Iraq and Gulf Analysis

An Iraq Blog by a Victim of the Human Rights Crimes of the Norwegian Government

Is Maliki About to Fall?

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 31 May 2012 16:59

Two articles discuss the political showdown in Iraq as critics of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki claim they have the 163 votes needed to bring him down. One focuses on the question of Iran’s interest in Iraq and the possibility that Iran may have fabricated some aspects of the current political crisis to demonstrate its leverage in Iraq for world powers; another highlights the contrast between a government in Baghdad that for all practical purposes remain operative and the multiplication of gatherings of Maliki enemies in the autonomous region in Kurdistan, where many are more focused on the prospect of eventual Kurdish independence than the fate of the rest of Iraq.

Discussion section open as usual below.

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89 Responses to “Is Maliki About to Fall?”

  1. Mohammed said

    RV:

    Excellent articles as usual!

    3 BRIEF points

    1) If you consider that Iran is trying to pressure al-Maliki through the Sadrists, then how do you explain Talibani’s position and Iran’s relative influence on him.

    2) If Maliki desired to remain PM and thought that his foes had the numbers to oust him, he would first offer concessions (including steps that would guarantee such concessions) to bring them to the table. Using illegal unconstitutional moves or the military to remain in power would be a huge blow to Maliki, and give his foes all the ammunition they need to delegitimize him (much worse for Maliki than just offering concessions and minor nominal “power-sharing.”) Since we have seen no reponse from Maliki yet, I think he is calling their bluff yet again.

    3) I still have carpal tunnel syndrome from my way too long post from the other day (what the hell was I thinking!?). I promise short posts from now on.

    regards,
    M

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, I think Iranian influence on Talabani may be compared to their influence on many of the Shiite parties, i.e. it is not total but there are limits to what these players can do before there is an attempt by the Iranians to influence events. On 2, I largely agree, though I am worried by the multiplication of dubious suggestions for counter-measures by Maliki supporters, including calls for popular revolts and federal regions across the south. On 3, being pretty long-winded myself, I rarely censor for length though I know from experience that it is self-regulatory, i.e. if you write too much you will lose readers (and, in some cases, reach the point of physical side effects, as you suggest).

  3. placebo12 said

    Mohammed,

    I really do appreciate your comments. It is very healthy for two debaters to recognise each other’s strengths and I’d like to extend the same to you. We are, after all, only complementing each other by taking the time to answer each other’s points, although I will second Reidar and state that thought processes really do need to be cut down with posting – your last post was particularly difficult to dissect and this only takes away from the accuracy of the discussion.

    I agree that Maliki is trying to secure power through extra-democratic means. However, this is not the issue being raised here. The Undemocratic means are the worrying trend. Although many of these are demonstrated to you below, I’ll help you with a little summary. Behaviourally, reneging on agreements that SECURED him power (and here is the key for I am fully aware that a politician, no matter how ‘democratic’ will always lie, this is an entirely different animal) is a tendency away from democracy. You can argue all day long that that Arbil agreement was unrealistic, or perhaps even unconstitutional. That does not depart from the fact that Maliki agreed to it in the first instance and subsequently reneged on the most basic pillar of that agreement – the distribution of the security portfolio. Apparent existence of democracy in an institutional sense (existence of a democratically elected parliament is pretty much the only current indication of this) does not mean “democracy” exists in practice. I’d ask you to refer to the dozens of examples provided by myself, Observer, Reidar and others of a tendency away from this. Your focus on elections as a measure of democracy in Iraq is laughable. You are arguing around inputs and I am analysing outputs – the things that REALLY MATTER. I couldn’t care less if the gents entering the green zone proclaimed to be the ultimate guardians of my vote; it worries me a lot more when the resulting government acts contrary to democratic principles. Iraq is amongst the 30 worst countries in the world for press freedom, beaten even by a number of openly authoritarian nations / full-blown dictatorships. Its judicial independence has been virtually nullified – and both Reidar and yourself have swallowed the pride and accepted this as an increasing concern in previous blog posts. Its rule of law (i.e. law, police, property rights etc) measure is amongst the 2% worst nations globally. I could go on and on. I’ll leave Transparency International to help you with the rest.

    It was an unfortunate oversight on my part not to tell you where my figures came from on the crime front. I’m not one to play statistical games (although I notice your attempts to provide qualitative explanations which are entirely out of touch with your quantitative evidence) and I’d point you to the exact same source you mentioned (IBC). I appreciate your attempts to provide rough calculations of US vs Iraqi deaths from violence but such comparisons are entirely arbitrary and do not fit the context that we are trying to discuss here. Perhaps they would prove worthy in a PhD study (you like those don’t you?) labelled “A comparison of deaths from violence between two completely different countries in two completely different contexts”. Sarcasm aside, the points raised in my previous post continue to apply – following the drop post-US surge (2007-2008) what exactly is the statistical evidence for the “success” you claim Maliki has had in improving security for the average Iraqi? The very figures you quote actually demonstrate an increase in the previous year, the same year that Maliki and co have held full sway over the entire security portfolio of the Iraqi state. In fact, I note with slight irony that your measure of success has now been reduced to “maintaining stability” – a “stability” that has remained entirely unchanged since the surge and which followed an instability which came about most strongly the year in which Da’wa entrenched themselves in the Iraqi government. Put together with your ideas surrounding the “necessary” trade-off between Human Rights and maintaining security and we’re left with the ultimate example of pro-authoritarian politicking. I can’t provide “even partial credit” to Maliki for your assumed security improvements simply because there have not been any. Using a quote from one individual on twitter cannot possibly be considered an applicable example for the entire country. If that’s the route you’d like to take, I’m sure Observer, Santana and countless others will happily provide you with a multitude of youtube videos, twitter feeds and facebook statuses that substantiate the exact opposite. Yet I’ve made every effort to discuss evidence-backed examples only and I’d appreciate if you did the same. The same applies to your family in Iraq. It’s good to see you take heed of their views regularly, as I do the same with mine. I’d happily tell you that my family members who come from similar backgrounds to your own regularly tell me an entirely different story, but that’s not what we’re debating. Nevertheless, think a little deeper about the example you did decide to give me and perhaps you’ll see why I’m laughing my head off right now.

    Two posts back I gave you three logical options for measuring Maliki’s handling of Iraq’s security forces in the last 6 years and with particular emphasis on 2010 – present. You duly proceeded to ignore these options and argue around them, suggesting reasons for WHY abuses are so wide-spread (whilst still avoiding the key factor here – responsibility). I’m not going to sit here and debate with you over professionalism and stress levels – we can go to a sociology blog to do that. Authority in Iraq’s security forces stems downwards from the PM / Minister of Interior / Minister of Defence (aha! Maliki is all three!) to the lowest Joe Bloggs. Either Maliki is unable to assert his authority over “rogue elements” (not sure that they are so rogue, Mohammed, the abuses are far too systematic for that my friend) ; or he’s indirectly accepting of what they do and doing nothing about it; or he’s actively encouraging it. Since we appear to agree that the abuses are actually occurring, I cannot see any fourth logical possibility. In all three cases, it becomes impossible to claim that Maliki has been successful in managing the security portfolio. Sticking tens of thousands of Iraqis in prison for months or years without due process certainly doesn’t seem to be helping. But hey, why don’t we give him just a few more years to see if he can sort things out?? No thank you, people have suffered more than enough. Again, I appreciate your attempts to “imagine” what Maliki thinks in these cases and thus provide him with a certain degree of rationality. The rest of us will sit here and remind you and your fellow rational-thinkers that it is the outcomes that really matter. If Hadi al-Mahdi is murdered by unknown gunmen, perhaps we’ll bat an eyelid. If Hadi al-Mahdi is murdered by unknown gunmen following months of severe criticism of Maliki’s policies and the night before he was due at a large protest in Baghdad’s Tahrir square, perhaps we should think twice. But I won’t dwell on him, enough journalists have had their opinions “silenced” in Maliki’s new Iraq that to do so would take away from their plight too. Are they also a threat to the Iraqi state? Just because Barzani “dun’ it” doesn’t mean it’s OK for Maliki to do so too. It’s not a competition and both should be rightly criticised. However, such examples are not helping you to provide me with any logical counters to the point I legitimately raised. Just a bit of advice for you there…find a moment in which I “defended” Barzani or any other politician and we can discuss further.

    Your views on Human Rights in today’s Iraq are entirely out of sync with reality. I’ve touched on the topic enough times already and it’s clear that you’ve mired yourself in a logical conundrum and decided to stick to it. Abuses are apparently acceptable (or are at the very least “realistic” – if I misquote you, please feel happy to correct me, although your exact opinions do seem to vary quite a bit from post to post) set in the context of Iraqi’s violent recent history. I stated that, from a logical perspective, this cannot be any different to any pro-dictatorial justification. Your response is that examples like Saddam’s are incorrect because, unlike Maliki, his rise to power was illegitimate. I completely agree on the Saddam illegitimacy front, but you seem to have failed to understand the following key statement – mandate does not legitimise or de-legitimise violating the population’s human rights. Similarly, how does motivation (something which you can only every assume and never measure) change anything? I could punch you in the face and tell you that I didn’t mean it – I should still get arrested for assault all the same and rightly so.

    On the personal front – you and I are both expat Iraqis. Deny it if you like, yet as you said in your own words occurrences there will not change your day-to-day life. You have all the right in the world to opine on what happens “back home” and I will continue to demonstrate where you and other less intelligent folks who follow in your footsteps have gone wrong. I don’t mean this label as a criticism in the strict sense but to demonstrate the fallacy of defending an individual and group’s policies that are doing great damage to Iraq’s present and future whilst “armchair-quarterbacking” as Observer likes to say. I would also be careful with the assumptions you make. I have no need to read anymore books about Saddam’s history nor did you manage to invalidate the point I made without personalising your argument. If I’d like to understand Saddam’s legacy in Iraq I can speak to my father-less and brother-less cousins. If I mention past events in Iraq it is only to enable you to contextualise the path we are potentially treading with Maliki and Da’wa, a past that is becoming increasingly pertinent. It is for their sake and many many more that I will always find any imitation of the same techniques and outcomes to be wholly unacceptable in a future Iraq, regardless of the unsubstantiated “realism” you perceive.

    P.S. that post was exactly half the length of your last one – the trend is now in the right …

  4. observer said

    all,
    the security forces in Iraq are on alert and apparently have been so for several days – i just have become aware of it through a telephone call from a friend in the armed forces. No orders yet. Just stand by and cancellation of leave.

    I have reported it and the reaction seems “he can not possibly be that mad!!”. Also, it is coming through that Da3wa is objecting to the constitutionality of gathering 163 votes BEFORE the parliament meets, yet Talabani demanded that 163 votes be secured BEFORE he calls for a session.

    Mo,
    To use a favorite phrase of yours, are they Bluffing? I only wish it were a game.

    Placebo,
    My “bet” is that Mo will never admit to anything you are trying to pin him down to. He will still come back and defend Maliki UNTIL Maliki is proven to be the dictator that we claim he wants to be, but then it will be too late for the non-expat Iraqis. Shoulder shrug, and oh well – will be the answer then. All our “I told you saws” will be just as worthless as their shoulder shrugs.

