Wednesday, December 19, 2012

First Lady of Iraq says Jalal Talabani's improving

Yesterday's news cycle was dominated by the apparent stroke of Jalal Talabani,  the 79-year-old President of Iraq.  Monday evening, he was rushed to a Baghdad hospital with health problems.  Though a spokesperson for Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister of Iraq, has stated it was a stroke, yesterday the president's staff avoided identifying the issue and referred to health problems.

All Iraq News reports that Iraq's First Lady Hero Ibrahim Ahmed has issued a statement on her husband's condition noting that it is improving and crediting Divine Providence and the medical team for the improvements.  She denied that he was in a coma and stated that a team of doctors from Germany were due to arrive shortly and that they would be working with local doctors (led by the Chief of ICU Dr. Ayad Abass) and a team of British doctors who had already arrived.  She stated that there was no plan to transfer her husband to another country for medical treatment.  Hurriyet Daily News notes that "Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan offered to send ambulance plane to Iraq to bring Talabani for treatment in Turkey." Despite the assertion of the First Lady, All Iraq News quotes one of Talabani's doctors saying they are planning to move him to Germany on Thursday.  Kitabat also reports that there is a plan to transfer Talabani.  Dar Addustour points out the conflicting reports yesterday and it most likely will be that way again today. Deutsche Welle notes, "He has suffered poor health in recent years, traveling to the US for heart surgery in 2008 and being treated for dehydration and fatigue in Jordan in 2007."  His past health issues are also noted in the EuroNews video report below.

Al Mada notes that most recently he was in Germany (back in June) and stayed there until September.  At the time, it was stated that he was having knee surgery.  (Which may be true.)  The Iraq Times and Kitabat are both reporting that insiders are saying the collapse Monday night followed a verbal altercation with Nouri al-Maliki.  According to an unnamed source or unnamed sources with Talabani's office, Nouri arrived last Monday evening at Talabani's office and as the political crisis was discussed, Jalal called for Nouri to lower the rhetoric (as he has done publicly) but he was referring to what Nouri was stating to him at that moment.  This call to lower the rhetoric was met by a "violent explosion" from Nouri who called into question whether Jalal was able to be impartial or neutral.  Nouri is said to have brought up the effort last spring to seek a no-confidence vote on Nouri in Parliament.  Jalal is said to have remained civil, asked that Nouri consider the options for resolving the crisis, Nouri was shown out and as soon as he was out of the office, Jalal complained of ill health.

Naseer al-Ani is part of the president's staff and Kitabat reports on the press conference he held Turesday evening at Baghdad's Medical City Hospital noting Talabani remained in intensive care but stated he was doing better. In the press conference, he continued the policy of not identifying the president's condition and of not using the term "stroke."   As Turkish Weekly notes, "a health emergency" is the popular term used by Talabani's staff.  Citing an unnamed medical source, All Iraq News states that Jalal moved his hand this morning and that this is seen as a good sign by his team of doctors.  The Voice of Russia quotes one of Jalal's staff, media official Barzan Sheikh Othman, stating this morning, "Thanks be to God, the president is in good condition and he is improving hour after hour."

The following community sites -- plus Adam Kokesh, Pacifica Evening News,, On the Wilder Side, The Diane Rehm Show, Guardian, Chocolate City and Dissident Voice  --  updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is

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