Iraq and Gulf Analysis

More Stalemate in the Iraqi Parliament

Posted by Reidar Visser on Saturday, 10 September 2011 19:41

The Iraqi parliament was a sorry sight this morning. That the second reading of the bill for the national council for strategic policies was postponed, supposedly until Monday, was never a big surprise. Nor was anyone particularly shocked to learn about a delay in the decision on the question of the parliamentary membership of three deputies whose eligibility has been questioned.  But the way the planned vote on the revised bylaws of parliament was suspended today was nothing short of pathetic.

Barely had the legal committee started reading out the first amendments to the bylaws which simply included some definitions of key concepts when members of the Shiite alliance began protesting the definition of a “simple majority”!  The proposed definition was straightforward enough (half of the present members plus one when a quorum has been reached), but some deputies including Bahaa al-Aaraji of the Sadrists objected on “procedural” grounds, calling this an unspecified violation of article 2 of the Iraqi constitution (laws must be in accordance principles of democracy). As a result of the objections, the vote was called off, supposedly with a postponement until Monday.

Maybe it was all theatre agreed to beforehand by the political leaderships. The problem is this: When a bill reaches the stage of voting in the Iraqi parliament, it means there have been two previous readings at which members of parliament at large have had the opportunity to present objections and improvements – which in turn are handled by the relevant specialised committee as well as the legal committee.  All too often, however, committees prepare laws for the voting stage only to see them languish forever because the political leaderships discover irreconcilable disagreements that can only be addressed by that Iraqi magic wand of late-night meetings behind closed doors. As a result, the parliamentary impact on a legislative process already dominated by the executive (which presents the laws) is further minimised.

As for the substance matter at hand, it is unsurprising that matters are moving so slowly. One interesting aspect of the current bylaws is that they create a collective speakership that involves more consensus-searching (which often means more stalemate) than the constitution actually demands. In other words, had trust existed between Iraqiyya and State of Law, they could have easily reduced the deputy parliamentary speakerships (held by Kurds and the Sadrists) to ceremonial positions and made the current speaker, Usama al-Nujayfi, to a more dominant figure. However, despite rising tensions between the Kurds and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki lately, it seems personal friction between leaders of State of Law and Iraqiyya remains more than strong enough to prevent any attempt at this kind of rapprochement.

48 Responses to “More Stalemate in the Iraqi Parliament”

  1. Lars said

    Apparently Barzani is not willing to accept more stalemate. Quite strong statement.

    http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=6D891438EB6306836FCD3E45E4B74525

    Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani emphasized once again that
    Kurds will not accept remaining within Iraq if the Constitution is sidelined. He warned the Iraqi government not to ignore Kurdish demands and announced upcoming negotiations.

    “It looks like they no longer believe in federalism,” stated Barzani, seeing threats to the Kurdish federal entity if problems are submitted to voting in the Parliament, in which Kurds make only one-fifth of members. “Our issue is not about majority and minority in the Parliament? if they always want to resolve every problem through voting in Parliament, of course we will lose every time,” he explained.

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Barzani is probably hoping that the antipathy against Maliki is so strong right now that he can win some more concessions. However, there have also been some reactions against what Barzani said even from people in the Shiite alliance who are normally quite friendly with the Kurds. Here are some examples:

    http://qanon302.net/news/news.php?action=view&id=7288

  3. Lars said

    It seems to me that Barzani, much against his normal policy, is entering a road of no return by such statement. If Salih does not return from Baghdad with substantial concessions, then the Kurdish people “will have to take the necessary decisions” as Barzani is to have said.
    He can possibly win more concessions but he can surely loose a lot of creditability, if he doesn´t react strongly to the absence of concessions. This gamble surprises me.
    Are we seing a litmus test of the willingness to kurdish independance or just seing an intended overreaction from Barzani, which will be smoothened out by Kurdish politicians in nearest future. Like this quote: “The MP said the coalition Mahma Khalil during a press conference held yesterday at the headquarters of the Parliament that “statements of the Kurdistan regional President Massoud Barzani aims to ease the atmosphere and in the interest of Iraq,” asserting that “Barzani said the need to abide by the constitution.”

  4. Salah said

    it is unsurprising that matters are moving so slowly

    While very slowly moving but looks move very fact in changing the faces for the most corruption cases as Iraq the forth from the end of the list of most corrupted countries in the world.

    Today we read this from the new’s

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accepted the resignation on Saturday of the country’s anti-corruption chief, the premier’s office said. Rahim Hassan al-Uqailee submitted his resignation on Thursday following pressure from political parties, whom he accuses of trying to cover up corruption, an aide had said. “Responding to a written desire by the head the Integrity Commission, Judge Rahim Hassan al-Uqailee, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accepted the request,” the premier’s office said.

    Uqailee, 44, headed the anti-corruption watchdog since January 2008. In February, he accused ministers of trying to sweep corruption under the rug instead of fighting it, saying a lot of dirty money was going to fund insurgents.International corruption watchdog Transparency International ranks Iraq among the world’s four most corrupt countries.

