JUST WHEN CELEBRITY-IN-CHIEF BARRY O THOUGHT THINGS COULDN'T GET WORSE, HE'S FACING GROWING DISAPPROVAL IN CALIFORNIA.
A NEW POLL FINDS THAT THE ONCE FIRMLY BARRY O BACKING STATE NOW VOICES A 43% DISAPPROVAL RATE OF BARRY O -- AN INCREASE OF 8%.
MEANWHILE, NATIONALLY, GALLUP'S NEW POLL FINDS THAT 53% OF AMERICANS DISAPPROVE OF THE JOB OR 'JOB' BARRY O'S DOING.
REACHED FOR COMMENT, WHITE HOUSE PLUS-SIZE SPOKESMODEL JAY CARNEY TOLD THESE REPORTERS TODAY, "WELL 47% APPROVE, WE CAN WORK WITH THAT, WE CAN REBUILD FROM THAT."
INFORMED THAT, IN FACT, GALLUP FINDS ONLY 40% OF AMERICAN APPROVE OF BARRY O'S JOB PERFORMANCE, CARNEY RESPONDED, "OH, CRAP!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Also over the weekend, All Iraq News reported cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr declared today that Iran refuses to back Nouri for a third term. Today Ahmed Chalabi offered harsh words for Nouri al-Maliki. NINA quotes him denouncing a third term for Nouri, stating it "will lead to a further deterioration in security and corruption as well as continuing foreign interference." He further stated, "The policy of the country is moving towards authoritarianism and dictatorship and our future role is to put Iraq on the path of real democracy through a comprehensive process of change, not only at the political level, but in all areas."
Let's stay with political news out of Iraq. All Iraq News reports today that arrest warrants have been issued against two members of Moqtada al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc -- MP Jawad al-Shihaili and Baha al-Araji. al-Araji is charged with "damaging general properties" and al-Shihaili is charged with "stealing state's revenues." These warrants come only after Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports MPs are accusing Nouri al-Maliki of misuse of state resources on his recent trip to Basra -- including, Moqtada's bloc pointed out, Nouri offering up land plots. MPs see the visit as typical Nouri trying to bribe for votes but the difference this time is that a law's been passed to make this illegal.
Nouri refuses to follow the laws which is one of the reasons protests have been taking place in Iraq since December 21st. They've continued to protest despite multiple attacks on them by Nouri al-Maliki's forces, the worst being the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from Nouri's federal forces storming in. Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk) announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault. AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured). They haven't given up despite Nouri's empty words. Monday, Nickolav Mladenov, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Iraq and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, addressed the United Nations Security Council.
Nickolay Mladenov: Protests continued in Anbar, Nineveh, Salah al-Din, Kirkuk and Diayala governorates in the form of unified Friday prayers. Compared to the past reporting period, the protests assumed a lower profile, owning in part to increased attention to the protesters' demands by newly elected local administrations. Indeed, the Anbar Governorate Council elected Sabah Karhout, a member of the Arab Iraqiya party, as its chair, and Ahmed Khalif al-Dulaimi, a member of the Muttahidoun party, as Governor. In Ninewa, the Governorate Council re-elected Atheel al-Nujaifi, a known supporter of the protestors and brother of the Speake of the Council of Representatives [Osama al-Nujaifi], as Governor. On 5 October dialogue between the Government and the protestors resumed following a meeting between the Prime Minister [Nouri al-Maliki] and the Governor of Anbar, who was nominated by the demonstrators to represent their interests. While the meeting was described as positive and fruitful by the Prime Minister's office, no progress has been announced to date in addressing the demonstrators' demands.
This month, the protests hit the one year mark. 19 days from now, in fact. The protesters have been attacked, arrested and murdered. And still they protest. Speaking to Patrick Cockburn (Independent) last week, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr shared his thoughts on Nouri and the protests:
Mr Sadr is particularly critical of the government’s handling of the Sunni minority, which lost power in 2003, implying they had been marginalised and their demands ignored. He thinks that the Iraqi government lost its chance to conciliate Sunni protesters in Iraq who started demonstrating last December, asking for greater civil rights and an end to persecution.
“My personal opinion is that it is too late now to address these [Sunni] demands when the government, which is seen as a Shia government by the demonstrators, failed to meet their demands,” he said. Asked how ordinary Shia, who make up the great majority of the thousand people a month being killed by al-Qa’ida bombs, should react, Mr Sadr said: “They should understand that they are not being attacked by Sunnis. They are being attacked by extremists, they are being attacked by external powers.”
December 21st, the protests will have hit the one year mark -- that's twenty days away. Today, All Iraq News reports:
The Coordination Committees of the Sit –In yards in Ramadi city announced on Monday withdrawing their authorization for the Governor of Anbar to negotiate with the Central Government over the demands of the demonstrators.
The demonstrators and chieftains in Anbar announced on September 3rd authorizing the Governor of Anbar Ahmed Khalaf to negotiate with the CG to implement their demands.
They're not pleased with the talks Governor Ahmed Khalaf has had with Nouri -- which have produced no results. But they're especially bothered by the fact that the Governor is not working for them. Some feel he's working for the United States' government.
Where did they get that idea? Who knows. But Sunday, these remarks from Brett McGurk were posted repeatedly on Arabic social media:
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. The outcome led to a status quo in Ninewa, with the brother of Speaker Osama Nujaifi retaining the governorship; but new leaders emerged in Anbar, and these new leaders, with our encouragement, are engaging the central government.
Prime Minister Maliki met the new Anbar Governor, Ahmad Khalaf al-Dulaimi, before traveling to Washington, and we expect to see additional meetings soon, with a focus on coordinating security and political efforts.
McGurk is the US State Dept's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and, last month, he testified to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. We covered his testimony in the November 13th "Iraq snapshot," the November 14th "Iraq snapshot" and in the November 15th "Iraq snapshot." And the statements that were so popular on social media yesterday are from his opening statement which you can read in full here.
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