Wednesday, July 18, 2012

US delegation led by Blinken in Iraq meeting with Nouri

Margaret Griffis ( counts 8 killed in Iraq yesterday and another five injured. Alsumaria reports that 115 people were arrested in Iraq by security forces yesterday.  As noted yesterday, the mass arrests under Nouri are back.

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Nouri al-Maliki is not pleased with comments about him made by the former Syrian Ambassador to Iraq who defected last week and has decided to sue the diplomat.  In no-surprise news, Al Mada reports that State of Law began insisting the ambassador needed to be arrested yesterday.  He's also not pleased with Turkey.  Nayla Razzouk (Bloomberg News) reports
that Nouri is threatening "to take action" if Turkish 'flights' continue -- Razzouk notes that Ali al-Dabbagh (Nouri's spokesperson) was short on details of what 'flights' were being referred to (it's assumed, due to the use of the term "war planes" yesterday that the flights refer to the bombing raids Baghdad has allowed over the KRG).  al-Dabbagh stated that that a formal complaint will be filed with the UN Security Council.  Nouri's also not pleased with the Kurds.  And, with all of this, is it really smart to arm him with F-16s, let alone to rush the order?

Al Mada notes the belief that Nouri's latest war of words is motivated by a desire to punish the KRG over their energy policy which is independent of Baghdad.  They also point out that as the war of words escalate, dialogue gets harder and harder.  Dialogue, of course, being what Nouri claims to currently want as he attempts to circumvent efforts to withdraw confidence from him. 

Al Mada notes Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoun al-Damalouji explains that they are going through with their efforts for a vote of no-confidence in Nouri and that they have passed their decision on to Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq (who is also a member of Iraqiya).  In another article, they note Nouri's flurry of activity with the Parliament -- including last Thursday's meeting with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.  Alsumaria notes that KRG President Massoud Barzani's spokesperson raised the issue yesterday of Nouri's attempts to militarize Iraq society for his own political ends.  AFP adds, "The F-16 deal has raised alarm bells in the northern Kurdistan region, with Barzani saying earlier this year he was opposed to the sale of the warplanes while Maliki was premier, fearing they would be used against Kurdistan."

All Iraq News reveals that Antony Blinken, US Vice President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser, is in Iraq and led a delegation that met with Nouri.

As vast unemployment continues in Iraq and as food prices soar, Al Mada reports that there are accusations in Hilla that food merchants are intentionally introducing small amounts of food to the markets in order to artifically pump up the prices by creating scarcity.  This comes as Babylon Province sees less and less items for sale that can be purchased with ration cards.  True or false, the federal government should be addressing this item though they will most likely ignore it.  If it isn't true, the rumors will still take root because food prices are increasing, ration items are becoming scarce and hunger isn't something people can overlook the way they might endure electricity outages.  So as the hunger and anger builds, even if the rumors are false,  a need to hold someone accountable can build and, if it does, it could leave food merchants targeted.  If the rumors are true, the federal government needs to deal with it (a) to show that it can deal with something, (b) the economy cannot take higher prices (unless Nouri intends to expand the ration card system) and (c) the federal government still has the power to set controls on various aspects of retail within the country.

In the United States, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office noted yesterday:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
TOMORROW: Murray to Call on Senate to Pass Veterans Omnibus Legislation
Murray will ask for immediate passage of the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012
(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 18th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray will give a speech on the Senate floor calling for unanimous consent on the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, bipartisan, bicameral, and comprehensive legislation that combines provisions of the Veterans Programs Improvement Act of 2011 (S. 914, Report No. 112-088) and Honoring American Veterans Act of 2011 (H.R. 1627, Report No. 112-084 Part 1), as well as provisions from other Senate and House legislation. This comprehensive package would extend health care to veterans and their families who lived at Camp Lejeune, expand critical health programs, improve housing programs for severely disabled veterans, enhance programs for homeless veterans, and make needed improvements to the disability claims system.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
WHAT: Senator Murray will seek unanimous consent on the passage of important veterans omnibus legislation.
WHEN: TOMORROW: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
11:00 AM ET/ 8:00 AM PST
WHERE: Senate Floor
WATCH: Speech will air live on C-SPAN 2
Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

The e-mail address for this site is