  5. Observer said

    Allawi will be in hawler/irbil v. Shortly, and so will all Kurdish federal officials from Baghdad. I am doubtful that Maliki will be pushed out just yet. I think dos/usg will make Maliki believe that he is going out then get the sofa extension out of him as a price for remaining in power with the help of usg. A replay of 2007 of sorts. I hope the Kurds remember they have no friend but the mountains.

    PS
    With respect to news article…. Have the Kurds got anything more than empty promises for 8years? Isn’t it time they start saying ” show me the money!”?

  6. I think the Kurdish posturing is bargaining with the US, not with Maliki. It looks to me that the Kurds are offering the US a face saving formula for not extending their stay treaty: If you want to stay in Iraq (Kurdistan) then you got to back our independence.

  7. Santana said

    In all fairness-Barzani and his people do not trust anyone in Iraq- there are huge similarities with the Kuwaitis- they both consider all the Sunnis as pro-Baath and all the Shiites as pro-Iran and both are “redlines” to them, (forget Talabani- he is an Iranian stooge thru and thru) but both the Kurds and the Kuwaitis are forced to deal with them (on completely different issues obviously)due to the proximity and to protect their interests….Maliki is screwing them out in the open now cuz the Kurds want an extension of the U.S forces in Iraq and Iran told Maliki that he is not to allow it- Kuwait want an extension and have directed Patton-Boggs to lobby for it in DC….and both the Kurds and the Kuwaitis only want the extension to protect them from the central government of Iraq and not so much to prevent a civil war like Barzani states…infact to them- a perfect world would be- the mutual distruction of Iraqi Arabs Sunni and Shiites and the resulting weakening of Iraq thru a civil war BUT provided it does not spillover the borders of Kurdistan nor the Iraqi Kuwaiti border.Kuwait is now asking for an increased U.S troops deployment in Kuwait post withdrawl and the Kurds have asked for the same thru their DC lobbyists….neither group care one bit about Iraq per se and are out for themselves….a very myopic view in my opinion but I find the similarities interesting nevertheless.
    In my opinion the Oil and gas law that is upsetting the Kurds has Iran’s blessing just to punish Barzani for his strong U.S ties and for advocating a strong U.S presence.
    The Mubarak port problem is the Iranian directive/concoction to punish Kuwait for it’s pro-U.S stance.
    Iran never sleeps.

  8. Reidar Visser said

    The Jordanian PM just arrived in Arbil. Is that supposed to put pressure on Maliki? It may be intended as support for Iraqiyya but my guess is that the Kurds will get a better deal from Maliki and Iraqiyya will get absolutely nothing.

  9. Lars said

    I guess this is supposed to put pressure on Maliki.
    AFP – Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region halted crude exports on Sunday, nearly a week after it rejected a new oil and gas law approved by the central government, Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi said.
    “The government of the Kurdistan region today halted oil exports without giving reasons,” Luaybi told AFP on the sidelines of an oil conference in the Jordanian capital.

    Lots of visits going on in Erbil. But probably still to early to conclude anything else than the pressure is mounting on Maliki.
    Erbil, Sept.11 (AKnews)- Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu will arrive in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan region capital, today to meet with Kurdish Region President Massoud Barzani, an official said.

    Press Release by the Ministry of Natural Resources – KRG 21:10:11 11 Sep. 2011
    False reports on suspension of oil export from Kurdistan
    The Ministry of Natural Resources of the Kurdistan Regional Government would like to state that there has been no policy decision for suspending oil exports from Kurdistan via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline
    http://krg.org/?lngnr=12&smap=01010000

  10. Lars said

    Kurds considering to boycot the central government and parliament and as well to publish the Erbil Agreement.To me this seems like an escalation of the situation.
    http://www.pukmedia.com/kurdistanregion/20466-2011-09-12-07-07-13

  11. Lars said

    One could until now have thought, that things were orchestrated to put Salih in a favourable situation for negotiation with Maliki, but the latest news could indicate otherwise.

    Baghdad / NINA /– A parliamentary source said that the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Barham Saleh will not visit Baghdad during the next few days as scheduled.

  12. observer said

    Santana,
    I am on travel so I do not have direct input from my friends about how it is going in Irbil the last couple of days – what is your take?. I see some movement from the US side and Iraqia and the Kurds to get things moving. Maliki may yet survive to fight another day, but it is all good for Iraq in the end. We need to make sure that there is a real partnership to run Iraq, not a small clique that runs things to their own benefit.

    The Kurds have to be real partners and not just some special minority that has certain rights. If they become real partners, for once in the history of Iraq, then all that talk of separation will subside. Not die. But subside. Look at Qubec. Every time the issue of separation comes to the fore, it dies at the polls. Why? it is the economy. They all understand that they are better off in a federation than standing separately with thousands of kilometers of borders to defend.

    When is it that the Iraqi politicians (Arabs and Kurds) that they need to work TOGETHER. I can go back in the history of Iraq till 1925 and show you how the Kurdish “problem” was used to weaken Iraq and destabilize its political system and its economy.
    It is only when they learn that they are real partners in Iraq and they need to treat each other as partners that they will reach the stability needed for economic development to proceed and bring Iraq back to achieve the potential that it has.
    Peace

  13. Reidar Visser said

    Guys, in attempting to revert to the original subject of the post, I can report that the Iraqi parliament today achieved next to nothing on the bylaws. That is, they voted on around 25% or so of the proposed text, article by article! And left out all the controversial stuff. What was agreed today were boilerplate items and nothing more.

    With acting ministers instead of real ministers and partial parliamentary bylaws, how can anyone envisage this assembly ever passing such a controversial item as the strategic policy council bill?

  14. Lars said

    Observer, Barzani met with Allawi today and just now PUK-media announced that Salih is indeed going to Bahdad tomorrow to negotiate. So maybe TOGETHER a solution will be found.
    Visser, sorry if I got the subject out of post, but I think this recent scenario in regards to the oil law issue is a very good example of what you write :
    because the political leaderships discover irreconcilable disagreements that can only be addressed by that Iraqi magic wand of late-night meetings behind closed doors
    Maybe Salih (with the latest input from Allawi´s meeting today with Barzani) with Maliki will settle some of the issues behind closed doors and without need of publishing the Erbil closed door agreement.

  15. Reidar Visser said

    No problem, Lars! There is also a parliamentary dimension to the KRG-Baghdad tension which came to the fore today with the Kurdish threat to “boycott parliament and government if the govt version of the oil and gas law is passed”.
    Observer, to me that sounds like a more defensive position than only some weeks ago, when it was everyone against Maliki. Now apparently some Iraqiyya deputies and even people from ISCI have been hostile to the latest remarks by Barzani, so I’m slightly surprised that you see a Kurdish-Iraqiyya-US alliance in the making here. But then again I also disagree somewhat with your take on 2008: To me, back then, the Pentagon wanted an open-ended agreement but got only three years thanks to Iranian and Sadrist pressure; today the Pentagon wants several thousand forces but may end up with only a few thousand, again thanks to Iran and the Sadrists.

  16. observer said

    Reidar,
    I think you give too much “credit” to the independence of various low level MP’s. In fact, the parliament is a lot more controlled than you think. What matters most the position of leaders in the parliament. At the end of the day, the MP’s will have to vote they way they are told to vote. Let us be frank, the average MP still owes his/her position to the leader of the block. I will be willing to bet you that in the next elections members of “white Iraqia” will ahve to change their alliance list if they want to stay in parliament (ala 3ezat Shabendar, Safia Suhail, etc.). What matters to me is the position of Barzani, Allawi, Malik, hakim, Baha a3raji or suhail, etc. This is how you predict the outcome. Ignore the other noises – it just confuses judgment. Until Iraq adopts the district method for selecting MP’s, we are stuck with this pseudo- democracy.
    Peace

  17. Santana said

    Observer-

    I will have details within 10 hours from now.I agree that there is some “taqareb” between Iraqiya and the Kurds with some soft nudging from the U.S (finally !) but I worry that the Kurds are playing the same game with Iraqiya that the Sadrists always do- which is to show closeness with Iraqiya and then use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Maliki. It worked well for the Sadrists and may very well work for the KRG- then Iraqiya ends up standing there empty handed with a dumb look on it’s face. Anyway- I will get a readout very soon- I also have a meeting with a top KRG official this week and will get their perspective as well to compare it to the Iraqiya readout.

  18. observer said

    Thanks Santana, I am sure a lot of people here are interested to find out what is going on as well. I hope you read the interview of allawi in sharq awsat http://www.aawsat.com//details.asp?section=4&article=640164&issueno=11977 Straight forward answers and pretty much conforms to the discussion we have here.

    As for the the Kurds – I really doubt that Barzani plays it two ways. He give his word based on what he thinks he can deliver. Allawi is not stupid and he can be played once or twice, but not all the time. Barzani;s initiative was really intended to move the government forward. I know that everybody here and DC wanted Iraqia to screw the Kurds and go with Da3wa, but Allawi’s words from that time are prophetic and his predictions came to bear. Da3wa is only interested in Sharaka/Jabha to serves its own interests. I would like you to read Allawi’s answer on the Kurdish problem – and you will see an echo of what we are talking about here. Either you treat the Kurds (and of course sunnis) as real partners or tell them that they need to go their own way. You can not expect the Kurds to accept being second class citizens, or a “special minority”. Public pronouncements are of course cheap and I am sure Maliki can state the same words, but Maliki and company had had more than 7 years to deliver on “promises”… are the Kurds going to accept more empty promises? Is talabani, at this late stage in his career/age, going to try to keep his Iranian backers happy at the expense of PUK/KDP interests? What about the most important player of all, the US? Is USG willing to let go of Maliki and the theatrics of calling Iraq “safe and secure”? Is Iran going to back off now? or are they going to let Sader do their dirty work of increasing military pressure on the Americans? It is truly a three dimensional chess game, but again that is what makes it interesting. It would be amusing if we were not talking about lives hanging in the balance.

  19. Santana said

    Observer- I really apprecite your comments and I hope you are right from the bottom of my heart- but humor me for a second- what if Allawi gives all these concessions to the Kurds and Maliki decides last second to approve all demands by the Kurds….where do we end up ? We stay marginalized and we lose a big chunk of our constuents in the process. I am willing to gamble (based on what you wrote) that this time Barzani is for real assuming Barzani is not overwhelmed afterwards by extreme pressure from Iran and Talabani to stay the course with Maliki thru a Kurdish-NA compromise….like you said- it is a three dimensional Chess game and we have no idea what the dark side has up their sleeves.

  20. Jason said

    “To me, back then, the Pentagon wanted an open-ended agreement but got only three years thanks to Iranian and Sadrist pressure; today the Pentagon wants several thousand forces but may end up with only a few thousand, again thanks to Iran and the Sadrists.”

    Actually, the Pentagon wants several thousand forces, but President Obama is going to ignore his military advisers in order to bolster his reelection prospects, using Iraqi opposition as cover.

  21. Santana said

    Also- without ISCI or Ahrar or 20-30 Shiite seats- minimum- added to the Barzani-Allawi JV we can’t unseat Maliki nor call for re-elections so why is Allawi wasting his time ?

  22. Jason said

    The Pentagon reportedly asked for 27,000. Obama initially told them 10,000, to which they agreed only very grudgingly. Now, he wants it down to 3-4,000, and senior military advisers are reported to be livid, claiming they can’t even guarantee force protection with those numbers. Secretary Clinton was even overruled. The move is seen as purely based on U.S. domestic politics to mollify the anti-war base that won the 2008 primary for Obama over Clinton.

  23. Jason said

    Observer and Santana,

    Are Kurdish demands acceptable to the Sunnis and other Iraqis that are represented by Iraqiya? Are they not nationalists? Will they not object to seeing a unified nation of Iraq traded off or weakened by their representatives in exchange for political power? It seems that Iraqiya may have the same problem delivering to Kurdish demands as Maliki?

    What is Sharaka/Jabha?

  24. bks said

    Jason, why should Obama listen to the morons at the Pentagon? All they’ve done is miss objective after objective in two wars over ten years at a cost of two trillion dollars. Only an amnesiac would give the Generals anything more than short shrift.

    Seven years ago:

    “The mission of US forces is to kill or capture Moqtada al-Sadr,” said Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, America’s most senior general in Iraq.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/apr/13/usa.iraq

    –bks

  25. observer said

    Santana,
    If the Kurds want to be satisfied with another set of empty promises, then that is their business. I stated before that I was told that some Kurds did not believe the promises, but the factions close to Iran prevailed with help from the US. It is now a different game. The saying goes, fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.

    Yes I agree that without some MP’s coming over from the other side, it will not be possible to so an early elections or anything of that sort. and the orders are down from Tehran that the UIA will stick together. Now let us see how much back bone hakim has, and is he willing to move against his allies.

    Jason, the Kurds demands are legitimate but the core issue is OIL…. Solve that, the rest is easy(ier).

    I do not think the Pentagon would be willing to leave sensitive equipment for (quick deployment) with only 3000 “trainers” guarding it. Which means that if Obama sticks to his guns, i would say as an American, move all the heavy peaces and sensitive technology out of Iraq. Pre-position in Turkey and Kuwait. I am sure the Kurds would welcome a base (Talabni is on record on this), but I doubt that Turkey would look on with approval. Drones will have to fly longer, and be exposed to danger of being shot and captured. Not a good thing for the US. Once more, domestic politics of the US trumps long term interests of the US. Nobody is willing to talk to Americans as adults.

    Bk – guess whose brilliant idea it was to “talk to sader”? Hint – it was not the Pentagon. Had the US followed principals instead of domestic politics (and yes BUSH / Chaney is/are guilty as sin of this so Jason spare me the finger pointing at Obama) then we could have had a chance at a better Iraq. The struggle between the Pentagon and DOS is legendary and the funny thing is that they are supposed to be fighting for the same side. Go figure.
    Peace – out

  26. Santana said

    Jason, I can’t speak for Observer but there are many within Iraqiya that are not too crazy about “giving the house away”- just to get back at Maliki however if what the Kurds want is reasonable and as Observer described in the past then I support that…but that is not the point here- the point is that even IF Barzani goes with Iraqiya it is NOT enough to do anything meaningful. We need Shiites to join in the Jabha (front) against Maliki and his dictatorial ways….oh and Sharaka means shared government.

  27. Jason said

    Bks,

    Don’t be foolish and irrational. Too many men and women, Iraqis, American, and many others, have given their lives only to now surrender Iraq to Iran or to allow it to blow up in an Arab-Kurd civil war. There is still much at stake.

    The decision not to arrest al Sadr was strategic. It was ultimately decided that it would be better to attempt to incorporate him into the democratic process rather than to make him a martar. Whether that was the right choice we will never know for certain, but it was rational, as we can clearly see from Sadr’s strong electoral support in subsequent elections.

  28. observer said

    PS
    Allawi has no other choice to play his cards the way he is playing them. The American role is different this time, but it might be too little too late. I know that Reidar (and Muhammad) will jump in and say, he can work with Maliki, but I ask you please do not put that out again, cause I am tired of repeating the same arguments. If you are not convinced by now, then there is nothing that will convince you of the futility/risk of working with Da3wa.

