Saturday, September 01, 2007

More window-dressing

It appears Tareq al-Hashemi, leader of the Islamic Party of Iraq and vice-president of the republic, will be another major player (along with Ayad Allawi, see prior post) in the drama of "reconciliation" ahead of the Petraeus report. Azzaman, in its Iraqi edition this morning, headlines the good news: "1500 prisoners to be released during Ramadan" (which starts this year on Sept 13 this year), specifying that these will be innocent prisoners held in American-forces prisons, and that they will be released at the rate of 50 per day. The report also cites what it describes as a "working paper" prepared by Hashemi that includes three points: Release of prisoners; human rights issues and the condition of those in custody; "and the question of those involved in human rights violations, and compensation for prisoners." Omar al-Jabburi, described as human-rights advisor to Hashemi, says Hashemi is continuing to work for full implementation of the working paper. And Jabburi also Hashemi has achieved agreement on the working-paper "with the political blocs and with the Americans".

In support of this, Azzaman refers to a press-release by the American forces dated Monday August 27, but is able to quote only a phrase about agreement with Hashemi for an "expanded rehabilitation program" for prisoners, and an agreement about some Ramadan releases, not including any numbers or orders of magnitude. Nothing, naturally, about human rights or compensation.

(As if by way of a wink and a nod, the MNF release concludes by observing that "Hashemi [will] attend a number of special Ramadan Release Ceremonies that will take place throughout Iraq").


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