Friday, November 3, 2017

Yes, this does end up at Barack Obama's doorstep

Greg Price (NEWSWEEK) notes:
Former President Barack Obama is being blamed for the Democratic National Committee’s decision to strike a financing agreement with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign before she had secured the party's nomination by topping independent Senator Bernie Sanders.
Following his 2012 election victory, Obama had a “lack of interest in the DNC” and “didn’t need it anymore,” which led to former party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz keeping her top position, according to a Friday report on the Daily Beast. Furthermore, the report states Obama did not immediately start fundraising to erase debt left over from his 2012 campaign.
Obama moved one of his top operatives, Patrick Gaspard, to the DNC in 2011, but after the election Gaspard was tapped to be ambassador to South Africa. Following his departure, “the White House lost interest in the DNC," according to the report. The 44th president reportedly wanted to replace Schultz, but she pushed back and no move was made.

Well are we surprised?

I remember the rumors being reported years ago that President Barack Obama wanted to fire Debbie Wasserman Schultz but she said she would scream bias (she is Jewish) and he backed off.

That is not a defense of him, certainly.

He should have fired her.

She was apparently too irritating for him to deal with.

So he should have fired her.  (She was also very bad at her job.)

She stayed in the post and did an awful job.

That reflects on her but, yes, it also reflects on Mr. Obama.

Part of being in charge is making the hard calls.

I understand him not wanting to deal with her and I am sure she would have made huge trouble (or tried) but, again, it was his job and he did not do what he was supposed to.

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

Friday, November 3, 2017.

"Baby Love" by Diana Ross & the Supremes is one of the 19 number one pop songs (BILLBOARD US singles chart) that Diana Ross has sang on.  November 19th, she'll be on the live broadcast (ABC) of The American Music Awards to perform and to receive the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Baby love?

Great song.


Not good at all.

But members of the Iraqi government are continuing to pimp perversion.

activists campaigning against a draft law allows girls as young as 9 to get legally married. They say its no different from ISIS laws.
Kurdistan banned polygamy in 2008. Iraq legalizes children to get married. Can these two visions/way of life coexist harmoniously!

We're back to this?

Nouri al-Maliki's tenure as prime minister saw this notion pimped before.  Remember?

Dropping back to the April 17, 2014 snapshot:

Yesterday on KPFA's Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, the controversial bill which passed Iraq's Cabinet of Ministers and that chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki  has forwarded to the Parliament was discussed. 

Shahram Aghamir: Last month the Iraqi Cabinet approved a new personal status legislation called the Ja'fari law which is named after the sixth Shi'ite Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq who established a school of jurisprudence in Medina in the 8th century.  This legislation has created an uproar among Iraqi women's rights and the civil rights community.  If approved, the Ja'fari law will abolish the current Personal Status Law 188 which is considered one of the most progressive in the Arab world.  The new law will roll back the rights of women in marriage, divorce and child custody as well as inheritance.  It will lower the age of marriage for girls from 18 to 9 and boys to 15.  Who has initially proposed the law and what are the implications of this law for Iraqi women?  Malihe spoke with Iraqi women's rights activist Basma al-Khateeb who volunteers with Iraq's 1st Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Shadow Report Coalition as an expert and a trainer.

Basma al-Khateeb:  Actually, the Minister of Justice by the end of October declared that they have a committee -- expert committee -- and they have finished drafting the Ja'fari law.  It consists of 256 articles and he's going to present it to the Cabinet by the next session.  He says that they've been working on for the past two years.

Malihe Razazan:  Back in 2004, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim who died in 2009, he was in exile in Iran for 20 years before the invasion, and after the occupation of Iraq, he worked very closely with the Americans.  His party worked to pass Decision 137 issue by interim governing council to abolish the Personal Status Law Number 188 which was passed  in 1959 --

Basma al-Kahteeb:  That was actually the first thing that he -- that he issued, this Resolution 137 -- as if Iraq had no problems.  This was the only rule that he came up with.  And we had demonstrations and we managed to defeat that.  They withdrew it.

Malihe Razazan:   Yeah, because there was a huge backlash against it.

Basma al-Khateeb:  But this is historical.  His father, Muhsin al-Hakim, back in 1959, when the civil Personal Status Law was issued, the religious institutes led by Muhsin al-Hakim back then, his father, refused this Personal Status Law because it will take all the authority from the cleric.

Malihe Razazan:  In matters regarding women's divorce, child custody, inheritance it will be left to civil courts.