    Peace

  5. Reidar Visser said

    There’s been plenty of confusion about the gathering of signatures. They are not constitutionally required if the intention is to have Talabani call for the vote, which he can do at any point in his capacity as president – for that matter, even if 325 deputies should sign a declaration of eternal love of Maliki.

    Of course Talabani can ask for those signatures as much as he wants, but they have zero legal value. It is only actual votes in the assembly that count in a no confidence motion.

    If the MPs want to organise the no confidence vote themselves, they can also do so by gathering the signatures of no more than a fifth of the assembly (65). In that case, the request should be addressed to Nujayfi as head of parliament, not Talabani. A questioning of the PM – an istijwab – intervenes before the actual vote.

  6. Imperial Diet said

    They are on high alert because Baghdad has intel NATO may strike Damascus.

  7. Mohammed said

    Placebo:

    Thanks for your reply. We cannot afford to keep going with long discussions as we will lose our readers. I am repeating myself and so are you. We agree that there are problems. Let’s find solutions.

    Also, let’s stay relevant to RV’s current post. You and I both agree that human rights abuses occur in Iraq, and we both desire for such abuses to decrease or cease altogether. The proposed solution is to replace Maliki because he is a threat to Iraq’s democracy through such abuses and hoarding of power.

    If we look at this “solution” more carefully, it is full of holes and hypocrisy. The Erbil group led by Barzani and his buddy Allawi will then be in a position to influence who becomes Maliki’s successor. Let me ask you as I asked Observer—what makes Barzani any better than Maliki? As RV alludes to in his linked articles, Barzani’s narrow interests are in securing rights for the KRG (mostly regarding oil and their de-facto independence from the rest of Iraq). Furthermore I have given you examples of how Barzani runs the KRG through corruption, autocracy, clan cronyism, and has been implicated in the assassination of vocal critics in the KRG. Would it be responsible and wise to give Barzani that much influence on who is the PM of Baghdad (when those are precisely the types of problems you are attempting to solve)? Regarding Allawi, if he was as concerned about human rights abuses and corruption as you are, why does he have such a close relationship with Barzani? Were there no human rights abuses for the year that Allawi was PM? Was there no corruption when Allawi was PM? And of course there is good old Muqtada al-Sadr who has suddenly turned into Iraq’s savior.

    I see no persuasive argument that the three amigos (Sadr, Barzani, Allawi) have Iraq’s interests at heart when trying to replace Maliki. They each have their own narrow interest that cannot be achieved without co-opting the support of the others.

    I am not advocating that we be “lazy” (as you previously implied) and just leave poor old Maliki alone and twiddle our thumbs.

    Here are just a few ideas (of course there are more).

    1) I strongly believe in popular protests focused on important issues (lack of services, corruption, false imprisonment, etc). Muqtada al-Sadr can put 10,000 people into the street on a moment’s notice. Why can’t Iraqiya? Surely in Sunni regions, people can hold large rallies and the police would be powerless to stop them.

    2) More activist parliament – Call Maliki for questioning as the constitution gives them the right to do. More oversight hearings. Isolate the judiciary with respect to bogus rulings. It is not Maliki’s fault that frequently less than 50% of the MPs are even around. Why are attendance records not public? Again, is that Maliki’s fault?

    3) Public education and town hall meetings – Iraqiya and others need not cede issues like political reconciliation, sectarianism, corruption, etc to Maliki. Grass-roots organizations should be developed to help the people deal with such issues.

    4) Issues related “national conferences.” — Instead of focusing on Arbil agreement, focus ont the horrible education system and infrastructure, healthcare system with broken-down hospitals and rancid medications, etc. Bring together politicians, teachers, doctors, NGOs.

    5) Guard the electoral process by all means. I am all for UN and other organizations like the Jimmy Carter center to be involved to ensure free and fair elections. Let the people decide. Hold protests to demand that such organizations are allowed to monitor the elections, or petition the US and UN to make iraq’s removal from chapter 7 contigent on allowing UN montiroing of elections.

    Ultimately, I trust the Iraqi people to decide on how to protect their interests and rights better than Barzani and company.

    Regards,
    M

  8. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    When I say “bluff,” I am not implying that this is a game. Bluffing is a strategy that can be effectively used in politics as I am sure you know.

    Again, I highly doubt that Maliki has “gone mad.” He strikes me as a very calculating rational person. Unless you know otherwise, I see no signs in the news that he has made any real offers to you guys to bring you to the table to negotiate on even nominal “power-sharing,” as you have sought in the past. Even if he thought you would rebuff his offer, he would probably stil make it, so as to appear that he is the “good guy” in all of this (get Talibani on his side, and maybe help to break up Iraqiya factions).

    I am not in the “game,” but it is interesting to watch you guys work your magic.

    regards,
    M

  9. observer said

    RV,
    FWIW, I think Talabani was right in setting the precedence to have the votes committed before he calls for a parliamentary session to discuss a no confidence motion. Otherwise the next president would ask for a no confidence vote on a whim or keep the next parliament in knots.

    The 1/5th votes of MPs to call for a no confidence motion takes a lot longer (around a month just for procedures not to mention the expected foot dragging from Da3wa).
    Peace

  10. Observer said

    Mo,
    Quickly as i am on tight deadline…

    You lost me on your good guy argument. That he has not made an offer makes him the “principaled guy”… If that is what u are implying, i will have to sit and write endlessly later. I lookmforward tomyour clarifications.
    Peace

    Ps
    Nottomput my nose into your on going discussion with placebo, i have to tell you that i am still chuckling at your item 1 of your suggested solutions (which is actually where i stopped reading). Really, more demonstrations so that they cN kill the nextmhadi, or they will break our heads with batons and arrest us. Give it up with your academic solutions budd. Really, you are embaressing yourself.

  11. Santana said

    Mo-
    How can you compare Malik and Barzani ..???……. There is no comparison whatsoever between them !….Maliki is a scumbag with no morals, hated by the majority of Iraqis, very sectarian, corrupted,has no principles whatsoever and is just a nasty human being with the blood of many Iraqis on his hand -Iraqis that were imprisoned and tortured to death in secret prisons-never to be heard from again………. Barzani is a man with principles and well liked and respected by Arabs and Kurds.

  12. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    Observer wrote: “You lost me on your good guy argument. That he has not made an offer makes him the “principaled guy”… If that is what u are implying, i will have to sit and write endlessly later. I lookmforward tomyour clarifications.”

    my response: If I put myself in Maliki’s shoes, and I really believe you guys have the votes to bring me down, I would try to negotiate and offer some form of power-sharing (shows that he is flexible, etc). That is preferable to using illegal/unconstitutional/military methods to prevent a vote—BY FAR!! Maliki has played the political game better than all the rest, he is as rational and calculating as they come. Since he has made no real offers, my guess is that Maliki believes you don’t have the votes. Hence, he is calling your bluff!

    Observer wrote: “Not to put my nose into your on going discussion with placebo, i have to tell you that i am still chuckling at your item 1 of your suggested solutions (which is actually where i stopped reading). Really, more demonstrations so that they cN kill the nextmhadi, or they will break our heads with batons and arrest us. Give it up with your academic solutions budd. Really, you are embaressing yourself.”

    My response: Muqtada al-sadr can put 10 to 50 thousand people in the street in a heartbeat and not one baton will touch them. Will Maliki send in the army if 50,000 people in Mosul protest for their rights with the cameras rolling? Hell no, and you know it. My guess is that Iraqiya has lost the grassroots support it once had even in Sunni areas because of your partnership with Barzani .

    As for reading the rest of my previous post, I don’t blame you for not reading it. It basically shows the hypocrisy of Barzani and Allawi—a point you have ignored every time because you have no substantive answer. Your only response is to call me an academic. You are worried about not having another Hadi Al-Mahdi. I agree with you. But, is it ok to have another “Sardasht Osman” (Kurdish journalist in KRG murdered for complaining about Barzani)? Why does Allawi not have a problem with Barzani then? Are the lives of Kurds not as precious as Arabs? Let me guess: “Mo you are first rate apologist for Maliki, your ex-pat, academic nonsense is laughable..” I admit that Maliki’s administration has many flaws. You won’t even entertain the possibility that your side is similarly tainted.

    Regards,
    M

  13. Mohammed said

    Santana:

    Santana: I maintain that Barzani is just as tainted as Maliki. The big difference is that Barzani only cares about Kurdish areas. If Baghdad goes to hell, it’s not Barzani’s problem. I would argue that Maliki has more incentives to fix Iraq’s problems.
    Here is the link PLACEBO provided documenting abuses in Iraq. See what it says about KRG (aka Barzani’s Kingdom). Please read it and tell me why I should trust Barzani over Maliki?

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/iraq/report-2012

    Excessive use of force
    Kurdish security forces used excessive force, including live ammunition, to quell protests in Sulaimaniya and Kalar, resulting in at least six deaths.
    • Rezhwan ‘Ali, a 15-year-old boy, was shot in the head and died instantly on 17 February when thousands of people demonstrated in Sulaimaniya’s Sara Square. At least 50 people were injured.
    • On 19 February, Surkew Zahid, aged 16, and Sherzad Taha, aged 28, were seriously injured when security forces opened fire on a mass protest in Sulaimaniya. Both died in hospital the following day. At least 14 other people were injured.
    Torture and other ill-treatment
    A number of pro-democracy activists, including members of opposition political parties, were detained and tortured and otherwise ill-treated.
    • Sharwan Azad Faqi ‘Abdullah, who was arrested in Erbil during the protests on 25 February, was detained for four days and tortured. He was repeatedly punched to force him to sign a “confession”, and still had visible injuries apparently caused by torture when Amnesty International delegates saw him on 11 March in Erbil.
    • In early December, scores of members of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, an authorized Islamist party, were arrested in Dohuk and Zakho by Kurdish security forces. Many were released within days, but at least 14 were held for several weeks. Some were reported to have been tortured. The arrests took place immediately after attacks by Islamist protesters on shops selling alcohol and other businesses.

  14. Pablo said

    Maliki has more incentives to fix Iraqs problems.

    Thanks for that, best laugh I’ve had in ages. Genuine laugh out loud. He’s done what exactly during his time in charge?

  15. Ali D said

    @Mohammed:

    –You Said:

    As for reading the rest of my previous post, I don’t blame you for not reading it. It basically shows the hypocrisy of Barzani and Allawi—a point you have ignored every time because you have no substantive answer. Your only response is to call me an academic. You are worried about not having another Hadi Al-Mahdi. I agree with you. But, is it ok to have another “Sardasht Osman” (Kurdish journalist in KRG murdered for complaining about Barzani)? Why does Allawi not have a problem with Barzani then? Are the lives of Kurds not as precious as Arabs? Let me guess: “Mo you are first rate apologist for Maliki, your ex-pat, academic nonsense is laughable..” I admit that Maliki’s administration has many flaws. You won’t even entertain the possibility that your side is similarly tainted.

    –My response:

    I have been following your discussions Mohammed. You often seem to miss the bigger picture, indeed getting caught up in often useless semantics more suited to a journal article presenting a seemingly objective arguments that is tainted with subtle logical fallacies that I think even you yourself unintentionally miss.

    You say “..a point you have ignored every time because you have no substantive answer.” Sometimes, people don’t answer for other reasons- some points simply aren’t worth answering.

    I am not here to convince of what a terrible guy Maliki is, or to try to get you to support one political faction or another. But not pointing out some of the lapses in objectivity on your behalf seems only to pull the discussions presented here in circles.

    Your argument in equating Allawi to Maliki based on the fact that Maliki is tainted in human rights abuses and Allawi DEALS with some that are tainted in human rights abuses is, quite simply, a logically fallacious argument. Of course, many a politician is tainted in Iraq in some way or another. The reason Allawi deals with some and not others is contingent simply on the fact that he has some particular aims to pursue. Allawi, for example, tried dealing with Maliki, that they may work together in rebuilding the country (that ‘fantastic’ idea of a government of national unity) . Several empty security ministries later, along with a number of other short comings, Allawi has decided Maliki cannot be worked with. What’s the alternative? Work with the other parties in order to attempt a democratic and peaceful transition of power. Sure, some of the other parties are tainted in similar ways to Maliki. But the alternative of not working with those others, resulting in allowing Maliki to maintain his current (and increasing) executive prerogatives, occupying the most important position in the country, at one of the most crucial times of the country’s development is not a viable option.

    Going on to make statement that completely do not follow from their premise (“Are the lives of Kurds not as precious as Arabs?”) is not helpful and indeed reduces your argument into an emotive plea.

  16. faisalkadri said

    M,
    When you describe somebody only as Rational the meaning is not complete in my mind. Rationality needs context, to me Maliki is rational in the context of Self Preservation, not democracy, just like Saddam. Maliki has shown through his actions in persecuting his political opposition that he despises democracy and values Iran’s support and influence over popular support in an election.
    Maliki is rational strictly in short term.

  17. Anna said

    I read the debate with much interest on Nour Al Mailki. No one can defend his actions, not even his own supporters. Equally no one can defend Massoud Bazarni, his crimes are worse and all about his own wealth. Ali D comments on Massoud Bazarni are correct , and most kurds have little and those that dare protest are murdered. Allawi, who can trust this double dealing backstabber, is only interest are his own interests, very much like Massoud Bazarni and his learning from his master everyday.

    What do the people of Iraq have to do, they have to rid themselves of Maliki, Alllawi, Kurds have to get rid of Bazarni and play a part in the reunification of Iraq as a country for all people. Maliki and Bazarni are cut from the same block of wood, both have commit and make others commit torture, murder.

    No sign of a peaceful growing country why these two are allowed to have any input into Iraq or Kurdistan, and Allawi will saunter back to his luxury London home to have dinner with his friend Asti Harwmi Kurd oil dealer who also lives in a luxury home in London.

    Who can take the place of these 3 clueless greedy men, that’s the big question, but as the debate on here seems to show, unifying all the peoples of Iraq and its regions is going to be impossible if no one can look forward and only concentrate on looking backwards. A country with such wealth and a few greedy political people stirring up more problems, the rhetoric from Massoud Bazarni is very bad and designed to inflame and cause unrest.

    Jala Talabani should show pull the people of all the regions of Iraq including the Kurd region together and make everyone work together.

    Anna

  18. bb said

    As usual, Talabani seems to be one of the grown ups in the room if he is telling the chancers they have to put 163 signatures in front of him if they want him to call on a no confidence vote.

    Bit of a challenge there, Observer?

  19. observer said

    Imperial – Did the UN authorize NATO? I was not aware of that interesting development.. Chuckle and roll of eyes.

    Mo – I am still on a busy schedule and I can not afford the time to sit and write. Quickly – a bluff? really. You still think we do not have the votes? I suppose he can always assassinate Sader. It beats all other options available to him at this point. Guess what your idol is doing in Baghdad. He is actually thinking that he can get himself nominated again by the INA since his block is the largest within it :). His minions are actually promoting the idea of an “emergency government”. He really has lost his grip on reality.

    All, it is gratifying to me personally that you can see the logic of the larger argument I am making here. Semantics and academic discussions aside, we are going through a very critical fork in the road for the new Iraq.
    Peace

  20. Sigh. So far, it’s been all talk and meetings.

    I’ll pay attention when Iraqiya and its short-term “allies” initiate a no-confidence motion in parliament and actually have the minimum 163 votes to make it successful.

    Till then, they have issued deadlines and ultimatums for Maliki which he has ignored with no consequences except more meetings and deadlines.

  21. observer said

    bb
    Follow the news. We have more than 200 votes.
    Peace

  22. observer said

    anna,
    you have sweeping generalizations in your post, but that is ok. FYI, allawi told viewers in an interview recently that the Iraqi people should not re-elect any of the existing politicians, including himslef ;)
    Peace

  23. Mohammed said

    Dear Ali D:

    You said: “You often seem to miss the bigger picture, indeed getting caught up in often useless semantics….”

    My response: Big picture is that ALL these politicians (Maliki, Allawi, Barzani, Sadr, etc) are tainted with corruption, human rights abuses, etc. There are no saints among them. I have always stated that this is a struggle about division of power.

    Ali you said: “I am not here to convince of what a terrible guy Maliki is…”

    My response: Da3wa is certainly guilty of massive fraud, corruption, abuses, you name it. My point is that the other groups are no better. It is only by virtue of who is in power that we will see the scale of the corruption. Barzani is in power, and there is massive corruption in KRG. When Allawi was in power, human rights watch documented significant abuses similar to what we see now.

    Ali you said: “ Your argument in equating Allawi to Maliki based on the fact that Maliki is tainted in human rights abuses and Allawi DEALS with some that are tainted in human rights abuses is, quite simply, a logically fallacious argument. Of course, many a politician is tainted in Iraq in some way or another. The reason Allawi deals with some and not others is contingent simply on the fact that he has some particular aims to pursue.”

    My response: Allawi himself is implicated in similar abuses. I previously provided Human Rights Watch link to abuses in Iraq when Allawi was PM. That Allawi hasn’t abused anybody in the last 6 years has more to do with him being out of power than suddenly turning into the pope.

    Ali you said: “The reason Allawi deals with some and not others is contingent simply on the fact that he has some particular aims to pursue.”

    My response: Agreed. Like any shrewd politician, Allawi pursues an agenda and is willing to bend his moral compass. No different than the others.

    Ali you said: “Allawi, for example, tried dealing with Maliki, that they may work together in rebuilding the country (that ‘fantastic’ idea of a government of national unity) . Several empty security ministries later, along with a number of other short comings, Allawi has decided Maliki cannot be worked with.What’s the alternative?”

    My answer: The operational definition of power-sharing is in the eye of the beholder. Maliki is the PM, and is ultimately responsible as commander in chief of the armed forces and head of the executive branch. In reality, Iraqiya has several ministries, the speakership, and the President is Kurdish. The security ministries are important, but even if Iraqiya appoints a defense minister it wants, Maliki can always overrule him. As commander in chief, his orders would super-cede the defense minister.

    I am fascinated about the obsession every single Iraqi party (Da3wa, Iraqiya, etc) have with defense/military/security. The Iraqi people are asking for electricity, schools, hospitals, jobs, water for their crops, and clean sanitation. If I was the PM and gave Iraqiya the agriculture ministry, education, health, electricity, etc, you could literally rebuild Iraq from those ministries alone with a good budget and proper leadership. If the government is failing in these areas, why so much focus on the military?

    Ali, in any case, I am a believer in democracy. If the anti-Maliki alliance can muster the votes to oust him, more power to them. That’s democracy. My guess is that they will not have the votes, and we will be stuck in a rut for the next two years with them whining like the last two years.

    Regards,
    M

  24. Anna said

    Observer. Generalizations, yes, but the 3 protagonists named Maliki, Allawi, and Bazarni all have self interest. This is the usual ploy being played by Allawi, saying one thing, and then he does the other in private. My own feelings are it must come back to Iraq as a whole being the ultimate aim. The Kurd people are not like their leaders, who are so intent on self interest.

    No single party will stick to agreements, and if there was a 19 point plan in Arbil that Maliki agreed to when taking power, that should have been published at the time. There must be many points in this agreement that would embarrass Bazarni and Maliki.

    The international community have had more than enough of the so called leaders, and no doubt Iran as played a role, but then if one goes back 10 years, it’s hardly surprising. One way is to start a fresh, with no existing politician playing any role, bar Talabani. If Maliki was to lose power, one thing that would happen is old Baathist would return from Syria where they are and the cycle will start again.

    No answers here from me, just suggest a new election. Nomination to stand in any new election must exclude Maliki, Allawi, Bazarni, and all their offspring, sons, daughters etc. Fresh start where everything thing is owned by every Iraqi’s that includes the Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites all groups, no one region can do anything on Finance, Oil, Gas. The focus should now be on the next 25 years, and old issues must be swept aside, no looking back. If this cannot be agreed, then expect a civil war in Iraq and Kurdistan.

    Would be nice to come back in 100years and see what Iraq looks like, its possible Iraq will be part of Iran, Kurdistan along with Syria will be part of Turkey and Turkey is at war with Iran.

  25. Lars said

    I hope this was the end of the al-maliki story and a new beginning for Iraq (my excuse to to those who feel offended, but he had his chance and blew it – in my opinion) :
    Please note the picture in article.

    :http://www.shatnews.com/index.php?show=news&action=article&id=1978

    Informed sources said the Shatt al-Arab News Agency that the national forces meeting in Arbil, the five decided to topple al-Maliki during the next 72 hours.
    And may be sources confirmed that these forces have been able to collect more than 180 signature to withdraw confidence from the Maliki and there are contacts by the President of the House of Representatives Osama Najafi with the concerned administrators and lawyers in the House of Representatives to create the atmosphere for an extraordinary session to meet the number in question and is no-confidence after read the request of President Jalal Talabani to withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister Maliki.
    And this trend is a major development in the end this crisis, which dragged on for several years

  26. Ali D said

    Dear Mohammed,

    You said: Big picture is that ALL these politicians (Maliki, Allawi, Barzani, Sadr, etc) are tainted with corruption, human rights abuses, etc. There are no saints among them. I have always stated that this is a struggle about division of power.

    You said: Da3wa is certainly guilty of massive fraud, corruption, abuses, you name it. My point is that the other groups are no better. It is only by virtue of who is in power that we will see the scale of the corruption. Barzani is in power, and there is massive corruption in KRG. When Allawi was in power, human rights watch documented significant abuses similar to what we see now.

    My response: Human rights abuses have been occurring since 2003, sure. The difference is that, whilst you say they are an inevitability in modern day Iraq, I say there are key differences to the abuses that happened when Allawi was in power and since Maliki has been in power. Allawi had far less say over who was in his cabinet, far less control over his ministers, was in power for less than a year, was not in control of the security ministries and tried to manage a state that was little more than a skeletal structure devoid of any real institutional checks that might have helped in dealing with HR abuses. Furthermore, as these reports of HRW come out under Maliki, they are simply rejected by the government as “politcally motivated” (that favourite phrase) and no action is taken- years pass and the same reports keep coming out. And it is not only the reports that are the problem. The systematic imprisonment without trial of the Sadrists, for example, are clear indicators of Maliki’s tacit implication in said abuses.

    You said: Agreed. Like any shrewd politician, Allawi pursues an agenda and is willing to bend his moral compass. No different than the others.

