Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Moderates gone; Shiites see war as solution

"The moderates are mostly gone. . . . Even the moderate political leaders have left.
. . . A year ago, my interviews were peppered with phrases like 'Iraqis are all brothers.' The subjects would get angry when you asked their sect. Now some of them introduce themselves that way.
. . . A great many Shiites and Kurds . . . will tell you that in spite of all the mistakes the Americans have made here, the single act of removing Saddam Hussein was worth it. And the new American plan, despite all the obstacles, may have a chance to work. . . . [But probably not], particularly because their Iraqi partner . . . seems to be on an entirely different page.
. . . 'If you don’t allow the minority to lose, you will carry on forever,' [said an Iraqi government official in December].
. . . Abused under Mr. Hussein, they [Shiites] still act like an oppressed class. That means Iraqis are looking into a future of war, at least in the near term.
. . . Hazim al-Aaraji, a disciple of the renegade Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr . . . said the ideal disciples would have 'an empty mind,' and a weapon."

By New York Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise, describing her experiences in Iraq.

Tavernise, Sabrina. (The New York Times). January 28, 2007. It Has Unraveled So Quickly.

posted: tuesday, january 30, 2007, 5:20 PM ET

update: sunday, february 4, 2007, 10:29 AM ET


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Peace or politics?

"It's quite a juxtaposition. In Iraq, American soldiers are finally beginning the hard job of establishing a measure of peace, security and order in critical sections of Baghdad -- the essential prerequisite for the lasting political solution everyone claims to want.
. . . Democratic and Republican members of Congress are looking for a different kind of political solution: the solution to their problems in presidential primaries and elections almost two years off.
. . . The most popular resolutions simply oppose the troop increase without offering much useful guidance on what to do instead, other than perhaps go back to the Baker-Hamilton commission's vague plan for a gradual withdrawal.
. . . [Other] critics demand a cutoff of funds for the war and the start of a withdrawal within months. . . . [But] what do they propose the United States do when, as a result of withdrawal, Iraq explodes and ethnic cleansing on a truly horrific scale begins?
. . . Do they recommend that we . . . do nothing, regardless of the consequences?"

By Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan.

Kagan, Robert. (The Washington Post). January 28, 2007. Grand Delusion.

posted: tuesday, january 30, 2007, 4:29 PM ET


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Is Iran good or bad for Iraq?

"White House spokesman Tony Snow . . . said the administration was taking a wait-and-see approach to a statement by Iran's ambassador to Baghdad that his country was prepared to offer the Iraqi government economic and military help to promote reconstruction and security. The ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, told the New York Times Sunday that the plans include establishing an Iranian national bank branch in Baghdad, the newspaper reported today.
"We'll wait and see whether it's a positive development or not," Snow told reporters in a news briefing. However, "to the extent that anybody, including Iranians, are smuggling weapons, bringing in fighters, killing Americans, trying to destabilize the democracy in Iraq, we will take appropriate measures to defend our troops and also to defend the mission," he said.
If carried out, the Iranian offer could drive a wedge between Washington and the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at a time when the United States is trying to limit Iranian influence in Iraq and punish the Islamic Republic for pursuing a nuclear program that includes uranium enrichment and spent-fuel reprocessing." [1]

"[Ambassador Qumi] would not provide specifics on Iran’s offer of military assistance to Iraq, but said it included increased border patrols and a proposed new 'joint security committee.'
Any Iranian military assistance to Iraq would be fraught with potential difficulties. Aside from provoking American objections, such assistance could further alienate Sunni Arabs, many of whom already suspect that Iran, overwhelmingly Shiite, is encouraging Iraq’s Shiite-led government in persecuting them.
. . . 'We are welcoming all the initiatives to participate in the process of reconstruction,' said Qasim Daoud, a former national security adviser who is now a secular Shiite member of Parliament. 'My belief is that our strategic alliance is with the Americans, but at the same time we are looking for the participation of any country that would like to participate,' Mr. Daoud said.
. . . 'Iraqi national interest requires seeking good neighborly relations with Iran as with other neighbors, but that requires respect for Iraqi sovereignty,' [said Barham Salih, a Kurdish deputy prime minister.] [2]

[1] Branigin, William . (The Washington Post). January 29, 2007. Bush Warns Iran Against Action in Iraq.
[2] Glanz, James. (The New York Times). January 29, 2007. Iranian Reveals Plan to Expand Role in Iraq.

posted: tuesday, january 30, 2007, 3:29 PM ET

update: tuesday, january 30, 2007, 5:38 PM ET


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Sunday, January 28, 2007

66 years of secrecy (and counting)

"The citizenry at large is now thought of as under military discipline. In wartime, it is true, people submit to the national leadership more than in peacetime. . . . But those impositions are removed when normal life returns.
But we have not seen normal life in 66 years. The wartime discipline imposed in 1941 has never been lifted, and 'the duration' has become the norm. World War II melded into the cold war, with greater secrecy than ever — more classified information, tougher security clearances. And now the cold war has modulated into the war on terrorism.
There has never been an executive branch more fetishistic about secrecy than the Bush-Cheney one. The secrecy has been used to throw a veil over detentions, 'renditions,' suspension of the Geneva Conventions and of habeas corpus, torture and warrantless wiretaps. We hear again the refrain so common in the other wars — If you knew what we know, you would see how justified all our actions are.
But we can never know what they know. We do not have sufficient clearance."

Op-ed by Garry Wills, history professor

Wills, Garry. (The New York Times). January 27, 2007. At Ease, Mr. President.

posted: sunday, january 28, 2007, 9:43 PM ET
update: sunday, january 28, 2007, 10:35 PM ET


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Lebanese Shiites suspect U.S. encouraging tension

"From Hezbollah's leaders to Shiites in the street, many speculate that the United States is encouraging the Sunni-Shiite tension as a way to blunt the growing profile of largely Shiite Iran. But there is worry, too, that whatever the design, Lebanon is too divided, too weak, too reflexive in its loyalty to its clannish leaders to withstand the repercussions of sectarian strife.
'Curse whoever awakened it!' read Friday's headline in as-Safir, one of Beirut's main daily newspapers."

Shadid, Anthony. (The Washington Post). Along Beirut's Line of Confrontation. January 27, 2007.

posted: sunday, january 28, 2007, 9:25 PM ET


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America left Vietnam despite credible new strategy

"Certain parallels between Iraq and Vietnam are uncanny. A new general, David Petraeus, is taking over in Iraq with a credible new strategy, counterinsurgency. Four decades ago, General Creighton Abrams became the American commander in Vietnam, also with a new strategy. It called for taking and holding the villages and hamlets of South Vietnam. In a word, it was counterinsurgency, and it worked. Now in Iraq, Petraeus has as good a chance of success, starting with the pacification of Baghdad, as Abrams had. And the painful lesson of Vietnam applies in Iraq: Don't give up when victory is at hand." [1]



(Gen. Petraeus is the Baby Einstein of military strategy.)


[1] Barnes, Fred. (The Weekly Standard). February 5, 2007. Not This Time.
[2] Kagan, Frederick W. & Kristol, William. (The Weekly Standard). January 29, 2007. All We Are Saying . . . Is Give Petraeus a Chance.

posted: sunday, january 28, 2007, 8:53 PM ET
update: monday, january 29, 2007, 10:02 AM ET


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Controversial sheiks helping defeat al-Qaeda in Ramadi

"With the help of a confederation of about 50 Sunni Muslim tribal sheiks, the U.S. military recruited more than 800 police officers in December and is on track to do the same this month. Officers credit the sheiks' cooperation for the diminishing violence in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
"I don't want to paint too rosy a picture, but if you compare this to what it was seven or eight months ago, there is not a place in this city that al-Qaeda controls," said Lt. Col. James Lechner, deputy commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, in Ramadi.
But some Iraqi politicians and Anbar residents who oppose the U.S. presence describe the confederation, known as the Awakening, as a divisive group that pits tribes against each other, uses police officers as armed guards to protect tribal territory, and harnesses American support to consolidate its power."

The Washington Post. Sheiks Help Curb Violence in Iraq's West, U.S. Says. January 27, 2007.

posted: sunday, january 28, 2007, 7:54 PM ET


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Kosovo independence agreed to by U.S. and Europe

"Nearly eight years after NATO warplanes intervened in a bitter ethnic conflict between Serbs and rebellious Kosovo Albanians in the former Yugoslavia, the United States and its European allies have agreed to support Kosovo's permanent secession from Serbia under continuing international supervision, according to senior U.S. and European officials.
The decision is likely to lead, possibly as early as this summer, to the formal creation of a new Connecticut-size country in southeastern Europe with membership in the United Nations and, eventually, its own army, the officials said. But a foreign diplomat posted in the capital would retain authority to fire officials and rescind legislation deemed divisive, while leaving routine matters of government to local control.
Under the plan, NATO troops would continue to patrol the new state to ensure peace and help protect minorities, but would gradually withdraw.
. . . Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999. That year, a 78-day air campaign by NATO forced out the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army, ending its brutal war against guerrillas fighting for self-rule for the province's ethnic Albanian majority."

Smith, R. Jeffrey. (The Washington Post). January 26, 2007. Kosovo Wins Support For Split From Serbia.

posted: sunday, january 28, 2007, 7:33 PM ET

update: sunday, january 28, 2007, 10:38 PM ET


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Bush to request $10.6 billion for Afghanistan

"President Bush plans to ask Congress for $10.6 billion in aid for Afghanistan, primarily to beef up the country’s security forces, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday.
The aid request would come before what is expected to be another spring offensive by resurgent forces linked to the Taliban, the former rulers of Afghanistan. In Washington, the Pentagon announced Thursday that it was delaying the departure of a 3,200-soldier combat brigade from Afghanistan for as long as three months, increasing the American force level there to around 24,000. An additional 20,000 soldiers from other NATO countries are also deployed there.
The aid request would include $8.6 billion for training and equipping Afghan security forces and would go toward increasing the size of Afghanistan’s national army by 70,000 and its local police forces by 82,000, said a senior American official familiar with the issue.
An additional $2 billion would go to reconstruction projects like building roads, laying down electric power lines, development in rural areas, and counternarcotics efforts, administration officials said. The officials said that they planned to use some of the money to help Afghanistan and Pakistan battle the Taliban and other insurgents along the Afghan-Pakistan border."

The New York Times. Bush to Seek More Aid for Afghanistan as Taliban Regroups. January 26, 2007.

posted: sunday, january 28, 2007, 7:12 PM ET


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Sadr militia offers deal

"An Iraqi official [Rahim al-Daraji, the elected mayor of the Sadr City district] authorized to speak on behalf of field commanders for the country’s most powerful militia has approached Western military officials and laid out a plan to avoid armed confrontation, senior Iraqi and American officials said this week.
. . . Mr. Daraji said he represented 14 political and military groups in Sadr City. He said local residents, including [Moktada al-Sadr's] Mahdi Army commanders, wanted to find ways to work with the Americans to avoid any large-scale confrontation. Commanders would tell militiamen to keep their weapons off the streets, he said, if Americans agreed to certain demands.
Some of the actions Mr. Daraji said he had requested in exchange for the promises from the militias seemed likely to draw stony stares from American military officials, namely to stop conducting raids in Sadr City and to release a number of those who had been arrested.
But other demands — to provide jobs for Sadr City residents, to bring in new construction projects and to triple the number of police stations there — seemed more realistic."

The New York Times. Iraqi Official Offers Terms From Militia to Avoid Fight. January 25, 2007.

posted: sunday, january 28, 2007, 6:54 PM ET

update: sunday, january 28, 2007, 10:30 PM ET


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Friday, January 26, 2007

Iraq could triple oil output, analyst says

"[Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co] estimated that Iraq could easily produce 6 million barrels a day, more than three times its current output and enough to help keep a lid on world prices.
. . . [Iraq's proposed oil law] has taken on significance beyond oil. While Iraq and foreign oil companies are eager to tap new revenue, the Bush administration and many Iraqis also hope that the law can be a model for resolving disputes and can bind Iraq's warring factions together.
. . . [James A. Placke, an expert at Cambridge Energy Research Associates] estimated that 200,000 barrels a day is siphoned from the main export line through southern Iraq. . . . What's left after discounts and bribes goes to militias or insurgent groups, he said.
In the south, some local Shia militia, clan or clerical groups are trying to claim the rights to some Iraqi fields and a voice in negotiating access for foreign companies. . . . Some experts worry that, as in Sudan, oil could contribute more to tearing the country apart than to uniting it.
. . . The national petroleum law remains a touchy subject in part because of widespread suspicion that the U.S. invasion in 2003 was motivated by designs on Iraq's oil riches."

The Washington Post. Iraq Struggles to Finish Oil Law. January 24, 2007.

posted: friday, january 26, 2007, 12:25 PM ET


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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sadr's redeployment plan not covered enough / Is war for U.S. almost over?

"The parliamentary bloc of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced an end to a boycott that has kept Iraq's young National Assembly semi-paralyzed for two months. *
The Sadr bloc returned to the assembly after a parliamentary committee and the speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, agreed to a series of demands, said Falah Hasan Shenshel, a member of the Sadr bloc.
The demands included establishing a timetable for the buildup of Iraqi troops and the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and a condition that the presence of foreign troops would not be extended without a vote by the assembly, Shenshel said. U.S. troops should retreat from Iraqi cities and return to their bases by the end of August, he said.
'By doing so, America would confirm that it came to Iraq as a liberator and not as an occupier,' Shenshel said.
Sadr's movement has 30 seats in the 275-member parliament, and his political loyalists have called for a prompt withdrawal of U.S. troops. He is widely regarded as a focal instigator of the sectarian violence that has ravaged the country in recent months." [1]

Why isn't this a bigger story? If the U.S. troops will be exiting the cities and staying at their bases, they'll probably be out of most of the danger.

(This sounds more like a proposal for a law that still needs to be voted on by the Parliament, but with Sadr, a committee and the Speaker agreeing to it, it sounds like it has a legitimate chance at passing. A recent New York Times article said that "deals on important legislation, most recently the oil law, now take place largely out of public view, with Parliament - when it meets - rubber-stamping the final decisions." [2] So its eventual passage seems even more likely, though they're still working on the oil law.)

The NYT article also said that "security is almost exclusively the policy realm of the American military and the office of the prime minister." [2] But the Iraqi Constitution says that one of the powers of Parliament (aka The Council of Representatives) is "monitoring the performance of the executive authority" (Article 60, second). The Prime Minister, who is described as being "responsible for the general policy of the State and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces," is included in the executive authority (Article 77). The Constitution also says that "a law shall regulate the work of the security institutions . . . and be subject to the oversight of the Council of Representatives" (Article 83, first). So it seems that the Parliament has definite oversight powers over the Prime Minister and his policies and over the security institutions, but the Constitution, unfortunately, does not say what these powers are. [3]

Also, I'm not certain whether the United States military operating within Iraq is the exclusive domain of the Prime Minister (though it could be.) While the Prime Minister is the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces, the U.S. military is not part of the Iraqi armed forces, so the Parliament, whose powers also includes "enacting federal laws" (Article 60, first), might also have the legal authority to create the policy of what role the U.S. military can maintain in Iraq. [3]

At the very least, Sadr's proposed redeployment law seems no less than the U.S. Congress's proposed non-binding resolutions opposing an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq which are receiving much attention in the press and by other influential parties.

And also, does the part of Sadr's proposed law about the presence of foreign troops not being extended mean just their presence in Iraqi cities or in Iraq entirely? More details are needed.

The Iraqis also seem to be taking matters into their own hands. Aren't redeployment and the Iraqis taking control what many of the anti-war people want? Is much or most of America's military involvement in the war about to end and nobody wants to say anything? (Iraq could conceivably ask America to stay beyond the deadline, but that possibility seems to be part of many of the anti-war people's plan also.)

Gen. Casey also said recently that the surge troops could begin withdrawing by "late summer" if the people of Baghdad were feeling safer. [4]

Casey's "late summer" and Shenshel's "end of August" sound like about the same time. Shenshel's plan sounds broader and more specific than Casey's, but with 80% of the violence apparently occurring within 30 miles of Baghdad [5], they seem similar. The insurgent-terrorist violence might still be an issue, however, at least from the American point-of-view.

* It's been implied or I've been interpreting that Sadr's bloc of 30 representatives boycotting Parliament had been preventing a quorum from being gathered and thus laws from being passed. (see boycott posting, 1/21/06.) But a quorum requires only "50 percent plus one" of Iraq's 275 member Parliament. [2] So Sadr's 30 boycotting representatives, by themselves, fell far short of the 138 representatives it would have taken to mathematically prevent a quorum. Other representatives may have joined the boycott, but this was not made clear or I may have missed that part.

* Since this was originally posted, Gen. Casey's successor, Gen. David Petraeus, has said that the troop increase will 'need to be sustained, certainly for some time well beyond the summer.' [6]

[1] The Washington Post. Disguises Used in Attack on Troops. January 22, 2007.
[2] Cave, Damien. (nytimes.com). January 24, 2007. Iraq Parliament Finds a Quorum Hard to Come By.
[3] Iraqi Constitution. (iraqigovernment.org). Accessed January 26, 2007.
[4] The New York Times. General Sees Summer Deadline for Troops. January 20, 2007.
[5] The White House. President's Address to the Nation. January 10, 2007.
[6] Baker, Peter. (The Washington Post). Additional Troop Increase Approved. March 11, 2007.

related posting
Is Iraq getting ready to ask America to leave? December 23, 2006.

posted: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 5:38 PM ET
update: tuesday, march 13, 2007, 8:45 PM ET


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America's new Iraq policy is containing Iran, journalist says

" 'The American agenda has completely changed,' [Lebanese journalist Michael] Young said. 'What Iraq was set out to be has been supplanted by a completely different agenda -- containing Iran and containing Iran's allies.' "

The Washington Post. War's Arab Supporters Bitter Over Its Results. January 22, 2007.

posted: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 4:01 PM ET


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Iraq may be heading towards break up, historians say

"[Boston University historian David] Fromkin said, Iraq once looked as though it might hold together, under the late President Saddam Hussein's iron fist. But today, "if I had to bet, I would bet on disintegration" into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish entities.
[Phebe] Marr, of the U.S. Institute of Peace, has seen a lot of Iraqi history, having first gone there in the 1950s. . . . "I have problems myself seeing where it's going to end," she said. But "Iraq could tend to break up."
. . . Al-Hadithi, the Baghdad political analyst, sees only one chance, and it doesn't lie in new U.S. military strategies.
"What is needed," he said, "is drastic political changes and international involvement under the mandate of the United Nations. Otherwise the country is heading toward the bottom _ civil war and partition."

The Associated Press. Historians Offer Dismal Iraq Forecast. January 21, 2007.

posted: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 3:48 PM ET

update: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 8:25 PM ET


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Surge numbers based on successful Mosul campaign

"Bush and the military came at the plan from different perspectives. [Gen. George] Casey asked for two more brigades for Baghdad, plus a third that would be stationed in Kuwait as a reserve and two others that would be put on call back in the United States.
Bush decided that was not enough. His advisers studied the experience in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul under Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who successfully undercut the insurgency there, and they decided they could not risk having too few troops. Bush had already decided to replace Casey with Petraeus, and through intermediaries the president reached out to Petraeus, who was supportive of more troops than Casey requested.
So the president reversed Casey's plan, deciding that all five brigades would go to Baghdad in a phased deployment. "The president came out and said, 'Let's err on the side of making sure they have everything they need,' " said a senior official."

The Washington Post. Embattled, Bush Held To Plan to Salvage Iraq. January 21, 2007.

posted: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 3:17 PM ET


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Brits to exit Iraq's 2nd largest city without disarming militias, probably this spring

" 'As we see the need for less troops, the surplus will go home,' said Maj. Chris Ormond-King, a British military spokesman in Basra, where Mr. Gates held the talks with British commanders.
Major Ormond-King said that Britain maintains three bases inside Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, but that plans were moving forward to turn over the city to full Iraqi control, a step that he added was 'probably achievable' by this spring.
He said that British commanders had no plans to disarm Shiite militia groups, including the Mahdi Army and the Badr Organization, that have been vying for power in the city, as long as they do not attack British forces. A critical part of the new American strategy for stabilizing Iraq is to persuade Mr. Maliki to disarm Shiite militias as well as Sunni insurgents.
. . . [U.S. Defense Secretary Robert] Gates said this week that Britain was making troop reductions at the same time Washington was building up forces in Iraq because conditions in southern Iraq are different than those in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, where the United States has most of its troops."

The New York Times. General Sees Summer Deadline for Troops. January 20, 2007.

posted: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 2:46 PM ET

update: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 3:06 PM ET


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AJ is OK, says anchor

"Had I space and time, I would rebut all of Mr. [Judea] Pearl’s charges against Al Jazeera English, but let me engage a few of them here.
We do not mix 'news coverage and extremist propagandizing.' . . . Suicide attacks have never been called 'martyrdom' operations, 'commando attacks' or, most absurd of all, 'paradise operations.'
. . . Nor do Al Jazeera English’s editors portray a struggle between an 'evil-meaning Western oppressor and its helpless, righteous Arab victims.' "

Letter to the Editor by David Marash, an anchor at Al Jazeera English.

The New York Times. Al Jazeera English: What It Is, and Isn’t (3 Letters). January 22, 2007.

related posting
Al Jazeera reflecting radical Islam and conspiracies, Pearl says. January 20, 2007.

posted: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 2:12 PM ET
update: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 7:14 PM ET


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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Surge numbers low; relies heavily on Iraqi security

"When Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus assumes his duties as the new American commander in Iraq, he will be guided by a new military doctrine on counterinsurgency that makes the security of the population a chief objective.
. . . The additional five combat brigades that would be sent to Baghdad under President Bush’s strategy would roughly double the size of the American force involved in the security operation there, about 15,000 troops. But as a whole, that would still represent only a small portion of the 120,000-strong force that would be required to secure the entire capital according to the force ratios outlined in the military’s new field manual for counterinsurgency, which General Petraeus helped to draft.
Interviews with military officers suggest that the Bush administration can come close to meeting the manual’s guidelines by relying heavily on the efforts of Iraqi security forces and concentrating the effort on key neighborhoods. But this means that the strategy will depend greatly on the performance of Iraqi forces, including police units that have often been criticized as ineffectual or under the influence of Shiite militias."

The New York Times. In Baghdad, Pressing to Meet, With Iraqi Help, Pentagon’s Own Standard for Force Levels. January 19, 2007.

posted: sunday, january 21, 2007, 8:58 AM ET


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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Andrea Parhamovich, NDI worker killed in Baghdad

"An American woman killed here on Wednesday [January 17] when gunmen fired on her convoy of vehicles was ambushed just minutes after leaving the headquarters of a prominent Sunni Arab political party, where she had been teaching a class on democracy, party members said Thursday.
They said the woman — Andrea Parhamovich, 28, of Perry, Ohio — left the party’s fortified compound in western Baghdad around 4 p.m., heading east to her group’s offices outside the Green Zone, when she and her armed guards came under attack from all sides.
Les Campbell, Middle East and North Africa director for the National Democratic Institute, which hired Ms. Parhamovich about three months ago, said that during the fierce firefight, guards tried to escape, fought back, then called for reinforcements from other private security contractors.
. . . Saleem Abdullah, a senior member of the Sunni political group, the Iraqi Islamic Party, said that Ms. Parhamovich’s group might have been chosen as a target when it arrived. 'It seems that someone, when they saw her in the area, set up an ambush,' he said.
. . . Unrelenting violence has kept civil and political development at bay here and in other areas of Iraq." [1]

Les Campbell, the National Democratic Institute's director for Africa and the Middle East, was hesitant to verify details. The group's Baghdad office is outside the protected 'Green Zone' and he did not want to put others at risk. He also was not sure if Parhamovich and the rest of the institute's group were deliberately targeted for their work. 'That's a question we badly want answered,' Campbell said." [1a]

"Also on January 17 an attack on three vehicles operated by an Australian-Dubai firm, Unity Resources Group, killed Andrea Parhamovich, 28, a political adviser to the Washington-based National Democratic Institute - whose chairwoman is former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright.
NDI is helping to restructure Iraqi government agencies.
. . . Unity Resources Group chief operating officer Australian Michael Priddin told the Herald Sun a Hungarian security contracotr was lightly injured and an Iraqi employee was still recovering from bullet wounds." [1b - no link]

"In the rural neighborhood where Parhamovich's parents live, David Rolfes of NDI and Parhamovich's brother-in-law, Joe Zampini, stood at a church across the road Thursday evening and asked reporters not to approach the family's home. In its statement, the family appealed for privacy and extended condolences, thoughts and prayers to "the families of those who gave their lives while protecting Andi."
The community of about 1,100 people, about 35 miles east of Cleveland, is known for its many flower nurseries and greenhouses that take up acres of land, as well as being home to a FirstEnergy Corp. nuclear power plant." [1c]

Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy was held mostly responsible for the 2003 blackout that affected much of northeastern United States, including New York City, and Ontario, Canada. [1d] Its power plant being in the local power grid where the black out had its origins, Perry was mentioned 66 times in the final report by the U.S. and Canadian governments, though Perry was not said to have been the cause. Perry was one of seven U.S. nuclear plants whose power was tripped off because of the blackout. All four of New York's nuclear power plants were also tripped off. Al-Qaeda also claimed to have caused the blackout, but the final report discounted those claims. [1e]

