Sunday, January 20, 2013

The American Wives of Nouri

If you missed it, and you may have because Iraq receives so little coverage, Barack Obama's puppet in Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, is growing into more of a despot and, get this, people outside of Iraq are starting to notice.

What will the American wives of Nouri al-Maliki -- or maybe they're just his whores -- do now?


From April 2007, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "My Cousin Maliki" featuring Nouri and then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

You know who we mean, right?  Scott Horton and his ridiculous twang is exceeded only by his ridiculous whoring for Nouri in one broadcast after another of "Antiwar" Radio.  And if Scotty's vouching, you know 'historian' Gareth Porter's right there singing Nouri's praises.  They've done that for years and years, ignoring reality.

Nouri, for those who don't know, was one of the many exiles who only returned to Iraq after the US invaded.  Decades out of the country meant Nouri was out of touch but the American government didn't care about that.  They wanted a puppet they could control.  In 2006, as the Parliament wanted to name Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be Prime Minister of Iraq, the Bush White House said uh-uh.

They remembered the conflict they'd had with al-Jaafari when he'd been prime minister earlier.  They wanted a puppet, a very pliable puppet.  Nouri, unlike many in Iraq, had no armed militia, so it was thought he would be even easier to control.

 Here's Nouri

From January 2012, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Here's Nouri."

As prime minister from 2006 to 2010, he oversaw the ethnic cleansing popularly known as the civil war which helped create the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since 1949.  Millions of Iraqis were displaced internally and even more were forced to flee the country for their lives.

He also oversaw attempts to strip women of their rights.  But get this, the Bush White House told him to cut it out.  The Bush White House, already mocked for using women to justify the Afghanistan War and mocked for a war that only made life worse for the women there, was sensitive to charges that women were losing their rights.  They didn't do much, but they did demand that women had representation.

Iraqis suffered those four years.  The Jewish community dropped down to less than eight people, the Iraqi Christians made up a large part of the external refugees, the LGBT community was regularly targeted and Nouri did nothing about public services.

 Not Quite There
From December 2010, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts  "Not Quite There."

Reliable electricity and potable water remained a dream while Nouri's decision to create secret prisons and detention centers where people were tortured became the waking nightmare of Iraq.

The way it's supposed to work in Iraq now is that the country holds parliamentary elections.  The political slate that wins the most seats in the elections puts forward a representative that the President of Iraq names "prime minister-designate."  That person then must put together a Cabinet (that's a full Cabinet) in 30 days (nominate the people, get Parliament to approve them) or else the President of Iraq will name a new person to be prime minister-designate.

It didn't work that way in 2006.  The US government forced Nouri off on the Iraqi people.

Despite violence, Iraqis turned out in March of 2010 because they were tired of Nouri.

Nouri tried the bribes that had helped the year before in provincial elections, he tried the threats, he tried the scare tactics, he had political rivals removed as candidates, his face was all over Baghdad and all over state TV.  And he (and NPR) announced he was the winner by a wide margin.

The Plan for Day 101

From June 2011,  Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Plan For Day 101."


He wasn't the winner at all.

Iraqiya, headed by Ayad Allawi came in first.  Nouri's response?

He threw an eight month tantrum, digging his heels in, refusing to allow anyone to be named prime minister designate.  And the US government backed him up on that.  They even went so far, and this is the Barack Obama White House, this is 2010 -- they even went so far as to draw up a contract, The Erbil Agreement, that would circumvent the Iraqi Constitution and allow Nouri to have a second term.

It spit on the wishes of the Iraqi people, on any hopes of democracy taking root, on the country's Constitution and it revealed that Barack didn't give a damn about the Iraqi people or people in general.  Greedy toddler just wanted his way.  And he got it.

And the Iraqi people got screwed.

The silence on that has begun to break.  For example,  John Barry's "'The Engame' Is A Well Researched, Highly Critical Look at U.S. Policy in Iraq" (Daily Beast) noted a major book released at the end of the year which addressed realities in today's Iraq:

Washington has little political and no military influence over these developments [in Iraq]. As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war, The Endgame, Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in 2010 to insist that the results of Iraq’s first proper election be honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government, it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."

