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Daily Column
Iraq TV Tue: Obama's the Word
Elections, Security, Gaza Take a Back Seat
By DANIEL W. SMITH 01/20/2009 5:30 PM ET

Tuesday’s nightly news was dominated by the inauguration ceremony of U.S. president Barack Obama, and what his administration’s Iraq policy will end up being. The amount of coverage and discussion rivaled that of Iraq’s own president Jalal Talabani, when he entered office.

On the topic, Tawafoq MP Iyad al-Samarraie was shown pointing out how different he expected American foreign policy toward Iraq would be, and KRG leader Massoud Barazani said, “We are not looking for U.S. disengagement from Iraq.” Al-Hurriya showed Kurdish MP Mahmod Othman saying that he expected that Obama would withdraw US troops before the 16 month deadline that has been touted.

Al-Baghdadiya reported that both the Red Cross and Montadar al-Zaidi's lawyer deny recent announcements that he has requested asylum in Switzerland. The channel, along with Baghdad TV, had the most security-related news, with quite a spate of IED attacks.
An IED injured three on Nidhal Street, another in al-Adhamiya injured eight (five of them Sons of Iraq), one near Shaab Stadium injured two, and one north of Baghdad injured three Iraqi soldiers. More IEDs were also mentioned.

An IED in Diyala injured one. A suicide bomber was killed by the police in Mosul, while trying to blow him self up.

In Baghdad, three Iraqis were killed and five injured by a car bomb that targeted American convoy in Mansour. Two American soldiers were injured as well.

One American soldier was killed today in Baghdad in non-combat event. Government sponsored Al-Iraqiya reported none of these.
U.S. backed Al-Hurra Iraq led the day in election news.
Diyala’s police chief said that 21,000 members of Iraq’s security forces will secure 325 voting sites in the province.

The High Election Commission announced that, on election day, a curfew will be in effect and airports will be shut down.

Election results are planned to be released three days after the election.

The commission also announced that it has fined 68 political parties for electoral violations.

Al-Babeliya showed United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Staffan de Mistura both condemning the assassination of a political leader in Mosul, and meeting with female candidates.
On Al-Rafadain, Usama al-Najafi said "The Kurdish militia terrorizes voters, to force them to vote for Kurdish candidates.” This is countered on Al-Sumeriya, with Massoud Barzani, in a meeting with Nineveh tribal leaders, warning that Iraq’s stability “cannot be reached by anti-Kurdish conduct.”

A few more items on various channels.
More than 3000 detainees in Camp Bukka Prison will vote in the upcoming election.

The PKK warns al-Maliki from allying with Turkey against them.

The Interior Ministry arrested 10 of its own, due to involvement in sectarian kidnapping and killing in 2006.

Yousif al-Timimi contributed heavily to this report.


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