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Daily Column
Iraq TV: Threats In Ninewa, US Casualty Dispute
Monday Night News
04/21/2009 2:00 PM ET
By Daniel W. Smith and Yousif al-Timimi

On TV last night, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders continued the tough cross talk that has been increasing in the past week. Atheel al-Najafi (pictured), the new Governer of Ninewa and leader of the the province’s majority party, Sunni-led al-Hadba List called on the Kurdish-led Brotherhood List to end their boycott of the Ninewa provincial council, which they have done since al-Hadba elected its own members for all high positions (governor, deputy governors, council chirman, etc.). Kurds were left with nary a notable position, quite different than how they’ve had it since a Sunni boycott of the 2005 elections gave them a disproportionally high level of representation. Baghdad TV reported al-Najafi saying, “The local government of Ninewa will not be lenient with the mayors of Sinjar, Makhmour, and Shikhan (all regions of Ninewa with higher levels of Kurds or other ethnicities) if they refuse to return. On Al-Hurra Iraq, a member of the Brotherhood List said “The withdrawal from the city council was our only option.”

In related news, the Islamic Loyalty Party declared its withdrawal from the Diwaniya, and in other provinces, the Sadr-backed Free List and Shahid al-Mahrab (ISCI) demanded higher representation in some southern provinces.

Government-backed Al-Iraqiya reported that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki finally congratulated Ayad al-Samarraie for winning the election for parliament speaker, but Al-Hurriya reported differently, showing only government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. Al-Dabbagh did not say that al-Maliki congratulated al-Samarraie, but that "the government” did so.

Al-Maliki did, however, loudly declare that he “will never allow the Baath Party to rule Iraq again,” demonstrating the continuing fight over reconciliation. Al-Iraqiya showed Rafiha Al-Assawi meeting UN officials, and said they spoke about the north’s “dispute areas”. Iraqia. They did not mention what other channels said was the main topic, again - reconciliation.

President Jalal Talabani renewed his invitation to increase the percentage of women in Kurdistan's parliament. Families in Anbar were shown demanding the execution of prisoners, now in Iraqi custody, who “killed their sons,” in the sectarian violence.

In security news, the suicide bomber who targeted US troops at a Diyala council meeting in Baqouba had channels arguing more than usual over how many US forces were killed or wounded. Iraqi police originally announced that four GIs had been killed, but then took it back. Several channels reported the deaths, and then reported a US spokesman denying it, and saying that there were eight US casualties only. Pro-resistance channel Al-Rafadain to claimed a cover-up. Between three and four Iraqis were reported killed, and between 10 and 20 wounded.

Also, between one and two GIs were reported killed by insurgent snipers in Anbar province’s Saqlawiya on more than one channel. No comment by the American military. An IED was reported to have targeted an American convoy in Basra, where there was some coverage of the Brits pulling up stakes.

Some sort of blast was said to have hit a security company's convoy in eastern Najaf, while an IED exploded near a college in the city’s north. A sticky bomb which targeted an Iraqi security officer in Fallujah killed two little girls.


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