Sunday, March 05, 2006
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2006
Iraqi residents watch a fire during a protest against high petrol prices in Kut, 172 km (107 miles) south of Baghdad, March 5, 2006. Thousands of residents participated in the protest demanding the Iraqi government lower prices of petrol and cooking gas.
REUTERS/STRINGER/IRAQ, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit
Bring 'em on: Sniper shoots U.S. soldier dead in Dhuluiyah. (Not confirmed.)
The counter has now turned over to 2,300.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Car bomb exploded near a checkpoint in the residence of Salman Park in the outskirts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Reuters announced. According to initial information two civilians died and three policemen were injured in the explosion.
Three killed in attack on Sunnis mosque in West Baghdad, by men dressed in police commando uniforms.
Drive by shooting kills two relatives of Sheikh Hareth Al-Dhari, Secretary General of the Association of Muslim Scholars. (This is a Sunni organization.)
Kuwait news agency reports on several other incidents. (I've edited out the ones already noted above):
As many as 23 people were killed or injured in attacks carried out by insurgents in different parts of Iraq in the last 24 hours, a police source said.
The source said two civilians were killed and three severely injured on Sunday when shots were fired by unidentified gunmen in the northern city of Kirkuk. A police source said the incident occurred when unidentified gunmen attacked civilians near a mosque in the city.
In another development, three civilians were injured when a roadside bomb exploded on the highway connecting AL-Dora suburb and the city of Samarra today.
In Tikrit, police found the dead body of a security man, who was abducted two days ago.
And in Mahmoudiah, 30 kilometers south of Baghdad, one solider was killed and three were injured when their car was targeted by a suicide attack.
OTHER NEWS AND ANALYSIS
The British Sunday Telegraph reports that the U.S. and U.K. plan to withdraw all troops from Iraq within one year. However, the U.S. military strenuously denies it.
Indeed, Talabani says he has been assured the U.S. will stay "as long as needed." That's easy for him to say, he's a Kurd and the U.S. is not occupying Kurdistan
Boston Globe's Kevin Cullen reports on increasing sophistication and power of so-called IEDs. This story cites our friends at Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. Excerpt:
Army Sergeant Shane Roy, a Burlington native who helped secure the scene in northwest Iraq four months ago, said the attackers had used a 2,000-pound bomb, underscoring something he had noticed over the past year in Iraq.
''The IEDs are getting bigger, and the bad guys are getting more sophisticated when it comes to setting these things off," Roy said.
Other US soldiers, and doctors treating the wounded, agree that IEDs, which early in the insurgency were crude weapons more likely to maim than kill, have evolved to the point that they can take out the most heavily armored vehicles in the US arsenal. The bombs are larger and more sophisticated, causing multiple deaths more often, and leaving those who survive with more traumatic injuries, doctors say.
According to figures compiled by Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a nonprofit research group that analyzes information supplied by the Pentagon, IEDs killed 407 US forces last year, more than twice as many as the 197 killed in 2004. The proportion of US military deaths caused by IEDs rose from less than a quarter in 2004 to nearly half of the 846 US fatalities in 2005. In October, IEDs killed 57 soldiers, the most in any month of the war. Last month, the figure was 38.Surge in violence prompts more Iraqis to beef up their personal arsenals.
BAGHDAD, March 5 (Reuters) - Like most Iraqis, Abu Ali has long kept a Kalashnikov assault rifle hidden in his bedroom. But it was not until sectarian violence pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war these past two weeks that the 56-year-old engineer thought that one automatic weapon was not enough.
"Danger is everywhere," said Ali, a short, stocky man. "I always had a Kalashnikov at home but after the violence I bought a 9mm pistol. I carry it with me all the time."
Fearful of sectarian attacks since the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine on Feb. 22, Iraqis are barricading homes and stocking up on weapons in a country already awash with guns. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraqi households were allowed to own one Kalashnikov, part of a home defence plan during years of wars. After his ousting, looters ransacked barracks, taking with them anything from ammunition to anti-aircraft missiles.
As recent bloodshed has made Iraqis afraid of walking even in their own neighbourhoods, prices for Iraqi-made, easily concealed, 9mm Tariq pistols -- one of the most popular weapons these days -- have soared to up to $600. After the U.S. invasion in 2003, Tariqs, used by Iraqi police, went for $150 a piece, Kalashnikov AK-47S for just $50. With government employees, for example, making a $125 monthly minimum wage and many Iraqis living on much less, buying a gun is an economic sacrifice. But Baghdad residents on both sides of the sectarian divide say they have little choice.Note: I posted the picture of the protest over fuel prices to emphasize the severe economic distress that Iraqis are facing today.
