Category Archives: Magazine

Earthquake hits central Iraq, felt in Baghdad

An earthquake was felt at around 10 a.m. (0700 GMT) in Baghdad and central Iraq, according to residents and state-run media.

The tremor and its aftershocks caused some panic in central Baghdad, with residents exiting buildings, witnesses said.

State TV said there were no reports of important damage or fatalities. Electricity and internet services were not interrupted in central Baghdad.

The quake’s magnitude was 5.5, according to the United States Geological Survey.

A powerful earthquake hit the Iran-Iraq border region in November, killing at least 530 people in Iran and six others in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Abadi is just like Maliki

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is little but “another sectarian Iran proxy, just like [Nouri] al-Maliki,” Iraq’s previous prime minister, a regular blogger to the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine wrote on Tuesday.

The US helped Maliki become prime minister in 2006, but by 2014, when the Islamic State (IS) attacked Iraq, he was seen as a Shia partisan, whose sectarian policies had contributed to IS’ emergence and its conquest of one-third of the country.

As a condition of US support for the fight against IS, Washington demanded Maliki’s resignation, replacing him with his deputy—Abadi.

The State Department, charged now with executing US policy in Iraq, has embraced Abadi as the man who can contain Iran in Iraq. Foreign Policy echoed the State Department’s position last month when it named Abadi as one of the 100 most prominent global thinkers of 2017.

In explaining why it chose Abadi for the honor, Foreign Policy made a fundamental mistake. It asserted: Iraq’s “prime minister is already gearing up for his re-election campaign in the spring of 2018.”

Abadi was never elected Iraqi prime minister, so he cannot be re-elected! Abadi simply replaced Maliki, when the US insisted that he step down.

As a Kurdish member of Iraq’s parliament remarked to Kurdistan 24, in the last Iraqi elections—in April 2014—just before IS’ onslaught into Iraq began, Abadi received only 4,000 votes. That is a small number.

And, Rachel Avraham, a regular contributor to “Foreign Policy Blogs,” strongly criticized the magazine’s decision to honor the Iraqi Prime Minister as a significant global thinker.

“Under Abadi,” the Kurdistan Region “is gravely suffering” after 180,000 Kurds “were forced to run for their lives when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iraqi Army, and the Shia Popular Mobilization Forces invaded” the city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas.

“Following their invasion,” Avraham writes, “the Iraqi Army and its allies have been kidnaping, gang raping, and arresting people” whom they regard as Kurdish nationalists.

The Kurdistan Region hosts 1.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees from IS, including many Christians and Yezidis. Their numbers have swelled the population of Kurdistan by 30 percent, and their humanitarian needs have imposed a significant financial burden on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Baghdad has contributed “zero funds” to support the IDPs and refugees, even as its seizure of Kirkuk and its oil has cut the revenues of the KRG in half, Avraham noted.

Moreover, Abadi has imposed an embargo on international flights to the Kurdistan Region’s two major airports “making it difficult for other countries to send humanitarian aid to Kurdistan,” while imposing further economic hardship on the Region.

“If Abadi was a unifier of Iraq and not a sectarian dictator,” Avraham asked, “why has he refused to have any dialogue with the Kurds?”

“Why has he imposed such a brutal blockade on the Kurds, just for expressing their democratic rights” in their independence referendum?

“Why does he have his forces arrest, kidnap, and gang rape Kurdish citizens?”

Indeed, Avraham suggested that Abadi is no great thinker at all, but is most comparable to “Maliki, Bashar al-Assad, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ismail Haniyeh, or any other Iranian-backed sectarian dictator.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

Iraq Elections: With ISIS in Rearview, Iran Lies Ahead

Bottom Line: On paper, Iraq’s democratic electoral system promises rare, fair representation in a region where politics is dominated by monarchies and authoritarian regimes. But in reality, the country’s political system has been hamstrung by inefficiencies and gridlocks that have often segregated, rather than united, the Iraqi populace. As Iraqis work to heal the wounds they suffered at the hands of ISIS, the fragile state of affairs in Iraq remains susceptible to deep sectarian tensions, rising Iranian influence, and an emboldened Kurdish independence movement. All the while, the Iraqi people face monumental decisions in the looming May parliamentary elections when they will chart their country’s future trajectory.

