting transparent and credible elections in Iraq.


On the topic of Stephen Beecroft, Laura Rozen (Backchannel) reports the word is Beecroft will be nominated to be the US Ambassador to Egypt shortly.

That would be a deeply stupid move.  So it's probably going to happen.  If it does, we'll go into how stupid it is.  Until then, we'll just note the rumor.



Monday,  Duraid Salman (Alsumaria) reported on allegations that Nouri's SWAT forces are forcing voters in Diyala Province to hand over their election cards so that they can be used for voter fraud.  Joel Wing (Musings On Iraq) notes some of the problems with the electronic cards:

Apathetic Iraqis and problems with the voter rolls offer loopholes for political parties to exploit the new cards. Shafaq News for example interviewed a member of the Election Commission in Kirkuk who said that voting cards were going for as much as $500 a piece. The article claimed that people who were not going to vote were willing to sell their cards. With voting participation at 50% out of approximately 20 million registered voters that provides a huge pool of people to purchase cards from. In another example, Niqash ran an article in April that included a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan who said that parties in the northern region were buying up voting cards as well. Another area of potential abuse is the fact that Iraq does not have up to date voter information. There has not been a census for decades because of the political differences between the ruling parties. Instead the Election Commission relies upon information provided by the Ministry of Trade and the food ration system that it operates. There are plenty of reports about the problems this presents. The IHEC for instance, announced in March that it had withdrawn 32,000 voting cards that it found were for the deceased or duplicate names. There are likely several thousand more of these types of wrongly issued cards still out there, because of the flawed nature of the voting rolls. Ironically the Election Commission went with these cards to try to cut down on fraud and cheating. In October 2013 it signed a $130 million 5-year deal with a Spanish company to create the voting cards. They have to be produced with one other piece of identification for anyone to vote. If parties are dishing up hundreds of dollars however to buy them they will have the money to forge other ID’s as well. These are obviously huge problems which the IHEC is aware of, but has limited time and money to try to fix especially since the balloting is only days away. 



Barbara Slavin can be a real idiot.  If her recent ridiculous piece hadn't been at the Voice of America, I would have linked to it.  I wouldn't have called her the names that many Americans would have -- I would have just called her stupid and grossly insensitive (her piece was 'get over it, America, Iran can pick whomever they want for an ambassador).  She's a stupid woman and a deeply troubled one whose personal demons effect her work.  At Al-Monitor, she writes an embarrassing and vapid piece following her soft-ball interview with Iraq's Ambassador to the US Lukman Faily.  We'll note this from the article:

After the 2010 elections, it took Iraqis nine months to form a new government and this could happen again, with Maliki serving in an acting capacity, said the ambassador, who comes from Maliki's Dawa Party. “The key challenge is that most of the political blocs don’t have clear red lines, which creates confusion and misreading of each other,” he said. “You may have prolonged government formation after. Historically it wasn’t quick. But the concept of time is not as crucial for us as in the Western concept.”
Among the tough decisions on hold until after elections: agreement on how much of their oil Kurds can export through Turkey and how much revenue they will get from the central government. Faily said the Kurds are not the only ones who are looking for more resources from Iraq’s oil wealth. “We get more calls from the governor of Basra than from the KRG on this issue,” he said.
At the same time, Faily said that oil remains the “gel” for society and could keep Iraq from fragmenting into three or more pieces. “There is enough oil there for everybody to be prosperous,” he said.

Slavin's a disaster as a reporter.  She can take dictation, that's about all she can do. That and normalize the notion that months is acceptable for forming a government.  No, it's not.  The process is supposed to take mere weeks for a prime minister-designate to be named and then he or she has 30 days to form a Cabinet.

It is a sign of failure of the democratic process that the government is unable to do their damn job.  This actually happened in 2006 as well.

That's a detail a reporter would know, Babs.  Parliamentary elections took place in December 2005.  Nouri is named prime minister-designate in April of 2006 and becomes prime minister at the end of May 2006.

She also doesn't question Faily's claim that, "There is enough oil there for everybody to be prosperous" when the reality is that vast numbers of Iraqis live in poverty.


At The Hill, the European Parliament's Delegations for Relations with Iraq's President Struan Stevenson explains:


The election is being held while he is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and all military and security forces are under his personal command without any legal check. For more than four years he has directly controlled the ministries of Interior, Defence, Security and Communications, in total breach of the Erbil Agreement; he has filled all key posts with his own men, and through influencing the judiciary has trampled on its independence and brought Iraqi judges under direct political control. In a similarly contemptuous and illegal move he has repeatedly refused requests to appear before the elected parliament and provide explanations for his authoritarian behaviour.
Last year, the Iraqi parliament adopted a resolution whereby none of the three key posts of prime minister, president and speaker of parliament, could be occupied by any one person for more than two consecutive 4-year terms. However, through influencing the judicial system, he declared this law unconstitutional, despite the fact that the constitution does not bestow such authority on the judicial system. 



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  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Tony Blair and Radical Islam: A dialogue

    BULLY BOY PRESS &   CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

    TODAY, WAR CRIMINAL TONY BLAIR DECLARED RADICAL ISLAM TO BE THE BIGGEST THREAT TO THE WORLD.

    RADICAL ISLAM REPLIED, "YOU'VE NOTCHED AN IMPRESSIVE BODY COUNT YOURSELF, BIG BOY."



    FROM THE TCI WIRE:


    Ammar al-Hakim is the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council.  Alsumaria reports that he declared today that Iraq has reached a turning point.  He was speaking in Babylon Province about the planned April 30th parliamentary elections.  He noted the coalition he'd joined with, the Citizens Coalition, wanted to build university to continue the production of knowledge and culture and to improve the quality of life for Iraqis in the streets and in their homes.  They are on the cusp, al-Hakeem declared, and they can proceed to a fair state with confidence in the judiciary, the government institutions and an equitable distribution of the walth.  Or they can remain with "red tape," with neglected cities, with expanding violence and the continual shedding of blood.

