Saturday, November 04, 2017


After reading Ann's "Bad Moms Christmas," I got together some friends and we went to catch a matinee of BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS.

We laughed like crazy and you will too.

Check it out, you will not be disappointed.

I especially enjoyed the original Green Arrow (from SMALLVILLE) Justin Hartley (also the son Victoria gave up for adoption on REVENGE).

He was a funny addition and had great chemistry with Kathryn Hahn -- who is so funny.

When she waxes him, that was one of the funniest moments.

Susan Sarandon is hysterical, from the moment she gives her character's name "Isis."

Also hysterical was Cheryl Hines.

She just wants to be friends with her daughter (Mila) and it's easy to identify with that feeling and easier to laugh at all the outlandish ways in which Cheryl's character tries to achieve that goal.

(Christine Baranski played herself -- a controlling cold fish.)

If you're tired of super heroes -- and I am -- and like me, you think Chris Hemsworth needs to do a little more than go shirtless -- how about full frontal, Chris -- to get your ticket money, check out BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
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:

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Thursday, November 02, 2017

Another Black woman forced to clean up after a White woman

Why does it always fall to a Black woman.

Donna Brazile has to do the clean up for Hillary Clinton.

Donna Brazile is an Establishment Democrat with a capital E. She worked for Bill Clinton, ran Al Gore's campaign, and was forced out of her job as a CNN pundit in 2016 after getting caught leaking debate questions to Hillary Clinton's staff. She was a Democratic National Committee officer* and took over interim leadership of the organization after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned last summer. Now, in a new book, she's addressed critics who said the DNC ran a primary process that was slanted in Clinton's favor—by declaring that they right all along. From Politico excerpt (Robby Mook was Clinton's campaign manager and Marc Elias is a Clinton lawyer):
When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.
The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
It's hard to know what to make of this. On the one hand, it did seem to many people—both Sanders supporters and outside observers—as if the DNC clearly favored Clinton in the primary, and Brazile is citing a specific document to make her claim about that having been true. On the other, we're relying here on her summary of the document, not its text, and Brazile has a clear personal incentive to distance herself from the DNC and Clinton campaign's 2016 failures.

So  White woman makes the mess and Donna gets stuck cleaning it up.

Thanks Hillary.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, November 2, 2017.  How sad to grasp that these are Hayder al-Abadi's 'best' days.

"Where Did Our Love Go" 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.

Yesterday, UNAMI issued their monthly undercount of civilian deaths in Iraq:

: A total of 114 Iraqi civilians killed & another 244 injured in acts of terrorism, violence & armed conflict in October 2017

The deaths for October are much higher and, remember, thuggy Hayder al-Abadi threw a hissy fit which the United Nations rewarded by agreeing not to count the dead among Iraqi forces anymore.

In today's NEW YORK TIMES, Renad Mansou insists "Iraq Is Not Iran's Puppet."  Of course, he also insists, "The prime minister has also become increasingly popular with Iraq’s Sunnis, who are wary of Iran’s deep penetration into the Iraqi state since 2003 and now see Mr. Abadi as a conciliatory figure and a safeguard against too much Iranian influence."

Uh, no.

Hayder's not deeply popular with any segment in Iraq.

The Christians want their own area in Iraq and he's against that.  Last month, Saad Salloum (AL-MONITOR) noted:

Following the redeployment of Iraqi federal forces in Kirkuk, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako issued a statement Oct. 19 calling on Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and Erbil to proceed with genuine national reconciliation to put the political process on track. He stressed that it is important to preserve human beings and not oil wells, in reference to the recent dispute over the Kurdish independence referendum, which ended with federal government control of Kirkuk. The title of the statement, "An Appeal to Iraqi Leaders," shows the nature of the patriarch's view of his role as a national and moral guide for politicians on all sides, and his view of himself as a leader of Christians amid a Christian political split over the referendum and its results.
In conjunction with the crisis of the Kurdish independence referendum, a group of Christian clerics launched a political project in which they formally demanded separation from Iraq. Some others have called for joining the new Kurdistan state.

The Sunnis remember his bombing their homes.  (Nouri al-Maliki started the bombing campaign at the start of 2014.  Despite declaring it illegal in September of 2014, Hayder continued it.)  Those are War Crimes.  In addition, the US media's portrayal of 'liberation' is all soft focus with Vaseline smeared across the lens.

