God's Politics

The latest news on the Iraq Summit, Head Start, Afghanistan, Iraq-Congress, immigration, Darfur, Iran, and Israel.

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Iraq-Congress. Democrats Regroup After Veto, Seeking Unity on Iraq Plan – “Congressional Democrats must find a way to bridge the divergent views of those two lawmakers – and others of similar ideology in both the House and Senate – in their second try at writing legislation that is either acceptable to President Bush or could withstand his veto.” Democrats Back Down On Iraq Timetable – “President Bush and congressional leaders began negotiating a second war funding bill yesterday, with Democrats offering the first major concession: an agreement to drop their demand for a timeline to bring troops home from Iraq.” Some Republicans split with Bush on the war – “Distressed by the violence in Iraq and worried about tying their political fate to an unpopular president, some Republicans on Capitol Hill are beginning to move away from the White House to stake out a more critical position on the U.S. role in the war.”

Iraq. Iraqi Blocs Opposed to Draft Oil Bill– “Kurdish and Sunni Arab officials expressed deep reservations on Wednesday about the draft version of a national oil law and related legislation, misgivings that could derail one of the benchmark measures of progress in Iraq laid down by President Bush.” Trainers say Iraqi forces would collapse without U.S. support – “But despite some signs of progress, both Iraqis and their American advisors at this training range are blunt about how much work remains: If a U.S. pullout comes anytime soon, most say, the Iraqi army will collapse.”

Iraq summit. Iraq summit opens in Egypt – “Close to 60 different flags are flying in the hot sunshine of Sharm el-Sheikh as an international conference on Iraqi stabilisation and security gets under way today. Iraq’s neighbours are here in force and being urged to do more to help as the US and Britain hone their exit strategies.” Concern Is High and Unity Hopes Are Nil at Talks on Iraq – “While about 60 countries are expected to attend – evidence of global concern over Iraq – the competing agendas here suggest that cobbling together an effective, widely accepted strategy will be hard.” U.S. lowers expectations for Iraq conference – “A gathering of top diplomats intended to reconcile warring sects in Iraq instead threatens to further expose the rift between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the wider region. As a result, observers and participants now have limited expectations for the two-day conference that opens today.”

Afghanistan. Afghans Say U.S. Bombing Killed 42 Civilians – “Aerial bombing of a valley in western Afghanistan several days ago by the American military killed at least 42 civilians, including women and children, and wounded 50 more, an Afghan government investigation found. Karzai Says Civilian Toll Is No Longer Acceptable – “Afghan President Hamid Karzai declared Wednesday that his government can “no longer accept” civilian casualties caused by U.S.-led operations, shortly before news spread that as many as 51 civilians may have died during clashes this week in far western Afghanistan.”

Immigration. Immigrant groups decry police tactics – “[Los Angeles] Police Chief William J. Bratton said yesterday that some of the police tactics used to clear immigration protesters from a park were inappropriate, as news videos showed officers striking people with batons and firing rubber bullets into crowds that included children.” Inexcusable conduct (Los Angeles Times editorial) – “THE IMAGES Tuesday of police firing projectiles at people trying to flee a mostly peaceful rally at MacArthur Park are glaringly out of place in the Los Angeles of 2007. At least, they were supposed to be out of place.”

Darfur. Sudan ‘will defy Darfur warrants’ – “Sudan’s government has dismissed the warrants of arrest issued by The International Criminal Court for two men suspected of war crimes in Darfur. “Sudan is not a member of the Statute of Rome – it is not bound by the ICC,” Foreign Minister Lam Akol told the BBC.” Attacks on Darfur aid workers are rising – “One year on from a much-heralded peace deal for Darfur, aid agencies have been forced to roll back operations and are facing an unprecedented level of attacks on personnel,”

Iran. Iran’s former nuclear negotiator arrested in Tehran, taken to notorious prison – “Iranian authorities have arrested the country’s former nuclear negotiator, an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s predecessor and key rival, and he reportedly could face an espionage charge.” Iran holds ex-envoy on security charges – “Hossein Mousavian was taken from his home on Monday by security officials and charged with passing on information on Iran’s nuclear industry … Mr Mousavian had served as the deputy head of the Iranian delegation in talks with the west on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, and had also been ambassador to Germany.”

Israel. Israeli Premier Rebuffs Rebellion Within Party – “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared to face down a revolt within his party Wednesday over his decision to remain in office after an investigative committee found “serious failings” in his management of the Lebanon war last summer.” Olmert vows to stay Israel’s PM – “Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, was struggling to hold on to power last night in the face of a wave of criticism after his foreign minister and chief rival for the job told him to resign.” Israeli Foreign Minister Calls on Olmert to Resign– “But she insisted that she would not organize an effort to oust him and that she did not intend to resign herself, but would do the best she could to fix the flaws in governance that the report laid bare.”

Head start. House approves expanded Head Start – “The House yesterday renewed and expanded the Head Start program for preschoolers, despite squabbling about student tests, the role of faith-based providers and whether states should have more control.”

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