Sunday, December 23, 2012

Editorial: Nouri's Crazy Runs Free

Before last week began, Iraq already had problems.  The biggest being Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and thug, whom Iraqiya has publicly accused of starting crises to distract from his failures to improve the lives of Iraqis.

Nouri was installed as prime minister in 2006 (when the Parliament wanted Ibrahim al-Jafaari) at the insistence of the Bully Boy Bush White House.  His term should have ended in 2010.  That's when parliamentary elections were held.  Per the Iraqi Constitution, the winner of the most seats ends up getting the prime minister-designate spot (and then has 30 days to form a government and become prime minister or fail at that and someone else is named prime minister designate).

Nouri's political slate State of Law came in second to Iraqiya, headed by Ayad Allawi.  So Iraqiya should have had a member named prime minister-designate.  But Nouri dug in his heels and the Barack Obama White House backed Nouri in his public tantrum.  Barack wanted Nouri to have a second term.  But he was second place.

So the US circumvented the voters, the results and the Constitution by brokering a deal which was put into writing and became a contract known as the Erbil Agreement.  For 8 months following the election, Nouri refused to let anything move forward.  Now, the US argued, the other political blocs should reward Nouri for his tantrum and let him have a second term as prime minister.  That didn't sound so good to the political blocs.  So the US asked, "What do you want?"  This was put into the contract and every leader (including Nouri) signed off on it.

He used the Erbil Agreement to become prime minister and then trashed the contract, refusing to carry out any of the promises he made.  He stalled at first, then he just ignored it.  By the summer of 2011, a political crisis was beginning as the Kurds, Iraqiya and Moqtada al-Sadr all demanded that he honor the contract.  This crisis played out throughout this year.

It was not the only crisis.

A few months back, Nouri sent his Tigris Operation Command forces into disputed areas of Iraq.  The Constitution explains how these disputes are to be resolved in Article 140: Census and referendum.  But Nouri's refused to implement Article 140 (despite the Constitution calling on him to do so by the end of 2007).  To get Kurdish support, the Erbil Agreement included the demand that Article 140 be implemented.

Having spent 6 years refusing to follow the law, Nouri now sends his forces into these disputed regions and the Kurds interpreted it as Nouri attempting to claim the lands for Baghdad by force.  They immediately had the Peshmerga (elite Kurdish force) move in and circle areas.  This resulted in a military stand-off.  This was a new crisis.

And it is ongoing.  (Last week, the Peshmerga shot down one of Nouri's helicopters flying over disputed areas.)

But one crisis is never enough for Nouri.


Iraqi President Jalal Talabani  (above) was trying to talk some sense into Nouri.  He's had a health emergency and is now out of Iraq and in a hospital in Germany.

Some might see that as a reason for reflection.  Nouri saw it as a sign that he should take the reins off The Crazy and let it run free.

So last week, he sent the military into the Green Zone to surround the office and home of the Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi.  150 people were carted off.  Only 10 were charged with anything ('terrorism").  The others were held for 'questioning' (torture) as he did this time last year with Tareq al-Hashemi's staff.

The move was called out by various Iraqi leaders including Moqtada al-Sadr, Ayad Allawi, Ammar al-Hakim, Massoud Barzani and Ahmed Chalabi.  It also led to protests in Falluja, Tikrit, Samarra, Ramadi and just outside of Falluja.

If Nouri had even an ounce of sanity, he'd realize he'd gone too far.

But this is Nouri al-Maliki.  And for six years now, Iraqis have had to live with his crazy as he has created one crisis after another.

Iraq needed a leader, they got a drama queen.

When they rejected the drama queen in 2010, Barack Obama overrode their vote.  When will their suffering end?  When will their voices be heard?
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