Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’
Many U.S. veterans say Iraq, Afghan wars not worth it (Reuters)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 04:43 Written by admin Wednesday, 5 October 2011 04:43
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A 3rd of U.S. military veterans who have served in the armed forces given that the September eleven, 2001, attacks believe the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been not well worth combating, a poll produced on Wednesday showed.
The poll by the nonpartisan Pew Analysis Center discovered that these veterans held relatively more optimistic views of these two wars that the basic manifeste in the United States but even now harbored deep misgivings about the conflicts.
Thirty-a few % of the publish-nine/eleven veterans who took portion in the poll mentioned neither of these two wars was worthwhile considering the costs vs the benefits to the United States. That in comparison to forty five % of nonmilitary poll respondents who explained neither war was beneficial.
U.S. forces had been sent into Afghanistan in the weeks right after the 2001 attacks on the United States to topple that country’s Taliban leaders who had harbored the al Qaeda leaders liable for nine/11.
The United States led an invasion of Iraq in 2003, toppled Saddam Hussein’s federal government, but then confronted a protracted insurgency. The primary justification for the war provided by the United States just before the invasion was the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. No this sort of weapons had been located.
A lot more than 4,400 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and nearly one,700 killed in Afghanistan, Pentagon figures present.
Looking at each war individually, 50 percent of the post-9/11 veterans explained the war in Afghanistan has been worth battling and 44 percent explained the exact same factor about the Iraq war, in accordance to the Pew Investigation Center.
In comparison, 41 % of the U.S. public discovered the Afghanistan war really worth the costs and 36 % thought the Iraq war was beneficial.
Amid the post-nine/11 veterans, 34 percent held the watch that each of the wars ended up worthwhile, compared to 28 % of the standard public, in accordance to the Pew Research Middle.
The poll discovered that 96 percent of these veterans expressed satisfaction in their military support. But 44 % documented troubles in readjusting to civilian lifestyle and 37 percent documented struggling from post-traumatic pressure connected to their provider.
The findings were based mostly on two nationwide surveys carried out in between July 28 and September 15, one involving military veterans and the other involving the general manifeste, Pew Investigation Middle mentioned. It stated one,853 veterans were surveyed, like 712 who served in the army soon after the 2001 attacks. The general manifeste survey concerned two,003 U.S. adults.
(Reporting by Will Dunham)
Iraq Coalition Pact Hits Snags – Wall Street Journal
Last Updated on Friday, 12 November 2010 12:26 Written by admin Friday, 12 November 2010 12:26
By BEN LANDO, SAM DAGHER and MARGARET COKER
BAGHDAD—Iraqi lawmakers took the first steps of implementing a new agreement to establish a coalition government after an eight-month stalemate, but a chaotic dispute in parliament late Thursday underscored the fragility of the deal and the pitfalls ahead.
From left, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Ayad Allawi in parliament Thursday.
The agreement would see Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, keep his job and establish his chief rival, Ayad Allawi, who leads a secular bloc that represents Iraq’s Sunnis, in a new post intended as a counterweight to Mr. Maliki. The deal keeps the presidency in the hands of Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani.
If the deal holds, Washington will have succeeded in one of its main aims: empowering Iraq’s Sunni minority with a significant stake in the government. U.S. officials hope that will take the wind out of Sunni-backed insurgent groups.
At the same time, Washington has had to accept a likely prominent role for some of its biggest Iranian-backed foes in the new government, including the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Mr. Sadr’s political followers did well in March polls and, last month, joined forces with Mr. Maliki.
Mr. Allawi decided to accept the agreement after a phone call Thursday morning from President Barack Obama, according to two officials familiar with the situation. U.S. officials said Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have been in touch with Iraqi leaders over the past two weeks, offering to help tackle obstacles to a deal.
But a major obstacle to implementing the deal is the lingering acrimony and distrust among those slated to share power— and whose political movements are in many cases supported by militias or insurgent groups.
Late Thursday, after lawmakers had elected a speaker of parliament representing Mr. Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc, a vote for president was thwarted by shouting from Iraqiya members calling for lawmakers to vote on some of the bloc’s main preconditions for joining a coalition government.
The session quickly descended into an argument over what leaders had agreed to at a meeting just hours before.
Amid the chaos that followed, bodyguards fanned out in the chamber as Mr. Allawi and most members of Iraqiya stormed out.
“We agreed to vote on these issues before the president, in order to guarantee that this deal would be done,” said Saleh al-Mutlaq, a prominent leader in Mr. Allawi’s bloc. “Now we need to get international guarantees, because we are not going to trust them,” he said of his bloc’s prospective coalition partners.
Later, Mr. Allawi said Iraqiya wasn’t giving up. “Of course this is not the end, this is the beginning,” he said as he left parliament.
