How did this not make the news?

#1
Via Reuters hotlink

Radical Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's party signs an accord with the wider Shi'ite alliance

Radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's party has signed an accord with the wider Shi'ite alliance of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari to strengthen the position of the Shi'ite political parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

With the rapid approach of the December 15 elections for Iraq's first full-term parliament since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, electoral campaigning is in full swing in all of Iraq's 18 provinces.

Moqtada al-Sadr's party joined some 20 other Shi'ite political groups in signing the Charter of National Honour, designed to bring Shi'ite political might under one banner in preparation for the election. Shi'ite political leaders signed the charter at a conference held in al-Sadr's party headquarters in the largely Shi'ite al-Kadhimiya district in western Baghdad
on Thursday (December 8).

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minster Ahmad Chalabi (F*ck me they kept that quiet), a Shi'ite leader who heads the Iraqi National Congress, said at the conference that the upcoming elections marked one of Iraq's most critical political periods.

"Iraq is now at a great crossroads. We face a challenge that is defined by terrorism and occupation and social advancement and national unity and ending unemployment and combating bureaucratic and financial corruption and improving the standard of living of the Iraqi people. These elements exist in the Charter, and we aim to realizing them on a practical level,"
Chalabi said

The Charter of National Honour calls for the exit of US troops from Iraq, the strengthening of Iraqi security institutions and military forces, the rejection of normalising relations with Israel, supporting the resistance to the US-led occupation, safeguarding the unity of Iraq, the release of all political detainees in Iraqi and US prisons and fighting unemployment and
corruption.
You what????? . How the bloody hell is this going to affect our operations in the South now? Chalibi involved? Oh what a surprise.

I look forward to Jack o' Straw spluttering on the 6 o' clock news that this is expected, and part of the "normalising of Iraq and democracy"

Wake up!!!!!!! Iraq is about to become greater Iran.
 
#2
Good Mooorrrrrning Vietraq ............
 
#3
Oh this will make policing Southern Iraq so much easier......

Good thing we didn't listen to those warnings from those nasty , resentful saddamist Sunnis hey?
 
#4
Hmmmm, I'd suggest adopting the Beaufort scale for this as at least it goes up to 12. Selfishly, I can see the respective political leaderships in Washington and London grabbing the call for us to leave Iraq as "an expression of the democratically elected government of Iraq, allowing us to depart with honour (honor if you will) and to say 'mission accomplished'"
 
#5
rickshaw said:
Hmmmm, I'd suggest adopting the Beaufort scale for this as at least it goes up to 12. Selfishly, I can see the respective political leaderships in Washington and London grabbing the call for us to leave Iraq as "an expression of the democratically elected government of Iraq, allowing us to depart with honour (honor if you will) and to say 'mission accomplished'"
Get with the program dammit! Thats already been said. Now toe the party line WE ARE WINNING! :D
 
#6
12? I think the needle's off the scale

A masterstroke by Al-Sadr, the man who would be King , and Chalibi answering a higher calling, and I don't mean "Free and democratic Iraq"

Everything that Rumsfeld said we wouldn't see happen in Iraq is coming to pass. The Iranian President must have been admitted to hospital to stitch his sides back up , he's been laughing that much. :(

So let me get this right, and the implications for us. We will now have to work with Al-Sadr's mob after the election landslide, so that means the Police and the Military will be permanently tainted by secterian loyalties, so any effort we make may be largely wasted?

Does this mean that Al-Sadr's merry men can go back to what they do best , and a new crime wave envelops the South , as we can't lift anyone and expect prosecution in the Iraqi courts?

Meanwhile , all those nasty jealous resentful saddamist Sunnis will see themselves as further sidelined, and those Sunnis who were on the fence about "Gittin som'" will have their minds made up very soon indeed. Meanwhile , the Kurds will say "Oh fekk , we need our homeland now" and the whole shooting match is heading for Sh*tsville.

Oh just put sodding Saddam back in charge :mad:
 
#7
Meanwhile ,

President Nero said .....

Bush trumpets Iraqi economic success
Fox News and Liza Porteus


WASHINGTON — More good things are happening in Iraq than what is portrayed in the media, President Bush said Wednesday, and the United States will ensure that the security, political and economic elements for the fledgling democracy are in place before American troops will pull out.

"This is a quiet, steady progress, it doesn't always make the headlines of the evening news but it's real and it's important and it's unmistakably clear to those who see it close up," Bush said.

On the 64th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the president said the fight America had to launch in 1941 is similar to the War on Terror it finds itself in now.

"The strike on Pearl Harbor was the start of a long war for America, a massive struggle against those who attacked us and those who shared their destructive ambitions," Bush said during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "Our nation pulled together and despite setbacks and battlefield defeats, we did not waver in freedom's cause."

On Sept. 11, 2001, "our nation woke to another attack. In just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost in Pearl Harbor," he added.

Bush's remarks were the second in a series designed to defend the war and outline progress in Iraq. During the president's first speech on the topic one week ago, Bush gave a more detailed plan of progress being made in the security and political arenas. On Wednesday, he focused more on the economic aspects, stressing that the United States and coalition forces are helping Iraqis rebuild after decades of neglect under Saddam Hussein's rule and more recent fighting by insurgents and terrorists.

"Iraqis are beginning to see that a free life means a good life. Reconstruction efforts have not always gone as good as we hope," Bush said, noting that rebuilding a nation takes time, and it's even harder when those opposing progress are "trying to blow up what the Iraqis are trying to build."

Bush said that in the past two years nearly 3,000 school renovation projects have been completed; more than 30,000 school teachers have been trained; 8 million textbooks have been distributed; drinking water has been improved for more than 3 million people; the Iraq stock exchange has been reopened; $21 million in microcredit and small business loans have been given to Iraqi entrepreneurs; and more than 30,000 new Iraqi businesses have registered since the country was liberated from Saddam.

"This economic development and growth will be really important to addressing that high unemployment rate across much of that country," Bush said. "Iraq's market-based reforms are gradually returning that proud country to the global economy."

But the president continued to stress the importance of remembering that Iraq is the central front in the War on Terror, and that it's vital the coalition succeed there and build up a democratic government in order to create a more stable Middle East. Just like challenges the United States faced in World War II, challenges in Iraq do not mean it's time to cut and run, he said.

"Like generations before us, we face setbacks on the paths to victory. Yet we will fight this war without wavering and like the generation before us, we will prevail," Bush said. "Like earlier struggles for freedom, this war will take many turns and the enemy must be fought on every battlefront."

Security in Iraq has posed the biggest obstacle to faster economic and infrastructure progress being made, Bush noted.
 
#8
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/12/08/news/islam.php

By Edward Wong. The New York Times

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2005


NAJAF, Iraq As the pre-election debate got under way in a hotel assembly hall here, the governor of this Shiite holy city tried to stay on message when asked about his party's position on the hottest of the country's hot-button issues - the American troop presence.

"If the Americans feel they're ready to withdraw from Iraq, they will withdraw," the governor, Assad Abu Galal al-Taiee, told rival politicians and reporters.

But just hours earlier, in a hotel across town, another prominent member of the coalition, Moktada al-Sadr, swept into a news conference in his flowing black robes to deliver an altogether different pronouncement.

His aides handed out fliers demanding "the pullout of the occupier and the setting of a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq."

Sadr, a radical young cleric who has led two armed rebellions against the Americans, vowed that "the occupier won't grab our Iraq and its resources as long as we are alive."

Those clashing stump speeches highlight the growing fissures in the once virtually monolithic religious Shiite establishment, as its leaders battle one another for position on the eve of the elections for a full, four-year government.

The United Iraqi Alliance, the coalition of 18 conservative, Shiite parties, the largest backed by the Iranians, remains the centerpiece of Shiite politics and is expected to win more votes on Dec. 15 than any other single coalition or party.

It has long been vulnerable to infighting, but its members managed to pull together at critical moments, as when they nominated Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister last February, after a month of bitter disputes following elections for an interim government.

This time, though, the rivalries have grown more heated, Iraqi and American officials say, with many members starting their own parties, partly because of a palpable decline in support from moderate voters and leading ayatollahs disenchanted with the performance of the current Shiite government. Critics say Jaafari has failed to curtail the suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Shiite civilians or to ease the chronic shortages of electricity and clean water.