    The status quo is Nouri.  That's what al-Hakim's speech is rejecting.

    The status quo is Nouri and, whether it's out of personal elections hopes or not, politicians are rejecting him.

    Sunday, Aswat al-Iraq quoted the country's Shi'ite Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi declaring, "Maliki does not regard himself responsible for the deterioration in the country, but he shoulders the greatest responsibility."  He also criticized Nouri's campaign stops this month saying that Nouri's main focus should be to "create a secured stability."  Osama al-Nujaifi is the Speaker of Parliament in Iraq and the head of the Mottahiddon list. NINA quotes him declaring today:

    Our former attitude of patience that we committed to,was motivated to the preservation and unity of the nation and the people for fear of plans of sectarians who carry out a well-known regional and international schema .  But today we will firmly repeal and strongly deter the hand that turn the executive power to merely sentences of mass executions of innocent citizens , as well as the hand that transform army’s sacred tasks of defending people and nation’s boarders to a force to crush the people , to dispersion and humiliate citizens , violate the sanctity of the Iraqi family and imprison innocent women in detention and rape them stressing the necessity to detain such a hand in accordance with the will of the whole people,the will of the constitution and the will of the right.


    Osama al-Nujaifi is the brother of Nineveh Province Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi (one of the many politicians Nouri al-Maliki loathes and has attempted to have removed).  With Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi in exile, Osama al-Nujaifi is the highest ranking Sunni politician in the Iraqi government.

    Myriam Benraad (World Politics Review) examines the campaign field in Iraq and notes:



    Three main forces are thus left competing within the Shiite political arena: Maliki’s State of Law Coalition, the Sadrist current and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), run by Ammar al-Hakim. These forces follow quite opposed ideological and political agendas and are themselves riddled with internal rivalries and disagreements.
    Since Muqtada al-Sadr’s decision to withdraw from politics in February, debates have been ongoing as to the future of his movement. While some argue that Sadr’s abrupt move put an end to Sadrism, others believe that it is only a tactic for the popular Shiite leader to reposition himself ahead of the polls, both on the national scene and among his supporters. Lending credibility to the latter hypothesis, Sadr has remained politically active in spite of his announcement and is still the sharpest critic of Maliki, whom Sadr has called both a dictator and a tyrant. Sadr has also dissociated himself from other figures within his movement allegedly involved in cases of political and financial corruption.
    [. . .]
    The ISCI-dominated Citizen Coalition, which unites 18 other parties, ranked second in the 2013 provincial elections and today seeks to regain the standing it lost after its electoral failure in 2010. The list comprises a number of influential candidates, including Ahmed al-Chalabi. It primarily focuses its program on state reform, and has preferred a more moderate and conciliatory outlook in order to appeal to broader sectors of the Shiite population. It presents itself as a reliable successor to Maliki, but one that will not repeat the latter’s political mistakes. Contrary to Baghdad’s policy of recentralization of national political power, the ISCI favors more decentralization and hopes to garner greater support from Iran.



    Benraad's take is that Nouri will win a third term (and that this will be bad for Iraq).  That is a prediction and many events on the ground argue against Nouri winning or even currently being in the lead.

    We'll note this Tweet.








  • "This country has not faced up to what we did to Iraq and Afghanistan, any more than we have faced up to slavery." -Daniel Ellsberg

  • We?

    Daniel Ellsberg has never, ever, called out the current administration for demanding that Nouri get a second term as prime minister despite losing the 2010 elections to Ayad Allawi and Iraqiya.

    Daniel Ellsberg has never called The Erbil Agreement -- which went around the people of Iraq and gave Nouri a second term.  Daniel doesn't have that kind of guts.

    He's a fat, overweight and declawed cat barely able to make it to the litter box.  And if that's harsh, so is Daniel's embarrassing refusal to speak out for the Iraqi people and what they have endured since 2010.

    In other words, he should probably just roll over on his back and enjoy the sun because he has nothing to left to share.


    Dexter Filkins, infamous for his propaganda regarding the attack on Falluja in November 2004, has a long article at The New Yorker.  Like Ellsberg, he can't bring himself to mention The Erbil Agreement.  This excerpt covers that time period:

    In parliamentary elections the previous March, Maliki’s Shiite Islamist alliance, the State of Law, had suffered an embarrassing loss. The greatest share of votes went to a secular, pro-Western coalition called Iraqiya, led by Ayad Allawi, a persistent enemy of the Iranians. “These were election results we could only have dreamed of,” a former American diplomat told me. “The surge had worked. The war was winding down. And, for the first time in the history of the Arab world, a secular, Western-leaning alliance won a free and fair election.”
    But even though Allawi’s group had won the most votes, it had not captured a majority, leaving both him and Maliki scrambling for coalition partners. And despite the gratifying election results, American officials said, the Obama Administration concluded that backing Allawi would be too difficult if he was opposed by Shiites and by their supporters in Iran. “There was no way that the Shia were not going to provide the next Prime Minister,” James Jeffrey, the American Ambassador at the time, told me. “Iraq will not work if they don’t. Allawi was a goner.”
    Shortly after the elections, an Iraqi judge, under pressure from the Prime Minister, awarded Maliki the first chance to form a government. The ruling directly contradicted the Iraqi constitution, but American officials did not contest it. “The intent of the constitution was clear, and we had the notes of the people who drafted it,” [Emma] Sky, the civilian adviser, said. “The Americans had already weighed in for Maliki.”
    But it was the meeting with Suleimani that was ultimately decisive. According to American officials, he broke the Iraqi deadlock by leaning on Sadr to support Maliki, in exchange for control of several government ministries. Suleimani’s conditions for the new government were sweeping. Maliki agreed to make Jalal Talabani, the pro-Iranian Kurdish leader, the new President, and to neutralize the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, which was backed by the C.I.A. Most dramatic, he agreed to expel all American forces from the country by the end of 2011.
    The U.S. obtained a transcript of the meeting, and knew the exact terms of the agreement. Yet it decided not to contest Iran’s interference. At a meeting of the National Security Council a month later, the White House signed off on the new regime. Officials who had spent much of the previous decade trying to secure American interests in the country were outraged. “We lost four thousand five hundred Americans only to let the Iranians dictate the outcome of the war? To result in strategic defeat?” the former American diplomat told me. “F**k that.” At least one U.S. diplomat in Baghdad resigned in protest. And Ayad Allawi, the secular Iraqi leader who captured the most votes, was deeply embittered. “I needed American support,” he told me last summer. “But they wanted to leave, and they handed the country to the Iranians. Iraq is a failed state now, an Iranian colony.”


