Saturday, August 16, 2014

Extant

So you're up in space on a solo mission, your dead husband appears, you return to earth pregnant.

That's CBS' Extant (Wednesday nights).

Molly (Halle Berry) is the lead character.

This week, her 'son' (android) woke from a nightmare -- but he's not programmed to dream.

She found out her friend Sam was lying to her -- Sam swore Molly was never pregnant -- because a conspiracy is threatening Sam's brother.

The baby was removed from Molly and, after watching raw footage of a woman who went through something similar, Molly realizes not only did they send her up there to get pregnant but also that the baby they removed from her is still alive, that they wouldn't have killed it.

There are so many thrills and spills, you'd need a full issue of Soap Opera Digest to recap it all.

So are you watching?

You should be.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"



Friday, August 15, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, possibilities as to why Nouri is steeping down, some look to the prime minister-designate for hope, and much more.


Yesterday's big news that Iraq's two-term prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki had agreed to step down continues to be news.   Al Mada notes statements of relief made by US Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov.  Andrew Reiter (US News and World Reports) offers:
 
This is an unquestionably positive development for Iraq. First, the peaceful transfer of power represents a key step in Iraq’s young democracy. Second, the new government should be better equipped to deal with the worsening security threat posed by Islamic State militants. And third, it could usher in a period of improved relations with the U.S.
A peaceful transfer of power is a welcome development for Iraq’s nascent democracy that has seen al-Malaki consolidate his rule over his eight years in office. Following the controversial 2010 parliamentary elections, al-Malaki created the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, giving himself direct control over the Iraqi army and police. In response to recent events, he deployed a number of elite security forces throughout Baghdad’s Green Zone in an overt threat to his opponents. Fears of a military coup were rampant.


Loveday Morris and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) point out, "Maliki has become a deeply divisive figure but had clung to his position in the face of a growing consensus among Iraq’s politicians and the international community that only a new leader would have a chance of unifying a country experiencing growing sectarian divisions."  How bad did it get for Nouri?  Martin Chulov, Julian Borger and Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) explain, "He had lost the support of his party, of the president, the parliament, the Americans, Saudis and finally the Iranian government, his biggest foreign ally and sponsor. Even the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, issued a statement pointedly welcoming the appointment of Abadi."

How did he lose the support of Ali Khamenei?  Ali Hashem (Al-Monitor) reports:

An Iraqi source close to Ayatollah Ali Sistani told Al-Monitor: “Around 10 days before the designation, an envoy representing the Iranian leadership visited Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Najaf. The envoy heard a clear stance from Sistani: Nouri al-Maliki shouldn’t continue as a prime minister. …​ Sistani won’t say this in public, but he had to tell it to the Iranians, because he thought the crisis in the country needed a solution and that the deadlock would complicate efforts to reach an agreement.”
According to Al-Monitor’s sources in Tehran and Baghdad, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after learning of Sistani’s position, asked his aides to facilitate the change, calling on them to play a role in convincing Maliki to withdraw. “There were several alternatives for Maliki, one was him being appointed vice president. He refused. He was obstinate on the prime minister position and gave all those who tried [to talk] with him reasons for him not to accept. His main challenge was that he’s the leader of the bloc that won the election, and the constitution gives him the right to form the new government.”

Also weighing in was The Diane Rehm Show.  In the second hour of Friday morning's broadcast, Diane addressed Iraq with her guests Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers), Greg Myre (NPR) and Jim Sciutto (CNN).  Excerpt:


REHM: Good to see you all. Jim Sciutto, what finally made Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki agree to step aside? 

SCIUTTO:  I think the loss of the support of the support of both the U.S. and Iran. And once you had public statements. For the U.S. statement, somewhat more predictable, but once the Iranians said they wanted a transition, they wanted a more inclusive government, he saw the writing on the wall. But it was touch and go, because on Sunday night, and we were on the air Sunday night, as you had tanks in the streets, bridges closed in Baghdad. Forces loyal to Maliki being ordered -- you know, accounts from Baghdad police telling us ordered around key buildings. It looked like, for a moment, he was gonna make a power grab. So, you know, it appeared he had some second thoughts towards the end, but once that support disappeared, even he could see the writing on the wall. 

REHM:  Nancy. 

YOUSSEF:  So, the reason he gave, in his speech, in which he was surrounded by members of his party and his successor, was, in part, that he didn't want to see Iraq return to dictatorship, which arguably was code for that he didn't think that the militias and the armed forces he put on the street could actually keep him in power. The only other list -- person I would add to that list is Sistani, Ayatollah Sistani, who's the leader of the Shias in Iraq had called and supported his transition.  And so, internally, that was perhaps the most important loss for his support. And so, once all those factors came in to play, it was impossible to see who would support him. In addition, I would add also are the court systems, because the last time he had sort of been challenged, the courts had supported him, and constitutionally, he didn't have the ground to stand on to continue his fight. 

REHM: Greg. 

MYRE: Just looking back, Maliki came to power in 2006. At that moment, Iran was facing this Sunni insurgency that was tearing the country apart. The U.S. felt a real sense of urgency to intervene. Here we are eight years later going through the same thing. And you can go back, and the U.S. military involvement has now been over 20 years in Iraq. And are we moving forward anywhere, or are we just going in circles? 

While various possibilities were tossed around at various outlets, few bothered to examine Iraqi sentiment.  Kholoud Ramzi (Niqash) covers Iraqi reaction:



The desperate attempts of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stay in power may have been taken seriously by many and led to questions about attempted coups and concern as to which sectors of the military supported him - but there are many Iraqis who are not taking al-Maliki seriously at all. Sarcastic pictures, jokes and comments have been circulating on Iraqi social media for the past few days, with those photo shopping pictures and posting jokes appearing to compete amongst themselves to make a mockery of their soon-to-be-former Prime Minister.
One of the most popular pictures shows al-Maliki wearing a Hitler-style moustache. Another shows US President Barack Obama patting al-Maliki on the back, as if to bid him farewell. This has garnered a number of humorous comments. 
One Iraqi Kurdish journalist shared a picture that shows young men trampling on a picture of al-Maliki that is lying on the floor. “They started to throw your pictures on the ground as soon as they heard about al-Abadi,” the journalist wrote in the caption. “They started to throw shoes at the picture as soon as they knew you were out. I fear that soon they will beat you with their shoes. We Iraqis are the kind of people who receive our leaders with cheering and applause and then farewell them with shoes.”
Another picture showed two tribal leaders, or sheikhs, sitting behind al-Maliki at a funeral. “Let us grieve for the soul of [al-Maliki’s] third term,” those who shared the picture wrote. “The funeral of the State of Law bloc.”
Another Iraqi prankster posted a picture of al-Maliki’s wife. “Breaking news,” they wrote. “Al-Abadi’s wife has called al-Maliki’s wife to ask her where she put the presidential mugs.”
Those who supported al-Maliki also came in for ribbing, with politicians who protested al-Abadi’s nomination or al-Maliki’s ouster also targeted by jokers. 
Another commenter wrote this: “Al-Maliki ruled us for eight years and he brought us right back to the era of the Caliphate. If he had had another four years, we might have seen dinosaurs roaming the streets of Baghdad”. 
Some other activists wrote on one of al-Maliki’s Facebook pictures that Iraqis need to thank the Prime Minister for his achievements before he leaves. They listed 14 of the most important ones. This included sectarianism, displacement, insecurity, corruption and lack of government services. “Last but not least we should congratulate him on the birth of Daash, which came from all of these achievements,” they wrote, using the Arabic acronym for the Sunni Muslim extremist group known as the Islamic State, that now controls parts of the country.

