Saturday, September 10, 2005

Iraq today...

While the proposed constitution is going to be presented to the UN tomorrow, Mr. Khdair Al-Khuzaii (CDC member) said that the final changes will be uncovered tonight and he attributed the delay in printing and distributing the draft to the negotiations between the Kurdish bloc and the Sunni Arabs on the identity of the country while Bahaa Al-Araji (CDC member) accused the UN delegation of causing the delay by missing a meeting that was planned for last Thursday to discuss the mechanism of the printing and distribution process.

From Al-Mada (Arabic).

Al-Araji also claimed that there is pressure from President Talbani towards compromising with the Sunni Arabs to guarantee their participation.
In this regard, some Sunni politicians visited Erbil to negotiate with the Kurdish leaders. The negotiations included two main issues, deba'athification and Iraq being (or not) a part of the Arab world.
On the other hand, MP Abbas Al-Bayati said that the 5 million copies of the draft will handed to the ministry of trade by the mid September for the purpose of their distribution to the Iraqi families through the food rations-distribution system.
This is aimed at giving the people enough time to study the articles of the draft before the October 15 referendum.

It's worth mentioning that the "association of Muslim scholars" launched a campaign to discourage the voters from approving the "conspiracy" constitution.
As described in one of the latest announcements of the association that was published on Al-Sabah newspaper.

The council of national dialogue is starting a similar campaign and this shows that right now there are two different Sunni camps; one chose foiling the constitution while the other is still hoping for reaching a compromise.

In fact, reading the association's announcement doesn't explain why they used the term "conspiracy" and there're no clear phrases as to what they're refusing in the draft except for very general headlines which shows tells that behind this announcement is the desire for refusal for the purpose of refusal itself; no suggestions, no offers and no constructive criticism.

Security wise, wide military operations have begun in Tal-Afar. PM Jafari in a press conference this afternoon in Baghdad said that operations started by orders from the Iraqi government and that the decision to carry out the assault was pure Iraqi and came in response to requests from the residents of Tal-Afar who sought the government's help to get rid of the terror groups who captured the town.
Al-Iraqia TV showed hundreds of Tal-Afar residents welcoming the Iraqi and multinational troops as they entered one of the town's districts. The demonstrators held signs expressing gratitude for the Iraqi troops that came to free Tal-Afar from the terrorists.
The minister of defense said in the same press conferences that among the killed and captured terrorists were Arabs from several countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunis, Morocco, 'Palestine' and Sudan but the minister also seemed concerned that many Arab fighters might have escaped the town as most of the captured/killed terrorists and suspects were Iraqis.

The minister declared that Iraqi forces will be preparing for further assaults on the remaining hot spots in western Iraq like Rawa, Ramadi and Qaim to clean these towns from terror cells.

In a surprising step, Jordanian PM visited Baghdad today; this visit is considered to be a crack in the wall Arab countries built between them and Iraq's post Saddam governments.
The significance of this visit comes form the fact that Jordan had been a safe house for boycotters and ex-Ba'athists who used Jordan as a place for their meetings and conferences and this visit came in my opinion as a clear message to western Iraq that says "you've got to catch up and enter the political arena".
Few months ago, Jordan was so worried about Iraq's west and Sunnis but this visit has set a definite limit for the amount of support and endorsement that Jordan will offer to the boycotters. I guess this is likely going to shake the confidence of the ex-Ba'athists in what was once their second home.

Away from all that, schools begin tomorrow in Iraq and around 6,000,000 Iraqi students will be distributed over some 20,000 schools nationwide. Universities will follow a week later; those are Iraq's future…let's wish them success.

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