By: Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse Posted on October 29.
On his Facebook page, Saad al-Matlabi — a member of the Baghdad Provincial Council from the State of Law Coalition — appeared happy to see a video showing the arrival of a leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, Mohammad al-Tabatabai, to fight in Syria.
Many Iraqi Shiites are joining the fight in Syria, by first receiving weapons training in Iran and then traveling to Lebanon, from where they are taken to Damascus by Hezbollah.
Fourteen Armed Shiite Factions Are Fighting in Syria… The Photos of the Dead Spread in the Center of Baghdad
Author: Omar al-Jaffal
Posted on: October 29 2013
Translated by: Rani Geha
Matlabi commented on the video, “May God greet everyone who cares about our holy places, may God have mercy on the soul of our martyrs and may God bless all resistors fighting terrorism and al-Qaeda.”
Immediately after the outbreak of fighting between the Syrian opposition and the regime in 2011, the former accused Sadrist leader Muqtada al-Sadr of sending fighters to Syria to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. But the Iraqi government quickly denied that Sadr was involved in the Syrian crisis, emphasizing, “Iraq is keen not to be a party to the conflict in Syria.”
After more than two years of fighting between the opposition and the Syrian regime, and the evolution of the conflict into a civil war in some areas in Syria, the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acknowledged that Shiite militias are fighting in Syria on the side of the Assad regime. But Iraq has repeatedly denied that this is happening as part of “Iraqi government policy,” according to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
In central Baghdad’s Liberation Square, posters eulogizing those who died “while defending the Sayyeda Zeinab Shrine [in Damascus]” have become a common sight. Those posters have been part of the scene for more than a year. The faces and names change, but the posters are always there. Iraqi officials have no choice but to look at these posters when they pass through that area to get from Republic Bridge to the heavily fortified Green Zone. It seems that the politicians have gotten used to those faces on the posters and now ignore them. Despite the annoyance of Western countries, including Britain, the Iraqi government has taken no serious measures to prevent fighters from going to Syria.
Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a militia that broke away from the Mahdi Army in 2004 and is now led by young cleric Qais al-Khazali, has claimed that it is the one responsible for putting up those posters.
According to talk in Iraqi decision-making corridors, Maliki is supporting Asaib Ahl al-Haq directly to weaken the Sadrist movement, which is a stumbling block for him to win a third term in office.
Al-Monitor spoke with a former leading figure in the Mahdi Army, who now is responsible for sending young men from Iraq and Iran who are willing to fight in Syria. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said, “Prominent political parties support the fighters in Syria. … Asaib Ahl al-Haq is not alone in fighting in Syria. There are fighters from the Badr Organization and supporters of marja [religious reference] Mahmoud al-Hussni al-Sarkhi. There are 14 Shiite factions fighting in Syria. Some of them broke away from the Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigades,” which for months has been the most prominent Shiite faction fighting in the area and surrounding the Sayyeda Zeinab Shrine in Damascus. That brigade consists of Iraqis, Lebanese and Syrians.
The source pointed out, “The two brigades that make up the bulk of Iraqis in Syria are the Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigades, whose leadership is stationed in Damascus, and the Haidar al-Karar Brigades, led by Akram al-Kaabi, the military leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq in Iraq and who is stationed in Aleppo after his brigade liberated Aleppo [International] Airport. … The Haidar al-Karar Brigades defected from the Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigades after a disagreement on the legitimacy of fighting away from the Sayyeda Zeinab Shrine.”
The source transports fighters to Iran, where they receive weapons training in Iranian training centers. The fighters are then transported to Lebanon and on to Syria with Hezbollah’s help.
Transportation from Iraq to Iran and then to Lebanon is easy. But the difficulty is with Hezbollah transferring them to Damascus.
Mazhar al-Janabi, a member of the Security and Defense Committee in the Iraqi parliament, denied that his committee discussed the issue of Iraqis fighting in Syria.
He told Al-Monitor, “Iraqis should defend the holy shrines in Iraq instead of going to Syria. … These are mere parasites who meddle [in the affairs of] neighboring countries. They have no Iraqi honor.”
How fighters are being transported is no longer a secret. Shiite radicals now have Facebook pages that explain how to get to Syria, the duration of the stay there and the requirements that fighters must have to go to “jihad.”
Youths claiming affiliation with the Badr Organization — which is led by Hadi al-Aamiri, the transport minister in the Iraqi government — created a Facebook page by the name of Badr, the military wing.
On that page, they show pictures of Shiites who died in Syria in addition to images of their funeral processions in Iraqi cities.
Every week, Baghdad receives the bodies of those killed by snipers in Syria. But it is difficult to take pictures of wake gatherings for those killed, because their parents and militia leaders prevent the taking of photographs. Punishment is severe if one tries to film a wake gathering, according to what the former Mahdi Army leader said.
After the tombstone of Bin Udai — one of the Prophet Muhammad’s followers — was desecrated in May, social media pages were created to defend religious shrines in Syria. That event stirred young Shiites and spurred them to call for jihad to protect those shrines from “Wahabis.” An example of that is the “Campaign for the Defense of the Sayyeda Zeinab Shrine” and the page of “Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigades.” It seems that these pages are not being monitored by the Iraqi government or security forces in Baghdad.
Ali al-Shallah, a member of the Committee of Culture and Information in the Iraqi parliament, said that his committee “deals cautiously with electronic media, so that our reports or statements are not seen as cracking down on freedoms.”
He told Al-Monitor, “The Committee of Culture and Information sends letters to those who created those Facebook pages that call for jihad, to express our point of view that these calls threaten national security and freedom of expression in Iraq. But we don’t say this in a declaration or an official statement for fear that it would be seen as a crackdown on freedom of opinion and the media.”
On the other hand, it is very unclear how Sunni fighters who have been fighting alongside Salafist organizations against the Assad regime are being transported. No information is available on their numbers or of their importance in Syria’s battlefields. But there are signs every now and then that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — who was born in Samarra, Iraq, and now leads the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) — is luring young Iraqis from rural and border areas to Syria by tempting them with female “sex jihadists.”
Bassem Dabbagh, a Syrian writer and political analyst, told Al-Monitor in a phone interview, “Most Sunni Iraqi fighters in Syria are fighting with either Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS. But the bulk of their presence is within the 'battalions of immigrants,' which consist of non-Syrians who only fight and plan for battles.”
Omar al-Jaffal is an Iraqi writer and poet. He is an editor of Bayt and Nathr, two intellectual magazines that are published in Iraq. He is also the chief editor of Al-Aalam al-Jadid, an electronic newspaper.
Maliki to Appeal for US Help
In Fighting Terrorism
By: Geoffrey Aronson for Al-Monitor Posted on October 29
The visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to Washington on Oct. 30 offers an unwelcome reminder of the bloody persistence of instability that has become the norm in Iraq in the wake of the US destruction of the country's core institutions a decade ago. In addition to endemic political warfare and a polarization of relations between Maliki's ruling party and disaffected and besieged opponents, Iraq has been caught in the maelstrom of bloodletting now dominating Syria next door. More than 7,000 innocent Iraqis are reported to have been killed this year in the streets and souks of Iraq, in a frenzy of sectarian terror led by Sunni jihadists of various stripes — all of whom share kinship with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's opponents across the border in Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will make the case that terrorism in Iraq is directly related to the war in Syria.
Author: Geoffrey Aronson
Posted on: October 29 2013
In Washington discussions about Syria it has been commonplace to advise policymakers to take a long look at US policies toward Iraq — then do the complete opposite. The Obama administration did not quite take this advice. Today, Iraq — which itself suffers from “a crisis of its entire political system,” according to the Iraqi prime minister — is also endangered by the destruction of Syria's state institutions, whose protection is now belatedly recognized in the White House as one of the key objectives of the stalled Geneva II negotiations.
“The main axis of the planned visit to Washington is a discussion of bilateral relations, especially the Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries. … The visit will also include discussions of the overall security situation in the region and the issue of terrorism and how to confront it,” Maliki explained.
“Terrorism” is Maliki's shorthand for the Sunni jihadists upending Iraq's domestic scene. “The weapons provided to those killers in Syria have been smuggled to Iraq, and those wolves that came from different countries to Syria are now sneaking into Iraq,” Maliki charged.
Maliki's visit will focus on the breakdown in internal Iraqi security as a consequence of war in Syria and enlist Washington’s support for military sales, including drones, to better defend the country's porous western border with Syria.
Such requests put the Obama administration in the ironic and uncomfortable position of being challenged to enhance Iraq's ability to confront security challenges that it itself has in part precipitated by its support for Assad's ouster.
The prime minister told Al-Monitor that the campaign of domestic terror is “directly related to the developments in the Syrian crisis and its repercussions on the Iraqi arena. We are very worried about the Syrian arena transforming into a field that attracts extremists, terrorists and sectarians from various parts of the world, gathering them in our neighborhood.”
The United States would prefer to be oblivious to Iraq's current troubles, which mark the latest indication of Washington's failed effort there. Americans are famously inattentive to foreign affairs, and few are interested in being reminded — as the Erdogan government never tires of arguing — that the key strategic result of the campaign to unseat former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been to consolidate Iranian (read Shiite) influence on the Euphrates for the first time in a millennium.
There’s a sense of almost absolute detachment from events in Iraq, as though the departure of US troops after the crowning failure of reaching a status of forces agreement closed the door on US interest there. The self-comforting narrative, “America did its best for Iraq; it’s not our problem if they can’t get their act together,” regularly places Iraqi events on newspaper back pages and all but out of contemporary US consciousness.
Syria, however, dominates news from beyond. Maliki's visit shines an unwanted lens not only on Iraq's predicament but also its relationship to the debacle that is Syria. Maliki will tell his US hosts the uncomfortable truth that Iraq and Syria are in critical respects joined strategically and that Washington’s — and US allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia — effective support for Assad’s jihadist opponents is blowing back in Iraq in souks and mosque attacks, the likes of which have not been endured since the darkest days of the US occupation. Washington's pursuit of regime change in Damascus and its support of the Syrian opposition, which in Maliki's view “cannot be considered parties that support democracy or freedom, or even elections,” is also endangering its ally in Baghdad.
Maliki’s visit and Iraq's pained history with Washington also highlight the perils of an unhappy ending to the US-led NATO occupation of Afghanistan as well as the common space that can be created there if US-Iranian relations improve. Maliki is a firm proponent of an Iranian-US rapprochement, from which Iraq can only gain. Washington and Kabul are now engaged in talks that will govern what will be left of a US military presence in the country after the withdrawal of most US and foreign forces in 2014. The American public, in contrast, long ago disengaged from the faraway war, even as policymakers contemplate annual expenditures of $4 billion annually to keep an aid-dependent regime in place. The most expensive US foreign aid effort in history is winding down with shaky prospects for preserving whatever uncertain gains were won in America's longest war in its history. Policymakers in Washington are preoccupied with the form that Kabul’s post-evacuation relationship with Washington will take, but as the Maliki visit and Iraq’s troubles demonstrate, however much Washington may want, it will not easily be able to tie what little will remain of its obligations to Afghanistan in a neat, workable package.
Geoffrey Aronson has long been active in Track II diplomatic efforts on various Middle East issues. He writes widely on regional affairs and is the author of From Sideshow to Center Stage: US Policy Towards Egypt, 1945–1955.
By: Fazel Hawramy for Al-Monitor Posted on October 29.
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — Mohammad Karimi was driving his car between two towns in the mountainous region of western Iran on an evening in early October. The vehicle was laden with satellite dishes, illegal under Iranian law, while his wife and two young children awaited his return. As he drove in that fateful night, a single bullet pierced his windscreen and struck him in the head. He died instantly.
As sanctions continue to take their toll on Iran's economy, more Iran Kurds are risking their lives as border couriers to make a living.
Author: Fazel Hawramy
Posted on: October 29 2013
Mohammad was the latest kulbar — border couriers who carry untaxed goods coming from Iraq or Turkey for a small fee — to be killed by Iranian border police. The police have killed close to 100 of these petty smugglers over the last two years, treating them like dangerous criminals.
While the official unemployment rate among the youth in Iran is 26%, the figure in the Kurdish areas in the west and northwest of the country is much higher, forcing people like Mohammad to resort to the perilous profession of smuggling goods across international borders.
"Unemployment in the province has become a serious dilemma," Salar Muradi, a parliament member from Kurdistan province, stated in the Iranian parliament several months ago.
In his recent report to the UN General Assembly, UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed highlighted the "indiscriminate killings of kulbaran in violation of the domestic laws and international obligations of Iran."
Mohammad's mother, Hajya Malek Khedryan, speaking to Al-Monitor via telephone from Iran, said that her son was only trying to make a living for his young family. She said, "There were no warning shots; they just fired at his car and a bullet hit him in the head and killed him instantly."
But it is not only the authorities that fill these border couriers with fear. Last May, Wali Khodabakhshian, a friend of the author, loaded his pickup truck with fuel to smuggle across the border into Iraqi Kurdistan. He crashed the car in the mountainous roads, igniting the fuel, and was burned alive. Many others who do this dangerous job either die stepping on land mines left over from the Iraq-Iran war or freeze to death in the harsh winter of the Kurdistan mountains. Others are caught by the authorities, who seize their goods and hand them hefty fines that leave them with few options but to continue smuggling to pay them off. This creates a vicious cycle that eventually results in death for many of these petty smugglers.
This hard life for thousands of Kurds owes in part to lack of investment by the government in the Kurdish areas, which some argue is politically motivated.
"As economic problems intensify due to international economic sanctions by the Western countries and the incompetence of the government … other security and political issues have turned Kurdistan into a place for political disputes and this is one of the reasons why the government ignores the development of the region, and therefore people have been forgotten and resort to the dangerous job of kulbari to live," reads a report by the US-based Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, an advance copy of which was obtained by Al-Monitor. The governor of Kurdistan province also stated recently, "Investment and creating jobs are among the essential needs of Kurdistan."
Paiman Alkhani, 24, used to be a kulbar until he was injured by Iranian border police in 2008. He now lives in Ankara. When asked why he did such a dangerous job, he told Al-Monitor via telephone, "To put it simply, because of poverty and unemployment. There are no jobs in my region and people can only do this smuggling."
Paiman who has applied for political asylum in Turkey through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said that even before the sanctions, the Kurdish people were working in this dangerous trade. He said, "Before the sanctions, the situation was bad for us, but since these sanctions have intensified, it has gone from bad to worse and our economic situation is critical."
It is not clear how many people have died on the border smuggling goods in and out of Iran. Shaheed's report to the United Nations General Assembly states, "At least 70 border couriers were killed and 68 wounded by government forces between March 2011 and April 2012."
According to Gissou Nia, the executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, the penalties for smuggling have significantly increased in recent years. She said, "In January 2012, a new law was passed that penalizes smuggling, the transport of smuggled goods within borders and the possession of smuggled goods equally — and triples the fines on those convicted of these crimes." Nia added, "Perhaps most concerning is that the law allows for the confiscation of the goods to the benefit of the state, which provides little incentive for border police not to take harsh action against those engaging in these activities. At its most extreme, the current system of enforcement can result in violations of the Iranian state's international obligations, and in particular, an individual's right to life as provided by Article 6 of the [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], which Iran is a signatory to."
As for the future of Mohammad's young family, his mother said, "Their life is destroyed. Only God may help them. We are all distraught at this loss."
Fazel Hawramy is the editor of kurdishblogger.com and an independent journalist currently based in Iraqi Kurdistan. On Twitter: @Kurdishblogger
Secret Iraqi Report Says Money Not There for Purchased Arms
Secret Iraqi Report Says Money Not There for Purchased Arms
“The Finance Ministry has allocated 10.6 trillion dinars to the defense ministry in the 2014 budget, while the ministry needs at least 35.7 trillion dinars in order to proceed with its arm contracts,” the report reads. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Defense Ministry, which is awaiting delivery of multi-billion dollar arms purchases from the United States and Russia, says in a confidential report that it does not have the funds to pay for the weapons.
The report to the Council of Ministers expresses frustration over the limited budget allocated to the ministry in the 2014 budget. It says there is a 70 percent deficit between allocated funds and those needed to pay for the arms.
“The Finance Ministry has allocated 10.6 trillion dinars to the defense ministry in the 2014 budget, while the ministry needs at least 35.7 trillion dinars in order to proceed with its arm contracts,” the report reads.
To boost its air defense system and counterterrorism operations, Iraq has signed multi-billion dollar arms contracts with Washington and Moscow. The weapons include dozens of Mil Mi-28 strike helicopters from Russia as well as F-16 fighter jets and sophisticated communication systems from the United States.
The report warns that failure to proceed with the arms deals could limit the ability of Iraqi security forces to effectively carry out missions against terrorist groups.
The arms deals are expected to be discussed during Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s visit to Washington on Friday.
Talabani's Health Improving, Kurdish Official Says
By Alexandra Di Stefano Pironti
BARCELONA, Spain – Ailing Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, recovering in Germany from a stroke last December, is recuperating well and is able to speak, move and read, a representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Spain told Rudaw.
“I am a very good friend of one of his sons and I talk to him often. He said that Talabani is recovering and doing better than before and he can talk, move and read,” Daban Shadala said during a short visit last weekend to Barcelona from his base in the Spanish capital of Madrid.
Talabani, who celebrates his 80th birthday in November, is Iraq’s president and leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The party’s shock defeat in the September 21 elections, for autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan’s own legislature, is blamed partly on Talabani’s forced absence.
“It is not so easy to recover so fast at this age,” said Shadala, who also belongs to the PUK. “He is in a rehabilitation center in Germany and gets the information about Kurdistan and Iraq. But the family wants to avoid having him start emailing and talking to people about work,” he explained.
Talabani has not been heard from since the stroke, and for months there has been a virtual blackout on information about his condition from the party, the family or his personal physician.
The only information for months was when Iraqi Vice President Khodeir al-Khozaei said in early August that Talabani was no longer in critical condition. “The president can now move, stand up and sit, and he has also started to talk,” he told the Arabic Al-Hayat daily.
“We badly need him. He is a key figure for Iraq,” Shadala said about Talabani, who for decades has been a towering figure in the Kurdish struggle.
Since Iraq’s Kurds gave up warring among themselves until the 1990s and turned largely to politics to settle their differences, Talabani’s charisma and the respect he yields among the Kurds enabled him many times to bring differing parties around the table to work out problems.
“Iraq is going through a difficult and complicated process and nobody trusts anyone else. Talabani was the person in the middle to bring the ethnic and party groups together on the table to negotiate peacefully,” Shadala remarked.
In the parliamentary polls, the PUK lost to the rival and breakaway Change Movement (Gorran). That unseated the PUK as the Kurdistan Region’s second-largest party, and intensified the crisis inside the already leader-less party.
The issue of who should replace Talabani as PUK leader has still not been discussed internally, members say, indicating the party still remains largely rudderless. The PUK says it will be discussed at the next party convention on January 31.
A recent Rudaw poll on the Internet showed that 65 percent who voted online believed that Barham Salih, PUK’s deputy secretary general and former prime minister, was the most suitable person to lead the party. Salih, 53, has been an outspoken critic of his party’s shortcomings and has urged fellow leaders to chart a new course.
But Adil Murad, head of PUK’s central committee, told Rudaw recently that his party’s older leaders should take a step back and give the young ones a chance. PUK sources say that the party’s old guard has realized the need for new blood, and that changes are in order.
They say that Talabani’s 36-year-old son, UK-educated Qubad, is among the top names being considered for the PUK’s leadership post. He served as the KRG representative in Washington DC before returning home to become minister of coordination and follow-up.
KDP Official Says PUK to Get First Choice in Forming Government
By Nawzad Mahmoud 11 hours ago
KDP Official Says PUK to Get First Choice in Forming Government
Formal negotiations on forming the next cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have been delayed because the final official count has yet to be announced.
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Democratic Party will grant the first choice of partnership in the next government to its strategic ally and coalition partner the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), KDP leadership council member Ali Awni said.
“To start the negotiations the KDP will first approach the PUK. In case there is no fruitful outcome to the negotiations with the PUK, we will then approach other parties,” Awni said, granting a glimpse into the horse-trading to form autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan’s next government, following elections in September for the regional parliament.
“If the PUK chooses to stay as our partner in the government, we will jointly initiate negotiations with other parties,” Awni said. “In case of PUK’s refusal to stay as our partner, we will approach other parties to reach the legal measure to form the government,” he explained.
Formal negotiations on forming the next cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have been delayed because the final official count has yet to be announced. No significant differences are expected from the unofficial count, which has placed KDP in top position with 38 seats, not too far shy of the 56 seats needed to form the government.
At the polls, voters trounced the PUK. It won only 18 seats, while the rival and breakaway Change Movement (Gorran) grabbed 24, taking the PUK’s place as the Kurdistan Region’s second-largest party.
That means that the KDP can form a government with Gorran or any of the small opposition parties. Although voters clearly want Gorran in government, the KDP may prefer a weak PUK to a strong Gorran, which has promised government reform.
According to political tradition, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani will ask the KDP nominee to form the new government.
Awni said that, in reaching out to the PUK once more, the KDP was not just seeking to secure the legal measure to form the government.
The PUK, which has chafed under the KDP’s dominance throughout the four years it has remained in the partnership government, says it may consider another four years of married life with the KDP.
“The PUK has not decided whether it is going to be part of the next government or not. But the majority of PUK leadership is for participating in the government, because it is not the time yet for PUK to become an opposition group,” said Farid Assasard, a senior PUK official
But a Gorran party official warned that, “If PUK participates in the next cabinet and agrees to leave Gorran out, it will face another four years of frustration, even worse than the previous four years, because PUK is no longer the dominant party in Sulaimani.”
Assasard rejected the claim, saying there are new developments and the success of the next cabinet depends on the participation of the five winning parties.
He also revealed that the opposition groups do not want to negotiate with the KDP separately, but as a common group. He said that the PUK will not be a KDP partner in those negotiations, as it had been in the formation of the previous cabinet.
“This time PUK will act as an independent party and will not participate in KDP’s negotiations with the opposition parties. It is the KDP’s sole responsibility to negotiate with other parties,” Assasard added.
An opposition source confirmed it was true that the parties want to negotiate with the KDP as a single front. “The opposition is worried that the KDP might approach the three opposition parties separately, therefore the opposition prefers to negotiate with the KDP as one group,” the source said.
Earlier this week, Massoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region said that, “the formation of the next cabinet will depend on the negotiation process.”
Nazim Abdulla, a member of Kurdistan Islamic Group, warned that “if the KDP disregards the opposition’s agenda for the next government, the process of forming the cabinet will be more difficult.”
“The political changes from the election are very clear to us. Disregarding PUK as a partner is as hard as disregarding Gorran’s 24 parliamentary seats,” Awni concluded.
President Barzani receives a phone call from U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden
30-10-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Search the President of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, the political and security situation in Iraq.
The presidency of the Kurdistan region in a statement, said the president of the region on Monday evening received a telephone call from Biden search through the political and security situation in Iraq in general, as well as exchange views on the Law of the Iraqi Council of Representatives elections.
The two sides stressed the need to find solutions to the problems and crises in Iraq, and the strengthening of relations between the Kurdistan region and the United States.
Expectations of failure to pass the new election law and a return to the old
30-10-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Baghdad, Alaa al-Tai
Despite the certainty that the political process permanent rotation may change things in the final moments, but the members of the House of Representatives ruled out of this matter in the law of the parliamentary elections, which abounded المساجلات about it recently, because of the Kurdish demands, Marjaheen return to work the electoral law in the old case of failure of efforts compatibility led by House Speaker Osama Najafi.
MP for the coalition of state law, Haider al-Abadi, ruled out the adoption of new parliamentary elections law because of widening differences between the blocs about it, describing the talks and meetings conducted by the speaker of parliament and the heads of blocs that it has reached an impasse, likely to return to the old law.
Ebadi said in an interview for "Center Brief for the Iraqi Media Network": that "the political process is not without its developments and surprises and there is always the agreements may come in the final moments, but the data on this issue increased the tugging and all blocs participated in the widening dispute over the law, even Some of them have applied almost impossible, knowing that he was supposed to make an amendment to one article that led to the distortion of the law and make it right. "
He added: "The current law is in force, approved by all parliamentary blocs and with the participation of the United Nations, was conducted by the research, and thus fought a successful election in which during the year 2010," explaining that some of the blocks have fallen for amending the law except for the Kurds who want to open a file law fully and to reconsider In many of its articles to increase the seats of the province up to 8 additional seats. between Abadi, that in the event did not happen compatibility will work law, the old, indicating that the state does not follow the desires, but rather follow the laws of the Constitution, the law exists and enforceable and al-Qaeda jurisprudential and legal stresses that he does not vacuum constitutionally can work.
The MP said none of the parliamentary blocs has no interest in delaying the elections, saying that he can not be postponed, and no one, whether Parliament or the Council of Ministers or the Federal Court, the authority what he can of delay as the Constitution is clear and determined that the elections take place within 45 days the end of the parliamentary session.
He called Abadi Presidency of the Republic to issue a clear statement includes the date is set next election, pointing out that the Commission confirmed complete them preparations to hold the elections on schedule, and gave instructions to the political entities to submit their nominations to the elections, ie, that the electoral process began, the parliament passed in vote deadline in advance, nor one can postpone this deadline or has the power to it, though not an agreement is reached, the current law in force.
He ruled out the implementation of the Kurds to their threats to withdraw from the electoral process in the absence of taking بمقترحاتهم, saying, "I ruled out the implementation of the Kurds to their threats and boycott of the elections in the event of a failure to approve the law or the current adjustment and include their demands," noting that the political process under way, noting that in 2005 saw the county a lot of blocs and political entities, but the electoral process ago and later enrolled in the fact that the electoral process will of the people will not stand one of her face, in the words of the MP.
He Abadi said talks Speaker Najafi ago, is that the demands of the Kurds rejected by the rest of the blocks, and that the United Nations expressed its reservation to these demands and described as "unfair", especially that the Kurds want to increase seats in their provinces by about 10 deputies without other provinces which What will not be accepted by the rest of the blocks because he exceeded their share. For his part, noted the National Alliance MP Ahmed Abbasi that differences persist between the parliamentary blocs on the election law amendment, noting that it began moving toward special interests.
He said in an interview for "Center Brief for the Iraqi Media Network": "breadth roof demands fairly inconsequential," noting that the Federal Court went its decision to respect the will of the voter and modify the material in the old law not to spin the vote to large lists and keep them from him public trust and votes.
The Federal Court had objected to some articles of the law, which took place whereby the House of Representatives election in 2010 and the most prominent of these objections, which demanded modified, it relates to the way the distribution of voters contained in Article 3 of the Act which provides for the distribution of votes entities that did not reach the electoral threshold, between winning blocs, and the paragraphs relating to the distribution of quota of minorities own Balsabih and Shabak. promised Abbasi away the blocks for the public interest in orientation "is dangerous and sophisticated about upset the balance of the Federal Court and went to him," believing that in the end with elections approaching, the parliamentary blocs Strdkh to go to Current law in force and the amendment of Article demanded by the Federal Court modifies only the elections are held to the same law. In turn, the MP for the Iraqi List Haider Mulla said the talks on electoral law is still without a result and a stagnant pool of political negotiations, blaming the heads of blocs and the leaders of the first row responsibility for it.
And Mulla threw the ball in the court of the Kurds, indicating that the ceiling of their demands "unacceptable" by the rest of the blocks, and they are if they are more flexible and waived little will to move forward with the law.
And between Mulla said in his speech for the "Center Brief for the Iraqi Media Network," that if the failure to reach an agreement at today's meeting of parliamentary'll be back to the proposed electoral law and former proceed to hold elections by the following amendment to Article which نقضتها Federal Court, adding that the political consensus required in any But the law can not be an impediment to the legislation of law and delay the parliamentary elections.
He pointed out that the Kurds have made demands can not be any mass acceptance, but they can be reduced to move the law and vote on it, or return to the previous law, which is valid law after the amendment of articles which Nqdthma Federal Court concerning the mechanism of the distribution of seats and the share of the Kurdish Yazidis and that there are no problematic in the matter.
Agreement on the sharing of the Government of the Territory exclude Kurdish opposition
30-10-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Erbil - morning
A source familiar with the Kurdistan region that the two Kurdish parties (KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), a contract agreement on forming the next provincial government, and the exclusion of the opposition MDC, which got the second place of the recent parliamentary elections.
The source, who asked not to be named in a statement the "morning", said the agreement provides for the sharing of power again between the two parties and the shape former, as it will go presidency of the parliament to the former president and a member of the Patriotic Union of Arslan Baez, compared to preside over the regional government بتشكيلتها eighth by a member of the Democratic Party, indicating that the competition for the position of head of the provincial government confined between two candidates key, the first is the former president of the government Barzani, President of the National Security Council Barzani happy, as will distribute the rest of ministerial portfolios and high-level positions between the two parties as the line earlier. "
The source added that "the agreement the two parties which took place during the past few days, provides for the exclusion of the MDC Kurdish participation of the government coming and with it the two parties Alasalamaan المعارضان (Islamic Union and the Islamic Group)," noting that "the total parliamentary seats held by the opposition 40 seats, will be excluded occupants of Post the administration of the region. "
He pointed out that "the parties will achieve their goal by excluding opposition parties through the presentation of a ministerial portfolio for each opposition party (the change and the European Union and the Community) and are aware in advance that these parties will not accept it," but he also said: The bipartisan سيعرضان ministerial portfolio to small parties which won one seat in addition to other bags will be allocated to the other components like Christians, Turkmen, Yazidis and others.
And on the implications of this agreement on the fragile situation of the Patriotic Union, source confirmed that the agreement will affect negatively on the internal situation of the Patriotic Union and the independence of its decision political, because it will have to be dragged behind the policies and positions of the Democratic Party, "explaining that it would eliminate all hope make the desired change at the level of the leadership of the Union and his political positions after it was decided in the mini Party Congress to make drastic changes to the level of party leaders.
Foreign Policy: Obama haste to withdraw its troops from Iraq allowed al-Maliki of exclusivity governance
30-10-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Iraq ignites two years after American troops leave the country, raging violence is a serious political challenge to the Obama administration, and a warning of what could happen in Afghanistan if what has been the withdrawal of all American military units from this country.
And tries to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who will visit Washington to seek U.S. assistance in its fight against Islamic militants who have killed more than five thousand Iraqis since the beginning of the year, including 600 in the current month only.
There is a bitter irony contained in Maliki's flight; In autumn 2011 conducted the Obama administration and the Maliki government negotiations reached an impasse on an agreement that would pave the way for the continued U.S. military presence in the country by ensuring complete immunity to American from prosecution, he took Obama to withdraw all the pieces fighter after Maliki said his inability to hold such a convention.
Two years later, al-Maliki tries to turn the clock back and ask the United States to increase security cooperation with the government.
Despite the fact that Afghanistan is not Iraq, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai faces a similar dilemma regarding the future of the U.S. military presence in his country, where Washington is demanding its troops immunity as it did with Baghdad as opposed to Karzai publicly provided, as did al-Maliki.
This impasse prompted the Obama administration to think something unthinkable even a few months ago, a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which is the primary battlefield of the war on terrorism.
Says Douglas Oliphant, retired officer who had already served in Iraq as a director at the National Security Council during the Bush administration and the Obama "We must not underestimate never the ability of foreign leaders on a misunderstanding of the red lines that we set.'ve Thought Maliki that we can ask nothing less than ensuring immunity and was wrong to do so. might offend Karzai also understand that this is a red line for us. "
It was not supposed to play this way in any of the two countries. In Iraq, he called for a bilateral agreement in 2008 between al-Maliki and President Bush to leave all U.S. ground forces country by the end of 2011, the date did not think a lot of officials the possibility of its implementation. In late 2011 was still some senior officers Americans expect the deal to keep the 8-15 thousand fighters in Iraq indefinitely, but they were wrong; When insisted al-Maliki on his position on the issue of immunity, surprised Obama Pentagon ordering the withdrawal of all the pieces of the country by December 31 The first of the same year.
It was the withdrawal of a direct impact on the Iraqi army emerging; Fbmah sight lost Iraqi military trainers Americans who were living with them and fighting on their side also been withdrawn military specialists who were helping Iraqis in the collection and analysis of information battle that reduced the amount of information held by Iraqi forces for senior al Qaeda leaders or for high-profile attacks in the future.
On the other hand reported a Corner that Maliki's visit to Washington comes at a time deteriorate the security situation in Iraq, and thousands of Iraqis fall at the hands of extremists allied with al-Qaeda, and the western border with Syria open its power allows for extremists of all sects to fight alongside different parties in Syria and Iraq.
Maliki has a shopping list that contains a U.S. military materials to help control the border include aircrafts and helicopters march or wireless devices objection.
But the basic problem is that al-Maliki has collected in the grip exercised authority against the Sunnis, while maneuvering the Kurds to secede from the central government in Baghdad. In April next parliamentary elections will be Iraq confusing It is believed that al-Maliki will compete again on the first position.
In short, Iraq is suffering from major internal chaos caused by Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops, prompting Maliki to walk into a dead end.
It is very likely that the White House agrees to provide financial aid for empty promise from al-Maliki not to allow flights to continue carrying Iranian arms and men to the Assad regime in Syria. In fact, maybe Maliki from the Iranians will be asked to reduce the number of those trips.