Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hillary just wants to help the Democratic Party, right?

That is the lie. 

She is all about the mid-terms.

Well, it turns out, she is all about that and, of course, lining her own pockets.

Hillary Clinton opted to sell her email list, voter data, and software tools to the DNC, which she knew was strapped for cash and struggling to rebuild. She assigned the payments—which will continue through October—to her dark money group, Onward Together.


And she wonders why she is so unlikable?  She has earned the wrath and she is the one responsible for her own bad image.  Time and again, she proves it is all about her.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
 
Can someone explain why our troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan? 🤷🏽‍♀️




An Australian asks the right question.  It's a question we should be asking in the US?  Those in the United Kingdom and Canada are among the citizens of other countries who should be asking the question.


In the US, we can't ask the question apparently.  We're too busy with stupidity like this.


why does it matter public editor position eliminated? bc it was the looming threat back in 2004 that the NYT public editor was going to publish major evaluation of the paper's botched WMD coverage that forced editors to finally address issue themselves;






As usual, Eric doesn't know what he's talking about.  But then, little Eric isn't mentioned in Daniel Okrent's book.  I am (and have known that since the book came out, PUBLIC EDITOR #1, but we haven't noted him in the time since so there was no need to make that disclosure).  Okrent did a good piece but it was not a major piece.  (Compare it to the similar piece by Howard Kurtz for THE WASHINGTON POST -- Kurtz had cooperation with his paper's employees.)  Okrent wrote that piece because of a community member.  He had been called out by the member.  When he first started as the paper's public editor (ombudsperson), he noted he would not go into Iraq or any other past events.  He broke that when he covered the Tonys before the paper did.  He went back to their previous coverage (he felt it had been too much) and did so before the latest nominees were announced.  Having done that, he was confronted with an e-mail about the hypocrisy of his stand.  Because of that -- he may not have agreed with the point but he did see how it could be seen as a double standard -- Daniel Okrent did a column on the Iraq War.

This did force the paper to do a limited review -- with the promise of more that never came -- of their coverage leading up to the Iraq War -- which they rushed out ahead of the column Okrent did.

That's what happened.  Again, Eric was doing nothing of value back then.  That's sort of the story of his career, isn't it?  And those thinking Big Brave Eric is so wonderful for sticking up for Hillary Clinton for the last two or so years should remember that Eric did nothing to call out the very real sexism that Hillary experienced on a daily basis in 2008.  He's always worthless.

For example, this go round, he links to the NYT editors' piece but not Okrant piece.

I'd tell Eric to go f**k himself but, let's face it, he's never stopped doing that. Which is why he can only stare into the past and can't deal with Iraq and NYT today.  Sinan Atoon's  "How NYT took part in the plunder of Iraq" (ALJAZEERA) addresses a very real issue that's current, one that Eric might get around to in twenty or so years.  Or not.

Staying with criticism, SOFREP reports criticism the central government out of Baghdad is making regarding a decision by the US government:

Once again the United States is stepping up to handle the salaries of the Peshmerga despite Iraqi criticism and their apparent inability or unwillingness to do it themselves. The United States will be giving the Ministry of Peshmerga approximately $365 million this year over several installments. The ministry confirmed they have received the first on and will be using it this week to fund Peshmerga wages. This is not the first time the United States has had to step in and provide wages for Kurdistan’s forces because of Iraqi central government negligence.
An Iraqi Minister of Parliament, Firdaws al-Awadi, has expressed that the United States providing financial aid to the Peshmerga will insight rebellion in Kurdistan. Firdaws al-Awadi is part of the State of Law Coalition which is run by Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki is the former prime minister and  current Iraqi vice president. Awadi said, “Delivering financial aid for the Peshmerga from a bank account in the US shows disrespect to the sovereignty of Iraq and is an encouragement for the Peshmerga to rebel against the Iraqi government. Delivering this money to an armed national force in Iraq without knowledge of the Iraqi government is a big problem.” Her implication is that the United States is potentially funding an armed coup.
There are many who will argue that this should have been done all along.  But certainly the fact that the Peshmerga isn't being funded post 2008 is an issue with historical implications that thug Nouri's partner Firdaws al-Awadi elects to ignore.  Sawa, SOI (and DOI), "Awakenings."  Remember them?  Sunni fighters.  Largely Sunni -- we covered the David Petreaus hearing where he said there was more than Sunnis in the group, "there are now over 91,000 Sons of Iraq -- Shia as well as Sunni -- under contract to help Coalition and Iraqi Forces protect their neighborhoods and secure infrastructure and roads. These volunteers have contributed significantly in various areas, and the savings in vehicles not lost because of reduced violence -- not to mention the priceless lives saved -- have far outweighed the cost of their monthly contracts."