After the walkout, the remaining Shiite and Kurdish lawmakers re-elected President Talabani, who in turn gave Mr. Maliki a month to form a new government. That process includes handing out ministry posts—a process that could see Iraqiya and others threaten to quit if they don’t get what they expect.
The power-sharing deal, hammered out late Wednesday between Mr. Maliki’s State of Law alliance, Iraqiya and the powerful Kurdish Alliance, ended a political stalemate that began in March with parliamentary elections in which no one bloc won enough seats to claim a majority.
Iraqiya was promised the post of parliamentary speaker, which it secured Thursday, and the new post of chairman of a new advisory council. However, the new council, known as the National Council on Higher Policy, has yet to be written into law, and its functions and powers remain unknown. That ambiguity left some in the bloc concerned the new council head would occupy a purely ceremonial position.
Iraqiya officials said they would pull out of the deal after one month if lawmakers haven’t finalized the responsibilities of the advisory council and the power of its chairman—or made progress on a number of other demands.
These demands include the release of Sunnis arrested on vague accusations of terrorism and for supporting former leader Saddam Hussein, and reining in a controversial Shiite-led commission tasked with purging members of Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party from the government. Many Baath sympathizers backed Mr. Allawi’s bloc.
Iraqiya was the narrow winner of the March elections but has faced the possibility of being squeezed out of prominent government jobs as Mr. Maliki gained support from different blocs.
Former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi, pictured on April 6, 2010, decided to accept a role in the power-sharing agreement.
The power-sharing deal also empowers Iraq’s Kurdish minority, which served as kingmaker in the tumultuous government-formation talks.
By backing Mr. Maliki, the Kurds are likely to expect big concessions in disputes with the federal government involving contested territory in northern Iraq and oil and natural-gas rights—often in conflict with Iraqiya supporters.
“Each one of us got some of his rights and what he deserves,” said Masoud Barzani, president of the northern Kurdish region and a mediator between Messrs. Maliki and Allawi.
Some Iraqi analysts don’t see a full government emerging until after the new year.
—Chip Cummins contributed to this article.
Write to Margaret Coker at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunnis’ walkout mars political talks in Iraq – Washington Post
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 November 2010 08:27 Written by admin Thursday, 11 November 2010 08:27
BAGHDAD – Iraq’s parliament achieved an important milestone Thursday, agreeing on who would hold the country’s top leadership spots after more than eight months of acrimonious negotiations. But a dramatic walkout by members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc marred the nearly five-hour session and underscored the deep divisions and distrust that dominate the country’s political system.
The day’s events, which appeared to catch U.S. officials off guard, followed a deal late Wednesday on a power-sharing arrangement among Iraq’s biggest political factions, and they were a vivid illustration of both the dysfunction that remains here and the small glimmers of hope about the future.
Iraqiya’s move also raised the prospect that some Sunni Arabs, disaffected by the political process, could take up arms again, just as the United States moves toward a planned withdrawal of forces by the end of 2011.
U.S. hopes for leaving behind a stable Iraq rest heavily on the establishment of a fully representative government that all of the country’s major factions can support. But Thursday’s chaotic session reflects how challenging that will be.
Despite the twists and turns, lawmakers reappointed President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, who renamed incumbent Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, as prime minister. In addition, a member of Iraqiya was elected speaker of parliament. With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation.
The moment of high drama came when members of the Iraqiya bloc – which, by a slim margin, won more seats in Iraq’s 325-member parliament than any other bloc – walked out of the session to protest what they called duplicitous tactics by political rivals and broken promises to roll back a controversial law that they feel unfairly targeted their members.
“They have to know that they cannot run the parliament the way they want,” said Falah al Naqib, a legislator from Iraqiya. He called the walkout a strong and important message of Iraqiya’s power. “There is no trust. The political process is very fragile. You can see that there are major differences. They should at least respect their promises.”
In Washington, administration officials professed calm in the midst of the Iraqi storm, which they described as an unsurprising upheaval that would soon be smoothed, rather than a cause for concern that the deal was collapsing. The more important take-away from the day, officials said, was the election of an Iraqiya speaker and Kurdish president according to plan. U.S. officials had been pushing a power-sharing arrangement as a way to break Maliki’s monopoly on power.
The walkout dealt a setback to what was an eagerly awaited turning point in the impasse that has paralyzed Iraqi politics since the inconclusive March 7 election. After the departure of Iraqiya, the remaining lawmakers voted to elect Talabani to the presidency. Some observers feared the decision to proceed in the face of Iraqiya’s departure could eventually ignite a national crisis.
But Jaber al-Jaberi, a top Iraqiya official, said the bloc would probably consider returning to parliament if a “compromise solution” were reached and Iraqiya received assurances that the other groups in the new government will make good on their promises.
Thursday’s session had been expected to go smoothly after all major blocs agreed late Wednesday to participate, following promises about how positions in the new government would be distributed. But the precarious nature of that pact quickly became apparent.
After Osama al-Nujaifi of Iraqiya was elected speaker of parliament, along with two deputies from the Shiite Sadrist bloc and the Kurdish alliance, Nujaifi asked that details of the government formation deal be ratified through a vote. These included lifting a ban that precludes three Iraqiya members from participating in the government for alleged allegiance to Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Ba’ath Party.
Maliki Will Lead Iraq as Eight-Month Deadlock Ends Amid Walkout – BusinessWeek
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 November 2010 06:27 Written by admin Thursday, 11 November 2010 06:27
November 11, 2010, 7:48 PM EST
By Kadhim Ajrash, Nayla Razzouk and Caroline Alexander
Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will remain in office after leaders from the country’s rival political blocs reached agreement on forming a coalition following eight months of deadlock and a resurgence of sectarian violence.
The challenge of finding balance among Iraq’s competing factions was highlighted when some members of former premier Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiyah party walked out of a parliamentary session during voting on the leadership compromise.
Lawmakers late yesterday re-elected President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, for another term. They chose Usama Al-Najafi, a Sunni Muslim in the Iraqiyah party, as parliament speaker. Talabani, endorsed by 195 members in the 325-seat assembly, then asked al-Maliki, from the Shiite majority, to form a new government.
Ending a leadership vacuum that has lingered since elections in March, the power-sharing accord among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions may help curb an increase in violence.
The new government, which will take office as the U.S. prepares to pull out its remaining troops next year, must address long-standing disputes over issues including Iraq’s internal boundaries and the rights to the country’s oil and gas reserves.
Allawi, who won the most seats in March 7 balloting with backing from Sunni and secular voters, “was effectively squeezed into a choice of joining a government led by Maliki or remaining in opposition,” said Gala Riani, Middle East analyst for London-based IHS Global Insight. Allawi’s exclusion would have had “disastrous consequences for Iraq’s security, given the widespread support by Sunnis for the bloc,” she said.
The parliament also elected Qusai al-Suhail, a member of the anti-U.S. movement led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and Kurdish politician Aref Tayfur as deputy speakers.
“It seems that no party, including the U.S., has come out thinking that they’ve got everything they had hoped for,” Iraq’s ambassador to the U.S., Samir Sumaida’ie, said in a telephone interview. “But that’s the nature of democracy.”
The Obama administration had urged that any coalition be inclusive, Sumaida’ie said. The U.S. “made no secret” that it wanted Iraqiyah to have “a real share of power” in the government, he said.
U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the new government has sufficient checks and balances to prevent any abuse of power. In the U.S. view, the agreement was most significant because it was hammered out by Iraqis without outside influence, the officials said.
Under the accord, Allawi will head a newly created council that will set and oversee security and foreign policy, the U.S. officials said. Decisions emerging from the council, which will act as a board of directors to al-Maliki’s executive authority, may require more than a simple majority, the officials said.
Al-Maliki’s group will have five ministries in the new government, his adviser, Ali al-Dabbagh, said yesterday in remarks televised on the Dubai-based Arab-language news network al-Arabiya. Al-Maliki will formally take up the premiership after a religious holiday next week, he said.
Iraq has the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, without counting fields in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north. Output was 2.35 million barrels a day last month, a drop of 6 percent from a year earlier, according to U.S. government data. The government has awarded 12 oil-service contracts and three gas licenses, hoping to boost production of its most prized exports.
Crude futures yesterday touched $ 88.63, the highest level since Oct. 9, 2008, while oil for December delivery settled unchanged at $ 87.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish region, said on al- Arabiya television yesterday that Iraqiyah “behaved in a very responsible manner” by agreeing to the plan. He said he expected the U.S., which had previously advocated “changing some positions including the president,” would support the proposed coalition.
The U.S. has pushed Iraqis to resolve the deadlock, a call backed by regional powers. Vice President Joe Biden visited the country and has had numerous telephone conversations with its leaders to encourage them to form a government.
Iraqi leaders held talks on forming a coalition in Erbil, the Kurdish capital, on Nov. 8 and followed that with a series of meetings in Baghdad.
Seeking a Vote
The lawmakers who walked out of the parliament session wanted to hold a vote on formally overturning decisions taken by a Shiite- led committee tasked with purging members of former President Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated Baath party from government. It had barred three former Baathists, supporters of Iraqiyah, from taking government positions.
The lawmakers said their colleagues’ rejection of their request to reinstate the three men violated the deal leading to a coalition government.
No party had won enough seats in March parliamentary vote to take office alone. Iraqiyah, with support from Sunni and secular voters, took 91 seats to 89 for al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance, which later won backing from other Shiite blocs.
—With assistance from Kadhim Ajrash in Baghdad, Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai and Flavia Krause-Jackson and Viola Gienger in Washington. Editors: Heather Langan, Bob Drummond.
To contact the reporters on this story: Nayla Razzouk in Amman at email@example.com; Caroline Alexander in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at email@example.com.