The Arab League will open an office in Baghdad in anticipation of a national reconciliation conference to be held in June.
However, The process of forming a new government continues to be stalled. Talabani, after meeting with General Abizaid, curiously enough, renews his call for al-Jaafari to step aside as Prime Minister. While Talabani says that al-Jaafari has become a divisive figure, according to al Jazeera:
Kurds are angry at al-Jaafari because they believe he is holding up the resolution of their claims to control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. An official close to Kurdish leadership told The Associated Press on Saturday that Talabani's true anger arose out of al-Jaafari's visit last week to Turkey.
The official said Talabani had learned that al-Jaafari promised the Turks to stand against including Kirkuk in the proposed Kurdish federal region. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the dispute.
The Turks, who fear greater Kurdish autonomy in Iraq could inspire rebellious Kurds inside Turkey to seek their own homeland, reportedly promised, as a quid pro quo, to help al-Jaafari improve relations with the Americans, the official said.
Iraqi Turkmen have strong ethnic ties to Turkey, and Ankara reportedly urged al-Jaafari to ensure ethnic Turks would have a strong say in running Kirkuk. Al-Jaafari reportedly expressed sympathy with Turkish views.This shows how Iraq's internal ethnic divisions are drawing in its neighbors.
British opponents of the war find Tony Blair's invocation of religion offensive.
Anti-war campaigners have criticised Tony Blair after he suggested his decision to go to war in Iraq would ultimately be judged by God. The prime minister told ITV1's Parkinson chat show: "If you believe in God (the judgement) is made by God."
Reg Keys, whose son was killed in Iraq, said Mr Blair was "using God as a get-out for total strategic failure" and his comments were "abhorrent".
Mr Keys, who stood in the 2005 General Election as an anti-war candidate in Mr Blair's constituency of Sedgefield, said religion had nothing to do with the Iraq war. "And the people who will be his judge is not God, it will be the families of the bereaved British soldiers and it will be the families of the bereaved innocent Iraqis who have all been slaughtered in this totally unnecessary conflict." Mr Keys' son, Lance Corporal Tom Keys, was one of six Red Caps killed by an Iraqi mob in Majar Al-Kabir in June 2003.
Mr Keys, the founder of campaign group Military Families Against The War, said going to war had been a "catastrophic political blunder". He accused Mr Blair of "jumping on the same bandwagon" as US President George W Bush, who caused a storm after saying he decided to invade Iraq because he was on a "mission from God". "Are we really seeing over 100 coffins coming back (to the UK) because God told him (Mr Blair) to go to war?" Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed in Basra in 2004, said: "A good Christian wouldn't be for this war.
"I'm actually quite disgusted by the comments. It's a joke." Dr Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat MP and honorary associate of the National Secular Society, said Mr Blair's comments were "bizarre" and warned against politicians making "references to deity" in public life.Palestinian refugees in Iraq face violence and discrimination.
Iraqi blogger Faiza Al-Arji is in New York with a group of Iraqi women. This has gotten no attention in the U.S. corporate media that I have been able to find. The meeting is sponsored by Global Exchange. Ms. Al-Arji writes:
what is our goal? we just want to let the people here undestand more about Iraq from Iraqi people, not from biased media..
well, I will not say we will change everthing and our dreams will be achieved soon,,
but at lest we are trying to help our people to get peace and stability in Iraq..
we hope we can make a small change..Sixteen year old Iraqi girl HNK writes of the grimness of childhood in Iraq today:
Twinkle Twinkle my darkness life
Let me see the headlines
I am hurting because I am blind
I am sad and I don't know why. Not because I don't find the reason to feel like I do, but because I don't know which reasons covered my life with all this pain.
Every second make me weaker. With all pressures in the school, with all bombs around me I don't know what to do? What to say? . I don't like sitting in my place, watching the people killing each other, cheating each others and fighting each others.
I can swear that this war changes my life 80 -degree. I am 16 years old. I should live the happiest part of my life; I must be a crazy girl doing foolish and stupid things while I am not. I am talking like some one in 35. I feel I am nothing, I do nothing in my life and I going to do nothing.
My friend's brother is too ill. Before 9 days he wake up and he couldn't see anything. He is now blind and he can't speak, he has a headache all the time. He beccme worse and worse each day. The doctors don't know what happened to him. They give him drugs but his body didn't respond with all their attempts. In Iraq there is no hope to survive. They are trying now to go out of the country and maybe they will find an answer about his state in some country.
Have you ever wanted to disappear?
