Monday, April 04, 2005

UNL Grad New Speaker of Iraqi Parliament

by Kyle Michaelis
Don't know how well this will help UNLs recruitment problems since student VISAs from the Middle East are hard to come by and blue-chip football players aren't known particularly for following international politics, but here's an interesting bit from the AP reporting from Baghdad:
Sunday's selection as speaker - Industry Minister Hajim al-Hassani, one of only 17 Sunni Arabs in parliament - could signal progress in the political tussle over selecting politicians for key Cabinet posts, a process that has been snarled by disagreement over how to reach out to the Sunnis.

The new speaker received a doctorate in agriculture and research economics from the University of Connecticut in 1990 and a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1982. He also ran an investment management firm in Los Angeles.

So, what do you know - it's not just Nebraska's young men and women in uniform (and some not-so-young Guardsmen) in the middle of all this Iraq turmoil. I suppose it would be expecting too much that al-Hassani might be a Cornhusker fan, but you never know.

Seems there's also some question about the new Speaker's support among his fellow Sunnis:
The choice of al-Hassani was not well received in all quarters.

Osama Abdulfatah, a 30-year-old architect and a Sunni, said the new speaker's support last year of the U.S. assault on the militant stronghold of Fallujah showed he "does not have beliefs, and will never do anything against his benefit."

Al-Hassani refused to quit as industry ministry even though his IraqiIslamic Party pulled out of the interim government over the issue.

"How could we just trust such a traitor?" Abdulfatah asked.

Sounds like some dangerous sentiments. For the sake of peace and the welfare of the Iraqi people, with just a touch of cameraderie for a fellow University alumnus, here's hoping al-Hassani will serve honorably and safely help lead Iraq through these tumultuous times.


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