Thursday, November 29, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's management skills take
hit, more death sentence are handed out by the government, Nouri's
disprespect for the Constitution is noted, Nouri claims his own
commanders are shutting him out of the process, a fight breaks out in
the halls of Parliament, Martin Kobler testifies to the UN Security
Council, and more.
Today Martin Kobler
addressed the United Nations Security Council in New York. Kobler is
the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy in Iraq and heads United
Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). As usual when we note the
report on Iraq to the Security Council, we do it in two snapshots. It
was a presentation that lasted over 20 minutes. It is important enough
-- how the UN officially views Iraq for public consumption -- to be
included in full. So we spread it out over two snapshots.
Kobler: Mr. President, as 2012 draws to a close, it is pertinent to
take stock of progress Iraq has made during the last twelve months.
During that time, Iraq has made committed efforts to enforce law and
order following the withdrawal of United States forces. Reclaiming its
rightful place at the diplomatic table, it successfully hosted the 23rd
Arab Summit in Baghdad in April, and, in May, it hosted talks between
Iran and the permanent members of the [Security] Council plus Germany.
In terms of strengthening state institutions, the Human Rights
Commission was established in April and a new board of Commissioners of
the Independent High Electoral Commission was elected in September.
The latter resulted in an agreement on the date for government council
elections in April next year. This progress, however, is in danger by
two factors. First, the stalemate between Iraq's political leaders
and, second, developments in the region. Mr. President, I regret to
report to the Council that estranged relations between Iraq's political
leaders have endured throughout the year. One manifestation of this is
the Arab-Kurdish rift. The lack of trust stems from a number of
pending issues of contention, including power-sharing, security and
tense relations between the central government and the region of
Kurdistan. The resulting political deadlock is preventing the progress
and reform necessary to consolidate Iraq's transition. Attempts to
defuse the stalemate have most recently focused on a package of
political reforms which appears stalled. The government of Iraq's
decision to establish the Tigris Command Operations Command responsible
for overall security in Kirkuk, Salahuddin and the Diyala Govern-ates
has been highly criticized by members of the Kurdistan Regional
Government. A military stand-off ensued, incorporating the armed
forces of the respective governments. The militarization of the
situation has resulted in the regrettable death of one civilian. I
should like to take this opportunity to call on the parties to exercise
all due restraint at this time of increased tensions. I count on the
leadership of the politicians of Iraq to resolve their differences
through political dialog in accordance with the Constitution. In that
regard, I welcome the recent efforts of Parliament Speaker Osama
al-Nujaifi and I also welcome the convening of a meeting between the
Iraqi army and the Peshmerga at the technical level earlier this week in
Baghdad. It is a step in the right direction. And I do encourage both
sides to keep the door open -- of dialog open -- and implement the
understandings reached. UNAMI stands ready to implement any possible
agreement reached that would de-escalate the situation and promote
confidence among the various communities. Over the past few days, Mr.
President, dozens of Iraqi security personnel and civilians -- including
worshipers -- have been killed and many other dozens injured in
Baghdad, Kirkuk, Karbala and Falluja. Extremists use the political
differences of the leaders to ignite either sectarian or ethnic violence
and tensions in Iraq. Immediate resolutions and compromise by all
political leaders should be the response to these attempts. The tense
political standoff is thus testing Iraq's internal fault-lines. August
and September were the deadliest months in the last two years. A
particular atrocious series of attacks on October 27th targeted pilgrims
during holy Eid al-Adha observance. Left unaddressed, the political
impasse will leave Iraq vulnerable to the sectarists of Iraq's ability,
mainly from the spillover of violence in the wider region. Mr.
President, Iraq finds itself in an increasingly unstable region
environment generated by the Syrian Civil War. The Syrian conflict has
exposed a complex web on interconnected and conflicting interests that
threatens to engulf the region in violent conflict. With no immediate
solution to the crisis in sight, there are real risks of spillover,
violence and destabilization. At the domestic level, the conflict
across Iraq's borders has had a significant humanitarian impact on
Iraq. The crisis also impacts on Iraq's relations with her neighbors.
