Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The puppet twirls in circles

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has urged neighbouring states to do more to support his country's economy.
At a ministerial meeting in Kuwait, Mr Maliki said Iraq was still waiting for its neighbours to honour pledges to cancel debts.
He also repeated a call for Arab states to provide more political support, by reopening embassies in Baghdad.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is also in Kuwait attending the same ministerial meetings.

The above is from the BBC's "Maliki plea for regional support" and, for those who have forgotten, puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki was installed in the spring of 2006. He's still not getting support from the neighboring countries. Of the big meet-up, AP explains:

Al-Maliki spoke at the opening of a meeting of Iraq's neighbors held in Kuwait -- the third such meeting in the past year. A copy of the conference's draft resolution obtained by The Associated Press calls for increased help from Iraq's neighbors in fighting militias and "assistance in solving the issue of Iraqi debts."
But Iraq's neighbors have made similar pledges at two previous meetings, with little follow-through. They have also promised to open diplomatic missions in Baghdad, but none has yet done so.

As Stevie Nicks long ago noted (1983's Wild Heart) in a different context, "Nothing every changes, no, it doesn't." And if a puppet would have difficulty being charming by the very nature of having his strings pulled by others, Al Jazeera explains that's the least of al-Maliki's problems:
"He, however, rebuked them for not doing enough to stop fighters entering the country, and to help it to write off its debts." Apparently nothing says "Help me" like rebuking those you need.

Ned Parker's "Female suicide bomber kills four in Iraq" (Los Angeles Times) covers some of yesterday's reported violence:

In northeast Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi forces continued their fight against Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army in Sadr City and neighboring districts. At least nine suspected militia fighters were killed, the U.S. military said. Iraqi police reported 19 Iraqis killed and 69 wounded in Sadr City since early Sunday.
Late Monday, a mortar shell or rocket crashed into a house near the headquarters of Sadr's main political rival, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a member of that group said. There was no word on casualties.
Two U.S. soldiers were killed when a bomb exploded during an operation in Salahuddin province north of Baghdad, the military said in a statement Monday. Two other soldiers, a pair of Sons of Iraq fighters and an interpreter were also wounded in the attack. The military did not give details of the incident.
At least 4,041 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003, according to icasualties.org, an independent website that monitors military deaths.

Pennsylvania holds their primary today. KeShawn notes Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Pennsylvania Primary Eve" (HillaryClinton.com) from yesterday:

Previewing Today in PA: Hillary hosts "Solutions for Pennsylvania" rallies in Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia. She is joined by former President Bill Clinton in Pittsburgh and later in Philadelphia.
"Answer:" In response to increasingly negative attacks from the Obama campaign, the Clinton campaign unveiled "Answer" a new 30-second TV spot: "There are more and more questions about Barack Obama. Instead of attacking, maybe he should answer them."
Read more.
"A Few Last Words" for Pennsylvanians: In an op-ed in the Philadelphia Daily News, Hillary writes: "Traveling across this state today, I see that same Pennsylvania spirit my family instilled in me -- that wonderful combination of resilience, patriotism and optimism. A spirit that says anything is possible when we roll up our sleeves and get to work. That is the spirit I'm bringing to my campaign, and the spirit I will bring to my presidency."
Read more.
"Almost Obscene Spending:" Gov. Rendell said yesterday the "the race has tightened because of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's 'almost obscene' spending." Read more.
Details Matter: "ABC News' Eloise Harper reports: Sen. Hillary Clinton was fired up [yesterday] evening at her final stop…[Hillary said:] 'I think we have to...get beyond the generalities, get beyond the speeches, because when the cameras disappear and the lights are turned off you’re electing a president to solve problems, not to give speeches.'" Read more.
Praising McCain?: Sen. Obama suggested yesterday that Sen. McCain would be a better President than Bush. Hillary’s response: "Sen. McCain would follow the same failed policies that have been so wrong for our country the last seven years." Read more and more. Read Hillary’s full response here.
Grit to Lead: "Hillary Clinton supporter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend answered a few questions from The [South Bend] Tribune: ...We want somebody who's got the grit to get down in the details and solve problems. I want somebody who knows that we are in the worst economic times since the Great Depression, who understands what that requires, and who has a grasp on how to solve these problems."
Read more.
Surrogates in the States: Ted Danson spent yesterday in Terre Haute, IN: "If I tell Hillary about a problem I'm having I'd better be ready for her to fix it." Read more... Sean Astin campaigns in the Tar Heel state today.
In Case You Missed It: "Electability: Why Hillary Is More Likely to Beat McCain"
Read more.

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