Saturday, August 12, 2006


Iraqi Government Seeks Extended United Nations Presence,
Says World Body Vital to Transition from ‘Tyranny to Democracy’

Welcoming a request from the new Iraqi Government that the United Nations continue helping the war-torn country build peace and security and restore its shattered physical and economic infrastructure, the Security Council today extended for 12 months the world body’s Mission in Iraq.Adopting resolution 1700 (2006), the Council again unanimously extended the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) through 10 August 2007, reaffirming the United Nations lead role in assisting the Iraqi people and Government in strengthening institutions and promoting national dialogue and unity.In a 3 August letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan (document S/2006/609), Iraq’s Foreign Minister had requested the further extension, saying that his Government was mindful of UNAMI’s historic role in Iraq’s transition from “tyranny to democracy”. He believed that the Mission had an ongoing vital role to play in helping “build a productive and prosperous Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbours”.The Secretary-General had earlier requested the extension (document S/2006/601), warning the Council that Iraq “continued to face formidable political, security and economic challenges” and still needed the support of the international community. Insurgent, militia and terrorist attacks had continued unabated in many parts of Iraq, with sectarian violence posing an increasing threat to its people, he added.The Council’s action allows the Mission, whose mandate was set to expire tomorrow, to continue helping Iraq in key areas identified by the Secretary-General, such as drafting a constitution, setting up an elected Government and providing social services and humanitarian assistance. UNAMI was also helping to rebuild the country, reform its legal and judicial systems, promote human rights and organize a census.Also according to the resolution, the Iraqi Government could ask the Council to review the Mission’s mandate at any time before it expiration in August 2007.

Turkey seeks pre-referendum deal on Kirkuk's status

The priority of the talks in Istanbul is now on a consensus among Kirkuk groups on what the status of the city should be. If no consensus emerges, then the focus may again shift to the delay of the referendum ....>

Gunmen storm Kurdish offices in southern Iraq

KERBALA, Iraq (Reuters) - Gunmen angered by criticism of a Shi'ite cleric ransacked offices of President Jalal Talabani's Kurdish party in southern Iraq on Friday after a newspaper claimed the cleric was fanning sectarian tensions.
Jameel Zangana, a senior official with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Kerbala, said gunmen smashed windows and doors of the PUK office in the city.
In the nearby city of Kut, police said one guard was injured during a similar attack by about 50 men on the PUK office.
The attacks came after Fadhila -- a Shi'ite party powerful in the southern Iraqi city of Basra -- demanded an apology from Talabani for an article in a PUK-owned newspaper accusing its top cleric, Sheikh al-Yaqoubi, of "pouring oil on fire to inflame a war between Arab Shi'ites and Kurds" in Kirkuk......>

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The End of Iraq

Kurdish Delight
A flawed case for an independent Kurdistan.
By Michael Hirsh

Criticizing George W. Bush for his mistakes in Iraq nowadays is the authorial equivalent of taking on the Washington Nationals. As a challenge, it's just too easy to be interesting, or sporting. While commentators still squabble over the details--which was worse, Rumsfeld's decision to put in too few troops or Bremer's decision to disband the Iraqi army? Yada yada yada--the disastrous errors made in invading and occupying Iraq are already confirmed historical fact. They are disputed by no responsible or knowledgeable person, outside of a small circle of Kool-Aid sippers in the White House. Some new books, like Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by The Washington Post's Thomas Ricks, have supplied a wealth of fascinating new detail, but for the most part, the critics have had their day. continue