Iraq's relationship with Turkey has also grown increasingly tense in
recent months with an escalation in the rhetoric exchanged on both
sides. The divergent positions between Iraq and other states in the
region on how to address the Syrian crisis have also further strained
their relations. Within this challenging context, however, it is
possible to identify opportunities for UNAMI to continue to assist
Iraq's transition process. Indeed, not withstanding the lack of progress
between Iraq's political leaders, in resolving their differences,
Iraq's expectations on UNAMI continues to grow. UNAMI's assistance,
pursuant to its Council mandate, is focusing on two priority tracks:
First, advancing national reconciliation and dialog and, second,
tackling regional issues. Since my last briefing to the Council, UNAMI
has continued to encourage political leaders to engage in inclusive
dialog to resolve their differences in the spirit and framework of the
Constitution. I've continued to conduct frequent visits to Erbil and
Sulamaniyah to promote such a dialog. I've also conducted intensive
discussions both in Baghdad and in Kirkuk focusing on the holding of the
long overdue governate council elections in Kirkuk. UNAMI's support to
the Council of Representatives on the basis of sustained facilitation
and technical advice contributed to the selection of the IHEC's new
board of commissioners in September -- a proficient and a genuinely and
truly independent IHEC board is essential at this juncture as Iraq
prepares for nationwide governor council elections on 20th of April next
year and legislative elections in 2014.
Factually, we should note that the Arab League Summit was March 29th
and not in April. and that it was a failure as judged by who attended. From that day's snapshot:
Who were the notable no-shows? Hamza Hendawi and Lara Jakes (AP) report that
the no-shows included rulers from "Saudi Arabia, Qatar and most other
Gulf countries, as well as Morocco and Jordan -- all of them headed by
Sunni monarchs who deeply distrust the close ties between Baghdad's
Shiite-dominated government and their top regional rival, Iran." The Belfast Telegraph notes, "The only ruler from the Gulf to attend was the Emir of Kuwait, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah."
With regards to IHEC . . .
I like Chris Hedges
He is someone who tries to tell his truth and I'm always willing to
consider what he says. So let's drop back to election night in the US.
There's Hedges on a really bad program that he really shouldn't have
been on but was. Ava
and I debated whether or not to cover this in real time but decided not
to. Hedges offered his belief that the world itself was in danger and
that the world was being destroyed, to the point that it would be
uninhabitable. He said that in the face of that, other issues were less
important. Other issues identified by him? He immediately went
to women's rights. Isn't that the knee jerk for lefty males every time?
Ava and I were watching and giving him consideration because it is true
that planet going down in flames might trump other things. However,
Chris Hedges then remained silent as a dumb ass with a stupid
organization then piped in that he agreed and, by the way, what was
really important and what needed to be focused on was all the enthusiasm
it was building among people of color.
We waited for Hedges to object.
There was no objection and we felt Punk'd.
want us to set aside women's rights -- the basic rights of over half
the planet and a group that represents every race and ethnicity known to
humankind -- and yet you're okay with some crap about the 'importance'
of happy thoughts for a certain segment of people? That trumps whether
or not human life can be supported by the planet? An abstract feeling
trumps the basic legal rights of over half the population?
Heges believe that happy thoughts trump the survival of the planet? I
doubt it. But he wasn't willing to object. These conversations happen
over and over. In the US, it's usually a bunch of male Democrats saying
the party could get more votes if they dropped their support for
abortion. (That would of course drive women voters away but the
'brains' making that proposal don't consider women 'real voters'
anyway.) On the left (I'll let the right talk about itself), in the
abstract, the disabled and challenged are treated with respect, men of
color are treated with respect, men of certain ethnicites are treated
with respect, all these groupings get respect and no one's asking that
their rights be ignored or chipped away at. But time and again, women
-- who don't even make up half the Senate in our 'advanced' United
States -- are asked to sacrifice. It's past time for the left to get
honest about what it really thinks about women and how little women
are valued. These continual attacks on women, these continual slights
would not repeatedly happen were women not so devalued. And hats off to
Ruth for her great catch last night
where she noted George Mitrovich reduced a strong Senator to arm candy
because of his own sexism and that he did so while trying to pretend
he's appalled by sexism. to decry sexism. Let's also note that his crap
appeared at The Huffington Post
. Time and again, certain women sell all women out so that they can advance on their own. (The term is "queen bee.")
time and again, women have to sacrifice and we're so damn sick of it.
Women's rights, their basic rights, Hedges was willing to toss aside for
survival of the planet but not a feel-good mood about an election.