In the days of Bush, the occupant of the Oval Office would have been called out.  But cheap whores like Scott Horton and Gareth Porter wake up each morning pulling their dicks off the sticky sheets -- sticky from last night's wet dream about Barack.  They are the American Wives of Nouri.

 These days puppets pull the strings
From April 2010, Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "These days, puppets pull the strings."

They ignore Little Saddam's actions, the way he terrorizes the people, his 2011 attacks on protesters, his current attacks on protesters.  They look the other way as relatives of suspects are thrown in prison because the police can't find the suspect.  They look the other way over and over and then they gush over Nouri with a "ya'll" or two tossed in.

More voices are gathering to call out Little Saddam and how he is victimizing the Iraqi people. 
 Toby Dodge's just released Iraq: From  War To A New Authoritarianism  is an indictment of Nouri. January 15th, Dodge discussed his book at the Virginia Woolf Room at Bloomsbury House in London.  
Toby Dodge:  And I've identified three drivers of the violence that killed so many innocent Iraqis.  The first is undoubtedly the sectarian politics and those Iraqis among us will remember -- fondly or otherwise -- the huge debates that Iraqis had and Iraqi analysts had about the role of sectarian politics.  I'd certainly identify what we could call a series of ethnic entrepreneurs, formerly exiled politicians who came back to Iraq after 2003 and specifically and overtly used religious and sectarian identity, religious ethnic identity to mobilize the population -- especially in those two elections in 2005.  Now the second driver of Iraq's descent into civil war was the collapse of the Iraqi state in the aftermath of the invasion  Now this isn't only the infamous disbanding of the Iraqi army and its intelligence services, this isn't only the driving out of the senior ranks of the if the Ba'ath Party members, the dismembering of the state, 18 of the central government buildings were stripped when I was there in 2003 in Baghdad.  So much scrap metal was stolen from government buildings that the scrap metal price in Turkey Iraq and Iran, it's neighbors dropped as a result of the ill-gotten gain of the looters  was shipped out of the country.  But thirdly, the big issue that drove Iraq into civil war was the political system set up after 2003.  I've gone into that in quite a lot of detail and I've labeled it -- much to the horror of my editor -- an exclusive elite pact -- which basically meant that those former Iraqi exiles empowered by the United States then set up a political system that  deliberately excluded a great deal of the indigenous politicians -- but anyone associated, thought to be associated with the previous regime, in a kind of blanket attempt to remake Iraqi politics.  Now the conclusions of the book are broadly sobering and pessimistic.  That certainly the elite pact has not been reformed in spite of Iraqiya's electoral victory in the 2010 elections, that sectarian politics and sectarian rhetoric that mobilized Iraqi politics from 2003 to 2010 has come back into fashion with the prime minister himself using coded sectarian language to seek to solidify his electoral base among Iraqis.  And basically the only thing that has been rebuilt since 2003 are Iraq's military and they now employ 933,000 people which is equal to 8% of the country's entire workforce or 12% of the population of adult males.  However, running parallel to that, the civilian capacity of the Iraqi state is still woefully inadequate.  In 2011, the United Nations estimated that there only 16% of the population were covered by the public sewers network, that leaves 83% of the country's waste water untreated, 25% of the population has no access to clean, running water and the Iraqi Knowledge Network in 2011 estimated that an average Iraqi household only gets 7 and a half hours of electricity a day. Now in the middle of the winter, that might not seem like a big issue.  But in the burning hot heat of Basra in the summer  or, indeed, in Baghdad, Iraq has suffered  a series of heatwaves over the last few years.  Not getting enough electricity to make your fan or air conditioning work means that you're in a living hell.   This is in spite of the fact that the Iraqi and US governments have collectively spent $200 billion seeking to rebuild the Iraqi state. So I think the conclusions of the Adelphi are rather pessimistic.  The Iraqi state, it's coercive arm, has been rebuilt but precious little beside that has.  But what I want to do is look, this afternoon, is look at the ramifications of that rather slude rebuilding -- a large powerful army and a weak civil institutions of the state.  And I thought I might exemplify this by examining a single significant event that occurred on the afternoon of Thursday the 20th of December 2012.  