Monday, August 27, 2012

Spying, new coalition, Biden visiting?

There's been a lot of talk in the Iraq press about a US delegation planning a visit with speculation that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be leading it.  Today, Al Rafidayn is reporting that the delegation will arrive September 3rd and that US Vice President Joe Biden will be leading it.   Presumably Joe Biden will have the appropriate paperwork. Dar Addustour reports 5 British citizens were arrested in Baghdad yesterday -- they did not have passports or i.d. on them.

 In other big news out of Iraq, Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports the Communications Network Commission is denying media reports that they were used by Nouri's security agencies to spy on Nouri's political rivals.  The claim might be more convincing if the CNC didn't get caught up in splitting hairs and lost in the weeds of wiretaps.  None of the media reports I saw referred to legal wiretaps so the CDC's distraction of courts and what's needed for a wire tap is besides the point.   Further harming the CNC's messaging is Alsumaria's report that the Minister of Communication, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, just announced his resignation.  Al Mada adds that there was conflict between Allawi and Nouri with Allawi stressing the professional purpose of the ministry and Nouri allegedly wanting to use it for "personal and partisan interests."   Mohammed Tawfiq Alawi is a cousin of Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi.  Nouri's people whisper to Al Mada that the ministry was riddled with corruption and that Allawi resigned only after Nouri presented him with charges of corruption.  Others say the corruption is rooted in Nouri who entered into illegal telecom deals with close friends.

Staying with the topic of Allawi but turning to Ayad Allawi, Kitabat reports that he is talking about the pressure the US government placed on Iraqi politicians in May to stop the no-confidence vote on Nouri al-Maliki.  It's really hilarious how the White House keeps calling Iraq a sovereign government but how the White House repeatedly does things behind the backs of the American people that treat Iraq like a client-state.   He states that the US government does not appear to want Iraq to be a mature democracy. Allawi tells Kitabat that Iraq and the region are experiencing their most upheaval and dramatic changes since WWI.  He also offered his first comments on the audio recording of Tareq al-Hashemi and his speaking over a year ago and he states that the recordings are manipulated and spliced (I'm using the term "spliced" -- the term in the article is "converted") from two or three different conversations to convey the wrong impressions.    He stresses the recordings real importance is in revealing that someone is spying.

All Iraq News notes Nouri met with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi yesterday and Osama suggested two people for the post of Minister of Defense and two for the post of Minister of the Interior.  Kitabat reports that Nouri told al-Nujaifi that F-16s would be delivered by March 2013.  (This claim by Nouri is contrary to press reports which insist they -- the first 16 -- will be delivered in 2014.)  All Iraq News reports MP Hassan al-Jubouri is denying rumors that there are discussions between State of Law (Nouri's political slate) and the National Dialogue Front about forming a new alliance.  NDF is part of Iraqiya currently (its leader is Saleh al-Mutlaq).   Kitabat notes that MP Jawad Alshahyla, with the Sadr bloc, is stating that the National Alliance (State of Law, Sadr, ISCI and others) needs to work on reforming their alliance in order for the country to move out of the political crisis.  He also denies a new alliance being formed with Nouri, al-Mutlaq and al-Nujaifi.  Dar Addustour notes the rumors and that the rumors seem to be a lot more serious than some are letting on. There may be an announcement today or tomorrow of a new coalition.

Turning to the issue of Iraqi women, Alsumaria reports that Baghdad is organizing the first official tournament for women in the Iraqi Federation of Weightlifting.  This will allow the athletes to participate in the Arab Championship taking place in Morroco at the end of September.  It should also hopefully lay the groundwork for Iraqi women to compete in the weighlifting of the 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro.  For every step forward, there are numerous steps backward.  Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports the city of Kadhimiya is moving to prevent any woman from entering the city unless she is covered by a veil and that a group known as the morality police are following men and women in the city who were the hair 'differently' and that they stop women without veils and force them to put on veils -- they also force women wearing make up to remove it.  Force?  At least one woman has been beaten by the 'morality police.'  All Iraq News reports the Ministry of Women Ibtihal al-Zaidi met with Reporters Without Borders to discuss the issues effecting Iraqi women/

Seyhmus Cakan, Ayla Jean Yackley and Nick Tattersall (Reuters) report that a pipeline carrying crude oil from Iraq to Turkey has been shut down as a result of a fire and that how the fire broke out is not known at this time.  Xinhua identifies the pipeline as the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline and notes that "Turkish troops were deployed in the area" after the fire broke out.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Vouchers" went up last night.   On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include an update on Julian Assange, a discussion of the Cuban Five with attorney Martin Garbus, a discussion on global warming with professor Eleanor Stein  and a strong conversation on the International Criminal Court with attorney Roger Wareham.
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