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Chaos in Baghdad: Maliki Locks Down City to Stay in Power

Update: President Masum has named Haider al Abadi as the next Prime Minister. Maliki remains defiant, calling the nomination illegal. John Kerry says:

Kerry said Malikiís actions could lead the U.S. to withhold further military assistance just days after American jets and drones began launching air strikes against Islamic State positions in northern Iraq.

****

Baghdad is erupting. Prime Minister Maliki has brought out the Shi'a milita and security forces and locked down the Green Zone, closed the airports, and ordered a curfew. It's kind of like a coup against the new President, Fuad Masum, who Maliki says violated the Constitution by extending the time to choose a Prime Minister until Saturday. Tanks are patrolling the streets.[More...]

The White House tweets:

Fully support President of #Iraq Fuad Masum as guarantor of the Constitution and a PM nominee who can build a national consensus.

CNN has more but I refuse to link to them because they are auto-playing video on their articles.

Developing....

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  • Display: Sort:
    Hopefully, the US is helping push (none / 0) (#1)
    by Green26 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 12:05:41 AM EST
    Maliki out. Looks that way.

    Perfect. (none / 0) (#4)
    by lentinel on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 03:42:44 AM EST
    We pushed him in.
    Let's push him out.

    Mission accomplished.

    Parent

    This is a great article on Maliki (none / 0) (#2)
    by Green26 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 12:44:29 AM EST
    WA Post.

    WA Post, 7/3/14. Ali Khedery.From 2003 to 2009, was the longest  serving American official in Iraq, acting as a special assistant to five U.S. ambassadors

    I apologize for snapping at you... (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Dadler on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 12:59:58 AM EST
    ...yesterday, two days ago, whenever it was. About your son's remark re: bombing ISIS on behalf of the Yazidis. My little brother has served four or five tours in this madness, and, obviously, I didn't like that specific line from your son, but I had no reason to get snippy with a fellow military family member. I should've simply said I disagreed strongly with what the line suggested and left it at that.

    Peace.

    Parent

    Dadler, a (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 09:31:32 AM EST
    gracious expression of regret.  I, too, differ in many ways with Green 26's positions on Iraq.  However, they are fair, albeit, arguable--as is want in trying to mop up a disastrous mess.

    However, in a general and de-personalized sense, I do agree with you on the danger of extrapolating based on personalized experiences. Perhaps, like the blind man describing an elephant based on his knowledge of the tail.  We may gain insights, but they are not controlling ones.

     Moreover, we are a democracy, not a republic of experts, even supposed real ones.  Service in the military forty years ago or forty days ago has importance, but is not necessarily, relevant or persuasive in a larger context.  We can only recall what certain experts once said about Iraq to keep perspective:  General Richard Meyers, Chair JCS,  (a short, short war); Donald Rumsfeld, twice Secretary of Defense (six days, six weeks, I doubt six months).  

    Parent

    Welcomed as liberators... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Dadler on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 12:19:12 PM EST
    ...the invasion would pay for itself, yap yap yap. Entirely the basis of my bad attitude.

    Parent
    There was no offense taken (none / 0) (#5)
    by Green26 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 09:25:50 AM EST
    Perhaps sometime you can explain why you didn't like the comment, about how relatively simple it is conduct airstrikes from carrier to northern Iraq, when there are little or no defense to take on the jets. Thx.

    Parent
    I simply don't like when war... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 12:17:37 PM EST
    ...and the perceived "ease" with which any part of might be executed, is reduced to what I consider glib or flip descriptors. Makes me sick, to be honest.

    Parent
    You need to learn more about war (none / 0) (#17)
    by Green26 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 11:42:43 PM EST
    and how it was done in Iraq. Much of it was very difficult. Striking a target with an F-18 and laser bomb is not difficult. The pilots are very well-trained. My guess is that the pilots who flew the first day missions recently had been over Iraq many times. Like my son said, as routine as going to the store for milk.

    Today was the 7th anniversary of the day my wife and I got the call that our son had been hurt in Iraq, in a rocket attack. Shrapnel, including one 4 inches deep in his back/shoulder. It's still an ugly wound from the outside, with some remaining issues on the inside. Concussion. Surgery in Qatar. One of the 2 worst days of my life, along with the day a baby daughter was born with problems that were fatal less than a year later. As I've said, our son got back in the fight fairly quickly after rehab, and refused to be sent home. And changed units to get back to Iraq another time. Was in Iraq all but 7 months for almost 3.5 years. He knows what he's talking about. Not sure that you do.

