In addition various long running storylines get updated today. The ongoing battles in Syria continue to impact Iraq. Nouri al-Maliki has supported the government and as long as Syrian 'rebels' (US-backed) keep killing Iraqis (1 Iraqi soldier killed today), then there probably won't be a huge outcry internally to make him switch sides (as the US government keeps hoping he will do).
Another ongoing one?
October 9th, Nouri was strutting across the world stage as he inked a $4.2 billion weapons deal with Russia. The deal became iffy among corruption charges (with fingers pointing at Nouri and his son) and Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh fearful that Nouri was going to hang the corruption on him causing al-Dabbagh to flee Iraq. Dar Addustour reports that Parliamentary sources say the body's Integrity Commission has requested warrants for al-Dbbagh and his brother.
The deal itself remains up in the air demonstrating Nouri is ineffectual and can't sealt he deal even when he signs a legal binding contract (shades of The Erbil Agreement).
Then there's the issue of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. As 2012 drew to a close, Jalal suffered a stroke. The incident took place late on December 17th (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital. Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany. He remains in Germany currently. There have been reports of his improving and of his being able to speak. Al Rafidayn reports today that despite the fact that the medical team has given an upbeat briefing, people are now speaking of Jalal in the past tense. This prompts the outlet to surmise that the Kurds could lose power if Jalal is not able to return to his duties as President of Iraq. More troubling -- and ignored by the paper -- is the fact that Jalal was some form of a check on Nouri al-Maliki. Meanwhile Kitabat reports Kurdish sources are saying that KRG President Massoud Barzani is worried about Jalal's safety in his current condition.
Provincial elections are supposed to take place April 20th. Kitabat reports that Ayad Allawi states Iraqiya is ready Meanwhile protests continue, having started in December. Former Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi called Friday the 70th day of protests.
I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.
New content at Third:
- Truest statement of the week
- Truest statement of the week II
- A note to our readers
- Editorial: The Hacks Prolong The War
- Media: Epic Meltdown
- Media: The cracks in our foundation
- Books: Grow up, Sachi (Dona)
- Radio moment of the week
- Cindy Sheehan's Tour de Peace
- Senator Murray receives an honor
- Harriet Tubman and Working Women's Day Coalition
Isaiah's latest went up this morning. I'm going to change the time stamp so that his comic remaing the top thing at the site until tomorrow morning's entries.
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