Tuesday, July 01, 2014




Moving to Iraq, Kitabat observes Nouri al-Maliki's fate is to be determined tomorrow when Parliament holds their first session.  Thug Nouri is completing his second term as prime minister and wants a third term.  His second term has been characterized with bullying, targeting, arresting political rivals, killing their relatives, attacking protesters, killing protesters, refusing to honor promises -- including signed legal contracts, and much more.  So some might say it is Iraq's fate that could be determined tomorrow.

Iraq Times reports on rumors that State of Law has decided to abandon pushing Nouri for a third term and that they've come up with a new nominee for prime minister (supposedly Tareq Najm). National Iraqi News Agency, citing Ahrar bloc MP Hakim al-Zamili, noted the Iraqi National Alliance is supposed to select their nominee for prime minister at a bloc meeting tonight.  Iraq Times maintains the fight for the post of prime minister will be mainly between Adel Abdul-Mahdi and Tareq Najm with Ahmed Chalabi and Faleh al-Fayad dark horses in the race.  NINA quotes Kurdish MP Mahmud Othman declaring "the decision of changing the government and its approach and its faces begins from the National Alliance."  Tareq Najm would be a new name for the international community.  Adel Abdul-Mahdi is not a new face.  Following the December 2005 parliamentary elections, he was named one of Iraq's two vice presidents -- he was the Shi'ite Vice President, Tareq al-Hashemi was the Sunni.  Both served their term until 2010.  In 2010, both were named to a second term.  al-Hashemi left the country when Nouri began targeting him.  Adel Abdul-Mahdi left the government nearly six months before al-Hashemi left the country.  At the start of 2011, a worried Nouri lied to get protesters off the streets of Iraq.  He insisted, if given 100 days, he'd end corruption in Iraq.  At the end of 100 days, he failed to keep his promise (as always).  Adel Abdul-Mahdi resigned over the government's inability to address corruption.  He remains a powerful Iraqi politician (one with a world profile -- and Big Oil loves him).  He is a member of Ammar al-Hakim's Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq -- one the major Shi'ite political parties.

Hamish MacDonald (ABC News) reports, "Shaping up as the political king-maker in the new parliament is the leader of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim. In an interview with ABC News he said Maliki 'has two obstacles. He must be accepted by both the national Shia Alliance, and by the other minorities'."  Over the weekend, Arab Times noted this on the political situation:

In a stunning political intervention on Friday that could mean the demise of Maliki’s eight-year tenure, powerful Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani urged political blocs to agree on the next premier, parliament speaker and president before a newly elected legislature meets in Baghdad on Tuesday. Saudi King Abdullah pledged in talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry to use his influence to encourage Sunni Muslims to join a new, more inclusive Iraqi government to better combat Islamist insurgents, a senior US official said on Saturday. Abdullah’s assurance marked a significant shift from Riyadh’s unwillingness to support a new government unless Maliki, a Shi’ite, steps aside, and reflected growing disquiet about the regional repercussions of ISIL’s rise. “The next 72 hours are very important to come up with an agreement ... to push the political process forward,” said a lawmaker and former government official from the National Alliance, which groups all Shi’ite Muslim parties. The lawmaker, who asked for anonymity due to political sensitivities, said he anticipated internal meetings by various parties and a broader session of the National Alliance including Maliki’s State of Law list to be held through the weekend. Some Sunni Muslim parties were to convene later on Saturday. Iraqi Sunnis accuse Maliki of freezing them out of any power and repressing their community, goading armed tribes to support the insurgency led by the fundamentalist group ISIL. The president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region has also said Maliki should bow out. Sistani’s entry into the fray will make it hard for Maliki to stay on as caretaker leader as he has since a parliamentary election in April. 

And on the political merry go round, Hamish MacDonald (ABC News) reports

Perhaps the single most significant public development in this process so far is the meeting of the Shia Alliance on Saturday night, after which the coalition of parties declared itself the biggest single voting bloc in the parliament. This issues a direct challenge to Maliki's State of Law party, which holds 92 seats and is the single largest party in parliament.
The combination of seats belonging to the Shia Alliance may give them a mandate to form the new government and have the power to determine key positions, including the prime minister.

Wow.  That's interesting, isn't it.  The group with the most seats in Parliament after the election.  Let's drop back to Saturday:

Are we forgetting the 'judicial' decision Nouri pulled out of his ass in 2010?
The one he put in his pocket and failed to inform anyone of ahead of the election.  It was his worst case scenario card.  If he didn't win the most seats, he had that decision.
And he used it because he lost in 2010.
The judicial decision said it wasn't about the biggest grouping before the election, it was about the biggest grouping after the election. 

I wrote that Saturday in response to Shashank Bengali (Los Angeles Times) making the ridiculous claim  that seats won in the election by Nouri's State of Law gave Nouri first crack because he got the most.  The Constitution didn't say that.  And the Court verdict became the final word.  Once accepted, it's precedent.  It's custom.  That's why, if you didn't like it, you needed to object in real time (which we did here).  But four years later?  The verdict stands.

And, yes, it is damaging to print claims like Bengali did -- print them as fact.  You can call it lying or you can call it whoring.  I don't care.   But Bengali's 'reporting' was damaging.  And I think a strong case can be made that Western reporters in May aided the violence, encouraged.  Unwillingly?  Absolutely.  But when a desperate and hopeless people are repeatedly told by western outlets that they are stuck with Nouri for a third term, it's not a surprise that violence sky rockets.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"