Monday, October 31, 2022

Shirley Jackson

another pew

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Hot Topics With THE PEW" went up Saturday night.  Love it.

Kimberly Hew-Low has an interesting article about the great Shirley Jackson:

Even the most familiar comforts can grow to feel strange, unreliable, potentially harmful — a phenomenon Freud called unheimlich, or “unhomely.” No writer epitomizes the concept of the unhomely more than Shirley Jackson, whose darker fiction — “The Lottery” being arguably the best-known example — eclipsed the broader range of her oeuvre. But she also wrote humorous memoirs that first appeared in women’s magazines, later collected as Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons. Critics were confused by the Jackson they encountered in these domestic sketches, unable to reconcile this mother and homemaker — this baker of brownies, folder of laundry, and sewer of buttons — with the author whose gothic horror was so frightening that her publisher was, as Jackson describes in a 1948 letter to her parents, “playing up lottery as the most terrifying piece of literature ever printed.” Jackson performed a kind of homemaking in her fiction, too: She conjured up houses with the kind of hauntedness that only a housewife, intimately acquainted with the complications of domestic comforts, could. Indeed, she recognized that there is no place quite like the home, a place where the familiar hosts the frightful; where menace coexists comfortably with the mundane.

We feel such menace in the homes at the hearts of Jackson’s later three novels: the Halloran estate in The Sundial, the titular property in The Haunting of Hill House, and the Blackwood mansion in We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Each home promises lavish comfort, at least for some of its inhabitants; each is built as an extensive world unto itself, a testament to the wealth of its owner; each stands distinct from the wider world, just as a gated suburb self-insulates from its surroundings. But if wealth allows these characters their elaborate exercises in world building, then it also condemns them to suffer the resentment of the surrounding villagers who, like Jackson’s own neighbors, tend toward a threatening tribalism.

Jackson also directs our attention to the ways in which material displays of wealth, not just social surroundings, can be alienating. The group that Dr. Montague assembles to investigate paranormal activity at Hill House becomes quickly overwhelmed by its opulence: between the “towers and turrets and buttresses and wooden lace, Gothic spires and gargoyles,” they struggle to feel settled in this “masterpiece of architectural misdirection.” In The Sundial, Aunt Fanny becomes similarly bewildered by the Halloran estate where she was raised, suggesting that the wealthy, by delegating their domestic labor to others, may never feel at home in a place from which they are fundamentally estranged. From its construction to its daily upkeep, the Halloran estate is entirely the work of others hired from the distant city, specifically to keep the villagers out.


In case someone doesn't know who Shirley Jackson is, this is from Wikipedia:

Shirley Hardie Jackson (December 14, 1916 – August 8, 1965) was an American writer known primarily for her works of horror and mystery. Over the duration of her writing career, which spanned over two decades, she composed six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories.

Born in San Francisco, California, Jackson attended Syracuse University in New York, where she became involved with the university's literary magazine and met her future husband Stanley Edgar Hyman. After they graduated, the couple moved to New York and began contributing to The New Yorker, with Jackson as a fiction writer and Hyman as a contributor to "Talk of the Town". The couple settled in North Bennington, Vermont, in 1945, after the birth of their first child, when Hyman joined the faculty of Bennington College.[8]

After publishing her debut novel The Road Through the Wall (1948), a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood in California, Jackson gained significant public attention for her short story "The Lottery", which presents the sinister underside of a bucolic American village. She continued to publish numerous short stories in literary journals and magazines throughout the 1950s, some of which were assembled and reissued in her 1953 memoir Life Among the Savages. In 1959, she published The Haunting of Hill House, a supernatural horror novel widely considered to be one of the best ghost stories ever written.[a] Jackson's 1962 novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a Gothic mystery which has been described as Jackson's masterpiece.[9]

By the 1960s, Jackson's health began to deteriorate significantly, ultimately leading to her death due to a heart condition in 1965 at the age of 48.

[. . .]

