Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Politicians back at the table while death goes silent.

Meetings among the major political blocs are underway as we approach Thursday when the first session of the new parliament is scheduled.
Observers and politicians expect these last-minute meetings to be decisive given the fact that a 60-day countdown clock will start ticking once the parliament is seated and during those 60 days the parliament will have to vote on a presidential council and then approve the cabinet formed by the PM when the latter gets asked to do so by the president.

Of course the 60 days deadline is not the end of the world, for if this deadline is exceeded, the president will have to ask another person to form a cabinet and present it to the parliament for approval. And so on, until a government is in place.
But, no one prefers to take this road and most people prefer to get the government formed from the first trial to avoid adding unnecessary tension to what we already have to deal with.

The statements given by the politicians who attended the meeting were mostly vague but there were a few points they said they agreed upon; one is forming a committee from members of the major blocs to write down a draft system for the work of the cabinet. This draft system when written will be submitted to the leaders of the blocs to be revised, approved and later adopted by the new government. Which means there's an inclination towards making the new government work under the umbrella of a program written in accordance between the major blocs instead of one proposed by the PM or the largest bloc alone.

This indicates that the powers pushing for a more equal sharing of power are getting some positive results from the pressure they've been putting on the parties that controlled the interim government.

Also it's worth mentioning that the Sunni Accord Front is suggesting a plan to reduce the jurisdictions of the PM and increase those of the presidency "to avoid the rise of a new dictatorship" and prevent monopoly of power by a single person, according to sources in the Front.

Today's meeting took place at al-Hakeem's headquarters and it was noticed that Jafari wasn't there for one reason or another but maybe Jafari wasn't invited to create a relatively friendlier atmosphere for the talks as Jafari represents the main point of dispute between the UIA and the rest of the blocs and the politicians themselves mentioned that they left this issue out of the discussion today and I kind of find this a good decision because it apparently allowed them to work out an outline for a mechanism to solve a few issues away form the effects of their stiff stances with regard to the premiership.

Nadeem al-Jabiri, the head of Fadheela Party which is part of the UIA said his party will not take part of these meetings and accused the other political leaders of living a state of denial "because the politicians are not discussing the most important point of difference which is the nomination of Jafari".
Al-Jabiri in a letter delivered to the local press said that his party was terrorized into withdrawing his candidacy for heading the cabinet and said that parties within the UIA he refused to name used intimidation to force the nomination of Jafari.

Meanwhile the newspapers that speak for Shia parties are waging war of words against the US administration and namely against ambassador Khalil Zad who they like to refer to as the "sectarian ambassador of the Taliban Emirate" who they accuse of trying to reimpose a Sunni dictatorship in Iraq.
Not only that, al-Bayina al-Jadida newspaper went as far as asking al-Hakeem to call for jihad against the US presence!

Today in Baghdad death crept in silence…

There were no car-bombs, huge explosions or clashes yet more than 80 bodies were found scattered in various districts of the capital and the number is increasing while I'm typing these words.
The most disturbing finding is that some of the victims were strangled and others were found hanging from lampposts with the word 'traitor' written on the bodies and this makes one think the 4 victims in this particular case were from Sadr city itself because 'traitor' is used to describe someone from your own but who turned against you and it makes no sense to use it on strangers.
I'm afraid I have to think that some sort of 'court' is behind these executions because strangling or death by hanging is not the common execution method for al-Qaeda or regular criminals and I'm afraid we are standing before the doings of a new sharia court similar to the one found in Najaf back in 2004 (and we never heard of the results of the alleged investigation ever since).

People were shocked when they heard Awad al-Bandar of Saddam's revolutionary court say that he tried and sentenced 148 Iraqis to death in a matter of only weeks but the latest wave of murders makes me think that there's someone trying to beat that record.

You form a multi-thousand men militia, you arm them with all kinds of weapons you can find, you fill them with hatred through your inflammatory speeches, you promise to use your militia to defend Iraq's worst enemies, you accuse the Sunni of being Takfiri terrorists, accuse the US of supporting this terrorism and accuse Kurds and fellow Shia of being materialistic opportunists and puppets of the US occupier. And your Islamic militia attacks dozens of mosques and kills dozens of people over night.
And after all this you call yourself a patriot.

You are just as dangerous to Iraq as Saddam was or al-Qaeda is.
I worked in Basra for a whole year, and I was the only secular person in town of 50,000 devout Shia. They didn't hate me, they didn't hurt me and I never felt afraid of being there. On the contrary, there was a great deal of mutual respect between me and the locals I was in contact with.
Al-Qaeda was already murdering Iraqis back then but Iraqis knew who the bad guys were and they didn't alienate or generalize the term 'terrorist' over an entire portion of the community.
It's you and hateful thugs like you who got us to this point….God damn you.

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