War News for Monday, January 23, 2006
Bring 'em on: A U.S. soldier was killed when a roadside bomb exploded while he was patrolling on foot in southwest Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Police said three people were killed -- two policemen and a television sports journalist -- when a suicide car bomber struck a police checkpoint near the Green Zone in central Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Two policemen were killed and three wounded when a car bomb exploded in the southern Dora district Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Two civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol in central Baghdad
Bring 'em on: An Iraqi army soldier was killed and one wounded when their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb in eastern Mosul
Bring 'em on: Police said gunmen killed a female employee working for a U.S. army base in the town of Ad-Dawr
Bring 'em on: Two civilians were wounded when a car bomb exploded near a joint Iraqi-U.S patrol in southern Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Two U.S. airmen were killed and one wounded on Sunday by a roadside bomb while they were escorting a convoy near Taji
Bring 'em on: Five Iraqi civilians were wounded when a car bomb exploded in Mahmudiya
Bring 'em on: A suicide car bomber attacked a security checkpoint in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least two people and wounding six others close to the Green Zone
: According to reports, many Iraqis do not fully understand the national constitution ratified in a referendum on 15 October and there are fears that the document could exacerbate existing ethnic tensions. The constitution divides the country into three largely self-governing regions along ethnic and religious lines. As each region will control future oil discoveries, the Sunni minority, which lives in the oil-poor centre of Iraq, may not benefit equally from the riches, and some say this is the formula for civil war. Karim Shamaa, an oil consultant, said: "The articles on oil are so blurred and so unclear and so contradictory, that it will never work."
Returning Exiles Cannot Stay
Many Iraqis living abroad opted to return home in the aftermath of the fall of former leader Saddam Hussein. But most of them are now taking the opposite journey, returning once again to the foreign countries which sheltered form Saddam’s oppression. Meantime, Minister of Replacement and Migration Suhayla Abd-Jaafar has said conditions in the country were not safe for Iraqi refugees abroad to return.
Iraqi expatriates are disappointed with the course of events since the 2003-U.S.-led invasion. They cite violence, insecurity, instability and unemployment as the main reasons for their decision to return to exile once again. Some said they were targets of attacks by armed groups battling the U.S. occupation and the government.
Many members of these armed organizations were affiliated to Saddam’s Baath party and they see the expatriates as enemies. “I escaped the country 25 years ago fearing for our lives as we were communists. I decided to return when the former regime fell. But I had to return to exile because it was impossible for me to live in the country,” said Qassem Khalifa.
Saddam Hussein was friendly to Iraqi communists in the early years of his Baathist rule. But he turned against them when he felt his position was secure. “I left the country 20 years ago to protect my son from persecution. We lived in America for the whole period and decided to return home when Saddam was overthrown. But there was no security and we could not stay,” said Majeed Saadoun.
Mohammed Saleh, a dentist, left Canada for home after 18 years of exile. “But I had to go back. True exile is hard but what can I do? I only returned to my exile when I felt that there was no hope at the end of the tunnel,” said Saleh.
Human rights activists say Iraqis abroad were shocked and disappointed on their return home. “The main reason compelling Iraqi expatriates to go into exile again is lack of security,” said Mohammed al-Mawsawi, the head of Iraqi human rights organization, a non-governmental group.
Abd-Jaafar, the migration minister, said she would not encourage Iraqi refugees to return. Rather “I would advise the countries hosting them to grant them residency.” However, she said, her ministry has plans to help those returning home to get “reintegrated in the society”.
Opinion and Commentary
He asked how many people in the packed auditorium knew his wife's name and indicated that obviously all or nearly all did. But how many people knew who had inserted the statements into the president's speech about uranium? No hands were raised.
"This administration decided well before 9/11 that Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein" would have high priority, he said.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq has been costly to the United States, Wilson said. He cited 2,200 Americans killed, 10 times the number who died in the first war with Iraq. Also, 14,000 have been wounded. The war has cost $150 billion and possibly will cost much more, he added.
Wilson added that at the end of the first war with Iraq, America's international prestige was high. But it is suffering badly because of the second, he said.
During a question-and-answer session, he was asked why the United States had invaded, if not because of the issue involving weapons of mass destruction. The reason, according to one political opponent Wilson debated, was that it would change the political dynamics in the Middle East. Wilson said that was not the reason Americans thought they were going to war.
Wilson said the United States should not set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. But the government should determine what the military needs to do and how many troops are needed. That role would be different from what it is today, he said.
"It's absolutely inappropriate for Americans to be easy targets. . . . It does us no good at all" for U.S. soldiers to go on patrol and get attacked.
Also, he said, the country should get out of the position where Americans are "unnecessarily killing Arabs. . . . Iraqis should be fighting their civil war, not Americans."
According to him, "The big winner so far has been Iran." Wilson said America is a great country, a great democracy. But he warned that it would be great only so long as Americans remain vigilant in the oversight of their government.
Sorry for the short post today, I will update it later, in addition there may be posts from other bloggers put up.