October 15th, 2008

Chris Keeley

Lumpy cushions on the Iraqi SOFA (WASHINGTON POST + RAY CLOSE)

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below is a WASHINGTON POST news report on the current status of negotiations on the proposed Status of Forces Agreement to govern the continuing presence of American troops and "contractors" in Iraq. It is prefaced by some thoughts from retired CIA Middle East expert Ray Close.

Progress report on SOFA negotiations in Iraq.

HIGHLIGHTS of the news report reproduced below:

(1)  The U.S. military has repeatedly described security gains over the past year as "fragile" and "reversible." The main concerns, a senior officer said, are that the Sons of Iraq security forces -- largely Sunni groups now being paid by and under the control of the Maliki government -- will revert to insurgency and that "special groups" of Shiite militia members, tied to Iran, will relaunch an offensive in Baghdad and other population centers.

(Comment: This is a clear refutation by honest U.S. military leaders of the politically-motivated claim by others that the "surge" has been an unqualified triumph, and that "victory with honor" is just around the corner.)

(2)  The insistence of the United States on retaining complete command over its military operations and detention of Iraqi citizens, as well as control over borders and airspace, was a "dead end," Maliki said . . . . . . U.S. officials have consistently said that it is a redline issue for them, with no compromise possible over total U.S. jurisdiction.

(Comment:  A reminder that winning the support and cooperation of others through a process of invasion and occupation is a simplistic and misguided concept sold to an arrogant and ignorant leadership in Washington by self-serving believers in American exceptionalism;  the results have been exactly what was predicted by hundreds of authentic experts beginning long before the invasion took place five and a half years ago.)

Washington Post --  14 October 2008

Lacking an Accord On Troops, U.S. and Iraq Seek a Plan B

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer

With time running out for the conclusion of an agreement governing American forces in Iraq, nervous negotiators have begun examining alternatives that would allow U.S. troops to stay beyond the Dec. 31 deadline, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

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Chris Keeley

Nationwide, 70,000 offenders are in adult or juvenile drug courts at any given time, with the number

Nationwide, 70,000 offenders are in adult or juvenile drug courts at any given time, with the number growing, said C. West Huddleston III, director of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

October 15, 2008

Courts Give Some Addicts Chance to Straighten Out

SEATTLE — It was not your usual courtroom scene. For one thing, the judge choked up as he described one woman’s struggle with opiate addiction after her arrest for forging prescriptions.

Over the last three years, she had repeatedly missed court-ordered therapy and hearings, and the judge, J. Wesley Saint Clair of the Drug Diversion Court, at first meted out mild punishments, like community service. But last winter, pushed past his forgiving limit, he jailed her briefly twice. The threat of more jail did the trick.

Now she was graduating — along with 23 other addicts who entered drug court instead of prison. Prosecutors and public defenders applauded when she was handed her certificate; a policewoman hugged her, and a child shouted triumphantly, “Yeah, Mamma!”

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Chris Keeley

Trita Parsi

From: "Trita Parsi"

Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 14:05:23 -0400
Subject: Israel Gets Real on Iran

On the eve of his departure from political life, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Olmert delivered a stinging parting shot – putting under question not only the wisdom of holding on to Palestinian land, but also the feasibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.


On Iran, Olmert said that Israel had lost its "sense of proportion" when stating that it would deal with Iran militarily.


What we are witnessing is possibly the first signs of a shift in Israel from "Plan A" to "Plan B" – abandoning the over-the-top rhetoric aimed at pushing the US to use its military option against Iran and reposition itself slowly to support US-Iran diplomacy with the aim of making sure that Israeli's security interests are not forgotten. With Tzipi Livni taking over the premiership, Israel will be led by a leader who privately have been critical of Plan A for some time now.

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