Deeply unpopular Nouri.  So many have wanted him gone for so long now.  And where do things stand now?  Shashank Bengali and Patrick J. McDonnell (Los Angeles Times) state, "Maliki’s surprise announcement Thursday that he would give up his bid for a third four-year term raised hope that a new government could unite a country that is more bitterly divided than at perhaps any time since the sectarian civil strife of 2006-07."

So few want to admit that.  In part because they whored for Nouri and in part because they lack the ability to they were wrong to cheer Nouri on.  The man was a tyrant and a despot. He had Iraqis rounded up -- usually Sunnis -- mass 'arrests' that lacked arrest warrants.  The people were then lost in the 'legal' system -- often never tried, not on trial once, but kept in prisons.  Some people were arrested with arrest warrants -- for other people!

They have an arrest warrent for Ali al-Mutlaq.  They go to his family's home.  Ali is not present so they arrest Ali's wife, sister, child or parent.  That's not justice.  It is why so many innocents rot in prison -- accused of no crime but held regardless.

Many of the females in Nouri's prison arrived there as a result of being a relative of someone.  Once in prison, many girls and women were assaulted or raped.  Nouri attempted to ignore this when it became the topic of fall 2012.  An investigation by Parliament found that the assaults and rapes were taking place -- this would also be backed up by the work of Human Rights Watch:


Iraqi authorities are detaining thousands of Iraqi women illegally and subjecting many to torture and ill-treatment, including the threat of sexual abuse. Iraq’s weak judiciary, plagued by corruption, frequently bases convictions on coerced confessions, and trial proceedings fall far short of international standards. Many women were detained for months or even years without charge before seeing a judge.
The 105-page report, “‘No One Is Safe’: Abuses of Women in Iraq’s Criminal Justice System,”documents abuses of women in detention based on interviews with women and girls, Sunni and Shia, in prison; their families and lawyers; and medical service providers in the prisons at a time of escalating violence involving security forces and armed groups. Human Rights Watch also reviewed court documents and extensive information received in meetings with Iraqi authorities including Justice, Interior, Defense, and Human Rights ministry officials, and two deputy prime ministers.
“Iraqi security forces and officials act as if brutally abusing women will make the country safer,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “In fact, these women and their relatives have told us that as long as security forces abuse people with impunity, we can only expect security conditions to worsen.”


There was his targeting of Iraq's LGBTQ community.  There was his attack on protesters -- most infamously the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted fvia  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported 53 dead  -- indicating that some of the wounded did not recover.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

This is who some people are praising?  This is the real Nouri al-Maliki and they ought to explain how 'great' he is to have earned their praise.

That's why Iraq needed a new prime minister.

On that need,  Martin Chulov (Guardian via Irish Times) explains:


  Iraq risks being torn apart by warring sects unless Haider al-Abadi, the new prime minister, can gather the country’s estranged factions behind him and form a government, senior Iraqi politicians said yesterday.
“This is all or nothing,” said one senior Iraqi official who is hoping for a senior ministry within the new cabinet. “None of us are sure that he can do it. And if he can’t, we are doomed.”


Former State Dept employee Ali Khedery offers, in an essay for the New York Times:


But if anyone has the potential to unite Iraq and hold it together in the face of ISIS terrorism and Iranian meddling, it is Mr. Abadi. In a society where name and upbringing count for a lot, he comes from a respected Baghdad family and was raised in an upscale neighborhood. He studied at one of the capital’s best high schools, earned a degree from one of its top universities and later received a doctorate in engineering in Britain.
While Mr. Maliki spent his years in exile in Iran and Syria and earned degrees in Islamic studies and Arabic literature, Mr. Abadi, a fluent English speaker, worked his own way through his long and costly studies abroad. In meetings over the past decade, Mr. Abadi always impressed me and other American diplomats with his self-effacing humor, humility, willingness to listen and ability to compromise -- extremely rare traits among Iraq’s political elite, and precisely the characteristics that are needed to help heal the wounds Iraqis sustained under Hussein and Mr. Maliki.
“We’ll give Abadi a real chance if for no other reason than because he’s a Baghdadi — not a thug from a village like almost everyone else that’s ruled us since ’58,” a shadowy financier of the Sunni insurgency told me this week.

There are many expectations out there.  Whether al-Abadi can live up to them -- or even half of them -- all eyes are on him for now.    Chelsea J. Carter and Tim Lister (CNN) report:



Abadi is viewed as a moderate and has shown more of a willingness to compromise than al-Maliki, Ranj Alaadin, an Iraqi specialist at Columbia University, told the BBC.
"He is very engaging, articulate and direct," Alaadin told the British network.
Abadi was born in Baghdad in 1952, according to his website.
A long-time member of the Dawa Party -- he is said to have joined as a teenager -- he was one of thousands of prominent Iraqis who left the country during Saddam Hussein's rule.
Abadi left to study abroad after receiving a bachelor's degree in 1975, and stayed away as Hussein tightened his grip on the country. Two of his brothers were not so lucky; they were executed in 1982 for belonging to the Dawa Party. The following year, the regime canceled Abadi's passport.

There are many issues to be addressed.  Mustafa Habib (Niqash) runs down some and concludes:


Of all the challenges, any new Iraqi government will have to face, possibly the most frightening and complex is economic.
The country has seen budget deficits rise by as much as a third, last year’s budget has not been approved and this year’s budget has not yet been tabled.
“In 2012 and 2013 Iraq had about US$18billion in its coffers in the Development Fund for Iraq [a fund created to save Iraq’s oil revenues] but this year there’s only about US$5billion, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund,” says local economist and researcher Mathhar Mohammed Saleh. “This is very dangerous. But nobody has really paid it much attention because everyone is busy with political conflicts and security problems.”