That was important and valid. But the right to self-determination, to
control one's own body, to own property, etc, these were unimportant.
What does this have to do with the above?
Kobler's bragging and boasting about IHEC -- Independent High Electoral Commission -- was embarrassing.
is only one woman on the Commission. The law requires women to be a
third of the Commission. The woman was added days after the others and
probably wouldn't have been if even the Iraqi judges weren't publicly
calling out the lack of women on the Commission.
and again, women are made to wait. We're made to wait by Chris Hedges
because it's all about survival, we're made to wait some other reason at
some other time. If Iraq, as it stands currently, cannot follow the
law and cannot appoint three women to IHEC (appoint, not elect, what a
joke that was from Kobler), then exactly when the hell will the law be
Nouri al-Maliki has
one female minister in his Cabinet. All the rest -- even the so-called
'acting' ministers -- are men. Women continues to be eliminated from
positions of power, women continue to not be seated at the table.
Iraq's female politicians -- especially female members of Iraqiya --
loudly and publicly decried the IHEC board for not having the three
women required by law. But Kobler can't even note that. Kobler happy
stamps it and we're all supposed to accept that?
what point is Nouri's government held accountable for its failure to
follow the law? At what point does the United Nations finally find the
guts to call out the disenfranchisement of women? Oh, yes, women were
mentioned -- much later in the speech -- and we'll get to that
tomorrow. As their own little island. As though they're not also
Iraqis, as though Iraq is not also their country, as though they don't
have a right to participate and as though 'success' in Iraq can be
judged without considering what's happened to Iraq women.
How very sad.
Today Iraq was slammed with multiple bombings and shootings leading Antiwar.com to dub
it a "bloodbath." Margaret Gtiffis (Antiwar.com) counts
54 dead and 237 injured in the day's cycle of violence. RT notes
"Two roadside bombs in the city of Hilla blew up a group of Shiite
pilgrims, leaving at least 26 people dead and several dozen wounded. The
bombs struck a commercial area of the city during a busy period.
Another attack happened in the shrine city of Karbala, 90 kilometers
to the south of Baghdad. A car bomb killed 6 civilians and wounded 20,
some of them police officers." And RT has three Reuters
photos of the aftermath of those two bombings. Today's violence continues the week's trend of attacks. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observes
, "Attacks on Tuesday and Wednesday left at least 38 people dead and more than 130 wounded."
In Hilla, AFP notes
"Iraqi security forces cordoned off the area of the blasts and set up
checkpoints in the city to search cars, an AFP correspondent said,
adding that shops near the site were shuttered after the attack." Ali al-Rubaie (Reuters) quotes
teacher Ihsan al-Khalidi explaining, "We started to stop civilian cars
asking them to take the wounded to hospital since there were not enough
ambulances to transfer them." Sinan Salaheddin (AP) provides
these details on the Hilla aftermath, "Twisted and charred remains of
vehicles were seen outside damaged shops as shop owners collected their
strewn merchandise from the bloodstained pavement, littered with
debris." On the Karbala attack, Al Jazeera explains
"In the shrine city of Karbala, a car bomb killed four and left another
16 people wounded. The bomber parked the vehicle near the entrance of
the Imam Abbas shrine. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghad,
said the holy site made for a 'very daring' attack in Karbala." Xinhua adds
security forces blocked the roads to central Karbala which leads to the
shrine of Imam Hussein, one of the 12 most Shiite revered Imams.
" Al Bawaba notes
that Shi'ites were the targets in the attacks on those two cities while other bombs today were targeting security forces.
above is getting most of the focus from the western media; however,
those are not the only attacks carried out in Iraq today. All Iraq News notes
a Falluja suicide car bombing targeting a checkpoint which left 2
security forces dead (five more injured and two civilians injured as
well). Xinhua has
the attacker on foot in an explosive vest. Alsumaria adds
that a double bombing in Kirkuk's Hawija left one Iraqi soldier injured and 1 person was shot dead outside his Baghdad home (machine gun)
. All Iraq News notes
a bombing just outside Baghdad targeting a Sahwa restaurant which left 2
people dead and eleven injured. Among the other violence Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) notes
is, "Gunmen blew up two homes in Kirkuk. One belonged to a doctor, the other to a businessman."
