Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Arab Summit will cost Iraq over $86 million dollars

dragon tonsils

March 1st, American citizen Jeremiah Small (above) was shot dead in Sulaimaniyah by the grand-nephew of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Small worked in the KRG as a teacher Dan Catchpole (Yakima Herald-Republic) reports there will be a memorial service this Sunday at Yakima's Tieton Drive Bible Chapel beginning at 3:00 pm. Earlier, Small was laid to rest in Iraq. Servant Group INTERNATIONAL has set up a memorial fund in Jeremiah Small's name.

On The Takeaway (PRI) today, Dr. Todd Baker discusses
his new book Baghdad ER: Fifteen Minutes and what it was like to be in charge of Baghdad ER.

Last night, Turkey launched another wave of air strikes on northern Iraq. Reuters notes Turkish Col Hussein Tamr states the assault -- supposedly targeting the PKK -- lasted over "an hour." Yesterday David Petraeus, the Director of the CIA, was visiting Turkey and speaking with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. RTT reports that they discussed "escalating sectarian strife in Iraq." Press TV tries to cover it and opens with:

The director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), David Petraeus, has expressed concerns about the possible trial of Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges of involvement in terrorist activities.

Then they're either ignorant of the facts or, as is so often the case with Press TV, rewriting history. The arrest warrant for Tareq al-Hashemi was issued by Nouri al-Maliki. And it's pretty sad after Nouri's done his I-would-have-been-arrested-if-I-hadn't-issued-the-warrant series of press appearances in December, it's most likely Press TV knowingly lied (due to their hatred of the Sunnis in Iraq -- al-Hashemi is Sunni). Al Sabaah reports that three "followers" of Tareq al-Hashemi were sentenced in Dhi Qar's Criminal court for possession of prohibited weapons and conspiracy terrorism charges. Al Rafidayn reports the three were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Meanwhile Baghdad prepares to go on lockdown. March 29th the Arab Summit is scheduled to be held in the capital and Al Sabaah reports that the Baghdad Operations Command has declared approximately 100,000 security officers will provide protection during the summit. Dar Addustour notes that the Cabinet has agreed to foot the bill for the Summit which, according to Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh, will cost $100 billion dinars. That would be $86,073,447.54 in US dollars. As so many Iraqis remain unemployed and in poverty, it will be interesting to see how the costs play out among the people.

Nouri is stalling on the national conference to address Iraq's political crisis and his latest stalling attempt is insisting that it take place after the Arab summit. Al Rafidayn notes that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi and KRG President Massoud Barzani are both calling for the conference to take place this month before the Arab Summit (scheduled to kick off March 29th). Al Mada adds that after all the prep meetings for the national conference (there have been at least five), it was decided Monday to create a small committee that would set the agendy and that this committee is scheduled to meet today. For those who've forgotten, those prep meetings? They were also supposed to determine the agenda.

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