Monday, September 17, 2012

The Chicago strike

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Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "No, I can't!" from last night brings in the Chicago teachers' strike and I'm glad because it needs a lot more attention. 

Especially now that CBS reports (link is text and video) that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is attempting to use the courts to break the strike.  In fairness, here is Emanuel's statement in full from yesterday:

I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union. This was a strike of choice and is now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children. Every day our kids are kept out of school is one more day we fail in our mission: to ensure that every child in every community has an education that matches their potential.
I have instructed the City's Corporation Counsel to work with the General Counsel of Chicago Public Schools to file an injunction in circuit court to immediately end this strike and get our children back in the classroom. This continued action by union leadership is illegal on two grounds – it is over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children.
I have also asked the President of the Board of Education, David Vitale, and the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Jean-Claude Brizard, to explore every action possible to get our kids back into a classroom or educational facility.
While the union works through its remaining issues, there is no reason why the children of Chicago should not be back in the classroom as they had been for weeks while negotiators worked through these same issues.

 I disagree.  And the only reason the union has any power right now is because they are striking.  Rahm Emanuel knows that and knows if he can get the kids back in classes, he can then blow off the union.

Joseph Kishore (WSWS) reports that the leadership of the union is in agreement with Emanuel and is trying to whip the membership into agreeing:

Delegates were presented Sunday with highlights of a contract agreed to by the CTU leadership after less than one week on strike. The decision to oppose the leadership is all the more striking given the fact that the House of Delegates is composed of teachers who are generally closer to the union apparatus than the membership as a whole.
In response to the vote of the delegates, CTU President Karen Lewis said the union is planning for another vote by the delegates on the same contract agreement, to be held Tuesday night. No further negotiations are planned.

The Socialist Equality Party picks up there:

In attempting to sell the contract, the CTU is employing truly Orwellian language. “Job security” refers not to guarantees against mass layoffs, but to a provision that one-half of CPS hires be laid-off members. Yet CPS is not planning on hiring teachers, it is planning on firing them. To call this “job security” speaks volumes about the cynicism of the whole thing. And the expansion of testing is placed under the headline of “fairer evaluation procedures”!
The CTU is trying to quickly put an end to the strike on the basis of these provisions, without allowing any serious discussion and review of the contract even among delegates, let alone among the teachers as a whole. They worry that the more the contract is discussed and reviewed, the more opposition there will be.
Even before the contract details, the character of the agreement was clear. This is because it is not possible for teachers to defeat the forces that they are up against in the way that the struggle has been conducted by the CTU.
Emanuel is not acting alone. He has the backing of the entire political establishment, in Chicago and throughout the country. The mayor, the former chief of staff of President Obama and the top fundraiser for Obama’s “super-PAC,” is carrying out in Chicago what the Obama administration is pursuing nationally.

 And the CTU issued the following statement today:

CHICAGO  The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement in response to a complaint filed by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to force public school teachers and other school personnel back to work six days after they went on strike over poor working conditions and fair compensation.
“The Chicago Teachers Union is striking over mandatory subjects of bargaining such as compensation, evaluation procedures and the conditions within our classrooms. If this was an illegal strike the Chicago Public Schools would have sought injunctive relief on day one.  The law provides that if a strike is illegal only the labor board has jurisdiction to stop a strike. CPS has never filed any claim with the labor board that our strike is illegal,” said CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin.
“CPS’ spur-of-the-moment decision to seek injunctive relief some six days later appears to be a vindictive act instigated by the mayor.  This attempt to thwart our democratic process is consistent with Mayor Emanuel’s bullying behavior toward public school educators. As teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians continue to fight to make our city’s public schools stronger, the mayor, CEO Brizard and members of the board want to trample our collective bargaining rights and hinder our freedom of speech and right to protest.”

This is not a vanity strike.  This is about the future of education and the teachers are trying to ensure that everyone has a right to a quality education.  This is something we should all be applauding.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:

Monday, September 17, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue,  Archbishop Desmond Tutu raises his voice to help a family, Angelina Jolie visits Iraq, 8 of 9 commissioners for Iraq's electoral commission are named, more residents move from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, Tareq al-Hashemi talks about his trial and conviction, Soledad O'Brien embarasses herself and CNN,  and more.
Starting wih war resistance.  Kimberly Rivera and her family (husband and two kids) went to Canada in early 2007 with only what they could carry on their small family car.  She was on leave from Iraq and horrified by what she saw while serving.  Already a believer in Jesus Christ when she deployed, the horror deepened her spirituality and her conviction to do the Lord's work as she understood it.

