Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Turkey continues to note the Iraqi political crisis

Thomas Seiberg (The National) reports, "Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime miniser has started a bid to end the power struggle in Iraq, warning that religious strife had turned the neighbouring country into a 'sea of blood'. Mr Erdogan was scheduled to talk to Nouri Al Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, by telephone yesterday. There was no word on whether a statement would be released afterwards." Today's Zaman adds, "In a telephone conversation late on Tuesday, Erdogan told Maliki that transformation of mistrust into animosity toward a coalition partner will negatively affect democracy in Iraq, a veiled warning to the Iraqi prime minister that his latest arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi is a blow to democracy in the war-torn country." Hurriyet Daily News reports on a speech Erdogan gave Tuesday "to his party's parliamentary group" in which he alluded to Nouri al-Maliki, "Without naming him directly, Erdoğan slammed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, saying 'a positive outcome cannot be expected from a mindset which is sending tanks to besiege the homes of ministers from his own coalition'." Nouri started that as soon as he returned to Iraq after his meet up with Barack Obama in DC. Saturday, December 17th, Liz Sly (Washington Post) reported, "In recent days, the homes of top Sunni politicians in the fortified Green Zone have been ringed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, and rumors are flying that arrest warrants will be issued for other Sunni leaders." Nouri received praise yesterday as well, Al Mada reports. The militant group Army of the Mujahideen declared support for Nouri and his efforts to form a "single and unified Iraq" . . and that they claimed that they had been behind the rocket attack on the Green Zone ceremony celebrating the creation of the Iraqi Army.

Iraq's political crisis continues. Al Mada notes that President Jalal Talabani has called for a meeting next week for a 'wider' conference and that he had a meeting yesterday with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and Nouri. Al Sabaah states that KRG President Massoud Barzani has stated he will not attend but will send an emissary to the conference and that US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey has praised the efforts of Talabani to start a national dialogue. But, Al Mada adds, if the conference were held in the KRG, Barzani would attend and that his office is stating any national meet-up should be in a mutually agreed upon location. Supposedly, later this year, the Arab Summit will take place in Baghdad. This summit has been repeatedly postponed due to safety concerns. Safety concerns might be among the reasons that Barzani feels the meet-up should be held in the KRG. Safety concerns might include that another of Nouri's supporters might rocket attack the Green Zones. Dar Addustour explains the wider conference next week will involve more participants -- this is not the often called for national conference but a conference to explore the national conference. Alsumaria TV elaborates that next week's planned conference will include more representatives in the political process. As for the national conference, Aswat al-Iraq quotes State of Law MP Ali al-Alaq stating, "The reason behind holding the conference in Baghdad is to show its sovereign role following US forces withdrawal and as an emblem for national unity."

Ali Hussein (Al Mada) reports on the political crisis and speaks with a member of Parliament to ask whether the current situation was planned by Nouri or whether it was a huge miscalculation on Nouri's part? The feeling is that Nouri's sparked a crisis which leaves the country's very future "hanging by a thread" and Iraqis had expected this time to be one of peace and hope, having survived Saddam and the US occupation; however, now the political scene grows "darker and darker" and Nouri attempts to seize power from his political rivals. Iraqi politicians fear that Barack Obama made a miscalculation (regarding US troops) and that this will be "the last bullet fired on Iraq."

Turning to the US, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office notes:
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 (202) 224-2834
(Washington, D.C.) -- On Thursday, January 12, 2012, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, will hold a listening session to hear from area veterans on local challenges and to discuss her efforts to improve veterans care and benefits nationwide. Senator Murray is Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. Senator Murray will use the struggles, stories, and suggestions she hears on Thursday to bring local concers to Washington, D.C.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Local veterans
WHAT: Veterans listening session with Senator Murray
WHEN: Thursday, January 12, 2012
1:15 PM PT
WHERE: VFW Post 379
118 S. 5th Ave.
Yakima, WA 98902

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