    My response: Let us stick to a structured and objective debate. I was very concise in my language. I stated that Allawi is pursuing ‘some particular aims'; I purposefully did not go into discussing whether or not such aims were selfish as this would be tangental to the point I was making. It is not impressive for you to simply jump on my point and make the statement that ‘he is willing to bend his moral compass’ for his personal agenda, without this statement being directly justified and without it fitting into the structure of the otherwise objective discussion. It is useless statements like this one that stretch your discussions on this blog into the multi-thousand word essays we have had the pleasure of reading.

    You said: The operational definition of power-sharing is in the eye of the beholder. Maliki is the PM, and is ultimately responsible as commander in chief of the armed forces and head of the executive branch. In reality, Iraqiya has several ministries, the speakership, and the President is Kurdish. The security ministries are important, but even if Iraqiya appoints a defense minister it wants, Maliki can always overrule him. As commander in chief, his orders would super-cede the defense minister.

    My response: Yes you’re right. It is not that bad that Maliki lied about the power sharing agreement that secured his prime-ministership, because even if he had fulfilled his promise and given one of the key ministries to his opponents (part of a deal that ensures no one party can consolidate its power over the security forces), then he could always over-rule individual decisions that that ministry may make in the future (!)

    You said: I am fascinated about the obsession every single Iraqi party (Da3wa, Iraqiya, etc) have with defense/military/security. The Iraqi people are asking for electricity, schools, hospitals, jobs, water for their crops, and clean sanitation. If I was the PM and gave Iraqiya the agriculture ministry, education, health, electricity, etc, you could literally rebuild Iraq from those ministries alone with a good budget and proper leadership. If the government is failing in these areas, why so much focus on the military?

    My response: I don’t really understand your point here. The two are not mutually exclusive. Security is only focussed upon in as far as: 1- people are needlessly dying every day and 2- it is part of a larger and different argument about Maliki’s behavioural/institutional autocratic tendencies within our democratic system.

    Regards,

    Ali D

  27. Ali D said

    @ Anna

    Wow. I am not going to bother debating someone that uses such gems as “and Allawi will saunter back to his luxury London home to have dinner with his friend Asti Harwmi Kurd oil dealer who also lives in a luxury home in London.”

    Ad Hominem much?

    Ali D

  28. Anna said

    Ali D.

    Unfortunately you can not debate the facts , you have to accept them. Harwami lives in London in a luxury home worth $10 million, and dictates and sells oil shares , insider trading one UK newspaper said along with the regulator in the UK London. Who voted for Hawrami ? How many Kurds voted for him? Allawi also lives in London and the two are often seen together in London, hardly an advert for whats happening in Iraq. You are right you can debate facts , accept them gracefully . Nour Al Maliki is a Dictator I accept gracefully as its also fact.

    These two do not live in Iraq. The point is one of simplicity and explains a story of untold greed, can you explain why Bazarni is in argument with Talabani who said Hawrami should go from office for his part in oil trade shares with JPM.

  29. observer said

    MO,
    it is not allawi vs maliki. It is Maliki and Da3wa vs everybody else. Moreover, Allawi is not in the running for PM, so go beat up on another dead horse. I note that no where do you point to a Maliki fault alone. I remind you of the pro Saddam guys. Yes he is bad (saddam) but he is not as bad as the other ones. It is not a zero sum game. Further, doubt the votes all you want, if that makes you sleep better. The threat to you idol is real and Iran is putting all it has to support him in place. Hehehe- Maliki is not an Iranian stooge!! If that is the kind of capital they are willing to place to keep him in place, then they must be really panicking..
    Peace

  30. observer said

    Anna,
    I have no idea what you are trying to add to the discussion. Are you just joining the chant, they are all bad, but Maliki is the least bad so lets keep him in place? Or let us throw all the bastards out. Then I am going to ask you the same elemental questions I ask or brother Mo of Ivory Towers – exactly how do you propose to do that when out big brother controls all the powers of the government and all the “independent bodies”, the armed forces, etc. etc.

    I have just about had my fill of academics with ideal notions of how to do it better. But I am willing to listen to any new idea, if you have any to contribute. If you are going to give me a diatribe about how they are all bad without practical advise, then you can join Mo in creating a local chapter of the “voices in the wilderness”
    Peace

  31. Ali D said

    @Anna

    Evidently you completely misunderstood my post; not only that, but you added further gems:

    “Allawi also lives in London and the two are often seen together in London…”

    Seriously, what are you talking about?

    Ali D

  32. amagi said

    Observer, fine, fine, fine! But where are the votes?!?! I feel like you are just teasing one more time! If you are going to kill the king, then kill the king!

    (I mean that figuratively, of course, but the adage remains relevant.)

  33. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    You said: “Further, doubt the votes all you want, if that makes you sleep better. The threat to you idol is real and Iran is putting all it has to support him in place. Hehehe- Maliki is not an Iranian stooge!! If that is the kind of capital they are willing to place to keep him in place, then they must be really panicking.”

    My response:

    I look forward to this “mother of all votes.” Like I said, I believe in democracy, and if you have the votes, then go for it! This is going to be a very decisive vote one way or another. If you win, Maliki is out. If you lose, Iraqiya may itself disintegrate, and each group within Iraqiya wouldn’t want to be caught standing without a chair when the music stops.

    I am sure you are trying to influence Iraqiya members who are wavering (like those 15+ who made a statement of support for Maliki a couple of weeks ago). Maliki will try to convince them otherwise. In the end, politicians like sticking with a winner, so there is a great deal of logic in “bluffing” to sway the fence-sitters.

    It will indeed be interesting to see the reaction of the loser in this vote. If Iraqiya loses the vote, will they accept the will of the majority and simply fade away into a minority opposition party? If Maliki loses, will a peaceful surrender of power once and for all show these labels as “dictator” were unfounded? But of course by then—it will not really matter.

    As for Iran’s intentions, I am not sure I understood your point? If Maliki loses the vote, people will say Iran wanted him out, and if Maliki wins the vote, you will say Iran supported him. Let’s also not forget the influence of Turkey in all of this. Barzani has essentially become a willing tool in the hands of the Turks to pressure Maliki.

    Observer, I understand your overall objective though. You want those think-tankers and USG people who may stumble upon this site not to be “fooled” by some of what RV has written (in the accompanying articles) regarding Maliki’s potential to assert his independence from Iraq’s neighbors (aka Iran).

    I admire your tactics. Allawi is lucky to have you on his side.

    Regards,
    M

  34. observer said

    Amagai,
    All the needed signatures are with Talabani.

    Mo,
    You still are thinking in terms of a game. it is not. What 15 votes? I understand that you believe in your own analyses, but you have to adjust when your “analyses” is proven wrong by the events. No? Or do you like living in denial?

    On Iran – obviously you are not in the know, but those in the know understand the amount of pressure that iran is putting to keep Maliki in place. If you still think your boy is not an Iranian stooge, you have to adjust your thinking to reflect the reality that Maliki is the preferred alternative for Iran ;)

    Now let us see if Talabani would risk his precious party and preserve it from disintegrating or maybe he and Iran are hoping that Muqtada would fold.
    Peace

  35. observer said

    oh and Mo, Maliki is lucky to have fooled you to believing that he is “independent”. As for RV, he is so intent on being “neutral” and just basis his analyses on published facts. you think Iran documents how it applies pressure :). LOL

  36. Mohammed said

    Dear Ali:

    You said: “Allawi had far less say over who was in his cabinet, far less control over his ministers, was in power for less than a year, was not in control of the security ministries and tried to manage a state that was little more than a skeletal structure devoid of any real institutional checks that might have helped in dealing with HR abuses.”

    My response: I have provided this forum previously with a link (www.hrw.org/node/11864/section/2). HRW report includes grave abuses by the INIS that DIRECTLY REPORTED TO Allawi—including illegal arrests and mistreatment of members of several political parties (da3wa and SCIRI), along with removal of an Iraqi judge who issued a summons to investigate the INIS. Perhaps the Iraqi judiciary learnt back then that it is not wise to go against the PM even in the “new Iraq.”

    My only point here is that it is insulting to my intelligence for you to try to make Allawi and Barzani as morally superior to Maliki. If Maliki won the “HRW human rights leader of the year award,” and still hoarded power as you accuse him of, we would still be at the same impasse. Iraqiya wants a greater say in matters. Barzani wants to do with his oil as he pleases until KRG becomes a totally independent country. Maliki stands in their way. The rest is really a sideshow.

    You said: “It is not impressive for you to simply jump on my point and make the statement that ‘he is willing to bend
    his moral compass’ for his personal agenda,.”

    My response: Yes, I have been guilty of one too many words. But one word I did NOT use was “personal’ in front of agenda. I stated Allawi has an agenda. Most people would agree that pursuing ‘some particular aims’ means exactly the same thing as “agenda.” It is a neutral word. You are way over-thinking it.

    You said: “then he could always over-rule individual decisions that that ministry may make in the future”

    My response: Of course he can over-rule the minister of defense. The PM is the commander in chief and has the constitutional right to do so. I see nothing wrong with that. The armed forces are not an “independent institution.” They are charged with following the commander in chief.

    Iraqiya has made several nominations for the defense minister, and Maliki has not accepted them. Of all the nominations, I am most familiar with Jawad Bolani. Bolani hates Maliki and called him a “snake.” If I was Maliki, I would not want somebody like that as my defense minister. I want people I can work with.

    You said “I don’t really understand your point here. The two are not mutually exclusive.”

    My response: It is Iraqiya that has come to define “power-sharing” as if and, and only if Iraqiya has input on security ministries. There are only two outstanding issues: 1) Iraqiya was promised the defense minister nomination, and 2) the national council on strategy. Iraqiya was NOT promised the interior ministry as far as I know. With respect to the defense minister, Maliki appointed an acting defense minister (Dulaymi) until Iraqiya can nominate somebody all can agree on. With respect to the national strategy council, Maliki sought to make it merely advisory to keep it in line with the constitution. When Allawi saw that, it was Allawi who walked away from it.

    With respect to all the rest of the ministries and parliament speakership, Iraqiya has more than its fair share. If you want 50-50 power-sharing—sorry you are not entitled to it, nor will you get it. There is nothing in the constitution about “power-sharing” nor even a definition of such a concept—it’s your definition vs mine.

    Again, if Iraqiya is unhappy, then I complete support their effort to have a no confidence vote. It they win the vote—good for them. If they lose the vote, they need to go into opposition party mode and stop whining about power-sharing. At that point, they will lose any rights to nominate the defense minister or anybody else for that matter.

    Regards,
    M

  37. observer said

    Mo,
    Stop beating the dead horse of Allawi. He is not going to come as PM, even if the others begged him to, so do not get scared. Your big arguments, of Barazani is worse than Maliki and Allawi is worse than Maliki, etc., etc., are moot, regardless of how irrelevant they are (a fact you completely ignore in your debates by the way).
    Please, give us all (and your carpel tunnel) a break and sharpen your debating skills with stuff that really matters.

    You make it so that the argument is a personal rivalry between Allawi and Maliki and that serves the logic of your arguments, but reality is that Allawi’s position is not as important as that of the Kurds and Sader. When Iraqia was out there bitching about the Irbil Agreement, you laughed at us and said: sour grapes. When the Kurds started making noises about promises not kept, you laughed and said: it is personal enrichment and nothing to do with Iraq. Now that the Sadrists are joining, you argue that they are a tainted group and the alliance is un-holly. yet the same sadrists made it possible for your herpo to be a PM (with the manipulation of the judiciary). Apparently the sadrists where ok as long as they supported your hero. Talk about insulting ones intelligence.

