Friday, July 09, 2010

Bombings continue in Iraq, Turkey ups the rhetoric

Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) reports, "At least five Iraqis were killed and at least 18 others were wounded in a suicide bombing at an Iraqi army checkpoint in western Baghdad Friday morning, the Interior Ministry said." Andrew England (Financial Times of London) adds, "The government has blamed the attacks on extremists determined to stir sectarian tensions. Iraq has been plagued by political uncertainty since the inconclusive general election on March 7." The government. Yeah. And, of course, AP: "The attacks on pilgrims and security forces of the past days bear the hallmark of Sunni insurgents in Iraq." AP repeats it and they do it unsourced. Nowhere in the article does this claim get sourced back to the Iraqi government.

The attacks on pilgrims has garnered most of the press attention but it's far from the only area of attention in Iraq. Today's Zaman reports, "Turkey's foreign minister said on Friday that Turkey would take any necessary measures to eliminate threat of terrorism stemming from north of Iraq." Any necessary measures. The rhetoric gets even more heated. Yesterday the Southeast Europe Times reported the the Turkish Minister of the Interior, Besir Atalay, declared that, "The time for words is over. It is time for action now." Amir Taheri (Asharq Alawsat Newspaper) recounts, "Over the past three weeks Turkish air force has carried out a series of bombing raids against alleged Kurdish rebel positions while gunfights have continued between he ground forces f the two sides. According to news agencies at least 100 fighters, including 30 Turkish soldiers, have been killed, many more than the casualties reported from the Afghan war for the same period."

Meanwhile the political stalemate continues in Iraq. The Jordan Times offers "Need to act in Iraq:"

US Vice President Joe Biden visited Baghdad recently, hoping to bring an end to the deadlock over the formation of a new Iraqi government, following the March 7 elections, but left empty-handed.
The standoff between Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi has stunted all attempts so far to reach national reconciliation and come up with an acceptable government.
Allawi's Iraqiya coalition won parliamentary elections with a razor-thin majority, which makes him deem it his right to form a government. Maliki, in turn, was hoping that a Shiite grand alliance would give him back the premiership. It does not seem to be happening and the result is a country in disarray, plagued by violence and still divided.
Many Iraqis viewed Biden's failed bid to end the rift between the two leaders as interference in their affairs.

In the US, Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) report, "President Obama's pick to lead military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and the Middle East is an experienced ground combat commander, but also earned a stern rebuke in 2005 for controversial comments about combat operations." Mike Mount (CNN) adds of Gen James Mattis, "His blunt talk has gotten him in trouble: In 2005 he said, 'It's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them,' referring to people in Afghanistan."

TV notes. On PBS' Washington Week, John Dickerson (CBS, Slate), John Harwood (New York Times, CNBC), Christi Parsons (Tribune Washington Bureau), Pierre Thomas (ABC News) join Gwen around the table. Gwen now has a weekly column at Washington Week and the current one is "Taking the candor challenge." This week, Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Eleanor Holmes Norton, Tara Setmayer, Amy Siskind and Genevieve Wood on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary to discuss the week's events. And at the website each week, there's an extra just for the web from the previous week's show and this week's online bonus is a discussion of whether someone convicted of domestic violence should be allowed to own a gun. Need To Know is PBS' new program covering current events. This week's hour long broadcast (Fridays on most PBS stations -- but check local listings) features a report on veterans' courts. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

The Lost Children of Haiti
Scott Pelley reports on the most vulnerable victims of Haiti's earthquake, children who not only face hunger, disease and sexual assault, but a form of slavery that is legal in the Caribbean country. | Watch Video

Kathryn Bigelow
Lesley Stahl talks to Kathryn Bigelow about her award-winning film, "The Hurt Locker," for which she won the Academy Award for Best Director - the first woman ever to win in that category. | Watch Video

White Hot
U.S. snowboarder Shaun White shows Bob Simon some of the tricks he used to win gold in Vancouver. | Watch Video

60 Minutes, Sunday, July 11, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Radio. Today on The Diane Rehm Show (airs on most NPR stations and streams live online beginning at 10:00 am EST), Diane is joined the first hour (domestic news roundup) by Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal), John Dickerson (CBS, Slate) and Shailagh Murray (Washington Post). For the second hour (international), she's joined by James Kitfield (National Journal), Trudy Rubin (Philadelphia Inquirer) and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers).

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