Archive for the ‘fight’ Category

Iraqi Lawmakers Brawl Over Security Pact

November 19, 2008

A session of Iraq’s Parliament collapsed in chaos on Wednesday, as a discussion among lawmakers about a three-year security agreement with the Americans boiled over into shouting and physical confrontation.

The session was dedicated to a second public reading of the agreement, which governs the presence of American troops in Iraq through 2011 and which the Parliament is scheduled to vote on Monday. Even before the session began, legislators were apprehensive.

“There is much tension inside the parliament,” said Iman al-Asadi, a Shiite lawmaker, shortly before the session was scheduled to start. “We worry that they will fight each other inside the room.”

Lawmakers who support the pact said they were worried in particular about the followers of the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who make up a bloc of 32 legislators in the 275 member Parliament. While there are those in Parliament, like many Sunnis, who have objections to elements of the pact, the Sadrists reject any agreement with the Americans in principle.

In a departure from protocol, security guards were present in the room, both because of the tension and because several Iraqi government officials, including the ministers of foreign affairs and finance, were in attendance to answer questions about the agreement. Hoshyar Zebari, the foreign affairs minister, said the guards were unarmed.

As soon as the session began, politicians in opposition to the pact stood up in the hall and volubly argued that the ratification process was unconstitutional, because a law governing the passage of international agreements has not been approved. Supporters say such a law is unnecessary, because Parliament had already ratified numerous agreements without one.

For the next two hours, the Parliament speaker, Mahmoud Mashhadani, lashed out at the objecters and refused their demands to change the Parliament agenda. He then invited Hassan al-Sneid, a Shiite lawmaker, to begin the second public reading of the agreement, a matter of parliamentary procedure.

As Mr. Sneid began reading, witnesses said, Sadrists and other opponents of the agreement continued to trade shouts with lawmakers who supported it. Then, Ahmed Masu’udi, a Sadrist lawmaker, approached the dais. Mr. Masu’udi said later in an interview that he was simply trying to reach Mr. Mashhadani to persuade him to stop the reading; several other witnesses said Mr. Masu’udi tried to attack Mr. Snied. The security guards rushed toward Mr. Masu’udi, who said that they grabbed him and struggled to push him away. At that point, witnesses said, the hall was filled with shouting, lawmakers rushed toward the front and the session ended in chaos.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/world/middleeast/20iraq.html?_r=1&hp

After five years, the Iraq war is transforming the military

March 16, 2008

Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers 

WASHINGTON — When U.S. forces crossed the Kuwaiti border into Iraq in the pre-dawn hours of March 20, 2003 , the military set out to shock and awe the Middle East with the swiftest transformation the region had ever seen.

U.S. and South Korean Marines participate in a combined arms ...
(AP photo)

Five years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, it’s the U.S. military that’s been transformed. The efficient, tech-savvy Army , built, armed and trained to fight conventional wars against aggressor states, is now making deals with tribal sheiks and building its power on friendly conversations with civilians.

Instead of planning for quick, decisive battles against other nations, as it was five years ago, today’s American military is planning for protracted, nuanced conflicts with terrorist groups, insurgents, guerrillas, militias and other shadowy forces that seldom stand and fight.

The staples of American military doctrine that have developed since the Civil War — artillery, armor, air power, speed and overwhelming force— are of limited use against enemies who blend into civilian populations.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080316/wl_
mcclatchy/2879735;_ylt=Aoxr
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For Democrats, Increased Fears of a Long Fight

March 16, 2008
March 16, 2008
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WASHINGTON — Lacking a clear route to the selection of a Democratic presidential nominee, the party’s uncommitted superdelegates say they are growing increasingly concerned about the risks of a prolonged fight between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and perplexed about how to resolve the conflict.Interviews with dozens of undecided superdelegates — the elected officials and party leaders who could hold the balance of power for the nomination — found them uncertain about who, if anyone, would step in to fill a leadership vacuum and help guide the contest to a conclusion that would not weaken the Democratic ticket in the general election.

While many superdelegates said they intended to keep their options open as the race continued to play out over the next three months, the interviews suggested that the playing field was tilting slightly toward Mr. Obama in one potentially vital respect. Many of them said that in deciding whom to support, they would adopt what Mr. Obama’s campaign has advocated as the essential principle: reflecting the will of the voters.

Mr. Obama has won more states, a greater share of the popular vote and more pledged delegates than Mrs. Clinton.

Read the rest:
 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/us/politics/16delegates.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin