BAGHDAD — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has been hospitalized in Baghdad after suffering a stroke and is in stable condition, a spokesman for the prime minister said Tuesday.
The development injected new uncertainty into the country’s political future, a year after the U.S. military left. The seriousness of the stroke is unclear.
Although his political powers are limited, Mr. Talabani, 79, is respected by many Iraqis as a rare unifying figure able to rise above the ethnic and sectarian rifts that still divide the country.
Known for his joking manner and walruslike mustache, Mr. Talabani has been actively involved in trying to mediate an ongoing crisis between Iraq’s central government and the country’s Kurdish minority, from which he hails.
Iraqi state TV also reported that the president has had a stroke.
Rifle-toting soldiers assigned to the presidential guard were deployed around Medical City, Baghdad’s largest medical complex, where Mr. Talabani is being treated.
Several senior government officials and lawmakers were seen rushing to the hospital to check on his condition, though their bodyguards were not being allowed inside.
Saadi Peira, a senior official in Mr. Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan political party, said doctors expect they will need two to three days to determine whether Mr. Talabani should continue to receive medical care inside the country or he whether he should be taken to a hospital abroad.
Libya faces huge task in closing desert borders
TRIPOLI — Libya’s decision to shut its desert frontiers is a tall order for its fledgling army, which is ill-equipped to seal largely uninhabited Saharan wastes stretching more than 2,500 miles.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told the national assembly Tuesday that the measure requires further study and warned that “rash decisions should not be made when we are incapable of implementing them.”
Assembly members voted Sunday to order the closure of Libya’s borders with Chad, Niger, Sudan and Algeria. They also declared martial law in the vast desert south, citing mounting unrest across the Sahel region.
The Foreign Ministry said Monday that the decision was made in coordination with the countries concerned, following a regional tour by the prime minister to discuss boosting joint action against “terrorists” following the seizure of northern Mali by al Qaeda-linked militants.View Entire Story
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