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Daily Column
Iraq TV Mon: Fighting Over a Parliament Speaker
Biden Meets with VIPs, 10 Arrested for Tearing Down Political Posters
By DANIEL W. SMITH 01/12/2009 8:00 PM ET
The wrangling over who will replace al-Mashhadani as speaker of Parliament got the most sound bites on Monday night’s news(along with Gaza). Aside from different candidates being chosen by different parties, members of the Sunni Tawafoq coalition are of the firm mind that the decision is up to them, and those not within Tawafoq(or those who just left it), disagree. Candidates Usama al-Najafi and Ayad al-Samarrai both have their cheering squads. Al-Samarrai's detractors are saying he is not eligible because he has duel Iraqi/British citizenship.

Several explosions on Monday were prominent, except on government-backed al-Iraqiya, where more time was given to 60 displaced families were shown returning home. Al-Baghdadiya claimed that “Officials statements are in conflict with the security situation,” meaning that the government is trying to make things look much better than they are. Also, many channels reported that a killing and kidnapping gang who used security uniforms to fool victims was captured. More than one of the channels insinuated that the government has known about the gang for some time.

Footage of VIP meetings are always big on Iraqi news, even if the subject matter isn’t always explained. Mondays handshaking photo-ops included Vice President-elect Biden meeting with President al-Talabani and then someone who knows what its like to be vice president, Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shows up in a military parade in Muthana, and then KRG president Barzani is shown verbally attacking al-Maliki, describing him by a dictator. He adds that the Ministry of Oil is a failure, and that “The government doesn't want a peaceful solution” to the disputes between the KRG and the central government in Baghdad.

In election news, it was widely reported that ten people were arrested in Karbala for tearing down political posters. Yesterday’s news that the CMC’s backed down from its mandate requiring all journalists covering election events to sign a pledge to a “code of conduct” is still big.

Al-Hurra Iraq reports that, according to American sources, Iraq wants to buy 2000 model T-72 tanks from Eastern European countries.

Anti-Iraqi government and anti-American Al-Rafadain channel quoted judicial sources as saying "220 detainees remain in American custody. The excuse given is that they are the most dangerous of Iraq’s criminals, but most of them are teachers, college employees, and doctors.” The way they put it gave the impression that the Americans are deliberately trying to keep experts in important fields in jail, so Iraq stays underdeveloped.

Yousif al-Timimi contributed heavily to this report


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