That afternoon, government security forces raided the house of Iraq's Minister of Finance, Dr. Rafaa al-Issawi.  Issawi is a leading member of the Iraqiya coalition that in 2010 won a slim majority of seats in the Iraqi Parliament -- 91 to [State of Law's] 89 on a 62% turnout.  Now the ramifications of attempting to arrest Issawi and indeed arresting a number of his bodyguards and prosecuting his chief bodyguard for alleged terrorist offenses cannot be overstated.  In the aftermath of the elections, there were a series of tortured, fractured, very bad tempered negotiations which finally resulted in the creation of another government of national unity and, much more importantly, let Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister since 2006, to retain the office of the prime ministership.  Issawi as Minister of Finance is probably the most important, most powerful Iraqiya politician to gain office in the country.  He won plaudits in his professional handling of the Ministry of Finance and attempted to push himself above the political fray not to engage in the rather aggressive, knockabout political rhetoric that has come to identify Iraqi politics.  So in arresting or seeking the arrest of Issawi and charging him with offenses of terrorism, clearly what Prime Minister al-Maliki is doing is throwing down a gauntlet, attempting to seize further power and bring it into the office of the prime minister.  Issawi, when his house was raided, rang the prime minister to ask him who had authorized it -- a call the prime minister refused to take.  He [Issawi] then fled seeking sanctuary in the house of the Speaker of Parliament, a fellow Iraqiya politician, Osama al-Nujaifi.  He then held a press conference where he said -- and this is a politician not prone to wild rhetoric, not prone to political populism -- he said, "Maliki now wants to just get rid of his partners, to build a dictatorship.  He wants to consolidate power more and more."  Now if this wasn't so disturbing, the attack on Issawi's house triggers memories of a very similar event almost 12 months before, on the same day that the final American troops left Iraq in December 2011, Iraqi security forces led by the prime minister's son laid siege to Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi's house.  Hashemi was subsequently allowed to leave to the Kurdish Regional Government's capital of Erbil but a number of his bodyguards were arrested, two of them were tortured to death and the rest of them were paraded on television where they 'confessed' to activities of terrorism.  So basically now let me turn to explain what the raid on Issawi's house in December 2012 is representative of -- what I've called in the book, the rise of the new authoritarianism.  And this authoritarianism has been driven forward by Nouri al-Maliki  who was first appointed prime minister in the early months of 2006.  Now quite fascinatingly why Nouri al-Maliki was appointed was at the time he was seen as a grey politician.  He was the second in command of the Islamic Dawa Party -- a party that was seeking to maximize the vote of Iraq's Shia population but a party that had no internal militia, that had no military force of its own.  So it was seen by the competing, fractured ruling elite of Iraq as not posing a threat.  Now upon  taking office in April 2006, Maliki was confronted by the very issue that had given rise to his appointment, his inability to govern.  Under the Iraqi system in 2006, the office of the prime minister was seen as a consensus vehicle.  Maliki was sought to negotiate between the US Ambassador, the American head of the Multi National Coalition and other Iraqi politicians.  He wasn't seen as a first among equals.  What Maliki has done since 2006,  is successfully consolidate power in his own hands.  He first seized control of the Islamic Dawa Party, his own party, and then he built up a small and cohesive group of functionaries, known in Iraq as the Malikiyoun  -- a group of people, friends, followers, but also his family, his son, his nephew and his son-in-law and he's placed them in key points across the Iraqi state, seeking to circumvent the Cabinet -- the official vestibule of power in the Iraqi state -- and seize control of Iraq's institutions.

How much longer will the American Wives of Nouri be able to spin for him, to lie for him, to justify?  We don't think much longer but then again, Gareth Porter and Scott Horton have acted bat s**t insane for several years now.  Scott sounds like a yokel on his broadcasts so maybe we don't expect much from he who wants to be the voice of 'antiwar'; however, Gareth used to have a spine.  We believe he traded that in to a higher power in order for Barack to be elected president in some sort of modern day retelling of The Gift of the Magi.

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