    The fact is your hero,The Nuri of Beni Malik (bless his 5 o’clock shadow) is intent on usurping power. This singular fact, you refuse to accept and continue to argue in exhaustive details about stuff that matters not. You attribute the alignment of Kurds, iraqia and Sadris (plus a couple of scores of others) as self serving personal vendettas against Maliki and Da3wa, without even acknowledging that in fact there is a danger to democracy in iraq when one party and one person accumulates in his/their hand/s so much power.

    Now, it appears that Iran is pushing the turban heads to issue a fetwa against working with Iraqia. Some are saying it is just rumors (RV tweeted that), but It is part and parcel of the kind of pressure Iran is exerting to keep your boy in power. Refuse to acknowledge it, but that does not make it false. Your boy has thrown billions of dollars to people who are on our side in an effort to buy their votes. A fact that you refuse to acknowledge, yet it is a fact whether you acknowledge it or not. Your boy and his party are liars, just like their cohorts the Ikhwan of Egypt and the Salifies that you so abhor in SA. You want to live under the turban heads, come back here and enjoy the stone ages and stop lecturing to us from the comfort of your ivory towers.
    Peace

    PS
    sorry for loosing my patience and sense of humor, but it is truly annoying seeing your kind of intelligence wasted on supporting the likes of Maliki. Maliki is not going to build a strong Iraq, he is going to cleave Iraq, or, worst still, repeat the last 30 years chapter, but with religious tones instead of socialists tones.

  38. Santana said

    There are unconfirmed reports that VP Biden will be heading to Baghdad and Irbil soon to “save the day” ….my guess is that he will try and prop up Maliki as a last ditch effort …..in reality the visit is to see if this no-con vote can be “dropped” somehow cuz there is a feeling here in DC that Iraq could come “unglued” post vote of no confidence…and it would definitly have an impact on the U.S elections and how the Romney folks will joyfully latch on to it and make it a big election issue ……see guys- as far as the USG goes-everything on planet earth doesn’t mean a thing right now- ….Obama getting re-elected is all Washington cares about…..yeah- Biden’s visit doesn’t really give the Iraqis any “warm fuzzy feelings” that’s for sure…..and he is not happy to have to leave the campaign trail either …….but this is serious now….historically the U.S only jumps in when things are very serious….otherwise, they would say the usual to me.. …………… “Santana- this is an Iraqi affair” !!!….

  39. Imperial Diet said

    Ali D should reread his informal logic 101 textbook. Anna, for instance, did not commit the ad hominem fallacy in referencing Allawi and his close friend’s opulent lifestyle far away from the action in Iraq. Insofar as corruption and “not being on the ground” are important facts to consider in this discussion, then citing them is not an instance of fallaciously using an irrelevant fact in an argument. If Anna said Allawi is a bit on the corpulent side, or that Allawi is a bad father, then she would be arguing ad hominem and you would be correct in calling her out for it.

    Furthermore, Observer often says he does not have time, is too busy, or does not need to explain himself in response to many posts challenging his views. Observer also likes to humiliate his challengers by rolling his eyes and chuckling. Please note this is classic question dodging behavior on his part, and indicates he is not a sincere interlocutor. Note, for example, that when observer says “Mo – I am still on a busy schedule and I can not afford the time to sit and write,” the important question to consider is why someone so busy, so in the thick of things on the ground in Iraq, is one of the most prolific commenters on this blog? The very fact he writes as much and often as he does belies his frequent claim to be too busy to address criticisms. Observer, I would argue, cares not about your criticisms. Nor does he seek to learn from what other, opposing voices have to say. His tactics and behavior suggest otherwise. They suggest he only seeks to establish the truth as he sees it as the truth we all must accept.

    Anything short of that, and we are all just a bunch of “academics” too doctrinaire and far removed from Iraq to be bothered with. My advice to those engaging Observer: don’t bother. If he will not sincerely debate the issues as we collectively define them, then he is not worth your time and effort.

  40. Ali D said

    Mohammed,

    You said: I have provided this forum previously with a link (www.hrw.org/node/11864/section/2)…

    My only point here is that it is insulting to my intelligence for you to try to make Allawi and Barzani as morally superior to Maliki. If Maliki won the “HRW human rights leader of the year award,” and still hoarded power as you accuse him of, we would still be at the same impasse. Iraqiya wants a greater say in matters. Barzani wants to do with his oil as he pleases until KRG becomes a totally independent country. Maliki stands in their way. The rest is really a sideshow.

    My response: Your reply does not discount what I said in my previous post. Yes the INIS reports directly to Allawi and of course such abuses occurred. I think that you may find that the evidence that Allawi ever ordered such abuses is non-existent in nature, especially given the point I raised in my previous post; my point is that hardly the same can be said of Maliki.

    You said: Yes, I have been guilty of one too many words. But one word I did NOT use was “personal’ in front of agenda…

    My response: The use of the word ‘personal’ and ‘agenda’ are irrelevant as far as my point was concerned. I just saw it unproductive to talk about Allawi bending his moral compass, a point you made that followed from my post, where I did not state this. I am not over-thinking it, I am not the one caught up in semantics right now. This is a useless point to debate right now; I think we both are now clear and what has gone wrong.

    You said: Of course he can over-rule the minister of defense. The PM is the commander…

    My response: Again, you are misunderstanding what I’m saying. The specific prerogative that a PM possesses in overriding ministerial decisions is fine, I did not contest this. But to use this as an excuse that means it is not that bad that Maliki reneged on his promise for not giving the ministry is laughable. That’s what I attempted to imply in my last post; I hope it is clearer now.

    You said: It is Iraqiya that has come to define “power-sharing” as if and, and only if Iraqiya has input on security ministries…

    My response: Iraqiya are concentrating on the defense ministry because it is the only one he has refused to give over! (WRT to the interior ministry, the issue is simply Maliki’s control over it, and therefore has personal monopoly on the ‘legitimate’ use of force). And do you seriously mean to tell me that it is simply a natural and inevitable occurrence that simply no one has been found that can be agreed upon for the defense ministry? That it is not part of Maliki’s attempts at controlling and consolidating his power? Come on Mohammed, I gave you credit for being a more objective supporter of Maliki than most I have come across! Maliki has been presented with lists, each with many names, that have included people he did not even know on a personal or political level- these lists were all rejected. No questions asked, no attempts at finding someone to ‘agree on’.

    You said: With respect to all the rest of the ministries and parliament speakership…

    My response: please Mohammed, enough with the straw-man arguments.

    You said: Again, if Iraqiya is unhappy, then I complete support their effort to have a no confidence vote. It they win the vote—good for them. If they lose the vote, they need to go into opposition party mode and stop whining about power-sharing. At that point, they will lose any rights to nominate the defense minister or anybody else for that matter.

    My response: thanks for repeating this sentiment once again. Great, I know “if we can muster the votes we win the vote and good for us”. I can’t see why you repeat this point so often, everyone was aware of it the moment we formed a parliament.

    Ali D

  41. Ali D said

    Imperial Diet should probably have noted that Anna used such ‘objective’ terms as Allawi’s “luxury home” in her fantastically logical argument.

  42. Ali D said

    Apparently his home in London which he has owned for decades = corruption? If this was Anna’s point as you imply, then her post is more amusing than I imagined.

  43. observer said

    Imperial. Love your psychological analyses via reading words on the internet. Brilliant. You should teach a course ont he subject (yeh – rolling eyes) Speaking of psychology, i find it really strange that people writing under pseudonyms feel slighted – that is a strange phenomena really worthy of studying.

    I noted the dodging syndrom you so brilliantly diagnosed in my style. As I am trying to find out what really made your imperial highness feel so “slighted”

    went back in this thread and found this

    “Imperial – Did the UN authorize NATO? I was not aware of that interesting development.. Chuckle and roll of eyes.”

    Haha – talk about the kettle calling the pot black. Who is “dodging” now?!!. Busted.

    On not having time, you know how I get my frustration at work out. i come visit with you all during the day instead of taking smoking breaks like the rest of Iraqis.

    Dude, if i had time, i would check spelling, grammer, and syntax to make sure that i am coming across properly. My posts here are embarrassingly full of grammer and spelling mistakes. I am a lot more careful in “my professional” capacity. :). Understand now? my psychoanalyst?

    Besides, you are right – I should not have wasted any time responding to your brilliant post explaining the Iraqi army alert status because of impending bombing in syria. But it was a such a “soft lob”. the devil made me hit it out of the ball park.

    In the end, if you don’t think i have anything to contribute, skip my posts :) Love ya.
    Peace

  44. observer said

    snatana – are you serious? We are screwed big time if he sits with Barazani. I am betting that the issue of Exxon Mobile investment in KRG is going to come up and Barzani is going to have to fold. But then again, the US may have screwed the Kurds once too many times. Recall, 1975 and 1988. We do not stand a chance when Iran and the US are out to push for Maliki. So now it is apparent why Talabani has been dragging his feet all day long since he had what he asked for for over 12 hours. Oh well. lets see what happens.

  45. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    I am happy to stop talking about this morality HRW matters as long as your side does not keep bringing it up. I will not allow you guys to make it a one-sided affair. If you bring up Hadi al-Mahdi, then it’s fair game to bring up Barzani’s skeletons. It’s a real shame that names of vicitms become used for political purposes.

    In my book, they are massive crimes. Like I told you before, if you are saying that Maliki gave the direct orders to kill Hadi al-Mahdi, and you can prove that, I would be happy to vote along with you guys if I were an MP in a no-confidence vote against Maliki. Such a crime alone disqualifies him from serving in my mind, and he should be put on trial. The same goes for Barzani. Kurds are still Iraqis. The problem is I don’t have such evidence to condemn either man. All I can say in fairness is that both are lax on clamping down on such abominable behavior. I do not know (in Maliki’s case) what kind of command and control he has over his people.

    So instead of speculating, I am happy to defer these aformentioned discussions and talk about more relevant issues, but you have to meet me half-way..

    You want to talk about threats to democracy(power sharing), and policy with regards to the Kurds, then I’m in.

    I am not against you guys using Sadr or anybody else you want to get your votes. And I fully realize your side and Maliki’s sides are likely exerting all sorts of pressure to get people to vote a certain way. That is how politics is played. Maliki may be offering financial incentives, and if your side isn’t I would be shocked.

    Observer, I know you are a straight shooter. When I say you may be “bluffing,” I am not saying your playing games. This is a deadly serious business. Bluffing is merely a tool to achieve a particular end. If I was in your shoes, I would try all sorts of tricks.

    regards,
    M

    p.s. When you call people “turban heads,” many “simpletons” will take that as an insult to religious shiite people in general. I may understand what you mean, but you will come off as hating all religious people in general…not wise if your trying to keep the Sadrists on your side..

  46. observer said

    3aini Mo,
    I brought about Hadi when you suggested demonstrations as a solution. Your continuing comparison of Barzani and Maliki are not effective. They are not the same at all. But you are free – be my guest and make all the useless arguments you want. But please make your posts shorter – for your own sake. People have no desire to read more than two paragraphs.

    You do not propose that maliki is not aware of what is happening – do you? Really, all the secret jails and extra judicial proceedings are happening without at least his acquiescence. Is that your position?

    On the Turban heads, i do no think simpletons are here reading. Never the less, your point noted. But I really can not give up “the bless his 5 O’clock Shadow”. If you understand it and do not get a chuckle, then you are not a person I would enjoy talking to ;)

    Santans – please god please keep Biden home. Santana – when I talked to Iraiqia contacts they were not even aware that Biden is coming. Christ. It is hard enough to work against Tahran, now it the US too. A repeat of 2010.

    Peace

  47. Anna said

    Alii D. You remind me of the Lawyer who could not get the answer he wanted in Court, you simply deflect questions and.

    Remind me How many people Voted for Hawrami?

    On Allawi living in London, its a very simple point and observation, he should live in Iraq , not London. If he wants to spend so much time in London and it’s is home, then take no part in the Democracy and parliament in Iraq.

    Now Hawrami, you have somebody who is heavily involved in Oil and gas controversy , and again hides out in London in his Luxury home. What role does he play other than be caught up in insider dealings in oil companys in Kurdistan. These are facts and you have no answer.

    Considering Oil and Gas laws are causing problems, it may have been why Jala Talabani wanted Hawrami to be replaced as a Minster, who continues to problematic for his buying and selling of oil shares when he may know the information that makes the oil shares go up in price. He as been named by London Regulators several times for his part in insider dealing, and he ws caught selling shares to a Turkish Oil Company by the Regulator in Norway.. He responded by suspending the Norway Oil Companies license and shut them down for months. Hawrami was also involved in giving away part of a Kurdistan Oil filed to American Galbraith.

    Now Maliki is in problems for all his bad things, you now have Hawrami and Allawi in same place. Allawi will be ill again when the spotlight turns on him, like he was last time.

    My points a re simplistic, . You see, i am not making argument, just stating facts . I see you have no answers to facts yet.

    Maybe we start again with small one. How many people voted for Hawrami?

  48. observer said

    PS
    sorry – but really are you suggesting that it is ok for Maliki to use the coffers fo the state to buy botes? Surely not. And also pray tell, can you tell me how we can buy votes? From KRG funds or with KRG oil coupons? Come on Mo, please do not play dumb with me. You continuously try to equate Maliki and Da3wa tactics with ours. You know that I know that there is no comparison.

  49. Mohammed said

    Imperial:

    I’m a big boy. I have been called far worse than an “academic.” Observer is merely pointing out that I am not in the thick of things 6000 miles away in front of my computer. It’s fine. That I have an advanced education is something that I am proud of. However, when it comes to political discussions, in reality my academic background means nothing. RV is an “academic” as this is really his career and he is a recognized world expert. However, I am about as qualified to be an “academic” political scientist as much as RV is qualified to be a physician. I do however believe that my input is reflective of some segments of the Iraqi population through discussions with my family in Baghdad, and many iraqi friends who have just come from Iraq (including those who served with the Iraqi and american militaries).

    Imperial, are you in Iraq? What’s Maliki’s side thought process right now? Why is it that nobody engages in discussions like this from their side? As I am sure RV would agree, it would be helpful to get more input from their side.

    regards,
    M

  50. placebo12 said

    Mohammed, after a hell of a lot of to-ing and fro-ing you finally returned to step 1 (as I asked you to God-knows how many posts back) and began to analyse solutions having accepted that the problems are large enough to warrant this step. I understand that it’s difficult for a decorated doctor like yourself to lose a little face in a debate (and I know you’ll argue that your post did not demonstrate any change whatsoever in your stance) but please be aware that the more you base your arguments on your own assumptions and emotions, the easier it will be to pick-out the illogical flaws. Although you avoided the finality of virtually all the points raised in my previous post, I will agree with you that there is a need to move on.

    The irony with your proposed solutions is that they are not contextualised. I completely agree with you that these are steps which we’d like to see happen in the longer-term but you’re failing, once again, to keep track of the environment in which they should supposedly occur. You’re also using the proposed solutions as a way of implicitly arguing for the continuation of Maliki and Da’was control of government which raises serious doubts in my head as to your neutrality in this debate.

    1.The police would not be “powerless” to stop attempts to protest in Sunni areas. Mind you, they wouldn’t be “powerless” to do so in She3a areas either. Judging by your selective use of the Amnesty report in reply to Santana, it would be easy for me to conclude that you only really care about occurrences in the KRG and not of Iraq as a whole. Read it a little less selectively and you’ll discover that protests across Iraq in 2012 were put down with live ammunition leading to 20+ deaths. This is discounting the dirtier tactics used at both the governmental level (Maliki labelling all protesters as Ba’athists, then making crude remarks about their “safety”) and at the street level – flooding key protest areas with thousands of security forces, banning movement of cars and public transport on key protest dates, threatening / murdering / arresting protest organisers etc. In Mosul (a “sunni” area according to your criteria), the exact same tactics were employed leading to the deaths of 5 during the largest attempts to protest on 25 Feb 2012. As sick and tired as you may be of the current situation, would you turn up and protest in that context?

    2/3/4. Fantastic proposals Mohammed. And I’m not even being sarcastic here. But you are either far too optimistic or far too isolated from today’s reality to state these as serious solutions. You are well aware that votes of no-confidence and government-formation aside, the parliament in its current format is virtually powerless to enforce any sort of will on the executive. All your suggestions mean nothing in a state in which the executive’s prerogative is the be-all and end-all of political power. And what does “isolating the judiciary” mean exactly Mohammed? You are well-aware of whom their bogus rulings are currently benefiting so surely the logical move here would be to focus on the root cause rather than playing games AFTER the rulings have come about. Grass-roots organisations already exist in today’s Iraq. In fact, there are over 250 of them. However, they are currently “overseen” by the executive without any actual state or financial support for their work. A number of these came together in 2011 to advise Maliki (herein lies the ultimate problem – no NGO can prove successful without the implicit or explicit support of the executive for their work) on the flagrant assaults being committed on civil freedoms, the media and NGOs themselves. The result of this? Nothing.

    5. Again, I agree with you. But perhaps you are starting to notice a pattern here. We’ve touched on the difficulty of holding protests when organisers are threatened / imprisoned / killed and attendees expect the same treatment. What’s the need for involving foreign NGOs when the IHEC has proven more than capable in previous rounds? I haven’t seen you complain about their handling of elections in the past, nor have other international observers so if you’re already jumping the gun perhaps you’re implicitly accepting an imminent threat to its independence. And why would that be the case? Well, I’ll leave Reidar’s previous blog entries to answer that one for you, but attempting to incorporate it under Maliki’s cabinet and arresting its head certainly doesn’t help does it?

    Outside of our micro-debate you’ve recently pinned yourself to the argument that you’d rather have Maliki and his party in place than to bring in a hybrid coalition of Barzani, Allawi, Sadr and others. You stated that “they each have their own narrow interest that cannot be achieved without co-opting the support of the others”. The long-term solutions discussed above will prove impossible without a viable short-term political solution. A government that believes itself to be the only source of political power cannot possibly be seen as a suitable partner to any parallel civil society. It has already demonstrated sufficiently that this is the case. Co-opting the support of others ensures that amalgamation of power (security or otherwise) in the hands of one group of people becomes difficult if not outright impossible. In turn, civil society is given the room to effectively push for the necessary change without the fear that currently inhibits their work. Unfortunately, the situation they currently find themselves in is an effective catch-22: their existence (and “right” to protest) is permitted, but the moment their work is perceived to threaten the narrow interests of the ONLY group with effective governmental control the guns come out blazing – in which case I’d ask you to question what the point of protest and civil society is within that context.

  51. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    On buying votes:

    If I was Maliki, I would go to tribes in Mosul, Anbar, etc…and start building oil/gas infrastructure, electricity, etc…promise the politicians and big-wigs in those areas get a say, and that their supporters benefit with jobs in security, factories, etc…It helps the local politicians and tribal heads get more influence with their local population, and buys their loyalty and support. In the USA, as I am sure you know, they call that “pork.”

    If I was Iraqiya, it would seem to me that in a post-Maliki Iraq, the nujaify brothers will be particularly interested in oil fields in disputed territories, etc. So if Barzani isn’t making such sweet deals, I would be suprised..

    regards,
    M

  52. placebo12 said

    Anna – what are you on about? When did Hawrami and Allawi’s house in London become the topic of the day? If that’s the route we’re taking we could all spend hours on this blog discussing the personal lives of the politicians we most dislike. Surely there are more important things to discuss here.

    Imperial Diet – present your viewpoints on Iraq’s situation and allow others to pick holes in them. If you have none then don’t bother. I respect posters like Mohammed because they, at the very least, make an attempt to defend their arguments. I don’t think anybody on this blog, regardless of their stances, appreciates your personal diatribes.

  53. Ali D said

    Anna, let me tell you why I am not answering you.

    First, you keep telling me to defend Hawrami. I’ve never mentioned him and I’ve never given my view on him. So this discussion is not to do with me- I never supported him in my posts!

    Then you say stuff like “On Allawi living in London, its a very simple point and observation, he should live in Iraq , not London. If he wants to spend so much time in London and it’s is home, then take no part in the Democracy and parliament in Iraq.”

    First of all, why?

    Secondly, I think you will find that Allawi is a non-UK domicile; he lives in Iraq.

    Then you say stuff like “Now Maliki is in problems for all his bad things, you now have Hawrami and Allawi in same place. Allawi will be ill again when the spotlight turns on him, like he was last time.”

    I’m sorry, but senseless comments like that simply have no place in an objective discussion.

    What happened to “You see, i am not making argument, just stating facts .” ???

    Ali D

  54. observer said

    mo,
    I see – pay in the sky approach. Yup that works in Iraq. Come on bud. You of all people should not make this argument as you do not believe that we have the votes to back up our “bluff”. Why should any MP believe “I will pay you billions next tuesday for your vote to day!”.

    As opposed to Maliki – here is a coupon for 2 million barrels of oil on which you can get 10 dollars a barrel commission.
    peace

  55. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    I am no politician. But whether I believe you have the votes or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is if the fence-sitters believe you have the votes. They will not want to wind up on the wrong side of the vote—and like all our lovely principled politicians, their votes have a price.

    The recent rapprochement between the Nujayfi’s and the Kurds is quite interesting, no? Hell, maybe you can even get the Turks to influence some of those sunni arabs. If Iraqiya doesn’t have cash to spare like Maliki does, I am sure you guys have powerful rich friends that can chip in…

    Nothing would surspise me…

    regards,
    M

  56. Santana said

    Observer-

    I agree with you that Biden should stay home…it has not been confirmed yet and there are always rumours about his visits…..but I know that Obama is sending him this time on a “Crisis management” mission……with the “crisis” being the containment of the crisis so it doesn’t become an election issue…..I would not worry about Biden convincing Barzani or by dangling the “Exxon carrot” in his face….this was already offered when Barzani visited Washington last April and it didn’t work- Barzani is a solid man and has been screwed by Daawa and Maliki enough that Biden lobbying for Maliki is not gonna change much………I think if Biden comes -he will -in addition to trying to talk everyone out of it- he will also assess how imminent this no-conf vote is and what gov formation plans Iraqiya, the Sadrists and the Kurds have in mind? One big concern the USG has is what positions the Sadrists would get in order to throw their 40 seats in this vote…?
    Although the USG and Iran prefer Maliki to remain in power there are some concerns by the USG that the Iranians are grudgingly approving this vote for a reason….in other words when Iran goes for a plan B (say…Jaafari or Chalabi)…..usually this means they have figured out how to make it better than plan A (keeping the scumbag in place)……and this usually means Iraq is screwed…. I am not optimistic about any of the changes that are about to happen BUT I think removing Maliki is a GREAT first step ….

