Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nouri won't let Joe Biden visit Iraq?

When there are patterns of violence, the press can sometimes note it.  More often, the patterns have to be really close together to be noticed.  So maybe two incidents -- one today, one yesterday -- will garner US press attention. Alsumaria reports that the son of a local council member was kidnapped in Ramadi today and that security forces quickly secured the area and began searching for clues.  While kidnappings have not been uncommon throughout the Iraq War, today's may end up getting attention due to the fact that is it one of two kidnappings. Al Rafidayn reports two young girls were kidnapped yesterday in Tikrit and that one is the daughter of a a member of Tikrit's security council.

From violence to laughter.  Tony Blinken gets hit hard today.  Tony's been with Joe Biden forever and a day and currently serves as the Vice President's advisor on national security.  So Tony's been around long enough to know that Operation Happy Talk never ends well.  Each time an administration tries to launch a wave, they quickly capsize as reality knocks them upside the head.

Ned Parker wrote "The Iraq We Left Behind" for the Council on Foreign Relations' Foreign Affairs magazine.  Blinken's poorly named "Morning In Mesopotamia" went online this morning.  (Poorly named?  "Mourning in Mesopotamia" after all the attacks on pilgrims in the last seven days.)

In his piece, Blinken argues Ned Parker "glossed over, or ignored altogether, the clear, measurable progress Iraq has made in the few short years since it lurched to the brink of sectarian war."  In the snapshot today -- barring other breaking news dominating -- we may spend several paragraphs refuting that.

But this morning, we'll just laugh at the claim of "progess" from a staffer for Vice President Biden.  Because it's published the same morning that Iran's Fars News Agency is reporting:

"Nuri al-Maliki did not allowed US Vice-President Joe Biden to visit Iraq," an informed source in the Iraqi prime minister's information bureau told FNA in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Noting that Biden was scheduled to visit Baghdad in coming days to meet with Iraqi officials to discuss the recent differences and the political standoff between different parties and factions in the country, he added that Maliki informed Biden via the US embassy in Baghdad that Iraq is not ready to host him.

The source said the Iraqi embassy in the US has also conveyed a similar message from Maliki to the White House and State Department's officials.

Earlier reports by a website affiliated to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq said that the cancellation of Biden's visit by Maliki was ordered after it was revealed that the US vice-president is due to visit Erbil and meet President of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Massoud Barzani. 

When the US Vice President's visit is cancelled by Nouri, that kind of refutes Tony's article.  Again, reality will always crash into and overwhelm a wave of Operation Happy Talk.  It's happened over and over since 2003.

The Fars News Agency has the must-read on Iraq this morning.  Runner up is AP's report which opens,  "The United States is planning a significant military presence of 13,500 troops in Kuwait to give it the flexibility to respond to sudden conflicts in the region as Iraq adjusts to the withdrawal of American combat forces and the world nervously eyes Iran, according to a congressional report."  Aren't we glad Barack 'ended' the Iraq War? Aren't we all glad ALL troops came home?  Oh, wait, they didn't.  Not even all the living.

Say a little prayer till they all get home
Say a little prayer till they all get home
I knew when we woke up
You would be leaving
You knew when you left me
It might be too long
That kiss on your shoulder
It's me looking over
Close to your heart
So you're never alone
Say a little prayer till they all get home
Say a little prayer till they all get home
-- "Till They All Get Home," written by Melanie (Safka) and first appears on Melanie's Crazy Love

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office issued the following yesterday:

Monday, June 18, 2012
Contaact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Senator Murray to Introduce Women Veterans' and Other Health Care Improvment Act of 2012
Legislation to strengthen VA's programs for female veterans and severely injured veterans who want to start families
(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will outline her new legislation, the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act of 2012, legislation to strengthen VA's programs for female veterans and for severely injured veterans who want to start families.  Currently, VA's fertility treatment services do not meet the complex needs of severely wounded veterans.  The nature of the current conflict and increasing use of improvised explosive devices leaves servicemembers far more susceptible to blast injuries including spinal cord injury and trauma to the reproductive and urinary tracts.  Army data shows that between 2003 and 2011 more than 600 soldiers experienced these life-changing battle injuries while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.  As these injured servicemembers return home, they work to move forward with their lives and pursue their goals and dreams. For some this includes starting their own family.  The Department of Defense and Tricare program are already able to provide fertility treatment to servicemembers with these injuries.  Senator Murray's new legislation would address these issues by enhancing fertility treatment and care at VA, and allowing for fertility treatment for spouses.
Following Senator Murray's speech, a documentary highlighting the stories of 8 women veterans and the physical and emotional challenges they face as they transition home following military service will be shown. More on Senator Murray's Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act of 2012 HERE.
WHO:        U.S. Senator Patty Murray
WHAT:       Introduction of Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2012, screening of documentary that highlights the stories of 8 women vets
WHEN:      TOMORROW: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
                 2:30 PM ET/ 11:30 AM PST
WHERE:    Russell 325
Kathryn Robertson
Press Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

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