Iraq Press Roundup

By HIBA DAWOOD, UPI Correspondent  |  Aug. 6, 2007 at 3:38 PM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The Baghdad-based independent Al Mada newspaper Monday ran a story with the headline, "Talabani has talks with Maliki, Adil Abdul-Mahdi on situation; rejects resignation of the Iraq Accordance Front ministers; welcomes the political council's position toward prisoners."

The article said that as "Maliki rejected the resignation of the Accordance Front’s five ministers, he said efforts were under way to convince the front to reconsider their decision." The paper also said President Jalal Talabani along with his deputy, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, and Maliki agreed to observe the political process, "study the Accordance Front’s demands, and carry out the logical ones."

The Accordance Front spokesman welcomed the "positive step" of the political council on the issue of prisoners.

Maliki told the newspaper Sunday’s "meetings … weren't due to the U.S. will, but to discuss the current situation."

Talabani said, "The Accord Front’s demands are under study, and the reasonable ones will be carried out." He said he hoped the front would participate in the summit involving the heads of the five lists in the Parliament and Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani.

President Bush, the paper reported, on a phone call discussed with Tariq al-Hashimi -- Iraq’s vice president and the only member of the front to remain in government -- to withdraw the resignation of the ministers and return to the political process.

"President Bush demonstrated his understanding of the reasons that pushed the Accordance Front to resign from Maliki's government,” the paper reported.

The Kurdish Al Taakhi newspaper reported Monday on another assault by Turkish forces that bombed areas around Duhok province on the border with Turkey.

"Police border sources said that Turkish artillery fired in one hour more than 200 bombs on towns in Zakho," the paper said.

Witnesses from the towns told Al Taakhi, "The Turkish bombs have destroyed vast agricultural areas." Naef Haji, a resident of a bombed town on the border, said, "Two artillery bombs fell on my orchard and burned 300 trees."

Al Taakhi also reported that the Iraqi government in its response to the security committee involving Iraq, Iran and the United States did not mention radical Shiite groups, which the United States accuses Iran of supporting.

A meeting Monday in Baghdad discussed the panel. It quoted Iranian ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi Qomi as saying, "The committee will be a result of the recent meeting between the U.S. and Iranian officials.”

The Iraqi government said, "This committee will be commissioned to find ways to reduce the militias' activities, fight al-Qaida, and distribute security on the borders.”

The paper noted "the Iraqi government didn't mention the radical Shiite militias that, according to Washington, are fighting U.S forces.”

Al Mutamar newspaper, an independent paper sponsored by Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress party, carried a front-page article titled, "High security performance around religious Murjite offices."

From Najaf, the paper reported that army and police forces strengthened their security actions around religious Murjites offices in Najaf. Ahmed Duaibel, a spokesman in Najaf, said, "Security forces have distributed the seventh battalion, and the intelligence forces in the middle of the old city of Najaf, where Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib shrine, and the religious marjiites offices lie.” This security action comes after the assassination of a representative of Shiite Murjite Ayatollah Ali Sistani's last Thursday.

From Baghdad, Al Mutamar newspaper reported on Member of Parliament Amira al Baldawi, of the United Iraqi Alliance, demanding a return of the defense forces to Balad district, north of Baghdad, after they were transferred to Samara. She said, "It is necessary to return Ministry of Defense forces to Balad due to the tension in the security situation." She said: "The police alone are unable to provide security in case the terrorist groups attacked Sayyed Mohammed shrine in Balad."

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