The Development Fund is supposed to bridge any budget deficits – but as the deficit gets bigger and the bridging funds get smaller, Iraq may well be facing a serious economic problem.
“Additionally the delay in approving the national budget gave the last government license to spend in an uncontrolled way,” says Iraqi Kurdish politician, Najiba Najib, who was on the previous government’s Finance Committee. “We don’t know how or where the government spent the money but we do know this conflict with the IS group is draining resources.”
Additionally, since 2010, al-Maliki has continually rejected any requests to submit annual accounts to Parliament. The excuse was that government ministries had not sufficiently developed their accounting departments or that there were technical issues. However for a long time it has been thought that these excuses were really just a cover for major corruption.
Iraq has consistently been ranked as one of the most corrupt states in the world by the international watchdog organization, Transparency International.



“The new Prime Minister is going to spend his four-year term searching for solutions to the problems created by al-Maliki,” says local political analyst, Khalid al-Ani. “Al-Maliki has made a lot of enemies and created many problems. His successor cannot possibly solve them all. He needs the cooperation of all political players as well as international support to find solutions.”


Ayad Allawi was the leader of 2010's winning political slate Iraqiya -- they bested Nouri's State of Law.  National Iraqi News Agency reports that he offered a cautionary note today:

Head of the National Coalition Iyad Allawi said on Friday that the Iraq crisis does not depend on changing faces but by putting Iraq on the right road associated with a clear program to solve the Iraq crisis," pointing out that "Abadi is a part of the political structure that ruled Iraq, which is from the womb of Dawa party and we are waiting for what would he do.
Allawi expressed his doubts on the ability of the Abadi to correct the political process, especially as he has come out of the womb of the Dawa Party, and he is the heir to the unique approach of political governance and based on indifference with politicians in Iraq.
He stressed "the need to correct the ways of dialogue with the Kurds, especially because they consider themselves to be part of Iraq, and recognize its sovereignty, and there should be clear rules and explicit to deal with the Kurds and the order of the relationship with them is the most important law (oil and gas). 



Meanwhile, we'll note this Tweet.


Embedded image permalink
Remember that time Obama bragged about ending the war in Iraq? Yeah, me too. '





Lastly, the following community sites were updated since the last snapshot:














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    Friday, August 15, 2014

    How to make Iraq boring

    Help me, Rob Urie, help me make it through your long article.

    I care about the Iraqi people, do you?

    You yack on endlessly about -- well what exactly.

    The war is about oil?

    I think even the skeptics admit that now.

    But you want to go back to Jimmy Carter and move forward and I'm worried about and concerned for the Iraqi people.

    Not with your charts and graphs, with the people.

    You have about four paragraphs to convince me your article is one I'll read and you didn't convince me.  You reminded me of Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, endlessly asking, "Bueller?  Bueller?"

    Urie, life is just too short and I suspect you don't pay too much attention to iraq today, you just dust off your tired notes and slides and plug in your same generic speech endlessly.

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"



    Thursday, August 14, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack talks Iraq, Nouri's stepping down, we talk about what promise had to be made for that to happen, and much more.


    This afternoon US President Barack Obama delivered a speech from Martha's Vineyard.  We'll note the section on Iraq.



    First of all, we continue to make progress in carrying out our targeted military operations in Iraq.  Last week, I authorized two limited missions:  protecting our people and facilities inside of Iraq, and a humanitarian operation to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians stranded on a mountain.
    A week ago, we assessed that many thousands of Yezidi men, women and children had abandoned their possessions to take refuge on Mount Sinjar in a desperate attempt to avoid slaughter.  We also knew that ISIL terrorists were killing and enslaving Yezidi civilians in their custody, and laying siege to the mountain. Without food or water, they faced a terrible choice -- starve on the mountain, or be slaughtered on the ground.  That’s when America came to help.
    Over the last week, the U.S. military conducted humanitarian air drops every night –- delivering more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water.  We were joined in that effort by the United Kingdom, and other allies pledged support. Our military was able to successfully strike ISIL targets around the mountain, which improved conditions for civilians to evacuate the mountain safely.
    Yesterday, a small team of Americans -– military and civilian -– completed their review of the conditions on the mountain.  They found that food and water have been reaching those in need, and that thousands of people have been evacuating safely each and every night.  The civilians who remain continue to leave, aided by Kurdish forces and Yezidis who are helping to facilitate the safe passage of their families.  So the bottom line is, is that the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts.
    Because of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped vulnerable people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives.  Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain.  The majority of the military personnel who conducted the assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days.  And I just want to say that as Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the men and women of our military who carried out this humanitarian operation almost flawlessly.  I’m very grateful to them and I know that those who were trapped on that mountain are extraordinarily grateful as well.
    Now, the situation remains dire for Iraqis subjected to ISIL’s terror throughout the country, and this includes minorities like Yezidis and Iraqi Christians; it also includes Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.  We’re going to be working with our international partners to provide humanitarian assistance to those who are suffering in northern Iraq wherever we have capabilities and we can carry out effective missions like the one we carried out on Mount Sinjar without committing combat troops on the ground. 
    We obviously feel a great urge to provide some humanitarian relief to the situation and I’ve been very encouraged by the interest of our international partners in helping on these kinds of efforts as well.  We will continue air strikes to protect our people and facilities in Iraq.  We have increased the delivery of military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting ISIL on the front lines. 

    And, perhaps most importantly, we are urging Iraqis to come together to turn the tide against ISIL –- above all, by seizing the enormous opportunity of forming a new, inclusive government under the leadership of Prime Minister-designate Abadi.  I had a chance to speak to Prime Minister-designate Abadi a few days ago, and he spoke about the need for the kind of inclusive government -- a government that speaks to all the people of Iraq -- that is needed right now.  He still has a challenging task in putting a government together, but we are modestly hopeful that the Iraqi government situation is moving in the right direction.



    How smart is Barack?

    He's been hailed as a genius.

    I don't think he is.  I know he was a so-so student -- in a manner that indicates boredom, not a lack of intelligence.  And he has the gift of timing which has allowed him to seize moments in the past.  He now holds a position that tends to make people believe they are infallible and fills them with hubris.

    He's at a fork in the road.

    The smart thing to do is walk out, hail the efforts on behalf of the Yazidis as a success (and I have no problem with that call) and walk out.