    Regarding the theft of the 2010 election?  Some of us called it out in real time.  I, for example, don't give a damn about Iran or its interference or 'interference.'  I do, however, give a damn about free and fair elections.  The Iraqis risked so much to vote and the chose Allawi.  But the US government refused to back the democratic process.  This sent a message -- an alarming message in a country supposedly moving towards democracy, or in the early stages of democracy, or gifted with democracy or whatever damn lie the US government told that you want to hold onto.

    In the end, the White House didn't give a damn about democracy and this is 2010 so I'm talking about Barack.

    I have no use for Daniel Ellsberg.  I don't give a ___ that he did something four-hundred-and-fifty years ago. I'm living in today.  Dying is taking place today. And if he wants to talk about Iraq, he better find a spine. Otherwise, he needs to crawl back under his rock.

    Not everyone's so afraid to note The Erbil Agreement.  For example,  Anthony H. Cordesman and Sam Khazai pointed out earlier this year in [PDF format warning] "Iraq in Crisis:"

    US officials applauded the 2010 Erbil agreement, and said they were hopeful that such cooperative arrangement would provide a political breakthrough among Iraq’s leadership, and allow them to address the country’s problems. They pointed to the influence the US had in pushing for the outcome, including the adoption of an American suggestion that Allawi head a new, “National Council for Security Policy”.

    And  Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) even reported on it in real time:



    Vice President Biden made numerous calls to senior Iraqi leaders over the past several months and U.S. officials directly participated in top-level negotiating sessions that lasted until just moments before the Iraqi parliament finally convened to approve a new power-sharing government Thursday, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. 


    And back in January,  Ned Parker (POLITICO) wrote an amazing must read on Iraq which included:



    It was the April 2010 national election and its tortured aftermath that sewed the seeds of today’s crisis in Iraq. Beforehand, U.S. state and military officials had prepared for any scenario, including the possibility that Maliki might refuse to leave office for another Shiite Islamist candidate. No one imagined that the secular Iraqiya list, backed by Sunni Arabs, would win the largest number of seats in parliament. Suddenly the Sunnis’ candidate, secular Shiite Ayad Allawi, was poised to be prime minister. But Maliki refused and dug in. 
    And it is here where America found its standing wounded. Anxious about midterm elections in November and worried about the status of U.S. forces slated to be drawn down to 50,000 by August, the White House decided to pick winners. According to multiple officials in Baghdad at time, Vice President Joseph Biden and then-Ambassador Chris Hill decided in July 2010 to support Maliki for prime minister, but Maliki had to bring the Sunnis and Allawi onboard. Hill and his staff then made America’s support for Maliki clear in meetings with Iraqi political figures. 
    The stalemate would drag on for months, and in the end both the United States and its arch-foe Iran proved would take credit for forming the government. But Washington would be damaged in the process. It would be forever linked with endorsing Maliki. One U.S. Embassy official I spoke with just months before the government was formed privately expressed regret at how the Americans had played kingmaker.   


    Four years ago and Americans don't want to own up to what the White House did?  That action set in motion everything that followed -- as surely Bully Boy Bush's illegal invasion destroyed Iraq.

    And Myriam Benraad (World Politics Review) isn't the only one who fears a third term of Nouri al-Maliki will send Iraq into even rockier waters.  NINA reports:

    The spokeswoman of the Watania (National Coalition), Maysoon al-Damalochi confirmed that "if the current Prime, Minister Nuri al-Maliki won a third term, the National Coalition would withdraw entirely from the political process ." 
     Damalochi said in an interview with the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / its details will be published tomorrow, " al-Maliki will not be the head for the next government , because he will not get the full support in this election , as happened in the previous two terms ."

    Two things are worth noting here.

    First, Nouri told AFP in early 2011 that he would not seek a third term.  This was when protests were rocking the region and leaders were facing the threat of being toppled.  Protests were taking place in Iraq as well and there was an attempt to pass a law limiting a prime minister to two terms (a law Nouri publicly stated he favored).  Nouri was fearful of losing his hold on power so he made public statements.  Like so many other promises from Nouri, they were meaningless.  Today, no journalist appears willing to ask Nouri what happened to his promise?

    Second, Nouri may already be barred from a third term by the Constitution.  It prohibits the presidency and it may in fact prohibit those holding the offices of prime minister and  the presidency from third terms.

    We've gone over this before but let's go over it slowly.

    How does one qualify for prime minister?  Not the vote, how does the person whom the president will name qualify?

    Article 77 of the Iraqi Constitution explains that:

    The conditions for assuming the post of the Prime Minister shall be the same as those for the President of the Republic, provided that he has a college degree or its equivalent and is over thirty-five years of age.

    So what are the conditions the presidency?

    All agree this outline in Article 68:

    A nominee to the Presidency of the Republic must be:
    First: An Iraqi by birth, born to Iraqi parents.
    Second: Fully qualified and must be over forty years of age.
    Third: Of good reputation and political experience, known for his integrity, uprightness, fairness, and loyalty to the homeland. 
    Fourth: Free of any conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude.