    Parent

    If you actually think... (5.00 / 6) (#20)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:56:06 AM EST
    ...that anything in war is routine as going to the store for milk, then I'd suggest our differences are chasmic and incompatible. Again, my little brother has done several tours, has seen all the sh*t he needs to. I learned from him, and from my father and stepfathers, who fought, among other places, at the Battle of the Bulge. Is what you learned from your son greater than what I learned from those I know? I guess you think so. Hey, wait, I've had guns pointed at me in anger three times right here in my own nation, do you want to give me more credit than you for understanding what it's like to think you're about to have a hole blown through your chest or back or head? That's a feeling pretty analogous to war. I guess I win that one, huh? Look, if you want to have this contest of who knows more people who have been to war, we can, but it's really not rhetorically sound to use that as some basis of expertise. Imagination and the soundness of it are. I am merely, and I'd think this is clear, reacting to a specific and glib statement that flies in the face of EVERYTHING history has taught us about war. If you don't agree, fine, it's a free country. But again, if that is how your son talks about war, thinks about war, then, sorry, I do not find him competent intellectually on the subject. That is my honest and reasoned opinion of the quote you offered. Iraq, by the way, is a disaster, in case you haven't noticed, so it would seem going to the grocery store for milk proved no long-term effective help at all. In the larger picture, our loved ones were/are pawns in the violent fantasies of sociopaths who send others to die for their own delusions.

    Peace.

    Parent

    Well, then I guess we aren't going to agree (none / 0) (#21)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:29:15 AM EST
    Because sending an F-18 from a carrier with an experienced pilot, "advisors" on the ground, a laser guided bomb, and targets without air defenses and outside of urban areas, is not considered to be difficult by the military or military pilots. Things have changed since the Battle of the Bulge (and Iwo Jima, where some of my relatives were).

    Parent
    True, our pilots (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 02:02:36 PM EST
    are largely safe.

    But it is still an act of war and collateral damage results....It is not the antiseptic process you suggest.

    Parent

    I'm talking about executing the mission. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Green26 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 01:05:45 PM EST
    With all the training, experience and technology, this particular mission isn't particularly hard, as you seem to agree. I said nothing about collateral damage or antiseptic.

    But speaking of collateral damage, I can't understand how anyone could think that war conducted in urban areas, against opposition who don't wear uniforms, and who intentionally hide themselves and weapons within the civilian population, isn't going to have civilian casualties. No one wants civilian casualties, but where's the rulebook that says that no civilian casualties are allowed. Look at WWII or Viet Nam, or almost any big war, there are always lots of civilian casualties. Civilized countries try to avoid and minimize them, but it's truly impossible to eliminate them.

    Parent

    If you do not engage in such (none / 0) (#32)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:28:51 PM EST
    a war, then there will not be such civilian casualties.

    When we engage in combat in Islamic nations we always run the risk of winning the battle but losing the war.   When we kill civilians we create more terrorists....

    Of course, without AAA our aircraft should be safe.  ISIS does not have AAA and has no air force....

     

    Parent

    My brother-in-law is an F-16 pilot (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:35:59 PM EST
    I cannot believe you would describe what he does as "going to the store for milk".  He also spent everyday being mortared at Balad along with "going to the store for milk".  Your descriptors make me retch too.

    We don't have matching political affiliations but never was he flippant about what he had to do in Iraq.

    Parent

    Chalabi (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 10:21:20 AM EST
    FWIW Chalabi has been floated for new prime minister.

    Although he enjoys little in the way of a popular constituency in Iraq, in 2014 Chalabi was promoted in some circles as a potential compromise candidate to replace the embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose sectarian Shiite government had alienated Iraq's Sunnis and Kurds and helped fuel a massive insurgency by militants linked to the extremist group ISIS and its allies.

    "Chalabi, a secular Shiite, has not been wasting his time while in the political wilderness," reported Foreign Policy. "In the past decade, he has forged strong ties with hard-line Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, as well as the major Kurdish factions and key Sunni leaders. Close to Iran and apparently now tolerated by the United States, he has emerged as perhaps the ultimate compromise candidate in a country fatally lacking in political compromise."

    The Resurrection of Ahmad Chalabi, FP

    See more at:

    Please pass on this Iraq :) (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 10:25:22 AM EST
    I miss the old days... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:36:53 AM EST
    ... when the amoral aholes who ran American foreign policy knew the difference between pay for play stooges and strongmen who stayed bought.

