Sunday, September 20, 2009


Last week, US Vice President Joe Biden went to Iraq. Only one US TV outlet had a reporter on the trip (CNN, Chris Lawrence). There was very little coverage of the trip. Little coverage of the joint statements.


C.I. reported what was going on (and what concerned the White House) on Friday, "Yesterday's news, unremarked upon in US outlets, would be the political jockeying of Ibrahim Al Jaafari and Nouri al-Maliki as both worked overtime to prove they could be the most insulting to a visiting foreign official. Both made pointed remarks to outlets about issues such as Iraq's elections being Iraq -- and only Iraq's -- business. For those late to the party, Jaafari was the prime minster before Nouri. He was also the first choice of Iraqi MPs to be prime minister in the spring of 2006 but the US nixed that and demanded Nouri. Jaafari is part of the new Shi'ite alliance (Iraqi National Alliance) and it's thought that Jaafari's presence was what had Nouri insisting he wouldn't join the alliance unless he was promised that they'd re-nominate him for prime minister following January's scheduled elections. They refused to meet that demand and Nouri has not joined the alliance so far."

It's worth noting that the KRG didn't feel the need to trash the White House as soon as Biden wasn't standing next to them.

Violence continued in Iraq, as Diane Rehm noted Friday -- her first Friday back since a fall sidelined her for a few weeks.

Sunday saw 23 people reported dead and 24 wounded, Monday saw 9 reported dead and 19 reported injured, Tuesday saw 5 reported dead and 11 reported wounded, Wednesday saw 1 person reported dead and 4 reported injured, Thursday saw 10 reported dead and 31 reported injured, Friday saw 7 reported dead and 23 reported wounded and Saturday saw 6 people reported dead and 2 reported injured. That's a total of 61 reported deaths and 114 reported wounded.

No, violence hasn't vanished from Iraq. And most violence goes unreported. Not only do reporters remain largely confined to Baghdad, there are less and less US outlets reporting from Iraq.

Tuesday the Defense Department announced Duane A. Thornsbury, on his third deployment to Iraq, died in Baghdad the previous Saturday from "injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over." Multi-National Forces 'forgot' to announce that death. Thornsbury's death brought the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4344.

Tensions continued between Syria and Iraq and an Istanbul meet-up Thursday and Friday which included Ahmed Davutoglu (Turkey's Foreign Minister), Hoshyar Zebari (Iraq's Foreign Minister), Walid Mualem (Syria's Foreign Minister) and Amr Moussa (Arab League Secretary General) did nothing to ease the tensions.

Shoe thrower Muntadhar al-Zeidi was released on Tuesday and announced he'd been tortured while in prison. The Iraqi journalist then left the country, was feted in Syria, and went on to Greece for medical treatment.

As Ruth notes in our roundtable, C.I. broke news on Friday, revealing that a report by RAND argued in the preface that the US needed to begin renegotiation efforts on the Status Of Forces Agreement and not wait until 2011 to start those efforts.

As Ava and C.I. explained here last week, the SOFA does not end the Iraq War.
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