"Her relatives gathered Thursday at the Middle Ridge Road house where she grew up.
. . . By early Thursday, word had reached St. Cyprian Church, where Parhamovich was a member, and Perry High School, where she excelled academically and was a tenacious softball player." [1f]

"[Parhamovich] graduated from Marietta College in Ohio and held jobs in the Massachusetts governor's office, that state's Department of Economic Development and Air America Radio before arriving in Baghdad in September. She moved to Iraq to take a job at the International Republican Institute but left last month to join [the National Democratic Institute]." [2]

"Parhamovich, a graduate of Marietta College in southeast Ohio, had been working with NDI in Baghdad since late 2006.
. . . Parhamovich graduated in 2000 with a degree in advertising and public relations with a minor in journalism, said Tom Perry, spokesman for Marietta College in central Ohio. While at the college, she worked in the liberal arts school's media relations office and was part of the campus television and radio station.
. . . She hadn't lived in Ohio for some time, even working for film company Miramax in New York for a short time, Perry said." [3]

"On Wednesday, January 17, 2006, Andi Parhamovich, who spent a semester and summer before her senior year at Marietta College as an OffWhite intern in our PR and media department, was killed in ambush in Iraq." [3a] Offenberger & White is a marketing solutions company in Marietta, Ohio. [3b]

"The act of writing myself into this equation is an invasion of privacy for a family that is heartbroken beyond understanding. Yet I must tell them you can’t have her all to yourself, not now. She belongs to each of us who knew her, thank you very much.
. . . In our office, of course, Andi has been gone – at least from our immediate lives - since she graduated from Marietta College and went off to save the world. Like all of our interns who have come and gone from OffWhite, we didn’t forget Andi. She was simply away for the requisite adventure of a lifetime, one we would hear about when homecoming weekend came about some leafy October, when she would bounce up the porch and into our office again, switch on the smile and carry on about exotic places beyond Marietta. She would drive us nuts and energize us at the same time. What a kid. She’s not shy, is she? Is she late today? Does she party? Is she getting anything out of this internship? Did she park in the wrong spot again or did she walk across the bridge?" [3c]

"Parhamovich [was] a former aide to Acting [Massachusetts] Governor Jane Swift.
. . . "I knew she had a desire to work in the nonprofit and government sector, but when I heard about her passing in Iraq, I was shocked," said Mark Nardone , executive vice president at PAN Communications, a public relations firm in Andover where Parhamovich worked for 15 months in 2000 and 2001.
He said Parhamovich excelled at client relations, but he could not recall anything that indicated she would make such a daring career shift. Parhamovich's easygoing ways left an impression on him more than anything.
. . . She left the firm to work as a communications aide in the state Department of Economic Development under Swift. And though it was a Republican administration, Parhamovich did not appear to be overly partisan. . . . She also worked for Mass Insight, a Boston-based public policy institute.
But by the time the Iraq war was raging, co-workers said, Parhamovich had become a political activist committed to fostering democracy abroad." [4]

"Parhamovich was killed in an ambush in Baghdad, and the Newsweek reporter in Baghdad who planned to marry her said Friday she had e-mailed him just last week with specifications for the ring.
"We were going to formalize everything," said 26-year-old Michael Hastings, recalling that Parhamovich's ring finger was a size 6.
They had been dating for about two years.
Parhamovich, 28, [was] an activist with the Washington-based National Democratic Institute.
. . . "She didn't agree with the war, but she felt that now that we're here, she wanted to do what she could to help the Iraqis," Hastings said in a telephone interview. "She wasn't afraid of taking risks."
. . . Comedian and radio show host Al Franken, who worked with Parhamovich at the liberal radio company Air America for about 18 months, said he was devastated by her death." [5]

" 'With God's assistance, we have succeeded in the destruction of two SUV vehicles belonging to the Zionist Mossad, killing all who were in them, attacking them by light and medium weapons,' wrote the group [the Islamic State of Iraq] that took responsibility, in a statement on a well-known Sunni insurgent website.
The group often refers to its targets as members of Israel's intelligence service.
But in fact, Hastings said, 'they killed a wonderful, unarmed girl.'
. . . In 2005, she got a job doing fundraising and publicity for Air America.
. . . Parhamovich met Hastings when he came to interview Jerry Springer, who was on an Air America show in New York.
. . . "We had — I have still — reservations at the Four Seasons in Paris on Valentine's Day."
Hastings had recently picked out two possible wedding rings. Ever since the milkshakes [on their first date], he said, he had known he wanted to spend his life with Andi.
"She is pure at heart," he said, bringing her to life — momentarily — in the present tense." [6] [20]

"Until a few months ago she was a spokeswoman for Air America, a challenging and often thankless job that she did with great skill and good humor.
I was lucky enough to work with her for more than a year, but I had no idea how gutsy and determined she was until she announced her plan to go to Iraq.
As her closest colleague and dear friend Jaime Horn put it, 'Andi had a fierce spirit and determination to change the world around her. It led her to a job in politics, and then to work at Air America Radio, but it wasn't enough. She felt a calling. She wanted to be an advocate for democracy, and that calling led her to Iraq.' " [7]

"Ms. Parhamovich, whom everyone called Andi, mocked death. In November 2006, two car bombs were discovered in front of the building where she lived in the Green Zone in Baghdad. The base was locked down, said Michael Hastings, her boyfriend, who is the Baghdad correspondent for Newsweek magazine. In the Green Zone convention center for hours, Ms. Parhamovich grew bored, Mr. Hastings said. She led 10 American and Peruvian men as they walked back to her building, mortars exploding nearby.
Mr. Hastings said he was planning to ask Ms. Parhamovich to marry him next month during a Valentine’s Day trip to Paris.
. . . She had left a job with the liberal Air America radio network, helping to organize its antiwar 'Bring ’Em Home' concert in New York City in March 2006.
. . . Ms. Parhamovich attended Marietta, a small liberal arts college in southeast Ohio. . . . Politically liberal, she was conservative on personal matters, said Ryan Zundell, who worked with her in the college’s public relations department." [8]

"Andi Parhamovich worked in my office as a student writer for almost 2 full years and instantly she made an impression. She was an outgoing go-getter and reminded me of a female Alex P. Keaton.
. . . Andi came back to Marietta a few years ago to go to lunch with myself and another co-worker at Marietta at the time, Tim (who was in charge of the writers). At the time Andi was working in NY with Miramax, and when she came to visit she brought Tim and I Cold Mountain CD’s and press kits. At lunch we peppered her with questions of what movie stars she had met and what they were like. She had matured a great deal between graduation and that winter lunch, as most people do and looked more like a professional woman than the college junior hanging in my office." [8a]

" 'The family of slain activist Andrea 'Andi' Parhamovich have issued this statement regarding the tragic death of the young woman: 'No words can express how deeply saddened we are over the loss of Andi. Though we are overwhelmed with grief, we wish to briefly share how wonderful and special a person Andi was. 'Andi was a confident, motivated, intelligent and loving young woman. She was a wonderful daughter, cherished sister, loving aunt, and devoted friend who also put those around her first. 'She embraced challenges, which allowed her to achieve so much in a relatively short period of time. Whether working with Massachusetts Governor Swift in Boston or Air America radio in New York, Andi always sought out great experiences that also allowed her to make a difference. 'It was that commitment to making a difference which led her to Iraq. 'Andi's desire to help strangers in such a dangerous environment thousands of miles away might be difficult for others to understand, but to us, it epitomized Andi's natural curiosity and unwavering commitment. She was passionate, bold and caring, as exemplified by her work to improve the lives of all Iraqis. 'We also want to extend our own heartfelt condolences to the families of those who gave their lives while protecting Andi. They, too, are in our thoughts and prayers. 'We will let you know any other details including information about the funeral arrangements when they become available. 'We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.' " [9]

"Zampini, who is married to Parhamovich's sister, met with reporters briefly Friday afternoon. He read from a statement the family had issued late Thursday night, stressing that Parhamovich was committed to trying to help the Iraqi people, in spite of the danger.
He said the news was devastating to the family, which had been concerned for her safety.
'She really never got into details with us,' Zampini said of the danger there. 'We knew she was going to be there and we knew it wasn't a safe place.' " [1a]

