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 Latest from Iraqi Kurdistan: Political Situation Worsens  

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Latest from Iraqi Kurdistan: Political Situation Worsens  24.2.2010 
By Michael Rubin

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February 24, 2010

A correspondent in Iraqi Kurdistan sends the latest from the independent Kurdish newspapers Awene and Hawlati (both of which the Talabani family is suing), as well as Sbeiy.com, which is close to the opposition "Change" list. Importantly, it seems U.S. diplomats are finally engaging Gorran, perhaps a recognition that Jalal Talabani's political party is destined to collapse.

Protesting against parliament's speaker's decision to limit MPs comments/discussion on 2010 budget, Gorran group steps out of parliament session discussing 2010 budget.

Again, today Gorran, Kurdistan Islamic Group, and Kurdistan Islamic Union groups leave parliament's session today after the speaker's press assistant/advisor's kicked out the press from the meeting and allowed them to record only for 10 minutes.                                  

Michael Rubin
US Consul in Erbil, Regional Reconstruction Team representatives at the US Consulate in Erbil meet Dana Ahmed Majid, former Sulaimaniyah governor and Gorran activist. According to a statement to Gorran's KNN television,www.ekurd.netthe US delegation reportedly discussed the elections process, campaigns as well as recent security situation in Sulaimaniyah.

In an unprecedented move by the PUK and KDP, militants in civilian dress enter parliament building during the session today. Gorran, KIU and KIG opposition groups in the parliament boycotted today's session and condemned the move and see it as a way of putting pressure on opposition and intimidate their MPs.

Michael Rubin's major research area is the Middle East, with special focus on Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Kurdish society. He also writes frequently on transformative diplomacy and governance issues. At AEI, Mr. Rubin chaired the "Dissent and Reform in the Arab World" conference series. He was the lead drafter of the Bipartisan Policy Center's 2008 report on Iran. In addition to his work at AEI, several times each month, Mr. Rubin travels to military bases across the United States and Europe to instruct senior U.S. Army and Marine officers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan on issues relating to regional state history and politics, Shiism, the theological basis of extremism, and strategy.

The views expressed are the author's alone.
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