From December 18, 2008, that's "Political Relations." That's Barry O with his convicted felon friend Rod. Remember when the press covered for Barry on that in 2008? Remember how they covered for him so many times? Yet we're hearing about what Mitt Romney did in high school? 50 years ago?
That's ridiculous. The press has always covered for Barack. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
The minister of high education Ali Aladeeb turned the Iraqi universities into sectarian show-offs. No real attendance of classes, no real learning and teaching processes, and no real scientific advancements. All what he cares about is turning Iraqi universities and youth into sectarian institutes that look like Iranian regime revolutionaries.
1- The most significant indication is assigning the Ministry of Higher Education to a person who has no academic qualifications, whose feet never stepped in campus, only after he was appointed as a minister. This appointment was not based on any skill or efficiency, rather on being a member of the governing political party, and on his Iranian origin (his mother for example does not speak Arabic), and on being Shiite. Of course there is nothing wrong with being of this or that origin, or being from this or that sectarian group, but this identity has become an exclusive passport for anyone to assume any (high) position, especially for none Iraqis.
2- Academic, scientific and administrative positions in public universities are assigned and shared according to sectarian affiliations, not expertise or efficiency. All the universities' presidents and faculties' deans are from a specific sectarian group; and their academic and administrative assistants are from other group in order to achieve a supposedly balanced share in power positions. Thus the criterion for appointment is not academic, but exclusively sectarian.
3- Admissions in universities are again based on sectarian affiliation, especially in post graduate studies. Norms of admission that are based on academic record are totally neglected, and exceptions have become the rule. In addition to that, channels of admission are numerous now: seats for political prisoners of the previous regime, seats for families of the martyrs(1) , seats for graduates of religious schools in Iran, seats for deserters during the Iraqi-Iranian war who sought refuge in Iran (the latter were rewarded pieces of land and 10 million Iraqi dinars- more than $10.000). What remains of seats are assigned to what is called "special" admission, which means those who pay higher and who are admitted outside the rules that are based on academic record. What remains of seats, if at all, are assigned to "real" students who compete on honest rules of marks and academic reports. The result of all these discriminations is that opportunities are given to those who do not deserve them, and are normally not interested in academic research, while serious students are deprived.
4- There is also a familiar criterion now, which is (exception from rules) in other areas, apart from the exceptional admission. For example: transfer from one university to another, or transfer from one specialization to another(2) . To explain this point I tell you the following story that took place to me personally: A person came to me asking that his nephew be transferred from X University to another one. I apologized saying that: we all know that this is impossible, because transferring a student from (an academically) lesser to a higher university is not allowed according to the rules, and advised him to look for another college that admits his nephew's academic degree (marks). Few days later, the uncle came back to me saying (sarcastically): "so you are a well known professor but you could not do such a 'small' thing. I told the butcher in our neighborhood about this story, and he just made a call by his mobile, and my nephew is immediately transferred to the college of Administration and Economics". May be this story can tell about the collapse of the whole system.
5- The public universities are "distributed" between the political parties who control, make decisions and admit students in them. Baghdad University for example is allocated to the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq, while Al-Mustansiriah U. is allocated to the Sadr Group. The Nehrein U. (which was one of the most prestigious academic institutions) is allocated to Al-Da'wa party that totally destroyed it.
The Erbil Agreement allowed Nouri to have a second term as prime minister. That was a concession other political blocs made. In exchange, Nouri made concessions as well. These were written up and signed off on. But once Nouri got his second term, he refused to honor the Erbil Agreement. Since the summer of 2011, the Kurds have been calling for a return to the Erbil Agreement. Iraqiya and Moqtada al-Sadr joined that call. As last month drew to a close, there was a big meet-up in Erbil with various political blocs participating. Nouri al-Maliki was not invited. Among those attending were KRG President Massoud Barzani, Ayad Allawi, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi. Since December 21st, Talabani and al-Nujaifi have been calling for a national convention to resolve the political crisis.
Nouri spent the first two months dismissing the need for one, arguing that it shouldn't include everyone, arguing about what it was called, saying it should just be the three presidencies -- that would Jalal Talabani, Nouri al-Maliki and Osama al-Nujaifi -- and offering many more road blocs. As March began, Nouri's new excuse was that it had to wait until after the Arab League Summit (March 29th). The weekend before the summit, Talabani forced the issue by announcing that the convention would be held April 5th. Nouri quickly began echoing that publicly. However, April 4th it was announced the conference was off. Nouri's State of Law took to the press to note how glad they were about that.
Today, Alsumaria reports that Nouri al-Maliki is stating that a national meet-up is necessary to resolve the issues and that this cannot be done via backdoor deals or under the table agreements. He declared the Constitution dead and said that it needs to be revived. He also argues that he is all for a meet up but others have something to hide and they are attempting to prevent a meeting. Nouri also claims that he is looking for a real partnership.
This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."
No one ever did answer for it and, as last year drew to a close, the last suspected murderer of the 5 Americans was released by the US military. Liz Sly and Peter Finn (Washington Post) reported on the US handing Ali Musa Daqduq over to the Iraqis:
He was transferred to Iraqi custody after the Obama administration "sought and received assurances that he will be tried for his crimes," according to Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council in Washington.
Kitabat reported that Nouri caved to pressure from Tehran and that's why the suspect was released. It's also noted that a number of US Senators were asking the White House not to turn Daqduq over to Iraq but to move him to Guantanamo or another facility. However, the White House insisted that they knew best and they had these assurances.