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Jim Hoagland repeats the now oft-quoted view that the Bush administration intends, sooner rather than later, to remove Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki through a coup d’état (shades of Ngo Dinh Diem, the Vietnamese president who was assassinated in a CIA-planned coup in 1963, launching the Vietnam War in earnest). But other concerns for the life of leaders in Iraq are still more immediate, giving rise to a multipoint deathwatch.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has been so ill that he has declined meetings with foreign visitors for more than a month now. Today Laura Rozen reports that he is “at the Mayo clinic for medical treatment.”
Iraqi Vice President Abdul Aziz Hakim has been diagnosed with cancer by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has opted to undergo chemotherapy not in Texas, but in Tehran, saying he wished to be closer to his family in Baghdad. The Washington Times reports that he has now arrived in Tehran. No doubt others will see his selection of medical treatment in Tehran over the United States in other terms.
Clearly, this is not a good time to be a high government official in Iraq. You don’t suppose this is all some sort of divine metaphor for the state of the Iraqi body politic, do you?
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Amount of laundry an average American family of four washes in a year (in tons):
A study of female Finnish twins found that relative preference for masculine faces is largely heritable.
It was reported that visits from Buddhist priests could be purchased through Amazon in Japan, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra began streaming performances through virtual-reality headsets.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”