Monday, December 11, 2006

al-Maliki's Out Already? Nouri, we hardly knew ye...

This isn't unexpected news, but it's (possibly) happening more quickly than I expected.

It looks like al-Maliki may be on his way out already:

Talks under way to replace Iraq PM

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Major partners in Iraq's governing coalition are in behind-the-scenes talks to oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki amid discontent over his failure to quell raging violence, according to lawmakers involved.

The talks are aimed at forming a new parliamentary bloc that would seek to replace the current government and that would likely exclude supporters of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is a vehement opponent of the U.S. military presence.

If there isn't a civil war in Iraq already according to some people (and there is but they just won't admit it), prepare for one to explode soon if they plan to muscle out al-Sadr as well.

What happened to that whole purple finger, let's go vote, elections mean democracy thing? I guess all it takes is a quick non-confidence vote and al-Maliki is toast but there is no doubt that the internal strings are being pulled hard by Washington. Who knows what kind of back room deals are going on?

The new alliance would be led by senior Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who met with President Bush last week. Al-Hakim, however, was not expected to be the next prime minister because he prefers the role of powerbroker, staying above the grinding day-to-day running of the country.

A key figure in the proposed alliance, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab, left for Washington on Sunday for a meeting with Bush at least three weeks ahead of schedule.

"The failure of the government has forced us into this in the hope that it can provide a solution," said Omar Abdul-Sattar, a lawmaker from al-Hashemi's Iraqi Islamic Party. "The new alliance will form the new government."

Vice president al-Hashemi had threatened to resign in October if al-Maliki couldn't bring the violence under control. I guess he figures one more month was long enough and now al-Maliki's time is up.

Once again, the US is meddling in Iraq's internal politics after having screwed up the war so badly that it thinks changing horsemen in the middle of the apocalypse will bring about a quick solution. al-Maliki has had mere months to take charge. How long will Bush give the next guy before they turf him too?

On Sunday, Iraqi president Talabani expressed his outrage over the ISG report saying that it was 'an insult to the people of Iraq' and that it threatened the country's sovereignty. What sovereignty? Everything happening there is done with the permission of the Bush administration.

The entire Middle East situation is one totally screwed up mess and now several Arab states, including oil-rich Saudi Arabia are suddenly expressing a very vocal interest in nuclear power for so-called peaceful purposes while at the same time scolding Iran for its behaviour. Can they be any more obvious about this overt threat to Iran's saber rattling?

Israel now feels abandoned by the US - destined to fight Iran on its own - since Gates outed their nuclear weapons program last week (the worst kept secret in the world).

The US senate passed a bill last week to help out India with its nuclear program while Pakistan is now an even bigger haven for the Taleban and al Quaeda making the Afghanistan war a lost cause while Britain's Defence secretary is reportedly 'tearing his hair out' over CIA interference in Afghanistan's government and the US government's drug czar announced that a new program will begin to eradicate the poppy crop with Roundup despite the fact that the farmers basically have no other way to make money any time soon along with the fact that using a product like Roundup practically ensures that nothing else will grow where it's sprayed - at least not for a while. It's nasty stuff, but at least it's a step up from agent orange, I guess.

Oh. And I forgot to mention that Hamas is threatening violence if early Palestinian elections are called and the Cedar Revolution: Part Deux is going on in Lebanon. This time, however, the protests are against the 'US backed government' of Fouad Siniora.

I can't even remember what I started this post with many US puppets, so little capacity for the Bush administration to deal with them all in any effective way. Have no fear though. Cheney will be back at work on Monday after managing not to shoot anybody in the face on his latest hunting trip (that we know of) and all will be right (very far right) with the world once again. On second thought, you have everything to fear except fear itself. Well...maybe even that too.

Sidebar: I received an e-mail from a reader regarding my mention of the herbicide Roundup being a 'step up' from agent orange. A colleague of his has testicular cancer from exposure to agent orange in Vietnam. That scourge still affects far too many people and Monsanto is the same company that produces Roundup. As I told my reader, I certainly didn't mean to imply any endorsement of Roundup by labelling it as a 'step up' but I understand his concern especially in face of past concerns about its widespread use in the so-called drug war in Colombia. Roundup is dangerous. Period.

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