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US Papers Fri: Iran Prez: I'm Going to Baghdad!
Ahmadinejad to visit Iraq in March; UN lends hand on Iraq elections in October
By CHRIS ALLBRITTON 02/15/2008 01:37 AM ET
The Washington Post and The New York Times are the only papers weighing in today, with the Times getting the lion's share of the stories. But the news is that Iranian president Mahmoud Amadinejad is dropping in on his next door neighbors -- no word on whether he wants to borrow a cup of yellowcake -- and Awakening fighters got into a scrape with American soldiers by mistake. They lost.

Over there
Sudarsan Raghavan of the Post reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will go to Iraq next month, the first time a president of the Islamic Republic has done so. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Ahmadinejad would arrive March 2 for a two or three day visit to discuss bilateral relations. He will also meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. All sorts of fun questions are suggested by the visit: Where will he stay? In the Green Zone? If so, who provides security? Will he run into U.S. troops or U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker? Maybe a pop-in on Gen. David H. Petraeus? Alas, Raghavan passes on these delightful possibilities. In possibly related news, Iran postponed a fourth security meeting with U.S. officials in Baghdad. The Americans said the Iranians didn't want to sit down for talks, and the Iraqis said the Iranians gave no reason for the delay. (Perhaps the killing of Imad Mughniyah, probably by CIA or Mossad, had something to do with their pissiness?) Elsewhere, a car bomb went off in a market in Sadr City, killing seven people and wounding 36. In Kirkuk, gunmen killed another member of the Awakening Council.

The Times' Ian Fisher reports on a case of blue-on-blue violence on Thursday in which six Awakening fighters were killed when they mistakenly fired on American soldiers in Salahuddin province north of Baghdad. The Americans fired back, killing them and two women in nearby houses. A police commander says the fighters thought the Americans were insurgents. Local American commanders said they couldn't confirm the incident. In other news, the American military announced it had killed seven insurgents and arrested 16 in north and central Iraq. Also, nine members of the same family -- a couple and their seven children -- were found dead in their house in Auja, the home village of Saddam Hussein. Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the U.S. second-in-command in Iraq said he was leaving for a job in D.C. This story has a lot of information in it, but its organization is kind of a mess.

Alissa J. Rubin of the Times reports that the Iraqi parliament has asked for help from the U.N. in holding its provincial elections in October. Under a new law passed Wednesday, the elections must be held by Oct. 1. An important next step is to pass a new electoral law, determining who can vote and where their votes are counted. This is expected to cover the two million internally displaced people who aren't in their home provinces to vote.

Home front
Turning to the home front, Lizette Alvarez and Deborah Sontag of the Times continue the War Torn series, looking at veterans who kill after they return home, wounded psychically. This time, they focus on the failure of the military to protect spouses from the domestic violence at the hands of wounded vets.


New York Times
The Times' editorial board lauds the legislative progress of recent days, but complains the Iraqis still feel no sense of urgency.

Caryn James writes for the Times' film section, noting that war documentaries are very popular this year at the Oscars.

Washington Post
Karin Brulliard makes a strong case for a dog bites nobody story, reporting an adorable border collie who was rescued from Baghdad's slums and adopted by American soldiers. Yes, it's a dog article. It will probably be the most viewed story in the paper today, too.


Wounded Warrior Project