"Matthew Hiltzik, president of Freud Communications Inc. in New York, was Parhamovich's boss when she worked for film company Miramax about four years ago.
The two remained close friends and later, she was supposed to help him start his company, but then he recommended she go to Air America.
In Iraq, she wanted to work on spreading democracy there for about a year, then use that experience to perhaps work with a presidential candidate on foreign affairs, Hiltzik said.
A run for Congress also was in her dreams, he said.
Parhamovich, a liberal who had worked for a Republican Massachusetts governor, was an avid Cleveland Indians and Browns fan who had a fondness for the underdog.
"She always felt for Marty Schottenheimer," Hiltzik said.
She named the fantasy football team the two had after the San Diego Chargers coach who is the most successful one never to have reached the Super Bowl." [9a]

A 2003 Indiewire article said that "Miramax's Matthew Hiltzik has been promoted to senior VP of corporate communications and government relations.
. . . Hiltzik has been at Miramax since December of 1999 and will continue to handle many Miramax corporate communications duties as well as work on government relations, philanthropic efforts, community relations and other projects, including PR for Miramax Books. His background includes work for the New York State Democratic Committee. He is an attorney who remains an active member of the New York State Bar." [9b] Also, Hillary Clinton attended his 2001 wedding to Dana Chipkin [9c] and 'his father [George] is an agent at N. S. Bienstock,' [9d] a talent agency for broadcast news and reality shows [9e - click The News Agency link]. Hiltzig was also an executive producer of a Holocaust-themed documentary called Paper Clips that was released in 2004. [9f]

"Freud Communications is a powerful public relations firm with offices in London and New York. Freud Communications was founded by Matthew Freud.
. . . [C]lients [of its New York office] include Harper Collins publishers, American Media Inc, Live 8, Westwood One, and the film Syriana, for which George Clooney won a 2006 Oscar. Notable campaigns include public relations work during Katie Couric's transition from NBC to CBS." [9g] Matthew Freud is the great-grandson of Sigmund Freud. Matthew is married to Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert Murdoch. Matthew's first wife, Caroline Hutton, subsequently married Princess Diana's brother [9h] in 2001 [9i].

"When it comes to big things - things that can change a life - best friends don't mince words with each other.
That's why Jaime Horn immediately expressed reservations when her best friend, Perry Township native Andrea "Andi" Parhamovich, told Horn last year of her plan to go to Iraq.
. . . Horn is vice president of communications for Air America, the liberal talk-radio network. She and Horn had known each other since 2003, when they both worked for Miramax Pictures in Manhattan.
In April 2005, when Horn was hired by Air America, she persuaded Parhamovich to take a job at the fledgling radio network too.
"I loved Andi more than anyone," Horn said." [9j]

"Michael Hastings is honored to have escorted Andrea Parhamovich out of Baghdad and back to the United States.
'Andi was the most principled person I've ever met,' he said.
. . . Although Parhamovich was opposed to the war in Iraq, she went there to help people, he said.
. . . When Newsweek permanently posted Hastings to Iraq last summer, Parhamovich followed him there.
'We wanted to be closer and to keep our relationship alive," he said'
. . . Hastings said U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad attended a service for Parhamovich that took place at the Baghdad airport.
Parhamovich dreamed of one day forging a political career.
'She wanted to use the experience she was getting in Iraq to work with a presidential candidate on foreign affairs,' Hastings said." [9k]

"The Parhamoviches lived in Painesville when Andi was born June 16, 1978. She attended State Street Elementary School and Hobart Middle School before the family moved to Perry Township when Andi was in eighth grade.
. . . After her junior year at Marietta, Andi and a classmate from the Pittsburgh area landed internships at Pan Communications, a public relations company in the Boston area.
. . . Andi returned to Boston and Pan Communications after graduation.
. . . [Massachusetts Gov. Jane] Swift failed to receive her party's nomination one year later. That left Andi with the choice of staying in Boston or acting on her long-held desire to move to New York City.
. . . In reasonably short order, Andi landed a public relations job at Miramax Pictures. Horn, from Texas, also was a relative newcomer to Miramax. The two became fast friends. Horn joined Air America in 2005 as vice president of communications. Andi started the same day as a corporate publicist.
. . . Andi's stock rose quickly at Air America, earning her a promotion to director of program outreach.
. . . Andi was a Democrat, but she also was a pragmatist. She didn't agree with some of the policy tenets held by the people who ran the International Republican Institute, but the organization was doing outreach work in Iraq. She wanted to be among the civilians working on the ground in Iraq to promote democracy.
In September 2006, Andi learned she'd been hired by IRI and soon would be off to Iraq. "Her eyes lit up when she told me she was going to Baghdad," Horn said.
During her first three months in Baghdad, Andi focused on setting up a media and press center for the Iraqi Parliament. She left IRI at the end of November to join the National Democratic Institute. After a brief respite for NDI training in Washington, Andi returned to Baghdad on Christmas Eve.
Andi was in her element at the NDI's outpost in Baghdad. She was training Iraqi government officials on the intricacies of party politics, the principles of press freedom and how best to deal with the media.
. . . To a person, no one in the room felt Andi was following her boyfriend to Iraq. The two were planning to formalize their engagement in February or March.
Rather, they believe Andi was in Iraq because she wanted to make a difference in the war-torn country and because her stint there would improve her chances of having a career in national politics." [9l]

Parhamovich's fiancé, reporter Michael Hastings said, " 'We all take risks over here, and we know the risks. It's part of the job. But killing a soldier or getting whacked as a war correspondent is one thing—still tragic yet somehow more acceptable—but killing a civilian here to help is just despicable. Shouldn't have happened. Is it worth it? Good question, don't have an answer really. I hope it is, have my doubts, but more so, I hope she isn't forgotten. She wanted to be here, to be a part of history. She loved the adventure and the romance of it all. She loved helping people, making a difference. She loved politics; her heroes were Joan of Arc and Empress SiSi of Austria. (In other words: strong independent women. Like I said, she was a handful.)
'America could not have asked for a better face, a better representative in Iraq. She's the best and the brightest of her generation, the best of what our country stands for, and she was killed by truly evil people with a bankrupt ideology. I sound like Bush, but I think we can sometimes forget how bad these guys are.' " [9m]

"Memorial services for Andrea S. 'Andi' Parhamovich, 28, of Perry Township, formerly of Baghdad, Iraq and New York, N.Y., will be 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Cyprian Catholic Church, 4223 Middle Ridge Road, Perry.
. . . She was born June 16, 1978, in Marietta.
. . . Survivors are her fiance, Michael Hastings of New York, N.Y.; parents, Andre and Vicki (Fox) of Perry; sister, Marci (Joseph) Zampini of Perry; brothers, Cory and Chris Parhamovich; nieces, Abby Rose and Kayla Grace Zampini of Perry; grandmothers, Bernadine Fox of Marietta and Suzanne Parhamovich of Bedford; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
She was preceded in death by her grandfathers, Stanley Fox and Phillip Parhamovich; and cousins, Keith Davis and Michael Fox.
Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Johnson Funeral Home 368 Mentor Ave., Painesville (Opposite Lake Erie College). The Rev. Peter Mihalic of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church of Fairport Harbor will officiate at services.
Memorials may be made to the Andi Fund c/o Donna Lovecchio, Perkins & Coie LLP, 607 14th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005." [9n]

"[L]ast November, two car bombs were discovered in front of the building where Parhamovich resided in the Green Zone in Baghdad, resulting in a base lock down.
Parhamovich was unharmed during the incident.
. . . Marietta is also the city where Parhamovich was born in 1978. Her grandmother Bernadine Fox still lives in Washington County." [9o]

"Light streamed through stained-glass windows as family and friends of Andrea "Andi" Parhamovich settled into pews Thursday for her funeral Mass.
. . . At the back of the church, Mary Ann Ratchko of Painesville played the evocative opening notes of 'The Hills of New Zealand' on the Irish whistle.
. . . On a stand just in front of the sanctuary, surrounded by flowers and flanked by a framed picture of Parhamovich, was the urn containing her ashes.
. . . Sitting with the family was Parhamovich's fiance, Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings.
. . . Also in the pews were Parhamovich's close friends from various jobs she held in Boston and New York City.
They included Air America radio talk show host Al Franken, Jaime Horn and Matthew Hiltzik of New York City and Keri Bertolino of Boston.
. . . Horn and Hiltzik delivered remarks of remembrance near the end of the Mass.
. . . A shared love of sports was the theme of Hiltzik's recollections.
He grinned while talking about their August 2004 trip to Yankee Stadium to watch the Indians (her favorite team) play the Yankees (his favorite team).
Even when the Indians raced to a 15-0 lead, Parhamovich didn't want to hear about beating an early path to the exit.
. . . Near the end of what turned out to be a record-breaking, 22-0 rout, Parhamovich led a small group of fans in cheering for Tribe shortstop Omar Vizquel.
. . . Following the Mass, the Parhamovich family hosted a reception at LaMalfa Center in Mentor.
The invocation was delivered by Hastings' uncle, Monsignor Dennis Mahan of New Jersey." [9p]

"An Eau Claire [Wisconsin] man who's been to Iraq three times as an independent contractor got a deadly reminder of the dangers there. One of Wallace Rogers' colleagues, Andrea Parhamovich, and three of her bodyguards were killed in an ambush bombing in Baghdad Wednesday.
Rogers helps local Iraqi governments get organized through the National Democratic Institute (N.D.I.), based in Washington, which has about 20 people in Baghdad. He says the group will probably pull out of Iraq after this attack.
Rogers says Parhamovich’s death will be hard for everyone at the institute.
'N.D.I. is kind of a family, kind of a small team,' Rogers says. 'I mean, they're pretty cohesive, so I know this is a real blow for everybody at the headquarters in Washington and surely at the office in Baghdad.
Rogers was last in Iraq during July of 2005. He's worked in Tikrit, Mosul, and Baghdad to help local governments get organized on the ground. Rogers says N.D.I. staffers have tight security." [10]

" 'There is no more sacred roll of honor than those who have given their last full measure in support of freedom,' said NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright. 'Yesterday, in Iraq, Andrea Parhamovich and our security personnel were enshrined on that list. They did not see themselves as heroes, only people doing a job on behalf of a cause they believed in. They were not the enemies of anyone in Iraq; they were there to help. Now, the prayers of all of us at NDI are with them and with their families. We pledge to do everything that is within our power to see that they did not die in vain. We will honor their example, keep alive their memory, and carry on their work.'
. . . An outgoing woman who made friends quickly, Andi wanted to use her education and skills as a communications specialist to help Iraqi political party leaders and parliamentarians develop strategies to reach out to voters and constituents. Andi's work helped to build the kind of national level political institutions that can help bridge the sectarian divide and improve Iraqi lives. An energetic activist who inspired her colleagues with creative ideas, Andi forged impressive relationships with Iraqi political leaders, many of whom have expressed their deep sadness at her murder.
. . . The National Democratic Institute's engagement in Iraq started in June 2003. The Institute's nonpartisan programs focus on civic participation, political party strengthening, assistance with the formation of a democratic legislature and executive branch of government, supporting women's political participation and helping to ensure open and fair electoral processes." [11]

Madeleine Albright gave her views on the situation in Iraq before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on January 17, 2007. [12] [13] Excerpts from her prepared statement are below:

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: "At this point, we can go or stay, de-escalate or surge, change our tactics or not, and disturbing—even horrifying--events will continue to occur.
. . . The Sunnis want our troops to protect them from the Shiites and the Shiites want us to get out of the way so they can consolidate their power.
. . . I agree with the president it would be a disaster for us to leave under the present circumstances.
But it may also be a disaster to stay – and if our troops are no longer in a position to make the difference, we have an overriding moral obligation to bring them home.
James Baker and Lee Hamilton recommended a more limited role for US troops – with an emphasis on training, working in tandem, and providing a back up rapid reaction capability.
Their view, which I share, is that Iraqis must take responsibility for their own security – because although we can assist – we cannot do the job for them.
We do not have enough people; we do not speak the language; we do not know the culture and, quite frankly, we do not have the recognized legal and moral authority to go into Iraqi homes and order people around.
Each time we do, we lose as much ground politically as we might hope to gain militarily.
This is crucial because, if there is to be a solution in Iraq, it will come about through political means.
This has been obvious for years.
An arrangement must be worked out that will give each side more than they can obtain through continued violence.
. . . For better or worse, the Iraqis think they know their own society and their own interests better than we do.
They have responsibilities to each other that they must meet, but no reason, based on our recent record, to take our advice.
They have no appetite, after Abu Ghraib and Haditha, to listen to our lectures about human rights.
And they know that President Bush has ruled out leaving, so where is our leverage?
That is why the president’s speech last Wednesday night should be viewed less as a statement of policy than as a prayer.
It was not about reality. It was about hope.
But hope is not a strategy.
Iraqis will continue to act in their own best interests as they perceive them.
We must act in ours.
. . . Congress should continue to support efforts to build democratic institutions in Iraq including the next step—provincial elections. Though the odds seem long, the best news coming out of Iraq these past few years have been the rounds of balloting, the approval of a constitution, the convening of a national parliament, and the beginning of a multi-party system. Given where Iraq began, these events have occurred with startling rapidity. As chair of the National Democratic Institute, I am not neutral about this but neither is America. It was always unrealistic to believe that a full-fledged democracy could be created in Iraq even in a decade. But it is equally unrealistic to think that a stable and peaceful Iraq will ever be created if democratic principles and institutions are not part of the equation. Security is necessary to create democracy; but in the long run, democracy will be essential to create real security. Give up on democracy and you give up not only on Iraq, but also on America.
. . . The bottom line is that there must be a political settlement in Iraq that will end the civil war and reduce the level of insecurity to something that can be managed. With a settlement, we could withdraw gradually, with mission accomplished. Without a settlement, our troops can do little good and might as well come home sooner rather than later. In that case, we should do all we can to help the Iraqis who have taken risks to support us these past few years.
Overall, I am not optimistic. I do, however, oppose efforts at this point to cut off funds for military operations in Iraq. There are more constructive ways to express concern about administration policies." [14]

A January 18, 2007 Bloomberg.com article said that "Madeleine Albright, the former U.S. secretary of state, raised $329 million to invest in emerging markets, joining the ranks of former dignitaries who have entered the lucrative world of private fund management.
Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment firm chaired by Albright in Washington, said it will make 'long term' investments in a range of assets for PGGM, a Dutch pension fund that manages more than 80 billion euros ($104 billion) for health-care employees and social workers. PGGM, based in Zeist, the Netherlands, committed the entire $329 million.
. . . Unlike the ex-officials who landed jobs at existing firms, Albright is building her own. She got into the business because 'she sees a need for investing to create a middle class' in emerging markets, [PGGM's Jelle] Beenen said.
. . . Albright's consulting clients include Marsh Inc., the insurance-brokerage unit of New York-based Marsh & McLennan Cos.
'To be blunt, the access that Madeleine Albright gives Marsh through her global contacts is unprecedented,'' Chief Executive Officer Brian Storms, who keeps Albright Group on a monthly retainer, said in a Jan. 10 interview." [15]

"The House Armed Services Committee met on Wednesday [January 17, 2007] to receive alternative perspectives on the president’s strategy for Iraq. The witnesses called to provide testimony included former William Perry of Iraq Study Group. . . . Perry stated, 'When the ISG [Iraq Study Group of which Perry was a member] was in Baghdad, we asked specifically if [a few more] brigades would help, they said no.'
. . . Perry argued that America needs to focus more on training the Iraqi troops if success is ever to be achieved, saying, 'As soon as army troops leave, the disorder comes back again. Maintaining security can only be done by a strong Iraqi army.'
. . . Although the Iraq Study Group does not sponsor a set date certain for withdrawal, Perry agreed that it is necessary for the Iraqis to know that the U.S. will leave, saying, 'The only pressure we have on the Iraqi government to make [the political] moves is they need to know they will stand on their own.' " [16]

(Andrea Parhamovich was from Perry, Ohio.) [1]

" 'Let us now begin a major effort to secure the best -- a crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny.' These words by President Ronald Reagan in a 1982 speech before the British Parliament were the inspiration that led to the establishment of the International Republican Institute (IRI).
. . . Congress responded to President Reagan’s call in 1983 when it created the National Endowment for Democracy to support aspiring democrats worldwide. Four nonprofit, nonpartisan democracy institutes were formed to carry out this work – IRI, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS). *
. . . IRI’s board of directors . . . includes former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger, former Presidential Envoy to Iraq L. Paul Bremer, III and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft." [17] Senator Chuck Hagel and former deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick are also on IRI's board. [18]

"On behalf of International Republican Institute (IRI) Board Chairman Senator John McCain, Vice Chairman Peter T. Madigan and President Lorne W. Craner IRI is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick [on December 7, 2006], an active supporter of IRI since the mid-1980s and a member of IRI’s Board of Directors since 1993. “Dr. Kirkpatrick was the intellectual author of the movement to assist in building democracies abroad, as an advisor to President Ronald Reagan and Ambassador to the United Nations. As a result of her work and her commitment to democracy, millions around the world are living freer lives. Her leadership is irreplaceable and she will be greatly missed by all of us." [19]

