Saturday, November 27, 2010

Next he'll go shopping for a veil






The Iraq War is not about oil many insist. Then why is human life worth so damn little to the press? Hammoudi reports on it, Reuters reports on it. That's really it. Contrast that with the oil tanker -- OIL tanker -- exploding. Alsumaria TV reports it was "an accident," that it claimed 2 lives with nine more wounded and the explosion took palce "on the Iraqi-Jordan border" yesterday. CNN covers it Reuters covers it.. AP covers it. Press TV covers it. Bloomberg News covers it. AFP covers it. BBC News covers it. We can go on and on but I believe the point is made. It's not the 'numbers' because 2 (or 3 lives -- on is misisng in some reports, in others the person is listed as dead) and nine injured is less than 4 killed and thirty-one injured. But one gets massive attention. And then some wonder why people -- like Alan Greenspan? -- say the Iraq War was all about oil?
It certainly wasn't about creating a democracy. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. November 10th a power sharing deal resulted in the Parliament meeting for the second time and voting in a Speaker. And then Iraqiya felt double crossed on the deal and the bulk of their members stormed out of the Parliament. David Ignatius (Washington Post) explains, "The fragility of the coalition was dramatically obvious Thursday as members of the Iraqiya party, which represents Sunnis, walked out of Parliament, claiming that they were already being double-crossed by Maliki. Iraqi politics is always an exercise in brinkmanship, and the compromises unfortunately remain of the save-your-neck variety, rather than reflecting a deeper accord. " After that, Jalal Talabani was voted President of Iraq. Talabani then named Nouri as the prime minister-delegate. If Nouri can meet the conditions outlined in Article 76 of the Constitution (basically nominate ministers for each council and have Parliament vote to approve each one with a minimum of 163 votes each time and to vote for his council program) within thirty days, he becomes the prime minister. If not, Talabani must name another prime minister-delegate. . In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister-delegate. It took eight months and two days to name Nouri as prime minister-delegate. His first go-round, on April 22, 2006, his thirty day limit kicked in. May 20, 2006, he announced his cabinet -- sort of. Sort of because he didn't nominate a Minister of Defense, a Minister of Interior and a Minister of a Natioanl Security. This was accomplished, John F. Burns wrote in "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" (New York Times), only with "muscular" assistance from the Bush White House. Nouri declared he would be the Interior Ministry temporarily. Temporarily lasted until June 8, 2006. This was when the US was able to strong-arm, when they'd knocked out the other choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) to install puppet Nouri and when they had over 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Nouri had no competition. That's very different from today. The Constitution is very clear and it is doubtful his opponents -- including within his own alliance -- will look the other way if he can't fill all the posts in 30 days. As Leila Fadel (Washington Post) observes, "With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) points out, "Maliki now has 30 days to decide on cabinet posts - some of which will likely go to Iraqiya - and put together a full government. His governing coalition owes part of its existence to followers of hard-line cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leading Sunnis and others to believe that his government will be indebted to Iran." The stalemate ends when the country has a prime minister. It is now eight months, nineteen days and counting. Yesterday, Thursday November 25th, Nouri was finally 'officially' named prime minister-designate. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) explains, "In 30 days, he is to present his cabinet to parliament or lose the nomination." Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) adds, "Even if Mr. Maliki meets the 30-day deadline in late December -- which is not a certainty, given the chronic disregard for legal deadlines in Iraqi politics -- the country will have spent more than nine months under a caretaker government without a functioning legislature. Many of Iraq's most critical needs -- from basic services to investment -- have remained unaddressed throughout the impasse." Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) offered, "He has an extremely difficult task ahed of him, these next 30 days are going to be a very tough sell for all of these parties that all want something very important in this government. It took a record eight months to actually come up with this coalition, but now what al-Maliki has to do is put all those people in the competing positins that backed him into slots in the government and he has a month to day that from today."

Thug Nouri brokered a deal with -- among others -- Moqtada al-Sadr to remain as dictator of Iraq. Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports, "The Mahdi Army has also in effect seized control of cellblocks at one of Iraq's largest detention facilities, Taji prison. Within months of the U.S. hand-over of the prison in March, Mahdi Army detainees were giving orders to guards who were either loyal to or intimidated by them, Iraqi and U.S. officials say [. . .] Senior Sadr supporters are being brought into the Interior Ministry at high-level positions, according to Mahdi Army members and Iraqi officers. One Sadr commander who is being given the rank of brigadier general said he knew of 50 others who were being recruited for officers' positions." And if there's anything more frightening than the current Iraq prison system it's grasping that the Mahdi Army is more or less in charge of some of them. Paul Walsh (Minneapolis Star Tribune) reports that the Minnesota National Guard is sending 80 members to Iraq and the question should be why?

The government in Iraq is nothing but exiles installed by the US. It's not a real government, it's not of the people -- easily demonstrated when the people's voice was rejected this month. So why is the US military being used to prop up this corrupt regime? And when does it end?

The 'government' lacks the consent of the governed. So to keep these exiles in place, the US military will have to stay on the ground in Iraq for years to come?

That's not democracy, that's thwarting the will of the people.

Thursday the European Union adopted three resolutions. From the one on Iraq:

Condemning the recent attacks on Christian communities in Iraq, Parliament calls on EU High representative Catherine Ashton to treat the problem of the safety of Christians within Iraqi borders as a priority and urges the Iraqi authorities to "drastically increase their efforts for the protection of Christian and vulnerable communities". MEPs also call on the European Union to strengthen the fight against terrorism.

Iraqi Christians have been targeted throughout the illegal war. The latest wave of attacks began October 31st with the assault on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad in which at least 70 people were killed and at least 70 were injured. Adnkronos reports that 7 hand written threats against Iraqi Christians have turned up throughout Baghdad this week and they quote "Christian community leader" Abdullah al-Nawafili stating, "Threats of these types have been coming in over the past few days that push us to leave the country." Vatican Radio reports that Cardinal Leonardo Sandri delivered a liturgy last night at St Peter's Bascilica in Rome and called for "peace and reconciliation":

Survivors from that terrible tragedy, who since November 11th have been receiving treatment in Rome's Gemelli hospital, were also present Thursday. They were the physical testimony of the wounds that the Iraqi Christian community has suffered and continues to suffer, for the faith.
Speaking to them Cardinal Sandri spoke of the saving mystery of martyrdom.
"Our thoughts, hearts and prayers go to Iraq and many other parts of the world, where to this day loyalty to baptism is answered in blood, for He who loved us to the Cross."

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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