Background: Now that Iraq has been liberated from ISIS’ wrath, the Iraqi government can turn its attention towards resettling the vast number of refugees and displaced persons and rebuilding its fractured country.

  • On Dec. 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Hader al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS after the group was ousted from its strongholds in the country’s northwest. “Our forces fully control the Iraqi-Syrian border, and thus we can announce the end of the war against Daesh [ISIS],” Abadi said at the time.
  • Iraqi demographics are primarily split between Arabs, which comprise between 75 and 80 percent of the population, and Kurds, which represent the remaining 15 to 20 percent, according to the most recent estimates provided by CIA World Factbook. Religiously, between 55 and 60 percent of Iraqi citizens are Shia Muslims, while 40 percent practice Sunni Islam. Divisions along ethnic and religious lines, primarily the marginalization of Iraqi Sunnis by dominant Shia political parties and militias, have often been credited as a key factor that helped facilitate the initial rise of ISIS as a Sunni extremist group.
  • In late December, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released figures stating that although more than 2.84 million displaced Iraqis have returned home, another estimated 2.78 million people remain displaced inside Iraq while more than 260,000 Iraqi refugees are hosted by neighboring countries in the region.
  • Next month, Kuwait is expected to host an international conference to discuss reconstruction efforts for Iraq. This week, Kuwait’s state-run Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), quoted secretary general of the Iraqi cabinet, Mahdi al-Allaq, as estimating that Iraq requires $100 billion for its reconstruction projects.
  • Questions linger over the effectiveness of stability operations and reconstruction efforts that have already begun throughout Iraq. Although the government maintains a certain degree of oversight in the reconquered territories, tensions between ethnic and religious groups remains a pressure cooker that could suddenly explode.
  • Iraq’s constitution was supposed to enshrine fairness by divvying up power among the different ethnic groups – a parliamentary democracy with a federal system of government. Former Ambassador of Iraq to the United States Lukman Faily wrote in The Cipher Brief that it didn’t quite work that way: “The Iraqi constitution of 2005 and its very definition of the state has failed to empower its stakeholders or serve as an adjudicator of disputes within the state of Iraq. This most recent crisis (with the Kurdish referendum) is a golden opportunity to discuss the key structural fault-lines that have been either ignored or wrongly implemented. These fault-lines relate to decentralization, revenue sharing, the role of religion and other important identity and governance challenges.”

Lt. Gen. (ret.) Guy C. Swan III, former Chief of Staff & Director of Operations, Multi-National Force-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom

“The Iraqi government is working to stabilize areas of northern and western Iraq dominated for several years by ISIS. It is estimated that over 3 million Iraqis were displaced during this period so the major stabilization effort will be to get as many displaced persons back to their homes. The challenge will be the infrastructure destruction caused by the recent fighting, especially in the Old City of Mosul and surrounding area, which is estimated to cost over $1 billion dollars to repair. At the same time, the old flashpoints between Iraqi government forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in Nineveh province and most notably around Kirkuk remain volatile. So far an uneasy peace is holding, but these historic hostilities will slow the stabilization effort.”

Lukman Faily, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

“If you cut it in a binary way, then everyone wants democracy. But if you look at the impact of collective governing, it has led to difficulties with decisions and too much engagement with the process rather than with the end of that process.”

Issue: The Iraqi government faces significant pressure from a strong Iranian presence in the country, particularly in Baghdad and the Shia dominated south. As part of its regional hegemonic objectives, Iran aims to fold the Baghdad government into its Shia crescent that stretches from northern Yemen all the way through Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon.

  • Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iran has steadily increased its influence in Baghdad. Tehran strongly supported former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki who, along with his Shia-led government, imposed sectarian and authoritarian policies over Iraq’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities during his tenure from 2006-2014. Maliki’s refusal to reach a political accord with the Sunnis, a system of governance widely acknowledged as corrupt, and heavy-handed military repression of the Sunni minority have been listed among the main causes that ultimately led to the rise of ISIS.
  • Iranian-aligned Shia militias, comprised of more than 60,000 troops, played an important role in ousting ISIS from Iraq. Several of these groups – including the Badr Organization, the Hezbollah Brigades, the Martyrs of Sayyid Brigades, Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), and Jund al-Imam – formed a unified front known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Although the Iraqi government now provides funding and has nominal control of the PMF, the militias maintain close ties to top Iranian commanders – most notoriously Qasem Souleimani, who heads Iran’s elite Quds Force.