    Parent
    Iraq is a country that has both a (none / 0) (#9)
    by Anne on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 10:39:39 AM EST
    president and a prime minister, which raised for me the question of whether the presidency might be more of an honorary position, with little power to effect much of anything.

    And, from what I'm reading, the answer is somewhere between "no," "maybe," "it depends," and "yes."

    I found this, which goes into some detail on the current state of affairs.

    First, it appears that the "privileges" of the Iraqi presidency were "suspended under a previous political consensus;" the new president will need to re-establish those privileges, which will then accord him more power than it seems he currently possesses.

    Today, the question is raised to the Iraqi president: Is he or the political party to which he adheres, the Kurdistan Alliance, willing to take a personal initiative, or use the presidential system, to effectively participate in filling the huge legal vacuum in Iraq? Is he ready to start by seizing his constitutional privileges and exerting them on par with the prime minister?

    The answer to this question will be very important in the coming weeks. Past experiences have proven that the legal gap was one of the main aspects of the governmental failure, on the security, political and economic levels, to explain the constitution. Moreover, the parties have accused each other of violating the constitutional texts, and this is because the constitutional text that grants the president the privilege of "ensuring the respect of the constitution" was not applied.

    Iraq needs dozens of laws that would clear the air between the executive and legislative authorities as well as among Baghdad, Iraqi Kurdistan and the provinces. It also needs laws that remove the system of governing the state through a group of acting officials. Those have been occupying interim positions for years, although the constitution stipulates the positions must be elected in Article 61.

    How is it possible to read this latest news about the al-Maliki-imposed lockdown in Baghdad and not think "regime change?"  I don't mean to suggest that al-Maliki as Prime Minister is necessarily the best person to bring stability to his country, but this is all taking on a feeling of the US deciding who would be best and working to get al-Maliki out - and that isn't looking like it's going to be bloodless or painless.  

    I don't like where this looks like it is heading.


    Agreed. (none / 0) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 11:34:27 AM EST
    And, it demonstrates for those who want to see, the situation the US would have faced in trying to over-ride the agreement negotiated by Bush.   Maliki's adamance for US troop withdrawal made him the most popular since his installation in 2006.  Maliki was (is)  also secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa party.  My guess is , that at the present, this is all a part of his exit.

    Parent
    Iraq has a new PM (none / 0) (#13)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 04:18:47 PM EST
    link Haidar Al-Abadi

    Parent
    This is progress! (none / 0) (#24)
    by Politalkix on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:03:37 PM EST
    link

    The Kurds, USA and Iran are backing the same candidate.

    Parent

    lol. So who are the Iraqis backing? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:38:08 AM EST
    Losing Iraq (none / 0) (#14)
    by DFLer on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 06:13:21 PM EST
    Been watching this Frontline show "Losing Iraq", in small segments, as it is very depressing. Can be viewed on line here.

    How we got Maliki in the first place (none / 0) (#15)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 08:25:08 PM EST
    It would be funny if it did not have such tragic consequences. GWB thought that the man was "decisive" (maybe just like him and unlike Maliki's predecessor, Al-Jaafari) link It seems nobody bothered to check his background and the Americans also kept getting his first name wrong at the beginning.

    And this gem (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 08:28:02 PM EST
    "Eventually, Mr. Bush doubled down on Mr. Maliki anyway with a risky troop surge and made a point of holding weekly video conferences with him in an effort to mentor him in the art of coalition politics."

    GWB mentoring Maliki on the art of coalition politics-what can go wrong?

    Parent

    All of you need to read this op-ed (2.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Green26 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 11:47:30 PM EST
    on Maliki. Very good. It's been posted before. It would inform you on what actually occurred. It would help make some of what you say less silly.

    Parent
    Sounds to me... (none / 0) (#19)
    by unitron on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 02:30:27 AM EST
    ...like he's saying the Bush administration left a Maliki-shaped time bomb ticking away in Iraq for Obama to inherit.

    Just how much violence to Iraqi sovereignty does the author think we should do in order to force Iraqis to observe their own constitution?

    Isn't it up to them to keep their government in line?

    Parent

    less silly...you quack me up green... (none / 0) (#26)
    by fishcamp on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:25:17 PM EST
    al-Abadi does not seem (none / 0) (#29)
    by ZtoA on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 12:14:19 PM EST
    like much of a "moderate" to me. Dawa party, Maliki's advisor, ally with Iran.