    That's the Constitution, everyone agrees.

    So clearly the prime minister isn't limited to two terms?

    Not so fast.

    Article 72:
    First: The President of the Republic's term in office shall be limited to four years.  He may be re-elected for a second time only.

    Hmm.

    That sounds like a condition.

    Because, for example, Jalal Talabani's been president for two terms now.  If he wanted to go for a third one, he couldn't.

    Why?

    Because he's had two terms but what is the word for that?

    Why?  Because he's not qualified for the office as a result of having served two terms.

    What does Article 77 say:

    The conditions for assuming the post of the Prime Minister shall be the same as those for the President of the Republic, provided that he has a college degree or its equivalent and is over thirty-five years of age.

    One of the conditions to be President of the Republic is that you've not already served two terms in the office.

    Article 77 says the same conditions apply to the office of Prime Minister.

    Repeating, one of the conditions to be President of the Republic is that you've not already served two terms in the office.

    Can Jalal have a third term as president?  No.  He fails one of the conditions for the post because he's served two terms already.




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    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    House of horrors?

    BULLY BOY PRESS &   CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

    FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O IS NOT JUST GETTING KNOCKED AROUND ON THE WORLD STAGE BY RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN.

    "MONSTER MICHELLE," IT APPEARS, DELIVERS HER OWN KNOCK OUT BLOWS, FIRING EMPLOYEES, REDUCING THEM TO TEARS, AND LEAVING A TREMBLING BARRY O COWERING.

    REACHED FOR COMMENT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPEAKER AND FOREVER FATTY ROBERT GIBBS TOLD THESE REPORTERS, "HE'S OUT MATCHED.  LOOK, IT WAS A LAVENDER MARRIAGE AND THEN THEY GOT TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND SUDDENLY SHE GOES ALL PHYLLIS GATES ON HIM WITH DEMAND AFTER DEMAND.  WHAT'S HE TO DO?  IF HE TELLS HER NO, SHE OUTS HIS ASS AND THEN THERE'S NO VERMONT FOR HIM REGGIE LOVE."


    FROM THE TCI WIRE:



    Duraid Salman and Tarek Ammar (Alsumaria) report that the Independent High Electoral Commission notes that 85% of the new electronic cards that will be required for voting have been distributed.  85% and the elections are nine days away?  That doesn't impress.  And that's before we factor in Duraid Salman's report for Alsumaria about allegations that Nouri's SWAT forces are forcing voters in Diyala Province to hand over their election cards.  Meanwhile, the PUK stands accused of misleading voters.  Kirkuk Now reports, "The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the head of their list gave false information to the voters. The other parties reacted by claiming that the PUK is only trying to collect votes even under false pretenses."


    PUK?  That's a political party.  If it were last August, we'd be saying it's one of the two main political parties in the Kurdistan Region -- the way, in the US, you have the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. September 30th, that all changed with provincial elections:


    In other news, the KRG held provincial elections Saturday, September 21st.  Iraq has 18 provinces.  Three of them are in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.  As of last week 17 of the provinces had voted.  Only disputed Kirkuk was prevented from voting.   The exit polling for last week's elections predicted an upset for second place.  Early counts indicate that is correct.  Kamal Chomani (Foreign Policy) notes:

    On September 21, Iraqi Kurdistan held [provincial] elections, which for the first time in 22 years, have fundamentally altered the region's political landscape. Almost 3 million voters participated in the elections, with a total of 1,129 candidates competing for 111 parliamentary seats. While official results have been delayed by allegations of fraud, what the elections have made abundantly clear is the sweeping dissatisfaction with the Kurdistan Regional Government.
    From its emergence in 1991, the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq has been ruled by an alliance of two parties: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), headed by Iraq's ailing President Jalal Talabani. This duopoly was broken on September 21, when Talabani's party appeared to hemmorage votes to the Gorran (Change) Movement, which split from the PUK in 2009. Preliminary results announced by the Independent High Electoral Commission on Sunday in which the KDP got 71,9004 votes, Gorran 44,6095 votes, PUK 33,2386 votes, Islamic Union 17,8681 votes, and Islamic Group 11,3260 votes. Eleven seats are reserved for minorities and religious sects. Gorran's jump to the second-biggest party in the parliament marks a new era in Kurdish politics. 



    Isabel Coles and Sonya Hepinstall (Reuters) observed Saturday, "With 95 percent of the votes from the September 21 election counted, the KDP had 719,004 votes, Gorran had 446,095 and the PUK was in third place with 323,827.  Two Islamic parties placed fourth and fifth, with nearly 300,000 votes between them, followed by more than a dozen smaller groups."



    That was apparently shocking.  Use the September 30th link and go through the snapshot for some of the shocked reaction.

    Not everyone was shocked to see the PUK go down in flames.  The day before the elections, in the September 20th snapshot, we noted:


    If the PUK does less well than in 2009, there will be complaining.  If the PUK does really bad, there will be outrage.   The one who will face the most criticism may be First Lady of Iraq Hero Ibrahim Ahmed who has been reluctant to heed the advice of PUK leaders and assume the presidency in her husband's absence.  Could she?  Yes.  In the plan they outlined, Hero would not be "President Hero," she would be carrying out the will of her husband while he remains in Germany.  She would be voting by proxy.  She has refused that (just as she refused to take over the position outright) arguing that to do so would leave the impression that Jalal was unable to do his job.
    She's correct people would assume that.  But Jalal has now been out of the country for nine months.  Iraq's been without a president for nine months.  Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's recent revelation that he was refused when he attempted to visit Jalal in the hospital last April does not bode well for Jalal's health or his stature.  And it really makes the point for the posters in Arabic social media who compared the
    May 18th photos of 'healthy' Jalal to Weekend At Bernies. (In Weekend At Bernies, two men use Bernie's corpse to pretend Bernie's still alive.)
    If  Hero has the most to lose in tomorrow's vote, the one with the most to gain from the PUK suffering a big loss is Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari who has wanted to grab the Iraqi presidency for some time and attempted a move right after Jalal's stroke but was rebuffed by those in party leadership loyal to Jalal and Hero.
    Credit to Prashant Rao for covering the fact that Jalal's absence may negatively impact the PUK vote tomorrow but is no one going to run through what that means?  Probably not.  It appears AFP is the only western media outlet that's going to report on the KRG elections from inside the Kurdistan Region.



