Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Morning copy 01.03.2006

The war over the war in Iraq

A major Sunni Arab group has met with the Shiite and Kurds, and agreed to the outline of a government, A.P. Professor Cole on this development:
The most likely explanation is that the the religious Shiites and the Kurds have managed to detach the National Accord Front from its former partners, who are anyway unacceptable to important Shiite and Kurdish constituencies. It is the religious Sunni parties with which the others feel they can do business, probably especially the Iraqi Islamic Party, which had a history of dissidence in the Baath period. Jalal Talabani is still arguing for including all 4 major parties in the national unity government, according to Al-Hayat-- the Shiite fundamentalist UIA, the Kurdistan Alliance, the National Accord Front, and the secular National Iraqiyah list of Allawi. But Talabani may not be able to convince the Sadrists to let Allawi's people into the cabinet. One follower of the nationalist young Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, said that the Allawi list's inclusion was a "red line" that must not be crossed.
James Risen, of the New York Times, has a book about the CIA's investigation on Saddam's nuclear program, A.P.:
Dr. Sawsan Alhaddad of Cleveland made the dangerous trip to Iraq on the CIA's behalf. The book said her brother was stunned by her questions about the nuclear program because he said it had been dead for a decade.
The Guardian, and indeed all British newspapers, gives lengthy coverage to the story first reported in yesterday's Washington Post: the Bush administration is cutting off reconstruction dollars to Iraq. The Guardian notes:
It marks a retreat from a promise by Mr Bush in 2003 to provide Iraq with the best infrastructure in the region.

Yesterday, however, a Pentagon official disavowed that ambition. "The US never intended to completely rebuild Iraq," Brigadier General William McCoy, the Army Corps of Engineers commander overseeing the work, was quoted in the Post as saying. "This was just supposed to be a jump-start."
Jack Abramoff

The uberlobbyist appears close to a plea deal. Note the quotes.

Bloomberg News:
``When this is all over, this will be bigger than any (government scandal) in the last 50 years, both in the amount of people involved and the breadth to it,'' said Stan Brand, a former U.S. House counsel who specializes in representing public officials accused of wrongdoing. ``It will include high-ranking members of Congress and executive branch officials.''
Houston Chronicle:
"Mr. DeLay is not concerned about the potential of Mr. Abramoff cooperating with the government," Cullen said in a recent interview. "Mr. DeLay thinks everybody should be cooperating (with investigators) and telling the truth."
War on terror

Jon Carroll, of the San Francisco Chronicle, writes on one administration defender's logic:
Who has oversight over the actions of the president?

The president oversees his own actions. If at any time he determines that he is a danger to America, he has the right to wiretap himself, name himself an enemy combatant and spirit himself away to a secret prison in Egypt.
Homeland Security will announce changes in money distribution for anti-terror programs, New York Times.

From Russia with oil

News analysis, in the New York Times, about the Russia-Ukraine row over oil:
"Once again we are seeing that Gazprom is not a leading international company," said Dan Rapaport, managing director of CentreInvest, a Moscow-based investment firm, "but a tool of policy making for the Kremlin."


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