Lt. Gen. (ret.) Guy C. Swan III, former Chief of Staff & Director of Operations, Multi-National Force-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom

“Iran will always have an influential role in Iraq. However, the level of influence and what form it takes going forward will be the issue. The U.S. and other coalition partners will have to balance that influence to enable Iraq to sustain a level of independence as it looks to the post-ISIS period. The Iraqi government reluctantly accommodated the Iranians, especially the Shia-dominated Popular Mobilization Fronts (PMFs), in order to defeat ISIS. The continued presence of these forces must be dealt with either through integration into Iraqi government forces or by disbanding.”

James Jeffrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey

“It’s Iran’s firm intention to lock Iraq into its growing regional empire as a second Lebanon by using the same Hezbollah-like tactics and relying on local surrogates more loyal to Iran than Baghdad to undermine an independent Iraqi State. If this occurs, the impact on the United States’ position in the region would be devastating. In essence, it could put the lie to Trump’s ‘anti-Iran’ policy by turning a country with two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves and the second largest oil production in the region – as well as a population larger than that of Saudi Arabia’s – over to “the enemy” after the U.S. intervened repeatedly to save it from Saddam Hussein, pro-Iranian militias, al Qaeda and of course ISIS.”

Issue: During the battle against ISIS, the Kurdish independence movement gained momentum as Kurdish Peshmerga forces put up a fierce resistance to prevent ISIS’ expansion. A Kurdish referendum for independence was soundly rejected by the international community and reworking the parameters governing the region may prove challenging for a new Iraqi parliament.

  • Kurdish forces were a stalwart in the battle against ISIS, preventing the group from advancing into Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, and even expanded its control to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk located in northeastern Iraq.
  • Iraqi Kurdistan currently houses more than 1.4 million displaced Iraqi and Syrian citizens, according to figurespublished by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) in December.
  • In a referendum held by the KRG at the end of September in three provinces across Iraqi Kurdistan, 92 percent of the 3.3 million voters supported independence and creation of a Kurdish state.
  • Following the vote, the U.S. State Department said it was “deeply disappointed that the Kurdistan Regional Government decided to conduct…a unilateral referendum on independence, including in areas outside of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region…The United States supports a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq and will continue to seek opportunities to assist Iraqis to fulfill their aspirations within the framework of the constitution.”
  • Three weeks after the vote, the Iraqi army swept into Kirkuk – which had been won back from ISIS by Kurdish Peshmerga – driving the Peshmerga out and also retaking its contested oil fields. The U.S. did not protest, leading Iraq watchers to conclude that the U.S. was sending a signal to the Kurdish leader who spearheaded the referendum, Massoud Barzani, that he’d overstepped his bounds and lost crucial support from the U.S. and others – wasting the valuable political capital the KRG had accrued in helping the government of Iraq and the international coalition defeat ISIS.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government to the United States

“The KRG has always maintained that the Iraqi constitution is the guarantor of the unity, stability and prosperity of Iraq. The constitution was welcomed in a referendum across Iraq in 2005 and the people of Kurdistan looked forward to a new era when Iraqi of all faiths, sects and ethnicities would be equal citizens, when the marginalization of one group or other would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, over the next decade we saw rampant violations of the constitution – corruption, and a deepening of sectarianism which eventually led to ISIS and our call for a referendum on independence. Today, Baghdad is using that referendum as a pretext to impose and economic blockade on our people, ban international flights and threaten us militarily. All while we continue to fight pockets of ISIS and we shelter over 1.6 million displaced Iraqi and Syrian refugees, which itself has had a devastating effect on our economy and public services like healthcare and electricity. The Iraqi Constitution remains in place. Dialogue on the basis of the Constitution is the way forward. We welcome serious face-to-face talks to resolve the myriad problems facing Iraq and to open a new chapter for our country.”

Norman Ricklefs, former Senior Advisor to the Secretary General at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense & to the Iraqi Minister of Interior

“The dream of an independent Kurdistan has been reset to the pre-2003 situation in my view, and it will take many years (if ever) for the Iraqi Kurds to come as close to independence as the de facto independence they enjoyed prior to the referendum.”

