Nuri al-Maliki finally bowed to pressure within Iraq and beyond on Thursday and stepped down as prime minister, paving the way for a new coalition that world and regional powers hope can quash a Sunni Islamist insurgency that threatens Baghdad.
Finally, the tyrant is exiting the building.
Whether he will be replaced with something better remains to be seen.
But Nouri's exit is good news.
And long overdue.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
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.
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."
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."
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:
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
the national journal