Sunday, March 31, 2013

Photo of the Week

From Karkuk من كركوك

The Iraqi Spring MC photo had the photo of the week.  Protesters in Kirkuk carried this poster of Saleh al-Mutlaq with a red X across his face.  In the Arabic writing on the photo, he's being called a traitor to the Iraqi people.

Last week, Saleh al-Mutlaq decided to skip the Iraqiya boycott and return to the Cabinet meetings.  Iraqiya was boycotting the Cabinet meetings until Nouri started addressing the protesters demands.  Protests have been taking place across Iraq since December 21st.  Over 10% of the population is participating.

al-Mutlaq yet again stabbed the Iraqi people in the back.  And they weren't happy.

This was a surprise to the media that doesn't pay attention.  It wasn't a surprise to those who follow Iraq via The Common Ills.  On December 30th, Saleh wasn't greeted 'warmly' in Ramadi and C.I. explained:

Why he was stupid enough to go to a protest is beyond me.  Yes, he is Sunni and, yes, he is in the Iraqiya slate.  But Saleh al-Mutlaq is not popular.  He and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi (also Sunni and Iraqiya) were both targeted by Nouri in December of 2011.  While Tareq ended up having to leave the country and being convicted of 'terrorism,' Saleh sailed right through.  In May, Nouri dropped his efforts to strip Saleh of his office.

By that point, there had been months of speculation in the Iraqi press that Saleh al-Mutlaq had cut a deal to save his own ass, that he was now in partnership with Nouri al-Maliki.  This seemed to be even more true when Saleh was seen as undermining efforts to get a no-confidence vote against Nouri as spring was winding down.

Saleh al-Mutlaq is seen -- rightly or wrongly -- by Sunni Iraqis as someone who protects himself and does nothing for other Sunnis (whether they're politicians or average citizens).

He went to a Sunni area, Ramadi, where protests had long been taking place and was immediately greeted with a demand that he resign from the Cabinet.  (That would not have taken him out of his MP status.  He just would no longer be a Cabinet member.)  He was appalled by the idea and rejected it outright.

Nouri's first term was notorious for one Cabinet walk out after another.

But Saleh wouldn't even entertain the idea?

You've got provincial councils going on strike but Saleh can't even do a walk out?

Of course they threw rocks and bottles at him.  He was already seen as a sell-out.  And people want to believe that's not the case but then he appears before them and acts like that?  He destroys his own image.

He never should have gone and it's a sign of just how out of touch with Sunni public opinion he is that he did show up.

Saleh al-Mutlaq's been unpopular for years now.

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