Wednesday, July 09, 2014




Heads up (no, it's not about Iraq, I'm promoting a friend's show).

Academy Award winning Best Actress Halle Berry's new TV show Extant debuts Wednesday night on CBS. 

While eyes turn to Steven Spielberg's latest TV venture,  Iraq is yet again becoming an issue in elections in the US.  The mid-terms will be in November.  Tom Robb (Journal and Topics) exploressome of the US House races out of Illinois.  The results are rather depressing.  US House Rep Tammy Duckworth shares her opinion which doesn't depress because Tammy Duckworth did not run as an antiwar candidate. (Her stance has been well known since she ran for Congress in 2006.  The antiwar candidate in that 2006 Democratic Party primary was Christine Cegelis.)   She's fine with advisors but "I'm against U.S. boots on the ground beyond that."  That's perfectly in keeping with Duckworth's position since she first went for public office.  Jan Schakowsky, however, has always self-presented as against the war on Iraq.  (This, of course, was before Jan condemned Progressive Democrats of America in June 2011.)  From the article:

“The President -- as I did -- opposed the Iraq invasion in the first place, and he kept his promise to the American people that he would withdraw our troops from combat. Tragically, the al-Maliki government has been unwilling to work with Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds to build a unified, effective government to provide peace and stability in their nation. American troops cannot solve that problem,” Schakowsky said. “The United States can play a support role -- working with our allies to pursue diplomatic solutions. However, it is abundantly clear that our efforts should be focused on ending military engagement in Iraq.”

That passes for antiwar today.  One doubts Schakowsky would feel the same about Bully Boy Bush using US troops in "a support role -- working with our allies to pursue diplomatic solutions."  Schakowsky should also be asked to explain who "our allies" in Iraq are because the US isn't working with the Kurds and, thus far, has done little but prop up Nouri al-Maliki who created the current crises.

In a Foreign Policy column The Week has reprinted, Zaid Al-Ali reminds 2010 offered a great deal of promise:

Iraqis were demanding more from their politicians than mere survival. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki established a new political alliance, the State of Law alliance, which campaigned on a platform of re-establishing strong state institutions, reducing corruption, and providing adequate services to the people. The Iraqiya alliance, another large and newly formed coalition, backed a similar platform. The tantalizing prospects of establishing a new political environment and creating a stable state seemed within reach.
It never happened. Rather than consolidating these gains, several factors began working against Iraq's national cohesion as early as 2010. Maliki's government used "de-Baathification" laws, introduced to keep members of Saddam Hussein's regime out of government, to target his opponents — but not his many allies, who also had been senior members of the Baath Party. The 2010 government formation process turned out to be yet another opportunity for politicians of all stripes to grant themselves senior positions which they could use to plunder the state. When tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in February 2011 to protest corruption, they were branded terrorists and were attacked and beaten by security forces and hired thugs. Dozens were killed and thousands arrested and tortured until the protests fizzled. Meanwhile, though terrorist groups were not operating as openly as before, hundreds of civilians continued to be killed every month, particularly in Baghdad, denying Iraqis in many parts of the country even a brief period of normalcy.
At that time, Maliki began referring to himself publicly as Iraq's preeminent military leader. When the 2010 electoral results did not conform to his expectations, he demanded a recount in his "capacity as commander in chief." When he forced senior anti-corruption officials from their positions, he once again inappropriately invoked his military credentials. He called officers on their mobile phones to demand specific actions or that individuals be arrested, circumventing the chain of command. After the new government was formed in November 2010, he refused to appoint ministers of the interior and of defense, preferring to occupy both positions himself. He appointed senior military commanders directly, instead of seeking parliamentary approval as required by the constitution.
There was also much talk about the prime minister's special forces, including the Baghdad Operations Command. Groups of young men were arrested in waves, often in the middle of the night, and would be whisked to secret jails, often never to be seen again. Former Army officers, members of the Awakening, activists who complained too much about corruption, devout Iraqis who prayed a little too often at their local mosques — all were targeted. Many were never charged with crimes or brought before a judge. Under the pretext of trying to stop the regular explosions that blighted Baghdad, these individuals were subjected to severe abuse.

Thug Nouri has harmed Iraq repeatedly.  He is a lousy leader whose word means nothing.  Whether he's promising his rivals a power-sharing government or telling the press, in 2011, that he wouldn't seek a third term, his word means nothing. 

Ali Mamouri (Al-Monitor) reports today on Nouri's most recent broken promise and how it led to the failure of last week's session of Parliament:

The main reason for the lack of agreement is Maliki’s insistence on retaining his post for a third term. On July 3, the former parliament speaker and the former president of the United for Reform coalition Osama al-Nujaifi announced that he was withdrawing his candidacy for parliament speaker to facilitate the task of forming the government. Maliki had conditioned waiving his candidacy for the premiership on Nujaifi waiving his candidacy for parliament speaker. But after Nujaifi agreed to the condition, Maliki reneged, and that blocked a solution to the crisis.
Regarding the first session of parliament, Sistani’s official representative said that it was “an unfortunate failure. And we hope that the political blocs will intensify dialogue to get out of the current crisis at the earliest possible opportunity.”
But after the session was adjourned for the second time, and for a month, despite the challenges facing the country, Sistani had to take a stand against Maliki. A source close to Sistani’s office told Al-Monitor that “what was attributed recently to Sistani about the fact that there were no red lines on any candidate for prime minister, is unfounded.” This means that Sistani has drawn red lines on some of the candidates.

The loss of Sistani, if true, is a body blow to Nouri's political career.

Nouri's corrupt and dishonest.  On top of that, he's a thug who tortures Iraqis, throws them in secret prisons and much more.  Nouri fled Iraq decades ago after his efforts against Saddam Hussein failed.  He spent his decades in exile railing against Saddam Hussein but the reality is that Nouri wasn't against what Hussein did.  No, Nouri was fine with it, he just wanted his sect to be the one doing the torturing and other crimes.

Nouri's focus in his exile years was on Saddam Hussein being 'evil.'  But not on 'evil' actions, just on a natural 'evil' that Hussein possessed.  When Nouri was hanging with terrorists in Iran, he gave several speeches which 'explained' Saddam Hussein was evil because he was (a) Sunni and (b) secular.

Nouri's objections to Saddam Hussein's actions were not the actions themselves.  No, Nouri only objected to the target of the actions (Shi'ites).  Granted, in the three speeches I've seen copies of, Nouri  was speaking to Shi'ite radicals who were fueled on hatred of all things Sunni so one could argue Nouri had merely tailored his remarks to fit and win over the crowd.

It's also true that if he were faking his remarks back then, he could have, as he repeated them over and over, taken on those prejudices and hatreds. That would certainly explain his use of the term "terrorist" as a generic for any and all Sunnis -- from vice presidents to peaceful protesters.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"