In addition, the Voice of Russia notes
that Turkish warplanes bombed northern Iraq: "A fleet of F-16 bombers
with Turkey's Second Tactical Air Force based in southeastern Diyarbakir
province raided Iraq's Avashin, Zap, Haftanin and Metina regions, Dogan
news agency reports." The war planes were targeting the PKK. 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." Trend News Agency adds
, "The conflict between Turkey and the PKK has lasted for over 25 years."
Violence didn't just happen out in the streets of Iraq and during home invasions today.
All Iraq News reports
an "altercation" took place in Parliament today between several
deputies and led Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi to immediately
adjourn the session and postpone the next session until Saturday.
Thrown fists have not been uncommon in the Iraqi Parliament in the last
seven years but it has been some time since there were any reports of
physical violence among MPs. Whatever happened, All Iraq News notes it
took place in the hallway. Alsumaria also terms
it an "altercation" and notes that prior to that, the Parliament had
read six bills and was discussing the allegations of torture in Iraqi
prisons and detention centers. Though no one has yet to take
responsibility for the altercation, you can be sure State of Law will
insist it was caused by 'Ba'athists' who've been hiding out in Syria
(since that is the group they tend to blame for everything).
Ministry of the Interior (headed by Nouri since he never nominated
anyone to be Minister of Interior -- in violation of the Constitution)
issued a statement today. Dar Addustour reports
that statement strongly denies that any women are being held illegally
or tortured in detention centers. That is the wording of the
statement. I point that out because the accusation is women are being
tortured in detention centers and prisons and the statement issued only
covers detention centers. Kitabat notes
that before the altercation, the Parliament was discussing the denial
by the Ministry of the Interior. Lending credence to the belief that
the altercation was about women prisoners being tortured, Alsumaria reports
that the National Alliance is up in arms and saying that what happened
today is Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's fault as a result of
his 'bias' by allowing this issue to be addressed.
Nouri had hoped for a different image to be projected today. All Iraq News notes
that the prime minister visited the International Book Fair in Baghdad
today and posed for photos. Not only did the bombings and shootings and
whatever happened in the hallways of Parliament overwhelm that photo
op, the Russian arms deal just will not go away.October 9th
with much fanfare, Nouri signed a $4.2 billion dollar weapons deal with
Russia. After taking his bows on the world stage and with Parliament
and others raising objections, Nouri quickly announced the deal was
off. It's not going away.
The deal has been rife with rumors of
corruption from the moment that it was announced. Nouri's spokesperson
Ali al-Dabbagh has twice had to publicly issue statements insisting he
was not involved in the deal. In addition, there are allegations that
Nouri's son received a kickback from the deal.Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) notes
that al-Dabbagh has left Baghdad and arrived in the UAE and that
someone is whispering Russian President Vladimir Putin personally
provided Nouri with proof that al-Dabbagh was involved in backroom deals
to benefit from the contract. If the point of that rumor is to create
sympathy for Nouri, it doesn't. It just makes him look incompetent if
it's true. True or not, it's very hard to believe that Putin (or any
leader) would provide evidence of corruption knowing it would tank a
multi-billion dollar deal.Al Rafidayn notes
that Parliament's Integrity Commission is said to have the names of 14 officials who were to profit from the corrupt deal. Kitabat explains
one of the names is Ali al-Dabbagh and the Parliament was attempting to
call on him to appear before them. That's now in doubt since he's fled
to the UAE. Kitabat notes
the other names are said to be those who accompanied Nouri to Russia.
Adding to the view of Nouri as an incompetent on the world stage are the issues emerging over another big contract. Dar Addustour reports
that Rotana Arabia, a cell phone company, signed a contract with Iraq
woth as much as $30 million. The contract was brokered by Saadoun
al-Dulaimi who is the Minister of Culture. Nouri's calling for the
contract to be cancelled, citing corruption. He wants the Ministry to
cancel the contract. Not the Minister. He can't ask Minister of
Culture Saadoun al-Dulaimi to do anything because no one can find him
and he's reportedly fled the country.
continue between the KRG and the Baghdad-based central government over
Nouri sending in the Tigris Operation Command forces into disputed
regions, as Martin Kobler noted today when addressing the UN Security
Council. In an interesting development, Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports
Nouri is said to be angry because his generals are not providing him
with details and summeries of the ongoing negotiations with the Kurdish
Peshmerga officials. If Nouri is really being kept out of the loop,
that says a great deal about how much his power has faded in the last
weeks. Even more surprising since the Peshmerga has published
the main points the two sides agreed upon:
Forming an operational mechanism, principles of cooperation and joint
committees in the disputed regions. The joint operations in the disputed
regions of Kurdistan will remain unchanged but the mechanism of
operation will be revitalized between the federal forces and the forces
of the Kurdistan Region.
