Sunday, August 11, 2013

Editorial: The wrong things grab the attention

E-mails to this site ( have noted that it seems like everything gets attention from the media except Iraq. We tend to agree with that conclusion.

For example, take this photo.

nick jonas

That's Nick Jonas, of the Jonas Brothers.

It's not a bad photo and those into maturing boys probably had a real thrill.  (Nick Jonas is 20-years-old.)  But was it really news?  A Google news search finds 2,920 articles on Nick Jonas putting the photo out there and that photo was released July 30th.  Do a blog search and it's already been addressed in over 398,000 blog posts -- again, just since July 30th.

Let's argue Nick Jonas is worth that much attention.  Doesn't that mean that Iraq is worth even more?

Not only has violence increased, not only did the United Nations count over a thousand violent deaths in Iraq last month, but there are other issues.

Nouri's SWAT forces (trained and armed by the US) are accused of repeated human rights crimes including the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP later reported the death toll had risen to 53. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured). Repeating, the SWAT forces are armed and trained by US forces (specifically Special-Ops).  And trained by US forces too stupid to grasp that teaching the Iraqis a new phrase ("SWAT") revealed the US hand from the start.

Will these SWAT forces be used by Nouri to steal a third term as prime minister?

In 2006, Bully Boy Bush insisted the Iraqis make him prime minister.  In 2010, Nouri's State of Law came in second to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya meaning Allawi should be prime minister.  Barack Obama refused to allow that to happen and nullified the votes and the will of the Iraqi people and forced them to give Nouri a second term.

Last month, the Brookings Institute's Kenneth Pollack pointed out in (PDF format warning) "The Fall and Rise and Fall of Iraq:"

The message that it sent to Iraq’s people and politicians alike was that the United States under the new Obama Administration was no longer going to enforce the rules of the democratic road. We were not going to insist that the will of the people win out. We were willing to step aside and allow Iraq’s bad, old political culture of pay - offs, log - rolling, threats and violence to re - emerge to determine who would rule the country -- the same political culture that the U.S. had worked so hard to bury.
It undermined the reform of Iraqi politics and resurrected the specter of the failed state and the civil war. Having backed Maliki for prime minister if only to end the embarrassing political stalemate, the Administration compounded its mistake by lashing itself uncritically to his government. Whether out of fear of being criticized for allowing him to remain in office in the first place, or sheer lack of interest and a desire to do what required the least effort on the part of the United States, the Administration backed Maliki no matter what he did -- good, bad or indifferent. 

Now, despite his swearing to AFP in February 2011 that he would not seek a second term, State of Law insists Nouri will seek a third term, Nouri's lawyer insists he has every right to and new rumors make the rounds.

Last week, Adnan Hussein (Al-Monitor) reported:

As soon as the results of the Iraqi provincial council elections in April 2013 were announced, some within political circles and the media speculated that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may seek to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for next spring to an unspecified date.
The speculations were triggered by a significant decline in Maliki’s popularity, as seen in the provincial elections. This decline, of course, is due to the failure of Maliki's government to achieve its promises, particularly in the area of ​​security and public services.
Initially, there were speculations that Maliki may resort to postponement to buy some time and regain his lost popularity. But later, a rumor arose of the possibility that Maliki and his coalition may conduct a coup against the democratic path of the political process.
This possibility was raised by a Sadrist MP, thus making the coup scenario more credible. The Sadrists are the allies of the State of Law coalition within the National Iraqi Alliance, the largest partner in the current government. They know what is happening on the inside.
In a press statement, Iraqi MP Amir al-Kanani said he feared that there will be no peaceful transfer of power if “the results of the upcoming elections turn out different than what Maliki is aiming for.” 

Nouri is a failure in every way.  This is most obvious with regards to security.

In July, 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."  Those positions were supposed to have been filled before the end of December 2010.  They were not.  They are still not filled.  Nouri refused to fill them because once the Iraqi Parliament confirms a nominee, that nominee is autonomous.  Nouri can't fire them, only the Parliament can.  (Which isn't easy.  Nouri's gotten Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi convicted of 'terrorism' and sentenced to death with the Baghdad courts he controls but he can't get Parliament to strip Tareq of his title.)

The violence has increased as these security ministries have remained headless.  That's a reflection on Nouri and goes to his failures as prime minister.

His failures should get him immediately removed from office.  Violence has steadily increased from 2010's lower levels.  Now the violence is as bad as it was in 2008.  

These failures are on Nouri.

And, yes, they are on Barack as well.  Another policy Barack carried over from Bully Boy Bush?  Blindly backing Nouri.  As Kenneth Pollack points out, "The Obama Administration has excused the prime minister’s misdeeds and refused to take a public stance against him. Through it all, the United States has continued to do little. The U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad, Steve Beecroft, and several other mid - level officials have tirelessly implored all sides to do the right thing, but they have been given painfully little to work with." 

This is should be more important than a shirtless photo of Nick Jonas but, these days, we'd settle for it getting just as much coverage.

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