    Mitchell Prothero and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) fret:



    Humanitarian aid workers warned Thursday that it was too soon to declare the U.S. mission to aid Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq a success, noting that at least 100,000 residents who fled the Islamic State’s capture of Sinjar now crowd cities and refugee camps and will need humanitarian assistance for months to come.

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/14/236526/obama-says-yazidi-mission-accomplished.html#storylink=cpy

    And your point is?

    There are tons of farmers in the US.  Plenty of crops.  Humanitarian aid is not expensive, it can help American farmers, it can do so much to help people in need.

    I'm confused as to why humanitarian aid workers are complaining?  What do they want that hasn't happened?

    Did they want boots on the grounds -- US troops?  Do they still?

    Did they want an open-ended, undefined mission?

    If so, they're not really humanitarian aid workers.


    Bully Boy Bush started an illegal war.  That hangs around his neck forever.

    But he had a tiny window of opportunity where he could have made his image just a little better.  If he'd pulled US troops out of Iraq early on in 2003, his image might not be in tatters now.

    There's a vanity when it comes to leaders, it tells them that, "Sure, every one else has screwed up and destroyed their own legacies but I'm different, I'm special, I'm smart and can pull this off."

    Sadly, that's rarely the case.

    This was a good moment for the US.  Image wise, it was a good moment.

    Good p.r. even.

    Along with hubris, there's also the addiction to applause -- which Barack clearly suffers from.  That addiction can allow you to repeat, can have you singing the same once loved song over and over for the next 30 years.

    So in addition to believing that he can 'take on' Iraq, Barack could also fall into the trap of thinking Iraq's the way for easy bursts of applause.

    Either or both could lead the growing US presence in Iraq to increase even further.

    Barack should take the win, continue humanitarian aid, continue diplomatic relations but not pursue military solutions in Iraq.

    The temptation is there.  To show it can be done 'right' is very tempting and why leaders and officials in Australia, France and England this week and last have been making comments about how they should be involved in the current actions or how they would be more involved than the US government is.

    Everyone wants to be smarter than Bully Boy Bush.

    When it comes to resorting to war, so many lose their intelligence even faster than they lose their reputations.

    Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times) observes:

    Last week, when Obama first announced that he had ordered military action against the Islamists, his language was all about limits. These were "targeted airstrikes," he said, with carefully limited goals: protecting American personnel in Kurdistan and rescuing terrified displaced Iraqis on Mt. Sinjar.
    But it didn't take long for the mission to grow. By the weekend, Obama was already talking about "a broader strategy in Iraq," one that would help a new, improved government in Baghdad repel the fighters of the Islamic State entirely.
    "We will continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces as they battle these terrorists, so that the terrorists cannot establish a permanent safe haven," he said, and added, "This is going to be a long-term project."



    Language did change very fast.  Sarah Mimms and Matt Berman (National Journal) report:


    Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, told reporters on Wednesday that the U.S. is considering sending ground troops into Iraq to help the humanitarian mission to rescue the Yazidis. Military advisers will give their recommendations on the use of troops to the White House in the next few days, following an assessment from about 130 Marines and special-operations forces now in Iraq.
    The distinction here is that these would not be combat troops, as much as ground forces with the specific mission of helping rescue Yazidi refugees. Ground combat with ISIS would not be part of the plan. Whether the humanitarian troops would be forced into combat scenarios is another question entirely, and Rhodes admitted that best laid plans don't always work out. "There are dangers involved in any military operation," Rhodes said.




    I don't buy the idea of Barack The Original Innocent.  Nor do I buy the ludicrous fantasies of some embarrassments on the left (the news dumpster, for example) that Barack would do this or that if he wasn't being controlled by unknown and hidden elements of the government.

    Good or bad, they are his actions and he's responsible for them.

    He went beyond air drops and he got lucky.

    Luck does run out.

    It certainly ran out for Nouri al-Maliki.

    The chief thug and prime minister of Iraq thought he'd had a third term.  He thought that in the lead up to the April 30th elections, he thought that after.  His co-conspirators like 'reporter' Jane Arraf did their part to promote that lie.  He never won the required amount of seats.

    He barely increased his showing from 2010 and that might not have happened if other blocs, seeing a pattern of small blocs benefiting in the 2010 parliamentary elections, hadn't decided to run as part of smaller slates this go round.

    He was not a done deal but damned if his liars didn't tell you he was getting a third term.

    A lot of lies from a lot of places.  Patrick Cockburn bias against Sunnis is well known which is why it was shocking to see Glen Ford citing him favorably in this week's column.

    To repeat, Arabic social media documented Cockburn's bias.  We didn't.  We picked up on it and amplified it for those who read English but not Arabic. His bias is now so widely known that it's noted in Arabic newspapers.

    A lot of people have been misled by him over the years.

    Misled?  Like the greedy woman who wants to bankrupt Pacifica Radio?

    The Goody Whore what's she up to?

    Mishandling Iraq among other things.

    From yesterday's awful broadcast:


    AMY GOODMAN: The situation of what’s happening now in Baghdad with the new prime minister, the current prime minister, and what this all means, who will be the actual prime minister?


    PATRICK COCKBURN: Well, I think, you know, that Maliki is finished. I think he’s been finished for some time. The question was: Would he fight it out? He had military units that were personally loyal to him, but he found that after the new prime minister had been appointed, the Iranians had turned against him. They wouldn’t support him. He didn’t have any outside political support. His own party was disintegrating or would no longer support him. So I think that the transition will happen.
    But I think what is wrong is to think that—almost everything now is being blamed on al-Maliki, both inside and outside Baghdad, that he was the person who provoked the Sunni uprising, he was the hate figure for the Sunni, he produced an army that was riddled with corruption. But I think that it’s exaggerated, that it’s as if there was a magic wand that would be used once al-Maliki had gone. But there were other reasons for this uprising, for the creation of ISIS—notably, the rebellion in Syria in 2011. This changed the regional balance of power. That was a Sunni rebellion, which Iraqi politicians over the last couple of years were always telling me, if the West supports the opposition in Syria, this will destabilize Iraq. And they were dead right. It wasn’t just al-Maliki.


    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Patrick Cockburn, you mentioned that the current Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is obviously not solely responsible for the situation there now. You’ve also pointed out in a piece that he still retains the support of Iraq’s Shia majority. What do you think the consequences of that will be with this shift in power to Abadi?



    PATRICK COCKBURN: I think he did have that support. I don’t think it’s going to last very long, because he had it because he had portrayed himself as the Shia leader who protected their interests, and he tried to get away from the fact he had presided over one of the greatest military defeats in history, when ISIS took Mosul, by claiming that he’d been stabbed—the army had been stabbed in the back by the Kurds, that there had been treachery. But he still had support because he had power, because he controlled the budget, $100 billion, because he controlled millions of jobs. I think once he’s no longer in control of the executive and the money, that support will diminish very fast. There are millions of Iraqis who have their jobs through Maliki. Now that’s changed, and so will their support.

    First off, there is no "new prime minister."  Please get your damn facts right.

    For the first time ever, the Constitution (Iraqi Constitution) may be followed and enforced.  al-Abadi is the prime minister-designate.  He has a task to complete, a pilgrimage to make.  He must form a Cabinet -- that's nominate for each post and have Parliament vote each one in* and do so in 30 days from his being named prime minister-designate (he was named that Monday).  If not, there will be a new prime minister-designate named by the president of Iraq.

    (*If, for example, he nominated Amy Goodman to be Minister of Misinformation and CIA Liason and the Parliament said no, provided the 30 days were up, he could nominate someone -- or many someones -- for the post and have Parliament vote.)

    As for Patrick Cockburn's ridiculous lies, I'd probably say them too if I had rotten egg all over my face, if I'd whored for Nouri like Patrick did over and over.

    Nouri's not to blame for everything!

    What's even funnier than Patrick's sexual obsession with Nouri -- which leads him to 'magic wands' -- is that part of Nouri's failure -- which whorish Paddy won't note -- is due to magic wands.

    Remember those?  The idiot and crook who sold those around the world is in prison for that.  They supposedly were bomb detectors (and golf bomb finders!).  You held the magic wand and basically jogged in place and it dipped or not depending on whether a car had a bomb or not.

    They do not work.  It was established in court.

    Yet as of this month, Nouri was still making the forces use them in Iraq.

    He couldn't fix the infrastructure or provide potable water but he did provide magical wands.  And his decision to keep using them over a year after the UK verdict means he can't win in a lawsuit.  That money is now lost.  When a huckster sells you something and a court finds his actions were illegal, you immediately file charges and stop using the product.  If you continue using it, you're not going to have any legal standing and Nouri destroyed Iraq's legal standing.  The government's legal standing.  An Iraqi family who lost a loved one due to those magic wands being used at checkpoints would have standing to sue the maker/distributor as well as the Iraqi government -- and Nouri himself once he's out of office.  Remember suing Nouri, we're coming back to that topic.


    If you're not getting how whorish and dishonest Patrick Cockburn is, look at this statement closely:


    I think he did have that support. I don’t think it’s going to last very long, because he had it because he had portrayed himself as the Shia leader who protected their interests, and he tried to get away from the fact he had presided over one of the greatest military defeats in history, when ISIS took Mosul, by claiming that he’d been stabbed—the army had been stabbed in the back by the Kurds, that there had been treachery. 


    Is that what he did, Patrick?

    Hmm.  That's a sanitized version of what he did.  He didn't claim the military was stabbed in the back or treachery, he took to the airwaves and accused of harboring terrorists and of terrorist actions, inciting them.

    This is why Kurds walked out of the Cabinet.  And this isn't 'ancient' history, this took place just weeks ago.




    In a column, Peter Van Buren appears to agree with Patrick.  We should care about Peter's opinion why?  Sexism is the least of his problems.  He writes:


    Despite Maliki throwing the last serious U.S. reconciliation plan under the bus, America stood by and watched the Iranians broker a deal after the 2010 elections that gave Maliki another four years as prime minister. American eyes were on the exit, and Maliki was the devil we knew — a quick fix to declare enough democracy in Iraq so we could get out.


    It takes a whore, Peter proves it takes a whore, in fact, it takes a bordello to keep the lies alive.

    Iran did not "broker a deal after the 2010 elections that gave Maliki another four years as prime minister."

    Wrong.

    The US government brokered The Erbil Agreement.  Peter was low level, yes, but he also knows how to read -- or I thought he did -- and should have caught up on reality a long damn time ago.

    For over eight months the political stalemate continued in Iraq after the March 2010 parliamentary elections.  In October of 2010, the Iranian officials did their backing of Nouri.

    Nouri didn't become prime minister then* -- he became it in November, the day after all the political leaders signed off on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement.

    The US gave Nouri his second term via The Erbil Agreement.

    Stop trying to pin everything on the Iranians.  I'm so sick of people who will go to such lengths to erase their own government's actions and rush to blame them on another country.

    I'm also sick of people who don't know how to say "I was wrong."

    I've said it many times.  I've said it many times here.

    I said I was wrong when I disagreed with Justin Raimondo about an issue then-Bradley Manning's attorney was raising.  When I am wrong, I'm okay admitting it.

    I expect to be wrong more than I'm right.

    That's not false modesty (it may be low self-esteem).

    Justin seems to struggle with the words "I was wrong."

    What happens when that's the case?  When you're wrong and events prove you wrong, what happens if you can't say you're wrong?

    Some just act like it never happened and re-adjust their stance or remain silent.

    But Justin appears to belong to the group that digs their heels in, lies -- flat out lies, and tells you night is day.

    That explains his nonsense in his latest column.

    I wanted to like it.

    I saw the headline and thought we might disagree but it would still be a column worth highlighting.

    Wrong. He molests the facts.  That's the only term for it.

    He's flat out lying, cherry picking bits and pieces of broken facts to try to pretend he was right.

    We get it, Justin.  You hate Jesus and you hate any religion that's linked to it even if it's just remotely linked to Jesus.  (And, of course, Justin hates the Jews as well.)

    We get it.

    Every day, you are so damn scared that you might be wrong, that there might be a god of some kind, that you have to rip apart anyone who believes.  We get it.

    I practice no religion.

    That's on me.

    I don't ridicule people who do.

    I don't have to.

    I'm secure in my beliefs.  I don't need to attack people who practice religion or to hate or dislike them.

    So many disappointments.


    Okay, let's go lawsuit.

    Jim Michaels (USA Today) reports, "Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Thursday night that he is stepping down, ending a political crisis at a time when Islamist militants have seized large swaths of the country and remain on the offensive."

    What happened?

    Nouri's a criminal.

    While Patrick Cockburn's still going down on Nouri, others aren't.

    And Nouri's big problem was solved this evening when he received a series of promises that he wouldn't be prosecuted or sued.

    See, Nouri has a list of people he plans to get even with.  And he was hoping two of those MPs wouldn't be re-elected.  One wasn't.  And a third term for Nouri was going to include persecuting and prosecuting that (now former) MP.

    But Nouri realized something similar could happen to him.

    He's already set a precedent where MPs can be tried.  It's illegal but he's done it.

    Per the Constitution, no one serving in the Parliament can be sued while serving.  The Parliament can vote to strip the person of their office and then they can stand trial.  Otherwise, you're supposed to wait until they're out of office.

    Nouri was afraid of what might befall him.  As an MP but former prime minister, could he be sued?  Or would the new government ignore the Constitution the same way Nouri did?

    In a series of talks, Nouri made clear this was his biggest obstacle to surrendering the office.  It was a minor part of a written list he'd agreed to last week when he agreed to not seek a third term.  However, as Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc noted, Nouri then broke that agreement.

    So with a lot of hand holding and promises, Nouri finally agreed to step down.

    Does everything become perfect now?

    No, it does not.

    But when someone is named prime minister, Iraq will collectively hold its breath to see if they have another Nouri or not.

    Another Nouri means intensified fighting across the country.

    A leader who is inclusive and speaks to the Iraqi identity that voters embraced in the 2009, 2010 and 2013 elections could help pull support from the more extremist elements in the country.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry issued the following statement today:


    Press Statement
    John Kerry
    Washington, DC
    August 14, 2014


    We commend the important and honorable decision by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to support Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi in his efforts to form a new government and develop a national program in line with Iraq’s constitutional timeline. This milestone decision sets the stage for a historic and peaceful transition of power in Iraq.
    We urge Mr. Abadi and all Iraqi leaders to move expeditiously to complete this process, which is essential to pulling the country together and consolidating the efforts of Iraq’s many diverse communities against the common threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
    Consistent with our Strategic Framework Agreement, the United States stands ready to partner with a new and inclusive government to counter this threat, and we will encourage other countries in the region and international community to do the same.



    And that's where we're going to leave it.  The stuff about Nouri's fears on prosecution comes from 1 White House friend and three State Dept friends.  There's more that's not being discussed and we may go into that in Friday's snapshot.











    nancy a. youssef


    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    My embarrassing political party

    I'm a Green.  That's often an embarrassing political party to belong to.

    Like right now.

    With their national silence on Iraq.

    The US is bombing Iraq.

    The national Green Party has nothing to say.

    Maybe they're holding it up?  Saving it for a rainy day?

    In Iraq, bombs are raining from US planes.

    When do they plan to speak out?

    Nationally, the Green Party is a joke and leaderless.



    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


    Wednesday, August 13, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri doesn't want to go, the Pope Tweets, and much more.


    Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) weighs in on Iraq:

    The U.S. corporate media were more interested in the rest of al-Baghdadi’s message, in which he warned Washington that “soon enough, you will be in direct confrontation – forced to do so, God willing. And the sons of Islam have prepared themselves for this day. So wait, and we will be waiting, too.” For most self-obsessed Americans, this was received as a threat to attack “the Homeland.” However, downtown Manhattan is not on the Caliphate leader’s map. Al-Baghdadi meant that the American strategy of financing Muslim muppets to fight imperialism’s wars is kaput, and that the Pentagon will soon have to do its own dirty work, dressed in “Crusader” uniform.
    Accordingly, the U.S. is sending additional hundreds of “non-combat” troops to northern Iraq – as if Marines and Special Forces are anything but combat soldiers – to join the 1,000 or so American military and “security” personnel already there, by official count. Contrary to what many Americans on the Left believe, U.S. planners are not itching to send large American units to Arab lands (the Kurds are not Arabs), since their presence is counter-productive in the extreme. The problem is, the Pentagon’s proxies are evaporating, in flight, or – in the case of Arab Iraq – growing even more dependent on Iran and (who would have predicted it?) Russia, which is assisting in reconstituting the Iraqi air force.
    Some leftists in the U.S. even imagine that Washington has achieved some kind of victory with the imminent departure of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the veteran American stooge. But, Maliki’s ouster was also backed by Iran, Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani (who mobilized millions demanding an end to the U.S. occupation), Muqtada al-Sadr (whose militia fought two wars against the occupation), and even much of Maliki’s own Dawa Party. Only the Kurds remain in Washington’s (and Israel’s) pocket – and this matter of convenience, too, may pass as the neighborhood changes all around Kurdistan.



    There's more to the piece than just that.

    But on that?

    Sorry, Glen, if Barack hadn't pulled US support, the world would not be attempting to rush Nouri off the stage. 


    That is the power of the United States -- it's frequently misused by presidents, but it can also accomplish good.

    And Nouri going is good. 

    Is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani responsible?  Absolutely.  As is Moqtada and many leaders and officials not mentioned -- a list which would include KRG President Massoud Barzani, ISCI leader Ammar al-Hakim (who surprised many US participants by not attempting to seek the post himself despite working very hard to ease Nouri out), and Ayad Allawi among others. 

    But most of all this came about because of the Iraqi people -- Sunni, Shia, Kurd and other.

    In the midst of the Arab Spring or 'Arab Spring,' Iraqis took to the streets and protested in large numbers.  They were largely ignored by the world.  The same was true from December 2012 through January of 2013.  That time, they protested non-stop and turned out every week.

    They showed up to protest despite threats, despite torture --

    In fact, let's stop there.

    You didn't have to peacefully participated in protesting for Nouri to sick his goons on you.  Hadi al-Mahdi was rounded up for reporting on the protests.  Falling back to the September 8, 2011 snapshot:



    In Iraq, a journalist has been murdered.  In addition to being a journalist, he was also a leader of change and part of the movement to create an Iraq that was responsive to Iraqis. 
    Al Mada reports Iraqi journalist Hadi al-Mahdi is dead according to an Interior Ministry source who says police discovered him murdered in his Baghdad home.  Along with being a journalist, Al Mada notes he was one of the chief organizers of the demonstrations demanding change and service reform that began on February 25th -- the day he was arrested by Iraqi security forces and beaten in broad daylight as he and others, after the February 25th protest, were eating in a restaurant. The New York Times didn't want to tell you about, the Washington Post did.  And now the man is dead. Gee, which paper has the archives that matter to any real degree.  Maybe it's time to act like a newspaper and not a "news magazine" with pithy little human interest stories?  (That is not a dig at Tim Arango but at the paper's diva male 'reporter' who went on NPR to talk of an Iraqi collegue this week.)  So while the Times missed the story (actaully, they misled on the story -- cowtowing to Nouri as usual),  Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reported:

    Four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit.
    "It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussam al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet, who was among a group and described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."




    That day's snapshot?  That's the day Haidi was murdered.  Like so many other journalists killed in Nouri's Iraq, the killer was never found -- mainly because no one ever made a point to look for a killer to begin with.

    Did Black Agenda Report cover his murder?

    No.

    No, they did not.

    They didn't cover the hunting of Iraq's LGBTQ community.  Nouri's 'acting' Minister of the Interior helped with that on Nouri's orders.  Young men and boys who were gay or wrongly thought to be gay were targeted.  Death didn't come easy to those killed.  To cite two popular examples for ways to murder, some were beaten to pulp with bricks, some had their anuses super glued.  This was barbaric not just in that innocents were being killed -- being gay is as normal as being straight -- but in the way they were being killed -- slowly and painfully in an effort to inflict the most pain possible.

    Does Glen want to explain why that was?

    Better yet, can he?

    Nouri's flunkies went into high schools and middle schools handing out pamphlets about how awful these people were -- they had same-sex sex, they were vampires, they were this, they were that.  (Of course Nouri and his flunkies denied it -- but both Al Mada and Alsumaria got ahold of the handouts the Ministry of Interior was distributing to children.)

    What Nouri's gotten away with?  War Crimes.

    Has Black Agenda Report objected even once to the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods?  We all know that collective punishment is a legally defined War Crime.  But since the start of this year, Nouri has daily attacked and left wounded and dead numerous civilians whose only 'crime' was to live in Falluja.

    I like Glen and think he's an important voice.

    I also he's a very sad person if he can't, for even one moment, think of the Iraqi people.

    The Pope Tweeted a popular message today:



    I thank all those who are courageously helping our brothers and sisters in Iraq.



    Reuters notes Pope Francis wrote a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today which stated, among other things, "I write to you, Mr. Secretary General, and place before you the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq."


    Nouri is a thug and they had to endure 8 years of him. 

    US President Barack Obama pulled the US government's support. 

    I wish Barack had done that in 2010 -- when Nouri lost the election -- but I don't for one moment think doing it now didn't make a difference.

    I also have no problem praising Barack for taking that step. 

    If he used the rest of his final term to do similar things, I'd praise him for that as well.

    Will he?

    I wouldn't bet on it.

    I support the air drops of food, water, etc for the Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar.  They are victims and relief missions are something every nation could do and take part in.

    Barack's taken that beyond air drops.  And today the Defense Dept issued the following:



    Release No: NR-427-14
    August 13, 2014
     


    Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby


    As part of the ongoing humanitarian efforts ordered by President Obama, today a team of U.S. military personnel, accompanied by USAID, conducted an assessment of the situation on Mt. Sinjar and the impact of U.S. military actions to date. The team, which consisted of less than twenty personnel, did not engage in combat operations and all personnel have returned safely to Irbil by military air. The team has assessed that there are far fewer Yazidis on Mt. Sinjar than previously feared, in part because of the success of humanitarian air drops, air strikes on ISIL targets, the efforts of the Peshmerga and the ability of thousands of Yazidis to evacuate from the mountain each night over the last several days. The Yazidis who remain are in better condition than previously believed and continue to have access to the food and water that we have dropped. Based on this assessment the interagency has determined that an evacuation mission is far less likely. Additionally, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance as needed and will protect U.S. personnel and facilities.





    The mission Barack's now having US troops carry out in terms of the Yazidis is riskier than air drops but air drops are risky as well.  I'm sure Alissa J. Rubin knew that long ago but it was certainly made clear Tuesday when the Kurdish helicopter the New York Times reporter was on crashed after dropping aid and attempting to rescue some Yazidis.

    Rubin walked away with painful injuries (broken wrists are painful), Yazidi MP Vian Dakhil was injured, the pilot died and a few more passengers who haven't been named yet were left injured.  The pilot hasn't been named either.


    We noted this Tweet last week from the Financial Times' Borzou Daragahi:






  • The MP he was Tweeting about was Vian Dakhil.





    I don't support fly over bombings -- nor do I believe for one minute that the bombs being dropped from the air means the US is not in 'combat' in Iraq. 

    I do not support more US troops going into Iraq (or any being there other than to guard US embassy staff -- which Marines do around the world).   All Iraq News notes, "About 130 American military advisers have arrived in Iraq to help with its humanitarian aid in north area of the country, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a press statement."  The number of US troops in Iraq keeps increasing.  That's not a good thing to those of us opposed to war.


    The addition was noted in today's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Marie Harf:

    QUESTION: Okay. And conversely, you deployed – or the United States deployed some 130 --

    MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

    QUESTION: -- advisors and so on to Erbil. Does that mean that the situation in Baghdad or around Baghdad is quiet enough where you don’t need this kind of advisory effort?

    MS. HARF: Well, let’s be clear about what these 130 advisors will and will not be doing. They are focused squarely on looking at the humanitarian situation on Mount Sinjar and developing options to potentially move people and relocate people safely from the mountain. As we know, dropping food and water is not a long-term solution for the tens of thousands of people on that mountain. So these U.S. military personnel that have just gone in are assessing the best way to bring these people to safety, whether that’s some sort of airlift, whether that’s a humanitarian corridor. They’re looking at the options, they’ll present them to the President, and then he’ll make decisions about how – the best way that we can help do that will be.

    QUESTION: And I know yesterday that you denied that there was any kind of pressure on Maliki to leave August from early June or mid-June right after the fall of Mosul. So no one has talked to him at that time, “It’s time for you to leave?”


    MS. HARF: What we’ve always said, Said, is that there is a constitutional process and that process needs to move forward. There are very clear rules under that process for how a new prime minister for a new government is designated. We have encouraged everyone to play by those rules, period. And that’s the message that we’ve been sending for a very long time.




    Former Governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee Gary Johnson Tweeted the following today:


  • WSJ: "U.S. Begins to Assess Iraq Rescue Strategy". Obama insists we are not going back to war, but how many bombs & troops = war??


  • Let's turn to the political in Iraq.  Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) maintains Iraq's prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi is Nouri al-Maliki circa 2006.


    Comically, he does that as Antiwar.com is in the midst of a fund raiser boasting they're always right.

    I'm not always right.  I'm often wrong.

    But I wasn't wrong about Nouri.

    And, unlike Jason Ditz, I didn't giggle on air and agree with Scott Horton about how wonderful Nouri was.

    Jason Ditz has a lot of nerve.  I've been kind but we all know I forget nothing.

    I can quote from those chats with Horton -- where Scott and Jason made like the Gabby Gabors enthralled with Nouri.

    Is Haider the same?

    No.

    Is he good or bad, saint or sinner?  I already said this week that we don't know.