For example, Human Rights Watch notes today:

Iraqi security officials are preventing displaced families from returning home to retaken areas over perceived ties to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi authorities also are evicting other families in an attempt to force them back to their homes, even when these families fear their home areas will be unsafe or their homes were destroyed by fighting.
The concerns about Anbar authorities’ treatment of displaced people are heightened because of new military operations beginning October 26, 2017, to retake the areas in western Anbar still under the control of ISIS and the possible exodus of tens of thousands more civilians from those areas.
While Iraqi forces confront serious security concerns, just being a family member of someone linked to ISIS or having lived under ISIS is not enough to represent a real threat,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities should allow those who aren’t an actual security risk who want to go home to do so in peace and respect the right of people who don’t feel safe to live where they wish.
In mid-2016, Iraqi forces battled ISIS in and around the city of Fallujah, 50 kilometers west of Baghdad in Anbar province. Over the past month, Iraqi forces have continued to push toward Qa’im and Rawa in western Anbar along the border with Syria, the last towns in Iraq still under ISIS control. Fighting in Anbar has displaced at least 507,000 people since 2014, with at least 91,000 still in camps, according to the International Organization for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix.
Most of the displaced have ended up in one of five main camps. Others are restricted to an area of formal and informal settlements, partially due to restrictions on staying outside camps that have increased with the newer arrivals from western Anbar, said two experts who monitor treatment of internally displaced people in Anbar and who requested anonymity. In early July, about 5,000 families were stuck at Suqur checkpoint, the main checkpoint between Anbar and Baghdad, for up to 12 days, with security forces unwilling to provide a plausible explanation.
Since March, Anbar’s Provincial Council has been encouraging districts in Anbar to forcibly return displaced families to areas retaken by Iraqi forces. On March 22 the Anbar Provincial Council issued a notice ordering authorities in the towns of Khaldiya and Amiriyat al-Fallujah to forcibly return all families whose homes were not completely destroyed by the fighting, citing limits in camp space.
Many armed forces are inside the main camps in western Anbar, including Iraqi Security Forces, Popular Mobilization Forces (known as the PMF or Hashd al-Sha’abi), Interior Ministry Intelligence agents, and local police. The experts said that procedures differ based on where residents are from.
In most cases, forces under the Anbar Operation Command carry out an initial screening of people who want to return home, including running the names of all men and boys over 15 through a database of those wanted for ISIS affiliation at Suqur checkpoint. If they pass, local Interior Ministry emergency forces carry out their own screening. In some areas, local PMF units made up of tribal forces carry out a third screening before greenlighting their return home.
According to the two experts and a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report, Iraqi security forces regard most civilians who have remained in the towns of Rawa and Qa’im to be “ISIS-affiliated.”

The Kurds?  Well we've covered their conflicts in depth in the last weeks.  No, he's not popular with them.

The Shi'ites?

They're split as always.

Moqtada al-Sadr, Shi'ite cleric and movement leader, remains more popular than Hayder (Moqtada's been more popular than every prime minister Iraq's had since 2003).  Ammar al-Hakim is also more popular than Hayder.  Haytham Mouzahem (AL-MONITOR) observed at the end of August:

The Iraqi Shiite political scene is witnessing remarkable developments ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2018. With a mix of internal and regional political coalitions, the National Iraqi Alliance will not remain as it was in the 2010 and 2014 elections.
Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq party and head of the National Iraqi Alliance, withdrew from the council and established a new party in July called the National Wisdom Movement.
Also, Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist movement, visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at a time when conflict is intensifying in the region, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE on one side, and Iran and its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen on the other.
These two events are seen by some as an attempt to form an Iraqi Shiite movement that is independent from Iran and open to Sunni Arabs in Iraq as well as its Arab and Gulf neighbors.
In announcing he was establishing the National Wisdom Movement, Hakim said it “will work hand in hand with Iraqis to ensure democratic elections that include all of Iraq’s spectra, away from sectarian and national polarization, and embark on a new political horizon, because Iraq should be at peace with itself.”

Also more popular than Hayder is  Ibrahim al-Jaafari (former prime minister, current Minister of Foreign Affairs).

Nouri al-Maliki (former prime minister forever thug) hopes he's more popular than Hayder.  Both Nouri and Hayder are closely linked to Iran.