  57. observer said

    Hahahah,
    Mo, you are smarter than your words betray.

    Powerful rich friends that can spare 50 billion dollars in contracts on which commissions are collected? Indeed – you are so tapped into the Iraqi situation, but you have no idea how the basic corruption scheme works in Iraq!!!

    On Turkish interests vs Iranian interests. I suppose I can accept that the sunnies would be closer to the Turks than Iranians, but do you suppose that Sader has now become a Turkish stooge too? hmm.. somehow I do not think that picture works. Do you?

    Peace

    PS – we do not need fence sitters. aha but it appears that you do not believe the news and are hoping that RV tweets of Christians and one or two from ISCI and White Iraqia are defecting. News flash, they did not sign on to defect. Did you know that even Hassan Allawi has signed (which, to be honest, surprised me even).

  58. Mohammed said

    Placebo:
    No time to respond to all your post, but your first paragraph does need a quick response..

    You said:” Mohammed, after a hell of a lot of to-ing and fro-ing you finally returned to step 1 (as I asked you to God-knows how many posts back) and began to analyse solutions having accepted that the problems are large enough to warrant this step. I understand that it’s difficult for a decorated doctor like yourself to lose a little face in a debate (and I know you’ll argue that your post did not demonstrate any change whatsoever in your stance) but please be aware that the more you base your arguments on your own assumptions and emotions, the easier it will be to pick-out the illogical flaws. Although you avoided the finality of virtually all the points raised in my previous post, I will agree with you that there is a need to move on.”

    My response: From my very first post to you, I stated that I agree that Iraq has massive problems. I suggested that we talk about solutions. You wanted to talk about the problems, not me. So let’s keep that clear. Regarding the problems, you tried to pin them all on Maliki, and I have contended that it is not quite that simple. We have disagreed about the proportion of blame, and how avoidable some of Iraq’s problems were then/now. You may believe in the finality of your arguments. I certainly do not.

    In the end, I realized that we are losing our readers by having such long discussions. Nobody is paying attention, and since neither you nor I fundamentally changed our views, there is no point on further discussions regarding all those topics we broached. For the interested reader, we have both made our cases, and the arguments are preserved on RV’s blog. That’s good enough, and I stand by what I said.

    As for your “saving face” and “doctor-pride” diatribe—please spare me the psycho-babble. You don’t know anything about me, and such a point is wholly irrelevant. Stick to the issues and facts. You should follow your own advice about not following emotions and making assumptions.

    Regards,
    M
    p.s. will respond to the rest of your post later

  59. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    I am sure you are smart enough to know why the Sadrists are joining you. They are worried that Maliki/Da3wa will cut them off, and they will have zero power.

    Sadr has hated Maliki since 2007. But we all know that Sadr is an iranian stooge. So perhaps as Santana alludes to, Iran has some other master plan in play by threatening Maliki through Sadr.

    Iranians are great chess players. 1) They will not allow the shiite parties to be split up. 2) They also don’t want the shiites to become too independent of Iran.

    btw, since you have the signatures, when do you project the vote is going to be?

    regards,
    M

    regards,
    M

  60. bb said

    Observer: ” but those in the know understand the amount of pressure that iran is putting to keep Maliki in place. If you still think your boy is not an Iranian stooge, you have to adjust your thinking to reflect the reality that Maliki is the preferred alternative for Iran”

    Are we seriously being invited to believe that the Sadrists are standing heroically alone to defy Iran?

    If you’ve got the signatures, publish them. As another commenter said, time to “kill the king”.

  61. observer said

    bb and Mo,
    the names have been published and they were delivered to talabani yesterday. You can do your own reading of news accounts to get the information. i need not do anything for you guys ;).

    As what Talabani going to do – ask RV. He and I have exchanged a few private messages discussing Talabani’s options ;)

    bb
    To take your “insinuation” to its logical conclusion, it is the Iranians that are putting Sader up to this maneuver since he can not defy the Iranian pressures as you seem to imply. I recall it was one of RV’s hypothesis that the Iranians are trying to flex their mussels before the P5+1 meeting to show the world who runs Iraq. SO which is it, he is a complete Iranian dummy or is he a defined child that will be brought into the fold sooner or later. Make up your mind, so I can argue with you, not that I would want to be a defender of Sader in this blog

    Mo,
    so sader is in it for personal hatred too. hahah. oh my oh my. You can not make up your mind as to which argument you want to make. In one post, it is a turkish saudi – sunni conspiracy. In another post it is personal hatred. In another it is political pettiness. The only great guy and principaled person who is sticking to his guns for the principal of building a strong Iraq is your hero the Nuri of beni malik (bh5os). Roll eyes is apropos here ,me thinks.
    Peace

    PS
    killing the king requires Talabani to take the next step. We have done our part of the deal

  62. observer said

    http://al3marh.net/news/index.php?act=artc&id=8619

    Can’t say it is unexpected. I have warned against such a move internally, but was assured in front of allawi that the constitution does not stipulate “reasons” when it comes to a call by the president for a no confidence vote. As for the Istijwab, i was assured by a “knowing iraqi lawyer” that even a stupid reason (and there are plenty of real reasons that we can use) would be adequate if 1/5th sign the request for istijwab. So now if they take it to the supreme court (and I am sure that a back dated “question” has been put to them already), they can add a new precedence. I look forward to the explanation of the legitimacy of such a move by our brother the good doctor Mo and his australian counter part, brother bb.

  63. observer said

    RV – since that article was in your tweet, what do you think Maliki’s chances are of getting a “judgment” that is “friendly” to his cause. and does the supreme court has the power to issue an injunction until it considers the ramifications?

  64. Reidar Visser said

    Couple of brief points:

    -I would not underrate the potential complications if Maliki is unseated and State of Law stands behind him, in which case State of Law actually remains the biggest bloc in parliament with the right to nominate the next PM (in theory could even be Maliki) unless the Maliki critics form a unified bloc

    -To the signatures. As said before, they are legally comparable to an opinion poll. Has the actual signed document been published? I have only seen gross estimates based on numbers of MPs, with only 10% of names mentioned such as this:

    http://www.alestiqama.com/news.php?cat=siasy&id=2503

    Of those names, already a few have promised legal battles because they were listed without any good reason, whereas others say some deputies have signed for their colleagues.

    -Observer, just to be clear, I see that latest story on Maliki allies threatening supreme court action as an example of them taking a potentially unconstitutional approach. They obtained the ruling on istijwab somewhat pre-emptively on Adib, since it came before the ultimatum for him to appear before parliament expired, although after he had been summoned for the first time.

    -Finally, the supposed Haeri fatwa against cooperation between Sadrists and Islamists is everywhere on the newswires today but not on the website of Haeri himself! Would be great if someone could publish the authentic document.

    -Oh, maybe I should remind everyone about the topic of this post: Is Maliki About to Fall. That’s big enough in itself and other flashpoint issues – including personal ones – are best settled elsewhere!

  65. observer said

    http://www.ipairaq.com/index.php?name=inner&t=politics&id=56630

    bb – it is a dilema. Is it all an Iranian play? what do you think?

  66. bb said

    Observer – I am an “sister” bb, not a brother!

    In the past I have been involved many times in the organising of “numbers” in various political operations and know from bitter experience how people will tell you one thing and your opponents another and when you get to the vote you lose. But the main thing I learnt, Observer, was that to get their signatures on a document of support is just about impossible.
    It’s not enough to publish the :”names” of people; of you’ve got to publish the actual signatures, whereupon there will be instant claims they are forgeries. It is not human nature to stick your head out; and that goes for Talabani too – he is unlikely to do it, especially if his judgement is that it is mostly hot air.

    My judgement, fwiw, is that prime minister Maliki would only be in trouble if he was losing the support of his own party. That does not appear to be the case?

    As for Sadrists – I note that you do not contended the Sadrists are standing alone among the shia parties against Iran! I would suggest the most plausible scenario is that Iran is “letting them run” as it did in 2010 – to cause prime minister Maliki maximum discomfort with the goal of increasing their leverage on Dawa to move the power balance within the shia alliance to something more to their liking.

  67. observer said

    RV – i would disagree on the largest block ;) – we have a solution for that. Just like he claims to have the largest block, we can form a larger block ourselves (after all we can have 163 votes to support somebody from INA). The largest block is what SOL is trying to do to make sure that the replacement is from Da3wa if not Maliki himself.

    On haieri – i saw the document on shat al arab web site. http://www.shatnews.com/index.php?show=news&action=article&id=1986 Not sure if that means that Seculars are not Iraqis and thus can not be people who they can ever work with!!!. I recall that Ahmed Chalabi asked Sader what he would do if a Marje3 prohibited him from doing what he is doing and his answer was “i will become secular”. Not sure if Sader or Haieri understand the meaning of secular. Is it just non-islamic people? I do not know how it works. Haieris is a former Marje3, however. I wonder is sistani has a similar explanation.

    Peace

  68. observer said

    Sister bb,
    ok so we are being fooled by the Sadris and Iran. Good – you guys can have the last laugh. We will see in a few days how steadfast the sadris are and better yet how the next PM is going to be a weak underling of Iran and that all along we were dummies for making the Iranians take over Iraq (as if this was not done by the US already).

    I will repeat it here for you in case you missed it the last time (and this is not Iraqia – this is me), i would rather have Iraq be divided than be under the control of Da3wa and Maliki.
    Peace.

  69. Reidar Visser said

    Thanks Observer. Muqtada apparently insists he heard nothing from Haeri:

    http://www.albaghdadianews.com/politics/item/10326-AkZHDE-nED-IkO-YOTAk-Il-ZHG%D8%A9-BnAl-KAzL-AkGASEn.html

    One thing I think gets drowned in all of this is Iran’s articulated preference for always having a big Shiite bloc. Notice how the Sadrists keep saying that holding the Shiite alliance unified remains important; no matter what the Shiite bloc must supply the next PM. Notice how, on the other side of the divide, greater Shiite alliance unity also results from Maliki seeking support from Badr and Fadila.

    The one thing I think the Iranians did not foresee was the segment of unhappy disputed-territories Iraqiyya people who switched to Maliki.

  70. observer said

    ont he disputed territories Iraqia – no worries. There is plenty of SOL who come along.

  71. bb said

    Reaches the absurd when fatwas start getting issued again. Iraqis should be embarrassed by such rubbish.

    But could this one be a face saving move for Moqtada backdown, Reidar?

  72. Anna said

    Reidar . Very simple way to settle this ” Maliki Go or Not” member of each party in the government signs a motion in front of Talabani stating they personally withdraw Confidence, and they have to state who they would replace him with. One at a time they go through this process in one room where there are no others trying to influence there decision, and there vote to withdraw confidence as no validity unless they states who they want to replace Mailiki.

