HE'S PUBLICLY ATTACKED FOX NEWS, HE'S SHUT THEM OUT OF PRESS GATHERINGS, BUT TONIGHT THE DHALI BAMA APPEARS ON FOX NEWS?
FOX HAS THE SUPERBOWL AND, PUTTING ON HIS MAKE UP THIS EVENING, BARRY O EXPLAINED TO THESE REPORTERS, "A GIRL'S GOT TO GO TO WHERE THE CAMERAS ARE."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
On a day when even Iraq's ministries have to admit over 1,000 violent deaths this month of January, let's start with thoughts and opinions. Dave Johnson (Seeing The Forrest) notes there's still no publicly provided answer from the US government to the question: "So why DID we invade iraq, anyway"?
No answer given, just silence, and the hope that, at some point, everyone will just forget.
Thursday on All Things Considered (NPR -- link is audio and text). host Robert Siegel spoke with professor Imad Shaheen and NPR's Michele Kelemen and Deborah Amos about the Middle East. Siegel used the segment to work in comments from an interview he did with Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq. And presumably, we're supposed to overlook the fact that an interview was conducted and a segment not provided to showcase the interview -- and overlook that this week, the 'news' program, made time for segments on how to fix "beefy butternut squash chili," luge stories, Superbowl stories, Superbowl related stories, "funny video" stories, "a new look at George Eliot," movie reviews, book reviews, music reviews and a woman who spays animals. Due to all of that and so much more, All Things Considered didn't have time to air an interview with Saleh al-Mutlaq who met with US President Barack Obama this month. Below we'll excerpt the opinions of al-Mutlaq that made the broadcast segment.
SIEGEL: And some players in the region see something else receding: American power and American influence. For example, in Iraq, the deputy prime minister, Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni Muslim, says the U.S. should've done more to create a government that Sunnis could trust. He told me Washington should have and could have.
SALEH AL-MUTLAQ: America is America. America is the biggest and most important country in the world. If they are really serious in trying to enforce reconstruction(ph) of the country, they will be able to do that.
[. . .]
SIEGEL: Now, you mentioned the Iraqis. I want to play something that Saleh al-Mutlaq, the Iraqi deputy prime minister, told me. He is a Sunni Muslim from Anbar Province and I put it to him that President Obama's harshest critics say that the U.S. is not just leaving behind a void that Iran might be filling, but that the U.S. is about to tilt to Tehran, become friendly with Iran.
And here's what the Iraqi deputy prime minister said.
AL-MUTLAQ: Well, I mean this is the question of everybody in the region, that something is happening which is strange, that from all that conflict between Iran and America and after America has given the region, especially Iraq, to the Iranian, now they are getting on in dialogue in order to improve their relation. And this is not only my concern. It's the concern of everybody in the region. And it's the worry of everybody in the region, because if you strengthen Iran to that extent, then Iran is going to be the policeman of the region.
SIEGEL: You feel that Iraq has been handed over to Iran.
SALEH EL-MUTLAQ: Definitely.
Tuesday, January14th, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq spoke in DC at the US Institute of Peace. We noted it in that day's snapshot. MP Nada al-Juburi was part of the delegation from Iraq and we noted some of her remarks at the Institute of Peace in the January 16th snapshot. Joel Wing (Musings On Iraq) has posted the video of her discussion with MP Ezzat al-Shebander that the Institute of Peace's Sarhanq Hamasaeed moderated.
Senator Joe Biden, in the years before becoming US Vice President, advocated that Iraq be a federation. James Kitfeld (National Journal) argues today
Biden, then a senator, championed a more federal system explicitly allowed by the Iraqi constitution (at the insistence of the Kurds), devolving power from the central government in Baghdad to the provinces. Although Biden denied it at the time, his proposal would almost certainly have led to the de facto soft partition of Iraq into three autonomous regions dominated by Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. A similar approach in the 1990s patched together Bosnia out of the detritus of the Balkans civil war between Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. In a 2007 op-ed, Biden warned, "If the United States can't put this federalism idea on track, we will have no chance for a political settlement in Iraq and, without that, no chance for leaving Iraq without leaving chaos behind."
He was ahead of his time. "Biden got it dead right, and I still think transitioning to a federal power-sharing arrangement is the only way to stop the killing and hold Iraq together," says Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who wrote the op-ed with Biden.
No, Joe Biden didn't get it right -- dead right or otherwise -- because Joe Biden is an American citizen. It is not for him, or any other American, to determine what sort of nation-state or country Iraq should be. Self-determination is not a passing fancy, it's a cornerstone of democracy.
He was more than welcome to float the idea to the Iraqi people but he had no right to impose it. The Senate agreed with that which is why his proposal never found traction there but was instead repeatedly rejected. Had the US split Iraq into three regions, the issue would have been "The US destroyed our country further by breaking us apart in a Balkanization scheme." Though Biden did popularize the idea, he can't claim credit for it nor even just credit for applying it to Iraq. War Hawk Edward P. Joseph teamed with Brookings' Michael O'Hanlon to promote the idea in 2007. But they were basing it on the proposal of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Which would bring us back to Leslie Gelb, wouldn't it? Gelb backed the Iraq War -- and did so, he said, "to retain political and professional credibility." I don't know how much "professional credibility" there is in applauding someone for promoting your idea when you refuse to acknowledge that it was your idea. But I do know it's unethical.
I also know that if the Iraqi people had decided to split their country into a federation, it might have worked and it might not have. In other words, I know that Geld lacks the gift of premonition.
He supports the split so he thinks it would work. That doesn't mean it would work.
Since he's not an Iraqi, his continued obsession with a concept that Iraq refused to entertain is a bit of waste of time.
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