The meetings of all the joint operations committees will be rescheduled
to once a month. This will be increased if deemed necessary, especially
for meetings of the SAC.
The location of the meetings and coordination for the meetings will be
organized by the command of the Iraqi Armed Forces who will work as a
coordinator for the work of the committees, especially the SAC.
A follow-up procedure will be conducted for the work and the decisions
of the joint committees and punitive measures will be taken against any
defaulting party or individual.
Any party or individual will be punished in case of reporting
misleading information to their superiors in order to create problems
and crisis at any level.
The SAC must be immediately informed about any problems that arise in
the disputed areas in order to immediately work on solving them.
The agreements must be honored and the commanders, officials and
individuals who violate the terms of the agreements will be punished.
Forming a quick mechanism to pull out all the forces of both sides that
were mobilized to the region after Nov. 16, 2012. Pulling out these
forces must be transparent, truthful and supervised by the supreme
committee members after the consent of the SMC.
Reconsidering the decision of forming operations command in the region,
especially the Tigris Operations Command, and giving back the authority
of security in Kirkuk to the police, Asayish and internal forces.
that KRG President Massoud Barzani met today with a Kurdish deglation
that had been engaged with negotiations over the Operation Tigris forces
and they told him that Nouri al-Maliki will not agree to withdraw the
To explain what's going on, Nouri
al-Maliki was installed by the US in 2006 as prime minister of Iraq.
(The Parliament's choice had been Ibrahim al-Jaafari whom the Bush White
House felt was too close to Iran.) The 2005 Constitution of Iraq
called for Article 140 to be implemented by the end of 2007. Article
140 outlines how disputed regions will be resolved: census and
referendum. Kirkuk is the most well known disputed area because it is
oil-rich. The Kurds claim it as does the central-government out of
Baghdad. How do you resolve the dispute?
implement Article 140. Nouri refused to do so throughout his first
term. To get a second term after his political slate came in second in
the March 2010 elections, the US government brokered a contract known as
the Erbil Agreement. If Nouri made certain concessions (including that
he would finally implement Article 140 -- implementation that he's
required to do -- this isn't optional, this is Iraq's Constitution),
then he could have a second term as prime minister despite the results
of the election.
That should have settled
it. It didn't. All this time later, he's still not implemented Article
140. But he has now sent in security forces he controls into these
disputed areas. The Kurds see this as an attempt by Nouri to grab the
areas for Baghdad in violation of the Iraqi Constitution.
that's only one of the Constitutional issues Nouri's in violation of.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is the political party of Iraqi
President Jalal Talabani. PUK's Adnan Mufti tells Rudaw
the president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani is responsible for overseeing the
constitution. He will warn anybody who violates the constitution. On
Nov. 19, Ali Ghedan, the commander of the Iraqi infantry units, sent a
letter to certain units and ordered their mobilization. Talabani, acting
in his constitutional powers, sent a letter to Ghedan right away.
Talabani told Ghedan that his orders were unconstitutional, because
Article 67 says the army is not allowed to interfere in political
also told Ghedan that he had been unconstitutionally appointed to
command the infantry units, because the commanders of all of such units
have to be appointed by parliament. In the case of Ghedan, this was not
done. Therefore, Ghedan does not hold any constitutional powers.