Writing career

"The Lottery" and early publications

In 1948, Jackson published her debut novel, The Road Through the Wall, which tells a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood growing up in Burlingame, California, in the 1920s. Jackson's most famous story, "The Lottery", first published in The New Yorker on June 26, 1948, established her reputation as a master of the horror tale.[43] The story prompted over 300 letters from readers,[44] many of them outraged at its conjuring of a dark aspect of human nature,[43] characterized by, as Jackson put it, "bewilderment, speculation, and old-fashioned abuse".[45] In the July 22, 1948, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson offered the following in response to persistent queries from her readers about her intentions: "Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. I suppose I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village, to shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives."[46]

The critical reaction to the story was unequivocally positive; the story quickly became a standard in anthologies and was adapted for television in 1952.[47] In 1949, "The Lottery" was published in a short story collection of Jackson's titled The Lottery and Other Stories.[48]

Jackson's second novel, Hangsaman (1951), contained elements similar to the mysterious real-life December 1, 1946, disappearance of an 18-year-old Bennington College sophomore Paula Jean Welden. This event, which remains unsolved to this day, took place in the wooded wilderness of Glastenbury Mountain near Bennington in southern Vermont, where Jackson and her family were living at the time. The fictional college depicted in Hangsaman is based in part on Jackson's experiences at Bennington College, as indicated by Jackson's papers in the Library of Congress.[49][50] The event also served as inspiration for her short story "The Missing Girl" (first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1957, and posthumously in Just an Ordinary Day [1996]).

The following year, she published Life Among the Savages, a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories based on her own life with her four children,[51] many of which had been published prior in popular magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day and Collier's.[47] Semi-fictionalized versions of her marriage and the experience of bringing up four children, these works are "true-to-life funny-housewife stories" of the type later popularized by such writers as Jean Kerr and Erma Bombeck during the 1950s and 1960s.[52]

Reluctant to discuss her work with the public, Jackson wrote in Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft's Twentieth Century Authors (1955):[53]

I very much dislike writing about myself or my work, and when pressed for autobiographical material can only give a bare chronological outline which contains, naturally, no pertinent facts. I was born in San Francisco in 1919 [sic] and spent most of my early life in California. I was married in 1940 to Stanley Edgar Hyman, critic and numismatist, and we live in Vermont, in a quiet rural community with fine scenery and comfortably far away from city life. Our major exports are books and children, both of which we produce in abundance. The children are Laurence, Joanne, Sarah, and Barry: my books include three novels, The Road Through the Wall, Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest and a collection of short stories, The Lottery. Life Among the Savages is a disrespectful memoir of my children.

"The persona that Jackson presented to the world was powerful, witty, even imposing," wrote Zoë Heller in The New Yorker. "She could be sharp and aggressive with fey Bennington girls and salesclerks and people who interrupted her writing. Her letters are filled with tartly funny observations. Describing the bewildered response of The New Yorker readers to 'The Lottery,' she notes, 'The number of people who expected Mrs. Hutchinson to win a Bendix washing machine at the end would amaze you.'"[8]

The Haunting of Hill House and other works

In 1954, Jackson published The Bird's Nest (1954), which detailed a woman with multiple personalities and her relationship with her psychiatrist.[54] One of Jackson's publishers, Roger Straus, deemed The Bird's Nest "a perfect novel", but the publishing house marketed it as a psychological horror story, which displeased her.[55] Her following novel, The Sundial, was published four years later and concerned a family of wealthy eccentrics who believe they have been chosen to survive the end of the world.[56] She later published two memoirs, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons.

Jackson's fifth novel, The Haunting of Hill House (1959), follows a group of individuals participating in a paranormal study at a reportedly haunted mansion.[57] The novel, which interpolated supernatural phenomena with psychology,[58] went on to become a critically esteemed example of the haunted house story,[43][59] and was described by Stephen King as one of the most important horror novels of the twentieth century.[60] Also in 1959, Jackson published the one-act children's musical The Bad Children, based on Hansel and Gretel.[61]

Declining health and death

By the time The Haunting of Hill House had been published, Jackson suffered numerous health problems. She was a heavy smoker, which resulted in chronic asthma, joint pain, exhaustion, and dizziness leading to fainting spells, which were attributed to a heart problem.[62] Near the end of her life, Jackson also saw a psychiatrist for severe anxiety, which had kept her housebound for extended periods of time, a problem worsened by a diagnosis of colitis, which made it physically difficult to travel even short distances from her home.[63] To ease her anxiety and agoraphobia, the doctor prescribed barbiturates, which at that time were considered a safe, harmless drug.[64] For many years, she also had periodic prescriptions for amphetamines for weight loss, which may have inadvertently aggravated her anxiety, leading to a cycle of prescription drug abuse using the two medications to counteract each other's effects.[65] Any of these factors, or a combination of all of them, may have contributed to her declining health.[64] Jackson confided to friends that she felt patronized in her role as a "faculty wife", and ostracized by the townspeople of North Bennington. Her dislike of this situation led to her increasing abuse of alcohol in addition to tranquilizers and amphetamines.[66]

Despite her failing health, Jackson continued to write and publish several works in the 1960s, including her final novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962), a Gothic mystery novel.[67] It was named by Time magazine as one of the "Ten Best Novels" of 1962.[67] The following year, she published Nine Magic Wishes, an illustrated children's novel about a child who encounters a magician who grants him numerous enchanting wishes.[68] The psychological aspects of her illness responded well to therapy, and by 1964 she began to resume normal activities, including a round of speaking engagements at writers' conferences, as well as planning a new novel titled Come Along with Me, which was to be a major departure from the style and subject matter of her previous works.

In 1965, Jackson died in her sleep at her home in North Bennington, at the age of 48.[69] Her death was attributed to a coronary occlusion due to arteriosclerosis[70] or cardiac arrest.[71] She was cremated, as was her wish.[72]

Posthumous publications

In 1968, Jackson's husband released a posthumous volume of her work, Come Along with Me, containing her unfinished last novel, as well as 14 previously uncollected short stories (among them "Louisa, Please Come Home") and three lectures she gave at colleges or writers' conferences in her last years.[73]

In 1996, a crate of unpublished stories was found in a barn behind Jackson's house. A selection of those stories, along with previously uncollected stories from various magazines, were published in the 1996 volume Just an Ordinary Day. The title was taken from one of her stories for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, "One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts".[citation needed]

Jackson's papers are available in the Library of Congress. In its August 5, 2013, issue The New Yorker published "Paranoia", which the magazine said was discovered at the library.[74] Let Me Tell You, a collection of stories and essays by Jackson (mostly unpublished) was released in 2015.[20][75]

In December 2020, the short story "Adventure on a Bad Night" was published for the first time, appearing in The Strand Magazine.[76]


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Monday, October 31, 2022.  On Halloween, the snapshot is a plethora of treasures, a grab bag of them.

Starting with Eric London (WSWS):

The decision by the entire congressional slate of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members and DSA-backed representatives to rescind a letter to Joe Biden calling for peace talks with Russia increases the likelihood of direct conflict between the US and Russia and raises the risk of nuclear war.

The DSA’s endorsement of US imperialism’s war against Russia in Ukraine is not a break with the DSA’s history. On the contrary, it is the latest (and most dangerous) iteration of the organization’s pro-imperialist political essence.

Less than 24 hours after 30 of its members published the letter to Biden last Monday, the House Progressive Caucus issued a statement not only rescinding the letter, but calling for prosecuting the war “until Ukrainian victory.” A week has passed the letter signed by DSA members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) was withdrawn, and none has made any statement about the cowardly reversal or even tweeted on the subject. 

On October 25, the WSWS contacted Ocasio-Cortez’s press office and asked, “Does Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez oppose the decision by the leadership of the Progressive Caucus to withdraw the letter calling for a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine? If so, we’d like to give her the chance to say so on the record.” The congresswoman’s office acknowledged receipt of the question but did not give an answer.

DSA-endorsed Ilhan Omar has spoken publicly about the 24-hour reversal, claiming she withdrew her signature from the original letter because of “timing” and because “the letter was a response to intel we were getting” in late June, evidently from the Pentagon and CIA, about the danger of escalation. This explanation is disingenuous, since the danger of nuclear war has only increased, with Biden declaring earlier in October that the world is on the verge of “Armageddon.” In reality, the DSA slate withdrew their signatures because Nancy Pelosi told them to on behalf of Wall Street and the military.

Significantly, Omar responded to questions about her reversal by attacking opponents of war. In a series of tweets, she said those who claim the DSA members are “war mongers” for rescinding their signatures are merely promoters of Russian “internet disinformation.”

Omar re-tweeted a thread by a Huffington Post reporter denouncing “the fringe [for] attempting to suggest… that progressives who support Ukraine—the vast majority, from Bernie to Ilhan & AOC—are war-mongers.” She also pledged to vote for additional military spending for the war, even as the Biden administration does next to nothing to provide support to tens of millions of Americans confronting rising inflation, poverty and the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in their schools and workplaces.

Bernie Sanders, (I-VT), another DSA-backed candidate, was asked about the initial letter calling for negotiations: “I don’t agree with that, and they don’t agree with it apparently,” he said, perhaps not intending the insult.

The call for war until “Ukrainian victory” is indistinguishable from the position of the most extreme elements of the military-intelligence apparatus of which the DSA is a part. In fact, their silence places them to the right of figures like Ro Khanna (D-CA), a member of the Progressive Caucus who represents Silicon Valley, who defended the letter and called for negotiations.

The only semi-official attempt at damage control by a DSA leadership body on the 24-hour reversal was issued by the DSA’s International Committee via its Twitter account on October 28.

If we could, we'd quote it in full.  It's riveting and it's an important -- especially when it goes into the historical aspect.  

You can also refer to Eric London's Twitter feed.


There's a lot to cover every day so, for the record, we're not interested in the wealthy bisexual who let what he hoped was rough trade into his highly secure home for a tryst only to be attacked.  So sorry, let others fret over that story. Yes, it is my neighborhood but, as a neighbor said on Saturday, "We've all told our sons not to go in that home when his wife's not there."  Yes, we have and for good reason.

Speaking of rollover boys, Denny Kuccinich.  I love how Aaron Mate is never weighed down by facts or reality.  Which is how he can take THE GRAYZONE and lie that Denny Kay "led Congressional opposition to the Iraq War."  That would be news to so many who lived through that reality.  But of course Aaron Mate's War On Women demands that he erase all their efforts and award wishy-washy Denny Kay with a year book credit he never earned.

US House Rep Maxine Waters was the chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus, for example, not Denny. Along with Maxine, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee led on that.  Not Denny Kay.

Denny Kay caved on Iraq and did so at the 2004 DNC convention.  I know, I was there and got stuck cleaning up his mess.  A Denny Kay supporter wailing at how Denny had just betrayed Iraq and I was left to calm her down and explain to her that a Kucinich always caves.  

Years later, Dennis would loudly and repeatedly -- and rightly -- say that ObamaCare was not universal care for all and that he would not vote for it.  But Barack needed his vote so they took a little planetrip together and 'brave' Denny, when he got off the flight, noted he would now be voting for ObamaCare.  On the flight, Barack had told him how they could redistrict Denny out of office.  Stupid Denny then went along with Barack only for them to redistrict him out of office.

That's brave Denny Kay, that's the man Aaron pimps today.  By the company they keep, please remember, by the company they keep.  And also remember that Denny's done nothing in the nearly ten years since being out of Congress . . . except cash those checks from FOX NEWS.  

At some point, Aaron Mate might need to explain why he repeatedly ignores women and strips them of their accomplishments.  Then again, he's on the faux left and they never have to face much reality, do they?

Like Aaron, Twitter thinks it can get away with a great deal.

Note the second Tweet above.

As we pointed out on Saturday, Twitter is censoring this image. (click on "VIEW TWEET" above if you don't believe me):

Of that photo, they say, "The following media includes potentially sensitive content. Change settings"

And that's the sad world that we live in, that photo is censored.  

 AFP notes, "A gas tanker exploded in Baghdad on Saturday night killing at least nine people and injuring 13 others, security forces said, adding that it was an accident."  KURDISTAN 24 adds, "Prime Minister Mohammad Shia’ Al-Sudani and President Latif Rashid have both asked for an immediate probe into the deadly incident."  Why a probe?  Maybe they're not sure if it was an accident.  NEWS 84 MEDIA states, "Officials said on condition of anonymity that it was unclear at this time whether the explosion was due to a technical fault or a targeted attack. The blast came two days after Iraq’s parliament approved a new cabinet in a long-awaited vote, which was described as a major breakthrough in de-escalating ongoing political tensions in the country."

