Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nouri hopes spin covers incompetence

Al Sabaah reports Nouri al-Maliki -- prime minister and chief puppet of the ongoing occupation -- is insisting that it's time to push national reconciliation (after, please note, he's bullied his way into getting everything he wanted). Monday State of Law (Nouri's political slate) is scheduled to meet with Iraiqya (headed by Ayad Allawi). Monday is also May 23rd. That makes the meeting and the p.r. spin from it highly important to Nouri. Come Monday, he has less than 15 days until he has to spin an impasse into progress -- June 7th is when the 100 days to fix corruption ends. If you missed it, Nouri's got damn little to show for the 100 days. But he may be hoping to circumvent that bad news by insisting that progress has been made in relations between factions. That might distract from no end to corruption or maybe Friday's prison break.

From Friday's snapshot:

Alsumaria TV reports, "An Iraqi informed security source revealed on Friday that five chiefs of the Mehdi Army managed to escape from Taji prison, north of Baghdad. Three detainees were reported missing while transferring them to Karkh central prison, the Justice Ministry said. A special force from Prime Minister's office headed on Thursday night to Taji Prison, nothern Baghdad, to transfer detainees to one of the capital's prisons, the source told Alsumarianews. Five chiefs of the Mehdi Army including senior leader Saad Sowar managed to escape during the transfer, the source said." New Sabah states that 182 detainees were being transferred when the escape took place.

Dar Addustour reports that the Justice Ministry has announced it is signing a contract with the US to install devices that will allow them to jam cell phones within prisons. Al Mada reports that the Taji prison escape has resulted in numerous "conflicting statements" about the prison break. But the announcement regarding jamming cell phones appears to be a response to (if not an acknowledgment of) the veracity of the rumors that the prisoners used cell phones to stay in contact with helpers outside the prison. Cell phones may have also been used to organize and execute a prison riot which provided some cover for the prison break.

No progress by Nouri on ending corruption and a prison break that appears to have been presentable? You'd be spinning too. New Sabah quotes Nouri stating that "There is no minority that can control Iraq." Al Rafidayn reports that Nouri made the statement while speaking with Salahuddin Province tribal sheikhs and, with his statements regarding sections and factions, he may also be laying the groundwork for an all State Of Law Cabinet -- or possibly just a Shi'ite one.

Meanwhile US troops may or may not be leaving Iraq anytime soon. As that is explored behind the scenes, Jack Healy (New York Times) notes the following Americans remain missing in Iraq: Jeffrey Ake, Aban Elias, Abbas Kareem Naama, Neenus Khoshaba, Bob Hamze, Dean Sadek, Hussain al-Zurufi and Staff Sgt. Ahmed Altaie. "

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "HISTORIAN: AMERICANS' IGNORANCE OF THEIR OWN HISTORY CRIPPLES U.S. FOREIGN POLICY" (American Pendulum):

Americans are so woefully ignorant of their own history that they cannot apply the lessons of the past to guide their foreign policy, the Dean of America's only college of history says.
“When one considers our profound lack of knowledge of our own past, combined with our unparalleled military might as the world's only superpower, it is easier to understand why countries as different as Mexico and Canada, Pakistan and New Zealand, look at us with wary eyes,” says historian Michael Chesson, dean of the American College of History and Legal Studies in Salem, N.H.
“We are the thousand pound gorilla,” Chesson continues. “Unfortunately, we can lash out as if we were both drunk and blind when provoked, whether by pesky foreign powers, or terrorists.”
Chesson cites the best-seller “Imperial Hubris”(Potomac Books) by Michael Scheuer about the early fighting in Afghanistan to support his argument that the U.S. needs a more informed citizenry.
“Americans will have to read more books, journals, newspapers, and online commentary from a variety olf sources, written from different points of view,” Chesson says. “Then we have to think about what it all means, and make decisions based on that information.”

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