Issue: It also remains unclear if the Iraqi government has taken the necessary steps to prevent the re-emergence of the conditions that gave rise to ISIS in the first place. Sectarian divisions remain contentious throughout the country, sparked by fears that the Iranian-backed PMFs could seek revenge on Sunni populations accused of supporting ISIS.

Emile Nakhleh, former Director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program

“The Iraqi government has not taken serious steps to address the conditions that gave rise to ISIS in the first place. The government has yet to address the systemic discrimination against Iraqi Sunnis. Nor has the government curbed the extralegal and invariably illegal actions—including killings, pillaging, and thuggery – by Shia militias against Sunni neighborhoods, especially in areas that previously supported ISIS. The tons of rubble that clog the narrow streets in Mosul, Ramadi, and other Sunni communities have yet to be removed. The anger and frustration that permeate Sunni neighborhoods is being directed against the government’s slow response to the destruction, and to some degree against the United States and other members of the coalition that defeated ISIS. All of which, of course, creates an environment conducive for recruitment, radicalization, and terrorism.”

Norman Ricklefs, former Senior Advisor to the Secretary General at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense & to the Iraqi Minister of Interior

“The conditions on the ground now are fundamentally different. After a long and brutal campaign, the liberated provinces are controlled by a combination of forces – local tribal militias, provincial police forces, and Iraqi military – that are all deeply opposed to ISIS (even if they are often in competition with each other). They now, arguably for the first time since 2003, control the ground. This is an entirely new dynamic, and will prevent the return of ISIS in the near term.”

James Jeffrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey

“Encouraged and advised by the U.S. and others, the government of Iraq says all the right things and gives nice speeches. But its performance, understandably, is deeply flawed. What will make a difference is if Abadi can ensure the security forces, especially quasi-official Shia militias, do not start once again oppressing liberated Sunni communities.”

Response: As the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS mission winds down, the Trump administration has reiterated its support for a unified and democratic Iraq, but has also remained cautious about withdrawing U.S. forces on the ground. One priority for the current administration is to help prevent the Iraqi government from falling into the sphere of Iranian influence.

  • During the Obama administration, the U.S. gradually decreased its military presence in Iraq, although it briefly halted its drawdown during the fight against ISIS. According to the U.S. Department of Defense’s most recent quarterly report published in September 2017, the U.S. has approximately 7,400 troops stationed in Iraq.
  • In October, Prime Minister Abadi said he would not allow Iraq to evolve into a battleground between the U.S. and Iran. “We would like to work with you, both of you,” Abadi told The Washington Post. “But please don’t bring your trouble inside Iraq. You can sort it anywhere else.”
  • The National Security Strategy released by the White House in December, prioritized the strengthening of “our long-term strategic partnership with Iraq as an independent state.”

Lukman Faily, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

“Iraq has a myriad of challenges. There are issues with the government and how democratic and representative it is, with the economy, with terrorism, and with minorities. Where the U.S. can help is in alleviating the pain and pressure that is on the government due to some of these factors. Offering support – whether it’s security or financial or even with respect to political support for Iraq’s relationship with its neighbors including Saudi Arabia – is essential to help alleviate some of the pressure on the government so that it can address domestic issues. But with respect to democracy and power sharing, the U.S. can’t help a lot in that aspect. There are too many stakeholders in Iraq; no single party is dominant enough to be a key partner to the U.S. moving forward.”

Anticipation: Iraq’s recent history and deep sectarian fractures paint a difficult roadmap for the government in Baghdad. Abadi is now charged with revamping the Iraqi military and integrating the different elements that disjointedly fought ISIS into one cohesive, national military. The country’s upcoming elections in May could serve as an important benchmark for the Iraqi government to heed the voices of the Iraq population and embark on a mission of building towards the future.

Norman Ricklefs, former Senior Advisor to the Secretary General at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense & to the Iraqi Minister of Interior

“The 2018 election will probably result in a parliament without any clear victor and with the traditional political blocs being even more divided than in the past. Abadi will likely gain a plurality, though not a majority, and will be supported by the Shi’ite religious hierarchy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United States and Britain. But the possibility of a protracted period of post-election government formation and parliamentary maneuvering will provide an opening for Maliki, with the support of Iran, to use his great wealth and wide political support base to attempt to prevent another Abadi government; unless Maliki and Abadi can forge some kind of rapprochement. Abadi has grown into a competent politician, and has genuine voter support as well as international support, but the end result is far from assured.”

Emile Nakhleh, former Director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program

“The next elections will likely be determined by at least three factors: emerging coalitions among the Shia parties and the changing influence of the Da’wa party; Iran’s extensive role in the elections and interest in a particular party or leader; and the reconstruction of the country in the post-ISIS era. Neighboring Sunni states, especially Saudi Arabia, might show an interest in the elections but their involvement will be minimal compared to Iran’s role. Of course, the other unknown factor, or wild card, will be whether another Gulf war breaks out. If Iran decides to see a new and more inclusive leader take the helm, then al-Abadi would be replaced, which also could result in the Da’wa party losing much of its influence.”

Photos of Mahlaga Gabri cars the most beautiful woman in the world

Iranian fashion model and actress Mahlagha Jaberi is one of the most beautiful women in the world for many critics and beauty and fashion professionals. …

In this album we will show you pictures of Mahlaga Gabri, one of the most beautiful women in the world, if not the most beautiful.

* The images are for cars owned by Mahlaga Gabri or those on or on board through personal accounts on social networking sites or through celebrity sites.

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 2

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 4

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 6

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 9

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 10

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 11

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 12

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 13

صور سيارات ماهلاغا جابري أجمل امرأة في العالم 14

Cosmetic procedures: tips, damages and side effects

The appearance is generally important for women and men, so many people are looking for cosmetic operations that will correct or beautify the desired area. In some cases, however, cosmetic surgery takes a different curve and gives results that are completely different than expected, especially in case of exaggeration. .

You can perform a process of beautification of any area you want in your body and face, and perhaps the most famous cosmetic operations nose reduction and blowing lips and supply, in addition to many other processes that spread more widely after the stars such as carving the face and exposing the jaw and raising eyes.

عمليات التجميل: النصائح والأضرار والآثار الجانبية

Are there any tips before performing cosmetic surgery?
– Do not try to perform cosmetic surgery in order to resemble a professional, if you do not need it, do not risk at all.

– Try to choose a doctor who is competent and successful in his work, and make sure of this step is the most important part because the success of the process depends entirely on the experience of the doctor.

– Make sure that you do the necessary tests and tests, so as to avoid any problems and complications after cosmetic operations.

عمليات التجميل

What are the damages of cosmetic surgery?
– Psychological problems, especially depression and nervousness, and in this case must follow a specialist doctor.

– Addiction to cosmetic operations whether the success or failure of the process.

– Feeling severe pain in the area of ​​operation, and continues for several weeks.

– No disappearance of the effects of the cosmetic process, causing psychological and moral frustration.

– The need to repeat the process because of failure, or because the process is basically temporary results such as injection of the Filler and Botox.

– In terms of material rather expensive.

What are the side effects of cosmetic surgery?
– Anemia which in some cases leads to death due to bleeding.

– inflammation of the place of the operation, or infection.

– The occurrence of complications of anesthesia.

– Gather fluid under the skin and swelling.

– Damage of nerves and brain cells.

– Increase the chances of strokes and heart attacks.

– The incidence of pneumonia.

– Sensitivity in case of skin transfer.

– Severe blood drop.

Texas woman accused of damaging Warhol paintings could face life in prison

A Dallas woman is challenging allegations that she caused at least $300,000 in damage to a prominent Houston attorney’s art collection — including Andy Warhol paintings — at the end of their first date.

Lindy Lou Layman appeared in a Houston courtroom Tuesday after being charged with felony criminal mischief for the Dec. 23 incident in the home of attorney Tony Buzbee.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the level of the charge is determined by the price tag for the items destroyed. Layman is accused of a first-degree felony and could face life in prison if convicted.

Buzbee has represented high-profile figures, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry in an abuse-of-power case.

Prosecutors say Buzbee told investigators the 29-year-old Layman became intoxicated and belligerent and that she shattered two $20,000 sculptures and poured wine on paintings, including two Warhol works each valued at $500,000.

Lindy Lou Layman, right, stands with her defense attorney Justin Keiter after making an appearance in court, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Houston. Layman is challenging allegations that she caused at least $300,000 in damage to a prominent Houston attorney's art collection at the end of their first date. She is charged with felony criminal mischief for the Dec. 23 incident in the home of attorney Tony Buzbee. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Lindy Lou Layman, right, stands with her defense attorney Justin Keiter after making an appearance in court.  (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via Associated Press)

The Dallas Morning News, citing the criminal report, reported that Layman “tore paintings off the wall with her hands” and threw sculptures across the room. Prosecutors reportedly alleged that Layman hid in his home when he arranged an Uber ride for her.

Justin Keiter, Layman’s attorney, said Tuesday his client is a “great person” and they “disagree with Mr. Buzbee’s rendition of the facts.” He declined to give an alternate version of what happened, saying he’s saving it for the courtroom.

“She’s weathering the storm of the intense media scrutiny that she has endured,” Keiter said, according to the Houston Chronicle. She was at court with her father.

Layman is free on $30,000 bond.

Oprah as commander in chief? Here’s what she had to say about the Iraq War

For Oprah Winfrey to prove to voters that she can serve as commander in chief, she’ll first have to reconcile her past advancement of anti-war causes with her support for the Iraq War in 2002.

Well, first she’ll have to decide to run for president. Then she’ll want to get some sort of campaign staff.

And then she’ll probably have to clarify whether either of those military-related positions are actually true.

Winfrey’s stirring speech during the Golden Globes award ceremony Sunday night — during which she spoke about discrimination against women in Hollywood and America — has sparked rumors of a possible political campaign in the entertainer’s future.

And, in typical responsible social media fashion, that speculation in turn has sparked widespread dissection of what the one-time talk show host’s policy positions might be, including angry attacks on the actress/producer/media icon for being both too pro-military and against the troops.

Could you please link to evidence of Oprah supporting the Iraq war? Because she received a ridiculous amount of hate mail for an anti-war series she produced 15 years ago.

Much of the conversation has focused on a series episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show that ran in late 2002 and early 2003. The shows came amid public discussion about the United States role in the Middle East, and the possibility of a war in Iraq.

At the time, Winfrey took heavy criticism for the first show — “Help you decide if you think we should attack Iraq” — being too accepting of administration claims concerning the need for military intervention.

But subsequent episodes in following months earned praise from anti-war activists for questioning the reasoning behind the looming conflict. During one titled “The world speaks out on Iraq,” Winfrey showed clips from various high-profile individuals urging U.S. officials to avoid war.

Winfrey later said the episodes earned her voluminous hate-mail. Time magazine listed the series as one of the top 10 controversies of her long entertainment career.

She also was criticized for going too easy on Bush as a guest of the show in later years, and not better exposing mistakes by his White House in the lead-up to the conflict.

Now, all of those moments have formed the basis of Winfrey’s burgeoning national security strategy, in the same way that her program on “raising sextuplets and twins” could soon be the core of her tax policy positions.

Oprah hasn’t said a ton about policy, but she’s endorsed tougher background checks, path to citizenship, questioned Iraq War

Oprah on the issues: A guide to the TV icon’s political leanings

Winfrey, who has never held public office and has no prior political experience, remains largely a mystery on a wide array of political and policy matters.

Fine, I’ll play along cuz I’m waiting on some returned phone calls: Bill, again, is wrong here.@oprah tried to stop the war before it began basically:

Can I just stop for a second to appreciate the fact that it’s 2018 and we’re debating where Oprah stands on the Iraq War because of her incipient presidential campaign?

For now, Winfrey’s camp has not issued a public statement on Pentagon acquisition reform, or the annual military pay raise, or whether she is seriously considering a national political run in the next three years.

On Tuesday, during a White House meeting on immigration, President Donald Trump said he didn’t think Winfrey would challenge him in 2020 but added that such a race would be “a lot of fun.” He also added that his family were guests on one of her final talk show episodes, back in 2011.

He did not say what the ratings were for that event.

Iraqi premier vows commitment to strong Turkey ties

Haider al-Abadi also slams regional Kurdish government for failing to comply with central government’s requirements

 

 

By Haydar Hadi

BAGHDAD, Iraq

Iraq remains committed to continuing its cooperation in various areas with Turkey, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference in capital Baghdad, al-Abadi said: “We would like to continue our relations [in several areas] including border control, bilateral trade relations and oil shipments, especially from Mosul and Kirkuk.”

He said ties between Turkey and Iraq were expanding, and both countries remain in “big cooperation”.

He added the construction of an oil pipeline to Ceyhan port would be completed soon.

Regarding the crisis with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, al-Abadi slammed the regional Kurdish ally for failing to comply with the Iraqi central government’s requirements.

He said Peshmerga forces must retreat to the border as it was before 2013, and hand over control of border, customs gates and airports to the central governments.

He said the KRG should be held responsible for the $7.5 billion revenue collected from customs and oil exports in 2017.

In the immediate wake of the KRG’s illegitimate Sept. 25, 2017, poll, federal forces moved into parts of Iraq “disputed” between the central government and the KRG, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

Baghdad, meanwhile, continues to demand the annulment of the referendum’s results.

The KRG now hopes to hold talks with the Iraqi government — under UN auspices and without preconditions — with a view to resolving their outstanding differences.


Review: Neil Olson’s ‘The Black Painting’ is complex tale

“The Black Painting” (Hanover Square), by Neil Olson

The wealthy, reclusive patriarch of the Morse family summons his estranged children and grandchildren to his mansion in rural Connecticut, but the first to arrive find him dead in his study. His face, turned toward where a valuable painting once hung, is contorted in horror.

The painting, which went missing 15 years earlier, was one of the hideous masterpieces painted by Goya during a period of despair at the end of his life. The old man, apparently believing the legend that the work could drive people mad, had rarely let anyone even look at it.

Was the old man murdered? Which of his family members and household staff most wanted him dead? Does his death have something to do with the stolen painting? Who stole it all those years ago? And could there be any truth to the legend?

So begins Neil Olson’s second novel, “The Black Painting,” a complex tale that is at once a riveting psychological thriller, a serious dissection of a dysfunctional family and an exploration of the power of art to change lives.

Olson cleverly shifts the point of view among his well-drawn cast of characters, most of whom can’t be relied on to tell readers the truth. Particularly intriguing are the four grown grandchildren trapped by their family’s history and a dogged private detective who was hired to track down the painting years ago and was never able to let the case go.

___

Bruce DeSilva is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”

The Latest: Trump says he doesn’t think Winfrey will run

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes (all times local):

President Donald Trump says he would beat Oprah Winfrey in a presidential contest, but says: “I don’t think she’s going to run.”

Trump spoke Tuesday at the White House as he met with lawmakers on immigration. He said “Oprah would be a lot of fun.” But he said he knows her well and he doesn’t think she’ll run.

The president added that he appeared on one of her final shows and said he knows her “very well.”

Winfrey gave an impassioned speech Sunday night at the Golden Globes, which has sparked talk about whether she might run for president.

____

Oprah Winfrey’s best friend, Gayle King, is downplaying any suggestion that Winfrey might run for president.

King, a CBS host, says that Winfrey is “intrigued by the idea” of a presidential bid in 2020, but that after a long conversation with her friend the night before, she doesn’t see it happening.

King said: “She loves this country and would like to be of service in some way. But I don’t think she’s actively considering it at this time.”

She added, “You always have the right to change her mind.”

Speaking backstage at the Golden Globe Awards, Oprah Winfrey says the ‘Time’s Up’ movement isn’t just for the privileged, it’s for every “culture, race, religion, politic or workplace.”

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President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is endorsing Oprah Winfrey’s message, if not a political future, in a recent tweet.

She wrote: “Just saw @Oprah’s empowering and inspiring speech at last night’s Golden Globes. Let’s all come together, women & men, & say TIMESUP! UNITED.”

Actress Alyssa Milano and others quickly chimed in, pointing out that Ivanka Trump’s tweet doesn’t mention that her father faces accusations of sexual misconduct by several women.

Milano responded to Ivanka’s tweet: “Great! You can make a lofty donation to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund that is available to support your father’s accusers.”

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The idea of bumper stickers reading “Oprah 2020” may be a liberal fantasy, but some Democratic Party activists are chattering about a Winfrey for president campaign anyway.

Winfrey’s impassioned speech Sunday night at the Golden Globes sparked talk about whether she might follow in the footsteps of another wildly wealthy media star who jumped into politics by campaigning for the highest office in the land, Donald Trump.

In receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Winfrey spoke of her humble upbringing and her childhood respect for civil rights heroes. But it was her support of women calling out sexual harassment that fueled talk among Democrats in states where presidential runs usually begin, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Last fall Winfrey dismissed the notion of running for president.