Friday, November 08, 2013

It's not that easy








In 1973, Maureen McGovern made it to the top of the Top 40 with the number one hit "The Morning After" ("There's got to be a morning after . . .").  Thirty years later, the US government and its press agents posing as 'reporters' sang their own version "The Turned Corner," ("There's about to be a turned corner . . .")  For those who've forgotten or missed it in real time, as the illegal war kicked off, reality kicked back.  And the White House and press hacks like John Burns and Thomas Friedman constantly insisted a turned corner lay in the immediate future and the entire failed war was about to turn around.  However, that never happened.

Were any lessons learned from that?

Apparently not.

The Washington Post's Liz Sly noted the turned corner claim is still around.

  • Apparently this is good news about Iraq: its crisis will be over in 20 years. Then it will have a bright future.

  • The Shagaq News article is about the judgment calls of an American,  Michael Knights of the Washington Institue, and it starts:

    "Iraq's tunnel is long, but at the end there is a light, with this sentence Michael Knights, an expert at the Washington Institute for the Near East began his talk as he believes that after 20 years, Iraq will come out of this crisis, will be a leader , tolerant and open state".

    That's the article's punctuation.  They leave a quote -- without noting that they have (clearly Michael Knight did not declare "with this sentence Michael Knights, an expert at . . .") -- and put an end quote at the end of their sentence.

    The point of that is that "20 years" may or may not be Knights' remark.  He is quoted in the article speaking of "someday."

    Regardless, his hope for a turned corner seems more than a bit unrealistic based upon his own argument.

    He is quoted stating, "During our presence in Iraq , we say that the problem were not Saddam Hussein, as it was the Iraqi strong central regime. For this, we focused on decentralization , and for this we have set and develop in the Constitution. However, after we have withdrawn Maliki returned to Saddam Hussein's central strong (...) and surrounded himself with a group of angry Shiite that wasn't for revenge. These groups controlled the nominations of the armed forces, courts and the central bank. "

    So the problem is Nouri.  You can pretend and mess around all you want but the reality is the problems in Iraq are the making of Nouri al-Maliki (which means they're the making of the White House since the 2006 administration demanded that Nouri be named prime minister and the 2010 administration negotiated The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri a second term the voters and the Iraqi Constitution didn't give Nouri).

    Is Knights really so reluctant to tell the truth or is it the outlet?  I have no idea but 'someday' or '20 years' isn't good enough for the Iraqi people -- it's not good enough for any people.  They shouldn't have to suffer under Nouri's nonsense.

    Knights's 'findings' are illogical and not fact based.  This is evident by the half-quote that the article includes from him, "if not anything else, the decentralized Constitution that we have set, which I think solved Iraq's problems, as I told you "  Setting aside who 'set' the Iraqi Constitution, the Constitution is meaningless at this point.

    Nouri's refused to implement Article 140 of the Constitution.  He was required to implement it by the end of 2007.  He refused to do so.  He agreed, in The Erbil Agreement of 2010, to implement it.  He has refused to do so.

    The Constitution outlines who becomes prime minister.  The Erbil Agreement circumvented the Constitution.

    The Constitution's not being followed with regards to replacing the incapacitated president.  Last December,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17th (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.  Every few weeks someone comes along to announce, "He's getting better!"  It's past time that Iraqis were told when Jalal was coming back and if he's not coming back shortly, it really is time to replace him.  He's been out of the country -- and not doing his job -- for nearly a year now.  We're 11 days from a year. A constitutional government does not allow this to happen.

    There has been no president of Iraq for a year.

    That's not a sign of a functioning government.  It's not a sign of compassion.  Compassion is you give the Talabani family six weeks or so.  After that, you start calling them on the lie.  Jalal's hidden away because he can't function and he can't perform his duties.  He's been allowed to draw his salary though.

    Then there's the issue of the Cabinet.

    The President names a prime minister-designate.

    The person has 30 days to become prime minister and the only way they do that is by forming their Cabinet -- which is done by naming nominees that Parliament votes for and confirms.  They have 30 days for that.

    It's the only thing that has to be done for a prime minister-designate to become prime minister.  (This is Article 76 of the Constitution.)  Should the prime minister-designate fail to complete this task in 30 days, the president is supposed to name a new prime minister-designate.

    Jalal  betrayed the Constitution.  Firstly, he declared Nouri prime minister-designate at Parliament's November 11, 2010 session but then claimed that wasn't official -- it was -- so he could provide Nouri with a later date -- he reset the clock.  Even doing that, Nouri still didn't have a partial Cabinet until January 2011.  That's a violation of the Constitution.

    So is 'partial cabinet.'  Anyone can form a partial cabinet.  You just get one nominee to your Cabinet confirmed and you've formed a 'Cabinet' by Nouri's logic.  The Constitution calls for a Cabinet -- that means a full Cabinet.  (Four Iraqis who were part of the 2005 Constitution have made that clear.)

