Abu Risha met his first challenge when he denounced what he charged was election fraud by the Iraqi Islamic Party, the religious Sunni political group that's ruled Anbar since elections in 2005, when most Sunni Arabs refused to vote under U.S. occupation.
Even before the results of last month's elections were announced, Abu Risha's supporters were unhappy. They gathered at a guesthouse just before the preliminary tally was announced and grumbled that if the results once again favored the Iraqi Islamic Party, they'd take power by force. They're owed political power, they think, after they restored order in the province when the Iraqi Islamic Party couldn't.
"They ruled for four years in this province," said Abdul Jabar Abu Risha, Ahmed's younger brother. "When they were leading this administration, al Qaida in Iraq was flourishing, parading in front of provincial buildings, and they (Iraqi Islamic Party leaders) were in Baghdad."
Ahmed Abu Risha, too, had threatened violence at first, but he changed his rhetoric. He seized a microphone and addressed his followers. Behind him hung an Iraqi flag with his murdered brother's picture in the center.
"If something happens besides the law, I will resign," he threatened.
That's the latest garbage from Leila Fadel. From her 'report' entitled "Volatile Anbar province a test of Iraq's future" and it's so very creative. Not just the above but let's start with how Leila works overtime to redeam the thug sheik. He "grumbled" and, finally, he "threatened" -- but just "at first"! Then "he changed his rhetoric"! What a pack of lies. How stupid does Leila think people are? What a liar and what a fraud.
The US military had to go down to Anbar to guarantee safety (to the region -- from Thug Sheik's threats) and to talk to the Thug Sheik about his threats. al-Maliki had to send an envoy to get the Thug Sheik to calm down. Leila leaves out about three days worth of news and hopes she can get away with it. McClatchy really needs to stop whoring for the "Awakening" Councils -- and, to be really honest, maybe they shouldn't employ so many stringers with ties to the "Awakening" Council? McClatchy's always tilted to one side in the sectarian spilt.
So Leila not only cleans up the messy realities about the Thug Sheik, she also cleans up the history of "Awakening" in Anbar. They signed up because they were tired of the militants and al Qaeda in Iraq. Leila didn't just embarrass herself, she broke the McClatchy Commandment: Thou shalt always parrot General David Petreaus.
Leila dropped that -- what does it matter, Petraeus is over CENTCOM now and can't really help a working girl the way he once did, now can he? And it's so much more important to pimp for the "Awakening" Councils. So Leila takes a 'docu-drama' approach to the creation of the "Awakening" Councils. They turned for coin. The US agreed to pay and to pay better. That's why they turned and the turn was a slow one. Petreause implemented that plan -- all on his own, with no White House permission or authority.
And he's been very careful about that story and whom he entrusts with it. Leila decides he's no longer of use, spits on his history (which is the reality) and re-invents because "Awakenings" are so very helpful to McClatchy. Thing is, Leila, Ray Odierno and Petraeus remain close and your little burn you just pulled, the one you think doesn't matter? It will matter.
What a stupid idiot.
[*McClatchy being in the tank for the "Awakening" Councils was most recently discussed in "Roundtable on Iraq," "IRAQ ROUNDTABLE," "Roundtable on Iraq," "roundtable on iraq," "Iraq Roundtable," "Iraq roundtable in the Kitchen," "Iraq roundtable," "Iraq roundtable" and "Iraq roundtable" -- the roundtable we did Friday. Again, the reporting alone was bad enough to earn them that reputation but the blog posts praising "Awakenings" constantly also confirmed it. That is their reputation and they earned it. Gareth Porter recently stumbled onto another aspect of their image. We'd addressed that here already and done so for some time.]
The truth Leila avoided, distorted and molested is served up by Dahr Jamail in "Iraq's 'Teflon Don'" (MidEast Dispatches). Meanwhile the issue of the shameful hiding of coffins is addressed in Timothy Rutten's "America can handle the coffins" (Los Angeles Times):
Later, President George W. Bush's administration would graft onto the initial misperception a notion that the families of fallen soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and women are entitled to privacy in their grief. Certainly, their loss is a particular and intimate one, but it also is a loss that belongs to the nation as a whole and in whose consequences the entire American polity needs to share. It is possible to protect the privacy of individual family members while also allowing the nation to witness the sacrifices made in its name.
Since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq began, more than 5,000 flag-draped coffins have arrived at Dover to be greeted only by a military chaplain and an eight-member military honor guard. That won't do; the nation, through the witness of a respectful media, needs to share in this accounting.
To continue to pretend otherwise infantilizes the American people. Summers, who was a career Army officer first, last and always and the furthest thing from sentimental, utterly rejected such an approach.
Monday, Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) covered the power struggle between the Ministry for Tourism and Antiquities and the Culture Ministry as to whether or not the museum will open next Monday. The Culture Ministry's Jabir al-Jabiri is stating that the museum is not opening and his ministry is over the Ministry for Tourism and Antiquties while MfTaA's Baha al-Mayahi states yes, they are opening next Monday. Aseel Kami (Reuters) provides the latest update:
"We have overcome security problems," said Abdul-Zahra al-Telagani, spokesman for the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry. "The date is set, and the museum will be reopened, God willing."
But Jaber al-Jaberi, deputy minister of culture, said the Culture Ministry outranked the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry, a junior agency, and it would not yet permit the reopening. He said that security was still a problem and, with artefacts simply lying around the museum, the site was not ready. "This is the official and final position," he said.
The feud illustrates some of the challenges facing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government as it seeks to capitalise on a drop in violence and unify a country shattered by war.
Braeden notes J.K.'s "Obama--War Criminal" (The Guillotine):
As we noted earlier, if Obama chose to continue the war(s), then he would be the war criminal.
Well, it's one month into his regime, and the Los Angeles Times reminds us that Obama has said (among a number of things) that he wanted combat troops out of Iraq by the end of 2010--so almost two years from now!--but that: "There are about 146,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Obama has not detailed plans for reducing the force in Iraq".
Did anybody who voted for Obama, thinking he was the "anti-war" candidate, really think he wouldn't even have announced any details of a plan to reduce troops in Iraq by the end of his first month in office? Of course, all along Obama, the lawyer, allowed himself a loophole. He would only reduce troops in Iraq if his generals told him it was OK to do so. In other words, he would do what the military told him to. Funny, because in addition to that being the same excuse Bush always used for escalating (and also losing) the wars, the command structure in the US military actually doesn't work that way. The president is the commander-in-chief of the military and it is he who orders the generals around, not the other way.
And, has anybody ever asked--what the hell does "OK" mean anyway?
Because it wasn't "OK" for US troops to have been in Iraq one damned second. And it still isn't "OK", and it won't ever be "OK"--till they get the hell out of Iraq.
That excerpt would have gone best with the previous entry but I only just saw Braeden's e-mail.
Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs documents yesterday's meet-up between Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Frank-Walter Steimmeier, Germany's Foreign Minister:
17 February, 2009
Minister Zebari Meets German Foreign Minister in Baghdad
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari received on Tuesday morning 17/2/2009, at Baghdad International Airport, Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister and his accompanying delegation who is visiting Iraq to conduct talks on the future of relations between the two countries in addition to signing agreements and memorandums of understanding on education and electricity and investment.
His Excellency the Minister accompanied the German Foreign Minster to His Excellency President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
The two ministers held talks in the Foreign Ministry headquarters on the future of relations between the two countries in all areas and how to upgrade them to higher levels.
His Excellency Minister Zebari and his counterpart also held a joint press conference attended by several Iraqi and international media addressing the importance of this visit for the two countries and what was achieved during the talks and agreements that will be signed between the two countries and areas of cooperation.
The German minister will visit Erbil for the opening of the German consulate.
18 February, 2009
Undersecretary Receives Ambassador of the Republic of Pakistan
Foreign Ministry Undersecretary for Policy Planning and Bilateral Relations, Mr. Labeed Abbawi met on Wednesday 18/2/2009, with the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Oman, Mr. Akhtar Tufel. After the exchange of words of welcome the two sides discussed relations between the two brotherly countries and ways of developing them, emphasizing the heritage of the two countries.
Mr. Abbawi pointed to the achievements made by Iraq concerning the reconstruction of infrastructure and restoring stability and security in the country, hinting to the great success achieved by the provincial elections, which proved that the Iraqi people have renounced all kinds of extremism, sectarianism and factionalism stressing the support for those that can benefits Iraq.
On his part, the Pakistani Ambassador expressed his pleasure for the visit and expressed his admiration for what has been achieved in the area of reconstruction and Iraqi steadfastness in facing crisis, the Pakistani Ambassador expressed the desire of his Government to reopen its embassy in Baghdad, and stated that they will nominate an ambassador to Baghdad within the coming days and expressed the intention of Pakistani President Mr. Asif Zardari's to visit Iraq at a date yet to be determined.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has issued a press release containing basic information about the region:
Area: 40,643 square kilometres 
Population: 3,757,058 
Capital city: Erbil (also known as Hewler)
Languages: mainly Kurdish; Turkmani, Arabic, Armenian, and Assyrian in some areas.
Currency: Iraqi Dinar (IQD).
A few facts about the Kurdistan Region in Iraq
This is also available as a downloadable fact sheet
 KRG-administered territory only. Compiled by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) from various national and regional sources: International Boundaries from National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Digital Chart of the World (DCW). The primary source for the DCW database is the Operational Navigation Chart series co-produced by the military mapping authorities of Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States.
 According to Oil-for-Food Distribution Plan, approved by the UN, December 2002.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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