President Obama’s Eulogy for Senator Edward Kennedy

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KGO ABC 7 INTERVIEW: Candidate Anthony Woods

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Anthony Woods Final Stretch

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Navigating Iraq’s Next Nor’easter

By JP Schnapper-Casteras

ERBIL, Iraq – The Commanding General of the Iraqi front, Raymond Odierno, is poised to move more troops to northern Iraq in the hopes of increasing joint patrols and halting a recent string of bombings in the region. That’s a step in the right direction, but the U.S. also needs a prompt and comprehensive diplomatic strategy to reduce ethnic tensions and prevent fighting between Kurds and Arabs.

In recent months, tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government have escalated markedly; primarily over disputed territory and oil revenues. Those strains pose a real risk of military confrontation between Kurdish and Arab forces – especially preceding the January elections and further withdrawal of U.S. troops.
There have already been close calls in Mosul and Diyala, where firefights nearly broke out between Kurdish and Arab forces. Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia actively seeks to exploit these fissures through a bombing campaign intended to provoke communal retaliation. While many Kurdish officials publicly reiterate their desire to peacefully resolve tensions, others indicate their patience is limited. Some Kurds are increasingly frustrated with delays in taking a census and then a referendum in the disputed territories – which have been deferred since 2007 and now indefinitely extended.

Arab and Kurdish officials face difficult domestic political pressures to produce results for the disputed territories and form coalitions for the upcoming elections. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s recent visit to Iraqi Kurdistan (under U.S. pressure) was an encouraging gesture. But behind closed doors, many Iraqi and American observers believe that there is a significant chance of violence, sparked by an accidental scuffle or purposeful incursion, and that could spread quickly throughout the Kurdish-Arab frontier.

To prevent more bloodshed and preserve a unified Iraq, the United States must do more to manage tensions. Specifically, the Obama administration should take four actions:

First, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill should bring Kurdish and Arab officials (as well as Turkmen, Christians and other minorities) to a private setting in order to avoid publicly setting unreasonably high expectations, and firmly establish that the U.S. expects all parties to make difficult compromises in order to reach fair and lasting solutions on the disputed territories. Washington should also be prepared to use its economic and security assistance as leverage to prevent any attempts to delay talks.

Second, begin with Kirkuk and deal with other issues in stages. The multi-ethnic, oil-rich city of Kirkuk lies at the heart of Arab-Kurdish tensions. Kurds see Kirkuk as their “Jerusalem,” and they seek to affiliate it with the Kurdish Region, share oil revenues and grant minorities rights. Other groups and countries worry that such a scenario would make the Kurds too strong (and more likely to declare independence someday) and instead seek other power-sharing arrangements. The U.S. should convene negotiations on Kirkuk and approach interrelated tradeoffs as they arise. That way, Washington can start pushing for progress on the most essential issue first – without having to solve all problems simultaneously, which could be unworkable and prone to manipulation.

Third, listen to local voices and minority groups. While talks will primarily involve top Kurdish and Arab officials, any accord must eventually be accepted and implemented by citizens of the disputed territories themselves. Local groups may also make different demands or concessions than their national counterparts, which can sometimes support mediation efforts by undercutting hard-line positions taken by negotiators from Baghdad or Erbil.

Fourth, capitalize on recent improvements in Turkish-Kurdish relations. While Turkey does not officially have a say in Iraq’s internal territorial disputes, it supports Turkmen groups in Kirkuk and has a stake in the outcome. Washington should work with Ankara and Erbil to spell out assurances and reduce fears that deciding the disputed territories might ultimately infringe on Turkey’s territorial integrity. The prospect of additional trade with Turkey might even help convince Baghdad or Erbil to sign a deal.

At best, these guideposts for diplomatic engagement can help resolve the disputed territories and lessen the chance of ethnic violence. At worst, they would bring the various parties to the table and start the process of finding shared interests. Then, if skirmishes do occur, there will at least be a forum to keep them from spiraling out of control. Ultimately, the fate of Iraq’s Kurds and Arabs will be decided not just by what history owes them, but by the compromises they are willing to make.

JP Schnapper-Casteras is a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

iNDIGO PROjECT on the radio!

Check out iNDIGO PROjECT on web radio w/ Leigh Kubin on Co-Creator Network.

Our first radio appearance. What an accomplishment. We have been very fortunate to have so much support in our global community. We hope everyone can listen in and learn more about who we are, what PLANET PROGRESS is all about, and our first event, CHALK4PEACE.

iP Team

Anthony Woods: It’s your time to make the difference

Contribute to Anthony Woods here:

Anthony Woods for Congress
Dear Friends,

History is within our grasp.

It all comes down to Getting Out The Vote (GOTV). But we can only do that with your help.

From Saturday through Election Day, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., we will be phone banking and precinct walking from all four of our offices across the 10th district. No experience is needed and you can also phone bank from home. There are lots of ways to help, and you can volunteer as much or as little time as you have available.

Volunteer for GOTV on Saturday, August 29 in Fairfield, Antioch, El Cerrito, or Walnut Creek. Or sign up on Facebook.

Volunteer for GOTV on Sunday, August 30 in Fairfield, Antioch, El Cerrito, or Walnut Creek. Or sign up on Facebook.

Volunteer for GOTV on Monday, August 31 in Fairfield, Antioch, El Cerrito, or Walnut Creek. Or sign up on Facebook.

Volunteer for GOTV on Tuesday, September 1 in Fairfield, Antioch, El Cerrito, or Walnut Creek. Or sign up on Facebook.

Help Get Out the Vote from home – Sign up for a Virtual Phone Bank.

For five months we have been building a grassroots movement for new progressive leadership to change Washington D.C. Our momentum is incredible: more than 10,000 have signed up on our website, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Nearly 2,000 have contributed to our campaign and hundreds more have joined us as volunteers.

Now, it all comes down to GOTV. Join us, let’s flex some people-power, and together we will make history next Tuesday.

Thank you so much for all of your support,


Anthony Woods

P.S. Now is the most important and impactful time for you to be involved in our campaign. If you can’t volunteer, please consider a contribution to help fund our GOTV program.

P.P.S. And please join us for our election night celebration, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday at 2500 North Texas Street, Fairfield CA 9455. RSVP via Facebook!

Paid for by Anthony Woods for Congress


Austan Goolsbee – Credit Card Bill Kicks in Today

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