    Is Da3wa is truly as “nationalistic” as they say they are and are not dependent on Iran to stay in power, why do they not come to the table with an offer to the Kurds and Iraqia to screw the others? Guess what? they will do so through a message by hussien snaid which they will then proclaim was not an authorized offer when Iran spanks them on the behind.

    by the way Santana… Here is a a hypothetical for you.
    Iraqia now is 94
    Kurds 55
    White Iraqia 10. 159. So now we need potentially 4 splinters. Hmmmmmmm food for thought. was the delay in deciding the legality of the parliament members just coincidental or does Maliki needs to cook the numbers and pressure the courts…

  29. Reidar Visser said

    Observer, isn’t White Iraqiyya too pro-Maliki to serve in the subversive role you have assigned to them? Also, I really think the Kurds are more interested in gaining further concessions from Maliki than in reshuffling the cards at this point.

  30. I am with Observer. Calling for a vote of confidence makes sense for Iraq and the US now more than at any time if only to re-affirm the authority of the decision for the US to withdraw, if Maliki is confirmed then Obama can execute his plan of withdrawal with nobody to blame him, if not then the US has a better chance of negotiating a more favorable plan. In either case, going through a vote of confidence is a good exercise of democracy and a chance for those MP’s who distrust Maliki to show their color.

  31. Reidar Visser said

    Yes, but Faisal please show us the numbers: where do those 163 votes required to dissolve parliament come from??

  32. Santana said

    Observer- Your count is very optimistic- The Kurdish 55 includes Talabani – Iran says NO to Talabani’s shares! White Iraqiya is Shiite and like Reidar says Pro Maliki- again-Iran says NO ! ISCI ???!!!!…hahahahaha… I’m not even gonna go there !…we need 69 seats bud less Barzani’s seats if he plays ball…but I must admit Maliki is nervous and I just left the State dept one hour ago and they confirmed that Maliki is worried….not sure why ? but he is…

  33. Reidar,
    Even Observer tells you that most MP’s will vote with their leaders, I agree but I will not try to guess all, if you could then there is no point of calling a vote and no amount of Knowledge will guess the vote. Sorry.
    What makes sense for Obama’s plan is the call for vote of confidence and I am willing to bet that there will be more than 163 votes against Maliki.

  34. Santana said

    Faisal- I’ve always respected your input, acumen and insight…so please give me your best breakdown on the 163…doesn’t have to be exact…just a rough idea where you think it’s coming from…

    Maliki just anounced that Allawi is no longer an acceptable partner in the political process…just gave him a red card like it is a soccer game…

  35. observer said

    Reidar, Santana
    Had Allawi given the ministry of culture to hassan alawi, there would have been no white Iraqia. When the time comes, there are ways to make them “change sides again”. These guys are not interested in anything more than positions. Do you really think that alia nsaif, or hassan alawi are “principled”? they were swayed away from Iraqia by empty promises and they got nothing from Maliki. Look at all the people who left Iraqia and who are begging to be “allowed back in”. Not all that happens is for publication. Even Shabender will come back when the right offer is made (if ever it is made). Sad state of affairs, but alas, this is the case when you are dependent on the good will of the block leader to be a part of the list……

    Talabani is Kurdish before anything else. Yes he persuaded Barzani the first time around, but in the meantime, they had demonstrations, they had Goran (which weakened PUK more than KDP) and there is an undeclared (or maybe declared) war between Hero’s faction and Barham’s faction of the PUK. If Talabani wants to protect his family’s interests after he is gone, he will play ball with Barzani. Kurdistan has reduced its oil input into the kirkuk-jehan pipeline from 150k to 50k barrels per day. do you think that is a coincidence or is there a real problem with the oil law between shehristani/maliki and ashti/barham/baarzani. Not saying that there would not be a last minute Iranian victory on this, but the point there is pressure to move things of dead center and the delay game that Maliki/Abadi/Adeeb have played so far….and frankly if the US wants things to move, then they should use their mussels to pass the message to those in parliament that can be swayed.

    Maliki and Da3wa need to learn that promises that are made MUST be kept if you are going to survive long term in the politics of Iraq. Maybe this is a wake up call for them and they will learn now how to play with the rest of the team. In the end, it is all good for Iraq.

    The objective is not who is in charge. It makes little difference if Allawi or Maliki is in charge. The idea is to have REAL PARTNERSHIP to run Iraq. No single party must be allowed hegemony over the others. I know that Riedar will come back and say the strategic council is unconstitutional, but how else are you going to allow for proper deliberation on the future policies of FEDERAL IRAQ? If there was GOOD WILL from Maliki and Da3wa to run things together, the whole idea of a council would not be needed. But now we have 6 or 7 years of experience with this Maliki dude with him insisting that all must pass through his office. Even as small a matter as planning strategy for negotiations with Turkey on water issues must be through his highness’s office . What gives? Da3wa has a monopoly on people who care about the interests of Iraq? Or is it that Iran needs to check to make sure her interests are not harmed.
    Peace

  36. bks said

    Observer, If the appropriate thread appears here in the future, I’d be interested in more on how you think historical forces pushed General Sanchez to that statement
    .
    Jason, you are quite right to question my rationality as today I find myself in complete agreement with the Editorial Board of the _Washington Post_ ! ?

    As best as we could find, the words “Afghanistan” and “Iraq” do not appear on the issue pages of the campaign Web sites of candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. The apparent lack of concern for this topic of vital national interest is matched only by the incoherence in positions displayed when the candidates have been questioned on the subject.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-field-goes-awol-from-afghanistan/2011/09/13/gIQAv7OaQK_story.html

    –bks

    p.s. Reidar, thanks for your forbearance with this drift.

  37. Salah said

    Maliki is so strong right now that he can win some more concessions.

  38. Santana,
    Thank you, I always respected yours.
    At the end of the day members of parliament will ask themselves about their own future when they look into Maliki’s face, they will say: Do you trust that man? The answer from misled members will give you the numbers. To me, it is wrong to outguess democracy; I tolerate uncertainty.

  39. Kermanshahi said

    I said many times before, al-Maliki never keeps his promises, it was a big mistake for all parties to let this snake back in office. More importantly though, the stronger he becomes, the more difficult it will become to ever get rid of him, if he consolidates any more power, than we will know if he becomes PM a third time, that Iraq is looking towards another President for life.

    But than again, once (or if) the occupier leaves end of this year, and Iraq becomes a sovereign nation again, that will change everything. It could make al-Maliki all powerfull, it could also lead to his downfall.

  40. observer said

    Bk.. My memory is hazy from 2004. I recall that people from Najaf started sending delegations to Allawi asking him to help them against Sader’s share3a courts and the intimidation of his militia – thugs. Allawi was busy with Feluja and the quelling of the rebellion and the rebuilding program which Barham was put in charge of. Then when the time came (and i think there was the issuance of the arrest warrant against Muqtada for the killing of Majeed Khoie. That is when the attack on Najaf was authorized by Allawi and eventually Muqtada went to the Imam Ali Mosque to hide. I know that Allawi was assured by then Iraqi minister of defense (Shaalan) that he can bring “Sader from his turban” (Sader was hiding in Imam Ali Shrine). All the minions around Allawi were pushing him to attack (using Iraqi forces backed by Marines) the shrine to bring Sader out. Allawi refused to attack the Imam Shrine (his words – I will not go in history as the man who brought in Muqtada, but the man who attacked the Shrine). So there was a stalemate. If you recall, Sistani was in London (by the way that was not a coincidence either) for stence operation on his heart. Just one or two days later, Sistani asked that a “hudna” be declared. Muqtada was allowed safe passage to Iran. And Najjaf was spared his courts (there were horror stories that came out afterwords)…. It was supposed to be the end of Muqtada and the end of his militia…. But Iran kept on pumping money and soon enough Allawi lost the elections and Jaafary came to power on the shoulders of Sadris who sided with Da3wa against Majlis…. and Jaffary rehabilitated Muqtada (as a price for Sadris support)…. The rest as they say is history. It is a pattern of the US thinking that their best allies in Iraq are Islamic parties (as they have the votes) and the Islamic parties speaking from the sides of their mouths and telling the US what the US wants to hear, while doing what pleases Iran…. and by the way the played the DOS vs DOD brilliantly (i suspect with guidance from Chalabi who is a master at this sort of stuff). The US has been playing catch up all the time. It does not help that assignments to Baghdad/Iraq are one year basis, so by the time a certain officials become acquainted with the details, it is time for rotation (this is DOS and DOD)… While the Iraqis are permanent and Iranians are even more permanent and much more experienced in managing the feelings of voters…
    Peace.

  41. Kermanshahi said

    But unlike Allawi, Sadr has the right to call himself an Iraqi nationalist becaue he fought for the independence of Iraq. What about Allawi? He collaborated with occupiers, and so did al-Maliki, so did ISCI, so did all the other traitors. How can you call yourself a nationalist when you support a foreign occupation of your own country? The Kurds also collaborated with the US, but that’s because they are extremely unpatriotic, they hate Iraq and want nothing more than to secede from it, their goal is to keep Iraq weak to prevent it from opressing them again, or gassing them. but what about Allawi, what is his excuse? How can you call yourself a patriot in his position, he should have called on his base to rise against the occupation, free Iraq, if he was a patriot. Whatever bad can be said about the mass-muderer Hussein, atleast he stood up for Iraq, his men resisted the invasion and the occupation, but Allawi…

    No when a foreign army installs you in power and you rule on their behalf, and you want them to occupy your country for even longer, just so that they can keep you in power, than you are not a patiot, you are not a nationalist, but a stooge of foreigners. No, just because the Iraqiyya people are racists doesn’t make them actual nationalists.

  42. observer said

    Kermenshahi,
    Please spare the revolutionary rhetoric. Pray tell, is Charles de Gauell a collaborator? Are the Libyan rebels collaborators?

    That “nationalistic” leader you site is nothing but a pure criminal. He killed Majeed Khoei (o how short is the memory) at the behest of Iran and in a long running grudge about the khomus. His men resisted occupation? Do you have any idea who “his men” are? Oh and I suppose King Faisel the I is a collaborator, and in your book Abd Al Kareem is a Nationalistic Hero.

