Iraqi Government Shake-Up to Pass US-Demanded Legislation

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Yesterday, a report in Dubai-based Gulfnews forecast a Baghdad govenrment “shake-up”:

Under pressure from the Congress, Arab states and Sunni Iraqi leaders, the US administration on Tuesday set the stage for “major” political changes in Iraq.

The changes will be in “the structure, nature and direction of the Iraqi state,” a senior American official in Baghdad was quoted by AP as saying.

He did not give out details, but the plan is expected to be high on the agenda of a ‘crisis summit’ which would be attended by key Iraqi leaders who seek to save the crumbling national unity government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki.

Today, the AP reports, Iraqi leaders have formed a new majority alliance:

The Iraqi prime minister and president announced a new alliance of moderate Shiites and Kurds in a push to save the crumbing government Thursday, saying a key Sunni bloc refused to join but the door remained open to them. …

At the news conference announcing the political accord, President Jalal Talabani and al-Maliki were flanked by the leader of the northern autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, and Shiite Vice President Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

The four men signed a three-page agreement they said ensures them a majority in the 275-member parliament that would allow action on legislation demanded by the U.S.

A cynical observer might predict: a rush of legislation being passed by the reengineered Iraqi parliament just in time before the September non-Petraeus Petraeus report, fulfilling several of the Congressionally-mandated benchmarks.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

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