Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Barry O, your stripper pole awaits





Today the US military announced: "RAMADI, Iraq -- A U.S. Soldier died today in a vehicle related accident in Western Iraq. The Ironsides command team wishes to extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to the family. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kind and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website [. . .] The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." Prior to the announcement, ICCC's count of the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4378. The number is now 4379.
Starting with elections and specifically with the Real Ugly. Yes, it is foundation ugly but it's not Thomas E. Ricks, it's worse: Nir Rosen. Rosen's offering predicitions and those who are familiar with his past attempts at tea leaf reading are immediately laughing. But there's laughable and then there is appalling. Rosen, who looks more and more like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, decided to share the following:
Maliki will probably emerge the victor in the elections. His more sectarian and corrupt Shiite rivals are discredited and unpopular, but more importantly, he is an authoritarian ruler in the Middle East, he would have to be really incompetent if he couldn't stay in power. If Karzai could do it, then Maliki should be able to as well. Of course there is nothing uniquely Middle Eastern about this. In fact maybe looking at post-Soviet states is useful -- that is, the new ruler will not readily relinquish control, even if he has to bend the rules a bit, or operate outside the constitution. This has happened in Asia, Africa, and other places in transition. I hate to admit that I hope Maliki wins. He's the best of all the realistic alternatives. It's not like a more secular candidate is likely to win, so if it's not Maliki it will be Jaafari or Chalabi. Frankly this is a rare case where I hope Maliki violates the constitution, acts in some kind of authoritarian way to make sure he wins the elections, because the alternative is fragmentation, or a criminal, sectarian kleptocratic Shiite elite taking over, and then Iraq might unravel. For now it's still "raveling."
"I hope Maliki violates the constitution"? You really want to say that? I guess it doesn't matter, you're now on the record saying that. Saying that you hope he "violates the constitution, acts in some kind of authoritarian way" and we're talking about Little Nouri, the would-be New Saddam. You can't take that back. You can't put it back into the bottle. Your wish is that the Constitution be trashed, that the process be ignored. When Iraqis have to live with your okaying of that process, remember you wanted it, you encouraged it, you wrote a piece advocating for it. There are no take backs on democracy. Nir Rosen is the perfect example of someone who can be educated and educated but never learn. No one who truly values democracy would ever advocate that the process be trashed, thwarted or ignored. We may not be happy with the results of, for example, an election but when we trash the process, we trash our own democracy. When we critique another society and offer that their authoritarian leader should disregard the laws and the processes, we send a message and it's an ugly and dangerous one.
Refugees International really can't afford these type of comments from Rosen. And just yesterday, the US military was trumpeting a Monday conference on "human rights and the role of the military in a democracy" that over 60 female Iraqi soldiers attended. You can bet that the seminar didn't teach the soldiers to root for their country's Constitution being trashed or that the elections were fraudulent. There is democratic thinking and there is what Nir Rozen has offered which, pay attention, is how the US government has justified installing every despot from Saddam Hussein in Iraq to Augusto Pinochet in Chile. There is no excuse for the 'hope' Rosen has expressed. It is outrageous and it is offensive.
As to his predictions, Nir Rosen will no doubt insist, "I was just there!" Yes, and you've been there before and all of your predictions have been wrong repeatedly (do we need to go into Sahwa for just one example or maybe the way you wrongly predicted what's known as the "civil war" of 2006 and 2007 would go down?). Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) doesn't breeze through like Rosen, Sahar lives there:

When asked why more than 500 candidates were banned just before the elections -- they would answer, "We are not sectarian -- there are as many Shiites as Sunnis on those lists", but when I asked Ahmed Chalabi at a press conference why were the political parties in power, who were religious in nature, targeting the seculars (and not the Sunnis as was the usual question to be asked of a Shiite controlled government), he was taken aback, but recovered quickly and with a knowing twinkle in his eyes, retorted, "Do you see me being targeted??" It was no use telling him that he was part of the biggest and maybe the most powerful Shiite alliance in the country, and therefore not considered secular -- I knew he would not answer -- He was too smart. Instead, he declared, "This conference is to discuss the legality of the ban -- and not the political aspects of it." and ended the conference soon after.

So the struggle, now, is religious vs. secular.

This country was secular once.

Will it be secular again? Do the seculars have a chance?

Difficult to say.