    Oh and the Syrian revolutionaries will be collaborators when they call for Nato to support them. You are free to be a revolutionary and have your own scales to measure the nationalistic tendencies of people, but I can go into history and bring you a case after case of people whom you would call collaborators but are true patriots to their own people.

    So thank you for your values lecture about political correctness but your language belongs to a dead era of the last century for the world is ruled by collaborators (if we use your scales that is).
    Peace – out

  43. Kermanshahi said

    First of all, yes, the Libyan revels are collaborators and their sturggle lost all it’s legitimacy the moment the first American bomb hit Libya. And what do I think of Syrian collaborators which want to help US destroy Syria, to protect Israel? Not much positive to say about them.

    Yes, Sadr killed people, his militias commited crimes, but who brought all this death and destruction to Iraq? Who brought this death and destruction to Libya? Who wants to bring it to Syria? Who brings death and destruction to Palestine? Not Muqtada al-Sadr, but the American Empire.

    Which country has propsered by being a colony? Which country has become any better off, by alligning itself with a state who’s main objective is to keep them as weak as possible? You don’t see where this is about? AIPAC lobbying for war against Iraq, war against Libya, war against Iran, war against Syria. Did they fool you? They didn’t fool me.

    What makes allawi and these other Iraqiyya stooges nationalists? Their racial hatred towards Kurds and Persian, based on Ba’athist racism? Atleast Saddam was consistent, but these people are nothing but American stooges. Now what about all the other puppet dictators in other countries? They are American stooges aswell and they can go to hell and join predecessors like British installed Faisal. But not many are as bad as Allawi and Maliki, who actualy supports the foreign occupation of his country, he wants to subject his people to a violent military occupation by the state that destroyed Iraq and is responsible for the deaths of millions of Iraqis. You want to have friendly relations with other countries? Weather it’s Iran, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, USA, go for it. But you want your country to be occupied by a foreign army? How can you call yourself a nationalist if you want that? Majority of Iraqis hate the occupation, Allawi cannot speak for them when he calls on the crusaders to stay.

    Now you may thinking being a traitor who collaborates with foreign enemies of your country is completely, but I will hold it against these people.

  44. observer said

    Kerminshahi, I can not resist answering you…

    Your logic is flawed. According to your scales. Japan’s, Germany, UK, Turkey, south Korea, and everywhere there is a US base, the governments are a bunch of collaborators. Your litmus test needs to adjusted and I will not say more on this as it is useless to get into a debate with you on this subject for nor will you change your mind, nor will you be able to convince me. Let us agree to disagree on this one.

    Allawi hates Kurds. Hmmm. interesting point of view. pray tell what leads you to this conclusion about Allawi? Allawi hates Persians? another hmmm. SO if one disagrees with the government of Iran, one is classified as anti Persian? Really? So the Mullas of Iran are representatives of the Persian nation and culture? I think I have the right to disagree with this fallacy. I have Persian blood in me and I hate the Mullahs – so I am a self hating person, at least according to your logic (or my admittedly limited understanding of it).

    As to which country has prospered under American occupation – i refer you to the list above. Nough said.
    Peace

    PS
    Funny thing is that without Nato Air cover, Qadhafi would be celebrating his victory over the rebels as Saddam did in 91. You want UN to put sanctions on Libya and punish the Libyans for not being able to remove Qadhafi so that they pass your litmus test for “nationalistic”. Oh boy. Lets leave it at this. Because if we do not, my sarcastic nature will come out in full and it want be pretty.

  45. Kermanshahi said

    Japan, Germany, UK, Turkey, South Korea, are American satelite states with no independent policy of their own. At the moment there are very few states with an independent foreign policy, most of their governments are puppets and I don’t like any of them. Japan is irrelevant in world policies because of US occupation, which doesn’t allow them to have a proper military, and these forces won’t leave eventhough the Japanese government wants them out, although their economy has been allowed to thrive, they have been marginalized and kept irrelevant as much as possible and they are not realy a souvereign country. As for European NATO states, these are nothing but stooges, used to fight American wars and push through US policies in that worthless puppet organisation, UN.

    But Iraq is not Japan or Europe, see Iraq was attacked becasue Israel felt threatened by a strong Arab, Muslim country, and therefore it was destroyed and now is to be kept as weak as possible. You think being an American satelite state will make you rich? Well guess what, you guessed wrong. Vast majority of American satelite states are living in massive poverty. Only few in their inner circle have been allowed to prosper, while marginalised internationaly, but vast majority are left in massive poverty as rich American companies steal all the money. Even US itself isn’t very prosperous, the top few percent has almost all the money and the rest have nothing and are constantly ripped off by their government to give all their money away to the rich, which bribe the politicians to keep sucking money from the people to give it to them.
    And in case you didn’t notice, the occupation of Iraq has brought the country nothing but war, death and destruction. Human rights are still not being respected, not by Maliki, not by the militias that are all over his security forces, and not by the Kurdistan authorities either. There is still not a functional democracy, and still thousands are dying. All that has changed is that Iraq has lost it’s independence. The only way to get your independence back is to sent the occupiers home, and even that won’t nececerily re-instate Iraq’s independence, it will only make it possible to become independent.

    Now Ayad Allawi is a moderate in Iraqiyya, I know and that is why he has reached out to Iran, ISCI, Sadr, the Kurds, but his alliance is full of racist hate mongers, and it’s not as if he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Iraqiyya entered the election trying to ride on a wave of anti-Kurdish sentiment, just like their rightist allies in Europe are trying to do by using anti-Islamic sentiment. In the end this is why he couldn’t form the next government, he had to many polarising figures in his alliance.

    As for Khadafi and the Libyan uprising, 4 thousand people had died when US intervened to “protect civilians” – now 50 thousand are dead and these rebels are ethnicly cleansing every city. To me this means 46 thousand Libya people (and I don’t know how many more Iraqi and Afghan people) would have still been alive if Obama hadn’t lied to his people and broken his election promise of peace. Libya is still not a democracy and is unlikely to become one any time soon. The country is however, completely destroyed and is unlikely to ever recover from the destruction foreign bombers inflicted.
    But I would like to note that it would be a better idea for the US not to arm all these dictators, like Saddam and Khadafi in the first place, insead of arming them to the teath, and then destroy these countries to overthrow this dictator with his Amercian weapons.

    I would also like to point towards the fact that while USAF forces were needed to depose a supposedly unpopulair dictator from Tripoli, and help supposedly populair rebels take power (because ofcourse, they couldn’t defeat an army of like 5 thousand people on their own) – at the same time 100 thousand US ground forces are needed to keep a supposedly populair dictator in Kabul – because his 200 thousand man army would never be able to defeat these supposedly unpopulair rebels in Afghanistan. And at the same time US jets are bombing Yemen to prevent supposedly unpopulair rebels from evicting the supposedly populair dictator Saleh’s sons from Sana’a. How come Sharif Ahmad needs US to pay for 20 thousand Ugandans to protect his warlord regime in Moqadishu, which needs US money and air raids to survive – when he is so “populair” but Khadafi can route the rebels from his country in no time without any American support at all?

    So wait a second, doesn’t it seem strange to you that in all these cases the side US supports has such overwhelming support from the population and recieves major backing from all over the world, while the other side is supposed to be despised by almost all of the population and is infact completely internationaly isolated (except for some rogue states allegedly smuggling small amounths of light weapons to them) – but yet these populair pro-US rebels and regimes, keep needing foreign troops to keep them alive? That doesn’t seem strange to you at all Observer? See this is the kind of things you pro-American people never think of. Has it never occured to you that the mainstream meida (which BTW, is controlled for 99% by Zionists) may be lying to you? See the facts on the ground suggest that the side which needs foreign military intervention to survive, is the one which lacks internal populair support. But undoubtedly you would say “how can these rebels defeat a regime with an army, without foreign support” – to that I will tell you, just watch the Taliban rip Afghan dictator Hamid Karzai’s massive American armed/trained army to pieces once the occupeirs leave. If Libyan rebels had legitimacy, they could defeat Khadafi even if he had 100 thousand American troops to support him. Are you gonna look at these facts or are you just going to take the word of those who are paid by Israel to brainwash you, for it.

  46. observer said

    Kermenshahi, Your words speak for themselves. I am betting you were a communist in your young life and now a disillusioned leftist conspiracy theorists. From now on, I will call you Don Quixote. I wish you all the luck in fighting the windmills.
    peace

  47. Kermanshahi said

    I am not a Communist, and I am not talking conspiracies I am talking facts. Look at this fact: US allies in the Middle East, weather they are the army or the rebels, always need the US army to fight their wars for them, because othterwise they always lose. How come? Could it maybe be that the US is trying to force unpopulair, puppets upon the people, and the people are resisting in every single nation and that’s why the opposing party always wins (public support)? Did you ever think of that possibility? Or you just blindly assume everything the Zionists say for truth? Come on, think for yourself, if Khadafi can defeat the rebels so easily without foreign support, than why can’t Hamid Karzai, or Ali Saleh, or Sharif Ahmed? Because Khadafi is ruthless, but these guys are such angels? If the Taliban can defeat a regime with an army of 160,000 while they have 150,000 NATO troops (best in the world) on the ground protecting them, then why can’t the Libyan rebels do the same to a regime with no international backing and which only had an army of 70,000 in the first place (most of which deserted) and has no international backing? Ever thought of that?

    BTW, have you ever heared of AIPAC? This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s real. And as for all the corporations which donate hundreds of millions to politicians. You think they don’t expect to get paid back for it? That 800 billion dollar tax cut Obama just gave the rich in December without which he wouldn’t have needed to cut spending on the poor to the bone (note he didn’t get rid of the 4 billion dollar subsidy to oil companies), that ain’t a conspiracy, it’s a fact, just look it up, they passed that bill? That bailout he gave to the bankers, is that a conspiracy? But no, you’ve got to be a Communist to consider these things indecent, anyone else should think this is totally fair, right?

  48. observer said

    Kerminshahi,
    So according to your logic, the people of Libya, Syria, and Yemen all really love their presidents and it is only through the zion-anglo-saxon cabal that is making them rebel? As I said, you are free to be a Don Quixote. I will spare the time needed to read (and understand) what you are trying to say from now on, because it is a waste of time that I need. Do me the same courtesy..
    Peace or more appropriately -adios

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