In other news, Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports:                                                                             

The mother of a former opposition bloc head in the Kurdistan Region parliament told reporters on Sunday that medical reports have concluded that her son was “poisoned” and that he is receiving treatment abroad, in light of repeated remarks from the bloc denying the seriousness of his illness.

The New Generation Movement (NGM) last week alerted Kazim Faruq, former head of the bloc, that he must stop accepting his salaries as an MP and “return the money which he has received for the last year and seven months” due to his inactivity.

Faruq’s family responded to the comments of the NGM, telling Rudaw and other media outlets that the reason the MP has not been seen publicly is because he has been receiving treatment in hospitals abroad for several months, without specifying where he is being treated.

“We took him [Faruq] abroad… and they [foreign doctors] told us your son has been poisoned,” Akhtar Ahmad, Faruq’s mother, told reporters in front of her house in Sulaimani on Sunday, noting that the family cannot reveal where the MP is because they can no longer tell “who is an enemy and who is a friend.”

Twitter has several Tweets about this development including:

Of course, if you go back a month, you'll also find this:

Meanwhile, THE PEOPLE'S DISPATCH notes The October Revolution:

This October marks the third anniversary of the 2019 popular protests in Iraq. On Tuesday, October 25, a large number of people gathered in the Tahrir square in capital Baghdad and paid homage to the people who were killed in the protests. They raised slogans in support of what has been termed by the protesters as the Tishreen movement.  

The countrywide protests in 2019, rooted in the long-term grievances of people against successive governments, went on for months. Before the global COVID-19 outbreak forced them to end, the protests were successful in forcing the then government led by Adil Abdul Mahdi to resign, putting the ruling classes on the defensive and pressing for reforms.  

Caretaker prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who came to power in May 2020 after months of uncertainty, had promised to deliver on some of the major demands raised by the protesters, including rebuilding the economy and punishing those guilty for the deaths of over 600 people including protesters and others. 

Three years down the line and with a new government on the horizon, none of these promises have been met. This is likely to lead the vast majority of pro-reformers pushing for their demands in the coming days. 

Economic and political aspects of the protests 

The 2019 protests were one of the largest in Iraq’s history since the 2003 US invasion. Long-term grievances regarding inefficiency of successive administrations and the widely perceived corruption among the ruling establishment were at the center of the public anger. In their slogans, the protesters repeatedly denounced the failure of the system created under the supervision of the US occupation in tackling the issues faced by the people, such as rising poverty, unemployment, and basic services delivery. 

At the time of the protests, the official rate of poverty in the country of approximately 40 million people was rising. Even before the pandemic hit in 2020, the poverty rate had risen to above 31%. Oil-rich Iraq witnessed an unprecedented rise in poverty during the COVID-19 outbreak. While the government claimed that the poverty rate was coming down after the pandemic, a large number of Iraqis are still forced to live a life as paupers.  

Since oil revenues make up the bulk of Iraq’s federal budget – around 96% – the economy remains vulnerable to market fluctuation. 

Iraqi youth, who make up the majority of the population, were at the center of the 2019 protests. The unemployment rate among the youth – fresh graduates from the university and others – was above 40% at the time of the protests.

The majority of Iraqis were forced to live without the basic amenities such as power, sanitation, and health care. Protesters claimed that these failures on the economic front were the result of inefficiency and corruption of the ruling elite. They also pointed to structural reasons such as the system of Muhasasa or sectarian quota based on distribution of political posts for this inefficiency and corruption.

We'll wind down with this from Ms. Magazine:


Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Hot Topics With THE PEW" went up Saturday.  The following sites updated:

Friday, October 28, 2022

The Nutty Left?

 It does exist.  That's the left that wants to stop war on Russia via Ukraine.

Not all of those people are nutty, I am one of those people.

But unlike Margaret Kimberely, Aaron Matte, Fiorella Isabelle, Little Jackie's Hinkle, Danny Haiphong and others, I'm not so nutty that I turn to registered sex offender Scott Ritter.

How weak does your argument have to be that you are making it with the help of a convicted sex offender?

How weak and how pathetic are you?

You are out of the bounds of public discourse as far as I'm concerned.

It goes to how little you value survivors or those who weren't lucky enough to survive.

Sorry, I will always support the Chrustul Kizers of this world.  How shameful that Black Agenda Report would rather get in bed with a White man who was arrested multiple times and finally convicted.

They are The Nutty Left.  

Do they really think people will turn out for their rallies with a convicted pedophile as a speaker?   Or stream their programs?

Some will.  There are a lot of people on the left and a lot of nuts.  They will go along with it.  

I'm left but not the nutty left.  I won't go along with it and shame on anyone who does.  They're as bad as Scott Ritter's pathetic wife.  She stays with him.  Three or four arrests for this and she stays with the pedophile.  She's as sick as he is.

And, let's be clear, I don't trust the opinion of anyone who is convicted sex offender but I also don't trust anyone who promotes such a person.

They're on their own.

And they should be.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Friday, October 28, 2022.  Iraq forms a government.

Big news out of Iraq unless you're BLOOMBERG NEWS.  If you're BLOOMBERG, you run with "Iraq Appoints New Oil Minister After Yearlong Political Impasse."  It certainly shows you where there priorities are.  

Mohammed Shia al Sudani is prime minister of Iraq.  Born in 1970, the 52-year-old is the youngest person to hold the office created after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  The median age in Iraq is 21.  REUTERS reminds that Mohammed "previously served as Iraq’s human rights minister as well as minister of labor and social affairs, will head the new government."  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) explains:

Descended from a well-known tribe in the southern province of Maysan, Mr Al Sudani, 52, started his political career after 2003 as a member of the Shiite Dawa Party.

From 2004 to 2009, he served as member of the provincial council in his home town and as provincial governor for a year.

He ran for election with the State of Law Coalition led by former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki and has won three terms in parliament since 2014.

Among other posts, he served as minister of human rights from 2010 to 2014 and minister of labour and social affairs from 2014 to 2018.

Al-Sudani is taking over from Mustafa al-Kadhimi who was serving as an interim prime minister after widespread anti-government protests shook the country and triggered early elections.

The political deadlock since then has done little to quell public anger over what many see as widespread and rampant corruption.

"The epidemic of corruption that has affected all aspects of life is more deadly than the corona pandemic and has been the cause of many economic problems, weakening the state's authority, increasing poverty, unemployment, and poor public services," al-Sudani said in parliament.

Since Nouri al-Maliki, every prime minister has promised to fight corruption and every prime minister has left office without making any impact on that front.

The US State Dept issued the following:

The United States congratulates Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on forming a new Iraqi government.  We look forward to working with him and his government on the range of our shared interests, from improving services for the Iraqi people to ensuring a safe, stable, and sovereign Iraq as outlined in our Strategic Framework Agreement.

The Iraqi people deserve economic opportunity, an end to corruption, and improved public services.  The United States welcomes Prime Minister al-Sudani’s commitment to bring weapons under the control of official and legitimate state institutions.  We share the Iraqi government’s interest in preserving stability and security.

The United States stands ready to work with the Iraqi government and people to confront Iraq’s challenges together, from improving respect for human rights to addressing climate change and improving economic opportunities for a growing population. Iraq has a partner in the United States as it moves forward with reforms.

UNAMI issued the following:

Baghdad, 27 October 2022 - The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) welcomes the confirmation of Prime Minister Mohammed S. Al-Sudani’s government by the Council of Representatives. The swift completion of his cabinet is now an essential next step.

The new government faces many serious challenges that require decisive action. These will include addressing Iraq’s systematic corruption; implementing desperately needed reforms and delivering adequate services to all citizens; diversifying the economy; encouraging the meaningful participation of women and youth; tackling the effects of climate change; ending impunity and making perpetrators accountable; and reining in non-state armed actors while asserting the State’s authority.

A strong resolve, across the spectrum, to provide concrete solutions will prove vital. The United Nations reaffirms its steadfast commitment to supporting the government and people of Iraq.

Along with his age,  Mohammed is also significant in another way.  He was named prime minister-designate October 15th.  Yesterday, he became prime minister by getting his Cabinet of 21 ministers approved by Parliament (two spots remain vacant).  That's 12 days after being named the designate.  The Constitution gives the designate 30 days.  Mohammed has set a new record for fastest formation.  21 is what most outlets are saying.  Most.  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

His cabinet consists of 22 ministers, mainly representing the Administering the State Coalition's parties that formed the government.

There are currently two Kurdish ministers in the cabinet. Fuad Hussein, representing the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) member, was elected as Iraq's foreign minister for the second time. 

Khalid Shwani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) became Iraq's justice minister. 

Al-Sudani's cabinet has three female ministers, Finance Minister Taif Sami, Minister of Migration and Displacement Evan Jabro, and Hyam Al Yassri of the telecommunication ministry of communications.  

AL-MONITOR lists the following Cabinet heads:

  • Health: Salih Mahdi
  • Finance: Taif Sami
  • Interior: Abdul Amir Al-Shimmery
  • Water Resources:  Aoun Diab
  • Electricity: Ziad Ali Fadhil Sudani
  • Oil: Hayyan Abdul Ghani
  • Youth and Sports: Ahmad Al-Mubarqa’
  • Agriculture: Abbas Jabr
  • Transport: Razzaq Muhaibis
  • Labor and Social Affairs: Ahmad Al-Asadi
  • Communications: Hoyam Abboud
  • Higher Education: Na’im Al-Abboudi
  • Planning: Muhammad Tamim
  • Culture and Antiquities: Ahmad Fakkak Ahmad
  • Defense: Thabit Muhammad
  • Education: Ibrahim Namis
  • Industry: Khalid Battal
  • Trade: Athir Daowd Salman
  • Justice: Khalid Shawani
  • Foreign Affairs: Fuad Hussein
  • Immigration: Ivan Faiq

The most recognizable name on the list to the west may be Fuad Hussein.  

He will continue as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, a post he assumed in 2020, and he was previously the Minister of Finance.  A Kurd, he is a member of the KDP.  In 2018, the KDP nominated him for President of Iraq (the post went to the PUK's Barham Saleh).  

RUDAW reports, "The cabinet consists of 23 ministers but only 21 were approved as Sudani did not present any names for environment and construction ministries. All members of the cabinet were later sworn in."  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) also goes with 21, "A majority of the 253 lawmakers present voted to appoint 21 ministers, with two posts -- the Construction and Housing Ministry and the Environment Ministry -- remaining undecided."  TRT states, "Of the 21 ministries nominated, 12 posts go to Shia supported by the Coordination Framework, six to Sunni leaders, two to Kurds and one to a Christian woman — one of three females in the new government."

The formation of the government came one year and 17 days after the elections (October 10, 2021).  

For months, cleric and cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr had attempted to form a government and repeatedly failed.  He had been hailed by the western press as a "kingmaker."  He'd never been it before and, turns out, he wasn't it this go round either.  Will the western press be issuing corrections?  Amending previously published news reports -- not opinion pieces, news reports?  Of course, they won't.

Moqtada had one tantrum after another.  He overplayed his hand when he stomped his feet and ordered members of his political bloc to immediately withdraw from Parliament.  Fatty just knew that everyone would beg him to have his ministers return.  Didn't happen.  They resigned and his bluff was called.  The second biggest vote getters replaced Moqtada's MPs.  He's not represented in Parliament and, guess what, his people also hold no ministry.

From kingmaker to failed cult leader. 

In his speech prior to the vote, Sudani described the economic and political priorities of his government.

“The world is witnessing tremendous political and economic changes and conflicts, which will add new challenges to our country,” Sudani said. “We will ... do our utmost to succeed in addressing these challenges."


Analysts say that despite breaking the deadlock, the new government is set to face a number of obstacles.

“The fulfilment of the enormous expectations outlined in the Ministerial Programme will be one of the primary obstacles this government will encounter,” Research Associate at Chatham House, Hayder al-Shakeri, told Rudaw English on Friday.

“For instance, fighting corruption throughout and organizing early elections one year later. This will not occur while attempting to maintain the satisfaction of the political elite who have empowered Sudani to become Prime Minister,” Shakeri argues. 

Another obstacle may be protests.  The October Revolution will be in the streets demanding accountability.  As usual, Moqtada will try to piggy-back on to the movement.  He'll have to struggle for that because they refused to back down last go round -- on his demands that males and females not be protesting at the same site, for example.  

Winding down . . .

BROS is playing around the world and, in the US, you can also stream it -- rental or purchase.  It's a comedy classic and the best film of 2022.

The following sites updated: