Iraq Press Roundup

By HIBA DAWOOD, UPI Correspondent  |  Aug. 7, 2008 at 8:39 PM
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Topics of importance in the Iraqi press Thursday, besides the "improved" security situation, include development and reconstruction, with some outlets saying if these matters gained momentum, violence would continue to diminish and there would be no need to sign onto a long-term security agreement with the United States. The provincial elections and the status of the city of Kirkuk remain at the forefront of topics covered as well.

Development instead of violence and corruption

The Iraqi people are no longer as easily deceived by political agendas after learning their lessons under foreign occupation, the independent Azzaman newspaper said.

The only way to reach a political consensus between Iraq and the United States is for U.S. officials to reveal their true agenda without putting pressure on the Iraqi government to achieve Washington's goals.

The Iraqi people have realized that the major scenario planned for them and for Iraq is linked to hidden motives aimed at stealing the wealth of the citizens.

Addressing the long-term security agreement under negotiation between Washington and Baghdad has united the Iraqi people as they begin to realize foreign strategies and hidden agendas only harm the people of Iraq and threaten the sovereignty of their country.

Although many Iraqi politicians have abandoned the agendas that exist behind the scenes of the U.S. administration, they have a long way to go to prevent further damage to Iraqi sovereignty, the newspaper said.

Iraqis must stand up for their country and reach a national consensus in order to "cleanse" Iraq of its foreign presence and expedite the process of removing the occupation forces before looking to bring the corrupt to justice for the damages inflicted upon the country, Azzaman concluded.

On the other hand, since Iraq is preparing for provincial elections, other Iraqi newspapers commented on the relationship among the various communities in Iraq who have expressed various levels of frustration, where with two rounds of elections thus far, they have experienced a lack of basic services and a declining security situation, leading many to reconsider their political allegiances.

The kicking season is coming

The Iraqi people may question the effectiveness of participating in the provincial elections because elected officials did not perform their duty or meet simple demands, the al-Bayyna newspaper of the Iraqi Hezbollah said.

Several of the problems facing Iraq are the fault of the Iraqi people themselves, and public officials should be faced with most of the blame, the newspaper said.

The Iraqi people assumed that their duties ended at the ballot box, which is an illogical and ignorant way to deal with politicians.

The people must always follow the actions of their representatives closely, if they are acting at all, and question them about what they have to offer -- first, to their country and second, to their region of origin.

Although many Iraqi lawmakers and provincial council leaders never meet their constituents, the latter could raise their collective voice, disclose poor performance and never fall victim to an ideology that portrays the people as helpless following votes that they thought would bring them out of desperation.

The Iraqi members of Parliament are employees who serve the people, and in order to earn their salaries, they have to perform in a productive fashion, the Hezbollah newspaper said in closing.

On the issue of Kirkuk, several Iraqi newspapers expressed their opinion on the outcome of negotiations regarding the future of the oil-rich city. Since the passage of the constitution, disputes over the future of Kirkuk and constitutional provisions that pertain to its status have taken place.

Kirkuk … to where?

The collapse of negotiations between political parties over the status of Kirkuk prior to the elections is a serious indication that hope is fading on reaching a consensus settlement, the daily Addustour said in an editorial feature.

Failure to reach an agreement on the issue opens the door to mostly negative possibilities, made worse by heightened rhetoric over the issue by Kurdish parties who are more interested in their own agenda.

Relying on political processes to settle the Kirkuk dispute is unfavorable, as it would prompt politicians to address the crisis based on their ideologies and ignore the rule of law.

Here it becomes essential that the central government involve itself in the matter to preserve security and implement the law according to the principles of the constitution, the newspaper said.

It is a constitutional violation for the Iraqi government to remain silent regarding statements that denounce the presence of Iraqi national forces in Kirkuk or other statements that threaten to claim the city for Kurdistan, should an adequate solution fail to emerge.

These violations not only prevent the Iraqi government from performing in a positive fashion, but also threaten to deteriorate the security situation.

The political disputes experienced today due to the Kirkuk issue are caused by agendas, ideologies and a failure to reach an agreement that would benefit all parties to the conflict.

The crisis we are going through today, the newspaper said, could be more serious than the last major wave of violence. Reigniting the flames of violence would only open old wounds that have yet to heal, but this time they would only deepen.

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