    If the required number of signatures are amassed to remove Maliki in a confidence vote, then the process moves forward to the next stage. Its no good voting to remove Maliki if you can not sign a document in a one to one meeting with Talabani. I have witnessed so far a mob rule culture out of Kurdistan. I would also like to know how Members of the Kurdistan partys can vote in a no confidence motion and removal of Maliki, if they continue to be a destructive influence in Iraq and then claim to be able to sign there own deals on oil gas and construction, telecom’s, banking, finance , law and defense , just to name a few. It should not be possible for the KRG to dictate matters in Iraq, when Iraq as no say in Kurdistan.

    This is an issue most simply don’t look at and choose to ignore, but it’s critical to the whole of Iraq. Its been said many times, the KRG only interest is to break up Iraq , so they can justify there move to independence.

  73. placebo12 said

    Mohammed – you cannot jump to solutions without an understanding of where responsibility lies for the current predicaments. I think I was quite clear on this from the start and it’s the main reason why I jumped into this blog.

    I look forward to your replies on the other points and I totally agree that we need to keep things short, I’ll do my best.

    Also, what will your stance be if the vote of no confidence does go ahead and Maliki and co attempt to block it via the courts (as is now being suggested)? A bit of a difficult one to defend from a “logical” perspective, imo, so I’d be interested to know what you think.

  74. observer said

    Anna,
    RV shoudl answer you, but there is nothing in the constitution that proscribes your “solution”. Oddly enough, there is no problem to be resolved. In your post, you hypothesized that Iraqis say one thing in private and another in public, then you set up a solution to solve your hypothesized problem. Kind of weird, if you ask me. The No Confidence Vote in itself is a public disclosure of the vote – so I have no idea what you are trying to resolve.

    Anyway, Talabani is still dragging his feet in submitting the request to Nujaifi. Probably waiting for Biden to show up :)
    Peace

  75. Mazin Al-Eshaiker said

    Indeed. Maliki will be replaced. It is unfortunate that Barzani and Allawi are leading the cause of initiating a vote of no confidence, as both are not known for their unwavering commitment to democracy. It keeps a bad taste in ones mouth when you characterize it as Sunnis (represented by Allawi) and Kurds (represented by Barzani) are trying to topple a Shia (represented by Maliki) Prime Minister. Once you sift through the distractions, you will realize that their are two main reasons why Maliki will be replaced:
    1. The National Alliance has lost confidence in Maliki due to the fact that Maliki formed the government soon after he signed the Erbil Accord, which has recently been released to the press. The Erbil Accord is unconstitutional. Maliki did not consult with his National Alliance partners before he signed it and he did not seek parliamentary ratification of the accord.
    2. Maliki’s hold on power and the messages reseived from his camp, suggesting Maliki’s departure will cause major security problems and the break up of Iraq, appear to be scare tactics. As a result, it is now more important to practise the constitutional right of withdrawing confidence from the prime minister, to set the stage for future PM’s and to keep parliament’s watchful eye on government.

  76. Anna said

    Observer.. Yes i answer question myself..What I am saying is one on one meeting with Talabani with each member, one vote and no recriminations, no one else knows which way each member voted.

    It as been Allawi’s dream with Bazarni to topple Maliki.. this goes back to when KRG signed a secret deal with Maliki and should not have been allowed. KRG did not get everything they wanted Straight away. The KRG always same and just want to break up Iraq, no other reason. Bazarni is not clean and all US kurds know his games, he is most corrupt and now seeks to break Iraq .
    No place for KRG in Iraq, Iraq will be better off without corrupt Bazarni and I am of Kurdish family in Arbil and they say how bad Bazarni his.

  77. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    Like I said umpteen times, I fully support your right to have a no confidence vote.

    There is no fathomable way I could ever support a supreme court decision to deny you such a vote. I am not sure what to make of that SOL MP and his threat. He may just be talking nonsense out of his rear-end without any authorization from Maliki and co. There is a reason I have always maintained that most of those bozos should not be running kabob stands much less holding major political office. I still maintain that Maliki will not resort to such a stupid move, it will cost him far more than anything else.

    If Maliki really feels the heat, my guess is that he will strike a deal with Sadr and sign some kind of agreement that guarantees he will never be PM again after this term (he will say it in public, have every party big wig sign, tatoo it on his forehead, you name it). Such a concession alone may cause Sadr to fold in order maintain shia unity for the next two years as the iranians want (it achieves both variables that I previously stated were important to iran).

    With respect to you actually having the votes, I think RV has poked enough holes in that idea on this forum and twitter.

    Does it not concern you that people are filing lawsuits in protest for having their names on your signature list without their authorization (I see that you did not even bother to comment on that point RV made). I am fine with you bluffing, but if Iraqiya people are forging signatures, that is pretty low and un-ethical. Not a great way to start off the new iraq yet again, and completely goes against the very idea of democracy that Iraqiya is supposedly trying to protect.

    regards,
    M

    placebo…my answer to your question regarding blocking the vote is the same as I have just given to Observer. I will answer the rest of your post once this voting issue is clarified, as I would like to remain relevant to current news cycle.

  78. observer said

    MO,
    If it makes you feel better to BELIEVE that we do not have the votes, have at it. Forging signatures – my behind !! You think if there are forged signatures, Maliki and company would not have made a big deal of it and paraded it up and down. Further forged signatures mean that we do not have 163 votes, so what is he afraid of? He would win the vote no? and forever be the Great and ONLY leader. Follow the logic? Or shall I explain it to you like a 5 years old?

    Anna. You seem to be missing the point. You set up a problem that does not exist and then proceeded to solve it. That is a reverse of a straw man maneuver – but I blather. If it makes you feel better to complain about Barazani – fine by me. But Mam Jalal ain’t the greatest either. Do recall that he started the civil war in KRG in 94/95.

    Peace

  79. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    I am asking you a simple question: RV stated that there are MPs threatining to file a lawsuit because their name appears on the signature list without their consent.

    Do you confirm or deny that charge? Notice—a simple question that my 5-year old mind can understand. I am waiting daddy dearest..

    regards,
    M

  80. faisalkadri said

    Anna,
    Your confidence in Talbani’s integrity brings tears into my eyes!
    Talbani asked for and got the necessary signatures for no confidence but he is now dragging his feet in order to allow Iranian pressure to get to the signatories and change their minds, same delay tactic he used in stalling the formation of gvt until he got the go ahead from his sponsors.
    Talbani is only the other arm of Maliki.

  81. observer said

    MO,
    Charges have already been denied by Iraqia.

    Now answer this to my 5 years old brain:
    The question to you, if we do not have the signatures then it should be a great opportunity for Maliki to prove that he is the one and only leader. So what is the panic for? He/you should be in a hurry to have the vote so that we do not “buy” more votes with our endless Qatari, Saudi, Turkish and Israeli money ;)

    Signed,
    5 years old supporter of Iraqia

    Sigh
    Peace
    Peace

  82. Santana said

    This is on Buratha news….says Talabani signed his approval to the request for a no confidence vote ….of course only 50% of what Buratha publishes is true….so hopefully this one is true….

    http://www.burathanews.com/news_article_158736.html

  83. Anna said

    Faisalkadri. Ni I am working with whats there. I dont have much faith in Talabani but is role is one a ceremonial role. Bazrani role is not and yes they are as bad as each other. I dont have faith in Mailki, after all he cut his deal with Kurdistan and now all of Iraq is paying for that. Allawi I do not trust. Bazarni cuts deals that suit him not Kurdistan and I have family in Arbil and know what they say.

    Bazarni makes people disappear and lots of people disappear all people who oppose him. None of the leaders are right for Iraq and Iran Turkey Syria have large Kurdistan people in them. How to get peace and good future is not easy. Another election is needed now people of all Iraq can see what happened over last 2 years. Civil war is real now and that falls to Bazarni and Arbil agreement with Maliki

  84. bb said

    Why would Talabani be dragging his feet? He must have all the PUK deputies signatures in front of him?

    Faisal, after standing up alone to Iran for all this time, Moqtada is not going to allow his sadrists to be influenced now, surely?

  85. observer said

    bb,
    never underestimate Iran’s ability to convince/intimidate.
    peace

  86. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    If I was Maliki’s advisor, I would tell him he needs to pull a King Hussein (of Jordan), when he flew right into an insurrection against him and faced his foes down.

    I would tell him to call for a vote of confidence, it’s put up or shut up time. Perhaps Maliki doesn’t have the cajones to do that. Perhaps he doesn’t even want to show that there are 158 MPs against him…it still makes him look like a divisive leader.

    But all the media reports put your numbers in serious doubt in my mind…RV says that no such list has even been published (only by block levels…you haven’t named names (great Seinfeld quote btw)

    These Da3wa guys are all about doing things in dark smoke filled rooms. I can’t say that Iraqiya is anymore transparent though. If you have the list, please publish it with the names…I will create the website for you: malikinoconfidencevote.blogspot.com?

    Are you game?

    regards,
    M

  87. observer said

    hahaha,,,
    If this were America of the late 20th century (as politics in the US as of 1968 was about smoke filled rooms), then you would get your wish.

    This is Iraq bud. This is the wild west, except it is the east (or middle east). You never tell the other side what you do or what you have calculated. We do not speak on phones on anything of substance because they are monitored which means we have to travel endlessly and talk while walking instead of the comfort of rooms. Now we even have to watch our emails…. hell, for all i know, my IP address is exposed as our internet fiber optic goes through Iran.

    On the list – why are you so focused on the individual names? Why does it matter? you want to pas the names to your handler in Najaf (joke). Anyway, just wait one day and it will come out in the press ;)
    peace

    PS
    I really chuckled at your defense of Maliki.

    “Perhaps Maliki doesn’t have the cajones to do that. Perhaps he doesn’t even want to show that there are 158 MPs against him…it still makes him look like a divisive leader.”

    He does not want to look like a divisive leader. Really. Really. You do not think he is a divisive “leader”. Hahahahah. I can’t stop laughing. Thank you for making my day.

  88. Vargen said

    Sadr heads to Iran
    Monday, 04 June 2012 20:20
    A source from Sadr’s office confirmed to AIN “Sadr headed to Iran through Najaf International Airport on Monday afternoon.”

    http://www.alliraqnews.com/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11561:sadr-heads-to-iran-&catid=35:political&Itemid=2

  89. Mohammed said

    Observer

    While I find your cackles amusing, I think you read too much into my words. I of course believe Maliki is divisive. What I said is that Maliki may not like for a huge number of MPs (even less than 163) to so publicly denounce him in parliament. People like him have huge egos.  He is also paranoid as hell. Bad combination…

    We can play these games all day long. I can also question you if your side believes that they have the votes then why all the secrecy. Presumably they are in front of Talabani. If you are saying that Talabani is being influenced by Iran, then shouldn’t you presume that he provided that list to Iran and then Maliki? Maliki today is already asking for the list.

    Btw, muqtada is off to Iran. And of course Barzani is in turkey. Time for the real masters to move the chess pieces.

    I would laugh and roll my eyes, but I see nothing funny when  dozens died today and in the end, nothing is likely to change for the better no matter how this turns out—as Dr.Mahmoud Othman profoundly said.

    God bless our politicians

    Regards
    M

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