    And as we expected, it was Hero who paid the price.  She was the one who was criticized, she was the one who was forced to resign.


    They should have ousted her husband.  But he'd avoided them the entire year.  Why?

    December 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 following Jalal's argument with Iraq's prime minister and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot).  Jalal was admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.

    He was the head of the PUK (he still is) and they had provincial elections and needed to meet with him for strategy but they were prevented from visiting him, they were refused.  His family ordered his image be used in campaign material.  That apparently didn't go over well with voters.

    Having suffered that humiliating defeat just months ago, being sidelined by Goran, how will they do in parliamentary elections?

    Last week were the rumors of mass defections from the PUK.

    They were true, the rumors.  Ghassan Hamid and Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) report that the Governor of Kirkuk (he's been very busy today) acknowledged there have been defections but lower-level ones, no one in leadership, the governor states, has withdrawn. And, he offers, Jalal remains the leader of the party.

    So don't expect PUK to get the most votes of the Kurdish parties running in the parliamentary elections nine days from now.

    Tarek Ammar (Alsumaria) reports that Kirkuk Governor Najmiddin Karim notes that he is in contact with Jalal's medical team and Jalal is recovering and will be home soon.  Soon?  They've been making this claim since December 2012.  However, if they could Jalal into the country on April 29th, it might give them a little bump at the polls.  (If Jalal could actually speak -- many don't believe he can due to the stroke -- and could do so on camera, they might get a sizable bump.)

    What is known is that Alsumaria reports Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met today with the US Ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft and the two discussed the need for transparency in the upcoming elections and the need for international observers."




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    "A Jesus complex"
    "THIS JUST IN! HE NEEDS A DOCTOR!"




  • Saturday, April 19, 2014

    A Jesus complex

    BULLY BOY PRESS &   CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE


    TODAY FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O ORDERED MULTIPLE MURDERS WHEN HE ORDERED A DRONE STRIKE IN YEMEN.  16 PEOPLE IN A PICKUP TRUCK WERE KILLED WITH FIVE MORE PEOPLE WHO WERE NEARBY IN CARS -- SIX MORE PEOPLE WERE INJURED.

    REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARRY O TOLD THESE REPORTERS, "THEY HAD IT COMING.  I'M THE DECIDER.  I DECIDE WHO LIVES AND DIES.  I'M LIKE GOD!  ASK AL SHARPTON! I AM GOD!"


    FROM THE TCI WIRE:

    On the elections, Fareed Zakaria (Global Public Square, CNN) offers a list of readings, including Ned Parker's latest:

    “On the surface, the speed with which Iraq’s new political order has fallen apart is a puzzle. Although bombings never stopped, there had been relative stability since the spring of 2008, when Maliki, emboldened by the successful U.S.-backed Sunni revolt against al Qaeda, known as the Awakening, set out to disband the Shiite militias endangering law and order in Basra and Baghdad,” argues Ned Parker in the New York Review of Books.
    “The campaign, supported by the Americans, produced a surge of patriotism among both Shiites and Sunnis. By 2010, when the country was preparing to stage its second national elections for a four-year government, Iraq seemed poised to cast off its divisions. Maliki, running for reelection, had learned to present himself as both staunchly Shiite and a leader for all Iraqis. Resisting pressure from other Shiite religious parties and Iran, he ran his own list of candidates, including Sunni tribesmen and secular politicians…Yet Maliki and his Shiite Islamist supporters were unable to shed their deep mistrust of those they believed had fought them in the past. Rather than being integrated into the political system, several dozen leaders of the Awakening ended up dead or in jail, or forced into exile.”

    Alice Fordham has a report for NPR's Morning Edition (link is text and audio) that wants to insist Nouri's trying to bring the Sahwa into the military -- while ignoring what Ned Parker's outlined above and what's taken place for the entire second term of Nouri al-Maliki until right before these elections.

    She's providing a wrong impression to listeners.

    She's also wrong in the following, "But fighting still rages and it's been announced that national elections planned to the end of the month will not happen in Anbar. Alice Fordham, NPR News."  She got her name right.  You can dispute the "NPR News" label -- NPR doesn't really do much news anymore, it's all feature stories. But she's wrong about an announcement regarding Anbar.

    How did that make it on air?

    Well, like I said, NPR really doesn't do news anymore so there's no one to fact check.

    April 8th, the IHEC declared not all areas of Anbar would have polling stations.  Today Tasnim News Agency reports:

    “In Anbar Province, all necessary arrangements have been made to ensure the security of the election, which is to be held on April 30,” Faleh Al-Eisawi, the head of the council of the province said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
    [. . .]
    He also emphasized that the police forces in cooperation with Anbar Operations Command are to implement an extensive security plan to provide the security of the elections.


    Again, Alice Fordham's claim (""But fighting still rages and it's been announced that national elections planned to the end of the month will not happen in Anbar.") does not hold up.


    Iraq last held parliamentary elections in March of 2010.  In those elections, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.  Though Allawi should have been named prime minister-designate, loser Nouri threw an eight month long tantrum and the White House indulged him.  They did more than that, they also worked to find a way to let the loser have a second term as prime minister.  Since he lost the vote, they went to the leaders of the political blocs and pointed out Nouri could hold out for 8 more months (Parliament wasn't able to meet during Nouri's tantrum, he brought government to a standstill) and got them to sign a contract (The Erbil Agreement) which Nouri used to grab a second term.

    As Anthony H. Cordesman and Sam Khazai pointed out earlier this year in [PDF format warning] "Iraq in Crisis:"

    US officials applauded the 2010 Erbil agreement, and said they were hopeful that such cooperative arrangement would provide a political breakthrough among Iraq’s leadership, and allow them to address the country’s problems. They pointed to the influence the US had in pushing for the outcome, including the adoption of an American suggestion that Allawi head a new, “National Council for Security Policy”.

    And let's note  Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported in real time:


    Vice President Biden made numerous calls to senior Iraqi leaders over the past several months and U.S. officials directly participated in top-level negotiating sessions that lasted until just moments before the Iraqi parliament finally convened to approve a new power-sharing government Thursday, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. 



    The contract didn't just have the leaders say, "Second term for Nouri!"  In exchange for that second term, the contract outlined actions Nouri would have to take.  But then he refused to honor his promises.  It's among the reasons he's so loathed today.

    We've note many press whores over the years.  When there's a member of the press that tells the truth, we also try to note that.  On The Erbil Agreement, we're going to drop back to November 13, 2010 when one reporter had the guts to tell the truth.  Michael Jansen (Gulf Today) stated the obvious, "The deal making that produced last Thursday’s session of parliament is nothing to boast about." She then continued:

    It is not clear why Iraqiya thought Maliki -- a sectarian Shiite whose Dawa party was a bitter enemy of the Baath -- would implement this pledge. Maliki has also failed to carry out solemn promises to recruit into the security forces or find civil service jobs for fighters of the Sunni Awakening Councils -- or Sons of Iraq movement -- who helped US and government forces curb Al Qaeda in 2007-08. Maliki has shown himself to have absolutely no intention of sharing power with Sunnis and certainly not with secular politicians like Allawi who represents the "old Iraq" where politics was non-sectarian.
    In spite of Obama's declaration that an "inclusive" government formula had been found after months of wrangling, Maliki is not interested in including Sunnis, secularists, former Baathists and others who do not subscribe to the ethno-sectarian system imposed on Iraq by the previous Bush administration.


    She said that days after The Erbil Agreement was signed.  She had been proven correct by the events that followed.  Credit to Michael Jansen for offering reality and perspective when few others were able or willing to.   Salah Nasrawi (Al-Ahram Weekly) reports:




    With the vote only days away, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s prospects for re-election look dim, and the country’s Shia parties, which together are poised to win the most seats in parliament, have started looking for a challenger to the incumbent leader.
    Al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term in office, is in trouble as Iraq is teeming with problems. Many blame him for the country’s sectarian violence, political turmoil and economic deadlock and are eager to see a new prime minister in place.
    For the time being, there is no frontrunner in Iraq’s elections, scheduled for 30 April, as several Shia politicians have been vying for the powerful position which also includes the key post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces.


    Iraq Times reports the Independent High Electoral Commission announced Thursday that they have fined 61 political bodies and candidates so far for campaign violations.  The IHEC is a ruling body but the Iraqi people are the ultimate ruling body (unless the White House steps in as it did in 2006 when it installed Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister and as it did in 2010 when it demanded he be given a second term).  And the people are defining their own issues right now.  For example, Rekar Aziz and Alexander Whitcomb (Rudaw) report that, in the Kurdistan Region, where campaign posters, leaflets and other printed materials are made is becoming an issue with voters and local businesses since much of the campaign material is coming "from Turkey, Lebanon and as far away as China" harming the KRG's local economy.

    Let's stay with the Kurds for a moment, Ilnur Cevik (Daily Sabah) reports:

    Iraqi Kurdish leaders feel that if the current impasse in relations with the Iraqi central government continues after the April 30 elections they will have no other option but to gradually weaken their ties with Baghdad and eventually declare a separate state. Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was in Ankara to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Wednesday night to feel the pulse of Ankara if the Kurds eventually move away from Baghdad. A source close to Barzani told Daily Sabah on Thursday that Barzani returned home late Wednesday night "satisfied."
    The central government of Iraq led by Nouri el-Maliki has been at odds with the Kurds over an array of issues stemming from an oil and gas dispute. Baghdad has thus been slow in sending the KRG's share of Iraqi oil revenues and therefore pushed the Kurds into a financial bottleneck with serious delays in even the payment of civil servant salaries in the KRG.


    And Nouri continues to alienate the Kurds. Adnan Jassem (Anadolu Agency) notes, "Iraq's main Shiite bloc led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will endorse a 'moderate Sunni Arab' candidate to succeed incumbent President Jalal Talabani, who is Kurdish, a leading bloc member has said."


    On the election, All Iraq News reports:

    Ahrar bloc of Sadr Trend described granting a 3rd term for the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki, as "Dreams."
    MP, Hussien al-Shireifi, of Ahrar bloc stated to AIN "The majority of the political blocs object renewing a 3rd term for Maliki due to his policies that caused crises and problems for the country."

    In addition, Iraq Times quotes another Sadr bloc MP, Bahaa al-Araji stating that Nouri will not receive a third term as prime minister.  In another report, the outlet quotes al-Araji stating Nouri has no achievements to speak of, not when security has deteriorated and the economy is not improved and . . .  Dar Addustour reports that both cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr and Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq's Ammar al-Hakim went to Tehran to make clear that a third term for Nouri is unacceptable and that this follows KRG President Massoud Barzani told officials in Tehran that a third term for Nouri would cause the Kurds to secede.  As Ann noted last night, Ayad Allawi declared this week that Nouri shouldn't have a third term as prime minister.  Iraq Times reports the State Dept's Brett McGurk is advocating for a third term for Nouri and that Ahmed Chalabi is speaking with the White House about why this is not a good idea and spoke to US Ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft about this on Monday.


    Not all Iraqis who vote will be voting in Iraq.  There are many Iraqis who have had to flee the country due to violence.  NINA reports, "A leading member of Rafidain parliamentary bloc MP, Imad Youkhana called on Iraqi communities abroad to broad participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections."  All Iraq News reports:

    The member of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, Imad Yokhana, called the Iraqis abroad for wide participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
    He stated to AIN "The Iraqis abroad can determine the future of Iraq for the next 4 years via their participation in the elections."


    Two days before the election, Iraq's security forces will take part in early voting.  Mustafa Habib (Niqash) explores the military vote and we'll note this section:



    It is also possible that the situation they are facing in Anbar may be turning the Iraqi military against al-Maliki. When problems first started in Anbar, al-Maliki seemed to be very popular with the military, observers say. However over recent months this has changed.

    “Al-Maliki’s popularity is decreasing,” says one senior member of the military in Basra province, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions. “Because the army is having huge difficulties in Anbar.”

    According to this soldier, the Iraqi government has allegedly played down the number of military casualties it’s had in the fight against insurgents in Anbar. Videos being posted on YouTube and other social media indicate many more are being captured and killed.

    “Previously regiments in the south of the country were fairly safe on their bases,” the military source says. “Then al-Maliki decided to bring them to Anbar and it’s led to many deaths. This has increased ill will towards the government.”

    “The government has forced the Iraqi military into a battle it cannot win,” says Yassin al-Rubaie, a former member of the Iraqi army’s Seventh Division, which is currently deployed in Anbar. “We don’t have any experience fighting a guerrilla war on the streets and we don’t know the area at all. The militias fighting us know the area very well, they’re better coordinated than the army and they have had this kind of combat experience before,” he says.


    Nouri al-Maliki continues killing civilians in Anbar.  Alsumaria reports a military shelling of a residential neighborhood in Ramadi left 3 people dead "including a child."  Iraqi Spring MC notes Nouri's three murders here. Iraqi Spring MC also notes people demonstrated in Ramadi calling on Nouri to pulls his forces out of the city and the military 'responded' by firing randomly.  Meanwhile Nouri's forces continued their bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods.  Alsumaria reports 1 civilian was killed and ten more were injured in the latest assault from Nouri's military.  Suleiman al-Qubeisi (Anadolu Agency) also reports on the Falluja assault.   NINA quotes Sheikh Mohammed Fayyad stating, "Friday sermons in Fallujah focused on demands to stop the indiscriminate shelling of the city if the government rely want to develop a solution to the crisis , the abolition of the provincial government and members of the board because of their frustrated stands as they escaped to the northern provinces or out of Iraq and stealing by some of them aid, food and funds allocated by many local and international agencies for the displaced people of Anbar moreover of exploited the stolen funds and material to serve them in the propaganda of electoral campaign."  Kitabat notes the Sheikh called out the "genocide" taking place as Nouri attacks the civilians of Falluja and Ramadi.





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  • Friday, April 18, 2014

    It really does take two (the idiot and the idiot in the media)

    BULLY BOY PRESS &   CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

    THE SILLY SELFIE JOE BIDEN AND FADED CELEBRITY BARRY O TOOK LEFT THEM LOOKING LIKE 2 YOUNGSTERS WHO JUST DISCOVERED THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB AND TRAINING BRAS.

    FINALLY, THERE'S SOME PUSH BACK THAT ALL THIS OVERSHARING IS KIND OF TACKY.

    BUT NO REAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT THAT THE MEDIA ITSELF FUELED THIS TACKY TREND.

    REACHED FOR COMMENT THIS MORNING BY THESE REPORTERS, THE DAHLI BAMA RESPONDED, "DEBASE THE PRESIDENCY?  BOYS, I INTEND TO SKULLF**K IT UNTIL I'VE DRAINED EVERY LAST DROP OF CREDIBILITY FROM IT!"

    FROM THE TCI WIRE:




    Yesterday on KPFA's Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, the controversial bill which passed Iraq's Cabinet of Ministers and that chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki  has forwarded to the Parliament was discussed. 



    Shahram Aghamir: Last month the Iraqi Cabinet approved a new personal status legislation called the Ja'fari law which is named after the sixth Shi'ite Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq who established a school of jurisprudence in Medina in the 8th century.  This legislation has created an uproar among Iraqi women's rights and the civil rights community.  If approved, the Ja'fari law will abolish the current Personal Status Law 188 which is considered one of the most progressive in the Arab world.  The new law will roll back the rights of women in marriage, divorce and child custody as well as inheritance.  It will lower the age of marriage for girls from 18 to 9 and boys to 15.  Who has initially proposed the law and what are the implications of this law for Iraqi women?  Malihe spoke with Iraqi women's rights activist Basma al-Khateeb who volunteers with Iraq's 1st Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Shadow Report Coalition as an expert and a trainer.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  Actually, the Minister of Justice by the end of October declared that they have a committee -- expert committee -- and they have finished drafting the Ja'fari law.  It consists of 256 articles and he's going to present it to the Cabinet by the next session.  He says that they've been working on for the past two years.

    Malihe Razazan:  Back in 2004, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim who died in 2009, he was in exile in Iran for 20 years before the invasion, and after the occupation of Iraq, he worked very closely with the Americans.  His party worked to pass Decision 137 issue by interim governing council to abolish the Personal Status Law Number 188 which was passed  in 1959 --

    Basma al-Kahteeb:  That was actually the first thing that he -- that he issued, this Resolution 137 -- as if Iraq had no problems.  This was the only rule that he came up with.  And we had demonstrations and we managed to defeat that.  They withdrew it.

    Malihe Razazan:   Yeah, because there was a huge backlash against it.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  But this is historical.  His father, Muhsin al-Hakim, back in 1959, when the civil Personal Status Law was issued, the religious institutes led by Muhsin al-Hakim back then, his father, refused this Personal Status Law because it will take all the authority from the cleric.

