Sunday, December 25, 2005

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY DECEMBER 25, 2005 Bring ‘em on: Eight people killed by gunmen around Baghdad on Saturday. Bring ‘em on: Two car bombs wound seven in Baghdad, directed towards Iraqi army and police. Gunman shot an Iraqi Interior Ministry civil servant dead in Baghdad. Mortar round into the Green Zone injures a policeman. “A lull in violence around the December 15 parliamentary election has been broken in recent days.” Bring ‘em on: Four suspected insurgents killed on Saturday when a mortar round they were attempting to fire detonated prematurely in Samarra. US forces killed three insurgents on Saturday near Duluiya. Two Iraqi soldiers killed and six wounded when mortar round lands on Iraqi military base in Mahmudiya. US tank blasted by roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad, no casualties reported. Bring ‘em on: One civilian killed and seven wounded by car bomb targeting Iraqi police in Kirkuk. Police officer killed by gunmen in Kirkuk. Police officer killed by bomb in Mosul. Unknown number of wounded. The president of the Students Union of Mosul University found dead two days after he was abducted. He was shot. On December 21, he had led a demonstration on the campus complaining of election fraud. Bring ‘em on: Car bomb killed two civilians in Kirkuk. Three security guards of a senior local official were wounded. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi soldiers killed when mortars land at military base south of Baghdad (This may be the same as attack listed above in Mahmudiya.) Bring ‘em on: At least 16 people killed in violence around Iraq on Sunday. Suicide car bomber slams into two Iraqi army vehicles killing five soldiers and wounding seven police and civilians. Gun battle in Kirkuk leaves one of the attackers dead. Gunman killed Salman Jadr, a bank employee who once was reportedly a member of the Baath party in Baghdad. Gunman killed a man near his home in Jbala. This report states three killed in Samarra from a mortar they were trying to detonate. Gunman killed a man driving his children to school in Baghdad. Gunman killed a police officer in civilian clothes in Baghdad. (This listing does not add to 16 because some of the stories were already listed. - Susan) Bring ‘em on: Eighteen reported killed in Iraq in a series of attacks on Saturday, including two soldiers and four policemen. Eight bodies found in the country. (These may have been mentioned in yesterday’s post, but there is not enough information to know if they were included or not. – Susan) Bring ‘em on: Iraq’s Minister of Justice survived a shooting attack that killed two people in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: STILL NOT CONFIRMED: Four US soldiers killed in western Iraq when their vehicle was run over by an Iraqi truck, outside Fallujah on Saturday. Bring ‘em on: ALSO NOT CONFIRMED: US soldier killed by IED today in Baghdad. REPORTS THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: A Dossier of Civilian Casualties in Iraq: 2003–2005 "A Dossier on Civilian Casualties in Iraq, 2003-2005" is the first detailed account of all non-combatants reported killed or wounded during the first two years of the continuing conflict. The report, published by Iraq Body Count in association with Oxford Research Group, is based on comprehensive analysis of over 10,000 media reports published between March 2003 and March 2005. Findings include: Who was killed? 24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years. Women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths. Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths. When did they die? 30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003. Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215). Who did the killing? US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims. Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims. Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths. Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period. What was the most lethal weaponry? Over half (53%) of all civilian deaths involved explosive devices. Air strikes caused most (64%) of the explosives deaths. Children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordnance (including cluster bomblets). How many were injured? At least 42,500 civilians were reported wounded. The invasion phase caused 41% of all reported injuries. Explosive weaponry caused a higher ratio of injuries to deaths than small arms. The highest wounded-to-death ratio incidents occurred during the invasion phase. Who provided the information? Mortuary officials and medics were the most frequently cited witnesses. Three press agencies provided over one third of the reports used. Iraqi journalists are increasingly central to the reporting work. Speaking today at the launch of the report in London, Professor John Sloboda, FBA, one of the report's authors said: "The ever-mounting Iraqi death toll is the forgotten cost of the decision to go to war in Iraq. On average, 34 ordinary Iraqis have met violent deaths every day since the invasion of March 2003. Our data show that no sector of Iraqi society has escaped. We sincerely hope that this research will help to inform decision-makers around the world about the real needs of the Iraqi people as they struggle to rebuild their country. It remains a matter of the gravest concern that, nearly two and half years on, neither the US nor the UK governments have begun to systematically measure the impact of their actions in terms