Helene Cooper (New York Times via NBC News) reports that US President Barack Obama will announce the resignation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Her report notes that the announcement will come today and that one of the reasons is the means of addressing the Islamic State.
Helene could have been a bright reporter. This is further proof that she won't be. Hagel has, in one press conference after another, deflated the tires of the White House with regards to Iraq and Syria. She misses that point. She does include that Hagel planned to serve a full four year term.
She misses the key point here: Iraq needs stability.
The White House has again failed to give it that. The next Secretary of Defense (Helene thinks her list of possibles qualifies as reporting) will be (pay attention, you missed this, Helene) Barack's fourth Secretary of Defense in six years. That's appalling. And you can put it next to the fact that he's on his fourth US Ambassador to Iraq as well.
There is no consistent strategy because there is no consistent team.
The second big news is via All Iraq News which reports it's been decided to put former MP Ahmed al-Alwani to death. He was arrested December 29, 2013 the outlet notes. His brother was killed in the arrest ordered by thug Nouri al-Maliki, an arrest that was actually a raid in the early, pre-dawn hours of the morning.
This will have huge implications.
For example, the tribe he belongs to is one of the key tribes in the fight against the Islamic State. Equally true, his arrest (and the murder of his brother) outraged the Sunni community.
This is the wrong time to be executing a Sunni politician -- with the new prime minister Haider al-Abaidi having done nothing of significance to improve Sunni relations or to include them in the government.
Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Let's Be Whats!" went up last night. New content went up at Third as well:
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