That snapshot also noted then-Senator Barbara Boxer's comments and questions including that the US government was paying the Awakenings -- $18 million a month.  Boxer: "I asked you why they couldn't pay for it. . . . I don't want to argue a point. . . I'm just asking you why we would object to asking them to pay for that entire program giving all that we are giving them in blood and everything else?"

The Iraqi government was fine with the US paying for that.  But after Boxer's questions, the US pushed the cost off on Iraq.

Or said they had.

But they hadn't because Iraq wouldn't pick up the cost.  When the US finally quit paying?  The Sahwa didn't get paid.

With that in mind, the decision to pay the Peshmerga may have been made.

Nouri lets the Sahwa collapse at the same time he persecuted Sunnis which led to the rise of ISIS.  The fear might have been if the Peshmerga wasn't paid while the Kurds were targeted by the central government out of Baghdad, something similar might take place again.

The US Defense Dept is quick to announce the following:


Although hard work remains following defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s tyrannical self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria, there are encouraging signs that life is returning to normal, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve told Pentagon reporters today.


Oh, another turned corner!!!!

They do love to lie and spin as they start yet another wave of Operation Happy Talk.  Dropping back to Sunday:


The US press tradition is to lie and then lie again.  Over and over.  Elections are scheduled to be held May 12th in Iraq so that's the only story that the US press can manage.

If they weren't so busy selling the myth of 'liberation' and 'democracy' in Iraq, the might be able to tell you just how bad things are getting.

For example, in eastern Baghdad today a corpse was discovered dumped in the streets.

Why does that matter?

Whenever dead bodies start showing up on the streets of Baghdad, that's a sign things are getting worse, much worse.

If anyone is paying attention, this is something to be alarmed by.



That was Sunday.  Yet the Defense Dept continues to spin.  It's worth quoting then-Senator Hillary Clinton from the same April, 2008 snapshot:  "For the past five years, we have continuously heard from the administration that things are getting better, that we're about to turn a corner." 

That was in 2008.  Ten years later, it's still the same story.  Hillary concluded those remarks calling for an orderly withdrawal.  Yet US troops remain in Iraq today.



New content at THIRD:




The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:



  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    CHAPPQUIDDICK

    Patrick Martin (WSWS) has a really strong review of CHAPPQUIDDICK.  What I would emphasize about the movie is that it does not do enough to explain how Ted Kennedy could get away with the death of Mary Kopechne.

    1) What was their relationship?

    The press was loathe to go further than campaign worker in real time (the movie follows about a week of that time period -- starting with the night of her death).  Who would want a campaign worker dead?  They did not explore that which hampered the story from the beginning.  Back then, most affairs of the powerful were covered up.

    2) The deaths.

    Two of Senator Kennedy's brothers had been assassinated: J.F.K. and R.F.K.

    This created sympathy for Ted Kennedy and the entire family.  M.L.K. had also been assassinated.  By 1969, we were a nation soaked in our own blood (as well as the blood of the Vietnamese our government was killing) and no one had the stomach for too much more.

    3) The assassinations.

    Was this a failed assassination attempt on Ted Kennedy?

    It was a time of conspiracy and fear.  Some wondered if this was an attempt to kill Ted Kennedy?  Or an attempt to kill his career -- a set up?

    Because of two and three and the family name, the woman was a side note to her own death.  It became concern over Ted Kennedy and she was simply left a non-person.

    I think the film could have pulled back a little to make the above clearer because that was very much a part of that time.

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

     
    Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

    RUDAW reports:

    Some residents in the Iraqi capital are voicing their dissatisfaction with the current government's empty promises to improve services like sewers and roads.

    "The state is financially strong. Its net worth surpasses billions of dollars. The whole world is eyeing our country due to our oil. In other words, we are the richest country in the world, but at the same time we are the poorest people in the world," Halim Hatam, a resident from Tariq neighborhood in Baghdad

    Residents there and in the Muntazar neighborhood have complained of litter piling up on the streets — grounds where children play.

    "[The government] does not implement what we are asking for. Nobody cares about us. We do not know who we should turn to. Look, we are just asking them to pave a single street with asphalt," said another man in Tariq.
    These are serious issues -- the litter, the roads.

    But especially serious are the sewers in parts of /Baghdad.  All areas of Iraq were destroyed by the US-led invasion.  But parts of Baghdad, the poorest areas, especially suffer because of the sewers.  When the rains come, the water in these areas does not drain quickly and it can quickly be knee level or even higher.  This leads to the areas flooding.  This is not a new development.

    From back to the November 21, 2012 snapshot:

    In Iraq, the rains have been falling with significant consequences.  Tuesday, All Iraq News reported that the rest of the week would be rainy and foggy.  And Iraq had already seen heavy rain fall.  Sadr City was one of the areas effected.   Joseph Muhammadwi and Mahmoud Raouf (Al Mada) reported on the flooding of Sadr City and included a photo of the water up to the frame of a mini-van. Despite the flooding and continuing heavy rains, traffic police stand outside directing vehicles. One resident jokes that Nouri can replace the food-ration cards with free small boats.  The water's flooded the streets and also gone into homes and schools and a makeshift bridge of bricks has been constructed to allow access to one school.  Dar Addustour noted that many of the cities, such as Kut, have been hit with the heavy rains.  Baghdad residents protested the lack of public services -- proper sanitation (i.e. drainage) would alleviate a great deal of the standing water. Nouri's had six years to address Baghdad's sewer system and done nothing.  AFP reports today the heavy rains in Kut led to houses collapsing resulting in the death of six children and leaving one adult male injured.



    From December of the same year:

    All Iraq News notes that Baghdad is receiving the most rainfall it's seen in thirty years. Alsumaria adds that the last days alone have seen the amount of rainfall Baghdad usually receives in a full year (note the picture of the three men walking down the street with water up to their knees). Kitabat notes that the rain is destroying the infrastructure (check out the photo of the man who's apparently  trying to get home with bags of groceries).

    This is not just due to rainfall.  This is also the result of Iraq's crumbling infrastructure -- infrastructure Nouri al-Maliki has had six years to address and he's done nothing.

    Alsumaria notes yesterday's rains have caused 3 deaths and two people to be injured in Baghdad -- two deaths from a house collapsing due to the rain and one from electrical death (with two more injured in that as well) and that main streets in the capital are sinking.   All Iraq News notes Baghdad has been placed on high alert because of the torrential rains.

    You could mistake Baghdad for Venice in this All Iraq News photo essay which notes that students are forced to walk through the high standing water to get to schools.   They also note of Tuesday's rainfall:  Baghdad had the most yesterday (67 mm) followed by Hilla, Azizia and Karbala (rainfall was also recorded in Samawa, Rifai and Basra -- of those three, Basra was the highest and Baghdad's rainfall was three times Basra's).   It's not just Baghdad.  Alsumaria notes that after ten house collapses in Wasit Province village, the Iraqi Red Crescent began evacuating the entire village. Dar Addustour notes Nouri issued a statement yesterday that he's going to oversee a committee that will try to address the situation.



    Big words from Nouri.  That's all he ever offered.  No actions, just words.

    From the November 12, 2013 snapshot:




    As for thug Nouri?  It's not been a period of good opticals for Nouri.   Sunday, we noted:


    Al Mada reports that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to participate in the parliamentary elections expected to be held in April 2014.  He stated voting is a right and that Iraqis must use their rights for the good of the people.  He encouraged his followers to vote for those who will serve the people.
    Clearly that person couldn't be Nouri. We've noted why many times but click here and look at All Iraq News' photo of a section of Baghdad today.  The cars are almost underwater.  And why?  Rain.  Rain in a country that Nouri's 'led' for over 7 years and never bothered to improve the sewage system.  So when it rains, the water doesn't drain, it stands and floods.


    Monday,  Wael Grace (Al Mada) reported that in addition to drainage and sewage issues, Baghdad is sinking.  This has to do with a channel from fifty years ago and the government's aware of it and, at one point in the last few years, had $500 million to spend on it but didn't spend it on fixing the problem.And you can check out the photo in this report by Alsumaria -- a report which notes the current sewage system -- in the capital of the country -- dates back to the 1960s.  It's over five decades old and further destroyed by war but Nouri's done nothing to update it.  Alsumaria also reports the flooding is taking place in Anbar Province as well and that roads are being cut off.


    How bad is the problem -- this problem that's worsened with 7 years of Nouri's neglect?

    All Iraq News reports Nouri's announced "a meeting with Governors to discuss the raid-related floods."



    And from the meeting Mr. Big Talk Nouri announced?  Nothing.  Not one damn thing.

    We could provide many, many more examples.

    Corruption is a big issue in Iraq because the Iraqis see their lives continue suffering and degrade.  The public services have only worsened.  In the safety of the fortified Green Zone, corrupt politicians haven't had to suffer.

    May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explains that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.   RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.  The chief issues?  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies them as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."



    As noted in the April 3rd snapshot, pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher has utilized data on likely voters and predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats. The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats).  Other predictions?  The Middle East Insstitute's Fanar Haddad insists to Sammy Ketz (AFP) that the post of prime minister will come down to one of three people: Hayder al-Abadi (current prime minister), Nouri al-Maliki (two time prime minister and forever thug) or Hadi al-Ameria "a leader of Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating IS. Ameri comes from Diyala province and is a statistics graduate from Baghdad University. He fled to Iran in 1980 after Saddam executed top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr. The 64-year old is widely viewed as Tehran's favoured candidate."





    XINHUA reports:


    Iraq's firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Monday called for the people of Iraq to actively participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections to rid the country of corruption.
    A statement issued by Sadr office said that Sadr's repeated calls for active turnout is aimed at eliminating Iraq from corruption and corrupt politicians.
    Sadr followers are taking part in the competition for the parliament seats under a political party known as Istiqama, or Integrity Patriotic Party (IPP), headed by former lawmaker Jaafar al-Musawi.
    IPP joined umbrella coalition under the name of Sa'iroun, which includes some smaller political groups, in addition to the Iraqi Communist Party.


    Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has led protests against corruption.  But, as the turnout for the protests have suggested, corruption is an issue that rallies more than just his base.  It is an issue that, like security, is important to all Iraqis.



    IRAQ : New electronic voting machines will announce the elections results a few hours after the voting period ends and that will prevent any fraud or rigging attempts.





    IRAQ : New electronic voting machines will announce the elections results a few hours after the voting period ends and that will prevent any fraud or rigging attempts.



    Yesterday, REUTERS noted, "A new electronic system will deliver the results of Iraq’s upcoming national election within hours of polls closing, the country’s chief electoral officer said, a marked improvement from previous years when it took weeks to announce the outcome."

    This is only an improvement if the vote is secure.  That means that the voting is protected and verifiable.  The Iraqi people should be sure that they own the machines, that there is a paper ballot trail should recounts need to take place and that the machines are inspected to ensure security.  Without taking these and other measures, the machines can be hacked -- just as easily as any other machine can be.  The only real benefit is quick results but quick results mean nothing if the results are questionable.

    So much about the campaigns thus far have been questionable, Seth J. Frantzman (JERUSALEM POST) offers:

    This time, eyes will be on what happens in mostly Sunni Arab districts that were liberated from ISIS over the last several years. Abadi visited Fallujah, a Sunni city devastated by the conflict, on April 22. There are almost 100 seats up for grabs in Kirkuk, Ninewa, Diyala, Salah a-Din and Anbar governorates, where most of Iraq’s Arab Sunnis live. Turnout will also be watched closely in Kurdish regions.

    Some Kurds have been calling to boycott the elections since Baghdad sent its army into Kirkuk, a largely Kurdish city in northern Iraq. Baghdad sought to reassert Federal control after the September 2017 Kurdistan independence referendum.

