Wednesday, April 11, 2012

So two men died from torture . . . or did they?

BBC News and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) are among those reporting on the latest regarding Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. It would be helpful if everyone could be clear about what they see as an allegation. al-Hashemi has revealed that two more of his bodyguards have died. Do they see that as an allegation? He states that they were tortured to death. Is that what they see as an allegation?

Clarity shouldn't have to be requested from the press, it should be a given. Sameer N. Yacoub actually provides clarity. The two announced deaths are accepted as fact. The allegation is how they died. However, filing later this morning, Yacoub notes that Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council is maintaining there have not been any deaths. Al Rafidayn was reporting the denial several hours prior to AP. They also note that al-Hashemi is calling for Parliament to investigate.

Meanwhile the political crisis continues. Al Mada reports MP Bahaa al-Araji (with Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc) refers to the political crisis as ticking time bomb that could harm all of Iraq. The article notes that KRG President Massoud Barzani, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Iraqiya, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq all want a national partnership (which was outlined in the Erbil Agreement).

As noted previously, the steno pool seized on 613 from yesterday's UN Security-Council hearing. That number. Of all the things they could have noted, that's what they ran with.

Strange because Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, spoke of violence with regards to the ongoing political crisis.

UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler: [. . .] the tensions that have arisen between the main party blocs in Iraq which have developed into a political impasse. I have therefore Iraqi political parties and leaders to work together in the spirit of partnership towards finding common ground that will resolve their differences. In this regard, Iraqiya's decision to end its boycott of the Council of Ministers and Council of Representatives was the right step. President [Jalal] Talabani suggested holding a National Conference as a way forward to bring about an end to the stalemate. Unfortunately, until today, there was no agreement on the agenda. An inclusive forum is needed, however, as a first step to end the political impasse. I call on all Iraqi leaders to sit together to address all their differences in a meaningful way. UNAMI stands ready to continue supporting these efforts. [. . .] I'm concerned that Iraq's political situation is heightening communal tensions in the country and leading to an increase in the number of attacks on civilians.

Strange that this wasn't covered by the steno pool. In her press briefing after (mainly on Syria, she dismissed the topic of Iraq quickly), even US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice noted he had spoken of the political crisis, "SRSG Kobler and Council members noted the importance for Iraq to resolve political differences and to address the concerns of all political blocs in an inclusive forum."

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