Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Aug 29th, 2008



Senior Iraqi Official Suspected of Militia Links

Aug. 28, 2008

BAGHDAD — A senior official in Nouri al-Maliki’s government was in custody Thursday suspected of ties to Iranian-backed Shiite militias and plotting a June bombing that killed 10 people, including four Americans, Iraqi authorities said.

The arrest of Ali al-Lami — taken Wednesday as he left a plane arriving from Lebanon — reinforced suspicions about Tehran’s influence within the Shiite-led Iraqi government and could open wider probes into Shiite networks, including possible links to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Al-Lami heads a commission responsible for keeping Saddam Hussein loyalists out of government posts and has been a target of criticism from Sunni leaders who claim the government wants to limit the overall Sunni voice in political and security issues. …

Iraqi Shiite parties that dominate the government maintain close ties to Iran, where many key figures spent years in exile during Saddam’s rule. …


Iran’s Rise Owes Much to Iraq War

March 11, 2008

Excerpts from an earlier analysis by Alistair Lyon:

TEHRAN — Five years on, Iran can thank the United States for unwittingly aiding its drive for regional power by ousting Saddam Hussein, one of Tehran’s deadliest foes. …

The Iraqi army’s swift collapse in 2003 left Shi’ite-ruled Iran with no indigenous military rival nearby. … Windfall oil revenues have further fuelled the Islamic Republic’s heady sense of power under its combative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has defied Western-led efforts to contain Tehran’s nuclear aspirations through U.N. sanctions.

“Every 24 hours we are earning $270 million … in hard currency — a magic amount,” said Iranian economist Saeed Leylaz. “Iran can transfer its petrodollars to buy loyalty internally and strategic partnerships externally.”

In the last five years, non-Arab Iran has become a weighty player in Iraq, nurturing ties to Shi’ite and other factions. It has gained clout elsewhere in the Arab world via its alliances with Syria, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas group. …

On a roll

Psychologically Iran appears to hold the upper hand. …

In the last few months, several Arab leaders have visited Tehran, while Ahmadinejad has made groundbreaking trips to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, partly in a bid to allay Arab concerns about Iran’s new regional sway.

“It shows that whatever the Arabs think of Iran’s leaders, they must take into account that after Saddam’s fall, Iran is emerging as a major power in the area,” the diplomat said.

This is anathema to the United States, whose relations with Iran have been marked by mutual venom since the 1979 Islamic revolution overturned its main Gulf ally, the Shah. …

Iran, while bent on thwarting U.S.-Israeli aims in the region, wants Iraq to remain a single state that would secure the interests of its Shi’ite community, but would not be strong enough to threaten its neighbors, analysts in Tehran said. …



U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq War at 4,150

As of Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008, at least 4,150 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

At least 30,568 service members have been wounded in hostile action and about 33,000 service members  in non-hostile action requiring medical evacuation since the war began in March 2003.

Latest identifications:

Army Sgt. David K. Cooper, 25, Williamsburg, Ky., died Aug. 27, 2008 in Baghdad of wounds sustained in Qadasiyah, Iraq, when his dismounted patrol came under small-arms fire. He was assigned to Forward Support Company, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Army Spc. Jorge L. Feliz Nieve, 26, Queens Village, N.Y., died Aug. 28, 2008 of injuries sustained from a vehicle incident in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.

Army Spc. Michael L. Gonzalez, 20, Spotswood, N.J., died Aug. 28, 2008 in Baghdad of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device died. He was assigned to the 340th Military Police Company, Fort Totten, N.Y.

Remember Their Sacrifice

Remember Their Sacrifice



Sixth District Republican Candidate for Congress, Aubrey Immelman, Achieves Walk Around District

Aubrey Immelman had a goal of walking around the Sixth District in his quest to be the next Sixth District congressional member. He achieved that goal.

By T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
Aug. 28, 2008


Whatever his future political achievement, Aubrey Immelman has achieved a physical one.

Immelman, a professor of political psychology at the College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University and 6th Congressional District Republican candidate, recently completed a walk across the wide district.

Actually staged in two parts, Immelman, who hopes to replace Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, estimates that all told he logged about 150 miles slogging down roadways in the 6th. …

“One of the points (of the walk) was to say that I crisscrossed the district, that I walked the length of it from Freeport in the North to Stillwater in the South,” he said.

“I  crossed from Foley to Paynesville in the West — I had my feet firmly on the ground, firmly in touch with the district and not jetting off to Alaska and the Louisiana Gulf Coast and so on,” said Immelman, referring to Bachmann’s recent congressional energy tours across the United States.

Showing off commitment

“The purpose of that was to show my commitment — that I have my feet on the ground, so to speak,” he said. …

Asked if his walk across the district was worthwhile, Immelman gave a qualified ‘Yes.’

“It was worthwhile in the sense that I set a goal for myself,” said Immelman.

“It was my first campaign promise and really my only one, and I kept that promise,” he said.

Aubrey Immelman’s family — Pam, Patrick (2), Matt (11), Tim (13), and Elizabeth (9) — welcome him upon arrival in Lowell Park on the St. Croix River, Stillwater, Minnesota, after his 100-mile congressional campaign swing on foot from Freeport in Central Minnesota to Stillwater on the Wisconsin border, August 16, 2008.



From Eric Zaetsch’s “Developers are Crabgrass” blog, dated Friday, Aug. 29, 2008:

VOTER EMPOWERMENT: Sept. 9 Primary Election Info. is Online at the Anoka County Website


Credit U.S. Sixth Congressional District GOP candidate Aubrey Immelman, for the helpful “voting-hints” idea (see his website here, for his posting), but remember it has specific information for his residency area, at the western end of the Sixth District — and he credits a mailing sent OUT by GOP incumbent Michele Bachmann).

Immelman’s posting also is my source for the Secretary of State absentee info.

I received no Bachmann mailing as he alludes to, so it might have been party-targeted info.



Without the luxury of a conventional campaign staff, it’s difficult to stay on top of all relevant information in the blogosphere; here’s a post by Eric Zaetsch on another blog, dated Aug. 10, 2008, which I picked up just today:  

Aubrey Immelman …. has focused on issues — a differing conservatism than Bachmann touts and uses — and he’s got a brain.

That is my favorite primary, although I fear Immelman will not be on the November ballot. It would be great for the Sixth District if he were to gain a primary victory.

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