"Challenges facing Iraq" (The Irish Times):
The agreement allows Tehran’s friend, Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to return to office for a second time at the head of a government now to include five ministers from the secular, but Sunni-dominated, Iraqiya party. It had beaten him in the election but failed to achieve a majority, and Iraqiya’s involvement, which appears to have generated some internal dissent, should give the government a degree of legitimacy in the alienated Sunni community, helping to counter a dangerous drift back to outright sectarian conflict.
Agreement became possible because the party’s leader, former prime minister Ayad Allawi, relinquished his claim to the PM’s job, agreeing instead to chair a new national council for strategic priorities which will oversee economic, security and diplomatic matters. But the council is still theoretical, its powers yet to be delineated, and it appears likely to be an unwieldy check on ministers with great potential for in-fighting between the governing parties.So the council is "theoretical" (I agree) but Nouri's returning as prime minister? I don't agree. He's theoretical as well.
Is C.I. the only damn person in the world who pays attention the law?
She has repeatedly gone over Article 76 in the Iraqi Constitution from 2005 -- the current Constitution under which the government is supposed to operate.
Nouri was not named prime minister today.
He was named prime minister-delegate.
There's a difference.
The minute he was named, a thirty-day countdown began. Nouri has to pick an entire cabinet, run each one by Parliament getting 163 votes minimum in support of each one and then he has to get the program itself approved.
If he can't do that in thirty days -- look it up, it's in their Constitution -- Jalal Talabani, as president, is required to nominate a new person for prime minister-delegate.
Nouri is not a done deal unless and until he meets all the requirements outlined in the Constitution.
A real press, a working press, should know that.
A number of us are hitting on Iraq tonight because we remember C.I. standing alone on the SOFA. See the SOFA passed on Thanksgiving Day in 2008. So we were all off. C.I. wasn't -- she's never missed a day. And she explained the SOFA was a contract that could be followed in full, could be trashed and renegotatied, etc, etc. But the press insisted that the SOFA was a peace treaty -- which it is not -- and that it meant the END OF THE IRAQ WAR which it so obviously did not (or we wouldn't have had Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying this week that the US military might stay in Iraq past 2011).
C.I. was right. She knows the law. And a number of us, who've been reading and listening to her go over and over Article 76 are not in the mood for more press lies. Do your damn job. Know what the Iraqi Constitution says.
Your laziness is no excuse. You're paid to do a job, you need to do it and that means doing it accurately.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):