Juan Cole: Sawt al-Iraq reports that member of the Kurdistan parliament, Nuri Talabani, insists that US economic interests are driving its heavy-handed push to make sure the Iraqi parliament signs a petroleum law in short order. He said that the US government wants special deals for US petroleum corporations in developing, producing and distributing Iraqi petroleum, and that is why it is in such a hurry. Since the US and its Iraqi allies have been involved in heavy negotiations with the Kurdistan Regional Government over the exact provisions of a petroleum law, it is plausible that Talabani has special knowledge of US goals.
Washington's need to capture/kill the top al Qaeda leadership in order to generate measures of success that outweigh measures of failure in other areas is going to put the US into Pakistani tribal areas (with more than just UAVs and special ops). I agree with Syed on this:
A contact in Rawalpindi familiar with goings-on in the capital's twin city, which is home to the military's top brass, told Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity of Musharraf's desperate efforts to speak to Washington at the highest level and request some breathing space.
According to the contact, Washington insisted that Islamabad press on relentlessly by military means against Taliban and al-Qaeda assets in Pakistan, saying that NATO would be supportive. Apparently, a personal request by Musharraf to speak to US President George W Bush about being given time for matters to cool off was declined.
In effect, Washington is brushing aside Musharraf's concerns over an extremist backlash of momentous proportions should foreign forces join in the fray in the tribal areas, let alone threaten the general's hold on power.
LOL. Classic. Another example of the dominance of rentier interests over both parties:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is making waves with a planned amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act being introduced in time for the next school year. Reid's amendment holds select educational funds hostage for US colleges and universities that do not meet a set of criteria meant to bolster the war on file-sharing on college campuses.