    Yet Nouri wasn't bound to the Constitution.  And even now, as his second term winds down, he's not got a full Cabinet.  Back in July 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."   Those posts have remained vacant.  Throughout his second term. No Minister of Defense?

    Is it any wonder that Iraq has seen an increase in violence?

    AFP notes today, "It is the latest in Iraq's worst violence since 2008, with more than 5,500 people dead this year despite tightened security measures and a swathe of operations against militants."  But they fail to connect the increase to the security ministries.    They also undercount.  As Christiane Amanpour noted on Amanpour (CNN) Tuesday, it's "almost 7,000" killed this year.  She was raising the statistic because she was addressing Iraq with her guest was Ayad Allawi who was prime minister of Iraq from June 2004 through May 2005 and who should, based on the 2010 election results, have been named prime minister in 2010.  Click here for video, here for transcript.  Excerpt.

    AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, sorry to interrupt you, and we'll talk about the politics, but many people believe, including former U.S. ambassadors, commanders, et cetera, that you can't really do as much as you would like on political progress without having security.

    So the question is, do you think Prime Minister Maliki had a successful visit to the U.S.? Did -- do you believe he got what he wanted from President Obama? And what does the U.S. need to do to help at least in the security area right now?

    ALLAWI: I don't think the U.S. have a larger stake to improve security overnight in Iraq. I don't know what he discussed -- and Maliki discussed in the U.S. But I definitely know that the ingredients of security are not there.

    The ingredients, the three (inaudible) security lies upon is healthy political process; institutions which are professional, that control their responsibility and the economy finding jobs for the people, in a rich country like Iraq, where a third of the nation are under poverty line.

    On top of this, we have gross interferences from our neighbor to our east, which is Iran. Iran have been trying to meddle with the Iraq efforts, especially after everything was dismantled upon occupation and Iraq -- Iran became the most important power wreaking havoc on Iraq and supporting militias and support sectarianism in Iraq.

    AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, regarding the political situation, President Obama urged Prime Minister Maliki, the current prime minister, to make sure a new election law gets passed.

    Apparently it has been passed; there will be elections according to what's been laid out in a road map.

    Do you have hope for those elections?

    And do you eventually plan to run for election again yourself?

    ALLAWI: Of course. I mean, you know, we have fought for 30 years for my country, to get rid of tyranny. We will continue to play a role in politics. And definitely I'll go into elections.

    But I don't have that much faith. Last time I won the elections, I was two seats in Parliament, and we were clearly the winners. And according to our constitution, the way I should form the government, or at least should be given the chance to form the government and the chance was according to our constitution for 45 days.

    This even challenge we were denied to have. And according to Maliki, was reinstated, what the power of Iran, with the support of Iran with the acceptance of the U.S. And we are where we are now, unfortunately.

    People have been betrayed in Iraq as far as the elections are concerned. And they felt that they went -- when they went to the ballots and they elected their -- whatever or whoever they elected, but yet the results were not to their -- to the -- to the standards of the -- of the (inaudible). But rather to Iran to decide what was doing there. And those were not doing there.

    AMANPOUR: So what is your view of where the Sunni population is going to be?

    I said that they felt frustrated and this is some fertile ground for the resurgence of Al Qaeda.

    Is the Sunni population still willing to give politics a chance?

    ALLAWI: It's getting much weaker, their resolve towards politics and towards election is getting much weaker now. Unfortunately the turnout in the last provincial elections, which was just under a year ago, was in the best 28 percent in the best areas in the -- in the -- in some of the -- like most are like Salah ad-Din (ph) and Anbar (ph).

    And you know, all these provinces now have been demonstrating for the last seven months, eight months, and there are lots of adversities being committed against them.

    So really there is a lot of faith lost in the -- in the elections and the results of the elections. And even on the democracy, there is a loss of faith. And that's why Al Qaeda is getting more powerful in the country, it's waging a clear war, sitting whenever they like at whatever -- whatever they like, without the government being able to do anything about this.

    AMANPOUR: You sort of -- I know you're not playing down the violence, but obviously you're playing up the need for a political solution; everybody would agree to that. But how do you expect to be able to again try to defeat and push back Al Qaeda? And how dangerous are they right now, especially given the fact that Al Qaeda in Iraq has linked up with Al Qaeda in Syria?

    ALLAWI: Well, Christiane, let me tell you frankly, if people are disenfranchised, if people are oppressed, if people are on the side, if people are not cared for, if they live in poverty, they will definitely go to the extreme. And this is unfortunately what's happening in almost half of the country.

    The violence is bred by Nouri and Michael Knights may be prepared to wait for 'someday' but how much longer can the Iraqi people survived Nouri al-Maliki?

    Last week, Nouri visited DC and that visit was, in part, to get a blessing for a third term.

    Many words have been written about the visit but maybe the one what best captured US President Barack Obama's feelings towards thug Nouri is the photo Dar Addustour published last night of Nouri standing next to a bored Barack?

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