Talabani asked Ghedan to annul his orders right away, otherwise he would
be taken to court.
the Iraqi Constituion, Prime Minister Maliki is the Commander in Chief
and enjoys the right to create and deploy such a force, of course. The
Constitution also requires him, via Article 61, to get the approval of
parliament for the appointment of any high-ranking military commanders,
such as Lieutenant General Abdul-amir Zaidi. I doubt anyone in Iraq can
remember the last time Maliki sought parliamentary approval for such
appointments, of course. Perhaps referring to the Constitution has
become passe and quaint, as Prime Minister ignores more provisions of
Iraq's highest law than I can adequately list here. I'll still go ahead
and cite a few of Mr. Maliki's constitutional transgressions, perhaps
out of nostalgia for the document: Refusing provinces their
constitutional right to become regions (Article 119), denying
Kurdistan's right to exploit new oil fields in its Region (Articles 112
and 115), failing to create a Federacy Council (Articles 48 and 65),
compromising the independence of Iraq's High Commission for Human
Rights, Independent Electoral Commission, and Commission on Public
Integrity (Article 102), and reneging on promise after promise to
finally allow a census and referendum to settle the fate of the disputed
territories (Article 140).
Jalil Rahim, an MP from Mr. Maliki's ironically named State of Law
Coalition, seems to think that the likes of the Dijla forces should even
occupy Kurdistan and to hell with the federal system that was agreed to
in 2005. Recently he told Rudaw that "The government should impose its
prestige and authority over the entire Iraqi territory, but the
conflict will not reach that stage of intensity." Iraq's Constitution
requires that the Kurdistan Region's Parliament give its permission
before any Iraqi federal army units enter its territory, but I won't
even bother to look up the number of the article in question. The
country seems to be quickly moving past the stage of promises on a piece
of paper actually mattering, you see. Instead, Iraq increasingly
slides back to the old pattern of confrontation between a leader in
Baghdad's personal army units and the Kurds' peshmerga, all amred to the
teeth. Although the conflict may "not reach that stage of intensity"
this month, the pressure seems to build every year. With American
military forces now out of the country, the chances of an unfortunate
explosion between the Kurds and Mr. Maliki's Republican Guards (whatever
he actually calls each unit) grow everyday.
In related news, a political rival of Nouri's visited the KRG. Al Mada reports
that the head of the Supreme Council, Adel Abdul-Mahdi al-Muntafiki,
went to Erbil yesterday and met with Massoud Barzani to discuss how to
resolve the issues and how to achieve constructive dialogue between all
parties. He is a former vice president. He and Tareq al-Hashemi became
the vice presidents of Iraq in 2005 and Adel continued in that role
until the protests of 2011 against government corruption, lack of jobs,
lack of basic public services and more. After Nouri stalled for his
infamous '100 days' (promising to solve the issue if Iraqis would give
him 100 days and then, at the end of those 100 days, doing nothing),
Adel announced he was stepping down as vice president in protest of the
ongoing corruption. Tareq al-Hashemi remains a Vice President. He's
currently in Qatar, having left Turkey recently. As soon as the bulk of
US forces left Iraq in December 2011, Nouri targeted Sunnis and members
of his political rival group Iraqiya. He declared Tareq, the vice
president of the country, to be a terrorist. Even before the for-show
trial took place, the Baghdad judges Nouri controls had already held a
press conference to announce Tareq was guilty. That's not how it works
under the Iraqi Constitution, no. That is how it works under Nouri's
oppresive thumb. Tareq was found guilty in absentia.
is the only known sitting vice president of a country to be convicted
of terrorism. He is also the only known sitting vice president of a
country to be sentenced to execution (three sentences). Today AFP reports
"Four of fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi's bodyguards were
sentenced to death on Thursday for killing a civil defense officer and
his wife, judicial spokesman Abdelsattar Bayraqdar said." Xinhua quotes
Abdul-Sattar al-Biraqdar, Supreme Judicial Council spokesperson, stating, "The
Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) on Thursday issued verdicts of
penalties by hanging against four bodyguards of Hashimi for their
involvement in the killing of an Iraqi civil defense major and his
wife along with wounding their son in al- Jamia district (in western
Baghdad) in 2011."
In the US,
Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs
Committee. Yesterday her office issued the following:
Committee on Veterans' Affairs
United States Senate
112th Congress, Second Session
Update: November 28, 2012
Wednesday December 12, 2012 10:00am
Hearing: Nomination of Keith Kelly to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and Training.
Matthew T. Lawrence
Chief Clerk / System Administrator
Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
plan for tomorrow's snapshot is to finish up Kobler's speech to the
Security Council (with more criticism than what we offered today) and to
cover a Wednesday Congressional hearing that there's not room for today
(and that I wasn't willing to cover yesterday -- associating it with
the morning vomitting made me unwilling to cover it Thursday, sorry --
that's not a reflection on the hearing).