Today is MLK Day.
Glenn Greenwald Retweeted
Turning to Iraq . . .
The @IraqiGovt strongly condemns this morning attack in Tayaran Square, Baghdad. Our government and the people of Iraq offer their condolences and full support to all those affected.
The Baghdad government serves up "their condolences and full support" to those attacked outside the Green Zone. Almost as if the Baghdad-based government, within the Green Zone, is another country. But then, it really is, isn't it?
AMN reported earlier this morning that Baghdad was slammed by twin bombings leaving at least 16 people dead and 64 more injured.
RT notes that the official death toll is now 38. Mohammed Ebraheem (IRAQI NEWS) reports on Salim al-Jaoburi, the Speaker of Parliament:
During a parliament session, Jabouri urged “maintaining national unity in Iraq and making the utmost use of the great victory achieved over terrorism.”
“We condemn the terrorist acts that targeted innocent people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and we call on security bodies to take required measures to protect citizens,” Jabouri said.
But what national unity?
Saturday, we noted these Tweets:
This is confirmed: PM Haider al-Abadi have reached a final agreement with the PMU fictions including Badr, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Hiblollah and al-Nujaba to run for the election in a united coalition. #Iraq
The coalition which is led by Abadi is called Nasr al-Iraq or The Victory of Iraq: all PMU factions, Ibrahim al-Jafari, Shahristani's party and Islamic Supreme Council among others.
Haider al-Abadi will run on the top of the coalition in Baghdad followed by Hadi al-Amiri and sources tell me the coalition will go into alliance with Maliki's State of Law coalition and Muqtada al-Sadr's coalition after the elections.
There are few Sunnis in the coalition including Iraq's former defence minister Khalid al-Obaidi.
Iran has played a major role in the agreement between Abadi and PMU.
And two last notes: the US is not happy with Abadi’s agreement to run with the PMU and the agreement will largely kill Abadi’s ‘anti-corruption battle’ given many of those in the list of targeted are close to the parties that are in his coalition now.
And now several Iraqi sources say Qasem Soleimani was in Baghdad in the afternoon of Saturday in which he attended a long quadrilateral-meeting with Abadi, Hadi Amiri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis which resulted in the final agreement to run for elections together.
In response to that news? Only one person appears to be speaking out. ALARABIYA reports:
The leader of the Sadrist movement political party, Muqtada al-Sadr, criticized the new electoral alliance of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi with the Iranian backed Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militias.
Sadr, one of the most influential religious and popular figures in Iraq, issued a statement issued on Sunday describing the alliance as “an abhorrent political agreement.”
He also expressed his deep surprise at the inclusion of the PMU militias calling them an “abhorrent sectarian dichotomy,” that is aimed at reproducing a “corrupt political class”.
Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) adds:
However, Mr Al Sadr described the militias as “shameless” and considers the deal to “pave the way for the return of corruption and sectarianism”.
The militias, known as Hashed Al Shaabi, are a Shiite-dominated alliance which remains deeply divisive and has been accused of a string of abuses.
ASHARQ AL-AWSAT notes:
Also on Sunday, the Hikma Movement headed by Ammar al-Hakim said it was joining the Abadi-Ameri alliance under the name of “the Nasr al-Iraq coalition,” or Victory.
An Iraqi politician, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that the decision of the Hikma Movement to join this alliance might strengthen Abadi’s situation and could guarantee his reelection for a second term.
The politician said that all indicators reveal that Iran is backing Abadi, adding that it could be the force that encouraged Hash al-Shaabi to ally with the prime minister, a decision that places Nouri al-Maliki in a very difficult position.
Was that the whole point?
For Hayder to make sure Nouri didn't take his place?
Nouri had a first term that wasn't good. But it was his second term that really saw him carrying out non-stop abuses.
Betting that the same won't be true of Hayder seems a long shot.
He and Nouri were good friends until Hayder became prime minister. Hayder belongs to Dawa (Nouri's political party) and is a member of State of Law (Nouri's political slate).
The issue of displacement and voting is ignored by most outlets -- MIDDLE EAST MONITOR is one of the few to report on it.
Marcia's "Tide pods" went up this morning as did Ava and my "Media: 'It's very rude of him,' she said, 'To come and spoil the fun!'."