"The Islamic State of Iraq issued a claim of responsibility yesterday, Thursday, January 18, 2007, for an attack the day prior in Yarmouk, in Baghdad, on three vehicles they allege belong to the Israeli Mossad agency. According to the message, the Mujahideen of the Islamic State opened fire on the vehicles, destroying two and damaging a third.
According to media reports, the victims were not Israeli Mossad; rather, they included an American employee of the National Democratic Institute, Andrea Parhamovich, and security contractors from Hungary, Croatia and Iraq.
The Islamic State of Iraq was established to protect the Sunni Iraqi people and defend Islam, by the Pact of the Scented People. It is composed of a variety of insurgency groups, including the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq, Conquering Army [Jeish al-Fatiheen], Army Squad of the Prophet Muhammad [Jund al-Sahaba], Brigades of al-Tawhid Wal Sunnah, and Sunni tribes. It claims a presence in the governorates of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din, Ninawa, and parts of Babel and Wasit, and is headed by the Emir of the Believers, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi." [20]

" 'With God's assistance, we have succeeded in the destruction of two SUV vehicles belonging to the Zionist Mossad, killing all who were in them, attacking them by light and medium weapons,' wrote the group that took responsibility, in a statement on a well-known Sunni insurgent website.
The group often refers to its targets as members of Israel's intelligence service.
But in fact, [fiancé Michael] Hastings said, 'they killed a wonderful, unarmed girl.' " [6]

"A U.S. official said that the statement's authenticity could not be determined.
Its purported author - Islamic state in Iraq - is considered al-Qaida in Iraq's political arm, said the official, who did not want to be identified because of the information's sensitivity.
Creation of the group in October was taken as a propaganda move and a signal of al-Qaida in Iraq's interest in unifying all Sunni jihadists under one umbrella, but the official said some Sunni groups haven't embraced the new organization.
. . . [A]l-Qaida usually refers to foreigners whose nationalities it does not know as members of the Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.
Parhamovich was the first full-time worker for the group to be killed in Iraq. A security contractor for the organization was killed in March 2004." [20a]

"According to insurance claims on file at the Department of Labor, 770 civilian contractors have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 through Dec. 31 and 7,761 civilian contractors have been injured. The contractors include foreign workers." [20a]

"Air America Radio, the liberal network that filed for bankruptcy protection in October, said yesterday that it had reached a tentative agreement to be acquired by Stephen L. Green, the chairman of a real estate investment trust specializing in office buildings.
Mr. Green, the chairman and founder of the SL Green Realty Corporation, is no stranger to Air America. He has been providing interim financing to help the network meet current costs, and his brother, Mark Green, the former New York City public advocate and past candidate for mayor and state attorney general, has frequently been the host of programs on Air America.
. . . At least one change is certain, however. Air America also announced that its most famous on-air personality, Al Franken, would broadcast his last show on Feb. 14. While Air America did not disclose a reason for his departure, Mr. Franken has reportedly been considering a run for a United States Senate seat in Minnesota.
. . . Founded in 2004 as an alternative to conservative talk radio shows, Air America has been plagued with financial problems since the beginning." [20b]

* National Endowment for Democracy (NED) chairman Vin Weber "co-chaired a major independent task force on U.S. Policy Toward Reform in the Arab World with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright." [21]

* Iraq Study Group co-leader Lee H. Hamilton is on the NED board.

* The National Endowment for Democracy apparently has had some controversy.
A 1993 report by the libertarian Cato Institute said that "the National Endowment for Democracy is a foreign policy loose cannon. Promoting democracy is a nebulous objective that can be manipulated to justify any whim of the special-interest groups--the Republican and Democratic parties, organized labor, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce--that control most of NED's funds. As those groups execute their own foreign policies, they often work against American interests and meddle needlessly in the affairs of other countries, undermining the democratic movements NED was designed to assist.
. . . NED, which also has a history of corruption and financial mismanagement, is superfluous at best and often destructive. Through the endowment, the American taxpayer has paid for special-interest groups to harass the duly elected governments of friendly countries, interfere in foreign elections, and foster the corruption of democratic movements.

. . . On a number of occasions . . . NED has taken advantage of its alleged private status to influence foreign elections, an activity that is beyond the scope of AID or USIA and would otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation.
. . . The committee later found out the money was actually from NED. In another instance, a grant of $10,000 was given for three leaders of Equity, the actors' union, to attend a conference on international ex change of stage actors. While Equity realized the money came from the federal government, the recipients were unaware of the NED connection." [23]

Below are excerpts from the National Endowment for Democracy's recounting of its history:

"In the aftermath of World War II, faced with threats to our democratic allies and without any mechanism to channel political assistance, U.S. policy makers resorted to covert means, secretly sending advisers, equipment, and funds to support newspapers and parties under siege in Europe. When it was revealed in the late 1960's that some American PVO's were receiving covert funding from the CIA to wage the battle of ideas at international forums, the Johnson Administration concluded that such funding should cease, recommending establishment of “a public-private mechanism” to fund overseas activities openly.
On Capitol Hill, Congressman Dante Fascell (D, FL) introduced a bill in April, 1967 to create an Institute of International Affairs, an initiative that would authorize overt funding for programs to promote democratic values. Although the bill did not succeed, it helped lead to discussions within the Administration and on Capitol Hill concerning how to develop new approaches to the ideological competition then taking place between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
. . . In one of his major foreign policy addresses, President Reagan proposed an initiative "to foster the infrastructure of democracy--the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities--which allows a people to choose their own way, to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means." He noted that the American Political Foundation would soon begin a study 'to determine how the U.S. can best contribute--as a nation--to the global campaign for democracy now gathering force.'
. . . The American Political Foundation's study was funded by a $300,000 grant from the Agency for International Development(AID) and it became known as 'The Democracy Program.' Its executive board consisted of a broad cross-section of participants in American politics and foreign policy making. The Democracy Program recommended establishment of a bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation to be known as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The Endowment, though non-governmental, would be funded primarily through annual appropriations and subject to congressional oversight. NED, in turn, would act as a grant-making foundation, distributing funds to private organizations for the purpose of promoting democracy abroad. These private organizations would include those created by the two political parties and the business community, which would join the regional international institutes of the labor movement already in existence.
. . . The conference report on H.R. 2915 was adopted by the House on November 17, 1983 and the Senate the following day.
. . . On the day the Senate approved the conference report, articles of incorporation were filed in the District of Columbia on behalf of the National Endowment for Democracy. The Endowment was established as a nonprofit organization under section 501c (3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.
. . . NED's creation was soon followed by establishment of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and the National Republican Institute for International Affairs (later renamed the International Republican Institute or "IRI"), which joined the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) as the four affiliated institutions of the Endowment. (FTUI was later reorganized as the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, also known as the 'Solidarity Center.') This structure had been recommended by the Democracy Program for three basic reasons: first, because of the wide recognition of the parent bodies of these new entities as national institutions with a public character, an important asset for this non-governmental foundation; second, because they represent sectors of political life fundamental to any strong democracy; and third, to insure political balance. The Endowment would serve as the umbrella organization through which these four groups and an expanding number of other private sector groups would receive funding to carry out programs abroad.
. . . From time to time Congress has provided special appropriations to the Endowment to carry out specific democratic initiatives in countries of special interest. . . . following 9/11 and the NED Board’s adoption of its third strategic document, special funding has been provided for countries with substantial Muslim populations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
. . . NED's authorizing legislation spells out its non-governmental status, namely that "Nothing in this title shall be construed to make the Endowment an agency or establishment of the United States Government." Board members are not selected by the President and those who are appointed to serve in the Executive Branch relinquish their Board membership.

It is sometimes contended that without this official status, the Endowment lacks accountability. This charge overlooks the fact that NED is answerable to a wide array of overseers in both the Executive and Legislative Branches.
. . . NED's very mission, particularly in its early days, was challenged on ideological grounds. Opponents on the far left believed that promoting democracy was tantamount to interfering in the internal affairs of other countries in the service of U.S. foreign policy interests. Although a few antagonists continue on occasion to voice opposition, their numbers have dwindled, particularly with changes after the Cold War in attitudes on the left toward U.S. internationalism.

More significant opposition to the Endowment was voiced in the early years by some elements of the human rights community, who occasionally mischaracterized NED's natural interest in free and fair elections as its sole focus, while arguing that such elections do not necessarily guarantee the protection of basic rights. NED's programmatic emphasis on long-term democratic development, the building of civil society, and funding indigenous human rights groups has won over many of these early critics, and in fact has led to a substantial coalescence of interest between NED and the human rights community.
Within certain elements of the right, there have been allegations from time to time that the Endowment is promoting a "social democratic" agenda. These are based largely upon the prominent role played by the labor movement, as well as the social democratic background of NED's President. Nonetheless, over the years mainstream conservative activists and thinkers have been among the most outspoken advocates on behalf of the Endowment. Endorsements of NED have been offered by the leadership of such stalwart conservative organizations as the Heritage Foundation and Empower America, and favorable editorials have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and National Review.
. . . To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of NED’s establishment, the Board of Directors issued an invitation to President George W. Bush to make a major statement about democracy. In his address, one of the most significant of his Presidency, he articulated his vision of a more democratic Middle East, the one region of the world where democracy has failed to take hold. Much of his speech echoed one of the major themes of the Endowment’s third strategy document, which calls for promoting democratic institutions and values in the Muslim World, while maintaining NED’s global grants program.

The National Endowment for Democracy has grown from a simple but powerful idea into a multi-faceted institution with a wide-ranging program, solid bipartisan support, and an ambitious agenda. In the President’s 20th anniversary address, he paused to pay tribute to the Endowment, its staff, directors, and global program:
'By spending for and standing for freedom, you’ve lifted the hopes of people around the world, and you’ve brought great credit to America.' [24]

* "The Board of Directors and staff of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) were profoundly saddened to learn of the losses sustained by our dear friends and colleagues at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) when a convoy of its employees in Iraq was ambushed today, killing four and wounding two others. Since 2003 NDI and its staff have worked tirelessly with Iraqis who are bravely pursuing a democratic future for their country. This work, carried out by an international staff (including many Iraqis) across Iraq, and in the open, requires courage, determination and optimism – all characteristics that our fallen and injured colleagues had, and have, in abundance. Our hearts and prayers are with the families and friends of those lost today, and with their colleagues who will continue the pursuit of a democratic Iraq." [25]

[1] The New York Times. Ambush Kills an American Teaching Democracy to Iraqis. January 19, 2007.
[1a] O'Donnell, Patrick. (The Plain Dealer). Fiancé will bring body home from Iraq. January 20, 2007.
[1b] Dunn, Mark. (Herald Sun). Two Aussies shot in Baghdad. February 1, 2007 [NO LINK].
[1c] Milicia, Joe. (The Associated Press). Ohio woman killed in Iraq described as ambitious, friendly. January 18, 2007.
[1d] Canada-U.S. Power System Outage Task Force. Final Report on the August 14, 2003 Blackout in the United States and Canada. April 2004.
[1e] CNN. Blackout was preventable, probe finds. May 18, 2004.
[1d] Tinsley, Jesse. (The Plain Dealer). Perry grad killed in Iraq praised for her passion. January 19, 2007.
[2] The Washington Post. Sunni Insurgent Group Asserts It Killed American. January 19, 2007.
[3] The Associated Press. Community Remembers Woman Killed in Iraq. January 18, 2007.
[3a] White, Bill. (Offenberger & White). Andi Parhamovich. January 19, 2007.
[3b] Offenberger & White. Homepage. Accessed February 27, 2007.
[3c] White, Bill. (Offenberger & White). Thank You, Andi Parhamovich. January 26, 2007.
[4] The Boston Globe. Ex-Swift aide killed in Iraq ambush. January 19, 2007.
[5] The Associated Press. American Killed in Iraq Was Set to Marry. January 19, 2007.
[6] Los Angeles Times. Activist slain in Iraq 'was an idealist.' January 19, 2007.
[7] The Huffington Post. The War Comes Home to Air America. January 19, 2007.
[8] The New York Times. A U.S. Civilian in Baghdad: Standing Out, Even in Death. January 19, 2007.
[8a] Zundell, Ryan. (Thoughts from the End of the Alphabet). Closing Time. January 18, 2007.
[9] 19ActionNews.com. Family of Slain Perry Activist Holds Presser, Issues Statement. January 19, 2007.
[9a] Tuscano, Mark. (News-Herald.com). Family wants time to heal. January 20, 2007.
[9b] Hernandez, Eugene. (Indiewire). Pflug Leaves Artisan For A Top Spot at Miramax. April 10, 2003.
[9c] Friedman, Roger. (Foxnews.com). Sissy Spacek Gets In The Bedroom. November 19, 2001.
[9d] The New York Times. WEDDING; Dana Chipkin, Matthew Hiltzik. November 18, 2001.
[9e] N.S. Bienstock. The News Agency... and much more. Accessed February 4, 2007 [click The News Agency link].
[9f] Internet Movie Database. Paper Clips. Accessed February 4, 2007.
[9g] Wikipedia. Freud Communications. Accessed February 4, 2007.
[9h] Wikipedia. Matthew Freud. Accessed February 4, 2007.
[9i] Wikipedia. Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer. Accessed February 4, 2007.
[9j] Glasier, David S. (News-Herald.com). Best friend appreciates time spent with Andi. January 23, 2007.
[9k] Podolak, Janet. (News-Herald.com). Parhamovich headed home, her diligence remembered. January 23, 2007.
[9l] Glasier, David S. (News-Herald.com). Andi's journey. January 29, 2007.
[9m] Meacham, Jon. (Newsweek). The Editor's Desk. January 29, 2007.
[9n] News-Herald.com. Andrea S. 'Andi' Parhamovich. January 29, 2007.
[9o] Johnston, Ron. (MariettaTimes.com). Services set for MC grad. January 30, 2007.
[9p] Glasier, David S. (News-Herald.com). Closure comes to Andi's life, not her love. February 2, 2007.
[10] WEAU.com. Eau Claire Man Loses Colleague in Iraq. [No date. Accessed January 21, 2007].
[11] National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. NDI Remembers Staff Member in Iraq. [No date. Accessed January 21, 2007].
[12] House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Hearing Committee Information. Briefing: "Iraq, Part II." January 17, 2007.
[13] The Huffington Post. Huffpo's Melinda Henneberger Reports: GOP Reps "Eager To Agree" With Madeleine Albright's Iraq Testimony Before House Foreign Relations Committee... . January 17, 2007.
[14] House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Statement of Madeleine K. Albright. January 17, 2007.
[15] Bloomberg.com. Madeleine Albright Raises $329 Million for New Fund (Update4). January 18, 2007.
[16] Center for American Progress. Alternatives to Iraq Escalation Discussed in House Committee. January 19, 2007.
[17] International Republican Institute. History. [No date. Accessed January 21, 2007].
[18] International Republican Institute. Board of Directors. [No date. Accessed January 21, 2007].
[19] International Republican Institute. IRI Statement on the Death of Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick. December 8, 2006.
[20] SITE Institute. Islamic State of Iraq Kills Foreign Security Contractors and American Democracy Worker in Attack on Alleged Israeli Mossad Vehicles in Yarmouk. January 19, 2007.
[20a] Youssef, Maamoun. (The Associated Press). Insurgents claim responsibility for attack that killed Ohio woman. January 19, 2007.
[20b] Story, Louise. (The New York Times). Air America to Be Acquired by New York Investor. January 30, 2007.
[21] The National Endowment for Democracy. NED Board Bios: Vin Weber. [No date. Accessed January 21, 2007].
[22] The National Endowment for Democracy. NED Board Bios: Lee H. Hamilton. [No date. Accessed January 21, 2007].

[23] Cato Institute. Loose Cannon: The National Endowment for Democracy. November 8, 1993.
[24] The National Endowment for Democracy. NED History. Idea to Reality: NED at 20. [No date. Accessed January 21, 2007].

[25] The National Endowment for Democracy. NED Grieves NDI Staff Killed in Iraq. January 17, 2007.

Glasier, David S. (News-Herald.com). Best friend appreciates time spent with Andi. January 23, 2007.
Zundell, Ryan. (Thoughts from the End of the Alphabet). Closing Time. January 18, 2007.

Marietta College. Young alumna killed while working in Iraq. January 22, 2007.

CBS News. Remembering An American Hero. January 19, 2007.
CBS News. Andi Parhamovich's boyfriend. January 19, 2007. (enter "michael hastings" in CBS Search Videos box.)

posted: sunday, january 21, 2007, 8:11 AM ET

update: tuesday, february 27, 2007, 1:45 PM ET


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