Tuesday, May 12, 2015




In 2012 and '13, "  Kenneth Pollack said as he wound down his introduction of Iraqi official Rafe al-Issawi this morning, "Rafe came under attack by the previous government [Nouri al-Maliki].  His body guards were arrested. He was the target of an assassination attempt.  And he was forced to resign from the government.  He is the personification of the events that led to alienation of the Sunni community in 2012 and '13."

Pollack was speaking at the Brookings Institution as the host of an event featuring al-Assawi and the Governor of Nineveh Province Atheel al-Nujaifi (who is also the brother of Osama al-Nujaifi, the former Speaker of Parliament and one of Iraq's current three vice presidents -- the other two are Ayad Allawi and Nouri al-Maliki).

Pollack noted the need for a political solution and how that was not possible until there was a Sunni buy-in of the government.  For that to happen, Pollack stressed, the Sunnis need a picture of what they would be buying into and they would require a vision/plan that recognized them as full citizens of Iraq.

Barack once spoke of the need for a political solution -- in fact, he did so 11 months ago.  Last June, Barack declared that a "political solution" was the only way to resolve the crises Iraq was facing.

Despite that public declaration, Barack and the administration have worked on bombing Iraq and lining up other countries to fly war planes and drop bombs, and send 'trainers' into Iraq and lining up other countries to do the same.

The US State Dept has confused itself with the Defense Dept.  That's Secretary of State John Kerry who's confused the department's mission, that's Brett McGurk and that's especially Special Envoy John Allen who doesn't want to be billed as "special envoy" or "ambassador" but instead as "General" even though (a) he's retired and (b) he's working for the State Dept.

Diplomacy has not just been given a bad name, it's been given figure heads who seem embarrassed by any form of diplomacy that isn't gun point diplomacy.

Rafe al-Issawi noted that in the short term, the most immediate danger to Iraq was the Islamic State and its actions of violence and terror.  But that's not the only danger the country faces.  He explained,
"On the long run, you cannot deal with a country filled with militia which is illegal and which is non-state actors."

He detailed the many Sunnis forced into exile by Nouri al-Maliki and "politicized judiciary decisions" and noted the list of the Sunnis included Tareq al-Hashemi, a vice president of Iraq during Nouri's second term, who was forced into exile by the actions of Nouri.

And I'm noting, these actions did not follow the Constitution.  Charges were brought against Tareq despite the fact that this was not allowed to happen while he was a member of Parliament.  Nouri either had to get the Parliament to strip Tareq of his elected position (they refused to do so) or Nouri had to wait until Tareq's elected position expired.

Instead, Nouri refused to follow the law and had a laughable Court convict him (repeatedly he was convicted, one death penalty sentence after another) -- and the Court was laughable because before the case  ever began, they held a press conference in Baghdad, these so-called judges, announcing Tareq was guilty.  This before a single argument was heard in court, before a single piece of evidence was introduced.  This despite the fact that the Iraqi Constitution insists all are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This was a major moment.

So naturally the world press treated it as nothing.  Treated it as normal.  Underplayed it or outright ignored it. 

It took place February 16, 2012 and we noted how it should have been reported:

After many claims that he could not receive a fair trial, Tareq al-Hashemi's
assertions were backed up today by the Iraqi judiciary.
BAGHDAD -- Today a nine-member Iraqi judiciary panel released results of an investigation they conducted which found the Sunni Vice President of Iraq was guilty of terrorism.  Monday, December 19th, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki swore out an arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who had arrived in the KRG the previous day.  Mr. al-Hashemi refused to return to Baghdad insisting he would not receive a fair trial.  Instead, he was the guest of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and KRG President Massoud Barzani.
During the weeks since the arrest warrant was issued, Mr. al-Hashemi has repeatedly attempted to get the trial moved to another venue stating that Prime Minister al-Maliki controlled the Baghdad judiciary.  Mr. al-Maliki insisted that the vice president return and that he would get a fair trial.
Today's events demonstrate that Mr. al-Hashemi was correct and there is no chance of a fair trial in Iraq.  This was made clear by the judiciary's announcement today.
A judiciary hears charges in a trial and determines guilt; however, what the Baghdad judiciary did today was to declare Tareq al-Hashemi guilt of the charges and to do so before a trial was held. 
Not only do the events offer a frightening glimpse at the realities of the Iraqi legal system, they also back up the claims Mr. al-Hashemi has long made.

Let's also state that the world press saw their role as trash talking Tareq.  They didn't play objective.  They certainly didn't play supportive.  They were too busy propping up thug Nouri.

They were too busy trashing the Sunnis.

Take AFP.

When allegations surfaced that Iraqi women and girls (predominately Sunni) were being beaten and raped in Iraqi jails and prison, AFP ignored the allegations.

When the Parliament began investigating and found the charges to be true, AFP ignored the allegations.

When this issue was one of the issues that led to series of protests lasting over a year in Iraq, AFP ignored the allegations.

When Nouri, months after the allegations surfaced, did a for-show release of a small number of Iraqi women and girls, AFP hailed the moment.

They 'forgot' to follow up on the fact that those females participating in Nouri's photo op never made it home -- their families publicly stated that (and the Iraqi press covered it).

AFP was only interested in the rapes and beatings when Nouri was insisting they weren't true and that, as proof, he'd be releasing a small number of females.

It wasn't just Nouri that brought Iraq to the brink from 2010 to 2014.

It was also the world press which refused to accurately and honestly report what was taking place on the ground in Iraq.

"We keep saying the solution should be political," Rafe al-Issawi noted at the event today. But that's not being focused on and "we don't need America to build its partnership with militias."

al-Issawi noted he had worked with Haider al-Abadi when they both served in Parliament.  He declared that he believed al-Abadi was trying.  But that more needed to be done than trying and that results have not been forthcoming.

Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi: After 11 years of just talking about reconciliation but no actual steps taken the Sunni in Iraq will no longer be interested in more talk.  The Sunni need to see actual and  concrete steps. [. . .] I will give and only outline these points so we can have your questions and a good discussion.  I'm talking about Mosul as a model but I think what I'm talking can be for all the Sunni areas.  First, the people of Mosul are the key to the liberation of Mosul.  The Mosul people must be shown why liberation is better for them than the regime of Da'ash.  History shows that the people are the reason armies succeed or fail.  In a city of nearly 2 million people, soldiers -- no matter how many, even in thousands, or how well equipped and trained -- can do only so much.  We need the people of Mosul to rise up and to help the soldiers throw out Da'ash.  Will the people throw out Da'ash?  I believe they will but we must give them a vision of what their life will be like after the liberation of Mosul -- in addition to the support they need during and immediately after liberation.  


RECOMMENDED:  "Iraq snapshot"