of human lives destroyed." THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: Aid Needed for Displaced in Anbar, demonstrators say. Some 400 people demonstrated in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Tuesday, calling for more aid for people displaced in the western Anbar governorate, due to ongoing clashes between US forces and insurgents. Anbar residents, now living with relatives in the capital, and others took to the streets shouting slogans urging the government and international aid agencies to help families in need of vital supplies.Many don't have adequate food or shelter and are living in improvised camps and abandoned buildings near the cities of Ramadi and al-Qaim, they said. "They are human beings, not animals. They need a roof over their heads, food to eat and healthcare," demonstrator Ibrahim Rabia'a said. NEWS: Iraqi Boy Gets Heart Help in NYC An 11-year-old boy from Iraq underwent heart surgery Monday in New York, the first of four ailing children who will be treated this week after their families sought help from the U.S. military. NEWS: US Army Digs Up Weapons Cache in Iraq U.S. soldiers in the northern Iraqi desert dug up more than 1,000 aging rockets and missiles wrapped in plastic, some of which were buried as recently as two weeks ago, Army officials said Tuesday. Commanders in the 101st Airborne Division said an Iraqi tipped them off to the buried weapons, perhaps an indication that residents in this largely Sunni Arab region about 150 miles north of Baghdad are beginning to warm up to coalition forces. "The tide is turning," said 2nd Lt. Patrick Vardaro, 23, of Norwood, Mass., a platoon leader in the division's 187th Infantry Regiment. "It's better to work with Americans than against us." NEWS: Many Sunni Muslims Diverting Anger from Israel to Iran We have always argued that Iran is the problem. The Iranian status in Iraq is a mass occupation," said Hossein Madani, a political representative of the group. "If you don't want to deliver Iraq to Iran on a silver platter, you need to do something soon." For many Shiites here, the alliance with Iran is natural. Besides sharing a border, Iran is the largest and most powerful Shiite-dominated government in the world. In the Shiite-dominated south, political parties often serve Iranian-made pastries at their events, women wear Iranian-made jewelry and markets offer an array of Iranian products, such as potato chips and photo albums. Residents there are unapologetic about their allegiance, but they said they are loyal to Iraq first. "I don't think there is an Iranian interference in Iraq or in the elections," said Balasim Rizoki Jassim, 28, a Shiite supermarket owner. "I think they can be our friends." Alusi believes Sunni politicians sometimes stoke fears of Iranian influence to galvanize their base, which is struggling to define its place in the new government. NEWS: UN Inability to Avert Iraq War ‘Haunts’ Annan Secretary-General Kofi Annan's biggest regret in his nine-year tenure as U.N. chief was not being able to prevent the war in Iraq, he said Wednesday during his annual year-end news conference. The United Nations' inability to head off the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 "still haunts me and bothers me," he said, because it caused divisions that still trouble the world body today. He said he had intervened personally with officials from many nations to try to head off the invasion, and wished that U.N. inspectors seeking to ascertain whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction had been given more time to do their work. "But we were not able to do that," he said. Annan has tried to appear neutral on the subject of the Iraq war, despite one slip during a BBC interview in which he declared the war illegal. NEWS: US Frees Saddam Aides, Iraq Wants Them Re-arrested Iraq's national security adviser said on Saturday he wanted to re-arrest Saddam Hussein's former top weapons experts, as the U.S. military confirmed the release of 14 more high-ranking detainees. Scientists Rihab Taha and Huda Ammash -- "Dr Germ" and "Mrs Anthrax" to the Western media -- were among eight former senior figures under Saddam freed on Dec. 17. Along with several of the 14 more now technically freed, they appear to be still in U.S. care for their own protection, awaiting flights abroad. A lawyer for Ammash and others dismissed the announcement of Iraqi arrest warrants as "pure theatre", saying the government had agreed to a deal under which, he said, U.S. forces had freed the 22 Saddam aides on condition they leave the country. National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said after he met top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf that he would not accept their being at liberty: "There are warrants of arrest for them issued by Iraqi judicial authorities and if they are released, we'll arrest them." NEWS: Iraq’s Population Soars to 28 Million Iraq’s population has surged to more than 28 million in a country almost the size of the United Kingdom, according to a report by the Statistics and Information Technology Bureau. The report, a copy of which was obtained by Azzaman, also provides estimates for the country’s demographic shifts expected in the future. It said the country’s population was expected to hit nearly 29 million by the end of 2006 with 66% of them living in urban areas. The report said Baghdad’s population was expected to soar to nearly 7 million by the end to 2006. Baghdad’s population is growing and the capital will house more than 22% of the