Saturday, November 02, 2013

In the aftermath of the visit . . .


Yesterday was the culmination of Iraqi Prime Minister and thug Nouri al-Maliki's DC visit as he went to the White House and visited with US President Barack Obama.

On Friday night's NewsHour (PBS -- link is video, audio and text), Judy Woodruff discussed the visit with Margaret Warner.  Excerpt:

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, tell us about the approach of the administration vs. the Congress. I mean, what are you hearing? What are -- what are they saying?

MARGARET WARNER: It's very different.

First of all, Congress really matters here, it's important to know, because the sales he wants, say, Apache military helicopters, for instance, have to get yea or nay from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It's just a quirk in the law, not the whole Senate, but the Foreign Relations Committee.
So, the senators, the two leading senators there, Chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, and Bob Corker of Tennessee, the Republican, and many others, Senator McCain, who you saw interviewed this week, all believe that Maliki's exacerbating his problems by alienating the Sunnis. I mean, they do things like go into Sunni neighborhoods and round up 500 young men in the name of fighting terrorism.
And one American official told them, you know, you're making the same mistakes we made in Iraq early on. We just create more terrorists. They're also concerned about allowing Iranian overflights of material and weapons to Assad's forces in Syria. And, finally, they are very concerned that any counterterrorism or weapons they give, Maliki could use to repress his own people, because they have cracked down on a lot of protesters.
So, the White House, let me just say briefly, sees all that, but they are most concerned about this absolutely volatile situation along that border between Iraq and Syria, and that, one, they could "lose Iraq" -- quote, unquote -- as one official said to me today. And, two, that makes it really hard to contain the radical jihadis within Syria.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Maliki did spend time on the Hill?


JUDY WOODRUFF: And how much progress did he make there? What happened?

MARGARET WARNER: It went very badly.

The key meetings yesterday were with Senator McCain and -- excuse me -- Wednesday -- and then with Corker and Menendez. And I'm told that that latter meeting was particularly contentious. They laid out all their concerns. He sort of sat impassively and, according to the aides present, he simply repeated platitudes about how he's governing by the constitution.
And, finally, Menendez got so -- I don't know if it's angry, but certainly peeved, that he looked at him and he said: Look, I feel you're just glossing over our concerns. And you need to know you're not getting any of this without our OK.
And Senator Corker came out afterwards and said: We felt he was completely dismissive of our concerns.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And it's known that one of the things they feel strongly about is he needs to share power.

The editorial board of the New York Times notes:

These are serious problems. Mr. Maliki, however, has been playing a central role in the disorder. There is no doubt that militant threats would be less pronounced now if he had united the country around shared goals rather than stoked sectarian conflict.
Instead, he has wielded his power to favor his Shiite majority brethren at the expense of the minority Sunnis. The Sunnis, banished from power after Saddam Hussein’s ouster, have grown more bitter as they have been excluded from political and economic life. Mr. Maliki is also at odds with the Kurds, the country’s other major ethnic group in what was supposed to be a power-sharing government.        

Russia Today speaks with Haifa Zangan:

RT: Why can't the government cope on its own?

HZ: The government doesn’t represent the people. The government is quite busy with squabbling among the alliance – it’s a form of alliance or some political parties. Most of them have got militias and they are very busy fighting each other. This inter-fighting is causing a lot of the horrendous violence against civilians. It’s not the lack of weapons, it’s the trust of the people. It’s the real intention and the work of the regime itself and the many political parties there in order to ensure the security of the people. The only safeguard for any government in the world to reduce terrorism – whatever that is – is to build up the trust with their own people. And the Maliki regime with all its militia has failed tremendously in that aspect. 

Turning to today's violence,  National Iraqi News Agency reports a Tikrit car bombing claimed 7 lives and left thirty-six injured, a Seniya sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 Sahwa leader, a Tarmiyah roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left another person injured, another Tarmiya roadside bombing left three police officers injured, a Falluja armed attack lefft four police officers injured, a Muhalabiya roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left four more injured, a Qayyarah roadside bombing left three police officers injured, a Baaj armed attack left 2 police officers dead, an al Jazeerah roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 Sahwa with three more injured, and, late last night, an armed attack left three people injured in Kirkuk.

Community sites?  

  • Remember all the times when I noted "Blogger/Blogspot isn't reading" whatever posts?  Most were all published in the last 24 hours by Blogger/Blogspot obsucring the bulk of last night and today's community posts:

    "Penne Alla Vodka in the Kitchen" . . . Trina
    "The never ending violence"  . . . Betty
    "Intellectual robbery"  . . . Ann
    "scandal"  . . . Rebecca
    "She is the reason The Client List got the axe"   . . . Ruth
    "Nouri wants World War Three" . . . Kat
    "Black women on Saturday Night Live?"   . . .   Marcia
    "Last Vegas"  . . .   Stan
    "ObamaCare"   . . .   Elaine
    "Idiots and liars: Eli Lake and Josh Rogin"  . . .    Mike

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