WITH HIS POPULARITY IN FREE FALL, FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O WINDS DOWN THE YEAR AS THE MAN YOU LOVE TO HATE.
REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARRY O TOLD THESE REPORTERS THAT THIS ISN'T "NECESSARILY A BAD THING. PEOPLE HATED JOAN COLLINS IN THE 80S BUT SHE WAS HUGE. I CAN BE AS WELL. IT'S A NO BRAINER"
NO, PEOPLE HATED ALEXIS COLBY, THE CHARACTER JOAN COLLINS PLAYED.
"OH," SAID THE DAHLIBAMA SLOWLY. "WELL . . . DOES THAT MAKE THIS A 'BRAINER' OR IS THERE ANOTHER WORD FOR IT?"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
NINA reports Omar al-Dulaimi was shot dead in Ramadi today while he was covering the clashes between Nouri's forces and militants or rebels. NINA notes he was "a graduate of the Department of Information in the faculty of Arts, University of Anbar, and worked as a reporter for one of the local agencies in Ramadi."
Yesterday, The Committee to Protect Journalists published a report by Elana Beiser on the deaths of journalists in 2013 which noted 70 journalists were killed around the world in 2013:
At least 10 journalists were killed for their work in Iraq, nine of them murdered, and all during the final quarter of the year. Unidentified gunmen opened fire on cameraman Mohammed Ghanem and correspondent Mohammed Karim al-Badrani of the independent TV channel Al-Sharqiya as they filmed a report on Eid al-Adha holiday preparations in Mosul in October. It is unclear why they were targeted; the station has attracted ire from both Iraqi authorities and anti-government militants.
As the year ends, the number of journalists killed in Iraq this year stands at eleven -- at least eleven.
The year winds down and so does Nouri al-Maliki's second term as prime minister. What has he accomplished?
Not a damn thing.
Every October, the heavy rains come to Iraq.
It's the raining season. It's not a surprise.
And if you're on your second term as prime minister, it's especially not a surprise.
When heavy rains fall in most wealthy countries, the water moves along via the public sewage systems.
If you don't have them, the water doesn't move along. Instead the water pools.
A home that comes down in the midst of storms?
That's probably not Nouri's fault. That's the effect of the rain (most likely).
But when, for example, rain water -- after the raining stops -- is knee high in Baghdad?
That's on Nouri al-Maliki.
Top photo on this Al Mada page of photos is of the flooding in Baghdad.
Iraq brings in billions of dollars from oil each month and yet Nouri can't address public services. The crumbling infrastructure has not really been updated since the 70s.
Iraq has another water problem. Having any.
This is going to become a very pressing issue for Iraq in the 21st century if it's not addressed.
An intelligent leader aware of the rainy season would have been prepared to work the heavy rains to his or her advantage. That would require constructing water towers. The basin issue? That's what the whole region's going to be fighting over. If I were in charge of Iraq, every major city would have a water tower.
In a largely useless interview on Morning Edition (NPR -- link is text and audio), this exchange took place between host Steve Inskeep and AFP's WG Dunlop:
INSKEEP: We understand that as we were arranging this call, there were power outages in Baghdad. How regular are city services at this point?
DUNLOP: It really varies by area and time. But ultimately, there's not 24-hour power. Many Iraqis have to supplement government-provided power with private generators - either buying generators themselves, or buying lines from local neighborhood generators.
Nouri's first term started in 2006. And it's 2013. Yet he's failed to fix the electricity.
Unemployment remains at record highs in Iraq, it's one of the reasons people have protested for over a year. Nouri's failed to provide jobs.
As we've repeatedly noted, every few months Iraq's importing nurses from other countries. The way you create jobs? Fast track medical training. You provide an education for those in need of jobs to become nurses and doctors -- both are heavily needed in Iraq.
But Nouri didn't do that. He didn't do that in 2006 or any time since. We've noted that he needs to do this since at least 2009.
In November, in search of a campaign issue, he brought it up once and then dropped it.
Also in November, All Iraq News reported, "Iraq has occupied the (130) position globally in terms of economic development indicator in accordance with the general prosperity and welfare world annual pointer of 2013. The report, which was issued by the British Institute (Legatom) in London including (142) countries, is considering many pointers such as the happiness and satisfaction of the people of the country and their ability to plan for better future as well as the financial fortune."
He has been prime minister for over seven years now and he has nothing to show for it, nothing to point to with pride.
He has no accomplishments.
In 2007, he agreed with the White House to a set of benchmarks.
He failed at them.
He failed at them while Bully Boy Bush was in the White House and he's still not accomplished them.
One of them we still hear the foolishness of reporters on. That would be the oil and gas law.
How long would it take to count up all the 'reports' from news outlets over the years that have told us that Iraq was about to pass an oil and gas law?
Vivienne Walt (Time magazine) noted:
Among the key "benchmarks" for progress in Iraq set by President George W. Bush in January of 2007 was the passage of a new Iraqi oil law. But almost three years on, the controversial legislation setting terms for foreign investment in the country's oil sector, and for distributing its revenues, remains stalled in the legislature. And Iraqi politicians admit it's unlikely to pass before the current parliament is replaced following Iraq's general elections next January.
Iraq did have elections this year.
This was more failure for Nouri.
The press runs with the poor showing of his State of Law as evidence that his popularity is on the wane. I don't make that argument. I do think he's far less popular but these were provincial elections and they're more local elections.
So what do I mean it was a failure for Nouri?
The Kurdistan Regional Government is (currently) three provinces in northern Iraq. They held their elections in September. That's fine, the KRG is semi-autonomous.
But Iraq has 18 provinces and that still left fifteen.
One did not vote. That left fourteen.
April 20th was the day of elections . . . for twelve provinces.
Nouri is deeply unpopular in Anbar and Nineveh Province.
Guess which two weren't allowed to vote in April?
You got it.
In Novmeber, the State Dept's Brett McGurk told Congress, "In the Sunni majority provinces of Ninewa and Anbar, provincial elections had been delayed due to security concerns. We were clear from the outset that this decision was unwise, and pushed to ensure the elections took place, which they did on June 20."
Clear from the outset?
On that -- at least on that -- McGurk told the truth.
In March of this year, Al Jazeera reported the following
Kerry's visit also addressed democratic reforms and upcoming elections which are threatened by sectarian tensions.
The secretary of state has told Iraq's parliamentary speaker the US believes Iraq is facing a serious crisis and is in danger of going backwards, according to an official at the talks.
Iraq's parliamentary speaker told Kerry that a decision earlier this month by the Iraqi government to postpone provincial elections next month in two Sunni-majority provinces due to security concerns is unconstitutional.
The statement said the speaker pointed out to Kerry that security during the last elections four years ago was much worse, and described the delay as a "political decision".
Following this discussion, Kerry says that Maliki agreed to revisit a cabinet decision to delay elections in two Sunni majority provinces next month.
Al Jazeera goes on to tell you that the elections were delayed in the two provinces for security reasons.
That's a lie and part of the continued lying that outlet does for Nouri.
The most violent province was Baghdad -- as cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr pointed out.
It wasn't about violence at all.
Pressed on that, Nouri suddenly announced the delay was because they couldn't prevent voter fraud in those two provinces.
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