The POMED Wire

VP Biden Visits Post-Coup Turkey

Photo Credit: Business Insider

On Wednesday, August 25th, 2016 Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Ankara to meet with Turkish officials and ease tensions between the United States and Turkey that arose last month after a failed coup attempt. Turkey’s request for the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating the coup and is currently based in the United States, has added to the tension. Additionally, President Obama reportedly will meet with Erdogan in China next week on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

In Ankara, Biden met with several key members of the Turkish government and held a press conference alongside President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Seeking to reassure Erdogan of U.S. support in the face of widespread Turkish anger over an alleged lack of a strong U.S. response to the coup, Biden said, “Let me say it for one last time: The American people stand with you [...] Barack Obama was one of the first people you called. But I do apologize. I wish I could have been here earlier.”

Biden did not issue any public criticism of the vast crackdown unfolding in Turkey since the coup attempt or meet with opposition …

POMED’s Stephen McInerney Discusses Bahrain in the Washington Post

On August 23, 2016, POMED’s Stephen McInerney was quoted in a Washington Post article entitled, “Clinton’s Bahrain problem has nothing to do with the Clinton Foundation,” by Josh Rogin.

Regarding presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s closeness to the Bahraini government, McInerney said, “Secretary Clinton’s closeness to the Crown Prince of Bahrain, along with the rest of the Obama administration, is problematic but it would be true with or without the Clinton Foundation connection. Our government being too close to Gulf dictators was true before Clinton came to office and it continues to be a problem now.”

The full article is available here.…

Lebanese Parliament Fails to Pick New President for 43rd Consecutive Time

Photo Credit: The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir

For the 43rd consecutive presidential election session, Lebanon’s Parliament failed to select a new president. To hold a vote, 86 MP’s of the 128-member legislature are required, but only 20 MP’s arrived for the session. Speaker Nabih Berri, who leads the Amal Movement, postponed the next session to September 7. The country has been without a president for over two years, and Lebanon’s competing blocs, the March 8 and March 14 alliances, have shown little progress toward a compromise. Michel Aoun, who leads the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), and Sleiman Frangieh, who leads the Marada Movement,  are the current leading candidates. Both of these  parties are members of the March 8 alliance, but Frangieh was nominated by the March 14 alliance. Auon is supported by Hezbollah, FPM, and other March 8 allies, who have repeatedly boycotted the electoral sessions. Frangieh is supported by the Future Movement, the Amal Movement, and the Progressive Socialist Party.

In response to Lebanon’s failure to choose a new president, the UN Security Council urged Lebanese leaders to “put Lebanon’s stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics.” In a statement, the Council stressed that “the election …

Iraq Launches Investigation into MP Corruption

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi attends a military parade at Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, Iraq

On Monday, during his questioning at a session of parliament, Iraq’s Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi accused the Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri and several other government officials of involvement in corruption cases. Al-Obeidi, a member of the majority party Unity Alliance of Iraq, told the session that al-Jabouri, member of the Muttahidoon party, and other government officials had on several occasions lobbied on behalf of businesses and companies that wanted to sell planes, all-terrain vehicles, and other armaments to the army or to appoint officers and personnel at the Ministry of Defense.

The Defense Minister’s questioning originally aimed to respond to allegations of corruption within al-Obeidi’s own Ministry of Defense, which has been accused of wasting billions of dollars of public funds. Al-Jabouri called the allegations a “charade,” set up so al-Obeidi could avoid allegations of his own corruption, but announced that he would refrain from chairing parliament until his name is cleared. Al-Obeidi countered claims of his own corruption, saying he has drastically decreased spending on unnecessary or corrupted programs since becoming the ministry’s head.

In response to the allegations, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi launched an investigation into the accusations amidst risk of a re-ignited political crisis and …

Palestine to Hold Local Elections for First Time Since 2004

 Photo Credit: Reuters

The Palestinian government has announced a date for local and municipal elections for October 8th, 2016, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) has said. The elections will include 414 local bodies, which are defined by the Palestinian Central Elections Commission as local government units within specific administrative geographic areas. The bodies regulate water services, building permits, and markets.

The elections will mark the first time since 2004-2005 local elections will be held throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Local elections were held in the West Bank in 2012, but Hamas boycotted the elections and accused the Palestinian security forces of following their members’ movements. This time, Hamas, while initially hesitant [Ar], has decided not to boycott the elections. According to analysts, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party are considered weak, and Hamas may see an opportunity to gain legitimacy and expand their influence by defeating their long-standing political rivals. The group issued a statement, saying it “is keen to fix the Palestinian situation, consolidate the principle of partnership and assume national responsibility in this delicate phase and this national cause that our people are going through.” The statement also emphasized it was …

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