الاثنين، يناير 31، 2011

الاثنين، يناير 24، 2011

Again?

Does Maliki think he is Saddam's heir or something?

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has won a court ruling placing independent bodies like the central bank and the electoral agency under the cabinet, a centralization of power that critics are calling a "coup."

Maliki's government made the request to the supreme court in December before he was reappointed later that month to a second term, and the court ruling in his favor came through last Tuesday, generating little controversy at first.

The independent agencies affected are supposed to be monitored by parliament according to the constitution, hastily drawn up in the chaotic aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Maliki argued that where the language describing parliament's monitoring powers over the agencies was ambiguous, the bodies should be attached to the cabinet. The court agreed.

The main agencies affected are the Central Bank of Iraq, the Independent Higher Electoral Commission, anti-corruption watchdog the Integrity Commission and the High Commission for Human Rights.

"The court views that the term 'monitoring by' is not clear enough to place these under parliament's authority, therefore they should be attached to the cabinet," the ruling said.

The decision alarmed critics who view with suspicion glimpses of authoritarian leanings in some of Maliki's actions.
More

Of course, the "independent" supreme court itself is a joke.

الثلاثاء، يناير 04، 2011

Saddam's message of friendship to President Bush

July 25, 1990:

IT WAS PROGRESS TO HAVE SADDAM ADMIT THAT THE USG HAS A "RESPONSIBILITY" IN THE REGION, AND HAS EVERY RIGHT TO EXPECT AN ANSWER WHEN WE ASK IRAQ'S INTENTIONS. HIS RESPONSE IN EFFECT THAT HE TRIED VARIOUS DIPLOMATIC/CHANNELS BEFORE RESORTING TO UNADULTERATED INTIMIDATION HAS AT LEAST THE VIRTUE OF FRANKNESS. HIS EMPHASIS THAT HE WANTS PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT IS SURELY SINCERE (IRAQIS ARE SICK OF WAR), BUT THE TERMS SOUND DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE. SADDAM SEEMS TO WANT PLEDGES NOW ON OIL PRICES AND PRODUCTION TO COVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS.

GLASPIE

A Tour of Iraq's Ancient Sites

From the NYT blog (nice photos in link):

Saddam Hussein’s regime, which was never kind to antiquities, cleared Kirkuk’s citadel of most of its inhabitants in the 1980’s and destroyed their homes as part of a reclamation project.

Such projects have long been a focus of the American efforts to win hearts and minds and rebuild Iraq. The American military has spent $220,000 to spruce up the grounds at Aqar Quf, including a museum that might one day again house ancient Kassite relics, evacuated to the National Museum during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The provincial reconstruction team in Babel province did the same for the museum in Babylon.

But local and federal officials are beginning to see their revival as part of the process of making the country whole again, economically and psychologically.

There. I added links to some of the stuff that Stephen, Stephen and Shiho or their editors decided was not relevant or perhaps not fit to print.