    IRAQ’S 2005 constitution reserves a quarter of the seats in parliament for women, but in practice, women hold only about 17%. In this election women candidates, who feature prominently on many electoral posters, have been targeted by misogynistic attacks. A purported sex video circulated online ended the candidacy of Prof. Intidhar Ahmed Jassim, a member of Abadi’s party. Another video of Dr. Heshu Rebwar Ali, a KDP candidate, was circulated allegedly showing her in a short dress.



    In another bizarre episode, two tribes in Najaf came into conflict after a video showed a 20-year old male from one tribe kissing the campaign poster of a female candidate from the other. In the end, $84,000 was paid to satisfy the “honor” of the woman’s tribe. The instances of targeting women illustrates the use of salacious rumors to harm candidates and tends to target successful women, reducing their chances of running and of other women’s willingness to do so.



    In the US, it's also election year.  First comes the primaries.  In June, California holds its primary.  Kevin de Leon is running for the US Senate (I am supporting Kevin).






    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, DISSIDENT VOICE and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:



  • Monday, April 23, 2018

    The circle of nonsense

    I am so sick of nonsense.  Over the weekend, Shania Twain, the country singer from Canada, had an interview with THE GUARDIAN.  In it, she said she probably would have voted for Donald Trump because when he was being disgusting there was a real ness about it.  That was her opinion.

    Somehow, it became the end of the world and she had to apologize on Twitter.

    Let me repeat, she had to apologize.  And she did.

    Okay, can we all grow the heck up.

    Seriously, grow the heck up.

    She did not vote in the election -- she is Canadian.

    She was expressing an opinion.

    Suddenly, it became the end of the world with whining and moaning and, yes, bitching.  I am so sick of this nonsense.

    I have never known of anything so idiotic in my life.

    This has not happened before.

    And note that it does not happen on everything.  Ellen DeGeneres can and did have Bully Boy Bush on her show -- a known War Criminal.  But the Twitter justice crew did not rush to shame her for that.  I think they should have.

    He is a War Criminal.  There was Ms. DeGeneres making nice with him and normalizing him.  But that apparently did not trigger anyone. 


    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

     
    Monday, April 23, 2018.  19 days until Iraq is scheduled to hold elections and so many problems remain.




    In a report RT has filed this morning, they note check points in Iraq.




    RT CORRESPONDENT:  As a fairly regular fixture of life in Iraq, you learn fairly quickly to get used to the fact that you end up spending most of your day stuck in a car.  Part of the reason for this is the checkpoints.  They are all over Iraq.  In fact, if you pan the camera right now, we are approaching one right now.  Now these security officers are checking for suspicious people, perhaps car bombs.  They're supposed to be making Iraq safer but attacks continue despite the checks.  Now it looks like the officers want to check us.

    Driver speaks with security officer.

    RT CORRESPONDENT:  Passport?  Okay.  So I'll hand over my passport now.  Here you go, sir.

    SECURITY OFFICER:  Welcome to Iraq.

    RT CORRESPONDENT:  Thank you.  So it looks like we've been allowed to pass through.  Despite this routine search.  Thankfully, we didn't get detained for too long.  Iraqis do find these to be frustrating but at the end of the day it's probably better than facing another suicide bomb attack.

    These checkpoints serve another purpose every four years -- preventing people from voting.  Those who've left their homes due to sectarian tensions and other security issues will be told at their closest polling center that their ID cards must be used at their own polling station.  The checkpoints will prevent a number of people from voting -- as happens each election cycle though it remains the most ignored story when it comes to the western press.


    AP does note campaign billboards.






    They're not the only ones noting the campaign posters.  Adnan Hussein (AL-ARABYIA) explains:



    What is also terrifying is that the light in the end of the tunnel seems dim and very pale. This is what we can tell from the photos showing the campaign posters for candidates for the upcoming elections. These posters have filled the country’s streets and squares.
    There are dozens and perhaps hundreds of candidates, especially on the lists of influential parties, blocs and coalitions, who are corrupt par excellence. The problem is that these people’s victory is guaranteed thanks to the “haram” earnings they, along with their parties and blocs, made from looting annual budgets or other sources and thanks to the political support they have from the leaders of these parties and blocs!
    How do we fight corruption when we open the doors of the most important and supreme authority in the state for the corrupt?


