Al-Anizi: The US is Training an Insubordinate Iraqi Army
Sistani Blows off Bush
Guerrillas shot dead 8 oil workers at the Baiji refinery north of Baghdad. The guerrillas have for some time had a strategy of cutting the capital off from fuel and electricity as far as they can, and their sabotage in Baiji is for this purpose. At the same time, they siphon off the fuel and smuggle it out to fund the insurgency.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has blown off the president of the United States. Bush sent Sistani a letter asking him to intervene to help end the gridlock in the formation of a new Iraqi government. Asked about his response, an aide said that Sistani had not opened the letter and had put it aside in his office.
Sistani does not approve of the American presence in Iraq, and certainly disapproves of the Bush administration’s attempt to unseat Ibrahim Jaafari as the candidate of the United Iraqi Alliance. Middle Easterners have had Western Powers dictate their politics to them for a couple of centuries and are pretty tired of it.
It is rumored that after the December 15 elections, Bush told Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish President of Iraq, that he would prevent the Shiite coalition from taking power this time, which encouraged Talabani to try to unseat Jaafari. Bush’s plan, however, would only work if the neo-Baathists, the Sunni fundamentalists, the Kurds and the secular Shiites can consistently work together, and if a substantial number of Shiites defects from the United Iraqi Alliance to help elect a president by 2/3s majority. Pigs will fly first.
Meanwhile, Bush’s tinkering with Iraqi politics has contributed mightily to the gridlock in forming a government. Jaafari’s bargaining position has been perhaps fatally undermined. And Washington is blaming the Iraqis! At least Bush is a consistent foul-up.
Reuters points out that Sistani is not only highly influential in Iraq but also in Pakistan.
KarbalaNews.net reports that Dr, Qusay al-Suhail, a member of parliament from the Sadr Bloc, denied Thursday that the Sadrists or the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite fundamentalist coalition) has any intention of changing their candidate for prime minister. (The current candidate, elected by a party vote, is Ibrahim Jaafari, but the Bush administration and the Kurds and Sunnis have been trying to unseat him.) Al-Suhail said, “The position of the Alliance is clear and frank, and talk of changing its candidate is incorrect. It is possible that the Alliance may discuss the issue of Jaafari’s candidacy today, but not for the purpose of chaning it. Rather, it will be to review the new demands put forward by the Iraqi Accord Front [Sunni fundamentalist] and the Kurdistan Alliance about changing Jaafari.”
He added, “The Alliance agreed that there will be a committee that will go to the Iraqi National List [headed by Iyad Allawi), the Iraqi Accord Front, and the Kurdistan Alliance to discover the causes of their objections and to clarify their position– [though] it is clear that a large proportion of them have backed off from their objections with regard to some issues, and that the matter is confused, and the causes are unknown and various. . . there is a clear insistence on the part of the United Iraqi Alliance on retaining its candidate, and America has now denied that it desires to see Jaafari step down; Zalmay Khalilzad has denied that desire.”
Rumors circulated earlier on Thursday that the Sadr Bloc was reconsidering its commitment to Jaafari. Jaafari won the internal party vote because he was backed by the two branches of the Dawa Party and by the 32 Sadrists. Jaafari’s candidacy has been rejected by three of the other major parties representing Kurds, Sunni Arabs and secular Shiites.
Another source within the United Iraqi Alliance told KarbalaNews.net that Jaafari might not be able to win a vote of confidence in the whole parliament,a nd that he might be replaced by Ahmad Chalabi. The source maintained that a clique of parliamentarians had attempted to convince Muqtada al-Sadr to accept this substitution.”
[Cole: Chalabi did not win a seat in parliament, so I don't understand how he could be prime minister!]
The Fadhila or Virtue Party, a branch of the Sadrists that follows Shaikh Muhammad Ya`qubi and dislikes Muqtada al-Sadr and Ibrahim Jaafari, is suggesting that Jaafari’s candidacy be submitted to the whole parliament. A source told KarbalaNews.net that 75% of the members of the UIA (Shiite religious parties) agree with this proposal.
Jaafari’s candidacy is one issue that is holding up the formation of a new government. Another such issue is which parties will get which ministries. The United Iraqi Alliance is trying to keep control of the security ministries, on the grounds that they should be controlled by the prime minister and his party. They are trying to convince the Sunni religious coalition that this is only fair.
Minister of the Interior Bayan Jabr argues that the guerrilla insurgency is led by 16,000 Iraqi ex-Baathists.
Al-Hayat reports on remarks of Abdul Karim al-Anizi [Ar.], leader in parliament of the Dawa Party – Iraqi Organization, which has about 15 seats. He is also minister of national security. He denied that Iran is contributing to instability in Iraq. He also accused the United States of training “an Iraqi military force loyal to it, which does not submit to the authority of the Iraqi government.” He said that the recent US and British escalation of military action against the Sadr Bloc is “unjustified.” He also criticized the remarks of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa about the Arab role in Iraq.
Al-Anizi told al-Hayat that “a new army has appeared on the Iraqi scene, recruited by the Coalition forces, which does not receive its orders from the Iraqi government.” He affirmed the existence of intelligence documents proving that members of the Iraqi Forces who are primarily loyal to the US have commited crimes, disguising themselves in civilian dress.
He referred to ongoing investigations, which he said might result in prosecutions. He said that US and other Coalition forces has damaged the sovereignty of Iraq and have undertaken a role in Iraq that exceeds their legal charge. He referred to UN resolution 1546, which prescribed coordination and cooperation between the foreign forces and the Iraqi government, and which did not grant the occupying powers absolute freedom of movement. The UN resolution required the Americans to get the permission of the Iraqi prime minister for any military operation in the country.
Al-Anizi warned about “the unexpected consequences of attacks on and arrests of elements of the Sadr Movement by American and British forces, and unjustified attacks on them, assaults on centers belonging to parties who play an important role in the political process, which damages the political process and exceeds the prescribed role of these forces in combatting terrorism.”
He revealed the existence of 15,000 detainees in Coalition prisons, many of them innocents who have no connection to terrorism. At the same time, he said, the number of detainees in the prisons of the ministries of interior and defense does note exceed 900 persons.
Al-Anizi complained that some personalities in parliament had deep links with the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement (“the terrorists”).
He characterized the reports that spoke of a new political bloc encompassing the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Kurdistan Alliance, and the Iraqi Islamic Party) as a mere “public relations trial balloon”)