On links to Iran (Iraq and Iran are neighbors, there will always be links between one another as with any other neighboring countries), Adam Kredo (WASHINGTON FREE BEACON) reports:

The United States has been illegally training, arming, and funding Iranian-controlled militant forces in Iraq, according to a delegation of lawmakers who accused the Trump administration on Wednesday of violating a law barring such activity.
Information provided to lawmakers and viewed by the Free Beacon appears to show Iranian-controlled militants in Iraq using American-provided weaponry, including M1 Abrams tanks, which would require specific training from U.S. forces.
Lawmakers provided additional photographs of what they claim are Iranian-backed fighters cashing in on U.S. military training programs in Iraq during a press conference organized by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) outside of the Capitol.
The lawmakers cited this as a direct violation of the Leahy Law, which bars U.S. military assistance to foreign forces that violate human rights, and called on the Trump administration to immediately take steps to halt these programs.
Each of the lawmakers, experts, and military veterans in attendance at the press conference urged the Trump administration to cease aiding these Iranian militias and take greater steps to arm and support Kurdish forces in Iraq, who have long served as an ally of the U.S. in the region.

RUDAW adds:

"A picture is worth 1,000 words. There's the M1 Abrams tank with a Hezbollah flag. I don't care what the State Department says, they can't argue with this. At the best, the State Department has been derelict in its duties,” US Congressman Duncan Hunter, while holding up a photo of what he believes were Shiite militias on a US tank. “At worse they've been complicit.”

Many of congressmen and advisors who took turns talking on Wednesday emphasized that the State Department policy does not match how they see the facts on the ground.

“We are equipping and training the wrong people. It's time we rose above what the State Department has screwed up over and over. Iraq was a military victory lost by politics in the State Department… The State Department is going to lose us Iraq again in one of the worst ways," added Duncan.

Another indicator of  Hayder's 'popularity' being low?

Iraq was supposed to hold elections at the start of this year.  Didn't happen.  Then it was supposed to take place in the fall.  Didn't happen.  Currently, the claim is that they will take place in May.  These elections will determine Parliament.  They're supposed to determine who is prime minister but after the US government installed Nouri in 2006 and again in 2010 and then installed Hayder in 2014, does anyone really still pretend the Iraqi people get to pick their own prime minister?

Grasp that Hayder is a do-nothing.  The 'defeat' of ISIS is his high point.

ISIS isn't defeated.  Nor is it gone from Iraq.

It's still present.

It will most likely do a series of attacks over the next months that will further undermine Hayder's popularity.  (Nouri al-Maliki is especially hoping for that so he can present himself again as the 'strongman' the country needs.)

ISIS did not flee the Iraqi military.  It fled the bombings of the US-led coalition.

Iraq would send in 30,000 (or more) Iraqi forces into a city with less than 3,000 members of ISIS (at most).  And then Iraq would suffer huge losses -- which is why Hayder threw his tantrum to get the UN to stop including a count of the number of Iraqi forces killed each month.

Let's drop back to the UN for a second.  Yesterday evening, they released the following announcement:

United Nations Secretary-General António 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).

Ms. Walpole succeeds György Busztin of Hungary, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service since 2011 in support of the United Nations role in Iraq.
Ms. Walpole brings a wealth of diplomatic and other relevant experience to the position, including serving for a two-year period as British Consul-General in Basra, Iraq. She most recently served as British Ambassador to Mali, and prior to that as Ambassador to Luxembourg. She has also served in various capacities in London, New York, Brussels and Dar es Salaam with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Ms. Walpole earned first class degrees in English Literature at Cambridge University.
Born in 1963, she has six children.

Alice Walpole becomes the first woman to serve in that position.

While Canada and other countries have sent women to Iraq as envoys and ambassadors, the United States has not done that.

Despite repeatedly being urged to name a woman to the post of US Ambassador to Iraq, for example, Barack Obama refused.  Ryan Crocker, Chris Hill, James Jeffrey, Robert S. Beecroft, Stuart E. Jones and Douglas Silliman all held the post while Barack was president.  In addition, Barack also nominated Brett McGurk for the post but the Senate refused to confirm him (and then-Senator Barbara Boxer explained to Barack why Brett was such a wrong choice).  So 7 men were worthy of the post in Barack's 8 years of president but not one woman was?

This matters because women are under attack in Iraq.  They had more rights and freedom (and representation) before the 2003 US-led invasion.

Putting a woman in a position of authority would help Iraqi women.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

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