Basma al-Khateeb:  Yes.  And this is how our judicial system and lawyers and colleges and scholars all -- I mean, we're talking about sixty years that all our institutions -- judicial, court, everything -- is built on it.  This -- going back just to abolish all of this -- this law --the formal law, the Personal Status Law that's still active now. It doesn't go to clerics, only the judge rules.  This current law puts another council that is in control of judges of courts.  It just turns everything into chaos.  Every lawyer has to study all these religious and cleric institution and legal issues.  It doesn't mean that we have one court.  It means that we have more than 20 courts because each Ayatollah is different in examination with the other.  Havilah?  Even though they're Sh'itie, they're different from the Sadr group, they're different from Sistani interpretation which means multi courts.

Raheem Salman, Ahmed Rasheed, Isabel Coles and Andrew Roche (Reuters) explore the topic and note:

Proponents of the Ja'afari Law say many families marry off daughters underage anyway, particularly in the rural south, so the bill would protect young brides by codifying their status.
"The law does not make the marriage of underage girls obligatory," said Shi'ite women's rights activist Thabat al-Unaibi, adding she would not let her own two daughters marry until they were old enough to have finished their studies.
"Why all the fuss over this issue?"

And supporters have been the winners.  Hajer Naili  (Women's eNews) notes:

Haider Ala Hamoudi, a law professor at the University of Pittsburg who advised the 2009 Constitutional Review Committee of the Iraqi legislature on behalf of the United States Embassy in Baghdad, has analyzed the text.
In a phone interview he called it sloppily drafted and poorly organized. "I just dismiss it as publicity to garner votes."

In a in the Jurist, lays out the obstacles to transforming religious texts into actual laws and calls the text something of a "political stunt." In the article he quotes Ayatollah al- Bashir Najif, a leading Shiite, as criticizing the bill as "rife with flights of fancy in legal and juristic formulations that render it impossible that a jurist would find it acceptable."

Really?  We're going to predict what's going to happen in an election when anything can happen?

And if it's being used "to garner votes," might some push hard for it to pass the Parliament after the election?

I have no idea what's going to happen with the bill.

But it does have supporters and it is being sold.  It's being normalized.

And this is happening not just with the bill and the attempt to kill off the Personal Status Law Number 188.  This is part of a larger war.  Dropping back to January 27, 2012 snapshot:

We bring that up because Nouri did finally find a woman and named her to be Minister of the State for Women's Affairs. The woman is Dr. Ibtihal al-Zaidi. And Al Mada reports the lovely doesn't believe in equality stating equality "harms women" but she's happy to offer government dictates on what women should be wearing. No, she's not a minister. She's many things including words we won't use here but she's not friend to women and that's why Nouri picked her. A real woman fighting for other women? Nouri can't handle that. A simpering idiot who states that women should only act after their husband's consent? That gender traitor gets a ministry. She's currently at work devising a uniform for Iraqi women.

Let's to back to Wednesday's broadcast of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa.

Basma al-Khateeb:  It lowers the marriage age for girls to  9 -- 

Malihe Razazan:  From 18.

Basma al-Khateeb:  -- 15 for boys, it's 18 for both [currently] marriage.  Only in  very, very special cases it's 15 with the consent of the judge under the current law.  But for this Ja'fari law it lowers the age to 9.  And wives must seek permission from their husbands before leaving the house.  If I am a doctor or a minister or a lawyer, I cannot go out without permission from my husband, go out of the house.  Muslim men would be prohibited from marrying non-Muslim women.  Granting husbands legal rights to have sex with their wives without their consent.  Granting custody to the father of any child over two-years-old in the case of divorce which is not the case that we have now with the current law.  

Note the similarities between the law and the position, two years ago, of the Minister of Women's Affairs.

Nouri picked that idiot for a reason.

This is not happening by accident.

And it's not happening by accident now.

The role of women in Iraq has been ripped apart by the 2003 US-led invasion and by the thugs the US has repeatedly elected to put in charge of Iraq.

That this is even being considered again goes to how awful the government of Iraq is.

And elections were in the air last time and are again this go round.

Nouri al-Maliki?  ALSUMARIA reports he's insisting that the parliamentary elections cannot be postponed again.

The international community could assist with increasing women's roles in Iraq.

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, "United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today announced the appointment of Alice Walpole of the United Kingdom as his new Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)."

That helps.

The US government has not been interested in helping.

Neither Bully Boy Bush nor Barack Obama appointed a woman to be US ambassador to Iraq.

Thus far, Donald Trump has not either.

Meanwhile Zainab Calcuttawala (OIL PRICE) notes:

The Kurdish military has accused Baghdad of continuing a policy of dishonesty towards Kurdistan, according to a new report by al-Masdar news.
The Iraqi military’s attacks on Kurdish targets show “ongoing military aggression and unconstitutional demands”, the Peshmarga says.
The Kurdish military says it has been put in the defensive position since Baghdad decided to wage a war against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to recapture parts of Kirkuk’s oilfields.

