BGG: Great to see all you peeps here for our Round Table (mid-day) Chat...
BGG: To start with I wish to point out my current level of optimism with where we are right now. There seem to be significant reforms coming for Iraq, there are several critical laws "on deck" very soon...
BGG: and there seems to be a significant current of "independence" brewing in Iraq. This is good - because much of the ugliness going on there is influenced from outside.
BGG: I like it.
BGG : In fact, having said as much - why don't we start with that Huffpo article firefly just posted??
BGG says to _firefly_: would you mind bringing that for us again??
_firefly_ : Sure .. it is long !
BGG says to _firefly_: No problem.
_firefly_ : WASHINGTON -- Iran has for years exerted tremendous influence over Iraq, turning it into essentially a Shiite-led client state under former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But a new protest movement in the country's Shiite-dominated south is a key sign that Tehran's power is waning, as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Maliki's U.S.-backed successor, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, make forceful moves to reclaim Iraqi independence. Much of Iraq is no longer under the control of the central government in Baghdad. The Islamic State militant group rules large swathes of the Sunni region to the west, and Kurds control their own autonomous region in the northeast. In the Shiite-majority sections of Iraq, however, including Baghdad and the areas to its south and east, a political confrontation with Iran is underway just as the Islamic Republic is engaging the international community like never before through a historic nuclear agreement Iraq watchers believe that a popular protest movement calling on Abadi to better handle public services and government corruption is a subtle indication that Iraqis want to beat back Iranian influence in their country. Sistani's position is a key indicator to follow, those watchers told The Huffington Post. U.S. officials have, in secret documents released in 2011 by Wikileaks, spoken of Sistani as the "greatest political roadblock" for Iranian operatives in Iraq. The Iranian-born ayatollah has unquestioned authority in Iraq and a very different approach to politics from his Iranian counterparts, disavowing their view of a theocratic government or "Wilayat al-Faqih," the rule of the Islamic jurist. Sistani's position is a key indicator to follow, those watchers told The Huffington Post. U.S. officials have, in secret documents released in 2011 by Wikileaks, spoken of Sistani, Sistani is based in Najaf, the spiritual capital of the Shiite branch of Islam. After the Iranian revolution of 1979, influence over the global Shiite community shifted from Najaf to Iran's chief religious center of Qom -- in large part because Iraq was ruled by a Sunni minority regime led by Saddam Hussein. But following the U.S. invasion in 2003, power -- and what's thought to be millions in funds from religious tourism and Shiite devotees around the world -- began to flow back to Najaf, historically the more significant site. Sistani and Iran have had a fragile alliance in the years since, one that's been threatened recently because the Iraqi ayatollah has implied that he blames the Iranian client Maliki for losing ground to the Islamic State. An American source who has worked for years with the Iraqi government said that frustration with Iran helps to explain Sistani's groundbreaking decision last year to call up Shiite "volunteers" to join militias battling Islamic State forces. "One of the reasons Sistani called up the militias was to keep the Iranians out," the source told HuffPost. "He's also trying to push Iranians out of the governance structures." Iran's clout manifests itself in many ways. They include Tehran's control of a number of the Shiite militias in Iraq, the role of top Iranian General Qassem Suleimani in providing arms for those militias and for the Iraqi army, and Iranian support for a number of top Shiite political figures. "He's also trying to push Iranians out of the governance structures."For Sistani and other players in Iraq who would like to see that influence diminished, the protest movement has created an opening, according to an Iraqi government official who spoke to HuffPost on condition of anonymity. "It's clear that Najaf is very determined to maintain its independence from Iran. Najaf felt it was an opportunity to ride off the back" of the protest movement, the official said. Sistani called on Abadi last month to respond to the protest movement's demands in a message delivered in an important Friday sermon. Sistani called on Abadi last month to respond to the protest movement's demands in a message delivered in an important Friday sermon. "The government listens to every word of what Najaf says very, very carefully. Every Friday, everyone is listening very closely" to Sistani's prayer message, the Iraqi official told HuffPost. And Abadi has responded, eliminating a number of government positions -- including that of vice president, costing Maliki the job he gained after U.S. pressure and opposition at home led to his resignation last year. In the Iraqi parliament, there have been calls for Maliki to face trial over his loss of the city of Mosul to Islamic State forces. Every Friday, everyone is listening very closely" to Sistani's prayer message, the Iraqi official told HuffPost. And Abadi has responded, eliminating a number of government positions -- including that of vice president, costing Maliki the job he gained after U.S. pressure and opposition at home led to his resignation last year. In the Iraqi parliament, there have been calls for Maliki to face trial over his loss of the city of Mosul to Islamic State forces. Iran's powerful proxies in Iraq are pushing back. The leaders of two of the most powerful and brutal Shiite militias, the Iraqi Hezbollah and the Badr Organization, visited the chief judicial authority recently, reports Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War. "The Iranian-backed militias, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, the Badr Organization, and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, all have a vested interest in thwarting PM Abadi’s reforms, especially the attempt to eliminate the vice presidential positions and thereby expel VP Nouri al-Maliki, who has been aligning himself with the militias for months," Kagan wrote in a Sept. 3 post. Kagan, a former adviser to U.S. generals in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggested that the Iranian-backed militia leaders hoped to pressure Iraq's judiciary and its president into stalling the reforms. But it looks like Sistani, Abadi and other Iran skeptics are gathering a loose coalition of their own to resist these efforts. Not all of Iraq's Shiite militias support Iran, noted Phillip Smyth, an expert on Shiite militias at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the founder of Jihadology.net. Many agree with Sistani in opposing the Iranian ideology of theocratic rule. That presents an opportunity for the American military planners who are closely watching Iraq as they to identify which partners to work with against the Islamic State -- and who have for months been worried, U.S. officials told HuffPost, that their personnel in Iraq would be vulnerable not only to Islamic State forces but to Iran-backed militants."It wouldn't surprise me if those in the Department of Defense are looking to liaise if not offer some support for [militias] which are both truly Iraqi nationalist and are not proxies of Tehran," Smyth told HuffPost in an email. But it looks like Sistani, Abadi and other Iran skeptics are gathering a loose coalition of their own to resist these efforts. The Iraqi population itself may now be galvanized by the latest protest movement to start thinking about the interests of their state rather than those of the various sects, said Iraqi-American activist Zainab Al-Suwaij. As the executive director of the American Islamic Congress, Al-Suwaij runs conflict resolution centers in Iraq and is in touch with political actors on the ground. "After the demonstrations in Baghdad and elsewhere throughout the country, the sectarian issue between the Sunnis and the Shiites has become less than before," Al-Suwaij told HuffPost. "It's not about feeling that the Shiites are in control -- the Shiites are also complaining about corruption."
BGG: .....the Iranian-backed militia leaders hoped to pressure Iraq's judiciary and its president into stalling the reforms...
_firefly_ : Major political parties have been forced to bow to street pressure and rush to enact reforms, she noted. And she predicted that this time, unlike in the past, Iran will not be able to protect them from popular dissent. "Iran is no longer as strong as they used to be," Al-Suwaij said. "Iran is no longer as strong as they used to be," Al-Suwaij said. "Iran is no longer as strong as they used to be," Al-Suwaij said. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b03784e27603d0
BGG: ...But it looks like Sistani, Abadi and other Iran skeptics are gathering a loose coalition of their own to resist these efforts...
BGG: ..."It's not about feeling that the Shiites are in control -- the Shiites are also complaining about corruption."...
_firefly_ says to BGG: Exactly
_firefly_ says to BGG: HUGE and telling article
BGG: And all of the above is generally the source and basis for my current optimism...
BGG: this is it - they want their country back and seem willing to beat back Iran and the corruption. I really think Abadi wanted to all along - but this big push by Sistani is giving him the "street cred" he needed to get it done...
BGG: it's a miracle - really, without Sistani - Abadi might still be "whittling away" at Maliki's underpinnings of influence - taking "who-knows-how-long" to get there...
BGG : and that has been his approach for the last year - taking out leg by leg until he had Maliki in a weak enough place to deal with him - it looks to have gotten moved forward greatly - just recently.
BGG: al - IMHO
_firefly_ says to BGG: Sistani has more power than any politician in Iraq. When he talks EVERYBODI listens ...... it is law
BGG : they have a standing Militia because he told them to.
BGG : "He said so..."
_firefly_ says to BGG: So yes Sistani backing Abadi is HUGE
BGG: this is legit - real - non-jibberish, News.
BGG : Thank you firefly.
_firefly_ says to BGG: Exactly !!!!!!!!
BGG: Sorry it took so long folks - I thought it important.
Pablo says(12:27 PM):
Sistani should demand Maliki and Alalak's head on a platter.
Carxpress: So, do you feel that Sistani is the driving-force behind the organized protests (and what they protest about) as well?
BGG says to carxpress: of course - Sadr has jumped in here at the end as well...
BGG says to carxpress: Hakim is on board but he seems to have a closer relationship with Tehran than the others.
BGG says to carxpress: and I suspect they (Iraq) have left Hakim's status with Tehran intact on purpose...
Apollo12: Do you feel that this will "Speed" things up or was this possibly the plan all along? Thx
BGG says to Apollo12: no question - it is moving things ahead exponentially...
Pablo: Now that this has happened, what do you think that chances are of an RV before the end of the month?
BGG says to Pablo: far better than had it not - that's for sure.
BGG says to Pablo: I have seen this brewing for some time now..
BGG says to Pablo: and this is about as I have had it pegged. So it isn't an overnight occurrence, but it's good news. That they are speaking openly about it.
_firefly_ : Sistani and Abadi have thrown it into 6th gear !
Pablo: Are they going to go ahead and vote on those laws tomorrow, or put them off again?
BGG says to Pablo: Pretty plain where the "hold-up" has been coming from - Iran thru her proxies (Maliki/Alak)...
BGG says to Pablo: No idea - but it is generally moving the right direction...
ddboys1626 says to BGG: """ I don't - bonds (on their best day) won't save them...it's something else...""" what do you think it is???
BGG says to ddboys1626: HAS TO BE BUYING POWER - end of story.
BGG says to ddboys1626: they can't borrow enogh to fix this. It's IMPOSSIBLE.
BGG says to ddboys1626: BUYING POWER = value added to the currency.
_firefly_ says: It costs about 7 billion dollars a month to run the country
_firefly_ says: The loans they have recieved is literally chump change !
BGG: Tomorrow .. Abadi discuss "reforms" with the heads of blocs
BGG: Brother - Baghdad - An informed source, said on Monday that the Prime Minister will meet tomorrow with the heads of parliamentary blocs to discuss the recent government reforms. The source said that "the prime minister Haider al-Abadi held, on the evening of Tuesday, meeting with the heads of parliamentary blocs," noting that "President axis of the meeting is to see the visions of the blocks on the recent reforms announced by al-Abadi."He added that "the meeting also includes the highlight future plans. "He explained that "focuses as well as to speed up the enactment of important laws broken in the coming sessions of Parliament. "The Prime Minister said Haider al-Abadi, a package of government reforms aimed at political reform, including the abolition of the posts of Vice President and the Prime Minister. Then later issued a new package, which included a series of resolutions reform, including opening the Green Zone.
BGG : IMHO - Abadi is going about this the exact opposite as in the past - they used to sit around and negotiate for months (with the various blocs) about what reforms would be "agreed upon" and then never really get much of that done...
BGG: with the shot he fired across the bow of the Integrity Committee's bow about dissolving them and then threatening to dissolve Parliament and "suspend" the constitution...
BGG: then going back and dealing with the various blocs on what reforms he wants and what is coming next...
_firefly_ says to BGG: including opening the Green Zone." I find this VERY interesting with Daash being such a threat !!!!!
BGG: while some aren't happy with his "cart before the horse" approach - it certainly has shaken things up!!
BGG: and with his looming direct threats of mitigating their corrupt hold on power - especially with the backing of Sistani, Sadr and others... this just might work wonders over there.
BGG: I am very hopeful... tomorrow - the next day?? I doubt it... but soon - maybe, just maybe.
Apollo12 : What about Shabibi? Is he not a big key in all of this? Since he is not back in his role at the moment. Do we not need to see him back in full swing of his position?
BGG: No - I don't see Shabibi coming back anytime soon - and he isn't the only one that can do this.
BGG: there are a number of more qualified candidates (than Alak )
BGG: that is a statement from my direct sources - they have been generally "on point" thus far.
BGG: However, I rarely admit as much - I try to stay away from "anecdotal information" as much as possible.
