CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O IS THREATENING TO HALT HIS LATEST VACATION IF THE PAYROLL TAX IS NOT EXTENDED.
THAT'S HOW AMERICA'S PRINCESS THREATENS THE COUNTRY: DO WHAT I WANT OR I'LL GET ON THE CLOCK AND GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO ACTUALLY WORRY ABOUT!
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Sabrina M. Peterson (International Affairs Review) explores the decision of the Iraqi government to stand with the Syrian government:
Today, while other Arab states have condemned Syria and called for the regime to step down, Iraq has demonstrated its support. Iraq has not called for Assad to relinquish power, but instead has advocated gradual reform. The Maliki government has made moves to strengthen its economic ties with Syria since before the violence broke out this year and has been strengthening those ties since. This past summer, Iraq hosted a tour of Syria's top government and business leaders, a visit that led to a new pact to increase bilateral trade. Iraq is now Syria's biggest trading partner.
The Iraqi government also supports Syria because it fears that if the Assad regime collapses, violence could spill over into Iraq and cause further instability. Sectarianism is another important reason: Maliki is a Shia Muslim who spent years in exile in Syria before returning to post-Saddam Iraq. Quite probably Maliki feels a sectarian affinity for Assad, a member of the Alawite sect of Shia Islam. Maliki and the Assad family both share a common fear of Sunni-led insurgencies.
Al-Masry Al-Youm reports, "Dozens of Syrian citizens in Cairo staged a protest outside the Iraqi Embassy on Thursday to condemn what they labeled Iraq's pro-Assad stance. The protesters chanted against the Iraqi authorities after Iraq refused to approve economic sanctions imposed by the Arab League against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime." For ABC News, Barbara Walters interviewed President Bashar al-Assadi (link is video and text):
Nouri al-Maliki refused to surrender the post of prime minister. So the March 7th elections were followed by over 8 months of gridlock, Political Stalemate I. The Erbil Agreement found all but State of Law making major concessions so that the country could pull together. (During that eight month period, Parliament had one session which was little more than roll call.) Iraqiya, the winner in the elections, was supposed to see their leader (Allawi) head an independent security commission, the KRG was promised Article 140 would finally be followed (Article 140 of the Constitution addresses disputed territories such as Kirkuk -- it calls for a census and referendum to be held in Kirkuk by the end of 2007. Nouri was prime minister then and refused to implement Article 140.) Many promises were made but the only one that concerned Nouri was that he would remain prime minister.