Saturday, March 07, 2009

Iraq and Turkey

From a snapshot last month:

[. . .] the State Dept denies speaking with Jordan or Turkey about air space or land in the case of a draw down in the near future, and more.
[. . .]
At the US State Dept today, spokesperson Gordon Duguid was asked if the airspace or land of Turkey and Jordan could be used for US equipment "when the time comes" and Duguid responded, "I am not aware of any discussions on that. I know that the President has asked for a review from the Pentagon on just how you could draw down U.S. forces in Iraq. I am not aware that the review has been finalized, so I would have to refer you to the Pentagon for where that stands at the moment."

Where it stands now? Today US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Turkey and Viola Gienger (Bloomberg News) reports that she visited various government officials (Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan among them) in Ankara and discussed "Iraq, Iran, peace in the Middle East and the security of energy supplies." Geinger observes:

The Obama administration needs Turkey to help stabilize Iraq and to mediate in Middle East conflicts involving countries and groups with limited or broken diplomatic ties with the U.S., such as Syria and Iran. Turkey, which aspires to European Union membership, also forms a vital oil and gas corridor.

China's Xinhau reports:

Clinton met with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan early Saturday morning and bilateral relations between the two NATO allies, Middle East peacekeeping as well as the fight against terrorism were high on agenda of the meetings, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
According to the report, Clinton's visit was aiming to try to build a better image for the Obama administration in order to remove a wave of anti-Americanism that rose after the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq in 2003.

And Barack will reportedly visit Turkey in the next few weeks. Reuters noted this week:

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan signalled on Wednesday Turkey would allow the US military to use its bases and ports to withdraw troops from Iraq after US President Barack Obama pledged a 2010 drawdown.
The United States has not formally asked to use Turkish airbases and ports and Turkey would have to consider what kind of equipment was being transported, the routes to be used and other issues before approving any such request, Babacan told reporters before departing for a NATO meeting in Brussels.

A friend at the State Dept asks that I please include a link to their student website. We will most likely include that on the permalinks to the left at some point -- whenever I can cast a spell and increase the number of hours in a day -- and I believe we fall back one hour this weekend.


These are the Secretary of State's 2009 International Women of Courage Awards:

In celebration of International Women's Day, the Department of State announces the recipients of the third annual Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage. This is the only award within the Department of State that pays tribute to outstanding women leaders worldwide. It recognizes the courage and leadership shown as they struggle for social justice and human rights.
This year, the Secretary of State will pay tribute to honorees representing Afghanistan, Guatemala, Iraq, Malaysia, Niger, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. They are among over 80 exceptional women nominated by U.S. Embassies worldwide for their extraordinary work in advancing human rights. The women will be in Washington from March 8 - 12 for a program of meetings with government officials, NGOs and the media. The Office of International Visitors is partnering with the Office of International Women’s Issues on this project.

The 2009 recipients of the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Awards are:

Ms. Wazhma Frogh (Afghanistan)
Wazhma Frogh is the Afghanistan Country Director for the NGO Global Rights and a dynamic leader in the fight against domestic violence, marital and child rape, and sexual abuse in Afghanistan.

Ms. Norma Cruz (Guatemala)
Norma Cruz is on the forefront of women who are fighting on behalf of victims of violence and sexual abuse. As director of the NGO Survivors Foundation, Ms. Cruz combats the widespread impunity that too often accompanies the endemic violence against women in Guatemala.

Ms. Suaad Allami (Iraq)
A prominent lawyer, Suaad Allami fights against the erosion of women's rights and defends the most disadvantaged. She founded the NGO Women for Progress and the Sadr City Women's Center, which offers free medical care, literacy education, vocational training, and legislative advocacy. She has accepted a Humphrey Fellowship from the State Department for academic year 2009-2010.

Ms. Ambiga Sreenevasan (Malaysia)
An accomplished lawyer who became President of the Malaysian Bar Council, Ambiga Sreenevasan masterfully uses the rule of law to advance human rights, the status of women, and religious tolerance. In the face of death threats and intimidation, Ms. Ambiga has emerged as a strong voice of tolerance and justice.

Ms. Hadizatou Mani (Niger)
Sold to a "master" at the age of 12 for the equivalent of $500, Hadizatou Mani persevered in gaining her freedom and helped pave the way for others trapped in similar circumstances to seek justice. Through her valiant efforts, persistence, and refusal to succumb to social pressure to abandon her case, she won a historic, precedent-setting decision in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice that condemned her enslavement.

Ms. Veronika Marchenko (Russia)
Veronika Marchenko is the head of the NGO Mother’s Right, and has demonstrated exceptional bravery and leadership in exposing the truth surrounding the disturbing peacetime deaths within the Russian armed forces. Ms. Marchenko has successfully sought justice on behalf of bereaved families of servicemen who died as a result of cruel and inhumane conditions.

Ms. Mutabar Tadjibayeva (Uzbekistan)
Imprisoned for criticizing her government's handling of events surrounding the 2005 violence in the city of Andijon, Mutabar Tadjibayeva refuses to be silenced. She has returned to human rights advocacy, and remains a fearless critic of human rights abuses.

Ms. Reem Al Numery (Yemen)
When she was 12, Reem Al Numery had her childhood cut short when she was forced to marry her 30-year -old cousin. She has emerged as a strong and brave voice on behalf of other girls facing a similar fate. Her courage has inspired a widespread drive against child marriages in Yemen.

In this morning's New York Times, Steven Lee Myers offers "6 Years In, Troops Glimpse Real Path Out of Iraq." And he uses the figure 142,000 for US troops in Iraq which is a good time to grab a visitor's e-mail from Thursday. Why would someone say 142,000? That was the question in the e-mail. Because it's the number the White House is pushing and it's so much easier to go along. What's 4,000 if it makes the White House happy? Of course, once you start down that slope, it can quickly become what's 10,000, what's 20,000 and pretty soon 146,000 troops in Iraq are referred to as 30,000. It doesn't happen overnight, but when you allow the White House to misnumber, it does happen as reality (and independence) are chipped away bit by bit. Click here for the Los Angeles Times reporting 146,000 and, note, this was prior to
Barack's Little Big Horn speech.

It's a lengthy article Myers has written and some of it's strong and some of it's weak. (Nation building? Making a crack about Bully Boy's alleged disdain for nation building? That was fresh in 2001 when he immediately went back on his campaign talk. It's a moldy oldy today.) Myers also seems unable or unwilling to admit (as even the leaked RAND study did this week) that the 'enemy' in Iraq is more than al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. The article's strengths include observing: "It means ceding real control to Iraq's government, something the United States has previously done more in word than in deed." It's a mixed bag. Maybe that happens when Iraq is kept out of the paper and an article like this (which should be twice as long -- and I'm sure Myers would have no problem writing an article that lengthy) has to cover more than can be reasonably fit into the space allotted.

Last night, various community members took place in a roundtable on Iraq:

Cedric's Big Mix
12 hours ago

The Daily Jot
12 hours ago

Mikey Likes It!
12 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
Roundtable on Iraq
12 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
roundtable on iraq
12 hours ago

Roundtabling Iraq
12 hours ago

Trina's Kitchen
The Roundtable in the Kitchen
12 hours ago

Ruth's Report
Putting Iraq back on the table
12 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Iraq roundtable
12 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
Iraq roundtable
12 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
12 hours ago

The Common Ills
Iraq roundtable
13 hours ago

[Mike note: I'm posting this for C.I. and I went to State Dept page to add a photo to what C.I.'s written. I've put it up at Flickr. State Dept website says the photo (used above) is Hillary Clinton and Sergey V. Lavrov. Elaine took one look and said, "He's too young. There's no gray in his hair on the sides, where are the glasses?" So it's apparently not Lavrov. I don't know who it is. So this will pass for the caption to the photo in this entry. :D]

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends