Talking about presidents in Iraq these days is a bit confusing we had too many in such a short time. Saddam was followed by “pin up of the month” style presidential council during our IGC phase, followed by Ghazi al-Yawer and now Jalal Talabani .

We all know where Saddam is, we know where most of the IGC guys are (the National Assembly) and Jalal Talabani is on TV every now and then – he is my favorite when it comes to public appearances because it feels like he always is just a press conference away from saying something really un-PC, he has this air of a bon vivant about him who would enjoy a good joke. I find his way of speaking, his choice of words and even his body language so much more relaxed than the stiff Ibrahim Jafari, it’s like a good cop bad cop routine.

I am rambling again. Back to what I was saying.

So, we know where most of the shakers and movers of the last two years in Iraqi politics are with the exception of one. The esteemed Mr. Ghazi al-Yawer. He seemed to have disappeared into thin air.
Poof! Gone! not even a puff of smoke.

Tucked up someone’s sleeve to be pulled out by the ear magician’s rabbit style at some point in the future? Or maybe just tucked up someone’s sleeve. Period.

After all the haggling that went on to chose the presidential trinity, after all that hand wringing and collective soul searching in the name of national unity Mr. al-Yawer does the great disappearing act at the moment when he is needed to put his job description into action.

Ghazi sweetheart,
I know it is hot these days and you are probably still sulking from not being able to stay in that nice chair where everyone calls you Mr. President but habibi, you need to snap out of it.
Job description says Sunni on presidential trinity representing Sunni interests and acting as negotiator to facilitate dialogue.
You are doing diddly-squat.
Now that we are talking about it I would also like to point out that during the time you rested your big boy’s derrière on the presidential chair you were also very good at reaching for the great heights of diddly-squatfulness punctuated by trips around the globe which I can’t really say have achieved more than the diddly-squat goodness you achieved back home.

Let me try to explain why I’m so disappointed.
Roll back to the Allawi government. US occupation decides that the first step to secure a ticket out of the mess Iraq’s become is to hand it over to Iraqis. So they, ahem, help(?) us choose our leaders for the second transitional Iraqi government. Main figures were going to be a president and a prime minister. I can’t remember all the details now but it was agreed that the president will be a Sunni Arab and two candidates were on the table Pachachi (do you remember him?) and Yawer. After both showed some nastiness towards each other Yawer was chosen mainly on the strength of the tribe he represents (al-Shammar), they are allover the place and it was thought that a Sunni tribal leader of his caliber would in the end be more beneficial for the political process than Pachachi who was Sunni but secular and of not such high tribal standing.

Why were we all expecting big things of al-Yawer? Because, if you remember, Falluja wasn’t as flat as a piece of Iraqi bread yet and Sunnis were not yet collectively tattooed with the mark of the beast. So logic says Sunni big boy tribal leader in high chair can only be good news, right?
Wrong. Mr. al-Yawer showed zero interest in helping resolve internal strife and opted instead for a world tour. He was even planning a trip to Paris when the French PM was giving our PM the cold shoulder, lots of phone calls and pleading were used to explain to him that it was not in order for the head of state to visit a state which wasn’t even acknowledging your status. Mr. al-Yawer just wanted to scoot around on his jet.
It would be really really interesting to look at amount of time he spent in Baghdad while in office.

As if turning a blind eye to our troubles at home wasn’t enough his next move really is worth a sketch on the Daily Show’s global edition. While the Falluja crisis was in full swing Ghazi al-Yawer sees this as an appropriate time to tie the knot for the third time. Wife number three is the Kurdish Nisreen Barware. Barware had just been appointed as a minister.

[And here is where you insert the gag about the Iraqi government being so successful in bringing lovers together it is opening its own matchmaking site on the web].

Yes it is their personal lives but I am talking about priorities and appropriateness. He seems to be having a hell of a time playing Mr. President jetting around the globe and getting married for the third time while the state he heads was going through a huge crisis. And what did he do after getting married? He traveled some more.

At that point I got out a piece of ration soap and washed my hands clean of him. And I am not that surprised that after he got his vice president’s chair in this new goverenmnt decided to stay in the shade as he did for 11 months before and not get involved AT ALL in the efforts to bring the Sunnis to the Constitution writing table.

if this were a podcast this is where the musical break would come in.

“It’s always better on holiday
It’s so much better on holiday
That’s why we only work when we need the money”

Franz Ferdinand


Why am I all of a sudden concerned about what big Sunni lover boy is doing these days?
It is because I found out that the ex-president (al-Yawer) and the two vice presidents (Roj Nuri Shawis and Ibrahim al-Jafari) had at their disposal 38 million dollars to spend at their discretion, plus their salaries, which no one seems to know how much that is. Our presidential trinity ate through the 38 million even before their term ran out and asked the PM Allawi for more funds to be allocated to the presidential council.

Since al-Jaafari is all up in arms about fighting corruption how come no one has looked into the records of the presidential council and explain how the three of them could eat through all that money. And from what I understand the new presidential trio (which includes al-Yawer) is getting the same amount to play with this term as well.
We have a saying in Arabic to describe someone who knows how to pamper himself; we say “he knows how to eat a lamb’s shoulder”. And I think al-Yawer is eating lotsa lamb these days.

Before someone pounces on me. I know the cost of keeping the politicians safe in Iraq is high and they are putting their lives on the line (which incidentally anyone in the Iraqi police or army also does without the lavish perks) I know these positions come with a lot of perks anywhere in the world but seeing what Mr. al-Yawer achieved during his term, his constant traveling and his apparent lack of interest in what’s going on in Iraq today I’m sort of wondering why are we (the Iraqi people) paid so much money for him to have such a fun time and the next question would be if he got away with it, he’s in there again with a fresh wad of cash and doing NOTHING yet again.

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