Tuesday, December 10, 2013

He doesn't know how to behave on the world stage





All Iraq News reports that Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, has declared that the security situation in Iraq has grown worse due to the fact that, "Some officials have assumed some security key posts by paying bribes which resulted in disturbing the security situation."  It's difficult to see the comment as anything but a criticism of Nouri al-Maliki, chief thug and prime minister of Iraq, since Nouri is not only prime minister but the head of all security ministries as a result of his power grab and refusal to obey the Constitution.

Regardless of whether bribes were involved or not, when you've made yourself  Minister of Defense (military) and Minister of Interior (police), you've made yourself responsible for any increase in violence.  So the 309 violent deaths for the month so far?  That would be on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, on Minister of Defense Nouri al-Maliki and on Minister of Interior Nouri al-Maliki.

December 4th, Nouri suffered a high profile defection from his State of Law coalition as the head of SoL in Parliament, MP Izzat al-Shahbandar, announced his resignation and declared Nouri had turned SoL "into a sectarian coalition."  State of Law finally found a response today.  All Iraq News reports MP Maryam al-Rayis offered that State of Law was used to "politician who always change their political stances and relase contradicted statements."  Of course they got used to it -- Nouri's the head of State of Law.  Meanwhile Alsumaria reports that MP Sami al-Askari is going to great pains to insist that he has not also left State of Law.  He states he and Nouri remain tight, their relationship is "good" and he's not leaving State of Law.  Yes, he's formed State of Loyal, a group to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections.  Yes, that means he is not running for re-election as part of State of Law.  But that doesn't mean, he insists, that he's left or deserted State of Law.  Again, not running with them, created new group to stand apart from them, but -- he insists -- this departure should not be seen as a departure.  Apparently, like Ross with Rachel, they are on a break.

The Kurdish Globe reports:

At least 2, 461 people have participated in an opinion poll which launched by Kurdistan Institution for Political Affairs. The poll contained different questions to evaluate the performance of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi institutions.
The participants took part across the Kurdistan Region?s cities. They were from different social class models.
The result of the poll shows that around 70 percent of the Kurdish people have no confidence in the Iraqi federal government.
At least 77 percent of the voters said that they have confidence in Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani.

In September, the three provinces in the Kurdistan Regional Government (northern Iraq's semi-autonomous region) held provincial elections and, in  "The KRG elections" at Third, Jim and I discussed those elections:

Jim: Right.  But to me the more interesting thing was the KDP's success.

C.I.: Why is that?

Jim: The press has said repeatedly that Massoud Barzani has overstepped his bounds, that he's unpopular, etc.  And you've argued differently for two years now.  If you were wrong, KDP wouldn't be in the lead.

C.I.: I don't know where the nonsense on Barzani got started.  He's very popular.  The press has always insisted that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is popular. He's also a Kurd -- like Barzani -- and he heads what had been the other dominant party, the Patriotic Union Kurdistan.

Jim: That's right.  Going into this election, it was a two party race.  The PUK and the KDP were the dominant political parties in the KRG -- like the Democrats and the Republicans in the US.  With the results of Saturday's elections, that has now changed.

C.I.: Right.  Gorran is now one of the two dominant parties.

Jim: But back to Barzani.  The press, Joel Wing and so many others kept insisting that Barzani was passe, over, loathed, etc.  But his party got the most votes.

C.I.: Well, first of all, he's the head of the party.  Voters voted for the party.  I don't know that you can extrapolate that he's very popular just from the results of this election.  But I do think that if he was as unpopular as many in the press have tried to pretend.  If he were, I would argue, he would have dragged the KDP down and they would not have won the most votes.

FYI, Joel Wing got his panties in a wad over Jim's remarks and then got his panties in a tighter wad when Jim referred Joel to Joel's own writing that backed Jim up. To be clear, no one needs to hear from Joel in an e-mail.  There are many that Jim's ignoring because when you say, "You wrote it here" and provide a link, the next e-mail from Joel needs to "My bad, my mistake" not more crazy justifying rants.  Again, no one needs an e-mail from Joel.

The poll demonstrates the popularity of Barzani.  Those who spent the bulk of 2012 and 2013 insisting Barzani was unpopular -- with no evidence to back it up -- might need to recalibrate.  We'll come back to Barzani.  The 70% that lack confidence in Nouri's government?

The Kurds have many issues with the federal government including who has the right to claim Kirkuk, federal monies and control of their region's own oil.  These are issues that Iraqis in the other 14 provinces (let's ignore Kirkuk Province since Nouri has) don't have.  So you could argue Nouri's popularity could be much higher in the 14 provinces.  But it's also true that being semi-autonomous means the Kurds are far less wrapped up in Nouri's daily failures.  So disapproval of Nouri's government in the fourteen other provinces could be high -- even if not as high as 70%.

I'd argue it is high.  2010 revealed strong disappointment with Nouri al-Maliki as evidenced by the votes in the 2010 parliamentary election which Nouri's State of Law lost.

What's taken place since 2010?

For one thing, violence has increased.  Dramatically.  The Iraqi people are surely not pleased about that and no doubt blame Nouri as well as the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Interior and . . .  Oops.  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 positions were supposed to be filled -- per the Constitution -- by the end of December 2010.  Three years later and they still aren't.  Because Nouri wanted to make a power grab and steal those positions -- which he did.  He is the Minister of the Interior (police) and the Minister of Defense (military).  So he is completely and 100% responsible for the security and he has failed.

Paul Crompton (Al Arabiya News) reports today:

Iraq’s fragile government is not doing enough to support foreign investment and businesses, which face an ongoing battle against corruption and bureaucracy, experts say.

The World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report, which measures business regulations worldwide, put Iraq near the bottom of the list in their 2012 report, just three spaces above Afghanistan.

Yes, there's the issue of corruption.  Iraq remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world.  In 2012, Transparency International ranked 177 countries, the higher up the list, the more transparent and less corrupt you were.  In 2012, out of 177 countries, Iraq came in at 169 -- 168 countries in the world were more transparent than Iraq.  This month, Transparency International released their latest rankings.  You might think nothing could be worse for Iraq than being 168 on a list of transparent countries.  You would be wrong.  It has now fallen to 171 out of 177.  Only six countries in the world are considered more corrupt than Iraq (Libya, South Sudan, Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia).  Corruption just gets worse in Iraq.

Those with longer memories may remember the early 2011 protests in Iraq -- taking place while the media focused on Egypt and other countries.  Nouri, fearing that he would be overthrown by the Iraqi people, announced he would not seek a third term.  He's now going for a third term -- his word is meaningless -- and just visited Iran to get the support of officials there.  Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has stated Iraq does not need a third term of Nouri.  Aswat al-Iraq reported Saturday that Iraqiya weighed in, "In a statement today, the bloc pointed out that Iraq lived for eight years in a state where political visions are absent and bad deteriorated security condition, in addition to corruption."

In early 2011, Nouri promised not to seek a third term and he promised that if the people would give him 100 days he would end the corruption.  He was never going to end the corruption -- he's part of the corruption.  He's stealing money from the government -- from the Iraqi people, it's their money.  He lived in near poverty when he lobbied the US government to invade Iraq back in those years when he fled Iraq.

Yet now, he and his family are rolling in the dough.  As noted at CNN  last year:

Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party’s official newspaper, Khebat, revealed that Nouri Maliki’s son has expensed over $150 million of the Iraqi people’s assets purchasing castles and hotels in foreign countries. The newspaper wrote quoting a source: After his father became Chairman of the Dawa Party, Ahmed Nouri al-Maliki purchased the Marry Anderson Castle in London for a price of £40 million. In addition, he purchased the Seyedeh Zainab Ambassador Hotel in Damascus at a price of $35 million, and is now purchasing the Ajmon Ambassador Hotel at a price of $75 million.
The source added that Ahmed Nouri al-Maliki has purchased an 85 thousand square meter land in front of the Zainab Hotel for $52 million.
Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party’s official newspaper, Khebat, added: Iraqis who live with power outages and no public services, and while a day doesn’t go by that a number of people don’t lose their lives as a result of explosions, ask the Maliki government: Where does Maliki’s son bring all this money from?

When a video posted to YouTube exposed the lavish lifestyle Ahmed was living in London, YouTube was ordered to take it down by the government of Iraq.  And being the cowards that they are, YouTube did remove the video.  And it's description.

Fortunately, we'd noted the video and its description prior to that so we can still include the description that Nouri's government demanded YouTube censor:

In this short video, Ahmed, the gangster son of one of the world's most corrupt leaders Nuri Al-Maliki, drives his Ferrari around central London, while he was on a �200 million property spending spree with Iraq's money. Ahmed was of course cleared of all charges in a huge corruption case involving Iraqi Government procurement of Russian arms in 2012. 
Nuri Al-Maliki is known to own numerous several properties and a hotel in the UK, and has long been rumoured to be planning to live here when his time as the chief bribe taker in Iraq is over.
He also owns the Seyedeh Zainab Ambassador hotel in Damascus.
London is the natural home of blood soaked African warlords, Russian gangsters/Oligarchs, and of corrupt Middle Eastern despots, and their offspring.
Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
Iraqi puppet leader Nuri Al-Maliki's gangster son Ahmed is spending the Iraqi people's money very wisely
Iraq,Corruption,Bribery,,London,London,C­ity of,United Kingdom (UK/GB)

You need to ask yourself how Nouri's son can afford a Ferrari, let alone all the other stuff.  Nouri  was a pauper in exile.  He was the outside of Iraq 'head' of Iraq's Dawa political party but that wasn't a money making position.  Dawa's efforts were focused on overthrowing Saddam Hussein.  That's where the focus was and that's what the limited money was focused on.  Nouri, his wife Fareeha Khalil and their five children lived at near poverty levels in Iran, Syria and Jordan.   Not all exiles struggled economically.  Some had money they earned, some had family money.  Nouri had nothing.  Which is why the press didn't note his efforts prior to 2003 (or, really, until Bully Boy Bush installed him as prime minister in 2006).  Exile Ahmed Chalabi, for example, had money.  (Some of which came from questionable means -- at one point, he was facing charges in Jordan, those charges were dropped.)  And the press sucked up to Chalabi.

But Nouri had nothing.  And his son's driving a Ferrari in England and buying properties?  Where'd the money come from?

In October, Peg Mackey (Reuters) reported, "Production of nearly 3 million bpd earned Baghdad $94 billion in 2012 and netted $61 billion in the first eight months of this year."

Where all the billions go, no one can answer.  Nouri's head of the government and he can't -- Excuse me, he won't say where the money is going. It's not going to the Iraqi people.  But Nouri's son, when not terrorizing Iraqi people by attacking them in their homes, zips around in pricey cars.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Tiny Nouri just gets smaller"
"At least 309 killed in Iraq so far this month"
"A look at Eleanor Parker"

  • No comments: