Bush-Hashemi Meeting Re-Scheduled For Next Week?
It seems that the White House, in a bid to answer accusations of leaning towards the Shi'as in its Iraq policy revision and to lend some symmetry to the recent Hakim visit, is moving up a meeting between Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi (Sunni) and President George Bush (...urrmmm, Protestant) that had been initially scheduled for early January to next week.
Heard in passing...And I couldn't find anything on the WH website to firm it up. Let me know if you see anything on the issue.
And might as well get all the gossip out while I can: 'Kurdistan Region' President Masoud Barzani was in Baghdad last week for consultations with top Iraqi leaders. On the side, he exibited some largesse by giving every single member (KDP, PUK and others) of the Kurdish bloc in parliament (54 seats--minus one for President Talabani) $100,000 each to purchase an armored car. So that comes up to a little over $5 million in cash given to 1/5th of Iraq's parliamentarians--the people whose job it is to watch government spending. Shouldn't someone ask Mr. Barzani where this $5 million come from? Was if from a budgetary allocation (either regional or national) or from personal wealth? And where did this personal wealth come from? In 'unrelated' news: ex-officials wanted on corruption charges such as ex-Defense Minister Hazim al-Sha'alan and ex-MP Misha'an al-Jubouri are allegedly hiding out in Arbil (Capital of Kurdistan Region) from time to time and enjoying Mr. Barzani's hospitality--and protection from prosecution.