Dick Cheney: master diplomat, negotiator and conciliator?!
Ever since late February, the Iraqi government had been deadlocked over legislation that laid out guidelines for provincial elections. That was because one man on Iraq's three-member Presidency Council had objected to the law, calling it unconstitutional. The law would pave the way for the elections to take place on October 1st, a development that would be sure to have an effect on the U.S. election just a month later.
But yesterday, that member, Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi, suddenly withdrew his objection. The move came just two days after Vice President Dick Cheney met with Mehdi. So did Cheney have anything to do with that change? Well, it depends on who you ask. From The New York Times::
[Laith Shubar, an adviser to Mr. Mehdi,] said that Mr. Cheney had called Mr. Mehdi in February to ask about his objections to the law, but that the issue did not come up again when Mr. Cheney visited Mr. Mehdi here this week. A spokesman for Mr. Cheney said he could not comment on the meeting, but in an interview on Wednesday with ABC News, Mr. Cheney said, referring to Mr. Mehdi: âI talked with him about that, and a number of others. They expect theyâll have that resolved shortly.â
Shubar says the reversal came because Mehdi "received a promise from the Parliament speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashadani, that lawmakers would discuss the possibility of making changes to the legislation." Sounds like pretty thin gruel.
Meanwhile, the Times reports:
Early on Wednesday morning, American forces accidentally killed three Iraqi police officers, including a lieutenant in the special forces, just outside Hawija, a Sunni town about 140 miles north of Baghdad, an American military statement said. The statement said the officers were shot and another wounded when the Iraqi police, responding to a call for assistance, entered âat a high rate of speedâ a cordoned area where American forces were operating about 2:30 a.m..
The police lieutenant, Abdul Amir Hamid Salih, 39, had escaped five assassination attempts and had to change his cellphone number every week because of death threats from insurgents, said his father, Hamid Salih. Lieutenant Salihâs house was burned down six months ago by insurgents, who offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who killed him, his father said.
Hamid Kareem Hussein, the wounded police officer, said, âWe were surprised when the Americans asked us for help at night, so we went to this village and we faced gunfire.
âThe lieutenant said, âCall them on the loudspeaker and tell them we are policemen and that they asked for us,â and then everything cut out and I didnât feel anything,â he said, adding, âItâs a tragedy. I hate the police, and I hate Iraq.â