BGG: not that I don't hear it - at times I hear so much of that stuff it is exhausting
BGG: On the other hand, just because I comment on, or post a news article - that does not mean I am vouching for its veracity (how true it is)...
BGG: I am just presenting and commenting on what is available.
BGG: obviously some news it just noise - other is pretty legit. I try to say so when I think it's real.
NWBeauty: Sactions lifting in Iran: Isn't this a driving force to Iraq?
BGG: Big picture - maybe, who is to say they won't try to strangle Iraq no matter what??
BGG: seriously... big picture - maybe that is right... maybe not.
NWBeauty: I don't see Iraq allowing Iran to get that far out in front
BGG says to NWBeauty: other way around?? Iran letting Iraq get that far out??
Carxpress: I assumed that Abadi would be part of the delegation going to the USA (then London) for the bond rating (and sale) .. so, if Abadi is to meet Tuesday with the Parliament heads (in Iraq), who would be part of the bond delegation, instead of Abadi? .. IYO? . … or am I just confused about the bond meetings?
BGG says to carxpress: Not sure Abadi wants to be there for the bonds.
BGG says to carxpress: according to reports - he is in Iraq for meetings with politicos??
Carxpress: ok .. It DOES make more sense for him to stay in Iraq for meetings . .. .Thank, You!!
_firefly_ : The meeting's agenda number (19) Tuesday 8 September 2015
_firefly_ says to BGG: Tenth: the second reading of the draft anti-money laundering and terrorism financing law. (Finance Committee, the Integrity Commission, the Commission on Security and Defence). (Article 57). Session starts at: ten in the morning.
BGG says to _firefly_: NICE on the second reading of the AML Law in the AM - Keep us posted on that. That is legit!!
BGG says to _firefly_: P.S. that is the biggest of the coming Laws.
BGG says to _firefly_: It is the one the WB threatened to shut them down over...
_firefly_ says to BGG: It certainly is, must get er done and SOON !
BGG says to _firefly_: and likely why Abadi is making a play to clean up the judiciary. First pass it - then enforce it.
_firefly_ says to BGG: Exactly
BGG says to _firefly_: they will likely pass that before anything gets sold... that and the Investment Law.
_firefly_ says to BGG: You took the words out of my mouth ....again .... we need to stop meeting like this
Dr Dave: Wants to borrow some F-18s?
BGG says to Dr Dave: Who?
Dr Dave: Abadi to Washington or his delegation
BGG says to Dr Dave: He has f-16's in action as of this morning (according to Fox News)...
BGG says to Dr Dave: F-18's are a pain
diane1: with all these new laws being implemented where does this fit into the monetary reform
BGG says to diane1: these three appear to be (at this point) precursors to monetary and economic reform. BIG TIME...
diane1: thank GOD! THANKS, SO WE SHOULD SEE SOME MONETARY MOVEMENT FAIRLY SOON
diane1: HOW MUCH LONGER CAN THEY LAST?
BGG says to diane1: let's hope - not long.
Pablo: These three, you mean the judiciary, the Investment Law and the AML law?
BGG says to Pablo: National Guard Law, Investment Law, AML Law - and some judicial refom of some kind (Fed Court Law) - the first three being critical.
Pablo: Ahh. Let's hope they get those done tomorrow.
Raindropsnroses: Is it really possible that Pablo could be right and they could get done tomorrow?
BGG says to raindropsnroses: No - but the AML Law is on the schedule for its second reading for tomorrow.
BGG says to raindropsnroses: and that is a big step.
Dr Dave: WB/Imf deadline Oct 1....
BGG says to Dr Dave: as I recall - yes.
Pablo: Investment law has had all its readings, they just need to vote on it, right?
BGG says to raindropsnroses: which means - though not on Pablo’s time schedule - they are in high gear.
raindropsnroses says to BGG: I'd love Pablo's calendar!!
BGG says to raindropsnroses: me too
dale : BGG: Any thoughts on how long it will take the International Court to make a case on Maliki? I think it's been since around the end of June or so since it was stated that Maliki would be tried in the International Court.... it sure seems like it would help Abadi obviously if Maliki were picked up.
BGG says to dale: That is true - but I imagine it won't happen until after his immunity challenges are exhausted and it is obvious the ICC has clear jurisdiction.