Monday, April 17, 2006

News roundup 04.17.2006

The long war in Iraq

The Los Angeles Times: "Najaf's Elite Clerics Playing Key Role in Iraq Now"

The Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, April 16 -- Iraq's top legislator postponed the meeting of parliament scheduled for Monday, putting off "for a few days" an attempt to resolve a months-long deadlock over the formation of the country's new government.

The move was not entirely unexpected, but it still represented a setback for U.S. officials and an Iraqi public losing patience with four months of political paralysis since Dec. 15, when the country held elections to form a long-term government.
The Christian Science Monitor:
Created by Congress, the ISG aims to make a forward-looking, independent assessment of the situation on the ground in Iraq. Like the 9/11 commission, also co-chaired by Mr. Hamilton, it ruled out any interest in assigning blame.

Indeed, some prominent experts wouldn't be part of the group, because they had already taken a position on the war.

"We are looking for insights and advice that might be helpful to the president," said former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, the other cochair, on Tuesday.
Reuters: "IRAQ: Sectarian violence continues to spur displacement"


The Los Angeles Times: "Iran Pledges $50 Million to Cash-Strapped Palestinians"

The New York Times:
Iran has consistently maintained that it abandoned work on this advanced technology, called the P-2 centrifuge, three years ago. Western analysts long suspected that Iran had a second, secret program — based on the black market offerings of the renegade Pakistani nuclear engineer Abdul Qadeer Khan — separate from the activity at its main nuclear facility at Natanz. But they had no proof.

Then on Thursday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Tehran was "presently conducting research" on the P-2 centrifuge, boasting that it would quadruple Iran's enrichment powers. The centrifuges are tall, thin machines that spin very fast to enrich, or concentrate, uranium's rare component, uranium 235, which can fuel nuclear reactors or atom bombs.
Reuters via the Boston Globe:
VIENNA -- Iran has expanded uranium conversion facilities in Isfahan, and has reinforced an underground uranium enrichment plant, a US think tank said. The report arose amid growing concern over possible US military action.
The Financial Times: "Crude oil touches post-Katrina highs"

A.P.: "Senators urge direct diplomacy with Iran"

The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Pope's speech decries nuclear impasse / Without mentioning countries by name, Benedict XVI urged diplomacy in the U.S.-Iranian standoff."


TEL AVIV, Israel -- A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up outside a fast-food restaurant in a bustling commercial area of Tel Aviv during the Passover holiday Monday, killing seven other people and wounding at least 49, police said.

The Boston Globe: "Rumsfeld gets more backing over Iraq"

Bloomberg News:
April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be permanently damaged by failed U.S. planning for the aftermath of the Iraq invasion even if he survives calls for his resignation from seven former military commanders, defense analysts said.
Shake up?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Signaling a possible shake-up among President Bush's senior advisers, the new White House chief of staff told top presidential aides Monday to expect changes that "refresh and re-energize the team." He invited anyone who is thinking of leaving before year's end to do so now.

WASHINGTON Apr 16, 2006 (AP)— Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an architect of the Republican takeover of the House in 1994, says incumbents sometimes forget they are in office to change the government, not to be changed by it.

And he is worried that the GOP is in for a bad time in the fall elections.

"When you get poll after poll telling you basically the same thing, you have to respect the right of the American people to say they want change," Gingrich said on "Fox News Sunday."


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