Yes, the attacks from the Baghdad-based government on the KRG continue.  The International Crisis Group notes, "As Crisis Group has argued, the only sensible way forward is a return to UN-led negotiations, supported by the U.S., EU, Iran and Turkey, focused on the issues that gave rise to the crisis: the unresolved status of the disputed territories, and how to share oil revenues."

What did they argue?


Given the latest developments, the only sensible way forward is to de-escalate the military situation and return to negotiations. The Abadi government has reason to settle for talks rather than continue military escalation. His elite troops may be able to retake oil fields through a political deal with the PUK and a swift surprise advance, but his army otherwise remains weak and has proved to be poor at holding territory. Washington so far has acquiesced in Baghdad’s moves, but the prospect of fighting between two U.S. allies (which many see as benefitting Iran) is unsettling and its patience could wear thin. Most importantly, there is no long-term security solution to the challenge of the disputed territories: it requires a negotiated solution.
The KDP-dominated KRG also should have every reason to engage in talks. Barzani overplayed the Kurdish hand by pressing ahead with the referendum over the international community’s near-unanimous objections and refusing to negotiate with Baghdad about anything except Kurdish independence; meanwhile, his supporters used Twitter storms to whip up international, especially U.S., sympathy for his cause by claiming a heavy Iranian hand behind Baghdad’s rejection of the referendum and subsequent military moves. Yet the U.S. was unmoved, sticking to its long-expressed strategic objective of protecting Iraq’s unity and angered by Barzani’s rejection of its relatively far-reaching proposal to postpone the referendum in exchange for U.S. support for immediate and time-bound Erbil-Baghdad negotiations on all critical issues.[fn]Tillerson letters show U.S. nearly averted Kurdish referendum”, Bloomberg, 13 October 2017.Hide Footnote Thus, Barzani arguably set back the cause of Kurdistan instead of advancing it by frittering away international goodwill for the Kurdish cause. He too would be well served by mending fences with his erstwhile allies.

V. The Need for External Mediation

Assuming a halt to current fighting once federal forces have reaffirmed control over the disputed territories, and the military has handed over policing responsibilities to local police forces, the next challenge will be to get the parties to go back to the negotiating table. This will require external mediation. The institution best placed to assume this role remains the UN, with support from the U.S., EU, Iran and Turkey, as well as Russia, whose role in Iraq is limited but which does have interests there. U.S. backing will be critical, but its leverage in Iraq has been reduced as a result of its deteriorating relationship with Turkey and, even more seriously, with Iran.
Still, Washington continues to enjoy good relations with both the KRG and the federal government, and both of them remain heavily reliant on U.S. support. The KRG no longer can rely on unquestioned support, but still receives Western backing in the fight against what remains of ISIS. It also still enjoys a residue of goodwill for having been a reliable U.S. ally until the referendum. It has every reason to seek to get back into Washington’s good graces. Abadi needs U.S. support as a counterweight to Iranian influence. Like his predecessors as prime minister, he has played a precarious balancing act between the two powers. U.S. support for his military’s elite units has been critical in the fight against ISIS, and remains so; it also proved indispensable in this bid to restore Iraqi sovereignty over the disputed territories.
The Trump administration would have much to gain by shepherding the two parties back to the table and averting a situation where it will be forced to take sides. Although evidently angered by Barzani’s open defiance of its requests to cancel the referendum, Washington is not prepared to give up on an important partner. Likewise, the U.S. sees in the Abadi government a critical buffer against Iran, and fears that the balance of power may shift toward Iran if it distances itself from Baghdad or if Abadi cannot hold on to the disputed territories his forces have just retaken.[fn]Crisis Group interview, U.S. official, Washington, 16 October 2017. On 25 September, the U.S. State Department declared that the U.S. was “deeply disappointed” by the KRG’s decision to go ahead with the referendum, and said the U.S. opposed “violence and unilateral moves by any party to alter boundaries”; “Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s Referendum”, press statement, U.S. State Department, 25 September 2017. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put it even more starkly four days later, saying: “The United States does not recognize the KRG unilateral referendum held on Monday. The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq”. “Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s Referendum”, press statement, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, 29 September 2017.Hide Footnote Helping Iraqi/KRG negotiations restart would solidify U.S. ties to both, ensure they cooperate in what remains of the fight against ISIS and help move toward a negotiated outcome based on preservation of Iraq’s territorial unity, at least for now. That too would meet immediate U.S. interests: an Iraq friendly to both Washington and Tehran would be a more effective buffer against broader Iranian influence than an embattled independent Kurdistan whose legitimacy would be widely contested.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and the former Diane Rhem Show -- updated:

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq