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Iraq Shi’ite blocs ally against Allawi

This is, maybe, the worst outcome for the Iraqi elections.

Iraq’s two big Shi’ite political coalitions, one led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and one whose leaders have close ties to Iran, agreed on Tuesday on an alliance to form a single bloc in parliament, officials said… the union of Maliki’s State of Law, which took 89 seats in the March 7 parliamentary election, and the Iraqi National Alliance which won 70, could also heighten tension.

The Shi’ite parties have been trying to get as many candidates—and in some cases, actual election winners—disqualified as possible on the basis of Ba’athist ties. In principle I support de-Ba’athification but not when used as a political lever to shift the outcome of an election. My understanding is that this alliance may not be legal under the interpretation of parliamentary rules that were in place prior to the election.

Also, another reason to be grateful we don’t have a Parliament of the United States.

(From “Iraq Shi’ite blocs to join forces in parliament
| Reuters
“)

May 6, 2010   Comments Off

Madness and No More

I felt the blast from a bit under four miles away. It was impressive. We heard it, and we felt it. We thought, in fact, that it must have been a shell landing inside the FOB. There’s nothing you can do if something like that happens. There might be another one on the way, but it will follow within seconds if it’s going to come at all. It could also have been a controlled demolition of ordnance that wasn’t announced over the public address system. So we didn’t really think much of it.

When the second one came I knew something significant was developing, something outside the FOB. I thought that it was probably just a short way down the road. Often a second bomb will be used to attack the people responding to the first one. In this incident, the attack was not organized like that, although it was a very complex attack. The follow-on attack against the first responders and the original victims took place at the hospital, a sign of the increasing derangement of the losing side in this conflict.

The wave of pressure, which we sensed as sound and whose effects we felt as a tremor, traveled in 17 seconds the space between the explosion and where I experienced it. Enough time for the badly wounded, who lay dying, to die. Strange to think that in those seconds we were chatting amiably and stirring our coffee idly.

The Iraqi police and army did not need the help of the US military that day, and I do not think that they will again.

(Via The BBC.)

March 5, 2010   1 Comment