October 5, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, the Islamic State of Iraq
claims credit for recent violence, a call is made for provincial
elections to be held in April, France calls out the executions in Iraq
(102 so far this year), Senators Patty Murray and Carl Levin call on the
VA and DoD to work together to address disability evaluations, Ms. magazine gears up for its 40th anniversary, and more.
in the US with veterans news. Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office notes:
D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate
Veterans' Affairs Committee, joined with Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services,
in sending a letter to the VA and DoD Deputy Secretaries requesting
that the Departments work more closely together, as true partners and
with greater involvement from senior leaders, to improve the IDES
process. The letter also calls on the Departments to set a definitive
timeline for completing the review in order to implement meaningful
changes. The requests stem from issues identified during GAO's
recently completed investigation into IDES.
am not convinced the Departments have implemented a disability
evaluation process that is truly transparent, consistent, or
expeditious. Getting this right is a big challenge – but it's one that
we must overcome," said Senator Murray. "I've seen the impacts of a
broken system – whether it's from a wrong diagnosis, an improper
decision, or never-ending wait times. When the system doesn't work
accurately and quickly, or when servicemembers can't get a proper mental
health evaluation or diagnosis, it means they are not getting the care
they need and they are not moving on to civilian life. While DoD and VA
are at a critical juncture, I am confident that by working as true
partners and committing to real, meaningful changes, the Departments can
improve the system for the thousands of men and women who will be
transitioning in the next couple of years."
am convinced that the DoD/VA Integrated Disability Evaluation System
can be improved to better address the needs of our wounded, ill, and
injured service members," said Senator Levin. "This system is too
complex, takes far too long, and still has an adversarial aspect that
our service members should not have to endure. It will take a concerted
effort by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans
Affairs, working together, to bring about needed improvements."
The full text of the letter
October 4, 2012
The Honorable Ashton B. Carter
Deputy Secretary of Defense
1010 Defense Pentagon, 3E944
Washington, DC 20301
The Honorable W. Scott Gould
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Secretary Carter and Secretary Gould:
to the effort of improving the transition process for separating
servicemembers is overcoming the challenges confronting the Integrated
Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Earlier this year, as part of our
Committees' ongoing oversight of IDES, the Veterans' Affairs Committee
held a hearing examining the multiple challenges servicemembers still
face while navigating this joint program. As was made very clear at that
hearing, real improvements could only happen with the "total
engagement, cooperation and support of all senior leaders at both
the ongoing dialogue and Secretary Carter's July 2, 2012, letter to
Chairman Murray underscored this very point, affirming the Department of
Defense's commitment "to work closely with the Department of Veterans
Affairs to examine ways to improve timeliness and effectiveness of the
system …" Yet despite the importance of this work, and the Departments'
repeated assurances of promising results and progress made, reality has
yet to match rhetoric.
is because of this clear and urgent need for total engagement,
cooperation, and true partnership between the Departments that we write
to you regarding the recently released GAO report, Military Disability
System, Improved Monitoring Needed to Better Track and Manage
Performance. Discussing how to overcome the challenges facing the
system, GAO recommended that VA and DoD "work together to develop
timeframes for completing the IDES business process review and
implementing any resulting recommendations."
timely business process review has the potential to help the
Departments analyze each phase of the disability evaluation review
process and identify areas where greater coordination and integration
between the Departments is appropriate. Such a review can only be
successful if the Departments undertake it in a truly collaborative way,
evaluating their respective business processes in the context of what
is necessary for an integrated system. Further, any such effort must
have clear goals and timelines. So while both Departments concurred with
the GAO recommendation, the response from the Department of Veterans
Affairs was particularly troubling:
the Department of Defense (DoD) has been leading the business process
review efforts described in this report, the Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) has provided input and support to promote these efforts and
will continue to do so to the extent possible. At this time, the full
scope or current status of these efforts has not been disclosed to VA.
As such, VA recommends that developing timeframes for completion of
these efforts should be deferred to DoD.
response makes clear that true collaboration between the Departments on
the business process review has yet to occur. Surely, then, the answer
cannot be to drive the Departments further apart by deferring all
planning to the Department of Defense. Therefore, we are writing to
request from you not only a timeline for completion of the review and
implementation of any recommendations, but also that you make this
review a truly joint, collaborative effort to improve a broken system.
We also ask that you detail the steps you will take to personally ensure
the Departments work together as partners in reforming this system and
in addressing other joint challenges. As the Deputy Secretaries of your
Departments, your leadership is critical in order to create meaningful
change for our servicemembers and veterans.
remain committed to working with you to address the challenges
confronting this system, but further delay and a lack of meaningful
cooperation is unacceptable and risks jeopardizing the Departments'
ability to achieve a truly integrated disability evaluation system that
works. Thank you for your attention to this letter and for all that you
do on behalf of our servicemembers and veterans.
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510
Still on violence, AP notes
that the Islamic State of Iraq has posted a message claiming credit for
the attack on the Tikrit prison last week that left many dead and
injured and resulted in a large number of prison escapees who still
remain at large. From the September 27th snapshot
The latest day's violence includes a prison attack BBC News reports assailants using bombs and guns attacked a Tikrit prison. AFP quotes
a police Lieutenant Colonel stating, "A suicide bomber targeted the
gate of the prison with a car bomb and gunment then assaulted the
prison, after which they killed guards" and a police Colonel stating,
"The prisoners killed one policeman and wounded (prison director)
Brigadier General Laith al-Sagmani, the gunmen took control of the
prison, and clashes are continuing." Kitabat states
two car bombs were used to blow up the entrance to the prison and gain
access and they also state 12 guards have been killed. Reports note the
riot is continuing. Alsumaria reports
four guards have died, 1 police officer and the injured include two
soldiers and the prison director al-Sagmani. There's confusion as to
whether a number of prisoners were able to escape in the early stages
after the bombing and during gunfire. Reuters goes with "dozens" escaping which is probably smarter than the hard number some are repeating. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports
5 police officers killed and another two injured -- the numbers are
going to vary until tomorrow, this is ongoing -- and state over 200
prisoners escaped with 33 of them already having been recaptured. If you
skip the English language media, what's not confusing is why it
happened and why it was able to happen. Alsumaria reports that there are
approximately 900 inmates in the prison and that many have death
sentences. Alsumaria does even more than that. It notes the recent
prison violence throughout the country and ties it into the death
Today All Iraq News notes
another escapee has been arrested and estimates 102 escaped. July 22nd
the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio recording announcing a new
campaign of violence entitled Breaking The Walls which would include
prison breaks and killing "judges and investigators and their guards
." (They also threatened to attack America on US soil.) AP notes
they also claimed responsiblity for Sunday's violence:
As the month of September winds down, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) notes Iraq witnesses its second deadliest day of the month (September 9th was the deadliest day). BBC (link is text and video) offers,
"Civilians were among those killed and injured in the attacks around
the capital, but the aim of the attackers seems to have been to kill as
many security personnel as possible, wherever they could reach them,
says the BBC's Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad." Jamal Hashim (Xinhua) counts 34 dead and 85 injured while explaining, "In
and near the Iraqi capital, eight car bomb explosions and gunfire
attacks killed up to 25 people and wounded 59 others, according to the
police reports." Kareem Raheem, Suadad al-Salhy and Sophie Hares (Reuters) adds, "Two
more policemen were killed when a car bomb went off in the town of
Balad Ruz, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Baghdad, and bomb planted in a
parked car in al Qaeda stronghold Mosul killed a civilian."
Most reports float al Qaeda in Iraq as the culprit. The Irish Examiner quotes
MP Hakim al-Zamili who sits on the Security and Defense Committee
stating, "Al-Qaida leaders have no intention of leaving this country
or letting Iraqis live in peace. Thus, we should expect more attacks in
the near future. The situation in Iraq is still unstable ... and
repetition of such attacks shows that our security forces are still
unqualified to deal with the terrorists." If the series of assaults were
part of the Islamic State of Iraq's Breaking The Walls campaign, they
will no doubt claim credit in the next few days. July 22nd,
the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio recording announcing a new
campaign of violence entitled Breaking The Walls which would include
prison breaks and killing "judges and investigators and their guards."
(They also threatened to attack America on US soil.) They are only one
group in Iraq resorting to violence. On the continued violence, Mohammed Tawfeeq offers
this framework, "The violence comes just days after dozens of prisoners
broke out of a jail in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit. Among those
who got out Thursday were several al Qaeda members on death row,
according to authorities. The jailbreak occurred when armed men
detonated two car bombs at the gates of Tasfirat jail. The explosions
triggered clashes with security forces."
large number of the escapees were death row inmates. Last month saw
protests, sit-ins and eating strikes in Iraqi prisons as prisoners
demanded the passage of an amnesty law. Such a law would mean many
behind bars would be allowed to leave and return to their families.
Nouri al-Maliki's been promising it since 2008 but it's still not been
passed. His State of Law has remained the biggest opponent to the bill.
Driven by then Justice Minister Robert Badinter's commitment and his speech to the National Assembly the law dated October 9th, 1981
abolished the death penalty in France. This law reinforced France's
longstanding efforts to promote human dignity. French law prohibits the
removal of any person to a country where they risk the death penalty.
has signed all international commitments on abolishing the death
penalty. Since 2007, abolishing the death penalty has been enshrined in
the French Constitution.
Al Mada reports
today on the Ministry of Human Rights declaring this week that the time
isn't right to heed the pleas of various organizations and governments
and place a moratorium on the death penalty. Of course it's not the
right time yet, they've already announced they plan to execute 200 more
people this year.
Meanwhile Alsumaria reports
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is calling for the newly appointed
Electoral Commission to get to work on preparing for the upcoming
provincial elections. (He actually stated yesterday that the Commission
should hold elections on time; however, provincial elections were
supposed to be held in March and that can't happen now so the target
date has become April.) Reuters adds
that this request comes "despite legal challenges that could end in
the dissolution of the commission." They note that the Turkman (the 9th
Commissioner added) is a woman which is a correction to what I've stated
in the September 25th snapshot
. My error, my apologies, "my face is red, I stand corrected" as Prince would say ("U Got The Look"). Reuters
notes, "But the body still faces a number of legal challenges from
political groups, civil society organizations and minorities who have
lodged appeals with the Federal Court. It is not clear when the Federal
Court will rule on the appeals." The Federal Court has already stated
that one-third of the commissioners must be women. One member out of 9
is not 1/3. From the September 19th snapshot
the only thing that could be passed off as 'progress' this week just
imploded. Yesterday, 8 of 9 Independent High Electoral Commission
commissioners elected. Alsumaria reported
this morning that the Federal Court says the number of commissioners
must be increased because women must make up a third of the members.
(Not one of the eight was a woman -- an oversight Iraqiya called out --
the only political bloc to publicly call that out.) Al Mada notes
that Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc was insisting yesterday that if they just
make the ninth member a Christian, they'll have all their bases
covered. The judiciary begs to differ. They're calling on members -- not
a single seat, multiple seats. That means that the Parliament either
gets very focused on this or it is highly likely that an election cannot
take place in March of 2013. It's starting to look a lot like fall 2009
should have been that. The law states women must make up a third of the
members. That's not something you can 'massage.' Yet Alsumaria reports
the issue is still 'can we get a Turkman on the IHEC?' as opposed to
dealing with what the law requires. Is math difficult for the Iraqi
government? Is the concept of 1/3 of the members of the IHEC being women
a word problem that's difficult to solve?
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani gets cozier with Iran. Iran's Press TV reports
that he met with Iran's Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi and the two
gabbed over shared hatred of Israel with Jalal declaring "terrorism in
the region would serve the interests of the Israeli regime." Iran's
Minister of Defense also met with Saadoun al-Dulaimi from Iraq's
Ministry of Defense. Prensa Latina reports
"Iran and Iraq formalized the establishment of the military cooperation
in an agreement signed by the defense ministers of the two neighboring
countries, it was released here today by a source close to the
negotiations." Aswat al-Iraq notes
that Nouri met "on Wednesday with Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Wahidi
[discussing] cooperation between the two countries to strengthen
security and stability to combat terrorism, according to a statement
released from al-Maliki's office." If you're thinking, "That's a lot of
people meeting over one deal," you do realize why that is, don't you?
outlets wrongly identify Saadoun al-Dulaimi as the Minister of Defense.
He is not the Minister of Defense. Iraq has no person in that post.
Nouri al-Maliki was required, by the Constitution, to name a Cabinet in
30 days to become prime minister (a prime minister-designate is named
and then given 30 days to form a cabinet -- that means 30 days to
nominate and get the nominees confirmed by Parilament). That's not a
partial Cabinet. If it were a partial Cabinet, it wouldn't be in the
Constitution. If you could name half or even just 1 minister and say,
"I'll fill in the rest later," it wouldn't be in the Constitution. If
this is confusing to you -- and Nouri's online lover, the blond
European, has never grasped this -- you can refer to Article 76 of the
Iraqi Constitution and pay special attention to the second clause which
reads: "The Prime Minister-designate shall undertake the naming of the
members of his Council of Ministers within a period not to exceed
thirty days from the date of his designation." That's the Cabinet.
a portion of it, not two, not three, the full Cabinet. Nouri was
supposed to have formed a Cabinet -- a full Cabinet -- before the end of
December 2010. He failed to do that. He refused to nominate anyone for
the post of Minister of Defense or Minister of the Interior or Minister
of National Security. Just this summer, 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." Back in
December 2010 and Janaury 2011, the press assured us that the thug would
nominate people to fill those posts in a matter of weeks. That did not
happen. Back then, Iraqiya labled it a power grab and said Nouri had no
intention of nominating people to the posts. They argued it was a
power grab. Clearly, Iraqiya was correct.
Iraq, the Cabinet is different than in the United States. In the US,
let's use the current administration, Barack Obama was sworn in as
President of the United States in January 2009. He was under no
Constitutional obligation to name his Secretaries within 30 days. Once
he nominated them, the nominations went to the Congress. This is true in
Iraq, the prime minister nominates someone and the Parliament votes on
whether or not the person will become a Minister.
the difference that matters. If Barack tomorrow was bothered by Hillary
Clinton's performance as Secretary of State, he would convey that to
her and ask for her resignation. Hillary would tender her resignation.
She's not obligated to but that's what she'd do and what is done. In
Iraq, these Ministers have tremendous power -- more than Secretaries in
the US -- and if Nouri's unhappy with one, oh well. He can ask them to
resign but that's all he can do. And they don't have to resign. Deputy
Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq is a member of Iraqiya and a Sunni. An
ongoing political stalemate turned into a political crisis in December
2011 when Nouri wanted al-Mutlaq gone. al-Mutlaq, who had told CNN that
Nouri was becoming a dictator (the incident that outraged Nouri), didn't
want to step down. And Nouri couldn't force him. To remove al-Mutlaq,
Nouri would need Parliament to be in agreement with him. Nouri could not
get the votes needed to strip al-Mutlaq of his post so, after several
months, he finally dropped the issue.
difference means that, for example, the Minister of the Interior can
deploy the federal police as he or she sees fit. If Nouri doesn't like
the way the Minister does that, he can argue, he can whine but he can't
remove the Minister unless Parliament is in agreement with him. This
allows the ministers to have not just power but also security. This
means, ideally, that they serve the Iraqi people and not which ever
person occupies the post of prime minister.
you don't have a real minister (one confirmed by Parliament), they have
no protection. Nouri can call them 'acting' all he wants, but he
retains control of the ministry -- in violation of the Constitution. He
can name Mohammed Tawfeeq as Acting Minister of the Interior but
Mohammed would have no power or independence. As 'acting' minister, he
has no real power and does what Nouri tells him or Nouri strips him of
the 'acting' post ('acting' posts do not exist in the Constitution).
That's why it matters.
Barack Obama is the current president of the United States and was
sworn in January 2009. Nouri was named prime minister-designate in
November 2010, the following year. During all that time, the three
securities ministries have had no ministers. Imagine if Barack had
refused to name a Secretary of Defense by the end of 2009? He would be a
laughingstock. In fact, the ridicule and scorn over this would not have
been pushed back a year. With various wars during his four years, he
would be expected to have a Secretary of Defense. Yet Nouri has been
allowed a pass. Violence has increased in 2012, up from 2011. And the
security ministries remain without leaders.
is an incompetent. That was obvious during his first term as prime
minister (2006 through 2010). He wasn't the choice of the Iraqi
Parliament (the Parliament is supposed to elect the prime
minister-designate). He was the choice of the White House. Bully Boy
Bush occupied the White House back then. Nouri was so ineffective,
please remember, that the Bush White House was forced to draw up a set
of "benchmarks" that both Bush and Nouri signed off on. These would be
measures by which the US Congress could determine whether or not
progress was taking place in Iraq (which would effect Congressional
funding of the Iraq operation). This was in 2007. Nouri failed
The White House spin became, "Oh,
he didn't do this benchmark, but he got started on it." No, these were
benchmarks that, in a year's time were supposed to be accomplished.
only did they spin in 2008, but those benchmarks still haven't been
achieved. The oil dispute between the KRG and Nouri's Baghdad-based
central government? KRG President Massoud Barzani did not sign an
agreement with the White House to come up with a national oil and gas
law. Nouri did. If Nouri's not happy with the contracts that the KRG is
signing, that's on Nouri. If he'd passed an oil and gas law in 2007 or
2008 or 2009 or . . . then there would be no problem today.
elections -- provincial planned for next year, parliamentary for the
year after -- are going to expose another failed benchmark/promise.
American L. Paul Bremer implemented de-Ba'athification in Iraq. The Iraq Inquiry in London, chaired by John Chilcot
heard public testimony from one British official after another --
executive branch official, military official and MI6 -- that
de-Ba'athification was a huge mistake. Under former president Saddam
Hussein, the Ba'ath Party was the defacto party in Iraq. Governement
jobs and promotions could result from party i.d., from being in the same
political party that Saddam Hussein headed. The US-invasion toppled
Saddam Hussein's government and would then oversee the execution of
Hussein. That apparently wasn't enough. It was important to drive people
out of government office, out of civil service, out of the military,
out of the police, etc. You are talking a large number of people.
Among other things, they lost jobs.
oversaw the White House's de-Ba'athification plan. Bremer maintains
that, Colin Powell has whispered to his friends in the press that Bremer
was acting on his own -- the public record, including the testimony by
British officials in Iraq when de-Ba'athification began, does not
support Powell's whispers. But that's how much of a disaster
de-Ba'athification is seen as -- Colin Powell's worked the press for
over six years now to make sure he didn't get blamed for the policy and
to try to argue that there was a winnable war in Iraq but it got screwed
up by Bremer and others. This pro-war denial is also seen in Charles
Ferguson's ridiculous and reactionary 'documentary.'
White House benchmarks of 2007 included what is best explained as
de-de-Ba'athification. This would mean bringing Iraqis back into the
process -- especially but not just Sunnis. This benchmark was also not
achieved. But a bill was proposed!!! Once upon a time! So that's partial
victory!!! Right? Wrong.
not completing that in 2007 or 2008, you ended up with the Justice and
Accountability Commission of 2010. They had no mandate. Parliament
believed they had termed out of office (because they had). But Ahmed
Chalabi and others suddenly show up and start declaring who can run for
office and who cannot. Saleh al-Mutlaq, the current Deputy Prime
Minister, was among those who was not allowed to run for office. He was
labeled a Ba'athist.
commission was used before to influence results (and to target Iraqiya)
and it will most likely resurface in the planned 2014 parliamentary
The last parliamentary elections
were in March 2010. Nouri didn't win those elections. His political
slate, State of Law, came in second. The winner in those elections was
the newly created Iraqiya headed by Ayad Allawi.
the 2010, campaign, Maliki's party was primarily a sectarian political
list of Shiite candidates with a few Sunni political figureheads. In
contrast, Allawi's political coalition was a cross-sectarian list. While
Allawi is a Shiite, he headed a party consisting of Sunni political
leaders from western and northern Iraq and some Shiite politicians who
believed it was time to move beyond sectarian politics if Iraq is to
achieve national unity.
In Iraq's short
history of free elections, Shiite candidates have a demographic
advantage. Shiites are approximately 60% of the population, and Iraqis
voted almost exclusively along sectarian lines in the 2005 national
elections and the 2009 provincial vote. Maliki also had a media
advantage. The state-run national news network did not accept paid
campaign advertisements, but freely broadcast extensive reports of
Maliki's election appearances and campaign speeches in evening news
bulletins. On the eve of the vote, state TV broadcast a documentary
highlighting the Prime Minister's visit to security checkpoints around
the capital. Maliki is widely credited with an improvement in the
day-to-day security in the capital and in the south, but his
pre-election inspection of the security checkpoints was seen as a long
campaign ad. According to domestic media monitorying reports of
state-runtelevision, Al-Iraqiya, Maliki's political coalition received
by far the "highest positive coverage" when compared with all other
political parties in the campaign.
came to the vote, Allawi demonstrated that sectarian voting patterns
could be broken. A small percentage of Shiites voted for a party that
included Sunnis on the ticket which helped deliver the two-seat lead.
Prime Minister Maliki charged widespread fraud and demanded a recount to
prevent "a return to violence." He pointedly noted that he remained the
commander in chief of the armed forces.
Maliki threatening violence? Was he using the platform of state-run
media to suggest that his Shiite-dominated government would not
relinquish power to a Sunni coaltion despite the election results?
the thug was doing didn't matter because he had the backing of the
White House. Nouri dug his heels in for 8 months refusing to allow the
process to go forward. This would have been avoided if a United Nations
caretaker government had been put in place as many governments
(including the French government) favored but Barack Obama and his
administration killed that idea. They wanted Nouri.
the voters didn't name your party the winner and the Constitution's
clear on what happens and it doesn't benefit you, what do you do?
As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war, The Endgame,
Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in
2010 to insist that the results of Iraq's first proper election be
honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable
judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the
most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government,
it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might
have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."
didn't just back Nouri in the stalemate (which included the White House
and State Dept spinning the press), they also staked the US
government's reputation on a contract.
why you should never be afraid of the power of "no." Whether you're on a
date and just don't find the other person that interesting, whether
some suit is trying to get you to sign a contract that doesn't include
the details you have asked for, whether it's a rival swearing to later
meet you half-way, you say "no" to protect yourself.
Democrats had a spine during the Bush years, the US would be better off
today and the Iraq War might not have even happened. If they had used
the power of no, they could have accomplished so much even when they
were the minority party in both houses. Instead, they were scared little
rabbits, too meek to stand up.
Republicans have stood up to Barack. And you get men like Tom Hayden
(who has never liked it when a woman has said no to him ) whining and
screeching that Republicans are "obstructionists!" No, they're sticking
to their beliefs (something Democrats should be trying not insulting).
Iraq managed to set the record for longest time after elections with no
government formed (eight months but that record's now been broken),
various Iraqis were falling prey to the cry of 'be mature' and 'do
what's right for Iraq' and countless other nonsense.
Ayad Allawi, for example, truly believed that the best thing for Iraq
was for him to be prime minister or someone else from Iraqiya to be
prime minister, he should have stuck to that and damn the public
White House and the State Dept were working the press to soften up
resistance on the part of politicians while at the same time they were
brokering a contract. The contract became known as the Erbil Agreement
(because that's where it was signed). The Erbil Agreement was a contract
that would allow Iraqiya to have, for example, the leadership role on a
newly created National Security Commission -- an independent one at
that. The Kurds? They would get Article 140 finally implemented.
(Article 140 of the Constitution determines the fate of oil-rich Kirkuk
-- will it be part of the Kurdistan Regional Government or part of the
Baghdad-based central government -- and was supposed to be
no later than the end of 2007. That deadline is written into the
Constitution. But Nouri, in his first term, refused to implement Article
140.) There were various things that Nouri agreed to do provided he had
a second term as prime minister. He signed off on the Erbil Agreement.
The leader of all the political blocs did.
Nouri used the contract to get his second term and then trashed the contract.
US government's word is mud in Iraq because of the Erbil Agreement. As
Iraq gets closer and closer with Iran, understand that. The US
government, this is the White House, this is at the very top, assured
various political leaders that the Erbil Agreement (a) was a binding,
legal contract and (b) that the US would ensure it was honored. It was
obvious to most that it wasn't being honored as soon as Jalal Talabani
named Nouri prime minister-designate. That's when Nouri announced that
the independent security commission would have to wait. This is what
prompted, in the first real meeting of Parliament after the 2010
elections (eight months after) most Iraqiya members to walk out.
trashed the Erbil Agreement. Month after month went by in 2011 without
it being implemented. Finally, in the summer of 2011 Political Stalemate
II begins as Moqtada al-Sadr ('rebel cleric' -- a Shi'ite with large
support that only grows greater when he is attacked or when he draws a
wall between himself and Nouri), the Kurds and Iraqiya begin calling for
Nouri to return to and implement the Erbil Agreement.
refuses. Fall 2011 sees Sunnis rounded up in mass arrests. There's
(false) talk that all US troops will be out by the end of December 2011.
The country is very nervous about what might happen next. As most (not
all) US troops leave, Nouri announces he wants al-Mutlaq stripped of his
post. He also swears out an arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq
al-Hashemi. Tareq is Sunni and Iraqiya. This is when the stalemate
becomes a crisis.
By April, major names are in
Erbil for a big meet up. They include Jala Talabani (President of Iraq),
Allawi, KRG President Massoud Barzani, Moqtada and others. They
announce they will move towards a no-confidence vote in Nouri.
Moqtada repeatedly stresses that Nouri can stop that vote at any point
by returning to the Erbil Agreement. Nouri refuses to honor the
contract. Then, in May, as they have the votes necessary to vote Nouri
out, Jalal stabs everyone in the back and invents new rules. Jalal then
high tails it to Germany for 'a life threatening medical procedure' (in
reality, knee surgery). He hides out in Germany for months and finally
returns to Iraq at the mid-way point last month.
his return, Jalal has been on a 'listening' tour to try to determine
the problem. The problem is and has been clear: the Erbil Agreement is
not being honored. Alsumaria notes
he met with Ayad Allawi, head of Iraqiya. Al Mada reports
State of Law is calling for the National Conference to be held on the 15th.
Iraq's first feminist magazine was Layla, from the February 11th
Al Mada notes
a group of women demonstrated in Iraq on Baghdad's Mutanabi Street -- a
large number of women from the picture -- to salute Iraq women and the
pioneering Iraqi women of the 20th century feminist movement. The women
noted the widespread discrimination against women (illegal under the
country's Constitution). Dr. Buthaina Sharif made remarks about how the
rights of women are a cause for all men and women to share. Dr. Sharif
saluted Paulina Hassoun who, in 1923, edited Iraq's first feminist
magazine Layla ("On the way to
the revival of the Iraqi woman"). She spoke to Iraq's long history of
social progress in the 20th century and decried the violence aimed at so
many women today. (The UN estimates that one out of five Iraqi women is
a victim of domestic violence.)
Ms. Magazine 40th Anniversary Luncheon Celebrating 40 years of Reporting, Rebelling, and Truth Telling
Luncheon is celebrating 40 years and looking forward to a feminist century.
When: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Reception, 11:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.
Luncheon, 12:30 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Program, 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Where: National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
Reception: Holeman Lounge
Luncheon and Program: Ballroom
Eleanor Smeal, Ms. Magazine Publisher & President, FMF
Katherine Spillar, Ms. Magazine Executive Editor & Executive Vice President, FMF
Bonnie Thornton Dill Ph.D, Chair, Ms. Committee of Scholars
Media interested in covering the event please contact Ms. Magazine, Danielle Smith, 703-522-2214, firstname.lastname@example.org.