The power struggles of Iraqi politics continue to confuse. Yesterday ABC's Dan Harris and NBC's David Gregory told us about the jockeying of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Now CBS' Lara Logan adds her analysis of the arrest by US commandos of Hadi al-Darraji, a top aide to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr. Logan observed that al-Maliki, "who depends heavily on al-Sadr for political support, immediately distanced himself from the US raid." If the US military takes on al-Sadr directly in Sadr City "there will be a bloodbath. They will not risk that. There has to be some kind of political and military solution." Yet the idea that al-Maliki will act against al-Sadr is incredible in Baghdad.
ABC's lead focused on Gen George Casey, the outgoing leader of US forces in Iraq, predicting that, as Iraqi troops are already beginning their deployment in Baghdad, US soldiers will be able to follow him home starting in late summer. He made "almost the exact same prediction in 2005 about drawing down troops only to be overwhelmed by a worsening security situation," Martha Raddatz cautioned. NBC's Chip Reid watched the counterattack at Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she told ABC's Good Morning America that President George Bush had rushed the troop build-up, certain in the knowledge that Congress would never vote to cut funds for it after the fact. The White House called those words "poisonous."
Both ABC and NBC tried to portray the hopeful side of Baghdad society. NBC's Jane Arraf told us what a "wonderful sign of resilience" it is to see the city's children on their way to school--unfortunately she cannot file a story about such everyday normalcy because the presence of an American TV news crew might get those children killed. ABC's Dan Harris (subscription required) reported that wedding ceremonies are still conducted at the honeymoon Babylon Hotel. He called them "acts of optimism." However, the guests have to keep their partying short. "Nobody wants to be a target."
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