country’s population in 2006, it said. Iraq lacks credible official counts as the country’s various ethnic groups claim their numbers were being underestimated by the former regime of President Saddam Hussein for political reasons. The report provides no counts on the number or size of the country’s various religious and ethnic groups. Nearly 45% of the country’s population is below 15 years of age, the report. The bureau said it based its estimates on the 1997 census and on the country’s population growth rate estimated at 2.5%. The first post-Saddam census is scheduled for 2007. NEWS: Iraq, Saudi Coordinate Border Control Iraq and Saudi Arabia have agreed to hold regular meetings to coordinate efforts to prevent infiltration by foreign fighters into the country. The meetings will involve senior security and police officials of the border provinces in both countries. The decision to hold meetings at provincial levels between the countries come following a meeting representatives of the interior ministries in the two countries which took place last month. That meeting was held at the border post of Araar and was attended by the British Consular officials in southern Iraq. A senior security official in southern Iraq, refusing to be named, said the countries had already “taken some measures on how to control their international border and prevent infiltration and smuggling.” ELECTIONS IN IRAQ Election Demonstrations in Baghdad (at least two), Fallujah, and Baqouba today. Some are in support of the election results, some are protesting the results. Fallujah also had a work stoppage today. Officials indicate that the results are valid and final. NEWS: Iraq Removing 90 Ex-Baathists from Ballots Iraq's electoral commission said Saturday it would carry out a court decision to remove 90 people who were members Saddam's Hussein's outlawed Baath party from the tickets of political parties and coalitions that participated in Dec. 15 elections. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq did not name any of the 90 people or say if any were likely to be elected when final results are released in early January.Earlier this month, the de-Baathification commission, a body charged with removing senior members of Saddam's party from government posts, recommended that nearly 185 people running as candidates be banned from taking part in the elections. The de-Baathification commission later withdrew some of the names, citing mistaken identities. Others were withdrawn by their parties - leaving 90 people on the list. COMMENTARY OPINION: Iraqi blogger on the election At the days following the election, many people and I are very optimistic that there will be deviation to the political processes instead of armed confrontations. This was because of the easiness and peaceful ballot. But it lasted for no more than two days, then the explosions and the clashes started again. You know why? ... I will tell you … I know. Seven days since the election, every new day we hear news of frauds in the process of voting. There are more than 1250 claims of illegal and cheating acts during the process of voting. All the cheating are done by the militias of the puppet government, (the Badr militia in the middle and the south and the Peshmerga in the north), both are supported by the current government. Many of the complaint are really serious. At Tuesday 20, they announced primary results of the vote; the results are disappointing to all that shared in the election except the United Iraqi Alliance, and the Kurdish alliance. And since then, the tension come back to Iraq, there are demonstrations daily in many of the Iraqi provinces refusing those results and demanding of rerun the ballot. Opinion: Iraqi blogger on the election I slightly feel like the wind has been knocked out of me and I have been avoiding all the news and election predictions as much as I can. So Iraqis chose hard-line Shia and hard-line Sunni. Forget liberalism, forget secularism and bring out the Hijabs. Well, it’s a good thing I already have the beard and I don’t wear ties (the tie being an Infidel/Christian/Heathen invention for those who are wondering). Rejoice!!! OPINION: Iraqi in America comments on the aftereffects of the election MARAM is made up of 35 political entities and individuals that refuse to accept the initial results of the elections. Chief among this new group are, Ayad Allawi of the Iraqi List and Adnan al-Dulaimi of the Accordance Movement. But it doesn't stop at these two lists, Salih al-Mutlaq of the Natioanl Dialogue and Mish'an al-Jibouri of the Reconciliation are also part of MARAM. Even though both Mithal al-Alusi and Ahmad Chalabi are at risk of walking away with no seats, they were either not invited to the MARAM conference or refused to attend it.While this effort was most likely engineered by Ayad Allawi, there is no evidence that he is even in Iraq. Large groups of people are expected to participate in demonstrations after the Friday prayers tomorrow in solidarity with MARAM. While this is happening in Iraq, the winners of last Thursday's elections are acting as losers. The Kurds are deafeningly silent and the Shi'a coalition realize that this was too much of a good thing. The mandate they received apparently is bigger than what they are capable of handling.The Americans, responding to concerns that Iran's meddling might have gone too far reportedly arrested Bayan Jabr, Iraq's minister of Interior. Things do not only look bad, they look dangerous. (On the day he voted, he was very positive and he was very impressed with his visit with Bush in the White House. He believed that Bush had brought freedom to Iraqis. – Susan) OPINION: What I heard about Iraq in 2005 I saw a headline in the Los Angeles Times that read: ‘After Leveling City, US Tries to Build Trust.’ I heard that military personnel were now carrying ‘talking point’ cards with phrases such as: ‘We are a values-based, people-focused team that strives to uphold the dignity and respect of all.’ I heard that 47 per cent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein helped plan 9/11 and 44 per cent believed that the hijackers were Iraqi; 61 per cent thought that Saddam had been a serious threat to the US and 76 per cent said the Iraqis were now better off. I heard that Iraq was now ranked with Haiti and Senegal as one of the poorest nations on earth. I heard the United Nations Human Rights Commission report that acute malnutrition among Iraqi children had doubled since the war began. I heard that only 5 per cent of the money Congress had allocated for reconstruction had actually been spent. I heard that in Fallujah people were living in tents pitched on the ruins of their houses. Within a week in January I heard Condoleezza Rice say there were 120,000 Iraqi troops trained to take over the security of the country; I heard Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat from Delaware, say that the number was closer to 4000; I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘The fact of the matter is that there are 130,200 who have been trained and equipped. That’s a fact. The idea that that number’s wrong is just not correct. The number is right.’ I heard him explain the discrepancy: ‘Now, are some getting killed every day? Sure. Are some retiring at various times or injured? Yes, they’re gone.’ I remembered that a year before he had said the number was 210,000. I heard the Pentagon announce it would no longer release Iraqi troop figures. OPINION: Circus of a Trial Few people doubt that Saddam, as a fearsome dictator, was directly responsible for the terror with which his country was run. But the man’s trial might have been cathartic for all Iraqis, in that it tabulated the horrors of the Baathist thugs and thus brought closure for a deeply violated society. That however is not what is happening. Saddam has recovered his composure and is turning the legal process against him into his last hurrah. The Americans have handed him all the ammunition with which to do this. Instead of being allowed to concentrate upon the terrible facts of the charges against him and his co-defendants, the court is in danger of being turned into a circus in which Saddam re-fights the origins of the war. OPINION: Civil War Feared As the votes are tallied from last week's election, there is renewed speculation, regardless of the election results, that Iraq is on the verge of erupting into civil war. Or worse: many argue that the civil war has already begun. While the US military and others deny that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, the evidence is mounting against their denials. Many analysts argue that at the very least, low-level sectarian violence between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds threatens to blossom into a civil war that could tear Iraq further apart. Tit-for-tat kidnappings, murders and attacks are increasingly common, and increasingly more organised. Sunnis attack Shiite mosques; Shiites attack Sunni mosques. In July, followers of Abu Mussab Zarqawi pledged to eradicate Moqtada Al Sadr's Badr Brigade for targeting the Sunnis. In November, American troops found some 170 Sunni detainees in the basement of the Shiite-controlled interior ministry, most showing signs of torture and abuse. And tensions between Arabs and Kurds, seen by Arab Iraqis as collaborating with the occupation forces, are increasingly tense — just days ago, the offices of the Kurdish Islamic Union were attacked and a senior KIU official killed. Most analysts agree that the violence in Iraq has the potential to draw the entire Middle East into the fray, with dire consequences. Letter: Troops Cause Iraq Misery Your editorial (20 December) hopefully suggests that the continued presence of British troops in Iraq might help Iraqis protect and defend their fledging democracy against the return of a bloody dictatorship. The bloody situation that exists in Iraq at this moment has been brought about by the presence of British and American forces in that sad country. These forces are the cause of all Iraq's problems, they will never be the solution. Democracy cannot be exported - it must come from within. It is depressing to listen to George Bush harping on about troops remaining in Iraq until victory is secured. Such talk can only prolong these bloody matters. JOHN REID Inverness Christmas Stories NEWS: Fear overshadows Christmas joy in Baghdad. The biggest celebration of the year for Christians is only a day away, yet the Virgin Mary Church in Baghdad wears a deserted, almost forlorn look. The festive lights and glittery decorations of years past are nowhere to be seen. A small, unshapely tree with silver and purple ornaments stands near the pulpit -- a poor substitute for a traditional giant Christmas tree that, in years past, was decorated to the sounds of young men and women singing hymns. Just six women came to evening prayers a few days ahead of Christmas, leaving rows of pews empty in the dimly lit church. It wasn't always this way. A Christmas fable: the fox and the stranger "So some Palestinian walks into town - beard, sandals, looks