What happened to her is no uncommon.  Agustin Aguayo also was a practicing Christian when he deployed to Iraq.  Seeing war up close deepened his own faith and religious beliefs.  That is why he stopped carrying a loaded gun while deployed in Iraq and why he found he could no longer participate in the Iraq War.

Faith. like any relationship, is not static nor is it taught to be.  Regardless of the religion, there is the belief that, for example, in times of crisis, the power of religion can carry you through the experience when you could not make it through on your own.  (Hence the modern day parable of the two sets of footsteps in the sand that becomes one as your higher power carries you in the darkest of times.)  Faith is not stagnant which is why religious scholars spend so much time pursuing knowledge, why followers do not attend one service their entire life but continue to attend to deepen their understanding and beliefs.

Kim and Agustin's experiences are in keeping with their religions which do allow for faith to grow and deepen.  The US military has refused to recognize that and has found itself in the questionable (legally questionable) position of interpreting faith and judging faith.  The US military will not allow an Agustin Aguayo or Kim Rivera to become a conscientious objector, they will argue that they were practicing a religion when they went to Iraq and that if they had objections they should have been lodged prior to deployment.  (Lodging the objection prior to deployment, to be clear, does not mean someone will get C.O. status.)  They will refuse to recognize that faith and spirituality are not fixed and that they can grow and deepen over time and due to experience.
She is now threatened with expulsion.  The Canadian government wants her out of the country by September 20th.  August 31st, Kim took part in a press conference with War Resisters Support Campaign's Michelle Robidoux.
Kim Rivera: If you want to know my biggest fear is being separated from my children and having to -- having to sit in a prison for politically being against the war in Iraq which I had experience in.  Without that experience, I know that I would not have come to the decision I had made to leave and also be here in Canada for people to know that experience which I had spoken many of.  So the only thing that I guess I can really ask is that all of my legal applications that I applied be considered and my agency application also get a decision.   That's pretty much all I have.
But those who were called to fight this war believed what their leaders had told them. The reason we know this is because U.S. soldiers such as Kimberly Rivera, through her own experience in Iraq, came to the conclusion that the invasion had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, the presence of U.S. forces only created immense misery for civilians and soldiers alike.
Those leaders to whom soldiers such as Kimberly Rivera looked for answers failed a supreme moral test. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003, millions have been displaced and nearly 4,500 American soldiers have been killed.
There are many people who, while they may have believed the original justification for the war, came to a different conclusion as the reality of the war became more evident. Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself came to the conclusion that the Iraq war was "absolutely an error."
It is large-hearted and courageous people who are not diminished by saying: "I made a mistake." Not least among these are Ms. Rivera and the other American war resisters who determined they could not in good conscience continue to be part of the Iraq war.
Hopefully other voices will join Archbishop Tutu in calling for the Canadian government to allow Kim and her family to stay.
Someone needs to call out Soledad O'Brien.   Newsbusters is a right-wing media critique site.  They sent something to the public e-mail account. It's their report on CNN's Soledad O'Brien 'fact checking' US House Rep Peter King (link has text and transcript).  It wasn't journalism.  Excerpt.
Soledad O'Brien: So let's talk about that last line. "What we saw this week is in may ways a logical result of all of that."  Are you saying that the president is responsible and his policies responsible for the death of the American ambassador to Libya?
US House Rep Peter King: I'm saying the president's policies have sent a confused message.  For instance, take Egypt.  Here is a country getting $1.6 billion in aid annually from the United States.  Yet President Morsi for the first day, the entire day of our embassy being under attack, did virtually nothing to protect us and was actually putting out statements in Arabic where he was sympathizing with the demonstrators and those attacking the American embassy.  What it's done is it's created a climate, it's created an attitude in the Middle East where our allies don't trust us, where those who are undecided are starting to hedge their bets and turn against us.  For instance in Iraq, the president talks about how he pulled our troops out of Iraq.  The fact is he was given a glide path in Iraq.  He pulled the troops out without getting a Status Of Forces Agreement, without leaving any American troops behind and now Iran is emerging as a major power in that region whereas if we had our troops there it would not happen.
Soledad O'Brien:  But you-you've been talking about an apology tour.  As you know that matches the framing of other people.  Donald Rumsfeld says he's made a practice of trying to apologize for America, he's talking about the president.  Mitt Romney has said "I will not and never apologize for America.  I don't apologize for America." Tim Palwenty back in February was saying, "Mr. President, stop apologizing for -- "  Where do you see an apology?  You called it an apology tour.  You said the apologies.  What apologies are you specifically talking about?
US House Rep Peter King: I would say when he was in Cairo in 2009, when he was basically apologizing for American policies, saying American policies sometimes have gone too far --
Soledad O'Brien: Never once in that speeh, as you know, which I have the speech right here.  That was -- he never once used the word apology.  He never once said I'm sorry.
US House Rep Peter King: Didn't have to.  The logical  -- any logical reading of the speech or the speech he gave in France where he basically said that the United States can be too aggressive --
Soledad cuts him off again.  What she needs to do is cut off that  hair. (When you have circles and bags under the eyes, do not wear your hair long unless you're pulling it back.  The goal with bags and circles is never to create more shadows on the face.  What an idiot.)
This is not complicated.  Soledad, using faux-gressiver terms like "framework" (the journalist term is "narrative"), may indicate some cabal but Donald Rumsfeld and King honestly believe what they're saying.  I would assume the same for Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty as well but with Rumsfeld and King there is a long body of the critique.  It predates Barack Obama and if Soledad thinks she's up to a 'fact check,' she needs to educate herself on this.
