Thursday, December 01, 2011

Biden and Nouri talk security needs and more

Al Mada reports that US Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Iraq has been controversial, evoking deep reactions from the Sadr bloc and others. Sadrists are denouncing the visit as illegal, insisting the political blocs have spoken (in the October meeting at Jalal Talabani's home) and that negotiations were long ago ended. That's an interesting case for the Sadr bloc to be making when (a) they've been one of the biggest leaks in the Iraqi press that negotiations continue and (b) it's Moqtada al-Sadr who has tried to force the issue in Parliament, demanding a hearing on Iraq and that Nouri answer questions. Though the hearing was promised, it was quickly dropped. An excuse was given that Nouri was in Japan so it couldn't be held. Nouri was back in Iraq and they didn't hold it. He'll now be out of the country for a series of visits (including the US) so apparently the hearing Moqtada demanded and Parliament agreed to will never be held. State of Law notes they were aware of the visit before hand. Al Rafidayn focuses on the remarks Biden and Nouri al-Maliki made following the meeting (for an English language report on that, see Mark Landler's report for the New York Times). Biden's quoted stating that the partnership is strong, that there's a strong securirty relationship and that this will depend upon what the Iraqis want. He is quoted stating that talks [negotiations] will continue about the security arrangements "including training, intelligence and counter-terrorism." These negotiations will take place amongst whom? Biden's quoted stating the Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee is going to be "the center of all these efforts."

So that would be the chairs, right?

The High Commission has two chairs: Joe Biden and Nouri al-Maliki.

Dar Addustour notes that Biden's visit has been planned for over a month and postponed at least once. Biden is meeting with others on his visit. Dar Addustour notes he and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi discussed "political issues."

joe and jalal

Al Mada reports on his meeting with President Jalal Talabani (photo above used by Al Rafidayn but I grabbed it from Jalal's site). The article falls back to the joint-statements Nouri and Joe made after their meeting and quotes Biden stating that talks continue between the US and Iraq about training, intelligence and counter-terrorism.

And, yes, for any wondering, Iraqi reports do back up Mark Landler's reporting yesterday.

Jalal's having a fit elsewhere over what he's calling "politicking" among political parties. He thinks they're taking cases to the media and that this needs to stop. I'm looking for that article and not finding it. Okay, it was Al Rafidayn. Click here. He and his two vice presidents (Shi'ite Khudair Khuzai and Sunni Tareq al-Hashemi) issued a statement decrying political parties using the media for campaigns and insisting that all must get along in a "contructive, brotherly" fashion.

Jalal needs to use better terms. Unless he's trying to drag the KRG down. His own niece helped lead the charge last January against Nouri's refusal to appoint women as Cabinet ministers. So he needs to stop using sexist language. Or does he think women can behave "brotherly"? If it came from Nouri, I wouldn't bat an eye but Nouri's not part of the 'other' Iraq or the 'peaceful' Iraq or 'modern' Iraq or however the media (and the KRG) is attempting to sell the KRG. (Talabani is the president of Iraq. He is also a Kurd and from the KRG.)

Second, yes, Iraqi politicians should air their issues in the media. It's not for the politicians to operate out of the eyes of the public. They need to air these issues and the public needs to decide what best represents Iraq.

Third, Jalal needs to get off his fat ass and figure out if they're going to have a third vice president or not. If you've forgotten, back in July, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the third vice president, resigned due to the ongoing political stalemate, there were three.

This issue hasn't been resolved. It's just been ignored. At one point (end of 2010), there was an uproar over the notion that there would be three vice presidents. Then it went away. And there was no uproar when Khudair Khuzai was named. So apparently, the uproar was not over a third person (as was insisted at the time) but either over the fact that the nominee then was a Turkman woman -- objecting due to her ethnicity or her gender or both.

Al Rafidayn notes that the White List is led by a woman, Zuhair Araji. The White List is a bloc of 13 deputies from Iraqiya that have split off. On Iraqiya, Jalal's website notes he met with Ayad Allawi, head of Iraqiya.

AP discovers the NATO talks today and says they're stalled in the headline but in the report it appears they continue. (If you're late to the topic see Tuesday's "NATO forces to be on the ground in Iraq?") I believe AP's doing the first English language report on the topic this month. If we weren't rushing, if I weren't rushing, I'd note more of the article. It's worth reading. I doubt there'll be time for it and I'm not sure I'm in the mood for CNN's piece in today's snapshot. (Not in the mood has nothing to do with CNN's report which is strong. But it does get tiring repeatedly covering something -- over two years now -- that gets ignored over and over. If I'm not in the mood this evening, we'll grab it in Friday's snapshot regardless. We also probably won't have have room for it today. I'd like to get both of yesterday's hearings in today's snapshot.)

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