Further bad news for the laughable Nir Rosen comes via the latest ORB poll. Michael Hastings (The Hasting Report, True/Slant) reports that Iraqis were polled last week and
* In Baghdad 65% of people want someone other than Maliki as Prime Minister and fewer people say they are very likely to vote than elsewhere -- just 22% compared with 64% across Iraq as a whole.
*When asked whether conditions for peace and security have improved in the past 3 months 57% of Baghdad voters say things have worsened and across all of Iraq more than half (54%) think things have gotten worse or not improved.
* 96% of voters want change in the country -- with most wanting significant change. Maliki's status quo is not endough.
* An average of 64% of voters have an unfavourable view of Iran -- only 18% have a favorable view and 68% of all voters think that Iran is a bad influence in Iraq.
The polling reflects earlier reporting by Aseel Kami (Reuters) who noted over a week ago that the lack of basic services were impacting Iraqi attitudes towards voting.
Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) profiles a few of the candidates running for Parliament including an activist "for those the war has left wounded," Karim Radhi al-Khafaji who states, "I consider myself the candidate for the disabled and the deprived and those who are marginalized. [. . .] We have not seen anyone pay attention to us, including the prime minister." He offers that the percentage of people disabled or challenged in Iraq is 13% greater than the "world average of 2 percent".
Ahmed Chalabi has reported cut a deal with Tehran that, if true and if they stick with it, would slide Nouri al-Maliki to the side after the elections and allow Chalabi to be Prime Minister. (If true. Some are beginning to wonder if the original source of the rumor isn't Chalabi himself.) Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) reports on a recent interview the War Criminal gave:
Chalabi was obnoxious with Souhair Al-Qayssi and she would not let him off the hook, he did not intimidate her with his aggressiveness and she grilled him...Good for you Souhair, you're my kind of an Iraqi woman !

At one point his lies were so blatant that S.Al-Kayssi could not contain her laughter...this is how comic it was ...but let me not waste more time with my introduction and let's get down to what Chalabi said. I did take short notes but I am not a secretary and my mind is not a computer bank for storing data either..so there may be some grotesque lies that I may not remember as well...

S.Q : Why the fall out with the U.S ?

A.C : The U.S wants to bring back the Baath to Iraq so they can fight Iran in Iraq (no joke) Since 2004, I knew that this was Bremer's plan, after I initiated the De-baathification process and that is why I backed off. Now the U.S feels remorse for having removed the Baathists and they want them back in.

S.Q : (smiling wide) But you were close to the CIA yourself and you welcomed with open arms the U.S occupation, what changed ?

A.C : We (the Iraqi National Congress/opposition) have always refused the Occupation (no joke). I stood in the U.S congress in 1998 and asked for the liberation of Iraq and not its occupation. The cooperation with the US was limited, with the sole aim of removing Saddam Hussein, they liberate us and then they leave. I only have the best of interests for Iraq and its sovereignty ...

S.Q : But you had a honeymoon season with the U.S and some say you worked for the CIA and that the Justice and Accountability Committee which you now head was formed by Bremer himself...

A.C : Me, the CIA, never ! I went to Bremer with my daughter (her name is T.Chalabi) and told him you are not giving us sovereignty, you are not allowing a full Iraqi government as you promised, I even told Manning (some British Foreign official) that even Gertrude Bell in the 20's was more merciful in her approach to Iraq than you guys.

Meanwhile the Ahrar Party issued this release today:

Tonight on al-Arabiya, Ayad Jamal Aldin sets out his party's policies to secure the future of a united and peaceful Iraq

Ayad Jamal Aldin says that only Ahrar has a detailed and credible plan to end the sectarian violence and intimidation that blights the lives of all Iraqis and bring peace to our country.
On the Race To Parliament programme, he points out that of all the parties standing for election, Ahrar is the only party with a comprehensive and plausible plan to provide water, electricity and jobs in Iraq.
Ayad Jamal Aldin believes that Iraq's young people are capable and full of energy, ideas, and aspirations.
On the show, he recognises the need for Iraqis to build their own future, without the assistance of outsiders, and announces that under Ahrar 1200 Iraqis with college degrees will be sent to foreign universities to earn a degree in management leadership.
Ayad Jamal Aldin also explains the fundamental disagreement with the existing party structures which made it necessary to form the Ahrar Party as a standalone organisation, outside of previous coalitions. It reflects his belief that only an independent Iraqi organization not tainted by the corruption and failings of current political parties can be free to make the change Iraq needs.
He also reveals his opinion on the recent troubles between the Iraqi government and the Mujaheden Khalq in Diyala Province and the effect of these events on Iraq's foreign reputation.
Commenting on the US presence in Iraq Ayad Jamal Aldin says: "The American presence in Iraq is a fact. It is up to diplomacy to deal with the situation, not violent actions."
For further information, contact:
Ahrar Media Bureau
Tel: +964 (0)790 157 4478 / +964 (0)790 157 4479 / +964 (0)771 275 2942
About Ayad Jamal Aldin:
Ayad Jamal Aldin is a cleric, best known for his consistent campaigning for a new, secular Iraq. He first rose to prominence at the Nasiriyah conference in March 2003, shortly before the fall of Saddam, where he called for a state free of religion, the turban and other theological symbols. In 2005, he was elected as one of the 25 MPs on the Iraqi National List, but withdrew in 2009 after becoming disenchanted with Iyad Allawi's overtures to Iran. He wants complete independence from Iranian interference in Iraq. He now leads the Ahrar party for the 2010 election to the Council of Representatives, to clean up corruption and create a strong, secure and liberated Iraq for the future.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot "
"Violence continues in Iraq"
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"Those sexists never stop "
"What they cover, what they don't"
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"Disagreeing with Chris Hedges"
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"Movies and VUDU"
"Lila Giggles and her worthless Connect the Dots"
"'Health' 'care' 'reform' and Law & Disorder"
"Keep it in your pants, Colin Powell"

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