To move to a different topic but to explain the larger point,  then-President Ronald Reagan supported SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative).  I didn't.  I thought it was a lunatic idea, I thought it militarized space, etc.  Ronald Reagan had one opinion, I had another.  By Soledad's 'understaning,' she can fact check that and determine one of us to be right.  She is an uneducated lunatic.  Ronald Reagan believed he was right about SDI, I believe I am right.  Those are opinions.  They don't go to fact check. 
I bring up SDI specifically because Soledad wants to treat King's statements as something she's never before encountered.  (Maybe she hasn't.  She's not that smart.)  But his statements are at the heart of modern day conservatism and Barack's approach is in stark contrast to Reagan (Reagan remains the hero of most modern day conservatives).  You can read the SDI speech and you can see a lot of what's being discussed by King and others in that speech.  Here's an excerpt:
President Ronald Reagan:  The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression - to preserve freedom and peace.
Since the dawn of the atomic age, we have sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. Deterrence means simply this: Making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States or our allies or our vital interests concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won't attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.
I disagree with those opinions (including the claim that the US doesn't start fights).  And I can argue with someone who holds those opinions.  But I recognize those to be opinions.  Not facts.  It's an ideology.  If this is so far above Soledad's head, CNN needs to send her to a college where she can hopefully learn.  And I'll go further, if EJ Dionne, an opinion columnist, wanted to call the conservative opinion "wrong," that's fine.  He's an opinion columnist.  Soledad is supposed to be objective.  That makes her performance today even more embarrassing. 
Sunday, Ava and I wrote "TV: Media Fail" and it was about the media's refusal to play fair.  Jim did a quick piece that bookends that with "Romney and Obama last week" and, though we answered his questions in that, Ava and I were both confused why he wanted that.  He's getting at the points above.  It is not fair for Soledad to pretend to be 'objective' and then treat a conservative ideology to a 'fact check.'  It's about the same as putting religious beliefs to a 'fact check.'  Beliefs and opinions can differ and, in fact, in a democracy are supposed to.  You may not like the conclusions someone forms based on the facts, but they are allowed to reach their own conclusions.
Karl Rove wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal, published in April of 2009, about what he termed Barack's "apology tour."  He wasn't the only one using that term at that time.  Click here for a video about the "apology tour" that was posted to YouTube April 32, 2009.  For Soledad to be ignorant of all of this is an insult to the viewers.  Her segment was an insult.  If she wants to debate ideology, fine, let her take a stand -- and state whether it's her own or that she's playing devil's advocate -- and have that discussion.  But don't pretend that she's dealing with facts.  And don't pretend that we (on the left) win when some journalist plays America dumb by acting as if ideology and belief can be put to a fact check.  CNN should be ashamed of themselves. 
These are serious issues and if Soledad O'Brien's not up for them, she needs to be pulled.   If it's still not clear, let's look at King's remarks on Iraq.
US House Rep Peter King: For instance in Iraq, the president talks about how he pulled our troops out of Iraq. The fact is he was given a glide path in Iraq. He pulled the troops out without getting a Status Of Forces Agreement, without leaving any American troops behind and now Iran is emerging as a major power in that region whereas if we had our troops there it would not happen.
Barack pulled US troops from Iraq?  That's a fact.  Removed them without a SOFA?  Fact.  King takes those facts, places them in his conservative framework and comes up with opinions ("glide path" and the US left in a position of weakness).  So-called objective journalists need to learn to do their job.  Media Matters, as this item demonstrates, does a better job of grasping the points about ideology and opinion, that Soledad O'Brien refuses to -- and Media Matters doesn't claim to be objective or impartial -- it is a left-wing organization.
The third week of this month has begun and, through Saturday, Iraq Body Counts counts 183 people dead so far this month as a result of violence.  And the violence continues today with a high-profile Baghdad bombing.  KUNA explains, "The blast is considered of some significance for it targeted the heavily-guarded location [Green Zone], where senior officials reside.  The zone also includes a number of government, diplomatic and security offices and departments."  Xinhua reports that 7 people are dead and twenty-four injured from the "suicide car bomb attack near an entrance of Baghdad Green Zone."  Al-Shorfa notes that the death toll has risen to 8.   AP reports the "bomber slammed a car packed with explosives into one of the [Green Zone] gates."  AFP adds, "The attacker drove up to the entrance situated at the July 14 bridge, which is manned by Iraqi soldiers and lies across the Tigris River from the Green Zone, before detonating an explosives-rigged vehicle, an interior ministry official said."  Kareem Raheem (Reuters) quotes an unnamed police officer stating, "Cars were lining up waiting to be searched at the checkpoint that leads to the Green Zone and suddenly a speeding car exploded nearby.  Some people died inside cars and I saw two soldiers lying on the ground.  We immediately closed the area." Adrian Blomfield (Telegraph of London) observes, "The bombing was reminiscent of the violence that regularly targeted the Green Zone when it served as the American administrative headquarters in the years following the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003." In addition, Alsumaria reports a mortar attack on a Mosul police station has left one police officer and two civilians injured. 
Meanwhile RTT News reports, "Deadly clashes between Turkish security forces and activists of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have left 42 people dead during the weekend, Turkish media reported citing officials. "  The PKK is a Kurdish group which fights for Kurdish independence.   Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."  Suzan Fraser (AP) reports that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today echoed his "call on the rebel group to lay down arms.  Erdogan said military offensives against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, would end only after the rebels lay down arms."  In response, Reuters notes, "Turkey's main Kurdish party said on Monday that Turkey must agree a mutual ceasefire with Kurdish separatists to have any hope of ending their conflict, rather than making one-sided demands that they disarm."

