Monday, April 24, 2006

News roundup 04.24.2006 (foreign policy)

Blogger has been problematic and I have only now been able to post this -- 1350 EST

Lots of news, so two posts.

The long war in Iraq

The most important story of the day is Ellen Knickmeyer's account in the Washington Post of continued abuse in Iraqi detention centers, and whether the United States is doing enough to stop it.

The USA Today: "'Difficult job ahead' for Iraq's PM-designate"

The Christian Science Monitor: "New Iraqi leader seeks unity"

The Los Angeles Times:
In one of his first public speeches after his endorsement, Maliki promised to rein in the militias, but he said he would do so by adhering to a controversial law that requires making them part of the government's security forces.

"It's a message in two directions," said Hassan Bazzaz, a political analyst in Baghdad. "One to those who are scared of the militias and the other message is to the militia people: 'We will take care of you.' "
The Los Angeles Times: "Bush Counsels Iraqi Leaders on Their `Awesome' Duties"

A.P.: "Bush urges Iraqi leaders to act quickly to form new government"

The New York Daily News:
According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, the combined costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan this year will hit $117.9 billion - about $9.8 billion a month - if Congress passes the White House's emergency money request, as is virtually certain.
The Chicago Tribune:
WASHINGTON -- The top U.S. commander in Iraq has ordered sweeping changes for privatized military support operations after confirming violations of human-trafficking laws and other abuses by contractors involving possibly thousands of foreign workers on American bases, according to records obtained by the Tribune.
The Washington Times:
Pentagon reconstruction officials are privately complaining that the special inspector general for Iraq is drafting error-prone reports and hampering their work in Iraq, according to defense officials.

But the office of Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the White House-appointed special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, rejects the complaints, saying Mr. Bowen issues accurate reports and solid advice.

Ahmadinejad addressed a group of Iranian and international journalists -- only the second time since taking office in August that the Iranian leader has allowed foreign media into a news conference.

"Our activity is quite transparent," he said, according to a translator. "We are not like others, which work in shadows. Everything is out in the open, and this in itself is a witness to the fact that we are fully peaceful."
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday there was no need for U.S.-Iran talks now that a permanent Iraqi government was in place.
Anybody see that coming?

A narrative lede of note from the Christian Science Monitor:
TEHRAN, IRAN – Kaveh Ahmadi, a taxi driver and veteran of the 1980-88 war with Iraq, was quivering with indignation as he wove his aging Iranian-made Paykan at high speed through the heavy evening traffic of Iran's capital, Tehran. An ad on the side of the road read "Nuclear energy is our indisputable right," a slogan now seen frequently on television and at public events.

"I've got two Iraqi bullets in my leg," he says. "It was Western countries that supported [Saddam Hussein] when he used chemical weapons against us. Now they destroy Iraq and lecture us on human rights. America killed more than a hundred thousand people when it dropped atomic bombs on Japan, but they won't even let us have nuclear energy."
The Financial Times: "Bush adviser dismisses call for talks with Iran"

From Russia with Weapons

The Christian Science Monitor:
MOSCOW – The cold-war paradigm of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) between the US and Russia never really went away, and experts warn of a replay of the old superpower arms race.

"There are many nuclear-armed countries in the world, but only Russia and the US have this MAD relationship, in which each sees it as necessary to maintain the means to deter the other," says Dmitri Suslov, an analyst with the independent Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow. "We need to get away from that, to find a new basis of stability, but I'm afraid we're not going in that direction right now."


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