The Democrats have become so adept at the art of the political quickie that you’re often not quite sure how thoroughly you’ve just been screwed. By the time I learned that the Progressive Caucus had issued a letter calling on Biden to pursue negotiations with Putin for a path toward ending the Ukraine war, the letter had already been withdrawn, retracted and renounced. There wasn’t even a momentary endorphin rush that at last someone in Congress had shown a little fortitude. Like a V-2 rocket, the Ukraine letter had exploded in the Democrats’ faces before most people had even heard the sound of its flight.
It got worse–or at least more absurd–when Progressive Caucus head Pramila Jayapal came forward to explain the inexplicable. Jayapal promptly turned the Caucus’s about-face into a faceplant when she graciously “accepted responsibility” for the near instantaneous retreat and then promptly blamed the entire episode on the Caucus’s staff. Talk about displaying the cowardice behind the lack of your convictions!
Then along came Bernie Sanders to lend his sanctimonious imprimatur to this bizarre charade. Asked about the Progressive Caucus’s Ukraine letter, Sanders snorted: “I don’t agree with that, and they don’t agree with it, apparently. It was withdrawn today, so it becomes a non-issue.” A non-issue!
There’s a lot to like about Bernie. But he is to the core a Cold War progressive. As I chart in my book on Sanders, since the beginning of his political career he’s been a reliable hawkish vote for Democratic Party-sponsored wars and interventions: Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Ukraine.
What’s this really all about? It’s hard to imagine a more cautiously worded letter. It was in no way an indictment of US policy toward Ukraine. It didn’t raise questions about NATO provocation or Ukrainian corruption. It pins the blame for the war squarely on what it starkly calls Putin’s “outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine.” The peace plan it outlines calls for a “free and independent Ukraine,” which would require near total capitulation from Russia. It would oblige NATO to militarily defend Ukraine against any future territorial incursions from Russia. The letter also cautioned against any coercion of Ukraine to come to the table, saying (ludicrously) “it is not America’s place to pressure Ukraine’s government regarding sovereign decisions.” Where’s the controversy? This is as tame as it gets.
They couldn't stand up for 24 hours and they want us to believe that someday they will stand up for us? Never going to happen.
Speaking of those who have no spines or ethics, the people who promote convicted sex offender Scott Ritter. Add BLACK AGENDA REPORT to the list. Betty, Marcia and Ann
And C.I.'s "The lack of respect for females leads some to prom...'' And let me be clear that all the people like Margaret Kimberley and Aaron Mate that are pimping Scott Ritter are disgusting and are choosing to support a convicted sex offender.
We don't 'need' Scott Ritter. We need to stand with survivors of assault. If that's too much for you to do, don't pretend you care about humanity and know that we see right through you.
I'm glad I am a part of community that refuses to excuse or glorify a convicted sex offender. It's sad that I have to say that because I kind of thought that would be the bare minimum of any community -- outside a pedo ring.
Maybe we need to start considering BAR and other outlets pedo rings? Judge them by their actions.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Descended from a well-known tribe in the southern province of Maysan, Mr Al Sudani, 52, started his political career after 2003 as a member of the Shiite Dawa Party.
From 2004 to 2009, he served as member of the provincial council in his home town and as provincial governor for a year.
He ran for election with the State of Law Coalition led by former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki and has won three terms in parliament since 2014.
Among other posts, he served as minister of human rights from 2010 to 2014 and minister of labour and social affairs from 2014 to 2018.
Al-Sudani is taking over from Mustafa al-Kadhimi who was serving as an interim prime minister after widespread anti-government protests shook the country and triggered early elections.
The political deadlock since then has done little to quell public anger over what many see as widespread and rampant corruption.
"The epidemic of corruption that has affected all aspects of life is more deadly than the corona pandemic and has been the cause of many economic problems, weakening the state's authority, increasing poverty, unemployment, and poor public services," al-Sudani said in parliament.
Formation of Iraqi Government
The United States congratulates Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on forming a new Iraqi government. We look forward to working with him and his government on the range of our shared interests, from improving services for the Iraqi people to ensuring a safe, stable, and sovereign Iraq as outlined in our Strategic Framework Agreement.
The Iraqi people deserve economic opportunity, an end to corruption, and improved public services. The United States welcomes Prime Minister al-Sudani’s commitment to bring weapons under the control of official and legitimate state institutions. We share the Iraqi government’s interest in preserving stability and security.
The United States stands ready to work with the Iraqi government and people to confront Iraq’s challenges together, from improving respect for human rights to addressing climate change and improving economic opportunities for a growing population. Iraq has a partner in the United States as it moves forward with reforms.
Baghdad, 27 October 2022 - The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) welcomes the confirmation of Prime Minister Mohammed S. Al-Sudani’s government by the Council of Representatives. The swift completion of his cabinet is now an essential next step.
The new government faces many serious challenges that require decisive action. These will include addressing Iraq’s systematic corruption; implementing desperately needed reforms and delivering adequate services to all citizens; diversifying the economy; encouraging the meaningful participation of women and youth; tackling the effects of climate change; ending impunity and making perpetrators accountable; and reining in non-state armed actors while asserting the State’s authority.
A strong resolve, across the spectrum, to provide concrete solutions will prove vital. The United Nations reaffirms its steadfast commitment to supporting the government and people of Iraq.
His cabinet consists of 22 ministers, mainly representing the Administering the State Coalition's parties that formed the government.
There are currently two Kurdish ministers in the cabinet. Fuad Hussein, representing the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) member, was elected as Iraq's foreign minister for the second time.
Khalid Shwani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) became Iraq's justice minister.
Al-Sudani's cabinet has three female ministers, Finance Minister Taif Sami, Minister of Migration and Displacement Evan Jabro, and Hyam Al Yassri of the telecommunication ministry of communications.
- Health: Salih Mahdi
- Finance: Taif Sami
- Interior: Abdul Amir Al-Shimmery
- Water Resources: Aoun Diab
- Electricity: Ziad Ali Fadhil Sudani
- Oil: Hayyan Abdul Ghani
- Youth and Sports: Ahmad Al-Mubarqa’
- Agriculture: Abbas Jabr
- Transport: Razzaq Muhaibis
- Labor and Social Affairs: Ahmad Al-Asadi
- Communications: Hoyam Abboud
- Higher Education: Na’im Al-Abboudi
- Planning: Muhammad Tamim
- Culture and Antiquities: Ahmad Fakkak Ahmad
- Defense: Thabit Muhammad
- Education: Ibrahim Namis
- Industry: Khalid Battal
- Trade: Athir Daowd Salman
- Justice: Khalid Shawani
- Foreign Affairs: Fuad Hussein
- Immigration: Ivan Faiq
In his speech prior to the vote, Sudani described the economic and political priorities of his government.
“The world is witnessing tremendous political and economic changes and conflicts, which will add new challenges to our country,” Sudani said. “We will ... do our utmost to succeed in addressing these challenges."
Analysts say that despite breaking the deadlock, the new government is set to face a number of obstacles.
“The fulfilment of the enormous expectations outlined in the Ministerial Programme will be one of the primary obstacles this government will encounter,” Research Associate at Chatham House, Hayder al-Shakeri, told Rudaw English on Friday.
“For instance, fighting corruption throughout and organizing early elections one year later. This will not occur while attempting to maintain the satisfaction of the political elite who have empowered Sudani to become Prime Minister,” Shakeri argues.