BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O FRETS AND FEARS HE IS BUT A MORNING GLORY AS YET ANOTHER POLL COMES OUT DEMONSTRATING (A) AMERICANS ARE BORED WITH HIM AND (B) JUST NOT INTO HIM.
VOTERS ARE TURNING ON BARRY O WITH A SPEED LIKE NOTHING NO SITTING PRESIDENT HAS SEEN IN YEARS, HE'S TURNED OFF HALF THE ELECTORATE.
MEANWHILE, IT'S NOT ALL BAD NEWS FOR HIS POSSE. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON HAS A 75% APPROVAL RATING.
BARRY O GASPED WHEN THESE REPORTERS INFORMED HIM OF THAT NEWS.
SOBBING, BARRY O DECLARED, "I'M NOT AFRAID! I'M NOT AFRAID OF BEING A MORNING GLORY! OH, NELLIE, I'M NOT AFRAID!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with Iraqi elections. At the start of this year, Iraq's national elections were supposed to take place in December 2009. There were many reasons for this including (a) the fact that it takes weeks for Iraq to put together a government (the winners of the elections will then decide in Parliament who the prime minister will be) and (b) the fact that the terms expire at the end of January 2010. But Nouri just knew he was able to move mountains and the elections were pushed back to January 2010. But no one worked the issue (including the US -- the scramble is yet another indictment against the US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill). The press kept talking about January elections, kept saying they were taking place. Predicting instead of reporting. Not really understanding their role, their function or their obligation. After an election law suffered a veto from the country's Presidency Council, January went up in smoke. Currently, 'intended' elections may take place in March. That's a possibility due to frantic, last minute deals being made in the hours before midnight on December 6th allowing the latest election measure to pass. What deals were made?
Fuad Hussein is the Chief of Staff for the KRG President Masoud Barzani and Falah Mustafa Bakir heads the KRG's Dept of Foreign Relations.. Both are in DC for the week with plans to also visit Detroit and the Iraqi community there. Eli Lake (Washington Times) reports the Kurds got behind the election measure only after the US made a "historic" commitment to the KRG which Hussein states includes promises that the long postponed census would take place, the the issue of Kirkuk being resolved and more. With Lake's article, the Washington Times offers a video clip:
Fuad Hussein: Many people know that we were negotiating with Washington, with Baghdad. In Baghdad, we were negotiating with our group in Baghdad. We had two groups in Baghdad negotiating election law. We were negotiating with the American ambassador, we were negotiating with the other political leaders, Arab political leaders, in Baghdad. So we were about, for two weeks, the whole day and sometimes until one o'clock in the night, negotiating about this. So when we felt that there isn't any alternative as far as distrubtion of these seats but, to be honest, we find that it is not fair to give so little seats to the Kurdistan Region. We were thinking about a linkage and politics you have got that so we were thinking about a linkage between accepting this and getting also somewhere else or reaching somehwere else, another target so then the Americans were ready to discuss other matters with us which are our priorities and which are important and which has been riased and disccused many times at meetings with the American side and then it has been accepted and there was a green light to accept the election law.
Meanwhile Zvi Bar'el (Haaretz) speaks with Barzani and reports the KRG "is making due with an American commitment to preserve the region's autonomy as part of a federal Iraq, but his remarks have caused a shudder in both Iraq and Turkey because an American commitment implies support for Kurdish demands that the Iraqi government opposes." And among the current conflicts between the KRG and Baghdad is oil. UPI notes, "As it is, Baghdad is already at odds with Iraq's Kurds, who run their own semiautonomous enclave in the northeast. In the absence of an oil law, the Kurdish Regional Government is battling the centeral government over Kurdistan's energy resources. The KRG has signed contracts, far more lucrative than those secured by the central government, with some 20 foreign oil companies. The Kurds see this as the economic underpinning of an eventual independent state." (Mike noted and weighed in on Eli Lake's article last night.)
Meanwhile BBC News reports that Nouri's cabinet has a new 'brainstorm' on countering bombings? Offer rewards "for information that prevents bomb attacks." Of course, you need to grasp that if you tip off on a bomb attack, your name probably goes on a list that, in a later bombing, will lead you to be among the many suspects who are beaten into giving confessions and then have your confession aired on Iraqi TV -- it's Nouri's own little reality show, Who Wants To Be Forced To Confess To A Crime You Didn't Commit? And, of course, turning tipsters into later suspects means Nouri won't actually have to pay any reward money. Not that there would ever be any check on it to begin with because it's not as if the tipster will show up on TV announcing, "We were starving but now, thanks to Nouri and my bombing tip, we have a home!" Such an admission would most likely get you killed. In the real world, Hoda al-Jasim (Asharq Alawsat) interviewed Iraq's Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, this week and he had a number of comments regarding what's being called Iraq's "security crisis."
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Your joy did not last long, as less than 36 hours later the Tuesday bombings took place. What is your explanation of the timing of these attacks? In your opinion, who is responsible for this security crisis? [Tariq al-Hashimi] I have a theory with regards to these operations, as there is more than one party being targeted. I am very saddened by what happened and I feel embarrassed as although I am in a high ranking [governmental] position I am unable to reduce the internal casualties. The problem is that the security file is in the hands of one party, and the Presidency Council is marginalized and excluded from any consultation or participation [in this]. We have not received any information on the Bloody Wednesday attacks [19 August 2009], or the Bloody Sunday attack [25 October 2009] and the Tuesday attack [8 December 2009; all [the information] that we have is the same information that reaches any Iraqi citizen through the media. The Presidency Council does not know what is happening, and we do not have the capabilities that will allow us to find out what is happening or whether the official in charge of the security file had learnt from previous lessons and saved Iraqi lives. I hope that Iraqi Prime Minister and commander-in-chief (Nouri al-Maliki), who is exclusively responsible for this security file, is fair and courageous and shoulders the responsibility and gives justice to all the lives lost and blood shed by saying that the security challenges are greater than his ability, and that he admits default and failure, and hands the security file to professional security experts. When he does this, I will stand strongly beside the Iraqi Prime Minister and support him, when he admits failure in managing the security file, and makes the decision to hand responsibility of this over to someone else.
[. . .]
I am very concerned that the government has kept silent about the outcome of the Bloody Wednesday and Bloody Sunday investigations, as what happened happened because the dark forces had the freedom to pick the time and location [of the attacks], which not only targeted the institutions of the state, but also innocent people. Therefore the time has come to admit defeat and hand over this file to those who possess [security] expertise and skill. We must admit failure and hand over this investigation to specialist committees, the security services should not conduct this investigation as they themselves stand accused, rather this investigation should be handed over to high level committees to study what happened and hold those involved accountable.
Hand over? al-Hashimi responds to a question as to whether or not (as rumored) the Presidency Council is against the execution of 'suspects' by noting that Nouri has kept the Presidency Council completely out of the loop in the investigation and they've seen no evidence of anything: "the government hushed up the results of the investigation." On the investigation into yesterday's Baghdad bombings, Ned Parker and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) report, "The [Iraqi] investigators were heard discussing how two people wearing officers uniforms had parked in the lot and walked away." Suadad al-Salhy, Ahmed Rasheed, Mohammed Abbas, Missy Ryan and Jon Hemming (Reuters) add, "There is widespread suspicion in Iraq that the police and armed forces have been infiltrated by militants, take bribes to allow insurgents to mount attacks, or may be colluding with militants to undermine Maliki before a March 7 general election."
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