CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O IS FACING A TOUGH NEW AD FROM SPECIAL-OPS. IN THE AD, NAVY SEAL BEN SMITH ADDRESSES THE CAMERA AND BARRY O'S CLAIMS:
Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden, America did. The work that the American military has done killed Osama bin Laden. You did not.
IN REPLY TO THE AD, THE WHITE HOUSE SNIFFED THAT NONE OF THEM WERE QUALIFIED TO HAVE AN OPINION.
POOR BARRY O, SUCH AN IMPOTENT LITTLE MAN, SO EAGER TO PLAY DRESS UP AND CLAIM CREDIT FOR THINGS HE DIDN'T DO.
THE AD'S NOT OFFERING ANYTHING THAT HASN'T ALREADY BEEN SAID. MAY 5, 2011, ISAIAH'S THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Mouser and Glory Hog" ATTEMPTED TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Douglas A. Ollivant is with the New America Foundation and he's written an important paper on Iraq entitled "Renewed Violence in Iraq: Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 15" and there is so much in it worth pondering, many sections worth applauding, some I disagree with but can understand the argument he's making but I also believe in the facts. The section that I think needs the most attention is this:
Be a proponent of the electoral process. The United States will continue to work primarily with Maliki not because he is "the U.S. guy," but because he is the duly elected prime minister of a parliamentary democracy. If Maliki loses a no-confidence vote and another government forms, the United States should be equally supportive of the new prime minster. Above all, the United States should make clear that it would find any suspension of, or irregularity within, the next parliamentary elections in 2014 severely problematic. Achieving another round of elections in 2014 (and provincial elections in 2013) will likely better establish the political strength of all the factions and increasingly mature the political system.
I agree 100% with that. However, that's not what's taken place. The US has worked overtime to ensure that a no-confidence vote not take place. I know for a fact that they attempted to pressure KRG President Massoud Barzani to back away from the proposal and he refused to do so. (Good for him.) Others were more pliable. In addition, there was the idiotic poll by the National Democratic Institute. The poll was a joke to the US Senate. But the New York Times ran with it, didn't they? And wasn't it great that this poll found Nouri to be immensely popular throughout the entire country?
When politicians are evaluating whether or not to go against Nouri and vote him out of office, just by luck, sheer coincidence, the US has a poll testifying to Nouri's immense popularity.
The poll was a joke, the results not to be taken seriously. It was propaganda pure and simple and the New York Times has never had a problem with knowingly violating the Smith-Mundt Act.
As intended, the fake poll shook up a few. And of course there are the stories in the Iraqi press about Nouri blackmailing political rivals to get them to stop the no-confidence vote (see August 8th's "Iraq's sex tape rumors"). Whether they're true or false, they exist and they linked Nouri to the US with reports that the CIA was supplying Nouri with video to blackmail his rivals with. True or false, this suggests a level of US backing which can further secure Nouri's standing.
The US should stop rescuing Nouri. That's probably not going to happen. Samantha Power has insisted Nouri is the key to stability in Iraq and others in the administration believe that idiot. Nouri should have gone. Samantha Power is a bad journalist and that's all she is. Any study of history would tell you the best thing for Iraq and the US would be for the US-installed (2006) Nouri to be gone in 2010. Hopefully and ideally, it would have provided Iraq with a fresh start. Were that not actually the case, it still would have given the illusion of a fresh start.
Instead Iraqis were left to publicly wonder -- and did -- why they went to the trouble of voting when nothing changed. The only difference in the government was Osama al-Nujaifi became Speaker of Parliament. A real change could have allowed democracy to take hold. The illusion of change could have given the people hope.
Instead the White House ignored the fact that Iraqiya came in first, ignored the Constitution which gave the illusion that the Iraqi people had some say in who governed them and backed Nouri in his tantrum for a second term. The White House then brokered the Erbil Agreement which gave Nouri his second term.
It was insanity. No one who knows history would ever advise you to continue with a leader who was installed during an occupation.
The US interfering to save Nouri most recently has rendered Iraqi President Jalal Talabani largely impotent. From yesterday's snapshot:
Alsumaria reports that Kurdistan Alliance MP Barham Saleh is in Baghdad today to look at the National Alliance's proposed reforms. This is what used to be known as the Reform Commission. It's nothing but the National Alliance and there's no great effort to spin it any longer as more and more politician -- in the National Alliance and out of it -- have made clear it's not what Nouri made it out to be. Raman Brosk (AKnews) adds that Barham Salih was also set to meet with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.
What an important meeting. And how surprising that someone so close to Jalal and someone who is a member of Jalal's political party (PUK) would be the one chosen to undertake such an important meeting. All Iraq News reports today that Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman has declared that Saleh isn't on an official visit, it's a personal one. For a brief moment, it appeared Jalal would have an easy road back. He betrayed Moqtada al-Sadr, Massoud Barzani, Ayad Allawi and others (supposedly including Ammar al-Hakim according to the journal Moqtada published online) when he refused to follow the process to call for a no-confidence vote. Jalal refused to make that call and instead allowed people who admitted they signed the call to pull their names from the petition. In addition, he disallowed signatures. And then came the fallout and fat boy Jalal hot footed it out of the country -- even though the Kurdish political parties (including his own) were saying that no leaders should leave Iraq at that time do to the political crisis.
Jalal had to leave, for West Germany, it was insisted because he had to have immediate surgery. And what was this life threatening procedure Jalal had done? Elective knee surgery. And that only turned him into a bigger joke. That's when he began issuing threats of stepping down as president. Poor Jalal, he barely had the time to issue those daily bulletins from his sick bed.
Saleh isn't on official business. That was made clear today and, in making that clear, it was made clear that the damage Jalal inflicted upon himself and his party has yet to go away. Meanwhile, there are rumors that KRG President Massoud Barzani is in Baghdad. Are they true? No one knows right now. But he most likely did not arrive on Sunday and then turn around and go back Monday only to return today. Though he is not in the picture the KRG has posted, they state he chaired the meeting of his Council of Ministers Monday evening -- and that the meeting took place in Erbil.
All Iraq News notes State of Law MP Salman al-Moussawi released a statement declaring that the relationship between Baghdad and the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region would calm and tensions would decrease in the coming days. You have to wonder about Jalal still waiting to make his grand entrance. Nouri's publicly attacking the KRG which does not play well with residents of those three provinces. Jalal is from the KRG. He may be president of Iraq but he's a Kurd and he's becoming a Kurd without a home, forget homeland. Not since he pissed off Kurds with his March 2009 pronouncement of "The ideal of a united Kurdistan is just a dream written in poetry" has Jalal been in such a weak position. And the White House put him in that position by, Barack Obama put him in that position, by pressuring him to back off from the no-confidence vote. (In fairness to Barack, as Jalal has demonstrated repeatedly over the years, it does not take a great deal to make Jalal buckle.)
While Jalal's weakened, eyes turn to Iraqiya and specifically to Saleh al-Mutlaq who is either a very cunning Iago to Nouri's Othello or he's someone who has sold out Iraiqya. The jury is still out on that but were Ayad Allawi to give up leadership of Iraqiya right now, the political slate would break into warring factions because Saleh can't hold it together. (Were Allawi harmed in an assassination attempt or killed, the members of Iraqiya would rally and actually grow stronger. Nouri should remember that when plotting revenge on his enemies.) The other prominent members of Iraqiya are Osama al-Nujaifi whom Nouri wishes he could get rid of but he can't and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.
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