    On the issue of corruption, many may turn to the words of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.  Ali Mamouri (AL MONITOR) reports:

    During the April 13 Friday sermon, the representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Ahmed al-Safi, reiterated how the Shiite religious establishment in Najaf insists that politicians who have previously failed to live up to executive or legislative responsibility not be elected.
    Safi warned against voting for those who have not provided any services to the people, saying, "Don't vote for those you voted for before and who failed.” He stressed the importance of choosing individuals who have the ability to “swiftly respond” and solve problems.
    Sistani's representatives took to explaining his opinion, calling on voters to be careful and spare Iraq the dangers of choosing an ineffective parliament and government.
    Rashid al-Husseini, a high-ranking cleric close to Sistani, told Al-Furat TV on April 14, “The corrupt people we have voted for have robbed the nation. We ought to not vote for them again, even if they are members of our clan or sect.”
    Husseini said, “I would rather trust a faithful Christian than a corrupt Shiite. A person who does not pray and fast but can be trusted with the money of the people and the nation is deserving of my vote. Even if a person prays and fasts, I can never vote for them if they steal.”


      




    May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explains that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.   RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.  The chief issues?  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies them as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."



    As noted in the April 3rd snapshot, pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher has utilized data on likely voters and predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats. The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats).  Other predictions?  The Middle East Insstitute's Fanar Haddad insists to Sammy Ketz (AFP) that the post of prime minister will come down to one of three people: Hayder al-Abadi (current prime minister), Nouri al-Maliki (two time prime minister and forever thug) or Hadi al-Ameria "a leader of Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating IS. Ameri comes from Diyala province and is a statistics graduate from Baghdad University. He fled to Iran in 1980 after Saddam executed top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr. The 64-year old is widely viewed as Tehran's favoured candidate."


    In the KRG, the three dominant parties are the Barazani's KDP (primary party), Goran (emerged as the second most popular political party in the 2014 elections) and the Talabani's PUK (which went from one of the two main parties to a distant third).  In terms of predictions for the Kurdistan Region?


    Sources shows that, will maintain its top position of the parties in the upcoming , whereas, the competition will remain between the Union ,the and for Justice and Democracy. will be the center of this competition.







    Goran is expected to do well; however, it is under attack.  Most recently . . .

    election campaign office was set on fire in Haji Omaran area!






    The PUK is facing its own problems -- mainly internal.   RUDAW reported this weekend that Ala Talabani is running as part of the Baghdad Coalition -- a national entity -- and that she is no longer part of any political party.  The niece of former president Jalal Talabani states that PUK leaders -- including family member Hero Ibrahim Ahmed (her aunt) that she was no longer part of the PUK.  The falling out came when she backed removing Hoshyar Zebari as the Minister of Foreign Affairs following the discovery of his corruption and the vote in Parliament to remove him.  RUDAW notes:



    Talabani said in her video message that PUK leaders tried to expel her from the party’s leadership but failed to get enough votes, at which point they made the decision to freeze her out. She added that she has asked the party to explain why they want her out, but has not yet been given an answer. This is the latest defection from the beleaguered PUK. Former second deputy leader Barham Salih is expected give the party some strong competition with his newly-formed Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ).  



    Away from the predictions there is the reality that national reconciliation is still needed in Iraq.  Erika Solomon (FINANCIAL TIMES OF LONDON) reports:


    Healing Iraq’s society, fractured by thousands of deaths and devastating destruction, is one of the toughest challenges facing Iraq when the next government takes office after May elections. Reconciliation is crucial to ensuring the return of some 2.2m people displaced by the conflict, including thousands with family ties to the militants. Yet in Yathrib, as elsewhere, locals often try to block the return of families related to militants. Aid groups and western powers all acknowledge the importance of suturing Iraq’s divisions, but few are willing to co-ordinate with Baghdad on the problem. They worry that some of the government’s methods — like walling suspected Isis relatives in displacement camps, while forcing other families to return home before they feel safe — violate international law, and are a recipe for another round of radicalisation. That leaves much of the work to civil society groups, tribes and politicians with competing interests. “This is urgent,” one diplomat says. “And watching the groups trying to help can feel like watching people rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.”