like a terrorist, right? Says that God can be directly experienced by everyone, without rich, powerful clergymen or their politician buddies. And when folks want to exchange money at our convenient in-Temple banking centers - which is their God-given right - he calls it an abomination. "He's part of the war on Passover! What can you do with a guy like that but string him up, right? I'm Bill O'Reilly and this is the No-Spin Zone." Imagine that Jesus is what they said He was: the Son of God who was born in poverty, an outsider born to an outsider people. The Israel of his time was a desolate outpost in the Roman Empire. No doubt some Centurions saw the Jews as "camel jockeys" - those oppressed citizens of a sand-strewn Imperial ghetto. OPINION: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium – Gospel Truth Bush professes to believe that Jesus is the son of God, whose words are literally divine commands. Yet anyone who compares what Jesus really said to Bush's actions in power – the abandonment of the poor, the exaltation of the rich; the dirty insider deals, the culture of corruption, the politics of smear and slander; the perversion of law to countenance murder, torture and predatory war – can readily see that this profession of faith is a monstrous deceit. Bush – and his politicized, pseudo-religious "base" – may well believe that some divine being approves of their unbridled greed, aggression and self-aggrandizement; but this mythical godling in their heads has nothing to do with the man from Nazareth who, as Matthew and Luke tell it, went up into a mountain one day and began to preach: "Blessed be ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now; for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh." "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you: Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. Thus you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even publicans the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others?” NEWS: GI’s Hope for Christmas Miracle A group of Georgia soldiers is hoping for a Christmas miracle for a 3-month-old Iraqi baby with a birth defect. First Lt. Jeff Morgan, a member of the Georgia Army National Guard and a single father of five, has finally found a doctor back home who has agreed to operate on little Noor, if Morgan and his buddies can get her to the United States. OPINION: Christmas Spirit Mocked by World of War, Torture This Christmas season Condoleeza Rice has argued that practices like ‘extreme rendition’ are justified because "captured terrorists of the 21st century do not fit easily into traditional systems of criminal or military justice." She admitted that the purpose of the practice is to put suspects out of reach of U.S. laws against torture. She also stated that we "... should be prepared to do anything that is legal to prevent another terrorist attack." Accordingly, Congress and the administration are now busy behind closed doors writing the rules and laws for torture. The details are classified, so we cannot know which ‘interrogation techniques’ will be illegal, and which will be legal because they are ‘not torture.’ Eleven days before Christmas we read "Pentagon to seek $100 billion more for wars." Our terror warriors in Washington believe – and apparently many Americans agree – that the mission to defeat terrorism can only be accomplished by wars killing all terrorists (and anyone in their vicinity) and terrorizing everyone else into submission and compliance. For God’s sake, it’s Christmas. Torture, ‘extreme rendition’ and war are wrong, immoral, unjust, and cruel – not just illegal. How can we celebrate a Christian vision of Peace, Love, and Mercy by preparing to do "anything that is legal" against terrorists or suspected terrorists or by spending more billions of the world’s wealth on more war? PEACE ACTION: The story of the Christmas Truce. The "Christmas truce" began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, during World War I, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing carols. The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man’s Land" where small gifts were exchanged. CASUALTY REPORTS Local Story: Iraqi violence continues on Rumsfeld visit. Local Story: Names added to crosses on memorial fence in Angleton, Texas. QUOTE OF THE DAY: Happy Xmas (War is over) by John Lennon So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over a new one just begun. And so this is Christmas - I hope you have fun The near and the dear ones, the old and the young. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year: Let's hope it's a good one, without any fear. And so this is Christmas (war is over) For weak and for strong (if you want it) The rich and the poor ones (war is over) The world is so wrong (if you want it) And so happy Christmas (war is over) For black and for white (if you want it) For the yellow and red ones (war is over) Let's all stop the fight (now) A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year: Let’s hope it's a good one, without any tears. So this is Christmas (war is over) and what have we done (if you want it)? Another year over (war is over) a new one just begun (if you want it). And so happy Christmas (war is over) we hope you have fun (if you want it), The near and the dear one (war is over) the old and the young (now). A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year: Let's hope it's a good one, without any tears. War is over, if you want it, War is over now.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?