Nathan Hodge (Wall St. Journal) reports, "The State Department is preparing to spend close to $3 billion to hire a security force to protect diplomats in Iraq after the U.S. pulls its last troops out of the country by year's end." We were at that hearing yesterday and we'll note some of it in today's snapshot. We were also at the White House (I was visiting a friend) and stuck our heads in the press conference. I didn't have pen and paper on me and wrote down Jay Carney's remarks after we left. I'm told that I added "uhs" to Jay's remarks. I'll check the video of the press conference and, if a correction's necessary, I'll do one in the snapshot today; however, I don't think one's necessary. If, as accused (by a friend at the White House), I have double the number of "uh"s as he spoke, I'll correct it. But I believe I'm correct give or take an "uh." You can click here to stream it right now.
Mohammed Tawfeeq and Chelsea J. Carter (CNN) report on those selling alcohol in Iraq and how the targeting of them has increased recently. (They've been targeted throughout the war and they are generally Christian or another religious minority.) The reporters note:
Last year, with a Shiite-majority government, local officials in Baghdad reintroduced a Saddam Hussein-era law that banned Muslims from selling alcohol and required anyone selling alcohol to have a liquor license -- essentially banning the sale of alcohol.
At the time, officials said the crackdown was aimed at regulating alcohol sales, much like other countries.
But in January the head of the Baghdad Provincial Council, Kamil al-Zaidi told The New York Times, "We are a Muslim country, and everyone must respect that."
On the subject of Iraqi Christians, Daniel Blake (Christian Post) notes, "A fact-finding report has warned that there may be just one generation remaining in which to safeguard the Assyrian Christian community in Iraq. The results of the report, released on June 6th, explain that Iraq risks being “severely and negatively impacted” by failures to preserve the rights of Assyrians."
The report from the Unrepresented Nations and People Organization includes some recommendations and we'll include the following for the governments:
The Iraqi government should:
- Support the establishment of a regional university within the Nineveh Plains area to stem the current brain-drain, permit continuity of study amongst IDPs, and support economic development;
- Promote the economic potential of northern Iraq through greater international outreach, including but not limited to, the websites of its embassies and ministries;
- Facilitate international exchanges of elected representatives and their staffs, to build capacity within local, regional, and national governance structures;
- Facilitate feasibility discussions into the application of Article 125 of the Iraqi Constitution in the context of establishing an autonomous regional administration in the Nineveh Plains;
- Take measures to restore, maintain, and safeguard urban fabric and monuments reflecting the country’s Assyrian history and culture.
The Kurdistan Regional Government should
- Promote, without amendment, the adoption of Article 35 of the draft constitution of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and its provision for the formation of autonomous regions within the KRI;
- Work to ensure fair, transparent, and equitable hiring practices are observed, particularly in the education sector;
- Ensure the cultural and historical heterogeneity of the KRI is appropriately reflected in the use of Assyrian names for towns, and landmarks, and that Assyrian contribution to the history of the KRI is reflected in public collections and historical sites and discourse;
- Revise current land restitution procedures to allow faster and more equitable adjudication and compensation;
- Recognise the 1933 Simele Massacre and support construction of a monument as an important commemorative and educational initiative.
The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:
the wall st. journal
chelsea j. carter
the christian post
anns mega dub
like maria said paz
sex and politics and screeds and attitude
thomas friedman is a great man
the daily jot
cedrics big mix
mikey likes it
oh boy it never ends