Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Someone should have told the Dick, that 1) it's not a game and 2) it's a lot too little, a long time too late

Aide: Cheney in Iraq to warn them 'it's game time'

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney arrived unannounced in Baghdad early Wednesday to tell Iraq's government "it's game time," a senior Bush administration official said.

The senior administration official summarized Cheney's message: "We've got to pull together. We've got to get this work done. It's game time."

An important topic on Cheney's agenda is to persuade the Iraqi Parliament to forgo its planned two-month recess. The Bush administration is pushing for members to keep working on legislation, such as a measure on oil revenues.

"The reality is, with the major effort we're making, the major effort the Iraqi security forces and military are making themselves, for the Iraqi Parliament to take a two-month vacation in the middle of summer is impossible to understand," Ryan Crocker, the United States' new ambassador to Iraq, told reporters.

The trip to Baghdad -- Cheney's second -- comes as the Bush administration is trying to foster national unity among the fractious Iraqi leaders.

Shortly after landing, Cheney met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. He told reporters the two discussed political and economic issues and how to build an Iraq that is "self-governing and free of threats of the insurgency and al Qaeda."

Al-Maliki said they worked to chart the "best ways to support the efforts of the Iraqi government in order to succeed in this experiment."

Cheney also met with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who briefed him on the effectiveness of the U.S. military buildup, The Associated Press reported.

The vice president also saw Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and government ministers, but no details were offered about that meeting.

Cheney also plans to visit with U.S. troops, a White House statement said.
Vice president to visit Sunni countries

The stopover kicks off a weeklong visit to the region, where Cheney will hold talks with leaders in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan -- all Sunni Arab countries.

The trip closely follows Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's participation in a two-day international conference on Iraq in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. It also comes a little over a week after Bush's decision to veto a $124 billion war spending bill that called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq by 2008.

Another political crisis likely discussed on Cheney's visit is the threat posed by the country's most powerful Sunni bloc to bolt from Parliament and erode the country's effort to establish a unity government.

Cheney is slated to meet with the bloc's leader Tariq al-Hashimi -- one of Iraq's two vice presidents.

Al-Maliki, a Shiite, met with al-Hashimi on Tuesday. The sitdown apparently eased the tension that would have prompted the Sunnis to split from the Council of Representatives, which could be a devastating blow to reconciliation.

The government is working to gain support and trust from Sunnis, who were in power during the Saddam Hussein regime. Many of the insurgents in the country -- which has a Shiite majority -- are Sunni militants and people who have supported Hussein's Baathist party.
Deadly bomb hits Kurdish ministry

At least 14 people were killed and 87 more were wounded early Wednesday when a suicide truck bomb exploded outside an Iraqi government ministry in Irbil, the capital of the northern Kurdish region, according to the Kurdish regional government.

Khalid Salih said the bomber exploded his truck outside the Iraqi Interior Ministry around 7:30 a.m. Bombings are relatively rare in the three-province Kurdish region..

Also, on a road between Kirkuk and Tikrit in northern Iraq, four Iraqi journalists were killed on Wednesday, police in Kirkuk said.

The official said gunmen in a car opened fire on the journalists' minibus about eight kilometers away from an Iraqi Army checkpoint. Their bodies were found in the vehicle.

The journalists weren't identified, but all four were men. One of them was the director of a local media organization, but officials did not say which one.

In eastern Baghdad, a civilian was killed and two Iraqi soldiers were wounded when a car bomb exploded near an army checkpoint on Palestine Street.

Coalition forces seized 18 "suspected terrorists during raids around Iraq Tuesday and Wednesday, the U.S. military said. The raids were staged southeast of Taji, north of Karma, in Mosul and near Baghdad and Ramadi.

The military also said it was investigating reports of civilian deaths during a confrontation on Tuesday between troops and insurgents in Iraq's Diyala province.

U.S. troops noticed insurgents setting up a roadside bomb near Mandali.

A helicopter strike killed two of the insurgents, but people later told the military that five civilians, including two children, were killed and three others were wounded.
Other developments

# A Task Force Lightning soldier was killed and four were wounded by gunfire in Diyala Province on Tuesday, the U.S. military said. The U.S. death toll in the Iraq war stands at 3,373, with 29 killed so far in May. Seven civilian Defense Department contractors also have been killed.

# In Iraq on Tuesday, a parked car exploded near a prominent Shiite mosque in a southern city, killing 16 civilians and wounding at least 64 others, authorities said. The strike, along with a suicide attack targeting police in Diyala province and a roadside bombing in Baghdad, killed 24 people across the country Tuesday.

Original article posted here.


Ducky's here said...

Dick wants to make sure that the oil contracts are signed. My guess is that the Saudis also had a few errands for him to run and requested he make it clear that Maliki better meet much of the Sunni demands.

Da Weaz said...

Yeah, but the whole thing is a fucking disaster.