Yesterday, the US State Dept issued the following statement:

Today, the seventh convoy of approximately 680 Camp Ashraf residents arrived safely at Camp Hurriya. This convoy represents the last major relocation of residents from former Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya and marks a significant milestone in efforts to achieve a sustainable humanitarian solution to this issue. Over the coming weeks, the small group temporarily remaining at former Camp Ashraf will address residual issues and then also move to Camp Hurriya.

The United States appreciates the efforts of the Government of Iraq to accommodate both security and humanitarian concerns throughout this process, including the peaceful and orderly closure of former Camp Ashraf and relocation of its residents to Camp Hurriya. We count on Iraq's continued adherence to the December 25, 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations that provides a path for the safe relocation of former Ashraf residents out of Iraq.
We welcome the cooperation by the former Ashraf residents in this relocation and look forward to their continued participation in the process set forth in the MOU. Additionally, we are grateful for the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, whose personnel have achieved much under challenging circumstances.

The United States will continue to support those efforts and, working with the United Nations and our partners in the international community, turn our attention to supporting the permanent relocation of the residents from Iraq.
Approximately 3,400 people were at Camp Ashraf when the US invaded Iraq in 2003.  They were Iranian dissidents who were given asylum by Saddam Hussein decades ago.  The US government authorized the US military to negotiate with the residents.  The US military was able to get the residents to agree to disarm and they became protected persons under Geneva and under international law.

Despite that legal status and the the legal obligation on the part of the US government to protect the residents, since Barack Obama has been sworn in as US president, Nouri has ordered not one but two attacks on Camp Ashraf resulting in multiple deaths.  Let's recap.  July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observes that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."
Of yesterday's relocations, Martin Kobler, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Iraq, declared yesterday, 'This is an important step as we near the end of the relocation process.  I would like to thank the residents for their cooperation.  I would also like to thank the Government of Iraq for ensuring this last major relocation and paving the way for the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf under the terms of the memorandum of understanding."  Press TV (link is text and video) notes that 168 residents remain at Camp Ashraf.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reminds, "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is under a court order to decide by October 1 whether to remove MEK from the terror list. The secretay has said several times that her decision would be guided, in part, by whether the group moves peacefully from Camp Ashraf."
Now for this:
The arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 19, just after I arrived in Erbil. I was very surprised. I was shocked that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had issued such a warrant. He needs to consult with the president, if there is any proof. I have legal immunity granted by the constitution, yet they ignored this legal provision. They went so far as to issue a death sentence. The surprising part about this incident is its timing. This verdict came on September 9. They dismissed the previous judge and appointed a new one. This was the first trial conducted by the newly appointed judge. Here we are talking about a judge who is not familiar with details of the case. They reached a verdict within less than 24 hours. There was not even time for defense.
That's Tareq al-Hashemi speaking.  Please note, we've gotten the chronology right.   From the April 30th snapshot:

The political crisis was already well in effect when December 2011 rolled around.  The press rarely gets that fact correct.  When December 2011 rolls around you see Iraqiya announce a  boycott of the council and the Parliament, that's in the December 16th snapshot and again in a December 17th entry .  Tareq al-Hashemi is a member of Iraqiya but he's not in the news at that point.  Later, we'll learn that Nouri -- just returned from DC where he met with Barack Obama -- has ordered tanks to surround the homes of high ranking members of Iraqiya.  December 18th is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane. December 19th is when the arrest warrant is issued for Tareq al-Hashemi by Nouri al-Maliki who claims the vice president is a 'terrorist.' .
Tareq al-Hashemi knows the chronology because it's his life.  We know it because we followed it.  Why is it that employees of Reuters, AP and the rest -- people paid to do a job -- don't get it right?  Why is that they are allowed repeatedly to rewrite history and FALSELY claim that Tareq left Baghdad after a warrant was issued? 
Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has been targeted by Nouri.  He speaks about that and more to Faith Altyli (Al-Monitor).  Excerpt:
The problem with Iraq is Maliki's style of governing. I don't agree with him on economic concerns or on political processes. The administrative council, president and vice president work as a team. However, we could not work together, as Maliki had different desires. He believes in tyranny, not in democracy. I tried to convince him many times ... to be more just and stand against discrimination. Since 2006, Iraq has steered away from democracy and is turning into an autocracy. I was against this happening. 
Iraq had a great opportunity. We had the chance to hold the presidency of the Arab League for a year. However, when the summit ended, Maliki went against the will of the participants and supported Assad. 
As the political crisis continues, Raman Brosk (AKnews) reports, "The Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) is hoping that President of Iraq Jalal Talabani will put an end to months of disputes between Baghdad and Erbil upon his return from Germany where he is receiving treatmeant after his health deteriorated."  He fled to Germany after he betrayed the other blocs working on the no-confidence vote.  From his 'sick bed' in Germany (he had knee surgery), he threatened to resign as president.  But a lot of people are pinning their hopes on him.  Dar Addustour notes that ahead of Talabani's return, KRG President Massoud Barzani has departed for a tour of Europe where he'll meet with various leaders.

Alsumaria notes the incoming  8 Independent High Electoral Commission members include: Mohsen Jabbari Mohsen, Wael Mohamed Abd Ali, Moqdad Hassan Saleh, Safaa Ibrahim Jassim al-Hassan, Aboert Bunnell al-Alalah, Khan Kamal Ali.  All Iraq News adds that Kolshan al-Kamal was nominated but the vote on al-Kamal has been postponed due to objections from the Christian MPs.  The Commission is supposed to have 9 members and, at present, the hope is that the ninth member will be voted on shortly.  AFP explains,
"The new commission may have to contend with political pressure in addition to the challenges of organising elections, including local polls that are to be held next March.
Faraj al-Haidari, the outgoing head of IHEC, said in late August that he and two other members were found guilty of graft and handed suspended one-year prison sentences."
Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) also reports on Parliament, specifically the body's Integrity Commission which has called for all Iraqi ministers and deputy ministers, deputies and advisers who hold dual nationality to drop the non-Iraqi nationality.   Why is this a concern?

In a government of refugees, you have many people with other nationalities.  And when people leave with government money -- as 7 officials in Nouri's last government did -- it can be very difficult to have them extradicted from another country if they hold citizenship in that country.
Over the weekend, Iraq had a high profile visitor.   Saturday, Al Mada reported that UN Special Envoy on Refugee Issues and Academy Award winning  Angelina Jolie visited Iraq today as part of the UN efforts for Syrian refugees.  The American actress will visit Dohuk Province and met with refugees at the camp there.  Dohuk and Anbar Province house approximatley 21,000 Syrian refugees.  Angelina met with Iraq's Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) adds, "Jolie and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari discussed the situation of Syrian refugees in Iraq while meeting at his office in Baghdad, the foreign ministry said in a statement. They also talked about the efforts made by the Iraqi government to meet the daily needs of refugees, the statement said."  
RTT News notes this is Jolie's fourth trip to Iraq and "Jolie spent Sunday meeting with Syrian refugees in the Domiz camp in northern Iraq. She also met officials of the Kurdistan regional government, including the Prime Minister, the Interior Minister and the Governor of Dohuk. Many of the officials she met were former refugees."  The Voice of Russia notes that in addition to visiting Iraq, she also toured "refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey."  Sowetan's report includes:
"What they described on the ground, hearing it from them is so horrific," she said, adding that the children's stories were especially moving, including some who said they had witnessed people being pulled apart "like chickens."
"When you meet so many innocent people and civilians, the people of Syria are asking who is on their side. 'Who is going to help us as the months go on?" she added.
Approximately two-thirds of the Syrian refugees in Iraq who are registered with the United Nations are in the KRG.  Despite this fact, All Iraq News reports that the KRG has received zero in financial support for the refugees from the Iraqi central government out of Baghdad.    AFP quotes her stating at the Dohuk refugee camp Domiz, "I know how gracious the Kurdish government and the Kurdish region people have been to the Syrian refugees."  AFP also quotes her stating at Dohuk, "I have been to the four borders of Syria, and this is the first camp I have been to where they are already preparing for winterisation, and also where there are ID cards, giving freedom of movment, which is an extraordinary thing."   AKI quotes her stating, "At this juncture, it is critical that Iraq receives urgent international support and continues to welcome refugees across its borders."   The KRG issued the following on her visit:
Erbil, Kurdistan Region - Iraq ( – Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, travelled to the Kurdistan Region today to visit refugees in camps along the Syrian border and to discuss with Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani the help provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government. 
Ms Jolie this morning met some of the 21,000 Syrian refugees that have taken shelter in camps in Duhok province before travelling to Erbil to meet Prime Minister Barzani who welcomed Ms Jolie to Kurdistan and thanked her for drawing attention to the plight of the refugees. 
Citing the $10million allocated by the KRG to provide for the needs of the refugees, the Prime Minister said, "We have not received any support from Baghdad, but of course this has not caused us to delay our aid. Instead of waiting for the support of the Federal Government, we have provided immediate assistance to those who have sought shelter with us." 
Ms Jolie thanked the Prime Minster and the KRG for the help they are providing and expressed her hope that the international community will begin partnering with the Region in these efforts.
The Prime Minister detailed the aid being provided to the refugees, explaining that the KRG is providing food, shelter, healthcare, and emergency aid, as well as developing an educational programme that will soon be implemented to allow the children to keep up with their studies. They also discussed the situation in the other camps that Ms Jolie had visited in her role as UN ambassador. 
Ms Jolie arrived in Kurdistan today after meeting with Iraqi returnees from Syria and senior government officials in Baghdad on Saturday. Her visit is part of a larger regional tour of camps in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon for Syrians who have been displaced by the violence in the country.
In April 2012, Ms Jolie was appointed Special Envoy of the UNHCR, before which she served for several years as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR. The famous Hollywood actress has been a very strong public advocate for human rights.
Alsumaria notes her previous visits to Iraq as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and that she's alos visited refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanaon and Turkey to bring a spotlight to the refugee issue and, with regards to Syrian refugees only, Kitabat notes she has visited camps in Lebanon and Jordan. AFP reports she travels next to Erbil and will visit Dohuk's refugee camp.

Alsumaria notes her previous visits to Iraq as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and that she's alos visited refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanaon and Turkey to bring a spotlight to the refugee issue and, with regards to Syrian refugees only, Kitabat notes she has visited camps in Lebanon and Jordan. AFP reports she travels next to Erbil and will visit Dohuk's refugee camp.