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He’s Back: Muqtada Al-Sadr Wins Big In Iraqi Elections
As the noose was placed around Saddam Hussein’s neck in December 2006, his masked guards yelled: “Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!”
As in Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who is best known as a one-time — and possibly future — U.S. foe who may have finally outfoxed the Americans, Iranians, and Iraq’s political elite to become the supreme political power in Iraq.
- Sadr, whose forces fought U.S. troops in 2004, appears to be the big winner in Iraq’s parliamentary elections, according to media reports. Although he did not run for office, his coalition has received far more votes than current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s political block, initial election results show.
- That means it is entirely possible that Sadr could pick the next Iraqi government by deciding which political party to form a coalition with. Abadi could be out of a job if Sadr, reportedly closer to Saudi Arabia than Iran, allies himself with Iranian proxies, such as Hadi al-Amiri.
- No word from Washington yet about what Sadr’s fortunes at the ballot box mean for the U.S. relationship with Iraq in the fight against ISIS. “We are awaiting the announcement of the official results and look forward to the formation of the new government,” a State Department official told Task & Purpose on Monday. “We aren’t going to get ahead of that.”
- A Pentagon spokesman told Eric Pahon that the U.S. government does not support any particular Iraqi candidate or party. “We support a fair and transparent process,” he said. “We stand ready to work with whoever is fairly elected by the Iraqi people.”
Meanwhile, the Iraqi who threw his shoes at President Bush won 4,000 votes in the elections but failed to secure a seat in parliament, the Washington Post’s Baghdad bureau chief tweeted.
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.
Nine years after losing both legs in Afghanistan, he's found purpose in family, friends and inspiring others
There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.
To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.
Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.
On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.
It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I believe in post-traumatic growth," Jones said. "That means you go through tough and difficult situations and on the back end through recovery, you learn strength."
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.