Have you ever wanted to scream?
Have you ever feel that you are being led by something outside your self?....Well, I am
The electricity is better now. It turns on for about 12 hours now. But the generator crashed. so it stil bad to live 12 hours each day without electricity . I lived 20 hours and some times 24 hours without it but I am sick of it. If that's all what can America give to Iraqi people? 12 hours with electricity. So why they come to Iraq?
In the morning I study in the roof of our house. Sun’s light is a good friend to me these day. Najma and me were studying in the roof yesterday and there were many helicopters flew in the air and around our house. Najma's hope that they will shoot us and so we will not have to study because we will be in the heaven playing. That what she said yesterday. But in Iraq no dream come true thanks God. Look! Can you hear the sound of helicopter? It seems that it hear us talking about it.
I say leave her a comment, and let her know that people care
THE INFORMATION WAR
A note from Cervantes: Many of our readers may already be aware of the recent revelations that CentCom is contacting bloggers and asking them to feature its own news releases and info. Actually they first contacted TiI several months ago, IIRC it was Friendly Fire (now on sabbatical) who posted about it here. I don't find it offensive that they want to tell their side of things, it's even flattering that they've noticed us. However, it is another matter if they are covertly paying off bloggers to carry their propaganda, or writing their own blogs that they pretend are by independent citizens -- whether of the U.S. or Iraq. Since, as Dancewater noted yesterday, DoD now admits -- or even proudly proclaims -- that it will continue to secretly pay for favorable news coverage, one has to assume that they are also paying off bloggers. (Don't worry, we're clean.)
A commenter on Kos asked me to post a link to the CentCom site so that people could recognize their material if they encounter it on blogs or in the press. Actually, it's in our sidebar, and always has been -- but here it is again for your convenience. CentCom puts a very positive spin on the performance of the Iraqi Army and police, and the "progress" being made in Iraq. but they also are a source for information about U.S. casualties and occasionally other security incidents. The main reason I don't usually link to them directly is that their information is always at least a couple of days out of date. Also, their accounting of security incidents is highly selective and incomplete. Here is their press release page. For those who don't care to visit, I'll reproduce the top several items, so you can get a flavor:
3/3/2006 IRAQI ARMY, MND-B CAPTURE SUSPECTED BOMB-MAKER RESPONSIBLE FOR DEATH OF U.S. SOLDIER
3/3/2006 MND-B TRANSFERS BATTLE SPACE TO IRAQI ARMY
3/3/2006 KEY AL QAEDA MEMBERS AMONG 61 DETAINED
3/3/2006 FIVE COALITION SERVICE MEMBERS INJURED IN SUSPECTED IED ATTACK
3/3/2006 TERRORIST ATTACKS KILL SEVEN IRAQIS, WOUND SIX
3/2/2006 ONE COALITION SERVICE MEMBER KILLED, SEVEN INJURED
3/2/2006 AFGHAN MINISTRIES PARTICIPATE IN FIRST JOINT SECURITY SEMINAR
3/2/2006 BOYS FIND UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE, SUFFER INJURIES
3/2/2006 COALITION FORCES CONDUCT RAIDS IN HABBANIYA
3/2/2006 SLOVAK ENGINEER UNIT CHANGES COMMAND
3/1/2006 MORTAR ATTACK KILLS 9 IRAQIS, ESTIMATED 40 WOUNDED
3/1/2006 TERRORIST ROCKET ATTACK KILLS 8 IRAQIS, WOUNDS 3
3/1/2006 MND-B SOLDIERS DISCOVER, DETONATE ROADSIDE BOMB
3/1/2006 INSURGENTS FOUND GUILTY OF POSSESSION OF ILLEGAL WEAPONS AND EMPLACING IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICESOn a related subject, a Marine in Iraq writes to Wonkette that USMC is blocking Marines' access to websites that don't toe the U.S. government line. Does that include Today in Iraq? If any Marines in Iraq can let us know, we'd like to hear from you.
Gulfport, Mississippi Marine back home after several months in a burn unit in San Antonio
Duluth airman takes injuries in stride after being wounded by a mortar attack on Balad air base
Navy Petty Officer from Brazoswood, Texas, recovers from bullet wounds in Maryland hospital
National Guardsman from Montgomery, Pennsylvania is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head
Quote of the day: Maybe I see the end more clearly now: the end of Iraq. Iraq is changing quickly, hour by hour. But what is coming after the end of Iraq? I don't know what it will be.
- Baghdad resident Shirouq Abaychi, quoted in the New York Times
Post by Cervantes – still having technical difficulties