Sunday, December 03, 2006

Al-Hayat: Hakim will talk to Bush about troop-redeployment "to the oil regions of the South and the North"

Abdulaziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), heads to Washington today for two days of talks with the Americans, following a surprise invitation by Bush. Al-Hayat says Hakim will be presenting to the Americans a "package of concepts" that will include the idea of a regional agreement on security matters, to include at least the countries neighboring Iraq, dealing with such things as border-security and intelligence-sharing. Another idea in the package is a Mideast version of an economic union like the European Union. The Al-Hayat reporter says a careful reading of this indicates it partly reflects Iranian thinking (referring to the idea of regional security cooperation without foreign intervention); but it leaves out any reference to the Iranian insistence on combining this with a US withdrawal commitment.

The reporter says he couldn't get official explanations from SCIRI authorities, but he did speak to people familiar with the workings of SCIRI, and based on their remarks, he adds that Hakim's Washington discussions will likely focus on the two questions: (1) Federalism, which he notes Hakim described yesterday as merely "one of the possible forms of administrative organization" for the country, and not something sectarian; and (2) the future of US troops in Iraq. On the latter point, these SCIRI-knowledgeable people said, the discussions will include the question how much time it will take for an initial redeployment of the US troops; and then, in a second stage, "a future and gradual withdrawal to the oil regions in the South and in the North", and then a final [missing noun] based on circumstances.

"And Hakim...will not forget the oil aspect", the journalist adds, noting this is something "that was also taken up during his first visit to Washington right after the fall of Saddam..." The journalist says it is expected Hakim will focus on the "role of the giant American corporations in cooperation with Iraqi oil companies, and with regional companies with respect to this".

Finally, the journalist notes that Hakim yesterday rejected the proposal of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for an international conference on Iraq, as impractical and illegal, insisting that the existing Iraqi government is one of the strongest in the region.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The give and take between Badger and Moloch in the comment section of the previous posting is interesting. It goes to the epistemological essence of the historian’s craft. Namely how does one KNOW reality when all one has is documents. The historian tries to reconstruct the reality of a society based on the documents generated by or about the society.

What I appreciate about Badger is the propensity to juxtapose documents from different sources. This to my mind is the only method that potentially yields an accurate picture of reality. For example, a while back the comparisons of New York Times and Wash. Post editorials helps understand how public opinion and polices are formed.

However, given the unfathomable numbers of documents (paper and electronic) generated daily, the profound question is how does one select the documents that most accurately describes reality. Essentially, one selects documents based on one’s education, experiences and fundamental assumptions about reality. For example, I have previously commented about the absence of discussion about Turkey’s role or potential role in Iraq/ Middle East issues. This to my mind is especially note worthy since the August visit of the Saudi monarch to Turkey and the current discussions about international Sunni alliances against the ‘Persians/Iranians’; keeping in mind that the Ottoman Empire was just such an alliance. The combination of Saudi wealth and Turkeys military, NATO membership and Israeli alliance is completely ignored.

Journalist and bloggers do not seem to find Turkey significant and therefore there is little discussion about it. Badger rightly notes that part of the reason is that few of them know the Turkish language. I might add that few know the history of Turkey and Persian relationships going back to the rise of Shia Persian and the beginning of the Sunni Ottoman Empire which occurred, interestingly, at about the same time. Only an historian would find the juxtaposition of two events separated by 500 years significant. Certainly not a political scientist.

5:37 AM  
Blogger badger said...

Atwan in al-Quds al-Arabi this morning includes a remark to the effect part of the current wave of regional anxiety as the US heads for the door (he says), is a move by Turkey to try and coordinate with the Sunni regimes for the post-US arrangements, for instance he says Erdoghan was in Amman last week talking about that. So our ignorance will be more and more exposed...

7:12 AM  

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