The possible fracturing of the conservative coalition, they say, may create the conditions for a realignment of Iraq's political spectrum, creating an opening for a more moderate and secular candidate like the former prime minister, Ayad Allawi, or even Ahmad Chalabi to assemble enough allies to claim the top spot in the new government.

The Bush administration, under intense political pressure at home to stabilize Iraq quickly and begin drawing down the 160,000 American troops while keeping Iran at bay, would be delighted to see a secular candidate such as Allawi take control of the government.

But for now it is watching closely to see whether the religious Shiites will maintain a grip on power .

This should be a triumphal moment for the Shiites, who make up about 60 percent of Iraq's population but have been denied sovereign rule since colonial powers pieced together the country from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

No one has been more instrumental in pushing for popular elections than Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq, who lives in an alleyway near the golden-domed Shrine of Ali in Najaf. Two years ago, the reclusive ayatollah cajoled the White House into setting up elections, and Dec. 15 was expected to be the day that his behind-the-scenes engineering finally paid off.

Yet, sniping among the Shiite politicians has intensified as that date draws nearer.

"There has been disappointment over the performance of the United Iraqi Alliance in the past period," said Ali Dabagh, a businessman from the nearby holy city of Karbala, who did graduate work at the University of Southern California. "There has been no vision and no policies because they're not employing technically qualified people."

Dabagh himself was part of the Shiite coalition in last January's elections for an interim government. But he has now formed his own party, the Independent Iraqi Competents Gathering, and has taken six other coalition members with him. One of his platforms is to place technocrats in critical government positions rather than make political appointments, which he accuses the Shiite coalition of having done.

Another strain on the coalition is a telling lack of support from the top four ayatollahs, known as the marjaiyah. Only one of them, Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi, has openly endorsed the coalition. Last January, Sistani threw his weight behind the alliance, allowing his image to be used on its campaign posters. This time, perhaps disappointed by the government's performance, he has offered only An implicit endorsement rather than an enthusiastic one.

In the eyes of moderates, the image of the coalition has been tarred by growing evidence that government security forces made up of Shiite militiamen have abducted, tortured and killed Sunni Arab civilians. They have also criticized the coalition's rampant purging of former Baath Party members from the government.
This piece is being syndicated. Interestingly enough , the New York Times version carries this rider at the base

An Iraqi employee of The New York Times contributed reporting for this article
 
#9
I think Iraqi employeese are the ones who do most of the on the ground work like interviewing Iraqis for the western papers these days as the reporters are stuck in the green zone.
 

OldSnowy

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#10
PartTimePongo said:
You what????? . How the bloody hell is this going to affect our operations in the South now? Chalibi involved? Oh what a surprise.

I look forward to Jack o' Straw spluttering on the 6 o' clock news that this is expected, and part of the "normalising of Iraq and democracy"

Wake up!!!!!!! Iraq is about to become greater Iran.

Iraq is not now, nor is it ever, going to become part of Iran. This was not in the 'papers over here as it isn't news. It has been known about for ages. And just what effect will it have on us in the South?

Simply put, ALL political parties in Iraq want the Coalition to withdraw. the Colaition wants to withdraw. And, oddly enough, all sides are agreed as to the conditions for the withdrawal. THe elections will probably see a Shi'ite majority in Parliament, but so what? In the true course of Middle Eastern politics, it could take months to form a Cabinet, let alone anything else.

Straw is, for once, absolutely correct. Disengage panic mode, and read the wider background to this.
 
#12
OldSnowy said:
Simply put, ALL political parties in Iraq want the Coalition to withdraw. the Colaition wants to withdraw. And, oddly enough, all sides are agreed as to the conditions for the withdrawal. THe elections will probably see a Shi'ite majority in Parliament, but so what? In the true course of Middle Eastern politics, it could take months to form a Cabinet, let alone anything else.
From my funtime in funland I 'd say that yes ALL Political parties want us out...Only cos we get in the way of their favourite Political debating techiques, the shoot and scot, the snatch and slot and the drive and bang.

99.9% of REAL people, that is not to say NOT Political animals, prefer us to the IPS cos we're trustworthy and don't slot peeps cos they wear green inside of black, or each other....As happened this year a lot
 

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