News

    Gates Meets with Talabani in Baghdad

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Baghdad, after a 48-hour visit to Afghanistan, to press Iraqi leaders to resolve their differences over the status of the Kurdish region and Kirkuk. His plan to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was thwarted by a parliamentary uproar over a series of deadly bombings.

    A handout picture from the Iraqi Presidency shows Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (R) meeting with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Baghdad, 10 Dec 2009
    A handout picture from the Iraqi Presidency shows Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (R) meeting with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Baghdad, 10 Dec 2009

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Al Pessin

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Baghdad, after a 48-hour visit to Afghanistan, to press Iraqi leaders to resolve their differences over the status of the autonomous Kurdish region and the disputed city of Kirkuk.   But his plan to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was thwarted by a parliamentary uproar over a series deadly bombings on Tuesday.

    Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell says the cancellation was not a snub, but was caused by the prime minister's obligation to parliament.  A U.S. official says Prime Minister Maliki was summoned to defend his security policies in the wake of the multiple attacks, which have been claimed by al-Qaida in Iraq.

    Secretary Gates did meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and other members of the presidency council, as planned. 

    Morrell says Gates gave his condolences on the bombings, and offered any needed U.S. help to investigate them and to improve security. 

    U.S. officials, including the number-two American commander here, Army Lieutenant General Charles Jacoby, say such occasional spectacular attacks are, in a way, evidence of the decline of al-Qaida in Iraq, which once staged dozens of attacks every day.

    "These are terrorist attacks," said Lieutenant Jacoby.  "This is not a civil war, period.  It is not the blooming insurgency period.  These are greatly reduced terrorist cells.  They have been reduced to hiding in the shadows, planning for weeks and weeks and weeks to conduct attacks like this.  And, as I said, it would be tough for any government, any country, to prevent these kinds of attacks."

    The last two major attacks in Iraq were in August and October.  General Jacoby says Iraqi security forces are improving every day, and took action in three of the four attacks on Tuesday that prevented them from being worse. 

    U.S. Defense Department press spokesman Geoff Morrell says Secretary Gates also met with the presidency council about the reduced capability of al-Qaida, and praised Iraqi leaders for preventing the attacks from rekindling ethnic strife. 

    Now that the presidency council and the parliament have approved an election law, Secretary Gates wants to talk to the prime minister and to Kurdish leaders about resolving broader differences over power sharing and internal borders. 

    U.S. officials say they are in a better position to mediate and press for the resolution of difficult issues, and to ease tensions between the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga militia, while the United States has a sizable military force in Iraq.

    That force is scheduled to be reduced from nearly 120,000 to 50,000 by next October, with the bulk of the withdrawal planned for after the election and the formation of a new Iraqi government.  U.S. officials say the postponement of the election from January to March 7 should not affect the October target.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.