PRINCESS BARRY O GREETED NEWS THAT SECRETARY OF HILDA SOLIS WAS RESIGNING WITH GLEE. "I SKIPPED, I JUMPED AND I EVEN WET MYSELF A LITTLE," HE GIGGLED TO THESE REPORTERS.
AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE NOMINEE?
"WELL, OF COURSE, IT WILL BE A MAN," THE PRINCESS IN CHIEF DISHED. "YOU KNOW ME, I'M ALL ABOUT THE SAUSAGE. I WANT A CABINET FULL OF MEN. AT MY BECK AND CALL. I FEEL JUST LIKE CATHERINE THE GREAT! ONLY WITHOUT THE HORSEY. SERIOUSLY, I WANT TO BUILD A BETTER CABINET THIS TIME. I'M GOING TO SEE IF THAT CUTE LITTLE TY PENNINGTON CAN GIVE ME A HAND. I GOT ME A BAD CASE OF CONTRACTOR BUTT CRACK FEVER!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
As protests continue in Iraq, a new development emerges. Al Arabiya explains, "The Iraqi ministry of defense has closed the country's border crossing near Jordan on Wednesday at 6 a.m. (local time) without stated official reasons, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported. The Teraibeel border crossing near Jordan, an important commercial thoroughfare, is located in the Sunni stronghold Anbar province. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets on a daily basis in the area against Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his government, accused of marginalizing Sunnis." Petra notes that the road wasn't the only thing closed, Port Trebil on the border Jordan shares with Iraq was shut down by the Iraq Ministry of Defense and that Anba Province's Vice Chair, Saadoun al-Shaalan, declared that the protesters did not disrupt the port or the international highway, that the provided services to those traveling on the road and he decries the closing of the port. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quotes protest organizer Saeed Hmaim stating, "The closure . . . serves only on purpose, and that is to damage the image of the protesters and depict them as troublemakers who want to make the lives of Iraqis more difficult. We will stand firm on our demands, and we will not be shaken by this irresponsible act." UPI continues that thread, "Hikmat Suleiman, a Sunni council leader in Anbar province, said the border closure was to put pressure on protesters. Local leaders expressed similar sentiments, saying the central government was waging an economic war on the anti-Maliki movement, reports al-Arabiya." Emirates News Agency adds that Jordan issued a statement which including that "Jordan is maintaining contact with Iraq through security and diplomatic channels to follow up on the issue." Reuters explains, "The protests have become a major test for Maliki, a Shi'ite nationalist whom many Sunni leaders accuse of marginalising their minority sect, shoring up his own authority and pushing the OPEC country closer to Shi'ite non-Arab power Iran." Alsumaria adds that Anbar Province council officials told them they will sue the federal government over the closing of the Port of Trebil ("without justification") .
Iraq came up in yesterday's US State Dept press briefing with regards to protest.
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: Some Iraqi officials are blaming the U.S. for supporting the demonstrations in Iraq against the government. Do you have any reaction?
MS. NULAND: We've talked about this a couple of times last week. We are not taking a side in any of these internal difficulties inside Iraq. We want to see the Iraqi stakeholders sitting down, talking, meeting, discussing, finding constitutional solutions to the various grievances on all of these issues. Our role has simply been to try to encourage the various stakeholders to talk to each other.
There was no mention of Iraq today. And Nuland still hasn't called out the violence on Monday against protesters in Mosul -- at least four were injured -- today Al Mada's Mohammad Sabah reports that 70 MPs have signed off on an investigation into how the protests in Nineveh Province ended in violence. Considering that Nuland's the one who raised the issue of violence -- when she falsely smeared the protesters -- you might think that now that it's been used against the protesters, Nuland would be right up front calling it out. But nothing. She's got nothing to say on the topic? How telling.
Like Nuland's insanity, Nouri's crazy knows no bounds. Press TV quotes him without question stating, "If rallies go on without permission, or carry banners that compromise national security or private work, security should prevent them. " The protests are not illegal, they are not unconstitutional. The judiciary and the Parliament already rejected those claims by Nouri. As for a baner being able to "compromise national security," there's you clue right there that the US government better get its act together real damn quick and stop supporting Nouri. He is Little Saddam and every days he grows into a bigger and bigger despot.
A banner can be a threat to national security? That sounds like something Pinochet would do. When that despot came to power, the Guardian notes there were "four hundred US CIA experts [to] assist Pinochet." Thanks to Ted Koppel's report for Rock Center with Brian Williams (NBC) in December of 2011, we do know that the CIA has maintained an office and presence in Iraq.
MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?
AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.
As to whether Nouri gets 400 (like Pinochet did) or more CIA agents hasn't been divulged at present.
As more and more walk away from Nouri, Salar Raza (Rudaw) offers his take on the status between the Kurds and Sunnis currently:
Their growing opposition to Iraq's Shiite-led government has pushed the country's Kurds and Sunni Arabs closer together, but problems between the two still persist, MPs from both sides say.
For the past several weeks Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been besieged on two fronts, first by the autonomous Kurdistan Region's anger over Baghdad's efforts to take over security in disputed northern territories, and lately by Sunni-led protests over alleged discrimination against provinces where they are the majority.
"The Sunni Arab protests in Iraq have unified the Sunni and Kurdish position, but the two sides have not come close enough to solving problems between themselves," said Bakir Hama Sidiq, an MP from the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU).
"It is just events that have brought us and the Sunni Arabs together, nothing more," he added.
He said that while the two sides are in agreement in their opposition to Maliki, a signed alliance between them would have to be "based on belief in the rights of the Kurds, not only on mutual interests." He said he did not believe that the Sunni Arab Iraqiya coalition was ready to accept Kurdish rights, including those over the energy-rich disputed territories.
When talking about the relations between the Kurds and Iraqiya, one thing to note is that Iraq's president, who is Kurdish, is seeking medical help out of the country. Saturday, AP noted that the office of Iraq President Jalal Talabani has finally issued a statement identifying the incident that led to Talabani's hospitalization: a stroke. The incident took place late on December 17th (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital. Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany. He remains in Germany currently. Al Mada reports today that Fuad Masum of the Kurdistan Alliance states he visited with Jalal yesterday and that he is "steadily improving" that Jalal was able to shake hands, that he listened and spoke -- and spoke to those in the room in Kurdish, Arabic and English.
Today Ayad Allawi, leader of Iraqiya visited Erbil in the Kurdistan Regional Government (semi-autonomous region in nothern Iraq). While Allawi is a Shi'ite, Iraqiya is a mixed slate with a large Sunni presence. Alsumaria reports Allawi was in Erbil to meet with KRG President Massoud Barzani and that the two agreed on a path to solving one of the country's current crises. As that relationship sorts itself out, Nouri is more and more isolated. From yesterday's snapshot:
Patrick Markey, Aseel Kami, Raheem Salman and Alistair Lyon (Reuters) report that "Iraqi Sunni Muslim and Kurdish ministers boycotted a cabinet sessions on Tuesday to show support for protests that threaten Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's fragile cross-sectarian government, lawmakers and a government source said." Karafillis Giannoulis (New Europe) adds, "A senior government source confirmed that the ministers had missed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet Session because the ministers did not see a governmental action to implement protesters' demands."
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"THIS JUST IN! HE KEEPS TAPPING