    Malihe Razazan:  In matters regarding women's divorce, child custody, inheritance it will be left to civil courts.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  Yes.  And this is how our judicial system and lawyers and colleges and scholars all -- I mean, we're talking about sixty years that all our institutions -- judicial, court, everything -- is built on it.  This -- going back just to abolish all of this -- this law --the formal law, the Personal Status Law that's still active now. It doesn't go to clerics, only the judge rules.  This current law puts another council that is in control of judges of courts.  It just turns everything into chaos.  Every lawyer has to study all these religious and cleric institution and legal issues.  It doesn't mean that we have one court.  It means that we have more than 20 courts because each Ayatollah is different in examination with the other.  Havilah?  Even though they're Sh'itie, they're different from the Sadr group, they're different from Sistani interpretation which means multi courts.





    Raheem Salman, Ahmed Rasheed, Isabel Coles and Andrew Roche (Reuters) explore the topic and note:


    Proponents of the Ja'afari Law say many families marry off daughters underage anyway, particularly in the rural south, so the bill would protect young brides by codifying their status.
    "The law does not make the marriage of underage girls obligatory," said Shi'ite women's rights activist Thabat al-Unaibi, adding she would not let her own two daughters marry until they were old enough to have finished their studies.
    "Why all the fuss over this issue?"


    And supporters have been the winners.  Hajer Naili  (Women's eNews) notes:

    Haider Ala Hamoudi, a law professor at the University of Pittsburg who advised the 2009 Constitutional Review Committee of the Iraqi legislature on behalf of the United States Embassy in Baghdad, has analyzed the text.
    In a phone interview he called it sloppily drafted and poorly organized. "I just dismiss it as publicity to garner votes."

    In a in the Jurist, lays out the obstacles to transforming religious texts into actual laws and calls the text something of a "political stunt." In the article he quotes Ayatollah al- Bashir Najif, a leading Shiite, as criticizing the bill as "rife with flights of fancy in legal and juristic formulations that render it impossible that a jurist would find it acceptable."

    Really?  We're going to predict what's going to happen in an election when anything can happen?

    And if it's being used "to garner votes," might some push hard for it to pass the Parliament after the election?

    I have no idea what's going to happen with the bill.

    But it does have supporters and it is being sold.  It's being normalized.

    And this is happening not just with the bill and the attempt to kill off the Personal Status Law Number 188.  This is part of a larger war.  Dropping back to January 27, 2012 snapshot:

    We bring that up because Nouri did finally find a woman and named her to be Minister of the State for Women's Affairs. The woman is Dr. Ibtihal al-Zaidi. And Al Mada reports the lovely doesn't believe in equality stating equality "harms women" but she's happy to offer government dictates on what women should be wearing. No, she's not a minister. She's many things including words we won't use here but she's not friend to women and that's why Nouri picked her. A real woman fighting for other women? Nouri can't handle that. A simpering idiot who states that women should only act after their husband's consent? That gender traitor gets a ministry. She's currently at work devising a uniform for Iraqi women.

    Let's to back to Wednesday's broadcast of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  It lowers the marriage age for girls to  9 -- 

    Malihe Razazan:  From 18.

    Basma al-Khateeb:  -- 15 for boys, it's 18 for both [currently] marriage.  Only in  very, very special cases it's 15 with the consent of the judge under the current law.  But for this Ja'fari law it lowers the age to 9.  And wives must seek permission from their husbands before leaving the house.  If I am a doctor or a minister or a lawyer, I cannot go out without permission from my husband, go out of the house.  Muslim men would be prohibited from marrying non-Muslim women.  Granting husbands legal rights to have sex with their wives without their consent.  Granting custody to the father of any child over two-years-old in the case of divorce which is not the case that we have now with the current law.  


    Note the similarities between the law and the position, two years ago, of the Minister of Women's Affairs.

    Nouri picked that idiot for a reason.

    This is not happening by accident.

    Bit by bit, this gets pushed over and over.  And every time it does the appropriate response is world wide condemnation.  Short of that?  It's not just being normalized within Iraq, it's being normalized outside of Iraq via silence.


    "But it's still a danger because it's there, the draft is there," Basma al-Khateeb noted.



    As Mark Taliano (Troy Media) observes, "'Freedom' and 'democracy' are still cloaking, tacitly or overtly, mass murder and genocide in Iraq at this moment."  And that's certainly clear as Nouri terrorizes the citizens of Anbar.  His War Crimes are many but include the non-stop bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja.  Yesterday's snapshot noted how common these bombings were.  The military's bombing of the residential neighborhoods continues.  NINA reports, "A source at the Fallujah General Hospital told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / five people, including a woman, were killed and 11 others wounded, including two children, in the renewed shelling and mortar to most of Fallujah today."  Qatar News Agency covers the killing of civilians here.

    This is a War Crime.  Nouri's committing War Crimes with weapons the US government provides him with.

    Ann submitted a question to  Gwen Ifill's  live 'chat' (it's not) at PBS' The NewsHour today:








    12:34
    Comment From Ann  
    Good afternoon, Gwen. I'm bothered by the attack on Anbar Province in Iraq and the lack of western media coverage. Specifically, Nouri al-Maliki has been bombing the residential neighborhoods of Falluja every day since the start of the year. This is collective punishment and it is leaving many dead -- including many children. But we see nothing on the news about this in the US. Since we are the ones arming Maliki, this seems like a serious news issue in need of coverage to me. What does it take to get Iraq covered on The Newshour? Thank you.


    12:34
    Gwen Ifill: 
    I have to say, if you're going to see coverage of the ongoing situation in Iraq anywhere, it will be on the NewsHour.



    So Ann raises specific issues and gets an 'answer' where Gwen basically says, 'Watch The NewsHour!'


    It's a funny kind of chat with Gwen playing Amway salesperson.

    But credit to Ann for raising the issue during the 'chat.'





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