    But what we know is that Nouri's selling point for the American government was chiefly his paranoia which, it was thought, would make him easily manipulated.

    I knew about the paranoia and we wrote about it here, what, three or four years before WikiLeaks confirmed what we were saying?

    I'm not hitting anyone up for their piggy banks.

    I am saying that if you have the nerve, before the prime minister-designate has done anything, to insist he's another Nouri, you damn well better have called out Nouri.

    Or you can sit your tired ass down.

    This is my last nice, Jason Ditz. 

    I'm not in the mood.

    Back to today's State Dept press briefing:


    QUESTION: In Iraq, please. Today Prime Minister al-Maliki said he would not step down from his post until the Iraqi judiciary rules on whether or not his constitutional challenge to the process should go forward or not. I’m wondering if you all have any idea of how long this process might take as it speaks to some concerns people have raised about whether he will try to run out the clock on the 30 days he now – that designate al-Abadi has.

    Also I’m wondering if you were able to get an answer to my question yesterday as to what level of confidence does the U.S. have in the Iraqi judiciary system.

    MS. HARF: A couple issues, and then we’ll – I’m sure you’ll have follow-ups. The comments made by the prime minister today were similar to ones he’s made in recent days, quite frankly. And as I said yesterday, with all political systems there will be differences with how certain processes unfold. We never expected this to be completely seamless, but the United States firmly rejects any effort to achieve outcomes through coercion or manipulation of the constitutional or judicial processes.

    And then look, I don’t want to get ahead of the constitutional process that’s underway. We just began the 30-day time clock for the Prime Minister-designate al-Abadi to form a new government. They are moving along with that process. So we will watch day by day as that plays out, but Prime Minister-designate al-Abadi is moving forward as part of this process, and that’s what we’ll be focused on in the coming days.

    QUESTION: So you don’t believe this court challenge that Maliki is posing is going to be slowing that 30-day clock in any way?

    MS. HARF: Well, look, the prime minister-designate is the one who is in charge of what happens during the 30-day clock, and he’s working actively towards that. And again, we would reject any efforts by anyone to use the judicial processes to manipulate or coerce the outcomes here. But there is a separate process and it’s the constitutional one, and that’s moving forward.

    QUESTION: How is it that the designate has control of the clock when Maliki is still the prime minister?

    MS. HARF: Well, he has control of the clock. What I meant was the progress that can be made in the 30 days to form a new government is in the hands of the prime minister-designate, who has the support, as I said over the last few days. He was nominated by the Shiite bloc, including many members of Prime Minister Maliki’s own party.

    So we’ve seen these kind of comments from the current prime minister before, but separate from those comments there is a process under the constitution that is moving forward. And we expect that to move forward and we will continue watching what happens in the coming days.

    QUESTION: Do you have any expectations of how long this court appeal will last?

    MS. HARF: I don’t have any guess on that.

    QUESTION: May I just follow up on that? I mean, his words were very critical of the United States, today – Maliki’s speech. He basically said that you espouse democratic values but you go ahead and sabotage the democratic process. What do you have to say to that?

    MS. HARF: Well, the Iraqis have their democratic process that’s underway right now, and that process has led to a new prime minister-designate being named by the current prime minister’s own bloc. So the process is playing out how it should. Again, we knew this would not be without complication. Nothing ever is – certainly not here in Iraqi politics. But their own democratically, constitutionally outlined process has been ongoing and that’s what’s happening right now.

    QUESTION: I know that you warned against manipulating whatever legal process in the courts or whatever to sow divisions and so on in Iraq. Has anyone talked to the prime minister personally to say refrain from doing that because you’re driving the country further into the abyss?

    MS. HARF: We’ve certainly had conversations with a range of leaders, including Prime Minister Maliki, emphasizing, Said, that this is a key, critical time in Iraq on the security front, on the political front – they are very closely intertwined – and that nobody should do anything to prevent the progress that’s laid out under the constitution from taking place and from moving forward. Nobody should.

    QUESTION: Mm-hmm.

    MS. HARF: We’ve certainly had those conversations.

    QUESTION: Okay. Now, as we – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, they all welcome the prime minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi, but Maliki still has some support within the Shiites. He has some support within some, like, militant type of militias and so on. Are you concerned that he actually might resort to violence?

    MS. HARF: I don’t want to venture to guess on that hypothetical, Said. There’s a process in place and that process is moving forward. What’s key here is that the President asked the prime minister-designate to name a government. This was the designate that his own bloc, Prime Minister Maliki’s own bloc selected. So I think that should speak very clearly about the support that Prime Minister-designate al-Abadi has. And, again, the process is moving forward.


    We'll note this Tweet.


    Twenty eight women (prostitutes) killed in Iraq! A reminder of Iranian regime when prostitutes were burned to die!






    I have no idea why a woman would do that to other women.

    28 women were killed.  By thugs.

    The thugs call them whores.

    And we repeat that?

    That's how we show sympathy for these women who were killed?

    The Tweeter's never been there and knows nothing.

    'A press report said it!'

    Oh, okay then.  Press report are never wrong, right?

    It would be something wonderful if we could see people rejecting an urge to insult the dead.  (I am not attacking women who engage in sex work.  I am noting that prostitute is a huge pejorative in Iraq and dead women who can't defend themselves shouldn't have prostitute tied around their dead necks solely because a group of men -- who killed them -- have labeled them whores.)

    I'm not interested in running down violence.  Monday night, I noted a death and offered Tuesday might be the last snapshot.  The friend I dictated it too wisely pulled that.  But a friend died this week and it really makes me question the point of online life.


    This week saw the passing of actors Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.  (I was referring to Robin in the previous paragraph.)  TCM has a video clip entitled "Lauren Bacall -- (TCM Remembers) 1924-2014."  PBS' The NewsHour remembers her here.

    Maria noted her passing in "The Walker," Ann in "Remembering Lauren Bacall," Stan with "Bacall," Elaine with "The great star Lauren Bacall," Ruth with "Lauren Bacall," Trina with "Lauren Bacall -- one of a kind," Betty with "Lauren" and Kat with "The wrong people keep dying."  Robin's passing was noted in Mike's "Robin starred in so much of our childhood," Rebecca's "robin" and Marcia's "Iraq and Robin Williams." In addition, Robin was noted in a statement the Pentagon released earlier this week:





    August 11, 2014

    Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the Passing of Robin Williams


    The entire Department of Defense community mourns the loss of Robin Williams. Robin was a gifted actor and comedian, but he was also a true friend and supporter of our troops. From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform. He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DoD - so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.










    the washington post
    stephanie mccrummen



     


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